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March 2012


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for March, 2012

A Mob Tape, an FBI Gaffe and Some Murders

By Allan Lengel

On the big screen and on TV, sometimes we forget the twisted plots aren’t simply made up, but actually come from real situations in the wiseguy world.

Here’s a real story worthy of the big screen involving a mob hit and a secret recording in which an FBI audio expert accidentally taped over it for about 18 seconds.

Mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News reports that the feds plan to use that the tape recording to help try and convict  mob associate Christian Tarantino in the killing in 2003 of his business partner Vincent Gargiulo in Manhattan.

It was Garagiulo who made the secret recording in 2000 in which Tarantino admits killing two people in 1994, Gang Land News reports.  Gargiulo allegedly had tried to blackmail Tarantino and wanted him to pay $500,000 for the cassette tape, Gang Land reported. Instead, he ended up dead.

In 2008, the feds used the tape to help charge Tarantino with the two murders in 1994 and the one involving Gargiulo in 2003. Prosecutors used it last year at the first trial, but while they were able to convict Tarantino of the 1994 murders at that trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the killing of Gargiulo, Gang Land reported.

Capeci reports that the judge in the upcoming retrial in the murder of Garigiulo is allowing the tape to be used again.

Interestingly, the FBI audio expert mistakenly recorded his own voice over the tape for 18 second.   Despite arguments from the defense, the judge has ruled that the tape can be introduced as evidence.

Gang Land News reports that the tape mysteriously surfaced after someone mailed it in 2004 to the New York cops, who turned it over to the FBI.


Weekend Series on Crime: The Israeli Mafia

Senate Confirms New IG for Justice Department

Michael Horowitz/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel

The Justice Department has a new Inspector General.

The US. Senate on Thursday confirmed the confirmation of Michael Horowitz. The Senate also confirmed Kathryn Keneally as Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division.

“I’m confident Kathryn and Michael will provide strong leadership to the department, and will play an instrumental role in fulfilling our critical mission of protecting the American people,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. in a statement. “Kathryn will be integral to our efforts to enforce our nation’s tax laws fully and fairly, and Michael will promote integrity, financial austerity and effectiveness in Department of Justice operations. They are both welcome additions to our senior leadership team.”

Keneally most recently worked as a partner at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in New York.

The Justice Department said for over 25 years, Keneally represented clients in tax controversies and defended against allegations of tax, securities and bank fraud, money laundering, currency transaction reporting, false statements and other financial crime.

Horowitz was a  a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP, where he focused on white collar defense, internal investigations and regulatory compliance.

From 2003 to 2009, Horowitz served as a commissioner for the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Before that,  Horowitz  worked for the Justice Department in the Criminal Division from 1999 to 2002.

Prior to joining the Criminal Division, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, he was chief of the Public Corruption Unit for the Southern District of New York. In 1995, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a five-year corruption investigation.

Senate Confirms Thomas Harrigan as #2 Person at DEA

Thomas Harrigan/dea photo

By Allan Lengel

More than a year after being nominated by the White House, the Senate on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Thomas Harrigan as the number two person at DEA.

“I cannot think of a better, more qualified, or more honorable person to have at my side than Special Agent Tom Harrigan as we lead the Drug Enforcement Administration through the many challenges we will face and the many successes we will have in the coming years,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a statement.

“Tom demonstrated strong leadership and dedication in the field, and his strategic vision as Chief of Operations has been second to none. Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation enhances our nation’s safety and security by placing a proven, well respected career agent in this critical position at DEA.”

Harrigan, a well respected figure in the DEA, has been the Chief of Operations. He started his career with the agency in 1987 and was assigned to the Bangkok in 1991.

After that, according to the White House, “he has served as Group Supervisor in the Newark Field Division, Staff Coordinator in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Chief of the Dangerous Drugs and Chemicals Section, and Deputy Chief in the Office of Domestic Operations. He also served as Senior Advisor to the Chief of Domestic Operations and as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Washington Field Office.

In 2004, Mr. Harrigan was appointed to the Senior Executive Service to serve as the Chief of Enforcement Operations.

“I am so pleased to hear of DEA Special Agent Harrigan’s confirmation as Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration,”  John “Jack” C. Lawn, DEA Administrator from 1985 to 1990 said in a statement. “Tom’s more than 25 years of experience both in domestic and international operations and his exceptional management skills make him uniquely qualified for this position. As Deputy Administrator, he solidifies this leadership role whose responsibilities will be so important to DEA’s future. He now speaks from a position of strength as DEA’s Deputy Administrator.”


Ouch: Ex-FBI Agent Arrested for Allegedly Hitting Her Partially Blind Dad

By Allan Lengel

It’s never good when you hit your father. It’s really bad when he’s partially blind.

The Vindicator newspaper reports that Sheila Lawson, 46, a former FBI agent, was arrested on the east side of Youngstown, Ohio after allegedly assaulting her father.

The paper reports that Lawson hit her father because he was getting on her nerves.

The paper reported that the father told his daughter, while police were investigating the matter: “You need help. That’s why they kicked you out of the FBI.”

“The statement, reportedly sent Lawson into a frenzy, causing her to curse the man and punch him in the head in front of officers,” the paper reported.

Authorities Bust Two San Diego Men Posing as FBI Agents

By Allan Lengel

Two San Diego men were busted for impersonating FBI agents in a scheme to shake down a woman out of more than $200,000.

NBC San Diego reports that the men posed as agents and told a woman that she was a victim of a fraud by her bank.

They directed her to remove $200,000 from the bank and turn it over to them. The woman called police, the station reported.

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent to Head Puerto Rico Police Dept.

By Allan Lengel

The man who once headed up the FBI office in Puerto Rico has been named the new chief of the Puerto Rico police department.

The Associated Press reports that Hector Pesquera comes just hours after police chief Emilio Diaz Colon resigned a head of the 17,000 member force.

He was first assigned head of the FBI’s Puerto Rico office in 1995 and he retired in 2003 after 27 years with the agency, AP reported.

To read more click here

FBI’s Top Cyber Cop Talks About Cyber Threats