Italian “businessman” Raffaello Follieri received a 4½ year prison sentence for defrauding investors of millions of dollars. Most of us had never heard of Follieri prior to these events, and those who did know his name only knew it because he was the boyfriend of actress Anne Hathaway. But Follieri has now made a name for himself. According to prosecutors, he spent years claiming ties to the
2. Joseph Fritzl
One of the more bizarre cases that came to light this year was that of Josef Fritzl, a 73-year-old electrician in
She had actually given birth to seven of his children. Fritzl brought three of the children out of the cellar, claiming that
3. Eve Carson
Eve Carson was the 22-year-old Student Body President at
4. O.J. Simpson
In a flashback to 1994, we got to see O.J. Simpson at the defendant’s table yet again this year. This time, he and co-defendant Clarence Steward were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy. The crime occurred in late 2007, when Simpson and his accomplices were arrested for robbing the Palace Station Hotel-Casino in
Early 2008 saw yet another school shooting that left several dead and many in shock. This time the shooter was armed with a shotgun and two handguns, and opened fire on a lecture hall at
On a Canadian Greyhound bus traveling from
7. Jennifer Hudson
In April 2008, authorities raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch just outside
9. Caylee Anthony
Probably the most publicized crime story of the year is the disappearance and murder of Caylee Anthony. The two-year-old was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, on July 15, 2008, after Caylee’s mother, Casey, would not produce her. Cindy originally stated that she was alarmed after not seeing her grandchild in weeks, and because she had smelled the odor of a dead body coming from the trunk of Casey’s car. Unfortunately for authorities, the stories told by Cindy and Casey became more and more muddled. Casey indicated that a babysitter was with Caylee when she disappeared, but the Anthonys did not know the alleged babysitter. In addition, Caylee had been missing for a least a month prior to the grandmother’s call, but Casey never alerted authorities to her daughter’s disappearance.
During their investigation, police found hair samples and stains, as well as traces of chloroform in Casey’s trunk. Casey has been arrested four times since her daughter’s disappearance, although three of the arrests were not for Caylee’s murder. However, the fourth arrest came after Casey was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, and four counts of lying to investigators.
There have been many leads from people who claim they saw Caylee in different places since her disappearance. But the most promising lead came on December 11, 2008, when the remains of a small child were found in the woods near the Anthonys’ home. The remains have recently been identified as those of Caylee.
A win for the good guys came in November 2008. Too often
Jon was born in South India, and came to the
In March 2007, Jon was arrested in in
On November 13, 2008, Jon was convicted of 16 out of 23 counts of sexual abuse, including the forcible rape of seven women and girls aged 14 to 21. Jon is scheduled to be sentenced on January 13, 2009. Because the case involves special circumstances against multiple victims, the penalty is a mandatory life sentence, making him eligible for parole in 67 years (2075). Jon still faces charges in
11. Anthony Pellicano
Anthony Pellicano is a former high-profile
On May 15, 2008, after acting as his own lawyer and enduring a nine-day jury deliberation, Pellicano was found guilty on 76 of 77 counts related to racketeering, along with four co-defendants. However, a parade of wealthy witnesses admitted they knew about, paid for and listened to wiretaps, but were not charged. They included Alec Gores, a billionaire corporate buyout specialist; Freddy DeMann, a music executive who was once Madonna’s manager; Adam D. Sender, a hedge fund manager and onetime movie investor; and Andrew Stevens, an actor turned movie producer. Summing up, the prosecuting attorney stated that he chose to attack the supply rather than the demand, the way that vice investigators attack pimps and prostitutes rather than
“If the government has no plans to go higher than Pellicano, this is a depressingly pedestrian effort that shows a lack of ambition,” commented John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School and an expert on white-collar crime, as quoted in the NY Times story on the verdict.
In a subsequent six-week Federal Court trial, Pellicano was convicted of wiretapping and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. Facing 78 guilty counts, Pellicano was sentenced in December 2008 to 15 years in prison, and ordered (with two other defendants) to forfeit $2 million.
12. Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter a.k.a “Clark Rockefeller”
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a.k.a. “Clark Rockefeller” is a German citizen who allegedly kidnapped his daughter, Reigh Storrow Mills Boss, on July 27, 2008. He was apprehended on August 2, 2008, and the daughter was returned to her mother, who lived in England.
Through fingerprint analysis, the FBI has confirmed that he is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter of
Reportedly, Gerhartsreiter came to the
On August 15, 2008, the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, the Boston Police Department, and the Suffolk County District Attorney announced confirmation of the true identity of the individual who used the aliases Clark Rockefeller, Chris C. Crowe, Chris Chichester, Charles Smith, and Chip Smith, among others. According to their report, his real name was Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. Gerhartsreiter was conclusively identified by means of forensic examinations conducted by the FBI Laboratory in
When Gerhartsreiter, using the name Clark Rockefeller, was arrested, his fingerprint impressions were taken by FBI agents in
Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter is being held on charges he kidnapped his 7-year-old daughter last summer. He's also been named a "person of interest" in the 1985 disappearance of a