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Boston’s Top FBI Agent Warren Bamford Steps Down; James Burrell Acting SAC

Warren Bamford

Warren Bamford

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Warren T. Bamford, head of the Boston FBI, officially retired Friday after heading up the office since 2007. Assistant special agent in charge James C. Burrell has been named the acting special agent in charge.

Under Bamford’s reign, the office produced a number of high-profile cases including one that involved a corrupt state senator and another that targeted a street boss for the Colombo crime family.

“My FBI experience has been tremendous and being able to end my career in the Boston Office makes it even better,” he said Friday in a statement to ticklethewire.com.  “I have tried to do the best job possible and have no regrets.”

Bamford will begin working for a private utility, National Grid,  on June 28.

Under his command, the office aggressively pursued fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent mobster who was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list in 1999.

The office took creative steps to find Bulger and his female companion, including placing ads in dental and plastic surgery publications.

But in the end, like his predecessors, he was unable to find Bulger.

Bamford joined the bureau in 1986. Before arriving in Boston, he served as special agent in charge of  the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Division in Los Angeles.

In 2009, he was named “Fed Of The Year” by ticklethewire.com. The previous year, the award went to Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Justice Dept. Vows to Go After Wall Street Banks, But Nothing So Far

wall-streetBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Despite the tough talk by President Obama and his Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, the administration has yet to file charges against the big Wall Street banks that had their hands in bad and risky housing loans, the Washington Post reports.

“Nearly 1 1/2 years into Obama’s tenure, despite several cases against mortgage companies whose lending practices contributed to the crisis, the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world’s financial markets,” Post reporter Jerry Markon wrote. “Law enforcement sources say no such charges are imminent.”

The Post noted that the administration has talked tough and cited comments Eric Holder made in November about getting tough on Wall Street execs who contributed to the financial crisis.

“We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and we will not hesitate to bring charges,” Holder said then.

Some think the administration has promised too much.

To read more click here.

Enough Boloney? Try the Blago Sandwich

(not actual sandwich)

(not actual sandwich)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors in the public corruption case against Ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich have asked the Chicago judge to order Blago and his attorneys not to make public statements during trial.

But will they now have to ask the judge to gag the courthouse cafeteria folks as well?

The Associated Press reports that the courthouse cafeteria where Blagojevich is on trial included a sandwich on its blackboard menu: “The Innocent aka Blago”. The cafeteria is frequented by courthouse lawyers, judges and even jurors.

AP reported that Blagojevich was overheard talking about the sandwich while entering the courtroom. He called it an “accurate and truthful” sandwich.

By the way, what’s in the sandwich? Surprisingly, no boloney.  AP reports that it has turkey, Swiss cheese, pesto mayonnaise, avocado and spinach.

ICE Agent Pleads Guilty in NJ Drug Sting

beeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent pleaded guilty Wednesday in Newark to conspiring to steal what he thought was a large quantity of cocaine from a purported drug dealer. It turned out to be a sting conducted by ICE.

Valentino Johnson, 26, of Brooklyn, who was working as an ICE agent in Manhattan at the time of the crime, was allowed to remain free pending his Oct. 13 sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark said.

Authorities charged that Johnson conspired with others including an ICE confidential informant to steal what he thought was a large quantity of cocaine stashed in a Newark warehouse. He then planned to distribute the drugs,with profits to be split among his partners in crime.

Johnson and his co-conspirators traveled to Newark on September 10, 2009, the day before the planned burglary, to inspect the warehouse, authorities said. They returned the next day to steal the goods.

Once they arrived at the warehouse, one of the men used bolt cutters to get access to the inside of the warehouse.

Johnson and one of the men then entered and “unloaded what they believed to be kilograms of cocaine from a truck parked inside” while another person stood watch. The drugs ended up being “50 kilograms of sham cocaine”, according to an affidavit by ICE special agent Michael Riley.

The three were arrested as part of the ICE investigation, authorities said.

Read Criminal Complaint and Affidavit

Indictment Says Times Square Car Bomb Suspect Funded by Pakistani Taliban; Got $12,000 in Cash

Faisal Shahzad

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In the months and weeks before allegedly planting a car bomb in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad was sent a total of about $12,000 from someone he understood worked for the Taliban in Pakistan, authorities charged Thursday  in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

That allegation was contained in a 10-count indictment that accuses Shahzad of driving a car bomb to Times Square in New York on May 1 to try to “kill and maim persons” and destroy property. He faces charges including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.

“The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s attempted attack on American soil,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Our nation averted serious loss of life in this attempted bombing, but it is a reminder that we face an evolving threat that we must continue to fight with every tool available to the government.”

To read full story click here.

Colombian Drug Trafficker Extradited From Mexico to U.S.

Mexico border mapBy Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

A man who represented the interests of a major Colombian drug cartel in Mexico, has been extradited to New York to stand trial, authorities said.

Pedro Antonio Bermudez, known as “El Arquitecto,” was arrested in Mexico City on Oct. 2, 2008 and remained in Mexican custody until his extradition to the U.S. on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Bermudez’s  job was to ensure that cocaine sent to Mexico by the Colombian drug cartel Norte del Valle, was safely delivered to the Mexican cartels, authorities said.

Since 1990, the Norte del Valle Cartel allegedly exported more than 1.2 million pounds of cocaine — worth more than $10 billion — to the U.S., most of which came through Mexico, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The Colombian shipments were sent by Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, one of the leaders of the Norte del Valle Cartel, who pleaded guilty in New York in 2008 to charges including murder and narcotics trafficking.  Bustamante, who was extradited to the U.S. in 2007, is awaiting sentencing.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Authorities Charge 1,215 People in Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Sweep

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News
WASHINGTON –The Justice Department today announced the “broadest mortgage fraud sweep” in U.S. history, with criminal charges filed against 1,215 people. Almost 500 have already been arrested in a 3 1/2-month crackdown dubbed “Operation Stolen Dreams.”

Authorities said the operation uncovered $2.3 billion in mortgage fraud losses and recovered $147 million through 191 civil enforcement actions.

Despite the multistate crackdown, FBI Director Robert Mueller said there is still room for concern. He noted that his agency is pursuing more than 3,000 mortgage fraud cases, almost double the number from the last fiscal year.

“Those who prey on the housing market should know that hundreds of FBI agents on task forces and their law enforcement partners are tracking down your schemes, and you will be brought to justice,” Mueller said in a statement.

Attorney General Eric Holder added: “The staggering totals from this sweep highlight the mortgage fraud trends we are seeing around the country. We have seen mortgage fraud take on all shapes and sizes — from schemes that ensnared the elderly to fraudsters who targeted immigrant communities.”

To read more click here.

Read Report

Bound to Happen: Fed Prosecutors Ask Judge to Gag Blago and His Attorneys

BlagoBookBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Who didn’t figure this was coming?

The Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to impose a gag order to shut up ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers during the ongoing public corruption trial, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors claim the defense and Blago are trying to sway the jury.

The prosecution filed a 16-page motion Wednesday after Blagojevich and his attorneys made comments to reporters Tuesday at the end of testimony by government witness Alonzo “Lon” Monk, Blagojevich’s former friend and chief of staff, the Tribune reported.

The Tribune said the motion stated that lawyers and Blago made comments “to the press, on camera, giving their takes on Monk’s testimony, and in particular, his credibility, in what essentially amounted to mini-closing arguments on the topic.”

Prosecutors alleged that Blagojevich has conducted endless pre-trial media interviews and hired a public relations firm to sway the jury, the Trib reported.

“Blagojevich used these platforms to try his case in the public realm, often going beyond declaring innocence and instead representing pretrial developments in the court case and making inflammatory comments regarding the prosecutors,” the government wrote in the filing, according to the Tribune.

The prosecution indicated that Blagojevich’s comments after Monk’s testimony were the final straw and that the ex-governor’s alleged efforts to manipulate media coverage and influence the jury “has reached a level that requires court intervention.”

To Read More click.

Read Govt. Motion