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Archive for January, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mobster John Gotti the “Teflon Don”

FBI’s Randall Thysse Named SAC for NY Counterintelligence

Randal Thysse/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Randall C. Thysse of the FBI’s global counterintelligence section at headquarters has been named special agent in charge of the New York Office’s Counterintelligence Division.

Thysse joined the FBI in 1989 and was first stationed in the Omaha Division’s Des Moines Resident Agency.

He later went to headquarters as a supervisor in the Criminal Investigative Division’s financial institution fraud unit.

Read more »

Column: Some Criminal Politicians are Disgraceful til the End

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some criminal politicians  are disgraceful right up to the end.

Take former Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson who was sentenced Thursday in Boston federal court to 3 1/2 years in prison  for taking $23,000 in bribes to help secure a liquor license for a nightclub and for legislation to grease the skids for commercial development in her district.

You might recall she was photographed in an FBI sting stuffing $100 bills in her bra at a restaurant near the state house. She could have at least asked for a doggy bag instead to sock away the cash.

On Thursday, she said, sure I did wrong but…..

FBI photo of Wilkerson stuffing cash in bra

Yes, But. But. But….After sentencing, she told reporters, according to Jonathan Saltzman at the Boston Globe, that federal prosecutors were corrupt and went after her and former Boston councilor Chuck Turner because they were outspoken. Turner was convicted of a taking $1,000 payoff in the same FBI sting.

“Chuck Turner and I have always been about the same business,” she said, according to the Globe. “Some in positions of power were threatened by our actions, and as a result we became targets.”

She went on to blast the “despicable actions of the government and its collaborators,” according to the Globe.

Sadly, Wilkerson was a crook, plain and simple. And sadly, she still can’t fess up to it. There was no noble thing going on. She was just stuffing her pockets (or her bra).  Another crooked politician — and perhaps a delusional one at that.

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

Sadly, she had had other problems in the past. In 1997, she was convicted for failing to file her income taxes for two years, the Globe reported. And she had other ethical lapses as well.

Maybe prison will give her time to rethink her noble gesture of taking bribes.

See Original Press Conference

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FnEBm_F8xc

FBI Probing Death of Mexican Teen Shot By Border Patrol Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

The FBI is investigating the death of a Mexican teen who died Wednesday in a shooting involving a U.S. border patrol agent in Nogales along the Arizona-Mexico border, Reuters reported.

The Sonora, Mexican police said Ramses Barron, 17, was found dead outside a hospital in Nogales, Sonora on Wednesday with a wound from a bullet fired by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Reuters reported. The FBI said rock throwing appeared to have played a role in the 3 a.m. incident. The sister cities on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border are called Nogales.

The teen was trying to cross the tall fence at the time of the incident, Reuters reported.

“At that moment (as he was climbing the fence), a United States Border Patrol agent shot at him, sending him falling onto gravel on the Mexican side,” the Mexican police said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez said, according to Reuters:

“There was an agent involved in a shooting in Nogales, Arizona, although the details are very sketchy. We are not aware of the injuries involved in the incident,” he said.

FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said, according to  Reuters: “Border Patrol agents were attempting to arrest alleged drug smugglers. …when bystanders began to throw rocks” at them. A Border Patrol agent responded by firing a shot at an alleged rock thrower.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Indicts Ex-CIA Officer on Charges of Leaking Info to N.Y. Times Reporter

Reporter James Risen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An ex-CIA officer involved in a classified clandestine operation involving Iran was arrested Thursday in St. Louis on charges of leaking classified information to a reporter, the Justice Department announced.

Jeffrey A. Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Mo., was charged with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice, authorities said. The indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

The indictment does not mention the reporter’s name, but the Washington Post, citing former U.S. intelligence officials and attorneys familiar with the case, said it was award winning New York Times reporter James Risen,  author of a 2006 book “Star of War.”

Sterling’s attorney denied the allegations, according to the Washington Post.

“He has always maintained his innocence throughout the course of this entire investigation,” said Edward B. MacMahon Jr. “We’ll seek to prove that in court.”

To read the Justice Department press release click here.

OUCH! Armed Pa. Man Under Investigation Bites 2 FBI Agents and Draws Blood

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Authorities say a Pennsylvania man carrying a loaded gun bit two FBI agents who tried to restrain him outside a fast food restaurant after he appeared to be reaching for his weapon, the Associated Press reported.

The agents arrested Emerson Begolly, 21, in New Bethlehem, Pa., outside of Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, AP reported.

Begolly, who had posted pro-terrorist songs and statements online, was sitting in a car outside a fast food restaurant when one of the agents opened the door, AP wrote. Authorities declined to say what the agents were up to,  but a criminal complaint said agents had an interest in him.

After the agent opened the door, AP reported that Begolly screamed and reached into his jacket, prompting agents to prevent him from getting what they suspected was a gun, according to the criminal complaint.

“Agents attempted to control Begolly, Begolly bit both agents and drew blood,” the complaint said, according to the AP. The complaint said agents found a 9mm handgun inside his jacket with the safety “off” and one round in the chamber.

AP reported that Begolly’s was an online student at Penn State University. He was scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.

IRS Revenue Agent Admits Filing False Tax Returns for Himself and Unsuspecting Relatives

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let’s face it, we seldom expect an IRS employee to cheat on their taxes. And then get caught?

Well….meet Albert Bront.

Bront, an IRS revenue agent,  pleaded guilty Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court to filing false tax returns for himself and innocent relatives, who were duped, authorities said.  He  claimed, among other things, bogus deductions for alimony and mortgage payments.

Bront, 51, a former Santa Clarita, Calif. resident, pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to a false return and two counts of assisting others in subscribing to false tax returns. He admitted filing fraudulent tax returns for the tax years 2003 through 2007.

Additionally, he secretly filed tax returns for his relatives and stole their large tax refunds, authorities said.

Authorities said he had been on unpaid leave from the IRS since  2009, will remain in jail until his April 13  sentencing.

As part of his scam, he prepared a tax return for an unsuspecting relative in 2004, and fraudulently claimed the relative paid property taxes and mortgage interest on a property. He ended up collecting more than $10,000 from the inflated tax refund and failed to report it as income, authorities said.

FBI Dir. Mueller Defends Terrorist Stings at Opening of Crime Lab in Calif.

Robert Mueller III/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In response to a string of FBI stings around the country involving terrorist suspects, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday defended the tactic, calling it “absolutely essential” to public safety, according to the Associated Press.

“We have been tremendously successful in thwarting attacks,” Mueller said at a news conference in Santa Ana,  Calif, where he was attending the official opening of an FBI cyber crime lab that will examine data and files from cell phones, flash drives and computers for criminal cases, the AP reported.

“We are very careful in these investigations. … They are absolutely essential if we are to protect the community against terrorist attacks.”

“There has not been yet to my knowledge a defendant who has been acquitted in asserting the entrapment defense,” Mueller said.

The comments come in wake of some criticism that the stings amount to entrapment and create big-time terrorists out of lost souls who likely would have never committed an act of terrorism without the FBI.

In the past several months, the FBI has pulled off stings in Portland,Ore. and the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. has also come out publicly defending the FBI tactics.

(To read about the new cyber  crime lab click here)