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Tag: abuse

ATF Agents Use Off-the-Books Bank Accounts for Inappropriate Purchases

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF agents dipped into an off-the-books bank account for personal trips and other inappropriate expenses.

The New York Times found that agents used the money to take a trip to Las Vegas and rent a $21,000 suite at a Nascar race. One agent even used the money to donate to the school of one of his or her children. 

The private bank account also was tapped to finance undercover operations, possibly violating laws prohibiting government officials from subsidizing their budgets with private money.

The Times wrote:

The revelations highlight the lax oversight at the A.T.F. that allowed agents and informants to spend millions while avoiding the normal accounting process. The Justice Department’s inspector general, who is investigating the secret account, criticized the A.T.F. recently for mismanagement and said the agency did not know how many informants it had or how much they were paid.

The New York Times revealed the existence of the bank account in February, prompting an investigation by the House oversight committee. The Justice Department, which oversees the A.T.F., has denied any wrongdoing, and the department has refused to say whether the bureau continues to operate such secret accounts, which the government called “management accounts.”

The A.T.F. has also refused to say who authorized the account, which was created by agents based in Bristol, Va., who were investigating tobacco smuggling. One government official said the bureau regarded the account as a hybrid of government funds and private money, a combination that is not authorized under federal law. Ryan Kaye, an A.T.F. supervisor, is quoted in public court documents as saying the agents received “verbal directives” from unidentified officials at headquarters to open the account.

Justice Department: DEA Paid Informants Millions of Dollars without Proper Oversight

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is under fire for spending millions of dollars on confidential informants without proper oversight and using sources in a way that potentially violates the Constitution, the Justice Department inspector general has found.

The 65-page report lists serious missteps in the handling of confidential informants and recommended better policies and procedures, the Washington Post reports. 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found a lack of oversight that led to fraud and abuse. One example showed that the DEA paid a source more than $469,000, even though he had previously been “deactivated” for lying in court and depositions.

The investigation found that the DEA used more than 18,000 informants between October 2010 and September 2015, and half were paid about $237 million.

The Washington Post wrote:

The sources ranged from criminals providing information on their associates to airline, train and parcel-service employees providing tips on suspected drug traffickers’ movements.

The work, for all involved, can be lucrative. The inspector general found one airline employee who received more than $600,000 in less than four years, and a parcel employee who received more than $1 million in five years.

The inspector general found, though, that more money did not always come with more oversight. The DEA’s Intelligence Division, for example, paid $25 million to eight sources over a five-year period and “did not independently validate the credibility of these sources, or the accuracy of the information they provide,” according to the inspector general. The Intelligence Division, according to the report, generally relied on “DEA field offices’ risk assessments and determinations that confidential sources are reliable.”

Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert Gets 15 Months in Prison; Tells Judge He’s ‘Deeply Ashamed’

Dennis Hastert

Dennis Hastert

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Capping a shameful chapter for Congress, a federal judge in Chicago on Wednesday sentenced former House speaker J. Dennis Hastert to 15 months in federal prison, a punishment that was more severe than what prosecutors had recommended and one that clearly took into account the sexual abuse allegations, the Washington Post reports. .

Hastert,  74, a former wrestling coach in Illinois who rose through the ranks in Congress,  told  U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin that he was “deeply ashamed” to be in court and acknowledged that he “mistreated some of the athletes I coached,” according to a report by Matt Zapotosky of the Post.

Hastert, 74, who arrived in court in a wheelchair, did not plead guilty to any sex crimes, the Post reports The statute of limitations had run out.

But those allegations were an integral part of his crime.

He pleaded guilty to withdrawing money in increments to  avoid having to report it. The money was used to buy the silence of one of people he had sexually abused as a youth. 

 

FBI Widens Investigation of Inmate Abuse at New York State Prison System

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is widening its investigation into inmate abuse in the New York state prison system following the death of a mentally ill inmate last April.

Now the bureau has opened a probe into the alleged 2014 beating of an inmate at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill by officers, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports. 

Less than 2 miles away is another prison where officers allegedly beat to death Samuel D, Harrell III in a vicious attack. His death prompted a federal wrongful-death lawsuit.

The latest case involves Kevin Moore, who was allegedly beaten so badly that he suffered a collapsed lung, socket fractures, bruised legs, five broken ribs and blurred vision, the Times-Union reports. 

Moore’s assaulted spared a grand jury investigation in Jun 2015 but nothing resulted at the time.

“We reached a point where it became apparent that the investigative resources of the U.S. attorney’s office coupled with the federal grand jury rules of evidence would enhance our ability to conduct a more thorough investigation,” Dutchess County District Attorney Bill Grady said Sunday. “Therefore we, as an office, joined with the U.S. Attorney’s office a number of months ago. And this joint investigation is currently ongoing along with the (Samuel) Harrell case.”

DEA to Crack Down on Heroin Abuse with First-of-Its-Kind Program

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hoping to crackdown on the rise of heroin and opioid abuse, the DEA has launched a first-of-its-kind program to target drug-related crime.

The Tribune-Review reports that the pilot program will be established in the Pittsburgh and focus on finding long-term solutions.

That will involve working with health care and social services agencies.

Why Pittsburgh?

Local authorities have been shocked by the proliferation of heroin and drug overdoses recently.

“Heroin and pill overdoses are through the roof, and it’s making us in law enforcement look at some different approaches,” DEA spokesman Patrick Trainor said.

In Pennsylvania, heroin or opioid deaths have increased from 47 in 2009 to more than 800 in 2013.

It’s not year clear how the pilot program will work and what impact it will have on existing prevention and enforcement efforts.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Investigates 4 Cases of Alleged Inmate Abuse at Hands of Guards

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating allegations that guards physically abused inmates at a Jackson County jail.

The Kansas City Star reports that the probe is focused on four recent cases involving male inmates who received injuries ranging from stitches and bruises to a broken neck.

Four guards accused of playing a role in the injuries no longer work at the jail.

Race didn’t appear to play a role, the newspaper reported, because two of the victims were white and two were black.

Jackson County also is investigating.

Help on Way for Alabama Prison Where Female Inmates Raped, Beaten

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the state of Alabama to undergo monitoring and serious reforms following years of complaints about female inmates being sexually assaulted by corrections staff, the Washington Post reports.

An investigation by the Justice Department found that female inmates lived in a “toxic environment” at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., where they have been raped and sodomized.

Prison officials even organized a “strip show” with female prisoners and watched the women use the toilet

Women who complained of the abuse were punished, according to the Justice Department

“Prisoners are entitled to be safe from sexual predation by staff, and to live in an environment free from sexual assault, sexual harassment and the constant fear of these abuses,” said Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The agreement requires the prison to install a “state-of-the-art camera system,” train staff and implement a program to track and analyze complaints.

Other Stories of Interest


Justice Department Finds Rampant Abuse at New York City Youth Jails

Photo by Tim Rodenberg - Flickr: Rikers Island Jail.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New York City’s juvenile jails are rife with abuse, and the constitutional rights of teenagers are often trampled by guards, according to a newly released Justice Department report.

The Associated Press reports that the federal investigation revealed “rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force” at Rikers Island juvenile jail facilities for teenagers ages 16 to 18.

The problems were numerous, from poor training to the overuse of solitary confinement.

“It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort; where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries; where beatings are routine while accountability is rare; and where a culture of violence endures even while a code of silence prevails,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at a news conference.