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Pakistani National in Baltimore Gets 9 Years After Getting Caught in Terrorism Sting

The government says Saifullah Anjum Ranjha thought he was helping out al Qaeda. Unfornuately for Ranjha he wasn’t helping himself out much.  Now it’s off to prison.

By Tricia Bishop
Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE — A Pakistani national with homes in Laurel and Washington, D.C., was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday in a Baltimore federal court for financing people he believed were terrorist al-Qaida operatives and laundering $2.2 million in what he was told were illegal funds through an ancient currency-transfer system that avoids financial institutions.
Saifullah Anjum Ranjha, 45, was one of nearly four dozen people indicted last year after a four-year global sting – dubbed “Operation Cash-Out”- revealed multiple schemes that stretched from Maryland to Belgium, Spain and Canada. They included three money-laundering systems and a plan to bribe public officials to get green cards.
About 30 defendants have pleaded guilty in the cases so far, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office; a handful are proceeding to trial, and several others are fugitives.
According to a plea agreement, Ranjha, who was born in Pakistan and became a U.S. resident in 1997, was running a money-remittance business in Washington called Hamza Inc. when he was approached in 2003 by an undercover law enforcement witness who operated a phony import/export company.
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D.C. Clerk On Trial in Fed Court For Alleged Elevator License Scam

A D.C. clerk  allegedly involved in an elevator license renewal scam could be headed somewhere where they have no elevators — just bars.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Ikela M. Dean, a District government clerk, sometimes demanded late fees when businesses and nonprofit groups came in to renew their elevator licenses — and she wanted cash, prosecutors said.
She took the money, then issued receipts for the cash with a large red “PAID” stamp. But it was Dean who was getting paid, prosecutors said, in a scam that netted more than $4,000.
Dean, 32, who no longer works for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, went on trial yesterday in U.S. District Court on bribery and extortion charges. She was arrested after an undercover FBI investigation that included the use of hidden cameras to record at least two payments, prosecutors said.
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Read FBI Affidavit

Indicted Rep. William Jefferson Wins Dem Primary

That little thing called an “indictment” still hangs over Rep. William J. Jefferson’s head, but it apparently hasn’t been a big enough negative in the 61-year-old’s  bid for re-election. He won again. Go figure. He faces a December election against a Republican challenger.

WWLTV.com
NEW ORLEANS — Indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson lived to fight another day as he easily defeated political neophyte Helena Moreno to win the Democratic primary, bolstered no doubt by a large, Obama-bolstered African-American turnout in his Congressional District.
Jefferson held a wide, double-digit percentage lead over Moreno with more than three-fourths of the precincts reporting.
Jefferson, who still faces a trial on bribery and money laundering charges, acknowledged Obama’s influence on voters and the fact that it probably helped him secure a win.
“I think it’s an extraordinary help,” he said early in the day. Jefferson must still defeat a Republican challenger in a December general election.
Jefferson had an answer to people he said would wonder how he continues to get re-elected despite his troubles.
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Other Election News:

Convicted Felon Sen. Ted Stevens Leads By Thin Margin (Anchorage Daily News) Updated 11:40 a.m.

N.Y. Mobster Charged in 1977 Murder of Rival Nicknamed “Coca Cola”

Thirty one years after the murder,  mobster Michael Coppola has been charged in the murder of a rival nicknamed “Coca Cola”.  He pleaded “not guilty” Monday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

By Tom Hays
Associated Press
NEW YORK — A jailed reputed mobster was charged on Monday with the 1977 slaying of a gangland rival who used his last words to taunt him in a motel parking lot.
“What’re you going to do now, tough guy?” Giovanni “Coca Cola” Larducci asked when Michael Coppola’s gun jammed during the New Jersey confrontation on Easter 1977, prosecutors said.
Coppola has bragged to cooperators that he responded by pulling out another pistol from an ankle holster and shooting Larducci dead, prosecutors said.
The slaying was recounted in court papers alleging Coppola also infiltrated and shook down a labor union for the Genovese organized crime family.
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Ex-Chicago Alderman “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak Admits Guilt In Kickback Scheme

In Chicago, some say it was just a matter of time before former Aldlerman “Fast Eddie” got busted.

Edward Vrdolyak/law firm photo

Edward Vrdolyak/law firm photo

By Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — Former Chicago Ald. Edward Vrdolyak long enjoyed a reputation for always being a step ahead of federal investigators, but Monday his past caught up with him.
Eleventh-hour negotiations over the weekend ended with “Fast Eddie” becoming yet another former Chicago politician to become a convicted felon, pleading guilty to plotting to take a bogus finder’s fee in a Gold Coast real estate deal.
“The notion in Chicago that there are certain people who cannot or will not be held accountable took a serious hit today,” U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said after the hearing.
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Read Superseding Criminal Information

Other Stories Of Interest

Concern Grows Over Reliability of Field Drug Tests

It may be a sin to eat too much chocolate. But getting arrested for it? That apparently can happen with some of unreliable field drug tests on the market.

Can a false test lead to this?/istock photo


By Mimi Hall
USA TODAY
For Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia, August began with plans for a family vacation in Minnesota. The vacation ended with the two Canadians being led through Toronto’s airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.
“We were dumbfounded,” Artemis says. Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics, because 2.5 pounds of material found in their carry-on bag tested positive for hashish. “All we knew was that we didn’t have drugs.”
They were telling the truth. They didn’t have drugs. They had chocolate.
The couple were caught up in what civil libertarians, public defenders and some narcotics experts say is a growing problem: the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on charges of illegal drugs.
For Full Story

Man Impersonates Fed Agent and Makes Several Drug Arrests

Prosecutor Says ex-FBI Agent Knew He Was Setting Up Hit

The trial that has reminded the public about the previous digressions of the Boston FBI is coming to an end — and none too soon. It’s an era the FBI would rather forget.

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

Ex-FBI Agent Connolly/wbztv

By Curt Anderson
AP Legal Affairs Writer
MIAMI-Former FBI agent John Connolly knew he was setting up a hit when he tipped Boston mobsters that a gambling executive with gangland ties was likely to implicate them in other killings, a prosecutor said Monday in closing arguments of Connolly’s murder trial.
The 1982 slaying of former World Jai-Alai president John Callahan was a direct result of Connolly’s corrupt dealings with Winter Hill Gang leaders James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, prosecutor Fred Wyshak said. Both were secretly FBI informants handled by Connolly.

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