Saturday, November 26, 2011

Election Fraud in Russia

[Photo from wikipedia]
As a former federal prosecutor, I prosecuted a number of election fraud cases, here in Georgia.  Election fraud and vote-buying appear to be a world-wide problem, to one degree or another.  Various news reports indicate that many Russians won't even vote in next week's parliamentary elections simply because they believe the election results will be manipulated.  Nearly fifty percent of those surveyed predicted there will be election fraud.  Vladimir Putin's party is expected to retain a majority in the Russian Parliament next week, but other parties appear to be positioned to post some gains. 

Of course, if Putin's party officials and bureaucrats are counting the votes, then one might wonder why only fifty percent of Russians believe the election results will be rigged! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Goolsby "War Story:" Some Vain White Collar Criminals I Have Prosecuted!

[Carly Simon and Song Depiction from wikipedia]
Surely, we all love the classic Carly Simon hit, "You're So Vain."  Over the years, as a former federal prosecutor for over 20 years, (and currently, as an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer), I have witnessed some vain criminal defendants!  Here are a few quick examples:

1.  I once prosecuted a nursing home bookkeeper who stole the patients' money so that she could feed her clothes-buying addiction.  She bought so many clothes that her husband had to build an extra room to hold them!

2.  I also once prosecuted a bank employee for embezzlement who was so vain that, when her daughter gave birth to a baby, the new grandmother allegedly broke off all ties with her daughter, (and new grandchild), so that her friends would not know that she was, in fact, old enough to have grandchildren!

Now, that's what I call vanity!  I'll bet you have met a few vain folks in the past, too!  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Shameless Theft At Lincoln's Tomb

[Photo of Lincoln's Tomb from wikipedia]
Sometimes, it seems that nothing is sacred, or off limits, any more.  And sometimes, it seems that some white collar criminals have absolutely no consciences or sense of shame.  I am referring to the reported theft of a three-foot-long copper sword from atop President Lincoln's tomb in Springfield, Illinois.  Authorities have indicated that they have no clue who did it or when it occurred. 

We have previously discussed here the problem of the growing copper theft epidemic.  But this crime goes beyond that problem.  This crime offends the honor of a deceased president and strikes at the heart of all we hold dear and sacred in our society.

Sadly, due to budget cuts, security had been removed from the site over a decade ago.  And sadly, in my opinion, this is just another sign that some criminals have no sense of shame and that it sometimes appears we are all going to Hell in a handbasket. 

What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

De Niro to Portray Madoff in New HBO Movie

[Photo of De Niro from wikipedia]
Have you heard the news about who plans to star in a proposed new HBO movie about the life (and crimes) of convicted ponzi scheme king Bernie Madoff?  The answer is...Robert De Niro.

According to various news reports, De Niro, the Academy-award winning actor from Raging Bull, (and star of one of my favorite gangster movies, Goodfellas), will both produce and star in the new HBO movie.

You don't have to be a former federal prosecutor, (and currently an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer), to look forward to this movie!  What do you think? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OPR: The Office of Professional Responsibility and Why DOJ Attorneys Fear It

[Photo of DOJ Seal from]
As a new federal prosecutor, years ago, I quickly learned that most federal prosecutors shake in their boots at even the thought of being investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility, ("OPR").  Here is why, in a nut shell!

You see, OPR is, for federal agents and prosecutors, what an internal affairs unit is for police officers.  In other words, OPR is the arm of the Department of Justice, ("DOJ"), which is entrusted with the responsibility of investigating and, in some cases, disciplining, federal agents and prosecutors who have been accused of misconduct related to their cases.  Each year, OPR investigates hundreds of complaints made by citizens, or referred to them by federal judges and others.  It is my understanding that OPR employees actually even troll across the internet looking for reports of alleged prosecutorial misconduct.  In short, if they catch you, OPR can get you fired! 

According to the DOJ website, OPR was created in 1975 in response to allegations of prosecutorial abuse committed by DOJ employees during the infamous Watergate scandal.

Fortunately, for me, during my 20 year career as a federal prosecutor, I never had to endure any OPR investigations!  But I knew or heard about federal employees who did.  And trust me, I don't believe it was a pleasant experience!  But I'll bet you will agree that OPR serves an important role in ferreting out government misconduct.

Of course, OPR is not the only vehicle for raising complaints about prosecutorial misconduct.  For instance, complaints can also be raised with state bar associations and with federal judges, in appropriate cases.  But   these are all matters which you should carefully discuss with your own criminal defense attorney.

As for me, now that I am an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer, and no longer work for DOJ, I no longer have to worry about receiving a call from OPR to "come on down, you are the next contestant!"