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Archive for May 18th, 2012

Weekend Series on Crime History: Godfather John Gotti

NY FBI Agent Honored for Doomed WWII Secret Mission

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

FBI Special Agent Harold Haberfeld is being honored for his service, nearly 70 years after his plane crashed in a WWII mission in northern Africa, reports Fox News. The FBI Buffalo office dedicated its main conference room to Haberfeld in an outdoor ceremony Thursday.

However Haberfeld’s ill-fated mission was so top-secret that his home bureau in Buffalo isn’t entirely sure what it was.

It has been surmised that Haberfeld and Percy “Sam” Foxworth, the assistant director of the FBI’s special intelligence services branch, were sent to interview the French-born American citizen living in Algiers. Charles Bedaux, a 57-year-old millionaire industrialist who admitted close friendships with Nazi party leaders, later killed himself. According to Fox, the agents’ plane apparently went down from mechanical problems and it took 5 years to recover any remains, which were laid to rest in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in Missouri.

Hoover wrote afterward, “… Special Agent Haberfeld had an outstanding record in the service. His excellent background and superior abilities were assurance of a splendid future in the Bureau.”

Buffalo agents are requesting that FBI headquarters declassify the details of the mission, but they didn’t wait for a response to dedicate a memorial in Haberfeld’s honor.

To read more click here.

FBI Affidavit: Minn. Supremacist Targeted Mexican Consulate

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

An affidavit unsealed in federal court reveals a bomb plot in Minnesota involving white supremacists.

The affidavit details the investigation into white supremacist Joseph Benjamin Thomas’ plot to blow up the Mexican consulate in St. Paul, Minnesota, reports the AP. Thomas, 42, and Samuel James Johnson, 31, wanted to form a militant supremacist group called the Aryan Liberation Movement targeting minorities, liberals, and government officials.

Authorities have been observing them as potential domestic terrorists since 2010, however Thomas is not facing any terrorism-related charges. He was indicted in April on four charges related to possession and sale of methamphetamine, according to the AP, while Johnson was indicted on weapons charges. Johnson was found with 5 weapons including a semi-automatic assault rifle, despite having prior convictions which bar him from owning weapons.

Mark Pitcavage, Anti-Defamation League director of investigative research, said it’s hard for prosecutors to prove terror charges based on plotting alone.

“In my 18 years of having tracked extremists, I think that weapons charges are among the most sure to stick,” he said, according to AP. “Weapons charges are pretty common among most major right wing extremist movements because they love guns.”

To read more click here.

Seattle Couple Living in Million Dollar Lakehouse Plead “Guilty” to Collecting Welfare

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

A Seattle couple busted for welfare fraud pleaded guilty Thursday. Apparently they had a lot more to lose than met the eye.

Chiropractor David Silverstein, 60, was the lover of Lyudmila Shimonova, 53, but told authorities he was her landlord of the million dollar home near Pritchard Beach on Lake Washington in South Seattle.

Consequently, he collected $1,250 a month in federal HUD rent subsidies on behalf of his girlfriend Shimonova, 53, who lived with Silverstein and her two children. Silverstein raked in more than $135,000 in housing benefits over the course of the ongoing scheme.

As part of the scheme, Silverstein gave his business address as his home address to make it look as if he didn’t live in the home.

Shimonova had jewelry, insurance and CD’s worth more than $30,000, though on applications for public assistance she claimed to have no assets but her small checking account, authorities said. The couple lied on at least 7 applications over the years, and received food, medical and disability benefits from the state and Social Security.

Under a plea agreement, the couple will pay more than $261,000 in restitution plus an additional civil penalty of $216,441, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

“Today we ensured this couple will not profit from their flagrant greed,” said U. S. Attorney Jenny Durkan. “In addition to a significant financial penalty, we will ask the judge to impose prison time. They stole resources that should have gone to the truly needy, illegally taking the place of others in a housing program with a long waiting list. This conduct hurts people who need assistance and weakens public support for a vital safety net. I commend HUD and SSA for the work done to protect the public interest in this case.”

Sentencing will take place Sept. 21 in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

To read more click here.

NYPD’s Kelly Barks Back After FBI Snub on al Qaeda Plot

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In case you hadn’t notice, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is no shrinking violet.

So one day after FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III testified before Congress that he hadn’t bothered to call Kelly about the latest al Qaeda/ underwear bomber plot, Kelly spoke up. FBI agents waited a week to brief Kelly’s folks.

“We can’t be treated like just any other city,” Kelly insisted Thursday, according to the NY Daily News. “We had 14 plots here. We had almost 3,000 people killed just five blocks from [City Hall\]. We had another attack in 1993. We’re different.”

“I’m not looking for a call from the FBI director,” added Kelly, who called Mueller “a personal friend.”

“I’m looking for information as quickly as possible for New York City.”

To read full story click here.

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