The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute
CEPI Newsletter December 2018
This monthly compendium of news reports about corruption and ethics issues is brought to you by the Center for Ethics and Public Integrity (CEPI). Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute express a view as to the accuracy of news accounts or affirm any position taken by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.
Postmus Gets Three Years in Prison in Colonies and Assessor’s Corruption Cases: Bill Postmus, a former San Bernandino County (California) Assessor, was sentenced to three years in prison for crime he committed in the assessor’s office and in a corruption case involving the Colonies real estate development. Postmus pled guilty in March 2011 to 15 felonies as part of a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. He then, the judge found, lied during his coconspirators’ trials. At the request of a team of prosecutors from the California Attorney General’s Office and San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office, the judge concluded that Postmus breached the terms of his cooperation agreement and sentenced him to three years in prison. Last year, Postmus testified as a witness for the prosecution during a lengthy trial, but retracted what he had previously told law enforcement, claiming he’d been pressured to provide a narrative that fit the government’s view of the case. In a result that appears to have been largely as a result of his falsely exculpatory testimony, none of those trial defendants were convicted.
The 18 N.J. Public Workers Guilty of Corruption So Far in 2018: In a retrospective that discusses the great work of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and other local and federal prosecutors, reporters profile criminal cases brought or resolved in 2018 against 18 corruption New Jersey officials.
Ex-Florida Police Chief Sentenced for Framing People So He Could Claim a 100% Burglary Clearance Rate: Raimundo Atesian, the former police chief of Biscayne Park, Florida, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for a scheme to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Atesian admitted that he directed his officers to arrest at least three apparently innocent people in an effort to claim that his police department had a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries. Three other former police officers who executed false arrests at his direction have also been sentenced to prison.
US Judge Awards FIFA Less than One Percent of Restitution Request: A federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, has awarded FIFA 0.4 percent of its requested $28 million in restitution, finding that it made “wildly excessive” and “patently frivolous requests” for legal fees that it claimed were associated with federal prosecutors’ case against corrupt FIFA officials.
Brother of Honduras' President Arrested in Miami on Drug Trafficking Charges: A former member of Honduras’s congress and the brother of the country’s sitting president has been arrested on federal drug and weapons charges. Antonio Hernández Alvarado was arrested in Miami but will be prosecuted in New York. Alvarado is alleged to have worked with the national police in Honduras to coordinate drug trafficking over a 12-year period. Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández, Hernández Alvarado’s brother, was reelected in 2017, in a disputed election he was accused of rigging.
Bribery Prosecutions Under Section 666 After McDonnell: A 2018 graduate of Columbia Law School has published a paper through that school’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity that analyzes the effect of McDonnell on federal prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 666, which contains language broader than the “official act” of § 201 that the Supreme Court construed in 2016.
FATF Updates ‘Spotty’ Cross-Border Risk Guidelines for Cryptocurrencies: The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based NGO established in 1989 by the G-7 nations, is updating its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) cross-border risk guidelines for cryptocurrencies. The new guidelines will make it clear that individuals and entities that provide financial services for Initial Coin Offerings are subject to AML protocols and CFT regulations.
Using Confidential Informants? Prepare to be Scrutinized and Regulated: An article outlines how high-profile deaths of several young confidential informants (CIs) resulted in statutes that set forth clear guidance about how law enforcement agencies should develop and follow thoughtful CI policies. The article also notes that the U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation that would require federal agencies to document and share with congress data about the money spent on and crimes committed by confidential informants.
Are U.S. Colleges and Universities Complying with the FCPA?: In a thoughtful piece on the FCPA Blog, a writer points out that the Foreign Corruption Practices Act can be violated by even nonprofits and academic institutions, and potentially by taking actions like paying for the travel of a foreign official who has the power to approve a joint program with the nonprofit. The piece recommends that entities doing business with foreign officials read The Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corruption Practices Act.
Any Piece of Technology That Stores Information Could Be Compromised—Even Obsolete Devices That Get Thrown Out With the Garbage: The ABA Journal warns that copy machines and other technology that stores information can, if not properly disposed of, lead to serious data breaches, and that USB drives from outside sources can be particularly dangerous. One expert even compares such USB drives to dirty needles. For attorneys, “overlooking these devices could have serious consequences for attorney-client privilege and create ethics violations.”
Ex-Interpol Chief Facing Corruption Charges is Expelled From Chinese Government Advisory Body: Former INTERPOL chief Meng Hongwei, who was arrested in September on corruption charges in China, has been expelled from China’s top political advisory board. This is only one of several INTERPOL issues in the news: a South Korean recently beat out a Russian candidate to take over the position once held by Hongwei. Both U.S. Senators and leaders in the U.K. expressed concerns about the misuse of INTERPOL’s powers had the Russian won.
FIFA Ethics Judge Arrested in Malaysia on Suspicion of Corruption: Sundra Rajoo, an ethics judge for FIFA, was arrested in Malaysia on suspicion of using his office to obtain financial favors. While he was released on grounds of diplomatic immunity, he nonetheless resigned his position with the Asian International Arbitration Centre.
Amie Ely is the Director of the Center for Ethics & Public Integrity and the Editor of the CEPI Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6041. The CEPI Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail email@example.com.