FBI’s Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending February 5, 2010
Right Side News reports from the FBI. This week’s highlight:
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that AAFIA SIDDIQUI was found guilty in Manhattan federal court on charges related to the attempted murder and assault of U.S. nationals and U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan. SIDDIQUI was found guilty of all charges against her following a 14-day jury trial before United States District Judge RICHARD M. BERMAN in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court and evidence presented at trial:
On July 17, 2008, SIDDIQUI was detained by Afghan authorities, who found a number of items in her possession, including handwritten notes that referred to a “mass casualty attack” and that listed various locations in the United States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Other notes in SIDDIQUI’s possession referred to the construction of “dirty bombs,” and discussed various ways to attack “enemies,” including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and using gliders.
The next day, on July 18, 2008, a team of U.S. servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them, attempted to interview SIDDIQUI in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she had been detained by local police the day before. The U.S. interview team included, among others: three officers and employees of the U.S. Army; two officers and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and two U.S. Army contract interpreters.
The interview of SIDDIQUI was to take place at an Afghan police compound in Ghazni. In a second-floor meeting room at the compound-where SIDDIQUI was being held, unbeknownst to the U.S. interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain-SIDDIQUI grabbed a U.S. Army officer’s M-4 rifle and fired it at another U.S. Army officer and other members of U.S. interview team. During the shooting, SIDDIQUI exclaimed her intent and desire to kill Americans.
SIDDIQUI then assaulted one of the U.S. Army interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her. SIDDIQUI subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of the U.S. Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her. The evidence at trial showed that, while a student in Boston, Massachusetts, she had undertaken training and instruction on the handling and shooting of firearms.
On August 4, 2008, SIDDIQUI was brought from Afghanistan to Manhattan federal court to face a criminal indictment obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Trial began on January 13, 2010, and concluded today with the jury reaching a guilty verdict on all counts. Specifically, the jury convicted SIDDIQUI of the following crimes: (1) one count of attempting to kill U.S. nationals outside the United States; (2) one count of attempting to kill U.S. officers and employees; (3) one count of armed assault of U.S. officers and employees; (4) one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and (5) three counts of assault of U.S. officers and employees.
SIDDIQUI, 37, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6, 2010. SIDDQIUI faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and armed assault charges; life in prison on the firearm charge; and eight years in prison on each of the remaining assault charges. SIDDIQUI faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison on the firearm charge.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force-which principally consists of agents of the FBI and detectives of the New York City Police Department. He also expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the U.S. Department of State for their assistance in the case.
“Today, a jury has brought Aafia Siddiqui to justice in a court of law for trying to murder American military and law enforcement officers, as well as their Afghan colleagues. We are grateful for the efforts of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force in this important case,” said U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys CHRISTOPHER L. LAVIGNE, DAVID M. RODY, and JENNA M. DABBS are in charge of the prosecution.
The above press release from the FBI is in their Top Ten for the week.
FBI Laboratory: Letter to the Editor on FBI’s Scientific Work in Anthrax Case
Read a letter sent by D. Christian Hassell, Ph.D, director of the FBI Laboratory, to The Wall Street Journal in response to a recent opinion piece about the anthrax investigation. Full Story
Dallas: State Representative Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges, Agrees to Resign
Gladys E. “Terri” Hodge, who was to go on trial early next month on charges outlined in a 31-count indictment charging 14 public officials and their associates with offenses related to a bribery and extortion scheme involving affordable housing developments in the Dallas area, pleaded guilty. Hodge, who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, District 100, in 1996, and re-elected to the same position in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008, has agreed to resign her office and never seek or hold future public office. Full Story
San Francisco: Mountain View Woman Convicted of Wire Fraud and Witness Tampering
Judy “Miu Wan” Yeung was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, and three counts of witness tampering. The jury found that Yeung engaged in a mortgage fraud conspiracy between approximately December 2004 and January 2007 that defrauded mortgage lenders and financial institutions of $6.5 million. Full Story
Atlanta: Citizen of Mexico Sentenced for Role in Federal Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
Miguel Rugerio, a Mexican national, was sentenced to federal prison on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and related immigration offenses, and of transporting one of the victims of the conspiracy, a young Mexican woman identified as “N.M.,” in interstate and foreign commerce for purposes of prostitution. Full Story
Miami: Statement by Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies Regarding Super Bowl Preparations
Read about the FBI’s efforts in preparing for Super Bowl XLIV. While the Miami-Dade Police Department is leading the law enforcement effort, the FBI’s role is to protect and defend against terrorist threats. Full Story
Los Angeles: Guilty Plea in Ponzi Scheme Based on Bogus Investments in Latex Gloves After 9/11 Attacks
Miguel Salazar pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud charges for running a Ponzi scheme that took nearly $700,000 from victims who thought they were investing in latex gloves, which were portrayed as being in high demand following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Full Story
Albany: Syracuse Man Charged with Stealing Trade Secrets
Shalin Jhaveri was arrested and charged with stealing trade secrets and proprietary information from his employer, Bristol-Myers-Squibb. The complaint alleges that during his employment with Bristol-Myers-Squibb, Jhaveri stole numerous trade secrets as part of a plan to establish a pharmaceutical firm in his native India, which would compete with Bristol-Myers-Squibb in various markets around the world. Full Story
New York: Aafia Siddiqui Found Guilty of Attempting to Murder U.S. Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Charges
Aafia Siddiqui was found guilty in Manhattan federal court on charges related to the attempted murder and assault of U.S. nationals and U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan. Siddiqui was found guilty of all charges against her following a 14-day jury trial. Full Story
Chicago: Business Owner Indicted for Minority Contract Fraud
The owner of a Chicago company certified as a minority- and woman-owned business, her husband, and her company were indicted today on federal fraud charges for allegedly steering minority contracts through the company and collecting more than $9.5 million in fraudulent payments from three projects, including two at O’Hare International Airport. The company, Azteca Supply Co., allegedly fraudulently received $9,695,168, between 2001 and July 2008 while being hired as a sham contractor on runway and restroom projects at O’Hare for the City of Chicago, and on a landscaping project at a new Metra commuter rail station for the south suburban Village of Orland Park. Full Story
El Paso: Federal Jury Convicts Former El Paso Criminal District Court Judge Manuel Barraza
Former El Paso Criminal District Court Judge Manuel Joseph Barraza was found guilty of charges related to a bribery scheme. The jury convicted Barraza of two counts of wire fraud and the deprivation of honest services and one count of making false statements. The jury acquitted Barraza of one count of mail fraud. Full Story