Tag: prison

With prison looming, former escort squandered $150K COVID-19 loan on travel, clothes, feds say

Before a federal judge sentenced her in December to more than four years in prison, Crystal Lundberg said her federal wire fraud conviction had changed her life for the better — she had become legitimately employed and had “definitely changed mentally, emotionally.”

Still, old habits die hard. And now prosecutors say Lundberg has since squandered thousands from a $150,000 COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan on travel and legal bills, electronics, clothing and other items, all while putting off her surrender date with the Federal Bureau of Prisons that had originally been set for Jan. 20, 2020.

Meanwhile, a federal agent also pointed in a court filing Monday to Lundberg’s Facebook postings, including one in which she allegedly wrote in October, “I run it up [until] the feds come.”

“Honestly, I cannot wait to get this federal sh – – outta the way so I can go back [to] being F—ING GREAT!” she allegedly wrote in September. “I hate living within limits!!”

A defense attorney for Lundberg did not respond to messages seeking comment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Eichenseer wrote in a filing seeking Lundberg’s detention that Lundberg’s counsel had promised to surrender her Monday. The new allegations against Lundberg have so far not led to additional criminal charges against her, court records show.

Federal prison records on Tuesday showed Lundberg in custody at Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Lundberg, 34, has been in hot water with the feds since 2017, when she was first charged along with financial executive Scott Kennedy in a $5.79 million fraud scheme. The two met when Kennedy hired her as an escort. He later gave her access to his company’s credit card, and she helped him wrack up exorbitant charges on luxury goods and services.

Kennedy pleaded guilty, testified at Lundberg’s trial about how he had fallen in love with her, and was sentenced in July to more than two years in prison. Prison records show he is already in custody at a low-security facility in Texas.

However, Lundberg was sentenced first, following her conviction at trial. U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo handed her a 53-month sentence in December 2019. Since then, Lundberg has repeatedly sought to delay her surrender to the federal prison system. She is now due Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, the feds say Lundberg applied twice this summer for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan for a beauty salon business. Such a loan must be repaid by the borrower, and a felony conviction within the past five years automatically disqualifies an applicant from the program, according to an affidavit from an FBI special agent.

In her first application in June, Lundberg answered “no” to questions asking whether she faced criminal charges or had been convicted of a felony in the last five years. That application was denied because her application did not indicate an economic injury, according to the affidavit.

In her second application in August, she answered “yes” to the questions about her criminal history. When the Small Business Administration followed up

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Man fatally shot outside Eagan hotel; suspect released from prison in May is arrested

A violent felon was jailed Tuesday on suspicion of fatally shooting a man outside an Eagan hotel.

The gunfire occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Monday at the Sonesta Suites, just off the Lone Oak Road exit of Interstate 35E, police said.

Officers arrived at the scene and found the victim on the grass on the south side of the hotel with several gunshot wounds, according to police and emergency dispatch audio. His identity has yet to be released.

Police soon stopped a car leaving the area and took a 29-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman into custody. The woman was later released.

The male suspect, who is from St. Paul, was released from prison in May after being sentenced in 2016 for illegal weapons possession. He has yet to be charged in Monday’s shooting. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.

Authorities have yet to say whether the victim and the gunman were acquainted before the shooting. Police also have yet to address a motive for the killing.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to call police at 651-675-5799.

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‘Haunted’ 18th-century prison now a luxury hotel

The Bodmin Jail is an imposing former prison in Cornwall, UK, where 55 inmates were executed and rumors of hauntings persist today. And soon you’ll be able to spend the night there.

A portion of the prison, which dates back to 1799, is being developed as a luxury hotel called, appropriately enough, The Bodmin Jail Hotel.

The boutique hotel is slated to open in February 2021. It will include 63 rooms in two former cell blocks, according to Malino Group, the project’s developer.

The former Bodmin Jail has been reimagined as a tourist attraction and luxury hotel. (Rendering by Twelve Architects)

The former Bodmin Jail has been reimagined as a tourist attraction and luxury hotel. (Rendering by Twelve Architects)

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The transformed hotel rooms are “beautifully elegant” and retain original stone walls while comforting guests with freestanding tubs, walk-in showers and “sumptuous” beds, according to its website.

There are two restaurants on site, The Chapel and The Jolly Hangman Tavern, offering afternoon tea and other British favorites.

The jail sat vacant for nearly a century.

The transformed hotel rooms are “beautifully elegant” and retain original stone walls while comforting guests with modern amenities. (Rendering by Twelve Architects)

The transformed hotel rooms are “beautifully elegant” and retain original stone walls while comforting guests with modern amenities. (Rendering by Twelve Architects)
(Twelve Architects)

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Another part of the building is being used for an immersive historic experience to teach visitors about the time when it was still a working jail, showing the conditions for the prisoners and stories of child criminals and other inmates.

The jail’s history isn’t all bleak. It was actually used to house the Crown Jewels during World War I, not long before the facility was shuttered for good.

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The historic attraction just opened last summer. It and the hotel are part of a $51 million redevelopment of the former jail, according to the operator.

The surrounding area in southwest England offers plenty of other attractions for a visitor, too. There are sandy beaches, charming fishing villages, botanical gardens and Victorian historic sites.

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Drug mule’s Vic ‘vacation’ leads to prison | The Canberra Times

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A Canadian drug mule who came to Australian on a two-week vacation will spend at least five years in a Melbourne prison. Wayne Hackett arrived at Melbourne airport in February with four carry on suitcases and more than 15kg of pure methamphetamine – more than 20 times what Victoria’s courts consider to be a commercial amount. It had a wholesale value of up to $2.8 million. Hackett was to be paid $40,000 to bring the ice to Australia. The 27-year-old admitted possession of the drugs when interviewed by police and later pleaded guilty to the import. But though he knew he was carrying drugs, those behind the operation didn’t tell him what it was. The drugs were stashed in flat packages and hidden in the lining of the cases. County Court Judge Michael Bourke said Hackett was complicit in the smuggling of all the drugs, not just those in the two bags he was carrying. His girlfriend was also charged. She has pleaded not guilty and will go to trial. Hackett had lived a dysfunctional and disadvantaged life, Judge Bourke said. His parents separated when he was five and his mother drowned a few years later, in suspicious circumstances. He was raised by his abusive father and stepmother, and lived in a series of group homes before moving in with his mother’s parents, who remain supportive. Hackett had experienced homelessness after ending a relationship with the mother of his young daughter – an event that Judge Bourke said, with the addition of losing his job, led to his increased drug use. He had used cannabis since his teenage years, escalating to problematic cocaine use shortly before the offending. Judge Bourke described methamphetamine as a very damaging substance, and its spread as highly profitable for major entrepreneurs. While Hackett was no more than a courier, his role was critical to the operation. He said Hackett had shown good qualities in his life and an ability and desire to rehabilitate, but others had to be discouraged. “There must be the attempt to deter other prospective couriers of drugs into Australia,” Judge Bourke said. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars and will be eligible for parole in five years. Hackett will be deported after his release. Australian Associated Press

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