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April 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for April, 2011

CNN Revisits Branch Davidian-ATF Raid

How Sleuths Cracked the Anthrax Mystery Via Genetic Fingerprints

One of the real anthrax letters in 2001/fbi photo

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Inside a Rockville laboratory, a team of scientists labored in round-the-clock shifts to do something many colleagues thought impossible: decode the genetic “fingerprint” of a deadly anthrax sample to help the FBI solve a case.

The researchers had been swept into Amerithrax, the massive federal investigation into the 2001 anthrax mailings, and they yearned for a breakthrough. But finding unique markers in the organism’s vast genetic code was a long shot.

The big break came in a small package: tiny test tubes, delivered by the FBI, from a military lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick, where lab workers had spotted a series of odd-looking bacteria colonies. Those oddities would help the Rockville scientists decipher the genetic signature of the anthrax used in the nation’s most serious bioterror attack.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: Secret Service and Counterfeit Cash

Bad Week for Ex-Baseball Stars: One Convicted and Another Charged

By Allan Lengel

This has not been a good week for ex-baseball players. First, Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice in connection with steroid use. And now comes ex-baseball star Lenny Dykstra.

Dykstra, 48, a former outfielder for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies who lives in Encino, Calif., has been charged by the feds in southern California with bankruptcy fraud for allegedly selling items from his $18 million mansion in Ventura County that legally belonged to his bankruptcy estate after he filed for bankruptcy. The property was supposed to go toward paying his creditors.

Authorities said Dykstra, who retired from baseball in 1996, filed for bankruptcy on July, 7, 2009.

Authorities allege that Dykstra removed, destroyed and sold about $400,000 worth of property that was part of the bankruptcy estate without the permission of the bankruptcy trustee.

Authorities  said when Dykstra filed for bankruptcy he listed two residences – a mansion in Lake Sherwood Estates purchased from Janet and hockey great Wayne Gretzky that he estimated was worth $18.5 million, and a home in Westlake Village that he estimated was worth $5.4 million.

Ex-Fed Judge Busted in Affair With Stripper Reports to Prison

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

Judge Jack Camp/daily report

By Allan Lengel

Disgraced ex-federal Judge Jack Camp of Atlanta reported on Friday to a prison in El Reno, Ok., to begin serving his 30-day sentence, the Associated Press reported.

You might recall Camp, who is married, was busted in an FBI sting after buying drugs for a stripper he was carrying on an affair with. His light sentence — he was caught with two guns in his car the time of the bust last October — stirred criticism in the Atlanta community. Some thought it was far too lenient.

He was also sentenced to 400 hours of community service.

His attorneys in a pre-sentence report said Camp had long battled depression and suffered brain damage in 2000 as a result of a bicycle accident. They claimed the accident may have resulted in him having impulse control issues.

Ex-NY Mob Boss Testifies that Crooked FBI Agent in 80s Tipped Off the Mafia About Arrests

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel

Ex-Bonanno mob boss Joseph Massino — the first N.Y. family boss to ever take the witness stand for the government — testified Thursday that a crooked FBI agent tipped off the Mafia back in the 80s that he and others were about to get arrested, the Associated Press reported.

As a result, he said, he went on the lam for two years, AP reported.

“The FBI agent never gave a bad tip,” Massino testified, according to AP. “Anytime he told us something, we could take it to the bank.”

Massino is currently serving a life sentence for multiple murders. He was testifying against his successor in the mob, Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, who is accused of putting a hit out on a mob associate. Basciano is already serving a life sentence in another case.

AP reported that it was unclear whether authorities ever confirmed Massino’s story about the crooked FBI agent. AP reported that the FBI on Thursday declined comment.

Retirement of Portland’s Top FBI Agent Could Speed Up City’s Decision to Rejoin the FBI’s JTTF

FBI's Art Balizan

By Allan Lengel

The longstanding rift between the city of Portland, Ore., and the local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force could get resolved quicker than expected, thanks to the pending departure by month’s end of the head of the city’s FBI office, the Portland Mercury news website reports.

The city pulled Portland police out of the local JTTF in in 2005 in protest after the then-Mayor Tom Potter and Police Chief Derrick Foxworth were blocked from getting classified information because they didn’t have a security clearance. Some residents also thought the unit was unjustifiably spying on citizens and violating state and local laws.

This past November,  the city was pressed to rethink the issue of rejoining the JTTF after the FBI arrested a 19-year-old man in a terrorism sting. The man allegedly planned to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the city’s Pioneer Square.

But some commission members remain opposed to rejoining, and some local skeptics insist the terrorism plot was created by the FBI sting, and that Portland was never really in any danger as the arrest suggested.  A city commission vote on the issue has been delayed three times.

The Portland Mercury reports that Mayor Sam Adams may be pressed to strike up some deal with the JTTF that council members can accept  because the head of the Portland FBI, who turns 57 this year — the mandatory retirement age — is retiring at the end of the month to take a job out of state.

The website wrote: “For anyone grumbling that the work on Portland’s Joint Terrorism Task Force dalliance has been moving too slowly, you might be pleasantly surprised by a sudden speed-up. Art Balizan, the special agent in charge of Portland’s FBI field office, is leaving at the end of the month. Which means Mayor Sam Adams will be working like hell to find a compromise with the feds and his city council colleagues before he suddenly finds himself starting over with a brand-new FBI partner.

“Sources in city hall have been bandying around the words “next week” and “very soon” when talking about when the mayor might unveil the draft agreement he’s been shopping with the feds and the council. And now I know one reason why. Having to work with an interim FBI special agent, or even a new permanent agent, could slow the process down dramatically.”

New Gotti Film to Star John Travolta and Joe Pesci

By Allan Lengel

It all seems a little surreal. But it’s real.

The New York Post reports that a new “biopic” film on the Gotti family —  “Gotti: Three Generations” —  will star John Travolta, and none other than actor Joe Pesci. Filming is set to begin in October.

Pesci became legendary for his role in “Goodfellas” and was most remembered for the restaurant scene in which he turns to actor Ray Liotta and says: “What do you mean I’m funny? ….You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little f–ked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to f–kin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how?

The Post reported that the Gotti  film may also include actress Lindsay Lohan.

Travolta will play the Godfather, John Gotti.

“This is probably the most interesting untold story in this country,” Travolta said, according to the Post.

The Post reported that the screenplay is being written by actor-writer Leo Rossi, who wrote “Analyze This”.

John Gotti died in prison in June 2002 at age 61. His son walked free in December 2009 after  the feds failed to convict him on four tries on racketeering.  Each trial resulted in a deadlocked jury.  Shortly afterward, the feds decided to drop the charges and give up.