You Remember Harvard's Winklevoss Twins-- What About Florida Rep Joe Harding?
We all want to see Trump behind bars for the rest of his life. And I hope we all live long enough to see it. Meanwhile though, let’s get whatever joy we can out of fascists that are headed that way already. Take for example, the fabulous Floridian, Joe Harding, formerly (elected in 2020, forced to resign in 2022), once the state Representative from Ocala County, best known as the principal sponsor of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. He’ll have 4 months, starting in January to say he’s not gay to various members of the prison community. His homophobic legislation isn’t why he’s going to prison.
Weeping on Thursday, he begged the judge, Trump appointee Allen Winsor, to not put him behind bars. Most people think he deserved far more than 4 months. The maximum sentence he could have gotten was 20 years for wire fraud, 10 years for money laundering and 5 years for lying to law enforcement. He should have gotten at least 20 years. A typical entitled asshole and Florida Republican, he stole COVID relief funds ($150,000) and was caught, pleading guilty in March.
Gary Fineout wrote that “Authorities accused Harding of using false bank statements for two dormant small businesses to obtain loans from the Small Business Administration during the pandemic. Harding told the SBA that one of the companies, The Vak Shack, for the 12 months prior to Jan. 31, 2020, had four employees and $420,874 in revenue, while Harding Farms had two employees and $392,000 in revenue, according to authorities.”
Jason Coody, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida: “The theft of any amount of taxpayer funds is inexcusable. However, the defendant’s deceptive acts of diverting emergency financial assistance from small businesses during the pandemic is simply beyond the pale. Today’s sentence both punishes the defendant’s criminal conduct and should serve as a significant deterrent to others who would selfishly steal from their fellow citizens to unlawfully enrich themselves.”
I might mention that there are several members of Congress who also stole large amounts of COVID relief funds (PPP) and who have not be prosecuted. The characters who would be most easy to imprison if any prosecutor decided to go for it:
Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
Marjorie Traitor Greene (R-GA)
Kevin Hern (R-OK)
Susie Lee (New Dem-NV)
Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Mike Kelly (R-FL)
Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
So far just one of them, Kevin Hern, is officially running for Speaker of the House. All of them, however are despicable crooks.
And speaking of entitled rich kids… Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss probably won’t fair well in prison. They don’t look the type. New York Attorney General Letitia James, is doing more than just trying to lock up Trump. Yesterday she initiated a suit against 3 major cryptocurrency firms for misleading investors: Gemini Trust, Genesis Global Capital and Digital Currency Group. The Winklevoss twins founded Gemini, a crypto exchange. They are also well-known for claiming Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook from them and for suing him— and lots of other people for all sorts of things. Now though, they’re being sued. “Letitia James,” reported Ephrat Livni, “contends in the suit that Gemini lied to investors about the dangers of Gemini Earn, a program started by Gemini and Genesis that promised investors a high rate of return— up to 8 percent— if they essentially lent their cryptocurrency to Genesis. But Genesis struggled after the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, founded by Sam-Bankman Fried, imploded last November. It froze accounts amid a crash in digital asset values, leaving Earn investors unable to reclaim hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.”
According to James’ suit, internal documents at Gemini show that just months after Earn was started in 2021, the company’s risk analysis teams deemed Genesis very risky— highly leveraged with limited liquidity. Gemini also knew that Genesis loans were at one point tied up in Alameda Research, the now-bankrupt crypto hedge fund also founded by Bankman-Fried, who is now being tried on criminal fraud charges.
But Gemini did not share the information with investors, leaving at least 29,000 New Yorkers and hundreds of thousands of others across the country in the dark about the dangers to their assets, James said.
The lawsuit accuses Genesis and Digital Currency Group of trying to conceal Genesis’ losses from Gemini Earn investors and the public. The two firms hid the financial troubles last year when Genesis entered into a $1.1 billion, 10-year promissory note with Digital Currency, a deal intended to give the false impression that Genesis was on stronger footing and to encourage investors to keep participating in the Earn program, according to the lawsuit.
“This fraud is yet another example of bad actors causing harm throughout the under-regulated cryptocurrency industry,” James said in a statement. “My office will continue our efforts to stop deceptive cryptocurrency companies, and to push for stronger regulations to protect all investors.”
…James is seeking to bar Gemini, Genesis and Digital Currency Group from operating in the financial investment industry or doing any business related to the sale and purchase of securities in New York. She is also seeking restitution for investor losses.
The suit follows other recent efforts by the attorney general’s office to regulate the crypto industry. In May, Ms. James proposed legislation that would require public audits of crypto exchanges, limit conflicts of interest by banning certain ownership arrangements, build safeguards to prevent fraud, and compensate victims and strengthen oversight of the digital asset industry.