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Archive for April, 2010

2 Men Charged in NY With Helping Modernize al Qaeda

new-york-map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Geek Squad these men were not, at least according to federal authorities in New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged two former Brooklyn men with conspiring to provide material support to Al Qaeda that included providing computer advice, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The men, Wesam El-Hanafi, 33, is an American citizen who lived in Brookly and Sabirhan Hasanoff, 34, has dual citizen in the U.S. and Australia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said.

“As alleged in the indictment, Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff conspired to modernize al Qaeda by providing computer systems expertise and other goods and services,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Authorities charged that El-Hanafi traveled to Yemen in February 2008 and met with two members of al Qaeda.

“While in Yemen, El-Hanafi swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda, received instructions from al Qaeda on operatational security measrues, and received assignments to perform for al Qaeda,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

Read Press Release

FBI Official Says Kidnappings in Texas Border Town “Off the Charts”

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI official in Texas told state lawmakers Thursday that kidnappings in the border town of McAllen, Tex., have nearly quadrupled over the last fiscal year, and most were drug related, the Associated Press reported.

John Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI McAllen office, said 42 people were kidnapped between October 2008 to September 2009 compared to 11 the year before, the AP reported. On top of that, he said, many kidnappings have gone unreported.

“Fiscal ’09 was off the charts,” Johnson said in McAllen to lawmakers who were holding a hearing to determined the security needs at the border, the AP reported.

To read more click here.

Pa. Judge Pleads Guilty in “Kids for Cash” Scandal

judge and gavel
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a case that was clearly a big big disgrace to the judiciary, ex-Luzrine County, Pa., Judge Michael T. Conahan pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in  the “kids-for-cash” scandal that wrongfully sent some juveniles to jail in exchange for a kickback in cash, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He now faces up to 20 years in jail.

His guilty plea, which was entered in Scranton, Pa., also requires the 58-year-old to stop practicing law.

Conahan and Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. were charged last year with getting $2.8 million in kickbacks from the owner of two private juvenile detention facilities. In exchange, they allegedly sent some juveniles to jail who shouldn’t have gone or imposed harsher sentences than normal. Ciavarella  plans to go to trial.

Both judges had previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges in a deal that called for 87 month prison terms. But a federal judge rejected that, saying the duo had not fully admitted wrongdoing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

To read full story click here.

Fed Prosecutors Open Preliminary Probe into Goldman Sachs

goldman-sachs-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has opened a preliminary investigation into Goldman Sachs, the poster child for greed in America.

The New York Times, citing “people familiar with the matter’, said the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has filed a civil fraud suit against the financial giant, Goldman, referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

The company has denied claims by the SEC that it defrauded investors.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

A Teen Gets 40 Years For Killing Border Patrol Agent in 2009

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 17-year-old was sentenced Thursday in San Diego to 40 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent during a robbery attempt last July 23 at the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities announced.

Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez admitted in U.S. District Court that he crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. and tried to rob Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas near the town of Campo, Calif.

Read more »

Ex-Attorney Generals Sign Letter Saying Feds Push For a Life Sentence for Ex-Head of Iowa Meat Plant Not So Kosher

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno

Ex-Atty Gen. Janet Reno

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than a dozen ex-U.S. Attorneys, a former Solicitor General and six ex-Attorney Generals including Janet Reno, Ramsey Clark and Edwin Meese III,  have signed a letter written to an Iowa federal judge questioning “the government’s extreme sentencing position” regarding Sholom Rubashskin, the former chief executive of an Iowa kosher meat packing plant, who was convicted on 86 counts of federal bank fraud in connection with loans to the company, the New York Times reported.

The letter calls the push a “potentially severe injustice.”

The Times reported that federal prosecutors in Iowa have been pushing for a life sentence for Rubashkin, citing ”blatant lawlessness, utter lack of remorse, his egregious and repeated attempts to obstruct justice.”

(UPDATE: Prosecutors on Thursday asked for a 25 year sentence instead of life, but his lawyer said that sentence essentially amounted to life as well, the Associated Press reported).

Ed Meese/yale.edu photo

Ed Meese/yale.edu photo

Rubashkin headed up the Agriprocessor kosher plant in Pottsville, Iowa, which was raided in 2008 as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration. Almost 400 illegal immigrants were detained. Last November, he was convicted on the bank fraud charges and the prosecution subsequently dropped the charges related to the illegal immigrants.

Click here or for letter or read it below after clicking  “read more.”

Read more »

Defense Witness In Mobster John Gotti Jr. Case Murdered in Prison

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

New York mobster Joseph O’Kane, who testified as a defense witness for friend John Gotti Jr. last fall, has been murdered in prison, the website  Gangland News reported.

Joseph O’Kane, 44,  was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate on Sunday in his cell block at a high-security prison in Waymart, Penn., the website reported. The Bureau of Prisons simply listed him on its website  as “deceased”.

His lawyer Joseph Corozzo told the N.Y. Daily News: “It was under investigation, and the prison was on lockdown. He was well-respected in the facility, and I was unaware of any problems with any other inmates or with prison officials. That’s why this is so shocking.”

O’Kane was serving a life sentence for a 1999 murder and racketeering conviction. He testified to counter testimony by government witness John Alite. The jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. It was Gotti’s fourth mistrial in five years because of a deadlocked jury. The U.S. Attorney’s Office finally agreed to wave the white flag and not go after Gotti for a fifth time.

FBI Agents Search Home of Late Chicago Mobster Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra