FOUR MEN CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE OF ENTERING FEDERAL PROPERTY UNDER FALSE PRETENSES
JOSEPH BASEL, age 24, STAN DAI, age 24, ROBERT FLANAGAN, age 24, and JAMES O’KEEFE, age 25, were charged in a one-count bill of information with entering real property of the United States under false pretenses, a misdemeanor, announced the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
According to the Bill of Information, between January 20, 2010 and January 25, 2010, FLANAGAN, BASEL, O’KEEFE, and DAI met on several occasions. During their meetings, they discussed, among other things, possible scenarios in which they would talk with members of the staff of Senator Mary Landrieu inside of her New Orleans, Louisiana office, in the Hale Boggs Federal Building, and record the interaction using audio and visual equipment. As a result of this planning, on January 25, 2010, BASEL and FLANAGAN entered the Senator’s office dressed as telephone repairmen, said they were following up on reports of problems with the telephone system, engaged in conversation with the staff members, and pretended to test the phone system. O’KEEFE, who had also entered the office, recorded the interaction between BASEL, FLANAGAN, and the staff members.
If convicted, FLANAGAN, BASEL, O’KEEFE, and DAI each face a maximum term of six (6) months in prison and a fine of $5,000.
The United States Attorney’s Office reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of each defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Deputy Marshals with the United States Marshal’s Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: email@example.com