Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2019
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: austria

Stejskal: Unmasking The Joker

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the Spring of 1989, a drama fraught with irony began playing out in Austria. A Jewish American family, a mother and her two grown sons, were fighting extradition to the US. About 50 years before, Jewish families were desperately trying to leave Austria for safe havens like the U.S.

The subjects of the extradition were Linda Leary and sons, Paul and Richard Heilbrunn. They fled to Austria from Indiana in anticipation of an indictment that was returned by a Federal Grand Jury in November, 1987. The indictment ran 136 pages and contained 53 counts variously charging 34 people. Paul and Richard were specifically charged with running a massive marijuana smuggling and distribution operation, legally termed a “Continuing Criminal Enterprise” (CCE). According to the indictment the ring operated from 1975 to 1985. It distributed more than 150,000 lbs. and took in more than $50 million in cash. The figures were subsequently revised upward to 250,000 lbs. and $50 to $100 million. It would prove to be the biggest marijuana ring ever prosecuted by the US.

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal

Paul Heilbrunn was characterized as the ring leader of the enterprise. Testimony later depicted him as both respected and feared. He was referred to as “Melech,” Hebrew for king. Although Paul was a high school dropout, he was by all accounts a brilliant businessman. Prior to the indictment, he was believed to be a successful commodities trader in Indianapolis and wrote a column on trading for the local newspaper. He was a bon vivant who favored three-piece suits, frequented the finest restaurants and drove a top of the line BMW. He on several occasions rented jets and flew his friends to such events as the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball finals.

His older brother, Richard, on the other hand was described as a big Teddy bear. He lived on a farm and usually wore flannel shirts and jeans. Richard supervised operations while Paul was the CEO.

Their mother, Linda Leary, was twice married and divorced. She had kept the name of her second husband. Leary was prominent in the Indianapolis community. She was the head of the Indiana League of Women Voters and president of the local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Leary was also involved in her sons’ business ventures. An early venture was dubbed Heilbrunn and Friends, ostensibly it was a health food distribution business -a good front for marijuana distribution. The “friends” were high school buddies who had setup marijuana sales networks at colleges they attended. But soon the network was supplying customers outside the campuses in eleven Midwestern states. Most of the marijuana came by ship from Columbia, Jamaica and Thailand – an exotic global operation. It was then trucked to Indiana where it was stored in barns that were owned or rented by the Heilbrunn organization.

Paul Heilbrunn had structured the organization so that information stovepiped, that is, information moved up and down, but only flowed between members as was necessary. This limited what any member could divulge should they choose to cooperate with law enforcement.

Paul also had attorneys set up offshore corporations in the Bahamas and Panama to launder the proceeds from the marijuana operation. Linda Leary was designated as the head of several of these corporations. Much of the laundered money was transferred back into the US and used to fund loans often for Indiana businesses.

Read more »

Austrian Government Seeks FBI Help in Kidnapping Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Frustrated over the pace of an investigation into the 8-year abduction case of Natascha Kampusch, Austrian officials took the unusual step of requesting help from the FBI, The Independent reports.

The Austrian Parliament made the recommendation after spotting inconsistencies in the case that suggest an accomplice may have been involved.

Kampusch was abducted at the age of 10 off a street in Vienna in 1998. Her tormentor held her in a a specially built underground cell in his suburban home. In 2006, at age 18, she managed to escape.

Kampusch said an accomplice was in the van when she was abducted, but authorities pressured her to keep that observation quiet.