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FBI

Nevada Brothel Owner Sentenced After Being Caught on FBI Wire

It doesn’t seem to have great shock value when a brotel owner in the great state of Nevada gets busted for bribing an official.

hooker1

By HENRY BREAN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
LAS VEGAS — The second time she met with him to negotiate a bribe, Candice Trummell thought brothel owner Maynard “Joe” Richards seemed unusually paranoid.

He was nervous the feds might be following him, she said.

Richards was right to worry.

The 75-year-old owner of three Nye County brothels was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in connection with a political corruption case Trummell helped crack by wearing a microphone and a hidden camera for the FBI.

Richards will spend a year in a Las Vegas halfway house and five years on probation for trying to bribe Trummell in 2005, when she served on the Nye County Commission.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones also fined Richards $250,000 and ordered him to report any money or “in-kind services” he might give to a public official while he’s on probation.

Jones called political corruption the most serious crime handled by the federal courts.

“Whether it’s a $100,000 or a $5,000 bribe, it simply won’t be tolerated,” the judge said.

For Full Story

Read Plea Memorandum

Online Data Sharing Leads to Disclosure of Sensitive Govt and Personal Info

computer1

Now this is pretty darn scary. Rep. Edolphus Towns says he plans to introduce legislation to ban such software. Whether or not that’s the answer, is another question. But someone needs to find the answer. It seems a more effective way would be to create a software that prevents this from happening. Banning software seems like a tough task.

By Brian Krebs and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The indiscriminate use of a popular online data-sharing technology has led to the disclosure of sensitive government and personal information — including FBI surveillance photos of a Mafia hit man, lists of people with HIV, and motorcade routes and safe-house locations for then-first lady Laura Bush, a congressional panel was told on Wednesday.

The information is often exposed inadvertently by people who download the technology to share music or other files, not realizing that the “peer-to-peer” software also makes the contents of their computers available to other users, experts said.

For Full Story

Attorney Says Jefferson May Have Violated Ethics But Didn’t Break Law

I dunno know about morals but I do got rules” Tony Soprano

tony-soprano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
ALEXANDRIA,Va. – The prosecution’s closing argument went something like this: Ex-Congressman William Jefferson was a crook. He sold his office. He took bribes.

The defense argument went something like this: Sure Jefferson may have had some ethical breaches; done some stupid and reckless things. But he committed no crime and the government simply created a case out of fiction.

With that kind exchange of words, court ended late Wednesday afternoon. The jury of eight women and four men will get instructions from U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III Thursday morning and then begin deliberating on the 16 felony counts.

Jefferson,62, chose to go to trial and fight the case rather than entertain a plea agreement.

Earlier on, after the FBI raided his homes in August 2005, there were some initial talks of a plea agreement that amounted to about six years in prison. They never went very far.

Now we’ll finally see if the gamble pays off.  A conviction could easily land him at least 10 years in prison, that is if you take into account that two smaller fish – Vernon Jackson and Brett Pfeffer — are already serving more than seven years each for pleading guilty to bribing him.

William Jefferson
William Jefferson

Jackson, owner of iGate, a high tech company, and Pfeffer, a former Jefferson aide, both testified against Jefferson during the seven-week trial and are likely to get sentence reductions.

Jefferson faces a mountain of felony charges including soliciting bribes, bribing a foreign official, racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering. He is accused of taking more than $400,000 in bribes and working to get millions more.

Authorities have contended that he used his official office to promote business in Africa that he and his family had secret financial interest in. Payoffs were made to sham, paper companies, the prosecution charged.

On Wednesday, the 9th floor courtroom in Alexandria was packed – at least for part of the day with Jefferson’s wife and five daughters in attendance.  So was Ed Weidenfeld, the D.C.. attorney for the Atiku Abubakar, the ex-Vice President of Nigeria, whom Jefferson is accused of bribing.

During the defense’s closing argument, some how the classic line from Tony Soprano came to mind: “I dunno about morals, but I do got rules.”

In Jefferson’s case, perhaps, more appropriately,  the theme of his defense would be; “I dunno about ethics, but I do got rules”, meaning his ethics are suspect, but he has rules when it comes to stepping over the line and committing a crime.

Read more »

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole Among Those Considered to Head DEA

John Pistole/fbi photo
John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The White House has talked to four candidates about filling  the top spot at the Drug Enforcement Administration, including FBI deputy director John S. Pistole,  according to a source familiar with the selection process.

Pistole has been interviewed for the job along with Michele Leonhart, the DEA acting director; Boyd M. Johnson III, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York; and  former San Diego U.S. Attorney Greg A. Vega, who is in private practice.  Leonhart is not likely to get the job.

An unconfirmed  rumor circulating  Tuesday was that the FBI’s Pistole, who has been an FBI agent since 1983,  had been offered the job, but had yet to accept it.

FBI spokesman Michael P. Kortan declined to discuss the matter Tuesday night.  Pistole could not be reached for comment.  The DEA said it is policy not to comment on personnel matters.

The DEA has been faced with some daunting challenges in recent times,  both domestically and abroad, battling the drug trade in Afghanistan and dealing with the violence involving  Mexican drug cartels that has spilled over into the U.S.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Report Finds U.S. Attys Taking More FBI Referrals For Prosecution

fbi-globe

It’s not everyday the FBI gets  a positive evaluation from an outside organization.  The FBI should be happy with this one.

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice
WASHINGTON — U.S. attorneys are accepting more FBI referrals for prosecution, convictions are up, and prison sentences are increasing, according to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

Data examined showed “small but consistent year-by-year changes” during the past five years, according to TRAC, which acquired the information from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys through a Freedom of Information Act request.

To Read More

To Read Report

85-Year Old Chicago Mobster Still Has Soft Spot for Al Capone

Chicago Mobster Sam Valpendesto may be 85. He may appreciate a good early bird special meal. And he may be eligible for a senior discount at the movies. But he’s still very dangerous, prosecutors insist. A judge agreed.

Al Capone/fbi photo

Al Capone/fbi photo

By MIKE ROBINSON
The Associated Press
CHICAGO –– Even at age 85, reputed mobster Sam Volpendesto clearly has a soft spot for the days when Al Capone was boss in Chicago’s ruthless mob scene. In wiretap recordings released by federal prosecutors Monday, he seems to delight in telling how he lived among “very dangerous people” and watched one mobster put a human body through a meat grinder.

Prosecutors argued that Volpendesto is still a dangerous man, and only six years ago set off a pipe bomb that demolished a video poker company in Chicago’s suburban Berwyn. No one was injured, but prosecutors said it was a warning to stay away from the mob’s gambling monopoly in the area.

The recordings made by a confidential informant in May 2005 are part of a sweeping federal racketeering case. Volpendesto, diminutive and white bearded, is among seven men accused of plotting to carry out burglaries, robberies, arsons and other crimes dating back to 2001.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier seemed to agree with prosecutors and on Monday denied bail for Volpendesto, who has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges. He has sought bail several times since his arrest last summer.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Dir. Mueller Dedicates New FBI Building in Louisville

Robert Mueller III/file photo

Robert Mueller III/file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller III sprinkled a little wit and humor in a speech he delivered Monday during the dedication of the new $40 million, three-story FBI building in Louisville just south of I-64.

“Having had a chance to tour the new space, I am doubtful that any of you will request a transfer to Headquarters anytime soon,” Mueller said. ” Actually, I am thinking of requesting a transfer to Louisville.”

“Kentucky is home to ‘the fastest two minutes in sports.’ In that spirit, I will keep my remarks brief. But first, I would like to recognize some of the many individuals who guided this project every step of the way.”

He went on to thank the people involved in building the facility and then said:

“The Louisville office was permanently established in June of 1935. The main challenges to law enforcement at that time were bank robbers and violent gangsters, who made a habit of crossing state lines to evade local law enforcement. This was captured well in the recent movie Public Enemies, though it is a safe bet that most of the real-life criminals did not look like Johnny Depp.”

“The threats we face today have changed dramatically. Today, the agents, task force officers, and analysts working inside this building investigate everything from cyber crime to organized crime; from public corruption to espionage; and from violent gangs to terrorism. As threats have evolved, so has our approach to law enforcement.

“It has become clear that no one agency, community, or even country can prevent crime and terrorism on its own. We must sit at one table. We must work as one team. This new building allows us to do just that.”

To Read Full Text of His Statement

7 Charged With Terrorism in North Carolina

The U.S. Attorney in North Carolina said it was a reminder that terrorists “can grow and fester right here at home.” The question is, how much of a threat were these people? Hopefully in coming days and weeks we’ll get a sense.

fbi map

fbi map

By The Associated Press

A North Carolina man trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been charged along with six of his alleged recruits with conspiring to support terrorism and traveling overseas to participate in “violent jihad,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday in Raleigh, N.C.

Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, and the six other men were arrested Monday and made their first appearances in Raleigh, charged with providing material support to terrorism.

“These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home,” U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in a statement. He declined further comment.

For Full Story

Read FBI Press Release