On February 9, 2005, twenty-one federal agents raided a small software solutions company known as Inestigative Resource Planning (IRP) Solutions. It was a company of less than twenty employees who worked on providing software to law enforcement agencies. What followed is potentially one of the most blatant cases of corporate bullying through fraudulent charges and a smear campaign aimed to slight the reputations of 6 established, well-respected businessman. This small black-owned company threatened the bottom lines of powerhouses like Lockheed-Martin and SAIC and what followed has been textbook corruption and a terrible miscarriage of justice.
Who and what are the IRP6?
The IRP6 consist of Gary Walker, David Banks, Ken Walker, Clinton Stewart, David Zirpolo, and Demetrius Harper. Click here for their Bio's from the Free the IRP 6 website. Needless to say, their backgrounds are pretty impressive. Of the six, only David Zirpolo is not black, and that may go to explaining why I've never heard of this case until I set up our twitter account for this page. There is a huge presence of Free The IRP 6 supporters and this article comes specifically by request of one of those supporters. It comes as no surprise that this case has received an absolute media blackout. Funny, it seems kind of newsworthy to me.
IRP was involved in developing something called the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) Precinct Software. Here are a few descriptions of CILC from their website
CILC (pronounced "silk") is an enterprise level client-server application that could be the detail-oriented manager you've always wanted for your investigations unit. It may also be the solution for your records management woes and a way to rid yourself of the endless stacks of paper.
I think we can all understand how helpful software like this might be to agencies like the NYPD, the (Philadelphia) PPD, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI. Well so did IRP, and they were actively working with each of these agencies to develop further versions of CILC that would meet their expectations. When expectations were raised in terms of volume, the need for extra staffing on the part of IRP became necessary. This is where the government's case lies. They allege that IRP bilked the staffing companies out of millions while they (IRP) claimed to be developing a software that never was, that it was all a massive fraud on the part of IRP executives. That the debt was incurred is not in question. But did that warrant the firestorm that hailed down upon IRP headquarters?
And If that were the case, what exactly does the prosecution think these 6 men had in mind in terms of their clients? Did they foster business contacts with the FBI, DHS, and the NY and Philly PD's and begin developing software just so they could scam some staffing companies? What did they plan to do, take the money and run? It's not a well thought out premise for the motive. These weren't con artists. They were established and educated businessmen. If you want to prove your case to me, show me a motive, a pattern of behavior, or something solid. This isn't Italy and we're not watching the Amanda Knox case. We don't accept innuendo as proof.
The Trial Phase
The IRP6 were indicted in 2009 and then convicted for conspiracy to commit mail/wire-fraud. They were sentenced to 7-11 years in Federal prison. At one point in the trial, Ken Barnes was denied his 5th amendment right when he was directed to take the stand against his will. This blatant misstep was recorded in the court transcripts, but the version provided to IRP was edited and missing 200 pages of relevant information. Attempts to force AG Eric Holder to investigate this have so far fallen on deaf ears. (See link for petition at bottom of article)
At this moment, the case is under appeal based on 5th Amendment Prohibition of Testimony, 6th Amendment Right to Present a Defense, and Speedy Trial Act violations.
So What Is This Case Really About?
So what do we really know here? It seems that this small, predominantly black IT company was on the verge of some big contracts with agencies that previously went with the industry powerhouses. In their attempts to keep up with development requests of their potential contractors, they fell behind in paying their staffing companies. Now, in most cases, this collection of debt would be a civil issue. There is no earthly reason that they should be raided for this. Why was the FBI even involved here? Was it an attempt to gain IRP's intellectual property by putting them in jail and blacklisting them from the industry to profit from their research? Were the old boy networks unwilling to let their contracts go to some unknown company that could easily be taken out of the equation through any number of different methods? What else can explain the show of force, the blatant attempts to keep them quiet and implicate themselves in court, the seizing of their property over a debt issue? It all seems just too suspect. Its quite possible that these 6 men were getting too much traction and becoming too big to ignore. If they are so guilty of fraud and its such a clear cut case, why the missing transcripts? Show us what happened. As the government likes to say to us all too often, "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear".
Sources and Links
Free the IRP6 on Facebook
Free the IRP6 on Twitter
Sign the Petition to Investigate the Missing 200 pages of Court Transcripts
IRP6: A True Story of Debt Collection Gone Wild
Article written by Mike Palmer
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