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Feds Coming Down on Online Gambling

The popularity of online gambling has certainly caught the eyes of the feds considering it’s illegal in the U.S. Investigative reporter Van Smith takes a look at what the feds are doing about it.

istock photo/ticklethewire.com

istock photo/ticklethewire.com

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — On Dec. 21, 2006, someone in Maryland opened an account with bodog.com, an online gaming site whose customers bet on sports and horse-racing and play poker and casino games on their computers.

The same day, that same someone placed two online bets on football games with Bodog. Over the course of 2007, after more wagering, the online gambler requested and received two payout checks from Bodog: one for $1,500 and another for $700.

Mundane as they may seem, the Maryland gambler’s wagers and payouts have had major repercussions in the online-gambling world. That’s because, starting in 2008, the details of that person’s online betting activities were included in meticulous affidavits supporting warrants to seize the contents of bank accounts said to be tied to illegal gambling.

The Maryland gambler was actually a special agent working undercover for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division.

Under U.S. law, facilitating transactions tied to online gambling is illegal. Yet, due to the immense popularity among Americans of wagering over the internet, the overseas companies that provide this kind of entertainment continue to seek ways to do business with U.S. customers.

To read more click here.

Automaker Daimler to Pay $185 Mil in Fines for Bribing Foreign Officials in at Least 22 Countries

Mercedes_logo
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — German carmaker Daimler has apparently been up to no good.

The New York Times, attributing information to “a person familiar with the case”, reports that Daimler will pay $185 million in fines and and two of its subsidiaries “will plead guilty to bribing foreign government officials, to settle a multiyear corruption investigation.”

The Justice Department, in documents released Tuesday, accused Daimler of bribing foreign officials “in at least 22 countries, including Russia and China, between 1998 and 2008,” the Times reported.

The New York Times reported that the government alleged that the company ”made hundreds of improper payments worth tens of millions of dollars to foreign officials” in return for assistance ”in securing contracts with government customers for the purchase of Daimler vehicles worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Consequently, the company pocketed at least $50 million in profits from the schemes, the Times reported.

For Full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Slugger Jose Conseco Tweets About Fed Grand Jury Subpoena

Jose Conseco/abc news

Jose Conseco/abc news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

What better way to announce that you’re going before a grand jury than to tweet it to the world.

Ex-baseball slugger Jose Conseco did just that on Tuesday when he announced on Twitter that he had been subpoenaed by a grand jury looking into whether baseball star Roger Clemens lied to Congress about taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs, the Associated Press reported.

The AP wrote that Conseco posted on Twitter that he had received a grand jury subpoena “about roger clemens,andrew pettite and others” on April 8.

“Its like the godfather,” Canseco wrote on Twitter, according to the AP, “when I thought I was out they drag me back in. And now it begins again.”

U.S. Atty’s Office Wants NBA Star Gilbert Arenas to Do Time

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Suspended Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas may get to practice his basketball skills with a bunch of inmates if the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office has its way.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a sentencing memorandum Tuesday recommending that Arenas get 3 months in jail and 300 hours of community service, saying he has “shown little genuine remorse” and that he “feigns ignorance of the law” in his case in which he brought four guns to the Verizon Center locker room  in the Chinatown district in Northwest Washington. Sentencing is set for Friday in D.C. Superior Court, the city’s criminal court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh wrote in the memo that Arenas tried to cover up his confrontation with the guns and teammate Javaris Crittenton and made up different stories about why he had brought guns to work.

In very pointed language, Kavanaugh  wrote:

“If any other individual — without the fame, power, and the wealth of this defendant — brought four firearms into Washington D.C. for the purpose of a similar confrontation, fabricated a story to conceal that confrontation, provided convenient explanations in an attempt to mitigate his conduct that were proved false, joked about the incident to large groups, and stated that he did nothing wrong and felt no remorse, the government would seek their incarceration, and the Court would almost certainly give it. The defendant, although famous, powerful, and wealthy, should be treated no differently.”

Read the sentencing memorandum

Baltimore Cop on DEA Task Force Charged in Scheme to Get Informant Money; Also Charged With Pocketing Some Himself

baltimoreBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Baltimore police detective on a DEA Task Force was charged Tuesday with fraudulently arranging for an informant to get more than $10,000 in payoffs he didn’t deserve,  the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.  The cop is also charged with pocketing some of that money.

Detective Mark J. Lunsford, 29, of Sykesville, Md, was charged in one instance of lying in 2008 by saying that  the informant provided him a phone number of a drug suspect when in fact another informant had provided it. Ultimately, investigators got a wiretap for that number.

Following the wiretap investigation, authorities charged that Lunsford exaggerated the help his informant provided in the case so that the informant could get a $10,000 award.  Authorities also charged that Lunsford, with the okay of the informant, kept some of the award money himself.

In another instance, in 2009,  Lunsford falsely claimed that the informant provided information which led to the arrest of another suspect and the seizure of the suspect’s $17,490.  Lunsford allegedly submitted a false claim to DEA for the source to receive an award equal to 20 percent of the cash seizure, or $3,498.

He is also charged with stealing a rose-colored, stainless steel “Aqua Master” diamond watch worth more than $1,000 from a an investigation.

Ex-Acting Boss Daniel Leo “The Lion” of Genovese Crime Family Gets 18 Months

Daniel Leo "The Lion"

Daniel Leo "The Lion"

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ex-acting Boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family Daniel Leo “The Lion” was sentenced Tuesday in New York to 18 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.3 million in illegal proceeds.

Leo pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy and participation in the affairs of the Genovese Organized Crime Family through a pattern of racketeering activity, including loansharking and illegal gambling offenses, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

His sentence is to run consecutively to his 60-month sentence resulting from a  conviction in Manhattan federal court on extortion charges in October 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Read Press Release

Secret Service Paid Big-Time Hacker $75,000 a Year As Informant, Website Reports

cash2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service was paying big-time hacker Albert Gonzalez $75,000 a year as an informant before he was arrested in 2008 for operating a multi-million dollar credit and debit card hacking operation, the website WIRED reported.

WIRED attributed the information to Gonzalez’s best friend and convicted accomplice Stephen Watt. Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Boston.

The website said “Watt pleaded guilty last year to creating a sniffer program that Gonzalez used to siphon millions of credit and debit card numbers from the TJX corporate network while he was working undercover for the government.”

The Secret Service declined comment, WIRED reported.

“It’s a significant amount of money to pay an informant but it’s not an outrageous amount to pay if the guy was working full time and delivering good results,” former federal prosecutor Mark Rasch told WIRED. “It’s probably the only thing he was doing — other than hacking into TJX and making millions of dollars.”

To Read more click here.

Ex-Homeland Security Official Convicted in Boston in Illegal Immigration Case

boston-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
tickletheiwire.com

A Boston federal jury on Monday convicted a former high ranking Homeland Security official in New England of encouraging her illegal immigrant housekeeper to stay in the country, the Boston Globe reported.

Lorraine Henderson, 52, Boston’s port director for Customs and Border Protection, who testified last week that she had done nothing wrong, was surprised by the verdict, the Globe reported.

“I’m stunned,” she said, according to the paper. Her attorney, Francis J. DiMento, added: “I’m sick.”

Henderson had earned $140,000 a year at her government job.

To read more click here.