EDITORIAL: Ponzi schemers, Wall Street fraudsters and corrupt politicians must be taking comfort in the reported abrupt firing by the Trump administration of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
There is no question that President Trump had the power to ask Bharara and dozens of other U.S. Attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration to go. But Bharara expected to stay, especially since Trump asked him to do so.
Bharara’s name has appeared on the PP Blog many times. In fact, something he once said became a source of great (and ongoing) editorial inspiration for peeling back layers of the HYIP onion.
You see, back in 2009, Bharara tied an HYIP scheme to a case of terrorism financing. This was the case against Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon. He was accused of operating an investment fraud known as FEDI and moving money with the belief he was purchasing night-vision goggles and other equipment for a terrorist camp in Afghanistan.
It turned out that online marketers interested in commissions pushed FEDI to Americans, Canadians and others, not knowing its operator was interested in helping dark forces kill people en masse.
How many other schemes could be sponsoring terrorism or fueling organized crime remains an open question. There are thousands of dark possibilities to mull, some of them (like FEDI and Profitable Sunrise) cloaked in light. HYIP schemes are ground zero for fake news.
Knowing Preet Bharara was on the job always was a comforting thought. He brought FEDI to justice and, for example, made sure Liberty Reserve could not continue to launder billions of dollars for HYIP fraudsters and other criminals. (Did you know that one of the Liberty Reserve figures prosecuted by Bharara was a shill on the TalkGold Ponzi forum?)
Bharara’s work, of course, was hardly limited to unmasking financial fraudsters.
It is disheartening to think that the Trump administration is bemoaning “fake news” in one breath and firing the exposer of FEDI’s fake news in the next.
Lots of purveyors of FEDI-like “programs” are online right now. They are delivering fake news through millions of column-inches and through terabytes of video.
Some of them even have declared Trump their champion.
The public owes a debt of gratitude to Preet Bharara. The President should have left him in place to continue the good fight.