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Tag: Los Angeles

Fed Prosecutors Say Sentence for ex-ICE Official Could Set Record

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are hoping on Monday to land the toughest sentence in the history of federal corruption cases when former ICE official Constantine Peter Kallas appears in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The former Assistant Chief Counsel at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found guilty of three dozen corruption offenses nearly one year ago for  taking a series of bribes from immigrants seeking documentation to remain in the U.S..

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said: Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 353 months – nearly 30 years. If the judge adopts this recommendation, we believe this would be the longest sentenced ever issued in a federal corruption case. (However, in the interest of full disclosure, the judge at a prior hearing indicated he was considering a sentence of approximately 20 years, which would still make it one of the longest public corruption sentences ever issued.)”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.

Filming Begins for J. Edgar Hoover Film

DiCaprio as a young J. Edgar Hoover/ mtv photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Filming has started for the highly controversial J. Edgar Hoover film being directed by Clint Eastwood, On Location Vacations reports.

The website reports that some filming has taken place in Los Angeles. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the legendary FBI director and Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, his sidekick at the FBI and supposed lover.

The website also reported that actors Josh Lucas and Ed Westwick also star along with Naomi Watts and Judi Dench.

Eastwood is known for making films in a short time. The film is expected to be released later this year.

The film has stirred some emotion inside the FBI and among former agents, some who are concerned the legendary director’s image is being besmirched.

Justice Dept. and FBI Probe 2008 Fatal Shooting by Off-Duty Deputy Marshal in LA

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division  and the FBI are investigating a deputy U.S. Marshal who fatally shot a tattoo parlor employee while off duty during a confrontation in Los Angeles in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The local prosecutor had found inconsistencies in deputy marshal Matthew Itkowitz’s story, but declined prosecution for insufficient  of evidence.

Itkowitz shot Ryan Gonzalez, 26, in an alley after a night of drinking.

Itkowitz claimed the shooting was in self defense while he was being beaten and threatened with a gun, the LA Times reported.

“The footage, made public by The Times last week, shows Gonzalez twice knocking Itkowitz to the ground and at one point brandishing what authorities said appears to be a gun,” the LA Times reported. “But Itkowitz does not open fire until after the confrontation has ended.

“The footage shows Gonzalez walking away and apparently waving back at Itkowitz for him to do the same when Itkowitz pulls a gun from his rear waistband and tucks it behind his leg. When Gonzalez turns and begins walking back toward Itkowitz, the off-duty deputy marshal pulls out his gun and begins firing. As Gonzalez flees down the alley, Itkowitz chases after him, firing a total of five shots.”

The confrontation began after Itkowitz’s wife came running to several people in the alley asking for help, saying she feared her husband was going to hurt her, the Times reported.

Itkowitz remains on duty.

To read more click here.

Feds Bust Hollywood Drug Ring that Used Charter Planes

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Two top executives of a California entertainment company and a DJ who spun records at actor Eddie Murphy’s wedding in 2008 were among 14 people indicted Tuesday for their alleged role in a Hollywood-based drug ring that shipped hundreds of pounds of cocaine on chartered jets from Los Angeles to Baltimore.

A task force of federal and local cops worked the case in which the ring allegedly distributed the drugs in the Baltimore area and then flew suitcases of cash back to Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said.

Those indicted included Darrin Ebron, 43, a DJ who moves between Washington and Los Angeles, whom The Washington Times described as “‘the poor man’s Puffy’ for his fashion and entertainment businesses that endear him to stars such as Kanye West, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.”

Ebron, who is also owner of GoodLife American Clothing, reportedly spun the records at Murphy’s wedding to Tracey Edmonds at a private island off Bora Bora two years ago. (About two weeks after the ceremony, the wedding was declared invalid.)

Others indicted included the alleged ring leader, James Brascom, 28, CEO of Behind da Scenes Entertainment, and Charles Dwight Ransom Jr., 36, of Hollywood, who is also a CEO of that company, authorities said.

For full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-LA U.S. Atty. Writes Check After Getting Busted for Ripping Off Taxpayers: He’s 1 of 5 U.S. Attys Cited in IG Report

Thomas O'Brien/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Los Angeles U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien says he wrote a check this week reimbursing the government in instances where he stayed in hotel rooms that cost more than the government-approved rate, the Los Angeles Times reported.

O’Brien was one of five U.S. Attorneys cited in a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday who went beyond the government approved rate on different occasions. The report, which covered the years 2007 to 2009, did not identify the U.S. Attorney’s by name.

But two others names identified in media reports included former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now governor of New Jersey,  and former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

Mary Beth Buchanan

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which identified Buchanan, reported that the violators weren’t required to reimburse taxpayers because rules at the time allowed U.S. Attorney’s to approve their own travel.

The report found that some of O’Brien’s claims for reimbursement were “inappropriate and egregious violations” of the travel policies, the Times reported. It said the total overage amounted to $903.

The Times reported that O’Brien, now in private practice, denied any misconduct, but takes “full responsibility” for any oversights.

The Times reported that O’Brien said all his travel was approved by Washington and that he was not asked to repay for the overages,, he did so on Tuesday, one day after the report was released.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette wrote that Buchanan had overages of $4,221.

The Post-Gazette reported that in June Buchanan said she had always followed department rules if she had gone over the government rate.

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

“I can assure you the process was followed each and every time,” she said, according to the paper.

As for Christie, the report, which identified him only as “U.S. Attorney C”, said :  “These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

He has publicly declined to comment on the report.

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party – stayed at the Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

The website Main Justice was the first to identify Christie as a violator.

Read report.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Director of “Die Hard” Gets 1 Year for Lying to FBI

die-hard-posterBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The director of “Die Hard” is off to live hard.

A federal judge in Los Angeles  sentenced John McTiernan Monday to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine for lying to FBI agents over a wiretapping case in which he hired rogue detective Anthony Pellicano to wiretap film producer Charles Roven after they worked on the 2002 movie “Rollerball”, the news service AFP reported.

His other films include “The Hunt for Red October” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

Pellicano, the detective to the star, who illegally wiretapped the rich and famous, is serving a 15-year-sentence.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Disney Assistant Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading Scheme

walt disney
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An assistant to a top executive at the Walt Disney Company pleaded guilty Tuesday in Manhattan U.S. District Court to partaking in an insider trading scheme.

Bonnie J. Hoxie, 34, of Los Angeles, admitted that she along with her boyfriend Yonni Sebbag of Morocco obtained confidential inside information, including Disney’s quarterly earnings, and tried selling it to outside investors for stock trading purposes.  Sebbag had already pleaded guilty.

Authorities said from March 2010 through May 25 of this year Hoxie worked as a secretary to Disney’s Head of Corporate Communications and obtained material, nonpublic information and gave it to Sebbag.

Authorities said the scheme involved sending out letters anonymously to hedge funds and other investment companies, offering to sell the info for insider trading.

Undercover FBI agents posed as hedge fund traders known as “tippees” and offered to buy the information. The couple was arrested after Sebbag accepted $15,000 from undercover FBI agents for the information, authorities said.

“Today, Bonnie Hoxie admitted to playing with a stacked deck by selling valuable Disney secrets to make a quick buck,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “This Office will continue to work with the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to prosecute individuals who commit insider trading and jeopardize the integrity of our financial markets.”

Bomb Threat Note Found on Thai Flight to LA

plane window2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A jittery public continues to get a periodic reminder of the potential dangers of flying.

The latest came Tuesday evening when  Thai Airways flight 794 from Bangkok landed safely at Los Angeles International Airport  after a bomb threat written in poorly worded English was discovered on a bathroom mirror, the Associated Press reported. No explosives were found aboard.

The plane landed just before 9 p.m., AP reported. The FBI said the plane had less than 200 passengers, who were interviewed, the AP reported.