Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Little Night Music: 'Sarabande' From The Film 'Barry Lyndon'

I'm very fond of Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon and I'm very fond of the film's music, especially Handel's Sarabande.

Thanks to we can listen to the classic music and watch images from the great film via the below link:

Hunting The Worst-Of-The-Worst Criminals: My Q & A With Mike Earp, Former Associate Director, U.S.Marshals Service, And Author Of 'U.S. Marshals: Inside America's Most Storied Law Enforcement Agency

My Q & A with Mike Earp appears in the currect issue of Counterterrorism magazine.

Mike Earp is a former associate director of the U.S. Marshals Service, a descendant of legendary U.S. Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp, and the author of U.S. Marshals: Inside America's Most Storied Law Enforcement Agency.

You can read the interview via the below links:

My Piece On The Threat Of Transnational Crime

My piece on the threat of transnational crime appears in the current issue of Counterterrorism magazine.

You can read the piece via the below links:

I interviewed Geoffrey Shank (seen in the above photo), the Deputy Director of Interpol Washington, for the piece on transnational crime.   

Criminal Charges Filed Against U.S. Citizen In Connection With A Multi-Million Dollar International Cyber Counterfeiting Scheme Based In Uganda

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton for the Western District of Pennsylvania and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Eric P. Zahren of the Pittsburgh Field Office today announced the filing of a criminal complaint in Pittsburgh charging a U.S. citizen with leading an international counterfeit currency operation headquartered in the Republic of Uganda. 
Ryan Andrew Gustafson, aka Jack Farrel, aka Willy Clock, 27, a U.S. citizen currently residing in Kampala, Uganda, was charged with conspiracy and counterfeiting acts committed outside of the U.S.  When he lived in the United States, he mainly resided in Texas and Colorado.
“This complicated, international cyber counterfeiting conspiracy was broken as a result of expert investigation by the Secret Service and a total commitment of all cooperating law enforcement to reject the premise that criminals committing cybercrimes in the U.S. – but who reside outside our borders – cannot be reached,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton.  “We will hold cyber criminals accountable and bring them to justice no matter where they reside.”
“This investigation involves the manufacture of counterfeit U.S. currency, which has been the Secret Service’s core mission since 1865,” said Special Agent in Charge Zahren.  “Add to that the modern elements of an international counterfeiting conspiracy utilizing new-age, cyber technology, and it represents the full evolution and unique investigative capabilities of today’s Secret Service.”
As detailed in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, in December 2013, the Secret Service began investigating the passing of counterfeit Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs), believed to be manufactured in Uganda, at Pittsburgh-area retail stores and businesses.  Agents determined that an individual identified as J.G. had passed these notes and was renting a postal box at The UPS Store on Pittsburgh’s South Side.  On Feb 19, 2014, law enforcement learned that J.G. received three packages addressed from Beyond Computers, located in Kampala, Uganda.  Agents executing a search warrant on the packages found $7,000 in counterfeit $100, $50 and $20 FRNs located in two hidden compartments within the packaging envelopes.  A fingerprint on a document inside one of the packages was identified as belonging to Ryan Andrew Gustafson.
The Secret Service subsequently worked with Ugandan authorities to identify the source of the counterfeit FRNs.  Their efforts led to A.B., who admitted to sending the packages, explaining that an American named “Jack Farrel,” and another person, provided him the counterfeit notes to ship.  Based on information provided by A.B., the Secret Service used facial recognition to identify Jack Farrel as Ryan Andrew Gustafson.
According to the affidavit, J.G. met “Willy Clock” on an online criminal forum called Tor Carding Forum.  Through private messaging, J.G. and Clock discussed counterfeit currency and J.G. agreed to purchase counterfeit FRNs. 
In January 2014, Clock told J.G. that he had established his own online forum called Community-X, a website dedicated to the selling of counterfeit reserve notes.  The forum requires a username and password to access the site, and individuals must be invited and approved by Clock to become members. Secret Service used an undercover operative to communicate with Clock through the website, to purchase additional counterfeit $100 FRNs, and to become a re-shipper of counterfeit notes.
In November 2014, the Secret Service executed a search warrant at the residence of another re-shipper, who had been an active member of Community-X.  This person cooperated and provided information that a forum member had traveled to Uganda and brought back more than $300,000 in counterfeit notes.
The Secret Service, working with Ugandan authorities, engaged yet another confidential informant, in Uganda, who had knowledge of Jack Farrel and his counterfeiting operations.  On Dec. 11 2014, this confidential informant called Farrel to arrange to purchase counterfeit FRNs.  The informant met Farrel’s associate and made the buy.  Two trusted sources followed the associate back to Farrel’s home and reported the location to the Secret Service who turned it over to the Uganda Special Investigations Unit.  Their search of Farrel’s residence netted two million Ugandan shillings from the buy; $180,420 in counterfeit FRNs; counterfeit Euros, Indian Rupees, Ugandan Shillings, Congo Francs, and Ghana Cedis; computers and printers; inks and ink jet cartridges; paper cutters; glue sticks; “Give a Child Hope Today” pamphlets with counterfeit FRNs in between glued together pages; and a pair of “Anon Hands.”  Anon Hands are life-like rubber molds that fit like gloves over the user’s hands and are meant to conceal the wearer’s fingerprints.  As noted above Farrel has been identified as Gustafson.  Evidence collected at the scene also allowed investigators to identify Gustafson as Willy Clock.
Gustafson was charged by Ugandan authorities on Dec. 16 with conspiracy, possession of counterfeit, selling/dealing in counterfeit, and unlawful possession of ammunition.  He was brought before the court that day to be informed about the charges; he also is being represented by counsel in Uganda.
U.S. Secret Service estimates $1.8 million in counterfeit FRNs have been seized and passed in Uganda.  The total amount of Ugandan-made counterfeit FRNs seized or passed domestically was approximately $270,000.  This amount was limited due to early detection by the Secret Service.
U.S. law provides for a maximum total sentence of 25 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. 
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended numerous agencies and organizations for conducting the investigation leading to charges in this case, including the Directorate of Public Prosecution, the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, the Special Investigations and Intelligence Unit, and Stanbic Bank in Uganda; various domestic and foreign Secret Service Field Offices, including the Rome, Italy, Field Office and the Criminal Investigative Division in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. State Department; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shardul S. Desai is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
A criminal complaint contains charges and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Former CIA Counterterrorism Official On 'Torture': 'We Were CRUSHING Al Qaeda' offers a video showing Philip Mudd (seen in the above photo), the former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, being interviewed about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program on CNN.

You can watch the video via the below link:

Note: I interviewed Philip Mudd for Counterterrorism magazine a while back. You can read my interview with Philip Mudd via the below link:

14 Indicted in Connection with New England Compounding Center and Nationwide Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

A 131-count criminal indictment was unsealed today in Boston in connection with the 2012 nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, the Justice Department announced.  Barry J. Cadden, owner and head pharmacist of New England Compounding Center (NECC) and NECC’s supervisory pharmacist Glenn A. Chin were charged with 25 acts of second-degree murder in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.   
The outbreak was caused by contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured by NECC, located in Framingham, Massachusetts.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 751 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of NECC’s MPA.  Of those 751 patients, the CDC reported that 64 patients in nine states died. 
Twelve other individuals, all associated with NECC, including six other pharmacists, the director of operations, the national sales director, an unlicensed pharmacy technician, two of NECC’s owners, and one other individual were charged with additional crimes including racketeering, mail fraud, conspiracy, contempt, structuring, and violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
“As alleged in the indictment, these employees knew they were producing their medication in an unsafe manner and in insanitary conditions, and authorized it to be shipped out anyway, with fatal results,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “With the indictment and these arrests, the Department of Justice is taking decisive action to hold these individuals accountable for their alleged participation in grievous wrongdoing.  Actions like the ones alleged in this case display not only a reckless disregard for health and safety regulations, but also an extreme and appalling indifference to human life.  American consumers have a right to know that their medications are safe to use, and this case proves that the Department of Justice will always stand resolute to ensure that right, to protect the American people, and to hold wrongdoers accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Every patient receiving treatment deserves the peace of mind and knowledge that the medicine they are receiving is safe,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery.  “When people and companies violate that trust and break the law, the consequences to patients and their families can be catastrophic.  That’s why it remains a priority of the Department to use every tool at our disposal to protect patients’ safety and hold bad actors accountable.”
“Those who produce and sell the drugs that we take have a special responsibility to make sure that they prepare those drugs under suitable conditions, and that what leaves their facilities is safe,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The indictment charges that the defendants’ conduct in this case was corrupt and carried out with a complete disregard to the public’s health.  The department‘s Consumer Protection Branch along with our law enforcement partners is steadfast in our commitment to use every criminal and civil tool at our disposal to hold accountable those who are willing to put our lives at risk in the reckless pursuit of their profits.”
“Ever since the outbreak occurred, we have been committed to bringing to justice the individuals responsible for the deaths and suffering of so many innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.  “The indictment announced today is the first step in that process which addresses alleged criminal wrongdoing at NECC, a business that prioritized production and profit over safety.  We will make every effort to ensure that licensed pharmacists, and those working with them, are held to a standard of care that protects the public from unsafe and dangerous medications.” 
“Two years after the fungal meningitis outbreak, our hearts continue to go out to the victims of this tragedy and to their families,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg M.D.  “Our work on behalf of all patients who want and deserve medicines that do not subject them to undue risk is far from done.  The FDA will continue to work aggressively on many fronts with the states, the Department of Justice, and others to protect the American public from unsafe compounded drug products.” 
“Threats to public health, as alleged in today's indictment, are a priority for the FBI,” said Assistant Director Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s Criminal Division.  “Together with our law enforcement and regulatory agency partners, we are determined to stop practices that jeopardize patients' health and violate the public trust.  These types of investigations are complex and resource intensive.  We greatly appreciate the efforts of our partners in this case and look forward to working with them to effectively identify criminal activities and combat fraudulent and abusive health practices in the future.”
The 14 individuals charged in the indictment are Barry J. Cadden, 48, of Wrentham, Massachusetts; Glenn A. Chin, 46, of Canton, Massachusetts; Gene Svirskiy, 33, of Ashland, Massachusetts; Christopher M. Leary, 30, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; Joseph M. Evanosky, 42, of Westford, Massachusetts; Scott M. Connolly, 42, of East Greenwich, Rhode Island; Sharon P. Carter, 50, of Hopkinton, Massachusetts; Alla V. Stepanets, 34, of Framingham, Massachusetts; Gregory A. Conigliaro, 49 of Southborough, Massachusetts; Robert A. Ronzio, 40, of North Providence, Rhode Island; Kathy Chin, 42, of Canton, Massachusetts; Michelle Thomas, 31 of Cumberland, Rhode Island; Carla Conigliaro, 51, of Dedham, Massachusetts and Douglas A. Conigliaro, 53, of Dedham, Massachusetts.  
The 25 second-degree murders are included in the indictment as predicate racketeering acts under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  These charges relate to patients who received NECC MPA and died in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. As a general matter, and depending on particular state law, second-degree murder does not require the government to prove Cadden and Chin had specific intent to kill the 25 patients, but rather that Cadden and Chin acted with extreme indifference to human life.  According to the indictment, Cadden and Chin knew that NECC was making MPA in a manner and in an environment in which they could not assure that the drug was sterile as it was identified to be.  Despite knowing that they were making the MPA in an unsafe manner and in insanitary conditions, Cadden and Chin nonetheless allegedly directed and authorized the shipping of MPA to NECC customers nationwide.  It is alleged that Cadden and Chin were aware that doctors would inject MPA into their patients’ bodies, and that if the MPA was not in fact sterile, it could kill them. 
The 25 murder racketeering acts comprise only a portion of the broad racketeering scheme charged in the indictment.  The indictment also alleges that NECC’s other pharmacists knowingly made and sold numerous drugs in a similar unsafe manner and in insanitary conditions.  The unsafe manner alleged in the indictment includes, among other things, the pharmacists’ failure to properly sterilize NECC’s drugs, failure to properly test NECC’s drugs for sterility, and failure to wait for test results before sending the drugs to customers.  The insanitary conditions alleged in the indictment include, among other things, NECC’s lack of proper cleaning and NECC’s failure to take any action when its own environmental monitoring repeatedly detected mold and bacteria within NECC’s clean room suite of rooms throughout 2012. 
It is further alleged that NECC repeatedly took steps to shield its operations from regulatory oversight by the FDA by claiming to be a pharmacy dispensing drugs pursuant to valid, patient-specific prescriptions.  In fact, NECC routinely dispensed drugs in bulk without valid prescriptions.  The indictment alleges that NECC even used fictional and celebrity names on fake prescriptions to dispense drugs. 
Finally, the indictment charges Carla Conigliaro, the majority shareholder of NECC, and her husband Douglas Conigliaro with transferring assets following the fungal meningitis outbreak.  Specifically, the indictment charges that after NECC declared bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy court ordered the shareholders not to transfer assets, Carla and Doug Conigliaro transferred approximately $33.3 million to eight different bank accounts opened after the NECC bankruptcy. 
Cadden and Chin face a maximum of up to life in prison if convicted on all counts. 
“Although no VA patients were affected by the fungal meningitis outbreak, VA unknowingly purchased a variety of pharmaceutical products over a three year period from NECC that were intentionally produced in an unsafe manner under insanitary conditions,” said Assistant Inspector General for Investigations James J. O’Neill for the Office of Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs.  “We are pleased to have contributed to this outstanding multi-agency criminal investigation.”
“Today's results are part of an ongoing effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the Department of Defense's health care program and the quality of care our service members receive,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch for the U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General.  “The Defense Criminal Investigative Service will continue to pursue allegations of health care fraud that put the Warfighter at risk.”
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is pleased to join our federal partners in this announcement” said Postal Inspector in Charge Shelly A. Binkowski of the Boston Division.  “What's particularly disturbing about this case is that through their alleged misrepresentation and greed, these defendants put the health and well-being of others at a high level of risk.  This criminal action today demonstrates the commitment and vigilance of postal inspectors and other federal agents to pursue criminals who prey on the public in such an egregious way.”
In announcing the indictment today, Attorney General Holder and U.S. Attorney Ortiz acknowledged the assistance and cooperation of Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette.  The state of Michigan had the most deaths during the outbreak.
The investigation was conducted by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and the FBI with assistance by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General; Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys George P. Varghese and Amanda P.M. Strachan of the Health Care Fraud Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Massachusetts, and Trial Attorney John W.M. Claud of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Victims with questions about today’s charges may call 1-888-221-6023 or
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Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts Against Members Of Violent Loan Sharking And Illegal Gambling Ring

A federal jury today returned guilty verdicts against four defendants charged in a loan sharking and illegal gambling ring that was run out of several Philadelphia businesses, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Ylli Gjeli, 49, Fatimir Mustafaraj, aka “Tony,” 42, Gezim Asllani, aka “Sam,” 35, Rezart Rahmi Telushi, aka “Luigi,” 41, all of Philadelphia, were found guilty following a six-week jury trial of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, racketeering collection of unlawful debts, making extortionate extensions of credit, collections of extensions of credit by extortionate means.  Additionally, Gjeli, Mustafaraj and Aslanni were convicted of counts involving extortionate extension of credit.  Finally, Gjeli and Mustafaraj were convicted of illegal gambling. U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. scheduled sentencing hearings for March 2015.
According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants’ enterprise used businesses in Philadelphia, including the Lion Bar & Grill, Blackbird CafĂ© and “Ylli’s 2 Brothers,” to conduct the illegal loan sharking and gambling activities.  The enterprise generated money by making and collecting on loans with usurious rates of interest, and making loans to customers whose debts were incurred through the enterprise’s illegal gambling business.  The evidence established that from October 2011 to 2013 alone, the enterprise extended 125 usurious loans totaling $1.78 million with annual interest rates ranging from 104 percent to 395 percent.  Further, the evidence established that from February 2007 to August 2013, the organization’s online sports betting website contributed more than $2.9 million in gross profits.  
Members and associates of the enterprise cultivated their reputations within the organization by threatening customers with dangerous weapons such as firearms and a hatchet, and threating to kill, assault or “break the legs” of delinquent customers if they did not pay their debts, and also by physically assaulting subordinate members and associates who stole from the organization.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that Gjeli was a “boss” of the organization, Mustafaraj served as “muscle” to forcefully collect debts owed to the organization, and Asllani and Telushi served as “collectors,” both making loans and collecting the weekly payments from customers.  Gjeli and Mustafaraj directed the other members in the loan sharking activities and illegal gambling business, financed loans and the gambling operation, used intimidation and threats of violence against customers to collect loan payments, and physically assaulted subordinate members and associates who stole from the organization.  Asllani and Telushi assisted Gjeli and Mustafaraj in making loans, and regularly collected weekly loan payments from customers.    
The evidence also demonstrated that the defendants attempted to conceal the existence and operations of the enterprise from law enforcement by limiting their discussions of criminal activities when on the phone, using cryptic and coded language to describe criminal activities, conducting pat-downs and body searches of customers to check for weapons and recording devices, and conducting the enterprise’s transactions primarily in cash.  
The case was investigated by the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police, New Jersey State Police, Montgomery County Detectives, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Margaret Vierbuchen of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Salvatore L. Astolfi of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.