Friday, November 24, 2023

Perjury Case Against Former Top Baltimore Prosecutor Heads to a Federal Jury; 6 Nash, Halifax County Men Indicted in Reported COVID Relief Fraud Scheme, and other C-Virus related stories

Julio Cortez/AP
Perjury case against former top Baltimore prosecutor heads to a federal jury:
A former top prosecutor for the city of Baltimore took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and lied to improperly access retirement funds, using the money to purchase two Florida vacation homes, a federal prosecutor argued Wednesday at the close of the ex-official's trial.
Marilyn Mosby, who served two terms as state's attorney for Baltimore, declined to testify before her attorneys rested their case on the third day of her trial on perjury charges. The judge presiding over the trial said she expects jurors to begin deliberating on Thursday.
Mosby’s 2022 indictment accuses her of improperly accessing funds from a retirement savings account by falsely claiming that the pandemic harmed a travel-oriented business that she had formed. She used the withdrawals as down payments to buy a home in Kissimmee, Florida, and a condominium in Long Boat Key, Florida.
“Telling the truth matters. It matters for all of us,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Zelinsky told jurors during the trial’s closing arguments. “We should be able to rely on the truth of what someone says under oath.”
One of her attorneys said Mosby told the truth when she certified on a form that the pandemic harmed the business that she formed in 2019. Mosby was entitled to withdraw $90,000 from a city retirement fund and was free to spend it on whatever she wanted, federal public defender James Wyda told jurors.
“She lost money and future profits because COVID devastated her business,” Wyda said.
Mosby gained a national profile for prosecuting Baltimore police officers after Freddie Gray, a Black man, died in police custody in 2015, which was Mosby’s first year in office. His death led to riots and protests in the city. None of the officers were convicted. --->READ MORE HERE
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6 Nash, Halifax County men indicted in reported COVID relief fraud scheme:
Six men in central North Carolina face a collective 49 fraud charges and six conspiracy charges, each of which could carry a sentence of 30 years, if convicted.
A federal grand jury returned indictments in September to convict the men, all of whom live in Nash and Halifax Counties. It was not until Thursday that the final defendant was arrested, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
In court, the alleged fraud scheme was presented as an attempt to defraud state-provided COVID-19 relief dollars through the NC HOPE program. The program provides emergency rental assistance designated for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group of six men indicted filed “at least 44” fraudulent applications for money from the program, resulting in the disbursement of more than $279,000, a release from U.S. Attorney Michael Easley’s office said.
The indictment showed that between June 2021 and February 2022, the six men and others they recruited falsely posed as landlords in the process.
The man with the most prison time at stake is Joe Lewis Jefferson, 50, of Nashville. He was charged with 22 counts of mail fraud and a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. --->READ MORE HERE
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