NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man was charged Wednesday in a scheme involving former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s income tax returns during the 2012 campaign.
The U.S. Justice Department said a federal grand jury in Nashville indicted Michael Mancil Brown, 34, of Franklin, and charged him with six counts of wire fraud and six counts of extortion.
Brown is accused of having an anonymous letter delivered to the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP accounting firm in Franklin last August, demanding that $1 million in digital currency be deposited to a Bitcoin account to keep some of Romney’s income tax returns from being released. The Justice Department said Brown falsely claimed that he had gained access to the PricewaterhouseCoopers internal computer network and stolen tax documents for Romney and his wife, Ann Romney, for tax years before 2010.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors in Knoxville say former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe paid employees who never performed work.
The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/14wTIJO ) reported documents recently filed in Knox County Criminal Court allege Lowe and two former aides conducted a “continuous larcenous scheme” in which ghost employees were on the payroll.
Lowe, Delbert Morgan and Ray Mubarak face multiple theft charges.
A bill of particulars filed by the district attorney’s office alleges Morgan bilked taxpayers out of nearly $197,000 by not showing up for work over four years.
The newspaper said Gregory P. Isaacs, Lowe’s lawyer, and Tom Dillard, Mubarak’s lawyer, declined comment Tuesday. Jeff Daniel, Morgan’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.
In April 2012, when indictments were returned, Isaacs said Lowe strongly denied the allegations.
Michael Strayer, a former senior executive at the U.S. Department of Energy and longtime employee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his wife, Karen Earle, have been indicted in an alleged scheme that diverted $1.2 million in government funds to their personal use.
From Frank Munger’s report: Strayer, 69, and Earle, 48, were arraigned last week in U.S. District Court in Maryland. Both entered not guilty pleas, and a trial date was tentatively scheduled for mid-August.
The case revolves around the alleged misuse of federal funding for the SciDAC (Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing) Review, a Department of Energy publication that Strayer started soon after he left ORNL in 2004 to take a job at DOE headquarters in Washington.
As DOE’s associate director of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Strayer used program funds for the publication to tout the work done by the agency’s scientific computing programs and related partnerships with universities.
According to the federal indictment, Strayer initiated a sole-source contracting process via ORNL to select a foreign publishing company — identified in the indictment as “Corporation A,” but reported to be IOP Publishing, based in England — to publish the SciDAC Review. In 2006, the indictment said, Strayer directed the publisher to hire Earle as a $60,000-a-year consultant “despite Earle’s lack of relevant qualifications” for the job.
“Shortly thereafter, Strayer began a romantic relationship with her and directed that the publisher later increase her consulting fees,” the Justice Department said in information released by the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland after the 13-count indictment was returned May 16.
Over time, Earle’s role broadened, and she was allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars to acquire articles for SciDAC Review, even though the actual articles were provided free of charge by Oak Ridge and DOE’s other national labs — at the direction of Strayer, according to the criminal charges.
News release from attorney general’s office:
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and 24 other state attorneys general announced a $92 million agreement with JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) as part of an ongoing nationwide investigation of alleged anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct in the municipal bond derivatives industry.
As part of the multistate agreement, JPMC has agreed to pay $65.5 million in restitution to affected state agencies, municipalities, school districts and not-for-profit entities nationwide that entered into municipal derivative contracts with JPMC between 2001 and 2005. In addition, JPMC agreed to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty and $6 million in fees and costs of the investigation to the participating states. It has not yet been determined how much Tennessee and the other states will receive from the agreement.