FindLaw Blotter: July 2009 Archives
FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

July 2009 Archives

Blottdown: Cops, Fake Cops, Ruffians & Speed

The weekly rundown of crime stories that blur the lines between idiot and genius, justified and not so much, freedom and incarceration... you be the judge.

Taking the law into your own hands. What happens when a fake cop pulls over a real cop? The fake one gets arrested. What happens when you use big lights attached to your Beamer to make other drivers think you're a cop and pull out of the way. If one of them is a real cop, you'll likely get arrested.

Taking the trash into your own hands. A Pittsburg area trash vigilante has been cited by the cops... for littering. His attempts to clean up the Greenfield section of town (known as The Run) involved gathering up debris and trash strewn on the street and putting it into piles for the city to collect. The city didn't like that so much. They prefer that he organize his cleanups with the city and use city approved bags. "I'm 62 years old and down with cancer," he said. "How much do they expect me to do for free?"

"We're going to play a game. I'm going to take your scooter." An 11 year old in Cincinnati took a fancy to the scooters being ridden by a couple of other kids at the park. So he scooter-jacked them with a fake gun (unsuccessfully). Unfortunately, in juvie there are no scooters.

Identity Stolen 35 Years Ago Finally Recovered

Recent years have seen an explosion of identity theft, but the crime is by no means new. An Oregon man who had his identity stolen 35 years ago can finally rest easy. The thief has finally been arrested.

It's never required hacker skills or mail theft to steal identities. As reported by the AP, 35 years ago, Tom Lesh of Coos Bay had his identity stolen the old fashioned way.

According to Lesh, one drunken evening, Clark Mower (a friend of Lesh's brother) mentioned needing an ID -- supposedly to avoid hassle about some DUI charge from California. Lesh thinks his "goofy" brother kindly offered up Tom's personal info such as his mother's maiden name, his place of birth, etc.

Soon, Tom received word that someone else in Oregon was using his social security number for work purposes.

Here's the AP's brief rundown of the trevails Lesh allegedly endured after that:

From the 1970s into the '80s, the IRS tried to get Lesh to pay $10,000 in back taxes, ... . In 1984, after Lesh moved to Oregon, he was denied a car loan and learned that thousands of dollars of bad debt had been incurred in his name. In 1986, someone using his identity filed for bankruptcy in Seattle after running up $139,000 in debts in Lesh's name.

Madoff's First Jailhouse Interview

Bernie Madoff granted his first jailhouse interview this week. Speaking with attorneys who have filed suits against his family members and various feeder funds, Madoff shielded others from blame by saying he pulled it all off by himself.

Madoff saying that he pulled it off alone, to lawyers who have sued his wife, isn't too surprising. (Whether she knew about the scheme or not, Ruth Madoff has now been sued by the Madoff operation's bankruptcy trustee for $45 million to help repay victims).

What did surprise attorney Joe Cochett, however, was to hear that since 1995, while billions of dollars plowed through the Ponzi scheme, Madoff's operation didn't trade a single stock or security.

We've long known that the money funneled into Madoff's operation was not exactly invested as promised. However, news that he never bought any stocks, even to try to cover himself, begs the two questions that won't go away: who knew?; and why didn't anyone stop him?

Houston, We Have a Medicare Fraud Problem

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force struck again this morning, raiding businesses and arresting dozens on Medicare fraud related charges, primarily in the Houston area. In all, 32 people were indicted and 12 businesses were raided.

Medicare fraud is purposefully billing Medicare for services that were never received or provided, or that were provided by not medically necessarily.

According to the DOJ, those busted this morning were involved in false billing to Medicare for "arthritis kits," power wheelchairs and enteral feeding supplies. Many of the goods were never received by the patients in question. In some instances, companies allegedly billed Medicare for services they report received by patients who were dead at the time.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a joint operation of the Department of Justice (DOJ)and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and also involves the cooperation of other government agencies.

Today's raids which concentrated on the Houston area were part of the Strike Force's 4th phase of targeted attacks on fraudulent Medicare billing. Phases 1, 2 and 3 were in south Florida, Los Angeles and Detroit.

Prison Life Lessons for Former High Flyers

What do high power executives often do when their business faces a problem? Hire consultants. What do they do if by chance they end up prison bound? Apparently, hire consultants.

Prison consultants work in one cottage industry that shows no sign of economic turmoil. They help those unfamiliar with life on the inside prepare for the big house. As reported by the AP, many former pro-athletes, convicted politicians, and billion dollar scam artists turn to prison consultants to ease the transition.

The services generally lobby for better prison placement for their clients, advise on sentence mitigation (shortening), and give crash courses on surviving in prison.

Wall Street Prison Consultants ask on their website whether you are: "Going From The Exchange Floor To The Prison Yard?" If so, it offers Fedtime 101, a federal prison survival crash course by telephone. Along with sentence mediation assistance and advice on suing prison officials, clients can learn a variety of survival skills, including how to:

  • deal with other inmates;
  • spot and avoid informants;
  • get a lower bunk pass;
  • avoid bad prison jobs;
  • prevent being raped; and
  • survive a prison riot.

Drunk Driving Down; Drugged Driving Sky High

According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a smaller percentage of weekend drivers are drunk, however many of them appear to be on drugs.

Over the last 40 years, the NHTSA has conducted four in-depth roadside surveys into the level of drunkenness on American roadways on weekend evenings. Survey participation is voluntary, and measures drivers in each of the lower 48 states.

Recently, the NHTSA released the results of its fourth such survey, conducted in 2007. For the first time, the study included the testing for a wider variety of impairing drugs beyond alcohol.

The NHTSA has seen a steady decline in the number of drivers with blood alcohol levels over 0.08. Over the 4 decades, the percentage of weekend nighttime drivers over 0.08 has been:

  • 7.5% in 1973;
  • 5.4% in 1986;
  • 4.3% in 1996; and
  • 2.2% in 2007.

So how'd we do on drugs?

Emmett Till, other Civil Rights Cold Cases to Get Fresh Look?

Today a group of civil rights advocates are meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss movement on cold murder cases from the civil rights era. In 2007, a new law -- the "Till Bill" called for the reopening and investigation of cases where death resulted from civil rights violations, including the murder of young Emmett Till.

The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007 gave money for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue these cases, and set aside money which the DOJ could give to state and local authorities to investigate and prosecute them as well.

Which exact cold cases are we talking about? The Act, signed into law by President Bush, includes crimes committed before the end of 1969, which violated civil rights statutes and which resulted in death.

In terms of civil rights statutes that must have been violated for the cases to be reinvestigated, these include statutes put in place to ban practices such as

  • conspiring to deny another's constitutional rights (such as Klan actions on the property of others);
  • acting "under color of law" to deny someone their constitutional rights ("under color of law" just means doing this while giving the impression that you represent law enforcement); and
  • attempts to intimidate people from voting, serving on a jury, getting an education, applying for or enjoying employment, benefitting from any state program, privilege or service, travelling, or staying in an inn,
  • along with many other statutes which went into effect before the end of 1969.

Under the Till Bill, deaths that resulted from a violation of any of these laws before 1970 should be funded for reinvestigation and prosecution.

The Dummy Files: Car Edition

Prime Parking. What spelled trouble for one Michigan motorist? 6 previous DUIs, a revoked license, an off-the-charts blood alcohol level, having vommited on himself and choosing to park and rest on the front lawn of the police station.

Weiner Troubles. The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile hadn't been to Hawaii in five years. After a recent trip, it looks like it won't be back anytime soon. An environmental group claims (apparently with justification) that the Weinermobile violates Hawaii's ban on vehicular advertising. This comes about a week after the unwelcome Weinermobile rammed a Wisconsin woman's garage and deck. With the Weinermobile catching all kinds of flack, and word getting out that hot dogs often come with a side of increased collorectal cancer risk, it's been a rough patch for the frankfurter.

The Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrest and Disorderly Conduct

Anger and debate rage regarding the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest, but outside of questions about race in law enforcement, what exactly is "disorderly conduct"? It turns out that any private exchange, no matter how heated, between Gates and his arresting officer inside Gates' house would be very unlikely to constitute disorderly conduct under Massachusetts law.

At this point, the Gates arrest has become such an issue that President Obama has weighed in on it, been criticized for doing so, and recalibrated his response. Meanwhile, the arresting officer and some police unions stand by the arrest.

Officially, the Cambridge Police Department deeply regrets the arrest but does not believe it to have been racially motivated.

Outside of why the cops were called in the first place and whether profiling had anything to do with Gates' arrest, what about the actual charge (subsequently dropped) -- disorderly conduct?

New Jersey Corruption Probe Nabs 44

Three New Jersey mayors, multiple state officials, and even a group of Rabbis have been arrested in a federal political corruption probe. In all, 44 people were arrested in the case which a U.S. attorney says illustrates "the pervasive nature of public corruption" in New Jersey.

To see the complaint, along with details about how the investigation went down, take a look at this post in FindLaw's Courtside.

For some insight into what charges can be used to bring down widesweeping corruption, let's take a look at the crimes and jailtime on the table here.

Phone Rage at Auto Warranty Scam Lands Ohio Man in Jail

Companies using shady marketing practices to sell shady auto warranties can add one more example of consumer outrage to their collection: "terrorist threats" that have landed an Ohio man in the clink.

Recently, our sister blog discussed a class action filed against alleged auto warranty scammers. And there is also the Federal Trade Commission suit against auto warranty robocallers.

But for Charles Papenfus, the auto warranty scams that have irritated many of us became personal. After receiving junk mail informing him that the warranty on his family's 1996 Ford was about to expire, he called the company (which looks to be TXEN Partners, doing business under the name Service Protection Direct). Papenfus' issue was that the car hadn't had a warranty in years.

In fact, the company had already been accused by the Better Business Bureau of sending out fliers falsely claiming that recipients' warranties were about to expire. Then Ohio's Attorney General sued them over it, ending in a settlement -- with one condition being that they refer to expiring warranties only when they have a good faith belief it's true.

So one can understand Mr. Papenfus' ire at receiving yet another flier about his non-existent warranty expiring.

When someone from the company returned his call, things went down hill.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested at Home; Charges to be Dropped

Prominent Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested in Cambridge Massachusetts after suspicision that he was breaking into his own home. After public outrage, it appears that prosecutors will drop the disorderly conduct charge against Gates.

As Al Sharpton put it, this wasn't a case of driving while black, more of being at home while black.

According to the Boston Globe, the incident began with a simple jammed door -- the front door of the Cambridge residence Gates rents as a Harvard professor. When he and his driver attempted to get it open, somebody called the cops reporting two African American males forcing their way into the home.

When police sergeant James Crowley arrived to investigate Gates' presence, things did not go well. According to the Globe, Gates was angered when the officer entered the house to demand identification. He did, however, present Crowley with both his Harvard ID and Massachusetts drivers license which listed his home address.

Nevada Supreme Court to Hear OJ Bond Arguments

The Nevada Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on August 3 about whether O.J. Simpson should be released on bond while he appeals his conviction on charges including armed robbery and kidnapping. The move is highly unusual for Nevada's high court, which has not held oral arguments on a bond appeal request in the last eight years.

In December, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison without the possibility of parole for 9 years. Simpson viewed the incident as he and a few associates reclaiming some stolen property from some shady memorabilia dealers. The jury saw it more like first degree kidnapping, robbery, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.

According to the AP, Nevada's top court may prove hesitant to let Simpson free on bond pending his appeal. The last it granted a high profile defendant bond pending appeal, things did not go well. Lawrence Arvey (aka "Candy Man," "Mr. Chin," and "Big Fat Daddy"), sentenced to serve life for sex crimes against minors, got bail pending his appeal and opted to skip town in 1978. He is still at large.

Wife's Cruise Ship Death: Murder on the High Seas?

Federal authorities have charged Robert McGill of Los Angeles with the murder of his wife Shirley McGill on a Carnival cruise ship. While domestic violence is far too common, the federal charge McGill faces -- murder on the high seas -- is fairly rare.

As reported by the Contra Costa Times, friends of the McGill's thought they were happily in love. The former highschool sweethearts reconnected and married in 2003. Both recently turned 55.

In fact, it was on Mr. McGill's 55th birthday that he is alleged to have slain his wife during a domestic dispute in their cabin aboard the ship.

So, how is "murder on the high seas" different from regular old murder? The biggest difference is that is comes under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Typically, states have jurisdiction over murder cases.

First 'Grooming' Child Porn Sentence: 40 Years

An Alabama man became the first person sentenced under a relatively new federal law against "grooming" minors for sexual exploitation by providing them with child pornography. The law gives harsh penalties for the reportedly common practice in which child molesters lower children's defenses against inappropriate sexual contact.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Jerry Alan Penton, 37, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on a variety of charges relating to child pornography. These included the knowing possession and distribution of child porn over the course of several years.

What made his case special, however, was the punishment he received for distributing some of that child porn to two children, aged 6 and 8. This brought the first conviction under the "grooming" provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.

Illinois DUI Law Promotes Ignition Devices

First time DUI offenders in Illinois can now get back behind the wheel more quickly -- as long as they use a breath alcohol ignition interlocking device. Like many states, Illinois has previously required ignition interlock devices for some repeat DUI offenders. Now, however, first time offenders can begin driving up to a year before they normally would by using the device.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, about 40,000 of the 50,000 DUI arrests each year are first offenders.

Normally, those convicted of DUI for the first time in Illinois have their license suspended for 6 months if they submitted to a breathalyzer test when arrested, or 12 months if they refused the breathalyzer.

Now, if they wish to drive during this time, they must install and use an ignition interlock device, with the judge to determine how long.

These devices work by not allowing the car to start unless the driver blows less than a 0.05 blood alcohol level. The device mandated by Illinois also requires the driver to blow again during the drive -- to hopefully insure that it was the driver who blew to start the car.

False Shuffle: Group Sentenced for Cheating Casinos

Four members of the "Tran Organization" were sentenced for a high tech scheme in which they cheated casinos across the U.S. and Canada. So far, 29 members of the group have pleaded guilty to cheating a combined total of 25 casinos.

How'd they do it? Some sort of Hollywood break-in caper? A card counting savant?

Not really -- just some high tech card cheating. As explained in a Department of Justice press release, the group employed hidden transmitters and card predicting software in a mission impossible version of the "false shuffle." This led to big wins at blackjack and mini-baccarat tables in casino after casino.

Dooney & Bribe: FCPA Conviction for Bourke

Co-founder of the famous Dooney & Bourke line of handbags and accessories Frederic Bourke was found guilty of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The case revolved around investments to buy the state owned oil company of Azebaijan.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for individuals or companies to bribe foreign government officials in order to obtain or keep business.

Before his recent trial, Frederic Bourke was famous for Dooney & Bourke all-weather leather handbags. Now he'll be cited for years by lawyers fighting cases of international corporate corruption.

As detailed in a press release from the Department of Justice, evidence at trial established that Bourke knowingly participated in a scheme to purchase the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic on the cheap.

Bourke was found guilty of conspiring with fugitive Czech financier Viktor Kozeny ("the Pirate of Prague") to pay millions in bribes to Azeri officials in exchange for their privatizing the state oil company and selling it to Kozney, Bourke and their consortium in a rigged bid.

Michael Jackson Death: Drugs, Foul Play, Both?

While police officials seek information in his medical records, Michael Jackson's father Joe and sister Latoya have fueled speculation that the star's death involved foul play. Los Angeles Police have so far refused to rule out homicide as the cause of death. They are looking into the care he received from his doctors and whether it involved the inappropriate supply of sedatives and other prescription drugs.

LAPD Chief Bill Bratton said late last week that the department had not ruled out homicide. He made clear that the need for criminal charges will depend on results of Jackson's much anticipated toxicology report.

According to the LA Times, police have focused on doctors who treated Jackson. They want to know how Jackson got access to the reported vast amounts of prescription drugs -- some in his name, some with his pseudonyms, and some with no name listed at all. Specifically, police want to know how Jackson got so much Diprivan, a powerful sedative usually administered in the hospital by an anesthesiologist or nurse.

The Dummy Files: Sheer Naked Criminal Oversights

Even during a holiday weekend, dumb criminals take no break, and this week features various criminally poor oversights:

I know I'm forgetting something... Christopher Hoff of Connecticut reportedly forgot about his dental appointment and ended up getting arrested. Yeah, he was seriously that forgetful, he got to his appointment 5 days late. Oh yeah, he also forgot something else ... his clothes. Yeah, this Hoff (not to be confused with The Hoff) allegedly showed up naked for his dental appointment, promptly resulting in a scream from the receptionist. Apparently, this may have brought him back down to Earth as he promptly bolted. Police did manage to track Hoff down and threw some charges of disorderly conduct, public indecency and failure to comply with fingerprinting at him.

Commando-style DUI? Jonathan Schultz, 41, of Maryland got pulled over for speeding, but allegedly was missing some key things. One, his sobriety. Second, his pants. A county police spokesman had a better description, according to the AP, as he said "Schultz 'was driving commando' and only partially covered with a towel on his lap, though he was wearing a shirt." Sure enough, a deputy couldn't find any pants in Schultz's car. Still, it was the missing sobriety that was the bigger legal problem, as Schultz now faces DUI charges.

Breath test results in California DUI cases could be seeing more challenges in courts soon, thanks to a decision today by the state's high court. The Supreme Court ruled that defendants can challenge the accuracy of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) results from a breath test device. So what does this mean for DUI defendants?

Well, first off, the ruling affects only those cases involving "generic" DUI charges, as opposed to "per se" DUI charges. What's the difference? Well, one key difference between the two is that the per se DUI charge does not require the prosecution to prove that a defendant was actually "impaired". In other words, driving with a BAC at or above .08 constitutes the offense in per se cases. However, for generic DUI charges, proof of impairment is required.

So here's what happens in such generic DUI cases. If a defendant tests for a BAC of .08 or above, a presumption that they were intoxicated arises. A defendant then has the opportunity to try and rebut (or disprove) that presumption, which may be pretty tough to do if it an actual blood test was administered. But if a breath test (e.g., Breathalyzer) was used, today's ruling makes it possible to challenge the way a person's BAC was calculated using that test.

Connecticut Kidnapping Suspect Richard Shenkman a Ticking Time Bomb?

The Limits of Protective Orders

A Connecticut advertising executive who police say took his ex-wife hostage in a harrowing ordeal (thankfully, she got away) a couple of days ago was arraigned yesterday on charges of kidnapping, arson, reckless endangerment and the illegal discharge of a weapon. Some scary details have surfaced that indicate 60-year-old Richard Shenkman may have been on a "suicide mission".

Shenkman allegedly printed up "piles of papers" on how to kill himself, but after the intense research, he supposedly ended up simply setting the house he used to share with his ex on fire, and running around taunting cops to shoot him while firing off shots with his handgun. He was, fortunately, instead captured by police in what may frankly have been an abundant exercise of restraint, plus perhaps a desire to avoid "suicide by cop".

At any rate, some of the circumstances in this case probably beg the question of why this guy was free to run around in the first place. After all, it wasn't as if there were no warning signs that this might happen, per the AP:

Firefighter Who Killed Dogs Gets Jailtime, but Keeps Working?

Ohio firefighter David Santuomo probably had to make a variety of plans for his absence while preparing to go on a vacation cruise. Amongst such planning, apparently, was a decision many of us face, that is -- who's going to take care of our pet(s)? Or in Santuomo's case, two dogs. Perhaps ask a family member or friend to take them? Check for availability and pricing at local kennels? Have someone stay at or visit your place to check on the pets? Hire a dog walker to check in on the pets and take them out? All viable options, but not for the Santuomo according to a CNN story, who opted to kill his pet dogs Sloopy and Skeeter instead because he couldn't afford to board them. He now faces 90 days of jail time, but it's still unclear whether he'll lose his job.

Without going into the gory details of Santuomo's misdeeds (the CNN piece covers that), there are a couple of noteable issues in the case. First off, though most of the outrage directed toward Santuomo is probably based on the killing of his pets, it looks like the fact that he used a "silencer" (he taped a soda bottle to the end of a rifle) in the process is reportedly the source of the felony count against him. He pleaded guilty to possessing criminal tools, which can be a felony in Ohio, whereas two counts of "improperly killing a companion animal" constituted misdemeanors under the state's laws.

Drivers in Florida had better be paying more attention to wearing their seatbelts this week. A new Florida seat belt law took effect last week that allows police to pull over and ticket drivers and passengers 18-years-old and over who are not wearing a seatbelt (those younger already had separate laws). For those wondering if Florida was stuck in the traffic law stone-ages by failing to require individuals to wear seatbelts, that's actually not the case. It wasn't that Florida didn't require people to wear seatbelts, instead the change in the law toughens enforcement of the seatbelt requirement.

The difference lies in what is called "primary" versus "secondary" enforcement. Under prior Florida law, only secondary enforcement was allowed. Thus, police could give someone a ticket for not wearing their seatbelt, but only if they had a separate reason for stopping that person's vehicle. For example, if a driver got pulled over for speeding, then they could also get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.

The "BWI" Debate Continues?

Pursuing Child Neglect/Endangerment Charges Against Breast-Feeding Moms Tough for Prosecutors

OK, somewhat reluctantly, here's a follow up on the "ground-breaking" case of Stacey Anvarinia, the 26 year old North Dakota mother who got herself arrested after breast-feeding her baby, while intoxicated, in front of some cops. I had brought up her case after she pleaded guilty to felony child neglect, and asked the burning question of whether more mothers could face similar charges.

Well, fortunately for us, someone had the time to do the leg-work into discovering other circumstances where mothers have been prosecuted for similar charges based on so-called "BWI". An AP report today pointed out that:

"Arrests involving intoxicated breast-feeding mothers have been difficult to prosecute.

The city of Bethel, Alaska, paid two women $2,500 apiece in 1992 to settle a lawsuit they filed over their arrest on charges of endangering their children by drinking alcohol before breast-feeding. The women had been charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment in 1990, but prosecutors later dropped the charges, saying no crime had been committed."

The Dummy Files: Dog Ate My Checkbook, No Smoking Allowed, etc.

On the week of 4th of July, some not-so-sharp criminal elements provided some fireworks in the form of mind-numbing excuses, plus various improper uses for liquids, food items, and utensils.

What a hoser. For non-smokers, catching a whiff of unwanted second-hand fumes might be pretty annoying. This may particularly be the case if it's happening in your own house. But if it's your own wife smoking in your house, there's probably not a whole lot to be done, is there? Well, one Florida man allegedly decided that drenching his wife with a garden hose was a good way to deal with her decision to light up a smoke. Although delving into the legality of watering a family member might have been interesting, it looks like that may have to wait for another case since this guy allegedly elbowed her after she tried to phone a friend. Still, he explained that "he had been watering the grass and did not intend to spray her."

Whaddya gotta do to lose a license around here? States often have a progression in the severity of DUI or DWI penalties people receive for drinking and driving. For example, perhaps the first DUI offense won't carry with too much of a penalty, whereas a second or third offense may result in severe punishments and years' long drivers license revocations. Well, a report out of New Jersey may leave some wondering what it takes to lose a license in that state. A guy in the state may finally have hit the, uh, legal limit, after notching his 15th DUI offense. Reportedly, 40-year-old Shaun Campbell has had his license "suspended 78 times over the past 22 years, including 14 previous times for DWI." Further, Campbell has now even inspired criminal legislation targeting certain repeat drunken-driving offenses. From the comments on the story, it appears "just in the nick of time" might not describe the latter.

Move Over Madoff, Criminal Cop Gets Massive Sentence

After Bernie Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his role in one of the largest fraud schemes in history one might have figured that, in light of the publicity and mass-public outrage that arguably fueled the sentence, it would be a while before we saw something similar. Or, at least, if there wasn't a serial criminal of some sort involved. Well so much for that notion, the DOJ today announced that a former Memphis cop got nailed with a sentence of life plus 255 years.

There was no murder involved either. All that Arthur Sease IV had to do to beat Madoff's already-staggering punishment was, apparently, conspire with other Memphis cops to rob drug dealers of their drugs, only to resell those drugs themselves. Now that is an entrepreneureal spirit! According to the release, the government proved Sease was linked to 15 separate robberies, but he actually got convicted on a total of 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery, and firearms offenses. One FBI agent noted "The sentence is extraordinary in that it is one of the longest ever imposed for civil rights violations which did not involve a victim's death".