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News Story

Dead End? U.S. Authorities Push Probe into Murdoch’s Reporters

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. authorities have expanded their probe into Rupert Murdoch’s  News Corps phone hacking allegations, but so far have come up with no hard evidence of wrongdoing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reporters Cassell Bryan-Low and Devlin Barrett reports that U.S. investigators so far have found nothing concrete to back allegations written in a London paper saying reporters at the now-closed Brit paper News of the World might have hacked phones of 9/11 victims.

The Journal reported that British police investigating the scandal have told the FBI their probe has come up with no names or numbers of the Sept. 11 victims.

“The new, broader inquiry remains at an early stage and may prove a dead end, people familiar with the case say,” the Journal reported.

FBI Report Show Mortgage Fraud on the Rise

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI report shows that mortgage fraud appears to be on the rise.

The FBI said it had 3,129 pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009 and up 90 percent from 2008 when the economy tanked and the real estate market was already in dire straights.

The FBI said 71 percent of the pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010 involved losses of more than $1 million.

“Mortgage fraud continued at elevated levels in 2010, consistent with levels seen in 2009, the report said. “Mortgage fraud schemes are particularly resilient, and they readily adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.”

The report said the top states for known or suspected mortgage fraud included California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Murder of the Last Montreal Godfather in 2010

http://youtu.be/anEs8WMNMys

Ouch! Feds Come Up Empty in Big Alabama Gambling Trial

Sen. Ross/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Needless to say, it won’t be a happy weekend for federal prosecutor in Alabama who came up empty handed after a long, high profile trial.

The Wall Street Journal reports that an Montgomery, Ala. federal jury failed to convict any of the nine defendants in a corruption trial involving gambling legislation and businessmen, lawmakers and lobbyists. State Sen. Quinton Ross and lobbyist Robert Geddie were acquitted on all counts, the Journal reported.

The jury found others others not guilty on some counts and deadlocked on others. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson declared a mistrial on the undecided counts, and planned to schedule a retrial.

“We appreciate the jury’s service in this important public corruption trial. Our prosecutors will discuss next steps as we move forward in this matter,” said Laura Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, in a statement quoted by the Journal.

Lewis Gillis, a lawyer for Ross, said the government’s case “has been gutted.”

“They didn’t have a single guilty verdict, armed with everything they had,” he said in the Journal report. To read more click here.

NASAQ Isn’t the Only Thing Going Down: Ex-Managing Director of NASDAQ Gets 3 1/2 Years for Insider Trading

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Donald Johnson, a former managing director of the NASDAQ Stock Market, was sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison for engaging in insider trading on multiple occasions using non-public information he obtained in his role as a NASDAQ executive, authorities said.

Johnson was also ordered to forfeit $755,066.

Johnson, 57, of Ashburn, Va., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria, Va.

He pleaded guilty on May 26 to one count of securities fraud and admitted that from 2006 to 2009, he purchased and sold stock in NASDAQ-listed companies based on material, non-public information, or inside information, that he obtained through his position as an executive at NASDAQ.

“Mr. Johnson’s insider status at one of our nation’s largest securities exchanges gave him access to highly sensitive information, which allowed him to anticipate the rise and fall of certain stocks,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“Armed with this insider information, Mr. Johnson made investing look easy. He pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars. But he did it by exploiting his trusted position to gain an unfair – and illegal – advantage in the market. Today’s sentence should leave no doubt in the minds of investors inclined to cheat that insider trading is a serious crime, with serious consequences.”

J. Edgar Film to be Released in November

DiCaprio as Hoover/ studio released photo on slashfilm.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The film “J. Edgar” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover will be released this Nov. 9,  according to the website Movies.com and other film websites.

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, also stars Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Josh Lucas, Lea Thompson and Judi Dench.

The film is expected to stir controversy because of Hoover’s portrayal as being gay and having a romantic affair with FBI Associate Director Clyde Tolson, his constant companion and alter ego.

Some current and former FBI agents have expressed concern over the portrayal of Hoover as gay.

Nonetheless, FBI agents are expected to be among those who shell out the cash to see the film.

Not Everyone in Mexico Wants America’s Help in Battling Violent Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Not everyone in Mexico is happy with America helping the Mexicans battle the drug cartels.

Prominent Mexican poet and peace activist Javier Sicilia wants the Mexican government to explain the reported presence of CIA and DEA agents in Mexico, Fox News Latino reported.

Fox News reported that Sicilia made the demand at a press conference Wednesday a few days after the New York Times reported that a total of 24 CIA and DEA operatives were in the country investigating and training people.

Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Government Secretary Jose Francisco Blake should appear before Congress “to explain the matter,” Sicilia said, according to Fox.

He said the presence of the CIA and the DEA is “illegal and unacceptable” and a violation of Mexico’s sovereignty.

High Ranking New England Mobster Was FBI Informant, Court Documents Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mark Rossetti, a reputed capo in the New England Mafia, has been working all along as an FBI informant or “rat” as they say in the mob world.

The Boston Globe reports the revelation came out in court documents filed this week in Suffolk Superior Court. Rossetti was indicted last year on state charges of running a sprawling criminal enterprise of drug trafficking, gambling, and loan sharking.

The Globe reported that two lower-level players in Rossetti’s alleged crime ring filed the papers as part of a legal strategy in their own case.

The Globe reported that the papers do not identify Rossetti by name, but “he can be clearly identified through descriptions of his conversations with his FBI handler, and through a State Police organizational chart of his alleged crime ring, the Rossetti Criminal Organization.”

The Globe reported “that State Police recorded more than 40 conversations between Rossetti and his FBI handler in the spring of 2010, through a wiretap on Rossetti’s FBI-issued phone, according to the court documents. In the conversations, they discussed other Mafia figures and the possible role of Rossetti’s cousin in the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as Rossetti’s debt collections. According to the documents, it was during these conversations that State Police discovered Rossetti was an FBI informant.”