Fraudulent Bankruptcy Dealings Erupt Because Of COVID: Whose Trial Will Make The Biggest Waves?

Most people probably don’t even know that bankruptcy fraud exists — but with the rise in coronavirus-related bankruptcies, these crimes are becoming even more commonplace in 2020. This type of fraud generally occurs when someone filing for bankruptcy attempts to hide or diminish their own assets in order to keep them once the bankruptcy is complete. Usually this means falsifying data on notarized or other legally binding agreements and documents.

The sheer number of people in the United States facing financial ruin because of coronavirus means that more are getting away with bankruptcy fraud. That’s a shame, because any business bankruptcy attorney worth their salt can protect those assets anyway. Many legal analysts are wondering which big company will get nailed for bankruptcy fraud this year or next — and whether or not those inevitable trials stand to become some of the biggest this century.

One of the more high-profile cases may have already been overlooked by most people because our eyes are so firmly glued to the presidential election. Former Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski told a federal bankruptcy court earlier this year that Uber should pay Google a whopping $179 million settlement instead of him. 

The argument stems from the fact that Levandowski once worked for Google before joining Uber. He also worked as an engineer for Google, most notably on its self-driving endeavors. Levandowski had a self-driving startup named Otto, which Uber purchased for hundreds of millions. The goal of that purchase was to keep Levandowski as an Uber asset for a long time to come to keep him from Google. But of course that didn’t happen. He was pushed away from both companies during legal proceedings.

When Levandowski went over to Uber, Google sued the company because it believed that Levandowski had stolen much of what he worked on just before he left. During much of the trial that followed, Levandowski pleaded the fifth — because of course he had something to hide. 

According to Uber, the company was lied to by Levandowski — who repeatedly told higher ups that he had not stolen a thing. 

Uber’s subsequent legal filing read: “If Uber had known that Levandowski had deliberately downloaded Google confidential trade secrets to use those secrets while at Uber, then Uber would not have completed the Otto acquisition and would not have entered into the indemnification agreement.”

Levandowski says that Uber should pay the settlement, and Uber says that Levandowski should have to pay. What happens next could spill over into a bankruptcy fraud case if Levandowski loses all the money he made during these transactions and federal officials find that he lied. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of the settlement, and has an estimated value of $50 to $100 million — which is a long way away from the $179 he was ordered to pay. He has additional liabilities totalling up to $500 million, complicating his bankruptcy case even further. 

Will The Trial Of Donald Trump Become The Biggest Of The Century?

You’ve probably all heard the conjecture: If Donald Trump loses the 2020 election, he could be subject to criminal charges — possibly related to tax fraud, tax evasion, or dozens of other shady acts committed while in office. This could be the reason why he’s trying to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the mail-in vote (even though he uses it himself). He wants to throw away everything after Election Day so that the courts will side with him and keep him safe in office for another four years.

It’s not difficult to forecast a landslide Biden win right now. He’s up by double digits. Trump is taking other Republicans down with him, and Fivethirtyeight’s forecast even suggests that if he loses the presidential race, then the opportunity for Democrats to slide in additional House and Senate seats increases as well. 

Here’s the problem: there’s a remarkably easy — and legal — path for Trump to not only “steal” the American election without winning either the popular vote or electoral college, but also to escape criminal prosecution in the event he loses. We’ll ignore the first scenario for now, but what that means is that Trump might not be trying to win as hard as some people think.

For now, let’s take on the second scenario: Trump loses by a wide margin and must leave office without any great turmoil erupting in his wake. If you were president and knew you could be prosecuted, what would you do? Well, history has already provided us with an example — and that’s why even Trump wouldn’t be stupid enough to let himself go to jail when he could do one simple thing: resign. Just like Nixon did.

In the days after such a resignation, Pence would undoubtedly take the oath of office. One of his first acts as president would be to pardon Trump for any and all crimes committed before or during his tenure as president. It’s as easy as that!

Massive Child Predator Investigation Still Underway in Germany

We sometimes forget that not all news comes from America. That’s certainly true when you look at sex trafficking and patterns of networked sexual abuse worldwide. One such network was uncovered only last year — and it’s focal point was a strange spot in Cologne, Germany. Local authorities were on the premises to conduct a routine search when they found something sinister on site: child pornography.

It was from that discovery that an investigation of tens of thousands of persons of interest began using hundreds of detectives. Two men were recently sentenced to more than a decade in prison for sexual abuse of minors and the distribution of child pornography. But they won’t be the last incarcerated in what just might become one of the biggest trials of the century.

The videos uncovered depicted scenes not only of sexual abuse, but extreme acts of violence perpetrated against these children. The abuse of several victims began when they were only mere months in age.

One officer said, “I think images and videos like these are always going to leave their mark on those who watch them — even experienced investigators.” Lisa Wagner is a mother herself, and became a police officer to help watch over everyone else’s children, too. But sometimes evil hides in plain sight, as was the case in Cologne. Neighbors described the arrestees as normal. 

Dozens of children involved in the predator network have been located and placed into new homes with new guardians. 87 cases in particular stand out to authorities.  Cologne State Prosecutor Markus Hartmann said, “This is not about individual cases: behind each instance of abuse lies a web of communication structures that, according to our current evaluation, aids, abets and encourages abuse.”

The real trick is finding a way not only to arrest those responsible, but also to keep them behind bars — and then mitigate future damages against children. How can law enforcement possibly target conduct that largely occurs online when Internet privacy laws and VPN software helps mask the trafficking? There are no easy answers, and legislators have been struggling with this question for decades.

Earlier this year in July, the European Commission devised a strategy to protect children, one in five of whom will be the subject of child abuse. 

In Germany, some of those incarcerated individuals might be placed in “preventative detention” once they serve their time. In other words, they will never really be released.

Borders are another obstacle to catching child predators, but thankfully the internationally community is mostly cooperative and resolute in the face of this challenge. Hartmann said, “We have had cases in Europe in which we were able to coordinate operations with our respective international partners in hours.”

And that means in the future, child predators might be caught easier and faster — which means fewer victims overall. Still, the trauma these victims will endure lasts a lifetime. It does not end with the abuse, or when the abuser is finally caught and incarcerated. So the struggle continues.

VICTIMS: George Flloyd Was The Last Straw — Not The Only One Who Mattered

Many have decided to counter the BLM movement with protests of their own because they believe that George Flloyd was a felon whose life wasn’t as important as police officers who have been killed in the line or duty, or even other African Americans — “All lives matter,” they say, in the ultimate example of missing the point entirely. These protests that have expanded across the globe are not about one example of police brutality. 

They are about all examples of police brutality, regardless of race.

Many dissenters have said that the police would leave African Americans alone if they would stop doing things wrong or start obeying police orders. Tell that to Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead while sleeping in her own home. Not only was she murdered by the police who invaded her home, but they also openly admitted that they had no reason to be there (much later).

The United States has far more victims of police brutality than any other developed country in the world. One might ask, “Why is this the case?”

One reason is the obvious lack of training. A few weeks at a police academy and a cursory background check, and you’re essentially given a license to kill. 

Another reason harkens back to George W. Bush. When the United States military bought a whole bunch of equipment it didn’t need for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was shipped back to the United States and given to police departments across the country — whose budgets were already skyrocketing. We gave a policing organization military equipment by the truckload. What did we expect them to do? …Act timid in full body armor?

But those are just secondary reasons. The underlying cause of many killings is racism, pure and simple. We kill African Americans a far disproportionate rate to Caucasians. That’s why defunding the police will soon be on dockets across the country, and why at least one has already been disbanded.

WEIRD CRIMES: Missouri Man Arrested After Licking Walmart Products

Not everyone is taking the novel coronavirus outbreak seriously. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has notified thru-hikers to stay away from the trail because the AT has become the “opposite of social distancing.” This is because day hikers have flooded the trail in historic numbers after becoming bored at home. College kids on Spring Break refused to leave Florida beaches despite the likelihood of transmitting the coronavirus in high numbers.

And then there are the people who lick grocery products to say to the world, “I’m not scared of you, COVID-19!”

Thankfully, they get arrested for being imbeciles.

Cody Lee Pfister used social media to distribute a video of him licking various Walmart products. He can be heard asking, “Who’s scared of coronavirus?” The video quickly went viral for all the right reasons, and Pfister was arrested and charged. Even citizens of other countries called the Warrenton Police Department to report Pfister’s callous actions toward the rest of society. He was charged with making a terrorist threat — because police are taking incidents like these very seriously.

Lieutenant Justin Unger of the Warrenton Police Department said, “We take this incident very seriously, especially with this infection disease and the state that the country is in. We take these things seriously to protect our community.

One criminal complaint alleged that Pfister “knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed.”

Criminal defense attorney Patrick J. Coyne defended Pfister’s actions by reminding the public that the World Health Organization had yet to classify the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic at the time the video was recorded. He said, “Public conduct that was immature on March 10 looks completely differently through the lens of today.”

Others have been arrested and charged for making coronavirus-related terrorist threats as well. One New Jersey man purposely coughed on a grocery store employee after the two had a minor confrontation. George Falcone, the criminal cougher, laughed in the worker’s face. Falcone said he was infected with the virus. 

We can expect more incidents such as these, in large part because the president and the media continue to compare the novel coronavirus to the seasonal flu, which is actually a much less fatal and much less infectious illness. Were the coronavirus outbreak to be left to its own devices, millions would likely perish, and the economy would be ruined — which is why Trump’s desire to let the coronavirus run amuck so he can reopen the economy makes very little sense.

TRUMP ACQUITTED: But Mitt Romney Breaks Ranks With Republicans To Convict

The impeachment trial of the century has turned out the way everyone expected. Straight down party lines. Every Democrat voted to convict President Donald Trump on abuse of power. Surprisingly, however, one brave Republican senator decided to break from the rank and file and side with Democrats: Mitt Romney. Not so surprisingly, Senate Republicans quickly moved to censure him.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said, “Sometimes we don’t like his style, but it’s hard to overlook the successes that he’s had.” Herbert voted against censuring Romney. Of course, the idea that we can censure someone simply for voting their conscience is objectionable to say the least. What happened to the idea of a country before a political party?

Romney said of the decision to convict Trump: “This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life. I have gone through a process of very thorough analysis and searching, and I have prayed through this process. But I don’t pretend that God told me what to do.” 

“The president did in fact pressure a foreign government to corrupt our election process,” he said. “And really, corrupting an election process in a democratic republic is about as abusive and egregious an act against the Constitution — and one’s oath — that I can imagine. It’s what autocrats do.”

Much of the argument over whether or not Trump’s actions were impeachable came down to interpretation over the Constitutional phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t actually mean crimes the way we traditionally think of them. When the Founding Fathers wrote this into the Constitution, it was meant to describe a public officer who had broken the trust of the people. Which is exactly what the discussion should have been about.

But as they so often do, Republicans twisted the discussion with misinformation and conspiracy theories regarding Obama doing the exact same thing when he was in office or the government of Ukraine trying to get Hillary elected. Neither are true, but that’s how Trump got away with ripping the Constitution to shreds, time and time again.

Romney admitted that he had read Alexander Hamilton’s thoughts on impeachment (and the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors) in Federalist No. 65. This was how Romney determined that the president was guilty of the crime and should be removed from office immediately. His Republican colleagues instead decided to put party first, and protect the president — thereby increasing their own chances for reelection in a country whose Republicans strongly support him.

One Week Into The Trial Of President Donald J. Trump

We’re one week into the trial of our current president, and the Democrats have wrapped up their impassioned cries for rational thought during a highly partisan process. Adam Schiff weaved the various elements of Trump’s corrupt dealings with Ukraine much better than expected. But will a great speech or two make a big difference in the outcome? Not a chance. This is a president whose supporters are more than willing to go down with the sinking ship, no matter what history will them of them.

Schiff hasn’t been kind to his Republican colleagues, either. He went so far as to say that they might expect history to mount their heads “on a pike” for voting alongside the president after the trial is complete. 

But he knows that’s exactly what will happen.

The Democrats have used every fact at their disposal — and there are a lot of them — while the Republicans are expected to continue their gradeschool logic: the president of Ukraine says there was no pressure and he didn’t know the aid was withheld during a July phone call, plus Trump didn’t actually commit a crime. (But he actually did violate the Impoundment Control Act by withholding congressionally appointed funds, soooo…)

Jonathan Turley wrote for The Hill: “Murkowski, who is being courted by both sides, could again find herself aggrieved by an argument from counsel if, as widely expected, the White House frames its case around a widely discredited theory that impeachment requires a criminal allegation.”

We know that the Founding Fathers did not agree with that statement, which is why Turley describes further: “In both the Clinton and Trump impeachment inquiries, I addressed that theory as historically and constitutionally unsupportable. Yet Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz will make the argument as the core of the defense. It is a particularly baffling decision given not only Attorney General William Barr’s rejection of the theory but also the Democratic and many of the Republican senators. So the White House is making an argument that the vast majority of senators in the jury have already rejected, including Republican senators coming forward this week.”

But then again, that helps define our point: When you can’t argue against a long list of facts, you form arguments that are based on long-ago debunked or discredited ideas. “High crimes and misdemeanors,” in case you were wondering, were used by the writers of the U.S. constitution to describe acts by public officials that violated the public trust — not actual crimes. The definition has changed over time, of course, allowing the corrupt to form arguments that are not, in actuality, based on any fact at all.

So far, it seems to be working quite well for the defense.

Donald J. Trump Poised To Become Third United States President Impeached

Whether or not you agree with the allegations levied against President Donald J. Trump, he will almost certainly be impeached today — which makes him only the third sitting U.S. president to be disgraced in such a way. Almost equally certain is the fact that any subsequent trial conducted by the Congressional Senate will be inevitably described by the annals of history as rapid and superficial, at best. 

Senate Republicans have been entirely too clear on their impartiality when it comes to getting proceedings over with. But that doesn’t mean that the Senate “trial” won’t go down in history as one of the most important of all time.

Yesterday, Trump wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi an interesting letter about the actions of Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee: “The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence. They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!”

During his years in office, Trump has gained a reputation for turning allegations of corruption or wrongdoing back toward those who made them, which is why it should come as little surprise that he lambasts Adam Schiff and others in the same letter, describing their “criminal” activities.

He wrote: “Congressman Adam Schiff cheated and lied all the way up to the present day, even going so far as to fraudulently make up, out of thin air, my conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine and read this fantasy language to Congress as though it were said by me. His shameless lies and deceptions, dating all the way back to the Russia Hoax, is one of the main reasons we are here today.”

Senate Republicans who defend Trump have been hard-pressed on the facts, but some have continued to give credit toward a long-ago debunked conspiracy theory that suggests Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to swing the whole thing for Hillary Clinton. Again, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise, since this is what Trump does. We should have known full well as soon as we uncovered a Russian scheme to turn our election in Trump’s favor that Trump would eventually allege the exact same thing about his political opponent.

And of course Trump propped himself up, once again claiming he was the only one who could have possibly endured the alleged personal attacks. 

He continued to write: “There are not many people who could have taken the punishment inflicted during this period of time, and yet done so much for the success of America and its citizens. But instead of putting our country first, you have decided to disgrace our country still further. You completely failed with the Mueller report because there was nothing to find, so you decided to take the next hoax that came along, the phone call with Ukraine—even though it was a perfect call.”

Part I: Who Are The Most Famous Copycat Killers?

This website is dedicated to the murderous psychopaths who have captured the national (and sometimes international) spotlight, for better or for worse. But sometimes, as bad as those criminals are, there are even crazier individuals who are captivated in exactly the wrong way. These lunatics turn into copycat killers. Once in a blue moon, the copycats are worthy successors to the original murderers. Here are the most famous copycat killers!

Daniel Bartlam. This guy is one of those really special killers who give politicians sufficient ammo when blaming violent video games for violent acts (because he liked them). He smashed Jacqueline Bartlam, his mother, in the head with a hammer, then set her on fire along with the rest of the house. But don’t worry — he helped the family and the dog escape their burning home.

He told investigators that a crook did the dirty deed. Unfortunately it took them all of two seconds to uncover the truth, thanks in large part due to the 14-year-old’s internet history. He had performed an online search on how to get away with the aforementioned crime. To make matters more transparent, he had also downloaded a number of videos of John Stape, a fictional character in the TV series Coronation Street

How did Stape kill his victims? Yep, he used his trusty ol’ hammer. The reclusively boyish Bartram was named the Coronation Killer for this peculiar obsession. He was sentenced to life in prison in February 2012. Potentially, he could be released after serving only sixteen years. 

Mark Twitchell. This nutcase is another guy who really liked TV psychopaths. The producers of popular dark dramedy Dexter probably never envisioned that the fictional/murderous protagonist would inspire any real-world murders, but alas — Dexter Morgan did exactly that. Although Twitchell had found his serial killing idol, he would never live up to the name. Twitchell only managed to commit a single murder before he was caught.

Twitchell wasn’t one for shame, either. He made a fake profile on a dating site in order to pose as a woman and lure a couple men to his kill room, where coincidentally he had already been making an actual movie about a serial killer. One of those men escaped.

He was another moron who left way too much obvious evidence behind. Like, don’t these guys even watch CSI: Crime Scene Investigation? One would think it’d be the first item on their list. Twitchell had a document called “SKConfessions” on his laptop. It read: “This story is based on true events. The names and events were altered slightly to protect the guilty. This is the story of my progression into becoming a serial killer.”

Before he was found guilty on a 1st degree murder charge, he tried to build a defense based on “blame the media.” He was put away for at least 25 years.

Stay tuned for “Part II” of the Looney Tunes.

Weird Crimes: Margaret “Bill” Allen Bludgeons Nancy Ellen Chadwick on August 28, 1948

The early 1900s were hardly a good time to be gay, much less transgender, but Margaret Allen was living such a life when it was almost unheard of to be doing so. He was 42 years old at the time of his death, went by the name of Bill, and almost always dressed in men’s clothing. Not surprisingly for the time, his family had disowned him for his “choices” in life. He was in poor health, chain smoking and suffering from depression brought about from his mother’s death in 1943.

Because of his lot in life, he had a great deal of difficulty finding work. 

Perhaps it isn’t surprising then that he turned to violence and that his life ended in the same. On August 28th, 1948, his neighbor Nancy Ellen Chadwick visited him hoping to borrow some sugar. The two were not fond of one another. The decision cost Nancy her life — reports from the time period indicate that Bill bludgeoned Nancy to death with a nearby coal hammer. Shockingly, he dragged the body down to the cellar before going out to enjoy a few drinks with his friend, Annie Cook.

That night, Bill had difficulty sleeping. He went back down to the cellar, removed the body, and dragged it out to the road. He wasn’t the brightest criminal on record. Someone found Nancy’s body the very next day, and police immediately opened an investigation. 

Bill was arrested on September 2nd, 1948 — his last birthday alive.

Detective Chief Inspector Stevens of Scotland Yard had interviewed him only one day before. Police discovered blood stains all along the inside wall near the front door.

After Bill’s arrest, he confessed quickly: “I didn’t do it for money, I was in one of my funny moods. I just happened to look around and saw the hammer in the kitchen. Then, on the spur of the moment, I hit her with it. She gave a loud shout and that seemed to start me off more, and so I hit her a few times more, I don’t know how many.”

Even today, transgender individuals who are imprisoned face significant challenges that other prisoners don’t. Being born in 1906 certainly didn’t help Bill when faced with a judge and jury. His lawyer, William Gormann K.C. argued that Bill was criminally insane. The jury deliberated for fifteen minutes, finding him guilty of murder after the prosecution argued that Bill had intended to rob Nancy. Perhaps his fate was sealed when he wore a suit to the trial.

Strangeways Prison officials in Manchester, England did not allow Bill to wear man’s clothing to his own execution. He was provided with a prison dress, brought to the gallows, and hanged until he was dead.

Strangeways chaplain Reverend Arthur Walker later argued that no woman should be hanged and that the execution had left he and other bystanders in worse health than before.