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Calif. Woman Gets 7 Years in Huge TV Auction Art Scam

Pablo Picasso probably would not have been flattered.

Pablo Picasso probably would not have been flattered.

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not in the art world — particularly when it means duping unsuspecting collectors.

Kristine Eubanks, 52, of La Canada, Calif., was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to seven years in prison for selling through a televised auction fake art by such legends as Picasso, Dali and Chagall, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess, during sentencing, called the multimillion-dollar fraud scheme “audacious in its scope” and “blatantly illegal.”

Kristine Eubanks, 52, is serving time for what a judge called an “audacious” scheme to sell forged pieces of art like this fake Marc Chagall painting.

Authorities charged that the scam was run through a company called Fine Art Treasures Gallery, which operated an art auction on Friday and Saturday nights on DirectTV and the Dish Network from 2002 to 2006.

To read more click here.

Big Names Like Catherine Zeta-Jones Submit Letters to Fed Judge on Behalf of Actor Mike Douglas’ Son in DEA Case

Letter from Catherine Zeta-Jones

Letter from Catherine Zeta-Jones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted drug dealer Cameron Douglas, son of actor Mike Douglas and grandson of Kirk Douglas, has rounded up plenty star power to try and convince a federal judge to go easy on him at sentencing on April 14 in New York.

Cameron’s grandfather Kirk Doulgas, his step-mother Catherine Zeta-Jones and NBA legend Pat Riley submitted letters to the judge on Cameron’s behalf, asking for leniency. The letters were filed in federal court.

In January, Douglas, 31,  pleaded guilty to selling large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine while staying at Hotel Gansevoort, a trendy Manhattan hotel. He was busted by the DEA.

Letter from Kirk Douglas

Letter from Kirk Douglas

In the court filings,  Zeta-Jones told the sentencing judge Richard M. Berman in a handwritten letter that her stepson had a “disease” with drug abuse and is a “caring, considerate, worthy human being, but never the less, the disease, that for years, he has tried to combat did take over again. What is wrong, is wrong, but may all these positive attributes prevail, so that a facility that he is positioned in will help rehabilitate him.”

Grandfather Kirk Douglas wrote :

“Cameron was always a pleasant guy who cared for others. It was a surprise to me when he got in trouble. It wasn’t a surprise to me to find out that Cameron had natural talent as an actor. I remember when he played a part in the movie with Michael and me. He was a natural. We were so proud.

“I am convinced that Cameron could be a fine actor and a person that cares for others. I hope I can see that happen before I die. I love Cameron.”

Number of Nightmare Stories on “No Fly List” Likely to Rise

The U.S. is expanding the “no fly list” in response to the attempted bombing on Christmas Day to improve security. The downside is there’s likely to be a growing number of nightmare stories like the one Rahinah Ibrahim experienced. Unfortunately, there’s too many already.

noflylist

By Mike McIntire
New York Times

Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford University doctoral student, arrived at San Francisco International Airport with her 14-year-old daughter for a 9 a.m. flight home to Malaysia. She asked for a wheelchair, having recently had a hysterectomy.

Instead, when a ticket agent found her name on the no-fly list, Ms. Ibrahim was handcuffed, searched and jailed amid a flurry of phone calls involving the local police, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. Two hours after her flight left, Ms. Ibrahim was released without explanation. She flew to Malaysia the next day.

But when she tried to return to the United States, she discovered that her visa had been revoked. And when she complained that she did not belong on a terrorist watch list, the government’s response came a year later in a form letter saying only that her case had been reviewed and that any changes warranted had been made.

Every year, thousands of people find themselves caught up in the government’s terrorist screening process. Some are legitimate targets of concern, others are victims of errors in judgment or simple mistaken identity.

Either way, their numbers are likely to rise as the Obama administration recalibrates the standards for identifying potential terrorists, in response to intelligence failures that let a would-be bomber fly to Detroit from Amsterdam last Christmas.

To Read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blago’s Trial Strategy Conflicts With Brother’s

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

They may be brothers, but their attorneys seem to be mapping out conflicting strategies.

Robert Blogojevich, brother of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has filed a motion to keep FBI recordings from airing in their upcoming public corruption trial, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Brother Rod has indicated that he has nothing to hide and wants the jury to hear everything. They are charged with trading favors for campaign money and selling the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

The Tribune reports that the attorney for Robert Blagojevich claims the FBI had no probable cause to make the recordings, and that there had been no indication that Robert traded favors for campaign contributions. Robert ran his brother’s campaign fund in 2008.

“Evidence of Robert Blagojevich soliciting campaign contributions on behalf of his brother, without proof of an explicit quid pro quo, is not remotely criminal, but, rather, exemplifies the American political process,” Robert’s attorney Michael Ettinger wrote, according to the Tribune.

To Read more click here.

Katie Couric: Are Militias Dangerous?

FBI Arrests 64-Year-Old Man in Wash. State For Threatening Senator Over Health Care

Sen. Patty Murray/official photo

Sen. Patty Murray/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 64-year-old man on Tuesday morning at his home outside Yakima, Wash.,  for allegedly threatening Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in response to the health care vote, the FBI said.

Authorities charged in a criminal complaint that Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Wash.,   made a series of threatening calls to the senator’s office in Washington between March 22 and April 4 office, which  included the remarks that Murray “had a target on her back” and “I want to (expletive) kill you.”

“Free speech is the cornerstone of our democratic process, and we are a country of vigorous debate,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg in a statement. “However, threats of violence have no place in that debate. The threats here crossed the line, and violate the law.

Authorities said Wilson allegedly made the calls from a telephone with a blocked number, but subpoenaed phone records show the calls came from his home.

LA Feds Indict 2 Cops for Using Taser Guns on Handcuffed Victims

 
taser
 
 
 
 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities in Los Angeles have indicted one current police officer and a former one with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department with civil rights violations for allegedly using  Taser guns to stun three victims, two of whom were in handcuffs.

Police Officer Anthony Sclafani, 40, and ex-officer David Raymond Henderson, 51, surrendered Tuesday morning at United States District Court in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities charged that Sclafani allegedly used an X26 Taser gun to stun suspects in two incidents in February 2005, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In one incident, the suspect was already handcuffed and in the second incident a female suspect was also sprayed with pepper spray.

Authorities charged Henderson with allegedly using an X26 Taser gun to stun a handcuffed suspect in August 2004, the U.S. Atttorney’s Office said.

Photo by GunNewsDaily.com

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Trial Begins In El Paso for FBI Agent Charged With Illegal Gun Sales and Providing ATF With False Records

gun ruger
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial started Monday in EL PASO for an FBI agent charged with illegally selling about 50 guns for more than $118,000 without a license, the El Paso Times reported.

FBI Agent John Thomas Shipley, 40, faces six counts of selling firearms without a license from 2005 to 2008. The paper reported that he also faces charges of providing the ATF with false sales records.

The paper reported that lawyer, Robert Perez said on opening day that Shipley’s hobby was buying and selling guns. He has been suspended without pay.

To read more click here.