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Archive for December 22nd, 2011

Countrywide Financial Agrees to Pay $335 Million Settlement to Resolve Allegations of Lending Discrimination

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Mass. Man Sentenced for Economic Espionage for Israel

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Elliot Doxer has become Massachusetts’ first ever individual prosecuted for foreign economic espionage, according to a statement from the FBI.

Doxer was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement and electronic monitoring on Tuesday, as well as fined $25,000, after providing trade secrets to an undercover agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer. Doxer  had previously plead guilty.

Doxer sent an e-mail to the folks at the  Boston’s Israeli Consulate in June of 2006 telling them he worked for the company Akamai Technologies, Inc., in the finance department, and wanted to provide whatever information he could “to help our homeland and our war against our enemies,” according to the statement. Doxer also asked to be paid for the risks he was taking.

A federal agents posing as an Israeli intelligence officer spoke to Doxer in Sept, 2007, establishing a “dead drop” where the two could exchange information. Doxer visited the dead drop at least 62 times between Oct. 2007 and March 2009, leaving information and checking for new communications.

Doxer provided the undercover agent with a list of the company’s customers, contracts with those customers, a full list of the company’s employees, with positions and contact information, and a broad description of the company’s physical and computer security systems. He also said he could travel to Israel or support special operations at home.

“We acknowledge the Government of Israel for their cooperation in this investigation, and underscore that the Information does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case,” said the FBI statement.

 

Fed Agents Misbehavin in 2011

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents wake up, grab their gun and badge and a cup of java, orange juice or tea and go out into the world to protect the public and enforce the laws.

Unfortunately, every year, a few step over the line — way over the line — and break the law.

As the year draws to an end,  ticklethewire.com takes a look at some of the more interesting cases of Feds Misbehavin.

 

Unmitigated Disaster: FBI agent Adrian Johnson, a six-year veteran of bureau, had a little too much booze last Feb. 7. While driving in Prince George’s County, just outside D.C., he drove his 2002 Mitsubishi Montero into oncoming traffic and crashed into 18-year-old Lawrence Garner Jr.’s Hyundai Sonata. Garner died and a passenger in the car was critically injured but survived.

Johnson lost his job and in August a county grand jury indicted him on charges including motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.  Johnson had just moved to the D.C. area to protect the  U.S. attorney general. The end of a life, the end of a career.

Lying for a Lover: Love or lust can do some people in. Just ask FBI agent Adrian Busby.

On Nov. 1, a fed jury in Manhattan federal court convicted the 37-year-old of lying to protect a married female confidential source he was having an affair with. It all began in 2008 when Busby, who was investigating mortgage fraud, started using a female real estate loan officer as a confidential source. He also began having an affair with her.

On Feb. 5, 2008, the source was arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for identity theft and related charges. Authorities charged that Busby “actively assisted with her criminal defense, met with her attorneys on multiple occasions, and during trial “provided her defense attorney with confidential, law enforcement reports…related to her case….in violation of FBI regulations.” Fed authorities said he then lied to them about the things he did to help the woman.

Say What? This one is just so wildly crazy for so many reasons.  Anthony  V. Mangione, 50, who headed up South Florida’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was indicted in September on child porn charges. Ironic? Let us count the ways. First off, ICE has been very active in busting purveyors of child porn. Secondly, how could a guy in the know like Mangione get caught knowing what he knows about how law enforcement operates?

Not the Crime of the Century: DEA Agent Brian Snedeker  was charged in Virginia in October with hunting ducks in a “baited area” and exceeding the daily limit of ducks, according to Field & Stream magazine, which wrote: “OK, someone’s gotta ask the question: what illegal substance was this DEA agent under the influence when he decided to shoot many ducks, and in a baited area to boot?” Apparently, among the Field & Stream crowd,  Snedeker is one bad dude.

Just Plain Crooked: ATF agent Brandon McFadden admitted he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers. He was arrested in April 2010 and was sentenced this December to 21 months in prison. He would have gotten a lot more had he not cooperated with authorities. Nice way to end a career.

Career Up in Smoke: Clifford Dean Posey, an ATF agent form Virginia gets an A for enterprise and big D for plain Dumb. The 43-year-old was sentenced in September in Richmond, Va., to three years and one month in prison for stealing guns and cigarettes from ATF and selling them.

The Cost of a Big Fat Lie: It’s one thing to have an affair with a fellow law enforcement agent. It’s another to lie about it. Keith Phillips, a former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal division in the Dallas division, learned that the hard way. In October, he pleaded guilty to lying in a civil case about having an affair with an FBI agent he was working with.

Phillips, 61, of Kent, Tex., and a female FBI agent investigated a criminal case from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999 that resulted in the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others. The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine turned around and filed a lawsuit against the federal government for malicious prosecution, authorities said.

That’s when trouble stepped into the picture. Authorities said that during a deposition taken in Vidrine’s civil suit, agent Phillips allegedly falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did.

Very Fishy: There are certain times when things just look too fishy. This is one of those times. FBI Agent Jerry Nau of Peoria, Ill., lied to investigators  about $43,643 in cash that went missing from a drug bust. He  also forged signatures of fellow agents on evidence sheets to hide the fact the money was AWOL.

In November, he was taken into custody and sentenced to five months in prison. Nau told investigators he panicked when he was unable to find the money before the trial and hoped it would “turn up” on its own, the Chicago Tribune reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden said at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune: “Would you walk away and say, ‘I hope it comes back some day?’No, you would start screaming at your colleagues and say … ‘Let’s go find (the money).

“What happened is he stole the money,” Warden said.

Vigilante Justice: Border Patrol Agents Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, must have figured it wasn’t worth bothering the justice system. So the two  took matters into their own hands by allegedly forcing four Mexican nationals, who were illegals and were suspected of marijuana smuggling, to eat marijuana and strip off their clothing and shoes. They then set the belongings on fire and forced them to flee into 40-degree desert in southern Arizona.

The incident happened in 2008, but the two were indicted in August in Tucson by a federal grand jury.

Investigators in WikiLeaks Case Targeted by Groups Online

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Investigators in the prosecution of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking top secret documents to WikiLeaks,  may face a backlash from activist hackers online, reports NextGov.com.

Gregg Housh,  an Internet activist who follows the pro-WikiLeaks hacking collective known as “Anonymous”, said there is talk in the chat rooms of  retaliating against people involved in the prosecution of Manning, who is currently sitting in on a military pretrial hearing to determine whether he should face a court martial.

Housh said the talk in particular is focused in on retaliating against a government-hired forensics specialist and an investigator from the Army .

“Both are being talked about pretty heavily as possibly problems that need to be dealt with,” said Housh, according to NextGov.

To read more click here.

Republican Campaign Against Atty. Gen. Holder Ends Up Being Just Another Exercise in Partisan Politics

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr./doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Partisan politics inside the Beltway has been around forever. That’s a given. Unfortunately, these days it has reached such ridiculous heights.

That being said, if the Republicans had been serious at all about pressuring Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to resign, they would have been a little smarter and tried to get some Democrats on board.

Instead, it ends up looking like another Republican opportunity to bash the Obama administration and its Justice Department.

So far, more than 60 members of Congress, along with two presidential hopefuls,  have called for Holder to resign. Not one is a Democrat.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Republicans’ campaign is even legitimate. Sure, Eric Holder should take some blame for the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, but I don’t think there’s any evidence so far that he intentionally misled Congress as some are saying.  Simply put: Having no Dems on their side hurts the cause.

In the end, the attack-Holder campaign by the Republicans ends up being just another ugly exercise in partisan politics.

Column: Republican Campaign Against Atty. Gen. Holder Ends Up Being Just Another Exercise in Partisan Politics

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Partisan politics inside the Beltway has been around forever. That’s a given. Unfortunately, these days it has reached such ridiculous heights.

That being said, if the Republicans had been serious at all about pressuring Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to resign, they would have been a little smarter and tried to get some Democrats on board.

Allan Lengel

Instead, it ends up looking like another Republican opportunity to bash the Obama administration and its Justice Department.

So far, more than 60 members of Congress, along with two presidential hopefuls,  have called for Holder to resign. Not one is a Democrat.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Republicans’ campaign is even legitimate. Sure, Eric Holder should take some blame for the disastrous Operation Fast and Furious, but I don’t think there’s any evidence so far that he intentionally misled Congress as some are saying.  Simply put: Having no Dems on their side hurts the cause.

In the end, the attack-Holder campaign by the Republicans ends up being just another ugly exercise in partisan politics.

 

Secret Service Investigate Angry Facebook Poster

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A failed city council candidate from Carson, Calif. has caught the attention of the Secret Service after posting racist commentary about the president on Facebook, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Jules Manson, who ran in March for city council on the Libertarian platform, called Barack Obama a “monkey,” then called for the assassination of the president and his “monkey children.”

“We are aware of the incident and are going to conduct appropriate followup,” said Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie, according to the LA Times.

Manson’s post was made in reaction to the controversial National Defense Authorization Act, which permits indefinite detention without trial for some terrorism suspects.

Manson later erased the comment and apologized, saying it was “careless, emotionally driven remarks that had no real substance.” He was, perhaps, not entirely sorry. He went on to write that “Not including my regular friends whom I converse with often or have in the past and always welcome their comments and posts, I do not believe many of you are concerned citizens. Most of you were simply looking for drama to demonstrate your politically correct righteousness.”

To read more click here.

 

Mexican Extradited to U.S. on Charges of Killing ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and Wounding Another Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man charged in the Feb. 15 murder in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE agent Victor Avila has been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to face trial.

The Justice Department announced the charges and the extradition on Wednesday of Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka “Piolin.”

On April 19, a D.C. federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in D.C. He was ordered detained without bail.

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