Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drugs, Embezzelment, Kick-Backs, and Money Laundering

A few cases involving Nazareth area residents were in the news of late featuring drugs, embezzlement, kick-backs, and money laundering. Wow, all of that in Nazareth. A quick run down and a few thoughts.

Most recently, John Markus/John Salama was charged with money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the US, and accepting kick-backs. As noted yesterday based on an article in the Star-Ledger, he is alleged to have received over one million dollars from a company wanting to do business with the US government in Iraq. Today’s Express-Times indicates the amount was over $500,000.

Also in the Express-Times was an article on Dennis Solt, age 60, who embezzled $120,000 from Schoeneck Moravian Church. Solt, from Lower Nazareth Township has repaid $115,000 of the money and his charges were reduced from felony to misdemeanor. Solt plans to apply for ARD which if accepted and completed would remove any conviction from his record.

And a few weeks back there was the story about 17 year olds, Ryan Krecker and Franco Ferraina, who were charged with a felony for possession and intent to distribute marijuana. They had $143 dollars and some product in their possession, confessed to having smoked some, and to having sold 2 ounces at the Park earlier that day. There was a lot of talk about the 17 year olds “getting off easy” because they participated in cross country to avoid being suspended during wrestling season. What seems to have been lost in that discussion is the fact that they still face felony charges, along with misdemeanor ones.

The 60 year old, Solt, who embezzled to support his day trading losses, had his sentence reduced to a misdemeanor and it could be wiped clean from his record if he is accepted into ARD. This individual didn’t take money one time and repent, he did it one hundred and eighty-eight times before getting caught and in doing so stole $120,000 from a church. In all likelihood, this money came from people, neighbors, friends, who donated to the church, and some of whom probably are going through some tough financial times themselves right now.

And now we have the Bushkill resident who fed information to a foreigner wanting to secure business with the US government in Iraq. In exchange for the inside information, Markus received hundreds of thousands of dollars, potentially over one million, so he could live comfortably in his Bushkill Township estate. Who knows what impact of having this company provide service in Iraq is to his former fellow soldiers? He potentially could have put many at risk. Depending on the information he provided, there could potentially be other charges filed against him in addition to the kick-backs and money laundering.

Comparing these cases, none of which has gone to trial at this point in time, it is interesting to see how the public and media response has been to each of these. I suspect the Markus case will get a lot of attention – I saw alerts from a variety of news organizations all over the NY, PA, NJ area yesterday, but Solt pretty much flew under the radar with his white collar crime compared to the attention and charges against the minors. What do you think?

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker

1 comment:

googoo said...

excuse me Solt embezzled over $100,000 and gets ARD, whats wrong with this picture? There are people out there that have taken a heck of a lot less and have gotten a harsher punishment!