Martin Shkreli placed in solitary confinement

Martin Shkreli, infamous for hiking the prices of life-saving drugs and jailed on unrelated fraud charges, is in solitary confinement. The Wall Street Journal reported that he was running businessess from inside using a contraband phone.

One source close to Shkreli’s legal team said the fraudster was in the special housing unit (SHU) a week and a half after the article was published on March 7, but the source had not received an update on his status. But according to Justin Liverman, a fellow inmate and ex-member of notorious hacker crew Crackas With Attitude, Shkreli was indeed put in solitary and was still there as of Sunday. “Martin is in the SHU,” Liverman told Forbes.

According to the Journal, Shkreli was operating his business, Phoenixus AG, via a cellphone. The company appears to be a reincarnation of Turing Pharmaceuticals AG, which jacked up the prices of rare drugs to the fury of patients, doctors and insurers. In one of the worst examples, Turing increased the cost of a pill for patients with HIV/AIDS from $13.50 to $750.

Read the rest

Of $208m in fines leveled against robocallers, the FCC has collected ... $6,790

The Wall Street Journal reports that robocallers go largely unpunished, with all those headline-grabbing fines virtually uncollected.

As syndicated to Fox News:

An FCC spokesman said his agency lacks the authority to enforce the forfeiture orders it issues and has passed all unpaid penalties to the Justice Department, which has the power to collect the fines. Many of the spoofers and robocallers the agency tries to punish are individuals and small operations, he added, which means they are at times unable to pay the full penalties.

“Fines serve to penalize bad conduct and deter future misconduct,” the FCC spokesman said. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which can settle or drop cases, declined to comment.

The dearth of financial penalties collected by the U.S. government for violations of telemarketing and auto-dialing rules shows the limits the sister regulators face in putting a stop to illegal robocalls. It also shows why the threat of large fines can fail to deter bad actors.

I'd bet a dollar the only fines ever collected were from a tiny handful of otherwise legitimate callers who made stupid mistakes. Robocalls and the like will account for nearly half of all calls in 2019, according to the FCC.

Correction: FCC, not FTC. Read the rest

Jussie Smollett cleared on all charges after emergency hearing

Prosecutors today dropped all charges against actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of orchestrating an attack on himself and falsely reporting it to the police.

Smollett, 36, was seen arriving at a Chicago courtroom around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday for an emergency hearing. Following his court appearance, his attorneys released a statement saying that the actor's "record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him."

"Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgement," the statement read.

Probably a deferred or non-prosecution agreement, perhaps some police incompetence or misconduct. It'll really annoy the right people, anyway. Read the rest

NYT reviews Citizen, a live map of crimes in your city

After reading this NY Times review of Citizen, which seems to be a Next Door on steroids,  I downloaded the app to see what's happening in the part of LA I live in:

FLAMING TRASH TRUCK ROLLED DOWN STREET

MAN VANDALIZING MARKET, THREATENING STAFF

PERSON CHOKED BY ARMED ATTACKER

WOMAN THROWING METAL INTO THE STREET

INDECENT EXPOSURE IN BACKYARD

It looks like I'm living in the movie, Children of Men.

From the review:

It is not clear, at first, where Citizen’s reports come from or how they’re selected. But they arrive constantly, in an authoritative voice, providing the app’s signature ambient sense of alarm and disorder.

Under the hood, Citizen is essentially a transcription service for emergency radio. The company employs teams of people to listen to police, fire and emergency radio transmissions and to submit certain categories of incident for including in the app. (“Citizen has a detailed editorial guide about what goes into the app and why,” Mr. Donald said. “Citizen does not include, for example, suicides inside a private residence, suspicious people, or vague suspect descriptions.”)

Read the rest

Crowbar-wielding unicorn raids Maryland store for cash and cigarettes

A unicorn armed with a crowbar robbed a convenience store near Baltimore, say police, then fled.

Police say the suspect had fled in a silver car. They located what appeared to be the same car after it had wrecked. No other cars were involved in the wreck. Police say two people involved in the crash were taken to a hospital, and detectives are working to determine what their involvement was in the robbery. No charges were immediately filed.

Read the rest

Alleged human sex trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago

📸 Li Yang, aka Cindy Yang, 45, with Donald Trump at the Super Bowl, rooting for the Patriots. Just 2 weeks later, authorities charged team owner Robert Kraft with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Jupiter, Florida that was founded by Yang.

The Miami Herald headline reads, “Trump cheered Patriots to Super Bowl victory with founder of spa where Kraft was busted,” but the alterate headline suggested by @joshrogin gets straight to the point: “Alleged human trafficker gave thousands to Trump campaign and hung out with Don Jr. at Mar-a-Lago.” Read the rest

Adnan Syed’s conviction reinstated by Maryland Court of Appeals

Court rules Adnan Syed not entitled to a new trial, in case that formed basis for “Serial” podcast— and new HBO docu-series premiering Sunday March 10 on HBO.

Taco Bell employees beat up customer in street after complaint

This Taco Bell in Philadephia has a quick and effective strategy for dealing with customer complaints: beat the crap out of them.

It happened around 10:45 p.m. at the Taco Bell at 10th and Chestnut streets. Bryan Reese of Northern Liberties says employees followed him outside the restaurant in an unprovoked attack. Six people in Taco Bell uniforms can be seen in cellphone video beating up Reese and his girlfriend outside the Taco Bell. The cellphone video was taken by a friend of Reese. Video of the alleged attack was posted to Twitter.

A $20 gift card was offered after further complaints, according to the person who posted the video. Employees seen in the video were later fired, reports MSN News:

In a statement to MSN News, Taco Bell said: “We’re shocked and disappointed to see this situation; we and our franchisees do not tolerate this behavior. The franchisee who owns and operates this location is retraining its staff, and all team members involved have been terminated.”

Read the rest

San Francisco Giants CEO filmed manhandling wife in public

Larry Baer, the CEO of the San Francisco Giants, was filmed manhandling his screaming wife in public, prizing away a cellphone from her grasp, and finally dropping her to the ground. He claimed she fell over due to a injured ankle:

Larry Baer spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle after the incident.

"My wife and I had an unfortunate public argument related to a family member, and she had an injured foot and she fell off her chair in the course of the argument," he said. "The matter is resolved. It was a squabble over a cell phone. Obviously, it’s embarrassing."

His wife has apologized for her behavior:

"I took his cellphone. He wanted it back and I did not want to give it back. I started to get up and the chair I was sitting in began to tip. Due to an injury I sustained in my foot three days ago, I lost my balance. I did not sustain any injury based on what happened today. Larryand I always have been and still are happily married.”

If this is what he'll do in broad daylight knowing he'll face no consequences, just imagine what he does behind closed doors knowing he'll face no consequences. Read the rest

List of thousands of criminal cops accidentally released under public records laws, now CA AG threatens 2 reporters with legal action for having a copy

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told two Berkeley-based reporters that it is against the law to even possess a copy of this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops.

Cop suspended for playing Barry White while allowing arrested couple to make-out in his patrol car

In Fort Pierce, Florida, police officer Doug McNeal arrested Zachery Moellendick, 23, and Krista Leigh, 24, for shoplifting and put them in the back of his squad car. The couple started making out so McNeal played Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love." Later, he allowed Leigh to smoke a cigarette in the car. In the police report, McNeal admitted to seeing them kiss and "was fine with it."

According to Florida Today, "The Fort Pierce Police Department said it suspended Officer Doug McNeal for 20 days without pay for the ride, which captured the couple's backseat actions on video..."

Read the rest

San Francisco marijuana crimes to be expunged by the thousands, with Code For America's help

A project to expunge marijuana-related convictions in San Francisco that took an entire year to pull together is nearly complete, San Francisco prosecutors said today, as they announced that 9,300 pot crimes will soon be removed from people’s criminal records.

That's a big deal. As the SF DA said at today's press conference, a felony conviction for cannabis could mean “barriers to education, housing, employment and even being barred from a child’s school field trip because of a conviction.”

San Francisco is able to do this in part because of the efforts of people at Code For America. Read the rest

Deposition of opioid profiteer Richard Sackler reveals his bizarre defense: definitional games and insistence that words mean their opposite

Richard Sackler is the only known member of the powerful opioid family (previously) to have been deposed; the 2015 deposition was published last week by Propublica and it reveals Sackler's bizarre rationalizations for his family company's deliberate creation of the opioid epidemic. Read the rest

Trump's former Moscow associate David Geovanis targeted in Senate Russia investigation

He's the guy with the half-nude woman in this photo.

Porch thief breaks leg running off with packages

I shalln't call it instant justice but it does serve to remind us that criminality is best performed calmly, like you're supposed to be there, the way the rich do it. Justice was served the proper way: 58 days in jail.

Alicia Treat had pleaded guilty to the thefts in January with alleged accomplice Brian Devere. The maximum prison sentence was 60 days. ... Treat, 37, is homeless, on disability, and has three kids. Devere, 39, has a lengthy criminal history that includes convictions for identity theft, burglary, and auto theft.

Read the rest

5 dead and 5 police officers shot in Illinois mass shooting; gunman also dead

5 are dead and five more police officers shot after a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Ill. CBS:

The suspect, identified as Gary Martin, opened fired at Henry Pratt Company Friday afternoon in Aurora and was shot dead, police said.

Martin, 45, is believed to have been employed by the company.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said police were notified about the shooting at 1:24 p.m. They arrived on the scene at 1:28 p.m. and were immediately fired upon.

Five officers were shot. A sixth suffered a knee injury.

Five civilians were killed. The names of the victims have not been released.

ABC News has eyewitness reports:

John Probst, a Henry Pratt employee who escaped the building, said he saw a man holding a pistol with a laser scope. He said he recognized the shooter as a coworker.

There would have been approximately 30 people in the building at the time of the shooting, Probst said.

Probst said he saw other coworkers injured and that the shooter was firing indiscriminately. ...

"(The shooter) just went ballistic," John Probst, who works at Henry Pratt and was in the building at the time told ABC. "[One victim] came running down; he was bleeding pretty bad."

Probst said he recognized the shooter as a coworker. Probst said he was "rolling down the aisles" with "a pistol with a laser on it."

Read the rest

Cop impersonator arrested after trying to pull over actual cop

Crimetip for cop impersonators! Police departments do not issue fully loaded 4Runners to officers. The Miami Herald:

“I thought, that’s weird. Well, they must have better undercover cars than they did when I was undercover,” he said.

When the driver in the SUV finally gave up trying to pull over Martinez, he changed lanes and tired to pass the commissioner, Martinez said. But Martinez said he stuck with the vehicle and eventually flagged down an officer in a squad car on the roadside, who radioed for help.

Martinez, 61, said he was there when the driver was pulled over on State Road 836 near Northwest 45th Avenue. The driver, he said, wasn’t wearing a police uniform and he had a firearm.

Read the rest

More posts