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Disparities of So-called “Justice” in America”

Posted by on Jun 23rd, 2011 and filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

By EL-HAJJ MAURI’ SAALAKHAN

TRAVELING from Alabama to Georgia, I decided to make a brief pit stop to get a cup of coffee and quickly check my e-mail, when I came across a message that I was compelled to forward out immediately (with my own brief commentary). The message below underscores in very graphic detail, the disparities of so-called “justice” in America. (And this case is not unique!)

“White collar crime” in America (especially involving the very well-to-do) has always been treated differently than regular crimes involving regular people. Upper crust criminals have the resource to hire high-priced teams of lawyers, and, more often than not, receive differential treatment by prosecutors in both the charging and sentencing process. (In the case below, prosecutors requested only SIX YEARS, and the defendant received THREE.)

What makes the Paul Allen case so grotesque, is the fact that it is part of the global financial scandal that continues to rock this nation, and others, with no end in sight. In this one case – labeled “one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history” – an estimated 2,000 people lost their jobs, a large Alabama-based bank failed, and two other banks lost an estimated two billion dollars in investment funds. Only ALLAH knows how many other people, low to moderate income mortgage owners (two pay checks away from insolvency), were adversely impacted by this one case of massive fraud.

The thing that riles the senses, however, is the brutal reality of what this case reminds us of regarding American style justice. Paul Allen, the former CEO of the offending mortgage firm (Florida-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker), received a three year sentence for his offense!

The reader can check out the federal sentencing guideline for marijuana trafficking below, for a comparative sense of how skewed and arbitrary the application of justice is in America. To achieve an even more graphic sense of the monstrous disparities that exist between the haves and the have nots in American society, consider the never-ending cases of young Muslims who are being preemptively prosecuted throughout the U.S.!

In the same federal courthouse where Mr. Allen received three years for a three billion dollar crime (and in other federal courthouses around the nation), young Muslim men have received LIFE SENTENCES for (according to the government) aspirational crimes that never achieved fruition!

Folks in the New York area will have an opportunity to observe another one of these cases when the Newburg 4 case comes before the court for sentencing on Wednesday, June 29. (See info below.)

On a final note, one can be absolutely assured that both the prison that Mr. Allen will be assigned to, and the imprisonment conditions that Mr. Allen (et.al) will face, will be nothing like the imprisonment conditions confronting Muslims (nor even your average non-Muslim) throughout the land…but so goes “justice” American style!

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Paul Allen, Ex-Mortgage CEO, Sentenced To Prison For $3B Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The CEO of what had been one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage lenders was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for his role in a $3 billion scheme that officials called one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.

The 40-month sentence for Paul R. Allen, 55, of Oakton, Va., is slightly less than the six-year term sought by federal prosecutors.

“I messed up. I messed up big,” Allen told U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema before he was sentenced, apologizing to his family and “the entire financial community. “There was no excuse for my behavior.”

Allen was chief executive at Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, which collapsed in 2009 after the criminal investigation became public, resulting in its 2,000 employees losing their jobs. The fraud also contributed to the collapse of Alabama-based Colonial Bank – the sixth largest bank failure in U.S. history – after Colonial bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Taylor Bean mortgages that had already been sold to other investors.

Two other banks – Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas – lost nearly $2 billion after buying corporate paper from Taylor Bean that was not properly backed with collateral, authorities said.

Taylor Bean and Colonial also tried to obtain more than $500 million from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program but ultimately never received any funding from the program also known as TARP.

Neil Barofsky, who served as TARP’s special inspector general, said the Taylor Bean case was the most significant criminal prosecution to arise out of the nation’s financial crisis. The convictions of company chairman Lee Farkas and Allen represent some of the most high-profile executives in the housing and financial industries to receive prison time in the aftermath of the housing sector meltdown.

Allen’s lawyer argued for leniency on the theory that Allen was CEO in name only. The real mastermind was Farkas, who kept Allen out of the loop on much of the company’s day-to-day operations, according to trial testimony.

“Mr. Allen was not treated as a CEO. He did not function as a CEO,” said defense lawyer Stephen Graeff. “Sentence Mr. Allen the man, not Mr. Allen the title.”

But Brinkema said Allen’s title was significant, adding Allen’s reputation in the industry lent credibility to Taylor Bean that it otherwise would not have had. Even worse, Brinkema said, Allen had subordinates who were reporting the problems to Allen, but Allen left them to fend for themselves. One of those Taylor Bean employees, Sean Ragland, also was sentenced Friday to three months in prison and nine months of home detention for his role in the scheme.

“I can’t understand why in the world you didn’t stop it,” Brinkema told Allen. Allen, for his part, apologized to his family and to “the entire financial community.”

By the time Allen became CEO in 2003, the fraud was already under way, and Taylor Bean owed more than $100 million to Colonial. Allen’s part in the schemes, came later, especially in the commercial paper loans from Deutsche bank and BNP Paribas that eventually grew to become the largest part of the fraud.

Ragland and Allen are the fifth and sixth persons to be sent to prison as part of the Taylor Bean-Colonial fraud, and investigators say the investigation is continuing. Sentences have ranged from three months to eight years.

All six received credit on their sentences for cooperating with investigators and testifying at Farkas’ trial.

“Mr. Allen’s sentence reflects his ultimate cooperation with this investigation, but also sends the message that unless executives expose and stop fraud when they first learn of it, they will be punished,” said Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Farkas is to be sentenced next week, and prosecutors have indicated they will seek a significantly longer sentence for Farkas than for his co-conspirators.

Federal Trafficking Penalties – Marijuana

DRUG QUANTITY 1st OFFENSE 2nd OFFENSE*
Marijuana (Schedule I) 1,000 kg or more mixture; or 1,000 or more plants Not less than 10 years, not more than life Not less than 20 years, not more than life
If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, not more than life If death or serious injury, mandatory life
Fine not more than $4 million if an individual, $10 million if other than an individual Fine not more than $8 million if an individual, $20 million if other than an individual
Marijuana (Schedule I) 100 kg to 999 kg mixture; or 100 to 999 plants Not less than 5 years, not more than 40 years Not less than 10 years, not more than life
If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, not more than life If death or serious injury, mandatory life
Fine not more than $2 million if an individual, $5 million if other than an individual Fine not more than $4 million if an individual, $10 million if other than an individual
Marijuana (Schedule I) more than 10 kgs hashish; 50 to 99 kg mixture Not more than 20 years Not more than 30 years
If death or serious injury, not less than 20 years, not more than life If death or serious injury, mandatory life
more than 1 kg of hashish oil; 50 to 99 plants Fine $1 million if an individual, $5 million if other than an individual Fine $2 million if an individual, $10 million if other than individual
Marijuana (Schedule I) 1 to 49 plants; less than 50 kg Not more than 5 years Not more than 10 years
Fine not more than $250,000, $1 million other than individual Fine $500,000 if an individual, $2 million if other than individual

Huffington Post

Day of Action for Newburgh 4 Sentencing, Demand Justice!

Day of Action for Newburgh 4 Sentencing, Demand Justice!

 

Time Wednesday, June 29 · 8:30am – 1:00pm

Location Federal Court House 

500 Pearl Street

New York, NY

More Info For Immediate Release
Day of Action: Newburgh 4 Sentencing, Demand Justice! 

Wed. June 29
8:45am : Press Conference
…500 Pearl Street, New York, NY

10:00am: Pack the Court Room

Contacts:
Alicia McWilliams: 347 299-4973, aliciamcwllms@yahoo.com
Ayesha Hoda: 646-267-5057, hodayesha@gmail.com

The entrapment case of the Newburgh 4 reveals the extent to which the government can and has gone in order to manufacture crimes that sustain and reinforce the ‘threat’ of ‘terrorists.’ In the Newburgh 4 case, the government implanted informants in the community with the express purpose of inciting and enlisting men to carry out government manufactured ‘terrorist’ plots–plots that would later be ‘foiled’ by the government as well.

According to “Targeted and Entrapped,” a recently released report by the Center for Human Rights & Global Justice (CHR&GJ) at NYU, the horror of the Newburgh 4 case can be located in these four findings:

1) That: the involvement of informants took place without any “previous evidence to suggest that the defendants were planning to commit violent acts before the FBI or NYPD intervened”

2) That: “The government informants not only held themselves out to be Muslims but focused their incitement on Muslims.” The focus on the targeting of Muslims is most evident in the government informant’s insistence that ALL of the men enlisted in the ‘plot’ be Muslim.

3) That: “The government’s informants aggressively pushed ideas about the violent jihad and even encouraged the defendants to believe that it was their duty to take action against the United States.” The government even “provided defendants with- or encouraged the defendants to acquire- material evidence, such as weaponry….which would later be used to convict them”

4) That: “the government relied on the defendants’ vulnerabilities—poverty and youth, for example—in its inducement methods.”

Although the defendants were convicted last October, the NB4 case has brought to the fore several important issues, including the question of government misconduct, racial and religious discrimination and several due process rights issues including the right to a fair trial. Please see CHR&GJ’s report, Targeted and Entrapped, for further details about this and other cases involving informants and entrapment, at: http://www.chrgj.org/projects/docs/targetedandentrapped.pdf

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