Does the Pause in John Wiley Price's Forfeiture Case Mean Criminal Charges Are Imminent?

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Ever since prosecutors filed a federal lawsuit last May asking to seize nearly $500,000 of County Commissioner John Wiley Price's allegedly ill-gotten gains, political observers have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. An indictment was a month or two away, tops, it was predicted at the time. Any second, Price would be perp walking right through the doors of the federal courthouse.

Eleven months have passed, and that day still hasn't come. But there are signs that it may soon. According to an agreed order signed last week by U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater and unsealed yesterday (h/t Morning News), prosecutors have agreed to put the seizure on hold "until the conclusion of the parallel criminal investigation and any related criminal case resulting therefrom."

At issue is $230,000 from a property on Grady Niblo Road that Price sold to a developer, and another $230,000 in cash found at Price's home in June 2011, some of which belongs to Price's longtime assistant, Dapheny Fain. The feds argue in the civil court filings that the money was illegally obtained.

The order means the feds can't use the civil case as a fishing expedition to help build their criminal case, which is what Price's attorneys have alleged they were doing. But the fact that Assistant U.S. Attorney Walt Junker agreed to stay the proceedings seems to indicate either that the government is ready to indict or that it's seen the writing on the wall and has opted for a quiet retreat.

Fain's attorney, Tom Mills, certainly wasn't declaring victory. "They've been investigating the case for so long I don't really know what they're doing," he told the Morning News.

We should find out what they're doing in short order. Unless, of course, we don't.


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25 comments
awash1
awash1

Seems as the Feds are trying to starve JWP out of a defense. If he can't pay lawyers and defense experts,he will surely go to federal prison. That's the objective. Prison at all costs. 

For months, I've heard from federal law enforcement friends that there was a problem with the case. Starting with the lead prosecutor dying over a year ago. Supposedly there are seal indictments against the small fish being held over their heads to facilitate their rolling over on JWP. Did they not roll-over? Is the new US Attorney incapable of bringing the case home. Did JWP and Kathy Nealy keep meticulous records accounting for all the political  money? 

I hear the Feds are bringing Don Hill (A convicted felon) from prison to testify against JWP.I'm not sure what this all means but it all seems all little desperate. I agreed with (Poster Paul). It seems the bankruptcy case is the answer.

John had to know the Dallas power structure and whoever the USAAG was were after him for the last 20 years .  

This gonna be fun. Can't Wait.

PS: I live in Tarrant County and have no dog in this fight.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

It's the Damned Sequester.  This is an ingenious way to get TX GOP behind funding gov't and raising taxes, a good ol nigger hunt. 

randchoy
randchoy

Not necessarily. When the F.B.I. takes a long time to bring charges its two things that factor in. Changes in the agents leading the investigations or witnesses are not as strong as anticipated. Keep in mind, whether you like Price or not, the government is going to have to produce some strong evidence to bring him down. This is not Don Hill we are talking about. They had wiretaps on Hill, they don't have this on Price.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

wow, he sold a lot of bobbleheads.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

He still does not have access to the cash and will likely never get it. The whole exercise was just to keep him and more importantly the ka Ching meter of his lawyer busy on side issues. I do not know why these people cannot read a quick bio of Meyer Lansky. He made millions for the mob and accounted for every penny of it against his lifestyle. Never spent one day in jail. Of course he was a cunning, financial genius and Mr. Price is Mr. Price.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

With the currency transaction reporting regulations the authorities know exactly where most of the cash in the commissioners safe originated .


I think they are just waiting for someone to lie about it .

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Show of hands: Who doesn't have a couple hundred grand lying around the house?

mcdallas
mcdallas

Could it be that Price is cooperating with investigators and is willing to "flip" the next guy up the food chain?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

I sincerely doubt that anyone of any importance actually paid Mr. Price in cash. It is so much easier to simply buy an artwork or contribute to a charity or campaign with a check. All legitimate activities verified by undoubtedly years of audits by Big 2 or 3 accounting firms and numerous IRS audits. No, the onus is completely on Mr. Price on how he made the conversion to cash and how well did he document it.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@oakclifftownie I think that is part of the problem is that Price can't really account for the cash.  IIRC, Price really hasn't reported any income other than from his county commissioner salary.

There is also the timing of payments to people associated with Price and receipts by Price.

The "art gallery" can make an excellent front for laundering cash and other payments. (Not saying that it is, just that it could be.)

Besides, the currency transaction rules apply only to financial institutions.  Price was probably smart enough to avoid direct contact with financial institutions.  Besides, there are all of those high cost "political consultants" associated with City and County campaigns and South Dallas. 


Price has fallen into the same trap that a number of people do that have unreported income; their reported income does not appear to support their lifestyle.


My line on Price is that he will be convicted of hiding assets from the BK court (assuming the statute of limitations has not run) and undeclared income for his filed tax returns.  The "man behind the curtain" will probably make sure that Price does little or no jail time when Price steps down from political office.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk I keep mine in the glove box in the Bentley.

JSSS
JSSS

If there's one thing that Price is not, it is a snitch. I can't imagine that he would cop to anything, which he would have to do to point the finger upstream.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@MikeWestEast After all, on one of the 990's submitted for KwanzaaFest, some 95+% of the expenses are shown as "miscellaneous".


It is also not so much that he converted the cash, but that he did not report it on his tax returns.  Mr. Price appears to have been living above his means as reported.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@JSSS If there is one thing Price is, it is a snitch.  It's how he started his political career -- he snitched on all the other Democrats, and was the only one left standing.  The only reason that Price hasn't snitched yet is that he's been too successful -- he IS the guy at the top of his food chain, and there's no one else bigger to give them.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @Montemalone  

In a plastic bag in the bottom of the cat litter box ...


And it is not just a "couple" ...

owens_frank
owens_frank

@everlastingphelps @JSSS  he can give them (feds)...Royce West thats who thy want...they can care less that Price whos the biggest black drug dealer in Dallas...25 years in office an aint did shit but mess over poor blacks in Dallas...the list is long... Royce West is who they want...

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@scottindallas @TheCredibleHulk @everlastingphelps @JSSS 

Threat of incarceration isn't the only thing businessmen have to fear. There's always someone that would prefer to not have their name in the news.

Just because those someones aren't in the public employ doesn't mean that they have nothing to lose from bad publicity.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @everlastingphelps @JSSS on whom?  I don't think there's anyone to snitch on above him.  Is it bribing a public official, or was the businessman subjected to a shakedown?  There's no one for Price to finger upwards.  But, the Feds may have very strong circumstantial evidence, but no smoking gun, the feds may be scrambling for a strategy. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @JSSS 

Agreed. There is a definite calculus here for Price:

When it becomes either more profitable or less prison-y to be a snitch, Price will be a snitch. 

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