The Innocence Project of Texas has, apparently, become the victim of one of the bigger crimes of the present day.
The IPT, for those who don't know, is an Austin-based group of volunteer students and lawyers who take up the cases of those they feel have been wrongly convicted.
One case they're not likely to take up anytime soon -- that of Ponzi-scheme con man Bernie Madoff.
IPT executive director Natalie Roetzel has, according to Grits For Breakfast, sent out an emergency e-mail to supporters saying the group has become a victim of Madoff's fraudulent scheme.
From the e-mail:
Our organization was informed that the JEHT Foundation, a major funder of IPOT's work in Dallas County, is closing its doors after being hit hard by Bernard Madoff's alleged ponzi scheme. In the wake of this tragedy that is affecting numerous non-profit organizations around the country, we are reaching out to you for contributions to our cause.
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The JEHT Foundation (it stands for Justice, Equality, Human Dignity, Tolerance and Odd Acronyms) is a New York-based rights organization. It pledged almost half a million dollars earlier this year to fund DNA tests for iffy Dallas County convictions.
"Although the loss of a portion of the IPOT designated JEHT funds will not constitute an end to our organization, it is a definite hurdle that we are committed to overcoming," Roetzel wrote.
We're guessing Bernie Madoff can't expect much in the way of post-conviction help from IPT, if he needs it.
-- Richard Connelly