Sunday, January 30, 2022

My Crime Beat Column: A Look Back At The James Bond Film 'You Only Live Twice'

I recently re-watched You Only Live Twice for perhaps the twentieth time. 

The 1967 film remains watchable due to Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond, the exotic locale of Japan, and the wonderful musical soundtrack by John Barry, who combined traditional Japanese music with luscious Western orchestration. Barry’s romantic and suspenseful music was an integral part of the early Bond films. 

Having said that, I have many complaints about the film. 

First off, the producers and screenwriter Ronald Dahl failed to utilize the plot of the great Ian Fleming novel, opting only to use the James Bond character, the names of other characters in the novel, and the Japanese location.        

Having watched the great Scot actor Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr No and From Russia With Love as a pre-teen in the 1960s, I went on to read all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond thrillers and I became a life-long Ian Fleming aficionado. 

As an introductory offer, the Mystery Book Club in the 1960s sent me nine hardback Ian Fleming James Bond novels. These were the first nine books in my now considerable library. The first Ian Fleming novel I read was his 1964 thriller, You Only Live Twice. 

I loved the novel. I loved the exotic Japanese background and the fascinating characters. Bond, of course, and Tiger Tanaka, Dikko Henderson and Kissy Suzuki, all based on real people Fleming met in Japan. 

I also loved the plot. Fleming offered a criminal madman with a Japanese castle surrounded by a garden full of deadly plants that enticed Japanese people to come and commit suicide. 

Above the castle floated a balloon with a scull’s face, which was officially meant to be a warning, but was in fact an advertisement. Great stuff. 

I was thrilled to later visit Japan when I was a young sailor on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. Prior to embarking the ship in Sasebo, I reread Fleming’s You Only Live Twice, as well as Fleming’s journalism piece on Japan in Thrilling Cities.  

The film You Only Live Twice misuses the novel’s title in Fleming's novel, You Only Live Twice comes from an attempt by Bond to write a Japanese Haiku poem during a tea ceremony with the head of Japanese intelligence, Tiger Tanaka.    

You only live twice:

Once when you are born

And once when you look death in the face. 

Tanaka said the poem was a good effort, but it didn’t work in Japanese. 

The film has Bond faking his death to throw off his enemies, and later in the film when the villain says he heard Bond was dead, Bond replies, “I was. This is my second life.” The villain then said, “You only live twice, Mr. Bond.” 

The theme song, written by John Barry and sung by Nancy Sinatra, has another meaning:

You only live twice. One life for yourself and one for your dreams.

I much prefer Fleming’s Haiku poem. 

In the film, after Bond fakes his death, he is buried at sea, with Bond actually in the canvas burial bag (Why?) The body bag is taken by frogmen to a submerged British submarine. The body bag is opened and Bond, in a naval uniform, quips, “Permission to come aboard, Sir.” 

That got a laugh in the theater when I first saw the film. 

Bond then heads to M’s office aboard the submarine. M’s secretary, Moneypenny, like M and Bond, is in a naval uniform. M informs Bond of the plot to hijack American spacecraft and instructs him to find out who is behind the plot. 

My objection to this scene is that although M is a retired admiral and Bond served as an R.N.V.R. commander, neither of them were active-duty sailors and should not have been in uniform. 

Then Bond informs Moneypenny that he studied Asian languages at Oxford. 

No, he didn’t. 

In the novel, M believes Bond was killed in Japan and he wrote an obituary that appeared in the London Times. M writes that Bond attended Eton, although his time there was brief and undistinguished, as he was kicked out due to an issue with one of the maids. Like Ian Fleming, who also attended Eton, Bond went on to study at Fettes and learned French and German, not Asian languages. 

In the film, Bond later meets “Our Man in Japan,” Dikko Henderson. Henderson offers Bond a vodka martini, “Stirred, not shaken.” 

Every Bond fan knows Bond likes his martini’s shaken and not stirred. Had Dahl ever read a Fleming novel or watched a Bond film? (Dahl was an intelligence officer in WWII and knew Fleming as well as Ernest Hemingway and other notables in the war). Why didn’t the producers, director or editor correct this?  

But I liked Henderson’s line after Bond complements him on the Russian vodka. 

“Yes. I get it from the doorman at the Russian embassy – among certain other things.” 

British actor Charles Gray portrayed Henderson in the film, and although I like Gray, who would later portray Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever, Dikko Henderson in Fleming’s novel was a big, booming Australian. Henderson was based on the late Richard Hughes, a foreign correspondent for the British Sunday Times.

“He is a giant Australian with a European mind and a quixotic view of the world,” the late Ian Fleming said of Hughes. 

In 1959, Fleming, then the foreign manager of the Sunday Times, was asked by the newspaper’s editor to travel to foreign cities and write about them, as Fleming notes, “through a thriller-writer’s eye.” The newspaper articles were compiled into a book called Thrilling Cities in 1963. While visiting Hong Kong and Tokyo, Fleming’s guide was Richard Hughes, whom Fleming called “Our Man in the Orient.”   

Ian Fleming later wrote You Only Live Twice, which featured a character named Richard Lovelace Henderson. Henderson was the British intelligence chief in Japan. He was a big, boisterous and profane Australian who understood the way of the Japanese. Fleming described him as looking like a middle-aged prize-fighter who retired and had taken to the bottle.

(John le Carre visited Hong Kong in the late 1970s while doing research for his novel The Honorable Schoolboy, the sequel to his novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. John le Carre met Hughes, and like Ian Fleming, he based a character on him. “Libel me to the hilt,” Hughes told le Carre.)                

The character “Tiger” Tanaka, the head of the Japanese secret service, was also based on a man Fleming met in Japan. The character was elderly, and he was a former Kamikaze pilot in WWII. How can one be a former Kamikaze pilot? Read the novel. 

I thought the actor who portrayed Tanaka, Tetsuro Tamba, was too young to be Tanaka. Teru Shima, who portrayed Mr. Osato, would have been a better Tanaka. 

The character of Aki did not appear in the novel, but I thought Japanese actress Akiko Wakabayashi was a beautiful woman, and the character was endearing. Mie Hama, another beautiful Japanese actress, portrayed Kissy, who was the love interest in the novel. 

Donald Pleasence, a fine actor, portrayed Blofeld as a scarred and quite mad criminal mastermind. I was not fond of the portrayal. (Telly Savalas was a much better Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in my view. He was a more commanding presence and more of a madman).  

Why, I wondered, did Blofeld, who could build a rocket launching center in a volcano, not have surgery to repair his scarred face? 

I read the producers passed on Fleming’s idea of a Japanese castle with the poison garden, as they could not find a suitable castle in Japan. But they built a volcano rocket center, so I don’t see why they could not build a castle. (The poison garden was featured in No Time to Die, for no apparent reason). 

As I noted above, the film’s saving grace was Sean Connery as Bond, the exotic Japanese background, and John Barry’s wonderful soundtrack.

But I liked the book better.


Ralph Natale, Former Boss Of Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Organized Crime Family, Dies

Ralph Natale, the boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey Cosa Nostra organized crime family in the 1990s, has died. He was 87. 

Natale, who became the first mob boss to become a cooperating witness for the government, wrote a book called The Last Don: The Secret Life of Mob Boss Ralph Natale.

I interviewed Ralph Natale in 2017. You can read the Q&A with Natale via the below link:    

Paul Davis On Crime: My Crime Beat Column: My Q&A With Ralph Natale, The Former Boss Of The Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Organized Crime Family 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

My Washington Times On Crime Column On 'Damascus Station,' A Realistic Spy Thriller About CIA Operations In The Tumultuous Middle East

 The Washington Times published my On Crime column on Damascus Station, a realistic spy thriller written by David McCloskey (seen in the bottom photo), a former CIA officer. 

Former CIA Directors Gen. David Petraeus and Leon Panetta, as well as Washington Times columnist and former CIA Chief of Middle East Operations, Daniel N. Hoffman, have all praised David McCloskey’s spy thriller “Damascus Station” for being a realistic portrayal of CIA overseas operations.


I reached out to Mr. McCloskey and asked him if presenting a realistic portrayal of the CIA was one of his reasons for writing the spy novel.


“The novel certainly aims for authenticity. This isn’t a shoot ’em up spy story. I wanted a real CIA case officer as the protagonist and, within reason, I wanted this to be a bit of a CIA ‘procedural,’ to bring to life the real world of intelligence, from its operations to its bureaucracy,” Mr. McCloskey replied. “I was struck while at the Agency at just how dramatic and intriguing the real-world business of intelligence could be, particularly the development and recruitment of human assets. The actual business of spying, it turned out, made a solid foundation for a spy novel. In it I found fertile ground for exploring the full gamut of human emotion and experience, and, of course, the opportunity to inject action and intrigue to make the plot propulsive.”


“That said, there are several spots in the book where I did ultimately sacrifice authenticity either to protect sensitive Agency tradecraft or where I thought it might weaken the storytelling,” he continued. “For example, there is a sequence in which CIA bomb techs test their work on cadavers. I had help creating my fictional bombs from a couple EOD techs, and when they read this part they said, ‘this is totally insane, the U.S. government would never do this.’ I said, I get it, but this is too fun, too cinematic to cut. I left it in.” 

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

Thursday, January 27, 2022

House Stealing: The Latest Scam On The Block: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On Title Deed Theft

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on the theft of house title deeds. 

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

House Stealing: The Latest Scam On the Block - Philadelphia Weekly

Former Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Employee Admits To Stealing Identities Of 37 Individuals In Bank And Loan Fraud Scheme

For many years I was a Defense Department civilian employee doing security work for the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) in Philadelphia, so the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of California was of interest to me. 

You can read the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s release below: 

SAN DIEGO – Kevin Lee of Chula Vista pleaded guilty in federal court today to using his position at the Defense Contract Management Agency (“DCMA”) to steal the identities of at least 37 individuals and using those identities to commit over $240,000 in bank and loan fraud. 

DCMA is a federal agency responsible for administering contracts for the Department of Defense and other authorized federal agencies. For his former position at DCMA, Lee held a Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS-SCI) clearance. Beginning in approximately September 2018 and continuing up to and including September 2020, Lee devised a scheme to defraud various banks and loan companies by using stolen identities to apply for and obtain loans, which he then used to pay personal debts and bills. 

According to his plea agreement, Lee initially used the identities of family members to apply for and obtain fraudulent loans.  In approximately September 2019, Lee began applying for loans and bank accounts using information he had access to as a result of his employment at DCMA.  Specifically, Lee accessed a DCMA Sharepoint site called DCMA 360 that contained personal identifying information belonging to various individuals employed by, or in some way in contact with, DCMA, including Department of Defense employees and contractors. 

The plea agreement said the following:

The information Lee accessed included social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and various forms relating to government employment. After collecting sufficient personal identifying information on an individual, Lee used that information to apply for bank accounts and loans online.  To do so, Lee created fraudulent identification documents using the stolen information, including driver’s licenses and passports.  Lee additionally created and/or doctored pay stubs, bank statements, and tax documents to support his loan applications.  In order to qualify for more loan money, Lee fraudulently increased the salary reflected on some of the documents.  Lee created false email accounts for some of the stolen identities, and used various Google voice phone numbers to accomplish his fraud.

For example, Lee created a fake Gmail account for a DCMA employee, D.B.  Two months later, on March 26, 2020, Lee conducted six separate searches for personal identifying information belonging to D.B. on the DCMA 360 site.  Between March 26-March 30, 2020, Lee then used D.B.’s name, birthdate, address, and social security number to fraudulently apply for at least eight bank accounts and loans using D.B.’s identity.  Lee created a fake Arizona Driver’s License using D.B.’s name address and birthdate, which he submitted with the fraudulent loan applications.  Lee successfully obtained three loans in D.B.’s name, and used the funds for personal expenses.  In total, Lee stole and used or attempted to use the identities of 37 actual individuals at 16 different financial institutions.  The total amount of Lee’s actual and attempted fraud was $244,513.45.

“Government employees hold positions of public trust,” said U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman.  “The identity theft and fraud in this case is particularly egregious because Mr. Lee violated that public trust for his own selfish ends.  Those who engage in fraud and identity theft will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”  Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as Defense Criminal Investigative Service and

Defense Contract Management Agency-Office of Inspector General for their excellent work on this case.

“The theft of personally identifiable information can significantly harm our military service members, civilian employees, and their families,” said Kenneth A. DeChellis, Special Agent in Charge, DoD Office of Inspector General, DCIS - Cyber Field Office.  “This conviction, resulting from the coordinated actions of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Cyber and Western Field Offices, as well as our partner agencies, demonstrates our commitment to swift action against those who attempt to enrich themselves at the expense of our current and prior Department of Defense personnel. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Fat Leonard Navy Bribery Scandal: U.S. Navy Commander Pleads Guilty in the Run Up to the Seventh Fleet Navy Bribery Trial

Yet another Navy officer had pled guilty to bribery in the “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis U.S. Navy bribery and fraud case. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of California released the below information: 

SAN DIEGO – U.S. Navy Commander Stephen Shedd pleaded guilty in federal court today to bribery charges, admitting that he and eight other indicted leaders of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet received more than $250,000 in meals, entertainment, travel and hotel expenses, gifts, cash and the services of prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis.

Shedd is one of nine members of the Seventh Fleet indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2017 for conspiring with and receiving bribes from Francis, the owner and CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which provided services for U.S. Navy ships in port, including tugboats; fenders; security; food; fuel; water; trash and waste removal; and transportation.

Shedd is the third of the Seventh Fleet defendants to plead guilty. The trial of the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin on February 28, 2022. The remaining six defendants - who are accused of conspiring to trade military secrets and substantial influence for sex parties with prostitutes and luxurious dinners and travel, among other lavish things of value - include U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless; Captains David Newland, James Dolan, David Lausman and Donald Hornbeck; and Commander Mario Herrera.

The overarching fraud and bribery investigation has resulted in federal criminal charges against 34 U.S. Navy officials, defense contractors and the GDMA corporation. So far, 28 of those have pleaded guilty, admitting collectively that they accepted millions of dollars in luxury travel and accommodations, meals, lavish gifts, or services of prostitutes, among other things of value, from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by over $35 million.

The U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet represents a vital piece of the United States military’s projection of power as well as American foreign policy and national security. The largest numbered fleet in the U.S. Navy, the Seventh Fleet is comprised of 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and approximately 40,000 sailors and Marines. The Seventh Fleet is responsible for U.S. Navy ships and subordinate commands that operate in the Western Pacific throughout Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, Australia, and Russia and the Indian Ocean territories, as well ships and personnel from other U.S. Navy Fleets that enter the Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility.

According to Shedd’s admissions as set forth in his plea agreement, the defendants informed Francis of planned U.S. Navy ship movements by providing Francis with classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and narrative summaries of those schedules. The defendants provided Francis with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information. The defendants took official acts and exerted pressure on, advocated before, and provided advice to other U.S. Navy officials, knowing and intending that such advocacy and advice would form the basis for such other officials' decisions to pay GDMA’s claims, overlook inflated invoices, quash bid protests filed by GDMA's competitors, suppress competition in contract awards, and resolve in GDMA’s favor other questions, matters, and controversies regarding GDMA’s husbanding business.

From November 2006 to October 2008, Shedd served as the Seventh Fleet’s South Asia Policy and Planning Officer, where he was, in part, responsible for identifying ports that U.S. Navy ships would visit. From November 2008 to May 2010, Shedd served as a Personnel Distribution Officer stationed in Millington, Tennessee, and thereafter, upon being promoted to Commander, from March 2011 until May 2014, Shedd served as the Executive Officer and later the Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Milius.

“The defendant has admitted he was one of the many whose allegiance was switched from the Navy to Leonard Francis,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “This abdication of the defendant’s duties to the Navy and the United States comes with heavy consequences.”

“Mr. Shedd's disgraceful actions while serving in a sensitive position with the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet betrayed the standards and expectations of all members of the Armed Forces and jeopardized the Fleet's safety and security,” said Kelly P. Mayo, the Director of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).  “This lengthy investigation demonstrates that DCIS and our law enforcement partners will continually strive to fortify the integrity of the Department of Defense's procurement systems by doggedly pursuing and rooting-out corruption in the Department.”

“Cmdr. Shedd abused his high-level position in the Navy by illegally accepting lavish gifts from Mr. Francis in exchange for providing Mr. Francis classified ship schedules listing numerous ships, specific ports, and dates for the visits far in advance of ship visits,” said NCIS Director Omar Lopez. “NCIS and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out bribery and corruption that wastes valuable U.S. taxpayer money and damages the integrity of the Navy.”

Shedd is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21, 2022 before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Fat Leonard case via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Piece On The 'Fat Leonard' U.S. Navy Bribery And Fraud Case 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

An Inglorious End To A Once Great Aircraft Carrier: Kitty Hawk Passes The Lone Sailor Statue On The Way To The Scrapyard

The above photo shows the decommissioned aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk passing The Lone Sailor statute in Long Beach, California as the once great warship is towed to a scrapyard in Texas. 

The famous statue of the sailor appears to represent all of the sad and angry former sailors who served on the Kitty Hawk over her nearly 50-year historic history. 

I am one of them. 

Brandon de Haas took the above photo and posted it on the USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 Facebook Page.

You can read my previous post on the end of the Kitty Hawk via the below link:      

Paul Davis On Crime: The Aircraft Carrier Kitty Hawk's Final Voyage

DOD Is Making Significant Strides In Countering Human Trafficking, Official Says

 Terri Moon Cronk at the DOD News offers the below piece: 

Human trafficking is as old as time and can be found almost anywhere, yet the Defense Department has made significant strides in countering it over the last 20 years, said an official in DOD's Combating Trafficking in Persons Program. 

Linda Dixon, the CTIP program manager, said three elements of human trafficking are the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel a person into either commercial sex or labor — the main trafficking issues of concern to DOD officials.

As defenders of peace around the globe, DOD supports the U.S. government's zero tolerance policy on trafficking, Dixon said. DOD is also a partner with other federal agencies in the federal government's senior policy operating group, led by the State Department which meets quarterly to combat such "horrific" crimes, she added.

In 2021, DOD had a total of 108 human trafficking in persons cases: 77 were sex trafficking or related incidents, while the remaining 31 were labor trafficking or related incidents, Dixon said. There were 160 trafficking or related cases in 2020; 65 in 2019; 141 in 2018; 63 in 2017; and 41 in 2016. The spike in 2018 was due to sting operations and 2020 saw a spike in violations in Afghanistan, she added.

While 41 cases in 2016 might seem low, it may reflect a lack of awareness at the time because DOD personnel didn't know what to watch for, Dixon said.

Since that time, DOD has increased awareness, education and training among military and civilian personnel, beginning with mandatory courses for new employees on recognizing the signs of human trafficking.

Combating sex trafficking in DOD came to the forefront some years ago in Korea, Dixon noted. Some service members married foreigners, which increased troops' pay and benefits, Dixon said. But some of the foreign spouses were abandoned once they were in the United States, and a trend developed that led to sex trafficking in prostitution and other illegal activities, she said.

Since then, service members have been convicted of sex trafficking by for exploiting minors younger than 18 and other forms of sexual exploitation, Dixon said. "Some people don't realize anybody under the age of 18 cannot consent," she added.

Labor trafficking has been investigated in DOD, particularly during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where U.S. government contractors and subcontractors have been used as bait to entice underprivileged people from various countries. Traffickers typically promised U.S. government jobs and good salaries and benefits, but the reality was thousands of dollars in recruitment fees, cramped housing, and little pay in nearly labor-camp conditions. 

Dixon said DOD has made strides over the years. In fiscal year 2021, CTIP Program Management Office and Joint Staff's Joint Knowledge Online developed course materials for military-connected high school students, parents and educators to warn kids about the perils of sex and labor trafficking. Also last year, the CTIP PMO introduced "Survivor Voices" on its website in which survivors talk about how they were exploited in DOD-related incidents of human trafficking.


This year, CTIP will also:

·         Focus efforts on prevention through awareness training and outreach, address demand reduction and engage survivors.

·         Work with the office of the undersecretary of acquisition and sustainment to develop a CTIP resource kit for DOD acquisition personnel, including any DOD personnel involved in contracting and procurement. 

·         Add to the "Survivor Voices" stories on the website.

CTIP continues to work diligently on combating human trafficking and bringing awareness to the community because those activities can harm the DOD national security mission, Dixon said. "Human trafficking is everywhere," she said. "It's in your backyard." 

Monday, January 24, 2022

A Little Humor: One Way To Solicit Business


Feds Step-Up Focused Effort to Deter Violent Crime in Philadelphia

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

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams (seen in the above photo) announced a series of updates on violent crime cases being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as the Office continues to emphasize its All Hands On Deck initiative which brings together federal law enforcement and agency partners to tackle the serious violent crime problem in the City of Philadelphia.

“When I announced the All Hands On Deck initiative in April 2021, I vowed that we would do all we could to stop the violence ravaging our city and support the Philadelphia Police Department in its work,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “I also put violent criminals on notice that we were doubling down on our efforts to identify, arrest, and charge them for their crimes. The Indictments and sentencing result announced today show that we have kept our word to focus on getting the most violent offenders off the street and behind bars for a long time, so they cannot hurt anyone else in the community. And with more than 30 homicides so far in just the first 20 days of the year, our diligence and commitment to this work comes at a critically important time.”

On January 18, 2022, Eric Long, 52, of Philadelphia, PA, was arrested and charged by Indictment with one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence. The Indictment alleges that in December 2020, the defendant entered the Express One convenience store on the 2000 block of East Allegheny Avenue in Philadelphia, demanded money from the store manager while brandishing a firearm, and then shot the store owner with that firearm multiple times. Long is also charged with illegally possessing the firearm as a previously convicted felon. If convicted, defendant Long faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment, five years of supervised release, a $750,000 fine, $300 in special assessments, restitution, and forfeiture.

On January 19, 2022, Dwayne Gary, 36, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years of supervised release by United States District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe for his participation in a conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of, more than 200 grams of heroin in 2017. While engaging in this drug distribution activity, Gary also organized the sale of a firearm while in custody on an unrelated criminal charge. The defendant pleaded guilty to this four-count Indictment in September 2021.

Finally, on January 20, 2022, Josiah Brown, 19, of Wilmington, DE, was charged by Indictment with one count of carjacking, and one count of carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with a December 2021 armed carjacking which occurred at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia. According to the Criminal Complaint filed on December 23, 2021, while the victim and an associate were speaking near the victim’s vehicle, an SUV pulled up alongside them and blocked them in. One suspect got out of the SUV, pointed a gun at the victim and demanded the keys to the vehicle, and then fled from the area in the stolen vehicle. Investigators tracked and located the vehicle later that day in Wilmington, and then in New Castle, DE. When multiple individuals approached the parked vehicle in the parking lot of the Christiana Fashion Center in New Castle, law enforcement detained five people, including the defendant who was in possession of the keys to the victim’s vehicle.

“The FBI is fully committed to protecting the safety of our citizens as we combat the violent crime problem here in Philadelphia together with our law enforcement partners,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “And while our work is far from done, the results being announced today are significant steps in getting armed criminals off of Philly’s streets and making our streets safer for all of the innocent citizens who deserve to live without fear.”

“ATF continues to work with our local, state, and federal partners to reduce violence in our communities,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Facilitating illicit transactions of firearms and narcotics jeopardizes the safety of our citizens. These offenses will always be taken seriously and today the community is safer thanks to the outstanding work by our partners at the U.S Attorney’s Office.” 

The United States v. Eric Long case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Deal.

The United States v. Dwayne Gary case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Francis A. Weber.

The United States v. Josiah Brown case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philadelphia Police Department, with assistance from the Delaware State Police, Wilmington Police Department, and the New Castle County Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Oshana.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Happy 85th Birthday To Joseph Wambaugh, Former LAPD Detective Sergeant and Author Of Classic Police Novels

Happy 85th birthday to Joseph Wambaugh, former LAPD detective sergeant and best-selling author of classic police novels such as The New Centurions, Hollywood Station and The Choirboys, as well as classic true crime books such as The Onion Field, Echoes in the Darkness, and The Blooding.   

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with Joseph Wambaugh via the below link:

And you can read my Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat on Joseph Wambaugh via the below link:

Former Defense Contractor Sentenced To 10 Years For Fraud, Money Laundering & ID Theft

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Wisconsin released the below information: 

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Craig Klund, 58, Yankton, South Dakota, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 10 years in federal prison for wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

Klund, formerly from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to wire fraud against the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as money laundering by moving in increments over $10,000 the proceeds of his fraud scheme into multiple bank accounts.  Judge Peterson imposed a 96-month sentence on each of these counts to run concurrently. Klund also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft when he used another’s identity as a nominee owner of one of Klund's defense contracting entities. Judge Peterson imposed a 24-month sentence as to this charge to run consecutive to the concurrent 96-month wire fraud and money laundering sentences.  Klund's total prison sentence is 120 months, which will be followed by three years of supervised release. Judge Peterson also ordered Klund to pay $435,822.71 in restitution.

According to the indictment, Klund was a military contractor who supplied electrical parts to the various branches of the U.S. military, including the U.S. Army for the Patriot Missile System and the U.S. Air Force for the F-16 jet fighter.  From 2011 through July 17, 2019, Klund executed a scheme to defraud the DoD by obtaining defense contracts under false pretenses.

Klund's fraud scheme included: (1) use of 15 shell corporations to hide his control of entities bidding on DoD contracts; (2) use of multiple aliases; (3) repeated identity theft; (4) collusive bids submitted by multiple Klund entities on the same contract; (5) knowingly shipping nonconforming parts and requesting payment for these parts; (6) signing Federal Acquisition Regulation certificates using fake names; (7) lying to Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) inspectors by claiming to be someone other than himself; (8) relocating his business from Wisconsin to South Dakota to evade DCMA inspectors who were questioning his operations in Wisconsin; (9) concealing receipt of DoD proceeds by not reporting these monies on his federal income tax returns; and (10) laundering DoD proceeds by moving the funds between accounts. 

Using 15 different shell entities, Klund submitted 5,750 bids and was awarded 1,928 contracts worth $7,468,638.  These contracts were for parts for the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.  He was paid $2,905,484 during the fraud scheme.

At today's sentencing, after listening to Klund's allocution, Judge Peterson told Klund he thought Klund was a liar, who lied to the Department of the Defense over a long period of time, and to the judge as well.  The judge also noted that Klund was an unusual fraud defendant because Klund had three previous federal felony convictions, two of which were for defense contracting fraud, making his criminal history a very important factor in the judge's sentencing analysis. 

Judge Peterson explained that this case involved an extensive fraud scheme that caused significant harm to the government because it was duped into contracting with a two-time convicted defense contracting felon and was receiving parts from someone with whom it did not want to deal.  The Court noted that deserving contractors, who played by the rules, were also victimized by Klund's criminal conduct.

In imposing this substantial sentence, Judge Peterson noted the need to protect the public and the U.S. government from a repeated fraudster who is dishonest, and who was supplied defective parts to the military that had the capacity to harm military personnel and the public. 

The charges against klung were the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense - Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigation Service; General Services Administration - Office of Inspector General; IRS Criminal Investigation; Air Force Office of Special Investigations; Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit; and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber handled the prosecution.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Philadelphia Police Commissioner's All In: My Philadelphia Weekly Crime Beat Column On The Police Response To The Rise In Carjacking

Philadelphia Weekly published my Crime Beat column on Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw's efforts to curb the rise of violent carjacking.

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

Police Commissioner’s All In With Curbing Carjacking - Philadelphia Weekly 

You can click on the above and below to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Welcome To Japan, Davis-San: A Sailor's Visit To Sasebo

I recall visiting Japan as an 18-year-old sailor while stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk in 1971. The Kitty Hawk was temporarily relieved from combat operations on “Yankee Station” in the gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam by another aircraft carrier and we set sail for Sasebo, Japan for our scheduled R&R period.

The Japanese had been my father’s bitter enemy, as he served as an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) frogman in the Pacific during WWII. The old chief participated in some grueling and bloody battles on the Japanese-held beaches and islands, yet he held no rancor against the Japanese, and he appeared to be as excited as I was about my visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.

I became particularly interested in Japan in 1965 when I read Ian Fleming’s thriller You Only Live Twice. Although I later enjoyed the 1967 film, starring Sean Connery as James Bond, I thought the movie was a bit silly and should have adapted the novel more faithfully. I was disappointed that the film makers did not make use of the novel’s original plot or tap into the cultural differences between the West and Japan, as Fleming had done so well in his novel. 

I prepared for my visit to Japan by re-reading the novel, reading a couple of travel books that I picked up, and my ever-ready "travel bible” - an old paperback edition of Ian Fleming’s travelogue, Thrilling Cities, which included a chapter on Japan.

Shortly after the Kitty Hawk docked in Sasebo, I and other sailors headed towards the city’s area known as “Paradise Alley,’ where the bars catered to American sailors. 

I was with a fellow sailor who knew Sasebo from the previous Kitty Hawk cruise, and we visited his old bar and drank and danced with the bar girls. After a couple of hours, my friend suggested that we go and have what Americans called a Hotzi bath and massage. We left the bar and visited a nearby public bathhouse, called a Sento

We first sat in a sauna, where we sweated out the alcohol from our bodies. Then, after a rigorous shower, we slipped into the steaming hot public bath. After a while, we left the bath and went into another room for a massage. There were no “happy endings” here, but the massage was very satisfying. 

My massage was administered by a slight and pretty Japanese girl who had the strength of a sumo wrestler. She squeezed, pressed, pounded and applied karate-type blows to my body. When we left the Sento, I felt so good that I thought I could leap over a tall building. 

It was a beautiful spring day, so we walked up a narrow street. I spotted a small store that could have been an antique shop or a pawn shop, as I had no idea as the signs were in Japanese. But what I spied in the shop window quickly drew me in.

In the center of the window was an old and glorious set of Samurai swords. I didn’t know much about Samurai swords at the time, other than the cursory knowledge I gleaned from the books I read, but these swords looked authentic to me. I entered the shop and bowed to the proprietor, an elderly man, and I pulled out a handful of yen, pointing towards the swords in the window.

His response was in Japanese, spoken softly as he continued to bow up and down. I bowed back, having read somewhere that the more you bow, the more humble and polite you are. Of course, the proprietor was always two bows ahead of me, as he had a lot more practice at this than I.

Thankfully, a young woman customer spoke English and she politely informed me that the swords were not for sale. She explained that the swords belonged to the proprietor’s ancestors. I bowed again, twice, and quickly bowed out of the store. (It would be another 25 years before I finally bought a set of Samurai swords for my collection).

We spent the rest of the day and evening in a bar, and while most Americans were drinking beer or whisky, I was drinking Sake, Japanese rice wine. There is a saying that notes the man drinks the first three cups of Sake, and the next three cups of Sake drink the man. 

Well, after five cups of Sake, I needed to get some air and I left the bar. My friend followed me up the street where we saw a small restaurant. The smell coming from the restaurant was enticing. We entered the restaurant and I stepped up to the counter. The menus were banners hanging from a ceiling, and of course they were written in Japanese. A man sitting next me to me was eating steamed vegetables and as I liked the smell, I motioned to the waitress that this was what we wanted. Although I was not big on vegetables, steamed or otherwise, after consuming the Sake, I thought this was a fantastic meal. 

I pulled out my money and having no idea the rate of exchange for Japanese yen to dollars, I gave the waitress a stack of yen. As we walked down the street, I heard someone yelling, “American-San! American-San!” (San is an honorific). I turned and saw the waitress coming towards me. She bowed and I bowed back. She bowed again and handed me some yen. I gathered that I gave her too much money for the meal. I bowed and shook my head as I handed her back the bills. She bowed and would not accept the offered bills. 

She bowed again and turned and walked back towards the restaurant. I said to my friend, “Can you image any other place in Southeast Asia where this would happen? Only in Japan.” 

My friend replied, “In other places, they would come out and cut our throats for the rest of our money.” 

We headed back to the bar, where we drank and danced with a couple of beautiful Japanese girls. After drinking much Sake, I ended my night in a nearby hotel. 

That was my eventful first day in Sasebo. I also visited Nagasaki for two days. It was a great week to be in Japan.

Then the USS Kitty Hawk shoved off and headed back to Yankee Station and the war.

You can read my other sea stories, vignettes, humor pieces and short stories about my time in the Navy via the below link: