Saudi embassy hired mafiosi to smuggle Turkish PM Erdoğan's son out of Italy ahead of money laundering charges

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Italian police spokesman Lt. Colonel Domenico Grimaldi says that Bilal Erdoğan was able to jump bail on money laundering charges because the Saudi embassy paid the mafia to help get him clear, assisting them with fraudulent diplomatic papers and a Saudi prince disguise. Read the rest

Ransomware hackers steal a hospital. Again.

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A month after a hospital in Hollywood was shut down by a ransomware infection that encrypted all the files on its computers and computer-controlled instruments and systems, another hospital, this one in Kentucky, has suffered a similar fate. Read the rest

US Embassy staffer ran a sextortion racket from work computer for 2 years

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Michael C Ford has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, having pleaded guilty to running a sextortion/phishing operation from his work computer at the US embassy in London for two years. Read the rest

Prep school sex offender jailed after violating bail conditions

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Owen Labrie received a light one-year jail sentence after sexually assaulting an underage girl at his New England prep school. While his victim was subjected to scorn and disbelief from peers and the media, Labrie was coddled every step of the way, turning down a plea deal that would have seen him out in weeks and being mythologized in a pretentious Vanity Fair profile. But now he's going to serve his sentence early, because he just can't follow the rules while he appeals his verdict.

A judge in Merrimack County Superior Court said Owen Labrie would begin his one-year jail sentence immediately.

"You are unlikely to abide by any conditions," Judge Larry Smukler said. "I don't relax conditions because you can't comply with them."…

Smukler, in sentencing him in October and permitting him to remain free on bail pending appeal, told Labrie he would be "exceedingly foolish" to violate his bail conditions.

Labrie's light sentence hinged, as Vice put it, on the fact his underage victim didn't "clearly express her lack of consent." Jurors failed to convict him of felony rape, instead applying a 90s-era computer grooming law in what was described as a "bizarre" verdict.

Those sympathetic to Labrie point to the felony computer charge, arguing it was never meant to be applied to texting teenagers. Had Labrie reached out to the girl via phone, he would have been spared a lifetime on the sexual offender registry. Then again, these were no ordinary messages: Labrie and his peers shared email templates and strategies for scoring with younger girls; Labrie even had a list of potential targets, with the girl at the top, in capital letters.
Read the rest

Crimefighting for fun and profit: data-mining Medicare fraud and likely whistleblowers

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John Mininno is an ex-malpractice lawyer who raised money from a Wall Street angel and founded the National Healthcare Analysis Group, which uses public data sources to uncover Medicare fraud, then does further data-mining to predict which current or ex-employees will turn whistleblower, cold calls them, and splits the bounty the government offers for whistleblowing with them. Read the rest

Phishers make off with W2 tax forms for several thousand Seagate employees

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Seagate has emailed its employees and ex-employees to warn them that someone in the company sent their W2 tax data to a criminal who pulled off a successful phishing fraud. Read the rest

Human traffickers implant their slaves with RFID chips

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An anonymous ER doctor treated a woman who claimed she had a tracking chip embedded in her body. At first he disbelieved her -- lots of people suffer from delusions that they have implanted microchips -- but then she showed him the suture.

Read the rest

Thieves saw through bike-racks, cover the cuts with tape, wait for bikes to be locked to them

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PC Mark McKay, a police officer in Camberwell, London, tweeted this warning to locals to beware of bike racks that thieves have sawn through and camouflaged with gaffer tape; once the bikes are locked up, the thieves return, remove the tape, and make off with the bikes. Read the rest

Crowdfunding to send Australian sex-abuse survivors to Rome for testimony of notorious cardinal

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Cardinal George Pell presided over decades of horrific abuse of Australian children by his clergy; now the active, vigorous crime-boss says he's too weak to return to Australia from the Vatican to attend a commission on the crimes, meaning that he won't have to confront the survivors of the abuse he abetted. Read the rest

Think you're entitled to compensation after being wrongfully imprisoned in California? Nope.

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People who spent years, even decades, behind bars in California's prisons before being exonerated are not entitled to any services or compensation, not even the normal reintegration counselling, funding and services made available to parolees and criminals who've served their time. Read the rest

BC town votes to install imaginary GPS trackers in criminals

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The town council of Williams Lake, British Columbia has unanimously passed a motion to implant GPS trackers in "high risk offenders." Implantable GPS trackers don't exist. Read the rest

Weird truths about leap year

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With this year a leap year, February 29 is coming up next week. To celebrate, Alex "Weird Universe" Boese posted "5 Weird Facts About Leap Years" over at About.com:

2. The Extra Day Swindle

In February 1997, John Melo was convicted of home invasion and sentenced to ten years and one day in prison. Seven years later, he filed a motion complaining that the Department of Correction had miscalculated the length of his sentence. Why? Because it had failed to credit him for the additional days he had to serve on account of the February 29's during leap years.

Melo's motion was allowed, but he didn't win the case. In 2006 the Superior Court ruled (Commonwealth vs. John Melo) that not only did his case have no merit, but it had been a mistake to ever allow it to proceed in the first place, noting that he had clearly been sentenced to a term of years, no matter how long each year may be.

"5 Weird Facts About Leap Years" (About.com) Read the rest

Hacker suspected in Anon raid on Boston hospital rescued at sea by Disney cruise ship, then arrested

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Martin Gottesfeld and his family were rescued at sea, near Cuba, by a Disney cruise ship, then Gottesfeld was arrested by FBI agents dispatched from a Bahamian field office. Read the rest

Leaked memos suggest Volkswagen's CEO knew about diesel cheating in 2014

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German newspaper Bild am Sonntag received leaked internal Volkswagen memos and emails that suggest that then-CEO Martin Winterkorn and his executive team were informed in 2014 of the lethal Dieselgate scam the company had perpetrated, and decided to stall and obfuscate to avoid penalties for emitting titanic amounts of the toxic NOX. Read the rest

Hollywood hospital ransoms itself back from hackers for a mere $17,000

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Last week, hackers bricked Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, encrypting all the data on its devices and demanding 9,000 Bitcoin (~$3.6m) to give the hospital's IT staff the keys needed to reboot it. Read the rest

Back-room revisions to TPP sneakily criminalize fansubbing & other copyright grey zones

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When the text of the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership was released, we were warned that it hadn't been "legally scrubbed" and checked for translation errors, but the new text that's been posted to the New Zealand government's website contains tiny revisions that sneakily increase the criminal penalties countries must impose on people who commit copyright infringement. Read the rest

Russian Central Bank shutting down banks that staged fake cyberattacks to rip off depositors

The Russian Central Bank has withdrawn licenses from at least three banks who are alleged to have hired hackers to break into their own systems and empty out depositors' account, secretly giving the money back to the bank less a commission. Read the rest

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