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Archive for December 27th, 2013

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Las Vegas Mob

Feds Mibehavin’ in 2013

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’ in 2013. As in the past, money and sex was involved in some allegations. And this year, unfortunately, so was death.

Too Much Booze: FBI agent Adrian Johnson got 18 months in prison this year after he was convicted of multiple charges including vehicular manslaughter after he drove drunk and crashed into a car in suburban D.C., in Prince George’s County. He killed an 18-year old and man and seriously injured the man’s friend in 2011.

Not So Secret Service: Secret Service agents are getting quite the rep for being serious party people. Supervisors Ignacio Zamora Jr. and Timothy Barraclough, aren’t doing much to change that image. The Washington Post reported in November that the two, who were managing security for the president, have been removed from that detail because of alleged misconduct involving women. 

In one instance in May, Zamora allegedly tried getting back into a woman’s room at the Hay-Adams hotel, near the White House, to get a bullet he had left behind. He was off duty and had removed the bullets from the gun while in the room, the Post reported. He had met the woman at the hotel bar and joined her in her room, the Post reported. The Post reported that the guest refused to let Zamora back in,  and he identified himself to hotel security as a Secret Service agent. The hotel alerted the White House about the odd behavior, the Post reported.

During an internal investigation, investigators also found that the two agents had allegedly sent sexually suggestive emails to a female subordinate, who is an agent.

Hands in the Cookie Jar: Oklahoma FBI agent Timothy A. Klotz confessed to dipping into the FBI cookie jar. Authorities allege that he embezzled $43,190 that was earmarked for confidential informants for tips on criminal activities from 2008-2011.  He acknowledged in a signed statement that he falsified 66 receipts during a scheme that went undiscovered for more than four years. He was sentenced earlier this month to six months in prison and three years of supervised released. He was also ordered to pay a restitution of $43,190.

Let The Dice Roll –– FBI agent Travis Raymond Wilson, 38, of Huntington Beach, Calif., apparently had a little gambling jones and didn’t want the big guys at the FBI to know. Unfortunately for him, he got busted. Wilson pleaded guilty to structuring financial transactions in violation of the federal Bank Secrecy Act.

The feds say between January 2008 and February 2013, Wilson regularly gambled at casinos in California, Nevada, Arizona, and West Virginia, authorities said. In total, Wilson structured more than $488,000 in cash.  Sentencing is set for March 3. 

Hookers, Cash and Luxury Travel: Human temptation. Need you say more. John Bertrand Beliveau Jr., 44, a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), apparently failed that test. He pleaded guilty earlier in December to participating in a massive international fraud and bribery scheme. He admitted sharing with a foreign Navy contractor confidential information about ongoing criminal probes into the contractor’s billing practices in exchange for prostitutes, cash and luxury travel, the Justice Department said in a press release. His case is part of a big scandal.

Ethics Still Applies When You Depart: Kenneth Kaiser, former head of the FBI’s Boston office, found that ethics still apply when you leave the bureau.  The choked up ex-agent appeared in court where he was fined $10,000 for violating an ethics charge. Kaiser was accused of meeting with former FBI colleagues about his company that was under investigation. Federal law prohibited him from having professional contact with former FBI colleagues within a year of leaving government service.

“I lost something I valued the most — my reputation,” Kenneth W. Kaiser, 57, of Hopkinton, Mass. said, according to the Boston Globe.

Helping the Wrong Side –  Border Patrol Agent Ivhan Herrera-Chiang took advantage of his position and helped smugglers bring meth, cocaine and marijuana into the U.S. He was sentenced in Phoenix in November to 15 years. He reportedly even helped smugglers find their way around underground sensors and lock combinations.

“You have done about the worst thing a law-enforcement agent could do, especially a Border Patrol agent, and that is passed confidential information,” U.S. District Judge Paul Rosenblatt said.

A Fatal Shot — FBI agent Arthur “Art” Gonzales of Stafford County, Va.  is charged with shooting  his estranged wife to death in April. He told dispatchers he was acting in self-defense when he shot his 42-year-old wife, Julia Sema Gonzales. He says his wife attacked him with a knife.

Gonzales was a supervisory special agent-instructor at the FBI’s National Academy at Quantico.  Court records show bond was granted. Trial has been set for March.

 

ICE Agent ICED:Veteran ICE agent Juan Martinez, 47,  has suddenly got a lot on his plate. He is accused of extortion and accepting bribes. Authorities alleged that he conspired with others to shake down a Colombian construction company. The group allegedly told the firm that it was under investigation, when it was not, and that the U.S. Treasury was about to add the company to a list known as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). The designation by Treasury can result in the freezing of bank accounts and other action harmful to a business. Martinez’s group said it could keep the company off the list, and for that, it received more than $100,000. He is also accused of illegally bringing in people to this country, claiming falsely that they were witnesses in an ongoing narcotics investigation.   His attorney says the allegations are false.

Leaky Pipes: Plumbers aren’t the only ones who concern themselves with leaks. FBI agent Donald Sachteren who leaked information to the Associated Press was recently sentenced to more than three years in prison for possessing and disclosing secret information. Sachteren, 55, was accused of disclosing intelligence about the U.S. operation in Yemen in 2012. What made him a far less sympathetic character in this whole mess was the fact he was also sentenced to more than 8 years in prison for possessing and distributing child pornography in an unrelated case.

 

 

 

Ex-MSU Football Star Returns to Detroit to Head ATF Division

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

Steve Bogdalek/ATF photo

DETROIT — Back in day, in the 1980s, Steven Bogdalek, a big, burly guy, was an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Detroit. If some mistook him for a football player, well, that was understandable.

He was offensive tackle, All-Big 10 for Michigan State University, from 1982-85 and he was subsequently drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. But his NFL career ended prematurely because of an injury. So he moved on to a career with ATF.

While he faced some tough guys on the football field, he also bumped up against some brutal types on the streets. He worked on squads that investigated some of Detroit’s most notorious drug gangs.

“Steve Bogdalek brought his team-player mentality to ATF in Detroit from his athletic prowess on the gridiron at Michigan State,” recalls Bernard La Forest, who headed up the Detroit ATF office at the time. “He was an integral part of our task force efforts in the enforcement squad that investigated the most violent of Detroit’s drug organizations: The Chambers Brothers, Ed Hanserd’s crew, Clifford Jones’ operation, Erie Adams’ organization, and remnants of YBI (Young Boys Incorporated) and Best Friends.

“Steve and the other ATF special agents were successful in just about every investigative operation they opened,” La Forest said.

La Forest recalls how effective Bogdalek was in getting access to buildings and homes during raids, using a battering ram.

“With Steve handling the ram, entry into buildings and dope houses was always quick and efficient,” La Forest said, describing him as humble.

In 1998, Bogdalek went to Toledo to head up the ATF office. And in pursuing years, he moved around the country, eventually ending up in Los Angeles as the top agent of the ATF office. In January, he’ll return to Detroit, the place he started his career, to head up the Detroit office.

“I’m happy to becoming back to Detroit,” he told Deadline Detroit. “Life comes full circle sometimes. I’m ending up back here where I started.”

Bogdalek, who was raised in Naperville, Ill., knows he faces some serious challenges in Detroit, with its violent crime and limited police resources. He says Flint, which is also in his territory, has its challenges as well.

To read more click here. 

 

Georgia Detective Accuses FBI of Hampering Murder Investigation of Hip-Hop Artist

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A detective in Georgia accused an FBI agent of lying and impeding a murder investigation, according to video obtained by Channel 2 Action News.

“You just had an FBI agent on duty lie to me and delay this investigation,” Detective J.T. Williams said in the video, speaking to Mani Chulpayev, an FBI informant charged with assisting in the murder of Atlanta hip-hop artist Lil Phat.

Williams’ beef was with Chulpayev’s FBI handler, Special Agent Dante Jackson, for preventing police from questioning Chulpayev earlier in the investigation.

“What he does is, he tells a material witness in my case not to talk to us,” Williams said.

“That wasn’t true. I always wanted to talk,” Chulpayev told the detective.

FBI Sees Unusual Spike in Bank Robberies in Oklahoma

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Bank robberies are spiking in Oklahoma.

According to the FBI, bank robberies have nearly tripled in the state, from 23 last year to more than 60 this year, KFOR reports.

It’s unclear what caused the unusual spike, but the FBI said two-thirds of the robberies have led to arrests.

 

A Look at the Top Terror Cases Handled by the FBI in 2013

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has been swamped cracking down on dangers from extremists.

This year was no exception.

Here is some of the FBI’s top terror cases of 2013:

Airport bomb plot: A 58-year-old man was charged earlier this month with attempting to explode a car bomb at a Kansas airport as an act of jihad against the U.S. He was arrested as a result of an undercover investigation. The device provided to him by our operatives was inert and posed no danger to the public.

Attempt to join al Qaeda: A New York man was arrested in October for attempting to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and conspiring to commit murder overseas. The 25-year-old allegedly conspired with others to travel overseas to wage violent jihad against the perceived enemies of Islam, which included the secular government in Yemen.

Material support to terrorists: Two individuals—one an American citizen—were indicted in August for conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda groups and al Shabaab. The men were charged with attempting to provide money and recruits to three different terror organizations.

Sovereign citizen scheme: In July, the self-proclaimed president of a sovereign citizen group in Alabama was sentenced to 18 years in prison for promoting a tax fraud scheme that taught people how to defraud the IRS. He and other sovereign citizens also sent demands to all 50 U.S. governors in 2010 ordering each to resign within three days—to be replaced by a “sovereign” leader or be “removed.”

Attempt to wage jihad: A Florida man was indicted in July for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The 19-year-old tried to travel to the Arabian Peninsula to join and fight with a violent al Qaeda group that has taken responsibility for multiple attacks on Yemeni forces, including a suicide bombing in 2012 that killed more than 100 soldiers.

Former U.S. soldier indicted: A U.S. citizen who formerly served in the army was indicted in June for conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The 30-year-old man allegedly wanted to fight alongside an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group in Syria.

Far-fetched terror plan: Two New York men were charged in June with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Their scheme involved creating a remotely operated X-ray radiation-emitting device designed to kill people silently. Their targets were perceived enemies of Israel.

Tsarnaev charged: In April, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings. The attacks killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Suicide bombing: An Oregon resident was charged in March for his role in a 2009 suicide bombing. The man allegedly assisted an individual who participated in the attack at the headquarters of Pakistan’s intelligence service in Lahore that killed approximately 30 individuals and injured 300 others.

Bin Laden associate arrested: An associate of Osama bin Laden was arrested in March for conspiring to kill Americans. The individual held a key position in al Qaeda and appeared with bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks to threaten further attacks against the U.S.

 

White Texas Man Accused of Brutal Assault on Elderly Black Man in Recorded ‘Knockout Game’

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s a disturbing game – abruptly punch a stranger in the face in an attempt to knock him out with a single blow.

A white Texas man is accused of doing exactly that, knocking a 79-year-old black man to the concrete, breaking his jaw and sending him to the hospital for several days, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Authorities said the suspect, Conrad Alvin Barrett, recorded the attack, laughed and said “knockout” before fleeing.

“Suspected crimes of this nature will simply not be tolerated,” U.S. Atty. Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas said in a statement as he announced the charges against Barrett. “Evidence of hate crimes will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted with the assistance of all our partners to the fullest extent of the law.”

Authorities said the “knockout game” is a disturbing trend that is often racially motivated.

Barrett is charged with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

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