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Tag: extortion

DEA Probe Leads to Charges Against Veteran ICE Agent in Extortion Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran ICE agent is accused of accepting bribes to help smuggle illegal immigrants into the country by claiming they were witnesses to a drug investigation, CBS Miami reports.

That’s one allegation facing Special Agent Juan Martinez, who appeared in court Friday on 12 criminal counts, including extortion and bribery.

Martinez also is accused of looking the other way in exchange for expensive jewelry, airline tickets and liquor.

His attorney, Silvia Pinera-Vazquez, said the charges are false.

“We disagree with the government 100-percent. Agent Martinez has been a law enforcement agent for over 20 years. He has dutifully served his country. He denies every single paragraph of that indictment and is looking forward to a trial where is innocence will be proven,” Pinera-Vazquez said, according to CBS Miami.

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Ex-Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi Gets 3 Years in Prison

Rep. Rick Renzi

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Congressman Rick Renzi of Arizona was sentenced Monday in Tucson to three years in prison for extortion, bribery, insurance fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

His co-defendant, James Sandlin, was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for his role.

Renzi, 55, of Burke, Va., and Sandlin, 62, of Sherman, Texx. were convicted in June. Renzi was found guilty of 17 felony counts and Sandlin of 13.

“Mr. Renzi abused the power – and the corresponding trust – that comes with being a member of Congress by putting his own financial interests over the interests of the citizens he had sworn to serve,” Acting Assistant Attorney General  Mythili Raman said in a statement. “He fleeced his own insurance company to fund his run for Congress, and then exploited his position for personal gain. Mr. Renzi’s conviction and today’s sentence demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to fighting corruption at the highest levels of government.”

A Justice Department press release stated:

According to evidence at trial, Renzi, then a member of Congress from Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, promised in 2005 to use his legislative influence to profit from a federal land exchange that involved property owned by Sandlin, a real-estate investor.

At the time, Sandlin owed Renzi $700,000 in future payments from their business dealings, and Renzi threatened proponents of the land exchange that he would not support it unless they purchased Sandlin’s property in Cochise County, Ariz. When they refused, Renzi promised a second proponent of a land exchange that he would support the exchange if they purchased Sandlin’s property. According to an agreement reached in May 2005, Sandlin was paid $1 million in earnest money, out of which he paid $200,000 to Renzi. Just before Sandlin received the $1.6 million balance owed on the exchange, he paid an additional $533,000 to Renzi.

Evidence at trial further showed that from 2001 to 2003, Renzi engaged in insurance fraud by diverting his clients’ insurance premiums to fund his first campaign for Congress, and he subsequently sent false letters to his insurance customers and provided false statements to various state regulators who were investigating his activities.

 

 

 

Obama’s Choice for Homeland Security Director Defended Happy Meal Hoaxer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A disgraced scientist who fried a rat’s tail, placed it in his son’s french fries and tried then to extort McDonalds for $5 million was represented by Jeh Jonson, who is President Obama’s nominee for head of Homeland Security, the Daily Caller reports.

Despite Johnson’s representation, Michael Zanakis was convicted of the rat-tail fraud and another scheme involving Coca-Cola Classic.

Zanakis threatened McDonald’s in 1996 that he would go public about his son swallowing part of a rat tail unless the fast food giant gave him $5 million.

“He didn’t threaten to blow up a McDonald’s, he didn’t threaten to break anybody’s arm,” Johnson said at the time. “What he said he was going to do was put a spotlight on something McDonald’s wanted kept in the dark.”

Book: Johnny Carson Helped FBI Arrest Man Who Made Threats with a Grenade

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

We knew Johnny Carson was a comedian? But a brazen cowboy?

In the mid-1970s, Carson found a live grenade with a threat demanding $250,000 in cash. If he didn’t deliver it, a note read, his family would be harmed, Showbizz 44 reports.

So with the help of the FBI, Carson, who carried his .38 revolver with him, delivered the money – “cut up paper stacked and wrapped in 125 bill sized bundles,” according to the recently published book, “Johnny Carson.”

The FBI arrested 26-year German national and his wife. Ended up the grenade wasn’t real.

Rabbis Accused of Conspiring to Kidnap, Use Cattle Prods to Force Divorces

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three rabbis and seven others are accused of trying to force Orthodox Jewish men into agreeing to divorce their wives, CBS New York reports.

They allegedly conspired to kidnap and use cattle prods to get the men to agree to divorce their wives.  Under Jewish law, a person must obtain what’s called a “get,” a legal Jewish document, for a divorce to become official. But a husband must agree to give a “get” for the divorce to be official.  In some instances, the men refuse.

The suspects were arraigned in a New Jersey federal court.

“The charge is kidnapping and extortion. Violent crime to get Jewish men to give divorces they wouldn’t otherwise get. It’s not really an exercise of religion. It’s really about money and violent crime,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

 

Man Accused of ‘Sextorting’ Miss Teen USA, Others Is Arrested

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A California man’s decision to hack the phone of the reigning Miss Teen USA turned out to be a bad one.

ABC News reports that police arrested 19-year-old Jared James Abrahams of Temecula on charges that he hacked her phone to obtained nude photos, which he threatened to reveal unless she sent him additional nude pictures or videos.

Abrahams is accused of trying to extort Miss Team USA Cassidy Wolf, 19, and other women.

“Abrahams used malicious software to disguise his identity in order to capture nude photos or videos of victims through remote operation of cameras on their home computers without their consent,” according to the criminal complaint.

Newly Crowned Miss Teen USA, Other Women Targeted in Latest String of “Sextortion” Cases

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a so-called “sextortion case” that targeted newly crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf and other women, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The culprit hacked into the computers of Wolf and others, turning on the webcam and also searching for nude photos and videos, The Times wrote.

Once the images were collected, the hacker demanded money to keep the images from going public.

“Sextortion” cases appear to be on the rise as hackers tap into email accounts, social media or even the computer’s own hardware to find compromising information.

The FBI confirmed the “sextortion” investigation but would not divulge details, including whether they had found a suspect.

No Verdict in ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case During Second Day of Deliberations

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury will resume deliberations today in the racketeering and murder trial of accused mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger after submitting five questions for the judge, CNN reports.

The eight men and four women wanted to know whether they needed to vote unanimously on 33 “predicate” acts in one of the federal racketeering charges.

To be sure, there are a lot of charges to peruse. Bulger, 83, is charged with racketeering, murder, money laundering and 13 counts of extortion.