Friday, August 23, 2019

Philadelphia Police Shooting Suspect Worked As Federal Informant, Report Says


Greg Norman at FoxNews.com reports that Maurice Hill, the man arrested after shooting six Philadelphia police officers during an hours-long standoff, had been a federal informant.

The Philadelphia man accused of shooting six police officers during a lengthy, chaotic standoff last week has spent time as a federal informant, providing information to the government “about a shooter that led to an arrest,” a report says, quoting one of his former attorneys.

Maurice Hill, who faces multiple counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and other charges related to the Aug. 14 incident, is known to have a lengthy criminal record.

But during sentencing in one 2008 case – in which he entered a guilty plea for being a felon in possession of a firearm -- it was revealed he'd been a federal informant, according to documents obtained by the news website The Appeal

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Five Fraudsters Indicted For Million Dollar Scheme Targeting Thousands Of U.S. Servicemembers And Veterans


The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
A 14-count indictment has been unsealed today in San Antonio, Texas, charging five individuals with coordinating an identify-theft and fraud scheme targeting servicemembers and veterans. The charged defendants, who were based both in the Philippines and the United States, are alleged to have used the stolen personal identifying information (PII) of thousands of military members to access Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefits sites and steal millions of dollars. 
The defendants, Robert Wayne Boling Jr., Fredrick Brown, Trorice Crawford, Allan Albert Kerr, and Jongmin Seok, were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identify theft based on their alleged leading roles in the theft and exploitation of victim PII to conduct their fraud scheme. Boling (a U.S. citizen), Kerr (an Australian citizen), and Seok (a South Korean citizen) were arrested in the Philippines. Brown and Crawford, both U.S. citizens, were arrested in Las Vegas and San Diego respectively. Brown has been detained pending trial. Crawford is awaiting a detention hearing.
“The crimes charged today are reprehensible and will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice. These defendants are alleged to have illegally defrauded some of America’s most honorable citizens, our elderly and disabled veterans and servicemembers,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Through today’s action, the Department is honoring our pledge to target elder fraud schemes, especially those committed by foreign actors using sophisticated means, and to protect the veterans of our great country. I am proud of the quick and effective work done on this case by our Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, with strong investigative support from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. We all will continue to work together to ensure that our veterans and servicemembers are protected from fraud.”
“Our message is pretty simple,” said U.S. Attorney Bash. “It doesn’t matter where on this planet you reside. If you target our veterans, we’re coming for you. Our veterans were willing to risk everything to protect this Nation from foreign threats. Now it’s our turn to seek justice for them.”
“The compromise of personally identifiable information can significantly harm our service members, veterans and their families and we will aggressively investigate such matters,” said Glenn A. Fine, Principal Deputy Inspector General, performing the duties of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. “This indictment and the coordinated actions of our criminal investigative component, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, demonstrate our commitment to swift action against those who attempt to enrich themselves through identify theft, money laundering, and conspiracy. The DoD OIG, working in partnership with the Department of Justice, will continue to identify, disrupt, and bring to justice those who threaten military members, retirees, and veterans through fraud and corruption.” 
“VA is working with DoD to identify any instances of compromised VA benefits accounts,” said James Hutton, VA assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs. “Just as importantly, VA has taken steps to protect Veterans’ data and are instituting additional protective measures.”
According to the indictment, the defendants’ identity-theft and fraud scheme began in 2014 when Brown, then a civilian employee at a U.S. Army installation, stole thousands of military members’ PII, including names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and Department of Defense identification numbers. Brown is alleged to have then provided the stolen information to Boling, who exploited the information in various ways together with his Philippines-based co-defendants Kerr and Seok.
As asserted in the indictment, Boling, Kerr, and Seok specifically used the stolen information to compromise a Department of Defense portal designed to enable military members to access benefits information online. Once through the portal, the defendants are alleged to have accessed benefits information.  Access to these detailed records enabled the defendants to steal or attempt to steal millions of dollars from military members’ bank accounts. The defendants also stole veterans’ benefits payments. After the defendants had compromised military members’ bank accounts and veterans’ benefits payments, Boling allegedly worked with Crawford to recruit individuals who would accept the deposit of stolen funds into their bank accounts and then send the funds through international wire remittance services to the defendants and others. Evidence of the defendants’ scheme was detected earlier this year, advancing the investigation that led to the indictment.
The unsealed indictment was announced today in San Antonio by U.S. Attorney John Bash of the Western District of Texas, Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Morrell, and Director Gustav Eyler of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch.
The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are coordinating with the Department of Justice to notify and provide resources to the thousands of identified victims. Announcements also will follow regarding steps taken to secure military members’ information and benefits from theft and fraud.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The United States is represented by Trial Attorneys Ehren Reynolds and Yolanda McCray Jones of the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Blackwell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas. The matter was investigated by agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and counsel Matthew Freund, along with substantial investigative support from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Benefits Protection and Remediation Division. The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Philippine law enforcement partners, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the District of Nevada, the Southern District of California, and the Eastern District of Virginia also provided assistance. Resources from the Department of Justice’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative and its Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force aided in the matter’s investigation and prosecution.
Since President Trump signed the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA) into law, the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. In particular, this past March, the Department announced the largest elder fraud enforcement action in American history, charging more than 260 defendants in a nationwide elder fraud sweep.  The Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act.   
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.  For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx. Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice; information on the Servicemember and Veterans Initiative is at https://www.justice.gov/servicemembers

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Gotti's Boys: The Mafia Crew That Killed For John Gotti'


The Washington Times published my review of Gotti’s Boys: The Mafia Crew That Killed for John Gotti.

Much has written about the late Cosa Nostra Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, and there have been several films made about him.

In Anthony M. DeStefano’s “Gotti’s Boys: The Mafia Crew that Killed for John Gotti,” the author recounts the well-known Gotti story, quoting liberally from other books on the mob boss, but he concentrates on the criminals who served under him.

“During the mid-1980s the big news in the world of organized crime was the rise of a once unknown gangster from Queens named John J. Gotti to head the Gambino crime family through the bloody elimination of the former boss, Paul Castellano. In a move that took much of the world of law enforcement by surprise, Gotti, a little-known hi-jacker and compulsive gambler, engineered the murder of ‘Big Paul,’ as Castellano was known, as much as a method of self-preservation than anything else,” Mr. DeStefano writes in his introduction to the book.

"With the rise of Gotti to leadership of Gambino family, one of the five Cosa Nostra groups in New York, the public was subjected to a barrage of superlatives about the man who had the daring to kill a major crime boss. ‘The Most Powerful Criminal in America,’ and ‘Al Capone in an $1, 800 Suit’ were just some of the ways Gotti was described. He was handsome, ambitious, ruthless, the journalists told us, all of which was true.”

Mr. DeStafano goes on to state that with so much already written about Gotti, what more could another book reveal? Plenty, he tells us. He notes that the FBI’s archives of public figures have become available since the 1990s. The once secret FBI files were made available to the author and he says that they proved most helpful in enabling him to see the interplay of events that brought about Gotti’s downfall.

“Reading through these materials, both old and new, it became clear that there was more to discover about the men who bonded with Gotti from the start of his career, killed for him and propelled him the top of the Gambino family,” Mr. DeStefano writes. “Without this band of criminals, Gotti would have never made it to the top of organized crime.”

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/aug/21/book-review-gottis-boys/

Mark Twain On American Criminal Class


FBI: A Thief By Many Names: Atlanta Man Sentenced For Aggravated Identity Theft


The FBI released the below information:
The headquarters of a large national bank had detected fraud on an account and sent word to an Atlanta branch to be on alert: If an individual comes in to pick up the new debit card linked to that account, call the Atlanta Police Department.
An alert bank employee did just that when Khoi Nguyen, 43, came in to the branch to claim the debit card. Officers arrived quickly to ask Nguyen about his identity and the name on the bank account. Upon questioning, Nguyen produced a Department of Defense identification badge and claimed to be in law enforcement.
The police weren’t buying it, so they called the FBI to investigate Nguyen for impersonating a federal law enforcement officer. It was soon discovered that he was not only impersonating a government official but more than a dozen different people in a sophisticated identity theft scheme.
“In his bag at arrest were 20 cellular phones, 13 different identifications, a number of credit cards, and about $11,000 in cash,” said Special Agent Marcus Brackman, who worked the case out of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.
Brackman said that Nguyen had some technical skills and likely purchased the stolen personal information he used to create fake documents and open fraudulent financial accounts off encrypted websites. “Criminals can buy identities for 50 cents on the dark web,” Brackman explained.
Nguyen pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and was sentenced in October 2018 to two years in federal prison for his crime. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the financial institution and is facing additional state charges related to similar alleged activity in other areas of the country.
 “Identity theft is very prevalent,” said Brackman. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 26 million people age 16 or older in the United States experienced some form of identity theft in 2016—with many of those cases involving the misuse of a credit card or bank account. Brackman said that it was gratifying to hold someone responsible for a crime that affects so many people and creates such a headache for victims.
Beyond the financial losses, the impact of identity theft extends to the time, stress, and worry involved in cleaning up the harm done to credit scores and financial standing. “It is just painful to do your job and raise your family while trying to deal with the aftereffects of someone stealing your identity,” Brackman sympathized.
While it is difficult to protect against all the ways a criminal can find your personal data, Backman said consumers should monitor accounts and credit reports regularly and safeguard all personal information by being diligent about online safety and security and ensuring mail and documents don’t fall into the wrong hands.
The FBI website has more information about identity theft and the tools it uses to investigate and prosecute the crime. The Federal Trade Commission website offers additional prevention tips and resources

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

My Washington Times Piece On The War On Cops In Philadelphia: Six Police Officers Are Shot, With Others Taunted And Shoved


The Washington Times published my piece on the war on Philly cops.

Many people across the nation watched the hours-long standoff and shooting of Philadelphia Police Officers on TV. Nine officers were injured and six were wounded by gunfire. Thankfully, no officers were killed, and the gunman finally surrendered.  

The following day I spoke to a Philly cop who had been on the scene. He scoffed at the idea of Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner arriving at the hospital to visit the injured cops. He called the two “anti-cop liberals.”   

“Don’t they know cops hate them?” the officer said. “All Kenney cares about is illegal immigrants and all Krasner cares about is criminals. But I guess they couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be on TV and horn in on the cops’ heroism.”

The officer also said that some of the people in the Tioga-Nicetown section of Philadelphia weren’t very nice to the cops. While officers were under fire, a group of nearby neighbors taunted other officers, tossed items at them, shoved them, laughed at them and recorded the scene on their phones.  

These events occurred only days after Attorney General William Barr spoke at the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police’s 64th National Biennial Conference and commented on what he called “the spectacle of prancing punks pelting New York police officers with water and plastic buckets.” Unfortunately, he said, these were not isolated events. 

“From 2014 through 2017, there has been a 20 percent increase in assaults against police, up to about 60,000 per year,” Mr. Barr said. “There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety. That is the emergence in some of our large cities of District Attorneys that style themselves as “social justice” reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/aug/19/war-cops-philadelphia/

Monday, August 19, 2019

Philly D.A. Got Stiffed The Night Six Cops Were Shot


Veteran journalist Ralph Cipriano offers a piece at BigTrial.net on the cold shoulder Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner received from the cops on the night of the standoff when six police officers were wounded.

During the nonstop media coverage of the shooting of six Philly cops, one public official was never out of range of the TV cameras -- District Attorney Larry Krasner.

He was there on camera with the mayor, he was there on camera with the police commissioner, he was there on camera talking with cops on the street. Which is kind of amazing considering that Progressive Larry is pretty much uniformly despised by the men and women in blue. The local chapter of the FOP has even paid for billboards advertising for a new D.A.

But Krasner has chutzpah, and loves the limelight. So on Thursday night, while the bullets were flying, Krasner even tried to visit the six wounded officers at the two hospitals were they were being treated, with little success.


"When he arrived at Temple [University Hospital] I informed him that he was not welcome," FOP President John McNesby wrote in an email about Krasner. "The officers did not wish to see him."

Three wounded officers were treated at Temple and released. The other three wounded officers were treated at Einstein Medical Center, and also released.

Krasner also tried to visit the wounded officers at Einstein.

"I wasn't there," McNesby said. "One [wounded officer] denied him access. The other two were caught off guard and blew him off with brief answers."

"He was there for the cameras," McNesby said dismissively about Krasner.

A spokesman for Krasner did not return a request for comment. When asked at a press conference whether he was barred from visiting the wounded officers at the hospital, Krasner denied it.

McNesby also was outspoken about the upcoming prosecution of the suspect, Maurice Hill, 36, a career criminal with a dozen arrests on his rap sheet, including six convictions for illegal possession of guns, drug dealing and aggravated assault.

"I hope the U.S. Attorney takes the case," McNesby said.

He was referring to U.S. Attorney William McSwain's promise at a press conference that his office would provide "adult supervision" for Krasner, and that the feds were closely monitoring Progressive Larry's handling of the case. 


You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

http://www.bigtrial.net/2019/08/da-got-stiffed-night-six-cops-were-shot.html