Friday, January 22, 2021

Philadelphia Electrical Contractor Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud, Theft Of Union Benefit Funds

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information:

PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Donald Dougherty, 54, of Philadelphia, PA, entered a plea of guilty today before United States District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson. Dougherty, the owner of Dougherty Electric, Inc., (“DEI”), a well-established Philadelphia-based electrical contractor, pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false federal income tax return and one count of theft of employee benefit funds.

On November 25, 2020, Dougherty was charged by Indictment with multiple charges of bank fraud, tax fraud and theft from employee benefit plans. Also charged with tax fraud was Michael McKale, an accountant who worked for Dougherty. Under the plea agreement between Dougherty and the government announced today, in addition to pleading guilty to tax fraud and theft of union benefit funds, the defendant has agreed to pay $92,913 in taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service, arising from false business deductions for what were actually expenditures for Dougherty’s personal benefit. The defendant also agreed to pay $266,000 in restitution to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (“IBEW”) Local Union 5 in Pittsburgh, arising from his failure to make $266,000 in contributions to Local 5’s employee benefit funds in violation of the collective bargaining agreement between DEI and Local 5 in Pittsburgh.

In 2007, Dougherty was charged, pleaded guilty, and imprisoned for filing false income tax returns, tax evasion, making an unlawful payment to a union official, theft of employee benefit funds, and related offenses. During today’s plea hearing, Dougherty agreed to pay all restitution still owed in this previous case. 

“Donald Dougherty has a track record of trying to skirt the law and defraud hard-working individuals,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “But the government also has a track record of convicting Dougherty for his crimes.  And we will continue to do just that with every criminal who attempts this kind of scheme.”

“Engaging in an elaborate scheme to willfully underreport taxable income is a felony,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “Today, Donald Dougherty admitted he broke the law by cheating on his taxes. As we approach tax filing season, those who might consider filing false tax returns should be aware of the negative consequences; which could include being branded a felon for life and a lengthy prison sentence.”

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration branch of the Department of Labor, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul L. Gray and Frank R. Costello, Jr.

 


Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Coolest Guy I Ever Met: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On The Late, Great Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard


Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat on the late, great crime novelist Elmore Leonard.

You can read the column via the below link or the below page:

  How I met the late, great crime novelist Elmore Leonard - Philadelphia Weekly


Note:
You can also read my previous post on Frank Wilson and Elmore Leonard via the below link:


You can click on the above column to enlarge.





Frank Wilson And The Night Elmore Leonard Came To Philadelphia

In my latest Crime Beat column, which was published today in Philadelphia Weekly, I wrote of the time when the late, great crime novelist Elmore Leonard came to Philadelphia in 2009. 

As I noted in the column, my friend and former editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Frank Wilson (seen in the above photo), introduced Elmore Leonard at the Philadelphia Free Library. 

Leonard was in town to promote his novel Road Dogs (William Morrow).

Frank Wilson noted that Elmore Leonard (seen in the below photo) was perhaps one of the coolest guys he ever met. I agree that Leonard was a cool old guy. 

I also think Frank Wilson is a cool guy.  

Frank Wilson, who was the Inquirer’s book editor for many years, began a popular literary blog called BooksInq (https://booksinq.blogspot.com) after he retired from the newspaper. The blog was selected by the London Sunday Times as one of the Top 100 Best Blogs in 2009.   

Like me, Frank Wilson is a huge admirer of Elmore Leonard. As he stated in my column, he believed the crime novelist deserved the Nobel Prize. 

"The writing is as good as it gets. No wasted words. As sharp an eye for detail as anyone. Characters as vivid as they get. Characters as vivid as they get.  I've had friends in low places. Dutch got them right," Frank Wilson said in the column. 

I asked Frank Wilson what he thought of crime fiction. 

“It’s a form, like the sonnet,” Wilson replied.” We revere the sonnet, but for some reason some people tend to denigrate prose genres — crime fiction, science fiction. I don’t get it. Middlemarch is by definition better than The Moonstone because the latter is a detective novel. Simenon’s Inspector Maigret novels are by definition inferior to what he called his “hard novels”? I’ve read a number of both. Both are great.” 

Although I’ve known Frank Wilson for a good number of years, I asked him for a overview of his life and career. 

“Well, I wrote a book column for my college newspaper and later on became the editor of the newspaper. In the fall after I finished college, I went to work for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. They were about to start a journal, which became the Intercollegiate Review,” Wilson said. “I was the managing editor. I wrote my first professional review for the first issue. It was a review of Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings (a great book). I wasn’t there very long. I had a disagreement with the editor and quit. 

Wilson said he then attended Penn graduate school for a semester and later obtained a teaching assistantship at the University of Dayton. His idea at the time was to receive a Ph.D, and afterwards obtain a job at some small upstate college where he would teach English and write poetry. 

“But by then I had already done some freelancing and had got to know the writing world, and I realized one day that I didn’t want to spend my life in the faculty lounge. So I left Dayton and went back to freelancing. I had a column for a while in the old Philadelphia Drummer. I edited for Lippincott, Fortress Press, Running Press and others. I started reviewing books for The Inquirer around 1976, I think. My first assignment was Hearing Secret Harmonies. volume 12 of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I hadn’t the first 11, but dutiful sort that I am I did read them over the next couple of weeks. 

The freelance book editing dried up in the late ‘70s, Wilson noted, and Lippincott was sold to Harper and the major publishes decided not to hire freelancers. So he made ends meet working on a construction crew building stores. He was then hired at the Inquirer as a clerk (He had a wife and four kids to support; so he said it was no time to be proud). Wilson said the pay was quite good and it enabled him to learn the newspaper business from the ground up. 

“And I continued to review books for the paper. I got promoted to the features copy desk and wrote for the Faith Life section and eventually the book job was open I got the nod. Not long after I got it, they cut the book budget. I kept them cutting space by writing a weekly Editor’s Choice column. Things went very well when Amanda Bennett was the editor, but when Brian Tierney bought the paper, I eventually ran into what Bill Speers in the Newsmakers column used to call “those dreaded artistic differences” with the new management. 

"I was already 67, so I decided to bow out. I continued to review for them after I retired — until they stopped having a book section of their own.” 

Frank Wilson continues to review books and posts everyday at https://booksinq.blogspot.com

Note: You can read my Crime Beat on Elmore Leonard via the below link:

 Paul Davis On Crime: The Coolest Guy I Ever Met: My Philadelphia Weekly 'Crime Beat' Column On The Late, Great Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

U.S. Army Soldier Arrested For Attempting To Assist ISIS To Conduct Deadly Ambush On U.S. Troops

 The US Justice Department released the below information: 

The Justice Department, along with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and U.S. Army Counterintelligence, announced today the arrest of a private first class in the U.S. Army, on federal terrorism charges based on Bridges’ alleged efforts to assist ISIS to attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East. 

Cole James Bridges, aka Cole Gonzales, 20, of Stowe, Ohio, was charged by complaint with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and attempting to murder U.S. military service members.  The FBI and U.S. Army Counterintelligence arrested Bridges today, and he will be presented later today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. 

“Bridges is charged with giving military advice and guidance on how to kill fellow soldiers to individuals he thought were part of ISIS,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.  “This alleged personal and professional betrayal of comrades and country is terrible to contemplate, but fortunately, the FBI was able to identify the threat posed by Bridges, and today's charges are the first step in holding him accountable for his crimes.  ISIS ideology continues to infect those who would threaten the nation's security from within and without, and we will continue to fight this threat.” 

“As alleged, Cole Bridges betrayed the oath he swore to defend the United States by attempting to provide ISIS with tactical military advice to ambush and kill his fellow service members,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss.  “Our troops risk their lives for our country, but they should never face such peril at the hands of one of their own.  Today, thanks to the efforts of the agents and detectives of the JTTF, and our partners in the Department of Defense, Bridges is in custody and facing federal terrorism charges for his alleged crimes.” 

“As we allege today, Bridges, a private in the U.S. Army, betrayed our country and his unit when he plotted with someone he believed was an ISIS sympathizer to help ISIS attack and kill U.S. soldiers in the Middle East,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office William F. Sweeney Jr.  “Fortunately, the person with whom he communicated was an FBI employee, and we were able to prevent his evil desires from coming to fruition.  Bridges could have chosen a life of honorable service, but instead he traded it for the possibility of life in prison.  This case should serve as a reminder that the FBI’s New York JTTF will never quit in its commitment to protect our Nation from all those who seek to do it harm.” 

“Army Counterintelligence’s top priority is protecting the force so it can remain committed to fighting and winning our nation’s wars,” said Army Counterintelligence Coordinating Authority Director Roy T. Cochran.  “The results of this investigation show the efforts of Army Counterintelligence agents working alongside our partners in the FBI.  We are dedicated to protecting our soldiers, civilians, and families from terrorist acts and insider threats.” 

According to the criminal complaint charging Bridges, which was unsealed today in Manhattan federal court: 

Bridges joined the U.S. Army in approximately September 2019 and was assigned as a cavalry scout in the 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Georgia.  Beginning in at least 2019, Bridges began researching and consuming online propaganda promoting jihadists and their violent ideology.  Bridges also expressed his support for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and jihad on social media.  In or about October 2020, Bridges began communicating with an FBI online covert employee (the “OCE”), who was posing as an ISIS supporter in contact with ISIS fighters in the Middle East.  During these communications, Bridges expressed his frustration with the U.S. military and his desire to aid ISIS.  Bridges then provided training and guidance to purported ISIS fighters who were planning attacks, including advice about potential targets in New York City, such as the 9/11 Memorial.  Bridges also provided the OCE with portions of a U.S. Army training manual and guidance about military combat tactics, for use by ISIS. 

In or about December 2020, Bridges began to supply the OCE with instructions for the purported ISIS fighters on how to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East.  Among other things, Bridges diagrammed specific military maneuvers intended to help ISIS fighters maximize the lethality of attacks on U.S. troops.  Bridges further provided advice about the best way to fortify an ISIS encampment to repel an attack by U.S. Special Forces, including by wiring certain buildings with explosives to kill the U.S. troops.  Then, in January 2021, Bridges provided the OCE with a video of himself in body armor standing before a flag often used by ISIS fighters and making a gesture symbolic of support for ISIS.  Approximately a week later, Bridges sent a second video in which Bridges, using a voice manipulator, narrated a propaganda speech in support of the anticipated ambush by ISIS on U.S. troops. 

Bridges is charged in the complaint with (1) attempting to provide material support to ISIS, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and (2) attempting to murder U.S. military service members, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1114, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge. 

The Justice Department praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which consists of agents and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies, U.S. Army Counterintelligence, the FBI Washington Field Office, the FBI Atlanta Field Office and its Savannah Resident Agency, the FBI Cleveland Field Office, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division. 

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sam Adelsberg, Matthew Hellman, and Sidhardha Kamaraju are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Michael Dittoe and Lauren Goddard of the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Babylon Bee: Trump Criticized For Loudly Denouncing Incoming Administration And Not Just Spying On Them Like A Normal President

 The Babylon Bee offers another fine satirical piece.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Trump is taking heavy criticism for loudly denouncing the incoming Biden administration and not just spying on them as other presidents have done in the past. The nation is demanding that Trump remain "presidential" by appearing to say nice things about the incoming president and secretly try to undermine his next four years in office.

"Trump is being really unpresidential in the way he handled this transition of power. He should have just spied on the incoming administration like a normal president," said one CNN commentator. "This is just a blatant attack on our norms. When Obama left office, he called for peace and unity in public and did his dirty work in secret. That's the way we like our politicians here in this country: publicly honorable, secretly conniving. It's just a really bad look for Trump to actually say what he's thinking, and we don't stand for that in Washington."

You can read the rest of the humor piece and other humor pieces via the below link:

Trump Criticized For Loudly Denouncing Incoming Administration And Not Just Spying On Them Like A Normal President | The Babylon Bee 

Gotta love the Bee 

My Counterterrorism Magazine Online 'Threatcon' Columns

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine online Threatcon columns via the below links:

 Paul Davis On Crime: My Threatcon Column: Breaking Up The Band: Two Of Four ISIS 'Beatles' Charged With Deaths Of Americans

Paul Davis On Crime: My Threatcon Column: The Threats Facing The Upcoming Presidential Election

Paul Davis On Crime: My Threatcon Column: The Cop Is A Spy: NYPD Officer Charged With Being A Communist Chinese Illegal Agent

Paul Davis On Crime: Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: International Spy Museum's Traveling Exhibit Explores Terrorist Motivations, Public Response



When Edgar Allan Poe Invented The Detective Story, He Changed The Literary World Forever

Today, on Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, Olivia Rutigliano offers a piece on Poe and the first detective story at CrimeReads.com. 

Even though literature had, for centuries, brimmed with clever problem-solvers, from tricksters to reformed thieves to wise men to police prefects, Edgar Allan Poe’s detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” still awed the literary world when it appeared in 1841. 

A gruesome double-murder has taken place in a home along the Rue Morgue (a fictional street in Paris). Several witnesses heard several voices, but no one can agree on what language one of the speakers may have been using. Several clues linger about, each more baffling than the next. The police are stumped. But C. Auguste Dupin, a chevalier and rare book aficionado, solves the mystery at home after reading the details in the paper, becoming literature’s first bona fide detective character and starting a genre revolution. He would appear again in two more stories, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” published from 1842-1943, and “The Purloined Letter” in 1844. 

As literary critic A. E. Murch writes, the detective story is one where its “primary interest lies in the methodical discovery, by rational means, of the exact circumstances of a mysterious event or series of events.” Critic Peter Thoms elaborates on this, defining the detective story as “chronicling a search for explanation and solution, such fiction typically unfolds as a kind of puzzle or game, a place of play and pleasure for both detective and reader.” 

The well-heeled Dupin in an armchair detective, who solves puzzles because he can, using a process called “ratiocination,” in which Dupin basically thinks outside of the box. (And it’s a good thing he does, or no one will solve these crimes; the murderer in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” turns out to be an orangutan. It might be safe to say no one else would conclude that.) He narrates his discoveries to his good, book-collector friend (who is an anonymous and often awed first-person narrator). 

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

 When Poe Invented the Detective Story, he Changed the Literary World Forever ‹ CrimeReads