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Archive for May, 2009

Six ex-Univ. of Toledo Athletes and 2 Businessmen Indicted in Sports Point Shaving Scam

university-of-toledo-basketball

People always like to think that college sports is purer than professional sports; The athletes don’t get paid, the pressures aren’t the same. But along comes a scandal like this. It makes you step back and think again.

Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Two area businessmen and six former University of Toledo athletes were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday in connection with a bribery and point-shaving scandal.

The businessmen, Ghazi “Gary” Manni, 52, of Sterling Heights and Mitchell Edward Karam, 76, of Troy, also were indicted along with a former professional jockey on charges they tried to fix horse-racing events at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla.

Charged in the Toledo point-shaving case are Manni; Karam; Anton Du’ane Currie, 25, of Okemos; Harvey Lamont “Scooter” McDougle Jr., 24, of East Cleveland, Ohio; Keith Junior Triplett, 29, of Toledo; Adam Ryan Cuomo, 31, of Hagersville, Ontario; Kashif Lashon Payne, 24, of Chester, Pa.; and Quinton James Broussard, 25, of Carrollton, Texas.

The 20-count indictment alleges that between December 2004 and December 2006, Manni and Karam bribed players to influence the scores of football and basketball games. The businessmen would then bet on the games, the indictment alleges.

For Full Story

Read Point-Shaving Indictment

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Government Wants Court to Reverse Finding that Boston FBI Framed 4 Men in 1965 Gangland Slaying

fbi

This case is a major blemish on the Boston FBI, which has taken a major hit for its role in dealing with the mob and mobsters like Whitey Bulger. The government appears to have an uphill battle in reversing a lower court ruling.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — As he sat in a federal appeals courtroom yesterday listening to a government lawyer argue that the FBI was not to blame for the wrongful conviction that put him and three other men behind bars for decades, Joseph Salvati said it was like being subjected to “waterboarding” – the tactic used during some government interrogations.

“The torture goes on,” said the 76-year-old Salvati, who served 29 years and five months in prison for a 1965 gangland slaying in Chelsea while secret files that would later clear him remained buried at the FBI. “The federal government and the Justice Department has been torturing us for 40 years . . . they just don’t stop.”

His wife, Marie, who raised their four children while he was in prison and has remained by his side through every proceeding, said: “The FBI is still trying to make believe that they didn’t do anything wrong. They are still in denial.”

In July 2007, US District Judge Nancy Gertner found that the FBI was responsible for framing Salvati, Peter J. Limone, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo for the murder of Edward “Teddy” Deegan, a small-time criminal, and ordered the government to pay them a total of $101.7 million for the decades they had spent in prison.

For Full Story

Appeals Court Upholds Legality of Fed Raid on Va. Muslim Charities

virginia-map1The raid hasn’t done much good for the relationship between federal law enforcement and the Islamic community in the Washington/Virginia region. But the court said the feds did nothing wrong. A ruling to the contrary may have given the Islamic community more ammunition to criticize federal law enforcement.


By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

An appeals court yesterday upheld the legality of federal raids on a Herndon-based network of Muslim charities, businesses and think tanks, a case that caused a firestorm in the Muslim community.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the March 2002 raids on homes and business in Herndon and elsewhere in Northern Virginia were “a harrowing experience” for the targets but did not violate their constitutional rights. The court said agents exercised “lawful force” in drawing their guns and handcuffing a family whose home was searched.

Federal agents carted away hundreds of boxes of documents during the searches from some of the most established Islamic organizations in the United States. They were looking for evidence of an international network to finance terrorism, part of what federal officials have called the nation’s largest terrorism-financing investigation.

For Full Story

Ex-Rep. Jefferson’s Attorneys Mention Ted Stevens Case In Request to Review Government Evidence

Expect defense attorneys to start raising the failed Ted Stevens case when they feel the government isn’t sharing enough evidence. This is just the start. Trial is set for May 26.

William Jefferson

William Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert
Washington bureau
WASHINGTON — Attorneys for former Rep. William Jefferson say government prosecutors run the risk of the sort of problems that brought the Ted Stevens case “to its ignominious conclusion” if they don’t provide them with evidence that could aid the defense.

They make the case in a letter mailed April 2, a day after the Justice Department agreed to drop the case against Stevens, the veteran Alaska senator. The action, in effect, voided a 2008 jury verdict that found Republican Stevens guilty of not revealing in Senate disclosure forms gifts from a government contractor.

The request to drop the case, which the trial judge quickly agreed to, came after the Justice Department conceded that it hadn’t provided defense attorneys with prosecutors’ notes that contradicted testimony from a key government witness.

For Full Story

Miami-Dade County DEA Office Moves to Upscale Burbs

weston-fla-map

Some say the move is a wise one, but others say the location is too far removed from prisons and courts and reality.

By Vanessa Blum
South Florida Sun Sentinel
WESTON, Fla. – There’s a newcomer to Weston–one that’s moved in this month with an arsenal of weaponry, stocks of illegal narcotics and plenty of accommodations for drug traffickers.

This upscale Broward community, a tidy suburban scape of palm-lined thoroughfares, corporate campuses, and gated residential enclaves, has a surprising new resident– the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

After three decades in Miami-Dade County, the venerable drug-fighting agency has been evicted from its Doral headquarters, which is being converted to a city center.

Like many real estate decisions, the relocation is driven by practical considerations like affordable rent, sufficient parking and easy access to South Florida’s highways.

But the federal agency’s move north also mirrors the new geography of South Florida’s drug trade–a map that is no longer Miami-centric but has spread to the suburbs of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

For Full Story

Inspector Gen. Report Says FBI Still Slow to Update Terror Watch List

I.G. Glen Fine

I.G. Glenn Fine

The FBI issued a statement Wednesday saying it has implemented measures to address all 16 recommendations by the Inspector General “which are all now resolved” and it remains “committed to improving our watchlist policy and practices”.

The Inspector General Report saw it differently by concluding: “Nevertheless, the FBI’s own review and our work in this audit indicate that weaknesses continue to exist, that significant improvements are still necessary, and that it is too early to tell whether the deficiencies identified in this audit have been fully addressed.”

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — The FBI is slow to update the national terror suspect watchlist — and the lapses pose real risks to U.S. security, a Justice Department audit has found.

A report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Glenn Fine, found 12 terror suspects who were either not watchlisted or were slow to be added to the list may have traveled into or out of the United States during the period when they were not placed on the list.

The watchlist, which is used to screen people entering the U.S. and by local law enforcement, contains more than 1.1 million names.

In 15 percent of the cases auditors reviewed, subjects were not nominated to the watchlist, contrary to FBI policy.

In some instances, people with names matching subjects who were not watchlisted — or who were not put on the list in a timely fashion — attempted to cross U.S. borders during the period their names were not placed on the list by the FBI, according to the report.

For Full Story

Read Full Report

Virginia Official Says Feds Probing Hackers and Theft of Health Data Info and Ransom Demand

computer-photoUnless we want to see these types of attacks become even more popular, state and federal authorities  need to beef up their cyber defenses – and fast.

By Brian Krebs
Washington Post

Hackers last week broke into a Virginia state Web site used by pharmacists to track prescription drug abuse. They deleted records on more than 8 million patients and replaced the site’s homepage with a ransom note demanding $10 million for the return of the records, according to a posting on Wikileaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents.

Wikileaks reports that the Web site for the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was defaced last week with a message claiming that the database of prescriptions had been bundled into an encrypted, password-protected file.

Wikileaks has published a copy of the ransom note left in place of the PMP home page, a message that claims the state of Virginia would need to pay the demand in order to gain access to a password needed to unlock those records:

“I have your [expletive] In *my* possession, right now, are 8,257,378 patient records and a total of 35,548,087 prescriptions. Also, I made an encrypted backup and deleted the original. Unfortunately for Virginia, their backups seem to have gone missing, too. Uhoh :(For $10 million, I will gladly send along the password.”

For Full Story

Feds Charge Man With Smuggling Songbirds in Pant Leg on Vietnam Flight to U.S.

Now this one tops them all.  A federal affidavit says an airport inspector asked Mr. Dong to lift up a pant leg and “noticed bird feathers and droppings on Dong’s socks.” That was probably a good indication that something was wrong. Or at least that he needed to change his socks. Four of the birds were magpie robins  like the one pictured in photo to the right.

photo by lcsd.gov.vhk

photo by lcsd.gov.vhk

By Raquel Maria Dillon
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES – A man was charged Tuesday with smuggling songbirds into the United States by hiding more than a dozen of them in an elaborate, custom-tailored pair of leggings during a flight from Vietnam to Los Angeles.

Sony Dong, 46, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in March after an inspector spotted bird feathers and droppings on his socks and tail feathers peeking out from under his pants, prosecutors said.

“He had fashioned these special cloth devices to hold the birds,” said U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek. “They were secured by cloth wrappings and attached to his calves with buttons.”

For Full Story

Read Federal Affidavit