Site Search

Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

August 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for August 25th, 2011

Ex-FBI Evidence Technician Gets 15 Months for Lying About Stealing About $80,000 in Evidence

By Allan Lengel

A former FBI evidence technician in the agency’s Merrillville, Ind. office was sentenced Thursday in Hammond, Ind., to 15 months in prison for lying about stealing nearly $80,000 in evidence that she kept for herself instead of properly returning the cash as she claimed she did.

Melissa L. Sims, 37, of Howell, Ind., who worked as a technician from 1996 to September 2008, was also ordered to pay $77,882 in restitution as part of her sentence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

She was ordered to begin serving her sentence on Nov. 28.

Sims pleaded guilty on Feb. 15 to making false statements to FBI agents conducting an investigation.

According to her plea agreement, between 2005 and August 2008, Sims stole or embezzled nearly $80,000 in evidence that she was responsible for.

Instead of contacting certain individuals and returning the money to them, she kept it herself, authorities said.

On at least 10 different dates, she signed 16 separate forms stating that various amounts of cash, ranging from $2 to $2,790, had been “released” or “returned,” when she had actually taken the money for herself.


Column: We Have a Right to Bear Arms; We Also Have a Right to Live

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel

I’m all for the right to bear arms.  The constitution says we can.

That being said, guns and semi-automatic rifles are a dangerous enough commodity — like prescription morphine and oxycodone — that they need to be regulated — particularly when they end up in the hands of the violent Mexican cartels.

I bring this up because the NRA and other gun rights groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation are up in arms over a newly implemented ATF regulation that requires U.S. gun dealers in U.S. states bordering Mexico to report the sale within five business days of two or more  semi-automatic rifles capable of using detachable magazines.

The problem is that many of those guns from those states like Texas and Arizona are flooding into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels, who are committing mass murder at a staggering rate. The cartels have also spread their tentacles into the U.S.

The new ATF regulation is not magic bullet to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico. But every little bit helps. And reporting multiple sales of assault rifles raises a red flag. Sorry. But if you buy 10 assault rifles in two days, the government should have the right to ask WHY?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has filed a lawsuit to try and block the regulation, which took effect Aug. 14.  It says it abhors the violence in Mexico, but says ATF is violating peoples’ rights.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane issued a statement this week about the ATF requirement for border states:  “This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope.’ Our industry abhors the criminal misuse of firearms, whether on the streets of El Paso or in Juarez, Mexico. Though we can understand ATF’s motive is to try to curtail violence in Mexico, Congress simply has not granted ATF regulatory carte blanche.”

It’s hardly carte blanche.

Maybe Mr. Keane should head to  Juarez, Mexico and see what carte blanche really is.  Carte blanche down there is what the Mexican cartels have, killing at will, intimidating and murdering police, thanks, at least in part, to the steady flow of our American guns that wind up in Mexico.

That’s carte blanche.

Sure, we as Americans have a right to bear arms. But we as Americans have a right to live — as do our neighbors to the south.

Michigan Man Smuggles Illegal Polar Bear Trophy from Canada

Courtesy of flickr user xrayspx under creative commons license.

By Danny Fenster

Sometimes it takes a rug, and sometimes it takes a polar bear trophy to really tie a room together. Such must have been the case when 73-year-old Jenison, Mich., resident Rodger Dale DeVries attempted to illegally import a polar bear trophy from Canada in 2007.

According to a plea agreement announced on Wednesday, DeVries obtained a license from Canada’s Nunavut Territory to hunt and kill the bear in the Foxe Basin in November of 2000, knowing the bear could not be legally imported into Michigan.

DeVries kept the trophy in a Canadian storage unit until July 3, 2007, when he picked it up with his two grandsons, boated it over to Raber Bay, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, then brought it home and sold the boat a few days later.

Problem was, the act was a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), according to federal authorities.  The bears have been listed as a “threatened species” since 2008 under the Endangered Species Act.

“The polar bear is an ecological and cultural treasure of the American and Canadian Arctic,” said Assistant Attorney General Ignacia Moreno. “We will not tolerate the illegal importation of polar bear trophies and will fully prosecute all violations of federal law.” That could potentially mean a year in prison and maximum fines of $100,000.

Maybe next time Devries will settle for using a rug to tie the room together.

Devries pleaded guilty Aug. 22. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley in Grand Rapids, Mich. Sentencing is set for Sep. 8.

Google Pays Justice Dept. $500,000 for Running Canadian Pharmacy Ads

By Allan Lengel

Google, the 800-pound gorilla in the cyber world, is going to to be a little lighter in the pocket as a result of some wrongdoing.

Google has agreed to forfeit to the Justice Department $500 million for allowing online Canadian pharmacies to illegaly pedal prescription drugs, authorities announced Wednesday.

The Justice Department said the pharmacies placed ads through Google’s AdWords program and targeted U.S. consumers, resulting in the unlawful importation of controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the U.S.

The Justice Department noted that shipment of prescription drugs from pharmacies outside the United States to customers in the United States typically violates the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and in the case of controlled prescription drugs , the Controlled Substances Act. Authorities say they cannot assure the safety of drugs outside of the U.S.

Authorities said Google was aware as early as 2003, that generally, it was illegal for pharmacies to ship controlled and non-controlled prescription drugs into the United States from Canada.

“This investigation is about the patently unsafe, unlawful, importation of prescription drugs by Canadian on-line pharmacies, with Google’s knowledge and assistance, into the United States, directly to U.S. consumers,” said Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

“It is about taking a significant step forward in limiting the ability of rogue on-line pharmacies from reaching U.S. consumers, by compelling Google to change its behavior. It is about holding Google responsible for its conduct by imposing a $500 million forfeiture, the kind of forfeiture that will not only get Google’s attention, but the attention of all those who contribute to America’s pill problem.”

In a statement published in the Boston Globe, Google said:

“While we banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the US by Canadian pharmacies some time ago, it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.”

Secret Service Countersniper Team Scrambles on White House Roof After Earthquake

Raw video from the Associated Press shows members of the Secret Service scrambling on the Whites House after Tuesday afternoon’s earthquake. The people on the roof are members of the Secret Service Countersniper Team, who are specially trained Uniformed Division officers.

John Edward’s Attys Want to Delay Trial

By Allan Lengel

Lawyers for ex-presidential hopeful John Edwards have a lot reasons to want to delay Edwards’ trial October trial — or so they say.

The Associated Press reports that lawyers filed a motion Wednesday asking for the delay so they could have more time to review 400,000 documents produced by prosecutors.

Edwards is accused of violating campaign finance laws in 2008.

AP reported his attorneys would also like more time to interview 125 witnesses that 50 FBI and IRS agents talked to during the investigation.

And that’s not all. He also wants a delay because his daughter Cate is getting married in October.

Edwards, 57, was indicted in June on charges that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign funds to cover up an extra-marital affair during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Edwards insists he never did anything intentionally wrong.

Then again, he initially denied, and later admitted that he fathered a child with his mistress.