The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on February 12, 1997 · 18
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 18

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 12, 1997
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The Tampa Tribune, Wednesday, February iz, 1S97 Lawyer accused in pardon scheme V A L E N T I N E ' S DAY F E B R U A Ri Y 14 ' A Tribune staff report . TAMPA A federal grand jury has indicted a suspended Florida 'lawyer and a convicted felon for conspiracy and mail fraud, contending the pair conned prisoners' families out of money. ' John Samaha, who has been barred from practicing law since ; 1991, and his friend Albert Doll promised federal prisoners they could use their connections to get them presidential pardons in ex change for money, an indictment unsealed Tuesday said. During the summer and fall of 1994, the pair pretended that Samaha was a practicing lawyer with powerful friends, including influential politicians working in the government, the indictment says. For a nonrefundable advance fee, Samaha promised the prisoners he would exploit his friendships to obtain their release. According to the indictment, he then told them a second payment would be deposited in overseas accounts to buy gifts and make contributions to political campaigns. Doll told prisoners he had paid Samaha $30,000 and placed $450,000 in escrow in anticipation of a pardon. Between September and December 1994, Samaha and Doll received $90,000 from the families of five prisoners, the indictment states. Four payments, totaling $60,000, were made through the mail, according to the indictment. Samaha and Doll appeared in handcuffs Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Tom McCoun. They were not arraigned, but McCoun ordered their release on $50,000 signature bonds after he determined they were not likely to flee the area. Samaha's two sons, Steve and Charles, both Tampa lawyers, guaranteed their father's presence for future court hearings. Doll previously served a 33-month sentence for wire fraud and conspiracy in an unrelated case. THE HEART IAMOND HEART PENDANT. UR SIZES, FROM $2,695 TV 'Unsolved Mysteries' to show Dunedin case TH RUBIES, FROM $1 ,995 QUADRILLION. The ideal squan dtamond 4-FloridaMetro ( it 2 I FR0 INVISIBLY SET AVAILABLE IN PC ALSO AVAILABLE WU 4 From Page 1 ; An investigation was reopened but it soon stalled. The family, desperate for a resolution, contacted NBC's "Unsolved Mysteries." The case will be profiled in a segment Friday night at 8. "We hope that someone comes forward and puts all the missing pieces of the puzzle together," Jinny Dirscherl said Tuesday. "I never believed that he committed suicide." The family also hopes "Unsolved Mysteries" can help find a mysterious woman who had a chance encounter on a train with Jinny's sister in 1995. The woman claimed to have a message from beyond the grave, from a "Bob" who wanted his family to know that he was murdered. "This sounds crazy and, believe me, we're not a family that calls the psychic hot line," said Guy Dirscherl. "But we do want to talk to this woman about what she told my aunt." Guy and his sister, Kandace Whi-tehurst, said their aunt, now deceased, was traveling from Florida to California two years ago when a stranger approached her. Dirscherl said the young woman told his aunt that she received "messages from beyond the grave that could help people. "She said my father had been murdered by a man he encountered in the bedroom," The woman wrote this on a club car napkin and signed it "Nancy Durham." She also gave a telephone number, but the Dirscherls say they have been unable to reach her. "My father was not the kind of man who would kill himself," White-hurst said. "We always suspected that someone had broken into the house. ... Back then our doors were often unlocked." She speculated the confession was unsigned because the person might have family in the area. Police records show there were no signs of forced entry or a struggle, and nothing was missing from the house, said Pinellas sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. "Also the wound was close to the chest and not fired from a distance," she said. "Reportedly, the suiTMissed meetings led to expulsion From Page 1 with a disability," said Lydia S. Castle of Gulfcoast Legal Services, which filed the suit for Alexander in U.S. District Court in Tampa. Castle said the school board violated the federal Americans With Disabilities Act by expelling Gabriel Alexander from the school because his mother's kidney disease prevented her from attending the meetings. Castle said she contacted the school board last year to ask for reasonable accommodations for Alexander, but the board's attorney's refused. Gabriel Alexander was expelled from the school about five months ago, Castle said. An attorney for the school board, Keith Martin, said he could not discuss the case because of student confidentiality laws. "Our policy is certainly to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act," Martin said. Alexander receives Social Secu rity disability benefits from the federal government, Castle said, demonstrating her status under the law. The 49-year-old mother must receive dialysis three times a week. She was hospitalized for an adjustment in her medication when she missed the third PTA meeting, Castle said. "She definitely wants the policy changed," Castle said, "because if her little boy were readmitted and the policy wasn't changed, we'd be back to square one." 5 pc Bedroom 5 pc Dinette t-" 5 pc Living Room $797or$29-mo I FACTORY DIRECT i Gpisccipal Church 906 S. Orleans at Morrison Avenue Hyde Park, Tampa 259-1570 ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES FEBRUARY 12, 1997 Holy Communion & Imposition of Ashes available at all services. 7:30 AM Holy Communion, Chapel 8:30 AM School Eucharist, Church 10:00 AM Holy Communion, Chapel 12:15 PM Holy Communion, Church 7:30 PM Choral Eucharist, Combined Choirs, (Nursery Provided) WEDNESDAY EVENING LENTEN PROGRAMS Call Parish Office for more Information. fi-M P J't '.: rooD Uasccl on it true tory. ncatac. ... ..T.iti!cmmro-. 30E!WW'Sr;dflFM gnM rats., thim ttsm ,riMr.:.;'itolS.w;"W!', aiij"nt m Benefit reception 5-7 p.m. Museum of African American Art 1308 Marion St. N.. Tampa Movie premiere 7:30 p.m. Old Hyde Park 7 AMC 1609 Swann Ave., Tampa A ticket to both reception and premiere 19 $100. A ticket to the premiere only is $50. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Starring Ving Rhames and Jon Voight, the movie is based on the tragic, true story of a town in Florida burned during a 1923 racist incident. John Singleton, the acclaimed young director of "Rosewood" and "Boys n the Hood." will be featured at the reception. Proceeds benefit the Rosewood Justice Center, a non-profit organization formed to establish a memorial to the town of Rosewood. Make your check9 payable to Rosewood Justice Center co Ruth Bentley. PO, Box 1288, Tampa. FL 33601. FOR MORE INFORMATION. CALL SUE HOUSE AT ( 813 ) 22 7-65 81. Sponsored by Holland & Kmyht and The Tampa Tribune THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Making a difference in our community ammunition was kept separate from the gun." The case originally was investigated by the Dunedin Police Department, since disbanded. "We were not happy with the way the original investigation was conducted," Guy Dirscherl said. "They didn't check for fingerprints and didn't talk to neighbors to see if they saw anyone around our house." After the sheriff's office began serving Dunedin in 1995, the files were reviewed, but Pasha says there's not enough evidence to change the original finding. "But we're open to take new evidence if anyone comes forward with more information." X it i A v AYOFTS PREMIER JEWELERS SINCE 1910 MIAMI FORT LAUDERDALE BOCA RATON BOVNTON BEACH JENSEN BEACH PALM BEACH GARDENS ORLANDO LAKELAND TAMPA For mora Inlormatlon, plaaaa call 1 800 402 0077 Visit our Wab slta at http:Wwww.mayoralawalara.oom I I i tjr i uoinrs j mmL. Includes the HP color kit! t,V U (B83 TK3 HEWLETT HHA PACKARD Authorized Dealer HP DeskJet 400C Color Inkjet Printer Prims 3 pages-per-minutc ai oOO 300 dpi Hieh-aualitv graphics with enhanced gra scale 842-?24 Rebate Tg"stm' - w" Zwith Purchase Of HP -J ' K 'T&.n.ii DsskJrt 693C -&JF V Wf HP Pkat! Kit! fig!! J fcSH Affordable 4-Color Printing! LEXMjMUC. Lexmark 2030 Color Jet Printer a.,,. 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