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FBI

Calif. Man Gets 6 Years in Attempted Murder-for-Hire Plot

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A six-year sentence was handed down to  Santa Barbara County, Calif., resident Eugene Darryl Temkin, 51, who solicited an FBI informant posing as a “hitman” to murder several individuals, the FBI announced on Monday.

A judge found Temkin guilty of soliciting a crime in violence, attempting to interfere with interstate commerce by threats and violence, and using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire after a bench trial in August, according to the FBI. The marks for the hitmen included Temkin’s wife, a former business partner of his and a Bel-Air man.

“The evidence showed that defendant engaged in criminal conduct of the worst sort: With meticulous planning and full contemplation, defendant agreed to pay a hitman, ‘Pavel’ [who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer], to brutally kill in cold blood three people, two of whom he barely knew,” prosecutors said in court documents. “What is more, these killings were only to take place after ‘Pavel’ first tortured the victims in order to force them to pay $15 million into defendant’s off-shore bank account.”

A source told law enforcement officials about Temkin’s plans to hire a hitman in late 2009 to kill his former business partner, which began the investigation. Over several months agents posing as professional killers met with Temkin, discussing plans and deals. Temkin told the “hitmen” the former business partner should pay him $15 million in compensation for losses he believes he sustained in a failed business plan to open a casino in Africa.

Temkin even discussed with the undercover agents particular forms of torture, murder and rape which would be likely to get the victims to pay the fees. Temkin had been threatening and harassing the victims for almost a decade before meeting with potential hitmen.

Arkansas Men Sentenced in Cross Burning Case

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A group of three southerners had the idea to construct a large wooden cross, bring it to the yard of a local African-America resident of Arkansas, and light the cross on fire before driving away; now the three have been sentenced to 18 months in prison, the FBI announced in a statement on Friday.

Bradley Branscum, 23, and Curtis Coffee, 19, of Batesville, Ark., were sentenced for charges relating to the Aug. 28, 2010 crossburning incident. Tony Branscum, 26 and first cousin to Bradley, was sentenced on Jan. 20.

The African America resident was not injured, according to the FBI, and there was no damage to his home. Still, the defendants had pleaded guilty to interfering with the housing rights of another, says the FBI.

“The defendants acted to instill fear because of the victim’s race,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said. “The Department of Justice remains committed to protecting our communities from such violence and will continue to aggressively prosecute these acts.”

Japanese Auto Suppliers to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing in US

fbi photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Two Japanese suppliers of electrical auto components have agreed to plead guilty and to pay out $548 million in criminal fines in a price-fixing and bid-rigging scheme, the FBI announced on their blog this week. Four executives of auto parts sales companies, all Japanese nationals, also agreed to plead guilty, according to the FBI.

One of the companies took part in several conspiracies to fix prices on automobile parts sold in the US, with the other took part in a conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices of essential electrical parts.

“This criminal activity has a significant impact on automotive manufacturers in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe and had been occurring for at least a decade,” said FBI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena.

To read more click here.

Head of Dallas FBI Robert E. Casey Calling it Quits

Robert Casey Jr./fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s the end of the road for Robert E. Casey.

The veteran FBI agent is stepping down April 30 after five years as head of the bureau’s Dallas office, according to the Associated Press. He’s planning to retire and join the private sector, AP reported.

Casey, 54, was named special agent in charge of the office in May 2006. He joined the bureau in 1986.

His tenure as head of the office included the high-profile sting involving Hosam Smadi, who thought he was detonating a bomb to blow up a Dallas skyscraper.

He was also the target of threats from an agent in the office who was going through marital problems with his wife, who also worked for the FBI. The agent was sentenced to prison.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

Feds Arrest Bonanno Mob Family Members

 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Four members of the Bonanno organized crime family were arrested early Friday in New York by DEA and FBI agents on charges of racketeering, gambling and drug sales, reports NBC. Also charged in the case was Anthony Graziano, the father of Mob Wives”  reality show star Renee Graziano .

Vincent Badalamenti, identified as a member of the Bonanno crime family administration, Nicholas Santora, a Bonanno family capo, Vito Balsamo, an acting captain, and Anthony Calabrese, a soldier, were arrested and charged on Friday with racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, according to NBC.

All the defendants  entered pleas of not guilty.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Unit to Probe Mortgage-Backed Securities

By Kevin Johnson
USA Today

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government dispatched 55 prosecutors, FBI agents and analysts Friday to a new financial crimes enforcement unit focusing on home mortgage abuses that fueled the 2008 economic collapse.

For the first time since the crisis, federal investigators will be joined by state law enforcement officials as part of a working group that, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, would launch the “broadest, deepest investigation into what blew up the economy.”

The unit, first referenced earlier this week by President Obama in the State of the Union, is expected to plunge deeper into the causes of “massive market failures” that continue to harm homeowners, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

To read more click here.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INETERST:

School Lunch Director Convicted in Bribery Probe

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Lunch just won’t be the same.

The director of a public school lunch program in the American Samoa was convicted on Thursday in Washington of obstructing a federal grand jury and law enforcement investigations into a bribery plot, reports the Pacific News Center. Paul Solofa was convicted after a four-day trial, after which a federal jury found him guilty on a count of witness tampering and a count of obstruction of justice.

Early in 2008, feds began an investigation into tips that cash bribes and kickbacks were being paid by vendors of school bus parts and services to officials with the American Samoa Government, according to evidence shown at trial.

The evidence showed that Solofa met with a vendor on April 3, 2009. When the vendor told Solofa the FBI wanted to interview him, Solofa, in a recorded meeting, said to the vendor “they cannot do anything with cash. Nothing. They cannot do anything with cash. They cannot track down you on cash. Because even if you say you gave me cash I’ll tell them ‘no.’ They cannot take your word on cash. Because that’s hearsay.”

To read more click here.

Baltimore Man Pleads Guilty in FBI Sting that Targeted Military Recruiting Center

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 22-year-old Baltimore man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Baltimore to plotting to blow up an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Md., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said.

Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain, a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction against federal property. He had been arrested on Dec. 8, 2010, after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be explosives at the armed forces recruiting station.

“We are catching dangerous suspects before they strike, and we are investigating them in a way that maximizes the liberty and security of law-abiding citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein in a statement. “That is what the American people expect of the Justice Department, and that is what we aim to deliver.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said, according to his plea agreement, on Oct. 22, 2010, Martinez broached the subject of  attacking military targets with an FBI confidential source (CS). During the recorded conversations that followed between Martinez, the confidential sources and later, an FBI undercover agent, “Martinez identified his target—an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville—and spoke about his anger toward America, his belief that Muslims were being unjustly targeted and killed by the American military and his desire to commit jihad to send a message that American soldiers would be killed unless the country stopped its ‘war’ against Islam.”

The feds  said Martinez attempted to recruit a number of people to join in the plot, and one of them tried to dissuade him from committing jihad.

At one point, the FBI confidential source introduced his “Afghani brother”, who ended up being an undercover FBI agent who posed as someone interested in the plot.