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Feds Find $875,000 In Seized Dope Car 4 Years Later

As the old adage goes, better late than never.

By Rhonda Cook
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — The Hummer limousine seized from the drug-dealing Black Mafia Family almost four years ago had been sold at auction, then sold three times more. It had been carrying teenagers to proms and brides and grooms to weddings.
But as federal officials prepared for a June trial, they “debriefed” other BMF members and learned agents missed something when they searched the Hummer.
The Hummer H2 stretch limousine was seized in 2004 during a raid of one of the Black Mafia Family’s stash houses in northwest Atlanta.
In August, agents tracked down the car, looked underneath the seats and found $875,000 in cash and seven brand new semi-automatic weapons, believed to be proceeds from BMF cocaine transactions.
The four “innocent owners,” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney, knew nothing.
For Full Story

Tax Protestors Conspired To Undermine Trial And Get Federal Judge Arrested

This , as they say, is one for the books.

By JAMES WALSH
Minneapolis Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS — The strange saga of Robert Beale didn’t exactly end last month with his 11-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. Another chapter concluded Monday when Beale and two other tax protesters were found guilty of conspiracy to impede an officer and obstruction of justice.
A federal jury convicted Beale, 65, Frederick Bond, 63, and John Pelton, 67, of trying to prevent U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery from presiding over a criminal trial — namely, Beale’s — “by force, intimidation and threat.” Another man, Norman Pool, pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to impede an officer.
Prosecutors said the four men held a “common law court” to issue false liens and fictitious arrest warrants against Montgomery.
Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit

Administration Rejecting FBI Pleas For More Agents To Investigate Financial Mess

Is the Bush administration falling short in probing the financial mess? Some say yes.

By Paul Shukovsky and Daniel Lathrop
Seattle P-I Reporters
The Bush administration is rejecting FBI pleas for more agents to investigate crimes that helped trigger the global financial meltdown, bureau sources said this week.
“They are bogged down big-time or there would be some indictments by now,” said a recently retired bureau official who played a pivotal role in setting FBI policy after 9/ 11.
The FBI’s response to the meltdown stands in sharp contrast to past financial crises, he said. “There are three comparable things … the S&L crisis, corporate fraud like Enron and health care fraud. There was a clear, well-delineated effort there. I don’t see it here.”
For Full Story

Homeland Security Surveillance System In Cook County Could Be Worthless

Homeland Security Could Have Thrown out $40 million in Illinois.

Dave Savini
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s called Project Shield and will cost you more than $40 million when it’s done, leaving U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for a countywide high-tech surveillance program. So why is the homeland security project busted?
Police sources told CBS 2’s Dave Savini that taxpayers got ripped off and that all the cameras and software in the world are meaningless if they don’t work.
CBS 2 Investigators sifted through government contracts and confidential emails revealing how Project Shield’s pot of money was dished out. The trail led to bankrupt companies, phony addresses and falsified documents — not the words you want to hear when talking about terrorism and your tax dollars.
Project Shield continues to be touted as a state-of-the-art video surveillance system. Federal tax dollars paid for it to be installed in squad cars and on towers throughout Cook County.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” said East Hazel Crest Police Chief Ray Robertson. “I can’t get it to work on a daily basis.”
For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Mukasey Running Up Frequent Flyer Costs With Personal Trips

Is Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey’s frequent  flights for personal trips an abuse?

By Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Michael Mukasey has taken personal trips on government jets almost every weekend since he took office less than a year ago at a cost to taxpayers of more than $155,800, Justice Department and Federal Aviation Administration travel records show.
Mukasey took so many trips to his home in New York on FAA, FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration planes that he was outside Washington a third or more of February, May, July, August and September. From November 2007 to September 2008, he traveled to New York 45 times, according to the records, which were released in late October in response to open records requests that McClatchy filed nine months ago.
Justice Department officials defended Mukasey’s personal travel, saying that he has no choice but to fly on a government plane to see his family. Mukasey, unlike most other Cabinet members, is required to fly on government planes, rather than commercial ones, for security reasons, and he often worked from home, the officials said.
“When he travels personally, the attorney general pays what any other government official would pay for a commercial flight to that location,” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement. “It would be unfair to penalize financially the attorney general because he is one of the few government officials required to use government aircraft for all travel.”
For Full Story

Indicted Mass. Politician Changes Mind On Re-election Bid

Maybe it was the FBI photos that were made public that showed her stuffing alleged bribe money in her bra. Or maybe it was the pressure from the city’s religious community. Whatever it was,  state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson  announced Friday that she doesn’t have the stomach to continue her re-election bid for the state senate.

By Jessica Fargen
Boston Herald
Sen. Wilkerson/state photo

Sen. Wilkerson/state photo

BOSTON — A solemn state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson announced today she is ending her re-election campaign following a chorus of calls for her to resign.
Her decision comes after a morning meeting with members of the city’s Ten Point Coalition and Black Ministerial Alliance who were asking the eight-term state senator to quit as she confronts corruption charges levied against her.
The clergy groups even gave Wilkerson a 15-minute deadline today to either side with them in a joint statement or face them walking out on the talks. Wilkerson ultimately agreed to end her defiant run for re-election.

For Full Story

Read Criminal  Complaint

Look At Exhibits

McCain and Obama Differ On Crime Issues

official photo

official photo

With the economy going to hell, both presidential candidates have paid little attention to the crime issue. But their records provide some insights.

official photo

official photo

By Solomon Moore
New York Times
CHICAGO – As an Illinois legislator for seven years, Senator Barack Obama sponsored more than 100 bills on crime, corrections and the death penalty, making criminal justice one of his top priorities as a state lawmaker.
In his nearly three decades in Washington, Senator John McCain has had a reputation for taking strong law-and-order stances.
But compared with many past presidential elections, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain have paid little attention to issues of criminal justice as they compete for the White House.
The change is a reflection, experts say, of 15 years of declining crime rates, an electorate less anxious about public safety and the fact that crime and law enforcement issues are less partisan than they used to be.
“The political climate has shifted,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organization for criminal justice reform. “Democrats and Republicans both embrace a more evidence-based approach to public safety that looks at programs and policies that work.”
For Full Story
Read ticklethewire Columnist James G. Huse Jr. On Crime And The Presidential Race

Feds And State In N.Y. Forgo Turf Wars To Go After Financial Crimes

Egos and elbows are taking a backseat to an unusual level of cooperation between the New York Atty. General’s Office  and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo

Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo/state photo

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia/official photo

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia/official photo

By Benjamin Weiser and Ben White
New York Times
NEW YORK— On Sept. 25, as the world financial crisis escalated, two of New York’s most powerful lawyers met for lunch in a restaurant near Wall Street with a name that recalled happier times: Bull Run.
They were Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan, and Andrew M. Cuomo, the state attorney general. Both men’s offices have histories of moving aggressively against financial fraud, and of vigorously defending their turf when other prosecutors try to compete for their cases.
But over lunch, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Cuomo reached an unusual agreement: to investigate jointly the shadowy world of credit-default swaps, the $55 trillion market in unregulated financial instruments at the center of the meltdown. Soon, both men’s top aides were hammering out details of the cooperation in an eighth floor conference room in Mr. Garcia’s office in Lower Manhattan.
For Full Story