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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Justice Dept. Won’t Appeal $101.7 Mil Verdict for 4 Framed by Boston FBI in 1965 Murder

bostonBy Allan Lengel

The Justice Department has decided not to appeal a $101.7 million civil suit award to four men framed by the FBI in a Boston area murder, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ruled in 2007 that the FBI was “responsible for the framing of four innocent men’’ in the 1965 murder of a small-time criminal, Edward “Teddy’’ Deegan just outside Boston, the Globe reported. The judge ruled the FBI deliberately withheld the info. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the ruling last year, though it said the award was at the outer edge of permissible awards.

Victor J. Garo, the lawyer for one of the framed men, Joseph Salvati, said his client will receive $31 million, plus $2 million in interest, the Globe reported. His client spent more than 29 years in prison for the wrongful conviction.

The Globe reported that other wrongfully accused men in the lawsuit are Peter J. Limone and the families of Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo. Greco and Tameleo died in prison.

To read more click here.

A Ponzi Scheme and a Little Humor

good humorBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement is serious business. But once in a while a little federal type humor surfaces in places you might least expect.

Good friend and former Washington Post colleague Cindy Loose, who lives in the Washington area,  passed on this true story to me the other day. I thought it was worth sharing.

She wrote: “Last night I attended an awards ceremony—David Rubinstein of the Carlyle group giving $100,000 in scholarship writing awards.”

“Standing in group, one woman says, ‘This girls, is how you network. You network to find jobs, even investors.’

“So I say to a guy across from me, ‘By the way, would you like to invest in my project? It’s a Ponzi scheme but I can get you in at the beginning.’

“He answered: ‘I usually come in at the end. I’m a federal prosecutor’.'”

Ex-Chicago FBI Agent Lead Double Life as a Gangster

Vo Duong Tran was an American success story who escaped Communist Vietnam as a kid and grew up to be an FBI agent. Problem was, he was crooked. Reporter Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of an FBI agent gone bad. Tran was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for planning a home invasion of a drug stash house in California in what ended up being an FBI sting.

fbi logo large

By Steve Warmbir
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — Vo Duong Tran spent his 11th birthday in November 1978 on a cold, rainy Malaysian beach after he and his family made a treacherous voyage during monsoon season across the South China Sea to escape Communist Vietnam.

The old boat they rode in almost capsized a few times, then Tran and his family completed the journey by having to make a dangerous swim to shore.

After such a perilous trip, Tran’s family forgot all about his birthday, as an uncertain future in a refugee camp loomed before them.

But their luck soon turned. A Catholic church in Connecticut brought them to America, where for years Tran would make his family proud.

Once hobbled by asthma as a boy, Tran turned himself into a hulking man, bulging with muscles.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Tran went on to fight crime and join the FBI, where he investigated traditional and Asian organized crime in Chicago.

In his new homeland, Tran would use the first name Ben, and Ben Tran was an American success story.

At least on the surface.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Probing West Virginia Mining Accident That Killed 29

west virginiaBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — We certainly haven’t heard the last of the explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 miners a few weeks ago.

NPR News is reported that the FBI is investigating the possibility that Mine Safety and Health Administration workers, who inspect mines, took bribes and whether the owner of the mine Massey Energy was criminally negligent.

NPR reported that unsubstantiated rumors have long circulated that inspectors have been on the take.

A federal law enforcement source told NPR that the probe was not focusing on the mine safety inspectors, but NPR said it was standing by its report.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Story of FBI Top 10 Fugitive “Whitey” Bulger

2 Men Charged in NY With Helping Modernize al Qaeda

By Allan Lengel

The Geek Squad these men were not, at least according to federal authorities in New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged two former Brooklyn men with conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda that included providing computer advice, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The men, Wesam El-Hanafi, 33, is an American citizen who lived in Brookly and Sabirhan Hasanoff, 34, has dual citizen in the U.S. and Australia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said.

“As alleged in the indictment, Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff conspired to modernize al Qaeda by providing computer systems expertise and other goods and services,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Authorities charged that El-Hanafi traveled to Yemen in February 2008 and met with two members of al Qaeda.

“While in Yemen, El-Hanafi swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda, received instructions from al Qaeda on operatational security measrues, and received assignments to perform for al Qaeda,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

Read Press Release

FBI Official Says Kidnappings in Texas Border Town “Off the Charts”

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel

An FBI official in Texas told state lawmakers Thursday that kidnappings in the border town of McAllen, Tex., have nearly quadrupled over the last fiscal year, and most were drug related, the Associated Press reported.

John Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI McAllen office, said 42 people were kidnapped between October 2008 to September 2009 compared to 11 the year before, the AP reported. On top of that, he said, many kidnappings have gone unreported.

“Fiscal ’09 was off the charts,” Johnson said in McAllen to lawmakers who were holding a hearing to determined the security needs at the border, the AP reported.

To read more click here.

Pa. Judge Pleads Guilty in “Kids for Cash” Scandal

judge and gavel
By Allan Lengel

In a case that was clearly a big big disgrace to the judiciary, ex-Luzrine County, Pa., Judge Michael T. Conahan pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in  the “kids-for-cash” scandal that wrongfully sent some juveniles to jail in exchange for a kickback in cash, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He now faces up to 20 years in jail.

His guilty plea, which was entered in Scranton, Pa., also requires the 58-year-old to stop practicing law.

Conahan and Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. were charged last year with getting $2.8 million in kickbacks from the owner of two private juvenile detention facilities. In exchange, they allegedly sent some juveniles to jail who shouldn’t have gone or imposed harsher sentences than normal. Ciavarella  plans to go to trial.

Both judges had previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a deal that called for 87 month prison terms. But a federal judge rejected that, saying the duo had not fully admitted wrongdoing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

To read full story click here.