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Archive for October, 2010

Justice Dept. Clears FBI in Fatally Shooting of Detroit Imam

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that the FBI agents who shot and killed Detroit imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah last October during a raid did not violate federal civil rights laws and did not “warrant further federal criminal investigation.”

The announcement came nearly two weeks after the Michigan Attorney General concluded the FBI violated no state laws when it fatally shot a  the Detroit mosque leader during a raid of a suburban warehouse.

A Justice Department press release issued Wednesday said “the department conducted a complete, thorough, and independent review of this matter. The review included examining all documents witness accounts, forensic evidence and reports, and operational plans and procedures that were generated by an FBI Inspection Division inquiry, a Dearborn Police Department investigation, and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office.”

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Did the Prez Really Say That About U.S. Atty and U.S. Marshals Nominees?

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While Washington may be our nation’s capital, it’s not likely to be mistaken for the capital of sincerity.

Which brings us to the endless stream of press releases the White House  issues when announcing the nominations of U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

Take, for example, on June 9, when the White House issued a press release announcing the nomination of six U.S. Marshals, President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice.”

On the same day,when the White House announced the nomination of Robert O’Neill for U.S. Attorney in Florida, President Obama said: “Robert O’Neill has shown an unwavering commitment to justice throughout his career.”

On July 14, in nominating four U.S. Marshals, the President said in a press release: “These individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service throughout their careers.”

On July 21, the White House issued another press release announcing the nomination of three more U.S. Marshals and President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have shown a deep commitment to public service.” On Aug. 4, in announcing three more U.S. Marshals, the President said: “Throughout their careers, these dedicated law enforcement professionals have shown an unwavering commitment to public service.”

Get the point?

In other words, the White House just loads the press releases with boilerplate quotes that are in all likelihood written by someone else. In fact, don’t be surprised if the president never saw — let alone uttered those words before they went into the release, media experts say.

Reporters see the quotes as nothing more than boilerplate quotes, quotes to be ignored. They seldom end up in print or on the air unless there’s a need to fill some space.

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

“These are pretty much assembly line press releases churned out by some junior staffer toiling in the white house boiler room,” says Washington investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, formerly of Newsweek and now of NBC News.

The quotes, he said,  “generally go to the delete pile.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Don Goldberg, a former Clinton White House staff member and former investigative reporter for the late columnist Jack Anderson, said the boiler plate language is meant more for the families and relatives  to see.

Goldberg, a partner in Qorvis, a Washington corporate communications firm, said it’s likely someone on a lower level makes up some of the quotes and gets approval from someone higher up in the communication department.

After that, he said, ” they probably have a standard quote they use over and over again. The notion that they would spend time with the president or even the chief of staff on this, it’s just not what they do.”

Feds Indict 73 in Armenian-American Organ. Crime Ring Involving $163 Million in Healthcare Fraud

Scams in the WWWBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than 70 people including members and associates of an Armenian-American organized crime enterprise were charged in a nationwide scam involving $163 million in fraudulent Medicare and insurance billing, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

Authorities alleged that 73 people were involved in the operation of at least 118 different phony clinics in 25 states.

The scam involved submitting fraudulent bills “for medically unnecessary treatments or treatments that were never performed,” the Justice Department said, adding the defendants allegedly stole identities of doctors and Medicare beneficiaries.

“The emergence of international organized crime in domestic health care fraud schemes signals a dangerous expansion that poses a serious threat to consumers as these syndicates are willing to exploit almost any program, business or individual to earn an illegal profit,” Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grinder said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice is confronting this evolving threat here and abroad through a number of initiatives including a strengthened Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council and the creation of the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) to ensure that we are focused and coordinated in our efforts to combat international organized crime.”

Kevin Perkins, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement:

“The international organized crime enterprise known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian, fleeced the health care system through a wide-range of money making criminal fraud schemes.

” The members and associates located throughout the United States and in Armenia, perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics.”

Secrecy Surrounds Probe into Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Va. Nun in Drunk Driving Crash

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Secrecy surrounds a probe involving an illegal immigrant who killed a Virginia nun in a drunk driving incident.

The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security won’t release findings of a probe into the matter and why the immigrant went nearly two years without a deportation hearing before he killed the nun in the accident.

The Post reports that Carlos Martinelly-Montano, 23, is accused of killing Sister Denise Mosier, 66, and injuring two other Benedictine nuns while driving drunk in Prince William County, in suburban Washington, on Aug. 1.

After the incident, the Post reported that  Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, said at a press conference: “Why is it that this individual was driving? He was in the removal process. Why did the removal process take so long?”

The Post quoted an unnamed Homeland Security official saying the findings in the matter won’t be released because “it’s a document that includes law enforcement sensitivities, so it will not be made public.”

To read more click here.

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Judge in Ted Stevens Case Drops Civil Contempt Against 3 Justice Lawyers

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The controversial and bungled Ted Stevens case continues to pop up in the news.

The latest: A fed judge in Washington on Tuesday dismissed a civil contempt order against three senior Justice Department lawyers. The judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, found them in contempt for failing to turn over materials in the case, Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post reported.

Sullivan found the issue was a civil matter, not criminal, and that contempt was resolved once the lawyers produced the documents, the Post reported.

The three officials are: Patricia Merkamp Stemler, head of the department’s criminal appellate division, William Welch II, chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity unit and his deputy, Brenda Morris, the Post reorted.

“Ms. Stemler, Mr. Welch, and Ms. Morris are no longer in contempt for their violation of the Court’s January 21, 2009 Order,” Sullivan wrote, according to the Post.

Stevens, a senator at the time, was convicted in 2008 just before his failed re-election bid. But the case was thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct. Stevens died last August in a plane crash.

The three senior officials still remain under investigation for criminal contempt by a court appointed prosecutor, the Post reported. A report on that matter is due out soon.

Ex-FBI Agent Groman May See His Book Made Into a Movie

Herman Groman

Herman Groman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Herman Groman,  a retired FBI agent in Las Vegas, may be going Hollywood.

Groman, who heads up security at the Orleans Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas,  recently authored his first novel, a suspense thriller called “Pigeon Spring”.

Now, he says  producer-director Joseph Merhi read the book and wants to make a movie out of it. Interestingly, the boook features a  key character Matt Steel, who happens to be  an ex-FBI agent who is also a director of security at a Las Vegas hotel.

Groman said he has spoken to  Merhi a couple times and has another meeting scheduled Thursday in Las Vegas to talk about the film.

groman book

“I’m excited about it,” Groman told ticklethewire.com. , saying that the Merhi told him he was confident it was all going to happen.

He said the producer’s “vision is that he’d like to make a feature film and he envisions a spin off TV series based on the book.”  Merhi has produced a number of movies including “The Whole Ten Yards”  with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry.

Groman retired from the FBI in 2005.

Ronald T. Hosko Named Head of Criminal Division at FBI Wash. Field Office

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ronald T. Hosko, who served as acting special agent in charge of the St. Louis division, has been named special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Hosko joined the FBI in July 1984, and was first assigned to the Jackson, Miss., division where he investigated white-collar crime, organized crime and drug case. He also served on the Jackson Division SWAT team.

In August 1988, he went off to the Chicago Division and spent several months undercover in the “Sourmash” investigation, which targeted fraudulent commodities trading at the Chicago Board of Trade, the FBI said.

In September 1995, he became the term supervisor of the Chicago Violent Crimes Task Force and one year later the stationary supervisor of the same squad.

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U.S. Marshal Service Admin. Officer Admits to Stealing $104,000

marshalsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Marshals Service administrative officer in Washington responsible for payroll matters pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to stealing $104,000 in government funds, the Justice Department announced.

Sno H. Rush, 40, of Upper Marlboro, Md., worked as an administrative officer for the Marshals Service in D.C. Superior Court, the city court, and handled payroll-related matters, authorized payment to employees and outside entities, drafted and signed U.S. Treasury checks for expenditures, authorities said.

Under the plea, Rush admitted that between April 2006 and February 2009 she illegally used a government credit card for personal expenses totaling approximately $15,000.

Additionally, she created a fictitious employee for the payroll and falsified time-and-attendance records for the employee, resulting in the theft of $31,000.

She also stole $58,000 in U.S. Treasury checks to pay down the balance on a personal credit card, authorities said. She faces up to five years in prison.

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