“Conn. man expected to plead guilty in drugs and guns case; FBI thinks he has info on art heist”

November 14, 2012

The Washington Post on November 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — A 76-year-old reputed Connecticut mobster is expected to plead guilty in a weapons and prescription drugs case that has revealed the FBI’s belief that he has information about the largest art heist in history.

Robert Gentile, of Manchester, has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled in Hartford federal court on Wednesday. He has pleaded not guilty to allegations he illegally possessed firearms and explosives and sold illegally obtained prescription drugs.

It’s not clear whether there is a plea deal. Gentile’s lawyer and a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment about the hearing.

Gentile hasn’t been charged in the museum theft. His attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, has said his client knows nothing about the heist and isn’t a Mafia member.

At a court hearing in March, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham said the FBI believes Gentile “had some involvement in connection with stolen property” related to a 1990 heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Thieves disguised as police officers struck as the city finished celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, tying up two guards and making off with 13 pieces of art including masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet worth more than a half-billion dollars. The artwork hasn’t been found and the museum is still offering a $5 million reward.

Durham has said that FBI agents had unproductive discussions with Gentile about the theft, but he didn’t elaborate on his allegations. Durham also said the FBI believes Gentile is a made member of a Philadelphia crime family.

Gentile has been detained since February when he and an associate, Anthony Parente, were charged with selling illegally obtained prescription drugs including OxyContin, Dilaudid and Percocet.

Authorities searched Gentile’s home and reported finding homemade dynamite sticks, several guns, ammunition, homemade silencers, a bulletproof vest, handcuffs, police scanners, brass knuckles and $22,000 in cash at the bottom of a grandfather clock.

Federal agents swarmed Gentile’s home again in May in what McGuigan called a veiled attempt to find the stolen paintings. McGuigan said at the time that the FBI got a new warrant allowing the use of ground-penetrating radar to look for buried weapons, but he believed they really were looking for the artwork.

“This is nonsense,” McGuigan said in May. “This is the FBI. Are you trying to tell me they missed something the first time? They’re trying to find $500 million of stolen artwork. … All they’re going to find is night crawlers.”

All McGuigan would say on Tuesday was that Gentile has been confined in a cell by himself and “looks terrible.”

“They have him in a hole 24 hours a day where he can’t see anybody,” McGuigan said.

Gentile is charged with three weapons crimes that each carry up to 10 years in prison and six drug crimes that carry up to 20 years in prison apiece. He wasn’t supposed to have any guns because of a 1990s larceny conviction.

The drug case against Parente remains pending. He is free on bail.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ex-NFL player pleads guilty to wire fraud in FBI sting

August 8, 2012

Sun Sentinel on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Paula McMahon

A former NFL first-round draft pick who was arrested in an FBI fraud sting earlier this year has pleaded guilty to his role in the crime, court records show.

A second former NFL player arrested in the same sting is scheduled for a change of plea hearing next week in federal court in Miami, according to court records.

Former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Antwon Bennett pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Fort Lauderdale to one count of wire fraud.

He was caught in an operation by the FBI, which set up an undercover financial services store in North Miami between February and April. An undercover agent worked behind the counter and the store was equipped with audio and video surveillance equipment.

Bennett, who turns 34 next week, admitted that he had sent an email to the store fraudulently claiming that he had $9 million in the bank so he could obtain a $200,000 loan, court records show.

Bennett went to the store on April 18 and signed a loan agreement to borrow $200,000 and repay $280,000 after three months. When agents checked the bank account, they found that Bennett had opened an account there about a month earlier but it had a zero balance and there had never been any money in the account.

When Bennett returned to the store and picked up a $150,000 cashier’s check on April 30, he was arrested. FBI agents said he admitted that he altered the bank statement to give the false impression that he had millions of dollars in his account.

The maximum penalty for the offense is 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 but prosecutors have agreed to recommend a punishment on the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which are still being calculated, when he is sentenced in October.

Meanwhile another NFL player, William Joseph, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing on Aug. 14 in Miami. The terms of the proposed plea agreement will not be made public until the court hearing.

Joseph, 32, of Miramar, was indicted in May on five federal charges including aggravated identity theft, possession of false identification documents, theft of government money and forgery of U.S. Treasury checks.

Federal authorities said Joseph cashed a $10,088 income tax refund check that was not his and that he did not have permission to cash.

Joseph played for the New York Giants between 2003 and 2007, then spent three years with the Raiders.

Former Syracuse player Louis Gachelin, 31, of Miramar, pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft in the same investigation.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.