Monday, December 5, 2011

Dumb and dumber

Two New Yorkers are charged in federal court with Trading with the Enemy Act violations and related charges. Allegedly, they traveled to Cuba last summer with a person who is now cooperating with the feds; while in Cuba they looked at a house that one of the defendants said he owns and a hotel he says he is building; they also considered but decided against purchasing more property.

If true, not very smart. But can anyone think of a dumber use of U.S. government resources?

The story is at Court House News and here’s the criminal complaint (pdf).


Anonymous said...

Sounds more like a con artist than an investor as the story makes no sense. Obviously a foreigner is not able to legal own a "house" (maybe an apartment in one of the buildings built for foreigners). As for showing a hotel he is building, ALL of the hotels constructed or under construction for the last 5 years (maybe longer) are owned 100% by the State.

Phil Peters said...

True. At most these individuals could have given money to a Cuban to acquire a property in the Cuban national's name and called it their own, and in the same way might have been building a house with rooms to rent. Still, if this were just a travel violation by two guys who brag, I don't think the charges would have been brought.

Anonymous said...

A quick read of the complaint suggests the serious charges are lying about going to Cuba to federal agents and trying to convince someone who went with them to lie. That person is the anonymous witness against them.

Whatever the reality of the real estate investment was, the complaint says they decided not to do it.

Phil is right. Dumb and dumber. A colossal overreach with the core violation being an exercise of the fundamental human right of freedom to travel and everything else being built around the effort to hide the violation.

I guess the intention to invest in a possibly fraudulent scheme for not legally held property is actionable if it takes place in Cuba.

Strange choice of priorities for the criminal justice system in NY.