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Tag: prosecutors

Prosecutors Drop Case Against ex-DEA Agent Accused of Posing As FBI Agent

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling

A former DEA agent who was accused of posing as an FBI agent in a fraud scheme no longer faces charges.

The Daily Breeze reports that federal prosecutors dropped their case against David Garcia Herrera, 70, this week.

The decision comes after U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal said he would inform jurors that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had used bad evidence in the case.

Herrera and his alleged conspirator, Jerome Arthur Whittington, are accused of convincing a victim that they would help him recover money he lost in investment schemes if he paid about $290,000.

In another scheme, Herrera and Whittington are accused of convincing another victim to pay them about $8,500 to help with his wife’s immigration case.

Other Stories of Interest

Man Convicted in Murder Plot of Judge, Prosecutors And FBI Agents

courtroomBy Steve Neavling

A former Laguna Beach man who tried to arrange for the kidnapping and murder of a judge, two prosecutors and a pair of FBI agents was convicted Tuesday.

John Arthur Walthall, 60, was convicted of soliciting the murders after a judge earlier sentenced him to 14 years in prison for fraud, reports.

Prosecutors said he wanted someone to kill U.S District Judge Andrew Guilford, two prosecutors and a pair of FBI agents who helped in the case.

Walthall is accused of spilling his plans to inmates and an undercover FBI agent.

FBI Unsure Whether It Can Unlock iPhone in Arkansas Murder Case

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling

An Arkansas prosecutor suggested this week that FBI agents would help hack into a locked iPhone and iPod of two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

The FBI responded that it’s unsure it can crack the devices, backing away from the prosecutor’s statements, ABC News reports.

While the FBI said it’s not ruling out the possibility, the bureau said it hasn’t learned enough about the devices to know definitively whether it can help.

At issue is whether the FBI can use the technique it employed to access a locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.

“At the time of the request, no information was provided regarding the device models or operating systems, so FBI Little Rock was not able to state if they would be able to provide assistance. The FBI does not currently have possession of the devices,” the agency wrote. “The FBI’s handling of this request is not related to the San Bernardino matter.”

The FBI has not divulged how it opened the San Bernardino phone.

FBI to Help Arkansas Prosecutors Unlock iPhone, iPad in Murder Case

Apple-iphoneBy Steve Neavling

The FBI is helping prosecutors open an iPhone 6 and an iPod linked to a murder case in Arkansas after successfully hacking an iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters.

The FBI’s Little Rock field office has agreed to help gain access to the locked devices, which belong to suspects in the slayings of Robert and Patricia Cordell, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

It’s not yet clear how the FBI plans to open the phone or if its plans to use the same method it used to unlock Syed Rizwan Farook’s phone.

The Arkansas case involves four suspects, ages 14 to 18, who have been charged in the killings.

“The iPod had just come into our possession a couple of weeks ago,” Cody Hiland, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ 20th Judicial District, said Wednesday. “Obviously when we heard that [the FBI] had been able to crack that phone we wanted to at least ask and see if they wanted to help.”

Justice Department to Prioritize Prosecution of Wall Street Criminals

wall-streetBy Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has pledged to prioritize prosecution of Wall Street criminals.

The Boston Globe reports that the DOJ established new rules in an effort to hold individual employees and their companies accountable.

The rules were issued in a memo to federal prosecutors in an attempt to also pressure corporations to cooperate when their executives are accused of wrongdoing.

“Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,” Sally Q. Yates, the deputy attorney general and the author of the memo, said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s only fair that the people who are responsible for committing those crimes be held accountable. The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom.”

Prosecutors: FBI Had Legal Right to Track New York Assemblyman by Cell Phone Tower

Assemblyman William Scarborough

By Steve Neavling

Federal prosecutors said FBI agents did not violate the law by tracking a New York assemblyman using cell phone tower data, The Times-Union reports.

Assemblyman William Scarborough had no reasonable expectation of privacy because he was using a cell tower, which prosecutors argued is essentially a business record.

The Queens Democrat was arrested in October on 11 federal charges related to fraudulent travel vouchers from 2009 to 2012.

Tracking his whereabouts was key to the investigation, prosecutors said.

“The defendant could not have a constitutionally cognizable privacy interest in business records that he did not make and has never seen or kept, and that contain information he has never known,” the motion reads.

Prosecutors Defend FBI’s Ruse to Send Agents into Hotel Suites As Internet Repairmen

By Steve Neavling

Prosecutors defended the FBI’s controversial decision shut off the Internet connection to three luxury Las Vegas suites in a ruse to send in undercover agents to “fix” the problems, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden and two other government lawyers filed a lengthy court filing defending the practice.

The response comes after the defense asked a judge to dismiss the evidence gathered in the illegal gambling case against eight suspects.

“Law enforcement has long been permitted to obtain consent by posing as a confederate, business associate, or service provider. In fact, the government uses ruses every day in its undercover operations,” the prosecutors wrote in defense of the FBI operation.

The prosecutors said the ruse was legal because it still gave the defendants a choice of letting in the agents.

“Disruption of the (high speed Internet) did not — in any legitimate sense — require immediate attention,” prosecutors wrote.

Justice Department Reveals Disturbing Treatment of Rape Victims in Montana County

Steve Neavling

An alarming letter from the Department of Justice accuses Missoula County, Montana prosecutors of all but ignoring sexual assault cases.

Buzzfeed reports that the Missoula County Attorney’s Office only took action on 17 of 85 police reports of sexual assaults of adult women between January 2008 and May 2012.

“[Female] sexual assault victims in Missoula are deprived of fundamental legal protections and often re-victimized by MCAO’s response to their reports of abuse,” U.S. attorneys wrote in a findings letter to County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg.

Prosecutors are accused of “institutionalized indifference” that “perpetuates a culture that tolerates sexual assault, dissuades victims from reporting crimes, leaves violent criminal activity unaddressed, and compromises the safety of all women in Missoula.”

In some cases, prosecutors even failed to return phone calls from victims.