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LA FBI Offers $100,000 Reward for “20 Questions Bandits”

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in Los Angeles is offering a bigger than normal reward — $100,000 — for information leading to the arrest of a violent group of bank robbers dubbed the “20 Questions Bandits”.

The FBI said Wednesday that agents and police detectives from Ventura, Orange and Los Angeles counties have been on a hunt for the robbers who are believed responsible for 11 “takeover” robberies. Authorities said the group consists of at least four men and got the name “20 Questions Bandits” because of the multiple questions they asked while inside the banks.

Authorities say the men have assaulted bank employees and robbed individuals during the heists that date back to March 3, 2009.

The FBI said the men during the robberies have been ” extremely violent and, in some cases, displayed weapons.”

Meanwhile, just south of Los Angeles in Sand Diego County, authorities have been stumped by the “Geezer Bandit”, who last week hit his eighth bank.  The bandit, who appears to be in his 70s, has been robbing banks since August 2009. His reward is only up to $16,000.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Jurors in Ex-Cong. William Jefferson Said Mundane Documents — Not $90,000 in FBI Money or FBI Tapes — Convinced Them to Convict

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News
Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing last November /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep.William Jefferson was hardly a household name — that is until FBI agents found $90,000 in his freezer at his Capitol Hill home on Aug. 3, 2005.

In the public’s eye, that seemed to be the center piece of the government’s case against Jefferson.

But  jurors who convicted the ex-Congressman of 11 of 16 public corruption charges last August have broken their silence and told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that it was the mundane documents that convinced them of his guilt, not the cash or photos or FBI secret recordings.

The Times-Picayune, in a story published Sunday by reporter Bruce Alpert, wrote that “particularly compelling, the jurors said, were letters and contracts outlining the payments that businesses were to pay to companies controlled by Jefferson’s family in return for the congressman’s assistance in brokering deals in West Africa.”

Read more »

FBI Has More than 3,000 Files on Sen. Ted Kennedy

PR NEWSWIREUlrich Boser, editor of the website The Open Case, could be in for some interesting reading if the FBI doesn’t redact too much.

By Ulrich Boser
The Open Case
What does the FBI have on Ted Kennedy? A lot, apparently. I filed a FOIA to get any documents related to the lion of the Senate shortly after the Senator’s death. I received a letter late last week, and the FBI told me that they had over 3,000 files on Kennedy.

To put that in context, Michael Jackson’s FOIA turned out to be only 600 pages.

To Read More

Jurors See Video of Informant Handing Rep. William Jefferson $100,000

Nearly everyone has heard about the marked $90,000 in FBI money FBI agents found in Jefferson’s home freezer on Aug. 3, 2005. On Tuesday, jurors saw an FBI video of a government informant handing $100,000 to Jefferson in a brief case. When agents raided the freezer, $10,000 of that payoff was missing. The prosecution hopes the video leaves an impression with jurors. It’s also interesting to note how careful Jefferson was during the conversation with the informant, Lori Mody.

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Jurors in the corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson saw a videotape Tuesday of the congressman accepting a briefcase packed with $100,000 in cash that prosecutors say was intended as the down payment on a bribe to the vice president of Nigeria.

Four days later, on Aug. 3, 2005, FBI agents found $90,000 of the marked bills stashed in the freezer at Jefferson’s Washington home.

Four times, from four different camera angles, the prosecution played the July 30, 2005, videotape of Jefferson receiving the briefcase from Lori Mody, the Virginia businesswoman who was his partner in a Nigerian telecommunications venture. Mody had brought the briefcase to their rendezvous in the parking lot of a Ritz Carlton Hotel in suburban Virginia.

“Would you like to take a peek at it, or whatever?” Mody asked as Jefferson removed the briefcase from the car trunk.

“I would not, ” replied Jefferson.

For Full Story

Gov. Blago Campaign Targeted Chicago Trib Owner for $25,000

The feds are interested in this part of the case and have interviewed Sam Zell, owner of the Chicago Tribune. Interestingly, it was the Chicago Sun-Times, the competing newspaper in town that broke this story. Thank goodness for two-newspaper towns.

BY NATASHA KORECKI, DAVE MCKINNEY AND DAVID ROEDER
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Tribune Co. chairman Sam Zell was targeted for $25,000 by the Blagojevich campaign last November while the company’s Wrigley Field deal was under consideration and two weeks before the ex-governor was arrested, internal campaign documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Zell’s name appeared on a Nov. 25, 2008, document titled “Focus List” among a group of 33 potential donors.

Alongside Zell’s name was the $25,000 figure and a notation that read: “Rod to follow up.” On a Sept. 22, 2008, fund-raising document titled “Call List,” an entry noted “Sam Party on 9.27.”

In another campaign document dated Dec. 3, 2008, Tribune Co. sports consultant Mark Ganis is listed among 143 names of potential donors for tentative or scheduled fund-raising events. Next to Ganis’ name are the notations “New York Event” and “Rod went to dinner on 9/19. Rob needs to follow up.”

The Tribune Co., parent of the Chicago Tribune, hired Ganis to help structure a sale of Wrigley. His name also appeared on the September call list next to a notation that read: “Patti and Rod dinner.”

Lawyers for the former governor and his brother, Robert, who headed his campaign fund, told the Sun-Times on Thursday they did not solicit Zell for cash during that time.

For Full Story

RNC Chair Michael Steele Says FBI Winding Down Probe into Payment to Sister

Nothing like starting out your new job with a good Washington scandal.

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Michael Steele/ rnc photo

Michael Steele/ rnc photo

WASHINGTON — Michael S. Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, said yesterday that there was nothing improper in a payment of more than $37,000 to his sister’s company for work on his 2006 Senate campaign and that he would work with the FBI “to clear up my good name.”
In his first public comments on the inquiry, Steele said on ABC’s “This Week” that the FBI is “winding this thing down,” although he did not explain how he knew that.
In recent days, federal agents have contacted his sister, Monica Turner, according to a spokesman for Steele. Steele said those contacts were for “purposes of closing out” the matter. He said he will be “proactive” in gathering information to give to the FBI.
“I’m not going to wait for them to come to me,” Steele said. “I’m going to take it to them. I’m going to give them everything that they think they need, and if that’s not enough, we’ll give them more, because I want to clear up my good name. This is not the way I intend to run the RNC, with this over my head. We’re going to dispense with it immediately.”
For Full Story