Sixteen (in)famous FMCers
Sure, we get our share of celebs at Mayo Clinic, but Rochester’s Federal Medical Center (which currently holds more than 900 prisoners) has housed its share of the famous and infamous since it opened in 1984. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was admitted to FMC in June, and that caused quite the buzz. Here are sixteen current and former FMCers of note:
• Lee Alexander, a former Syracuse, N.Y., mayor. Convicted in a $1.5-million kickback scandal.
• William Aramony, the longtime president of the United Way of America. Convicted of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges in 1995.
• Jim Bakker, former television evangelist. Convicted of fraud and conspiracy. He returned to Rochester after his release from the federal prison system to preach at a Sunday service at the Assembly of God Church in October 1995.
• Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement in 1968. Convicted and sentenced to five years for selling LSD. Bellecourt was one of the leaders of the occupation of Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Wounded Knee, S.D. in 1973.
• Dennis Hastert, former Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Convicted of financial fraud for hush money paid to teenagers he had allegedly molested.
• Luke Helder, the former Pine Island resident who planted homemade pipe bombs in mailboxes across the Midwest in 2002 (and the bombs were designed to create a smiley face when tagged on a U.S. map).
• Lyndon LaRouche, a self-described world leader who launched his fifth presidential bid from the FMC. Convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy in 1989.
• Jared Lee Loughner, who pled guilty to the murder of six people (and the attempted assassination of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011).
• Stew Leonard Sr., a retailing legend who built a dairy store into a shopping extravaganza that Ripley’s dubbed the “world’s largest dairy store.’’ He and three of his employees admitted in 1993 that they committed tax fraud worth $6.7 million to the IRS.
• Richard Miller, the first FBI agent convicted of spying, spent time in Rochester after being transferred from California. Convicted of trading secrets for sex and promises of $65,000 in cash and gold in a romance with a Soviet emigre.
• Bob Probert, a former National Hockey League All-Star who played for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, pleaded guilty in 1989 to importing cocaine for personal use. Served a three-month sentence.
• Mark Putnam, the only FBI agent convicted of first-degree manslaughter. He strangled an informant. He wrote a book about his life and crime called Above Suspicion.
• Dan Rostenkowski, former Democratic congressman from Illinois and once-powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee chairman. Convicted of mail fraud.
• Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Muslim cleric with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden. Found guilty in 1995 of being part of a conspiracy that included the Feb. 26, 1993, explosion at the World Trade Center that killed six and injured more
• James Traficant, the former Democratic representative from Ohio convicted of taking bribes, racketeering, filing false tax returns, and “forcing his aides to perform chores on his farm in Ohio and on his houseboat in Washington, DC.”
• Al Taubman, the former chairman of the auction house Sotheby’s, served just under a year for fixing art prices (and overcharging sellers $44 million over six years). “His cellmates,” wrote the New York Post’s gossip columnist in 2002, “are a pilot and a dentist—they are actually very nice.”