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FBI

FBI Busts West Hollywood Woman for Allegedly Selling Fake Picasso Painting for $2 million

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

The Fake Picasso/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The old saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

But the FBI in Los Angeles apparently isn’t buying that one — at least not this time.

The FBI has busted a West Hollywood antiques dealer who has been charged with fraud  in a scheme that involved the sale of a fake Pablo Picasso painting for $2 million.

According to authorities, antiques dealer Tatiana Khan, 69, paid an artist $1,000 to fabricate the painting — a 1902 pastel called “La Femme Au Chapeau Bleu,” or “The Woman in the Blue Hat”

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Social Networking and the Courts: One of the Curses of the Internet

The Internet has been a blessing and a curse for the justice system. This is one of the curses.

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By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Al Schuler, one of 12 jurors weighing the fate of a 23-year-old charged with killing a homeless man in Maryland, was confused by the word “lividity” and what role it might have played in explaining the circumstances of the victim’s beating death.

So, one night after deliberations, the retired engineer did what so many people do in the digital age: He looked up the definition on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. “It was just a definition, like going to the dictionary,” Schuler said. “It was very innocent.”

A Maryland appeals court didn’t think so. In throwing out the defendant’s first-degree murder conviction and ordering a new trial, the court ruled that Schuler’s inquiry violated an Anne Arundel County judge’s order prohibiting jurors from researching the case.

Schuler’s query is just the latest example of how modern technology and an information-saturated culture are testing centuries-old notions of how juries and judges mete out justice. The issue garnered national attention recently in Baltimore, where five jurors were accused of using a social-networking site to inappropriately discuss the ongoing trial of the city’s mayor.

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Cybersecurity Expert Shawn Henry to Head FBI D.C. Field Office

Shawn Henry/fbi photo
Shawn Henry/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Shawn Henry, a cybersecurity expert from FBI headquarters, is the new head of the FBI Washington field office, the Washington Post reported.

Henry replaces Joseph Persichini Jr., who stepped down  on Christmas Day. John Perren, special agent in charge of the office’s counterterrorism division, had been named the interim replacement following Persichini’s departure.

Henry started his FBI career in 1989 and was first assigned to the Washington field office where he focused primarily on public corruption, according to the FBI.

In 1996, he was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent in the Public Corruption Unit at FBI Headquarters “with program management oversight for public corruption investigations nationwide,” the FBI said.

After several more career moves, he was named deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Divison in 2007.

The following year he was named assistant director of that division.

Two Ex-Blackwater Guards Charged with Murder 1 Week After Judge Dismissed Charges Against 5 Others

blackwaterlogo2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A week after a judge dismissed murder-related charges against 5 Blackwater guards who worked in Iraq, the Justice Department came back with murder charges against two former Blackwater guards who were detailed to Afghanistan.

The U.S. Attorney in Alexandria filed second-degree murder and attempted murder charges on Thursday against Justin Cannon, 27, of Corpus Christi, Tex. and Christopher Drotleff, 29, of Virginia Beach, Va. in connection with shootings that resulted in the death of two people and the wounding of a third.

Authorities say the two men were contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan and employed by Paravant LLC, a subsidiary of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide. The two were charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).

The 13-count indictment alleges that on May 5, 2009, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Cannon and Drotleff shot and killed two Afghanistan nationals and wounded a third.

The FBI arrested Cannon Thursday in Corpus Christi and Drotleff in Virginia Beach.

Last week, a D.C. judge dismissed charges against 5  Blackwater guards in connection with the deaths of  14 unarmed Iraqi civilians. The judge ruled that the Justice Department overstepped its bounds by using statements the men made to the State Department even though the men were told the statements could not be used against them in court.

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Top Terrorist Analyst Stayed on the Slopes After Christmas Day Bombing Incident (NY Daily News)


New Orleans FBI Agent Tapped for Police Chief of Small Community

Mandeville_LABy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A veteran FBI agent in New Orleans has been tapped as the new police chief for the city of Mandeville, a suburb of New Orleans, the New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting.

Percy “Rick” Richard III, who has served a special agent in New Orleans since 1991, supervises 15 agents and five surveillance specialists, the Times-Picayune reported.

He had served on a task force in Afghanistan and is a former state trooper, the paper said. He is a resident of Mandeville, a city of about 12,000 people.

Interim Mayor Edward “Bubby” Lyons announced Richard’s selection at a 2 p.m. news conference at City Hall.

The Mandeville Police Department has been without a chief since former Chief Tom Buell stepped down a year ago. Since then, Capt. Ron Ruple has served as the ranking officer in the agency. Ruple initially applied for the chief’s position but said he withdrew his name last week after the city’s Civil Service Board declined to offer strong enough protections for a chief that was dismissed.

FBI Arrests 2 More Men in New York in Bomb Plot

new york city3 cabsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI arrested two men in New York on Friday in connection with the ongoing probe into the bomb plot targeting the Big Apple that allegedly involved the Colorado airport driver, the Associated Press reported.

Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in New York, told the Associated press that the arrests of Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were part of “an ongoing investigation” by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Authorities did not release details behind the arrests and said the men were scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

New Weapon in Bank Robberies: GPS Device

bank-robberyBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently GPS isn’t just for the geographically challenged anymore.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that police were able to track down three bank robbers in suburban Chicago last week, thanks to a credit-card sized GPS device that had been stuffed in with the stolen cash.

The paper, referring to an FBI affidavit, said the GPS led police almost instantly to the robbers in Dolton, Ill.

The Trib reported that the FBI and banking officials said “they believed it was the first time the technology — similar to what is increasingly used in cell phones and other devices — had been deployed to solve a bank robbery in the Chicago region. The FBI did use a GPS device last year to help free a man being held for $40,000 ransom, placing it in a bag of money tracked to a South Side home.”

Debbie Jemison, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Bankers Association, told the paper that banks started using the device about two years ago, but is unclear how widespread it’s use is.

Suburban Boston Ex-Cop Admits to Lying to FBI Agents and Agrees to Cooperate in Police Corruption Probe

stoughton policeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Boston FBI will be getting a little help in a suburban police corruption probe, thanks to a former cop from that department  who has agreed to cooperate.

Ex-Detective Arlindo Romeiro of the Stoughton Police Department pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston to lying to FBI agents about a police corruption probe and agreed to cooperate in the investigation that appears to be widening, the Boston Globe reported. Stoughton is about 30 minutes outside of Boston.

The Globe reported that Romeiro lied to FBI agents in July and denied knowing that cops in his department had received “stolen gift cards and merchandise from an informant secretly cooperating with the FBI, when, in fact, he was among the recipients, a federal prosecutor said.”

The Globe reported the 37-year-old former detective “left the courtroom holding his eyeglasses and brushing away tears.”

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