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John Giacalone Named Head of N.Y. FBI Counterterrorism Division

John Giacalone/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Agent John Giacalone is leaving the mothership at headquarters in D.C. and heading north to become special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office Counterterrorism Division.

Giacalone most recently served as the section chief of the Counterterrorism Division’s Domestic Terrorism Strategic Operations Section at FBI headquarters.

Giacalone is no stranger to New York.

In 1991, he was the case agent for an investigation into organized crime’s control of the airfreight industry at John F. Kennedy International Airport. That resulted in the indictment and conviction of seven members and associates of the Luchese crime family.

In 1994, Giacalone formed a task force consisting of FBI, Department of Labor and New York Police Department to investigate the Garment Center. The probe reuslted in the convictions of 15 organized crime members and associates, the FBI said.

In 2003, Giacalone created the Field Intelligence Group in Philadelphia. And in 2005, he was the deputy on-scene-commander in the Iraqi theater of operations.

There he coordinated the efforts of the FBI, the intelligence community, and the U.S. military, which resulted in the rescue of kidnapping victim Roy Hallums.

In 2008, Giacalone was a member of the Attorney General Guidelines Task Force. With the assistance of 10 supervisory special agents, he helped draft the FBI’s new domestic investigative policy.

Ala. Newspaper Editorial Calls Fed Prosecution in Ala. Incompetent

By The Daily Home
Editorial

Rather than settle any questions of guilt or innocence, the acquittals and mistrials returned last week in Alabama’s gambling corruption trial have only exacerbated mistrust of state government and the legal system.

What are we to make of a trial that charged nine people, including four state legislators, with 125 crimes, took 10 weeks of court time after months of FBI investigation, cost an untold amount of money and produced not a single conviction?

Given that three of the original defendants pleaded guilty and testified against the nine who were tried, one word comes to mind: incompetence.

Incompetence in the investigation that produced such flimsy evidence that federal prosecutors could not put together a convincing case against any of the accused, or incompetence in the prosecutors who bungled their presentation of the evidence available to them. Maybe both.

To read more click here.

Ouch! Feds Comes Up Empty in Big Ala. Gambling Trial (ticklethewire.com)

Man Arrested for Planting Bomb Under Gas Pipeline in Oklahoma

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities say a man arrested Friday for planting an improvised explosive device under a gas pipeline in Oklahoma wasn’t connected to a terrorist group and was not a disgruntled worker, according to CNN.

Daniel Wells Herriman, 40, was arrested Seminole County, Ok. Two employees of Enerfin Resources spotted the device and called authorities, CNN reported.

A criminal complaint stated that Herriman called the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office 911 line to turn himself in and said: “I set the bomb under the pipeline in Okemah.”

Herriman allegedly told investigators he set the bomb tot go off in the middle of the night, but it failed to detonate. No motive was mentioned in the criminal complaint.

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.”