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Chuck Rosenburg Selected to Head DEA

   (DPA) - 5/30/2015 - A senior F.B.I. official and former U.S. attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, has been selected by President Obama as acting director of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Rosenberg has served as the chief of staff to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, for the past 18 months.
   Outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month in the wake of numerous scandals. She came under intense criticism for opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and for opposing the administration’s hands-off approach in the four states that have approved legal regulation of marijuana.
   The DEA has existed for more than 40 years but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities, the surveillance state, and other drug war problems. Congress has rarely scrutinized the agency, its actions or its budget, instead showing remarkable deference to the DEA’s administrators. That has started to change recently, and Leonhart’s departure was seen as an opportunity to appoint someone who will overhaul the agency and support reform.
   “The new DEA chief has a tough job ahead,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Let’s hope he’s in line with the political consensus in favor of scaling back mass incarceration and the worst harms of the drug war.”The Drug Policy Alliance’s online campaign has raised awareness of the damage the DEA is causing, and the organization and its allies have been working with members of Congress to cut the agency’s budget and reduce its power.
   The DPA recently placed a mock “Help Wanted” ad in Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that highlights the major flaws with Leonhart’s regime – and that lays out all the problems that the next DEA administrator must try to avoid. The tongue-in-cheek ad sought a new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to “prolong the failed war on drugs,” with primary areas of job responsibility to include “Mass Incarceration,” “Police State Tactics,” “Obstruction of Science,” “Subverting Democracy” and “Undermining Human Rights.”
   “Drug prohibition, like alcohol Prohibition, breeds crime, corruption, and violence – and creates a situation where law enforcement officers must risk their lives in a fight that can’t be won,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s time to reform not just the DEA but broader U.S. and global drug policy. The optimal drug policy would reduce the role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control to the greatest extent possible, while protecting public safety and health.”
   DPA also recently released a new issue brief, The Scandal-Ridden DEA: Everything You Need to Know. The brief covers numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the inappropriate use of NSA resources to spy on U.S. citizens and the use of fabricated evidence to cover it up, the warrantless tracking of billions of U.S. phone calls, and the misuse of confidential informants. The brief notes that the traditional U.S. drug policy goal of using undercover work, arrests, prosecutions, incarceration, interdiction and source-country eradication to try to make America "drug-free" has failed to substantially reduce drug use or drug-related harms. It instead has created problems of its own – broken families, increased poverty, racial disparities, wasted tax dollars, prison overcrowding and eroded civil liberties.
   Even as U.S. states, Congress, and the Obama Administration move forward with marijuana legalization, sentencing reform, and other drug policy reforms, the DEA has fought hard to preserve the failed policies of the past. Last year, Leonhart publicly rebuked President Obama for saying that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and spoke out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama administration is supporting.
  The DEA also has a long history of obstructing scientific research and refusing to acknowledge established science, as chronicled in a report by DPA and MAPS last year, The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science. DEA administrators, including Leonhart, have on several occasions ignored research and overruled the DEA’s own administrative law judges on the medical uses of marijuana and MDMA.
   In a recent report the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General found that the DEA withheld information and obstructed investigations. In a hearing last week senators grilled the DEA for failing to provide information and answer basic questions. “It’s been now eight months — I still don’t have a response from DEA to these questions,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said. “When we don’t get responses to our letters, that colors our view of the agency — particularly when we’re writing about a constituent who suffered from a real lapse in process,” Senator Diane Feinstein said.
   Last year Congress passed a spending limitation amendment prohibiting the DEA from undermining state marijuana laws. It was signed into law by President Obama, but expires later this year. The U.S. House also approved two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws. An amendment to shift $5 million from the agency to a rape kit testing program passed overwhelmingly. Numerous hearings have already been held this year scrutinizing the agency. Reformers say more amendments, bills, and hearings are on the way.
- See more at: http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2015/05/president-obama-selects-chuck-rosenberg-head-beleaguered-us-drug-enforcement-administra#sthash.FLNnsyuq.dpuf
   Source: Drug Policy Alliance

Securities lawyer, promoters, face fraud charges

   Washington D.C., May 26, 2015  — The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that fraud charges have been filed against a securities lawyer who used his New York law office as the headquarters for planning and implementing market manipulation schemes. Also charged are two stock promoters from Canada who assisted him.
   The SEC alleges that Adam S. Gottbetter orchestrated promotional campaigns that touted the prospects of microcap companies and enticed investors to buy their stock at inflated prices so he and his cohorts could sell shares they controlled and reap massive profits. Gottbetter enlisted Mitchell G. Adam and K. David Stevenson to help him in the last of three schemes he conducted in a six-year period. They repeatedly cautioned each other about the dangers of missteps that might draw law enforcement attention to the scheme, such as failing to keep secret the identities of Adam and Stevenson. The three rehearsed stories they would tell if ever questioned by law enforcement. During one meeting in New York City, Gottbetter complained about the difficulties of stock manipulation but conceded that robbing a bank was the only other way to make so much money so quickly.
    Gottbetter agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle the SEC’s charges. Stevenson also agreed to settle the SEC charges against him while a case against Adam will be litigated in federal court in Newark, N.J.
    In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Gottbetter, Adam, and Stevenson.
   “As a securities lawyer, Gottbetter should have served as a gatekeeper and protected the capital markets and investors from fraudsters. Instead, he swung the gates wide open and illicitly profited at investors’ expense,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
    According to the SEC’s complaint, Gottbetter was involved in the manipulation of the stocks of Kentucky USA Energy Inc. (KYUS) and Dynastar Holdings Inc. (DYNA) before teaming up with Adam and Stevenson in July 2013 to utilize their offshore ties for a new and potentially more lucrative scheme. Together they schemed to drive up the stock price for purported oil and gas exploration company HBP Energy Corp. (HBPE) through fraudulent trades generated by a trading algorithm. They then planned to launch an extensive promotional campaign featuring multiple call centers, roadshows, and a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. After creating the false appearance of liquidity and investor interest, they planned to dump their shares of the stock on unsuspecting investors around the world. While Stevenson and Adam managed to do some small coordinated trades, the scheme was thwarted before the planned manipulation and promotion could be launched when Stevenson was arrested by the FBI.
    The SEC’s complaint alleges that Gottbetter violated Sections 5(a), 5(c) and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and violated and aided and abetted violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. The complaint alleges that Adam and Stevenson violated and aided and abetted violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.
    Gottbetter agreed to be barred from the penny stock industry in addition to paying $4.6 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest from ill-gotten gains in the Kentucky USA Energy manipulation scheme. He consented to injunctions against future violations. Stevenson also agreed to be barred from the penny stock industry and consented to an injunction against future violations. The settlements are subject to court approval.
    The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Simona Suh of the Market Abuse Unit and Nancy A. Brown and Elzbieta Wraga of the New York office. The case was supervised by Amelia A. Cottrell and Michael J. Osnato Jr. The SEC’s litigation against Adam will be led by Ms. Brown and Ms. Suh. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Newark Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
   Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Executive Sentenced For Insider Trading Scheme

  (RPC) - 5/12/2015 - Former chief information officer of Foundry Networks, Inc. David Riley was sentenced on April 27 to 78 months in prison for his participation in an insider trading scheme that yielded approximately $39 million in ill-gotten gains. Foundary Networks is a California-based technology company that was acquired by Brocade Communications, Inc., in 2008. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.
   Riley was convicted following a 13-day trial in September 2014 in which the jury unanimously concluded that Riley passed inside information about Foundry’s acquisition by Brocade and about Foundry’s earnings for the first quarter of 2008 to Matthew Teeple, a former analyst for San Francisco-based hedge fund Artis Capital Management, L.P. Teeple pled guilty to related charges in May 2014 and was sentenced principally to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert P. Patterson on October 16, 2014.
    “David Riley took advantage of his insider position at Foundry Networks to funnel sensitive nonpublic financial information to Matthew Teeple. This inside information enabled Teeple’s firm to reap nearly $40 million in illegal profits. This conduct has now earned Riley more than six years in federal prison," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said
    According to the Superseding Indictment filed February 20, 2014, other court documents, and the evidence presented at trial: As CIO and a Vice President at Foundry, Riley had access to monthly and quarterly financial reporting, along with other sensitive, nonpublic information relating to Foundry, well before such information became public. RILEY provided this Inside Information to Teeple – sometimes by telephone and sometimes during meetings the two arranged in the San Jose, California, area. On several occasions, RILEY spoke with Teeple while logged into the database that Foundry used to maintain sensitive financial information. The Inside Information that Riley passed to Teeple included quarterly financial performance numbers during the first quarter of 2008 and information regarding Brocade’s intended acquisition of Foundry in July 2008.
   Teeple passed the Inside Information he obtained from Riley on to others, including others at Artis. From the Inside Information Teeple provided about Foundry, Artis ultimately reaped gains of approximately $39 million.  
   In addition to the prison sentence he received, Riley, 48, of San Jose, California, was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000.
   Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has filed civil charges in a separate action.
   Source: Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

ELECTION COUNTDOWN: Black Leaders Declare Sept. 18 National Black Voter Day

NEW YORK - (BUSINESS WIRE) - 7/26/2020 - In partnership with the National Urban League and other key civil rights organizations, BET has announced the next phase of its #ReclaimYourVote campaign, which declares the first-ever National Black Voter Day to be recognized on Sept. 18, 2020. The announcement comes 100 days out from election day and aims to energize and galvanize black voters nationwide to take collective action toward civic engagement. The date coincides with the country’s first early voting day, in South Dakota and Minnesota – the latter being ground zero of the fight for racial justice since the killing of George Floyd.