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Archive for December, 2012

Feds Misbehaving in 2012

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Everyday, people in federal law enforcement head to work, grab a coffee, maybe a donut or a bagel, comb through their emails, read a newspaper or website and go about fighting crime, protecting the public from violent drug dealers, public corruption, gun-related crimes,  healthcare fraud and terrorism.

But on occasion, something reminds us that the iconic law enforcement agencies are made up of humans. A few cross the line.  In most instances, it  involves sex, alcohol or money.

This year, perhaps one of the more publicized events involved  Secret Service agents in South America, who brought prostitutes back to the hotel.  That turned into a big big mess. Any time the media can get the Secret Service, the president and hookers in the same story, there’s bound to be trouble.

In what has become part of an annual tradition, ticklethewire.com presents “Feds Misbehaving in 2012.”

 

Too Exposed: There’s something about a motorist exposing himself. It’s particularly noteworthy when that person is an FBI agent. In Buffalo, in December, FBI agent John Yervelli Jr. was charged with public lewdness for allegedly exposing himself to a truck driver as he tooled down the New York State Thruway one Friday night, apparently exposing his tool. Authorities alleged that he had his pants down and made lewd gestures.

 

 

Mind Bender: The idea of downloading child porn has been a crime the feds  and  society takes very seriously. The FBI, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and some local and state agencies put a lot of resources into cracking down on this problem that has exploded with the advent of the Internet. But it’s a mind bender when someone like Anthony Mangione, 50, whose agency so aggressively goes after child porn, gets busted for child porn. Mangione, who headed ICE in Southern Florida, was recently sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for transportation and possession of child porn. Just as an aside,  you have to wonder how a guy in that position could get caught knowing what he knows about how the feds track down these offenders.

He’s not alone.  In Indiana, FBI Donald Sachtleben, a 25-year bureau veteran who worked on such high-profile cases as the Unabomber and the Oklahoma Bombing, was busted on child porn charges as part of a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet. His case is pending.

 

Keep Your Hands Out of the FBI Cookie Jar: Stealing from the your employer is a bad idea. It’s a particularly a bad idea when the employer is the FBI. Bankrupt FBI agent Timothy Kotz, 45, got busted for embezzling $43,190 he was supposed to give confidential informants. He had $11,000 in gambling losses in the past year. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by 6  months of house arrest. He was  also ordered to repay the money.

Way Too Tragic: This is one of the sadder stories, partly because there was no malice intended here. But the result was tragic in many ways. FBI agent Adrian Johnson was convicted in October in Prince George’s County in suburban D.C. of vehicular manslaughter and six related charges in connection with the drunk driving crash in Brandywine, Md., in 2011 that killed an 18-year-old man and seriously injured his friend. A tragic ending for a promising career. He’ll be off to prison for a while.  Updated: Jan. 4: He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

 

Hector Reynaldo CuellarForget Biden, Who’s Protecting the Children? Secret Service officer Hector Reynaldo Cuellar of Virginia who who guarded Vice President Joe Biden’s residence in Northwest D.C. was busted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was taking care of.

Fox News reported that Cuellar is charged with  assaulting a “family member several times between August and October.”

 

Next Time Just Rent a Movie:  Secret Service agents got a little wild in April during a presidential detail in Cartagena, Colombia. Some brought hookers to their hotel rooms. Some claim they didn’t know they were prostitutes, that is until they asked for money. Some of the agents were married. It turned into a major scandal.  By May,  eight agents had left their jobs as a result of the scandal. Some subsequently decided to fight the allegations,  claiming some of that behavior was quietly condoned.

The incident resulted in the Secret Service imposing new rules on the road. Apparently, someone had forgot the first go around to specify in the rules not to bring hookers back to the hotel room.  Recommendation to agents:  Next time just stay in the room and order up a film, a brew and a cheeseburger.

 Online Shenanigans:  In New Orleans, a couple veteran prosecutors thought they’d be clever by taking pot shots at judges and targets of investigations by posting anonymous comments on the New Orleans Times-Picayune website. Well, guess what. The whole thing blew up. They got caught.

The  two veteran prosecutors — Sal Perricone and  Jan Mann– resigned and this month so did the U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who was chastised by a federal judge for not adequately dealing with the scandal. The judge, Kurt Engelhardt, called the scandal “skulduggery by the government” and indicated the online postings could result in criminal charges. Note to others: Leave the online b.s. to the junior high kids. They’re better at it — and they usually don’t get caught.

 

Crossing the Line and Crossing the Border: Two border Patrol agents, who are brothers, were convicted in August in  San Diego of sneaking hundreds of illegal immigrants into the U.S. for money.  Raul and Fidel Villarreal were accused of smuggling in Mexicans and Brazilians.

 

 

Helping a Little Too Much:  It’s good to help friends and associates.  But FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.  may have helped a little too much. A grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted him on charges that he used his position to try and derail a federal probe into a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative security and energy contracts.

Of course, the feds allege that he had some incentive to help out (so much for any Boy Scout defense). His business partner allegedly offered  Lustyk a $200,000 cash payment and  interest in some lucrative contracts. Lustyk had been assigned to an counterintelligence unit for the FBI out of White Plains, N.Y.

 

 

Gang Land News Gives Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch an Award for Being “Paranoid” and “Secretive”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Jerry Capeci won’t be on Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch’s Christmas list any time soon.

To steal a line from Joe Pesci in “GoodFellas”, he may be on her “pay-no-mind list.”

Capeci, editor of Gang Land News, gives Lynch the “Rudy Giuliani Award” for being “the most secretive, super sensitive, paranoid, press unfriendly chief federal prosecutor in the area for being the only U.S. Attorney in  New York or New Jersey to withhold publicly filed plea agreements between her office and defendants unless the reporter files a motion with the judge presiding over the case.”

In his year-end wrapup, Capeci also noted that Lynch’s office suffered two mob trial acquittals last month, and  during the year, three other organized crime defendants, including a former acting boss, were acquitted at their murder trials.

To see Gang Land News click here.

Jerry Capeci’s Gang Land News Website Picks Mob Story of the Year

Gang Land News photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News notes that 2012 in New York “bought several stunning acquittals at racketeering/murder trials, cases once considered easy pickings for the government.”

 He goes on to write:

But despite those dramatic turnarounds, there was little  contest for top Gang Land story of the year. That was the bizarre suicide of a virtually unknown Gambino family soldier who, after cooperating with the feds, went briefly back to his murderous gangster ways before taking his own life.

Capeci writes that Stefanelli doubled crossed his colleagues by agreeing to wear a wire in cases involving people in multi-states. In exchange, the feds let him skate in some drug case.

Capeci then writes:

In what knowledgeable law enforcement sources now  believe was a macabre grand scheme the wiseguy concocted to avoid going back to prison, Stefanelli killed himself with a self-inflicted drug overdose when agents informed him that his undercover work was ending and he would soon begin his public role at the trial of Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi.

“It looks like he never had any intention to take the witness  stand,” said one law enforcement official

In his latest postings,  Capeci  gives  Colombo soldier Charles (Moose) Panarella the Oldest, Craftiest Living Hoodlum Award.

Why?

Because he arranged to receive an award for 50 years of service from the International Union of Operating Engineers, a construction industry union Capeci says Panarella allegedly extorted for 20 years.

Gang Land News is a subscription-based website. But it’s worth it.

 

Homeland Security Special Agent Finds Lost Family Photos While on Vacation

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

David Nieland, a Homeland Security special agent, was on vacation at the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina when he spotted a camera memory card along his hike, the Huffington Post reports.

Turns out, Nieland found a card full of family photos that have been lost for more than thre years.

The Huffington Post wrote that Nieland tracked down the elementary school of one of the photographed girls because of a unique insignia she was wearing. He reunited the family with some priceless family photos.

Among the treasurers in the memory card – photos of the Fischer family’s grandmother, who died a year earlier of cancer.

“She didn’t like to have her picture made, so we don’t have many of her when she got cancer,” Ashley Fisher, Mackenzie’s mother, said.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

FBI Records Show Extent Marilyn Monroe Was Investigated Over Communism Allegations

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI investigated actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller in the mid-1950s after an anonymous caller to the New York Daily News claimed both were Communist sympathizers, the New York Daily News reports, citing newly released records.

The records were disclosed for the first time without redactions to the Associated Press and show the extent of the FBI’s monitoring of the actress’ ties to communism.

The FBI was particularly curious about Monroe’s relationship with Frederick Vanderbilt Field, whose family disinherited him over his leftist views, the Daily News reported.

The relationship with Field “caused considerable dismay among Miss Monroe’s entourage and also among the (American Communist Group in Mexico),” the file states.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Ken Porter, Whose Father Died While on Duty As an FBI Agent, to Retire from Bureau

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ken Porter, an assistant special agent-in-charge for the FBI in Salt Lake City, will retire after nearly three decades of service, the Desert News reports.

Porter’s father, J. Robert Porter, also worked for the FBI, but he and his partner were gunned down while on duty near San Diego, the News reported. J. Robert Porter worked for the FBI and helped investigate the Patty Hearst kidnapping and the Symbionese Liberation kidnapping.

Ken Porter was 16 years old during the death and pledged to continue on his dream to become an FBI agent.

Born in Arizona, Porter studied political science at BYU and Arizona State and has been stationed in Phoenix, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C. and Florida.

To read more click here.

FBI: Bronx Woman Posed as Aunt of School Shooting Victim to Raise Money

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While most Americans mourned the massacre of 20 children inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, a Bronx woman was hatching a scheme to profit from the shooting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

Nouel Alba, 37, was charged in connection with an alleged scheme in which she posed as an aunt of one of the 6-year-old victims to solicit donations on Facebook and over the phone for a nonexistent funeral fund.

Alba, who has no relation to any of the victims, faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

“This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone who attempts to profit from this tragedy by contriving fraudulent schemes that exploit the many victims, their families and individuals who sincerely want to help,” David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in a statement. “Investigators continue to monitor the Internet to uncover other fundraising scams arising from this tragedy, and the individuals operating them face federal or state prosecution to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

“It is unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort have become the targets of criminals,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “Today’s arrest is a stern message that the FBI will investigate and bring to justice those who perpetrate Internet fundraising scams, especially those scams that exploit the most vulnerable in their time of shared sorrow.”

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