Md. lobbyist the latest charged in federal bribery investigation

By Megan Cloherty September 19, 2017 

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators said there would be more defendants, and now a Maryland lobbyist is charged in a bribery ring that includes two former state legislators. 

Attorney and registered state lobbyist Matthew Gorman, of Hyattsville, Maryland, is facing federal bribery charges for trying to influence a lawmaker, according to court documents. Gorman offered a $1,000 bribe to former Maryland Del. Will Campos on April 22, 2015, the documents allege.

At the time, the documents state Gorman represented clients to the Prince George’s County Council and liquor board.

Campos, who served as a Prince George’s County councilman before stepping into his role in the statehouse in January 2015, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in January of this year.

Del. Michael Vaughn, who also faces charges for accepting bribes and for wire fraud, has pleaded not guilty.

Two members of the county liquor board are also charged.



Posted on July 30, 2017

By Josh Kurtz

Former state Del. Michael Vaughn (D), indicted earlier this year in the unfolding Prince George’s County liquor board scandal, has suggested in a recent court filing that another Prince George’s lawmaker, state Sen. Douglas Peters (D), is also a target of federal investigators.

In a motion filed in late June to suppress certain electronic evidence that prosecutors are using in their case against Vaughn, his lawyers referenced a telephone number used by Peters that law enforcement authorities were monitoring, and described the senator as a “target” in the investigation.

Peters has never been formally named by prosecutors in any charging document.

The quick reference to Peters and his phone number is the only time the senator is mentioned in Vaughn’s 10-page motion to suppress some of the evidence that the federal government collected against him.

Bruce Marcus, an attorney for Peters, said he was unaware of Vaughn’s court filing and unconcerned that other attorneys are describing his client as a target. He said he’d be more worried if the government was identifying Peters as a target.

“The notion of assignment status to people is one of the things that’s uniquely within the province of the United States government,” he said. “…If you told me the government wrote it down, I’d probably have a different take on it. It’ll get more of my attention if it says it was signed by the United States of America.”

Asked if there was any reason to believe Peters is a target of federal investigators or could have been at any time, Marcus replied, “We don’t get into discussing cases.”

Vaughn’s lawyers who filed the court document, William Purpura and Teresa Whalen, did not respond to phone messages.

Elizabeth Morse, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, did not respond to phone messages left at her office over the past several days.

Vaughn was indicted by a federal grand jury in March on charges that he had received more than $10,000 in cash payments from liquor store owners in exchange for favorable legislation in Annapolis.

Vaughn had resigned from the House of Delegates in January, citing health reasons. But his resignation came immediately after two liquor store owners, Prince George’s County’s chief liquor board inspector and a member of the county liquor commission were arrested.

The county liquor scandal also involved former Del. Will Campos (D), who resigned abruptly in 2015 and pleaded guilty in January to bribery and conspiracy in a public corruption case involving the liquor industry.

In April, Young Jung Paig, who owned the Central Avenue Restaurant and Liquor Store in Seat Pleasant, pleaded guilty to paying bribes to Vaughn and Campos in exchange for their votes on state legislation that loosened Sunday liquor sales in Prince George’s County.

As the liquor scandal unfolded, political professionals in Annapolis and Upper Marlboro have wondered whether other Prince George’s politicians would become ensnared. But no elected officials other than Vaughn and Campos have been publicly named.

In their court filing in late June, Vaughn’s attorneys argue that the FBI engaged in electronic surveillance of their client based on affidavits that contained insufficient probable cause “and failed to utilize electronic eavesdropping as a last resort after the exhaustion of normal investigative procedures.”

The lawyers, Purpura and Whalen, argue that a federal judge should “suppress any and all wire communications and evidence derived and seized from illegally obtained communications.”

The U.S. attorney’s office has yet to file a response to Vaughn’s motion.

(MD) Baltimore Sen. Nathaniel Oaks indicted on nine fraud and bribery counts

By Michael Dresser

The Baltimore Sun
State Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks has been indicted on nine federal fraud and bribery counts in an action that supersedes the criminal charges brought against him in April.

Oaks, 70, is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to answer the charges within the next week or two, said Schneyder Metellus, a spokesman for the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. No date has been scheduled, he said.

The indictments handed up Wednesday by a federal grand jury follow a criminal complaint filed against Oaks in the final days of the General Assembly session that ended April 10.

That complaint alleged that Oaks committed wire fraud, depriving citizens of honest services. The indictments add three counts of wire fraud and five for violations of the Travel Act, which forbids the use of interstate facilities — in this case, cellphones — in criminal activity.

(MD) Baltimore Lawmaker Indicted For Accepting Payments To Help Businesses

The veteran Baltimore lawmaker, who served 28 years in the House of Delegates before he was appointed to the Senate in January to fill out the term of Sen. Lisa A. Gladden — who resigned for health reasons — is charged with taking part in a scheme to defraud the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in return for cash bribes.

Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning and Gordon B. Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore field office, announced the indictments Thursday. Neither Oaks nor his attorney, Stuart O. Simms, could be reached for comment.

According to prosecutors, Oaks faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud; 20 years for the single count of honest services wire fraud; and five years for each count of violations of the Travel Act. Actual federal guidelines for punishments specify significantly shorter prison terms.

The indictments largely track the charges laid out in April's complaint. They allege that an FBI confidential source met with Oaks in September 2015 and portrayed himself as a business person who wanted to obtain contracts with HUD in Baltimore through a minority-owned company.

The indictments say Oaks agreed to help by providing documents on House of Delegates letterhead containing false information and received $10,300 in cash bribes in May and July 2016.

Oaks is charged with accepting another $5,000 in September 2016 in return for his agreement to file a $250,000 bond bill request with the Department of Legislative Services for a project the confidential source was seeking. According to the indictments, Oaks' dealings with the FBI source were captured in audio and video recordings.

The indictments also seek forfeiture of at least $15,300, the amount Oaks is accused of accepting in bribes.

(Baltimore County, MD) Immigration enforcement could become hot county issue

By Barry RascovarCommunity Times

Over the next few weeks, Baltimore County will be Maryland's ground zero in the controversy over President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.

The three Republicans on the County Council, Todd Crandell, David Marks and Wade Kach, want the county jail to screen for illegal immigrants — a direct challenge to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz's order forbidding this practice.

A public hearing is set for May 30, with a vote by the council on June 5.

It's unlikely the bill will pass in that the four Democrats on the council oppose President Trump's anti-immigrant push.

But it is sure to be a point of conflict in next year's county elections.

Baltimore County is home to 43,000 Hispanics — a 600 percent increase since 1990. The Reisterstown Road corridor from the city line in Pikesville to Main Street in Reisterstown has seen a proliferation of Latino families in recent decades.

Nearly 9 percent of the county's 112,000 school students are Hispanic, a number that is growing.

The jail-screening bill calls for Baltimore County to become part of a federal program that trains jail officers to spot immigration violations through a federal database.

Two counties — Frederick and neighboring Harford — are on board and Anne Arundel has applied to join.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh warned them the federal program holds the potential to open counties to lawsuits over illegal racial profiling.

Kamenetz said the three Republicans on the council "are trying to frankly grandstand the issue in defiance, now, of the attorney general's opinion." Kamenetz said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Republicans, in turn, maintain Kamenetz, a Democrat who is eyeing a run for governor next year, is using the issue for his own political purposes.

Their point is underlined by Kamenetz's earlier order barring county law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of any individual they happen to encounter.

The executive order also states that the county cannot hold people detained in jail past their release dates just because a federal immigration agent makes such a request.

Frosh chimed in on that point, too, reminding jail officials across the state that a warrant from a judge is required if immigration officials want to keep a detainee under lock and key. Otherwise, he wrote the county might end up violating the constitutional ban on unlawful detention.

During this year's General Assembly session in Annapolis, Hispanic lawmakers tried to pass a bill limiting police cooperation with immigration officials — unless a signed warrant is presented. The bill also barred the state or counties from withholding benefits or discriminating against an individual based on immigration status.

State Sen. Bobby Zirkin, of Pikesville, found himself in the middle of this high-voltage issue. He chaired the committee working on the bill. The panel's watered-down version failed to find sufficient support to pass before adjournment.

Trump and Vice President Pence have warned that counties adopting "sanctuary" policies aimed at thwarting immigration enforcement could face a loss of federal aid.

Rep. Andy Harris, whose 1st District includes a portion of northern Baltimore County, criticized Kamenetz last November when the county executive came out in favor of protecting students from immigration enforcement efforts on college campuses in the county.

Harris called the county executive's move a "risky gambit" that "may result in budgetary consequences." Baltimore County receives $110 million in federal funds, though it is unclear if any of that money is at risk.

So get ready for a war of words over the immigration-enforcement issue in Towson in the coming weeks. It could get heated.


Why one group of Chinese Americans opposes 'sanctuary' cities?

March 31, 2017 · 5:15 PM EDT

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 9, 2017.


Courtesy of Bryan Cox/US Immigration and Customs Enforcement via Reuters

Recently, 27 members of a group calling itself the Maryland Chinese American Network showed up at a hearing in Annapolis, Maryland. They were there to testify against a bill that would make Maryland a so-called sanctuary state.

The bill would, among other things, prohibit jails from holding people for immigration reasons unless there’s a warrant.

Cheng Tu, the group's main organizer, explains that most in the Chinese American group had never spoken publicly before. But sanctuary laws angered them, Tu says, in part because they came here as legal immigrants.

Tu says sanctuary measures send a message to those immigrants who have followed the law in the US that, "Oh, it doesn’t matter any more."

Like most in his group, Tu came to the US in the 1990s as a graduate student. He stayed for an engineering job and now owns a consulting firm. Tu says one of his group’s greatest fears is that sanctuary laws will attract criminal immigrants. Those fears were stoked even more this month after two undocumented immigrants were charged with the alleged rape of a Maryland high school student.

But the Chinese American group’s harsh comments about immigrants don’t sit well with some.

"I’m startled," said Debbie Chen, who came to the US from Taiwan when she was 2. She brought statistics to a hearing on the Maryland state sanctuary bill that showed crime levels have dropped in parts of the state with sanctuary policies. "Just listening to the testimony, you’d think we were in midst of some kind of major crime wave," Chen said at the hearing.

A few days later at a restaurant, Chen says she decided to speak at the hearing when she realized the opposition group would be there, "to show that there were other Asian Americans, Chinese Americans who were for the bill."

Jim Huang also got angry during one of the public forums. His parents came to the US in the 1990s as students, just like those in the group opposing sanctuary. Chinese students got special treatment at that time, he says. After the deadly Tiananmen Square protests, the US made it easy for many of them to stay in the country and work. "And to have the same people then come out and say a proposed law is somehow providing special privileges to people who didn’t start with the same privileges that they had was really enraging."

But Tu says not everyone in his group benefited from special treatment. And, he does think undocumented people in the US should have a path to citizenship. But sanctuary policies, he says, just undermine the rule of law. "We know how lawlessness can bring down a country," he says. "Cultural revolution ... 20 million people died because there’s no law. Just Chairman Mao says something and then people die. The rule of law. We don’t want that to be weakened."

Some Republicans, meanwhile, are delighted to see the Chinese American group oppose sanctuary laws. A Maryland Republican committee featured a picture of the group on its website.

For Tu what’s more important is that his community is taking a stand in local politics for the first time. "We’re very proud that we did this," he says. "We are Americans and we are going to use our civic duties very well from now on."

(Rockville, MD) Rally For Accountability Of the MC BOE - 3/30/2017




我记得Howard county 亚裔比例比较高的?




州里去作证反对的除我们华人,都是professional, 其中一个白人代表一个全国性组织,一个黑人代表一个local组织,Sheriff Jenkins 代表的是全马里兰的sheriff association,黑白都有。(他经过这件事和我们结下了深厚友谊,邀我们近期内去他管辖监狱参观)。 这些组织当然不用去很多人,一个人就代表几千个, 几万个了。还有个组织是带了3700份签名去的。我们华人没有大组织,只能靠个人去了。这位作者搞不清状况,只数去的人头,贻笑大方了。









加州的恶性例子告诉我们,非移的出路在哪里?撞死华人,他就合法化了, 坐4年牢,出来就是公民了。华人现在连生命都受到威胁了。

3 illegal alien MS-13 gang members charged with murder of 17-year-old Raymond Wood in Roanoke -


我倒是想知道是什么样的华人支持sanctuary city?