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Archive for July, 2010

Atty. Gen. Holder Questions Whether Terrorists Who Plead in Military Commission Could be Put to Death

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told Face The Nation Sunday that the U.S. might be able to execute terrorists like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed if they pleaded guilty at military tribunal.

“There’s a real question about that,” Holder said.

Holder said there’s no question Mohammed could be put to death if he pleaded guilty in a civilian court. The issue has the potential to change some views on the matter, particularly conservatives who have insisted the Sept. 11 suspects be tried in a military venue.

Holder originally announced that Moahammed and four other defendants would be tried in a civilian federal court in New York. But the city complained of the cost and the potential danger, and conservative Republicans insisted the military venue was the only way to go.

The matter as to where the trial will be held remains unresolved.


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Feds Could Cash in On Russian Spies By Auctioning Property Left Behind

auctionBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds stand to gain some serious cash from the 10 Russian spies who were quickly deported last week.

The New York Daily News reports that the feds could try to auction off the property left behind including homes that still have clothes hanging in the closets.

“The crowds at these auctions can almost double [regular auctions],” Robert Olson, owner of auction house Erkelens and Olson in Salt Lake City which has handled a number of high-profile U.S. Marshals auctions told the Daily News. “I guess they want to see what those people in actuality owned, and how they lived.”

The paper reported that the homes left behind include a $530,800 one in Montclair, N.J., and a $447,059 one in Yonkers.

To read more click here.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Set to Appear in Court on Fed Charges

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The drama and embarrassment in the Motown continues Tuesday when ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — once dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor” — steps into a downtown federal courtroom to face arraignment on 19 felony fraud and income tax counts, the Detroit News reports.

Kilpatrick is already in prison. He served 99 days in jail for perjury charges relating to a civil lawsuit and a text message scandal involving a top staff member he was having an affair with.

In May, he was sent back to jail for concealing assets that were supposed to go toward $1 million in restitution in the text message case.

The FBI continues to probe corruption in city hall — something there seems to be no shortage of. And the Detroit News reports Kilpatrick could end up getting tagged with more federal charges.

Kilpatrick had showed some promise when he became mayor. But many say his arrogance and his immaturity did him in.  Fair to say, the Hip Hop Mayor is no longer hip and no longer hopping… at least for now.

To read more click here.

Hundreds of FBI, DEA and ICE Agents Fall Victim to Ponzi Scheme

thief

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — FBI agents are supposed to unearth scams, not become victims of them. This time is different.

Some 300 retired and current federal agents — representing the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — collectively invested tens of millions of dollars of retirement money in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme allegedly run by a Florida man who committed suicide last month, an attorney in the case said.

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating and trying to recover funds.

“There are definitely [agents] who have lost their life savings,” Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Goldberg, who is representing the victims, told AOL News.

The reaction of the agents? “Pretty much what you expect,” Goldberg said. “Shock and anger.”

Behind it all, authorities said, was a self-described retirement investment adviser named Kenneth Wayne McLeod, 48. For years McLeod served as a trusted adviser to federal agents around the country, making free financial projections for retirement and in some cases offering high-yield returns of 8 to 10 percent on certain investments, according to an SEC filing in the case.

On June 22, McLeod was found dead in Jacksonville, Fla., of a gunshot wound.

His Florida-based companies, Federal Employee Benefits Group Inc. and F&S Asset Management Group Inc., appear to have been shut down and all assets frozen, authorities said. Calls to both numbers went unanswered this afternoon and the voice mails were full.

McLeod allegedly mentioned to prospective clients the names of many federal agents he knew, including straitlaced FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, according to the website Gang Land News, which reported on the story today.

“[McLeod] would tell people that Bob Mueller was a friend of his,” a retired FBI agent told Gang Land News. “The guy was a real charmer. He would say that he and Bob were best of friends and that Bob and his wife used to stay at his place all the time. The worst thing about this is that this creep scammed hard-working GS-13s and GS-14s [federal employees].”

Mueller did in fact rent vacation properties in Amelia Island, Fla., for several years, Gang Land News reported. But Michael Kortan, the chief FBI spokesman, said in a statement that even if McLeod had owned one of those properties, Mueller had no idea who he was renting from.

“The director had no personal or professional relationship with Mr. McLeod, nor did he engage in any financial dealings of any kind with him,” Kortan stated.

According to the SEC, McLeod for years put on retirement seminars that federal agencies paid as much as $15,000 for. He offered some investments with such companies as Fidelity, which the FBI said appeared to be safe. But others investments appeared to be fraudulent.

In many instances, he offered high returns — 8 to 10 percent — through bonds.

“The security of the government bonds was a key element of McLeod’s deception but he never purchased any bonds,” the SEC said in a statement on June 25. “Instead, he used the investors’ retirement savings to conduct a Ponzi scheme, to pay himself and to pay for lavish entertainment, including annual trips to the Super Bowl for himself and 40 friends.”

FBI special agent Jeff Westcott of the Jacksonville, Fla., office, which is investigating the matter, told AOL News that McLeod had “an air of credibility.”

The irony and embarrassment of the case are clear to many agents around the country. And at the SEC, the unusual set of circumstances is not lost on officials.

Glenn Gordon, SEC associate regional director for the Miami Regional Office, said, “I am not aware personally of another case where this was the target audience.”

Feds: Blago Was Offered $1 Million in Fundraising For Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to Get Senate Seat

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./campaign photo

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The public corruption trial of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has embarrassed some big names beyond the governor himself.

Last week, fed prosecutors in  Chicago said that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. “attended a meeting in 2008 at which $1 million in fund-raising for Rod Blagojevich was discussed in exchange for Jackson’s own Senate seat appointment,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times reported that the person who allegedly talked about the fundraising was Raghuveer Nayak. The paper reported that Jackson met with a Nayak and a representative of Blagojevich’s on Oct. 28, 2008 at a Chicago restaurant — 312 Chicago Restaurant.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Warns: Beware of Fake Viruses Known as “Scareware”

scareware.jpg fbi
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI has issued a warning to the public to beware of “scareware”, bogus pop-up messages that warn that your computer is infected with a virus when it really is not.  The pop ups then recommend buying a certain antivirus software.

“Most of these pop-ups are scams, and it’s one of the fastest-growing types of Internet fraud today,” the FBI said in a warning published on its webpage.

The FBI warned that if you try to buy the antivirus software “it will either do nothing…or it could compromise your computer by installing malicious software onto your system. And in some instances, you don’t even have to click on the pop-up box…the software downloads automatically.”

The FBI said majority of these scammers operate outside the U.S. But it said it has had some success in prosecuting some people.

Last May, for example, three people were charged in Illinois in with scamming users in more than 60 countries, including the U.S., to buy more than $100 million worth of bogus “scareware” software, the FBI said.

According to the FBI webpage, here’s how to spot a scareware scam:

  • Does the pop-up use “non-clickable” icons? To build authenticity into their software, scareware will show a list of reputable icons—like those of software companies or security publications. However, the user can’t click through to the sites to see the actual reviews or recommendations.
  • Is the pop-up ad hard to close? Scareware pop-ups employ aggressive techniques and will not close easily after clicking the “close” or “X” button.
  • Have you heard of the software before? Cyber criminals use easy-to-remember names like Virus Shield, Antivirus, or VirusRemover.

The FBI said a good way to protect yourself against the scareware is to have up-to-date antivirus software.

Weekend Series on Crime: Mexican Cartels Dig In in Atlanta

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXf6_aIGLfo

The Life of a Coca Farmer and Cocaine