April 23, 2016 |
An Allentown political consultant whose cooperation with the FBI fueled one of the state's most significant municipal corruption probes resurfaced Thursday for the first time in months, this time to admit his own role in the scandal. Appearing in federal court in Philadelphia, Michael Fleck, 40, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy to commit extortion and bribery, charges tied to a wide-ranging pay-to-play investigation that has roiled city halls in Allentown and Reading, has implicated mayors in both cities, and led to the collapse last year of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's U.S. Senate bid. Fleck's plea came nine months after he abruptly shuttered his political consulting business and packed up his Allentown home, when word leaked he had worn an FBI wire to catch his clients shaking down government contractors for political donations.
April 17, 2016 |
Not long after Dawn Segal parlayed a high ballot position into a Philadelphia judgeship, a corrupt colleague pulled her into the middle of an FBI investigation. "I got something in front of you at one o'clock today," Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. told Segal in a telephone conversation in 2011, as he asked her to give favorable treatment to a politically connected defendant appearing before her in a minor lawsuit. "Oh, OK. OK," Segal said, unaware that federal agents had secretly recorded that conversation - and others in which Waters asked for favors in cases.
April 16, 2016 |
Democratic committee members in Center City's Eighth Ward are being asked to sign declarations that they were "not offered anything of pecuniary value" to select State Sen. Larry Farnese as their leader. The reason: FBI agents are asking questions. The apparent cause of the investigation? Farnese spent $6,000 from his campaign account five months before the 2011 ward election to pay for a committeewoman's daughter's college semester abroad. Three people connected to the ward election confirmed that they had been questioned by FBI agents.
April 7, 2016 |
Update 1:45 p.m.: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened a case looking into the failure of six local credit unions in Bensalem – all of which were headed by the same chief executive, a woman by the name of Joni Brown, according to law enforcement sources. Local FBI officials wouldn't confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, and whether the offices had been shut down. Ms. Brown couldn't be reached for comment at the main number for all six credit unions.
April 5, 2016 |
Those pesky cyber-criminals are targeting us where it hurts: on the job. Hackers now pose as our bosses or supervisors, law enforcement officials say - asking us to send emails with sensitive W-2 tax returns or payroll information and employee Social Security numbers. Main Line Health was just the latest victim, according to Brian Thomas, supervisor from the IRS criminal investigations branch, and Benjamin Stone, who leads the new cyber criminal squad for the FBI's Philadelphia office.
March 31, 2016
NJ Transit police officers were targeted by hackers associated with the ISIS terror group who encouraged supporters to carry out "lone wolf" attacks on the officers, the agency confirmed. Caliphate Cyber Army, formerly known as the Islamic Cyber Army, recently posted personal details about 55 transit officers, SITE Intel Group, which monitors Jihadist cyber activity, reported earlier this month. Philly.com inquired about the SITE Intel report then, but NJ Transit did not reply until Newsweek published a story about the incident on Tuesday.
March 31, 2016
FBI seeks help catching robber The FBI/Philadelphia Police Joint Violent Crimes Task Force is seeking help in identifying a man suspected of robbing at least three Center City banks in the last year. The stickups happened July 27 at the Beneficial Bank, 1600 Chestnut St.; Oct. 7 at the Republic Bank, 1601 Walnut St.; and March 18 at the Firstrust Bank, 1515 Market St. Officials said that in each robbery the bandit wore a baseball cap and sunglasses, passed a demand note to a teller, and fled on foot after getting the money.
March 11, 2016
A Montgomery County man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges stemming from threats he made against an FBI agent's family. Michael Anthony Nohl, 20, of Oaks, admitted he called the agent's house in Chester County, and threatened to kill him and kidnap his wife and daughter. According to court filings, Nohl also threatened to use an explosive device against the family. Investigators said that Nohl had no known connection to the specific agent he targeted but had intended to threaten an FBI employee.
March 6, 2016 |
A federal judge on Friday shot down U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's attempts to make FBI leaks revealed in his son's fraud case last year an issue in his own corruption trial. District Judge Harvey Bartle III denied the congressman's request to hold a contempt of court hearing for Richard J. Haag, the lead FBI investigator in both cases, who has admitted that he tipped off an Inquirer reporter in 2012 to raids on Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr.'s Ritz-Carlton condo and Logan Square office. In his opinion, Bartle noted that he had seen no evidence that Haag or anyone else had released any grand jury material tied to the elder Fattah's racketeering conspiracy case.
February 29, 2016
Contemplating the powerful computers many of us carry around in our pockets these days can be confusing, especially to the law enforcement officials who keep coming to the conclusion that they should have unprecedented access to everything on them. Given the complex technology at hand and the government's efforts to defeat it with a statute dating to the 18th century, perhaps the FBI's standoff with Apple over smartphone security can be clarified by an analogy also set in low-tech early America.