Google hit with demands for detailed ad business info from Texas and other states

PHOTO: Shutterstock. TX AG Ken Paxton, shown here, is leading nationwide probe into Google.

The Texas attorney general today issued a 29-page civil investigative demand with more than 200 directives for Google to provide detailed information on its ad business. The deadline is October 9. Read the rest

DOJ indicts 80, many based in Nigeria, in business email scam and money laundering

The Justice Department today announced indictments for 80 individuals on charges they ran a massive business email and money laundering scam that operated in part out of Southern California.

DoJ's 145-page indictment was unsealed Thursday, and charges 80 named individuals with conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, plus aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

More than a dozen individuals were arrested during raids on Thursday, most of which took place in the greater Los Angeles area.

News of the early-morning Southern California raids on Thursday were first reported by LA's ABC7 News.

Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch:

But it’s not immediately known if the Nigerian nationals will be extradited to the U.S., however a treaty exists between the two nations making extraditions possible.

U.S. Attorney Nicola Hanna said the case was part of an ongoing effort to protect citizens and businesses from email scams.

“Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use [business email scam] schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims,” he said. “This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators — no matter where they reside — and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”

These business email compromise scams rely partly on deception and in some cases hacking. Scammers send specially crafted spearphishing emails to their targets in order to trick them into turning over sensitive information about the company, such as sending employee W-2 tax documents so scammers can generate fraudulent refunds, or tricking an employee into making wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the scammers.

Read the rest

Mexican government seeks justice in wake of El Paso terrorist attack

Thoughts and prayers. Video games are fucking folks up. He's white so let's call it mental illness. Apologists for the far right talking shit. It's always the same song and dance anytime some asshole with a credit card buys an assault rifle to do what they feel entitled to do to innocent souls. As an outsider who watches terrorist acts like the one that unfold unfolded in El Paso this past weekend, one after another, it's a tune that I'm tired of hearing. I can't imagine how the citizens of your nation must feel. I mourn for your dead the way that I mourned for our own when a similar tragedy struck a few years back. Mourning and rising up in protest are all that we as citizens have available to us to give voice to our outrage.

That's not the case, however, where a grieving nation is concerned. During the El Paso terrorist attack, seven Mexican nationals were killed. Six were wounded.  Their nation's government, in their grief, has decided that it's had enough.

From Buzzfeed News:

Mexico's foreign minister on Monday called the mass shooting at a Texas Walmart that claimed the lives of eight Mexican nationals an act of terrorism against its citizens on US soil and vowed to take legal action.

Marcelo Ebrard, who had threatened to take action after the shooting, said the Mexican government will "definitely" launch legal action against the selling and distribution of assault rifles in the US, like the one used by the shooter in Saturday's attack.

Read the rest

U.S. reinstates death penalty, AG William Barr orders execution of 5 federal inmates

Justice Department says federal government re-starting capital punishment after nearly 2 decades. AG Barr ordered 5 inmates executed ASAP under new policy.

California couple ordered to pay $600,000 for uprooting a 180-year-old tree

Toni and Peter Thompson were building a new house in Sonoma, California. They removed three trees, including a 180-year-old oak, from a nearby piece of property they owned with plans to relocate them next to the house. But the trees were damaged in the removal process and they died. The surrounding area around the trees was also damaged. The land was protected by the state, and now the couple has been ordered to pay about $600,000 in damages.

From The Washington Post:

“I was not prepared,” Bob Neale, the trust’s stewardship director, told the Press Democrat. “It was really the most willful, egregious violation of a conservation easement I’ve ever seen.”

Portions of the area that had once been blanketed by untouched native plants were reduced to mounds of loose dirt, and others were scraped down to bedrock, according to court documents. Some photos showed a massive oak tree in a trench with its roots bound and surrounded by yellow construction equipment. A dirt road stretching for about a third of a mile was also carved through the land, destroying 12 smaller trees and other vegetation in the way, the ruling said.

...

Over the course of the trial, the Thompsons offered a dozen defenses, none of which the court found had any merit. The pair were “further undermined by their persistent failure to tell the truth,” Broderick wrote.

Image: Large oak tree providing shade, Sugarloaf Ridge State park, Sonoma County, California, by Sundry Photography/Shutterstock Read the rest

D.C. Court of Appeals disbars Paul Manafort

Sucks to be Paul Manafort.

List of thousands of criminal cops accidentally released under public records laws, now CA AG threatens 2 reporters with legal action for having a copy

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told two Berkeley-based reporters that it is against the law to even possess a copy of this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops.

Robert Kraft allegedly paid for sex act on morning of AFC Championship game between New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft today got a court date stemming from multiple prostitution charges. Read the rest

San Francisco marijuana crimes to be expunged by the thousands, with Code For America's help

A project to expunge marijuana-related convictions in San Francisco that took an entire year to pull together is nearly complete, San Francisco prosecutors said today, as they announced that 9,300 pot crimes will soon be removed from people’s criminal records.

That's a big deal. As the SF DA said at today's press conference, a felony conviction for cannabis could mean “barriers to education, housing, employment and even being barred from a child’s school field trip because of a conviction.”

San Francisco is able to do this in part because of the efforts of people at Code For America. Read the rest

Supreme court curbs states' power to levy fines and seize property through civil forfeiture

The Supreme Court today unanimously rules for Tyson Timbs, a small-time drug offender whose $42,000 Land Rover was seized by the state of Indiana as a civil forfeiture. Read the rest

Which prison will house 'El Chapo'? Probably this Colorado 'supermax'

Good luck escaping from this one.

EL CHAPO GUILTY: Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman CONVICTED in U.S. trial

Notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is convicted in Brooklyn, could put him behind bars for the rest of his life in a high-security prison.

New documentary about Adnan Syed from the "Serial" podcast

This spring, HBO will air a new documentary about Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of the Serial podcast. The four-part series is directed by Amy Berg ("Deliver Us from Evil"). From the Baltimore Sun:

Syed, the subject of the wildly popular “Serial” podcast, was convicted in 2000 of killing his former girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate. But “Serial” raised questions about why his attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez, did not call a potential alibi witness. The attorney died in 2004.

Syed’s conviction was vacated in June 2016 by a Baltimore circuit judge, and the Court of Special Appeals upheld the decision, prompting the state to bring its case for reinstating the conviction before Maryland’s highest court in November.

The HBO trailer prominently features Syed’s family friend, Rabia Chaudry, who brought the case to “Serial” host and former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig. The documentary, directed by Academy Award nominee Amy Berg, promises “a piece of evidence that nobody even realized existed for all these years.”

It’s unclear when the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court, will make a decision. Chaudry said in November that Syed’s family expects a ruling by August.

Read the rest

Texas indicts '3D gun guy' Cody Wilson for child sexual assault, 'Defense Distributed' founder faces 20 years in prison

Wow, never saw that one coming. The print your own guns proponent is a creep.

In Texas, '3D gun' guy Cody Wilson has been indicted on multiple counts of sexual assault against a minor. Read the rest

Judge delays Michael Flynn sentencing for lying to FBI

Lock him up.

Donald Trump's disgraced former national security advisor Gen. Michael Flynn went to court today to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Sergei Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States.

Flynn's sentencing will be delayed, to give him time to finish fully cooperating with federal prosecutors.

Judge Sullivan repeated a statement that he will not make any promises about no jail time when it comes time to deliver Flynn's sentence.

In the Washington courtroom, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan pressed Flynn and his attorneys aggressively during the hearing about the guilty plea, and his interactions with the FBI.

Prosecutors say Flynn may continue to help the government in ongoing investigations.

The judge began by basically calling bullshit on the last-minute court filings by Flynn's defense teams last week, which implied the former general was entrapped into lying by crooked FBI agents.

This was a bogus implication, and Judge Sullivan was not pleased.

The judge queried Flynn and his team, point by point, essentially asking them if they wanted to relitigate that part of the legal process -- the FBI part.

In response, Flynn told the judge, “I was aware that lying to the FBI was a crime.”

“Are you continuing to accept responsibility for your false statements,” Judge Sullivan asked.

“I am, your honor,” said Flynn.

Trump began the day of his former National Security Advisor's trial by wishing Flynn 'good luck.'

Not a good look for Individual-1.

After a series of interrogations from the judge, and responses from Flynn and attorneys, Judge Sullivan asks one final time, and still sounding skeptical:

"If you want to proceed because you are guilty of this offense..."

Flynn replies that he is, and says wants to proceed. Read the rest

Mueller releases memo on Michael Flynn interview, on eve of #Flynn sentencing

Flynn pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges, and is set to be sentenced on Tuesday.

On the eve of former Trump aide Michael Flynn's sentencing on felony charges, special counsel Robert Mueller has released a January 2017 FBI memo that details an interview with Flynn by agent Peter Strzok and another FBI agent. Read the rest

Cops are using GPS and doorbell cameras to catch package thieves

People who steal other people's packages off porches are the frigging worst. They've no idea of what's in the box they're swiping: they don't care what they get, so long as they get something. It's burgling a house blindfolded. It's the laziest form of break and enter. It's one of the lowest forms of causal criminality going. Also, it's wicked hard to stop. With the holidays coming on like a freight train, more packages than usual are showing up on front porches, ripe for the picking. This year, in at least one city, the cops are ready to put a stop to the package poaching nonsense.

From The Associated Press:

Police in Jersey City, across the Hudson River from New York, are teaming up with Amazon to install doorbell cameras and plant dummy boxes with GPS tracking devices at homes around the city.

They didn’t have to wait long Tuesday for someone to take the bait.

“We had a box out on the street for three minutes before it was taken,” said police Capt. James Crecco, who is overseeing the mission. “We thought it was a mistake at first.”

The suspect was caught, Crecco added.

Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told The Associated Press that locations for cameras and boxes were selected using the city’s own crime statistics and mapping of theft locations provided by Amazon.

“Most of the package thefts we’ve made arrests on revolve around (closed-circuit TV) or private surveillance cameras that give us a still image,” Kelly said.

Read the rest

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