He was charged with laundering 326 million dollars. That's right, 326 MILLION! He was associated with Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, Intabill, Check Cashing and several other enterprises that were run through Vegas, fronting for what I would later find out was Adelson's off the top shelf businesses. I was shocked when I saw the indictment!
We remained neighbors, and usually sat and talked when he wasn't in GED classes. After spending time with him and hearing of the good life provided by his partners, flying him around the country in private jets, housing him in the best suites in the country and overseas, I realized that someone was using Curtis's naive nature against him. They enlisted him as their Straw Man or Front Man.
Curtis laid out for me the ventures and each of the partners parts in the enterprises. He was comfortable now, as he was soon to be released from federal prison to go to a half-way house in Tampa, and then home to serve a term of federal supervised release (that's the feds fancy name for probation).
About two weeks before he was to be released, he came to me with tears running down his face. He had no words, just a paper which he handed to me. His attorney had written and advised him that the FBI out of Las Vegas had an Information filed against him for Money Laundering.
Now an Information is a document used as the first step in gaining a Grand Jury indictment. The FBI files the Information and the US Attorney takes it to the Grand Jury for the Indictment, which in 98% of the cases is granted.
After all, the Grand Jury assumes that if the FBI and U.S. Attorneys office says someone is a bad guy, well then they probably are.
Curtis was told that he is facing a minimum of 25 more years in prison. The attorney further stated that there is the opportunity to avoid prosecution, if you turn federal witness against your former partner.
Curtis wanted my advice. A Secret Grand Jury was to be put in place to investigate his former partner. Well, Curtis Pope is not a healthy man. He lost a portion of his foot to Diabetes, has heart problems and other health issues. Twenty five additional years in a Federal Prison with the lack of healthcare provided was a death warrant. I normally would not advocate testifying for the Feds, but in this case, I did so without explanation.
"NO!", he said. "I can't. You don't understand. The man I told you about and explained his place with us is too important". "Curtis", I started... "No!", he stopped me. "You don't understand. He will kill me".
Now, he didn't know my background, and I questioned his ability to think this out. "Curtis, no one is going to hurt you.", I began. "You will have protection from the government (as much as it is), and they will not let anything happen to you.".
"No Gene", he retorted. "He will kill me, my wife, my family, everyone.". "Damn Curtis", I said.
"Who do you think it is? Bush!". He looked at me quizzically. "No Gene. It is Sheldon Adelson! They want me to testify in a secret Grand Jury against Sheldon Adelson"!
DAMN, I thought! (I don't think I said it out loud).
Days passed and we discussed many options. Finally we had both come to the conclusion that if he had to spend much more time in prison, he would die.
So we decided that when the time came and he was headed to Nevada to testify, I would start publishing information on the internet to heighten awareness of his decision, and to alert the masses that if anything happened to him or his family, Sheldon Adelson was behind it.
Little did I know that I would end up in such a wonderful position to help my unsuspecting friend.
Plight of a Strawman: The Adelson Secret Grand Jury