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Archive for October 6th, 2011

Single and Hate Internet Dating? Accused Scammer Mitchell Gross Won’t Make You Feel Better

Mitchell Gross/aka Mitchell Graham/from his website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For singles who have their doubts about Internet dating; Meet Mitchell Gross, aka fiction author Mitchell Graham.

The feds in Atlanta on Thursday announced the indictment of the 61-year-old on charges of wire fraud and money laundering after he allegedly duped at least two women he met on a Jewish dating site into investing millions of dollars in a phony investment company.

OYE!

“This defendant allegedly met women through an online dating service and posed as someone who wanted a committed romantic relationship, but who in fact was interested in luring them into investing their savings with a phony company,” said Atlanta U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in a statement.

“The unsuspecting victims transferred millions of dollars into bank accounts controlled by the defendant, who allegedly depleted the funds to pay back previous victims and enrich himself.”

Authorities said Gross, who published novels under the name “Mitchell Graham” met a woman on the dating site in June 2006 and struck up a romance.

Gross told the woman — authorities referred to only as “R.J”– that he  was independently wealthy and financially secure and that his wealth dramatically increased as a result of the successful investment of his funds by “Michael Johnson,” supposedly a licensed stock broker employed by a subsidiary of Merrill Lynch known as “The Merrill Company.”

In fact, “Michael Johnson” was an alias used by Gross himself, and “The Merrill Company” did not exist.

R.J. called a phone number provided by Gross and spoke to “Michael Johnson” who in fact was Gross, who was disguising his voice.

The woman ultimately wired approximately $2.99 million to an account she believed belonged to “The Merrill Company,” which was actually controlled by Gross.

As part of the scheme, Gross sent the woman IRS 1099 forms that falsely reported dividend and interest income purportedly earned on her “Merrill Company” investment accounts. Gross also sent phony “Merrill Company” account statements to be delivered to R.J.

Authorities said that Gross used the funds to repay a former girlfriend, who had invested about $1.4 million with “The Merrill Company.”

 

Forces Against Atty. Gen. Holder Building — at Least in Republican Ranks

Raul Labrador/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The forces against Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. seem to be building some momentum — at least in the Republican ranks.

The latest: Freshman Rep. Raúl Labrador(R-Idaho)on Thursday demanded that Holder resign, claiming he was lying when he testified before Congress about when he learned of ATF’s troubled  Operation Fast and Furious.

“When Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress on May 3, his statements were either untrue or deliberately misleading,” Labrador said. “It is clear from recently-released documents that Mr. Holder did in fact know about Fast and Furious well before he publicly admitted.

“Attorney General Holder has a troubling pattern of failed cooperation with the legislative branch. Because of this intentional stonewalling and his misleading testimony, I now call for Mr. Holder’s resignation.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Lamar Smith, head of the House Judiciary, asked the White House to assign an independent counsel to determine the truthfulness of Holder’s Congressional testimony on the matter.

On Wednesday, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Az) told The Daily Caller that Obama administration officials responsible for Operation Fast and Furious might be accessories to murder.

Holder told a Congressional committee in May  that he hadn’t heard of the controversial operation until a few weeks before.  But publicly released documents show that he was provided written briefings on the matter as far back as July 2010.

However, the Justice Department says that Holder, when answering questions, meant that he was not aware of the questionable tactics, which involved encouraging gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

 

Ex-Atty. Gen. Gonzales to Split Time Between Law Firm and University

Alberto Gonzales/Fox 34

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales isn’t only going to be teaching law, he’s going to practicing it as well.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Gonzales is going to join the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis to practice white collar defense and advise clients about government relations.

Earlier this week, the new law school at Belmont University in Nashville announced that it had hired Gonzales as a teacher.

The Journal reports that he will split his time between the law firm and Belmont University.

At present, he is still teaching at Texas Tech Law School.

 

Michelle Obama Drops in at Secret Service Headquarters


white house file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service got a little visit Wednesday from one of its protectees — First lady Michelle Obama.

Politico reports that she checked out the intricate works that goes into protecting her family.

She called the daily task of agents “pretty scary.”

“All I can say is, after my little tour, is ignorance is bliss,” Obama told a packed crowd of Secret Service employees who had gathered in a conference room to hear her speak, according to Politico.

“I just — I just don’t want to know,” she said. “You all can handle that. Just tell me when — where to run.”

Obama also said the Secret Service agents at the White House have become like family, and that they sometimes have little spats over who gets which agent on outings, Politico reported.

 

FBI Dir. Mueller Says Agency Has More than Doubled Agents and Analysts for National Security

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Congressional committee in Washington on Thursday morning that the FBI’s commitment on intelligence gathering and counterterrorism can be found in the numbers.

Appearing before the House Permanent Select Committee Intelligence, Mueller noted that since 9/11 the agency has more than doubled the number of agents and analysts assigned to its national security mission.

He said the number of agents has gone from 2,514 agents to 4,815 agents and analysts went from 1,023 to 3,118.

He also testified that the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) has jumped from 35 in 2001 to 104 today.

“Each of the FBI’s 56 Field Offices has a Field Intelligence Group (FIG) composed of Intelligence Analysts, Special Agents, and Staff Operations Specialists (SOS),” he testified. “FIGs, which did not exist prior to 2001, now have 1,662 Intelligence Analysts, 451 Special Agents, and 415 SOSs.”

To read his full statement click here.

Embassy Bomber Wins Right to Sue Federal Govt. Over Prison Restrictions

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Khalafan Khamis Mohammed, convicted  of a 1998 terrorist strike on the US Embassy in Tanzania, won the right to sue the federal government over tight restrictions they placed on his letter-writing and visitor privileges, according to the Associated Press.

Mohammed is serving a life sentence at the federal Supermax prison in southern Colorado. In a hand-written filing penned in 2008, Mohammed wrote to the Denver U.S. District Court that the restrictions were “in violation of the First Amendment rights, equal protection rights, cruel and unusual punishment.”

The Tanzanian also claimed he was barred from watching religious programming while other prisoners were free to watch Christian programs. Other complaints–inadequate food, medical care, safety–were denied by the judge. Mohammed was representing himself.

To read more click here.

FBI Still Scratching Head; Trying to Figure Out if the Geezer Bandit Struck Again

Geezer Bandit usually wears a cap. This time he did not/abc10 photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and police in the San Diego area are trying to figure out if the “Geezer Bandit” — an elderly man or someone disguised as elderly — robbed another bank on Friday — this time in La Jolla, Calif.

Authorities say the bandit has robbed 14 banks since 2009. But 15?

Station ABC10 reports that authorities aren’t sure yet if this is the Geezer Bandit, but they see similarities.

One thing that seems to be throwing authorities off is that the Geezer Bandit usually wears a baseball cap. This time he did not.

FBI Special Agent Darryl Foxworth told 10News; “There’s not enough information from Friday to make that call. It’s too early. We’re conducting other interviews and looking at surveillance video to get a better picture.”

 

Chicago Cop Kept DEA From Investigating Trafficker/Informant Who Went on to Play Role in 3 Murders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Shades of mobster Whitey Bulger?

You might recall that the Boston FBI created one heck of mess when it continually covered for Whitey Bulger, an FBI informant, while he was off killing people and committing other serious crimes. In fact, one of the agents is now behind bars.

Well, in Chicago, drug trafficker Saul Rodriguez, who was a Chicago police informant, has told the feds he was involved in three murders after Chicago cop Glenn Lewellen, who was his handler, talked the DEA out of investigating him in the 1990s, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

He also told the feds that he and Lewellen were partners in crime and ripped off drugs dealers and split millions of dollars in proceeds, the Sun-Times reported.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty last month to federal drug conspiracy charges and has agreed to testify against Lewellen and other defendants, the Sun-Times reported. The information about his crimes was contained in a 188-page document containing juicy evidence prosecutors plan to use against Lewellen and others.

Rodriguez was an informant for Lewellen for years, according to the Sun-Times. Prosecutors said that from 1996 to 2001, the Chicago Police Department paid Rodriguez $807,000 for information leading to seizures of drugs and cash, all the while committing crimes while Lewellen kept him out of prison, the Sun-Times reported.

According to court document, Lewellen persuaded the DEA to stop investigating Rodriguez in 1996 after 154 pounds of marijuana were seized from his Buick by telling the DEA an investigation of Rodriguez would harm ongoing cases, the Sun-Times reported. Rodriguez was subsequently involved in the murders of three people in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Lewellen retired in 2002 to become a homebuilder. But in 2006, even after leaving the department “he still managed to obstruct a separate DEA investigation of Rodriguez,” by telling Rodriguez not to talk to a drug courier whose phone was tapped, the Sun-Times reports.

To read more click here.