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FBI

Weekend Series on Crime: An Oldier But Goodie: FBI Agent Goes Undercover in the Mob as Jack Falcone

NY FBI Agent Charged With Trying to Derail Fraud Probe into Business Partner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An  FBI agent was charged with using his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner, the Justice Department announced.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City on Thursday charged  FBI special agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass., the principal of Boston-based American International Security Corporation (AISC); and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn., each with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.

“According to the indictment, while active in the FBI, former Special Agent Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off the criminal investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer in a statement. “He allegedly acted through a childhood friend to secure promises of cash, purported medical expenses and business proceeds in exchange for abusing his position as an FBI agent. The alleged conduct is outrageous, and we will do everything we can to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

According to the indictment, Lustyik, who was an agent until September, was assigned to counterintelligence work in White Plains, N.Y.

The indictment alleges that he had a business relationship with the co-defendants to pursue contracts for security services, electric power and energy development, among other things, in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

The indictment alleges that in September 2011, Taylor learned of a federal criminal investigation, begun in Utah in 2010, into whether Taylor, his business and others committed fraud in the award and performance of a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Justice Department said in a press release.

Soon thereafter, Taylor allegedly started giving things of value to Lustyik in exchange for Lustyik’s agreement to use his official position to impair and impede the Utah investigation. The indictment also alleges that Thaler, a childhood friend of Lustyik’s, served as a conduit between Taylor and Lustyik, passing information and things of value.

The press release stated:

Specifically, the indictment charges that Taylor offered Lustyik a $200,000 cash payment; money purportedly for the medical expenses of Lustyik’s minor child; and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.

According to the indictment, Lustyik used his official FBI position to impede the Utah investigation by, among other things, designating Taylor as an FBI confidential source, texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Taylor and attempting to interview potential witnesses and targets in the Utah investigation. As alleged in the indictment, Lustyik wrote to Taylor that he was going to interview one of Taylor’s co-defendants and “blow the doors off this thing.” Referring to the Utah investigation, Lustyik also allegedly assured Taylor that he would not stop in his “attempt to sway this your way.”

According to the indictment, Lustyik, Taylor and Thaler attempted to conceal the full extent of Lustyik’s relationship with Taylor from the Utah prosecutors and agents, including by making and planning to make material misrepresentations and omissions to federal law enforcement involved in the investigation of Taylor.

 

 

Former FBI Agent Indicted on Charges of Trying to Derail a Federal Investigation into Defense Contracts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A former FBI agent, along with a defense contractor, was indicted Thursday for participating in what authorities say was a multimillion-dollar scheme to win military contracts in Afghanistan, the Associated Press reports.

An FBI special agent assigned to counterintelligence work until September 2011, Robert G. Lustyik, 50, is accused of using his position to derail a criminal investigation into contract awards, according to the AP.

The Sleepy Hollow, NY, resident agreed to abuse his position in exchange for cash, medical expenses and business proceeds, authorities allege.

Also indicted was defense contractor, 51-year-old Michael Taylor, who is accused of making the offers to Lustyik.

Investigators charge that Lustyik tried to impede federal charges against Taylor, telling feds in Utah that Taylor was a confidential informant, according to the AP.

Head of FBI’s Washington D.C. Office Announces Retirement, Leaving Void in Counterterrorism Expertise

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 James W. McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington field office, announced his retirement Thursday after just two years on the job.

Authorities said the retirement is a blow to counterterrorism efforts because McJunkin had a plethora of experience in foiling and investigating terrorist plots, the Washington Post reports.

McJunkin is a former state trooper whose expertise in counterterorrism helped him climb the ranks of the FBI.

McJunkin plans to take a corporate security position in Chicago.

“He’s done a great job,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement through his spokesman. “He’s a dedicated and committed public servant and he’ll be missed.”

The FBI has not yet announced a replacement.

FBI Informant Who Helped FBI in Unprecedented Sting Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Solomon Dwek, the informant behind the largest FBI sting operation in New Jersey history, was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison in an unrelated scheme, the Star-Ledger reports.

Dwek was facing up to 11 years but received a sentence reduction in exchange for helping in “one of the most far-reaching, and at times bizarre, undercover stings ever seen,” the Star-Ledger reported.

Using hidden surveillance, Dwek helped target politicians, rabbis and even a black market kidney broker.

Dwek was accused of running a $400 million real estate Ponzi scheme.

Minneapolis Man Convicted of Sending Young Recruits to Somali Terrorist Group

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Minneapolis man accused of conspiring to send Americans to a terrorist group, al-Shabab, in Somalia was convicted on five terrorism-related counts Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Mahamud Said Omar, 46, faces up to life in prison for funding al-Shabab and sending young recruits to Somalia once they were indoctrinated in Minneapolis.

The AP said Omar is the first of others to stand trial in an investigation into the recruitment of more than 20 men living in Minnesota, which has a big Somali population.

The trial opened a window into how would-be terrorists were recruited and what happened once they reached Somalia.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

FBI Arrests Man Accused of Being an Accomplice in Federal Reserve Bank Bombing Plot

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The Bangladeshi man accused of trying to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with what he believed was a real bomb didn’t act alone, authorities said, The New York Times reports.

Described as an accomplice, Howard Willie Carter II, was arrested Wednesday after an FBI agent discovered child pornography on his computer, the New York Times reported, citing a government document.

Perhaps more important to the terror case, authorities found e-mails addressed to “Yaqeen,” which allegedly is the name Carter used in helping plot the attack on the Federal Reserve building with Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, who was charged Wednesday with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.

During the FBI investigation, authorities said Nafis confided that he was collaborating with Yaqeen.

Were FBI Agent’s Texts Intentionally Destroyed in Gun Trafficking Sting in Philippines?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The question is: Were the text messages sent by an undercover FBI agent to defendants in an 18-month gun trafficking sting in the Philippines destroyed by the government or was there merely a technical glitch that prevented them from being saved?

Deputy Federal Defender John Littrell suggests in a court document filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court that the government may have destroyed the text messages. The government, according to Littrell’s motion, claims it was a glitch: that the phone the agent used only retained incoming texts from the defendants, but not the outgoing ones by the agent.

Littrell says he needs the FBI agent’s texts to help prove that his client, Sergio Santiago Syjuco of Philippines and two co-defendants, were entrapped by the agent who he says used humiliaton and threats to get them to help traffick guns to the U.S. The trial is pending.

The case has already stirred some controversy. Littrell in filings weeks earlier alleged that the undercover agent used taxpayer dollars to pay for hookers in the Philippines for himself and the three co-defendants, and that some of the prostitutes where they went were underage. The agent responded in court documents, calling the allegations about the hookers pure nonsense.

On this latest allegations, Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles said Wednesday night: “The government will respond to the allegations in court.”

In the motion, the defense attorney  writes that the government produced as part of the exculpatory evidence, 419 pages of photographs of incoming text messages sent from the defendants to the undercover agent. However, he noted that the government failed to produce any text messages from the agent to the defendant, evidence he says  could prove the men were entrapped.

Littrell writes in the court filing:

“The government’s bad faith in destroying the evidence should be inferred based on the lack of any persuasive explanation as to why all incoming text messages were preserved by the government, and none of the outgoing messages.”

“”Because the defense of entrapment will be presented to the jury, the precise contents of the statements of both the defendants and the undercover agent and the context in which those statements were made, will be critical at trial. ”

“On September 11, 2012, co-counsel George Buehler inquired of Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Vierbuchen why she had produced only photographs of incoming text messages from the undercover agent’s phone, and not the outgoing messages.  Ms. Vierbuchen responded by stating that the cellular telephone used by the agent preserved only incoming messages and not outgoing

“Defense counsel has discussed the government’s claim with an expert, and the expert has indicated that this is unlikely. The government has offered no other explanation as to why none of the outgoing text messages sent by the undercover agent during his 18 month investigation have been preserved.”

Usually text message on phones show a string of incoming and outgoing text messages.

Littrell also wrote that even if the government was correct in that there was a glitch,  it should have realized it and “replaced the agent’s phone with one that does record outgoing text messages in order to preserve what was obviously important evidence. Moreover, because the government preserved the incoming text messages by taking photographs of them as they appeared on the screen of the agent’s phone, why would the government fail to similarly take photographs of the outgoing text messages as they appeared?”

Littrell could not be immediately reached for comment.

Read Defense Attorney’s Motion