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July 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for July, 2009

U.S. Attorney’s Office Plans to Appeal Pa. ex-Sen. Vince Fumo’s Lenient Sentence

Outrage has been pouring in since ex-Sen. Vince Fumo, a first-rate shakedown artist was sentenced to 55-months in prison, a sentence that fell short of what he could have gotten under a plea agreement. The government filed papers Friday indicating it plans to appeal the sentencing. This should be interesting.

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/ photo

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/ photo

By Brad Bumsted
Pittsburg Tribune Review
HARRISBURG, Pa. – At about $14 apiece, the 91 lobster tails Anthony Jones stole from the kitchen of Bally’s Atlantic City cost the casino $1,275. The theft cost Jones four years in prison.

When U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter imposed a prison sentence of four years and seven months on former Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Fumo on Tuesday, it drew immediate comparisons to the time behind bars an Atlantic City Superior Court judge gave Jones, 38, just four days earlier.

For a pervasive corruption scheme that prosecutors claim involved more than $4 million in fraud, Buckwalter gave Fumo, 66, a sharply reduced sentence from the 10 to 15 years prosecutors sought, citing his good works as a Democratic senator from Philadelphia. The judge deviated from federal sentencing guidelines and a probation report that recommended 21 to 27 years.

When Philadelphia news outlets reported Jones’ sentence last week, a poster identified only as “Louie45” wrote on a Daily News blog: “this guy should be a state senator in pa. He would have gotten off free and they would have given him the lobsters. This poor guy got 7 months less than the thief FUMO.”

“Scorpio27” wrote: “never steal anything small.”

For Full Story

Fed Judge Gives NPR Science Editor Probation for Downloading Child Porn

The judge says the defendant was a victim of rape himself at the age of 9,  and spared him a prison sentence. Was it right?


By Scott McCabe
Washington Examiner
WASHINGTON — The former NPR science editor who pleaded guilty to downloading videos of young children being raped will not have to spend any time in prison, a federal D.C. judge ruled Thursday.

Cheers, tears and claps erupted in the packed courtroom when U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle announced she was going to spare David Malakoff from the six to eight years in prison that he was facing based on federal guidelines.

“I say, ‘What further pound of flesh is needed to achieve the goal of punishment?'” asked Huvelle.

In explaining the exceptional step of sentencing below the guidelines, the judge said Malakoff had already thrown away a successful career and has to live with the stigma of being a sex offender for most of the rest of his life. But the strongest argument for the lesser sentence, Huvelle said, was that Malakoff had been raped as a 9-year-old boy and he had looked at the child pornography over five hours last year to relive his own rape.

For Full Story

Read Sentencing Memorandum

FBI Probing D.C. Area Police For Allegedly Protecting Gambling Rings Frequented by Dope Dealers

Historically, as it goes, the Washington area police departments have had relatively little police corruption compared to cities like Chicago, New York and Detroit. But obviously, it hasn’t been non-existent.


By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON –– Federal authorities are investigating whether a group of Washington area police officers took money to protect a high-stakes gambling ring frequented by some of the region’s most powerful drug dealers over the past two years, according to internal police documents and law enforcement sources.

The officers include five veterans in Prince George’s County, a District police official and a former D.C. Housing Authority officer.

Two under investigation have been spotted on police surveillance outside gambling sites, including one providing security in tactical gear. Witnesses have alleged that others wore police uniforms and drove marked cruisers to gatherings. One was arrested in a police raid outside a game with a handgun.

For Full Story

A Fond Farewell to America’s Most Trusted Man: Walter Cronkite Dead at Age 92

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Violin Thief Facing the Music After Stealing from LA Philharmonic Member

Carlo Tononi Violin/ lapd photo
A $65,000 Carlo Tononi Violin/ lapd photo

By Allan Lengel

A California man is finally facing the music.

Anthony Eugene Notarstefana, 45, of Long Beach, who had been in custody in France since 2007, was returned to Los Angeles Friday to face federal charges that he stole violins  from a member of the L.A. Philharmonic and tried to sell them in France, according to authorities.

A criminal complaint charges that Notarstefano, who was already a convicted burglar,  in early 2007 transported the stolen violins from California to Amsterdam and then to Paris where he tried to sell them.

Authorities said the violins were stolen in Hollywood from the home of violinist Mark Kashper in Dec. 2006 . He is charged with stealing a Carlo Tononi violin valued at about $225,000, a Jean Baptise Vuillaume violin worth about $65,000 and a Tourte bow worth about $30,000.

While attempting to sell the violins, a French music merchant researched the items, discovered they were stolen and notified authorities.  Notarstefano was detained on charges in France and finally extradited this week, authorities said.

The instruments were returned to the owner, authorities said.

Read Criminal Complaint


Mexico Sending 5,500 Cops and Military Forces to Area to Fight Violent Drug War

After 12 federal Mexican agents were recently found tortured and dead, what choice was there but to call for a full court press? This drug war in Mexico is only going to get uglier. The U.S. has stepped up its effort to help, but it needs to step it up even more. More people are going to die on both sides of the border.


By Ken Ellingwood
Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities announced plans Thursday to send 5,500 police officers and military personnel to the western state of Michoacan to confront a violent crime syndicate offering some of the fiercest resistance President Felipe Calderon’s government has faced since launching its war on drugs 2 1/2 years ago.

About 1,000 extra police officers were deployed Thursday before officials outlined the broader buildup.

The move, which included providing helicopters and other equipment, represented a show of resolve in Calderon’s home state, a major drug-trafficking corridor where 16 police officers have been killed recently in well-coordinated attacks.

Following the assaults, police have patrolled in convoys and curtailed nighttime operations as a way to avoid further casualties.

One Mexican pundit said the recent aggressiveness by the drug-trafficking group La Familia was the equivalent of the surprise 1968 Tet offensive by communist forces in the Vietnam War.

Michoacan is a key front in the drug war.

For Full Story

Conservative Legal Group Wants House to Probe Rep. Conyers in Wake of His Wife’s Guilty Plea For Corruption

It appears John Conyers, who lives in Washington, and his wife who lives in Detroit, are apart far more than they are together. Does that mean Conyer’s didn’t keep tabs on his wife’s corrupt way? Either way, his wife’s activities have certainly cast a cloud over him. Is that enough to trigger a House ethics investigation? The prosecutors say they have nothing to suggest Conyers knew. Is that good enough?

Rep. John Conyers

Rep. John Conyers

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A conservative legal foundation this week urged the House ethics panel to investigate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) as new details emerged about his wife’s involvement in a Detroit bribery scheme.

Though Monica Conyers, a Detroit City Council member, pleaded guilty last month and admitted taking several thousand dollars in the scheme, charges filed Wednesday against one of her former top aides allege that the councilwoman took at least $65,000 from people seeking contracts from the council or a pension board on which she sat in 2006 and 2007.

Federal prosecutors in Michigan accuse Conyers and the aide of using their positions in government to engage in a “persistent and continuing pattern of extortion and bribery.” Prosecutors said last month that they had “no suggestion” the congressman was aware of his wife’s activities.

For Full Story

Louisiana Judge and 2 Lawyers Charged With Fraud

When it comes to public corruption charges in New Orleans, why are we not surprised? Fair or not, from an outsider’s view, public corruption seems to be part of the DNA in Bayou country.

District Judge Wayne Cresap

Judge Wayne Cresap

By Chris Kirkham
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS –– More than two months after being arrested by the FBI in connection with a judicial corruption scheme, St. Bernard Parish Judge Wayne Cresap has been formally charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Two St. Bernard Parish lawyers were indicted along with him Wednesday.

Wayne Cresap, 62, was formally charged by the U.S. Attorney’s office on a bill of information along with St. Bernard Parish lawyers Victor J. “V.J.” Dauterive and Nunzio Salvadore “Sal” Cusimano.

According to the bill of information, Cresap allegedly took more than a thousand dollars in cash from each lawyer in exchange for allowing inmates to be released from the St. Bernard Parish Prison without putting up money for the bond.

For Full Story

Read Federal Charges