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Archive for September, 2009

No Laughing Matter: Ex-National Lampoon CEO Pleads Guilty in Stock Fraud Scheme

national-lampoon

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “no laughing matter” comes Daniel Laikin, 47, the former CEO of National Lampoon.

Laikin,  a resident of both Indianapolis and Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Philadelphia to conspiracy to manipulate the humor company’s stock price from March through June 2008 by artificially increasing the price, according to a Justice Department press release . Yes, this is no laughing matter.

He faces up to five years in prison when sentenced Jan. 13. The case was handled out of   Philadelphia and investigated by the FBI and Securities Exchange Commission.

The press release laid out the crime as follows:

Read more »

Not Everyone Wants to Serve Up Justice in Mobster Gotti Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

It seems everyone wants justice. It’s just that not everyone wants to be the one to serve it up.

The Guardian newspaper of London reports that earlier this week seven jurors in the trial of mobster John Gotti Jr. made a last minute appeal to get off the jury. The judge denied it and swore them in.

The feds are hoping to put Gotti Jr. away for life, just like they did his dad, the “Dapper Don”. The son is accused of racketeering and murder and all things mobsters do to run an enterprise.

This is Gotti’s fourth trial in five years. The other three trials ended in a mistrial.

The Guardian reported that when Gotti showed up for jury selection last week, he remarked: “Good morning. I am John Gotti. Here I am again.”

FBI Pays Egyptian Man $250,000 For Arrest Linked to Pilot Radio

fbi-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As federal authorities certainly know by now, 2+2 doesn’t always equal 4 in the investigative world.

The FBI learned that the hard way in the case of Abdallah Higazy, 38. The FBI this week paid $250,000 to the Egyptian man who was detained after a pilot’s aviation radio was found in his New York hotel safe near the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Associated Press.

He was imprisoned four 34 days and treated harshly, according to his lawsuit. He was let go after a pilot came forward and said the radio belonged  to him.  Higazy now lives in Cairo.

“I think this is still a traumatic memory that will never leave him completely,” his lawyer Jonathan S. Abady said, according to the AP. “He still hesitates to return to the United States.”

Feds Bust D.C. Council Chief of Staff on Bribery Charges Related to Taxi Industry

Councilman Jim Graham
Councilman Jim Graham

It doesn’t sound like the guy got enough money to risk career and go to jail. But who can always understand human nature? The FBI used an informant in this case who wore a wire. After taking a $500 bribe in July, council aide Ted Loza explained why he took it: “You know I need it. That’s why I take it, you know.” Simple enough explanation.

By Del Quentin Wilber and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The chief of staff to D.C. Council member Jim Graham was arrested on bribery charges Thursday, accused of taking trips and $1,500 in payoffs in exchange for pushing legislation that would reward some in the taxicab industry.

Ted G. Loza, 44, was taken into custody at his home on Columbia Road NW a little before 7 a.m., just hours before federal agents descended on his office at city hall to search records and computers.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Says Terror Suspect Shopped For Beauty Products to Make Bombs

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Terror Suspect Indicted in Brooklyn in Plot to Use Bombs

brooklyn-bridge-signThe more that comes out , the more it seems like the real deal. Some say there wasn’t a target date for an attack, but some in law enforcement felt it was much sooner than later.

By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and LIZ ROBBINS
New York Times
NEW YORK –– A Denver airport shuttle bus driver who was arrested there last weekend was charged in Brooklyn on Thursday morning with conspiring with others to make and use bombs.

The driver, Najibullah Zazi, 24, had been arrested with his father in Denver and accused of making false statements. But his indictment in Brooklyn on Thursday was far more serious. Mr. Zazi was charged with one count of conspiring with others, who are not named, to use one or more weapons of mass destruction, including bombs or other explosives.

For Full Story

Read Press Release

Fed Judge: Good Chance Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian Was “Complicit” in Dirty Detective’s Illegal Conduct

msnbc photo

msnbc photo

The Anthony Pellicano case ruined a lot of people it touched including FBI agent Mark Rossini, who leaked an FBI document in the case (see special reports). Billionaire Kerkorian, like other high-profile people, may have gotten his hands dirty in the whole mess, but nothing will happen to him.

By JOHN R. EMSHWILLER
Wall Street Journal
LOS ANGELES — The federal judge in the high-profile wiretapping case of Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano said there was “reasonable cause to believe” that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian was “complicit” in some of the investigator’s illegal conduct.

The statements are part of a 2008 order issued by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer. Mr. Kerkorian, 92 years old, a prominent businessman and investor, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with a crime.

The U.S. Attorney’s office here, which handled the Pellicano case, declined to comment on Judge Fischer’s 2008 order, which was unsealed recently and surfaced Wednesday in connection with a lawsuit in Los Angeles state court. There aren’t any indications that federal prosecutors are looking at taking any action against Mr. Kerkorian.

For Full Story

Maryland Teen Pleads Guilty in Fed Court to Possessing Bomb Materials: Map of Presidential Motorcade Found in His Room

bethesda-mapIn the wake of the murderous rampages at Columbine and Virginia Tech, authorities and law enforcement need to take all these things very seriously. Many teens represent our future. A very few represent our nightmare.

By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer

A Bethesda teenager pleaded guilty to a felony explosives charge Wednesday, admitting that he had chemicals, switches and igniters in his bedroom that readily could be made into a bomb.

“We cannot know for certain what Collin McKenzie-Gude would have done if law enforcement had not acted,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “What we know for certain is that he made and exploded pipe bombs and had the components to build new explosive devices.”

The plea was the latest step in a case that captured national attention last year after Montgomery County officials said a map of Camp David, marked with the presidential motorcade route, was also found in McKenzie-Gude’s room.

For Full Story