Saturday, August 05, 2006

Far-reaching Hurrican Victims

More old news resurfacing, with an interesting twist..

Remember a few months ago when a WH advisor was caught "shoplifting"? There was some murmur that it was "someone else" (possibly his twin brother?), and that it was a mistake and all the rest of the normal platitudes of someone caught doing something wrong.
At the time, Mr. Allen denied the charges through his lawyer and said there had been a mix-up concerning his credit card. The accusations included at least 25 efforts to collect refunds on goods he never bought.
Lost control twenty-five times? Yeah, right.But it's his excuse that really made my jaw drop:

His excuse? He's a Katrina Victim. His job and his life were so stressful in the aftermath of the hurricane that he succumbed to the urge to steal. Mind you, he doesn't live in any place affected by the storm, he was in Washington and doing his job as an influential policy advisor. A position from which he has since resigned, thankfully. It's old news, but this surfaced again today in a New York Times article:
Former White House adviser Claude Allen tearfully pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge Friday, telling a Montgomery County judge that he lost his bearings after working 14-hour days and getting little sleep in the "tumultuous time" after Hurricane Katrina.

"Something did go very wrong," said Allen, who began crying during his remarks to the court. "I failed to restrain myself ... I did not appreciate what was going on."

How many of us have "failed to restrain ourselves" when faced with such urges? As a kid I stole a piece of candy from a local store. My mother marched me back and made me apoligize and pay for the candy and pretty much humiliated me. At seven, that had a serious impact on me. Apprently Mr. Allen never quite learned that lesson and his "control" is so weak that he has to steal. More than twenty-five times.

And it's not "shoplifting" -- let's at least be correct here: What he did was buy an item (from an expsensive DVD player all the way down to items costing less than five bucks), take it to his car, then return to the store with the receipt. There, he picked up another of the same item and returned it. This wasn't spur-of-the-moment theft, this was planned and executed fraud to the tune of roughly $5K.

There is still a theory that it really was his Evil Twin, and that he took the rap to keep his brother (who has a history of legal problems) from doing hard time. It's a story so odd it might actually be true.

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