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NBA Star Arenas Pleads Guilty: Gun Case Ends in a Whimper Rather Than a Bang

Verizon Center where Arenas brought the guns
Verizon Center where Arenas brought the guns

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It ended with a whimper rather than a loud bang, which is probably a good thing.

Troubled NBA Wizards star Gilbert Arenas pleaded guilty Friday in D.C. Superior Court to a felony count of carrying a pistol without a license.

Sentencing is set for March 6. And though he could face six to 24 months in jail, he’s likely to get probation.  Arenas has been suspended indefinitely from the team he had been expected to help improve this year.

“Playing with firearms is no joke,” U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, who is a known Wizards fan, said in a statement. “Today’s guilty plea to a felony county of carrying a pistol without a license reflects the seriousness and grave risk of such conduct.”

Authorities say Arenas brought four guns to the Verizon Center in December. On Dec. 21, he placed the firearms on the chair of a teammate he’d been beefing with, along with a note — that was supposedly in jest — that said “Pick 1”.

Arenas’ attorney Kenneth Wainstein,  a  former U.S. Attorney who was Channing Phillips’ boss, issued a statement:

“Earlier this afternoon, Gilbert Arenas appeared before the Honorable Robert E. Morin of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and pled guilty to a charge of carrying a pistol in the District of Columbia without a license.  He accepted full responsibility for his actions, acknowledged that those actions were wrong and against the law, and has apologized to all who have been affected by his conduct.  Mr. Arenas appreciates the professionalism of the authorities handling this matter.”

FBI Launches Digital Fugitive Billboard in Times Square

fbi photo
fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Well, you can’t get much more high profile than this: a GIANT billboard in the middle of Times Square in the Big Apple.

The FBI announced Friday that it was unveiling a digital billboard in Times Square that will highlight wanted fugitives, missing persons and high-priority security messages.

“Most people come to Times Square to be famous, these guys are going to be infamous,” said FBI spokesman Richard Kolko.

The FBI said the billboard “is part of a nationwide initiative made possible through a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor, an advertising company that’s providing the space as a public service, which will enable the FBI to highlight those individuals who we’re looking for the most in a given area: violent criminals, kidnap victims, missing kids, bank robbers, and more.”

The FBI has access to similar billboards around the country.

fbi billboard2 fbi photo“With millions of people passing through Times Square every year, there is no better way to draw attention to our most wanted fugitives than through this billboard initiative,”Joseph M. Demarest, head of the N.Y. FBI said in a statement.

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Arkansas Teen Pleads Guilty in Plot to Kill Pres. Obama During Campaign

white house photo

white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 19-year-old white supremacist from Arkansas pleaded guilty Thursday in Tennessee federal court  to charges of plotting to kill President Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Paul Schlesselman of Helena-West Helena, Ark., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and harm a presidential candidate and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He faces up to 10 years in prison.  His plot allegedly also included plans to kill black students.

His co-defendant, white supremacist Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tenn., remains in custody and is awaiting a Feb. 22 trial. Both men were arrested in October 2008.

For Full Story

Here We Go: FBI Begins Looking into Charitable Scams Linked to Haiti

Money BaitBy Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A New AOL news site)

WASHINGTON — It didn’t take long. Less than 48 hours after the Haiti earthquake, the FBI is probing suspected charitable scams.

Paul E. Bresson, an FBI spokesman, said investigators have begun looking into a “small number at this point, predominantly unsolicited e-mails” masquerading as legitimate charities seeking donations.

The earthquake may have come as a shock, but the the lightning-quick appearance of possible scams in its aftermath was not.

“In the past with 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami, we’ve seen these types of frauds that have popped up,” Bresson said, adding that many have come in the form of unsolicited e-mails or bogus Web sites.

On Wednesday, in anticipation of the scammers, the FBI issued a public advisory urging people to carefully scrutinize charitable organizations before donating. It warned against responding to unsolicited e-mails and urged Americans to be “skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims.”

For Full Story

FBI-State Dept. Release Digitally Aged Osama bin Laden Photos

fbi/state dept.

fbi/state dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Could life in the cave, life on the run, be aging America’s most wanted fugitive Osama bin Laden?

The FBI and State Department released digitally aged photos of bin Laden with and without a headdress.

“These new images are powerful examples of how advances in technology and science can be used to help find and bring to justice wanted persons,” Louis E. Grever, Executive Assistant Director for the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch said in a statement.

“The FBI has and will continue to apply cutting-edge forensic, biometric, and technical capabilities to our most challenging cases,” he said. ”  Together with our many partners, both here and abroad, we now call on the public to help us locate and take into custody those who threaten us.”

Justice Dept. Attache-Rome

EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY (GS-905-15)
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ATTACHE – ROME, ITALY
OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (OIA)
CRIMINAL DIVISION
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
WASHINGTON, DC

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER: 10-CRM-DET-004
Closing Date: February 4, 2010


About the Position: The United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs (OIA) is seeking an experienced attorney to be detailed as OIA’s representative in Italy stationed at the United States Embassy in Rome. The Attorney will work as a member of OIA’s European team responsible for extradition and mutual legal assistance requests between the U.S. and Italy, and will serve as the principal representative of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in Italy, working directly with U.S. and Italian law enforcement authorities on issues related to criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as supporting the Department in the formulation and execution of bilateral and multilateral criminal justice programs and policies.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: The responsibilities of this position include:

· Developing and facilitating the execution of U.S.-Italian requests for extradition and legal assistance in criminal investigations and prosecutions, and resolving problems regarding those requests;

· Working directly with Italian judges, prosecutors and the most senior Italian law enforcement authorities on criminal investigations and prosecutions, and serving generally as liaison with those offices and federal, state and local prosecutors and police agencies in the U.S. to ensure the law enforcement interests of the United States and the Department of Justice are understood and given adequate consideration by Italian authorities;

· Serving as legal advisor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement attaches and other U.S. law enforcement personnel stationed at the Embassy on operational and case-related issues, including the conduct of joint investigations with Italian authorities;

· Developing expertise in the criminal laws and procedures of Italy to assist U.S. authorities with questions on law enforcement matters, and assisting Italian authorities with questions regarding U.S. criminal laws and procedures, with the goal of achieving better coordination and cooperation through mutual understanding;

· Working closely with Embassy and senior Department of State (DOS) officials on international criminal maters, ranging from major organized crime and narcotics initiatives to terrorism and fraud cases, with a particular view towards clearly articulating the interests of the Department of Justice, and working toward effective integration of those interests with the policies and priorities of the Embassy and the Department of State;

· Representing the Department of Justice in multilateral fora on issues relating to law enforcement issues;

· Serving as liaison between and among the Office of International Affairs, senior representatives of the Italian Government, U.S. federal officials, and state and local agencies in connection with international criminal matters.

This appointment is for two years with the possibility of a one year extension and is expected to begin in the Summer of 2010.

Required Qualifications: Applicants must possess a J.D. degree, be duly licensed and authorized to practice as an attorney under the laws of a State, territory, or the District of Columbia, have at least five (5) years of post-J.D. legal experience, and be a current employee of the Department of Justice with significant experience in federal criminal prosecutions and international matters. Applicants should also have:

1. Significant experience in federal criminal cases involving international extradition and mutual legal assistance;
2. Significant experience dealing with complex legal and policy issues;
3. Working knowledge of federal and state judicial systems, prosecution, investigative and regulatory agencies;
4. Ability to establish and maintain harmonious relations with state and federal law enforcement agencies, representatives of foreign governments and the public;
5. Experience dealing with foreign governments and officials, and international organizations in law enforcement matters;
6. Understanding of, and ability to work within, US Missions abroad;
7. Familiarity with federal regulatory and investigatory agencies;
8. Ability to implement and effectively advocate Departmental policies on all matters relating to the assigned areas of responsibility;
9. Professional proficiency in the use of spoken and written Italian.

Travel: Routine travel as necessary.

Salary Information: The salary range is for a GS-15 position.

Location: Rome, Italy

Appropriate relocation and housing costs in Rome will be paid by the Department of Justice. If the individual selected is detailed from outside the Criminal Division, salary, benefits and travel costs will be reimbursed to the employing organization.

Submission Process and Deadlines: All interested attorneys should submit a resume to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs
1301 New York Ave., NW
John C. Keeney Building, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20530
Attn: Rome Attache Position

We encourage applications and resumes to be submitted by e-mail to Position, Rome on your DOJ Global Address Book, or Rome.Position@usdoj.gov Applications and Resumes may also be telefaxed to 202-514-0080. Submissions must be postmarked or received by February 4, 2010.

Internet Sites: This and other attorney vacancy announcements can be found at: http://www.justice.gov/oarm/attvacancies.html

For more information about the Criminal Division, visit the Criminal Division Web page at: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/

Department Policies: The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace, and the person selected will be required to pass a drug test to screen for illegal drug use. Employment is also contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation adjudicated by the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities and will reasonably accommodate the needs of those persons. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

U.S. Atty Files Gun Charge Against Gilbert Arenas; Guilty Plea Expected Friday

Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Thursday charged troubled Washington Wizard star Gilbert Arenas with a felony for carrying a pistol without a license.

The charge, which came in the form of a “criminal information” in D.C. Superior Court, the city’s criminal court, normally is an indication that a plea agreement is forthcoming. The charge carries a penalty of up to 5 years, but Arenas could also get probation.

Arenas is scheduled to appear Friday before Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin where it’s likely he’ll enter a guilty plea.

The one-paragraph charging document alleged that on Dec. 21, 2009 Arenas “did carry, openly and concealed on or about his person, in a place other than his dwelling place, place of business or on other land possessed by him, a pistol without license/licenses issued pursuant to law.”

His attorney Kenneth Wainstein, the former U.S. Attorney, did not return a phone call immediately for comment.

Arenas has been suspended indefinitely and there’s a good chance he won’t be returning to the Wizards, a team that has been struggling all year. The team is in last place in the Southeast division of the Eastern Conference of the NBA with a 12 and 25 record. They are 2 and 8 in the last 10 games.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Miss. FBI Agent Indicted For Failing to Disclose Hidden Financial Interest in FBI Building

miss mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

A Mississippi FBI agent was indicted Thursday on charges of making  false statements and failing to disclose a conflict of interest in an FBI building he had a financial interest in.

The indictment alleges that FBI agent Philip Halbert Neilson, 49, of Oxford, Miss.,  beginning in 2001 took an active role in the construction and lease of the Oxford FBI Building and failed to disclose that he had a financial interest in the building since 2004.

The indictment also charged that in 2004 and 2005, as the supervisory senior resident agent in charge of the Oxford office, “he was required to truthfully complete an annual report of his assets and income, liabilities, and positions with organizations outside of his FBI employment,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities also charged that NEILSON submitted false financial disclosure reports and in October 2008 lied to an agent of the Dept. of Justice Office of the Inspector General during an interview.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, though the guidelines would call for a far lesser sentence.

Deborah Madden, an FBI spokeswoman in Mississippi, said Neilson “is still employed by the FBI” but declined to say whether he was on leave or on the job.

The case is being investigated by Special Agent Susan Howell of the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, and Assistant United States Attorneys René Salomon and Rich Bourgeois of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.