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FBI

Indianapolis Fed Judge Drops Suit Against FBI Agents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge in Indianapolis has tossed a lawsuit by a local attorney who claimed FBI agents conspired with the former Delaware County prosecutor to frame him for a crime — namely bribing a witness in a client’s case, according to the Muncie Star Press

In July 2010, attorney Michael J. Alexander filed the lawsuit alleging FBI agents Neal Freeman and James Randall Howard and others “entered into a conspiracy to falsely accuse (Alexander) of a conspiracy to commit bribery,” the paper reported.

It all began in February 2008 when Alexander was charged with bribing the witness. The following year, a local jury deliberated for an hour before finding him not guilty, the Star Press reported. In a separate trial, Alexander’s client and an an investigator for Alexander were convicted of bribing a witness.

Last April, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young dismissed the case against the county prosecutor. Last week, he dismissed the suit against the agents, the Star Press reported.

The paper reported that the the judge ruled that Alexander “failed to sufficiently allege a constitutional violation.”

“Alexander had claimed that after sending Adrian Kirtz, the alleged recipient of the bribe, to Alexander’s law office wearing ‘electronic monitoring equipment,’ the FBI agents “hid, manipulated or destroyed the recordings” that showed the attorney was not aware of the bribery conspiracy,” the paper reported.

It said Alexander claimed he was targeted because of his public criticism of the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

 

Sen. Grassley Says FBI/Justice Dept.’s Resistance Likely to Stifle Re-examination of Deadly Anthrax Case

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

You needn’t go to the oddsmakers in Vegas to predict whether the anthrax case will be reopened for a fresh examination.

Just ask Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.).

Grassley, one of several politicians who have been skeptical of the FBI findings that government scientist Bruce Ivins sent the letters, said it would take a powerful grassroots movement or startling new evidence to reopen the probe, according to an article authored by Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers, Stephen Engelberg of ProPublica and Mike Wiser of PBS’ Frontline.

The FBI and the Justice Department have insisted that Ivins was the culprit, citing a collection of facts and circumstances. Ivins committed suicide in July 2008, shortly before the feds planned to charge him in the 2001 mailings that killed five and sickened 17 others.

Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee,  said in the article that adamant opposition from the FBI and Justice Department is likely to block further inquiry

Even if he were the committee chairman, Grassley said,  according to the article:  “I would question my capability of raising enough heat (to reopen the case) when you’re up against the FBI. And I’ve been up against the FBI.”

His comments came after  PBS’ Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a joint investigation, cited evidence in a lengthy article that challenged some of the government’s scientific and circumstantial evidence.

To read more click here.

Bill to Name Az Border Facility After Slain Agent Brian Terry Passes Committee

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Congress moved one step closer to naming the Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Az., after slain agent Brian Terry, who was killed in December 2010.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday approved a bill to name the facility after Terry. The bill was authored by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA)and has 68 Democratic and Republican cosponsors. The bill must now go to the full House for a vote.

“Brian Terry gave his life in service of his country. With today’s vote, the naming of the Bisbee station in his honor is one step closer to reality,” Issa said in a statement. “Naming this facility after Agent Terry is just one small tribute to an officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and to his fellow agents who face that same risk every day.”

Terry’s name has become central in the controversy over ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican drug cartels.

Problem was that ATF lost track of quite a few guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

Two of those guns were found at the scene where Terry died last Dec. after being shot on patrol 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Rio Rico, Ariz.

Authorities have been unable to determine whether the guns were actually used in the shooting of Terry, according to some media reports. Nonetheless, those two guns have been repeatedly mentioned by Issa, who is investigating the shortcomings of the program.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Mass. Democrat Asks Congress to Pay $8.5 Mil to Victims’ Families in Whitey Bulger Murders

Rep. Keating/gov photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.) is asking Congress to pay the families of two men allegedly killed by James “Whitey’’ Bulger the $8.5 million they were initially awarded by a Boston federal judge, the Boston Globe reported.  The Court of Appeals this year tossed out the award on a technicality, saying the families filed the suits too late.

Bulger allegedly killed the two men after learning from the FBI that one of them was cooperating with agents against Bulger,  reports Boston.com.

A judge in 2009 found the government responsible for the 1982 deaths of  Michael Donahue and Edward “Brian” Halloran. The judge found the government acted irresponsibly by essentially letting Bulger run wild and commit crimes while he worked as an informant. But the Justice Department fought against the judgment, and successfully argued on appeal that the lawsuit had not been filed on time.

The Quincy Democrat reported that Keating filed two bills late Tuesday seeking compensation for the families of Donahue and Halloran because they failed to get justice in federal court.

“I just thought justice wasn’t being served,’’ Keating told the Globe. “I know if it was my family, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sleeping at night until every possible avenue was pursued.’’ The Democrat from Massachusetts filed two bills late Tuesday seeking compensation for the families.

Donahue, a 32-year-old truck driver, was giving Halloran, a 41-year-old associate of Bulger’s, a lift home from a waterfront bar in Boston on May 11, 1982. Bulger and an unidentified associate allegedly opened fire on the car, killing both men. A longtime sidekick of Bulger’s, and fellow informant, Stephen “The Rifleman’’ Flemmi testified in court that John J. Connolly Jr., a former FBI agent, warned him and Bulger that Halloran was cooperating with the feds, even implicating the gangsters in an earlier slaying.

“Flemmi said the tip prompted Bulger to kill Halloran and that Donahue was just an innocent bystander,” reported the Globe.

To read more click here.

Hedge Fund King Raj Rajaratnam Gets 11 Years for Insider Trading

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who became one of the more recent poster childs for greed and corruption on Wall Street, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Manhattan to 11 years in prison and fined $10 million for insider trading, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. He was also ordered to forfeit $53.8 million.

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell announced the sentence after declaring that Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, had profited to the tune of $50 million, the station reported. Prosecutors had placed the profits at up to $75 million and had sought the maximum sentence of 24.5 years, NBC New York reported.

His lawyers had asked for leniency, citing his failing health.

“Two years ago, Raj Rajaratnam stood at the summit of Wall Street, commanding his own financial empire,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Then he was arrested, tried, and convicted by a jury. Mr. Rajaratnam stood convicted 14 times over of felonies, his empire exposed as a web of fraud and corruption that entangled many.

“Today, Mr. Rajaratnam stood once more and faced justice which was meted out to him. It is a sad conclusion to what once seemed to be a glittering story. We can only hope that this case will be the wake-up call we said it should be when Mr. Rajaratnam was arrested.”

Janice K. Fedarcyk, head of the NY FBI added: “Raj Rajaratnam is no different from a host of others who falsely attributed impressive investment results to superior research and acumen. In fact, as his trial determined, he relied on—indeed, actively cultivated—insider information. His considerable fortune was built on a clandestine network of corruption and concealment. Raj Rajaratnam did not merely bend the rules; he broke the law. There is a price to pay for that.”

 

Nine More Charged in Scheme to Defraud Holocaust Victims Fund of Tens of Millions of Dollars

FBI's Janet Fedarcyk/fbi file photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The massive scandal to rip off a charitable Holocaust fund designed to benefit victims who were persecuted by the Nazis, continued to unravel in N.Y.  on Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced the arrest of eight more people for being part of  a plot to defraud the fund out of  $57.3 million. A ninth person charged is expected to surrender voluntarily.

Five of those arrested are former employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which administered the charitable programs. The five were charged with knowingly approving nearly 5,000 fraudulent applications, resulting in the payout to unqualified applicants, in exchange for kickbacks. Since prosecution began in the case, a total of 30 people have been charged in connection with the scheme.

The latest folks charged in the case include: Henry Gordin; Genrikh Kolontyrskiy; Viktor Levin; Ella Voskresenskiy; Zlata Blavatnik; Pyotr Blavatnik; Yevgeniya Abramovich; Asya Galindo; and Lana Kagan, the ninth who is expected to surrender voluntarily.

“These defendants had a hand in fabricating, filing, or processing nearly 5,000 fraudulent claims on behalf of non-qualifying applicants,” Janice K. Fedarcyk, head of the N.Y. FBI said in a statement. Claims Conference funds have been drained of $57 million meant for Holocaust victims, and a large portion of the diverted money went into the pockets of corrupt insiders. These were people hired to give who conspired to take.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added:  “As I said when the initial charges in this case were announced, my office, working with our partners at the FBI, would not stop until we brought to justice those who are alleged to have stolen more than $57 million from the Claims Conference, thereby diverting money intended for survivors of the Holocaust. With today’s charges, we have now identified 30 people who allegedly exploited a fund that is as symbolically important as it is necessary to its beneficiaries. We again thank the Claims Conference for their outstanding ongoing assistance in identifying the participants in this scheme.”

 Read press release

 

Suburban D.C. Man Accused of Spying for Syria

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the suburbs of D.C., resident Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid was more than just a suburban dweller, at least according to the FBI.

Authorities announced this week charges against the 47-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, who lived in Leesburg, Va., and allegedly collected video and audio recordings and other information about people in the U.S. and Syria who were protesting the government of Syria.

Authorities alleged the he turned over materails to Syrian intelligence agencies “in order to silence, intimidate, and potentially harm the protestors.” He was arrested on Tuesday.

A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., charged him with conspiring to act as an agent of the Syrian government in the United States without notifying the Attorney General as required by law; two counts of providing false statements on a firearms purchase form; and two counts of providing false statements to federal law enforcement.

“The ability to assemble and protest is a cherished right in the United States, and it’s troubling that a U.S. citizen from Leesburg is accused of working with the Syrian government to identify and intimidate those who exercise that right,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of Alexandria said in a statement. “Spying for another country is a serious threat to our national security, especially when it threatens the ability of U.S. citizens to engage in political speech within our own borders.”

 

Ex-FBI Agent and Wife Charged in $1.3 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI special agent and his wife have been charged in Richmond, Va. federal court in a $1.3 million investment fraud scheme, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Ex-agent John Robert Graves, 52, and Sara Turberville Graves, 44, both of Fredericksburg, Va., are charged with multiple counts.

Authorities said that Graves founded Brook Point Management (BPM) in 2003, a company that sold insurance, performed estate and tax planning services and recruited and advised investment clients.

The indictment alleges that between June 2008 and July 2011, John Graves, Sara Graves, and others schemed to defraud approximately 11 investors in central Virginia of approximately $1.3 million.

Authorities alleged that the couple raised investor funds by misrepresenting “the safety and security of the investments, as well as misrepresentations and omissions regarding their use of investor money.”

Authorities alleged that the two used the investor funds to pay back previous investors who requested access to their money; purchase real estate in Partlow, Va.; and pay personal expenses, including credit card bills and time share dues. Authorities alleged that even after the scheme was uncovered, John Graves continued to make misrepresentations through false and misleading statements to the investors and to investigators from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.