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FBI’s Year in Review: Top News Stories of 2008

Washington, D.C. December 30, 2008
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Each Friday, the FBI issues a press release highlighting the top ten FBI-related news stories of the week. From these releases, we have put together the ‘FBI’s Year in Review: Top News Stories of 2008’ which includes a top story from each weekly press release. “’Year in Review’ highlights the work of the FBI and our many partners throughout the year and is a fine example of the many different investigations done by the FBI every day,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko,
Chief of the National Press Office.

Detroit: Eleven Indictments in International Illegal Spamming and Stock Fraud Scheme

Eleven individuals were indicted in a wide-ranging international fraud scheme which manipulated stock prices through illegal spam e-mail promotions.

San Diego: Arrest in Hoax Bomb Investigation

Richard Sills Jr. was arrested by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in connection with the University of California San Diego hoax bomb incident.

Kansas City: Islamic Charity Charged With Terrorist Financing; Former US Congressman Charged With Money Laundering

The Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) and several of its former officers were charged with engaging in prohibited financial transactions. Also charged in the case was former U.S. Congressman Mark Deli Siljander.

Miami: Jose Padilla and Others Sentenced on Terrorism Charges

Jose Padilla, Adham Amin Hassoun, and Kifah Wael Jayyousi were sentenced on charges of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim and providing material support to terrorists.

Boston: Indictment for Threatening to Use Weapons of Mass Destruction

Michael A. Crooker was indicted on charges of possession of toxins (ricin and abrin) and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction against federal officials.

New York: 62 Organized Crime Members and Associates Indicted on 30 Year Crime Span

As a result of a massive coordinated law enforcement initiative, sixty-two defendants associated with the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families were charged with crimes spanning more than three decades.

Washington Field Office: DOD Employee Arrested in Chinese Espionage Case

Gregg William Bergersen, a Weapons Systems Policy Analyst at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of Defense, was arrested for passing classified documents to the People’s Republic of China.

Miami: Five Individuals Indicted for $200 Million Hedge Fund Fraud

Michael Lauer, founder of Lancer Group Hedge Fund, and four others were indicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges in a $200 million hedge fund fraud.

Houston: Chinese Chemist Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets

Qinggui Zeng, aka Jensen Zeng, a legal permanent resident from China, was indicted and charged with theft of trade secrets and computer fraud.

New Haven: Former Sailor Found Guilty of Terror Ties

Hassan Abu-Jihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, was found guilty of disclosing classified information related to national defense and providing material support to an organization having ties to al-Qaeda.

Cincinnati: Financial Enterprise Executives Found Guilty in $3 Billion Fraud Scheme

Five former executives of National Century Financial Enterprises were found guilty of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering in a $3 billion security fraud scheme.

Richmond: Indictment in $132 Million Trust Fund Scheme

Edward H. Okun, owner of The 1031 Tax Group, LLP (1031TG), was indicted for his scheme to defraud and obtain millions of dollars in client funds held by 1031TG.

San Juan: Governor Indicted on Public Corruption Charges

Puerto Rico Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila and 12 associates were charged on a 27-count indictment which include federal program fraud, tax crimes, and conspiracy.

Chicago: Indictment for Stealing Trade Secrets Bound for China

Hanjuan Jin, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in China, was indicted on charges of stealing business trade secrets from her employer, a telecommunications company, and attempting to take them to China.

Washington Field Office: $960,000 Settlement in Sale of Defective Bulletproof Vests

Protective Products International Inc. has agreed to pay the U.S. $960,000 for selling defective Zylon bulletproof vests.

Tampa: Egyptian Students Face Terrorism Charges

Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed and Youssef Samir Megahed were charged with possession of explosive materials, a destructive device and a bomb-making video.

New York/Newark: Arrest in Conspiracy to Disclose National Defense Information to Israel

Ben Ami Kadish was arrested on charges that he participated in a conspiracy to disclose national defense information to the Government of Israel.

New Orleans: Guilty Plea in Federal Hate Crime

Jeremiah Munsen pled guilty for his role in using nooses to threaten marchers who participated in the “Jena Six” civil rights rally.

Sacramento: Fake Vietnam Vet Pleads Guilty

Michael Allan Fraser pled guilty to violating the Stolen Valor Act.

Washington Field Office: Guilty Plea in Espionage Charge Involving China

Tai Shen Kuo pled guilty to conspiracy to deliver national defense information to the People’s Republic of China.

New York
: Guilty Plea in Fraud Scheme Involving Adoption of Disabled Children

Judith Leekin pled guilty to fraudulently obtaining $1.68 million of adoption subsidies to care for adopted children and using the funds for her lavish lifestyle while keeping the children restrained in their beds.

Newark: Former Mayor Pleads Guilty

Former New Jersey Assemblyman and Orange Mayor Mims Hackett, Jr. pled guilty to accepting a bribe in exchange for using his official influence as mayor.

Washington Field Office: Congressional Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty

John C. Albaugh, former Chief of Staff to Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

Washington Field Office: Army Colonel Pleads Guilty

Retired Army Colonel Levonda J. Selph pled guilty to her role in a scheme to influence the awarding of a U.S. Department of Defense contract in Iraq.

Operation Malicious Mortgage Nets 406 Individuals

Charges in Operation Malicious Mortgage, a nationwide takedown of mortgage fraud schemes which inflicted approximately $1 billion in losses, were brought in every region of the country.

Washington Field Office: Major International Airlines Agree to Pay $504 Million for Price Fixing

Air France-KLM, Cathay Pacific, Martinair, and SAS have agreed to pay criminal fines for participating in a multi-year price-fixing conspiracy on international air cargo shipments.

Miami: French National Indicted

Bernard Jean Temus was charged with conspiring to transport in interstate and foreign transport stolen works of art.

Anchorage: State Senator Indicted on Public Corruption Charges

A federal investigation into public corruption in the State of Alaska led to the indictment of John Cowdery on bribery and conspiracy charges.

Attorney General Joins the Director to Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the FBI

On July 26th, the FBI will commemorate 100 years of public service.

Columbia: Mayor Indicted for Public Corruption

Union Mayor E. Bruce Morgan and Union Building and Zoning Director Jeffery Lawson were indicted for conspiring to extort bribes from contractors seeking business with the city.

Anchorage: U.S. Senator Indicted

Theodore F. Stevens was charged with making false statements on his U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms.

Army Scientist Sole Culprit in Anthrax Attacks

Army scientist, Bruce Ivins, was determined to have acted alone in the 2001 anthrax attacks which killed five people.

Kansas City: Five Men Indicted for Conspiracy to Use Fake Diplomatic Identification

Five men with connections to various sovereign citizen movementshave been indicted for participating in a conspiracy to use fraudulent diplomatic credentials.

Knoxville: Tech Company Pleads Guilty to Illegal Exports to China

Atmospheric Glow Technologies, Inc. pled guilty to exporting defense-related technical data to the People’s Republic of China.

Houston: U.S. District Judge Charged

U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent was charged with the attempted aggravated sexual assault and abusive sexual contact of a Deputy Clerk assigned to his courtroom.

Las Vegas: Bank of China Managers and Their Wives Convicted of Stealing More Than $485 Million

Xu Chaofan, Xu Guojun and their wives were convicted of racketeering and money laundering in their elaborate scheme to defraud the Bank of China through Las Vegas casinos.

Minneapolis: Texas Men Charged With Illegal Possession of Molotov Cocktails

David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder were charged with the illegal possession of Molotov cocktails and in planning to disrupt the Republican National Convention.

175 Cartel Members and Associates Arrested

Project Reckoning, a multi-agency law enforcement effort targeting the Gulf Cartel, resulted in the arrest of 175 individuals, and the seizure of $60 million and more than 40 tons of illegal drugs.

Norfolk: Physicist Arrested for Illegally Exporting Space Launch Data to China

Dr. Shu Quan-Sheng, President of AMAC International, a high-tech company, was arrested for illegally exporting hydrogen liquefier technical data to the People’s Republic of China and bribing Chinese government officials.

San Diego: Former CIA Executive Director Pleads Guilty

Former Central Intelligence Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo pled guilty to using his position to cause the CIA to hire companies in which he had a personal interest.

Washington Field Office: Armor Holdings Agrees to Pay $30 Million

Armor Holdings Products LLC agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations it sold defective Zylon bullet-proof vests to federal, state, local and tribal agencies.

FBI Coordinates Global Effort to Nab “Dark Market” Cyber Criminals

A two year undercover operation, Dark Market, which joined forces with international law enforcement, resulted in 56 arrests and $70 million in economic loss prevention.

San Francisco: Operation Devil Horns Nabs 29

Twenty-nine individuals were indicted on federal racketeering charges as a result of a three-year investigation targeting Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members.

Washington Field Office: Chuckie Taylor Convicted

In the first U.S. case to charge an individual with criminal torture, Roy Belfast Jr. aka Chuckie Taylor, son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, was convicted of torturing people in Liberia.

Little Rock: Chief of Police Indicted

Former Sheridan Police Chief David Hooks was charged with embezzling city funds.

Los Angeles: ICE Official and Wife Indicted on 75 Additional Charges

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas and his wife, Maria Kallas, were charged in a 75-count superseding indictment in connection with a scheme to take bribes from immigrants seeking citizenship.

Philadelphia: Two Charged with Illegal Trading with Iran

Mohammad Reza Vaghari and Mir Hossein Ghaemi were charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Dallas: Holy Land Foundation and Leaders Convicted

The Holy Land Foundation of Relief and Development and five of its leaders were found guilty of illegally funneling at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas.

Birmingham: Mayor and Others Indicted

Birmingham Mayor Larry P. Langford; lobbyist Albert W. LaPierre; and investment banker William B. Blount were indicted in connection with a long-running bribery scheme.

Chicago: Illinois Governor Arrested

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris were arrested on federal corruption charges including conspiring to trade or sell the Illinois’ Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Philadelphia: National Lampoon CEO Charged

Daniel Laikin, CEO of National Lampoon, Inc., and seven other individuals were charged with manipulating the prices of publicly traded companies.

Baltimore: Canadian Charged With Acting as Iraqi Agent

Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish, a Canadian citizen born in Iraq, was charged with conspiring to act as an agent of Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime.