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Madoff’s Accountant Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Cooperate

money-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The potential to snare more bad guys in the Bernie Madoff scam is growing.

Madoff’s accountant David Friehling pleaded guilty in New York on Tuesday  to nine criminal charges, and has agreed to cooperate with the feds. That could mean more indictments.

Friehling told U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein that he failed to conduct meaningful audits of Madoff’s business from 1991 through 2008, USA Today reported. His sentencing is set for Feb. 26.

“I appear before your honor today to take responsibility for my conduct,” said Friehling, who insisted he didn’t know about the scam and lost his own and his family’s life savings to Madoff, USA Today reported. “I am truly sorry for the suffering of all the victims.”

USA Today reported that “he may qualify for leniency based on what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called his agreement to ‘assist us in holding others accountable for their involvement in Madoff’s epic fraud'”.

He pleaded guilty to securities fraud, investment adviser fraud and making false filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Calif. Man Who Pointed Lasers at Pilots Gets 2 1/2 Years

Jet

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Dana Christian Welch: Next time play a Nintendo game instead.

Welch, 38, of Orange County, Calif., was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to 2 1/2 years in prison  for aiming a handheld laser at two Boeing commercial jets preparing to land at John Wayne Airport in Los Angles on the night of May 21, 2008, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorneys Office said he was first person in the nation to be convicted at trial for interfering with aircraft pilots. The rest pleaded guilty.

The first incident involved a United Airlines jet carrying more than 180 people. Welch pointed a green laser beam in the cockpit, causing the pilot to experience “flash blindness.”

In the second incident, which involved an Alaska Airlines plane carrying more than 80 people, Welch shined the laser into the cockpit, “causing one pilot to duck under a glare shield extending from the dashboard in the cockpit and the other pilot to delay a critical turn necessary to land the plane,” a press release said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judge Says Mich. Man Can Sue Store he Robbed (AP)

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christopher Christie Wins New Jersey Governor’s Seat

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, the Republican challenger who had vowed to clean up public corruption, defeated the Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine for the New Jersey governor’s seat on Tuesday.

Chrisite defeated Corzine in a hard fought race full of mudslinging, and in a contest many saw as a referendum on the Obama administration.

Christie, a Bush appointee, stepped down as U.S. Attorney of Newark last December to launch his bid for governor.

Potential Scandal Brewing at FBI D.C. Field Office Over Test

D.C. Field Office

D.C. Field Office/ gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A potential scandal may be brewing over at the FBI’s Washington field office, one of the largest and most prominent FBI field offices in the nation.

An internal investigation has been launched into allegations that some high ranking agents worked on an online test together instead of individually, an apparent violation of department policy, sources familiar with the situation said. A bureau lawyer was also rumored to have been involved.

The test was on  the bureau’s Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide (DIOG), and is given to all FBI agents including FBI Director Robert Mueller III and to some support staff on the operational side.

The test is an open book exam, but can be time consuming and requires that it be done individually.

The DIOG, according to the FBI website “establishes the FBI’s internal rules and procedures to implement the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (AGG-Dom), which are posted on the Department of Justice’s website, www.usdoj.gov.

“These rules, which will be audited and enforced through a rigorous compliance mechanism, are designed to ensure that FBI assessments and investigations are subject to responsible review and approval and do not target anyone or any group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or the exercise of any other right guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Michael Kortan,  the FBI’s chief  spokesman, declined comment.

The FBI, like other federal law enforcement agencies,  has historically refrained from commenting on ongoing personnel matters.

NJ FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Submitting $41,000 in Fraudulent Expenses

fbi-logo3By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Under the category of “Bad Career Moves” comes New Jersey FBI agent Jeff B. Shim, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington to filing more than $41,000 in fraudulent expenses while he was temporarily posted at FBI headquarters, the AP reported.

According to a criminal information filed last month, Shim claimed to be renting a room in Beltsville, Md., while on temporary assignment in Washington, when in fact he was living in a home in Olney, Md., that he and his wife owned.

He submitted phony rental agreements to get reimbursements of more than $41,000 in rent that he never paid.

He has resigned, the AP reported. Sentencing is set for Feb. 5.

Read Criminal Information

FBI and ATF Join Hunt for Cop Killer in Seattle

seattle-police-shieldBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF have joined the hunt for the  killer of Seattle cop Tim Brenton, who was gunned down while sitting in his cruiser Saturday night, King5 TV reported.

Authorities said they believe the killing was well planned, but officer Tim Brenton and his partner Britt Sweeney were random targets, the Seattle TV station reported. A bullet grazed her back.

The tv station reported that the gunman pulled up to the cruiser,  and opened fire. To read more click here.

Fla. Judge Recommends that Major Charge Against Ex-Head of Miami DEA be Dropped

dea_color_logo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tom Raffanello, the former head of the DEA in Miami, who  most recently served as the head of security for suspected financial scammer Allen Stanford, could get a little break in his criminal case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Rosenbaum in Miami has recommended that one of the major charges against him be dropped, specifically one that says  he interfered with a federal probe of Allen Stanford’s company by ordering the destruction of reams of company documents, the Miami Herald reported.

Raffanello is charged with destroying the documents after the feds shut down Stanford’s financial empire. Stanford is currently in prison.

The Herald reported that the magistrate said the government failed to show he interferred with the Security Exchange Commission probe. The magistrate did not recommend dismissal of the entire case, saying the government could show he did destroy records during the probe.

Convicted Ex-Rep. Jefferson Wants to Keep Worldly Posssesions Including Wedding Rings and Gun

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted ex-Congressman William Jefferson may be facing some serious prison time, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to keep some of his worldly possessions including his and his wife’s wedding rings and a gun, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reports that Jefferson is scheduled on Dec. 9 to appear in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Orleans to argue to keep some possessions.

Will Jefferson, 62, be in prison by Dec. 9? Who knows. But it’s not likely. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in Alexandria, Va. on Nov. 13 after being convicted on 11 of 16 corruption charges, and it’s likely that the judge will give him a little bit of time to report to prison.

Jefferson is likely to get at least 10 to 12 years in prison, though it could be a lot more. The guidelines call for a sentence that exceeds 20 years. To read more about his bankruptcy click here.