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Grassley Questions Deputy Attorney General About Reno ATF/US Attorney Rift PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 01 October 2012 07:46

Friday, September 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is asking Deputy Attorney General James Cole about his office’s knowledge about the falling-out between the Reno, NV offices for the U.S. Attorney and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

In a letter sent late last night, Grassley wrote, and provided documents, that ATF agents in Reno notified the Office of Professional Responsibility nearly one year ago, yet the breakdown between the two offices continued.

“It appears the ATF and the US Attorney’s Office may finally be stepping up to resolve the problem in Reno, but we need to learn how it got to this point.  It’s inexcusable that it festered for more than a year,” Grassley said.

Here’s a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter.  A signed copy can be found here.

 

September 27, 2012

Via Electronic Transmission

The Honorable James M. Cole

Deputy Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

 

Dear Deputy Attorney General Cole:

As you may be aware, I recently contacted both Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director B. Todd Jones about allegations from whistleblowers that a breakdown in relations had occurred between ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) in Reno, Nevada.[1] I have not yet received a briefing from either of their offices.

The alleged breakdown is illustrated in a declination memorandum from the Reno USAO, which indicates that as of September 29, 2011, the Reno USAO categorically refused to accept any cases submitted by Reno ATF.  The declination memo states, “We are willing to consider your cases again when your management addresses and resolves the issues at hand.”[2] Apparently as a consequence, ATF’s Reno Field Office has only opened one case in 2012, as the attached chart indicates.[3]

I have since obtained documents from whistleblowers which indicate that these issues were raised with ATF headquarters and the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) almost a year ago.  According to one document, ATF agents in Reno notified ATF’s Internal Affairs Division of the issue on October 13, 2011.[4] According to a second document, an ATF agent in Reno notified OPR on October 25, 2011.[5] As you may know, because of ATF and the Reno USAO’s inability to resolve these issues, three ATF line agents and a supervisor were transferred out of Reno in April 2012.

In light of these facts, I am seeking to understand whether Justice Department management was also notified of the problems between ATF and the USAO in Reno, and if so, what actions were taken to rectify these issues.  Your office, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG), is responsible for overseeing both ATF and U.S. Attorneys.  Therefore, please answer the following questions:

 

1)      Was anyone in ODAG notified in any way of these problems prior to my letters to ATF and U.S. Attorney Bogden on September 17, 2012?

a.      If so, when were individuals in ODAG first notified?

b.      What actions did they take to inquire into the situation?

c.       What actions did they take to address the situation?

2)     Were you aware of these problems prior to my letters to ATF and U.S. Attorney Bogden on September 17, 2012?

a.      If so, when were you first notified?

b.      What actions did you take to inquire into the situation?

c.       What actions did you take to address the situation?

3)     Was anyone in the Office of the Attorney General notified in any way of these problems prior to my letters to ATF and U.S. Attorney Bogden on September 17, 2012?

a.      If so, when were they first notified?

b.      What actions did they take to inquire into the situation?

c.       What actions did they take to address the situation?

Please also provide the following documents:

4)     All emails pertaining to anyone at Justice Department headquarters becoming aware of these issues prior to my letters to ATF and U.S. Attorney Bogden on September 17, 2012.

5)     All emails pertaining to anyone at Justice Department headquarters responding to these issues prior to my letters to ATF and U.S. Attorney Bogden on September 17, 2012.

Please provide a response and produce these documents by Thursday, October 11, 2012.  If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Brian Downey or Tristan Leavitt of my staff at (202) 224-5225.

 

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member

 

Attachments

cc:       The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General

U.S. Department of Justice

B. Todd Jones, Acting Director

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

[1] Letter from Senator Grassley to U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Daniel G. Bogden (Sep. 17, 2012) (Attachment 1); Letter from Senator Grassley to ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones (Sep. 17, 2012) (Attachment 2).

2 Letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami to ATF Special Agent (Sep. 29, 2011) (Attachment 3).

3 “Cases Initiated by Program Area,” ATF Reno Field Office (Attachment 4).

4 Memorandum from ATF Internal Affairs Division to ATF Assistant Director for the Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations, “Request to Close Investigation” (Feb. 10, 2012) (Attachment 5).

5 Letter from Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility to ATF Special Agent (Dec. 12, 2011) (Attachment 6).




[1] Letter from Senator Grassley to U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Daniel G. Bogden (Sep. 17, 2012) (Attachment 1); Letter from Senator Grassley to ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones (Sep. 17, 2012) (Attachment 2).

[2] Letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami to ATF Special Agent (Sep. 29, 2011) (Attachment 3).

[3] “Cases Initiated by Program Area,” ATF Reno Field Office (Attachment 4).

[4] Memorandum from ATF Internal Affairs Division to ATF Assistant Director for the Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations, “Request to Close Investigation” (Feb. 10, 2012) (Attachment 5).

[5] Letter from Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility to ATF Special Agent (Dec. 12, 2011) (Attachment 6).

 
Grassley Presses for Answers About Alleged FBI Prostitution Case PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:29
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is pressing FBI Director Robert Mueller for information about taxpayer dollars possibly being spent on prostitutes for an FBI agent and several cooperating witnesses in the Philippines.

Grassley’s questions come after a motion outlining the allegations was filed in a California federal district court.  The motion alleges that an undercover agent “invited [the cooperating individuals] to . . . brothels in and around Manila in order to reward them for their efforts and encourage them to continue looking for weapons.  [The undercover agent] ordered prostitutes, and paid for himself and others to have sex with the prostitutes.”  The motion also provides correspondence from the Justice Department which confirms that the undercover FBI agent made reimbursement requests totaling $14,500 in expenses incurred by the undercover agent at clubs in the Philippines.  In addition, the motion claims that many of the prostitutes at one of the brothels the FBI agent frequented were likely minors.

Grassley said that U.S. federal law enforcement personnel must be beyond reproach and that this type of behavior cannot be condoned by FBI leadership.  Grassley has requested the FBI to provide responses to questions, a briefing and documents by October 10, 2012, regarding this situation.

The text of the letter to Mueller is below.  A signed copy of the letter can be found here.

 

September 27, 2012

 

Via Electronic Transmission

 

The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III

Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

U.S. Department of Justice

J. Edgar Hoover Building

935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20535

 

Dear Director Mueller:

Recently, I became aware of disturbing allegations regarding an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in the Philippines.  A motion filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California last week alleges that the undercover FBI agent spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and three other individuals cooperating with the FBI.[1] If true, this story raises serious questions about the behavior of this agent and the FBI’s knowledge of this matter.

The motion alleges that the undercover agent and another FBI agent, both based out of West Covina, California, were in the Philippines as part of a weapons-trafficking investigation.  The undercover agent was reportedly posing as a weapons broker for Mexican drug cartels.[2] According to the motion: “On several occasions, the undercover agent invited [the cooperating individuals] to . . . brothels in and around Manila in order to reward them for their efforts and encourage them to continue looking for weapons.  [The undercover agent] ordered prostitutes, and paid for himself and others to have sex with the prostitutes.”[3] It is unclear whether the second FBI agent was ever also present.

The motion attaches a declaration from a federal public defender investigator, who traveled to the Philippines in May 2012 to interview witnesses.[4] The motion also provides correspondence from Justice Department trial attorneys dated August 23, 2012, which confirms that the undercover FBI agent did indeed make “several requests for reimbursement . . . for the time period November 15, 2010 to September 27, 2011 that may relate to expenses incurred by the undercover agent at clubs in the Philippines” when the three individuals cooperating with the FBI were present.[5] The requested reimbursements total $14,500.  The Justice Department’s correspondence is attached to this letter.

The motion claims that many of the prostitutes at one of the brothels the FBI agent frequented were likely minors.  It attaches documentation that on May 5, 2012, the Philippine government raided the brothel and rescued 60 victims of human trafficking, 20 of whom were minors.[6] The aforementioned letter from Justice Department trial attorneys acknowledges that the undercover FBI agent submitted a request for reimbursement based on expenses at the brothel on September 26 and 27, 2011.[7] The motion also identifies at least four other dates on which discovery produced by the government indicates the FBI agent visited the brothel.[8]

In light of this information, I ask that you provide a briefing to my staff on this issue as soon as possible.  I also request that you come prepared to answer the following questions:

1)      Of the $14,500 requested by the undercover agent for reimbursement, how much was the agent actually reimbursed by the FBI?

2)      Was the undercover FBI agent the case agent for this weapons-trafficking investigation?  If not, did the case agent authorize the expenses at the brothels in this undercover operation?

3)      Did any other U.S. law enforcement or embassy personnel visit these brothels with the undercover FBI agent?  Please list each agency, the number of employees involved, each individual’s role, and whether they were a recipient of the services for which reimbursement was requested of the FBI.

4)      Was any of the activity for which reimbursement was requested recorded by wire or video surveillance?  If so, which activity?  Please provide all recordings.

5)      What other U.S. law enforcement or embassy personnel participated in the Philippines in the overall weapons-trafficking investigation?  Please list each agency, the number of employees involved, and their role.

6)      Was the first-line supervisor of the undercover FBI agent and/or case agent aware of the undercover agent’s visits to brothels?  What other supervisors were informed?

7)      When and how did FBI headquarters become aware of these allegations against this FBI agent working in the Philippines?

8)      What actions were taken by FBI headquarters to investigate these allegations?

9)      Has discipline been proposed for any FBI employees (agents or other personnel) in connection with this?  If so, please describe the circumstances and procedural standing of the proposed discipline.

10)  When did FBI supervisors become aware that minors may have been involved at these brothels?

11)  Did the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) running the undercover operation receive notification of and/or authorize the undercover activity at the brothels?

12)  Was the USAO running the undercover operation provided notes or other materials (e.g. 302’s) regarding the events in question?  If so, please provide these documents.

13)  Is the FBI aware of any other instances of similar behavior occurring by other agents stationed around the world?  If so, please describe them.

14)  How many FBI employees (agents or other personnel) have been disciplined in the last eight years, including those terminated or voluntarily separated from the FBI, for soliciting, hiring, procuring the services of, or other inappropriate behavior involving prostitutes?  Include all instances in which the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) reviewed allegations that FBI agents were involved with prostitutes, including a detailed summary of the allegations, the findings of investigation, the pay grade and rank of the employee, the proposed punishment (administrative or otherwise), the location where the incident(s) occurred, and whether the employee is still employed by the FBI.

15)  How many FBI employees (agents or other personnel) have been terminated by the FBI following an investigation or allegations of inappropriate involvement with prostitutes?

16)  How many FBI employees (agents or other personnel) remain employed by the FBI following an investigation or allegations of inappropriate involvement with prostitutes?

Finally, please also provide the following documents:

17)  Any case notes or briefing plan regarding the undercover activity, including how the undercover activity was monitored or details on surveillance by agents in the brothels.

18)  All emails pertaining to FBI becoming aware of any of the above allegations.

19)  All emails demonstrating the FBI’s response to the above allegations.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.  I would appreciate receiving your response to this matter by October 10, 2012.  Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact my staff at (202) 224-5225.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member

Attachment

cc:        The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Attorney General of the United States

U.S. Department of Justice

 

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz

Inspector General

U.S. Department of Justice

 

[1] Motion to Dismiss Indictment Because of Outrageous Government Conduct, United States v. Syjuco, Case No. CR 12-37-RGK (C.D. Cal., Sept. 17, 2012).

2 Id. at 4.

3 Id. at 10-11.

4 Id. at 50-55 (Declaration of Richard Goff (Sept. 14, 2012)).

5 Id. at 114-115 (Letter on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to John Littrell, et al. (Aug. 23, 2012), at 1) (Attachment 1).

6 Id. at 116-127, Exhibit F (Recommendation for Prosecution, National Bureau of Investigation, Republic of the Philippines (May 7, 2012)).

7 Id. at 113-115, Exhibit E (Letter on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to John Littrell, et al. (Aug. 23, 2012), at 1).

8 Id. at 11.  The dates are October 5, 2010; November 16, 2010; February 22, 2011; and September 23, 2011.

 




[1] Motion to Dismiss Indictment Because of Outrageous Government Conduct, United States v. Syjuco, Case No. CR 12-37-RGK (C.D. Cal., Sept. 17, 2012).

[2] Id. at 4.

[3] Id. at 10-11.

[4] Id. at 50-55 (Declaration of Richard Goff (Sept. 14, 2012)).

[5] Id. at 114-115 (Letter on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to John Littrell, et al. (Aug. 23, 2012), at 1) (Attachment 1).

[6] Id. at 116-127, Exhibit F (Recommendation for Prosecution, National Bureau of Investigation, Republic of the Philippines (May 7, 2012)).

[7] Id. at 113-115, Exhibit E (Letter on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to John Littrell, et al. (Aug. 23, 2012), at 1).

[8] Id. at 11.  The dates are October 5, 2010; November 16, 2010; February 22, 2011; and September 23, 2011.

 
To Build Credibility, There’s Nothing Like A Book PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:24
How to Create Yours with a Minimal Investment of Time, Money
By: Michael Levin

How do you build trust with clients when people have lost their faith in the markets – and advisors, too?

And how do you stand out from the pack when investors can go online and find dozens or even hundreds of advisors from whom to choose, not to mention the Fidelitys and ScottTrades of the world?

For more and more financial advisors, financial planners, and owners of financial services firms, the answer is writing a book.

When you’re an author, you’re the authority.

But how are you supposed to write a book when you’re jammed with taking care of your current clients and prospecting for more?

A process of 10 simple steps involving a minimal investment of your time and money can make you a published author in a matter of weeks. Your book will be full of your own thoughts and ideas, and convey just the tone you want. Best yet, you never have to sit down to write a word.

Keep in mind, you aren’t going into the book business — you’re using your own book to build your business.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t sell a single copy.  The idea is to demonstrate to prospective clients that you are the most trustworthy, knowledgeable authority in your field.  That going it alone is not a great strategy.  And that the value you provide far outstrips anything they could get from a website or from your competition.

You already know far more about your field than you could easily fit into a 150-175 page book (the best size book for today’s shortened attention spans).  People need to realize just how much you know about your specific area.  They need to know that you have a plan and a process for protecting and growing their hard-earned money.  That’s something only a book can do – not a white paper, not a website, and certainly not a 140-character tweet!

So how do you write a book without bringing in a ghostwriter?

• Step 1. Define your market niche.  Who do you want to reach?  Who can make you the most money?  Don’t think about writing a best-selling book – think about a best-earning book.  Your niche will make you rich.  So who’s at the heart of your target audience?

• Step 2. What’s the biggest problem they face?  Are they retirees, afraid of outliving their money?  Are they parents trying to fund their children’s education?  What keeps them up at night?

• Step 3. Ask yourself how you’ve solved this problem for other clients in the past.  Break down your solution into a multi-step process.  Each step in your process is going to be a separate chapter in your book.

• Step 4. Hire a college or grad student in journalism from a local school — see some clips first, before you make an agreement — to interview you for an hour a day on each step in your process.  Tell the person all the war stories, facts and figures, successful client engagements, everything that relates to each specific chapter of the book.  Pay the student $250-300 per chapter for the interviewing and writing.

• Step 5. Fact check the completed manuscript and have it professionally proofread.  You can find proofreaders online.

• Step 6. Have a cover designed for your book on a website like 99Designs.com, which aggregates graphic design work for a remarkably low fee.  You can get a great cover for less than $300.

• Step 7. Upload the book to Kindle Direct – have someone tech-savvy in your office follow the fairly straightforward process.  Within hours, you’ll have a book that’s available on Amazon as a download for the Kindle.

• Step 8. Offer the book as a free PDF download to people who visit your website in exchange for contact information.

• Step 9. Use Amazon’s CreateSpace program to get physical books printed, which you can use as leave-behinds with prospects and as a way of getting lucrative and valuable speaking engagements.

• Step 10. Throw yourself a book launch party – put it in the local news media – and invite current clients to come and bring friends.  Sign books, create amazing new credibility for yourself, .and laugh all the way to the bank!

About Michael Levin: New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin runs www.BusinessGhost.com, which specializes in ghostwriting books for financial services professionals.

 
Open House Update, The Book Rack Moves to Larger, High-Traffic Location PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:09
UPDATE:  The Book Rack has moved from Duck Creek Plaza in Bettendorf, Iowa, to a larger store in Davenport, and on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., The Book Rack will host an Open House with refreshments at their new location, 4764 Elmore Ave., Davenport, to thank the community for all the support it has shown The Book Rack over the years.
Bob Applegate of The Book Rack
Bob Applegate of The Book Rack.
Customers visit The Book Rack’s two Quad-Cities locations (Davenport and Moline) from as far away as Clinton, Fulton, Aledo, Dubuque, Muscatine, Geneseo and beyond.
IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – After 30 years at the same location, The Book Rack in Bettendorf, Iowa, is moving to a new location on Elmore Avenue in Davenport, effective Sept. 24.
According to bookstore owner Bob Applegate, the decision to move the store’s Iowa location after three decades was a matter of planning for the future.
“We had two locations – a new one in Moline and the older one in Bettendorf’s Duck Creek Plaza,” he said. “The larger, more visible facility in Moline quickly surpassed the Duck Creek site in sales, even though it’s only been in Moline for two years. The Bettendorf store, though successful, was limited by its size and location.”
The Moline store is located in Rock River Plaza at 3937 41st Ave. Dr., Moline, Illinois. The new Davenport store can be found at 4764 Elmore Ave., across the roadway from Best Buy.
Bob Applegate and his wife, Claudia, bought The Book Rack’s Quad-City franchise four years ago after retiring from the Rock Island Arsenal, satisfying their entrepreneurial spirit at an age when others are thinking about leaving the 9-to-5 workday.
“Something Had to Be Done”
According to Applegate, the biggest problem with the Duck Creek Plaza location was that it was out of the public’s line of vision. “It’s across a parking lot from Home Depot, and really, you could only see it from Home Depot,” he said. “It never benefited from its proximity to Schnuck’s, even though that high-traffic supermarket was right around the corner.”
Plus, the Bettendorf location was just too small. “It needed to hold a lot more inventory to compare to the Moline location,” Applegate said. “Something had to be done.”
After considering various sectors of the Quad-Cities for a new location, Applegate decided to move the Duck Creek Plaza store to Elmore Avenue. “The new location has much better visibility and ample storefront parking,” he said.
How The Book Rack Works
According to Applegate, The Book Rack gives customers store credit on the books they bring in, for 25 percent of the cover value of paperbacks. They accept mass-market and trade paperbacks, as well as selected hardcovers. “We welcome the opportunity to look at any book,” he said. They may decline a book if they have too many copies or if the book is in bad shape.
The Book Rack sells paperback books priced at half the cover price. They accept store credit up to 50 percent off the sale price of used paperbacks that the customer buys. They can special-order almost any book for a discount.
“Our customer service includes a Book Search feature,” Applegate said. “If you’re looking for a favorite book or author, we’ll let you know when the item comes in. Our system will also tell you if you’ve bought a particular book before, in case you’re a voracious reader and have forgotten the titles of what you’ve read before.”
A Widespread Clientele
According to Applegate, customers visit The Book Rack’s locations from as far away as Clinton, Fulton, Aledo, Dubuque, Muscatine, Geneseo and beyond.
“We have between 55,000 and 60,000 books in stock in Moline,” Applegate said. “The Duck Creek location could only hold 20,000 titles. The Davenport store will start out with 35,000 titles and grow from there.” He noted that his stores do not suffer from any clutter. “It’s all as neatly filed as any library,” he said, “and clean, with no dust.” Also, The Book Rack has about 1,800 books listed on Amazon.com.
“Our tagline is, ‘It just makes sense to get your books at The Book Rack.’” Applegate said. “That applies whether you’re buying from us at our locations or online. We encourage folks to visit the stores regularly, since the inventory changes and you never know what great books you’ll find once you start browsing.”
For more information, call (309) 797-1985, Moline, or (563) 355-2310, Davenport. You can also visit The Book Rack online at www.thebookrackqc.com.
SIDEBARS:

A Bumper-Crop of Book Genres
The selection at The Book Rack includes, but is not limited to, the following genres:

General fiction
Nonfiction
New books
Special orders
Historical romance
Paranormal romance
Young adult
Children’s fiction
Early readers
Mystery
Science-fiction
Horror
Western
Historical
Classic literature
Faith and value

A Program to Aid Educators
Some customers of The Book Rack have $1,000-plus in store credit. Customers can donate part of their store credit to a teacher’s program fund.
Teachers, in turn, can use part of that donated fund to pay up to half their purchases for classroom libraries.

 
State Treasurer Returns $150 Million Back to its Rightful Owners PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Karen Austin   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:47

DES MOINES, IA (09/26/2012)(readMedia)-- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald announced today that the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt has crossed a milestone. "I'm very excited to announce that since I created this program in 1983, we've returned $150 million through the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt," Fitzgerald said. "We will continue to reach out and reunite these assets with their rightful owners. Our next goal is $200 million."

Every year, millions of dollars in abandoned property is turned over to the state treasurer's office. Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer's Office, where it is held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.

Visit greatiowatreasurehunt.com. Individuals may also send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to see if you have a treasure waiting for you.

 
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