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Archive for July 12th, 2010

Canadian Man Pays for Fleecing Edlerly Americans in Lottery Scam

money-photo
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A Canadian man promised the elderly a little piece of heaven. Instead, some lost their homes and life savings.

Today that man, Henry Anekwu, 43, of British Columbia, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court to nine years in prison for fleecing dozens of elderly Americans of at least $600,000 in a lottery scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was also ordered to pay $510,840 in restitution.

During sentencing, Judge John F. Walter said Anekwu showed no remorse for his victims, who suffered “devastating consequences” of his scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Authorities identified 79 victims.

The scam appeared to be a simple variation of the many overseas scams that promise millions of dollars in free money with the caveat that a tax or fee be paid up front.

To read more click here.

NY FBI Sending Agents to Uganda to Help Probe Bombing

ugandaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in New York plans to send agents to Uganda to help investigate the deadly bombing that reportedly was carried out by a group aligned with al Qaeda, news sources reported.

“The New York Joint Terrorism Task Force is in the process of deploying a team of agents and forensic experts to assist Ugandan authorities in their investigation,” FBI spokesman James Margolin told Bloomberg.

The bomb killed at least 74 people.

AOL News reported that the radical Islamist movement al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying the attacks were revenge for Ugandan soldiers being in the Somali capital. It reported that the group is aligned al Qaeda.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Blagojevich Hated His Job (Washington Post)
NM Gunman Shoots Girlfriend and Kills 2 at Plant (AP)
Mich. Woman Gets Prison For Having Sex With Teen Son (AP)
Fire Ruins Martha’s Vineyard Coast Guard Station (AP)
Prosecutors Say Ark. Doctor Masterminded Bomb Attack (AP)
2 Chicago Area Men Sentenced in Ohio Soldier Plot (AP)
Opposition to Airport Body Scanners Growing (USA Today)

Ex-Washington Post Reporter and Editor Bill Miller Becomes Spokesman for D.C. U.S. Attorney

Bill Miller/linkedin photo

Bill Miller/linkedin photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Bill Miller, a former reporter and editor at the Washington Post,  who specialized in law enforcement coverage, is crossing over to the other side.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. announced Monday that Miller will take over as the public information officer for the busy office.

A veteran reporter, Miller worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Philadelphia Inquirer before coming to the Washington Post.

Miller, who had a reputation as an affable person, and top notch and meticulous  reporter and editor, worked for 10 years as a reporter for The Post, mostly covering the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the local and federal courts.

From 2002 to 2009, he worked as an editor on the city desk, and supervised criminal justice coverage. In 2009, he took a buyout from the Washington Post.

Miller replaces Ben Friedman, an assistant U.S. Attorney who had taken over the public affairs duties from Channing Phillips. Phillips had been named interim U.S. Attorney and subsequently went to work at the Justice Department.

He has a masters degree in Justice  from American University.

Miller has two children and is married to Doreen Gentzler, a news anchor for the Washington,D.C., NBC affiliate WRC-TV.

Swiss Won’t Extradite Roman Polanski to U.S. To Face Sentencing

swiss mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The long protracted legal battle for famous film director Roman Polanski appears to be  over– at least as far as the Swiss are concerned.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Swiss authorities said Polanski, 76, will not be extradited to the United States to face sentencing in a 30-year-old incident involving sex with a 13-year-old girl. And he has been set free from house arrest.

The paper reported that the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police said a flaw in the extradition request could not be ruled out.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Questions Whether Terrorists Who Plead in Military Commission Could be Put to Death

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told Face The Nation Sunday that the U.S. might be able to execute terrorists like 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed if they pleaded guilty at military tribunal.

“There’s a real question about that,” Holder said.

Holder said there’s no question Mohammed could be put to death if he pleaded guilty in a civilian court. The issue has the potential to change some views on the matter, particularly conservatives who have insisted the Sept. 11 suspects be tried in a military venue.

Holder originally announced that Moahammed and four other defendants would be tried in a civilian federal court in New York. But the city complained of the cost and the potential danger, and conservative Republicans insisted the military venue was the only way to go.

The matter as to where the trial will be held remains unresolved.


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Feds Could Cash in On Russian Spies By Auctioning Property Left Behind

auctionBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds stand to gain some serious cash from the 10 Russian spies who were quickly deported last week.

The New York Daily News reports that the feds could try to auction off the property left behind including homes that still have clothes hanging in the closets.

“The crowds at these auctions can almost double [regular auctions],” Robert Olson, owner of auction house Erkelens and Olson in Salt Lake City which has handled a number of high-profile U.S. Marshals auctions told the Daily News. “I guess they want to see what those people in actuality owned, and how they lived.”

The paper reported that the homes left behind include a $530,800 one in Montclair, N.J., and a $447,059 one in Yonkers.

To read more click here.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Set to Appear in Court on Fed Charges

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The drama and embarrassment in the Motown continues Tuesday when ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — once dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor” — steps into a downtown federal courtroom to face arraignment on 19 felony fraud and income tax counts, the Detroit News reports.

Kilpatrick is already in prison. He served 99 days in jail for perjury charges relating to a civil lawsuit and a text message scandal involving a top staff member he was having an affair with.

In May, he was sent back to jail for concealing assets that were supposed to go toward $1 million in restitution in the text message case.

The FBI continues to probe corruption in city hall — something there seems to be no shortage of. And the Detroit News reports Kilpatrick could end up getting tagged with more federal charges.

Kilpatrick had showed some promise when he became mayor. But many say his arrogance and his immaturity did him in.  Fair to say, the Hip Hop Mayor is no longer hip and no longer hopping… at least for now.

To read more click here.

Hundreds of FBI, DEA and ICE Agents Fall Victim to Ponzi Scheme

thief

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — FBI agents are supposed to unearth scams, not become victims of them. This time is different.

Some 300 retired and current federal agents — representing the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — collectively invested tens of millions of dollars of retirement money in what turned out to be a Ponzi scheme allegedly run by a Florida man who committed suicide last month, an attorney in the case said.

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are now investigating and trying to recover funds.

“There are definitely [agents] who have lost their life savings,” Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael Goldberg, who is representing the victims, told AOL News.

The reaction of the agents? “Pretty much what you expect,” Goldberg said. “Shock and anger.”

Behind it all, authorities said, was a self-described retirement investment adviser named Kenneth Wayne McLeod, 48. For years McLeod served as a trusted adviser to federal agents around the country, making free financial projections for retirement and in some cases offering high-yield returns of 8 to 10 percent on certain investments, according to an SEC filing in the case.

On June 22, McLeod was found dead in Jacksonville, Fla., of a gunshot wound.

His Florida-based companies, Federal Employee Benefits Group Inc. and F&S Asset Management Group Inc., appear to have been shut down and all assets frozen, authorities said. Calls to both numbers went unanswered this afternoon and the voice mails were full.

McLeod allegedly mentioned to prospective clients the names of many federal agents he knew, including straitlaced FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, according to the website Gang Land News, which reported on the story today.

“[McLeod] would tell people that Bob Mueller was a friend of his,” a retired FBI agent told Gang Land News. “The guy was a real charmer. He would say that he and Bob were best of friends and that Bob and his wife used to stay at his place all the time. The worst thing about this is that this creep scammed hard-working GS-13s and GS-14s [federal employees].”

Mueller did in fact rent vacation properties in Amelia Island, Fla., for several years, Gang Land News reported. But Michael Kortan, the chief FBI spokesman, said in a statement that even if McLeod had owned one of those properties, Mueller had no idea who he was renting from.

“The director had no personal or professional relationship with Mr. McLeod, nor did he engage in any financial dealings of any kind with him,” Kortan stated.

According to the SEC, McLeod for years put on retirement seminars that federal agencies paid as much as $15,000 for. He offered some investments with such companies as Fidelity, which the FBI said appeared to be safe. But others investments appeared to be fraudulent.

In many instances, he offered high returns — 8 to 10 percent — through bonds.

“The security of the government bonds was a key element of McLeod’s deception but he never purchased any bonds,” the SEC said in a statement on June 25. “Instead, he used the investors’ retirement savings to conduct a Ponzi scheme, to pay himself and to pay for lavish entertainment, including annual trips to the Super Bowl for himself and 40 friends.”

FBI special agent Jeff Westcott of the Jacksonville, Fla., office, which is investigating the matter, told AOL News that McLeod had “an air of credibility.”

The irony and embarrassment of the case are clear to many agents around the country. And at the SEC, the unusual set of circumstances is not lost on officials.

Glenn Gordon, SEC associate regional director for the Miami Regional Office, said, “I am not aware personally of another case where this was the target audience.”