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Archive for February 11th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: RFK’s Assassin Sirhan Sirhan

Chandra Levy’s Convicted Killer Gets 60 Years in Prison; Mother Tells Killer “F— You!”

Ingmar Guandique

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Ingmar Guandique, who was convicted of killing intern Chandra Levy in a case that captured the nation’s attention over the years, was sentenced Friday in D.C. Superior Court to 60 years in prison.

The sentencing for Guandique, 29, fell short of the life in prison without parole the U.S. Attorney’s Office had asked for.

Levy, a native of Modesto, Calif. went missing in Washington in  May of 2001. A year later, her skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park in the Upper Northwest section of Washington. Guandique was convicted,thanks in part, to key testimony from a cell mate.

Before being sentenced, Guandique addressed the Levy family and said, according to the Washington Post:

“I am sorry for what happened to your daughter. But I had nothing to do with it. I am innocent.”

Chandra Levy

Levy’s mother also spoke, reading a statement she, her husband and son had submitted to court, the Post reported.

“Because of you, young man, you have caused us to live a Holocaust again. You have sentenced our entire family to days of sadness, tears and heartache. You are a hideous creature.”

“How could you take my daughter’s life? Did you really take her life? Look me in my eyes and tell me.”

She then said, according to TBD: “F— You!”

“Over nearly 10 years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Metropolitan Police Department, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly to solve this case,” U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said in a statement.

“Late last year, the question of who killed Chandra Levy was finally answered by a District of Columbia jury when Ingmar Guandique was found guilty of first degree felony murder. We hope that this sentence provides some measure of closure to the Levy family, which has shown remarkable strength throughout this ordeal.”

D.C.Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued a statement saying: “This was a complicated case that spanned a decade. I applaud the detectives and prosecutors for their uncompromising resolve. My thoughts are with the Levy family for all they have endured.”

FBI Releases 3,600 Pages on the Late Sen. Ted Stevens

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens before his defeat

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI on Friday released about 3,600 pages on the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, about 2,700 of which were from media reports.

The files included complaints received by the FBI Anchorage office alleging “instances of Stevens being involved in corruption or other illegal activities” and Stevens accepting free services.

The files also detail threats made against Stevens over the years including in 1985 when he was among a number of members of Congress members who received threatening letters, the FBI said.

Stevens was convicted on public corruption charges in 2008,just before he was up for re-election. He lost the election. But a federal judge, at the request of the Justice Department, ended up vacating the conviction because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Stevens died in a plane crash last August. He served in the Senate from 1968 until Jan. 3, 2009.

Some of the information contained in the files, according to the FBI, included:

* Letters back and forth between Stevens and FBI Directors and other executives, the U.S. attorney general, and the Anchorage special agents in charge discussing legislation, constituent concerns, crime reporting, and news articles of interest;

* Letters of complaint from the public and political organizations regarding alleged corruption, which tie in other Alaskan political figures;

* References from the 1950s when Stevens was the U.S. Attorney (involving his appointment to the position and participation in U.S. Attorney conferences); and

* Correspondence between Hoover and other FBI executives regarding Stevens’ relationship with the FBI and the Anchorage Field Office as a U.S. Attorney.

Read Files

Small Town Cook Does His Thing Under Watchful Eye of Secret Service

President edits remarks before delivering speech at Northern Mich. U/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not everyday that a small town cook has to cook under the watchful eye of the U.S. Secret Service.

But that’s exactly what happened to Shane Baker at Doncker’s Fudge in Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to the Detroit News.

Baker said President Obama, who delivered a speech Thursday to Northern Michigan Unviersity in Marquette, came into the shop for a bite to eat at the store’s lunch counter.

“Suddenly people were getting excited and when I came out from the kitchen I could see cameras and microphones everywhere,” Baker told the Detroit News. “And there was the president.”

“A Secret Service agent came back to the kitchen and told me that he had to watch me while I cooked,” Baker told the News.

The President ended up ordering a DJB, a sandwich Baker named after a friend who killed in an accident this summer, the News reported. By the way, the sandwich is a turkey club with three types of cheese and three types of bread.

“I’m a presidential chef now,” he laughed, according to the News. “It’ll be great to tell my son about it one day

Doctor Gets 1 Year in Prison For Altering Fingerprints of Illegal Immigrants

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

They say fingerprints never lie — that is unless they’re altered.

Enter Dr. Jose Elias Zaiter-Pou, 62, a Dominican doctor.

Zaiter-Pou was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston to one year and one day in prison for conspiring to conceal illegal immigrants from detection by altering their fingerprints, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said. He will also be deported after serving his sentence.

Authorities say that Zaiter-Pou met a government informant at a hotel in Woburn, Mass., 11 miles north of Boston, and agreed to alter fingerprints for $4,500.

The doctor brought with him surgical equipment, antibiotics and pain medication.

Authorities said during the meeting, which was audio and video recorded by law enforcement, Zaiter-Pou described how he would remove part of the fingertip, then suture the tip back together to make a new, unrecognizable fingerprint.

FBI Agent Adrian Johnson Involved in Fatal Crash; Blew .25 on Breathalyzer; Had Just Been Assigned to Atty. General’s Security Detail

DEA Says Lebanese Bank Laundered Drug Money Linked to Hezbollah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The DEA and Treasury Department on Thursday accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL and its subsidiaries (LCB) of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug profits by an organization linked to the Lebanese organization Hezbollah.

In its announcement, authorities designated the bank as a “primary money laundering concern.”

Authorities said that drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa and his Lebanon-based drug trafficking and money laundering network, along with several other individuals, have used LCB to launder as much as $200 million a month in narcotics proceeds.

Authorities say that Hezbollah derived financial support from Joumaa’s network, which moves drugs from South America to Europe and the Middle East via Africa.

“The Lebanese Canadian Bank for years has participated in a sophisticated money laundering scheme involving used cars purchased in the United States and consumer goods overseas,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement. “Thanks to DEA-led operations, as well as today’s Treasury action, we are exposing and disrupting this money laundering network and its connections to global drug trafficking and Hizballah,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

“This action seeks to protect the U.S. financial system from the illicit proceeds flowing through LCB and to deprive this international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network of its preferred access point into the formal financial system,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey in a statement. “Any financial institution that collaborates in illicit conduct on this scale risks losing its access to the United States.”

Ex-House Staff Member Convicted of Taking Bribe: Trip to Game One of 2003 World Series

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Game One of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium; All expense paid trip.

Priceless? Only when you don’t get caught.

Fraser C. Verrusio, 41, a former staff member for Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who was then-chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,  was convicted Thursday after a 10-day trial in Washington  on one count of conspiring to accept an illegal gratuity and other related counts connected to taking a free trip to Game One of the World Series between the Yankees and the Florida Marlins,  the Justice Department said.

The conviction appeared to be the last of the  trials linked to the ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff scandal.

“Accepting gifts from lobbyists and then lying about those gifts on financial disclosure forms is simply not acceptable,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in a statement. “The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and our partners in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are committed to holding accountable government servants who abuse their positions for personal gain.”

James W. McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office added: “Mr. Verrusio’s conduct cuts against the thousands of government workers who live their lives by the ethical code they pledged to uphold.”

The Justice Department said that Verrusio worked as the policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that had responsibility for the Federal Highway Bill.

Testimony at trial showed that Verrusio and Trevor Blackann, a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, accepted an all-expenses-paid trip to Game One of the 2003 World Series from a lobbyist working for an equipment rental company interested in inserting three amendments into the Federal Highway Bill.

The trip was paid for by the equipment rental company and the lobbyist’s firm. Blackann has already pleaded guilty in the case.