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FBI’s Year in Review: Top News Stories of 2007

Washington, D.C. December 26, 2007
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Boston: Former House Speaker Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice
Thomas M. Finneran, the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, pled guilty to obstructing justice by making false and misleading statements under oath.

Chicago: Deputy U.S. Marshal Charged with Illegally Disclosing Information on Protected Organized Crime Witness
Deputy U.S. Marshal John Thomas Ambrose, Supervisory Inspector on the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, was charged with revealing information relating to the status of a “made” member of the “Chicago Mob.”

Washington Field Office: Former Congressman Sentenced on Corruption Charges
Former Congressman Robert W. Ney was sentenced on multiple charges including honest services fraud and making false statement to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jackson: Former Klansman Indicted for 1964 Kidnapping and Murder
James Seale, former member of the Ku Klux Klan, was charged with the kidnapping and murder of two African/American men: Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charlie Eddie Moore.

Atlanta: Former Coke Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Trade Secrets
Joya Williams pled guilty to conspiring to steal and sell the Coca Cola Company’s highly classified trade secrets.

New York: 19 Members of Bonanno Family Indicted on Racketeering Charges
Bonanno family acting underboss, acting consigliore, and 17 capos, soldiers, and associates were indicted on numerous charges including racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion, and narcotics distribution.

Houston: U.S. Citizen Charged With Training to Fight Jihad in Somalia
Daniel Joseph Maldonado, a.k.a. Daniel Aljughaifi, was returned from Kenya and charged with receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization to fight with Islamic extremist fighters in Somalia.

Miami: Four Police Officers Charged With Corruption
A two-year undercover operation resulted in the indictment of four Hollywood police officers on extortion and narcotics charges.

Atlanta: Head of Real Estate Investment Fund Indicted in $69 Million Ponzi Scheme
Gene A. O’Neal was charged with running a large scale Ponzi scheme through his real estate investment fund, Pinnacle Development Partners, LLC.

Boston: AttorneyIndicted for Possession of Stolen Art
Robert R. Mardirosian was indicted for possessing, transporting, and selling stolen paintings, including a Cezanne.

Los Angeles: Iranian Media Personality Sentenced in Visa Fraud Scheme
Henry Hossein Haghighi Heguman, a Farsi language media personality, was sentenced for orchestrating an immigration fraud scheme that filed fraudulent employment visa applications.

New Haven: Former Member of the U.S. Navy Indicted on Terrorism and Espionage Charges
Hassan Abujihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, was charged with material support of terrorism and disclosure of classified information relating to national defense.

Newark: State Senator Indicted on Public Corruption Charges
New Jersey State Senator Wayne R. Bryant was indicted for unlawfully using his power and influence to directly lobby state agencies, high-level officials and others.

Boston: Pfizer Subsidiary Pleads Guilty to Offering Kickback; Agrees to Pay $19.68 Million Fine
Pharmacia & Upjohn Co., Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc., agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $19.68 million criminal fine for offering a kickback.

Cincinnati: Indictment for Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorists
Christopher Paul, a.k.a. Abdulmalek Kenyatta, was charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and trained individuals in the U.S. in order that they might fight violent jihad overseas.

FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit Assists in Virginia Tech Shooting Investigation
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzalez pledged Department of Justice assistance to the victims of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech.

Chicago: “The Bishop” Arrested for Mailing Pipe Bombs on Investment Firms
John P. Tomkins was arrested on criminal charges for mailing threatening letters to investment companies signed “The Bishop.”

Sacramento: Four Russians Indicted on Identity Theft and Fraud Ring
Four Russians were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, credit card fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen goods.

Philadelphia: Six Charged With Plotting to Murder US Soldiers at New Jersey Military Base
Five individuals were charged with conspiracy to murder members of the uniformed services and a sixth individual was charged with aiding and abetting.

Los Angeles: Top Ten Fugitive Arrested in Canada
Richard Steve Goldberg, one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, was arrested in Montreal. Goldberg was wanted in connection with various crimes against children.

New York: Doctor Convicted of Conspiring to Support al Qaeda
Rafiq Sabir, a Florida doctor, was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to the al Qaeda terrorist organization.

Dallas: Businessman Admits to Defrauding Employer of more than $2 Million
Donovan Frank Laughlin, the General Manager of Wool Growers Central Storage Co., Inc., pled guilty to money laundering charges.

New York: International Arms Dealer Charged With Conspiracy to Kill Americans
Monzer Al Kassar, a.k.a. Abu Munawar, an international arms dealer, was charged with conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Cincinnati: Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud
Police Officer James L. Cook with the Whitehall Police Department pled guilty to bank fraud for knowingly depositing a counterfeit check into his bank account.

Memphis: Operation Mainstreet Sweeper Results in Councilman’s Guilty Plea
Former Memphis City Councilman Rickey Peete pled guilty to receiving cash payments for securing city council approval for a real estate development project.

Philadelphia: Original Manuscript by Pearl S. Buck Recovered
The original typewritten and hand-edited manuscript of “The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck was recovered by the FBI’s Art Crime Team.

Houston: Former Police Officer Sentenced for Bank Robbery Scheme
Stephen Paul Presley, former Texas City police officer, was sentenced on charges of conspiracy to commit bank robbery.

San Diego: Retired Rear Admiral Pleads Guilty
Retired Rear Admiral Jose Luis Betancourt pled guilty to prohibited representation of private party by former government employee before employing agency.

New York: Police Officer Charged in Narcotics Trafficking
New York City Police Officer Darren Moonan was charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to commit robberies of drugs from narcotics traffickers.

Honolulu: Individual Charged With Theft of Government Property
Joseph U.R.M. Elibosang was charged with theft of government property for selling at least 23 of the 34 bronze name plates stolen from the Pacific National Park, Asian Overlook in Guam. The plates bore the names of Guam citizens and U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in WWII.

Washington Field Office: British Airways and Korean Air Lines Plead Guilty and Agree to Pay $300 Million Each
U.K.-based British Airways Plc and South Korean-based Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. have agreed to pay separate $300 million criminal fines for their roles in conspiracies to fix the pieces of passenger and cargo flights.

FBI Continues to Assist in Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Investigation
The FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office provided special agents, its Evidence Response Team, as well as Evidence Response Team (ERT) members from the FBI’s San Antonio, Pittsburgh, and Chicago Field Offices to assist in the investigation of the Minneapolis bridge collapse investigation.

Washington Field Office: Former Congressional Chief of Staff Sentenced on Corruption Charge
William J. Heaton, former Chief of Staff for former Congressman Robert W. Ney, was sentenced on the charge of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

San Antonio: US Army Major, Wife, Sister Indicted in Procurement Fraud
Major John Cockerham, Jr., his wife Melissa Cockerham, and his sister Carolyn Blake, were indicted on bribery, money laundering, obstruction charges, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government arising out of the major’s service as an army contracting officer in Kuwait.

New York: U.S. Army Captain Arrested for Accepting Bribe
U.S. Army Captain Austin Key was arrested and charged with accepting a $50,000 bribe to steer military contracts in Iraq.

Los Angeles: Former Make-A-Wish Foundation Board Member Arrested in $8.7 Million Scam
Thomas Mitchell Johnson, former member of the boards of directors of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, was arrested for defrauding a North Carolina man out of more than $8.7 million dollars through a bogus investment scheme.

Miami: Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Arrested in Colombia
Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez was arrested by Colombian authorities near Zarzal in Valle del Cauca. Montoya is the principal leader of the North Valley Cartel, which is believed to be the most powerful and violent drug trafficking organization in Colombia.

Columbia: Operation Falcon Nets 540 Fugitives
Operation FALCON, a multi-city, nationwide law enforcement effort targeting sexual offenders and persons wanted for violent crimes and narcotics violations, resulted in the arrest of 540 fugitives during a recent 16-day sweep.

Anchorage: Former State Speaker of the House Convicted on Public Corruption Charges
Former Alaska State representative and former Alaska State Speaker of the House Peter Kott was found guilty of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy. In exchange for casting votes to benefit a major Alaska oil company, Kott received cash, checks, and the promise of a future job with the company.

Detroit: High-Ranking Immigration Official Charged With Bribery, Extortion, and Conspiracy
Assistant District Director of the Detroit office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), Roy M. Bailey, was charged with accepting large sums of money and other property in return for granting immigration benefits, including the release of several individuals who were in custody of ICE. Four other individuals were also charged in the case.

Boston: Former House Majority Leader Charged in Pharmacy Scheme
Former Rhode Island House Majority Leader Gerard M. Martineau was charged with honest services mail fraud for engineering personal business dealings with a pharmacy company and a health insurer and, in return, steering the outcome of legislation in which those companies were interested.

FBI Participates in TOPOFF 4 National Preparedness Exercise
From October 15-19, 2007, the FBI took part in a multi-agency national preparedness exercise known as Top Officials, or TOPOFF. The exercise is the fourth segment of the TOPOFF series of congressionally mandated exercises administrated by the Department of Homeland Security and designed to strengthen the nation’s capacity to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from large scale terrorist attacks.

Anchorage/Chicago/Houston: British Petroleum Agrees to Pay $370 Million in Environmental Crimes, Fraud Cases
British Petroleum and several of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay approximately $373 million in fines and restitution for environmental violations and fraud for conspiring to corner the market and manipulate the price of propane.

Philadelphia: Abdullahu Admits to Supplying Weapons in Plot to Kill U.S. Soldiers
Agron Abdullahu pled guilty to conspiring to provide firearms and ammunition to illegal aliens who allegedly plotted to kill U.S. soldiers at various installations.

Washington Field Office: Five Arrests in Massive Property Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
Harriette Walters, Manager of the D.C. Real Property Tax Administration Adjustments Unit; Diane Gustus, Real Property Program Specialist with the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue; and three of their co-conspirators were arrested for their roles in a scheme to defraud D.C. out of millions of dollars in real estate property tax refunds. To date, the loss has been assessed at over $16 million.

Detroit: Former Employee of FBI and CIA Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.
Nada Nadim Prouty engaged in a pattern of deceit to secure U.S. citizenship, to gain employment in the intelligence community, and to obtain and exploit her access to sensitive counterterrorism intelligence.

New York: Former District Court Judge Sentenced
Former Nassau County District Court Judge David A. Gross was sentenced for conspiring to launder money obtained through the sale of purportedly stolen diamonds and watches.

Operation Bot Roast II Reveals Growing Criminal Use of Botnets
The FBI announced the results of the second phase of its investigation into a growing and serious problem involving the criminal use of botnets, collections of compromised computers under the remote command and control of a criminal “botherder.”

Detroit: Marine Corps Captain Pleads Guilty to Citizenship Fraud Conspiracy
Samar Khalil Spinelli (nee Samar Khalil Nabbouh), a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, pled guilty to conspiring with former FBI and CIA employee, Nada Nadim Prouty, to commit citizenship fraud and passport fraud.

New Orleans: Chief of Police Indicted on Firearms Charges
Chief of Police (Boyce, Louisiana) Claude Williams was indicted on federal charges of possession of illegal firearms and on state charges of malfeasance in office.

St. Louis: Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! Pay Millions for Promoting Online Illegal Gambling
Microsoft Corporation, Google, and Yahoo! agreed to pay a total of $31.5 million to resolve claims that between 1997 and 2007 they received payments from online gambling businesses for advertising online gambling.

Miami: Five Foreign Agents Indicted
Four Venezuelans and an Uruguayan were indicted on charges of acting and conspiring to act as agents of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.