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Archive for November 18th, 2010

Talk of County Exec. Jack Johnson Taking Bribes Came Up During FBI Probe into Dirty Cops

Jack Johnson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — An investigation into dirty cops and untaxed cigarettes and liquor in Prince George’s County, a suburb of Washington, grew after some targets of the probe mentioned to an undercover FBI agent that County Executive Jack Johnson was open to taking bribes, a law enforcement source told ticklethewire.com.

Johnson and his wife, Leslie, a county council member, were arrested last Friday for evidence tampering after they tried to hide evidence  linked to bribes from a developer.

On Monday, three county cops including Sgt. Richard Delabrer and six others including a liquor store owner with links to Johnson were arrested in connection with an undercover FBI probe into dirty cops and the sale of untaxed cigarettes and liquor. One officer is charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine.

One key figure in the probe is  Prince George’s County Police Sgt. Richard Delabrer, who authorities say helped protect and deliver untaxed liquor to Tick Tock Liquor and Restaurant in Langley Park, where he worked off duty as a security guard.

The owner of the liquor store,  Amrik S. Melhi, owns other businesses in the county and has links to Johnson.

During the probe, the undercover FBI agent and a confidential source worked with the cops who were protecting and delivering  illegal cigarettes and liquor. The FBI had wiretap and recorded conversations.

In one instance, the owner of Tick Tock Liquor, told the undercover agent  that he once paid Johnson $40,000 to take care of a permit problem he had with one of his properties, according to the law enforcement source. Melhi said the problem was taken care of in one day.

In another instance, Sgt. Delabrer told the agent  that he had to make sure the Tick Tock Liquor owner was happy because the owner has Johnson on his payroll, the source said. Delabrer went on to explain  that in one instance his superior was mad at him and wanted to transfer him. But the liquor store owner contacted Johnson, who put the kabosh on the transfer.

Delabrer told the agent that Johnson is all about the money and that the liquor store owner provided liquor to Johnson any time the county executive had a party.

Johnson insisted last Friday that he has done nothing wrong and will be cleared of any charges.  More charges are expected to be filed.

His attorney Billy Martin did not immediately return a phone call for comment.  Attorneys for Delabrer  and Melhi also did not immediately return calls to ticklethewire.com for comment Thursday morning.

Read more »

FBI Arrests 2 Who Worked For Madoff for More than 25 Years

Bernie Madoff

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI Thursday morning arrested two people who worked for swindler Bernie Madoff.

Joann Crupi was arrested at her home in Westfield, NJ and Annette Bongiorno was arrested at her home in Boca Raton, Fla., said Richard Kolko, spokesman for the FBI in New York.

“Charges, in connection with the Madoff investment fraud, will be unsealed in the Southern District of New York later today,” Kolko said.

In June, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of Manhattan announced that his office had filed civil complaints against Bongiorno and Crupi to recoup $5 million in assets they had. Both worked for Madoff for more than 25 years and played a role in the gigantic fraud, federal prosecutors alleged.

Authorities said Bongiorno responsibilities included responding to clients’s questions about about their investments and overseeing the fabrication of account statements, trade confirmations, and other documents. Crupi’s responsiblities included handing the receipt of funds and transferring funds between Madoff’s business accounts.

According to a U.S. Attorney. the funds in question for  BONGIORNO include: Approximately $1.1 million currently or formerly held in accounts at Citibank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and HSBC; a 2005 Bentley Continental, for which BONGIORNO paid approximately $182,605; a 2007 Mercedes Benz, for which BONGIORNO paid approximately $90,000; and approximately $1.3 million paid towards a luxury condominium.

And for  CRUPI: A house in Mantoloking, N.J., for which she paid $2,225,000 cash; and approximately $26,500 in rental income from the Mantoloking house, currently held at Commerce Bank.

Justice Dept. to Stop Pushing Defendants in Guilty Pleas to Waive Right to DNA Testing

Holder delivers speech recently in Orlando/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department policy during the Bush-era is about to get the boot.

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will issue a memo Thursday to U.S. Attorneys around the country saying that he’s overturning a policy which urged prosecutors to push defendants hammering out guilty pleas to waive their right to DNA testing in their cases, a right which is guaranteed under federal law.

The Post wrote that the “waivers have been in widespread use in federal cases for about five years and run counter to the national movement toward allowing prisoners to seek post-conviction DNA testing to prove their innocence. More than 260 wrongly convicted people have been exonerated by such tests, though virtually all have been state prisoners.”

To read more click here.

White House Nominates 7 U.S. Marshals and U.S. Atty for Oregon

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After nearly two years into his presidency, Barack Obama finds himself still whittling away at appointing U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

On Wednesday, he nominated 7 U.S. Marshals and one U.S. Attorney.

The nominees for Marshals included: Charles Edward Andrews for Southern District of Alabama; Darrell James Bell for Montana; William Benedict Berger Sr. for the Middle District of Florida; Russel Edwin Burger for Oregon; Joseph Campbell Moore for Wyoming; Edwin Donovan Sloane for the District of Columbia; and Esteban Soto III for D.C. Superior Court.

For U.S. Attorney, he nominated S. Amanda Marshall for Oregon.