Lawyer granted release in $460M ‘slip-and-fall’ Ponzi scheme

LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas lawyer accused of orchestrating a $460 million “slip-and-fall” Ponzi scheme across the US West was granted release Friday after spending more than a year in federal custody.

US District Judge Cam Ferenbach said he was persuaded by Matthew Beasley’s “strong family support” to give the personal injury lawyer a chance at leading a “productive life” as he awaits a trial on charges of money laundering and wire fraud.

While out of custody, Ferenbach said, Beasley was required to maintain employment and barred from contacting any of the alleged victims in the case or possessing a weapon.

Assistant US Attorney Daniel Schiess told the judge the federal government would appeal the decision and ask for a court order keeping Beasley in custody pending the outcome of the appeal.

Beasley was indicted last week in connection with the alleged scheme but has been in custody since March 2022, when he was shot and wounded by FBI agents who arrived at his $1.1 million home in Las Vegas to question him.

Prosecutors have said Beasley answered the door that day with a gun aimed at his own head. A four-hour standoff ensued that ended after SWAT officers entered the home.

He was charged with assault on a federal officer, leading to his year-long detainment, but that charge was dismissed last week following his indictment in connection with the alleged Ponzi scheme.

Friday’s hearing was at times contentious as Schiess argued for Beasley’s continued detention, citing the standoff as evidence he poses a danger to the community and to himself.

Jackie Tirinnanzi, a lawyer for Beasley, told the judge her client has a renewed outlook on life as he awaits the birth of his grandchild. She said Beasley also wanted to reconnect with his children and help

Read the rest

Christian Porter tells inquiry ‘someone’ in department assured him robodebt was legal but ‘I can’t recall who’ | Royal commission into robodebt

Christian Porter has insisted that someone in one of the two government departments responsible for the robodebt scheme assured him it was legal, while telling a royal commission he did accept some responsibility for the scandal.

The former social services minister and attorney general told the inquiry he could not be sure who provided the legal assurance, but he was sure he had asked about it.

“I do distinctly recall putting a question … that everyone’s assured about the legal underpinnings,” he said. “I can’t recall who it was that affirmed that assurance, but someone did, and I recall that it was a departmental person.

“I couldn’t say if it was [Department of Social Services or Department of Human Services]and it happened quickly, and we moved on because it just wasn’t the focus of what was going on.”

porter-to-face-robodebt-inquiry-royal-commission","text":"Christian Porter to face robodebt inquiry after Alan Tudge questioned over department’s response to suicides","prefix":"Related: ","role":"richLink","elementId":"41a4521e-cdaf-4bf5-87bc-4b1a2a5bb838","ajaxUrl":"","format":"display":0,"theme":0,"design":0″/

The meeting occurred while the robodebt scandal was the focus of intense public controversy in early 2017, though ministers have claimed they were focused on complaints about the practicalities of the program, not its legality.

The royal commission is investigating why and how the unlawful Centrelink debt recovery scheme was established in 2015 and ran until November 2019, ending in a $1.8bn settlement with hundreds of thousands of victims.

Porter, who is no longer in parliament, appeared at the inquiry after the former human services and current Coalition frontbencher Alan Tudge told the royal commission he did not accept and he was responsible for his department’s failure to check the scheme was legal.

Porter was also asked by the commissioner, Catherine Holmes AC SC, if he took “any responsibility” for what happened. He said: “I do. I look back at this and I see myself

Read the rest