2009 will likely be known as a difficult year for Americans. But not everything was so grim for 2009! Luckily, there were a lot of silly criminals out there to keep things light. From white collar to "you have to be kidding," take a look at some of the wacky criminals, large and small, which made our 2009 so interesting.
Police arrest man who tried to steal their candy bars
Cincinnati man Derek Kidd was arrested when he tried to walk out of a police station with two candy bars. On December 2, 2009, Police Major Mark Hoffman told reporters that Kidd and his girlfriend had just been released after disorderly conduct arrests. They were asking passers-by to use a cell phone, so Major Hoffman invited them back inside to use a police phone. Kidd went into a break room and was asked to leave. Police said during a pat down, they found two of their Whatchamacallit brand candy bars and two used syringes Kidd had taken from a disposal container. Who says criminals don't have a sweet tooth?
Woman gets two years in break-up bomb hoax
April Wormly of Hobbs, N.M., recently received two years in prison after calling in a bomb threat on her boyfriend's flight. Wormly admitted to calling the airport several times on April 21, 2009, to claim there was a bomb aboard a Southwest Airlines flight heading to Dallas. Wormly was trying to end a relationship with her boyfriend, who was a passenger on the flight. She told prosecutors that "she believed he would leave her alone after finding out she made the calls." Wormly was also was ordered to pay $19,761 in restitution for phoning in the threat to San Antonio International Airport.
Police records clerks fired after searching for dates
In a truly "what were they thinking" move, two records clerks at the Fort Myers Police Department were fired after reportedly misusing a classified search database to look up people one woman was considering dating. On March 21, 2009, clerks Carol Bass and Helen Lehman were let go after learning that Bass was researching potential dates on people who responded to her dating service ad. Her excuse? "I haven't dated for 20 years, so I thought well, this might be a way to get information before I make a move."
The Hollywood burglar bunch goes on a crime spree
2009 found a series of thefts against celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge and Orlando Bloom. And who was to blame? Allegedly, it was a group of suburban Los Angeles teenagers who took thousands of dollars of designer clothes, jewelry, bags and other luxury items. The culprits include Rachel Lee, Tamayo, 19, Courtney Ames, 18, Alexis Neiers, 18, and Roy Lopez, Jr., 27, and Nicolas Prugo, 18. Is this illustrious bunch guilty? As police have several photos of these defendants posing in stolen wares, one can only speculate.
Bernie Madoff is sentenced
Bernie Madoff, the notorious Ponzi scheme perpetrator, was arrested December 11th, 2008, for squandering staggering $64.8 billion of his clients' money. Certainly, there is nothing silly about this. In late June, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. But by paying out huge returns in a market that was down, some reporters have commented on how Madoff made smart people look dumb.
National Century Financial Enterprises Founder Lance Poulsen gets 30 years
March 27, 2009, found the sentencing of another notorious white collar criminal, Lance Poulsen. Seven years ago, National Century Financial Enterprises collapsed in a $2.9 billion fraud. Founder Lance K. Poulsen was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison on Friday in one of the harshest white-collar punishments in history. The company's collapse contributed to the bankruptcies of 275 health care facilities and cost Credit Suisse and the Pacific Investment Management Company, the nation's biggest bond fund investor, more than $540 million.
Mortgage fraud perpetrator Anthony Dehaney gets 8 years in prison
On a smaller scale, white collar crime continued to make 2009 a newsworthy year. On January 19, 2009, Anthony Dehaney, 57, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for concocting a $12 million mortgage fraud scheme in south Florida. Dehaney admitted to fudging mortgage loan applications on more than 20 properties in Broward County from January 2003 to August 2006.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi crash the White House
Technically, a crime has yet to be proven in this case. But when aspiring reality TV actors Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the formal state dinner at the White House on November 24th, they unleashed a wealth of much-wanted publicity. Facebook photos of the couple mugging with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Vice President Joe Biden reveal that the couple had up-close access to some of Washington's elite, without actually being on the guest list. However, they maintain it was just a misunderstanding. One thing is certain - this is one of the silliest stories of 2009.