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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Credit Card Sting Nets Arrest of 24

Steve Neavling 

Two dozen people were arrested in 13 countries following a two-year FBI sting designed to catch credit card thieves, the New York Times reports.

The FBI created a website that appeared to contain credit card numbers and software to spy on computers so authorities could capture hackers, according to the Times.

“These guys represent the complete ecosystem of Internet fraud,” said one senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because of the confidentiality of the investigation. “We drew them out of the shadows with the Web site as bait.”

The idea was to crack down on the increasing number of hackers who are obtaining credit card numbers and often selling them overseas.

Compromise Failed in Effort to Avoid Contempt Charges Against AG Holder

Steve Neavling

Last-minute attempts by House Republicans and President Obama’s administration to resolve a dispute over the release of documents has failed.

The House plans to vote Thursday’s vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the Associated Press reports.

Sources told the AP that Republicans met with the administration and Justice Department, which handed over only 30 pages related to the botched gun-running operation known as Fast and Furious.

The GOP was hoping to get more information to suspend an unusual contempt vote.

Republicans told the AP that negotiations are over.

Terror Case Against Saudi Man Ends Without Much of a Defense

Steve Neavling

The attorney of a Saudi man accused in a bombing plot against the U.S. didn’t present much of a defense, resting the case without any evidence or witnesses to testify, the Associated Press reports.

Closing arguments in the terror case against Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari in Amarillo, Tex. are expected this morning.

If convicted, Aldawsari could be sentenced to life in prison for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, the AP reported. Authorities said the 22-year-old former Texas Tech chemical engineering student had long planned to attack the U.S. and even created a target list that included the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush.

The substance of the defense argument is that Aldawsari didn’t take a “substantial step” to carry out an attack because he never had a bomb, according to the AP.

FBI Investigating Whether NYPD Cop is Part of Burglary Crew

By Allan Lengel

Obviously, this NYPD cop was on the wrong side of the line.

The New York Daily News reports that the FBI is investigating whether Detective Rafael (Ray) Astacio is part of a burglary crew.

He was caught last month breaking into a Long Island home.

To read more click here.


The Legacy of the Racist Murder of Vincent Chin

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker

Thirty years ago this week, a young Chinese-American man, Vincent Chin, was bludgeoned to death by a man wielding a baseball bat, only a few steps away from a strip club where he and his friends had been celebrating his bachelor’s party.

The crime and its state and federal prosecutions raise the question of whether the case’s anomalous circumstances detract from its impact on American history, the criminal justice system and civil rights for Asian Americans. I became familiar with the case as a resident of the area and as a prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

It all began at the tawdry Fancy Pants Lounge in Highland Park, Michigan. Across the stage from Chin and his friends, sat Ronald Ebens and his step-son Michael Nitz doing what men do in such places.

Ebens was a popular supervisor at the nearby Chrysler plant in 1982. It was a tough time for American auto companies and their employees as Japanese companies made steady inroads into the market. Anti-Asian sentiment was common around Detroit. Chin was an outgoing and lively guy who had a wide circle of friends. His parents had emigrated from China to the United States in the 1940s to escape the harsh realities of life in Communist China.

Fueled by alcohol and senseless machismo on both sides, a shouting match ensued between the groups. The accurate content of the argument was both disputed and was soon lost in the fog of time. Chin’s friends later claimed that Ebens made racial remarks, “It’s because of you little mother-fuckers that we’re out of work.” Ebens and Nitz denied the statement and asserted that it was Chin who escalated the trash-talking by hitting Ebens with a chair and then calling Ebens a “chickenshit.”

Vincent Chin

The dispute spilled out into the parking lot and then across the street near a McDonalds restaurant. As two off-duty policeman watched, Ebens chased Chin onto Woodward Avenue and then struck him on the head several times with a baseball bat he had grabbed from the trunk of his car.

According to a friend, Chin’s last words were, “It isn’t fair…” The veracity of even this, later to be, iconic dying declaration is in doubt since experts later testified that the injury to the brain was so severe that speech would have been impossible. Whether true or not, the words would become a battle cry for Asian-Americans across the country.

Four days later, Vincent Chin died on his mother’s birthday. On the day after the wedding had been scheduled, the guests instead attended his funeral.

The state prosecution, Eben and Nitz’s nolo contendere pleas to manslaughter, and the subsequent sentences of only probation and a fine, were not great moments in Michigan justice.

Read more »

Congressman Says He Knows of No Immunity for Mobster Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

By O’Ryan Johnson
Boston Herald

BOSTON — The Indiana congressman who led the 2003 federal probe of corrupt ties between James “Whitey” Bulger and the FBI said he has seen no evidence of any immunity deal with the South Boston mobster — and doubts any exists.

“I can’t remember anything that would say Whitey Bulger had carte blanche as far as immunity is concerned,” said Republican Dan Burton, past chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “I would know if that happened, and I never saw anything like that.”

Bulger’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, claimed on Monday that a deal had been struck long ago granting Bulger immunity for all charges in the indictment, including his alleged role in 19 murders. Carney said in court papers the agreement, as well as the identity of the person who made it, would be revealed in the future.

To read the full story click here.

Robert Foley Tapped to Head Up Detroit FBI

Robert Foley/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

Robert D. Foley, a native of Massachusetts with a law degree, who has investigated everything from counterterrorism to gangs to drugs and police corruption, will become the new head of the Detroit FBI, Deadline Detroit has learned.

Foley is currently the special agent in charge of the Administrative Division for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. He joined the FBI in 1996.

Foley replaces Andrew Arena, who retired at the end of May to become head of the Detroit Crime Commission. Todd Mayberry, the agent who served as interim head of the Detroit division after Arena left, died earlier this month due to complications from liver cancer at age 41.

A formal public announcement on the appointment of Foley has yet to be made.

To read more click here.

FBI Investigated More Than 100 Suspected Islamic Extremists with Military Ties

Steve Neavling

The FBI has investigated more than 100 suspected Islamic extremists connected to the U.S. military and discovered about a dozen serious cases, NPR reports.

FBI and Department of Defense officials said the suspects – or “insider threats” showed a strong intent to attack military targets, according to the NPR report.

Suspects range from reserve military personnel or people with access to military facilities, such as contractors.