The Daily Muck

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April 21, 2009 5:30 a.m.

Armed guards who once worked for the defense contracting company Blackwater Worldwide — now renamed “Xe” — will remain in Iraq much longer than was previously reported, government officials told the AP Monday. Xe guards will continue work in Southern Baghdad and the company’s aviation wing will continue to provide air security for U.S. diplomats through September. After a group of Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians in late 2007, the Iraqi government refused to renew Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq. Last month, the State Department announced that it would replace Xe with Triple Canopy as its primary defense contractor in Iraq. But these statements by government officials show that the change is taking longer than once thought. (AP)A California federal judge said Monday that he will review records of FBI investigations into southern California Muslim groups who claim they were spied on inappropriately. As part of a three-year court battle by the ACLU and the Muslim groups, Judge Cormac Carney ordered the FBI to turn over more than 100 pages of evidence and electronic surveillance information that the agency has against the 11 Muslim groups. Upon review, Carney will decide whether the documents should be released to the public or protected by federal law. (LA Times)

Testifying in the trial against a U.S. Marshall Monday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said that John Ambrose admitted to leaking information about a former mob boss he was assigned to guard in the witness protection program. Ambrose is accused of stealing information related to Nicholas Calabrese, a key witness in Chicago’s 2007 “Family Secrets” trial targeting top mob officials, and giving the information to John “No Nose” DiFronzo, a reported mob boss. In his testimony, Fitzgerald said that Ambrose admitted to the leak in 2006, saying “I bleeped up, I shot my mouth off… but it’s not what you think.” Ambrose has since denied wrongdoing, and his attorneys tried to block Fitzgerald’s testimony because Ambrose was not read his Miranda rights before the alleged admission of guilt. (Chicago Tribune)

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against Bernard Madoff ordered the seizure of Madoff’s assets Monday in an ongoing effort to secure funds to repay victims of the infamous money manager’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. In the order, Judge Denny Chin said that so far, attempts to recover Madoff’s assets have been “disjointed and uncoordinated” and suggested that an interim trustee be appointed to coordinate recovery of the assets. U.S. and international authorities have already seized Madoff’s Palm Beach mansion, a number of boats, and vehicles connected to the Madoff family. The trustee will work alongside Irving Picard, a court-appointed trustee responsible for winding down Madoff’s brokerage firm. (Reuters)

Sir Allen Stanford asked a federal appeals court Monday to intervene in the civil case filed by the SEC which accuses Stanford of running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. Among other requests, Stanford asked the appeals court to overturn a lower court’s decision to freeze his assets and appoint Ralph Janvey to oversee Stanford’s businesses. Stanford has asked the lower judge on multiple occasions to unfreeze his assets so that he can hire criminal defense lawyers. (Reuters)

In civil charges filed Monday, the SEC accused a Pennsylvania money manager of running a Ponzi scheme and using investor dollars to fund his lavish lifestyle. The SEC charged Tony Young, an investment advisor and polo player, with stealing $20 million from investors to buy a boat and home in Florida, several cars, and polo horses. The scam became a Ponzi scheme, the SEC says, when Young began paying off debts with funds provided by new investors. A federal judge approved a restraining order Friday and froze the assets of Young’s investment fund. (Wall Street Journal)

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