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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

FBI’s Stu McArthur Leaves the Mothership to Head Springfield, Ill. Office

Stu McArthur
Stu McArthur

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Stu McArthur, an Inspector in the FBI Inspection Division at headquarters, is leaving the mothership to head up the Springfield, Ill. office as special agent in charge.

He replaces Karen Spangenberg, who was recently named deputy assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division.

McArthur started his FBI career in 1990 and was first assigned to the New York office where he worked on a drug enforcement task force with the N.Y. police department investigating Colombian drug cartels.

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Prosecutor in Madoff Probe Removes Himself Over Conflict of Interest

It doesn’t take much to bump into a conflict of interest in the federal justice system.  Prosecutor Richard Zabel and his office did the smart thing by declaring the conflict of interest. End of story. Or at least it should be.

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff


Just days after being appointed, the new chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan, Richard Zabel, has taken himself off the biggest case his office is handling, the investigation of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, because his father represents one of the potential targets.

“He has recused himself from any involvement in the Madoff case,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office, Rebekah Carmichael, told Friday. Zabel’s appointment was announced Tuesday. The spokeswoman declined to provide any details about who would oversee and supervise the Madoff investigation.

For Full Story

FBI Top 10 Fugitive Caught in Mexico

Jorge Alberto Lopez Orozco/fbi photo
Jorge Alberto Lopez Orozco/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — A triple-murder suspect who has been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List since 2005 along with such notables as Osama bin laden, has been captured in Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

Mexican federal police caught Jorge Alberto Lopez Orozco in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, the AP reported, attributing Thursday’s announcement to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office. He was being held on an American extradition request.

Lopez Orozco, 33, is charged in the  2002 murders of Rebecca Ramirez, who he had been dating on and off, and her sons, ages 2 and 4, in Elmore County, Idaho, according to the FBI and AP. The three had been shot and their charred remains were found in a burned out car.

Texas Republican Sen. Cornyn Vows to Block U.S. Atty Pick if He Doesn’t Get His Way

As I’ve said many times, there has to be a way to tone down the politics in the selection of U.S. Attorneys. The mess during the Bush years should have been enough to spark some type of reform, and put in place some safeguards to make sure no one is removed for political reasons. Apparently it’s going to take more. Here’s the latest spat down Texas between the Dems and Republicans.

Sen John Cornyn/official photo
Sen John Cornyn/official photo

The Dallas Morning News

Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday that he would block anyone except Sarah Saldana as the next U.S. attorney for North Texas, setting in motion a showdown with Democrats who have other contenders in mind.

Saldana, an assistant U.S. Attorney who leads the fraud and public corruption division in the Dallas-based Northern District, was picked by Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison after they interviewed a string of candidates. Saldana and others were also evaluated by a bipartisan committee of legal experts appointed by the Republican senators, Cornyn said.

“It’s the president’s prerogative to nominate anybody he wants,” Cornyn said. “But it’s the prerogative of the Senate to decide whether those individuals will be confirmed.”

For Full Story


Head of FBI’s Las Vegas Office Steve Martinez is Off to Head L.A. Division

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Steven M. Martinez, the head of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division, moves further west where he’ll take over the FBI’s Los Angeles office. He replaces Salvador Martinez, who retired.

“Steve’s breadth of experience in his nearly 23 years of service to the FBI makes him well-suited for this role,” FBI Director Robert Mueller III said in a prepared statement. “After serving as special agent in charge of the Las Vegas Division for more than four years, his leadership will be an asset to the Los Angeles Division, one of the FBI’s largest offices.”

Martinez joined the FBI in 1987 and worked in Phoenix, the Washington field division and El Paso investigating drug and violent crimes cases, the FBI said.

Martinez also worked as an assistant special agent in charge in Los Angeles Division.

He was the FBI’s first on-scene commander at Central Command in Doha, Qatar and in Baghdad “during the staging and commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom”, the FBI said.

In 2003, he was assigned to the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters and in 2006, he was named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Las Vegas office.

Read Press Release

Former Teen Who Was Busted In Online Stock Trading Scam is Busted Again


This guy is obviously very smart. But not smart enough to evade the law TWICE.

By Kevin Poulsen

A former teenage hacker who once served prison time for an online stock-trading scheme pleaded guilty last week to new charges of cracking a New York-based currency exchange service and gifting himself more than $100,000.

On Sept. 29, Van T. Dinh, now 25, confessed to computer fraud and identity theft in federal court in Manhattan.

Dinh, who lives in Pennsylvania, gained notoriety in 2003, when, as a 19-year-old stock trader, he found a novel way to unload a bad investment in thousands of worthless stock derivatives: He hacked into another trader’s account, and bought the options from his own account.

The gambit made Dinh the first person charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a fraud involving both computer hacking and identity theft. He was sentenced in 2004 to 13 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

For Full Story

Man in D.C. Taxi Cab Industry Talked to Undercover FBI Agent About Killing Informant

It’s never a good thing when you talk about murdering an informant and the person you’re talking to happens to be an undercover FBI agent. Short of an insanity plea, you’re in big big trouble.


By Del Wilber
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — One of the members of the taxi industry charged in a far-reaching bribery investigation in the District threatened to kill a confidential informant and asked another informant to destroy evidence, according to court papers released Wednesday.

The papers say Yitbarek Syume met with an undercover FBI agent and an informant the day after the top aide to a prominent D.C. Council member was arrested last month on bribery charges.

The three men discussed the high-profile arrest and how to avoid detection of their scheme, which funneled more than $300,000 to a D.C. government official, prosecutors wrote in court papers, citing a surreptitious recording of the meeting.

For Full Story

FBI Had Problems Tracking Suspected Terrorist in Texas

In the wake of the arrests of some suspected terrorists, we’re now learning of the difficulties the FBI had tracking  them. In New York, the counterterrorism task force apparently lost suspect Najibullah Zazi on the NY subway for a brief time. And now we see here the difficulties the FBI had tracking Hosam “Sam” Smadi.


Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
FT. WORTH, Tex. — The FBI had Hosam “Sam” Smadi under surveillance in the months before the Jordanian national was accused of trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper, according to newly released court documents.

But tracking him wasn’ t without its problems, according to a search warrant affidavit.

Agents twice placed a tracking device on Smadi s 1991 Honda Accord. Because of the car s age and condition, the device fell off each time, the affidavit states. On the third try, agents secured the tracker with a different attachment in hopes that it would hold.

Because the tracker was unreliable, agents went to a judge in September and got permission to track Smadi s cellphone, which was in the name of Kellye Kines.

For Full Story