Category: Crime


Source: Komo News

Counterfeit coins by the thousands are turning up in Washington state, and authorities are warning coin collectors to be on the lookout for them.

All or most of the counterfeits appear to be from China.

“Stacks of ingots, bars, all kinds of stuff – they make everything from pennies all the way up to silver dollars,” says Port Angeles police officer Duane Benedict. “China is making these things by the thousands.”

Several of the fake coins were recently sold to a Port Angeles business, EZ Pawn, for $400. They would have been worth more than $1,500 had they been real, Benedict said.

Officer Benedict got a call from EZ Pawn.

“They brought me in there to look at something they thought was fake. So I was pre-warned. But I picked it up and said, ‘What’s fake about it?'”

The 20 counterfeit U.S. Morgan silver dollars were supposedly from a century ago. Brian Winters of EZ Pawn has bought coins for years – and even he was fooled.

Unlike most counterfeits, the coins did not all have the same dates. One was a super rare 1893S, worth thousands and thousands.

It was at that time Brian pulled out a loupe and looked at a real coin and a suspect one. He found the “T” and the “I” too thick. All the coins were fake.

The real coin weighed in at 26.7 grams. The fake was two grams lighter.

For those of us without a gram scale – there are other tests for detecting the counterfeit coins.

The real ones have a high-pitched ring when they’re dropped. The counterfeits land with a thud.

Also – a strong magnet will detect small amounts of iron in counterfeit U.S. coins. If a supposedly “silver” coin has even a little bit of attraction to the magnet, then it is a fake, Benedict says.

The counterfeits aren’t just limited to silver dollars. Other coins – including Indian head pennies – also have turned out to be fakes.

And EZ Pawn says they’re continuing to see fake coins brought in by other customers.

And Benedict warns businesses to be suspicious if someone uses only coins to pay for merchandise.

“Use caution if someone brings in a lot of coins to buy something, and look them over carefully,” Benedict said.

Source: RawStory

Congress will pass a bill to “forgive” banks the potentially criminal errors made in foreclosure proceedings, a senior CNBC editor predicts.

In a blog column Friday, John Carney argues that lawmakers in DC won’t allow the country’s largest issuers of mortgages to suffer financial losses following revelations of numerous mishandled foreclosure proceedings, especially when bailing them out this time “won’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

Here’s what is going to happen: Congress will pass a law called something like “The Financial Modernization and Stability Act of 2010” that will retroactively grant mortgage pools the rights in the underlying mortgages that people are worried about. All the screwed up paperwork, lost notes, unassigned security interests will be forgiven by a legislative act….

The [foreclosure] crisis is not driven by economics. It is driven by legal rights. And there’s simply zero probability that the politicians in Washington are going to let Bank of America or Citigroup or JP Morgan Chase fail because of a legal issue.

Carney predicts that the lame-duck session of Congress following this November’s elections will pass the law. “Every member of Congress … who has been voted out of office will cast a vote for the bill. And the President will sign it.”

Major banks’ stocks have suffered losses this week as an increasingly large body of evidence has emerged suggesting that banks and their contractors may not have done the most basic vetting of foreclosure paperwork, instead using “robo-signers” to rubber-stamp whatever foreclosure applications were brought forward.

The Associated Press reported this week:

In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word “affidavit.” Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations about document fraud.

The result has been a steady stream of allegations of wrongly foreclosed homes. In one notorious incident last month, a Florida man who had bought his home for cash and carried no mortgage was stunned to find his home in foreclosure. In another incident, a woman who was behind on payments but not in foreclosure called 911 when she heard what she thought was a burglar, but was in fact a JPMorgan contractor coming to change the locks on her home.

In many instances, those shortcuts and mistakes may have violated laws. Attorneys general in all 50 states have now launched probes into foreclosure practices. Bank of America has halted foreclosure proceedings in all states, while Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), JPMorgan and others have announced partial suspensions.

Carney admits that, with outrage growing over unscrupulous foreclosure practices, a second bailout of banks would be politically unpopular.

“Will the public be outraged?” he writes. “Probably. Financial bloggers will scream from the high heavens against another bailout of the banksters. Congress may try to create some cost for banks in exchange for the forgiveness, perhaps requiring more mortgage modifications. But the much feared [foreclosure] apocalypse will be laid to rest.”

Source: Guardian

Ernest Withers, who was trusted by civil rights leader to sit in on strategy meetings spied on black activists and white radicals.

Martin Luther King must have imagined that the man with the camera so often at his side was doing no more than recording history. But it has been revealed that Ernest Withers – who was on hand to capture King riding newly desegregated buses and the shock of the civil rights leader’s allies immediately after his murder – was also an FBI informer.

The double life of one of the most celebrated photographers of the civil rights era was exposed by the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, which reported that Withers passed on photographs to the FBI along with names and background information about activists and details of schedules.

Withers, who was a police officer before becoming a photographer and died three years ago aged 85, documented the civil rights movement from the beginning, covering pivotal moments such as the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, and the Little Rock school integration showdown. He came to be so familiar and so trusted to King and other leaders that he sat in on strategy meetings.

Records released under a freedom of information request show that from at least 1968, and possibly earlier, he spied on not only black civil rights activists but Catholic priests who supported a Memphis-wide strike by sanitation workers, and political candidates, recording car number plates for the FBI.

Withers also helped the bureau to break a militant black group called the Invaders, which had a following in Memphis in the late 60s.

“He was the perfect source for them,” the Pulitzer prize-winning historian of the era, David Garrow, told the Commercial Appeal. “He could go everywhere with a perfect, obvious professional purpose.”

Withers was identified by the newspaper after the FBI failed to black out his name on a number of documents related to the agency’s spying on civil rights activists, released under freedom of information legislation.

The FBI was fixated on King. The then attorney general, Robert Kennedy, authorised it to spy on the civil rights leader, and the FBI director, J Edgar Hoover, went so far as to bug King in bed.

Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta, said activists had been aware that they were closely watched by the FBI, although no one suspected Withers was an informant.

“I always liked him because he was a good photographer. And he was always [around],” he said. “I don’t think Dr King would have minded him making a little money on the side.”

One of Withers’s sons, Rome, who is also a photographer, said he had been unaware that his father worked for the FBI, but said it did not diminish his work documenting the civil rights movement.

“He had been harassed, beaten, shot at. He was a victim,” he told the Commercial Appeal. “At that time, when you are the only black on the scene, you’re in an intimidating state.”

Source: CBS

Says Many Gang Members Were Coming After His Family

He was arrested for protecting his property and family.

But it’s how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.

He got an AK-47 assault rifle, pulled the trigger and he ended up in jail, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.

George Grier said he had to use his rifle on Sunday night to stop what he thought was going to be an invasion of his Uniondale home by a gang he thought might have been the vicious “MS-13.” He said the whole deal happened as he was about to drive his cousin home.

“I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house. I tell them, you know, ‘Can you please leave?’ Grier said.

Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house.

“He starts threatening my family, my life. ‘Oh you’re dead. I’m gonna kill your family and your babies. You’re dead.’ So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass,” Grier said.

Grier was later arrested. John Lewis is Grier’s attorney.

“What he’s initially charged with – A D felony reckless endangerment — requires a depraved indifference to human life, creating a risk that someone’s going to die. Shooting into a lawn doesn’t create a risk of anybody dying,” Lewis said.

Grier said he knew Nassau County Police employ the hi-tech “ShotSpotter” technology in his area and that the shooting would bring police in minutes. Cops told Guzman he was very cooperative.

Grier also said he was afraid the gang outside his house was the dreaded MS-13. And Nassau County Police Lt. Andrew Mulraine, head of the gang unit, said MS-13 has 2,000 members in the county.

“They’re probably the most organized. They almost have a military hierarchy within the gang, so they are the most organized gang we encounter on a daily basis,” Mulraine said.

You may think a person has the right to defend their home. But the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force. Grier said he never saw anyone pull out a gun, so a court would have to decide on firing the gun.

Police determined Grier had the gun legally. He has no criminal record. And so he was not charged for the weapon.

That ShotSpotter technology pinpoints where a gun has been fired within 35 feet. Police said it also detected two other shootings in nearby Roosevelt that night.

Source: ZeroHedge

Yesterday we presented Dylan Grice’s thoughts on why economists and their opinions should be summarily dismissed as nothing but mere noise on the steep downward slope of a series of failed “authoritarian” policy decisions, which seek to validate one false choice after another, by presenting a hypothetical and fallacious counter-outcome as a certain reality (just consider the “apocalypse” we would be living in if Goldman had failed: of course, there is no justification for this except for what Bernanke et al claim is the one true alternative reality based on nothing but their own conflicted interests), which does nothing but discredit the “science” of economics more and more with each passing day. Yet in the grand scheme of things economists are merely pawns in the hands of the landed elite: the financial system set only on perpetuating the status quo of capital and wealth reallocation from the lower classes onto itself (until there is eventually nothing left), and a government whose only prerogative is to usurp ever more control and authority, until the entire system is one of central planning in economics, social affairs, religion, and every aspect of people’s daily lives, all the while pretending to operate under the guise of a democracy, which, at least in America, died long ago. Today, we present the observations of Bill Buckler from his Privateer report, which picks up where Grice left off and demonstrates why one must not only never rely on economists but on form of “authority” in general. Putting it all together is Buckler’s close analysis at the glue that makes it all possible: the Federal Reserve, also known as the fourth branch of government, and the entity that provides the endless funding for all of the system’s failed policies. As Buckler points out, any reversion to a system that follows the constitutional precepts of the founding fathers will need to do away with the Fed first and foremost, as “the issue is not the political will of the US government to go on spending beyond its means, it is the political will of the rest of the world to go on accepting the unworkable global system indefinitely. They will not do it.” In other words, in the step leading up to the last and most important defection in the global prisoner’s dilemma, it is up to the American people to take the necessary step to restore the systemic balance (which will happen regardless eventually, only in a far more violent fashion). Everything else that happens on a day to day basis is completely irrelevant.

From Bill Buckler’s The Privateer report, Number 661.

NEVER RELY ON “AUTHORITIES”

On the evening of November 23, 1942, Adolf Hitler was deep in “consultation” with the chief of staff of the Luftwaffe (the German air force) on the possibility of supplying the surrounded German 6th army in Stalingrad by air. On hearing of this consultation, Reichsmarschall Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, promptly contacted Hitler and assured him that the air force could maintain the 6th army for as long as necessary.

All of Goering’s officers on the spot near Stalingrad knew that this was absolutely impossible. So did Goering’s chief of staff. So did Goering. And so did Hitler. Goering had already been proven wrong a little over a year earlier when he insisted that his Luftwaffe could clear the way for an
invasion of Britain. That was not even considered. What WAS considered was that no matter how fanciful or how contradictory to the FACTS on the ground, a method had been found to prolong the illusion that the war could still be won. And besides, how would any of them know that it could not and would not work if they didn’t try it?

They did try it. It didn’t work. The fate of the 6th army in Stalingrad is history. So is the fate of the Nazi regime.

The March Of Folly:

The American historian Barbara Tuchman published a book with that title in 1984. She lists four kinds of what she calls “misgovernment”. There is misgovernment by tyranny or oppression, by excessive ambition, by incompetence or decadence or both, and finally by folly or perversity. The author concentrates on government policies afflicted by folly or perversity, a rich field of enquiry stretching back to the dawn of history. Mrs Tuchman makes the point that folly is “independent of era or locality, is timeless and universal …and is unrelated to type of regime. Monarchy, oligarchy or democracy produce it equally.”

She has one further principle for the study of government folly. “…The policy in question should be that of a group, not an individual ruler, and should persist beyond any one political lifetime.” That brings us into the realm of political economy, more precisely the dogged clinging to the central role of government in the economy, and particularly in the financial system upon which the economy rests. That policy has been clung to for far more than a political lifetime. It has been clung to at the highest levels of government for almost a century.

Continue Reading…

Source: NBC MIAMI

Cops busted breaking into cars in West Palm Beach

Cops getting in trouble in South Florida isn’t really a newsflash, but it’s not often they are caught breaking into cars.

Two West Palm Beach police officers have some explaining to do after they were caught early Thursday inside a Jupiter parking garage trying to steal, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The two officers, Christopher Clark and Timothy Pike, face felony criminal mischief charges, but those charges could be upped to attempted burglary after an investigation.

Jupiter police encountered the two cops-turned-car thieves as they were attempting to break into two cars in the garage. It wasn’t until after they were arrested that the men revealed they were officers of the law.

The police report said the men were not in uniform and well out of their jurisdiction. Clark and Pike have been placed on administrative leave by the West Palm Beach Police Department pending the outcome of the investigation.

Source: NYDailyNews

The jury in the Bronx synagogue bomb plot case was told Wednesday that the informant who provided the four suspects with phony bombs and missiles was paid $97,000 by the FBI.

The FBI gave Pakistani immigrant Shahed Hussain $44,000 for expenses and $53,000 for “his services” over a three-year period, agent Robert Fuller said.

Fuller, the first prosecution witness in the trial that started Tuesday, showed the jury one of the unexploded bombs the would-be terrorists planned to use to blow up one of two Riverdale synagogues.

Defense lawyers contend that without the informant – who they say entrapped the suspects – their bumbling clients would never have tried to blow up two synagogues in Riverdale and shoot down missiles.

James Cromitie, 44, and co-defendants David Williams, 29, Onta Williams, 34, and Laguerre Payen, 28, were caught in May 2009.

Hussain met them at an upstate mosque, where he was sent by the feds. The trial continues today in Manhattan Federal Court. The four suspects face life in prison if convicted.

Source: Seattle Times

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — A 24-year-old Army specialist told a military judge Monday morning that she wants to plead guilty to murdering two fellow soldiers and kidnapping their baby in March 2008.

Spec. Ivette G. Davila, of Bakersfield, Calif., entered the plea Monday morning at the start of her court martial for the fatal shootings of Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller, 27, and Sgt. Randi Miller, 25, in the couple’s Parkland home. Army prosecutors have agreed to not seek the death penalty against Davila in exchange for her pleas to two counts of premeditated murder, and one count each of kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

A military judge, Col. Stephen Henley, is now considering whether to accept the plea deal

Davila is alleged to have shot the couple, poured muriatic acid on their bodies and then kidnapped their then 6-month-old daughter, Kassidy who was found unharmed at a base barracks. Kassidy is being raised by her paternal grandparents in Nevada.

Authorities were led to Davila after she told a fellow soldier that she was caring for the child because she had killed the Millers, according to court documents that were originally filed in Pierce County Superior Court before the Army asserted jurisdiction over the case.

Prosecutors alleged that Davila, who had been a specialist in the I Corps and a member of the Fort Lewis color guard, was angry with Randi Miller because she believed the woman was having an affair with Davila’s ex-boyfriend.

Davila shot Randi Miller in the bedroom and then killed her husband while he was in the shower, court papers said. The Millers had both served as combat medics in Iraq.

After the slayings, Davila cleaned the crime scene and took the baby to Home Depot, where she purchased muriatic acid, according to court papers. Davila then returned to the home and poured the acid on both bodies “to get rid of them,” court documents say.

Source: AP

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday mobilized members of the California National Guard as part of a federal effort to deter drug trafficking and illegal immigration along the border with Mexico.

His order supports President Barack Obama’s plan to have 1,200 National Guard troops assist with federal border protection, customs and immigration agents.

The move comes amid a national debate over an Arizona law that directs police to conduct immigration checks when they are questioning people about possible legal violations. There must be a “reasonable suspicion” the person is in the country illegally.

Obama asked California to deploy 224 Guard members for as long as a year, but California National Guard spokesman Lt. Patrick Bagley said as many as 260 soldiers and airmen will head to the border by Oct. 1.

The higher number is because California has more members qualified to perform the specific duties needed to support federal border protection, customs and immigration agents, Bagley said. The number and assignments resulted from talks with officials in other states and the federal government.

The California soldiers and airmen — all of whom have volunteered for the mission — will be selected by mid-August. They will get up to three weeks of training in August or September, expanding on routine training they already receive.

California is responsible for its entire border with Mexico, but Bagley said the Guard members will be assigned to specific locations as needed based on discussions with federal officials.

It’s the second time Schwarzenegger has ordered Guard members to the border. He backed a similar federal effort in June 2006. Guard members will be based in many of the same armories they used the last time, Bagley said.

Source: Businessweek

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to pay $550 million and change its business practices to settle U.S. regulatory claims it misled investors in collateralized debt obligations linked to subprime mortgages.

The penalty is the largest ever levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission against a Wall Street firm, the agency said in a statement announcing the accord today. Under the deal, Goldman Sachs acknowledged it made a “mistake” and that marketing materials for the instruments had “incomplete information,” the agency said.

For Goldman Sachs, the payment amounts to 14 days of earnings, based on first-quarter results. It’s the equivalent of 93 cents a share, said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co., who had estimated a cost of $1.05.

“This appears to be negligence, not fraud,” Hintz said in an e-mail, citing the SEC’s use of words such as “mistake” and “incomplete information.” “Bottom line the SEC and the administration gets a headline and a ‘political win’ and GS gets an ‘economic win.’”

Goldman Sachs created and sold the CDOs in 2007, as the U.S. housing market faltered, without disclosing that hedge fund Paulson & Co. helped pick the underlying securities and bet against the vehicles, the SEC said in an April 16 lawsuit. Billionaire John Paulson’s firm earned $1 billion on the trade and wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.

‘It Was a Mistake’

“It was a mistake for the Goldman marketing materials to state that the reference portfolio was ‘selected by’ ACA Management LLC without disclosing the role of Paulson & Co. Inc. in the portfolio selection process,” the SEC’s statement quoted Goldman Sachs as saying in settlement documents.

The bank, based in New York, didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing under the accord, the SEC said. The payment includes a $300 million fine and $250 million as restitution to investors. IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG, the first German lender bailed out during the subprime crisis, will receive $150 million, and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc will get $100 million, the SEC said.

Shares of Goldman Sachs, which closed today at $145.22, dropped 21 percent since April 15, the day before the suit was filed, and jumped 4.4 percent today after the SEC said it planned a “significant announcement.” The S&P 500 Financial Index declined 13 percent since the SEC filed suit.

“This takes a cloud off the stock,” said Peter Sorrentino, senior portfolio manager at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati, which manages $13.3 billion including Goldman Sachs shares. For Goldman Sachs, the settlement means “we’re done, turn the spotlight off, we’re out of here,” he said.

Fabrice Tourre’s Case

Sorrentino said his firm may still reduce its holdings in Goldman Sachs on any price gains because he’s concerned about the effect of financial regulatory legislation passed today by the Senate. Goldman Sachs said the agency doesn’t ‘‘anticipate’’ it will bring more claims linked to collateralized debt obligations.

Fabrice Tourre, the only Goldman Sachs worker targeted by the SEC, remains an employee of the firm and is on leave, said Lucas van Praag, a company spokesman. The firm promised to cooperate with the SEC in the case against Tourre and other “ongoing litigation,” the agency’s deputy enforcement director, Lorin Reisner, told reporters in Washington.

SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami called the settlement “a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing.”

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