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Feds Misbehaving in 2012

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Everyday, people in federal law enforcement head to work, grab a coffee, maybe a donut or a bagel, comb through their emails, read a newspaper or website and go about fighting crime, protecting the public from violent drug dealers, public corruption, gun-related crimes,  healthcare fraud and terrorism.

But on occasion, something reminds us that the iconic law enforcement agencies are made up of humans. A few cross the line.  In most instances, it  involves sex, alcohol or money.

This year, perhaps one of the more publicized events involved  Secret Service agents in South America, who brought prostitutes back to the hotel.  That turned into a big big mess. Any time the media can get the Secret Service, the president and hookers in the same story, there’s bound to be trouble.

In what has become part of an annual tradition, ticklethewire.com presents “Feds Misbehaving in 2012.”

 

Too Exposed: There’s something about a motorist exposing himself. It’s particularly noteworthy when that person is an FBI agent. In Buffalo, in December, FBI agent John Yervelli Jr. was charged with public lewdness for allegedly exposing himself to a truck driver as he tooled down the New York State Thruway one Friday night, apparently exposing his tool. Authorities alleged that he had his pants down and made lewd gestures.

 

 

Mind Bender: The idea of downloading child porn has been a crime the feds  and  society takes very seriously. The FBI, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and some local and state agencies put a lot of resources into cracking down on this problem that has exploded with the advent of the Internet. But it’s a mind bender when someone like Anthony Mangione, 50, whose agency so aggressively goes after child porn, gets busted for child porn. Mangione, who headed ICE in Southern Florida, was recently sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for transportation and possession of child porn. Just as an aside,  you have to wonder how a guy in that position could get caught knowing what he knows about how the feds track down these offenders.

He’s not alone.  In Indiana, FBI Donald Sachtleben, a 25-year bureau veteran who worked on such high-profile cases as the Unabomber and the Oklahoma Bombing, was busted on child porn charges as part of a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet. His case is pending.

Keep Your Hands Out of the FBI Cookie Jar: Stealing from the your employer is a bad idea. It’s a particularly a bad idea when the employer is the FBI. Bankrupt FBI agent Timothy Kotz, 45, got busted for embezzling $43,190 he was supposed to give confidential informants. He had $11,000 in gambling losses in the past year. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by 6  months of house arrest. He was  also ordered to repay the money.

 

Way Too Tragic: This is one of the sadder stories, partly because there was no malice intended here. But the result was tragic in many ways. FBI agent Adrian Johnson was convicted in October in Prince George’s County in suburban D.C. of vehicular manslaughter and six related charges in connection with the drunk driving crash in Brandywine, Md., in 2011 that killed an 18-year-old man and seriously injured his friend. A tragic ending for a promising career. He’ll be off to prison for a while.

 

Hector Reynaldo CuellarForget Biden, Who’s Protecting the Children? Secret Service officer Hector Reynaldo Cuellar of Virginia who who guarded Vice President Joe Biden’s residence in Northwest D.C. was busted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was taking care of.

Fox News reported that Cuellar is charged with  assaulting a “family member several times between August and October.”

Next Time Just Rent a Movie:  Secret Service agents got a little wild in April during a presidential detail in Cartagena, Colombia. Some brought hookers to their hotel rooms. Some claim they didn’t know they were prostitutes, that is until they asked for money. Some of the agents were married. It turned into a major scandal.  By May,  eight agents had left their jobs as a result of the scandal. Some subsequently decided to fight the allegations,  claiming some of that behavior was quietly condoned.

The incident resulted in the Secret Service imposing new rules on the road. Apparently, someone had forgot the first go around to specify in the rules not to bring hookers back to the hotel room.  Recommendation to agents:  Next time just stay in the room and order up a film, a brew and a cheeseburger.

 

Online Shenanigans:  In New Orleans, a couple veteran prosecutors thought they’d be clever by taking pot shots at judges and targets of investigations by posting anonymous comments on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website. Well, guess what. The whole thing blew up. They got caught.

The  two veteran prosecutors — Sal Perricone and  Jan Mann– resigned and this month so did the U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who was chastised by a federal judge for not adequately dealing with the scandal. The judge, Kurt Engelhardt, called the scandal “skulduggery by the government” and indicated the online postings could result in criminal charges. Note to others: Leave the online b.s. to the junior high kids. They’re better at it — and they usually don’t get caught.

Crossing the Line and Crossing the Border: Two border Patrol agents, who are brothers, were convicted in August in  San Diego of sneaking hundreds of illegal immigrants into the U.S. for money.  Raul and Fidel Villarreal were accused of smuggling in Mexicans and Brazilians.

 

Helping a Little Too Much:  It’s good to help friends and associates.  But FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.  may have helped a little too much. A grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted him on charges that he used his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts.

Of course, the feds allege that he had some incentive to help out (so much for any Boy Scout defense). His business partner allegedly offered  Lustyk a $200,000 cash payment and  interest in some lucrative contracts. Lustyk had been assigned to an counterintelligence unit for the FBI out of White Plains, N.Y.

 

 


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