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Archive for February 14th, 2012

Trial Date Set for Mobster “Whitey” Bulger

Whitey Bulger/fbi

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now for the moment all the followers of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger have been waiting for.

Bloomberg news reports that the federal trial for Bulger,82, who was on the lam for 16 years, has been set for Nov. 5 in Boston. He is accused of killing at least 19 people.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler set the trial date over the objections of Bulger’s court-appointed attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., according to Bloomberg news.

Bloomberg reported that “prosecutors have inundated him with 580,000 pages of documents and 921 tapes of secret wiretaps related to the 48-count racketeering indictment.”

“We can’t possibly be ready,” Carney told the judge. His client didn’t attend today’s hearing.

 

Calif. Couple Sentenced for Enslaving Illegal Immigrants

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A California couple was sentenced to 18 months each for harboring illegal aliens and forcing them to work in substandard conditions, the FBI said in a statement on Monday.

Maximino Morales, 46, and his wife, Melinda Morales, 48, of Paso Robles, Calif., had the victims working at their elder care facilities, according to the FBI. “The Filipino victims in this case were lured to the United States with false promises and were essentially performing slave labor,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr.

The couple, also natives of the Philippines, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, admitting they recruited the victims with promises of live-in caregiver work at the four elder care facilities they ran, known as “Four M’s, Inc.” A Philippines contact secured fake visas to get the victims to the US

“Some of the aliens worked alone in 24-hour shifts…as caregivers at one of the Four M’s elder care residential facilities for less than minimum wage,” according to plea agreements filed in this case. “All of the aliens lived in the care facilities, and some of the aliens slept in a closet, on a sofa, and in a walled-off portion of an unheated, attached garage.” Threatened with calls to the police or immigration officials if they tried to leave, the victims’ pay was credited against the “debt” they were told they owed, according to the FBI.

The operation ended when a concerned member of the community tipped of authorities. In addition to the prison sentences, the couple were ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution to nine victims.

Book Review: J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s War on Civil Liberties

By Ben Jacobs
The Daily Beast

 Tim Weiner’s fast-paced new book, ‘Enemies: A History of the FBI,’ explores almost a century of the agency’s domestic spying, infringing on the Fourth Amendment, abuse of power, and handling of famous cases like the Pentagon Papers and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Many books about the FBI focus on J. Edgar Hoover’s psychology, from his mother issues to his alleged predilection for dressing in drag. Enemies: A History of the FBI, by Tim Weiner, is not one of these. There is no racy gossip about Hoover or exciting tidbits about famed Depression-era gangsters like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd whom Hoover and the bureau helped catch.

Instead, Weiner’s history has an exciting and fast-paced narrative that focuses on the bureau’s perennial enemy, the Fourth Amendment, and civil liberties generally.

To read more click here.

State Patrolman Pleads Guilty to Multiple Charges of Fraud

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper pled guilty in a US District Court on Monday to charges of mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud and witness tampering, the FBI announced.

Benjamin W. Richardson, 46, of Powell, Ohio, plead guilty to the eight-count indictment before US District Judge Gregory L. Frost. Richardson was arrested in September of 2011 by FBI agents and has been in custody since. Richardson resigned from the Ohio State Highway Patrol when the charges were returned.

In 2005, Richardson took part in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending institutions out of $678,275 in loans involving three properties he was buying, as well as the refinancing of his own home, he admitted. He admitted to under-reporting his income when filing for bankruptcy in 2007 as well.

With a guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Richardson faces up to 30 years for each crime, though a sentencing date has not yet been set. Five more years are possible for each of two additional counts: making false statements and false oaths in bankruptcy. For attempting to prevent a witness from talking with law enforcement during the investigation, Richardson also pled guilty to witness tampering, which can carry up to 20 years.

 

DEA Asked to Submit Rationale for Pharmacy Suspension Orders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The DEA was ordered on Monday to submit an explanation of its rationale for attempting to shut down a Florida pharmaceutical distribution center, reports the Associated Press. D.C. US District Judge Reggie Walton gave the agency until the end of next week to make a submission.

The DEA had issued orders earlier this month to suspend the sale of controlled substances by two CVS pharmacies near Orlando and Lakeland, Fla., in an attempt to combat the misuse of pain killers like oxycodone, according to the AP. The pharmacies were giving out large amounts of the drug in excess of legitimate needs, the DEA had said. This is the first time branches of a national pharmacy chain were targets of suspension orders.

To read more click here.

 

Nigerian Scam Emails Mention FBI Officials

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

I once got a Nigerian email scam telling me I was entitled to millions of dollars for FREE! All I had to do was give my name and bank account number and assist with moving the cash out of Nigeria.

I was a reporter at the time at the Washington Post. I responded with enthusiasm and  wrote something like: “This sounds great. Please contact me ASAP at 202.278-2000.” That was the phone number for the FBI Washington field office.

I got a response a short time later: “Mr. Lengel, how dare you give me the FBI number.”

I wrote back: “How dare you try to scam me.”

Well, apparently the Nigerian scam letter has gone the way of the FBI.

The FBI Baltimore field office issued a press release Monday that says: “The Baltimore FBI office is receiving a large number of telephone calls concerning e-mails supposedly from the FBI Director, the Baltimore Special Agent in Charge, or other top Bureau officials.

“These e-mails claim that you are the ‘rightful beneficiary’ of large sums of money wired from the Central Bank of Nigeria but intercepted by the FBI and that you can release the funds by obtaining your ‘Diplomatic Immunity Seal of Transfer’ through the Baltimore FBI office. The e-mails also threaten legal action against you, including arrest and detention, if you do not comply.

“These e-mails are not from the FBI and entirely fraudulent. Please do not respond to them or contact our office. Instead, please report this scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.”

 

Two Chicago Cops Busted in FBI Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Chicago cops find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

The feds in Chicago on Monday announced that they had charged Sgt. Ronald Watts and officer Kallatt Mohammed with stealing $5,200 from someone they thought was transporting money for drug dealers, but who was actually an informant working for the FBI.

Both cops were assigned to a 2nd District tactical team.

Watts, 48, is an 18-year police veteran and Mohammed, 47, who joined the department 14 years ago.

Authorities said that last Nov. 21, a cooperating witness for the FBI told the cops about transporting the drug money.

Agents on surveillance video-recorded the alleged theft, which occurred when Mohammed, driving his personal auto, approached the informant in the 2700 block of South Vernon and took a bag containing $5,200 from the informant, authorities said.

Later, authorities alleged, the officers paid the informant $400 for allowing them to steal the drug proceeds.

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