This is not the campaign that we intended to run. I got into this for the right reasons.Washington D.C. mayor Vincent Gray • Regarding the controversy around his 2010 election, which has been shrouded in scandal in recent months. On Tuesday, one of his campaign aides pleaded guilty to accepting payment from a businessman in the city to run a “shadow” campaign — spending $650,000 in illicit funds, kept off the books, to help promote Gray’s campaign. The news comes on top of other scandals the city’s government has faced — and led to three city council members asking for Gray’s resignation.
» For comparison’s sake, Bernie Madoff got 150 years. Stanford, who was convicted of 13 of 14 fraud counts in March, lived a lavish life, and was at one point personally worth $2 billion. (His scheme, half the size of Madoff’s, was nonetheless massive.) But his assets were frozen and he was so broke that he had to rely on court-appointed lawyers. Said lawyers have no sense of gravity, apparently — they seriously thought he’d get jailed for less than four years? Perhaps, though, it was Stanford himself who screwed up his chances, telling the judge this on Thursday: “I’m not here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness or to throw myself at your mercy. I did not run a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t defraud anybody.” He spoke for 40 minutes. He claimed the U.S. used “gestapo tactics” on him. In return, he got a huge sentence.
» The biggest takedown of its kind: Today, raids took place in Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles as part of a three-year ongoing crackdown on Medicare fraud, according to an announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday. The frauds included ”every kind of scheme you can think of,” according to one source on the matter.
» Which makes this the biggest campaign embezzlement ever. The perpetrator, Kinde Durkee, now faces up to 11 years in prison for this extremely brazen and ambitious fraud scheme. Durkee had been a longtime treasurer for numerous California state Democrats, Senator Diane Feinstein and Rep. Loretta Sanchez among them. Court prosecutors said Durkee used the money belonging to her clients to finance her mortgage, credit card payments, business firm, and trips to Disneyland, among other things. As to whether she’d be able to return the money, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner seemed doubtful she had the resources to do so: “You don’t have to live like Donald Trump to burn through that kind of money.”