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August 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for August, 2010

FBI Impersonator Who Hired Assistant Gets Sentenced

fbi-badgeBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The fun is over for Brenna Marie Reilly.

The Washington Examiner reports she was sentenced Friday in federal court in Alexandra, Va., to 30 days in prison and four months of house arrest for impersonating an FBI agent and hiring an assistant  to work for her as a fake agent.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga said she could serve her home confinement intermittently — on evenings and weekends — so she can work and go to school, the Examiner reported.

Authorities alleged that Reilly told neighbors, starting in August 2009, that she was a director of the FBI’s Forensic Division and an assistant director of the FBI., according to an affidavit from FBI agent Kari Alexa Parker.

Read more »

Weekend Series on Crime History: The 20-Year-Old $400 Million-Plus Boston Art Heist


Feds Go After $5.1 Million in Assets of Madoff Employee

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel

The feds are continuing to hunt for the riches from the Bernard L. Madoff Ponzi scandal.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan filed an amended complaint seeking the forfeiture of $5.1 million in assets from Annette Bongiorno, a 40-year employee of Madoff’s.

The original complaint sought less, but authorities said they had located an additional $2 million in assets including houses in Florida and New York.

The assets the government said it is going after include:

  • A house in Manhasset, N.Y., Bongiorno paid about $1.4 million.
  • A house in Boca Raton, Fla. she paid about $862,000.
  • Approximately $1.1 million currently or formerly held in accounts at Citibank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and HSBC;
  • A 2005 Bentley Continental she paid about $182,605;
  • A 2007 Mercedes Benz she paid about $90,000.
  • A second 2007 Mercedes Benz she paid approximately $66,000.
  • About $1.3 million she paid towards a luxury condominium.

Lobbyist Indictment Reminder of the Ugly Side of Washington

Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — It was TV mobster Tony Soprano who once muttered: “‘I dunno about morals, but I do got rules.’

Certainly the same could be said for some of the politicians and lobbyists on the Capitol Hill, who never seem to let us down when it comes to perpetuating the unsavory stereotypes of official Washington.

The latest reminder of all of this came Thursday when the feds in Alexandria, Va., indicted Paul J. Magliocchetti, a powerful ex-lobbyist, who is accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in “laundered campaign contributions to lawmakers, using straw donors and other illicit means to disguise the source of the money,” the New York Times reported. He ran the now defunct PMA Group.

The Times said the indictment of Magliocchetti, a protege of the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), could open the door for the ex-lobbyist to provide evidence against crooked members of Congress.

Could this be the makings of another Jack Abramoff scandal?

Rep. John Conyer’s Wife Trying to Avoid Prison

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, the wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.) , chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is trying to pull out all the stops to avoid reporting to prison to begin serving her 37 month sentence for bribery.

The Detroit News reports that she has filed a motion to remain free pending her appeal before the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She is set to report to prison on Sept. 10.

The paper reports that her appeal centers around U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn’s refusal to allow her to withdraw her plea on the day she was sentenced.

Her attorney Douglas Mullkoff says she’s not a flight risk and should be allowed to remain free, the News reported.


U.S. Capitol Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Porn

us-capitol-police-badgeBy Matt Castello

WASHINGTON — In April, Dennis Craig Bell was a Sergeant with the U.S. Capitol Police. Today, the 27-year police veteran is a convict and another statistic in the ugly world of child pornography.

The Woodbridge, Va. resident pled guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to distributing child pornography. He faces a minimum of five years in prison when sentenced Oct. 22.

Bell, 55, first peaked the interest of  authorities in December 2009 when he was flagged using a peer-to-peer network set up to share child pornography, according to an FBI affidavit.

At that time, Detective David Abbott of the Manassas City Police Department was able to track down Bell’s home address through his IP address.

Read more »

Ex-Federal Judge Facing Nightmare Behind Bars

Ex-Judge Kent

Ex-Judge Kent

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

As a federal judge in southern Texas for some 18 years, Samuel Kent sent folks off to prison.

Now he’s behind bars himself, being subjected to what his attorney describes as a Kafkaesque nightmare of “cruel and abusive treatment.” Kent, 61, is serving a 33-month sentence for obstruction of justice after he was caught lying about allegations involving groping and sexual assault of two female court employees.

On Monday, his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Houston alleging widespread abuse by the Bureau of Prisons. And he asked that Kent be resentenced, saying the federal prison system denied him access to a federal substance abuse program that would have allowed him to shave a year’s time off his sentence.

“The Federal Bureau of Prisons has subjected Sam Kent to abusive psychological and physical conditions that have jeopardized his ongoing recovery from severe depression and alcoholism, while arbitrarily prohibiting him from participation in rehabilitative programs,” the lawyer wrote.

To be sure, inmate complaints of prison conditions — some legitimate and some not — are commonplace and can be found in any number of lawsuits around the country. But what makes this all the more unusual — and ironic — is that they are coming from an ex-federal judge who had been so much a part of the system for so long.

“It’s an old saw that the Bureau of Prisons hates lawyers and judges,” DeGuerin told AOL News. “They resent any attempt to intervene with what they see as their God-given omnipotence when it comes to people in prison. They basically thumbed their nose” at the sentencing judge, who recommended Kent undergo treatment for substance abuse.

DeGuerin alleges in court documents that the Bureau of Prisons mistakenly classified Kent as a sex offender, when in fact all those charges were dropped and he pleaded guilty only to obstruction of justice. Consequently, the classification kept him from serving in a minimum-security facility, the court document alleges. Instead, he was put in a far more restrictive environment.

And DeGuerin said though the sentencing judge recommended substance abuse treatment, the Bureau of Prisons denied Kent access to the program, saying he was not eligible because he had already quit drinking for a year before his arrest in the case.

“Just because he hadn’t had a drink doesn’t speak to his years of alcoholism, his need for such treatment,” DeGuerin told AOL News.

Bureau of Prison spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said Wednesday she was familiar with the case, but “we wouldn’t comment about his pending appeals.”

Kent was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and served in the Galveston, Texas, division. He was charged with groping and sexually abusing two female employees, and was sentenced on May 11, 2009, for obstruction of justice.

Kent’s odyssey through the prison system has not been pretty, according to the court filing.

From the time he entered the federal prison system, first in Devens, Mass., on June 15, 2009, he was subjected to “conditions tantamount to psychological and physical torture,” including nearly two months of solitary confinement for “non-disciplinary reasons.”

“Sam Kent never requested such confinement and to the contrary, pleaded with B.O.P. officials to allow him to remain in the prison’s general population,” the filing said.

It also said his solitary confinement was particularly distressing because prison officials would never tell him when he would be returned to the general population or where they were sending him and banned him from having contact with his wife and his attorney.

In September and October 2009, Kent bounced around in the prison system in the eastern and central U.S. before he was shipped off to the state prison system in Florida, where state guards allegedly physically and mentally abused him, the court filing said. DeGuerin said Kent was sent to the state system because the Bureau of Prisons claimed it couldn’t guarantee his safety, something the lawyer thinks is nonsense. He said plenty of other high-profile inmates, including members of Congress, have been fine in the federal system.

While in the Florida system, the court filing alleges, a corrections officer forced Kent to strip naked and perform a “painful and repetitive series of exercises.”

And one night in solitary confinement there, the court filing said, Kent helplessly listened “to the continuous screams of a man being violently raped in the next cell. Sam Kent was horrified to observe that the guards ignored the man’s screams and only came to remove the man from the cell after the attack had finally ended.”

DeGuerin noted that Kent has been partaking in a substance abuse treatment program in the state of Florida, but the federal prison system won’t recognize it and cut his sentence as it would have had he been in the federal rehabilitative program.

DeGuerin said that Kent has tried to put on a strong front through all of this.

But in reality, he said, “this has destroyed him.”

Feds Bust 14 U.S. Citizens With Ties to Somalia Terrorist Group