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Archive for October 7th, 2010

Busted: Man Drove Around Washington With Fake Diplomatic Tags

diplomatic tagBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — To Nicholas Marino: Nice try.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old Washingtonian was sentenced here to two years probation, 240 hours of a community service and fined $500 for using fake diplomatic license tags.

Authorities say U.S. Secret Service police stopped him for speeding in his Mitsubishi SUV last Nov. 20 on 15th Street Northwest in Washington.

Marino told the officer he had diplomatic immunity because he was a diplomat at the Italian embassy. Officers checked and found that he was not a diplomat and that the “diplomatic tags” were not registered to the car and were not the property of the Italian embassy, authorities said.

Four Days later, Marino told investigators that he purhcased the fake diplomatic tags from a store kiosk in Kennesaw, Ga., which makes novelty plates.

Additionally, he found a picture of a Department of State seal on the Internet and affixed a copy on the back of his driver’s license, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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Detroit Political Consultant Sam Riddle Gets 37 Months

Sam Riddle/facebook

Sam Riddle/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle, who created drama by defying court gag orders and posting comments on Twitter and Facebook, was hit Wednesday with a 37 months federal sentence for bribery and extortion, the Detroit News reported.

Riddle, 64, admitted bribing former Southfield City Councilman William Lattimore, tax evasion and extorting businesses when he worked for the now imprisoned Detroit City Council Member Monica Conyers, wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.) She was convicted on public corruption charges.

He vowed to return to politics and teach a new generation to avoid mistakes, the News reported.

“You can shackle my arms, you can shackle my feet, but you can’t shackle my soul,” he said, according to the News

Fed Jury Finds Corruption in Baltimore Docks

Just as portrayed in the HBO show “The Wire”, the docks in Baltimore need some cleaning up.

A character at the Baltimore docks in "The Wire"

A character at the Baltimore docks in "The Wire"

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — A federal jury in Baltimore returned a guilty verdict on Sept. 30 against three union port workers, finding that they conspired to defraud their employer, the stevedoring company Ports America Baltimore, Inc., by submitting payroll information that caused them to get paid for time when they weren’t on the job.

The jury found that federal prosecutors proved that International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 953 members William Richard Zichos Jr., Dale Martin Kowalewski, and Joseph Ross Bell intentionally engaged in a mail-fraud conspiracy that, from 2004 to 2008, netted them nearly $42,000 in wages and benefits for work they did not perform.

The convictions are likely to send a strong message to waterfront workers that the practice, which was described during the trial as longstanding and commonplace, is illegal and can be successfully prosecuted.

“The evidence showed that the defendants used their positions as timekeepers to falsify their attendance reports and receive salary payments for lengthy periods of time when they were not at work, including many occasions when they were on vacation overseas,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement issued after the verdict.

To read more click here.

Afghan Prez’s Brother Claims DEA Note Shows “I am Innocent”

afghanistan mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of the Afghan president, claims a DEA note he has proves he’s an innocent man, the Washington Post reports.

The DEA says that ain’t necessarily so.

Ahmed Karzai, long rumored to be getting rich off Afghanistan’s opium trade said of the DEA letter, according to the Post:

“I think it’s wonderful. I always mentioned that I am innocent. Fortunately, now I have proof.”

But DEA spokesman Rusty Payne says the DEA, responding to a letter by Karzai’s attorney for information about his client, said it simply found no file identifying Karzai as subject of a DEA probe, the Post reported.

“This correspondence should not be construed as confirmation or denial of any ongoing investigation, simply that an administrative search did not identify Mr. Karzai as the target of an investigation,” Payne told the Post. “It is DEA’s policy not to confirm or deny any ongoing investigations.”

Congressman’s Wife Pleads Guilty in False Tax Return Case

Rep. John Tierney

Rep. John Tierney

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “certainly can’t help husband’s re-election bid” comes the guilty plea of Patrice Tierney, who’s Democratic husband Rep. John F. Tierney is running for re-election in Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reports that she pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Boston  to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns for her brother, who is a federal fugitive facing illegal gambling and money laundering charges.

“I take full responsibility for what my part in this was,” Patrice Tierney told U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young, according to the Globe.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston charged that Patrice Tierney helped her brother, Robert Eremian “manage a bank account that collected more than $7 million in illegal gambling profits over seven years,” the Globe reported.

Authorities also alleged that she paid bills for his three children and ailing mother and gave a tax preparer information that resulted in a false tax return.

The Globe said Tierney’s brother ran a large-scale illegal gambling business in the United States from the early 1980s through the beginning of 2010.

Imagine: FBI Goes After John Lennon’s Fingerprints

album-imagine-original-soundtrackBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Imagine the FBI bothering to do such a thing in a world filled with the likes of the Underwear Bomber and Times Square Bomber and Bernie Madoff.

But as the late John Lennon sang: “It’s easy if you try.”

The New York Times reports that the FBI made a big fuss and served a subpoena Wednesday to the Gotta Have It! shop on East 57th Street in Manhattan  and seized a set of Lennon’s 1976 fingerprints he provided for his citizenship.

The shop was about to put the collectors item up for bid for a minimum of $100,000.

The Times reported that the fuss may have come down to an issue of ownership of government property.

NY FBI spokesman James Margolin told the Times there was an “investigation into how that item came to be up for auction.”

Peter Siegel, owner of the shop, told the Times that since last Thursday the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan had asked about the card.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years and have never had this much government interest in something,” Siegel told the Times. “Here he is, one of our greatest musicians ever, and they just don’t stop investigating this guy.”

FBI’s Mueller Pushes to Expand Telecom Wiretap Laws

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

Robert Mueller III / file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is pushing to update laws to help agents keep up with the rapidly changing technology so they can effectively conduct surveillance of communications in anti-terrorism and other cases.

At a conference of intelligence experts in Washington, Mueller said there have been instances in which companies have not been able to comply with court orders and turn over electronic communications.

“One lesson we have learned in recent years is the need to ensure that the laws by which we operate keep pace with new threats and new technology,” he said.

“By way of example, let us turn to court-ordered intercepts,” he said. “In some instances, communications providers are not able to provide the electronic communications we seek in response to a court order.

“Many providers are not currently required to build or maintain intercept capabilities in their operating systems. As a result, they are often not equipped to provide timely assistance,” he said.

He cited one example in which “a Mexican drug cartel was making use of a communications system that we were not able to intercept. We had to use other investigative techniques that were far more risky.”

Some civil liberties groups are concerned about the FBI expanding its reach. But Mueller said that there is a balance that needs to be struck.

” Some have suggested there is an inherent tension between protecting national security and preserving civil liberties, ” Mueller said. ” I do disagree. Yes, we have a right to privacy. But we also have a right to ride the subways without the threat of bombings.”

U.S. Atty’s Office Tries to Block Polygraphs in Upcoming Chandra Levy Trial

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The polygraph issue is a messy one.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking that the judge in the upcoming Chandra Levy murder on Oct. 18 block two polygraph exams from being introduced into evidence, the Washington Post reports.

A major problem, prosecutors contend, was that the polygraph exams weren’t given by a bilingual examiner and instead were done by an interpreter, a method considered far less effective and reliable.

According to a filing in D. C. Superior Court, prosecutors say defendant Ingmar Guandique, 29, took a polygraph test Feb. 4, 2002 and was asked whether he was involved in the disappearance of Chandry Levy, whose skeletal remains were found a couple months later in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington, the Post reported.

Guandique responded “no” and the polygraph examiner found he was “not deceptive,” the Post reported. The test was given while Guandique was in prison for attacking two joggers in Rock Creek park.

The other exam involves an inmate who claims Guandique told him he stabbed Levy and was paid $25,000 by now ex-Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.).

The polygraph examiner found the witness was being deceptive, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

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