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Archive for July 27th, 2009

Pirate Pleads Guilty to Illegally Distributing Slumdog Millionaire

slumdog_millionaire_poster1By Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com

Not all pirates sail the perilous seas.

Take Pirate – film pirate that is — Owen Moody.

The 25-year-old from San Marcos, Calif., who navigated the Internet under the assumed names “Tranceyo” and “Gizmothekitty”, pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to a copyright violation for distributing a pirated  copy of  the smash hit, “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Last year, Moody uploaded on piratebay.org the Academy Award winning film, which at the time had a limited U.S. release and was not yet on DVD.  He also posted links to that upload at two other sites, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Ofice said Moody first discovered the film  on the website funfile.org  and distributed it after realizing it was “not readily available to the general public”.

The pirated film originated from a digital copy of a “screener” intended for review by a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for “voting consideration”, authorities said.

Moody is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess on Oct. 5 and could get up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, co-founder of the  Swedish based website,  The Pirate Bay, where the film was posted, was generally critical on Monday of government crackdowns on the distribution of  materials on the website.

“If users (post) to our website and it turns out it was data that was not legal to spread, they should talk to their government and make sure the government realizes they are ruining the Internet, the culture and also the freedom of speech,” he said in an email to ticklethewire.com. “It’s very important to be able to share material, any type of material. I would consider it a human (right).”

FBI Dir. Mueller Dedicates New FBI Building in Louisville

Robert Mueller III/file photo

Robert Mueller III/file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller III sprinkled a little wit and humor in a speech he delivered Monday during the dedication of the new $40 million, three-story FBI building in Louisville just south of I-64.

“Having had a chance to tour the new space, I am doubtful that any of you will request a transfer to Headquarters anytime soon,” Mueller said. ” Actually, I am thinking of requesting a transfer to Louisville.”

“Kentucky is home to ‘the fastest two minutes in sports.’ In that spirit, I will keep my remarks brief. But first, I would like to recognize some of the many individuals who guided this project every step of the way.”

He went on to thank the people involved in building the facility and then said:

“The Louisville office was permanently established in June of 1935. The main challenges to law enforcement at that time were bank robbers and violent gangsters, who made a habit of crossing state lines to evade local law enforcement. This was captured well in the recent movie Public Enemies, though it is a safe bet that most of the real-life criminals did not look like Johnny Depp.”

“The threats we face today have changed dramatically. Today, the agents, task force officers, and analysts working inside this building investigate everything from cyber crime to organized crime; from public corruption to espionage; and from violent gangs to terrorism. As threats have evolved, so has our approach to law enforcement.

“It has become clear that no one agency, community, or even country can prevent crime and terrorism on its own. We must sit at one table. We must work as one team. This new building allows us to do just that.”

To Read Full Text of His Statement

7 Charged With Terrorism in North Carolina

The U.S. Attorney in North Carolina said it was a reminder that terrorists “can grow and fester right here at home.” The question is, how much of a threat were these people? Hopefully in coming days and weeks we’ll get a sense.

fbi map

fbi map

By The Associated Press

A North Carolina man trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been charged along with six of his alleged recruits with conspiring to support terrorism and traveling overseas to participate in “violent jihad,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday in Raleigh, N.C.

Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, and the six other men were arrested Monday and made their first appearances in Raleigh, charged with providing material support to terrorism.

“These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home,” U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in a statement. He declined further comment.

For Full Story

Read FBI Press Release

Justice Dept. Hopes to Close Anthrax Case Soon

One year after scientist Bruce Ivins killed himself, the department is trying to close up the case. But there are still some folks who believe that Ivins was not the culprit. Is this one of those cases that will continue to produce conspiracy theories that go far beyond this one scientist?

Suspect Bruce Ivins
Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Devlin Barrett
The ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — A year after government scientist Bruce Ivins killed himself while under investigation for the lethal anthrax letters of 2001, the Justice Department is on the verge of closing the long, costly and vexing case.

Several law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that the department tentatively planned last week to close the case but backed away from that decision after government attorneys said they needed more time to review the evidence and determine what further information can be made public without compromising grand jury secrecy or privacy laws.

For Full Story

EX-Fed Prosecutor Who Monitored Detroit Police Resigns After Justice Dept. Alerts Judge of Improprieties

No one will disagree if you were to say the city of Detroit doesn’t need any more scandals — particularly any involving the former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  The monitor that stepped down was a former federal prosecutor in Washington and a former district attorney in N.Y.

Sheryl Robinson Wood/law firm photo

Sheryl Robinson Wood/law firm photo

BY DAVID ASHENFELTER and JOE SWICKARD
DETROIT FREE PRESS
DETROIT –– The Department of Justice dropped another bomb on the scandal-plagued city of Detroit this week by alerting a federal judge that his court-appointed monitor overseeing Detroit Police Department reforms had “meetings of a personal nature” with former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

The episode came to light Friday when U.S. District Judge Julian Cook issued an order that announced Sheryl Robinson Wood’s resignation but raised more questions than it answered. Cook didn’t describe the nature of the meetings, when they occurred, whether they affected Wood’s performance or whether he demanded she resign.

The order said Wood “engaged in conduct which was totally inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the two consent judgments.”

For Full Story

Read Judge’s Order

Back Off New Jersey: Illinois Still Pretty Corrupt and Has 2nd Most FBI Agents Assigned to Corruption

There’s some badge of pride for being the most corrupt state. Illinois doesn’t want to conceded defeat to New Jersey or any other state for that matter. With 42 Illinois FBI agents assigned to public corruption, only D.C. has more, the Sun-Times points out.

illinois-map1

BY NATASHA KORECKI
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Hey, back off, New Jersey.

Just as Illinois basks in the shameful glow of its most-corrupt reputation, the Garden State wants to one-up us.

Sure, we’ve had two consecutive governors, an army of alderman and a posse of political fund-raisers under indictment — not to mention two current members of Congress facing ethics inquiries.

But in New Jersey last week, 44 people, including three mayors, two state lawmakers and a slew of rabbis were rounded up in a corruption scheme replete with allegations of organ sales, $97,000 stuffed into a cereal box and plenty of good, old-fashioned bribes.

There were so many arrestees, the FBI had to herd them onto a bus.

For Full Story

Another High Profile Justice Dept. Case Crumbles

This high profile case is another embarrassment for the Justice Department, which has seen some big setbacks in cases like the one involving ex-Sen. Stevens. The conviction in that was voided.

Mike Scarcella
National Law Journal

In the eyes of the Justice Department, Zhenli Ye Gon   dea is a major player.

The one-time fugitive allegedly amassed a fortune importing and selling ingredients to methamphetamine producers in Mexico. A March 2007 raid on his mansion in Mexico City turned up $207 million in bundled cash – the single largest seizure of alleged drug money in the world. When federal drug agents arrested him in an Asian restaurant in suburban Maryland in July 2007, they were certain they had nabbed a kingpin.

“With the arrest of Zhenli Ye Gon, we’ve apprehended not only the man behind the money, but the man behind the meth,” Karen Tandy, then administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, declared in a statement. The case was heralded as a collaborative feat by the governments of Mexico and the United States.

This week, Justice Department lawyers will head to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where a judge is expected to dismiss the government’s case against Ye Gon.

Two years after indicting Ye Gon on a single conspiracy count, prosecutors admitted they didn’t have much of a case

For Full Story

Read 2007 DEA Press Release on His Arrest

Immigration Officials Locking Up Hundreds of the Wrong People

iceIt seems when you have hundreds of people wrongfully locked up, there’s a big problem. When people are being put behind bars for the wrong reasons, something is very very wrong.

By Tyche Hendricks
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — The son of a decorated Vietnam veteran, Hector Veloz is a U.S. citizen, but in 2007 immigration officials mistook him for an illegal immigrant and locked him in an Arizona prison for 13 months.

Veloz had to prove his citizenship from behind bars. An aunt helped him track down his father’s birth certificate and his own, his parents’ marriage certificate, his father’s school, military and Social Security records.

After nine months, a judge determined that he was a citizen, but immigration authorities appealed the decision. He was detained for five more months before he found legal help and a judge ordered his case dropped.

“It was a nightmare,” said Veloz, 37, a Los Angeles air conditioning installer.

For Full Story