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Tag: Florida

Fla. Man Opens Fire on Fake FBI Agents Trying to Break in Home

cooper city flaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Fake FBI Agents: Beware of gunslingers.

Earlier this week, a homeowner opened fire on two men posing as FBI agents who were trying to break into his Cooper City, Fla., home, stations WPLG reported. A third man posing as an FBI agent acted as a look out. The men fled and no one appeared to have been hit.

The station reported that three men were clad in baseball hats and T-shirts with the letters FBI on the back.

The men pulled up to the house in a sport utility vehicle around 4 a.m. Monday and two got out, the station reported.

A video shows the men trying to pry open the front door, then the front window when gunfire erupts. They immediately run to the car and take off.

The station reported that homeowner Malcolm Pena, 35, opened fire with his .40-caliber pistol after seeing what was happening.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdA_5r_Gu-A

Hundreds of FBI, DEA and ICE Agents Fall Victim to Ponzi Scheme

thief

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — FBI agents are supposed to unearth scams, not become victims of them. This time is different.

Some 300 retired and current federal agents — representing the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — collectively invested tens of millions of dollars of retirement money in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme allegedly run by a Florida man who committed suicide last month, an attorney in the case said.

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating and trying to recover funds.

“There are definitely [agents] who have lost their life savings,” Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Goldberg, who is representing the victims, told AOL News.

The reaction of the agents? “Pretty much what you expect,” Goldberg said. “Shock and anger.”

Behind it all, authorities said, was a self-described retirement investment adviser named Kenneth Wayne McLeod, 48. For years McLeod served as a trusted adviser to federal agents around the country, making free financial projections for retirement and in some cases offering high-yield returns of 8 to 10 percent on certain investments, according to an SEC filing in the case.

On June 22, McLeod was found dead in Jacksonville, Fla., of a gunshot wound.

His Florida-based companies, Federal Employee Benefits Group Inc. and F&S Asset Management Group Inc., appear to have been shut down and all assets frozen, authorities said. Calls to both numbers went unanswered this afternoon and the voice mails were full.

McLeod allegedly mentioned to prospective clients the names of many federal agents he knew, including straitlaced FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, according to the website Gang Land News, which reported on the story today.

“[McLeod] would tell people that Bob Mueller was a friend of his,” a retired FBI agent told Gang Land News. “The guy was a real charmer. He would say that he and Bob were best of friends and that Bob and his wife used to stay at his place all the time. The worst thing about this is that this creep scammed hard-working GS-13s and GS-14s [federal employees].”

Mueller did in fact rent vacation properties in Amelia Island, Fla., for several years, Gang Land News reported. But Michael Kortan, the chief FBI spokesman, said in a statement that even if McLeod had owned one of those properties, Mueller had no idea who he was renting from.

“The director had no personal or professional relationship with Mr. McLeod, nor did he engage in any financial dealings of any kind with him,” Kortan stated.

According to the SEC, McLeod for years put on retirement seminars that federal agencies paid as much as $15,000 for. He offered some investments with such companies as Fidelity, which the FBI said appeared to be safe. But others investments appeared to be fraudulent.

In many instances, he offered high returns — 8 to 10 percent — through bonds.

“The security of the government bonds was a key element of McLeod’s deception but he never purchased any bonds,” the SEC said in a statement on June 25. “Instead, he used the investors’ retirement savings to conduct a Ponzi scheme, to pay himself and to pay for lavish entertainment, including annual trips to the Super Bowl for himself and 40 friends.”

FBI special agent Jeff Westcott of the Jacksonville, Fla., office, which is investigating the matter, told AOL News that McLeod had “an air of credibility.”

The irony and embarrassment of the case are clear to many agents around the country. And at the SEC, the unusual set of circumstances is not lost on officials.

Glenn Gordon, SEC associate regional director for the Miami Regional Office, said, “I am not aware personally of another case where this was the target audience.”

Book Publisher Claims Convicted ex-NBA Ref Invoked Name of Gambino Crime Family in Tiff Over Money

bookcoverfrontBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Florida book publisher for convicted ex-NBA ref Tim Donaghy claims the ref has threatened to hurt somebody if he doesn’t get money for his book, and has even invoked the name of the Gambino crime family to show he’s serious, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The tiff came to light this week when his book publisher VTi-Media of Florida severed ties with Donaghy “due to safety concerns”, the paper reported. In December, the firm published his popular book “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA.”

“We’ve had to lock our office doors and get escorted to our cars,” Shawna Vercher, chief executive of VTi told the Daily News.

Vercher told the Daily News that Donaghy had been threatening company employees and book vendors and demanding money for the book.

“One thing he said in particular is that, ‘You know I have associates in the Gambino crime family and they are active in this part of the state,’ ” Vercher told the Daily news. “This stuff has gotten really ugly, really quickly.”

Donaghy, who served a little over a year in federal prison on wire-fraud and gambling charges for betting on NBA games, called the allegations nonsense and said he only wanted to know how many books had been sold and where the doe is, the Daily News reported.

“Absolutely not, there’s nothing to that at all,” he said of the allegations. “It came down to the fact that I asked for the accounting, which I’m allowed to do per my contract with them, and they didn’t provide me with the accounting . . . It just went downhill quick, and all I wanted to know was how much money was in the bank and to see the statements.”

Vercher told the paper that the money is in a holding account, and the company will tally profits by July — the deadline vendors have to  return unsold books.

She added: “We have to send [the profits] to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and not him directly.”

To read more click here.

Fla. Prosecutor Tries To Derail Ex-Boss’s Chance For U.S. Atty. Post

Harry Shorstein/law firm photo

Harry Shorstein/law firm photo

Simply put: politics ain’t pretty.  The current state attorney Angela Corey is trying to derail her ex-boss’s bid to be U.S. Attorney. Corey has apparently written Florida’s two senators discouraging the appointment of ex-boss Harry Shorstein, who once fired her when he  was state attorney.  Shorstein is one of three candidates being considered for the job.

By Paul Pinkham
Florida Times-Union
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A year after her landslide election victory, State Attorney Angela Corey and many of her employees still appear preoccupied with her predecessor and his administration, interviews and interoffice e-mails suggest.

In June, Corey’s chief assistant sent an e-mail urging key office employees to avoid long conversations with former State Attorney Harry Shorstein at the Duval County Courthouse because they might appear disloyal to Corey. The e-mail noted Shorstein fired Corey two years ago and appeared in a commercial opposing her election.

Two days later, after The Times-Union reported Shorstein was seeking appointment as U.S. attorney, Chief Assistant State Attorney Dan McCarthy circulated another e-mail listing negative remarks from readers about Shorstein on the newspaper’s Internet site.

For Full Story

Shorstein Campaigned Against Angela Corey in 2008

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMqMiycykQA

Ex-Fla Judge Pleads Guilty to Fed Charges of Bank Fraud Involving Home he Bought With Stripper

As a judge, one of the words you probably don’t want associated with your legacy is “stripper”, or for that matter “fraud”. Unfortunately, for Fla. Appeals Court Judge Thomas Stringer, those words will forever stick with him.

Judge Thomas Striner Sr.

Judge Thomas Stringer Sr.

By Colleen Jenkins
St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA – Former appeals Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr. has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bank fraud charge that arose from a Hawaii home he bought with a stripper.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Stringer on Thursday with fraudulently obtaining a $350,000 mortgage for the residence.

Stringer, who resigned from the 2nd District Court of Appeal in February amid questions about his financial dealings, admitted in a plea agreement that he lied on the loan application.

For Full Story

Miami-Dade County DEA Office Moves to Upscale Burbs

weston-fla-map

Some say the move is a wise one, but others say the location is too far removed from prisons and courts and reality.

By Vanessa Blum
South Florida Sun Sentinel
WESTON, Fla. – There’s a newcomer to Weston–one that’s moved in this month with an arsenal of weaponry, stocks of illegal narcotics and plenty of accommodations for drug traffickers.

This upscale Broward community, a tidy suburban scape of palm-lined thoroughfares, corporate campuses, and gated residential enclaves, has a surprising new resident– the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

After three decades in Miami-Dade County, the venerable drug-fighting agency has been evicted from its Doral headquarters, which is being converted to a city center.

Like many real estate decisions, the relocation is driven by practical considerations like affordable rent, sufficient parking and easy access to South Florida’s highways.

But the federal agency’s move north also mirrors the new geography of South Florida’s drug trade–a map that is no longer Miami-centric but has spread to the suburbs of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

For Full Story

Madoff May be Gone But Scammers Still Abound

handcuffedBernie Madoff may have had the most infamous Ponzi scheme of all time (short of Charles Ponzi), but there are still investors out there getting bilked of their retirement savings and other funds by scammers. First, we have Ponzi schemer Donald Manning sentenced to over 5 years in prison for taking $4.5 million in cash from retirees. Then we have Eric Hauser, former head securities trader and founder of the Lancer Group, manipulating stock values to the tune of $200 million in investor losses. Kudos to the prsoecutors  in these two – this is the last thing our economy needs right now.


By Mike Allen
San Diego Business Journal
Donald Manning, a former president of an investment firm that bilked some $4.5 million from retirees including members of Manning’s family, was sentenced April 15 to 63 months in federal prison by federal Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz, federal prosecutors said.

Manning, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges Jan. 16 in the case that involved two other defendants, Joseph Wayne McCool and Cameron Campbell.

For Full Story

South Florida Business Journal

A former head securities trader pleaded guilty on Tuesday (April 28)  in Miami to charges he participated in a scheme to manipulate trading of stocks owned by the Lancer Group hedge funds.

Investors are estimated to have lost $200 million.

Eric Hauser, 65, was founder and primary manager of the Lancer Group.

It was alleged that, between 1999 and 2003, Lauer and others manipulated the closing market price of thinly traded shell company securities to falsely inflate the value of the Lancer Group hedge funds.

For Full Story

Gambino Family Mobster in Fla. Sentenced to 9 Years

Even the New York mob likes a little sunshine and a good early bird special. But Gambino mobster Vincent Artuso, 64,  is going off to a place where most people would rather not retire.

By The Associated Press
MIAMI — A captain of the Gambino crime family’s South Florida operations, who prosecutors say has been linked to an infamous hit that led to John Gotti’s rise to power, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in federal prison in a major real estate fraud case.
U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks imposed the sentence on Vincent Artuso, 64, following his conviction in October on 41 fraud and racketeering charges involving a lengthy scam against ADT Security Services Inc. The scheme involved several crooked real estate deals that cost ADT, which is part of Tyco International Ltd., at least $11 million and possibly much more, prosecutors said.
For Full Story