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Archive for October 8th, 2010

Weekend Series on Crime History: Bugsy Siegal and the Mob and Las Vegas

Michigan Couple Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison in Extortion Attempt Involving Actor John Stamos

John Stamos

John Stamos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan man and woman convicted of trying to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos were each sentenced to four years in prison Friday in U.S. District Court in Marquette in  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The couple, Scott Edward Sippola 31, and Allison Lenore Coss,24, both of Marquette, Mi., were convicted following a four day jury trial in July.

Authorities said the two began sending Stamos emails in November 2009, saying they had compromising photos of him that they planned to sell to tabloids unless he forked over $680,000. Stamos went to the FBI.

On Dec. 2, 2009, both defendants were arrested near the K.I. Sawyer International airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, authorities said.

Authorities said Coss met Stamos in Orlando in April 2004 during a trip to Disney World. Authorities said Coss was a party with Stamos and about eight others.

Stamos told authorities they developed a friendship and communicated by email, and he testified in court that nothing improper happened at the party and he didn’t believe compromising photos existed.

The FBI never found compromising photos.

Arab-American Student Finds FBI GPS Device on Car; FBI Comes Knocking For It

santa claraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooops!

The publication WIRED reports that a student in  California, the son of an Islamic-American community leader, found a GPS device on his car during an oil change and the FBI came knocking to get it back.

The whole thing started last Sunday when Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old American born business marketing student at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif., discovered the device while getting an oil change at Ali’s Auto Care, WIRED reported.

The mechanic saw a mysterious wire near the right rear wheel and exhaust and removed it, WIRED reported. A friend of Ali’s then posted a photo the the GPS device online, according to an interview with Ali.

Two days later, WIRED reported, the FBI came for the device and Afifi turned it over. Afifi said that comments from agents indicated he’d been under surveillance for at least three months, but Afifi added he’d done nothing to warrant the attention.

WIRED said San Francisco FBI spokesman Pete Lee declined to acknowledge the existence of the device, saying:

“I can’t really tell you much about it, because it’s still an ongoing investigation.”

mbObll

U.S. Marshals Service Joins Hunt for Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Now after 15 years on the lam, the U.S. Marshals Service has joined the hunt for 81-year-old mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston Globe reported.

A U.S. deputy Marshal has been assigned full time to the FBI-led Bulger Task Force, which is comprised of State Police, FBI agents, and state Department of Correction officers, the Globe reported.

U.S. Marshal John Gibbons issued a statement Thursday saying his agency “has a long-standing reputation as being expert fugitive investigators, and we look forward to providing the FBI with our assistance in this matter. It is our hope that this joint initiative will ultimately lead to the arrest of Bulger so he can face justice.”

Bulger, an FBI informant who is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, vanished before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston, the Globe reported. He later was charged with 19 murders.