Gang members charged with running $414G identity-theft ring

New York City NY April 28 2016 More than three dozen members of a Bloods-affiliated gang were charged Tuesday with running a $414,000 identity-theft ring focused on making purchases with stolen credit card accounts at Barneys, prosecutors said Tuesday.

In all, 39 gang members, who called themselves the “Pop Out Boys,” used stolen bank information it pulled from the Dark Web to create their own credit cards to shop at Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue, said NYPD Inspector Joseph Dowling.

Their gang name referred to their flashy lifestyle. “They sort of pop out, wearing expensive clothes, a lot of popping the cork on champagne bottles,” Dowling said.

One defendant, Larry Dathan, raps under the name Big B’Z, Dowling said. In one song, “Trapping out da Uber,” he raps about using the car service for getting around while committing crimes.

Detectives executed eight search warrants, finding five handguns and five “credit card mills,” which included computers, credit-card making equipment and cash, Dowling said.

Investigators recovered the equipment at the apartments of defendants in Brooklyn and Queens.

“In at least one case, an individual is accused of making nearly twenty trips to the same luxury department store to buy designer clothes and merchandise,” DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.

The suspects bought and resold Goyard handbags and other luxury items, then used the cash to fund nightclub outings and trips to Miami, California and Georgia, police said.

Dowling said the crew has 59 members, with ages ranging from 16 to the 30s.

Detectives caught wind of the alleged fraud while investigating another case at Barneys. They saw some of the defendants shopping with a stack of credit cards, Dowling said.

If one didn’t work, they’d use another one,” he said.

Younger gang members, millennials in particular, have been moving towards credit card and identity theft crimes because they grew up using computers, Dowling said.

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Ransomware Hackers Blackmail U.S. Police Departments

Cyber criminals who have forced U.S. hospitals, schools and cities to pay hundreds of millions in blackmail or see their computer files destroyed are now targeting the unlikeliest group of victims — local police departments.

Eastern European hackers are hitting law enforcement agencies nationwide with so-called “ransomware” viruses that seize control of a computer system’s files and encrypt them. The hackers then hold the files hostage if the victims don’t pay a ransom online with untraceable digital currency known as Bitcoins. They try to maximize panic with the elements of a real-life hostage crisis, including ransom notes and countdown clocks.

If a ransom is paid, the victim gets an emailed “decryption key” that unlocks the system. If the victim won’t pay, the hackers threaten to delete the files, which they did last year to departments in Alabama and New Hampshire. That means evidence from open cases could be lost or altered, and violent criminals could go free.

Since 2013, hackers have hit departments in at least seven states. Last year, five police and sheriff’s departments in Maine were locked out of their records management systems by hackers demanding ransoms.

Ransomware crimes on all U.S. targets are soaring. In just the first three months of 2016, attacks increased tenfold over the total entire previous year, costing victims more than $200 million. Authorities stress that this number only represents known attacks. One federal law enforcement official told NBC News that the “large majority” of attacks go unreported.

The viruses – most of which come from Russia and Eastern Europe — are typically so impenetrable that even FBI agents have at times advised victims to just pay up and get their data back.

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82 Weapons Seized From Interstate Gun Trafficking Ring, Officials Say

CIVIC CENTER — Investigators busted six people on Friday and seized more than 80 weapons after breaking up an interstate gun trafficking ring that brought weapons from the south into the city up the I-95 “Iron Pipeline,” officials announced Monday.

Abdul Davis, 52, sold 82 guns — including assault weapons and handguns — to an undercover NYPD detective posing as a Manhattan-based dealer in Washington Heights after first purchasing them from four dealers in Georgia and Virginia, according to the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“And then each time, like clockwork, he headed back up I-95 and arranged to make sales to the undercover,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said during a press conference at One Police Plaza.

“And that’s where you get the name ‘Iron Pipeline’ on I-95.”

Officials said Davis worked with his girlfriend Shelita Funderberk, 50, out of their home in New Jersey to purchase the weapons from southern dealers Trenton Pointer, 45, Daemon Jenkins, 49, Malik Rainey, 44, and Milton Tillery, 37.

Officials said they were first tipped off to Davis through informants, and the New Jersey man may have been selling weapons for up to 10 years.

The undercover detective first started meeting with Davis on March 16, 2015, in his car at West 166th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, right next to New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to the Manhattan DA.

Davis sold the detective the guns — including 67 pistols, eight revolvers, five assault weapons and two shotguns — during 26 separate transactions, the most recent of which happened on April 19, Vance said.

The New Jersey man usually arranged the sales with the southern dealers through phone calls and text messages and wired money to their accounts before driving to their homes to pick up the weapons, officials said.

“The reason we can charge out-of-state defendants for criminal sale of weapons in New York was from evidence that they knew they were selling weapons to come up to New York State,” Vance said.

All six people were charged with conspiracy and criminal sale of a firearm.

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Two New York Men Arraigned On Wire Fraud Charges

NEWARK N.J. – Two New York men who allegedly defrauded credit card companies of hundreds of thousands of dollars are expected to appear in court later today, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Nikolay Krechet, 45, of Queens, New York, and James Olla, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud. They were originally charged by complaint on May 28, 2015, and indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 18, 2016. They both arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court and entered pleas of not guilty.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From January 2014 to August 2015, Krechet, Olla, and others procured stolen information related to credit cards belonging to various individuals, including a victim living in New Jersey. Using this stolen information, the conspirators obtained gift cards from various retailers and then either sold the cards or used them to purchase goods, which they then sold.

Each count of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Pleasant; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the director of Assistant Inspector in Charge James R. Buthorn, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Svetlana M. Eisenberg of the General Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Devlin of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.

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Life Sentences for Three Family Members in Cyberstalking Case

“After surviving a rocky divorce and custody dispute in 2007, all Christine Belford wanted was to settle back into a peaceful life with her three young daughters in her Delaware home.

Instead, her ex-husband, David T. Matusiewicz, and several members of his family stalked, harassed, and intimidated Belford for years leading up to her murder at a federal courthouse in Wilmington on February 11, 2013. The ensuing investigation, conducted by the FBI and the Delaware State Police, resulted in the first-ever convictions on charges of cyberstalking resulting in death, a violation contained in the federal Violence Against Women Act.

During their investigation, agents and detectives learned that David Matusiewicz hatched the plot to stalk and harass his ex-wife while in prison for kidnapping Belford’s children in 2007, when the couple was going through divorce proceedings. The Delaware optometrist enlisted the help of his mother, father, and sister, who waged an elaborate, years-long, online campaign against Christine Belford, alleging she endangered the lives of the daughters she had with Matusiewicz.

“Through our investigation, we discovered that the Matusiewicz family had a network of supporters helping them uncover information about Christine’s life,” said Special Agent Joseph Gordon, who investigated the case out of the Baltimore Field Office’s Wilmington Resident Agency. “They were convinced by the family’s claims that she was a child abuser, but they didn’t know the family’s real intent.”

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Covenant Security Services Named to Forbes List of America’s Best Midsize Employers

“Covenant Security Services, the nation’s premier provider of comprehensive security services, was recently named by Forbes Media and Statista as one of America’s Best Midsize Employers in 2016. Covenant is the highest ranked security services company on the list and 66th overall out of 250 companies with over 1,000 employees.

As one of 250 companies receiving this recognition, Covenant Security Services was selected based on the attitude of its employees towards Covenant as well as the public perception of Covenant by industry employees. According to Forbes, the selection process is “based on an independent survey conducted by statistics portal Statista from a sample of 30,000 American employees working for large or midsize firms or institutions.”

“This is a great source of pride for Covenant Security Services,” Covenant President Greg Iannuzzi said. “Covenant does not exist without the efforts and hard work of our security professionals, and this is a true testament to our employee-focused culture.”

Covenant provides security services to over 150 client locations with nearly 4,000 security professionals throughout the country. Covenant is known within the security industry for its strong employee retention program, offering full medical, dental, and vision insurance along with free life insurance, a matching 401(k) program, flexible paid time off, transportation and commuter benefits, and career advancement opportunities.

In the survey conducted by Forbes and Statista, the most important metric of the assessment was the employees’ willingness to recommend their employer.”

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Private security firm takes over TSA duties at Punta Gorda Airport

Dealing with TSA at the airport may soon be a thing of the past.

Some airports, including the Punta Gorda Airport, are starting to use private security instead.

Some passengers say they are skeptical of the change to private security.

“The world is more nervous about flying than they ever have been,” said Gail Miesner, a traveler in Punta Gorda. “I would say this is not the time to add different entities.”

By the summer, you won’t see TSA at PGD. Instead, you’ll see a company called ISS Action handling security.

Pam Seay with the Charlotte County Airport Authority said the decision was made to make security more efficient and maybe even friendlier.

“I believe this will be better. Most people are never going to notice anything,” Seay said.

She also says the move saves the airport money. In addition, private companies can hire more security agents than the government can. Many hope that means a faster line.

“As long as they are competent in their job, I’m OK with it,” said passenger Kyle Bermel.

There will still be government oversight to make sure the proper safety checks are being made.

ISS is hiring for the new security positions. If you’re interested in applying just click here where you’ll find instructions halfway down the page.

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“Severe” TSA staffing shortages causing long delays at some airports

Chicago IL April 13 2016 It happened in just five minutes on a chilly, rainy Thursday morning at O’Hare International Airport — from 5:30 a.m. to 5:35 a.m., the security line at the American Airlines terminal jumped from four lanes of travelers to 10.

Passengers at the end of the line began to show signs of panic — shaking their heads, rolling their eyes, checking the time on their phones and muttering to their companions. Would they make it?

“We’re probably going to miss our flight,” fretted Kori Simonson, 36, of Chicago, who had come to the airport an hour early for a family trip to California. “I’m pretty worried.”

Airline officials and frequent travelers say these Space Mountain-type queues have become increasingly common at airports around the country.

The big lines can be blamed on Transportation Security Administration staffing reductions due to incorrect assumptions about how many people would sign up for expedited security screening, heightened security measures and a higher-than-expected increase in air traffic.

Since it started monitoring TSA wait times in late February, American Airlines has seen typical waits of 30 minutes to 60 minutes — with a high of 90 minutes. Mornings tend to be worst, but long waits are seen throughout the day. American is warning passengers to come to the airport at least two hours before their scheduled departure time for domestic flights and three hours for international.

The lines are expected to get much longer in the summer, the busiest season for air travel.

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CPD INTERIM SUPT. EDDIE JOHNSON PLEDGES TO WEAR BODY CAMERA

“They play an important role in not just fighting crime, but also in learning from actual encounters with the public,” he said in a statement.

The department launched its pilot program in January 2015 in the Shakespeare District on the Northwest Side. Thirty officers have been testing the cameras. Those officers made an average of 16 videos a month, compared with an average of 60 videos a month per officer during a pilot program in Seattle and 80 videos a month per officer in New Orleans, where virtually every cop wears one, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis found.

Chicago Police Department policy requires officers with body cameras to keep them on a “buffering mode” during their entire tour of duty. That means the camera is turned on, but not recording. But officers in the pilot program in the Shakespeare District were not required to follow that policy all the time, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

“It was a technical and usage analysis,” he said. “We were running a limited pilot, not requiring officers to turn them on at all times.”

That’s why the Chicago Police officers have recorded fewer videos on average than other cities, Guglielmi said.

Starting this spring and throughout the summer, the department will expand its pilot program to six other police districts — Austin, Wentworth, Deering, Ogden, South Chicago and Gresham. About 450 body cameras are being shipped to Chicago this week, officials said.

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3 held on $100G bail in Nashua mall credit-card scam

“Three people from out of state who were staying at a Tewksbury hotel are facing felony charges after Nashua police say they found them with over 250 allegedly counterfeit credit cards and debit cards.
Nashua police said in a press release that they were called to the Pheasant Lane Mall on Monday about 7:30 p.m. for a report of suspicious activity involving several people.
A mall security guard called police after being notified by employees of a store at the mall that on two different occasions a male and female tried to purchase gift cards with more than one credit card.
“It was learned that the male had used two credit cards to pay for one gift card, and that the female did not purchase the gift card because she could not get the exact money value she wanted on one gift card,” police said.
Security captured the female involved on surveillance video as she also entered another mall business to try and purchase a gift card. She then left the mall and got into the passenger seat of a vehicle outside.
Officers who responded to the call, along with detectives who were at the mall for an unrelated matter, stopped that vehicle as it left the mall and identified the occupants as Jovon William, 24, of Oakland, Calif., and Brittany Allen, 28, of East Orange, N.J.
Another male approached officers during that motor vehicle stop and identified himself as Queron Foreman, 22, of Oakland, Calif.
Nashua police said in a press release that officers found probable cause to take all three suspects into custody as they obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.
Once officers got a warrant, they searched the vehicle and said they found over 250 counterfeit credit and debit cards, over 20 gift cards and receipts, according to police.”

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