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Maryland Man Gets 3 Years in Prison for Impersonating an FBI Agent: Said He Earned $37,000 a Month as an Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Maryland man was hit with the maximum three-year prison sentence on Thursday for impersonating an FBI agent, who said he could get discounts on real estate deals because he was with the bureau. It was the second time he had been convicted of impersonating a federal officer.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. of Greenbelt, Md. sentenced John Angus Milton McBean, Jr., 41, of Oxon Hill, Md., after he pleaded guilty on Thursday.

Authorities discovered the problem after someone  contacted the FBI to say that  McBean was  posing as an FBI Special Agent and offered to assist the person in buying a home.

McBean told the person as an FBI agent  he had access to residential properties at significantly reduced prices, authorities said.

He offered access to such property for  an initial payment of $2,500. The person then gave him a partial payment of $775 as a down payment.

In May, the person interested in buying the home  introduced an undercover FBI task force officer to McBean, who posed as a friend  interested in the real estate discount.

McBean  drove the original buyer along with the undercover task force officer around Upper Marlboro, Md., in suburban D.C., to look for home. McBean solicited a “down payment” of approximately $2,700 from the undercover officer.

Authorities said that  McBean  said that he earned  $37,000 a month at the FBI, where he had worked since 1984. He also said that  he attended the University of Miami, majoring in psychology and hostage profiling and that he handled the transfer of dignitaries at “Andrews Air Force Base;” presently had an office in the White House, where he supervised U.S. Secret Service agents and owned several adult entertainment establishments and car dealerships.

Quite a resume.

He was arrested on arrested on May 31.

He was previously convicted of impersonating a federal officer and was sentenced in 2007 to 18 months in prison.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agent From Hawaii Helped Nab Mobster “Whitey” Bulger

By Dan Nokaso
Honolulu Star Advertiser

The trail had grown cold on fugitive mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger when FBI Special Agent Greg Comcowich helped create a nationwide ad campaign that led to the capture last week of one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted fugitives.

On June 21, the day after $50,000 worth of FBI-produced commercials on Bulger’s fugitive girlfriend — Catherine Elizabeth Greig — began airing on “The View,” ”The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Live! With Regis and Kelly” and other daytime television programs across the country, the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force captured Greig and Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run.

“I never thought in my FBI career I would have ever been involved in something like this,” said Comcowich, a 42-year-old FBI special agent from Kailua (Hawaii) who works in the FBI’s Boston field office.

Comcowich graduated from the University of Hawaii Lab School in 1988 with the modest goal to briefly experience life on the East Coast, then return home to Kailua.

To read more click here.

Judge Metes Out Harsh Sentence in Synagogue Bombing Plot; Sharply Criticizes Govt. in Sting

istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The sentence on Wednesday was harsh in the bombing plot of Bronx synagogues, but was so the lambasting the federal judge gave the federal government in its sting.

U.S.  District Judge Colleen McMahon sentenced  James Cromitie, 45, David Williams, 30, and Onta Williams, 35, to 25 years in prison in a Manhattan federal court.

But she also sharply criticized the government, saying, according to the New York Daily News:

“The essence of what occurred here is that a government understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own,” McMahon said, referring to Cromitie.

“It created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true,” she added.

The Daily News reported that the judge said  unlike other domestic terror cases, “the government did not have to infiltrate and foil some nefarious plot – there was no nefarious plot to foil.”

Then she took aim at the defendants.

“You were not political or religious martyrs,” the judge said. “You were thugs for hire, pure and simple.”

In May 2009, the FBI charged the trio after they left bombs in front of the Riverdale Jewish Center and the Riverdale Temple. The bomb, which ended up being fake, were provided by an FBI informant.

The Daily News reported that the informant lured Cromite into the plot with money.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI and Others Probing Possible Shenanigans at Arlington Cemetary

gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The  FBI and other federal agencies  have launched a probe into one of the nation’s treasures –Arlington National Cemetary.

The Washington Post reports that authorities are looking into possible contracting fraud and falsification of records. The paper cited “eople familiar with the investigation.”

A federal grand jury in Alexandria is looking into the matter in a probe being investigated by the FBI, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command and Justice Department, the Post reported, adding that the investigation has been underway for at least six months.

The Post reported that a report by the  Army inspector general found:: a dysfunctional management system; millions wasted on information technology contracts that produced useless results; misplaced and misidentified remains; and at least four cases in which crematory urns had been dug up and dumped in a dirt pile.

To read full story click here.

Fed Judge Explains Why He Gave Bernie Madoff 150 Years

Bernie Madoff

 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Manhattan federal  judge who sentenced swindler Bernie Madoff has told the New York Times that he weighed different factors before handing out a 150 year sentence.

Madoff’s lawyer  Ira Lee Sorkin had tried to convince U.S. District Judge Denny Chin,57, to give a far lesser sentence. He cited, according to the Times, Madoff’s move to tell his sons, knowing he’d be turned in. And he argued that Madoff, who was then 71, would live about 13 years. So he asked for 12 “just short of an effective life sentence.” The Times reported that Sorkin also proposed 15 to 20 years.

“It’s a fair argument that you want to give someone some possibility of seeing the light of day,” the judge told the Times, “so that they have some hope, and something to live for.”

He said he immediately rejected a 12 year sentence, but struggled with the idea of dishing out 20 to 25  years before ultimately concluding:

“In the end, I just thought he didn’t deserve it,” he told the Times. “The benefits of giving him hope were far outweighed by all of the other considerations.”

The Times also interviewed Madoff, who commented on the sentence.

“Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that,” Madoff said in a phone interview with the Times from prison in  North Carolina. “I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that’s virtually what he gave me.”

“I’m surprised Chin didn’t suggest stoning in the public square,” he added.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Could Blago Verdict Put U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Back in Running for FBI Director?

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not that Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has to worry about his career.

But on Monday, he got some redemption when a federal jury convicted the ever-too chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 of 20 public corruption charges.

It was the second trial. The first had a rather embarrassing outcome. The jury convicted Blago on only 1 of 24 counts, and that was for lying  to the FBI, a charge that was not really central to the meat of the case.

What made matters worse, before the first trial, Fitzgerald held a press conference after arresting Blago in December 2008 and displayed a lot of swagger. Some thought he was a little over the top.

Could this redemption help Fitzgerald’s chances of becoming the next FBI director when the job comes up in a couple years?

Possibly.

He  fits the bill. The White House tends to prefer someone with a law degree like the current director Robert S. Mueller III, who is expected to get a two-year extension on his 10-year term.

Before the White House decided to propose a two year extension for Mueller, it began looking for his replacement.

Initially, Fitzgerald’s was one of the names most often heard inside the Beltway.

But his swagger at the press conference and the dismal verdict seemed to sour some people.  His name seemed to fade.

With the latest results in the Blago case, who knows?

Maybe he’ll be back in the race for the FBI director job.

Whatever the case, at least he was able to finally back up the swagger he showed back at the press conference.

NY Times Editorial: “High Time” FBI Set Up Independent Oversight of Informant Program

Judge Mark Wolf

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

For anyone trying to fathom James (Whitey) Bulger’s long, pathological career on both sides of the law, a 661-page opinion by Mark Wolf, chief judge of the Federal District Court in Massachusetts, tells the inside story.

In 1998, the judge held a 10-month hearing on the F.B.I.’s failure to tell the United States attorney in Boston that Mr. Bulger and Stephen (the Rifleman) Flemmi were their informants against organized crime.

The judge uncovered that John Connolly Jr., the F.B.I. agent who was their handler, had protected Mr. Bulger, a 15-year informant, and Mr. Flemmi, a 25-year informant, as they committed murder and conspired with the Mafia, in exchange for leads about the Mafia. It was Mr. Connolly who tipped off Mr. Bulger that he was about to be indicted and sent him on the lam. Judge Wolf testified against the F.B.I. agent at a 2002 trial before another judge. Mr. Connolly was sentenced to 10 years for racketeering, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators.

From his investigation, Judge Wolf also concluded that the government couldn’t use crucial evidence against Mr. Flemmi that it had gathered through wiretaps against other mobsters because it had granted him partial immunity. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, overturned that part of the judge’s ruling, holding that only prosecutors and not the F.B.I. could grant immunity.

To read more click here.

Column: Could Blago Verdict Put U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Back in Running for FBI Director?

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not that Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has to worry about his career.

But on Monday, he got some redemption when a federal jury convicted the ever-too chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 of 20 public corruption charges.

It was the second trial. The first had a rather embarrassing outcome. The jury convicted Blago on only 1 of 24 counts, and that was for lying  to the FBI, a charge that was not really central to the meat of the case.

What made matters worse, before the first trial, Fitzgerald held a press conference after arresting Blago in December 2008 and displayed a lot of swagger. Some thought he was a little over the top.

Could this redemption help Fitzgerald’s chances of becoming the next FBI director when the job comes up in a couple years?

Possibly.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

He fits the bill. The White House tends to prefer someone with a law degree like the current director Robert S. Mueller III, who is expected to get a two-year extension on his 10-year term.

Before the White House decided to propose a two year extension for Mueller, it began looking for his replacement.

Initially, Fitzgerald’s was one of the names most often heard inside the Beltway.

But his swagger at the press conference and the dismal verdict seemed to sour some people.  His name seemed to fade.

With the latest results in the Blago case, who knows?

Maybe he’ll be back in the race for the FBI director job.

Whatever the case, at least he was able to finally back up the swagger he showed back at the press conference.