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Archive for March 21st, 2011

ICE Official Gets One of the Toughest Sentences in Public Corruption Case: Nearly 18 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to nearly 18 years in prison, one of the harshest sentences ever handed down in the U.S. in a public corruption case.

Authorities said Constantine Peter Kallas, 40 of Alta Loma, Calif. was sentenced to 212 months for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were seeking documentation to remain in the U.S.

On top of the prison term, Kallas was ordered to pay $296,865 in restitution after fraudulently receiving worker’s compensation benefits.

“Mr. Kallas has received one of the longest sentences ever seen in a public corruption case,”  U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement. “Mr. Kallas took in hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes – money he obtained by exploiting his knowledge of the immigration system. The lengthy sentence reflects the seriousness of the crimes, which were a wholesale violation of the public trust.”

Last April, a federal convicted Kallas of three dozen felony counts – conspiracy, six counts of bribery, two counts of obstruction of justice, seven counts of fraud and misuse of entry documents, three counts of aggravated identity theft, nine counts of making false statements to the Department of Labor, four counts of making false statements to obtain federal employee compensation, and four counts of tax evasion.

“This case presents an epic display of a public official’s greed,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

“As a corrupt prosecutor, [Kallas] calculatingly terrorized the idea of justice and the concept of public service,” the memorandum continued. “[Kallas] carried out his crime scheme through elaborate forms of manipulation, lies, and obstructive conduct.”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.

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Highest Ranking NY Cop on FBI’s JTTF Almost Transferred for Refusing to Share Classified Info With his Superiors at NYPD


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The top New York cop on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force almost got transferred from the unit after he refused to share classified info with his superiors in the police department, the New York Daily News reported.

But the FBI intervened and prevented the transfer of NYPD Deputy Chief James Shea, the Daily News reported.

The paper reported that Shea got in a jam after he backed a detective on the JTTF, who refused to share the info. The info is legally only supposed to be shared with people who have a security clearance.

The Daily News reported that Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne denied that Shea was supposed to be transferred. The FBI declined comment.

It’s Game Time for Barry Bonds; Fed Trial in San Francisco Begins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s game time for the baseball legend Barry Bonds.

Jury selection begins Monday in federal court in San Francisco for the home run slugger who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he didn’t take steroids.

Bonds, 46, is not likely to face prison time even if convicted, according to the web site California Watch. The site reported that two defendants convicted of lying about steroids were sentenced to home confinement by Bond’s current judge, Susan Illston.

Ex-Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent says an acquittal would greatly enhance Bond’s chances of making it into the Hall of Fame, according to California Watch.  A conviction would set him back in his bid at least 30 years, Vincent said.

Man Convicted of Producing $7 Million in Counterfeit Liberty Head Dollars


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The buck apparently stopped with 67-year-old Bernard von NotHaus.

Von NotHaus, who was part of an anti-government movement, was convicted last week in federal court in North Carolina of minting roughly $7 million in Liberty Dollar coins, authorities said.

Authorities said investigators found that he had been making and disseminating the coins since 1998.

Von NotHaus was founder of an organization called the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code, commonly known as NORFED and also known as Liberty Services.

Authorities said Von NotHaus designed the Liberty Dollar currency that were marked with the dollar sign ($); the words dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of In God We Trust); and other features associated with legitimate coins.

In 2006, the Department of Justice and U.S. Mint issued a press release saying the Liberty Dollar was “not legal tender.

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in a statement following last week’s verdict.

“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

Ill. Man Says FBI Tried Getting Him to Go Undercover in Mosque to Get Off No-Fly List


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 31-year-old Illinois man claims the FBI said it could remove him from the no-fly list if he agreed to go undercover at mosques, the Associated Press reported. He refused the offer.

AP reported that Abe Mashal, a dog trainer from St. Charles, Ill., says the bureau said he landed on the list because he exchanged emails with a Muslim cleric who the FBI was watching.

AP reported that he sent an email to cleric asking about raising children in an interfaith family. He is Muslim, his wife is Christian.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security declined comment, AP reported.

Mashal, who discovered he was on the list last April, says he is an honorably discharged Marine, AP reported.  He is one of 17 plaintiffs in an ACLU-filed lawsuit over the list.

Mashal told AP he felt like he was being blackmailed by the FBI when the agency tried to get im to go undercover.

“I feel like I’m living in communist Russia, not the United States of America, for someone to jump into my life like that,” he said.

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