Monday, July 15, 2019

FBI: Airport Terrorist Sentenced - Canadian Man Stabbed Michigan Airport Police Officer In 2017

The FBI released the below information:
When a Canadian man stabbed an airport police officer in the neck at the airport in Flint, Michigan, investigators worked quickly to find out all they could. Why did he do this? Why Flint? Was anyone helping him?
The victim was saved by other officers and a Bishop International Airport employee on the scene. The attacker, later identified as Amor M. Ftouhi, a 51-year-old Tunisian native who had lived for years in Canada, was immediately arrested.
Working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and its Joint Terrorism Task Force pieced together information about Ftouhi’s life and the days leading up to the June 21, 2017 attack. Agents fanned out across the country and reviewed surveillance footage from locations Ftouhi had visited in the U.S. The RCMP searched Ftouhi’s home and computer. FBI linguists spent months translating the information Canadian authorities found.
Investigators learned that Ftouhi had financial and family struggles back in Canada, and he had viewed anti-Western videos online.
“Things were not going well for him in his life, and he decided to take his jihad to a different level,” said FBI Special Agent Todd Reineck, who worked the case out of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.
Investigators found that Ftouhi had looked into how to purchase a gun in the United States and thought Michigan would be the best place for him to buy one. Ftouhi had also carefully researched how to use a gun, and he specifically had an interest in targeting police.
A few days before the attack, Ftouhi left his wife and children behind in Canada and came to the United States, crossing the border in New York before driving to Michigan. Once he arrived in Michigan, Ftouhi repeatedly tried to buy an assault rifle, but he was turned down each time because he was not a U.S. citizen.
Instead, Ftouhi bought a knife and searched his phone’s GPS for the nearest international airport—which happened to be Bishop International in Flint. He canvassed the airport, learning where the police officers were stationed. The next day, Ftouhi went back to the airport and carried out the attack. He approached the police officer, dropped his backpack, pulled out a knife, and repeatedly stabbed the victim.
“His goal was to kill law enforcement or the military, and he told us even if he killed innocent people, Ftouhi thought that was okay,” Reineck said.
Coincidentally there was a meeting of local law enforcement happening in an airport conference room, just a few feet from where the officer had been stabbed. Ftouhi had no opportunity to get away.

Ftouhi told police he worked alone, and investigators found no evidence of anyone helping him. He was convicted of terrorism charges in November 2018 and sentenced to life in prison in April 2019.
Reineck and the investigative team got to know the victim officer over the course of the investigation. They credit the officer himself, as well as an airport maintenance worker who rushed to save him, as the true heroes.
“A lot of guys here in the office now consider him a friend,” Reineck said, noting many in the FBI office already knew the officer from the local law enforcement community. “We’ve gone through this process with him, and we know he’s relieved that it’s over. There’s a sense of relief and that justice was served.” 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A Little Humor: The Red Neck And The Saw

A red neck walks into a hardware store and asks for a saw that will help him cutdown 6 trees in one hour. 

The salesman recommends the top of the line chain saw model. 

The red neck is suitably impressed and buys it.

The next day he brings it back and says, “This saw is defective. It would only cut down one tree and it took all the gosh-darned day!”

The salesman takes the chain saw, starts it up to see what’s wrong, and the red neck asks, 

“What’s that noise?” 

Note: The above photo is of comedian Larry the Cable Guy 

Former U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, Sr., Resentenced To 10 Years Of Incarceration For Corruption Convictions

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information:
PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that former U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah (seen in the above photo), Sr., 62, of Philadelphia, PA was resentenced to 10 years of incarceration by United States District Judge Harvey Bartle, III. 
After a month-long trial in 2016, a federal jury found defendant Fattah and various co-defendants guilty of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, honest services wire fraud conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy, and multiple counts of mail fraud, falsification of records, mortgage fraud, and false statements to a financial institution.  The criminal conduct of Fattah and his racketeering enterprise was organized around five corruption and fraud schemes:  a loan repayment scheme, a Blue Guardians scheme, a college tuition scheme, a mortgage fraud scheme, and a fake conference scheme.  For his role in these schemes, Fattah was sentenced after trial to 10 years of incarceration.
Both parties appealed.  With regard to Fattah’s appeal, the Court of Appeals remanded for a new trial as to certain bribery and money laundering counts, concluding that the jury had not been properly instructed regarding “official acts” in a bribery context.  (The government thereafter announced its intention not to retry those counts.)  With regard to the government’s cross-appeal, the Court of Appeals reinstated certain counts that had been dismissed by the District Court post-trial.   The case was then remanded for resentencing.  Today, for these additional counts, Fattah was again sentenced to 10 years of incarceration.
“Let today serve as a warning to all public officials who allow greed or a thirst for influence to overpower any desire to serve the community honestly,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams.  “If you are a corrupt official, we will investigate and convict you, and we will remain steadfast behind our prosecution until the last appeal is wrapped up and the final proceeding complete.  Today’s sentencing illustrates the strength of our original case and the need to put Chaka Fattah behind bars for a very long time.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, the NASA Office of Inspector General, the Department of Education Office of Inspector General, the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric L. Gibson and Paul L. Gray.  Jonathan Kravis, former Trial Attorney with the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, also prosecuted this matter.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trump Was Right To Salute America And The American Military On July 4th

Columnist Marc Thiessen (seen in the below photo) offers his take on American greatness in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Maybe President Trump was right that we needed a “Salute to America” last week, because apparently some Americans have lost sight of the greatness of our country. Case in point: To mark Independence Day, the New York Times posted a video op-ed challenging what it called the “mythology” of American greatness. “America may once have been the greatest,” the Times video declares, “but today, America, we’re just OK.”

The video is like a caricature of how conservatives think the left sees America — except it isn’t a caricature; it’s real. It’s a straw man come to life. As evidence we’re just OK, the video cites statistics showing that other developed countries, such as Luxembourg, Sweden, and Norway, have lower poverty rates or better education and health-care outcomes than America. And as for our “kick-ass democracy,” the Times says, it’s not that big a deal because “a lot of countries have freedoms.”

Put aside for a moment all the misleading data the video uses to show America is not so great. The fact is, all the freedom and progress those other countries enjoy today would not be possible without the United States.

The reason that “a lot of countries have freedoms” today is because our Founding Fathers pioneered the principle of popular sovereignty, where governments answer to the people instead of the other way around. At the time of our founding, the rest of the world was ruled by monarchs. Our founders established the first country in human history that was built on an idea — the idea of human liberty.

For most of our history, American democracy was a global outlier. In 1938, on the eve of World War II, there were just 17 democracies. It was not until 1998 — just two decades ago — that there were more democracies than autocracies.

That dramatic explosion of freedom didn't just happen. It was the direct result of the rise of the United States as a global superpower. The U.S.-powered victory over Nazi tyranny in World War II and our triumph over Soviet tyranny in the Cold War defeated the hateful ideologies of fascism and communism, and unleashed a wave of freedom that has spread across the world. Today, 4.1 billion people live in democracies. (Of those who do not, four out of five live in China.)

The unprecedented expansion of liberty has produced unprecedented prosperity. Last September, the Brookings Institution reported that “for the first time since agriculture-based civilization began 10,000 years ago, the majority of humankind … some 3.8 billion people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered ‘middle class’ or ‘rich.’”

None of that would be possible without the Pax Americana guaranteed by U.S. military. 

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

25 Unforgettable Mark Twain Quotes From His Books About Love And The Meaning Of Life

Malcolm Muggeridge, the late British journalist, author and editor of Britain's late, great weekly satirical magazine, Punch, once said that he never tired of reading Mark Twain, or reading about him. 

Although I don’t always agree with Mark Twain’s worldview, I share that notion. Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers.

So I was pleased to come across a list of 25 of his quotes about love and the meaning of life at   

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”Mark Twain

You can read the rest of the quotes, a bit about Mark Twain's life, and view a short video via the below link:

You can also read my Philadelphia Inquirer review of Richard Zacks' Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour via the below link: 

In Battles Of Man Versus Machine, James Bond Always Wins

Andre Millard, author of Equipping James Bond: Guns, Gadgets, and Technological Enthusiasm, offers a piece on Bond and the threat of technology at 

Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels have been enjoyed by a global audience since the 1950s, and the films constitute the longest running and most profitable franchise in the history of the movies. This fictional character is a global icon admired by millions.

What explains 007’s enduring appeal?

Adventure, guns, and girls, surely. But Bond’s long-standing popularity can’t be separated from our relationship with technology. The Bond character consistently embodies our ever-changing fears about the threat of new technology and assuages our anxieties about the decline of human agency in a world increasingly run by machines.

Ian Fleming made Bond a modernizing hero, and the centrality of his gadgets in the films have established Bond, armed with watches capable of creating magnetic fields or Aston Martins with hidden guns, as a master of technology, a practitioner of high-tech equipment in the service of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. But the reason why we, the audience, admire him and follow his never-ending career is to be found in his inevitable conflict with the machine.

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

You can also read my Crime Beat column on Ian Fleming and his iconic character James Bond via the below link:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Former State Department Employee Sentenced For Conspiring With Chinese Agents

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia released the below information:

WASHINGTON – Candace Marie Claiborne, a former employee of the U.S. Department of State, was sentenced today to 40 months in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $40,000, for conspiracy to defraud the United States, by lying to law enforcement and background investigators, and hiding her extensive contacts with, and gifts from, agents of the People’s Republic of China, in exchange for providing them with internal documents from the U.S. State Department. 
           The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu of the District of Columbia, Acting Assistant Director in Charge John P. Selleck of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Deputy Assistant Secretary Ricardo Colón, Domestic Operations, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).
           “Chinese intelligence agents convinced Candace Marie Claiborne to trade her integrity and confidential information of the United States government for cash and other gifts for herself and her family,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Claiborne withheld information and lied repeatedly about these foreign intelligence contacts. Violations of the public’s trust are an affront to our citizens and to all those who honor their oaths. With this sentencing, justice has been imposed for these dishonorable criminal acts.”
           “Candace Claiborne received gifts from foreign officials and lied to investigators repeatedly about her role in defrauding the U.S. government,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “Claiborne violated her oath as a State Department employee, and we will continue to hold accountable those abuse their positions of trust.”
           “Claiborne was entrusted with privileged information as a U.S. government employee, and she abused that trust at the expense of our nation’s security,” said John P. Selleck, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “The targeting of U.S. security clearance holders by Chinese intelligence services is a constant threat we face, and today’s sentencing shows that those who betray the trust of the American people will be held accountable for their actions. I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI Washington Field Office and our partners at the Department of Justice for their work in investigating and prosecuting this case.”      
           “This sentence makes a strong statement to those who would attempt to commit crimes that violate the public trust and damage our national security. The Diplomatic Security Service is dedicated to working with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure that those who commit these crimes are brought to justice,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Colón.”

           Claiborne, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty in April 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. She was sentenced by the Honorable Randolph D. Moss.
           According to the plea documents, Claiborne began working as an Office Management Specialist for the Department of State in 1999. She has served overseas at a number of posts, including embassies and consulates in Baghdad, Iraq, Khartoum, Sudan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China. As a condition of her employment, Claiborne maintained a TOP SECRET security clearance. Claiborne also was required to report any contacts with persons suspected of affiliation with a foreign intelligence agency.
           Despite such a requirement, Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years. The gifts and benefits included cash wired to Claiborne’s USAA account, Chinese New Year’s gifts, international travel and vacations, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, a fully furnished apartment, and a monthly stipend. Some of these gifts and benefits were provided directly to Claiborne, while others were provided through a co-conspirator.
            In exchange for these gifts and benefits, Claiborne provided copies of internal documents from the Department of State on topics ranging from economics to visits by dignitaries between the two countries. 
           Claiborne noted in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” working with one of the PRC agents, who tasked her with providing internal U.S. Government analyses on a U.S.-Sino Strategic Economic Dialogue that had just concluded.
           Claiborne, who confided to a co-conspirator that the PRC agents were “spies,” willfully misled State Department background investigators and FBI investigators about her contacts with those agents, the plea documents state.  After the State Department and FBI investigators contacted her, Claiborne also instructed her co-conspirators to delete evidence connecting her to the PRC agents.
           The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas A. Gillice, John L. Hill, and Deputy Chief Julie Edelstein and Trial Attorney Evan Turgeon of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Gray Day: My Undercover Mission To Expose America's First Cyber Spy'

The Washington Times published my review of Eric O’Neill’s Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyber Spy.

I saw the film “Breach” in 2007, which was based on a true story and starred Chris Cooper as the notorious FBI special agent-turned Soviet/Russian spy Robert Hanssen, and Ryan Phillippe as Eric O’Neill, the young FBI investigative specialist assigned as Hanssen’s assistant, but who was in fact spying on Hanssen.

“Breach” was a good film and I enjoyed it. Now Eric O’Neill has written a book about his experiences with Robert Hanssen called “Gray Day: My Undercover Mission to Expose America’s First Cyber Spy.”

In 2000, Eric O’Neill was a young man working for the FBI as an investigative specialist. Investigative specialists were called “Ghosts,” as they performed undercover surveillance of suspected spies and terrorists, much like the British MI5. 

Although the investigative specialists were unarmed, and they were not law enforcement officers like the FBI’s special agents, they performed a vital national security function by keeping tabs on our nation’s potential enemies.

“Ghosts are trained to live in the shadows, to not get familiar with our targets. A ghost lives a covert professional life, relying on telephoto lenses, disguises, quick-change outfits, and the ability to disappear into a crowd,” Mr. O’Neill explains. “We think fast on our feet, are always ready with multiple excuses and explanations, and only show our golden FBI shield when all other options have been extinguished. Breaking cover equals failure.”

Eric O’Neill opens “Gray Day” by recounting a Sunday morning in December 2000, when his supervisor called him at home and said he would drive to the investigative specialist’s apartment and wait outside in his car.

In the car, his supervisor told him about his new assignment. He would become the assistant to Robert Hanssen, a veteran special agent and a computer expert who was tasked with heading the Information Assurance Security Team, a two-man division that would modernize the FBI’s woefully inadequate cybersecurity system.

The need for such a team was certainly called for, as the FBI had serious computer issues, but the job and the team were a ruse, as the FBI suspected Hanssen of being a Russian spy.

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

Note: The below two photos are of Robert Hanssen and the bottom photo is of Eric O’Neill.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Federal Government Conducts Unprecedented Seizure Of Massive Cargo Ship In Philadelphia After Finding Almost 20 Tons Of Cocaine On Board

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

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that, on July 4, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) executed a seizure warrant obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and seized the cargo vessel MSC Gayane as being subject to possible forfeiture to the United States. 
On June 17, 2019, federal, state, and local law enforcement agents boarded the MSC Gayane when it arrived at Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia and seized 19.76 tons of cocaine.  Since that time, crew members of the MSC Gayane have been charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring with each other and others to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.  The federal criminal investigation is ongoing.
As a result of this seizure, the MSC Gayane – a ship built in 2018 and measuring approximately two city blocks in length – has been placed under the custody of CBP and shall remain so until further proceedings or Order of the Court.
“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented – but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented.  We found nearly 20 tons of cocaine hidden on this ship,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “When a vessel brings such an outrageous amount of deadly drugs into Philadelphia waters, my Office and our agency partners will pursue the most severe consequences possible against all involved parties in order to protect our district – and our country.”
“The MSC Gayane is the largest vessel seized in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s 230-year history and follows the record seizure of almost 20-tons of cocaine discovered on the vessel,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore. “Seizing a vessel of this size is an unusual enforcement action for CBP, but is indicative of the serious consequences associated with an alleged conspiracy by crewmembers and others to smuggle a record load of dangerous drugs through the United States.  This action serves as a reminder for all shipping lines and vessel masters of their responsibilities under U.S. and international law to implement and enforce stringent security measures to prevent smuggling attempts such as this.”
“The seizure of the MSC Gayane is another significant step toward holding accountable those who perpetuate drug smuggling crimes both here in Philadelphia and around the world,” said Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI, in collaboration with CBP, the Coast Guard, and our state and local law enforcement partners continue to aggressively work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to comprehensively investigate this case and bring to justice those who had roles in this drug smuggling venture.”
The case is being investigated by the United States Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations, together with a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local partners.

Monday, July 8, 2019

A Little Humor: Office Manager And Woman At Water Cooler

A manager of a failing branch of one company has to lay off one of his top paid employees to cut cost. 

As he is analyzing the recent annual reviews, he is realizing that it comes down to his two favorites, Mary and Jack. 

He spends hours looking back at the last five years these two have worked on his team. Both were hired the same month, have identical education and work experience. They are also both crucial to his team. It’s an incredibly tough decision to make and he decides that, if he can’t make it by the time he goes to bed, he will have to fire the first one he sees at the water cooler the next morning.

He is at the office bright and early, after a sleepless night, when he sees Mary walk into the office with bags under her eyes, hair in disarray and heading straight for the water cooler.

He meets her there and while she is filling her cup with water, he says sadly: “I have really bad news, I have to lay you or Jack off.”

Mary, looking at him through the slits in her eyes, takes a big gulp of water and says: “You'll have to jack off. I have a terrible hangover.”

How The Rolex Submariner Became An Icon And The Timepiece Of Choice For The Original James Bond, Jacques Cousteau and General Chuck Yeager.

My Rolex Submariner diver’s watch is my prized possession. 

As a teenager in the 1960s I saw actor Sean Connery as Ian Fleming's iconic character James Bond on the movie screen wear a Rolex Submariner and while serving in the Navy in the 1970s, I saw Navy pilots, Navy SEALs and others wear the famous watch.  

As an Ian Fleming and James Bond fan, I of course wanted my own Rolex. A beautiful woman gave me a Rolex Submariner for my 30th birthday and I married her one month later.   

Cam Wolf at offers a piece on the history of the Rolex Submariner watch.

In 1973’s Live and Let Die, James Bond and the psychic/paramour Solitaire are left to die in classic extravagant-movie-villain-fashion. Kananga, the bad guy, ties Bond and Solitaire to a platform with ropes and begins to lower them into a pit of sharks. It looks like it’s all over for our hero—until he hits a button on his watch, it whirs to life, and Bond uses it as a buzzsaw to cut himself and Solitaire free from the ropes and kill Kananga. The life-saving watch? A Rolex Submariner.

While this was the first time the Sub was called to action, the watch was there from the beginning of the Bond franchise. Sean Connery wore one in 1962’s Dr. No, the very first Bond movie. And then he wore a Sub in From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball, too. It makes sense that the suavest man in history would wear the Submariner: the Rolex model is one of the most iconic pieces in watch history.

Rolex introduced the Submariner in 1954 as the first commercial watch that could dive 100 meters underwater. Rolex executive Rene-Paul Jeanerret happened to be an amateur diver, and friend of none other than legendary aquatic explorer Jacques Cousteau. Jeanerret convinced Rolex president Hans Wilsdorf it was time to invest seriously in a watch made specifically for divers.

The Submariner accomplished exactly that. The watch is designed for plummeting to the bottom of the sea (or at least 330 feet into it), and not just by being waterproof. Instead of numbers, hour markers come in large easy-to-differentiate shapes—an arrow at 12-o-clock and rectangles every third hour. The hour markers are also made with a material that lights up, angler fish-style. The rotating bezel lets a diver know how long they’ve been submerged. One sign that Rolex got it all right: the general Submariner design has been the inspiration for basically every diver’s watch that’s come after it.

Now, thanks to its illustrious history, the Submariner may be one of the most instantly recognizable watches in the world. 

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

Note: The above photos are of Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger. 

The below photos are Jacques Cousteau and General Chuck Yeager wearing their Rolex Submariner watches. And the bottom two photos are of me wearing my Rolex Submariner in Jamaica in the 1980s opening a bottle of Dom Perignon and of me front of a police station in South Philadelphia. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Little Humor: Young Man With Navy Recruiter

A 17-year-old visited a U.S. Navy recruiter in 1970. 

The recruiter, a Chief Petty Officer, asked the young man if he could swim. 

“Why, aren’t there enough ships?”

The recruiter then asked the young man if he would be interested in submarine duty.

“Hell, no. I ain’t getting on any ship that sinks on purpose.”

The exasperated recruiter then asked the young man why he wanted to join the Navy.

“Well, my father thought my joining the Navy would be a good idea.”

“What does your father do for a living?” the recruiter asked.

“He’s in the Army.”     

FBI: Workers’ Compensation Fraud - Fraudsters Took Advantage Of Injured Workers

The FBI released the below information:
Injured workers in California thought they were calling a hotline to help them navigate the workers’ compensation system. What they got instead was more pain. Rather than getting the help they needed, callers were set up with a group of corrupt doctors, attorneys, and patient brokers who lined their own pockets at the expense of injured workers.
For years, dozens of marketers, doctors, lawyers, and medical service providers conspired to buy and sell patients—and their individual body parts—like commodities for insurance and workers’ compensation purposes. The San Diego-based fraud ring cheated the California workers’ compensation system and private insurance out of more than $200 million. They also subjected patients to unnecessary, and sometimes painful, medical procedures and corrupted the doctor-patient relationship.
Yet thanks to an investigation by the FBI, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Insurance, many of the fraudsters have been convicted and sentenced.
The network preyed predominantly on seasonal, migrant workers who travel back and forth between California and Mexico. Their work in heavy labor industries, such as agriculture, can sometimes result in injuries.
Fermin Iglesias and Carlos Arguello set up various patient recruiting and scheduling companies in Central America and Mexico to direct patients to medical service providers. Arguello operated several patient recruitment entities, including one called Centro Legal. Through billboards, flyers, advertisements, and business cards, Centro Legal recruited workers to seek workers’ compensation benefits. When an injured worker called the number on the billboard or card, a scheduling company took over to maximize the profits from that individual worker.
“The corrupt attorneys and doctors had the same goal—to bill as much as possible,” said Special Agent Jeffrey Horner, who investigated the case out of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “The attorneys wanted to get the largest possible settlement by any means necessary, which was traditionally based on total medical billing. The doctors wanted to make as much money as possible, without regard for the well-being of their patients.”
Once the worker was directed to a corrupt doctor, that “gatekeeper” physician repeatedly referred that patient for tests and medical equipment, even if it was not medically necessary. For example, a patient with a simple knee injury might be referred for urine tests, DNA tests, sleep studies, unnecessary medical equipment, and numerous MRIs on body parts in addition to the injured knee. This happened with hundreds of patients. 
In infiltrating the group, the investigative team learned this criminal operation operated like many others—with secrecy and money flowing in all directions.
Iglesias and Arguello required corrupt doctors to prescribe a certain minimum quota of medical goods and services, on average, for each patient. To conceal the quota, Iglesias and Arguello required the doctors to enter into sham “marketing agreements.” If the doctor failed to live up to the quota, Iglesias and Arguello would cut off the flow of new patients to the doctor. Attorneys made money from their patients’ settlements, and they, too, paid kickbacks to patient brokers for new clients. Medical providers billed insurance and workers’ compensation at exorbitant rates—one provider billed nearly $6,000 for a single hot/cold pack for pain.
Participants met surreptitiously, often in parking lots, to exchange hidden cash—not the way aboveboard medical professionals and attorneys typically do business.
“A doctor was given cash stuffed in a children’s magazine,” Horner said. “An attorney received an envelope of cash for a spine surgery referral in a coffee house. Another doctor received a wad of cash concealed in a baby shower bag during a meeting in a restaurant parking lot. These trusted professionals were operating like street criminals.”
To date, 32 people and companies in the scheme have pleaded guilty and five have been convicted by a jury, receiving prison sentences as high as 10 years. In February, Iglesias was sentenced to five years in prison, and in April, Arguello was sentenced to four years. To date, more than $1.2 billion in suspect billings have been frozen.
As a result of this case and similar ones, California passed a state law that went into effect in 2017 that requires the state’s workers’ compensation system to suspend bills submitted by medical providers who are charged with fraud or abuse.
“The victims in this case were the injured workers who were denied honest services from their doctor. The judgement of these corrupt doctors, and the medical care they provided, was compromised by the kickbacks or prospect of kickbacks,” Horner said.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

On This Day In History The American Colonies Declared Independence

As notes, on this day in 1776 the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence.  
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king.
The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the banner of “no taxation without representation,” colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Note: The above painting is John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence.

July 4th Independence Day: John Wayne As Davy Crockett Talks About A Republic In 'The Alamo' Film

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

81% of Men Think James Bond Is A Good Role Model, Says Survey

Sorry, Snowflakes, but James Bond, the debonair ladies' man with a license to kill, remains as popular as ever.  

Christina Majaski at reports on a survey that shows that 81 percent of men think Ian Fleming’s iconic character James Bond is a good role model.

Bond. James Bond. Those few words can stir up a wide array of emotions for audiences of all ages, calling to mind the immortal Sean Connery, fast cars, femme fatales, gunfights, and fistfights. While some might have called the character’s character (or behavior) into question, according to recent survey results, a lot of guys actually approve (and would like to keep him that way.)

In celebration of the upcoming release of Bond 25, MyLotto24 conducted an in-depth survey on the British spy, and the results just might surprise you. Not only do guys still have a resoundingly positive opinion regarding James Bond, but both men and women seem to share these views of his controversial character.

As it turns out, while feminist critics have often pointed out elements of sexism and misogyny in Ian Fleming's creation, even the most modernized viewers don't seem to have too much of a problem with the British man's man

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

You can also watch a clip of Sean Connery introducing himself as “Bond, James Bond,” in Dr. No, the first Bond film. 

And you can also read my Crime Beat column on Ian Fleming and James Bond via the below link:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'The Policewomen's Bureau'

The Washington Times published my review of Edward Conlon’s The Policewomen’s Bureau: A Novel.

Having interviewed a good number of police officers over the years and having accompanied patrol officers and detectives out on the streets, I’ve heard a good number of absorbing, amusing and atrocious cop stories.

I once asked a former Los Angeles Police Department detective sergeant and best-selling author, Joseph Wambaugh, whom many have called “The Father of the Modern Police Novel,” why cops are such good storytellers.

“First of all, they get good material in their work. They’re out there seeing people, doing things,” Mr. Wambaugh, the author of “The Onion Field” and “The Choir Boys,” said. “They are out there having fun when they do good police work and they are gathering material whether they know it or not. And once in a while someone like me will pop up and say, hey, tell me a few stories. And often they are eager to do it.”

Edward Conlon’s novel, “The Policewomen’s Bureau: A Novel,” is the result of one cop from an earlier era telling cop stories to a modern cop. Edward Conlon was a detective with the New York City Police Department, and he is the author of a memoir, “Blue Blood,” and a previous novel called “Red On Red.”

“The Policewomen’s Bureau” is a work of fiction based on the life of my late friend, Marie Cirile-Spagnuolo, and was written with her permission and cooperation,” Mr. Conlon writes in his author’s note. “I was drawn to her story through her memoir, ‘Detective Marie Cirile,’ and decided to adapt it as a novel over the course of long talks. Both of us were detectives in the NYPD, though in different eras. Marie was appointed in 1957, and she was at my retirement party in 2011, three months before she died.”

How much of the novel is true?

“Most of it, and the worst of it,” Mr. Conlon writes.

“Marie was an outsider and a trailblazer, an Italian in an Irish police department, and a woman in a man’s world. The indignities she suffered, on the job and off, were experiences I could only imagine. And so, I decided to relate them with as little imagination as possible, relying on her versions of events and her emotional reactions to them.”

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

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Little Humor: A Profound Thinker

A man mowed his lawn one day and then sat down in a chair and drank a cold beer. 

The day was quite beautiful, and the drink facilitated some profound thinking.

The man’s wife walked by and asked him what he was doing, and he replied, ‘Nothing.’ 

The reason he replied nothing rather than stating that he was thinking, was that she would have inquired what he was thinking about. 

And then the man would have to explain that men are profound thinkers, which would then lead to other questions and comments that he didn’t want to hear from her.

The man was thinking about an age-old question: Is giving birth more painful than getting kicked in the nuts? 

Women always say that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts. 

Well, after another beer, and some heavy deductive reasoning, the man arrived at the answer to that question.

Getting kicked in the nuts is clearly more painful than having a baby. 

The reason for his conclusion was that a year or so after giving birth, a woman will often say, “It might be nice to have another child.” 

On the other hand, you will never hear a man say, “You know, I think I would like another kick in the nuts.” 

The man said out loud, “I rest my case.”

Note: The above photo is of Moe Howard, one of the Three Stooges.