Archive for the ‘U.S. District Court’ category

Woman sentenced for placing staple in meatloaf

August 25, 2008

Herald-Leader staff report

A Barbourville food service worker was sentenced to a year of home incarceration Monday for placing a metal staple into a batch of processed meatloaf that was to be distributed to a national restaurant chain, federal prosecutors said.

Joreen Crawford, 27, pleaded guilty in May to tampering with a consumer product in January 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington said. A U.S. district judge in London sentenced her to time served, home incarceration and ordered Crawford to pay $1,200 in restitution.

Crawford told authorities that she was hoping a co-worker would get blamed for the staple and get fired. The maker of the meatloaf, whom prosecutors declined to identify, had to recall recall a 3,570 pound shipment of processed meatloaf.

“Miss Crawford’s reckless actions created a significant risk to the safety of others,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Dotson said in a released statement. “Fortunately, because of the swift response by the defendant’s employer and the (U.S. Department of Agriculture), the staple was recovered before the meatloaf was ever circulated for consumption to the general public.”


Bond reduced for two fen-phen attorneys

August 22, 2008

By Brandon Ortiz

COVINGTON — A federal judge has reduced bond for two Lexington-area lawyers accused of pocketing millions of dollars that should have gone to their former clients in a diet-drug settlement.

Bond for William Gallion was set at $2.5 million, and Shirley Cunningham Jr.’s bond was set at $1.25 million.

The two men have been in the Boone County Jail awaiting their second criminal trial.

Gallion and Cunningham filed motions last month asking a federal judge to release them from jail so they can help their attorneys prepare for their second trial. Their first trial ended July 3 with a deadlocked jury.

Gallion argued in his earlier motion that he has little money for bond or to flee because his assets have been garnisheed by a civil lawsuit over his handling of a $200 million fen-phen class action lawsuit settlement.

Gallion and Cunningham also argued that they should be released from jail because the first jury couldn’t decide whether the two were guilty of conspiring to commit wire fraud. The jury foreman later said the vote was 10 to 2 to acquit the two men.

They are accused of taking millions of dollars that should have gone to 440 former clients in a 2001 fen-phen settlement in Boone Circuit Court. A third defendant, Lexington-area attorney Melbourne Mills Jr., was found not guilty by the same jury.

The two attorneys have been held at the Boone County Jail since August 2007.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman’s decision to jail the two men and to set bond for Gallion at $52 million and for Cunningham at $45 million. Bertelsman declined the two men’s request to be released after was declared. But Bertelsman later stepped down from the case, and U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves was assigned to it.

In their motion, federal prosecutors point out that Bertelsman, who oversaw the six-week trial, said there was even more evidence and concern that the two men would flee.

On Friday, Reeves laid out several restrictions on travel. Gallion and Cunningham have to be subject to home detention, they’ll be subject to GPS monitoring and they will have to keep logs of visitors and telephone calls. Also, their computer usage will be monitored. Reeves said the men can give out gifts only up to $1,000 to make sure they’re not liquidating or hiding assets. The judge also said he might appoint someone to monitor their business assets.

Reeves said if they violate any condition of the bond it will be forfeited.

Attorneys for both men said they did not know whether their clients would be able to post bond.

Collector indicted in Transy library theft

August 7, 2008

Herald-Leader Staff Report

A Jefferson Davis collector who is accused of taking letters and other documents written by the president of the Confederate States of America was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Lexington.

Eugene C. Zollman of LaPorte, Ind., who was arrested by federal authorities in May, was charged with two counts of stealing objects of cultural heritage from Transylvania University. Police think Zollman originally stole some of the objects in 1994.

Zollman was caught after he tried to auction the items online. A Jefferson Davis scholar at Rice University in Texas saw the items and notified the auction house that she believed that the documents were once in the collection at Transylvania University. The scholar notified Transylvania University who then called police.

Police linked Zollman to the crime by checking its records of people who requested to see the library’s Davis collection in person. Zollman allegedly saw the collection four times in May 1994. During the investigation, police said they discovered that Zollman had also auctioned Davis documents that belonged to Transylvania through a New Orleans auction house in 1997, according to court documents.

An arraignment date for Zollman has not been set. If convicted, Zollman could receive a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Grocer convicted in money laundering case

June 12, 2008

By Brandon Ortiz
A Lexington grocer was convicted Thursday of 23 criminal counts for his role in a money laundering scheme for organized retail theft rings.
Federal prosecutors said Abduhl Sulaiman, 47, laundered millions of dollars for five organized crime rings that dealt in stolen baby formula and health and beauty products, a prosecutor said Monday.
A U.S. District Court jury in Lexington convicted Sulaiman of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering , 10 counts of failure to file currency transaction reports and 12 counts of money laundering. The jury acquitted Sulaiman of five counts of money laundering.
Federal prosecutors said Sulaiman, through his grocery, Stop N Shop Discount Food on Winburn Drive, helped organized retail theft rings hide illegitimate profits by cashing third-party checks and wire transfers for them.
Sulaiman’s attorney, C. Wayne Shepherd, argued at trial that Sulaiman ran a legitimate business and was not aware that the other businesses were involved in organized crime.
Check and Friday’s Herald-Leader for updates to this story.

Lexington man indicted for robbing Fifth Third banks

June 6, 2008

David T. Cox

A federal grand jury has indicted a 27-year-old Lexington man who is accused of robbing two Fifth Third Banks of more than $20,000.
David Thomas Cox was indicted on four counts of bank robbery, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Friday.
The indictment alleges that Thomas robbed the banks, both in Fayette County, on four occasions, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Thomas is accused of robbing the Fifth Third Bank on Nicholasville Road on March 27 and Nov. 15, stealing approximately $17,310. The indictment also accuses Thomas of robbing the Fifth Third Bank on Leestown Road on Aug. 22, 2007 and on July 27, 2007, stealing approximately $4,840. A court date has not been set.
If convicted, Cox could spend up to 20 years in prison.

Fen-phen lawyer explains fee decisions to jury

June 6, 2008

William Gallion testified Friday that he never told a judge in a controversial $200 million fen-phen settlement that he had contingency-fee contracts with his clients.
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Man who sued the city jail dies and his suit is dismissed

June 5, 2008

A lawsuit alleging mistreatment at the hands of Fayette County Detention Center corrections officers has been dismissed because the man who says he was beaten at the jail has died.
Alfredo Garcia Hernandez sued the city and the jail in August 2007, alleging that in 2006 he was beaten by officers while he was handcuffed. Hernandez was one of several former jail inmates who have alleged that they were mistreated by officers there. The city has denied the allegations in court documents. Hernandez died in October 2007. His death was not connected to the alleged injuries he sustained at the jail, said Michael O’Hara, his lawyer. O’Hara said the case was dismissed last week after they failed to find a relative who could represent Hernandezs’ estate in court.