A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undercover sting operation known as 'Abscam' or the Abdel Enterprises Scam was created in 1979 by the FBI's New York district office (Gershman, Bennet L, 1982). This operation was originally designed to catch thieves that were stealing art paintings in New York; this sting operation later turned into a test of faith for those in high office in government. FBI agents assisted by Melvin Weignberg, a convicted con-artist, posed as two wealthy Arabian Sheiks who wanted to immigrate to the United States and invest in American real estate and business (Gershman, 1982). The Sheiks quickly attracted the attention of Angelo Errichetti, a New Jersey politician, and Howard Criden, a Philadelphia attorney (Gershman). Angelo and Howard formed an alliance to produce other government officials to assist the sheiks (Gershman, 1982). This alliance was very successful and quickly had numerous government officials that were willing to assist the Sheiks (Kotz, Nick, 1980).
Those included on this list was: Congressmen Michael Myers and Raymond Lederer of Pennsylvania, Congressman John Murchy of New York, Congressman Frank Thompson (Gershman, 1982). The FBI also approached: Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey and Congressman Richard Kelly of Florida. Errichetti, Criden, Myers, and Lederer all accepted $50,000 bribes in exchange for assisting the Sheiks (Kotz, 1980). Williams was difficult to persuade but after several meetings finally accepted a bribe (Kotz, 1980). Kelly rejected helping the Sheiks initially but in the end accepted a $25,000 bribe to assist the Sheiks (Gershman, 1982).
A prime area of focus for the Abscam operation was corruption in Philadelphia; to execute this part of the operation; Weinberg informed Criden that the Sheik wanted to build a hotel complex in the city (Gershman, 1982). Criden then arranged meetings with George Schwartz and Harry Jannotti, president...