Friday, March 18, 2011

"Cross-dressing Venezuelans, reality TV wannabes and more oil-trader adventures"

Couldn't resist the headline.
From the Houston Chronicle:

Earlier this month Jonathan Barnes, a former LyondellBasell employee, pleaded guilty to taking part in an oil kickback scheme that bilked his employer out of as much as $80 million.

The scheme itself was interesting, but how Barnes spent his allegedly ill-gotten gains was also a colorful story. As we reported, he spent millions on homes, cars, jewelry and other gifts for family and friends.
Additional court documents reveal more about where Barnes’ money went, and also raise questions about the involvement of another oil marketing firm whose owner escaped from a Venezuelan prison many years ago by dressing in drag.

In recent court filings, the government included dozens of pages of spreadsheets that detail payments Barnes and his co-defendants, Clyde Meltzer and Bernard Langley, made starting in early 2007.
Most of the spreadsheets — which were on a data drive Langley had at the time of his arrest in December — simply track payments for oil shipments. But there are also lists of payments to other individuals and companies.

Barnes’ ledger includes three payments worth a total of $473,000 to socialite and aspiring reality TV star Amanda Mills, formerly of Houston, now of Los Angeles (she left Texas in 2009). The payments were in Feb. 2008 ($200,000), May 2008 ($100,000) and March 2009 ($173,000).  Several attempts to reach Mills went unanswered....MORE