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May 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

DEA Agent Nabs Robber at D.C. Subway Station

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — DEA agent Phil Kearney has hunted Afghan heroin traffickers over the years, but last week was a little different, according to Washington Post Columnist John Kelly.

Kelly writes that Kearney, who is now stationed in Ottawa, but was in Washington on business last week, was at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station in Washington ” backpack on his back, suitcase in his hand, suit jacket on and tie around his neck.”

Suddenly, he spotted a robber steal a cellphone from the hands of a commuter on the platform, Kelly wrote. The robber then hopped onto

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Ultimate Betrayal: Son Testifies Against Mobster Dad and Wore FBI Wire

mafia33By Allan Lengel

It may be one of the ultimate betrayals in mob history, and certainly there have been no shortage of them. There was of course the very famous one: Gambino Underboss Sammy the Bull” Gravano turning on the top boss John Gotti.

But this one, according to the New York Daily News, may top them all: John Franzese Jr, 50, wore an FBI wire  and testified against his 93-year-old mobster dad John “Sonny” Franzese, an underboss in the Colombo crime family. The racketeering and extortion trial is currently underway in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

“The long decline of the mob has been marked by underlings ratting out bosses and even bosses ratting out everybody, but never before had a son taken the witness stand against his dad,” wrote N.Y. Daily News columnist Michael Daly.

“The betrayal was all the more remarkable because the son had no compelling reason for being up there with his left hand in his pocket and his right hand raised to take the oath,” Daily wrote.

“The younger Franzese was not working off a prison term or eluding prosecution. He did not even harbor manifest anger toward the 93-year-old father he pointed out at the defense table.”

Read More About The Son, the Wife and Father (New York Daily News)

Crooked Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Released to Halfway House

“Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.” Ray Charles, 1961.

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

Jack Ambramoff/ msnbc

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who epitomized all that was wrong with official Washington, is close to seeing daylight.

The Associated Press reported that Abramoff, 51, was released Tuesday from a minimum-security federal prison in Cumberland, Md, and sent to a halfway house in that state to finish off his sentence for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. He went off to prison in 2006.

He is set to be free on Dec. 4, AP reported.

Abramoff cooperated in a multi-year Justice Department investigation into public corruption that resulted in convictions of ex-Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), ex-deputy interior Secretary J. Steven Griles and several Capitol Hill aides, AP reported.


Pres. Obama Nominates U.S. Atty. for Fla and 6 U.S. Marshals

marshalsBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday nominated assistant U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill for U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Florida and six people for U.S. Marshal posts around the country.

The Marshal nominations, according to a White House press release include:

  • Mark Lloyd Ericks for the Western District of Washington.
  • Joseph Patrick Faughnan Sr.for the District of Connecticut.
  • Harold Michael Oglesby for the Western District of Arkansas.
  • Donald Martin O’Keefe for the Northern District of California.
  • Kenneth James Runde for the Northern District of Iowa.
  • Charles Thomas Weeks II for the Western District of Oklahoma.

UPDATE: 4:10 p.m. Thurs. —  The Senate Judiciary earlier today gave the nod to four U.S. Attorney noninees: Thomas E. Delahanty for the District of Maine; Wendy J. Olson for Idaho; Donald J. Cazayoux for the Middle District of Louisiana and James A. Lewis for the Central District of Illinois.

FBI Defends Itself in Murder Linked to Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot

By Allan Lengel

The FBI on Wednesday defended itself against accusations that it screwed up in the case involving Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the death of a woman in Peru. He has also long been a suspect in the death of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama high school teen who disappeared in Aruba five years ago after being last seen with van der Sloot.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alabama said in a statement that agents and prosecutors “were working as hard as possible to bring the case to fruition when they learned of the murder.”  Some criticized the FBI, saying it could have arrested van der Sloot before he went to Peru and allegedly murdered a 21-year-old woman.

On June 3, a few days after the murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged van der Sloot with wire fraud.  Several weeks before, Van der Sloot had contacted someone close to the Holloway family and asked for $250,000 in exchange for disclosing circumstances surrounding the death of  Natalee Holloway, the FBI said.

Press reports said the FBI set up a sting and an intermediary met on May 10 with van der Sloot in an Aruba hotel and gave him $10,000, according to AOL News. An additional $15,000 was wired to van der Sloot. Some critics say he should have been arrested right there on the spot after taking the money.

Instead, Van der Sloot reportedly used the money to go to Peru and play in a poker tournament, where he met Stephany Flores, 21, a business student.

Read more »

FBI Brings Terrorist Investigative Techniques to Wall Street

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Convicted swindler Bernie Madoff was no terrorist in the traditional sense, but he did terrorize many clients by robbing them of their finances and psychological security.

Hoping to spot financial scandals before they get too far — or too Madoff-like — the FBI in New York is increasingly employing the same tools and tactics it uses in terrorist investigations to unearth the evil doings of white-collar thieves and inside traders, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We’re trying to apply the principles of the national security side so we can prevent something from becoming a $50 billion fraud by catching it early on,” James Trainor, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Intelligence Division in New York, told the Journal.

The FBI in New York hopes to apply the tactics it uses in terrorist investigations to nab financial criminals, like Bernie Madoff.

The FBI said some of those tools include expanding its network of human sources — a key ingredient in fighting terrorism — who are willing to tip off or guide authorities in probes, the Journal reported. The FBI is also planning to use more intelligence reports and so-called trip-wire programs, things people should be on the lookout for when something seems a little fishy in the financial world.

To read full story click here.

Boston U.S. Attorney Creates New Civil Rights Unit

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

By Allan Lengel

The Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office is creating a team of 10 prosecutors to focus on civil rights cases, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said the unit will focus on hate crimes, human trafficking, police misconduct, damage to religious property and employment discrimination, the Globe reported.

“We’re open for business,” Ortiz said, according to the Globe. The unit will handle both criminal and civil cases.

The Globe reported that Ortiz said she wants prosecutors to encourage people in the community to come forward to report civil rights violations. She said too often they do not.

To read more click here.

Maryland Man and 5 Iranians Charged With Providing Hardware and Technology to Iran

iran-mapBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The feds have busted a suburban Washington man who ran a satellite company on charges that he illegally provided technology to his native Iran that resulted in the launching of an Iranian earth satellite, equipped with a camera, in Russia in October 2005, the Maryland  U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Nader Modanlo, 49, of Potomac, Md., a naturalized citizen born in Iran, was among six people named in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Greenbelt, Md.  Authorities alleged that technology and hardware were provided to Iran in violation of the U.S. trade embarago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Modanlo was arrested Tuesday morning. The other five defendants, all Iranians, were still at large, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“The indictment alleges that the defendants violated the Iran trade embargo by creating a sham company to conceal the fact that they were providing goods, technology and services to Iran in return for millions of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

Read more in a story in the Washington Post

Read U.S. Attorney Press Release