CHICAGO — Saying he was “stunned,” former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was uncharacteristically tight-lipped Monday after a jury convicted him on 17 of 20 counts of corruption against him.
Holding his wife’s hand, Blagojevich spoke in a somber tone to a crush of reporters in the federal courthouse. “Patti and I obviously are very disappointed in the outcome. I, frankly, am stunned.”
The two then walked to a waiting car as some in the crowd booed.
The federal jury found that the former governor brazenly abused the powers of his office in a series of attempted shakedowns captured on undercover government recordings.
He faces up to 300 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines are sure to significantly reduce his time behind bars.
Citigroup ex-VP arrested in NYC on fraud charges
NEW YORK — A former Citigroup vice president embezzled $19.2 million from the bank in a one-man “inside job” involving a series of secret money transfers, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Gary Foster, 35, of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., surrendered Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport after arriving on a flight from Bangkok. He was released Tuesday on $800,000 bond after appearing in federal court in Brooklyn to face bank fraud charges carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
According to a criminal complaint, Foster’s department financed loans and processed wire transfers within Citigroup. From May 2009 through the end of last year, Foster siphoned funds from various Citigroup accounts, placed them in the bank’s cash account and then wired the money into his private account at another bank in New York, the complaint alleged.
In one November 2010 transaction, Foster wired $3.9 million from a Citigroup fund in Baltimore to his New York account, the complaint says. That fraudulent transfer and seven others went undetected until a recent internal audit, it said.
Elderly woman has to remove diaper for pat-down
DESTIN, Fla. — A gravely ill 95-year-old woman had to remove her wet diaper at an airport so that she could be patted down by security screeners and nearly missed her flight, her daughter said Monday.
During the pat-down, Transportation Security Administration inspectors found a mass on Lena Reppert’s upper thigh, her daughter Jean Weber said. The mass was a hard spot on the diaper that had become heavy and concentrated in that place because it was wet. Reppert, who is in a wheelchair, had to be patted down because she couldn’t go through a scanning machine, and the TSA agents said they could not search the diaper while she was still wearing it, Weber said.
Reppert couldn’t board a June 18 flight from Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Fort Walton Beach to Detroit until she was cleared by security, Weber said.
Reppert, who has leukemia and had been living in the Florida Panhandle, was returning to her native Hastings, Mich., where she wants to be buried.
Court orders arrest of Gadhafi, son, key aide
TRIPOLI, Libya — Thousands of Libyans danced and cheered in the streets of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Monday for Moammar Gadhafi, accusing him of crimes against humanity for killing civilians who rose up against his rule.
The court order raised pressure on the Gadhafi regime, already targeted by daily airstrikes, and NATO clearly hopes it will encourage key allies to abandon him. But it also gives Gadhafi less incentive to accept a peaceful settlement that would see him leave power because of the subsequent threat of arrest.
The court in The Hague, Netherlands, lacks police powers, and the force most likely to arrest Gadhafi appears to be the rebels battling to oust him.
At the United Nations, political affairs chief B. Lynn Pascoe said the rebels now hold a tenuous military advantage over Gadhafi’s forces. The rebels have failed to penetrate the Libyan leader’s center of power in Tripoli and conceded Monday they are unlikely to detain Gadhafi on their own.