Federal Government Job Opportunities for Inner City Youth – Ebonics a must!

August 24, 2010

On AUGUST 23–The Department of Justice published an article stating that it “is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.”

The article caught my attention and I must admit I began to laugh – at first.  Having spent time in federal prison (not something I am proud of) I know the frustration of dealing with a second language.  As a white well educated male I found quickly that I did not possess the language skills needed to successfully navigate the time before me I was to spend in prison.  I knew English and fractured “Southern” – red neck some folks would call it.  What I did not know was Spanish and – more importantly – Ebonics.

When my cell mate spoke first to me – asking me what I was in here “fo”?  I responded, “I’m a theif.”  His response was “Word?”  I suppose I looked dumbfounded as I repeated what he said back to him with a questioning look.  “Word?”  Now to read this doesn’t do it justice.  You have to have the dialect and intonation to get the message.  In short, we weren’t communicating.

Then Buck – that was my cell mates name.  Buck and Chuck – don’t know if the guards did that for comic relief, but we did make a good pair.  Anyway, Buck, realizing the lack of communication said he’d make me a deal.  He’d teach me Ebonics (and/or how to survive in prison) if I’d teach him “how to speak correctly” so he could get a real job when he got out.  Deal!

But back to Federal Government Job Opportunities…

The article goes on to state:

A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a “DEA Sensitive” security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of “telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media”

The DEA’s need for full-time linguists specializing in Ebonics is detailed in bid documents related to the agency’s mid-May issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) covering the provision of as many as 2100 linguists for the drug agency’s various field offices. Answers to the proposal were due from contractors on July 29.

Ebonics has widely been described as a nonstandard variant of English spoken largely by African Americans. John R. Rickford, a Stanford University professor of linguistics, has described it as “Black English” and noted that “Ebonics pronunciation includes features like the omission of the final consonant in words like ‘past’ (pas’ ) and ‘hand’ (han’), the pronunciation of the th in ‘bath’ as t (bat) or f (baf), and the pronunciation of the vowel in words like ‘my’ and ‘ride’ as a long ah (mah, rahd).”

O.K. it’s funny to read or try to read how white folks describe and write Ebonics…sorry, but this just cracks me up…!

The Department of Justice RFP does not, of course, address questions of vernacular, dialect, or linguistic merit. It simply sought proposals covering the award of separate linguist contracts for seven DEA regions. The agency spends about $70 million annually on linguistic service programs, according to contract records.

In addition to the nine Ebonics experts, the DEA’s Atlanta office also requires linguists for eight other languages, including Spanish (144 linguists needed); Vietnamese (12); Korean (9); Farsi (9); and Jamaican patois (4). The Atlanta field division, one of the DEA’s busiest, is the only office seeking linguists well-versed in Ebonics. Overall, the “majority of DEA’s language requirements will be for Spanish originating in Central and South America and the Caribbean,” according to one contract document.

The Department of Justice RFP includes a detailed description of the crucial role a linguist can play in narcotics investigations. They are responsible for listening to “oral intercepts in English and foreign languages,” from which they provide verbal and typed summaries. “Subsequently, all pertinent calls identified by the supervising law enforcement officer will be transcribed verbatim in the required federal or state format,” the RFP notes.

Additionally, while “technology plays a major role in the DEA’s efforts, much of its success is increasingly dependent upon rapid and meticulous understanding of foreign languages used in conversations by speakers of languages other than English and in the translation, transcription and preparation of written documents.”

So here’s the deal…

If the government is truly serious about hiring folks to have a legitimate job helping with Ebonics…they should look to the inner city youth, inmates being released from prison or other folks who find Ebonics their first language and English (or talking to white folks) their second language.  And if readers think I’m kidding…I’m not.  Why not go to Detroit or inner city Miami or other Ebonics hot spots and offer a job to someone who otherwise might find themselves on the wrong side of the law some day.

If Frank Abagnale (of Catch Me If You Can – the movie – fame) can turn crime into crime stopping support – so can inner city youth.  Let’s put stimulus dollars to work in a productive way.


Prison Chaplain Sentenced to Prison – Vincent Inametti Sentenced to 48 Months for Sexual Abuse!

May 13, 2008

It’s not uncommon to hear of sexual abuse in prison. What is uncommon is to find that the abuse was at the hand of a Catholic priest – a prison chaplain no less!

Vincent Inametti, a Roman Catholic priest, who worked as a chaplain at Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell in Fort Worth, was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Inametti, 48, who pled guilty in November to two counts of sexual abuse of a ward, was also ordered to pay a $3000 fine.

Inametti is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was ordained in his native country, Nigeria. He was immediately remanded into custody to begin serving his sentence.

The Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, (DOJ-OIG) received a complaint in March 2007 that Inametti was sexually involved with a particular inmate, “D.D.” Subsequent investigation by DOJ-OIG agents revealed that Inametti was also sexually involved with another inmate, “E.R.” Both inmates were serving federal prison sentences for drug distribution conspiracy convictions.

“D.D.” became acquainted with Inametti in August 2004 when she began attending Catholic services, joining the choir and participating in Bible study classes at FMC Carswell. “E.R.” became acquainted with Inametti a few months later, in November 2004, as a result of her assignment as a clerk for the Religious Services Department at FMC Carswell.

Inametti admitted that in February 2006, he directed “D.D.” to the chapel library, where he engaged in a sexual act with her. He further admitted that in June or July 2006, he summoned “E.R.” to a classroom in the chapel where he engaged in a sexual act with her.

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News,

His Fort Worth attorney, Michael Heiskell, said the sexual liaisons between Mr. Inametti and the two women were consensual, and he expressed hope for mercy from the court.

“Unfortunately, it was the wrong place and the wrong time,” Mr. Heiskell said. “We hope the court will judge him on the entire good work in his life as opposed to a lapse in judgment.”

But Tahira Khan Merritt, a Dallas attorney who represented one of the plaintiffs in the case, disputed the contention that the relationships were consensual. Mr. Inametti once threatened to kill her client if she told anyone about the abuse, she said, and the other plaintiff has filed a complaint with the federal prison system over the abuse.

“He was in a supervisory role over them,” Ms. Merritt said. “That implies they cannot consent to sexual acts when they’re wards of the state.”

Mr. Inametti, who was ordained in 1986 in his native Nigeria, served as a parish priest at Our Mother of Mercy Church in Fort Worth from 1991 to 1996, said Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Diocese of Fort Worth.

After a sabbatical, Mr. Inametti returned to the diocese in 1999 and served in mission churches in the Ranger, Texas, area for about a year before he went to work for the prison system.

Every choice has a consequence. In this case Inametti is facing the consequences of his actions. The sad part is, like most crimes, his choices and the consequences that follow overshadow the good that he might have done as a priest up to that time.

Perhaps his time in prison will give him the chance to do some good in ways that he could not have done as an outsider – even as a chaplain.

Business Ethics Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…

Tax Fraud Avoidance! Need, Opportunity and Rationalization – IRS Eliminates the Possibility.

February 11, 2008

In order to commit a fraud there generally needs to be three things: Need – Opportunity and Rationalization. Well, the Department of Justice has taken the offense when it comes to tax fraud – and I applaud their efforts.

With the publicity surrounding the Wesley Snipes tax trial – national attention, once again, focused on tax avoidance vs. tax fraud. While Snipes was not convicted of fraud others who were tried were. The ones convicted were the tax advisors – the tax preparers.

Avoiding Fraud: On the offense – the Department of Justice is using injunctions to stop individuals from preparing what they suspect would be fraudulent returns. As reported from the White Collar Crime Blog – more than 305 tax preparers and tax-fraud promoters have been barred from tax return preparation.

Some Recent Examples:

Tennessee: A federal court today has permanently barred Montrice McGhee of Memphis, Tenn., from preparing federal income tax returns for others. Chief Judge Jon Phipps McCalla of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee issued the permanent injunction order against McGhee, who, according to papers filed in the case, prepared returns using the business name Blessed Professional Tax Service, Inc. McGhee consented to the court order.

The government complaint in the case alleged that McGhee repeatedly engaged in fraudulent conduct by understating her customers’ federal income tax liabilities. The complaint alleged that McGhee told customers that she specialized in return preparation for ministers and other clergy members, as well as anyone involved in church activities. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service estimates the harm from McGhee’s misconduct for tax years 2001 through 2004 exceeds $1 million.

Texas: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has barred Thell G. Prueitt of Kingsland, Texas, from preparing federal tax returns for others and from promoting various tax fraud schemes, the Justice Department announced today. The court found that Prueitt promoted his schemes through several companies and organizations he operates, including Grandview Prayer and Healing Retreat Center, Fresh Start Funding Group, Fresh Start Funding Group Taxpayer Education Association and Thell G. Prueitt & Friends.

The court found that Prueitt promoted a home-based business tax scheme, falsely advising customers they could claim tax deductions for non-deductible personal expenses, and claiming fraudulent deductions on tax returns he prepared. The court also found that he promoted an ATM and pay phone tax scam, falsely advising customers that they could claim tax credits and deductions based on artificially inflated purchase prices.

The court order requires Prueitt to notify his customers of the injunction and to give the Justice Department a list of his customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.

North Carolina: A federal court in Charlotte, N.C., entered a preliminary injunction against Kodjovi Raphael Totou, a Charlotte-based tax preparer who operates Queen City Tax Services, the Justice Department announced today.

The order bars Totou from preparing or filing federal income tax returns for anyone other than himself. It is effective immediately and will remain in effect through Aug. 15, 2008.

The government complaint in the civil case alleges that Totou has claimed fraudulent fuel tax credits on customers’ returns and fabricates or inflates tax deductions.

According to the government’s complaint, Totou prepared more than 450 federal income tax returns for clients, many of whom are from Togo and have limited English-language ability. The complaint further alleges that in 2003, Totou claimed the federal fuel tax credit for all of his customers. The complaint alleged that none of his clients qualified for the tax credit as their businesses or purported businesses do not involve off-highway use of gasoline.

As a business ethics and white collar crime speaker (www.chuckgallagher.com) it is clear that the DOJ has taken the offensive. When the “opportunity” is removed, it is hard to commit the crime. Stopping criminal conduct before it occurs, likewise, the use of a civil remedy to avoid criminality is also positive.  KUDO’s to the Department of Justice and IRS!


Former CEO Greg Reyes Faces Federal Prison – What Can He Expect? Comments By Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

January 17, 2008

Former Brocade CEO, Greg Reyes was convicted in August 2007 of defrauding investors in the first case of backdating stock options. Since the Department of Justice began its backdating probe well over 10 executives have been criminally charged. The Reyes case was considered important as it tested whether a jury feels the crime is worthy of jail time.

As the verdict was read – the DOJ got its answer. Yes!


Now some five months later, Greg Reyes has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $15 million fine for his role in the stock-options backdating scandal. Reyes was not the only person from Brocade that has been convicted. In December former human-relations head, Stephanie Jensen, was convicted on separate backdating related charges.

According to the White Collar Crime Prof Blog: “Reyes will remain free on bond pending appeal, with Judge Breyer acknowledging that because this was the first options backdating case to go to trial there were novel legal issues involved. It is unlikely Reyes will have to report to prison for at least a year, assuming the conviction is upheld. The sentence certainly sends a message to other defendants charged in backdating cases that they are likely to face prison terms if convicted. And, unlike the Reyes case, other prosecutions involve defendants who benefited from the backdating, so the loss (or gain) issue will not be resolved quite as favorably as it was in this case if there is a conviction.”

What Can He Expect?

He will likely be incarcerated in a minimum security facility. Some call that “club fed.” Having been there myself (not something I am proud of) I can assure you it is “fed” – it is no “club.” After his initial processing, he will be introduced to the general population, most of which will be drug dealers. White collar criminal are not segregated and all placed in a location together.

He will be counted six times (or more) per day and at least one of those counts will be a standing count so the guards can see that you’re alive. His day will begin at 6:00 a.m. with a set time for breakfast. If you miss the meal – you don’t eat. The rules are clear, simple and enforced.

He will be assigned a job. All inmates must work (and be paid). I earned 12 cents per hour. Since that was 13 years ago, one might wonder if inflation has increased that? Either way, the duties won’t be fun – manual labor mostly. He will be allowed no computer access and his calls will be monitored.

Reyes will have time on his hands to think – think about whether the gain from backdating options was worth the loss of his position, loss of his freedom and the loss of financial gain.

Most importantly Greg Reyes will have the time to think about what choices he can make when he is released that will make a difference.

Following prison:

Most people assume that upon release life will be difficult. It will be a challenge. But, as a business ethics speaker  (see Demo Video on YouTube) I know from personal experience that one can accomplish significant thing based on the choices one might make. As founder of the Choices Foundation, I routinely speak to youth groups about the choices they make and the consequences that follow. I share with them the Truth About Consequences.

Perhaps as Reyes faces him time in Federal prison, he will find within himself the courage to make a difference in the lives of others when he’s released. Perhaps he’ll use this time find out what true success really means.