Breaking: Robert Felner Finally Indicted

The hammer is coming down. Robert Felner was just indicted on charges of misusing federal grants. And we hear this is only the first round.

Ten counts of mail fraud, money-laundering conspiracy and income-tax evasion.

Thomas Schroeder is in on it, too.

Check it out:

A federal grand jury in Louisville charged Felner, 58, with 10 counts of mail fraud, money-laundering conspiracy and income-tax evasion.

The 45-page indictment says that Felner and Thomas Schroeder, 58, of Illinois, took $1.7 million from the Rhode Island school and about $576,000 from U of L, and attempted to embezzle another $240,000 from U of L.

Felner, who resigned from U of L earlier this year, also allegedly failed to report $1.6 million in income from 2002 to 2007 and allegedly owes $500,000 in federal taxes, U.S. Attorney Dave Huber said in a news release.

We’ll have more in an hour or so.

From the OAG: Identity Thief Arrested

Attorney General Jack Conway’s office just announced that the criminal investigation a crazy identity theft situation spanning three states has resulted in an arrest. Alvaro Rojas, 21, of Lexington was arrested in Georgetown on Tuesday on charges of identity thef, a Class D felony.

He posted 10% of his $5,000 bail (just $500) and awaits a November 16th court date in Scott County.

Investigators with the Office of Attorney General started examining the case when a Texas man filed his 2007 taxes only to learn that people in three other states were using his social security number for employment purposes.

The maximum sentence for identity theft ranges from one to five years in prison, if convicted.

Big Mean Internets Gambling Update

The Justice Cabinet just released a statement indicating that illegal gambling sites are beginning to comply with an earlier ruling

Apparently several of these sites have begun blocking access to Kentucky users. But don’t forget that it’s impossible to always know for certain if someone is within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You can close accounts of Kentuckians but that’s about it.

Here’s part of the release:

In advance of the forfeiture hearing, operators of these sites have already begun blocking Kentucky users. For example, notified Kentucky account holders on Tuesday that the site will “no longer accept play from residents of Kentucky,” and that users’ accounts were being closed.

Registrars in the United States and foreign countries have complied with the court’s order and transferred the domain names to an account held by the Commonwealth.

Steve Henry Campaign Finance Corruption Update

Mark Hebert just reported that the Henry investigation is on hold.

WHAS has learned of new developments in the criminal investigation of former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry.

The 16 month investigation has stalled because the part-time prosecutor says he doesn’t have the time or staff to review the findings.

Meanwhile, Henry continues to insist he has done nothing wrong.

WHAS11 reporter Mark Hebert broke the story of possible campaign donation irregularities involving Henry last year and he has been following the state police investigation.

Kentucky State Police tell WHAS11 News they’ve wrapped up their lengthy criminal investigation of Henry. The problem now is finding a prosecutor with the time to read the case and decide if Henry committed a crime.

Click here to read the rest.

Mark Hebert didn’t break anything last year. Mark Nickolas did when I gave him the information he needed to write his stories (after Democratic law enforcement officials IGNORED our complaints for several weeks). Then Ryan Alessi “broke” the major stories. Hebert did follow-up interviews with Henry and Leslie Holland.

Henry had this to say:

As for Henry, he says he repeatedly checked with state and federal campaign finance regulators to make sure he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He believes the criminal investigation was politically motivated.

Which is absolute BUNK. Absolutely not true. I produced evidence that proves otherwise and you’ll eventually see it all when this investigation comes to a close. So did many, many others. Further, I know first-hand that KSP investigators worked diligently on the case and left no stone unturned. They deserve a medal or something similar for the amount of work they did.

We call on Attorney General Jack Conway to move this case forward. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has been waiting for nearly two years for this investigation to come to an end. We deserve to know the findings of the investigation. We deserve to know the truth about what happened.

P.S. The investigation goes way deeper than just Steve Henry’s old U.S. Senate account. That just scratches the surface.

Candidate Shoots, Misses, Gets Arrested

John Albers, a Republican candidate for State Senate in District 35, was arrested last night on charges of wanton endangerment (a felony), menacing and fourth degree assault. (This is where you yell, “OH SNAP!”)

Albers, 35, lives in Old Louisville at 1036 S. Sixth St. He is on the ballot to face incumbent Denise Harper Angel (D-35) and independent Scott Ritcher, who just filed for the seat Monday.

It’s hilarious. According to an arrest warrant, on Aug. 6 Albers approached a man named Ricky Lester at 6th and St. Catherine and yelled at him, accusing him of stealing something belonging to Albers. From the report: “Deft (Albers) then grabbed aft (Lester) by the front of his shirt and told aft that he wanted his stuff back or he would kill aft.”

After Lester ran off, Albers chased him in a van, pulled out a handgun and shot at the fleeing Lester.

Two days earlier, Albers reportedly approached Lester wanting to know where his “breaker” was. He then punched him in the eye, pulled and cocked a gun and was “telling aft that he was getting ready to kill aft.”

Local Republican Party Chairman Brad Cummings said Albers wasn’t getting any support from the party, as he’d attempted to reach him and was unable to get through.

Folks, we are not making this stuff up.

Wasted Money at Western Kentucky University

Man, the high-dollar swindling of higher education is rampant!

A probe at Western Kentucky University has revealed that former professor Katrina Phelps could have swindled $33,000 from federal grants totaling more than $4.8 million. Though, that $33K amount could change as the investigation moves along.

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny any investigations involving Phelps, said James Hendricks, senior supervisory agent at the FBI in Bowling Green.

In July 2007, a former WKU student reported concerns regarding possible fraud in two federally funded community outreach programs, according to WKU documents. The programs provided structured activities for at-risk youth during out-of-school hours.
The U.S. Department of Justice removed Phelps as the ALIVE Center’s contact on grants on Oct. 25 and Phelps was removed from all ALIVE Center duties Nov. 2. She subsequently turned in her resignation Nov. 8 and formally left WKU in December.
WKU declined open records requests for additional information involving its internal investigation of allegations against Phelps or for copies of the audits done by the university, saying that those records have been part of a subpoena by the FBI.

“The university declines to release any related records because the records are being and have been compiled in the process of detecting and investigating statutory violations, and the disclosure of the information would harm the agency by revealing, prematurely, information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action,” Wilkins wrote.

Anyone else experiencing a bit of deja vu?

When will higher education in Kentucky end this era of corruption?