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October 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for October, 2009

Bernie Madoff Hanging Out With Mobster and Spy Jonathan Pollard in Prison

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel

No question Bernie Madoff crossed paths with some interesting folks with some interesting stories while schmoozing and gallivanting about in Palm Beach and Manhattan and places afar.

Still, they may not be as interesting as the folks he’s keeping company with these days in federal prison in North Carolina.

The Associated Press reports that the 71-year-old Ponzi schemer is socializing with folks like spy Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of selling government secrets to Israel, and mobster Carmine Persico, the reputed family boss of the Colombo family.

He also lives on the bottom bunk, shares a cell with a convicted drug offender and eats pizza cooked by a child molester, the Associated Press reported, citing a legal complaint filed Tuesday by Calif. attorney Joseph Cotchett, who represents about a dozen clients who were ripped off by Madoff.

AP reports that Cotchett interviewed Madoff in July at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.


Is Secret Service Spreading Itself Too Thin?

Besides protecting the president, the Secret Service has long investigated counterfeiting and other financial crimes. Is the agency spreading itself too thin? Some think so.

Secret Service photo

Secret Service photo

By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe
WASHINGTON – The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service, according to government officials and reports, raising new questions about the 144-year-old agency’s overall mission.

The Secret Service is tracking a far broader range of possible threats to the nation’s leaders, the officials said, even as it also investigates financial crimes such as counterfeiting as part of its original mandate.

The new demands are leading some officials, both inside and outside the agency, to raise the possibility of the service curtailing or dropping its role in fighting financial crime to focus more on protecting leaders and their families from assassination attempts and thwarting terrorist plots aimed at high-profile events.

For Full Story

NY Times Says Ex-U.S. Atty. Christie’s Key Aide May Have Improperly Helped in His Bid For N.J. Gov

By Allan Lengel

The New Jersey Governors race is everything you might expect:
Christopher Christie

Christopher Christie

one hell of a fight full of mudslinging between Dem incumbent Jon. S. Corzine and Republican challenger, Christopher J. Christie, the ex-U.S. Attorney.

The New York Times on Tuesday added some mud. The paper reports that’s Christie’s key aide Michele Brown, who remained in the office after his departure,”used her position in two significant and possibly improper ways to try to aid Mr. Christie in his run for governor.”  Brown responded by email to the Times by calling the allegations “outrageous and inaccurate”.

For one, the paper reports, that in March when Gov. Corzine’s campaign asked for records about Christie’s expenses and travel, Brown “interceded to oversee the responses to the inquiries, taking over for the staff member who normally oversaw Freedom of Information Act requests, according to federal law enforcement officials in Newark and Washington.”

And then in June, in an equally serious allegation, the paper says “when F.B.I. agents and prosecutors gathered to set a date for the arrests of more than 40 targets of a corruption and money-laundering probe, Ms. Brown alone argued for the arrests to be made before July 1. She later told colleagues that she wanted to ensure that the arrests occurred before Mr. Christie’s permanent successor took office, according to three federal law enforcement officials briefed on the conversation, presumably so that Mr. Christie would be given credit for the roundup.”

Brown has since left the prosecutor’s office.

For Full Story

President Obama to Visit N.Y. To Pat FBI on Back in Latest Terrorism Case

obama-and-bidenBy Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — It certainly can’t hurt morale.

President Barack Obama is headed to the Big Apple Tuesday to give a big pat on the back to the FBI for its work on the latest terrorism case involving suspect Najibullah Zazi, who is accused of plotting to kill Americans here at home, Newsday is reporting.

The paper reports that the FBI is still probing three other people suspected of buying chemicals for homemade bombs.

Fed Judge Won’t Block Ex-Gov Blago From Appearing on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice

Every aspect of  ex-Gov. Blago’s life seems to have become a reality tv show. You can’t shut this guy up with the flick of the tv clicker. The prosecutor in his upcoming case would like to. But that’s not going to happen. The prosecutor fears Blago might taint the jury pool by making comments on the show, which is expected to air during jury selection before his June 3 trial. In any event, you’ve got to admit, Blago is good entertainment and he’s not likely to disappoint on this show.

Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO –Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s gift of gab got him elected.

And it got him indicted.

Now, a federal judge fears Blagojevich’s babbling on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” could gum up his upcoming trial.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel didn’t say he would block Blagojevich from continuing the reality show taping that’s now under way in New York.

Zagel did say he’s worried Blagojevich could trample over the case in a way that could bring problems in his trial, which begins in June.

“It is possible that an indicted person may say something that creates problems later on,” Zagel said.

Zagel said he’s seen two episodes of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“There are significant confessional elements in that show,” Zagel said. No one from Blagojevich’s case could control what ended up in the final cut of the program, he said.

His remarks came at a court status requested by prosecutors to discuss the series. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said Blagojevich has misstated evidence on previous TV appearances and feared that he would do it when the show airs next spring — when the first stages of jury selection begin.

For Full Story

Suspected Killer/Rapist Joe Luis Saenz Latest Addition to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List

saenz-and-murderBy Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — If notoriety is what you seek, Joe Luis Saenz, this is your lucky day.

With the capture of three of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives since July, there’s been some openings, and Joe Luis Saenz has just been added to the list.

“Starting today, and over the next three days, we will be adding a new name each day to the list,” an FBI press release said Monday.

Joe Luis Saenz is wanted for multiple murders, kidnapping, and rape.

Authorities allege that in 1998, Joe Luis Saenz shot and killed two rival gang members in Los Angeles for ” disrespecting one of the members of his gang. Authorities believe that was just the beginning of his killing spree.”

The FBI alleges that less than two weeks after the gang murders, “Saenz kidnapped, raped, and murdered his girlfriend—the mother of his child—at his grandmother’s home,” according to the press release.

“Saenz, now about 34 years old, is believed to be living in Mexico, working as an enforcer for a drug cartel and traveling with apparent ease across the border into the U.S. using fake identification—“legitimate I.D. fraudulently obtained,” the FBI said.

Since its creation in 1950, 491 fugitives have been named to the list and the lion’s share have been caught.  Two big names still on the loose are Osama bin Laden and Boston Mobster “Whitey” Bulger.


Ex-Govt. Scientist Snared in Spy Sting in Which FBI Agent Posed as Israeli Mossad Agent


By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON –  In a hotel room in Northwest Washington last month, scientist Stewart David Nozette told the other man in the room:

Nozette: I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come by the way.

Other man: How’s that.

Nozette: (laughs) I just had a feeling one of these days.

Other man: Really?

Nozette: I knew you guys would show up.

Unfortuantely,  it was bad news for Nozette.  The other man wasn’t really an Israeli Mossad agent.

In fact, on Monday, the suburban D.C. scientist  who had worked for a number of government agencies was arrested on charges of attempted espionage for allegedly trying to pass on highly classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli Mossad agent.

Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Md., who had worked in various capacities over the years for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was charged in a criminal complaint with knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States, authorities said.

Authorities said they were not alleging that the Israeli government or anyone else acting on its behalf  had committed any crime.

“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious and should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation’s secrets for profit,” David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a prepared statement.

He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in D.C. on Tuesday.

Read more »

No Joke: Have You Heard About the Official FBI Cologne?

Would J. Edgar Hoover Have Bought a bottle of "Integrity"?/fbi photo
Would J. Edgar Hoover Have Bought a bottle of “Integrity”?/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — And now for the FBI agent who has everything.

The FBI Recreation Association, a non-profit organization which sells official FBI merchandise at headquarters and FBI field offices, has announced on its website that it is selling an official FBI cologne called “Integrity”.

“For the first time ever,  a terrific, light spicy fragrance for the FBI’s man of distinction is now being offered at the RA Services Desk. Purchase a bottle for the man in your life. Only $36.99 a bottle,” the website says.

First off, who knew integrity smelled so good?

Don’t worry ladies. The Association says it will be out with a fragrance for women in 2010.

What would J. Edgar Hoover say?

Who knows?  But the FBI did not have an immediate comment.

By the way, the FBI website says all FBI employees belong to the  FBI Recreation Association free of  charge.