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FBI

Arsonist Sentenced in Post-Obama Election Burning of Black Church

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Massachusetts man was sentenced to nearly 14 years for a 2010 arson incident, according to a statement from the FBI.

Michael Jacques, a 27-year-old of Springfield, Mass., was sentenced to 166 months in federal prison in connection with the arson of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, a predominately African-American church, according to the statement, hours after Barack Obama was elected president. The prison term will be followed by four years of supervised release, and Jacques was also ordered to pay $1.6 million in restitution, including $123,570 directly to the church.

The church was 75 percent complete, and the fire destroyed nearly everything, authorities said.

Jacques was found guilty in April of this year of conspiracy against civil rights, damage or destruction of religious property and use of fire to commit a felony. Benjamin Haskell and Thomas Gleason, Jacques’ co-conspirators, plead guilty to charges in 2010. Haskell was sentenced to nine years, while Gleason is set for sentencing in January.

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NY Assemblyman Indicted for Bribes

William Boyland Jr./ gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A New York state Assemblyman has been charged by a federal grand jury for soliciting more than $250,000 in bribes, reports the New York Post.

William F. Boyland, Jr. is charged with soliciting more than $250,000 in bribes in order to fast-track development deals and to help a carnival company, the Post reported.  Boyland and his aide Ry-ann Hermon were arrested last month by FBI agents on an array of corruption charges.

Indictments were secured on Wednesday by Brooklyn federal prosecutors on 19 counts each, including fraud, bribery and extortion. Hermon was also charged individually on two additional counts for attempting to shake down a carnival to line his own pockets, aside from bribing the carnival company for Boyland’s benefit.

To read more click here.

FBI Suspects “Geezer Bandit” Ain’t Such a Geezer: Looking for Customers Who Bought Elderly Mask

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Dumfounded by the success of the “Geezer Bandit” — a prolific bank robber who appears to be in his 70s — the FBI in Southern California  is now aggressively pursuing the theory that he is actually a younger man who has donned a mask while sticking up 16 banks in the San Diego area since August 2009.

The LA Times reports that investigators in the case have served a search warrant at a costume store in the San Luis Obispo area. The warrant asks for a list of customers who bought a mask known as “The Elder.”

After the last robbery on Dec. 2 in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the FBI issued a statement, according to the paper, stating:

“The robber was described as someone who appeared to be an elderly white male, but may have been wearing a synthetic-like mask and gloves to conceal his true physical characteristics.”

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Mass. Man Sentenced for Economic Espionage for Israel

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Elliot Doxer has become Massachusetts’ first ever individual prosecuted for foreign economic espionage, according to a statement from the FBI.

Doxer was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement and electronic monitoring on Tuesday, as well as fined $25,000, after providing trade secrets to an undercover agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer. Doxer  had previously plead guilty.

Doxer sent an e-mail to the folks at the  Boston’s Israeli Consulate in June of 2006 telling them he worked for the company Akamai Technologies, Inc., in the finance department, and wanted to provide whatever information he could “to help our homeland and our war against our enemies,” according to the statement. Doxer also asked to be paid for the risks he was taking.

A federal agents posing as an Israeli intelligence officer spoke to Doxer in Sept, 2007, establishing a “dead drop” where the two could exchange information. Doxer visited the dead drop at least 62 times between Oct. 2007 and March 2009, leaving information and checking for new communications.

Doxer provided the undercover agent with a list of the company’s customers, contracts with those customers, a full list of the company’s employees, with positions and contact information, and a broad description of the company’s physical and computer security systems. He also said he could travel to Israel or support special operations at home.

“We acknowledge the Government of Israel for their cooperation in this investigation, and underscore that the Information does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case,” said the FBI statement.

 

Fed Agents Misbehavin in 2011

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents wake up, grab their gun and badge and a cup of java, orange juice or tea and go out into the world to protect the public and enforce the laws.

Unfortunately, every year, a few step over the line — way over the line — and break the law.

As the year draws to an end,  ticklethewire.com takes a look at some of the more interesting cases of Feds Misbehavin.

 

Unmitigated Disaster: FBI agent Adrian Johnson, a six-year veteran of bureau, had a little too much booze last Feb. 7. While driving in Prince George’s County, just outside D.C., he drove his 2002 Mitsubishi Montero into oncoming traffic and crashed into 18-year-old Lawrence Garner Jr.’s Hyundai Sonata. Garner died and a passenger in the car was critically injured but survived.

Johnson lost his job and in August a county grand jury indicted him on charges including motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.  Johnson had just moved to the D.C. area to protect the  U.S. attorney general. The end of a life, the end of a career.

Lying for a Lover: Love or lust can do some people in. Just ask FBI agent Adrian Busby.

On Nov. 1, a fed jury in Manhattan federal court convicted the 37-year-old of lying to protect a married female confidential source he was having an affair with. It all began in 2008 when Busby, who was investigating mortgage fraud, started using a female real estate loan officer as a confidential source. He also began having an affair with her.

On Feb. 5, 2008, the source was arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for identity theft and related charges. Authorities charged that Busby “actively assisted with her criminal defense, met with her attorneys on multiple occasions, and during trial “provided her defense attorney with confidential, law enforcement reports…related to her case….in violation of FBI regulations.” Fed authorities said he then lied to them about the things he did to help the woman.

Say What? This one is just so wildly crazy for so many reasons.  Anthony  V. Mangione, 50, who headed up South Florida’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was indicted in September on child porn charges. Ironic? Let us count the ways. First off, ICE has been very active in busting purveyors of child porn. Secondly, how could a guy in the know like Mangione get caught knowing what he knows about how law enforcement operates?

Not the Crime of the Century: DEA Agent Brian Snedeker  was charged in Virginia in October with hunting ducks in a “baited area” and exceeding the daily limit of ducks, according to Field & Stream magazine, which wrote: “OK, someone’s gotta ask the question: what illegal substance was this DEA agent under the influence when he decided to shoot many ducks, and in a baited area to boot?” Apparently, among the Field & Stream crowd,  Snedeker is one bad dude.

Just Plain Crooked: ATF agent Brandon McFadden admitted he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers. He was arrested in April 2010 and was sentenced this December to 21 months in prison. He would have gotten a lot more had he not cooperated with authorities. Nice way to end a career.

Career Up in Smoke: Clifford Dean Posey, an ATF agent form Virginia gets an A for enterprise and big D for plain Dumb. The 43-year-old was sentenced in September in Richmond, Va., to three years and one month in prison for stealing guns and cigarettes from ATF and selling them.

The Cost of a Big Fat Lie: It’s one thing to have an affair with a fellow law enforcement agent. It’s another to lie about it. Keith Phillips, a former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal division in the Dallas division, learned that the hard way. In October, he pleaded guilty to lying in a civil case about having an affair with an FBI agent he was working with.

Phillips, 61, of Kent, Tex., and a female FBI agent investigated a criminal case from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999 that resulted in the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others. The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine turned around and filed a lawsuit against the federal government for malicious prosecution, authorities said.

That’s when trouble stepped into the picture. Authorities said that during a deposition taken in Vidrine’s civil suit, agent Phillips allegedly falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did.

Very Fishy: There are certain times when things just look too fishy. This is one of those times. FBI Agent Jerry Nau of Peoria, Ill., lied to investigators  about $43,643 in cash that went missing from a drug bust. He  also forged signatures of fellow agents on evidence sheets to hide the fact the money was AWOL.

In November, he was taken into custody and sentenced to five months in prison. Nau told investigators he panicked when he was unable to find the money before the trial and hoped it would “turn up” on its own, the Chicago Tribune reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden said at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune: “Would you walk away and say, ‘I hope it comes back some day?’No, you would start screaming at your colleagues and say … ‘Let’s go find (the money).

“What happened is he stole the money,” Warden said.

Vigilante Justice: Border Patrol Agents Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, must have figured it wasn’t worth bothering the justice system. So the two  took matters into their own hands by allegedly forcing four Mexican nationals, who were illegals and were suspected of marijuana smuggling, to eat marijuana and strip off their clothing and shoes. They then set the belongings on fire and forced them to flee into 40-degree desert in southern Arizona.

The incident happened in 2008, but the two were indicted in August in Tucson by a federal grand jury.

Mexican Extradited to U.S. on Charges of Killing ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and Wounding Another Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man charged in the Feb. 15 murder in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE agent Victor Avila has been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to face trial.

The Justice Department announced the charges and the extradition on Wednesday of Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka “Piolin.”

On April 19, a D.C. federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in D.C. He was ordered detained without bail.

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Fed Agents Misbehavin in 2011

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents wake up, grab their gun and badge and a cup of java, orange juice or tea and go out into the world to protect the public and enforce the laws.

Unfortunately, every year, a few step over the line — way over the line — and break the law.

As 2011 draws to an end,  ticklethewire.com takes its annual look at some of the more interesting cases of Feds Misbehavin.

Unmitigated Disaster: FBI agent Adrian Johnson, a six-year veteran of bureau, had a little too much booze last Feb. 7. While driving in Prince George’s County, just outside D.C., he drove his 2002 Mitsubishi Montero into oncoming traffic and crashed into 18-year-old Lawrence Garner Jr.’s Hyundai Sonata. Garner died and a passenger in the car was critically injured but survived.

Johnson lost his job and in August a county grand jury indicted him on charges including motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.  Johnson had just moved to the D.C. area to protect the  U.S. attorney general. The end of a life, the end of a career.

 

Lying for a Lover: Love or lust can do some people in. Just ask FBI agent Adrian Busby.

On Nov. 1, a fed jury in Manhattan federal court convicted the 37-year-old of lying to protect a married female confidential source he was having an affair with. It all began in 2008 when Busby, who was investigating mortgage fraud, started using a female real estate loan officer as a confidential source. He also began having an affair with her.

On Feb. 5, 2008, the source was arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for identity theft and related charges. Authorities charged that Busby “actively assisted with her criminal defense, met with her attorneys on multiple occasions, and during trial “provided her defense attorney with confidential, law enforcement reports…related to her case….in violation of FBI regulations.” Fed authorities said he then lied to them about the things he did to help the woman.

 

Say What? This one is just so wildly crazy for so many reasons.  Anthony  V. Mangione, 50, who headed up South Florida’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was indicted in September on child porn charges. Ironic? Let us count the ways. First off, ICE has been very active in busting purveyors of child porn. Secondly, how could a guy in the know like Mangione get caught knowing what he knows about how law enforcement operates?

 

Not the Crime of the Century: DEA Agent Brian Snedeker  was charged in Virginia in October with hunting ducks in a “baited area” and exceeding the daily limit of ducks, according to Field & Stream magazine, which wrote: “OK, someone’s gotta ask the question: what illegal substance was this DEA agent under the influence when he decided to shoot many ducks, and in a baited area to boot?” Apparently, among the Field & Stream crowd,  Snedeker is one bad dude.

Just Plain Crooked: ATF agent Brandon McFadden admitted he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers. He was arrested in April 2010 and was sentenced this December to 21 months in prison. He would have gotten a lot more had he not cooperated with authorities. Nice way to end a career.

Career Up in Smoke: Clifford Dean Posey, an ATF agent form Virginia gets an A for enterprise and big D for plain Dumb. The 43-year-old was sentenced in September in Richmond, Va., to three years and one month in prison for stealing guns and cigarettes from ATF and selling them.

 

The Cost of a Big Fat Lie: It’s one thing to have an affair with a fellow law enforcement agent. It’s another to lie about it. Keith Phillips, a former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal division in the Dallas division, learned that the hard way. In October, he pleaded guilty to lying in a civil case about having an affair with an FBI agent he was working with.

Phillips, 61, of Kent, Tex., and a female FBI agent investigated a criminal case from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999 that resulted in the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others. The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine turned around and filed a lawsuit against the federal government for malicious prosecution, authorities said.

That’s when trouble stepped into the picture. Authorities said that during a deposition taken in Vidrine’s civil suit, agent Phillips allegedly falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did.

 

Very Fishy: There are certain times when things just look too fishy. This is one of those times. FBI Agent Jerry Nau of Peoria, Ill., lied to investigators  about $43,643 in cash that went missing from a drug bust. He  also forged signatures of fellow agents on evidence sheets to hide the fact the money was AWOL.

In November, he was taken into custody and sentenced to five months in prison. Nau told investigators he panicked when he was unable to find the money before the trial and hoped it would “turn up” on its own, the Chicago Tribune reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden said at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune: “Would you walk away and say, ‘I hope it comes back some day?’No, you would start screaming at your colleagues and say … ‘Let’s go find (the money).

“What happened is he stole the money,” Warden said.

Vigilante Justice: Border Patrol Agents Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, must have figured it wasn’t worth bothering the justice system. So the two  took matters into their own hands by allegedly forcing four Mexican nationals, who were illegals and were suspected of marijuana smuggling, to eat marijuana and strip off their clothing and shoes. They then set the belongings on fire and forced them to flee into 40-degree desert in southern Arizona.

The incident happened in 2008, but the two were indicted in August in Tucson by a federal grand jury.

Mass. Man Convicted on Terrorism Charges in Boston

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Massachusetts man is facing life in prison after being convicted on Tuesday in Boston federal court on terrorism charges.

After  10 hours of deliberation, the federal jury convicted Tarek Mehanna of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, to commit murder in a foreign country and to charges of providing false statements to the government, according to a statement by the FBI.

Jurors heard testimony that the 29-year-old and others discussed committing  violent jihad against American interests and to die on the battlefield. Mehanna and two others went to the Middle East in February of 2004 for military-type training. He continued to support terrorist groups upon returning by translating for and posting to jihadi websites, according to the FBI.

He was interviewed by federal authorities in December 2006 about a trip to Yemen he made in 2004, in which he provided false information.

The conspiracy to kill in a foreign country conviction could bring a life sentence, and other carious charges could amount to 26 years additionally. All carry up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

From his travel to Yemen to receive training to kill American soldiers to his material support for terrorism at home, Mr. Mehanna’s efforts to use and support violence followed no pre-defined path and knew no bounds,” said Richard DesLauriers, the Special Agent In Charge of the Boston FBI in a statement.

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