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FBI

Madoff Investor Agrees to Surrender $625 Million

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

While world-class Ponzi swindler Bernie Madoff sits in prison, the feds are still trying to figure out ways to get back some of the funds for investors.

The latest came this week when federal  authorities announced they had struck a deal with Carl Shapiro, 97, a Boston area businessman and philanthropist, to surrender $625 million he made from his investments with Madoff. He was one of the earlier investors, beginning in the 1960s.

“For almost 40 years, Carl Shapiro invested hundreds of millions of dollars with Bernie Madoff but withdrew far more,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “By requiring him to forfeit this money—more than he is currently worth—the government and the SIPA Trustee have sent an important message: those who profited as a result of Bernard Madoff’s fraud should disgorge those profits, which are rightfully other people’s money.”

“As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Bernard Madoff arrest, this settlement represents a significant step in the restitution of retirements, pensions, and university endowments that were robbed with blatant disregard for the law,” added FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk in New York. “It takes a special depravity to victimize so many people so severely.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that a court trustee, seeking more Madoff funds,  is negotiating to recover money from the owner of the New York Mets.

 

Pugh affidavit

FBI Warns “Video Girl” Barbie Has Potential for Child Porn

Navy Sailor in N.C. Arrested for Selling Classified Documents to Undercover FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In this turbulent era of WikiLeaks, this hardly seems shocking.

Authorities are alleging in a search warrant that a Navy sailor based at Fort Bragg passed classified documents to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign intelligence agent, the Associated Press reports. In exchange, he was given cash.

AP reported that Navy Reserve Intelligence Specialist Third Class Bryan Minkyu Martin, 22, of Mexico, N.Y., was arrested last week, but has not been charged.  He is, however, being held in the naval brig in Norfolk, Va.

AP, citing a search warrant filed in the Eastern District Court in North Carolina, reported that Martin received a total of $3,500 “from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for dozens of pages of documents that were classified either secret or top secret.”

At an initial meeting on Nov. 15, Martin told the undercover agent that his current assignment focused on Afghanistan and that he planned to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and would one day be very valuable, AP reported.

The Feds Say in This Story Spiderman is the Bad Guy

Spiderman, Spiderman, Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies.
Look Out! Here comes the Spiderman.”

Theme song to Spiderman

Tarantula/doj photo

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

In this case,  the feds spun a web to capture a German man in a probe dubbed “Operation Spiderman.”

Late last week, special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Postal Inspectors — like spiders waiting for the prey — arrested German resident Sven Koppler, 37, after he arrived in Los Angeles on charges of  smuggling hundreds of tarantulas into the U.S. using the U.S. Mail, the Justice Department said. Some of the spiders were protected by international law.

The investigation began in March when a routine search of an international package turned up about 300 live tarantulas that were being shipped to Los Angeles.

The Fish and Wildlife agents intercepted a second package that had about 250 live tarantulas wrapped in colored plastic straws, and another package with 22 Brachypelma red kneed tarantulas, which are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species treaty.

The Fish and Wildlife agents set up an undercover investigation and ordered additional tarantulas from Koppler. They received several of the tarantulas dead and alive, including the Brachypelmas.

Authorities estimated that Koppler earned about $300,000 peddling tarantulas to people around the world, including about nine individuals in the U.S.

A spokeswoman from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services said that the issue when shipping animals is whether or not the animals are permitted and if the person has an import/ export license.

“There are a lot of illegal shipments,” said the spokeswoman.

Koppler could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Hundreds Charged in Crackdown on Investment Fraud

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 3 1/2 month operation involving the  nation’s “largest ever” crackdown on  financial fraud,  has resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people who swindled investors out of  billions of dollars, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Dubbed “Operation Broken Trust”, authorities said they have taken criminal action against 343 people and civil action against 189 in a crackdown that involved more than 120,000 victims. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said losses exceeded more than in $8 billion in the criminal cases alone and more than $2 billion in the civil cases.

“While there is nothing new about conducting nationwide operations and sweeps – this one is different in that it brought together a broad array of criminal and civil enforcement tools, at both the federal and state level, to attack investment fraud schemes collectively,” Holder said at a press conference here.

“Operation Broken Trust is the first national operation in history to target the many different types of investment fraud schemes that prey directly on the investing public.”

“All of these victims can tell a tragic and cautionary story of being misled and exploited – often by someone they trusted,” Holder said. “In fact, many of the scam artists we’ve identified were preying on their own neighbors – and on the most vulnerable members of their communities.

“Several of those prosecuted during this operation solicited victim investors from their own churches. One man in Texas allegedly targeted his fellow parishioners, asking them to invest with him and claiming that his success in foreign exchange trading was ‘a blessing from God’.”

Holder specifically gave a shout out at the press conference to:  FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, SEC Director of Enforcement Robert Khuzami, U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Chief Postal Inspector, Guy Cottrell; IRS Criminal Investigation Deputy Chief Rick Raven; and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle.

Calif FBI Employee Charged With Lying About Debt

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A FBI employee in San Francisco is in big trouble as a result of financial statement she made, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The paper reported that Rachelle Thomas-Zuill, 39, who conducted background investigations on FBI agents for security clearances in San Francisco, was charged in court documents in San Jose with lying about the  debt she had on her properties, court records show.

Thomas-Zuill  wrote on a financial disclosure form to the government that she owned three properties with an outstanding mortgage debt of $866,000, when in reality she owned six properties with a debt of more than $2.2 million, the paper wrote.

The paper reported that she worked from 2003 until July of this year as a personnel security specialist for the FBI.

Man Once Charged With Trying to Kill Boston Celtic Star Convicted of Trying to Murder DEA Informant


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man once charged with the attempted murder of Boston Celtics basketball star Paul Pierce, was convicted late last week of attempting to kill a DEA informant who provided evidence against him in cocaine trafficking case, authorities said.

Trevor A. Watson, 44, of Boston, was found guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston of stabbing the informant 10 times outside of Ann’s Unisex Barbershop on Tremont Street on the south end of Boston on Feb. 27, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Evidence in court showed Watson stabbed the informant, who survived the attack after emergency surgery to repair his damaged colon and intestine.

Authorities said while stabbing the informant, Watson said: “You talking, huh? you telling.”

Paul Pierce/espn

During trial, evidence surfaced that WATSON was charged with the attempted murder of Boston Celtic Paul Pierce in 2002. However, the jury acquitted him after multiple eyewitnesses changed their testimony, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Watson tried to get witnesses in the DEA case, including the informant, to change their statement to authorities.

He wrote letters and made phone calls from prison in which he wrote: “I had introduced my lawyer to the fact that if the victim in my case was to sign an affidavit saying I’m not the guy who stabbed him, it was some Spanish guy about 30, which I am not either, I’ll be alright …” and “The Paul Pierce case was the same way, but at trial he changed his statements and I got found not guilty of att. mur. (attempted murder).”

Sentencing is set for March 10.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Weekend Series on Crime: Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy vs. Jimmy Hoffa