Nation and world news briefs
Ex-USC admissions official to plead guilty to running scam to admit unqualified Chinese studentsLOS ANGELES — In exchange for money, a former admissions official at the University of Southern California helped graduate students from China gain acceptance to the school by submitting doctored transcripts, fraudulent letters of recommendation and bogus personal statements in their applications, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court.Hiu Kit David Chong, an assistant director in USC’s Office of Graduate Admissions from 2008 to 2016, agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud i...
Tribune News Service
Brooklyn man busted for selling personal protection equipment, then coughing on FBI agents and telling them he had coronavirus, feds say
NEW YORK — The coronavirus outbreak has revealed heroes in every community. And then there’s this guy.A Brooklyn man who said he had COVID-19 coughed on FBI agents, and lied to them about personal protection equipment he was hoarding to try to make a buck, authorities said Monday.Baruch Feldheim, 43, was arrested by FBI agents and charged with assaulting a federal officer and with making false statements to law enforcement.Prosecutors said Feldheim had accumulated much needed N95 respirators, personal protection surgical masks, medical gowns and disinfecting devices and was selling them to hea...
New York Daily News
Editorial: One more Iranian victim: Levinson's death after long captivity is a reminder of an outlaw regime's evil hostage-taking tactics
At a time when much of the world suffers in shared agony, reality once again intrudes to remind of the pain that exists apart from the scourge of the coronavirus, inflicted from a decidedly human origin.The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson revealed last week that U.S intelligence officials now believe that Levinson — who disappeared in 2007 in Iran on an unauthorized mission for the CIA — died sometime in recent years. It’s a tragic outcome for a man who spent more than a decade in Iranian captivity, making him the longest-held U.S. hostage in history.The father of seven and grandfa...
New York Daily News
Feds charge Venezuelan President Maduro, other top officials with narco-terrorism
MIAMI — In a stunning announcement amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department announced Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and several other government officials have been charged with turning Venezuela into a narco-state by collaborating with a leftist Colombian guerrilla group that exported tons of cocaine to the United States.An indictment, unveiled at a “virtual” news conference in Washington, D.C., accuses Maduro and other top officials in his socialist regime of conspiring with the U.S.-designated terrorist group known as the FARC so that Venezuela could be used...
Ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran believed dead by family
Former FBI agent Robert Levinson traveled to Iran in March 2007 and was never heard from again. Now, according to his family, he’s believed to be dead.“We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody,” Levinson’s family said in a statement, according to CNN. “We don’t know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”The final decade or so of Levinson’s life is, and perhaps always will be, shrouded in mystery. Iran has publicly denied knowing anything abou...
New York Daily News
Trudy Rubin: After Super Tuesday, expect greater Russian election interference amped up by Trump
The day before Super Tuesday, all the nation’s top security agencies issued a joint statement warning that “foreign actors continue to try to … cause confusion and create doubt in our system.”This should hardly have been surprising since intelligence officials and the FBI have been publicly warning that Russia is waging “information warfare” to fan U.S. political divisions and undermine trust in the 2020 elections.Yet, on Super Tuesday, President Donald Trump was tweeting about the “phony Russia Witch Hunt” and the “Mueller Scam,” Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed the Kremlin electi...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
FBI arrests 'violent extremists' after threatening posters sent to minorities, journalist
SEATTLE — The FBI has arrested four people described by the agency as “violent extremists” with ties to the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division after an investigation into threats mailed to people in Washington including a journalist and racial and religious minorities.The complaint names Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Wash., described as a primary recruiter for the domestic terrorist organization; Kaleb Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Fla.; and Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Ariz. All were taken into custody Tuesday or Wednesday...
The Seattle Times
Alleged killer worked as informant for Detroit police, federal agencies
DETROIT — A man who police say killed six people in and around Detroit worked as an informant for the Detroit Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chief James Craig said Wednesday in a news conference about the case.Craig said DPD signed Kenyel Brown — who shot himself in the head Monday during a police chase and is currently in critical condition — as an informant on Oct. 29, the same day he was released from federal supervision.Brown conducted one operation as an informant for a DPD and DEA task force, Craig said: He ...
Detroit Free Press
Editorial: Russia is still trying to tear the United States apart
Russia, an FBI official said on Monday, wants Americans to “tear ourselves apart” as we head toward the November election.The U.S. seems to be complying.Just last week came the news of a Feb. 13 congressional briefing on Moscow’s ongoing attack on the 2020 election, in which officials reportedly said Russia was working in support of President Donald Trump, just as it did in 2016 according to an intelligence report issued in 2017 by the Office of Director of National Intelligence.While the account of what was said Feb. 13 is in dispute, the Capitol Hill briefing reportedly enraged the president...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Fashion mogul Peter Nygard's headquarters raided by FBI, NYPD
NEW YORK — The FBI and the New York Police Department raided the Times Square headquarters of fashion mogul Peter Nygard Tuesday in connection with a sex trafficking investigation, a law enforcement source confirmed.The raid comes two weeks after 10 women sued Nygard for “pamper parties” at his Bahamas mansion where he allegedly sexually abused underage girls. Dozens more alleged victims have since provided evidence relevant to the civil suit detailing an elaborate trafficking operation, according to attorneys Greg Gutzler and Lisa Haba.Raids by the FBI and NYPD typically are not a sign that p...
New York Daily News