Archive for March, 2012

A relationship is much more than just emotions. A relationship should be based on honesty and integrity. If you suspect your relationship to be a little too good to be true, this might very well be the case. It may be time to get some hard facts about your boyfriend or girlfriend before you lose more than just a piece of your heart.

Pre-Marital Relationship Warning Signs

If you are in a pre-marital relationship where you are uneasy, but are not quite sure why, you might have been seeing some warning signs that your relationship, no matter how wonderful it seems, is not quite right without understanding what those signs are.

Premarital Background Check

How does your friend deal with his or her past? Is the past spoken about freely or do you feel like you are pulling teeth to get a simple answer about a mundane question such as where he or she went to school? Does your friend avoid topics about childhood experiences or the recent past? If so, your friend might be hiding something from you.

Have you met your friend’s family? If not, are there legitimate reasons for this? Do you think that the excuse that “they are embarrassing” is weak? Sometimes, people are hiding their family because of what the family knows rather than trying to protect you from embarrassing situations.

Pre-Nuptial Investigations

Does your friend blame everyone else for the problems in his or her life? Is it the “ex” that trashed the credit, ruined relationships between your friend and the children, or sent your friend into a financial spin? There is sometimes a line between the truth and a reluctance to take any responsibility for one’s actions that people who are hiding something are reluctant to take.

Have you spent time with your friend’s buddies or business acquaintances? Do they seem grounded? Or is your friend reluctant to introduce you to other people in his or her life? While your friend might tell you that you are too special to share with other people, your friend might also be trying to keep you away from disreputable associates.

Pre-marital Investigators

Has your friend asked for a loan or to use your credit cards? Is your friend overly interested in your financial status? This could also be a very strong warning sign.

If your friend lives out of town, is he or she easy to contact? Do you only have office numbers or a cell phone number? Have you considered that your friend might already be married?

Are you starting to think that your friend’s behavior towards you is becoming more intrusive than you would like? Are you beginning to think that the constant wanting to know where you are and what you are doing, which initially seemed flattering, is bordering on obsessive? You need help right now.

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Miami Beach police say two Transportation Security Administration officers partied a little too hard Tuesday night, trashed their South Beach hotel room and then picked up a semi-automatic handgun and shot six rounds out the window.

One bullet pierced a $1,500 hurricane impact resistant window at a nearby Barneys New York, penetrated a wall and tore into some jeans in the closed store’s stockroom, according to store manager Adelchi Mancusi. No one was injured.

Jeffrey Piccolella, 27, and Nicholas Anthony Puccio, 25, were arrested just before midnight. The Palm Beach County men have been charged with criminal mischief and use of a firearm while under the influence.

In a city known for wild, late-night behavior, merely tossing speakers, lamps, a phone, ice chest and vase out a second floor room at the Hotel Shelley, 844 Collins. Ave., might not have drawn much attention.

But according to an incident report, a front desk clerk and security guard called police about 11:18 p.m. after they heard one gun shot, followed by three to five more after a few seconds. When the clerk went back inside the hotel, a guest told him someone was throwing furniture and bric-a-brac out the window of room 217, where Piccolella and Puccio were staying the night.

Detective Vivian Hernandez, a police spokeswoman, said officers arrived and, after a shell casing was found on the ground amid broken room furnishings, the SWAT team was called out.

Investigators went to the mens’ room and then took them to police headquarters.

In a recorded interview, Piccolella told a detective he and Puccio were drinking before returning to their hotel room, according to the incident report. He allegedly said they opened a window, tossed several objects out and then Piccolella grabbed a .380-calliber pistol from his luggage and they took turns shooting out the window.

Puccio said the story was untrue, according to the report.

Police impounded the gun.

Hotel management said $400 in furniture was destroyed.

The two men were booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Center on $5,500 bond each.

TSA spokesman Jon Allen wrote in an email that Piccolella and Puccio are part-time officers who have worked one and two years, respectively, for the agency. They were not in Miami Beach on TSA business, according to Allen.

“TSA holds its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards,” Allen wrote. “We will review the facts and take appropriate action as necessary.”

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Civilian Worker Accused of Defrauding Navy

SAN DIEGO (CN) – A civilian Navy employee was charged with defrauding the U.S. government of $400,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Federal prosecutors unsealed a 16-count criminal indictment against Leray Shurn, charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud and other crimes, according to prosecutors’ statement.

Shurn, 59, of Chula Vista, is accused of defrauding the Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs by getting workers’ comp and disability payments to which he was not entitled.

“According to the indictment, Shurn falsely represented to the Department of the Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs that back or knee injuries prevented him from working as a Navy civilian employee, and that he was not engaged in any employment where he received payment of any kind, was not self-employed, was not involved in any business enterprises, and did not have an ownership interest in any business enterprise,” prosecutors said in the statement. “The indictment alleges, however, that Shurn intentionally concealed from these agencies that, in fact, he was operating a landscaping business in which he personally performed landscaping work for numerous individuals, prepared written estimates and monthly bills, and collected payment for the landscaping services he and his employees rendered.”

Shurn was ordered to appear in court in April 2 for a hearing on motions.

Mail fraud and wire fraud are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

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A new feature story in this month’s Wired blows the lid off plans for a massive new National Security Agency data center in Utah that represents the resurrection of a program that Congress killed in 2003, known as “Total Information Awareness,” targeting literally all electronic communications all over the world — including those made by American citizens.

The proposal was to build computing systems that could suck up every electronic communication on the planet and filter them through a smart super-computer that would flag certain conversations, emails, transactions and other items of interest for further review. It was a program so monstrous in scope that after a brief legislative battle, Congress imposed strict regulations on the type of technology that could accomplish those ends, prohibiting it from ever being used against Americans.

But if well sourced intelligence reporter James Bamford is to be believed, as of this year, their efforts to stop it are moot.

According to Bamford, the NSA’s new data center in Utah will be the most all-encompassing spy machine ever conceived, capable of breaking almost any encryption, reading any email and recording any phone call anywhere in the world, even if it’s not made over the Internet. A network of ultra-sensitive satellites enhance the center’s intelligence-finding capabilities with the unique ability to sniff electronic communications from a massive distance.

More troubling still, Bamford’s three covert sources who worked for the NSA reportedly claim that the agency is dumping Americans’ communications into the mix, knowingly violating the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of a modern-day Manhattan Project.

When Congress struck down the Pentagon’s “Total Information Awareness” program, they did, however, authorize funding for ”processing, analysis, and collaboration tools for counter terrorism foreign intelligence,” which is precisely how the NSA describes this data center. Just a year after that authorization, Bamford notes that the Department of Energy founded a computing facility where scientists developed technology that was secretly being funneled to the NSA for the data center currently under construction.

Bamford’s sources are not the first to come forward with claims of dubious activity at the NSA. The Obama Administration prosecuted NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake for funneling secret data to a nameless reporter, and former NSA analyst Russell Tice came forward with other revelations in 2005, and again in 2009. Even back then he was warning that the NSA had access to all Americans’ communications and even private credit card information. That message was heard, and heard well, by lawmakers like Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who said he would not be surprised to learn that the NSA was even spying on him.

In these latest revelations, one of Bamford’s covert sources claims that the NSA is on the verge of a massive coup, putting the U.S. inches away from “a turnkey totalitarian state.” A much smaller spying program that targeted top Democrats and reporters, uncovered amid an investigation into a burglary, was the impetus for impeachment proceedings against former President Richard M. Nixon, which caused him to resign part-way through his second term. At the time, Congress was concerned that such power would be wielded for political purposes.

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It’s almost an unfortunate fact of life these days: leave something with your information lying around, and you’re sure to have your identity stolen. Heck, even if you don’t leave your stuff for someone to find, it’s still a likelihood! Now, in all honestly, even though this is an almost petty crime today, I find it kind of sickening. When you steal someone’s information just so you can go on an Amazon induced shopping spree, you’re not just stealing from them, you’re potentially hard-core ruining their credit and financial future. And I know that you’ll just say back to me, “well, yeah, they are thieves and all, what do you expect?!” But I mean, seriously? Don’t even thoughtless thieving jerks have a heart somewhere to not completely eff up someone’s future?

Like this woman, Anna Vargas. Her identity was stolen when she lost her birth certificate nearly 16 years ago and her information was apparently used in several immigration scams. Yep. No lie. This poor woman’s information was used for illegal men to “marry” her and become legal here in the states.

Mrs. Vargas is from New York who, when she tried to file for a marriage license, was quickly and unceremoniously rejected. The news had finally reached her that she has already been married. Twice in fact, in 1996, once to a man from Mexico and once to a man from Ecuador.

Then, out of the blue one day, one of her “husbands” turned up at her mother’s house seeking a divorce! Needless to say, this is a pretty ballsy move for a jerk who used her and all. Vargas immediately lawyered up and refused to sign and acknowledge the legality of her “marriage.” After a second visit to her mother’s house, Vargas’s mother showed the man a picture of her daughter and asked him point blank if this was the woman to whom he was married, and he answered no.

Vargas decided to go back and clear her name with the City Clerk’s Office. On Jan. 25, Administrative Law Judge Joan Salzman ruled that Vargas had indeed been the victim of fraud and nullified the two 1996 marriages. The fakery wasn’t tough to root out. The bogus 1996 marriage application said Vargas’ father was born in Venezuela; he is a native of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, her troubles aren’t over. Vargas also discovered another fake marriage in her name, on Long Island, and is fighting to erase it.

If we’re really trying hard to find a silver lining to this story, this could at least be a plot to some romantic-comedy. But truthfully, you’ve got to feel sorry for this woman. Not only has she had her identity stolen and used in several different cases, she’s trying to deal with being married for real! Now that’s got to be an interesting trust test in their honeymoon faze! It’s also a huge lesson to all the ladies out there: don’t leave anything with your name on it or you could be married to multiple south American men before you even meet the real guy you want to spend your life with!

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Credit card scam targets colleges, charities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For colleges and charities across Charlotte, finances depend on fundraising but now, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the institutions are being targeted by dubious donations.

Central Piedmont Community College was the first to alert officers when a donor requested a $9,000 refund.

Tom Bartholomy with the Better Business Bureau had not heard about the new scam until Eyewitness News told him.

The scammer makes a donation online using a fake or stolen credit card. Then, he or she contacts the college or charity, claiming there’s an error in the amount and that they want a refund to a different account number.

“The red flag really needs to be flying in your face when they’re asking for a refund to a different card,” Bartholomy said.

CPCC’s staff was suspicious.

“It was flagged early in the process and reported to the credit card company,” college spokesman Jeff Lowrance said.

While CPCC caught the attempted crime, police say other colleges have been fooled into refunds.

The BBB said it’s bracing for a big problem.

“We feel this is the tip of the iceberg and once they see this is going to work, it’s game on,” Bartholomy said.

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Greensboro, N.C. – Many parents have debated with their children about getting a cell phone. Children want a cell phone, but parents aren’t sure if the kids are mature enough to handle the responsibility.

News 2 spoke to a private investigator who said you can actually use a cell phone to track and locate your child. All three major cell phone companies offer this service.

It works by using GPS technology and cell phone towers within a few minutes you can get a good idea of where your child is at.

“I think the technology piece is very critical because now you’re able to pinpoint the exact location most of the time,” Kerry Graves, founder of Graves Investigations, said.

If you have an iPhone, you can simply turn on the “Find my iPhone” setting and that works just as well. Private investigators also have access to other technology that can locate a phone even without those services turned on.

Graves said adults are often easier to find than children because adults tend to leave more evidence behind — like credit card payments.

Social media is another tool investigators rely on to find missing people. Younger generations tend to post a lot of information about themselves, what they’re doing and whom they’re talking to.

Oftentimes, investigators find a clue on Facebook or Twitter and that help them solve the case.

“Family Locator” options:

Find my iPhone

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Mass. Officer Shot Cop over Apparent Love Affair

In an incredibly sad stage of events a Hamilton policeman thought his wife was having an affair with a Beverly officer and shot him in front of a crowded coffee shop before killing himself hours later. The morning of the shooting, Kenneth Nagy confronted Jason Lantych on the phone with his suspicions, and Lantych asked if they could meet in person, telling Nagy, “It’s not what you think, Ken.” Reports show that Lantych suggested meeting at Starbucks and joked that it was because he didn’t want Nagy to shoot him. Whether or not this ill-timed line had given Nagy the idea in the first place, we might not ever know. But after the initial shooting, Nagy returned to the coffee shop several hours later and shot himself in the head.

Although interestingly, prosecutors say that the only person who actually committed a crime was Nagy, and as he was now deceased there was no need for further investigation of this incident. Lantych ultimately survived the ordeal due to quick-thinking bystanders who were able to give rudimentary medical attention to Lantych until he paramedics were able to see him.

Nagy, 43, was a 19-year veteran of the Hamilton department. He and his wife, Katherine, had two children. His wife knew Lantych from her work as the Beverly department’s domestic violence victim advocate. Lantych also tells reporters that he and Nagy’s wife, Katherine, were never intimate and that she had once “poured her heart out,” to Lantych.

The prosecutor’s report said that on the day of the shooting, Nagy called in sick for his midnight shift, woke up his wife, and told her he believed she was having an affair with Lantych; they also discussed divorce, the report said. Found with Nagy’s body at Starbucks was a journal and copy of a suicide note, in which he said he intended to shoot Lantych and kill himself.

Not for the first time has this kind of story been heard of. In fact, there are several stories of officers having affairs with their colleagues and superiors wives. It’s been called one of the most problematic interdepartmental issues within the ranks of officers.

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How to Use Mobile GPS to Track a Skip

Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, can be used for more than just communication – they can become a valuable tool in your investigations. Using the latest technologies and applications, you can turn your mobile device into a handheld surveillance monitor. What if you could track down skips that are on the run – or hiding out – by pinpointing their exact location via satellite or BlueTooth signal? You can!

Here are some applications to help you get started:

1. Creepy: Albeit a startling name, this application allows you to gather geolocation-related information about a person from social networking platforms and image hosting services like Twitter and Flickr. The app searches a person’s account for pictures tagged with geodata and then displays the locations on a map.

2. Mobile Spy: mSpy from Mobile Spy lets you monitor, track, backup and access data. You can view photos, videos, text messages, contact lists, emails, calendar items, Web history, and more.

3. ToothTag: This technology from NeuAer allows you to track someone’s location using their mobile phone’s BlueTooth signal.

4. Spyera: Spyphone from Spyera uses GPS positioning to show the coordinates of a skip’s mobile device and its physical location on a map. You can configure your account settings to get real-time updates and display a skip’s travel route a certain periods of time.

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If you’re a Private Investigator, background checks are pretty run-of-the-mill, day-to-day business. In fact, it should usually be one of the first things that a PI does when conducting preliminary research on a case. You put a lot of emphasis on determining exactly who your subject is, their location and their usual haunts. You try to figure out who their known associates are and their habits. You do all this before a case just to try to figure your subject out in exactly the way your client wants you to, and you go about all this with professional dedication and determination.

But what about putting the same kind of effort into finding out who your spouse is? Research has shown that people put scarily little effort into finding out exactly who they’re dating and who they will potentially be married to. It seems like people are putting less thought into who they will spend every day of the rest of their lives with than they do in researching a major purchase like a T.V. or a computer. When you consider divorce rates, and the opinion level that most people have of the institution of marriage, makes you kind of sad for society and makes those statistics makes much, much more sense.

But there are people who believe that you should go about finding a mate in life with the same level of effort and dedication that you give your career. One of the simplest ways you can go about finding this information is running a background check. It might seem invasive and uncomfortable to think about doing to your significant other, but when you consider that basic things like money management and family backgrounds are a few of the major causes of either a happily lasting marriage or an ill-fated divorce.

Here are a few other things that you can learn from a background check that can save you some distress when you’re considering taking that plunge into marriage:

Family History. Knowing how your significant other was treated as a child is important, because history has a way of repeating itself unless issues have been addressed. Is there a history of abuse, mental illness, alcoholism or addiction? If so, do not be blinded to the fact that your partner was affected in a negative way. Unless he has faced and dealt with his past, it will affect your relationship at some point. Also, when you marry someone, you don’t just marry them, you marry their entire family. So knowing a little bit about your future in-laws will only be a good thing. Especially if there are legal issues that are ever going to be an issue later in life.

Work History. Knowing your significant other’s work history is important because it will tell you how responsible they are in the work place. This work history will also tell you how they’ll handle working in the future and how they honor their commitments. It will tell you if they get along well with people, or if they are someone who is always in the middle of conflict, or simply walking away from a difficult or stressful situation. Also, knowing a person’s work history can help give you insights into their financial stability. Which directly brings us into our next point.

Financial History. Knowing your significant other’s financial background is important, because their patterns of spending money will likely continue on after you are married. Do they budget money or spend freely, with little thought to paying bills? Are they in significant credit card debt? What about student loans? All of these monetary issues will affect you, both in your credit and tax information.

Now the question of trust always comes up, if you’re going to marry a person then you should know every single detail about their lives, but the fact of the matter is that just because you’re marrying someone, it doesn’t mean you know their history. Many people marry complete strangers. I’m not saying a person walking down the road, but strangers in a way that they don’t really know anything about their partner – other than who their partner has claimed to be for years.

A television show that was on TV a while back called Who the Bleep Did I Marry, talked about the lives that couples lived for years, only to find out 19 years after their marriage that their partner was wanted by the FBI. Or the case of Barbara Bentley who was living happily with her husband, until the FBI appeared at her door and found a gun. Suddenly, her husband was not who she thought he was. While background checks are not something that many couples think about, it’s definitely something that can save you a whole bunch of trouble at the end of the year.

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