Court Watch 19: A Little Something For Everyone in The Dockets
Plus: Earth, Wind & Fire Sues Earth, Wind & Fire, Ginseng Trafficking, and General Michael Flynn
Welcome to Court Watch 19. You all seemed to like last week’s issue talking about the importance of local news making it one of the most read in our newsletter’s history. We worried it may have been a bit too wordy before we got to the roundup of the court documents for the week. To make up for it, we’ll jump right into what you missed this week in the federal dockets. Also, we went far and, in some cases, too deep in the 94 federal districts. Between informants going rogue, ATM IEDs, ginseng, and stolen cigarettes, there’s something for everyone in this week’s newsletter.
Odd: Long time subscribers of Court Watch (re: two months ago) may recall the story of Amazon and the Justice Department jumping the gun on a civil seizure (“We may have seized the funds too early”, said one Assistant U.S. Attorney). In a new twist, the Justice Department secured multiple criminal guilty pleas in the surrounding case this week. A related civil case is set to go to trial in the coming weeks and so far, Amazon has lost a number of key motions. However, Court Watch was fascinated that the forfeiture in the criminal case appears to have come up a bit short. Meaning, Kyle Ramstetter, one of the men who plead guilty, is still expected to walk away with millions of dollars that the Justice Department implied was part of the fraud but doesn’t look like it was captured by the government. Interesting.
Spiderman Meme: Earth Wind & Fire is suing Earth Wind & Fire to determine who is Earth Wind & Fire.
Seems like a lot: The city of Cottage Grove, Minnesota got taken for a 1.5 million dollar business email compromise scheme. The Covered Bridge Capitol of the West thought they paid money for a sewage project, alas, they were tricked as part of a sophisticated phishing attempt.
As old as time: A scammer allegedly tricked the COVID relief folks into giving them nearly 2 million dollars in funding for the ‘North Mississippi Prime’ which they then funneled through a series of unsuspecting ‘money mules.’
Awks: A Justice Department informant created a series of pseudonym emails to threaten the folks she was helping DOJ build a criminal case against.
Update: A Chinese national pleaded guilty to coming to Miami with a fake legal permanent resident card, a People’s Liberation Army uniform, and a large cache of cash. For background on the case, see Court Watch’s exclusive a few weeks ago.
Read this: The Current’s Jake Shore has a writeup about corruption in a Georgia police department and an Alford plea that saved a conviction.
Court Martialing DOJ?: General Michael Flynn, yes that General Michael Flynn, is suing the U.S. Government to the tune of 50 million dollars for alleged malicious prosecution.
Old Bay Bombs: Two Maryland men were charged with setting fires and Molotov cocktailing 7/11s in order to steal money from ATMs. It’s all very much a Philadelphia vibe.
CounterAirfiet Jordan: That 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card you bought? Might want to check it.
Blocked: A conservative commentator for Glenn Beck’s network is suing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for blocking him on twitter. While blocked on her personal account, he can still access her congressional account. Either way, this is too many words for a thing that can be solved by using a quick throwaway backup twitter account like an adult.
Lacey Act: A West Virginia man pled guilty to illegally selling ginseng. We were this years old when we learned you can catch a federal charge for selling ginseng.
We’re tired of telling you to stop doing it for the gram but every week here we are: A California man used Instagram stories to allegedly post pictures of his drug and robbery crimes.
Brother’s Keeper: An Uzbek national was found guilty of making false statements regarding the status of his brother, who went to Syria and joined a jihadist group.
Swab: Arizona law enforcement wants the DNA of Ryan Schlesinger, a man on trial for killing a U.S. Marshal.
You better Call Christopher: A Postal worker has been charged with stealing dozens of phones from the mail and selling them to buy drugs.
May have Merit: Linda Martin filed a class action lawsuit against the FBI for seizing her property that was in a safe deposit box in the U.S. Private Vault. The seizures have in the past, been an issue of contention.
Shopping for U.S.C.: The feds tried to buy fentanyl from a North Carolina man, but an undercover agent offered to barter for 216,00 cigarettes for it. The man accepted, thus triggering a 18 USC 2341 charge, trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes. Also, we don’t know why we wrote that paragraph in the passive voice but we’re too far gone now to fix it.
Masking the Truth: A North Carolina lawyer is being disbarred for being the go-between for a series of sales of n95 masks and gloves that never came to fruition.
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