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Tag: conspiracy

Mississippi Man Who Tried to Join ISIS Credits FBI for Saving His Life

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mississippi man thanked the FBI for saving his life as he was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for trying to join ISIS.

Muhammad Dakhlalla told a federal judge that he didn’t know at the time what ISIS represented, the Associated Press reports. 

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Dakhlalla said he watched Internet videos with his former fiancee, Jaelyn Young, and videos depicted ISIS members helping people in Syria and Iraq. While jailed, he said he learned about ISIS’ violence after watching TV news coverage of the terrorist organization.

“I was completely wrong about what ISIS was,” Dakhlalla told U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock. “I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re really sick and twisted. They twist Islam for their own agenda. I denounce them. I condemn them.”

His former fiancee, Young, was sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier this month.

Former Army Sniper Sentenced to 20 Years for Conspiring to Kill DEA Agent

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former U.S. Army sniper instructor accused of conspiring in a plot to kill a DEA agent was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.

The Associated Press reports that Joseph Hunter, also known as Rambo, was accused of receiving $100,000 to recruit snipers to kill a DEA agent. The people h
e hired – a former U.S. Army soldier and an ex-German soldier – were sentenced earlier to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said Hunter made the “dishonorable choice” to conspire to kill an agent and a cooperating witness in Liberia in 2013.

“His was a choice that betrayed society and the honor and trust that this country invested in his military career,” Swain said.

Defense Lawyers: Two DEA Employees Operated Strip Club Frequented by Law Enforcement

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two DEA employees are accused of lying during national security background checks about owning a strip club in South Hackensack, N.J.

Authorities said the DEA official and civilian DEA employee in New York City worked regular shift at the Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge and were in charge of hiring and firing dancers and bouncers, the New York Times reports. 

The defense lawyers have a strategy: They are arguing that the defendants’ ownership of the club was well-known in the agency and that law enforcement officials frequented the club.

David Polos, 51, a former assistant special agent in charge, and Glen Glover, 46, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements.

The men are accused of lying during their criminal background checks, saying their only employment was with the DEA.

The defense lawyers said that law enforcement is trying to prevent the disclosure of DEA agents were frequented the establishment.

“What’s really going on here is they want to shut down the fact that D.E.A. agents go to adult establishments, which is an absolute legal right,” Polos’ lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Informant Paid $40,000+ to Help in Terrorism Conspiracy Case

fbi logo largeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An informant who provided key information implicating friends in a terrorism conspiracy case was paid more than $40,000 by the FBI, the Star-Tribune reports, citing court documents. 

Defense attorneys said the payments undermine the credibility of the informant, code-named “Rover.”

“Most importantly of all, the informant has been paid in the most valuable currency of all — his freedom,” wrote attorney Andrew Birrell. “Despite lying under oath multiple times and having participated in the same conduct charged in the indictment, the informant has remained free.”

The defense attorneys want permission to interview the informant to determine whether he was induced by money to say the defendants broke the law.

The informant said the defendants planned a domestic attack.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, Associates Indicted on Racketeering Conspiracy Charges

Rep. Chaka Fattah

Rep. Chaka Fattah

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and four associates were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on racketeering conspiracy charges, accused of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and charity and campaign funds.

The 58-year-old Democrat from Philadelphia was charged in a 29-count indictment along with lobbyist Herbert Vederman, 69, of Palm Beach, Florida; Fattah’s Congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, 59, of Philadelphia; and Robert Brand, 69, of Philadelphia; and Karen Nicholas, 57, of Williamstown, New Jersey, the FBI announced Wednesday.

They are accused of bribery, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and numerous counts of bank fraud, money laundering, making false statements to a financial institution and falsification of records.

“As charged in the indictment, Congressman Fattah and his associates embarked on a wide-ranging conspiracy involving bribery, concealment of unlawful campaign contributions and theft of charitable and federal funds to advance their own personal interests,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said. “When elected officials betray the trust and confidence placed in them by the public, the department will do everything we can to ensure that they are held accountable. Public corruption takes a particularly heavy toll on our democracy because it undermines people’s basic belief that our elected leaders are committed to serving the public interest, not to lining their own pockets.”

“These crimes and the subsequent elaborate cover-up constitute an egregious breach of public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “It is the duty of the FBI, IRS and Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute those who violate this trust and put personal gain above public service.”

Some of the charges date back to Fattah’s failed 2007 campaign for mayor of Philadelphia. He and his associates are accused of borrowing $1 million from a wealthy supporter and concealing the funds with sham contracts.

Fattah also is accused of trying to pay down a $130,000 campaign debt by attempting to steer federal grants to the consult with whom he owed money by inventing a nonprofit.

Retired FBI Agent Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Obstruction in Case of $54M Military Contract

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice after prosecutors say he tried to derail an investigation into a $54 million military contract, the Associated Press reports.

Robert Lustyik Jr. was expected to start trail Monday in federal court but decided to please guilty at the last moment.

The 52-year-old, however, declined a plea bargain because he doesn’t want to implicate anyone.

Federal prosecutors say Lustyik was helping a company started by former soldiers. They are accused of using insider information to win a $54 million contract with the U.S. government.

Lustyik agreed to take a cut of the contract in exchange for disrupting the investigation by fabricating interviews.

Judge Admonishes FBI for Silly Argument for Not Releasing Public Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s argument for resisting an inmate’s Freedom of Information Act request is “transparently implausible,” a federal judge said in admonishing the bureau, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The FBI made the bizarre argument that the “FOIA request need not be disclosed because they reside on two CDs and a thumb drive.”

The FOIA requests by Gregory Bartko, who is serving prison time for conspiracy, mail fraud and selling unregistered securities, seek records involving the federal prosecutor who handled his case.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said the FBI must turn over the documents.

“The Bureau’s rationale seems to be that the electronic media in question are not ‘records’ for FOIA purposes because they are physical items that were presented to prosecutors as evidence,” Boasberg wrote. “Why this reasoning would exclude CDs that hold documents in digital form but not, say, the printer paper that will eventually hold this Opinion is beyond the Court.”

“In any case,” Boasberg continued, “no sophistry is necessary here, as Congress, with commendable technological foresight, amended FOIA in 1996 to cover records ‘maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format.’”

D.C. Businessman Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal, D.C. Campaign Finance Laws

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A D.C. businessman pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges in connection with secretly channeling more than $3.3 million in illegal campaign donations to at least 28 political campaigns, the FBI announced.

Jeffrey E. Thompson, 58, pleaded built to two conspiracy charges – conspiring to violate federal campaign finance laws and failure to comply with D.C. laws government campaign finances.

A Sentencing date was not set.

“Election after election, Jeff Thompson huddled behind closed doors with corrupt candidates, political operatives, and businessmen, devising schemes to funnel millions of dollars of corporate money into local and federal elections,” U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said. “Today’s guilty plea pulls back the curtain on years of widespread corruption. With Mr. Thompson’s cooperation, we have the opportunity to hold many wrongdoers accountable and to usher in a new era of honesty, integrity, and transparency in D.C. politics.”