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Tag: Fraud

Ex-DEA Spokesman Pleads Guilty to Posing As CIA Operative in Elaborate $4 Million Fraud Scheme

Garrison Courtney

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former DEA spokesman is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to posing as an undercover CIA operative to defraud government contractors out of more than $4 million.

Garrison Kenneth Courtney, who served as a DEA spokesman between 2005 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old Florida resident posed as a covert CIA officer serving on a highly classified task force, whose mission was to enhance the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government.

No such task force existed, and Courtney had never worked for the CIA, prosecutors said.

“Courtney went to extraordinary lengths to perpetuate the illusion that he was a deep-cover operative. Among other things, he falsely claimed that his identity and large portions of his conduct were classified; directed victims and witnesses to sign fake nondisclosure agreements that purported to be from the United States government and that forbade anyone involved from speaking openly about the supposedly classified program; told victims and witnesses that they were under surveillance by hostile foreign intelligence services; made a show of searching people for electronic devices as part of his supposed counterintelligence methods; demanded that his victims meet in sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) to create the illusion that they were participating in a classified intelligence operation; and repeatedly threatened anyone who questioned his legitimacy with revocation of their security clearance and criminal prosecution if they ‘leaked’ or continued to look into the supposedly classified information,” federal prosecutors said in a news release. “Courtney further created fake letters, purporting to have been issued by the Attorney General of the United States, which claimed to grant blanket immunity to those who participated in the supposedly classified program.”

As part of the scheme, Courtney convinced several public officials that he was a CIA operative and told them they had been chosen to participate in the program, using “those officials as unwitting props falsely to burnish his legitimacy,” prosecutors said. The government officials unwittingly repeated those claims to the companies, giving his scheme an air of legitimacy.

The investigation was carried out by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Secret Services Investigating Fraud Ring Targeting Unemployment Offices

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigating a well-organized, international crime ring that is targeting states’ unemployment systems.

The fraudsters appear to be using stolen identities to file for unemployment benefits on behalf of people who are still working, The New York Times reports.

The cyber attacks are exploiting states that are inundated with claims to process.

A memo obtained by The New York Times suggests a sophisticated Nigerian fraud ring is behind the attacks, which could result in “potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

“We are actively running down every lead we are getting,” Roy Dotson, a special agent who specializes in financial fraud at the Secret Service, told NYT.

According to the memo, Washington State appears to be the primary target, but evidence also points to attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

TSA Officer Accused of Coercing Woman into Twice Bearing Her Breasts

Via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer is accused of coercing a female passenger into showing him her breasts twice during a security screening at Los Angeles International Airpot.

Johnathon Lomeli, 22, was arrested last week  on charges of fraud or deceit to falsely imprison a woman passing through security, the Associated Press reports.

Prosecutors said Lomeli told the woman he needed to inspect her bra to ensure she wasn’t concealing anything. He then told her to lift her shirt “to show me your full breasts” and then demanded she pull her pants away from her waist so he could take a look.

After telling her she was free to go, he allegedly said she had nice breasts.

FBI Informant to Plead Guilty to Long-Running Scheme to Commit Fraud

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff's Office.

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI informant investigating a terrorism sting in Palm Beach County is accused of a long-running scheme to commit fraud.

Mohammed Agbareia, whom the FBI classified as a “national security asset,” is expected to plead guilty Friday after his arrest in June on six federal charges alleging he committed fraud for 10 years beginning in 2007, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports

Prosecutors said Agbareia posed as a “stranded traveler” and defrauded victims out of more than $300,000.

Agbareia became an undercover informant a year after he was released from prison for a prior fraud conviction.

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Lying to Grand Jury about Expense Vouchers

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent out of Tucson was charged with lying to a grand jury in San Diego following a military housing voucher scheme.

Agent David Wayne Skinner testified about two Marines who were accused of fraud by claiming to be renting each other’s homes, the San Diego Union Tribune reports

The Marines collected a total of more than $200,000 in travel expense vouchers that were supposed to be for their lease payments.

Skinner claimed to be one of the Marine’s landlords.

FBI Informant Committed Fraud While Working Undercover on Terrorism Sting

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI placed an awful lot of trust in a Florida man who had just been released from prison for committing fraud.

Soon after Mohammed Agbareia got out of prison and moved to Palm Beach County, the FBI hired him to work as an undercover informant on a high-profile terrorism sting, the Sun Sentinel reports. 

Despite his past legal troubles, the FBI considered him a “national security asset” and extolled his “usefulness as a provider of intelligence of the FBI.”

Yet, Agbareia continued to commit fraud almost immediately after leaving prison, even as he was providing undercover information to the FBI, according to prosecutors.

The new charges allege Agbareia resumed operating a similar fraud scheme that landed him in prison in 2007 and didn’t stop until his arrest on June 21.

The FBI declined to comment.

Ex-DEA Agent Pleads Guilty to Stealing Fraud Proceeds

dea-logo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former DEA agents pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing fraud proceeds that she had been assigned to recover on behalf of fraud victims, the Justice Department said.

Artemis Papadakis, 57, of Richmond, Calif., pleaded guilty in Southern California before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt to an information charging her with theft by a government official.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 11.

Papadakis was  stationed by the DEA in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 2008 and 2014, to help the U.S. Government recover the proceeds of an American fraud scheme that had been frozen in the banking system in northern Cyprus.

When Papadakis was transferred from Cyprus to San Francisco in June 2014, the funds had not yet been recovered.

Papadakis admitted that she was told not to pursue the matter regarding the funds following her transfer. But when she was in Cyprus in October 2015 on personal business, Papadakis took possession of $310,000 of the funds without notifying anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government.

According to the plea agreement, Papadakis mailed approximately $230,000 of those funds from Cyprus to her California home  in California and later took possession of an additional $20,000 of those funds from a third party when he visited her in the U.S., a Justice Department press release said.

Papadakis admitted that she hid the $250,000 in her flower pots at her home in California. She also admitted that in February 2016 she handed over the $250,000 to the U.S. government under the false cover story that she had just received it via an unexpected package from Cyprus.

 

FBI Arrests Iraqi Refugees Who Failed to Disclose Brother’s Involvement in Kidnapping of American

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Iraqi refugees living in Northern Virginia were arrested by the FBI after failing to disclose their brother’s involvement in a 2004 kidnapping of an American contractor in Iraq, the New York Times reports. 

The refugees, Yousif Al Mashhandani, 35, of Vienna, Va., and Adil Hasan, 38, of Burke, Va. admitted they didn’t make the disclosure when applying for citizenship, according to a criminal complaint. They were charged with visa fraud.

The Times wrote:

The F.B.I. said it had learned the brothers withheld the information when Mr. Mashhandani was fingerprinted as part of the citizenship process. When those fingerprints were analyzed in 2013, they matched those on a document seized by American commandos during the rescue of the contractor, Roy Hallums, in 2005.

The arrests come as President Trump is seeking to bar visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Iraq was originally among the countries but was later removed from the ban, which is being challenged by federal courts. Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that the United States needs to strengthen its borders to protect itself from terrorism.

As part of an investigation into the kidnapping of Mr. Hallums, F.B.I. agents interviewed Majid Al Mashhandani, the brother of Mr. Mashhandani and Mr. Hasan, in 2005. He admitted taking part in the kidnapping of Mr. Hallums, who was held for 311 days in an underground bunker with other hostages south of Baghdad.