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Archive for May, 2015

Columnist: Justice Department Must Start Jailing Criminal Bankers

 

By Laurence Kotlikoff
Forbes Contributor

People of little means in our country are routinely being incarcerated for minor crimes. Meanwhile, big-time criminals engaging in major financial crimes that effectively involve the theft of billions of dollars from the public aren’t being prosecuted. Today we learned of yet another huge settlement by five of the largest banks operating in our country. The list includes JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland,and UBS.

Each of these banks admitted to engaging in criminal activity. But banks don’t commit crimes. People working for banks commit crime. And when people working for banks commit crime, it’s the responsibility of our Justice Department to indict them. If our Justice Department can’t figure this out, the personnel running our Justice Department need to be fired. That’s the President’s job. So the big question here — today’s fine is $5.6 billions, so we can say the billion dollar question here is why the President continues to give Wall Street criminals a pass?

Does his political party need Wall Street contributions this much? I voted for President Obama, but this truly makes me sick to my stomach. The same is surely true of any decent American reading this article. And this is not just a matter of elemental justice. It’s also vital to the economy’s future well being. We are operating a faith-based banking system with full opacity. No one can learn how his money is really being used or misused. The government, which should be heavily involved in fully disclosing on a real-time basis what each financial corporation owns and owes is doing nothing of the kind. Instead, the Dodd-Frank bill has not only left faith-based banking in full swing. But it’s also permitted banks to continue operating with extremely high levels of leverage.

To read more click here. 

Feds Nab Dozens of Crips in New Jersey; 1 Charged with Plotting to Kill FBI Agent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Members of a violent criminal street gang in New Jersey were arrested after federal authorities said at least one of them was plotting to murder an FBI plot, WABC reports.

A state, local and federal investigation culminated in the arrests of 71 people allegedly connected to the Grape Street Crips gang. The charges range from drug distribution to weapons offenses.

Authorities said one of the gang members, Corey Batts, plotted to kill an FBI agent while behind bars. He captured photos of the agent from the prison library and sent them to his “cousin,” but prison officials intercepted.

“As this investigation demonstrates, the New Jersey Grape Street Crips are allegedly one of the largest and most dangerous street gangs in Newark as well as a prolific narcotics trafficking organization that floods the streets New Jersey with heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. “The narcotics activities that the gang and its associates allegedly engage in directly affect the quality of life of law-abiding citizens who reside in cities and suburbs of northern New Jersey.”

DEA Agents Busted Lying About Secret Ownership of Strip Club

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two DEA workers are accused of secretly running a strip club in New Jersey and then lying about their ownership interests during national security background checks.

The New York Times reports that the officials were David Polos, who most recently served as an assistant special agent in charge, and Glen Lover, a civilian employee. They are charged with one count of making false statements and face up to five years in prison.

During the background checks, the men said they did not have ownership interests in the Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge.

The men had “important and sensitive”  jobs, said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“They also had other secret jobs,” he added, “which they concealed from D.E.A. in order to maintain their national security clearance, betraying the oaths they had taken and creating needless risk for the agency they worked for.”

 

 

FBI: Women Looking for Love Online Targeted Most Often by Internet Scams

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com. 

People looking for love online are targeted for Internet fraud more than anyone else, the FBI revealed in its annual online fraud report.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, said romance confidence scams cost victims an average of $14,214.

Although men are slightly more likely to be victimized by Internet crime, the report  found that women were disproportionately victimized by romance cons, accounting for 70% of the cases, NBC reports. 

“Criminals search dating websites, chat rooms, and social media websites for personally identifiable information, and use well-rehearsed scripts to attract potential victims,” it said. “Victims of these scams believe they are in a relationship with someone who is honest and trustworthy without meeting them in person.”

IC3 offered the following tip to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t respond to any unsolicited email, phone call or mail requesting your personal information.
  • Don’t fill out forms in email messages asking for personal information.
  • Don’t click on email links. Instead, go to the official website of the business or group and start from there,
  • Maintain at least two email addresses — one for people you know and one for all other purposes.
  • Frequently check your bank statements to avoid unauthorized charges and monitor for fraud.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call.
  • Don’t do business with people or companies operate only from a post office box address.
  • Don’t accept packages which you didn’t order.
  • If someone you’ve never met tells you he or she loves you but needs money to visit you, don’t buy it.

Secret Service Kept Busy Monitoring President Obama’s New Twitter Account

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s decision to join Twitter unleashed a torrent of hateful, even threatening tweets that have already caught the attention of the Secret Service.

Not only that, the White House is archiving every response to @POTUS, the Washington Post reports. 

So the newspaper kindly reminds readers to be wise when tweeting to the president of the United States.

“Just seconds after posting something online it has likely been disseminated to dozens of people and definitely been archived by an unknowable number of automated systems,” the programmer Pehr Hovey wrote in his master’s thesis on deleted tweets in 2010. “Though a delete button may provide solace to those having second thoughts, in reality it is a façade.”

Liberal Think Tank: ATF Should Merge with FBI to Reduce Firearms Crime

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The ATF is not equipped to handle gun violence and should be merged with the FBI to reduce firearms crime, according to a liberal think tank with strong ties to President Obama, the Washington Post reports. 

The Center of American Progress provided a 182-page report that argued the ATF is hamstrung by inadequate resources, poor management and burdensome restrictions.

“We do not make the core recommendation of this report lightly and recognize that . . . this type of agency restructuring would be challenging and time-consuming,” said Arkadi Gerney, one of the report’s co-authors. “But the problem of gun violence in the United States warrants this kind of large-scale rethinking. With 33 people murdered with guns in the United States every day, it is time to think big about how best to fulfill the ATF’s mission to enforce gun laws and regulate the gun industry.”

The group argues the ATF should be folded into the FBI, an idea promoted by Republicans in years past.

A Justice Department spokesman’s said the agency  “supports ATF in its current form and believes Congress should fully fund the president’s budget request that will enhance ATF’s ability to carry out their important mission.”

The NRA blamed the Obama administration on problems in the ATF.

“The Obama administration has only contributed to ATF’s dysfunction by politicizing the agency to implement its gun-control agenda,” said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker. “Regardless of where ATF is located, the reality is that nothing will change until we have a president who respects the Second Amendment.”

 

Prosecutor: Border Patrol Agent Justified in Fatal Shooting

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Border Patrol agent was justified when he fatally shot a 20-year-old Canadian who crossed the border illegally in March and sprayed the agent with bear spray, the Associated Press reports. 

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said the agent did everything he could to avoid a fatal encounter with Jamison Edward Childress, retreating and warning the man that he would be shot if he deployed the beer spray.

Canadian police were looking for the man from Prince George, British Columbia, because he was wanted on murder charges.

When confronted at a border near Sumas, Washington, he reportedly screamed, “Kill me!” at officers.

A responding agent retreated but had run out of places to go, according to the report.

“The officer was sprayed before he fired,” McEachran said. “The officers could see this huge cloud sprayed. It was coming right at his face, he shot his gun at that point, then was overcome by the spray.”

Two shots were fired. One bullet was recovered in the autopsy.

DEA Arrests 2 in Largest-Ever Seizure of Heroin in NYC History

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The bust was so big that federal authorities are already calling it the largest seizure of heroin in New York City history.

The DEA helped nab a pair of suspected Bronx drug traffickers in what turned out to be the largest seizure of heroin in the city’s history, NBC New York reports.

Agents seized more than 150 pounds of heroin that is worth at least $50 million. An additional $2 million in cash.

Investigators believe the traffickers routinely received similar-size shipments every month from Mexico and supplied the deadly, addictive drug to users in New York, Pennsylvania and New England.

“To put it in perspective, this load was so large it carried the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a statement. “While this important seizure stopped a huge amount of heroin from flooding our city, it also highlights the critical need to intercept heroin before it ever reaches our region.”

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