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Former Tibetan Monk Turned Developer Faces Feds

Posted Thursday, September 24, 2015 by Andrew Charles Huff

Local developer Lobsang Dargey raised money for his commercial projects from Chinese nationals who wanted permanent U.S. residency visas under a controversial program.

The EB-5 program allows wealthy foreigners to invest a minimum of $500,000 in a commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. They receive in exchange a permanent-residency visa, also known as a green card.

Dargey raised at least $125 million from would-be immigrant investors with the EB-5 program, but SEC officials alleged the former Tibetan Buddhist monk siphoned off $17.6 million for his own use. In a civil fraud suit, Dargey allegedly diverted millions to spend on a $2.5 million Bellevue home, other real-estate investments and gambling at 14 casinos across the West.

Authorities are trying to seize Dargey’s Bellevue home and a $6.5 million Shoreline commercial property they allege were improperly bought with immigrant investors’ funds. A temporary injunction freezing the assets of Dargey and his firms was issued by a federal judge.

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State Auditor Troy Kelley Faces New Charges

Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by Andrew Charles Huff

Embattled State Auditor Troy Kelley pled not guilty to new charges alleging that while in office he laundered money and evaded the Internal Revenue Service. These new charges relate to the Auditor’s business dealings and tax filings.

Earlier this year, Kelley was indicted on 10 counts charging him with theft for keeping millions in fees paid by clients of Post Closing Department, a business Kelley owned before being elected auditor.

Federal prosecutors also seized $908,000 that Kelley had paid to a Seattle law firm as a retainer for his former lawyer, alleging that money is illegal proceeds from the now-defunct real estate reconveyance company.

Kelley was elected auditor in 2012 and has taken a leave of absence while charges are pending.

Trial is currently set for March, 2016.

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To Ticket or Not to Ticket….

Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by Andrew Charles Huff

That is the questions asked by a frustrated Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole of City Council members if they want her cops to stop issuing $27 public marijuana use citations. One issue of concern is that such tickets were written disproportionately toward black people. O’Toole said the tickets were all issued downtown because that’s where the complaints come from. She said she hadn’t heard complaints from other parts of the city.

With 72 such tickets generating national news, O’Toole said Monday she didn’t want to report to the council every six months, as is the policy, about tickets written by officers responding to complaints from the public.

O’Toole also said tickets were written after people did not comply with warnings to stop consuming pot in public, which is against state law. The vast majority of tickets have gone unpaid.

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DUI with child now involves CPS

Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by Andrew Charles Huff

A DUI arrest, charge and conviction can all have devastating consequences on your life, license, finances, job, etc. And now Child Protective Services (CPS) will get involved if you are arrested for a DUI with a minor child in the vehicle. Under this somewhat new law, such an arrest will trigger in investigation by Washington Child Protective Services. The purpose of this referral is not to remove the child from parental custody, but rather to perform a welfare check to ensure the child is not in any immediate danger or being harmed.

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SPD Federal Monitor: “Body Cams Now”

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by Andrew Charles Huff

The federal monitor overseeing Seattle police reforms is not only endorsing the use of body cameras by officers, he is calling for the department to implement them…now.

Federal monitor Merrick Bobb included this demand in his fifth semiannual report since the city entered into a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to curtail excessive force and biased policing. He called them a key tool for “accountability and transparency.”

Seattle Police Department does plan to shift from a small pilot program to department wide use of the cameras by some 640 patrol officers. These cameras worn by officers have been shown to substantially reduce use of force and citizen complaints.

As a practicing criminal defense attorney, I routinely review these videos taken by police with body cameras and in-car videos as they conduct stops and at times arrest a person for an offense. These videos are invaluable as independent evidence but also to validate claims made by both officers and citizens during this interaction.
Funding for these devices always remains an issue with many departments but most on both sides from law enforcement and the defense bar agree they are necessary.

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