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Archive for October 23rd, 2008

Anne Hathaway’s Ex Gets 4 1/2 Years In Fed Prison

Actress Anne Hathaway figures it’s time for a new leading man.

Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married"/sony classic pictures

Anne Hathaway/sony pictures classics

BY Thomas Zambito
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — Italian con man Raffaello Follieri was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison Thursday for scamming investors out of millions by claiming to be a Vatican insider.
Follieri, the former boyfriend of actress Anne Hathaway, tossed his head back and looked to the ceiling after Manhattan Federal Judge John Koeltl imposed sentence. Follieri hoped to get just three years.
“I didn’t start off with the intention of deceiving anyone,” Follieri told Koeltl, his words translated from his native Italian.
“I started off with good intentions determined to run an honorable business and make everyone proud. Instead, I made some terrible mistakes.”
Hathaway, who starred in “The Devil Wears Prada,” was not in court.
For Full Story

Read Government’s Detailed Sentencing Memorandum

Law Enforcement Issues Missing In Spirited Presidential Race This Time Around

“There may be trouble ahead” the lyric goes in the first line of Irving Berlin’s famous song, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”. That seems apropos when we contemplate the state of Federal law enforcement in this pre-presidential election season. Tellingly absent from the candidates’ daily dialogue in this presidential election is any mention of law enforcement issues. In election times past, the promise of safer streets, crackdowns on drugs and gun trafficking, or what have you, was a staple of campaign rhetoric on the stump.

There is a reason for this, and why there really may be “trouble ahead” for Federal law enforcement. Both candidates understand that the economic crisis facing the country with the ensuing $700 Billion bailout, coupled with the black hole of the Federal deficit, the burgeoning costs of the two foreign wars, and the looming fiscal nightmare of the long range financial health of Medicare and Social Security, doesn’t leave much change in the Federal piggy bank for any bold or sweeping improvements to Federal law enforcement initiatives or to buttress existing programs.

The front page of the Sunday New York Times (October 19, 2008) carried an above-the-fold story, “FBI STRUGGLING TO HANDLE WAVE OF FINANCIAL CASES”, reporting how the FBI has too few financial investigations resources to cover the plethora of criminal fraud matters dropping out of the financial entities involved in the evolving economic crisis. The article reported that the ranks of the FBI’s white collar crimes experts have been winnowed away by the shift of emphasis within the Bureau to counter-terrorism missions. Hopefully, prudent decisions will prevail within FBI Headquarters. We need to keep our eye on the fight against terrorism, but we still need to enforce the integrity of our financial system. Needless to say, while there have been some widely publicized law enforcement anti-terrorism prosecutorial miscues since September 11, 2001, on balance, we have to believe that Federal law enforcement is doing a better job protecting the homeland, as the absence of further attacks will attest.

In any case, huge new law enforcement responsibilities will confront the already over-burdened Federal law enforcement entities with the arrival of the new President’s administration. These challenges will present themselves with no budget dollars to fund their solution. What can we do? We all need to pay attention to what will happen. Through our legislative representatives we will need to reward Federal law enforcement agency heads who jettison out-dated enforcement programs and played-out missions.

These actions will require innovative and vigorous leadership to find these economies-of-scale. Simply put: There needs to be change in the way Federal law enforcement does business. If even some of this can happen maybe some of that “trouble ahead” can be avoided.

(Jim Huse is the CEO of IntegriGuard, LLC, a program integrity, payment accuracy company in Omaha, NE. You can learn more about him and his company at www.integriguard.org).

A Little Introduction

My name is Jim and I am a retired “Fed.” I spent 33 years on the job (following six years as an Army officer). My law enforcement career ran the spectrum from rookie agent to Presidential appointee. I worked in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. I’ve been gone from carrying a badge for four years, and yet I miss it every day.

I miss the saints and scoundrels, the unique challenges and the thrill of getting it right. And sure, I miss the adventure and fulfillment, the big cases and big arrests. But I miss more the deep friendships and inter-dependencies formed in that closed world of responsibility, the commitment to the law and the power of enforcing it. There is no parallel profession where trust and confidence in each other is such a requirement, that I know of, other than perhaps in the military services.

During my time, I witnessed the revolutionary transition of American law enforcement from a fairly straight forward profession requiring a few key physical and mental skills, to its state today as a multi-faceted and complex array of professions, technologies, and organizations. Providing for the public safety and good order of today’s society requires a myriad of skills, strategies and resources, that didn’t exist nor even contemplated in the early days of my career.

It is well that this metamorphosis of law enforcing has occurred because as we all understand there are new threats to our safety that emerge with the speed of the new technologies that facilitate them. The old paradigms of patrolling, detection, investigation and prosecution while still important are not enough. The most effective law enforcement today comes in prevention processes because of the daunting capabilities to commit crimes that are targeted on our 21st Century world of electronic transactions, communications and prodigious data records.

So there you have it, I am excited by this new world of law enforcement and I will use this space to weigh in from time to time on subjects or issues that might stimulate your interest or opinions. I know how the bureaucracies that govern these functions work and make decisions and I would enjoy sharing my observations with you.

(Jim Huse is the CEO of IntegriGuard, LLC, a program integrity, payment accuracy company in Omaha, NE. You can learn more about him and his company at www.integriguard.org).

Juror Has “Violent Outbursts” During Deliberations In Stevens Trial

From the outset, the trial seemed a little chaotic. Now that chaos has spilled over into jury deliberations. Will Stevens benefit from it all?

Sen. Ted Stevens/ official photo
Sen. Ted Stevens/ official photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The foreman of the jury in Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial asked today that a juror be removed following “violent outbursts” with other jurors and her refusal to “follow the rules and laws” during deliberations.
In a note to the judge, the foreman said he represented the views of 10 other jurors in requesting that the juror, identified only as No. 9, be removed from the panel. He also described her as “rude, disrespectful and unreasonable.”
But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan declined. He read the note in court and summoned the panel into the courtroom for what he called “a pep talk.” He told the jurors to act with civility and sent them back to deliberate in the first trial of a sitting U.S. senator in more than two decades.
For Full Story

UPDATE 6:20 p.m. – Jurors go home Thursday without reaching verdict.

UPDATE 10:40 A.M.  Friday-Oct. 24- The Associated Press reports that the judge in the Sen. Stevens public corruption trial has halted jury deliberations for a day or two to accommodate a juror whose father died. Read More

DEA And Colombians Link Hezbollah To Cocaine Ring

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag

Every organizations needs money to flourish. No one knows that better than the DEA and Colombian investigators who dug deep to find a drug connection between Colombia and Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese-based militia.

By Chris Kraul and Sebastian Rotella
Los Angeles Times
(Reported from Bogota, Colombia and Madrid) — U.S. and Colombian investigators have dismantled an international cocaine smuggling and money laundering ring that allegedly used part of its profits to finance Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, officials said Tuesday.
Culminating a two-year investigation, authorities arrested at least 36 suspects in recent days, including an accused Lebanese kingpin in Bogota, the Colombian capital. Chekry Harb, who used the alias “Taliban,” acted as the hub of an unusual and alarming alliance between South American cocaine traffickers and Middle Eastern militants, Colombian investigators allege.

For Full Story

South Carolina Councilman Busted For Computer Spying

Tony Trout/official photo

Tony Trout/official photo

Some people are computer illiterate. Not Councilman Tony Trout, unfortunately.

By Ben Szobody
The Greenville News
GREENVILLE, S.C. — County Councilman Tony Trout was charged in a five-count indictment Wednesday with unlawfully accessing computers used by the county administrator and Yahoo, destroying records and intercepting and disclosing electronic communication, charges that could bring a maximum of 36 years in prison and $1.1 million in fines if he is convicted.
Gov. Mark Sanford intends to suspend Trout from office Thursday and will explore appointing Joe Baldwin, the man who defeated Trout in the Republican primary, to the seat early, said spokesman Joel Sawyer.
U.S. Magistrate William Catoe appointed public defender Benjamin Stepp as a “standby counsel” Wednesday to advise Trout on legal and procedural issues. Stepp told The Greenville News that usually means a defendant wants to do all the talking in court.
Stepp declined to comment about the indictment because he said he technically isn’t Trout’s lawyer. Attempts to reach Trout were unsuccessful. Trout’s previous attorney, Ernest Hamilton, was terminated Wednesday, according to court documents.
For Full Story

Read FBI Affidavit For Search Warrant

Read Search Warrant Return

Passengers Will Have To Disclose More Info To Fly

These days the friendly skies are getting a little less friendly and little more intrusive. Will less privacy mean safer skies?

Sec. Michael Chertoff At Press Conference/dhs photo

Sec. Michael Chertoff At Press Conference/dhs photo

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Department of Homeland Security will take responsibility from airlines for checking passenger names against watch lists beginning in January and will require all commercial passengers for the first time to provide their full name, date of birth and gender as a condition of boarding a flight, U.S. officials said today.
The changes will be phased in next year for the 2 million passengers each day aboard domestic and international flights to, from or over the United States. It marks the Bush administration’s long-delayed fulfillment of a top aviation security priority identified after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an effort that has long spurred privacy concerns.
Speaking at Reagan National Airport, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley said that by gathering more personal information from passengers, the government will dramatically cut down on instances of mistaken identity that have wrongly delayed travelers or kept them off flights.
For Full Story

Read Department Of Homeland Security Press Release