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Archive for May 1st, 2010

A Ponzi Scheme and a Little Humor

good humorBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement is serious business. But once in a while a little federal type humor surfaces in places you might least expect.

Good friend and former Washington Post colleague Cindy Loose, who lives in the Washington area,  passed on this true story to me the other day. I thought it was worth sharing.

She wrote: “Last night I attended an awards ceremony—David Rubinstein of the Carlyle group giving $100,000 in scholarship writing awards.”

“Standing in group, one woman says, ‘This girls, is how you network. You network to find jobs, even investors.’

“So I say to a guy across from me, ‘By the way, would you like to invest in my project? It’s a Ponzi scheme but I can get you in at the beginning.’

“He answered: ‘I usually come in at the end. I’m a federal prosecutor’.'”

Ex-Chicago FBI Agent Lead Double Life as a Gangster

Vo Duong Tran was an American success story who escaped Communist Vietnam as a kid and grew up to be an FBI agent. Problem was, he was crooked. Reporter Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times tells the story of an FBI agent gone bad. Tran was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for planning a home invasion of a drug stash house in California in what ended up being an FBI sting.

fbi logo large

By Steve Warmbir
Chicago Sun-Times

CHICAGO — Vo Duong Tran spent his 11th birthday in November 1978 on a cold, rainy Malaysian beach after he and his family made a treacherous voyage during monsoon season across the South China Sea to escape Communist Vietnam.

The old boat they rode in almost capsized a few times, then Tran and his family completed the journey by having to make a dangerous swim to shore.

After such a perilous trip, Tran’s family forgot all about his birthday, as an uncertain future in a refugee camp loomed before them.

But their luck soon turned. A Catholic church in Connecticut brought them to America, where for years Tran would make his family proud.

Once hobbled by asthma as a boy, Tran turned himself into a hulking man, bulging with muscles.

Growing up in a tough neighborhood, Tran went on to fight crime and join the FBI, where he investigated traditional and Asian organized crime in Chicago.

In his new homeland, Tran would use the first name Ben, and Ben Tran was an American success story.

At least on the surface.

To read the full story click here.

FBI Probing West Virginia Mining Accident That Killed 29

west virginiaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — We certainly haven’t heard the last of the explosion in West Virginia that killed 29 miners a few weeks ago.

NPR News is reported that the FBI is investigating the possibility that Mine Safety and Health Administration workers, who inspect mines, took bribes and whether the owner of the mine Massey Energy was criminally negligent.

NPR reported that unsubstantiated rumors have long circulated that inspectors have been on the take.

A federal law enforcement source told NPR that the probe was not focusing on the mine safety inspectors, but NPR said it was standing by its report.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Story of FBI Top 10 Fugitive “Whitey” Bulger