Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2010

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI’s Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending March 12, 2010

  1. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Woman Indicted in Plot to Recruit Violent Jihadist Fighters and to Commit Murder Overseas

    Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Fatima LaRose,” aka “JihadJane,” was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, making false statements to a government official, and attempted identity theft. The indictment charges that LaRose (an American citizen born in 1963 who resides in Montgomery County, Pa.) and five unindicted co-conspirators (located in South Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the United States) recruited men on the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe, and recruited women on the Internet who had passports and the ability to travel to and around Europe in support of violent jihad. Full Story
  2. FBI Headquarters: 60th Anniversary of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” Program

    FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III on Wednesday announced the FBI’s commemoration of its famous “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” program, created 60 years ago. In 1949, a reporter for the International News Service (the predecessor to United Press International) approached the FBI and asked about writing a story about the “toughest guys” being sought by the FBI at the time. The Bureau provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives. The resulting feature became a major story and gained national attention. On March 14, 1950, then Director J. Edgar Hoover inaugurated the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program. Since then, the FBI, through the “Top Ten” list, has been asking for help from the public to locate America’s most dangerous fugitives. Since 1950, 494 fugitives have appeared on the list; 463 have been apprehended or located, with 152 of those fugitives located as a direct result of citizen cooperation. Full Story
  3. New York: Indictment Unsealed Charging Colombo Family Administration Member Theodore Persico and Seven Others

    An eight-count indictment was unsealed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court charging eight defendants—Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, Thomas Petrizzo, Edward Garofalo, Jr., James Bombino, Louis Romeo, Alicia Dimichelle and Mike LNUvariously with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, extortion, and embezzlement of union benefit funds. Several of the suspects are affiliated with the Colombo crime family. Full Story
  4. New Orleans: Former New Orleans Police Detective Pleads Guilty; Confirms Danziger Cover-Up

    A second former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officer has pleaded guilty to covering up a deadly police shooting in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the Justice Department announced Thursday. Jeffrey Lehrmann, a former NOPD detective who works as a special agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony (a charge for concealing a known felony) for failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. The Sept. 4, 2005, shooting left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured. Full Story
  5. New York: President and Chief Operating Officer of Mount Vernon Money Center Charged with Defrauding Banks, Retailers, Hospitals, and Universities out of $50 Million

    Robert Egan, the president of Mount Vernon Money Center (“MVMC”), and Bernard McGarry, chief operating officer, was indicted on charges of defrauding banks, other financial institutions, retailers, hospitals, and universities out of $50 million in funds that had been entrusted to MVMC. Full Story
  6. Los Angeles: Key Players in Irvine Investment Firm Arrested for Running $8 Million Ponzi Scheme That Targeted Koreans

    The chairman of an Irvine investment firm and his girlfriend were arrested Tuesday on federal wire fraud charges that accuse them of running a Ponzi scheme that collected $8 million from approximately 60 Korean-American victims who lived throughout California. Euirang Hwang, 36, and Sang Yi, 39, were arrested without incident at a house in Corona by FBI special agents. Full Story
  7. Miami: Three South Florida Men Charged in Obstruction of Justice and Money Laundering Operation

    Three Florida men were arrested Wednesday on charges that include obstruction of justice and money laundering as part of a joint U.S. and Italian law enforcement action. Roberto Settineri and Daniel Dromerhauser were arrested on charges contained in a superseding indictment unsealed Wednesday. Enrique Ros was also charged in the superseding indictment, but remains at large. The defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct, two counts of obstruction and attempting to obstruct federal proceedings, one count of conspiracy to launder money, and five counts of substantive money laundering. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison on each of the nine charged counts. Full Story
  8. FBI Headquarters: National Center for Disaster Fraud to Coordinate Haitian and Chilean Fraud Complaints

    Shortly after the earthquake in Haiti last January, the FBI and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) established a telephone hotline to report suspected fraud associated with relief efforts. That number, (866) 720-5721, was initially staffed for the purpose of reporting suspected scams being perpetrated by criminals in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. Since then, with the recent earthquake in Chile, our efforts have expanded to identify similar fraud activity emerging from that disaster. Therefore, the public is encouraged to call this same number—(866) 720-5721—to report suspected fraud from either disaster. The line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, e-mail information can be directly sent to disaster@leo.gov. Full Story
  9. Kansas City: Texas Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison in Massive Ecstasy Conspiracy

    The 28th and final defendant in a drug-trafficking conspiracy was sentenced in federal court Thursday for his role in distributing hundreds of thousands of ecstasy pills, worth approximately $2 million, in Jackson County, Mo. Southanome Frichitavong, also known as “Pao,” 36, of Euless, Texas, was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Frichitavong to forfeit to the government $2 million, for which he is jointly and severally liable with other co-defendants, which represents the proceeds of the illegal drug trafficking. Full Story

  10. Denver: Colorado Springs Man Indicted for Attempting to Corrupt TSA Computer Database

    Douglas James Duchak, age 46, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver Tuesday on charges of attempting intentionally to damage a protected computer. The indictment alleges Duchak attempted to corrupt a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) database. Duchak worked at TSA’s Colorado Springs Operations Center (CSOC). The CSOC loads into its computer servers data it receives from the federal government’s Terrorist Screening Database, and the United States Marshal’s Service Warrant Information Network. Full Story

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