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Archive for June 11th, 2009

Update: 29-Year Old Dies in Va. While Taking Physical Test to Become FBI Agent; Colleagues are Devastated

fbi1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – A 29-year-old special agent with the D.C. Inspector General’s Office collapsed and died Wednesday in suburban Virginia while taking a FBI physical stress test to become an agent, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Lloyd Hodge, who had been an investigator with the D.C. Inspector General’s Office for about four years, and worked on an FBI public corruption task force,  was going through the steps necessary to become an FBI agent, which included the physical test on Wednesday.

The incident happened in the Tysons Corner area in Fairfax County outside of Washington, according to sources familiar with the incident. The FBI did not disclose the cause of death or other details.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon,   FBI spokesman Michael P. Kortan said:

“The FBI is greatly saddened by the tragic death of our task force colleague and applicant who was well into the process of becoming an FBI agent. We have extended our sympathy and support to the Hodge family.”

Colleagues at the Inspector General’s Office were devastated by news of his death, said Austin Andersen, the deputy D.C. Inspector General.

“He was very popular throughout the office,  admired and respected by everyone. And of course his colleagues are devastated,” Andersen said.

“He worked on a lot of major cases and was exceptional,” he added.

Andersen said it wasn’t unusual for young investigators in his office to move on to the federal agencies like the FBI.

“We encourage that,” he said. “We’re happy if they’re able to do well. We would have been very happy for (Lloyd) if that had come to pass.”

Delays Continue to Hamper U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

This project could be tied up for quite some time as the government deals with land acquisitions from private property owners. With all the hurdles, it won’t be easy to complete.

border-fence-photo5

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Nearly six months after the U.S.-Mexico border fence ordered by the Bush administration was supposed to be finished, its completion is in limbo while a judge waits answers to questions about private property in the fence’s path.

About 630 miles of the promised 670-mile-long vehicle and pedestrian barrier is complete, with the unfinished portion in deep south Texas where opposition is fierce and the government has struggled to get the land it needs.

The biggest unfinished segment is a 13-mile stretch that runs east of Brownsville through rich farmland toward the Gulf of Mexico.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

A 64-Year Old Calif. Man Really Loved Being a Lawyer But There Was One Big Problem

gavel22By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Let’s face it, Harold Goldstein of Newport Beach, Calif.,  really really loved being an attorney.

Really.

One big problem: He didn’t have a law degree.

In May, he was sprung from prison after serving time for posing as an attorney.  Last Sunday,  the FBI arrested the 64-year-old man at his home for violating his parole by  posing as an attorney once again, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. On Monday, a federal judge ordered him held without bond.

In 2005, Goldstein,  originally got 13 years in years in prison for making false declarations to the court and sending solicitation letters to inmates advertising his legal services. He stole the real identity of a Northern California lawyer. His sentence was eventually reduced.

On May 1, he was released from prison. While out, the government charges, that Goldstein  posted a job ad on Craigslist.  He told applicants that he was retired or semi-retired and was looking to contract with an attorney who could do in-court legal work, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

A preliminary hearing is set for June 22. Hopefully, he won’t represent himself during the proceeding.

An ex-Cop, Professor and Politician Among Those Vying for Fla. U.S. Atty. Post

This is a rather large field of candidates. All around the country, people are jockeying for U.S. Attorney posts, politicking and making phone calls to try and get the edge.

State Rep. Michael Scionti among candidates

State Rep. Michael Scionti among candidates

By Robbyn Mitchell
St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA — A politician, a professor, a former police officer and former federal prosecutors have all applied to replace A. Brian Albritton as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, according to records released Tuesday.

Among 11 contenders for U.S. attorney are state Rep. Michael Scionti D-Tampa; lawyer Herbert Berkowitz; Roger B. Handberg, chief assistant to the U.S. attorney in Orlando; Harry Shorstein, retired state attorney from Jacksonville; and Robert O’Neill, who served as interim U.S. attorney until Albritton took over on Oct. 15.

The other candidates are Marcus A. Christian, Thomas K. Equels, John Z. Pare, Mike Peacock, Michael Seigel and Sandra Wiseman.

For Full Story

Boston Trial Underway to Determine How Much the Gov Owes a Widow Whose Husband Was Murdered by Mobsters Working as FBI Informants

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

A widow whose husband, a  Boston nightclub owner, was killed by mobsters wants the government to pay for her husband’s death. She says in a lawsuit that the FBI failed to take action against the mobsters, who were working as FBI informants. A federal judge has already ruled in her favor. Now another federal judge is trying to determine in a trial how much the government owes her.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Notorious gangsters and longtime FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi orchestrated the 1976 slaying of Revere nightclub owner Richard J. Castucci. But his life was not enough; they wanted his money, too.

Taking the stand yesterday in her wrongful death suit against the government, Castucci’s widow described being caught in a terrifying web as her husband’s killers – members of the Winter Hill Gang – and the New England Mafia both vied for control of her husband’s interest in The Squire, a popular and highly profitable strip club.

“I was scared,” said 72-year-old Sandra Castucci, recounting how Flemmi, a stranger to her, showed up unexpectedly at her Revere Beach home after her husband’s killing, asking about her financial interest in the club and suggesting he should handle it for her.

She was frightened by the visit and immediately alerted the businessman who co-owned The Squire with her husband. Then the Mafia got involved.

For Full Story