Legal Group Launches Website Designed to Combat Fraud Against the Elderly

A legal service organization based in Boca Raton, Florida has launched a new website, which helps reinforce the firm’s objective of preventing the elderly from becoming victims of financial fraud.

According to a press release published Thursday (August 24th) via, the Silver Law Group just started a website called This digital platform was designed to protect seniors from those who use the internet to prey on them with the intent to financially exploit. The site also helps people get help who have been victims of rogue stockbrokers and investment advisors that take advantage of people.

Financial fraud against the elderly is a crime that is becoming increasingly more prevalent as the American population continues to grow older. However, the big problem with the gross financial exploitation of seniors is that it goes unreported in a sizable percentage of all criminal cases.

This creates a major cause for alarm when it comes to the aging public and the loved ones who are responsible for their care. According to the Adult Protective Services (APS), a measly one out of 44 incidents of financial fraud against the elderly are reported to law enforcement agencies and APS on an annual basis.

Additionally, around one out of 20 members of the elderly population can attest to being financially defrauded in some shape, way, form, or fashion in recent history. Scott L. Silver is a Managing Partner of the Silver Law Group. His organization’s new website has obviously been formed at a time when these kinds of protections for seniors are desperately needed.

“Elder financial fraud has grown into a social crisis, with seniors losing roughly $37 billion dollars a year because of it,” Silver said in a statement, according to

“Licensed members of the financial services industry are partially responsible, and many victims don’t know that there are legal ways to seek justice and possibly recover lost money. Our firm is changing awareness of the issue and putting pressure on unethical financial advisors and brokers,” he continued. has an abundance of helpful information, which can educate families about the different forms of financial fraud that are frequently committed against seniors. The site also keeps the public abreast as it pertains to recent legislative or regulatory changes, which are undertaken by numerous government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Silver is a staunch advocate of the elderly who has appeared on various news outlets to offer expert opinion on this growing issue.




Scott Peterson Speaks from Jail

Convicted Modesto murderer Scott Peterson is speaking out from prison. While he sits on death row for murdering his pregnant wife Laci, Peterson is reaching out in order to insist on his innocence. The new information comes as Peterson waits for word on his latest appeal.

Laci Peterson went missing shortly before Christmas. She was 27 years old. Police later found her body on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

Scott Peterson says that he wasn’t the last one to see Laci the day she went missing. Peterson blames police for failing to follow leads from witnesses that saw her walking in the neighborhood after he last reported seeing her. He says that the police didn’t have any DNA evidence against him, and that their case was circumstantial.

Peterson said he expected the jury to find him not guilty. He said that he was surprised and shocked when the guilty verdict came down. He said the verdict affected him physically, and he felt sick to his stomach.

After Laci’s disappearance, news leaked that Peterson was having an affair with Amber Frey. Frey reported that Peterson told her that he wasn’t married. He also told her that he lost his wife. Police described Peterson’s behavior after the disappearance as strange. They say that his dishonesty to Frey was a motive for murder.

For now, Peterson’s case waits on appeal at the California Supreme Court. This appeal is the latest of appeals that Peterson began filing in 2012. If his appeal doesn’t succeed, he’s set to die by lethal injection. He waits in San Quentin State Prison. Attorneys for the State of California have filed a response to the appeal.

The reply from state attorneys calls Peterson one of the worst kinds of offenders. They say that Peterson acted callously when he ignored the welfare of his wife and unborn son. The State’s reply to Peterson’s latest appeal is several hundred pages long. Even though there are more than 700 people on California’s death row, the state last carried out an execution approximately a decade ago.

Specifically, the appeal says that the state left prospective jurors in the jury pool even though they disagreed with the death penalty. The appeal says that the court should have dismissed many jurors that they left in the pool. The appeal also argues that admission of certain evidence was unfair. Specifically, Peterson says that the court shouldn’t have admitted evidence about police dogs tracking Laci’s scent. The appeal says that this evidence is too unreliable to justify a death penalty conviction.

Penn State Prosecutor Faces Ethics Charges

Allegations that a prosecutor had inappropriate contact with a judge have landed one Pennsylvania attorney in hot water. Attorney Stacy Parks Miller is defending herself against allegations that she had unethical contact with a judge. The allegations say that the prosecutor contacted the judge via text. They also say that she had a fake Facebook page. Miller is the District Attorney of Centre County.

Miller prosecuted the high-profile cases of several Penn State fraternity members. It’s alleged that the fraternity members caused the death of a pledge because of their hazing practices. Miller answers to the charges of ethical violations at a hearing on November 29. Since the allegations came to light, Miller lost reelection to a challenger in the primary election.

The ethics complaint alleges that Miller used a Facebook page to scope out information about defendants. They say she became Facebook friends with at least two people facing criminal charges. The people involved didn’t have counsel to represent them. The ethics complaint alleges that she did this in order to build her cases against the charged individuals. The evidence against Miller includes allegations that she told her staff to use the fake profile page to friend defendants and witnesses in order to “snoop.”

The charges also include allegations that Miller had inappropriate conduct with a judge about pending cases. Officials say that Miller texted a judge more than 80 times in a six month period. They say that the texts were about cases. Under Pennsylvania ethics rules, it’s inappropriate for an attorney to have contact with the judge in the case without informing the other party about the contact. Attorney ethics rules say that fairness in court proceedings requires both sides to be able to know what the other says to the court and the judge. An attorney who fails to follow this rule can face discipline.

For her defense, Miller says that the Facebook account was part of honest police work. She says that the community faces challenges with bath salts, and the account was necessary to do research and carry out law enforcement activities. She also says she wasn’t the one who initiated the contact with the judge. She said it was the judge who initiated the contact.

She says that officials went about getting copies of the texts using illegal means. Miller says that there’s more to the story than officials are saying. She says that she hopes the truth comes out during the ethical proceedings.

$417M Awarded In Case Linking Johnson to Johnson’s Baby Powder To Cancer

A jury in Los Angeles ordered Johnson to Johnson to pay $417 million to a woman who developed ovarian cancer after using Johnson to Johnson baby powder. Eva Echeverria is a 63-year-old medical receptionist from Los Angeles. She is one of the thousands of women who have sued Johnson to Johnson.

There are studies that date back to 1971 that link Johnson to Johnson baby powder. Only a few cases have gone to trial. However, most of the courts have ruled in favor of the plaintiff. In May 2017, a woman in Virginia was awarded $110 million. Another woman was awarded $72 million, but she died before the verdict was reached. Additionally, there was a woman in Sioux Falls, SD who was awarded millions of dollars, but she also died before the verdict was reached.

Eva was too sick to attend court. She made a video detailing how her life had been changed after using Johnson to Johnson baby powder. In the video, she stated that she started using Johnson to Johnson baby powder when she was 11-years-old. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Eva knows that she probably will not live a long. She stated that she is not doing this for herself. She wants to help women who are dealing with a similar situation. Carol Goodrich is the spokeswoman for Johnson to Johnson baby powder. She stated that she is saddened by the fact that people have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. However, Johnson and Johnson plans to file an appeal.

Carol stated that there are studies that prove Johnson to Johnson baby powder is safe. She also stated the studies linking baby powder to ovarian cancer have not yielded consistent results. Talc is one of the ingredients in baby powder. It is similar to asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.

U.S. Court Makes Landmark Ruling on the Use of Text Messages as Evidence

For many criminals and suspects, cell phones seized from them by law enforcement agents can easily change from blessing to curse especially if they have incriminating text messages and other evidences. However, in a ruling that is bound to change the law enforcement sector a U.S. Court of Appeals sitting in the District of Columbia held that incriminating text messages cannot be used as evidence if they were obtained in a broadly issued search warrant. The ruling particularly questioned the legality of a search warrant issued with the view of taking advantage of the prevalence of cell phones in homes.

Case Background

The 18 August 2017 landmark ruling whose legal ripple effects will be felt in cities all across the country for years to come stemmed from a court case involving a convicted felon who had been found guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm. Ezra Griffith, a convicted felon, had been found guilty by a jury for unlawfully possessing a firearm in 2013. This was as a result of a police raid at his residence using a search warrant issued by a judge.

The warrant allowed law enforcement officers to search Mr. Griffith’s residence and take into their possession any cell phones and electronic devices found. The firearm in question had been thrown out of the felon’s window. The search warrant was requested by the police officers who were investigating a 2011 murder case. Mr. Griffith was suspected to be the driver of the vehicle that was used by the suspected murderers to get away from the scene.

From Admissible to Inadmissible Evidence

Following his conviction, Mr. Griffith’s attorneys appealed the ruling arguing that the search warrant was defective as it broadly focused on cell phones instead of a gun that could have been used to commit the crime. They therefore called on the judges to suppress the gun that used as the primary evidence in convicting Mr. Griffith.

In a 2 – 1 ruling, the U.S Court of Appeals held that the warrant was open-ended and based on the assumption that all suspects own cell phones just because cell phones are prevalent in homes across the country. In a majority ruling read by Judge Sri Srinivasan who was joined by Judge Nina Pillard, the court declared that the warrant was unconstitutional as it speculated that Mr. Griffith owned a cell phone and that the cell phone contained incriminating evidence. However, Judge Janice Rogers Brown held that the gun should have admitted as evidence as it was obtained as the police followed the law in obtaining it.



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Some of Pennsylvania’s Weirdest Laws, According to Karl Heideck

Most legal topics pertain to highly serious matters, but a few exceptions exist. For instance, people often enjoy reading about the strange laws that legislators have enacted in various states. Pennsylvania has its share of odd rules. They regulate activities ranging from paintball fights to fishing. If you need some entertainment or want to make sure that you don’t break one of these strange laws, you’ve come to the right place.


A couple of weird rules govern weddings performed in the Keystone State. One law prohibits the public from firing cannons, guns or similar weapons during these events. Another statute only applies to ministers. It bars them from helping inebriated people become married. Perhaps this rule could bring into question the legal validity of a drunken partner’s marriage vows.


If they have law-abiding parents, Pennsylvanian children needn’t worry about walking long distances to the bathroom at night. A law states that lavatories must be located within 200 feet of youngsters’ bedrooms. Kids need access to nearby shower stalls or bathtubs as well. Nevertheless, a number of exceptions apply. People with travel trailers or other mobile housing may not need to follow this rule.


If you want to buy hard liquor in Pennsylvania, state law only allows you to purchase it from a government-run store. The Liquor Control Board’s website lets visitors search for the nearest Wine and Spirits shop. Approximately 600 of these stores exist throughout the state. In 2016, an updated law permitted private restaurants and supermarkets to begin selling wine. It also enabled convenience stores to offer beer.


Be careful when you aim your paintball gun in Pennsylvania. A law forbids people from shooting at anyone who isn’t engaged in the sport. The state also maintains a few other rules involving this game. One law seeks to punish any paintball enthusiast who damages someone else’s property. Another rule describes acceptable ways to carry a paintball gun in a car or truck.


If you prefer bullets to paintballs, you’ll need to follow a different set of peculiar laws. For example, the state government doesn’t allow people to hunt animals in graveyards. Another statute only pertains to relatively large beasts. It prohibits hunters from targeting these animals while they swim. If deer could read Pennsylvania’s laws, they’d probably gather in cemeteries near streams.


Anglers also face a few unusual rules. When you run out of bait, think twice before reaching into the aquarium. Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Code stipulates that no one may use goldfish, koi, common carp or comets as bait. This rule went into effect in September 2000. Another law lists illegal fishing techniques; don’t let the police find any dynamite in your tackle box!

Local Laws

Several weird rules only exist in certain cities. For instance, Pittsburgh bans trolley passengers from transporting mules or donkeys. It’s not clear how this rule came to be, but the story may have involved some indignant trolley riders and a farmer with livestock. Morrisville, Pa. still has a law requiring women to gain permits before they apply cosmetics.

Some people claim that other strange statutes exist in the Keystone State. However, it’s hard to determine if they truly remain in effect. They include rules against sweeping dust under a rug or sleeping on a refrigerator while outdoors. It’s even possible that Pennsylvania barred anyone who has engaged in a duel from serving as governor.

Keep Reading – The Attorney Behind the Curtain: Karl Heideck

About Karl Heideck

Karl Heideck breaks down some of PA's strangest laws
Karl Heideck breaks down some of PA’s strangest laws

Before he started working as a lawyer, Karl Heideck underwent extensive education. He enrolled in Swarthmore College and successfully obtained a bachelor’s degree. Heideck primarily attended literature and English classes. Six years later, he finished earning a law degree from Temple University. The aspiring attorney received impressive grades while studying at Temple’s Beasley School of Law.

Karl Heideck has worked in and around Philadelphia during the last seven years. After becoming an associate at the Conrad O’Brien law firm in 2010, he served a variety of businesses and individuals. This experience helped him become a proficient litigator. Heideck performed both pre- and post-trial tasks. He eventually left Conrad O’Brien and began working as a project lawyer at Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Heideck has expertise in numerous areas. They include merchandise liability, corporate litigation, research, employment law, risk management and writing. He authored an online guide that explains how small companies can follow the Keystone State’s employment rules. Heideck strives to help business executives understand and comply with intricate government regulations. He also wrote about the best way to become an attorney.

Karl Heideck currently works as a Hire Counsel contract lawyer. He represents Pennsylvanians who face business-related legal action. The skillful attorney persistently works to ensure that each client achieves the best possible outcome. He provides expert consultations on risk management and regulatory compliance as well. Heideck also continues to write blog entries about various law-related news and issues.

More Articles by this Author

Karl Heideck Explains: Effects of the Philadelphia Soda Tax

Karl Heideck’s Guide to Pennsylvania Employment Law for Small Businesses

Career Spotlight: Litigation with Karl Heideck

UPDATE: CEO Eli Gershkovitch Uses Law Degree to Drive Steamworks Brewing Company


Eli Gershkovitch and Steamworks Brewing Company plan on attending Vancouver’s North Shores Craft Beer Week. The beer festival will have specialty craft beer samples and more!  Save your calendars for October 6 – 13th 2017.


The 2017 U.S. Open Beer Championship just wrapped up in July, and the results proved that the event is no longer strictly an American affair. The judges hailed from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, and craft beers were submitted from countries across the world. Though American breweries took home the majority of awards, there were a number of surprising wins by nations such as Belize (Bronze for Best Foreign Stout), Italy (Silver for Best Herb and Spice Beer), and Vietnam (Bronze for Best Chocolate/Cocoa Beer).

Eli Gershkovitch beer

Perhaps the most impressive victory, however, was Canada. Not only did Canadian breweries make an impressive showing at the event, but they took home a total of 24 awards, including 10 gold medals. Canadian breweries took the top spots for categories including American-Style Fruit Beer, Vegetable Beer, and Berliner-Style Weisse, and one Ontario brewery even made the top 10 breweries of 2017. Aside from Canada, no non-U.S. brewery has ever taken home this number of awards at the U.S. Open Beer Championship.


Many people still don’t think of Canada when they think of craft beer, but that’s slowly changing thanks to the country’s growing influence in the international beer community. Talented brewmasters are gradually putting the Great White North on the map by reinventing how beer gets made and developing exciting new ales, pilsners, and lagers that can’t be found anywhere else.


One such pioneer is Eli Gershkovitch, founder, and CEO of Steamworks Group of Companies. Recognized as a top contender at the recent Open Beer Championship, Gershkovitch put Canadian craft beer on the map. He’s been cooking up original brews in the historic Gastown neighborhood since 1995, back when craft beer was the furthest thing from most people’s minds. While today’s taverns are filled with young, hip millennials forever in search of the newest independent brew, this wasn’t the case in the mid-’90s. At that time, mega-breweries like Coors and Budweiser still owned the day, and casual imbibers seldom sampled anything more exotic than Guinness.


Still, craft beer was gradually taking shape elsewhere in the world, and Eli Gershkovitch took notice ( Several years prior, he had traveled through Europe and observed the shifting landscape as it pertained to drinking. In Heidelberg, Germany, he visited his first microbrewery and sampled concoctions that were a far cry from the familiar flavors typically found on draft in Canada. Though he didn’t immediately abandon his legal aspirations in favor of brewing, he never forgot about his experiences in Europe. Those experiences would later influence his rise as one of Canada’s most influential and pioneering brewmasters.


When Eli Gershkovitch finally opened his first brewpub in Gastown in 1995, it was Canada’s first and only establishment that incorporated steam-powered brewing. The lack of Canadian steam brewing may have been partly due to the fact that steam brewing hadn’t yet taken off in the region, but it was likely also due to the legal complexities of establishing such a business in Canada. As an attorney, Eli Gershkovitch was able to navigate those complexities and also patent his original brews.


Once the public took notice, the Steamworks Brew Pub quickly became a central Vancouver hotspot for locals and visitors alike. The pub was so successful, in fact, that it enabled Gershkovitch to expand his enterprise with several other local businesses, all of which offer Steamworks beverages. First he established the Transcontinental Restaurant, which later became the Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar. His flagship brewpub has gradually expanded from 184 seats to 754 seats, and in 2013, it expanded into a full-fledged brewery.


Today, visitors can enjoy a wide range of Steamworks concoctions including Lion’s Gate Lager, Steamworks Pale Ale, and the company’s new Flagship IPA. Steamworks brews are now sold throughout Canada and in 14 U.S. states, and they have received numerous awards and accolades. For instance, the company’s extremely popular pilsner was awarded Best BC Craft Beer by BC Craft Beer Awards two years in a row, and the company’s pumpkin ale received a gold medal at the 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards.


All of the attention and success is well-deserved, as Eli Gershkovitch spends years perfecting each brew before presenting it to the public. Take the Flagship IPA, for instance. This steam-brewed favorite was in production for four years before finally making its debut at the Steamworks Brew Pub and Brewery, and many discriminating connoisseurs agree that it was worth the wait. This unfiltered IPA combines three Southern-Hemisphere hops—Citra, Galaxy, and Mosaic—and has a uniquely tropical flavor that starts off sweet and gives way to just the right amount of bitterness.

Even with great beer, though, it takes a unique talent to build a successful empire. Eli Gershkovitch has succeeded in this respect because he loves to take risks and explore uncharted terrain. This passion extends to every area of his life, as evidenced by his love of aviation. Gershkovitch owns two planes—in addition to an impressive collection of classic cars—and, in 2009, completed a round-trip flight from Vancouver to Europe in his single-engine Cessna 182. As both an entrepreneur and adventurer, he might be compared in some ways to Virgin founder Richard Branson, albeit with a much tastier enterprise.


When he’s not expanding his flagship brewpub or pursuing new business expansions, you’ll find Eli Gershkovitch sponsoring local events in the Gastown area (Westender). Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest downtown district and one of its most unique historic neighborhoods, and Gershkovitch has played a major part in its recent resurgence as a social hub. As a longtime resident and lover of this bustling and picturesque neighborhood, Gershkovitch is passionate about bringing the community together.


Whether he’s taking to the skies in a single-engine plane or experimenting with the latest combination of bitters, Eli Gershkovitch is constantly on the move. He lives by the motto, “You grow to meet demand, or demand will shrink to meet you,” and it’s easy to see how that drive has helped him to become one of Canada’s most successful and innovative brewers.

More about Eli Gershkovitch at

Michigan Debates New Law Governing Short-Term Rentals

Michigan legislators are in the process of making big decisions when it comes to regulating the short-term rental industry. Michigan House Bill 4503 addresses zoning in residential areas. Specifically, the bill says that short-term rentals such as Airbnb count as a residential use of the property. As a residential use, that means there’s nothing local governments could do in order to restrict or prohibit the rentals. If the bill passes, it means that homeowners could do whatever they wanted to rent their properties without local restrictions. Instead, homeowners would be free to rent their homes on Airbnb as long as they comply with other state laws.

There’s vocal support for the bill as well as significant opposition. Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis says that the City of Grand Haven opposes the bill, because it removes local control from the residents in the community where they live. They say that each local jurisdiction should be able to decide what to do with regulations for short-term rentals in their location. McGinnis says that a Grand Haven resident shouldn’t have to approach state legislators in Lansing in order to address a local housing concern.

Supporters of the bill say that the changes are good for commerce, and that reducing regulations allows each homeowner to use their property in a reasonable way. They say that tourists want to be able to find places to stay when they travel. They say that short-term rentals like Airbnb give travelers more choices in order to find a unique experience when they’re away from home. Supporters also see the bill as a way to increase tax revenue for the State of Michigan. Michigan imposes an occupancy tax, and supporters of the bill say that the new legislation stands to increase revenue and make it easier to collect taxes on existing rentals.

In addition to the bill that’s currently pending in the Michigan House of Representatives, there’s a similar bill that’s pending in the Michigan Senate. For now, the bills sit in their respective committees. Legislators plan to debate the issue before it heads to a vote in the fall legislative session. Some legislators have set up meetings and town hall opportunities, so that residents and government organizations can voice their opinion.

Lebanon Overturns Its Marry-Your-Rapist Law

Lebanon on Wednesday made headlines after repealing a piece of legislation that gave rapists a way to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Lebanon has joined a number of countries in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East that have reversed such provisions following pressure by Arab women’s movements.

How Serious Is the Marry-Your-Rapist Law?

Several countries, including some from the Arab region and some from the Catholic countries such as the Philippines, have permitted men charged with rape to be excused if they accept to marry their accusers. Women’s movements have for years launched a massive campaign against these laws, claiming that they aggravate the suffering of victimized survivors.

The law was repealed after all the members of parliament voted against it. According to the women’s rights groups, parliament is their first step towards changing the sentiments in patriarchal communities. In these communities, a family’s honor is closely associated with a woman’s chastity.

Abaad’s Fight against the Marry Your Rapist Law

Ghida Anani, the founder of Abaad; which is a women’s rights movement in Lebanon, remarked that repealing the legislation was the first step towards transforming the traditions and mindset of the Lebanese. She reassured the world that this was just the beginning and that a behavioral and awareness campaign would follow. The aim of these campaigns is to make women aware that rapists can no longer escape punishment.

Abaad had campaigned vigorously against this legislation. The group had mounted billboards all over Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, depicting a woman wearing a bloodied and torn up bridal gown. A caption next to the image read in Arabic, “Wearing a white dress does not conceal rape”.

A group of government ministers had expressed their intention to have the law repealed. The main hurdle was the parliamentary vote, and the parliamentarians unanimously agreed to revise Section 522 of the legal provision.

Lebanon’s move came after other countries in the region had taken a similar stance. Jordan’s parliament recently voted to revoke this law. Tunisia is another country that followed the same path in July. Morocco repealed their marry-your-rapist law three years ago after a teenager committed suicide after being required to marry the man who had raped her.

Lawyer Fired for Fake Match Profile

One Illinois lawyer has met his match, but not in the way that he was intending. The lawyer created a fake profile for another lawyer. The fake online profile was filled with insults and falsehoods. The lawyer now finds himself the subject of a disciplinary inquiry. He’s also out of a job.

Drew Quitschau used to be a partner at Thomson & Weintraub in Bloomington. He used his office computer to make the fake profile. He listed the other attorney as a smoker that was separated from her husband. The profile said her children lived with her some of the time. It said that she liked buffets and the grocery store and does not exercise. Quitschau used a picture of the lawyer for the profile.

Quitschau didn’t stop there. He signed the victim up for emails about obesity. He even arranged to have a lap band kit sent to her office. He also signed her up for emails about pork and diabetes.

In addition to, Quitschau created a fake profile to leave online reviews of the victim. He gave her low ratings for professional ability. He left the reviews on multiple websites.

The angst dates back to when Quitschau and his victim were opposing counsel in multiple legal matters in Illinois courts. He initially denied making the profile but later admitted it when bar officials confronted him with the evidence. The victim had to file a court action to get to give her the IP address that the profile came from. Comcast was the internet provider involved, and they agreed to hand over the information. The trail led back to Quitschau and his office computer.

Bar officials say that Quitschau’s conduct involves dishonesty and deceit. That makes the conduct a violation of the bar’s code of ethics for attorneys. If he’s found responsible, he faces a range of possible discipline from the Illinois bar. The woman says that the statements Quitschau made are not true. She says that she’s happy with her marriage and wouldn’t make a profile.

The man’s former employers say that they’re disappointed in his conduct. They say that they fired him immediately when the allegations came to light. The victim sought and received a personal protection order against Quitschau. She later agreed to drop the order. The exact motive is unknown, other than speculation that Quitschau was unhappy with his interactions with the victim.


Department Of Justice Gets Its Guilty Plea In Prosecution Of Attempted Hate Crime

A federal investigation led to the arrest of a Florida man, who allegedly planned to bomb an area Jewish synagogue. Appearing on court for that arrest on Wednesday, the individual pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and to violating federal hate crime laws.
Although the guilty plea entered by James Gonzalo Medina seems to come on the heels of the recent violence in Charlottesville, North Carolina, this case was a long time in the making. Federal investigators had begun looking into Medina’s actions early in 2016, after attention had been drawn to the defendant’s anti-Semitic views. Concern was raised, when James discussed his plans to attack Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center with associates.
Mr. Medina had been “scoping out” the southern Florida synagogue in search of vulnerabilities, say authorities. Additionally, James had told one unnamed associate that he thought a Jewish holiday would be the optimal time to launch his attack and proceeded with that plan by purchasing a bomb.
In reality, the explosive device was only a facsimile provided by investigators and the seller of the device was an undercover agent.
Prosecutors have asked Medina how he would have felt, if the bomb had exploded, or if he felt remorse in connection to causing many deaths.
“Whatever happens,” Mr. Medina responded.
James Gonzalo Medina Faces A Long Prison Term
Pleading guilty, 41-year-old Medina faces a 25 year prison term for his hate crime and for attempting to damage religious property. Initially, James was reluctant to confess to his crimes, saying that he felt the undercover agent “manipulated” him into putting his plan into action.
Eventually, Medina told U.S. District Judge Robert Scola that he was guilty of plotting the bombing with the intention of killing innocent Jewish synagogue members. James added that he planned to carry out the violence and give credit to ISIS. The confession helped James avoid a life sentence and a lengthy criminal trial.
Instead, the plea agreement agreed upon by public defenders Hector Dopico and Eric Cohen and federal prosecutors Marc Anton and Michael Thakur sentences Medina to 25 years in prison.
Part of the agreement allows Mr. Medina to spend a portion of that term in a prison with a mental health facility. While there, he can be treated for schizophrenia and a bipolar condition, before returning to another maximum security prison to finish out his term.
The official sentencing hearing for James Gonzalo Medina is set for November 17.

President of the ABA Denounces Events in Charlottesville

The President of the American Bar Association (ABA), Linda Klein, has recently denounced the heinous events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her reasoning is that, although the United States’ Constitution protects free speech and the right to assemble, violence against other peoples is never protected by the United States’ Constitution.

In the official statement made by the entire American Bar Association about the Virginia tragedy that took place over the weekend President Klein makes it clear that it’s mourning but ever vigilant. The ABA is keeping track of the legal details to make sure that the Department of Justice investigates all possible civil rights’ violations that may have taken place in Virginia over the weekend. Ill intent and premeditation might not be as difficult to prove in this case as in others.

The rights of freedom of expression and freedom of speech are enshrined in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that rallies can even boil over into overt violence without legal ramifications. In its official statement the ABA blamed an overall political environment that has become “so divisive and driven by differences and hatred” for spurring on the horrible events that took place in Virginia.

The American Bar Association called for all peoples to come together and stoke a communal need protect the rights of all citizens. After all, the right to free speech and freedom of expression are predicated on the notion that we all must share a tolerance for the beliefs of others. The rights of all 320 million Americans are protected under the United States’ Constitution and our communities ought to reflect that mutual respect, according to ABA President Klein.

This clarion call for tolerance might be catching on in the community at large since a new movement under the hashtag banner of “#unitetheright” has taken off, according to a recent Washington Post article. President Klein muses that perhaps Americans have become so fixated on the issues that divide this great nation that Americans have lost sight of the common values that make it great.

Justice, in the end, might yet prevail. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating possible civil rights’ violations and allegations of hate crimes swirling around the rallies that took place in Virginia over the weekend. President Klein and the rest of the ABA hope that these investigations proceed unimpeded by politics and that communities mourn and mend along commonly shared values.


Former Stockbroker’s Huge Fine Reviewed by SEC After Criminal Case Collapses

A man that formerly worked as a stockbroker who had a guilty plea to criminal charges involving insider trading thrown out is also looking to exonerate himself in a civil matter related to his case.

According to Bloomberg, an attorney for Thomas Conradt argued on Tuesday (August 15th) that Judge Jed Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York was supposed to overturn Conradt’s nearly $1 million-dollar civil settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the government’s criminal case collapsed.

Conradt and his legal representative additionally claimed that Judge Rakoff’s fine of nearly one million dollars was “massive and disproportionate.” Rakoff slapped the fine on Conradt after ruling that the former stockbroker did not follow the guidelines of the settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The government’s case against Conradt came apart due to the end result of United States v. Newman. In this case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit made it much for difficult to hold “downstream tippees” (such as Conradt) financially liable in these kinds of cases.

In the case of United States v. Newman, the appellate court dismissed criminal convictions of insider trading, which were leveled against two executives who worked in the hedge fund industry. The federal court of appeals determined that whoever received the insider trading information did not personally benefit from it.

If the U.S. government would have been able to prove such an occurrence, the convictions in the United States v. Newman case would have able to stand.

“This is a very important opportunity for the Second Circuit to clarify the ‘knowledge’ standard for tippee liability with respect to matters such as ‘conscious avoidance,’ and to address the differences in standard of proof in civil as opposed to criminal cases,” Donald Langevoort told Bloomberg.

Langevoort is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. He has thoroughly studied insider trading and many of the landmark cases surrounding it. John Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School also spoke with Bloomberg about his knowledge of case law involving insider trading as well.

However, Coffee said in his Bloomberg interview that Conradt’s case provided limited guidance as it pertains to United States v. Newman. “This case may largely duck the insider trading issues and go off on procedural issues about the plea agreement,” Coffee told Bloomberg.

Attempts by Bloomberg to interview a spokesperson for the Securities and Exchange commission were unsuccessful.

American Couple Sentenced For Five Murders In Panama City

Two U.S. citizens have been sentenced in the murders of five people by a Panama City court, after having been found guilty of crimes related to the deaths. William Dathan Holbert and ex-wife Laura Reese face long prison terms as a result of a guilty verdict recently handed down in the case.
Holbert is facing 47 years in prison for robbing and killing five other American tourists, while in the Caribbean destination spot. Ms. Reese was sentenced to 26 years for the part she played in the crimes.
William Holbert Admitted To A Long-Running Scheme
In speaking with authorities, Holbert acknowledged killing five people between 2007 and 2010 for the purposes of stealing their property in the Bocas del Toro area. The confession came after William and Laura Reese were detained, while trying to cross the border from Costa Rica to Nicaragua in 2010.
Claudia Alvarado, an attorney working on behalf of Holbert, says they will likely appeal the sentencing.
In 2010, an investigation discovered five bodies (four adults and one child) buried on property owned by Mr. Holbert.
Mike Brown, his wife, and young son were the first victims, having been murdered by Holbert in 2007. Upon investigating, police found reason to suspect Brown, himself, had been living under an alias, making it difficult to uncover his true identity or determine where he was from.
In 2010, William Holbert again claimed more lives. He murdered Cheryl Lynn Hughes of St. Louis Missouri, who was living in Panama and operating a small hotel. William also killed Bo Icelar, the former owner of a Santa Fe, New Mexico art gallery.
William Holbert Has A Troubled Past
Even before he killed Mike Brown, Holbert was often in trouble with the law, expressing a propensity for criminal behavior. His problems began when he divorced a previous wife in North Carolina, which led him to filing for bankruptcy and forced him to sell his landscaping business.
While still living in the state, he met and later married Laura Reese. William sold a piece of real estate that he didn’t legally own for $200,000. When the buyers notified police, Holbert and Reese were forced to leave the state. A high-speed chase ensued with authorities pursuing the couple across multiple state lines from North Carolina to Wyoming.
Holbert and Reese had fled to Panama, but a new investigation initiated by Panama police forced the couple to again hit the road. William Holbert and Laura Reese were trying to escape, when they were arrested at the Nicaraguan border.





Charlotte School of Law to Close

Aspiring lawyers have one less option for their legal education as Charlotte School of Law has announced plans to shut down immediately. The move comes as school leadership failed to impress government officials with their plans to improve standards. The school operated in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a for-profit institution.

Government officials say that the school was unable to meet deadlines for improvements. They say the mandates for changes started under the Obama administration. Because the school failed to meet certain educational standards, the Obama administration stopped the school from accessing federal student loans. When the school failed to make required changes on time, education officials shut the school down completely.

Alumni association representative R. Lee Robertson Jr. informed alums of the decision by email. He said students could expect an official announcement later in the day. The school has since taken its website down. Communications representative Victoria Taylor didn’t respond to a request for comment. Liz Hill of the Department of Education also failed to respond to a request for comment.

Because of the closure, displaced students can get their federal student loans erased. That means they can have a clean slate as they make other plans. Some 170 students may take advantage of this option. There were 100 students actively enrolled in June, and another 70 on inactive status. As many as 90 percent of Charlotte Law students depended on federal student loans to fund their education. There’s no word yet on just how many millions of dollars the U.S. Department of Education may have to forgive because of the closure.

Even if the students don’t have to pay back the loans, Charlotte School of Law officials aren’t off the hook. U.S. officials might look to the school’s owners to make the payments. Because the school is for-profit, the owners might have to foot the bill for their education venture gone wrong. These investors, a Chicago-based investment firm, also own Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal law schools.

Education officials began the crackdown when they concluded that the school wasn’t being honest with students about accreditation compliance and bar passage rates. The school said that wasn’t true, and they tried to convince U.S. officials to change their minds. They even hired a lobbyist to make their case. Even though officials gave the school the opportunity to demonstrate its financial viability, the efforts ultimately failed, and students will not report for classes in the fall.