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FBI Agents Search Home of Late Chicago Mobster Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra

Former Bush Official Pleads to Criminal Contempt of Congress

Scott Bloch/govt. photo

Scott Bloch/govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The ex-head of the  U.S. Office of Special Counsel, who was appointed by President Bush, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington to criminal contempt of Congress “for willfully and unlawfully withholding pertinent information from a House committee investigating his decision to have several government computers wiped” of emails, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Sentencing for Scott J. Bloch is set for July 20. He faces up to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine. The federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 0 to six months in jail.

Bloch, who is  also the former head of  the Justice Department’s Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives,  headed up the Office of Special Counsel from 2004 and 2008, which protects federal employees “with an emphasis on protecting federal whistleblowers”, according to a government description.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged that Bloch withheld information from the  U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform which had been investigating “whether and why Bloch: directed the deletion of e-mails or files on any of Bloch’s OSC-issued computers in December of 2006 by using the computer repair service Geeks On Call; directed that the computer repair service delete e-mails or files contained on the computers of two of his OSC aides; and directed that any such deletion of computer files be done by use of a “seven-level wipe” process.”

In May 2008, FBI agents raided his offices.

Read press release

70-Year-Old Art Dealer Admits Selling Fake Picasso For $2 Million and Lying to FBI

government photo

government photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

About three years ago, Los Angeles art dealer Tatiana Khan sold a 1902 pastel by Pablo Picasso for $2 million. She told the buyer it had come from the family of famed publisher Malcolm Forbes and was in fact worth far more.

Only problem was the painting was a fake. In fact, federal authorities say Khan paid an art restorer $1,000 to paint a copy of the painting called “La Femme au Chapeau Bleu,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat.”

Now, the 70-year-old from West Hollywood could be off to prison.

Khan agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI and witness tampering, according to a guilty plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court. The plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of no more than 21 months. She is scheduled to enter a plea on May 6.

Under the agreement, Khan will make full restitution to the buyer in question and forfeit to the government a $725,000 artwork by abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, which she purchased with some money from the fake Picasso sale.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

A Philly Cop on FBI Drug Task Force Gets 2 Years for Tipping Off Kingpin About Raid

philadelphia-police-badge
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Philly police detective working an FBI drug task force was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for tipping off  a drug kingpin about a raid in 2005, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage in Philadelphia sentenced ex-officer Rickie Durham, 44, to the two years, rejecting suggestions by federal prosecutors that he get a minimum of 15 years.

The judge called Durham’s actions “reckless” and said he “exposed fellow officers to great risk”, the Inquirer reported. But the judge said it was an isolated incident in what had been an exemplary career.

Read more »

Ex-FBI Agent Gets 30 Years For Home-Invasion Plot

CALIFornia mapBy Allan Lengel
For AOL NEWS

A former FBI agent was sentenced Monday in California to 30 years in prison for plotting a violent home invasion of a suspected drug stash house in Orange County in what turned out to be an FBI sting.

Vo Duong Tran, 42, of New Orleans, was convicted in March 2009 of plotting the robbery with an accomplice, Yu Sung Park. Park, 36, of Wilmette, Ill., was also sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., to 30 years in prison.

Tran worked for the FBI’s Chicago Division from 1992 to April 2003.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, Tran organized and Park schemed “to commit a violent home-invasion robbery” of a home in the middle-class community of Fountain Valley, Calif. They thought the home was a base for a drug-trafficking organization and was flush with drugs and cash, prosecutors said. But the home was actually vacant.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

NY Port Authority Failed to Find Explosives in Terrorist’s Car After Being Warned by FBI

George Washington Bridge/istock photo

George Washington Bridge/istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a goof that could have been costly.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI warned Port Authority police to search suspected terrorist Najibullah Zazi’s car last September when he drove up to the George Washington Bridge that spans the Hudson River.

But noooo. Instead, the police waved Zazi, the subway bombing plotter, across without finding two pounds of explosives that was hidden inside, the Wall Street Journal reported.

To read more click here.

Dept. Justice to Add 15 Fed Prosecutor Positions and 20 FBI Agents to Battle Intellectual Crimes

ip-crimesBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As part of its ongoing battle against intellectual property crimes domestically and internationally, the Justice Department on Monday announced the appointment of 15 new assistant U.S. Attorneys and 20 FBI agents to address the problem that includes theft of trademarks, copyrights and industrial secrets.

The Justice Department said the new federal prosecutor positions will be part of the department’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property program.

“Intellectual property law enforcement is central to protecting our nation’s ability to remain at the forefront of technological advancement, business development and job creation,” Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler said in a statement. “The department, along with its federal partners throughout the Administration, will remain ever vigilant in this pursuit as American entrepreneurs and businesses continue to develop, innovate and create.”

Read more »

New High Tech Devices Like Smartphones Pose Challenges to FBI and Other Agencies

Smart Phone 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Traditionally computers and emails have provided an endless treasure of info for agencies like the FBI, but new devices like smartphones and game consoles are posing challenges for the agencies.

That’s what people attending the 2010 Computer Forensics Show last week in New York were told, according to the website Network World.

“Forensic tools for cell phones are in their infancy,” Stephen Riley, a forensic examiner with the FBI’s Computer Analysis and Response Team said, according to Network World. “There’s lots of different carriers, different phones, different cables – just try to keep up.”

The website reported that “Smartphones can communicate via SMS, MMS, mobile e-mail, mobile internet access, VoIP and traditional cellular voice networks, Riley says, making each machine a potential treasure trove of information but also a nightmare maze of possible proprietary technologies to unlock it.”

To read more click here.

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