“[Shawn J.] Chen [a partner in the Washington office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton] went so far as to suggest that the number of cases Mr. Holder cited as evidence of the department’s crackdown were somewhat fictional.And also:
“‘It’s hard to believe that they built up all these cases in the past four months,’ since the task force was created, Mr. Chen said, suggesting it was more likely that Mr. Holder counted every case that had anything to do with financial fraud and put them all under the Operation Broken Trust umbrella.”
“The statistics looked squirrely on their face. Some of these cases began years ago, long before the multiagency task force was formed. It’s obvious what the prosecutors did here, too. First they tracked down every small-fry Ponzi scheme, affinity fraud and penny-stock pump-and-dump they could find that had advanced through the courts since mid-August. Then they totaled them up and called it a sweep, lumping together cases that had nothing to do with each other[...]
“For instance, the list said a fellow named Lorenzo Altadonna had been convicted in the Western District of New York on Oct. 27. Actually, he was sentenced to three years probation on Aug. 5, court records show. That was 11 days before Operation Broken Trust began, which means the task force shouldn’t have counted him in its results, even by its own loopy methodology. Finelli said Altadonna was included mistakenly.
“The first page of the list also showed a Nov. 8 federal conviction in New Jersey of a man whom I won’t name here. There was no record for him on Pacer, which is the government’s online database of federal court proceedings. But I did find an Oct. 13 article in the Daily Record of Parsippany, New Jersey, about a fraud at an insurance agency where a person with the same name had worked. The article said he had not been charged criminally. Finelli declined to comment on why he was included in the task force’s list of defendants.”
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