WBEZ | FBI http://www.wbez.org/tags/fbi Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Feds Say U of Chicago Threat was a Response to Police Shootings http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-say-u-chicago-threat-was-response-police-shootings-113981 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CVEoEf-W4AEkxAg.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; Federal authorities said an online threat that led the University of Chicago to cancel classes Monday targeted whites and was motivated by the police shooting of a black teenager, video of which was released last week and sparked protests.</p><p>Jabari R. Dean, 21, of Chicago, threatened to kill 16 white male students or staff at the school on Chicago&#39;s South Side, according to the criminal complaint.</p><p>Dean, who is black, was arrested Monday morning. He did not enter a plea later in the day on a charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce in court. Dean is a freshman studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and wore a red sweat shirt emblazoned with the name of that school at the hearing.</p><p>The threat was posted Saturday, just days after the city released a video of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black, 16 times.</p><p>Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder, and his bond was set for $1.5 million on Monday. That means Van Dyke needs to pay $150,000 to be released, and Van Dyke&#39;s attorney said he was hopeful his client could be released in the &quot;very near future.&quot;</p><p>Authorities said Dean posted online from a phone that he would &quot;execute approximately ... 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time (sic) McDonald was killed&quot; and &quot;will die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process.&quot;</p><p>The criminal complaint, released by the U.S. attorney&#39;s office in Chicago, said someone tipped the FBI on Sunday to a threat that was posted on a social media website. The FBI was unable to find the threat online, and was provided a screenshot by the person who reported the threat.</p><p>That led them to Dean, who admitted to FBI agents that he posted the threat and took it down shortly after posting it, the complaint said. Despite the threat mentioning three guns, a prosecutor said Monday that Dean did not appear to pose a threat. The complaint did not say whether Dean possessed any weapons.</p><p>The University of Chicago, where President Barack Obama taught law, first alerted students and staff Sunday night about a threat that mentioned the quad, a popular gathering place, and 10 a.m. Monday.</p><p>The University of Chicago statement urged faculty, students and non-essential staff to stay away from the Hyde Park campus through midnight Monday and told students in college housing to stay indoors. The cancellations of classes and activities affected more than 30,000 people, though the University of Chicago Medical Center was open to patients.</p><p>The normally bustling campus was almost desolate Monday morning as Chicago Police Department and campus security vehicles patrolled streets. Security staff guarded campus walkways, including the quad mentioned in the threat. The time mentioned in the threat came and went without incident.</p><p>The university had said the decision to close was taken following &quot;recent tragic events&quot; at other campuses nationwide. On Oct. 1 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a gunman opened fire and killed nine people. Other shootings have happened in Arizona and Tennessee.</p><p>Students closed their books, shut down their laptops and hurried home Sunday when the school first alerted people to the threat, according to student body president Tyler Kissinger.</p><p>&quot;I work in the campus coffee shop and when people got the notice (announcements and online) they really cleared out of here immediately,&quot; the 21-year-old senior said.</p><p>Junchen Feng, who&#39;s pursuing a doctorate, said the threat raised his awareness about gun violence in Chicago and beyond.</p><p>&quot;For the first time I was thinking about people who live in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan ... where they live under constant threats of death and violence,&quot; said the student from China, who planned to spend the day at home and in a campus building that was a five-minute walk away. &quot;It&#39;s a mindset that we just don&#39;t have.&quot;</p><p>Police have said that McDonald was carrying a knife and an autopsy revealed that he had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system. Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Anita Alvarez said last week in announcing the first-degree murder charge against Van Dyke that the 3-inch blade recovered from the scene had been folded into the handle.</p><p>In the audio-free video, McDonald can be seen walking down the middle of a four-lane street. He appears to veer away from two officers as they emerge from a vehicle, drawing their guns. One of the officers, Van Dyke, opens fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the ground. The officer continues to fire.</p><p>Van Dyke&#39;s attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains that Van Dyke feared for his life, acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story. He told reporters Monday that Van Dyke &quot;absolutely&quot; can defend his actions in court and that the officer is &quot;very scared about the consequences he is facing.&quot;</p><p>Alvarez said last week that she had decided a few weeks earlier to charge Van Dyke with murder and was planning to announce charges in a month. But knowing the intense public anger that the sight of the &quot;chilling&quot; video would generate, she announced the charges before the video&#39;s release in an effort to encourage calm.</p><p>___</p><p><em>Associated Press writer Greg McCune contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-say-u-chicago-threat-was-response-police-shootings-113981 Hastert says he knew what he was doing was wrong http://www.wbez.org/news/hastert-says-he-knew-what-he-was-doing-was-wrong-113531 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_499411585290.jpg" style="height: 498px; width: 620px;" title="Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives at the federal courthouse Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Chicago, where he is scheduled to change his plea to guilty in a hush-money case that alleges he agreed to pay someone $3.5 million to hide claims of past misconduct by the Illinois Republican. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)" /></div><div id="res452538048" previewtitle="Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (center) arrives at the federal courthouse Wednesday in Chicago."><div><div><p style="text-align: justify;">Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in a case involving millions of dollars in hush money to keep secret allegations of misconduct decades ago.</p></div></div></div><p style="text-align: justify;">A judge set the sentencing for Feb. 29. Federal prosecutors have recommended up to six months in prison as part of a plea deal that allows him to avoid a trial. The judge, however, could sentence Hastert to a maximum of five years and fine him up to $250,000.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The former Republican speaker was charged with one count of evading bank rules about currency transactions and one count of lying to federal investigators.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">NPR&#39;s Cheryl Corley was at the courthouse in Chicago and says the judge asked Hastert if he knew what he was doing was wrong and that he responded, &quot;Yes, sir.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/230536296&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-dennis-hastert-guilty-plea-hearing-met-20151027-story.html">The Chicago Tribune reports</a>&nbsp;Hastert, 73, could also face probation time and that neither the prosecution nor defense anticipates that witnesses will be called at the sentencing.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The newspaper has more about Wednesday&#39;s court appearance:</p><blockquote><div><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>&quot;Hastert read a brief statement saying that he didn&#39;t want officials to know how he intended to spend the money he withdrew.</em></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>&quot;The hearing got underway about 8:30 a.m. [CT] before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin. Hastert was asked a series of questions about his competency to plead guilty and the rights he was giving up by doing so.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>&quot;I understand, your honor,&quot; Hastert said. He said no one was forcing him to plead guilty.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p style="text-align: justify;">The guilty plea represents a dramatic fall from grace for the respected former lawmaker who served as House Speaker for eight years.</p><p><img alt="Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (center) arrives at the federal courthouse Wednesday in Chicago." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/28/denny-ap_933339954210-e3f84ae826cbbbc157373ba7dfc325bf3f42838a-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, center, arrives at the federal courthouse Wednesday in Chicago. (Matt Marton /AP)" /></p><p>As the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/09/413086475/dennis-hastert-to-appear-in-a-chicago-courthouse-for-arraignment"><em>Two-Way</em> has reported</a>:</p><blockquote><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>&quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/28/410366275/former-house-speaker-hastert-indicted-in-probe-into-3-5m-in-withdrawals">Hastert was indicted on the charges by a federal grand jury back in May</a>. The U.S. attorney&#39;s office alleged that Hastert paid $3.5 million to a person identified as Individual A to &#39;compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against Individual A.&#39;</em></p><p style="text-align: justify;"><em>&quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/05/29/410611844/reports-ex-speaker-hasterts-payments-linked-to-sexual-misconduct">Further reporting has revealed</a>&nbsp;that the payments were tied to allegations that Hastert sexually abused Individual A when Hastert was a high school teacher and a wrestling coach.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/28/452537017/former-house-speaker-dennis-hastert-pleads-guilty-in-hush-money-case" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 28 Oct 2015 09:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hastert-says-he-knew-what-he-was-doing-was-wrong-113531 Medicare scammers taking advantage of low-income beneficiaries http://www.wbez.org/news/medicare-scammers-taking-advantage-low-income-beneficiaries-113229 <p><p>Cases of Medicare fraud are on the rise, nationally. <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/administrator-chicago-area-home-visiting-physician-practice-sentenced-more-seven-years-prison" target="_blank">Chicago&rsquo;s following the trend</a> -- it&rsquo;s actually a fraud hotspot. As of last month, 24 medical fraud indictments have been filed in federal court in Chicago this year, nearly doubling the total for 2014. Typically, a Medicare beneficiary is the target -- and scammers tend to take advantage of vulnerabilities of lower income people.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what happened to Arlene Gregory. She&rsquo;s in her 70s and doctor&rsquo;s visits are a part of her weekly schedule. She&rsquo;s had bladder cancer twice. She walks slowly, and sometimes with a limp because of a Baker&rsquo;s cyst behind her knee.</p><p>She thinks her condition made her an easy target -- and that&rsquo;s it&rsquo;s probably why a scammer approached her last summer at a food pantry.</p><p>The woman introduced herself as &ldquo;Kim&rdquo; and told Gregory she qualified to receive free services like house cleaning.</p><p>&ldquo;I fell hook, line and sinker. I was so happy that I could get all these benefits, somebody come in and do my floors,&rdquo; she recalled.</p><p>But soon after the welcome housework help, Gregory started getting unsolicited visits from nurses and a doctor.</p><p>&ldquo;I kept telling them, I don&rsquo;t want a nurse coming out once a week. That&rsquo;s not necessary. I have my regular home physician. &lsquo;Oh, well you got to have the nurse to be eligible for the other benefits,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Gregory showed the pages and pages of Medicare statements she received, billing thousands of dollars for those unnecessary visits.</p><p>A doctor&rsquo;s involvement in a scheme like that is key, because a physician has to sign off on treatments.</p><p>In Gregory&rsquo;s case, she was also given medical equipment, like a cheap back brace that didn&rsquo;t fit. Then, there were the bills for services she never got, like physical therapy and psychiatric treatment. But someone was paid by Medicare for all of these unnecessary treatments.</p><p>Kim even told Gregory that if she stuck with her long enough, Kim could get her a chairlift, like she did for another client.</p><p>Finally after several weeks, Gregory mentioned all the extra attention she&rsquo;d been getting to her regular doctor, during a routine check-up.</p><p>&ldquo;She like hit the fan. She was very upset. She says, &lsquo;Arlene, these benefits are for people who are homebound,&rsquo;&rdquo; Gregory recalled.</p><p>Stories like Gregory&rsquo;s are pretty common. Jeff Jamrosz, a supervisory special agent for the FBI in Chicago, said fraudsters are looking for doubly-vulnerable patients.</p><p>&ldquo;In the low-income area, if you have a high concentration of Medicare beneficiaries with low income, maybe that cash kickback is enough to get it,&rdquo; Jamrosz said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_744802214036.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 350px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="In this June 18, 2015, photo, Shantanu Agrawal, deputy administrator for program integrity and director of the center for program integrity at the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Attorney General Loretta Lynch listens at left. Medicare says its computerized fraud prevention system identified $454 million in problematic payments and generated a financial return for the taxpayer of $10 for every dollar spent last year. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>The FBI calls these scammers &ldquo;marketers.&rdquo; Jamrosz said the marketers will cold call beneficiaries -- or show up at soup kitchens and food pantries -- to recruit potential patients.</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;Hey, who has a red, white and blue card?&rsquo; Referring to their Medicare card. &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll give you $50 if you come with me to the doctor.&rsquo; And that&rsquo;s the way in which these patients are found,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The FBI reports that general medical fraud is quite high, despite strong efforts to stem it -- like a moratorium on new home health care businesses and stricter sentences for scammers.</p><p>But Jamrosz said people are still cashing in: Over a 60-day billing cycle, a home health care fraudster can collect $2500 off a single patient.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s say you do that with a 100 patients. Then the numbers get significantly larger, faster,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Jamrosz said home health care billing for Medicare in Illinois amounts to about $1 billion a year.</p><p>Last year, the federal government recovered more than $3 billion from Medicare fraud schemes -- <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/chicago/press-releases/2015/twelve-charged-in-chicago-as-part-of-largest-national-medicare-fraud-takedown-in-history" target="_blank">2014 was a record high for fraud prosecutions, nationally.</a> Health and Human Services officials predict this could be another banner year. &nbsp;</p><p>Jamrosz isn&rsquo;t sure why fraud cases are up -- but said it could be better data collection. He said investigators can spot irregularities before wrongdoing is reported, but it&rsquo;s still difficult to stop.</p><p>&ldquo;The minute we turn off one faucet, they&rsquo;re going to open up another one, or they&rsquo;re going to go somewhere else. It&rsquo;s a very delicate balance because we want people to have care when they need care,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Someday Gregory might actually need home health care, which is why it&rsquo;s good she worked with her doctor and a seniors organization to resolve the fraudulent billing. If she hadn&rsquo;t, she might have trouble getting care in the future.</p><p>For now, Gregory still goes to the same food pantry where she met Kim -- but she&rsquo;s cautious about who she talks to and what information she shares.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://ttps://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">@soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/medicare-scammers-taking-advantage-low-income-beneficiaries-113229 Siblings detained in Islamic State case http://www.wbez.org/news/siblings-detained-islamic-state-case-111053 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/isis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A young Bolingbrook man accused of trying to leave the U.S. to join ISIS allegedly brought two younger siblings with him, federal prosecutors said during a hearing Monday.</p><p>Hamzah Khan, 19, was detained with a brother and sister at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport in early October. He&rsquo;s charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. His brother and sister, who were 16 and 17 at the time, have not been charged nor have their names been released.</p><p>Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hiller said Khan and his siblings were trying to fly to Vienna, and then to Turkey, where they allegedly planned to sneak into Syria to join ISIS.</p><p>&quot;He tried to take his high school-aged siblings halfway around the world to a war zone,&quot; Hiller said, portraying Khan as the main instigator of the plan.</p><p>He told the judge that Khan had a &ldquo;sophisticated&rdquo; plan to get himself and his siblings to ISIS. Khan allegedly planned the journey for months, including getting a job at a retail store and a credit card to raise money to purchase plane tickets costing nearly $2,700 for himself and his siblings. He also allegedly applied for their passport renewals and visas.</p><p>At the detention hearing Monday, a federal judge ruled that Khan could not be released on bond because he poses a flight risk and is a potential danger to the community.</p><p>The court arguments and exhibits released by both prosecutors and the defense Monday offered a first glimpse into details of the case.</p><p>Hiller said letters, notebooks and other evidence found in the Khan home made it clear that the siblings planned to engage in violence if they got to Syria. The siblings wrote and doodled about ISIS on school notes and an academic calendar, too.</p><p>They &quot;not only had barbaric rhetoric ... they tried to carry it out,&quot; Hiller said.</p><p>All three children left letters for their parents that offer a window into the minds of other young people like them who are allegedly fleeing the U.S. to join ISIS and other terror groups.</p><p>Khan&rsquo;s sister wrote to her parents that her heart was &ldquo;crying with the thought that I left you and that I will probably never see you again &hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>They all begged their parents not to call the police. Prosecutors said Monday the parents didn&rsquo;t know about the activities. In fact, Hiller said, when agents arrived to search the home, the mother thought at least one of the kids was upstairs sleeping and led agents to the bedroom, to find it empty.</p><p>In their letters, the kids wrote of watching Muslims being killed overseas, of not wanting their tax money to fund these military actions, of disenchantment and even disgust with the values of the Western world.</p><p>They wrote, too, that they believe there&rsquo;s an obligation for Muslims to join ISIS now that the group has a self-declared Islamic state, or caliphate.</p><p>Hamzah Khan said he couldn&rsquo;t live under a system in which he couldn&rsquo;t speak about jihad or other beliefs.</p><p>&ldquo;Me living in comfort with my family while my other family are getting killed is plain selfish of me,&quot; he wrote, adding he didn&rsquo;t want his future children raised &ldquo;in a filthy environment like this. We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral day by day.&rdquo;</p><p>In another notebook entry, one of his siblings allegedly writes that when talk of Jihad came up, men turned away and said, &lsquo;&ldquo;The time has not come yet, our elders are not doing it, if the scholars have not said it, who are you to? It is pointless, Islam does not preach violence &hellip; I swear by the one who holds my soul in his hands, I will not give this up even if the entire world turns against me.&rsquo;&rdquo; That sibling allegedly used the Twitter handle @DeathIsVNear.</p><p>Hiller called the writings &ldquo;a far cry from misguided youth with overzealous religious beliefs.&quot;</p><p>But defense attorney Tom Durkin argued the opposite. He said prosecutors don&#39;t have the evidence to prove Hamzah Khan actually sought to provide material support to militants from the so-called Islamic State.</p><p>Durkin said there was an &ldquo;enormous amount of evidence&rdquo; Khan wanted to go live in a caliphate, and considered it a religious obligation, but that act alone was not a crime. He said there wasn&rsquo;t &ldquo;clear cut evidence&rdquo; Khan wanted to fight with ISIS.</p><p>He said Hamzah Khan was being accused of a &ldquo;thought crime,&rdquo; and that the government was trying to use statements of religious belief to infer Khan was dangerous.</p><p>He described Khan as a devout, sensitive, thoughtful kid committed to his faith. He said Khan and young people like him are being &ldquo;brainwashed&rdquo; by slick marketing and social media campaigns by ISIS into believing they need to join or otherwise be un-Islamic.</p><p>Durkin was sharply critical of U.S. policy to charge young people who are trying to join ISIS with criminal acts, rather than trying to deprogram them and correct &ldquo;misguided&rdquo; thoughts and information, as some other countries have done.</p><p>He said Khan is now wishing he hadn&rsquo;t decided to go.</p><p>Last Friday, the judge denied the government&rsquo;s request to partially close Monday&#39;s detention hearing. Federal prosecutors had argued the need to protect the identity of two minors who they intended to bring up at the hearing. Durkin heralded the judge&#39;s decision.</p><p>Khan is charged with seeking to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.</p></p> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/siblings-detained-islamic-state-case-111053 Morning Shift: New book reveals the FBI's past attack on African-American writers http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-10-24/morning-shift-new-book-reveals-fbis-past-attack-african-american <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Courtesy of Facebook.png" alt="" /><p><p>We have an interview with Mayor Emanuel&#39;s new pick for City Treasurer. And, we hear from the author of a new book that exposes a know chapter in FBI history revolved around African American writers. Plus, the sounds of French jazz vocalist, Cyrille Aimee.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-80/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-80.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-80" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New book reveals the FBI's past attack on African-American writers" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2014-10-24/morning-shift-new-book-reveals-fbis-past-attack-african-american Feds: Illinois teen wanted to join Islamic State http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-illinois-teen-wanted-join-islamic-state-110898 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/fbi.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>A 19-year-old American left a letter expressing disgust with Western society before trying to board an international flight in Chicago, the first step in his plan to sneak into Syria to join the Islamic State group, according to a federal criminal complaint released Monday.</p><p>Mohammed Hamzah Khan, who lived with his parents in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, was arrested Saturday at O&#39;Hare International Airport trying to board a plane on the first leg of connecting flights to Turkey, which borders Syria. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.</p><p>Investigators said Khan left a three-page, handwritten letter in his bedroom for his parents that expressed anger over his U.S. taxes being used to kill his &quot;Muslim brothers and sisters,&quot; an apparent reference to a bombing campaign against Islamic State militants.</p><p>&quot;We are all witness that the western societies are getting more immoral day by day,&quot; he wrote, then signed letter, &quot;Your loving son,&quot; according to court documents.</p><p>Khan appeared in a federal court Monday in orange jail clothes, calmly telling a federal magistrate he understood the allegations. As marshals led him away in handcuffs, the slight, bearded young man turned to smile at his parents &mdash; his father putting his arm around Khan&#39;s weeping mother.</p><p>About a dozen Americans are believed to be fighting in Syria, while more than 100 have either been arrested on their way to Syria or went and came back, FBI Director James Comey said recently without offering details.</p><p>Khan sought to fly Austrian Airlines to Istanbul by way of Vienna when customs officers stopped him going through security at O&#39;Hare&#39;s international terminal. While FBI agents interviewed him there, investigators searched his home.</p><p>It&#39;s unclear why authorities stopped Khan. Prosecutors, Khan&#39;s federal defender attorney and his parents didn&#39;t comment after Monday&#39;s hearing.</p><p>In the letter found by FBI agents, Khan also pleaded that his parents not contact authorities. Other documents found during the search of his home included a notebook drawing of what appeared to be an armed fighter with an Islamic State flag and the words &quot;Come to Jihad&quot; written in Arabic, according to the complaint.</p><p>Also found were drawings with arrows indicating where Khan might cross the border into Syria from Turkey.</p><p>Khan allegedly told FBI agents that an online source gave him the number of a person to contact when he got to Istanbul who would lead him to Islamic State members. When asked what he would do once in territory controlled by the Islamic State, Khan allegedly said he would &quot;be involved in some type of public service, a police force, humanitarian work or a combat role,&quot; according to the complaint.</p><p>Khan was ordered to remain jailed until at least a detention hearing Thursday. Prosecutors indicated they would ask he stay behind bars pending trial.</p><p>At a two-story house believed to be his family&#39;s home, no one would address reporters outside. But neighbor Steve Moore, 31, described Khan as a soft spoken and polite, saying the young man his family were always friendly and quick to say hello.</p><p>Another young man from the Chicago area also is accused of trying to join militants in Syria. Abdella Tounisi, of Aurora, was arrested last year at O&#39;Hare when he was 18. He has pleaded not guilty to seeking to provide material support to al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.</p></p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 13:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/feds-illinois-teen-wanted-join-islamic-state-110898 Illinois Rep. Derrick Smith convicted of bribery http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-rep-derrick-smith-convicted-bribery-110313 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP362609502394.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal jury in Chicago on Tuesday convicted Illinois state Rep. Derrick Smith of bribery for taking $7,000 from a purported day care operator seeking a state grant.</p><p>In a weeklong trial, prosecutors played secret recordings of the 50-year-old Chicago Democrat accepting 70 $100 bills in exchange for a letter supporting the $50,000 state grant &mdash; though it was all part of an FBI sting.</p><p>Jurors returned their verdict after deliberating about four hours over two days. Smith showed no emotion as he learned his fate, sitting with his hands folded. A family member patted him on the shoulder minutes later.</p><p>Outside court, a subdued Smith told reporters: &quot;We gave it a good fight. God knows the truth. Jurors didn&#39;t see what God saw.&quot;</p><p>No sentencing date was set, but a status hearing was set for Sept. 23. Smith was released pending a sentencing date.</p><p>The recordings of Smith by a campaign worker-turned-informant included one where Smith uses slang talking about the handover of the bribe, asking, &quot;How she going to get the cheddar to us?&quot; In another he says, &quot;I don&#39;t want no trace of it.&quot;</p><p>Prosecutors also described how a distraught Smith admitted after his March 13, 2012, arrest he took the bribe. He even brought agents to his bedroom, retrieved $2,500 in leftover bribe cash from the foot of his bed and handed it over.</p><p>Shortly after Smith&#39;s arrest, his House colleagues voted 100-6 to expel him. But he was reinstated after winning his late-2012 election. He lost his 2014 primary and was supposed to finish out his current term. However, a felony conviction means he will lose his seat.</p><p>Jurors found Smith guilty on all charges &mdash; one count of bribery and one of attempted extortion. Combined, the convictions carry a maximum 30-year prison sentence.</p><p>At trial, the defense attacked the credibility of the informant, who was only referred to by his first name, Pete, in court. They described him as a deadbeat and convicted felon who &quot;set up&quot; Smith for $1,000-a-week payments from the FBI.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s a hustler,&quot; defense attorney Victor Henderson told jurors during closing arguments Monday. &quot;He hustled the representative and he hustled the FBI.&quot;</p><p>The attorney argued that Pete hoodwinked a devoted public servant together with an overzealous FBI.</p><p>&quot;He wasn&#39;t going to commit a crime,&quot; Henderson said, pointing to Smith. &quot;That was something they fabricated.&quot;</p><p>But prosecutor Marsha McClellan said in her closing that the recordings and other evidence demonstrated that no one led Smith astray against his will.</p><p>&quot;There sits a defendant whose public face is one of service, but who privately wanted to use that office ... to get cash into his pockets,&quot; she said.</p><p>In a recording from early March 2012, Pete counts aloud as he hands the cash to Smith in seven $1,000 stacks. As the informant counts the fifth stack, he curses as the money sticks together. He pauses, then counts the rest.</p><p>Pete then jokingly chides Smith for not expressing gratitude, saying, &quot;(You) didn&#39;t even say thank you.&quot;</p><p>The prosecutor said that Smith&#39;s easy, confident tone on the recordings illustrated he didn&#39;t think he&#39;d ever get caught.</p><p>&quot;Never in a million years did he expect us to listen to him now,&quot; McClellan told jurors. &quot;He never thought this day would come.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-rep-derrick-smith-convicted-bribery-110313 Convicted mobster Frank Calabrese dies in federal prison http://www.wbez.org/news/convicted-mobster-frank-calabrese-dies-federal-prison-104570 <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72764836"></iframe> <p>Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., a hit man who strangled victims and then slashed their throats to be sure they were dead, has died in a federal prison in North Carolina, authorities said.</p><p>Calabrese, 75, died Tuesday at the Butner Federal Medical Center, said Ed Ross, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ross had no information on the cause of death, though Calabrese claimed at his sentencing in 2009 that he suffered from a host of ailments, including an enlarged heart.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very emotional right now because there were two sides to my dad, and I miss the good side,&quot; Calabrese&#39;s son Frank Calabrese Jr. told the Chicago Sun-Times. He had helped put his father behind bars by secretly recording him boasting about mob killings.</p><p>Calabrese was among five men convicted in September 2007 at the Family Secrets trial, which resulted from a major, multiyear effort by the federal government to weaken the Chicago Outfit, as the city&#39;s organized crime family calls itself.</p><p>The investigation also was aimed at clearing 18 unsolved mob murders dating back to the early 1970s. Calabrese was blamed for many of them and sentenced to life in prison.</p><p>It was Chicago&#39;s biggest underworld trial in decades and it produced sensational testimony, including a description from his brother of how Calabrese preferred to strangle victims with a rope and then slash their throats to make sure they were dead.</p><p>None of the defendants in the Family Secrets trial was charged with murder. They were convicted of racketeering, but the jury held Calabrese and two others responsible for various killings designed to silence witnesses and mete out mob vengeance.</p><p>Calabrese laughed during some of the trial&#39;s most grisly testimony.</p><p>Family members say Calabrese inflicted violence on them as well, with one son, Kurt, recalling during Calabrese&#39;s sentencing that his &quot;father was never a father &mdash; he acted as an enforcer to me,&quot; threatening to &quot;bite your nose off&quot; and make him &quot;disappear.&quot;</p><p>Frank Calabrese Jr. told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that that violent history made his father&#39;s death especially emotional.</p><p>&quot;I believe he was taken on Christmas Day for a reason,&quot; he said. &quot;I hope he made peace. I hope he&#39;s up above looking down on us. ... He&#39;s not suffering anymore. The people on the street aren&#39;t suffering anymore.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 13:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/convicted-mobster-frank-calabrese-dies-federal-prison-104570 Immigration enforcement program faces novel suit http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-enforcement-program-faces-novel-suit-100646 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ColoradoFingerprinting.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 214px; height: 250px; " title="A sheriff’s deputy in Centennial, Colo., prepares to fingerprint a suspect as part of booking into the Arapahoe County Justice Center. Secure Communities runs the fingerprints of everyone booked into jail against immigration records. (AP File/Chris Schneider)" />We&rsquo;ve been hearing a lot about how immigration enforcement intersects with local law enforcement. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. Now we&rsquo;ll hear from our West Side bureau about a suburban Chicago man who got tangled up with immigration enforcement after a drug arrest. He has filed a suit that offers a novel challenge to one of President Obama&rsquo;s key immigration-enforcement programs.</p><p>MITCHELL: There&rsquo;s no doubt James Makowski of Clarendan Hills did something illegal. In 2010 police caught him with heroin and he pleaded guilty to that. A judge approved him for a state-run boot camp. But that&rsquo;s not where Makowski ended up.</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I thought I would be home in 120 days but -- then after I get a note back from a counselor, after I&rsquo;d asked about when I&rsquo;d be shipping to boot camp -- she said that I was ineligible for boot camp due to an immigration detainer.</p><p>MITCHELL: That&rsquo;s basically a flag in his file from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE. So . . .</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I got sent to the maximum-security penitentiary in Pontiac.</p><p>MITCHELL: And he stayed for about two months. How did this happen? It comes down to an ICE program called Secure Communities. In that program, FBI fingerprint data about people booked at local jails get run against immigration data. If a check yields a match, ICE can issue one of its detainers. The point is to catch people in the criminal justice system who are not authorized to be in the U.S. and eventually deport them. The thing is, Makowski had every right to be in the country.</p><p>MAKOWSKI: I feel like I got punished twice for what I did in my past.</p><p>MITCHELL: Makowski&rsquo;s detention was based on faulty information. He was born in India and adopted by a U.S. family. When he was 1, the government granted him citizenship. But &mdash; at age 22, when he got picked up on the heroin charge &mdash; the feds didn&rsquo;t have their records right. So, Makowski stayed in that maximum-security pen before authorities straightened things out and let him into the boot camp. On Tuesday, Makowski filed a federal suit over all this. Defendants include top officials at the FBI, ICE and their parent departments. Makowski claims that when the FBI shared data with ICE &mdash; and when ICE didn&rsquo;t keep track of his citizenship status &mdash; they violated his rights under the U.S. Privacy Act. Legal experts say the suit appears to be the first challenge to Secure Communities under that law. Makowski&rsquo;s attorneys include Mark Fleming of the Chicago-based National Immigrant Justice Center.</p><p>FLEMING: There [are] simple ways in which both the FBI and ICE could be in compliance with the Privacy Act.</p><p>MITCHELL: Fleming says ICE could, for example, interview suspected immigration violators before slapping detainers on them.</p><p>FLEMING: Unfortunately, the system does not provide those basic checks right now and, so, there are many more U.S. citizens that are getting wrapped up into this.</p><p>MITCHELL: Officials at ICE and the departments of Justice and Homeland Security did not answer our questions about the suit Tuesday (see&nbsp;<a href="#note">UPDATE</a>). An FBI spokesman said his agency does not comment about pending litigation outside the courtroom. But a supporter of tougher immigration controls doubts that the Privacy Act protects U.S. citizens from what Makowski endured. Jessica Vaughan directs policy studies for a Washington group called the Center for Immigration Studies. Vaughan says the FBI and ICE share the fingerprint information for legitimate law-enforcement purposes.</p><p>VAUGHAN: Mistakes can be made. But that is not necessarily a reason to throw out the whole system.</p><p>MITCHELL: Vaughan says it&rsquo;s important to keep something else in mind.</p><p><a name="note"></a></p><p>VAUGHAN: The individual who&rsquo;s filing this suit would not have had anything to worry about had he not been convicted of a serious crime to begin with. He was convicted of a drug crime.</p><p>MITCHELL: Convicted he was. But Makowski says no one should have to serve extra time behind bars because of errors in immigration records.</p><p><em>After a deadline for Tuesday&rsquo;s broadcast of this story, ICE provided this statement: &ldquo;The information-sharing partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI serves as the cornerstone of Secure Communities, and fulfills a mandate required by federal law. This information sharing does not violate the Privacy Act. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is evaluating the allegations contained in the lawsuit; however, we do not comment on pending litigation.&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>The ICE statement continues: &ldquo;In December ICE announced a new detainer form and the launch of a toll-free hotline &mdash; (855) 448-6903 &mdash; that detained individuals can call if they believe they may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by ICE personnel at the Law Enforcement Support Center. Translation services are available in several languages from 7 a.m. until midnight (Eastern), seven days a week. ICE personnel collect information from the individual and refer it to the relevant ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office for immediate action.&rdquo;</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/immigration-enforcement-program-faces-novel-suit-100646 Feds raid Northwest Indiana office http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/feds-raid-northwest-indiana-office-99832 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS5849_van til and stig-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal authorities are sorting through files and computers confiscated from the Surveyor&rsquo;s office in Lake County, Indiana. No one is saying what&rsquo;s behind the investigation.</p><p>About a dozen FBI agents arrived to the office in Crown Point late Tuesday morning. Office employees were told to leave and not come back for two hours as documents and computer hard drives were taken under subpoena.</p><p>The elected surveyor, George Van Til, would only issue a written statement.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a total surprise to me and I&rsquo;m not really aware of exactly what&rsquo;s going on and what the authorities are looking for or at. I can&rsquo;t answer any questions at this time. We will assess this situation later,&rdquo; Van Til said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important for everyone not to jump to any conclusions. This is not the first time the FBI has been in a government office here nor will it be the last time I&rsquo;m sure.&rdquo;</p><p>The FBI office in Indianapolis declined comment.</p><p>An elected county official, who asked not to be identified, believes the investigation centers around Van Til&rsquo;s possible use of county equipment for his re-election campaign.</p><p>A longtime Northwest Indiana politician, Van Til&rsquo;s been the county surveyor for the last 20 years. The office&rsquo;s primary responsibility is flood control, along with collecting and storing county geographic information. In early May, Van Til won the Democratic primary. He faces a little known Republican challenger in the fall.</p><p>John Dull, who serves as the attorney for the Lake County Commissioners, the executive branch of county government whose office is just down the hall from Van Til, said he does not know what the FBI is investigating.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t have any indication of what the subject may be. I don&rsquo;t know. They did not give me a subpoena,&rdquo; Dull said. &ldquo;I learned about it when two people came in and that they were passed up by the people as they went up to the surveyor&rsquo;s office and that&rsquo;s when I learned it.&rdquo;</p><p>Lake County government and some of the cities that are within the county, Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, have seen their share of public corruption scandals over the years.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 05 Jun 2012 18:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/feds-raid-northwest-indiana-office-99832