An interesting defense
From today's Miami Herald-
A former top executive of giant Miami engineering firm PBS&J was charged Monday in a $36 million embezzlement scheme and in the contribution of $11,000 to the campaign of Florida U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez through ``strawmen.''
The charges came out of a federal grand jury investigation into the embezzlement and whether PBS&J illegally reimbursed employees for thousands of dollars in political contributions to disguise their source. Ex-Chief Financial Officer W. Scott DeLoach and two former underlings also cited in the investigation, Maria Garcia and Rosario Licata, waived indictment Monday in federal court. Their lawyers said they will plead guilty, possibly by the end of the week.
The charges are a first step in an unfolding scandal at one of South Florida's biggest companies, with almost 4,000 employees. The case also carries national implications because PBS&J does business with and contributes to politicians across the country. Fort Lauderdale attorney Benson Weintraub, one of Garcia's lawyers, said he expects other company officials and possibly the company itself to be indicted as the investigation continues.
''This is just the tip of the iceberg,'' Weintraub said.
Mark Schnapp, a Miami lawyer for PBS&J, acknowledged that company money apparently was used in the 1990s to make illegal reimbursements but said they ``were not of any significant magnitude.''
''Charges shouldn't be on the table, and as far as I know they aren't,'' Schnapp said.
Schnapp said DeLoach carried out the reimbursement scheme described by the government in court papers alone to put ''himself into a highly visible position in the Mel Martinez campaign.'' He did not elaborate.
PBS&J has made more than $500,000 in political contributions since 2003. The alleged scheme to repay contributions emerged during a probe into the embezzlement led by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI, which has gone on for a year.
99% of the time, people and businesses who contribute money to campaigns are looking for some kind of favor in return. That's why I agree with the saying politics is the 2nd oldest profession. Just like the first, prostitutes, they take money for a favor.(They both want to screw you too)
I find Mr. Schnapp's admission about contributions a little mind boggling. Isn't he hurting his defendant's case? He certainly isn't helping PBS&J, for if they admit illegal reimbursements in the 90's, who is to believe they still weren't doing it this decade?
Campaign finance laws are counter-productive for the most part. The laws don't stop those who make contributions from finding loopholes with the help of lawyers in addition to giving incumbents more of an advantage than they have already. Money rules politics and always has.
Linked to- Bullwinkle Blog, Bright & Early,