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Tag: FBI

Ex-Trump Aide Carter Page Files Lawsuit Against FBI, DOJ, Claiming ‘Unlawful Spying’

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

Carter Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, filed a federal lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department, claiming he was the victim of “unlawful spying.”

The lawsuit filed in Washington’s federal court alleges multiple violations of Page’s “Constitutional and other legal rights in connection with unlawful surveillance ad investigation of him by the United State Government,” USA Today reports

Page was subjected to secret surveillance during the FBI’s Russia investigation. 

Among the claims are that the FBI eavesdropped on Page based on a series of “false and misleading” information in the applications through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

In a report last year, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found at least 17 errors in Page’s FISA application, but concluded the FBI was justified in opening the investigation. 

The lawsuit also alleges the FBI relied excessively on former British spy Christopher Steele for information and failed to inform the surveillance court that information had come from Steele. 

The lawsuit also names as defendants former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Feds Bust Tony Meatballs And 14 Other Alleged Mafia Members from Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling

Fifteen alleged members and associates of a Philadelphia mob crime family were indicted on charges ranging from racketeering and extortion to gambling and drug trafficking, the Justice Department announced Monday. 

Federal authorities allege the criminal organization, La Cosa Nostra, “sought to use its reputation and influence to exercise control over criminal rackets, like bookmaking and loansharking in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, particularly Atlantic City.”

Among those arrested were Anthony “Tony Meatballs” Gigoli, 72; Joseph “Joey Electric” Servidio, 60; and the alleged underboss Steven “Stevie” Mazzone.  

“The Philadelphia mob isn’t what it used to be, and thank God for that,” U.S. Attorney Anthony McSwain said in a statement. “But it is still a problem and is still allegedly committing serious federal crimes, which is why we at the Department of Justice are focused on stamping it out. We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory.”

The case was handled by the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General .

FBI Arrests Man Accused of Crashing Drone into LAPD Helicopter, Forcing Emergency Landing

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents arrested a 22-year-old Hollywood man accused of recklessly operating a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter and forced it to make an emergency landing. 

Andrew Rene Hernandez was charged last week with a misdemeanor charge of operating an unmanned aircraft, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. 

The LAPD chopper was providing air support on Sept. 18 while officers responded to a burglary call at a pharmacy in Hollywood. 

“As the helicopter approached the pharmacy, the pilot saw the drone and attempted to evade the unmanned aircraft,” the Justice Department said in a news release. “Despite the evasive efforts, the drone stuck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to initiate an emergency landing. The drone damaged the helicopter’s nose, antenna and bottom cowlings.”

According to the complaint, the collision could have been deadly.

“If the drone had struck the helicopter’s main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down,” the complaint reads. 

‘Nazi-Obsessed’ Man Sentenced to 32 Years in Prison on Firearms, Ammunition Charges

Dennis Alan Riggs’ Nazi memorabilia. Photo via Suffolk County Police Department.

By Steve Neavling

A Pittsburgh man who the FBI said is “obsessed” with Nazis was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Dennis Alan Riggs, 51, pleaded guilty in May after the terrorism task force raided his home in January and found it riddled with Nazi memorabilia, the FBI said in a news release.

He was in possession of seven firearms and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, including an AR-15. 

The search of his home and cell phone uncovered his “obsession with Nazi ideology,” the FBI said. On his cell phone were photos and videos of him posing with an illegal AR-15 while wearing a Swastika shirt. One video shows him performing the Nazi “Heil Hitler salute” with the AR-15, which U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Colville said “exceeds the bounds of mere political expression.”

The FBI led the investigation.

FBI Investigating Texas AG Ken Paxton Over Allegations of Bribery, Other Crimes

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on allegations that he used his office to help a wealthy donor.

Former members of Paxton’s staff say he used his office to commit bribery and other crimes to benefit Austin real estate developer Nate Paul in several ways, The Associated Press first reported.

Paxton has been dogged with allegations of wrongdoing since his top deputies, who have since resigned or been fired, tipped off federal authorities about actions they allege are illegal. Four aides have been fired, prompting a whistleblower lawsuit against Paxton, a second-term Republican who has denied wrongdoing.

“After reviewing the claims made by former employees of this office, their allegations are overblown, based upon assumptions, and to a large degree misrepresent the facts,” Paxton said in a statement. “Unfortunately these attorneys chose to air their grievances through the media and through the courts, rather than established and objective internal processes.”

Among the allegations are that Paxton ordered his office to hire an outside lawyer to pursue Paul’s claims about an improper search of his home and office last year. 

Ponzi Scheme Suspect Tries to Evade FBI Using Underwater ‘Seascooter’

The Seascooter found by authorities following the chase. Photo via court records.

By Steve Neavling

A Ponzi scheme suspect led FBI agents on a wild chase that ended in the frigid waters of a remote lake in Northern California. 

When agents tried to arrest Matthew Piercey, 44, near Redding on Monday morning, he fled in a car and headed up Interstate 5 before reaching Lake Shasta, a large reservoir north of Redding. Then Piercey swam into the lake with an underwater submersible device called a “Seascooter” and “spent some time out of sight underwater where law enforcement could only see bubbles,” federal officials said in court documents.

“He remained in the frigid water for approximately 25 minutes,” the complaint reads. 

When Piercey reemerged, authorities arrested him. 

 Piercey and his business partner Kenneth Winton were indicted by a grand jury last week. Piercey is accused of bilking investors out of $35 million between July 2015 and August. Authorities say he preyed on a megachurch where he was a member. 

Piercey faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

FBI Task Force Captures Fugitive on the Run for Nearly 50 Years

Leonard Rayne Moses.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI’s Detroit Fugitive Task Force tracked down and arrested a man who had been on the run for nearly 50 years after escaping custody in Pennsylvania. 

Leonard Rayne Moses, now 71, was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder when he fled during his grandmother’s funeral in Pittsburgh, Pa., on June 1, 1971. 

During the 1968 Pittsburgh riots in the wake of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Moses and four friends tossed Molotov cocktail into a home in Pittsburgh, severely burning 72-year-old Mary Amplo, who died three months later. 

At the time, Moses was 15. He was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17. 

While on the run, Moses assumed the identity of Paul Dickson and until at least 1999 he was a traveling pharmacist in Michigan. 

“I hope this arrest brings some closure to the family members of Mary Amplo, who was killed back in 1968,” FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman said in a statement. “Mr. Moses will now have to face justice for her murder. Through coordination with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office and our partners in Michigan, we were able to identify Mr. Moses using the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system. It’s these new advances in technology that the FBI must continue to identify and use to make sure those who commit crimes are brought to justice.”

Georgia Man Charged with Shining Laser at Commercial Aircraft

By Steve Neavling

A 48-year-old Georgia man has been indicted on federal charges after the FBI said he shined a laser pointer at three commercial airplanes headed to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. 

A federal grand jury indicted Roger Floyd Hendricks, of Rincon, on three counts of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. He faces up to five years in prison on each count.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is not a prank; it’s incredibly dangerous and stupid,” Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said in a statement. “The FBI did an outstanding job of locating and stopping this threat to hundreds of Savannah air travelers.”

The Federal Aviation Administration in February asked the FBI for help tracking down whoever was responsible for three green laser strikes on inbound aircraft. 

The strikes included:

  • A Nov. 27, strike on Commutair flight 4935 from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The aircraft, an Embraer ERJ-145, has a capacity of more than 50 passengers and crew.
  • A Dec. 8  strike on Delta flight 697 from Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The aircraft, an Airbus A321, has a capacity of up to nearly 200 passengers and crew.
  • A Jan. 14 strike on NetJets flight 385 from Chicago Midway International Airport. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation Sovereign, has a capacity of eight passengers plus crew. 

Each plane landed safely. 

Nationwide, there have been more than than 6,000 laser strikes on aircraft in the U.S., according to the FAA.

“Aiming a laser at an airplane is not a game, it’s a federal felony and something the FBI takes very seriously,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI’s Atlanta Field Office, said. “These alleged actions placed the lives of innocent air travelers and commercial airline crews in danger and must be prosecuted.”