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Tag: Buffalo

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.

 

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.

 

 

Special Agent in FBI’s Buffalo Office Accused of Flashing a Truck Driver

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A truck driver says a special agent with the FBI’s Buffalo office was driving without pants and making lewd gestures Friday, the Buffalo News reports.

If convicted, the agent, John A. Yervelli, 48, faces up to 30 days behind bars.

According to a police report, a car driven by Yervelli “pulled up next to his truck, turned on the dome light and displayed that he was not wearing pants, while making lewd gestures,” the Buffalo News wrote.

The newspaper wrote that Yervelli was part of a large-scale investigation of guns, narcotics and gang activity in Buffalo that netted federal charges against 27 people in 2010.

Former FBI Informant Wishes He Had Chosen His Path Differently

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Ronald M. Fino could do it over again, he would have chosen his role with the FBI a bit differently, the Buffalo News reports.

Fino was an FBI informant, Buffalo labor leader and organized crime associate.

Instead of being a paid informant, Fino said he wished he had become an FBI agent.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would have applied to become an actual FBI agent and tried to attack these problems through the courts and the field of law enforcement,” Fino told the Buffalo News.

 

Former Mayor’s Aide Takes Plea Deal, Talks to Feds

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

 A corrupt former aide to two Buffalo mayors may help the feds find more corruption.

Timothy E. Wanamaker, also a former economic development chief, pleaded guilty  Tuesday to a felony charge of stealing government funds, reports Buffalo News, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. Wanamaker admitted to charging about $30,000 in personal expenses to his City Hall credit card over four years.

“It was a serious lapse in judgment on my part,” Wanamaker told U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, according to the Buffalo paper.

Wanamaker agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation between the FBI and HUD as part of his plea deal.

“I very much anticipate that federal investigators will be aggressive in questioning Mr. Wanamaker,” U.S. Attorney William  J. Hochul Jr. said Tuesday according to the Buffalo News. “And those investigators will now be helped by someone who was on the inside.”

To read more click here.

Buffalo Judge Questions Conduct of FBI Agent and Fed Prosecutor in Biker Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal magistrate judge in Buffalo this week expressed concern about the conduct of a federal prosecutor and FBI agent, saying the two may have crossed the line while seeking racketeering charges against members and associates of the Chosen Few motorcycle club, the Buffalo News reported.

The paper reported that U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy stopped short in a decision released Wednesday of accusing the prosecutor and FBI agent of “deliberately and intentionally” taking part in false testimony to a grand jury.

But he said in his decision “the evidence submitted to me thus far is troubling, to say the least.”

The paper reported that allegations center around a key government witness.

The paper reported defense lawyers suggested that FBI agent Kenneth Jensen Jr. and assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Bruce tried to mislead the grand jury during testimony by Jensen by suggesting that the key government witness was not involved in an attack on a rival biker. The defense raised issue with not only the FBI agent’s testimony but the form of  the  questioning by the prosecutor.

“I suspect that . . . Bruce was motivated more by zeal for the government’s position than by malice toward defendants,” the judge said. “However, there are some lines which not even the most zealous prosecutor may cross.”

It’s Raining SACs; FBI Announces 4 New Ones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On Monday, it appeared to be raining new special agents in charge at the FBI.

The agency announced the names of four new SACs: Christopher M. Piehota for the Buffalo Division; James L. Turgal for the Phoenix Division; Stephen L. Morris for the Houston Division and David A. Ford for the Springfield, Ill. Division.

Christopher M. Piehota most recently served as the deputy director for operations at the Terrorist Screening Center. He started his career as an agent in 1995 at the Newark office.

James L. Turgal most recently served as special assistant to the deputy director. He entered the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to Houston.

David A. Ford most recently served as chief of the Cyber Intelligence Section and was the senior executive responsible for organizing and leading the FBI’s analysis and reporting on cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, Internet fraud, intellectual property rights theft, and other high-technology crimes. He joined the FBI in 1992 in South Carolina.

Stephen L. Morris most recently served as deputy assistant director in the Criminal Justice Information Services Division. He joined the FBI in 1988 as  as an administrative file clerk in the Honolulu Division.  In 1991, he completed new agent training in Quantico and was assigned to the El Paso bureau.

Ooops! Buffalo U.S. Atty. Apologizes After ICE Agents Raid Wrong Home at Gunpoint


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

“Ooops” and “sorry” are the two things that come to mind in this case.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of Buffalo and Lev J. Kubiak, head of the Homeland Security Investigations in that city, apologized to a businessman whose home was mistakenly raided earlier this month by ICE agents, the Buffalo News reported.

The paper reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents , with guns drawn, broke down the back door of a local businessman’s home around 7 a.m. while he and his wife were sleeping.

Agents had a search warrant for a child pornography case, and seized his computer equipment, the Buffalo News reported.

Turns out,a few days later authorities arrested a 25-year-old man who allegedly used the businessman’s unprotected Wifi to download child porn, the paper reported.

U.S. Atty. William Hochul Jr./doj photo

The paper reported that Barry N. Covert, an attorney for the businessman, said the U.S. Attorney “expressed genuine remorse and regret for what had transpired.” Hochul also offered to apologize to the businessman in person, and added that his client had no intention of suing.

Covert added that Hochul also offered to meet with his client and apologize personally.

To read more click here.

Men in FBI Gear Ransack Buffalo Home; Shoot Man and Pistol Whip Wifeles

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Buffalo police are investigating a Monday morning home robbery that reportedly involved at least four men who were wearing FBI badges and jackets, radio station WBEN reported. A man was shot in the hand and his wife was pistol-whipped.

The station reported that  the  man claimed he was stopped by four or five men in FBI gear who forced their way into his van and forced him to drive to his home around 8:45 a.m.

The station reported that the men ransacked the home, tied up the wife and pistol-whipped her and shot the husband in the hand.

The suspects fled in a newer model Dodge Ram pick-up truck with black stripes on the hood and tinted windows, WBEN reported.

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