US prosecutor: 18-year-old arrested for attempting to set off car bomb outside Chicago bar

September 15, 2012

The Washington Post on September 15, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

CHICAGO — Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.

Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which agents pretending to be terrorists provided him with a phony car bomb.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk.

Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

Someone who answered a call to Daoud’s home in Hillside on Saturday who said her name was Hiba and that she was Daoud’s sister declined to discuss Daoud, the family or the arrest.

“We don’t even know anything. We don’t know that much. We know as little as you do,” she said. “They’re just accusations.”

“We’d like to be left alone,” she said.

The FBI began monitoring Daoud after he posted material online about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, federal prosecutors said.

In May, two undercover FBI agents contacted Daoud in response to the postings and exchanged several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit by an FBI special agent.

Prosecutors say that after being introduced to an undercover FBI agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York, Daoud set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, Daoud met in the suburb of Villa Park with the undercover agent who claimed to be from New York, and the two drove to downtown Chicago, where the restaurants and bars were packed with workers ringing in the weekend on a pleasantly warm evening. According to the affidavit, they entered a parking lot where a Jeep Cherokee containing the phony bomb was parked.

Daoud drove the vehicle and parked in front of a bar that was among the pre-selected targets, then walked a block away and attempted to detonate the device by pressing a triggering mechanism in the presence of the agent, according to the affidavit. He was then arrested.

The court documents do not identify the bar.

Prosecutors said Daoud was offered several chances to change his mind and walk away from the plot.

The affidavit said the Daoud was active in jihadist Internet forums and was accessing articles written by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who became a key figure in the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.

In his communications with one of the FBI agents about possible targets, Daoud allegedly said he wanted to carry out an attack that would kill a large number of people.

“I wanted something that’s … massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news,” he wrote, according to the affidavit. “I want to get to like, for me I want to get the most evil place, but I want to get a more populated place.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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.”

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

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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.


Maryland scientist Stewart Nozette sentenced for passing secrets to supposed Mossad agent, expresses regret

March 21, 2012

The Washington Post on March 21, 2012 released the following:

“By Del Quentin Wilber
A 54-year-old Maryland scientist said Wednesday that he regretted supplying classified information in exchange for cash to a person he believed was a member of Israeli intelligence but was really an undercover FBI agent.

Stewart D. Nozette of Chevy Chase, who had previously pleaded guilty to attempted espionage in a deal with prosecutors that set his sentence at 13 years, was officially sentenced Wednesday to that term by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman during a lengthy hearing in the District’s federal court. Friedman also sentenced him to just over three years in prison – a term to run concurrently with his espionage sentence – in an unrelated fraud and tax case.

At the end of the proceeding, which included the playing of secretly recorded video of Nozette meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as a member of the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, Nozette spoke publicly for the first time since his arrest in October 2009.

“I regret failing to report” to authorities that he was approached by a man he suspected of being an Israeli agent, he told Friedman. The scientist added, “I accept full responsibility for this error” and noted the meetings occurred just as his life began to “snowball downhill.” His lawyers have said he was contemplating suicide at the time and was angry at how he was being treated in the fraud investigation, making him an easy target for FBI agents seeking a big arrest. They noted that he at first refused to provide the undercover agent classified information.

In pleading guilty to attempted espionage in September, Nozette admitted he passed secrets to the undercover agent in exchange for more than $20,000. The agent approached Nozette in September 2009 and they had a series of secretly recorded meetings at the District’s Mayflower Hotel. The undercover agent also arranged to exchange information, questions and money with Nozette through a “dead drop,” which was a P.O. Box in the District. In those exchanges, Nozette provided classified information about “satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against a large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy,” court records show.

Though the sentencing was largely a formality, both sides took pains to paint divergent pictures of Nozette, who was once one of the country’s leading space scientists who had access during his career to key defense programs.

Prosecutors say Nozette was motivated to become a traitor by greed and played a video clip in court of the final meeting between Nozette and the undercover agent. “I’ve crossed the Rubicon,” Nozette calmly tells the agent, because he would no longer be able to pass a government polygraph. Nozette adds that his initial price of $50,000 was too low and suggests that the Israeli government pay him at least $2 million.

“He agreed to be a traitor to the United States with a smile on his face,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Asuncion told the judge.

Defense lawyers countered that Nozette was under enormous strain when FBI agents began to target him in the sting operation. At the time, Nozette was actually working as an undercover informant for the government in the hopes of getting a reduced sentence in a fraud and tax case tied to contracting work he provided federal agencies. He pleaded guilty in early 2009 to charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and to commit tax evasion, admitting that over a number of years he had filed false invoices for work totaling $265,000 and evaded more than $200,000 in taxes.

While investigating that case, federal agents in 2007 stumbled across classified information on his home computer and an e-mail he sent in 2002 threatening to provide classified information to an unidentified country or Israel. Agents trailed Nozette for a year, his lawyers said, but discovered no evidence that he provided any classified information to a foreign power. In 2009, the FBI launched its sting.

Bradford Berenson, one of Nozette’s attorneys, on Wednesday accused the government of entrapment and of “ignoble, dishonorable conduct.” He said there was no evidence that Nozette would ever have passed secrets to a foreign government absent the FBI operation. Instead of launching a sting operation, agents should have questioned Nozette or spoken to his attorneys, Berenson said.

Berenson and Nozette’s other lawyers, Robert Tucker and John C. Kiyonaga, argued that the government carefully tailored the sting to take advantage of the scientist’s frustrations with the fraud case and his sympathy for Israel.

The hearing was a final chapter in the legal saga involving Nozette, a scientist who has a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is credited with developing a satellite-based radar system that helped discover water on the moon during a 1994 mission.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.