Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernard Madoff gets maximum 150 years in prison

NEW YORK (AP) -- Convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for a fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a message to potential imitators and to victims who demanded harsh punishment.

Scattered applause and whoops broke out in the crowded Manhattan courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued the maximum sentence to the 71-year-old defendant, who said he lives "in a tormented state now, knowing all the pain and suffering I've created."

Chin rejected a request by Madoff's lawyer for leniency and said he disagreed that victims of the Ponzi scheme were seeking mob vengeance.

"Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll," Chin said.

The judge said the estimate that Madoff has cost his victims more than $13 billion was conservative because it did not include money from feeder funds.

"Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering," he said.

Chin announced the sentence with Madoff standing at the defense table, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a tie, and looking thinner than his last court appearance in March. He gave no noticeable reaction when the sentence was announced.

He also showed no emotion earlier in the hearing as he listened to nine victims spend nearly an hour describing their despair. Some openly wept. Others raised their voices in anger.

"Life has been a living hell. It feels like the nightmare we can't wake from," said Carla Hirshhorn.

"He stole from the rich. He stole from the poor. He stole from the in between. He had no values," said Tom Fitzmaurice. "He cheated his victims out of their money so he and his wife Ruth could live a life of luxury beyond belief."

Dominic Ambrosino called it an "indescribably heinous crime" and urged a long prison sentence so "will know he is imprisoned in much the same way he imprisoned us and others."

He added: "In a sense, I would like somebody in the court today to tell me, how long is my sentence?"

When asked by the judge whether he had anything to say, Madoff slowly stood, leaned forward on the defense table and spoke in a monotone for about 10 minutes. At various times, he referred to his historic fraud as a "problem," "an error of judgment" and "a tragic mistake."

He claimed he and his wife were tormented, saying she "cries herself to sleep every night, knowing all the pain and suffering I have caused," he said. "That's something I live with, as well."

He then finally looked at the victims lining the first row of the gallery.

"I will turn and face you," he said. "I'm sorry. I know that doesn't help you."

Afterward, Ruth Madoff -- often a target of victims' scorn since her husband's arrest -- broke her silence by issuing a statement through her lawyer. She said she, too, had been misled.

"I am embarrassed and ashamed," she said. "Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."

Prosecutor Lisa Baroni said Madoff deserved a life sentence because he "stole ruthlessly and without remorse."

The jailed Madoff already has taken a severe financial hit: Last week, a judge issued a preliminary $171 billion forfeiture order stripping Madoff of all his personal property, including real estate, investments and $80 million in assets Ruth Madoff had claimed were hers. The order left her with $2.5 million.

The terms require the Madoffs to sell a $7 million Manhattan apartment where Ruth Madoff still lives. An $11 million estate in Palm Beach, Fla., a $4 million home on Long Island and a $2.2 million boat will be put on the market, as well.

Before Madoff became a symbol of Wall Street greed, he earned a reputation as a trusted money manager with a Midas touch. Even as the market fluctuated, clients of his secretive investment advisory business -- from Florida retirees to celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax -- for decades enjoyed steady double-digit returns.

But late last year, Madoff made a dramatic confession: Authorities say he pulled his sons aside and told them it was "all just one big lie."

Madoff pleaded guilty in March to securities fraud and other charges, saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed." He insisted that he acted alone, describing a separate wholesale stock-trading firm run by his sons and brother as honest and legitimate.

Aside from an accountant accused of cooking Madoff's books, no one else has been criminally charged. But the family, including his wife, and brokerage firms that recruited investors have come under intense scrutiny by the FBI, regulators and a court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff's assets.

The trustee and prosecutors have sought to go after assets to compensate thousands of burned victims who have filed claims against Madoff. How much is available to pay them remains unknown, though it's expected to be only a fraction of the astronomical losses associated with the fraud.

The $171 billion forfeiture figure used by prosecutors merely mirrors the amount they estimate that, over decades, "flowed into the principal account to perpetrate the Ponzi scheme." The statements sent to investors showing their accounts were worth as much as $65 billion were fiction.

The investigation has found that in reality, Madoff never made any investments, instead using the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients -- and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family.

In bankruptcy filings, Trustee Irving Picard say family members "used customers accounts as though they were their own," putting Madoff's maid, boat captain and house-sitter in Florida on the company payroll and paying nearly $1 million in fees at high-end golf clubs on Long Island and in Florida.

Picard has sought to reclaim ill-gotten gains by freezing Madoff's business bank accounts and selling legitimate portions of his firm. (Its season tickets for the Mets went for $38,100.) He's also sued big money managers and investors for billions of dollars, claiming they were Madoff cronies who also cashed in on the fraud.

The defendants include leading philanthropists Stanley Chais and Jeffry Picower -- from whom Picard is seeking at least $5.1 billion alleged to have come out of victims' pockets -- and hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin. All have denied any wrongdoing.


Weird Creatures Found on Deep-Sea "Mountain Range"

Abundant new and rare marine species have been discovered on a deep-sea mountain range in the middle of the North Atlantic, scientists say.

Exotic worms, colorful corals, unusual sea cucumbers, and a plethora of weird fish are among the creatures that scientists spotted on a recent expedition to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater range that divides the North Atlantic Ocean in two
At least one new species, a tiny crustacean called a seed shrimp, is likely new to science, researchers said.

Another exciting find was a "spiral poo worm," an animal first identified in 2005 that deposits spiral-shaped feces, some of which have been found in the fossil record dating back hundreds of millions of years.

"We found lots of these primitive species," said expedition leader Monty Priede, director of the Oceanlab research center at Britain's University of Aberdeen.

The expedition brought together an international team of 31 scientists coordinated by the Norway-based MAR-ECO project and the global Census of Marine Life program initiative.

(See photos of deep-sea creatures discovered in Antarctica this year.)

Over five weeks, the researchers explored and mapped more than 1,500 square miles (3,900 square kilometers) of the deep-sea ridge between Iceland and the Azores islands off Portugal (see Europe map).

"It was like going to a new country," Priede said.

Undersea Alps

Using the latest technology, including remotely operated underwater vehicles, the researchers were able to observe creatures living between depths of 2,600 and 11,500 feet (800 and 3,500 meters).

Until now this region of the ocean had scarcely been explored because of its remoteness and depth.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson dies:survived by three children

We've just learned Michael Jackson has died. He was 50.

Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back.

A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived. A cardiologist at UCLA tells TMZ Jackson died of cardiac arrest.

Once at the hospital, the staff tried to resuscitate him but he was completely unresponsive.

A source inside the hospital told us there was "absolute chaos" after Jackson arrrived. People who were with the singer were screaming, "You've got to save him! You've got to save him!"

We're told one of the staff members at Jackson's home called 911.

La Toya ran in the hospital sobbing after Jackson was pronounced dead.

Michael is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II.


Friday, June 19, 2009

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Koreans gang-rape Nigerian house girl …In Port Harcourt

Two Koreans at the Mbiama base of a popular Korean firm, Daewoo Nigeria Limited, Rivers State, are at the center of a sex scandal that is now a subject matter before an Ahoada Magistrate Court in the state.

One of them, Mr. Moon, is the company’s General Manager, Engineering and Construction.
Their accuser is Miss Juliet Agada, an erstwhile housekeeper employed by one of the company’s contractors, Ekine and Davids, who alleged that her sack was as a result of her failure to satisfy the sexual demands of the Koreans, Messrs Moon and Jang.

Juliet’s lawyer, Mrs. Hilda Desmond-Ihekaire, is demanding a whopping N44million from the Koreans.
The girl is also urging the Ahoada Magistrate Court to issue a warrant of arrest against the two accused expatriates.

Induced ejaculation
In one of the two sworn affidavits in support of her case, Juliet alleged that in the course of performing her duties, Mr. Moon sexually harassed her, “on many occasions”.
Citing a specific incident, she deposed that on November 7 last year, “Mr. Moon sexually harassed me again by forcing me against my wish to massage him until he ejaculated,” adding that when she resisted him, he threatened to instigate her sack.

Black monkey
Alleging further that, “Mr. Moon always called me a black monkey who should be grateful that he asked me to massage him,” Juliet stated that, “Mr. Moon had been using me as his sex toy by compelling me to do all sorts of things to assuage his sexual appetite.”
In the case of Mr. Jang, the sacked Housekeeper deposed that, “from the time I started this work, Mr. Jang has been making inordinate sexual demands on me.”

Two dollars per round
She recalled that on September 18, 2007, the Korean gave her two dollars for sex with him and when she failed to keep an evening appointment that day, he gave her extra N5,000 the next day, “and demanded to sleep with me instantly.”

Brutal sex
She further averred that in spite of her plea that he allows her “a little time to come back later (sic) in the day,” he locked the door, “pulled down his
trousers, held my hands and tried to force himself on me.”
But according to the girl, she managed to open the door and fled.
She alleged that the Korean later came back demanded his money, threatening to deal with her, “by all means”.

However, in their separate sworn affidavits in support of a motion filed by the Koreans through their lawyer Dennis Otiotio, four former colleagues of Juliet at the Base, Miss Mercy Ekine, Miss Sueiza Garris, Miss Joy Ekine and the camp boss, Mr. Okah Emmanuel, denied the allegations against the Koreans, stressing that Juliet never complained to them of any sexual harassment or assault by the Koreans.

Theft allegation
Instead, they alleged that her sack was due to, “series of complaints of theft in Camp A” where she served, an allegation the complainant equally denied.
Also, the landlord to Daewoo and owner of the contractor-firm that employed Juliet for the housekeeping job at the Base, Chief Okari Ekine, stated that throughout the period she worked in the camp, Juliet “never told me as her employer, that she was been (sic) sexually harassed or assaulted” by the Koreans.
The trial Magistrate, Mrs. Kariba Draids, fixed Tuesday, March 4, for further hearing of the matter.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Sixth-grader stabbed by classmate

YUCCA VALLEY — A 12-year-old boy’s lung was punctured when a fellow sixth-grader stabbed him after school Wednesday afternoon.The boy’s father said Friday he is recovering in an area hospital, where doctors performed emergency surgery to put a drainage tube in his chest.

“He’s been in terrible pain,” said the Yucca Valley man, who asked that his family’s identity be withheld.The stabbing occurred after the victim was told the other boy, who is 13, had inappropriately touched a female friend of the victim. The victim confronted the older boy about the incident and told him not to touch the girl again.
The victim’s father said he was told the 13-year-old brought a knife to school Wednesday and told others he intended to use it to stab the boy who had confronted him.
The man learned that after classes, as groups of students walked home from school, the boy with the knife asked the 12-year-old if he was afraid and showed him the weapon.

The 12-year-old pushed the 13-year-old to the ground, but the older boy got up and stabbed the victim under the arm.
Bleeding, the victim stanched the wound with a towel he happened to have because the school had hosted a field day and walked about a half-mile to a friend’s house.

“All of a sudden my son ran in the door. ‘Dad, Dad, (my friend) was stabbed! He’s bleeding!” said Tracy Hunter, mom to the victim’s best friend.

Hunter’s husband called the victim’s father.
“I raced down there, picked him up and raced him right to the hospital,” the man said.

By Friday, the boy’s condition was improving and his family hoped he would be released today.

They are torn between pride that their son stood up for a friend and regret that he didn’t tell the authorities instead of confronting a fellow student himself.

“He stands up against bullies. That sometimes gets him into trouble,” said his father.

The boy also missed his sixth-grade promotion Friday, where he was scheduled to get the President’s Award for Academics.

The suspect was taken to juvenile hall.

The victim’s father said he was told the district attorney did not intend to press charges, something Deputy District Attorney Karen Martinez could neither confirm nor deny since the suspect is a juvenile and protected by strict privacy laws.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Man Bear Pig in Left 4 Dead 2?... Sure! Why not!

Man Bear Pig in Left 4 Dead. Read and Watch the full Video HERE and drop your comments


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