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Archive for October 27th, 2008

Texas Man Sentenced For Defrauding Export-Import Bank

SAN ANTONIO —  The owner of a San Antonio Trade Group was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months for scheming to defraud millions of dollars from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the U.S. Attorneys Office.

Andrew Maxwell Parker, 41, was also ordered to pay $10 million in restitution.

“Mr. Parker’s lavish lifestyle was financed through fraud and deceit with the American taxpayers picking up the bill,” said U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton in a prepared statement. “The United States government  intends to nail these cheaters anywhere we find them.”

ATF Busts Men Who Allegedly Plotted To Kill Obama

After information surfaced, the question begged: How serious of a threat were these guys? Some say not much.

By Kenneth R. Bazinet and James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
WASHINGTON – Two alleged skinheads were charged Monday in a far-fetched plot to launch a “killing spree” aimed at beheading black students and then shooting Barack Obama.
The racist teens demonstrated little supremacy in their nutty plan to “dress in white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt,” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said.
A federal official told the Daily News: “It was only aspirational.”
Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., wanted to steal weapons from a gun store and shoot at the black Democratic presidential nominee from their car while driving toward Obama at high speed. They were to bankroll the plot by robbing a house, but got scared off by a dog, court papers said.
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Read Affidavit

Read ATF Press Release

WATCH VIDEO

Sen. Ted Stevens Convicted of Seven Counts

Sen. Stevens re-election bid just got tougher – not to mention that he’s become the punchline of late night tv. On Monday night, shortly after his conviction,  Jay Leno said of the 84-year-old Senator’ sentence: “He could get three weeks or life, whatever comes first.”

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, one of Congress’s most powerful Republicans, was convicted yesterday of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal his receipt of gifts and expensive renovations to his house, just eight days before he faces voters in a tight reelection contest.
The 84-year-old lawmaker, the first sitting U.S. senator to go on trial in more than two decades, sat quietly as a jury foreman in federal court read the verdict after less than a day of deliberations: guilty on seven felony counts, each with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The senator, who probably will face a less severe penalty under federal sentencing guidelines, left the courtroom without answering reporters’ questions.
In a statement issued by his office, Stevens maintained his innocence, accused Justice Department lawyers of “repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct” and vowed to fight for reelection to a seventh full term.
For Full Story
Read Sen. Stevens’ Statement After The Conviction
Read Alaskans’ Reaction To Conviction (AP)

FBI Reports Drop In Hate Crimes in 2007

Any decrease in crime is welcome news. The bad news is there’s still plenty of hate of crimes to go around.

By Matt Apuzzo
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Hate crime incidents decreased slightly last year, despite a surge in crimes targeting gays and lesbians.
The FBI reported more than 7,600 hate crime incidents in 2007, down about 1 percent from last year. The decline was driven by decreases in the two largest categories of hate crimes _ crimes against race and religion.
But prejudice against sexual orientation, the third-largest category, increased about 6 percent, the report found.
For Full Story

See FBI Hate Crime Statistics For 2007

OTHER STORIES IN THE NEWS:

  • FBI Director Robert Mueller III Responds To Editorial In New York Times On New Guidelines (Read Letter)

Video Presented In Ft. Dix Terror Trial

Trial resumes this week for five men accused of plotting an attack on the Ft. Dix military base in New Jersey.

Scientists Took Long Winding Trail To Anthrax Suspect

In one of the more perplexing FBI cases in the 21st Century, science played a key role. It just took time to get results. Here’s why.

Suspect Bruce Ivins

Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — In late October 2001, lab technician Terry Abshire placed a tray of anthrax cells under a microscope and spotted something so peculiar she had to look twice. It was two weeks after the country’s worst bioterrorism attack, and Abshire, like others at the Army’s Fort Detrick biodefense lab, was caught up in a frenzied search for clues that could possibly lead to the culprit. Down the hall, Bruce E. Ivins, the respected vaccine specialist, was looking, too.
Abshire focused her lens on a mold-like clump. Anthrax bacteria was growing here, but some of the cells were odd: strange shapes, strange textures, strange colors. These were mutants, or “morphs,” genetic deviants scattered among the ordinary anthrax cells like chocolate chips in a cookie batter.
Unknowingly, Abshire had discovered a key to solving the anthrax case. But it would take nearly six years to develop the technology to allow FBI investigators to use it.
Ultimately the evolving science led investigators to Ivins and a strikingly original collection of anthrax spores that became the focus of the FBI’s probe.
For Full Story

See Latest FBI Documents On Case

Feds May Bring More Charges In Chicago Police Scandal

In Chicago, scandals often come in a couple sizes: Large and Extra Large. Prosecutors hinted that this large scandal could get extra large.

By MIKE ROBINSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
CHICAGO – The investigation of decades-old claims that Chicago police tortured suspects with beatings, electric shocks and even games of Russian roulette won’t stop with last week’s indictment of a controversial homicide commander.
Dozens of former detectives and other officers can expect to be called before a federal grand jury in the months ahead as it digs deeper into a scandal that has haunted Chicago for more than 20 years.
And federal prosecutors hint that fresh charges could be on the way.
“Torture and abuse have no place in a Chicago police station,” U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said last week in unveiling charges against Jon Burge, the tough, 60-year-old former commander of the South Side’s Area 2 violent crimes unit.

For Full Story

Prosecutors In Final Stretch In Retrial Of Holy Land Foundation Terrorism Case

Prosecutors hope for a better outcome than the last trial. The last one imploded.

By Jason Trahan
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing retrial have switched gears in the run-up to what is expected to be the final week of their case before the defense begins.
After more than a month of testimony meant to show that five former organizers for the now-defunct Richardson foundation – once the nation’s largest Muslim charity – for years espoused extremist views and courted ties to Islamic militants, prosecutors must now prove how the defendants’ actions and beliefs led them to break U.S. laws.
To get convictions, prosecutors need to convince jurors that Holy Land sent millions of dollars to Palestinian charity groups, known as zakat committees, knowing that they were controlled by Hamas after the U.S. designated it as a terrorist group in 1995.
Prosecutors last week unveiled a series of detailed charts that point jurors to the exact page of documents already in evidence allegedly showing the Hamas affiliations of the zakat committee leaders.
For Full Story

See Evidence In Trial