Brickbats

Brickbat: The Right Man for the Job

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Former Bridgeport, Conn., police chief Armando "A.J." Perez and David Dunn, the city's acting personnel director, are facing federal charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and making false statements to investigators. Prosecutors say the two men rigged the police chief's exam two years ago to make sure Perez got the post. They say Dunn gave Perez exam materials, including the oral examination questions. They also say Perez had two other police officers take the written exam for him. Dunn also rigged the grading criteria to favor Perez. Perez resigned hours after his arrest.

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  1. Bridgeport’s mayor was convicted of corruption and the city re-elected him after he was released from prison. Sounds like this is the kind of police chief they would want, too.

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  3. Why is there a police chief exam? Isn’t the position connection and experienced based? And when I say experienced base, I don’t mean the kind of experience you can test. The kind that that old guy in your office has when he tells you the company tried this exact project twenty years ago and it failed for these reasons.

    1. A chief should also be recruited from outside the department and the community, by a interim committee that he is not beholden to. Lowers the risk of corruption.

      1. Bringing someone from outside means someone who has no local connection or understanding to the citizens or their issue and who have no reason to trust him and no reason for those under him to care if he gets his job done right since he replaced some one they liked. bringing people from outside is not needed unless there is know corruption.

        1. It’s the old accountability vs. self-dealing vs. expertise tradeoff. The people with the best relevant knowledge are also those best positioned to gain personal advantage. Case in point: FDA. Or judges: elected? appointed? or civil service?

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    2. Of course. They’re trying to pretend that what’s a political job in most places is a civil service thing there, and so a 2-layer sham is involved here to bring things back to what they’re expected to be. The rigging of the exam might, because of some oversight, either not be technically illegal, or might be some low level offense equivalent to an inspector’s cheating on an inspection. So then the feds decide it’s “deprivation of honest services”, a vague provision from the late 20th Century in the statutes on using the mail or telecom, over which there’s federal jurisdiction, to commit fraud and do things that might not be technically fraudulent but could be construed as unethical. It’s one layer of injustice on top of others; I dunno, maybe you can find justice in there, but it’s hard.

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  5. With this guy as mayor, what did they expect?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Ganim

    Democrat, BTW.

    1. Of course he is.

  6. Federal WIRE FRAUD charges for cheating on a cop test?
    WTF?
    More details please.

    1. See my explanation above and below.

      A lawyer acquaintance of mine from both the Libertarian Party of New York and pagan circles I’m involved in went to the federal pen because of a politically-motivated sting operation that netted him on the side. What they’d done wasn’t against NY law, so they got them (Republicans) on “deprivation of honest services” which somehow involved use of the phone or e-mail — basically the people involved using normal lines of communication, but that’s the way the federal law’s written. He got out early because of Covid-19, but was in for a few years and lost his law license. He’s a brilliant guy but sometimes his brilliance makes him overconfident.

  7. Sounds like our President.

    1. The one who employed the Director of the FBI, the Deputy Director of the FBI, the Chief of the Counterespionage Section of the FBI, the Director of the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, and members of the Justice Department and the State Department to illegally gather dirt on members of the opposition political party in an effort to ensure his former Secretary of State wins the Presidency?

      Or do you mean the one who says mean things on Twitter?

      1. Sorry for the confusion. I meant the piece of shit currently in the White House that paid to have someone take his SATs.

        1. Oh, you retorted with a blurb from an estranged niece’s totally-real-and-not-just-invented-because-of-a-10-million-dollar-advance-book. You’re obviously very smart and totally not gullible.

          1. Is it hard to believe Donald Trump, who spent his whole life cheating on his wives and defrauding contractors, vendors, investors, creditors, and customers would stoop to cheating on a SAT test?

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  9. Sounds like Affirmative Action.

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  12. On one hand, it’s good that the feds have the ability to crack down on local corruption. On the other hand, these, like so many other “wire fraud” prosecutions are ridiculous on their face although technically kosher, and it’s too bad the state (in this case Conn. — appropriate abbreviation) doesn’t try to prosecute on some corruption charge that I’m sure exists in such a case, even if it’s only a minor charge.

    1. No, it’s not good that the feds have the ability to crack down on local corruption. That’s a local and state issue – not a Federal one.

      1. Feds are ham handed and destroy more than they preserve.

      2. They simply don’t have the resources or will to actua do anything where it matters – see how they ‘crackdown’ on civil rights violations in Chicago or Baltimore, or Ferguson.

  13. Scum to be sure. A crime to be sure. But wire fraud? How is this wire fraud? How the hell can cheating on oral and written exams constitute wire fraud?

    1. Probably because the people involved in rigging the exam phoned each other beforehand.

  14. Perez resigned hours after his arrest.

    Dunn probably wrote the resignation for him.

  15. When you think “mail fraud” or “wire fraud”, you think sending out scam letters or e-mails to swindle the recipients, right? Or maybe telling someone thru the mail false info about a product you’re selling them. But the federal law was written in a way to give the feds jurisdiction over local cases of fraud, wherein the mail or telecommunication itself doesn’t have to be fraudulent, but simply used by the scammer in some way to facilitate the con; for instance, by communicating with a confederate. This is just to produce federal jurisdiction.

    And then in the late 20th Century, the mail and wire fraud statutes were amended to include “deprivation of honest services”, in basically so many words, to take in behavior that might not otherwise be technically fraudulent or in any way illegal but might arguably be considered unethical. It’s deliberately vague and open-ended.

    There’s been a lot of legal criticism of this statute and the way it’s been handled. Going by interpretations that’ve been used in prosecutions and applying them to minor situations, you and the maitre d’ have arguably committed such a federal offense if you phone in your restaurant reservation and then tip the maitre d’ to get a better table.

  16. John here can probably explain this even better.

  17. Corrupt? Yes.
    Criminal? Probably.
    Wire fraud? Not under any reasonable interpretation of the relevant statutes. This is prosecutorial overreach that will likely cause the indictments to fail. Sadly, however, the overreach is not unprecedented. If it were us peons being charged, that “interpretation” of the wire fraud statute would be thrown at us hard.

    1. The spam bots are bigger criminals

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