He tried to cash in a bearer bond for how much???

There were plenty of clues that a billion-dollar U.S. bearer bond that a man tried to cash in Fort Lauderdale was just too good to be true

The bond, supposedly issued in 1934, appears to have been printed on an inkjet printer and seemed to contain a security thread – both technologies that did not exist until many years later, investigators said. The counterfeit bond also featured a photograph of Grover Cleveland, who was president in the 1880s and 1890s.

But perhaps the biggest clue was the eye-popping billion-dollar figure on the face of the bond. U.S. Secret Service Agent Charles Callahan told a judge Wednesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale that the highest-valued bearer bond in that era was $10,000 and the highest-valued bond ever was a $1 million one issued in 1978.

Hugo Barrios Briceno, the 50-year-old Venezuelan man accused of trying to cash the counterfeit bond at a Fort Lauderdale financial business earlier this month, will remain locked up because he is a potential flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt ruled Wednesday…

The judge asked to see the document during the court hearing, joking: “Believe it or not, I’ve never seen a billion-dollar bond before.”

“That’s because they don’t exist — not legally anyway,” prosecutor Daniel Cervantes quipped…

Prosecutors said that the bond would have an equivalent value of 19 billion dollars in today’s currency. They also said that a simple Google search would have shown Barrios Briceno that billion-dollar bonds are not legitimate.

The judge said the evidence presented so far was sufficient but not “overwhelming,” adding that he thinks the outcome of the prosecution will hinge on precisely what Barrios Briceno said during an audio-and-video-recorded meeting with undercover Secret Service agents in Fort Lauderdale.

It would not be a crime to try to verify if the bond was genuine but it would be illegal to attempt to cash it while claiming it was valid…

Hey, maybe he was hustled by some dude who used it for loan collateral back in South America. Or maybe he’s a con man who didn’t do his homework.

Hackers invited to check for security failures in a few Pentagon websites — only found 138!

High-tech hackers brought in by the Pentagon to breach Defense Department websites were able to burrow in and find 138 different security gaps…

The so-called white-hat hackers were turned loose on five public Pentagon internet pages and were offered various bounties if they could find unique vulnerabilities. The Pentagon says 1,410 hackers participated in the challenge and the first gap was identified just 13 minutes after the hunt began.

Overall, they found 1,189 vulnerabilities, but a review by the Pentagon determined that only 138 were valid and unique.

The experiment cost $150,000. Of that, about half was paid out to the hackers as bounties, including one who received the maximum prize of $15,000 for submitting a number of security gaps. Others received varying amounts, to as low as $100.

“These are ones we weren’t aware of, and now we have the opportunity to fix them. And again, it’s a lot better than either hiring somebody to do that for you, or finding out the hard way,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter…

Called “Hack the Pentagon,” the program will be followed by a series of initiatives, including a process that will allow anyone who finds a security gap in Defense Department systems to report it without fear of prosecution. The department will also expand the bounty program to the military services and encourage contractors to allow similar scrutiny.

Which is why beta-testing is always needed. No matter the skill of code-designers, software engineers, product has to be opened to testing in a wider arena than anything available in-house. And, then – pay attention to what happens after that.

Always something to be discovered. Hopefully, by someone wearing a white hat.

Body of Alien Savior found decomposing in parking lot

A man whose body was discovered decomposing in a Southern California parking lot last week was believed by his fiancee to be an alien from another world, who had arrived on Earth to save humanity…

It’s the latest detail in a bizarre death investigation that involves a theory of extraterrestrial intelligence, intrigue — and a newly found arsenal of guns and ammo inside the man’s home…

The ordeal started July 4, while Jeffrey Lash and his fiancee of 17 years, Catherine Nebron, were at a Santa Monica grocery store. According to Nebron’s attorney, Harlan Braun, Lash suddenly fell ill and suffered a seizure.

Nebron and her employee, Dawn VadBunker, attempted to render aid.

“They worked on him for three hours, trying to revive him and then he died,” Braun said, also noting that Lash had battled cancer for more than a year.

Once it was known the man was dead, though, Braun said Nebron placed the body into her vehicle in the store’s parking lot and departed with VadBunker for Oregon. Lash’s body sat in the SUV and decomposed in the hot Southern California sun for nearly two weeks.

According to VadBunker’s mother, Laura, neither woman reported the death to authorities because they believed Lash was a half human-half alien being from another world who had come to Earth to save humanity. They also reportedly believed he’d been working secretly with the U.S. government, and that federal agents would soon come by to collect the body…

Upon returning to Southern California — and discovering that no government agency had come for her fiancé’s remains — Braun said Nebron finally notified police…

However, at that point the ordeal took yet another bizarre turn.

Investigators were shocked themselves when they showed up this week at the couple’s condo — and found more than 1,200 firearms, 6 tons of ammunition, and $230,000 — entirely in cash.

The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to sort out the case — but it’s not yet known exactly why Lash died, why he had so many firearms, or how he amassed all that money.

“It does not make any sense, but it’s probably a continuation of this fantasy world where he is a secret man which he is supposed to not reveal who he really is,” Braun said…

It all seems clear to me. Obviously the alien planet Jeffrey Lash came from is secretly funding the NRA. The weapons, ammo and cash are simply the means of exchange between the planet’s overlords and their underlings here on earth.

This has to be true. Certainly you don’t think some ordinary nutball could acquire 1200 firearms and 6 tons of ammo without the help of extra-terrestrial powers.

Judge orders stripper’s life savings returned with interest…one year after state trooper confiscated it as drug money

A Californian stripper will have her life savings of over $1 million returned to her almost a year after it was confiscated by a Nebraska State Trooper who thought it was drugs money.

Exotic dancer, Tasha Mishra, 33, of Rancho Cucamonga, will be reunited with $1,074,900 plus interest, after Judge Joseph F. Batailon today found no evidence that the money was to be used in a drug dealing operation.

The million dollar fortune had been amassed by Mishra over the course of 15 years and was intended by her to be used to buy a nightclub in New Jersey and get her out of the stripping business…

Nebraska State troopers confiscated the cash on March 3rd 2012 when they pulled over Rajesh and Marina Dheri, of Montville, New Jersey, for speeding…

The Dheri’s are friends of Mishra and had been handed the cash by Mishra two days earlier and they were transporting the money across the country after flying into Los Angeles to meet the millionaire dancer.

Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Ryan Hayes issued Rajesh Dheri with a speeding ticket and then asked the couple if they were carrying anything illegal in the car such as drugs.

The Dheri’s said no and gave Hayes permission to search the Mercedes SUV they had rented two days prior.

The troopers discovered two drawstring bags containing rubber-banded bundles of cash in $100s and then seized it, believing it was related to narcotics.

The Dheri’s told the troopers that the money was for a nightclub that they and a friend were to buy in New Jersey but a drug sniffing dog found traces of narcotics on the money.

Presumably coppers know – as well as you and I know – that all American money bears traces of drugs.

Objecting, the Dheri’s told the troopers to phone Mishra who informed them the money was hers. Regardless, the U.S. Attorney’s office proceeded with confiscating the cash – telling Mishra she had no legal right to object because she was not in the car…

‘In any event, that claimant Tara Mishra earned her money by lap dancing and nude dancing does not mean that a Nebraska State Trooper can take her life savings,’ Mishra’s attorney Roger Diamond told the Journal Star…

joseph_f-_bataillon_district_judge

U.S. attorney Nancy Svoboda said blah, blah, blah.’

Judge Bataillon ruled otherwise after Mishra provided evidence of earnings on tax returns and paper details of the agreement to buy the bar in new Jersey…

In general, Bataillon said, the government ‘left too many unanswered questions and had a general failure of proof in this case.’ – according to the Journal Star.

He directed the government to return the money, plus interest since the day it was taken.

Always nice to see the little guy win one against ignorant coppers, blindered bureaucrats and the government. I wish Tasha Mishra and her associates well in their new business.

I suppose I should say I hope officials in the Nebraska State Police learned something from this disaster – but, frankly, I think that’s unlikely. Change is too difficult for people who run their lives like a mass-produced comic book.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Karzai assured of sufficient cash by CIA delivery boy


“I don’t care if Bush said he’d let you plant this to poppies…Michelle won’t allow it.”

The C.I.A.’s station chief here met with President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, and the Afghan leader said he had been assured that the agency would continue dropping off stacks of cash at his office despite a storm of criticism that has erupted since the payments were disclosed.

The C.I.A. money, Mr. Karzai told reporters, was “an easy source of petty cash,” and some of it was used to pay off members of the political elite, a group dominated by warlords.

The use of the C.I.A. cash for payoffs has prompted criticism from many Afghans and some American and European officials, who complain that the agency, in its quest to maintain access and influence at the presidential palace, financed what is essentially a presidential slush fund. The practice, the officials say, effectively undercut a pillar of the American war strategy: the building of a clean and credible Afghan government to wean popular support from the Taliban.

Instead, corruption at the highest levels seems to have only worsened. The International Monetary Fund recently warned diplomats in Kabul that the Afghan government faced a potentially severe budget shortfall partly because of the increasing theft of customs duties and officially abetted tax evasion…

…Mr. Karzai, in offering his most detailed accounting to date of how the money had been used, probably raised as many questions as he answered…Formal aid, for instance, is publicly accounted for and audited. The C.I.A.’s cash is not, though Mr. Karzai did say the Americans were given receipts for the money they dropped off at the presidential palace.

Asked why money that was used for what would appear to be justifiable governing and charitable expenses was handed over secretly by the C.I.A. and not routed publicly through the State Department, Mr. Karzai replied: “This is cash. It is the choice of the U.S. government.”

He added, “If tomorrow the State Department decides to give us such cash, I’d welcome that, too.”

Mr. Karzai declined to specify how much cash his office received each month, or how much it had been given by the C.I.A. so far. At his meeting with the station chief, it was made clear to him that “we are not allowed to disclose” the amount, he said…

The American Embassy in Kabul, which handles queries for the C.I.A., declined to comment.

Heartwarming to note that American foreign policy hasn’t especially changed since the days of John Foster Dulles and Dean Rusk. Corruption is closer akin to the White House and Congress than anything offered by sovereign democracy.

Staff sergeant says she betrayed her country and her family – as an embezzler in Afghanistan


This is how we shipped cash to Iraq for Bremer

In Afghanistan, Tonya Long, a 13-year Army veteran, approved military cash payments to Afghan drivers of “jingle trucks,” the colorful transport trucks that carry supplies to U.S. bases.

Last week, Staff Sgt. Long stood in the dock in a federal courtroom here and read aloud from a statement she had written on notebook paper:

“I cannot express how sorry I am … I chose to betray my country and my family.” She did not ask for mercy, she told a judge, “because I don’t deserve it.”

Long, 30, had pleaded guilty to stealing at least $1 million and shipping the cash in hundred-dollar bills to the U.S. in the guts of hollowed-out VCR players.

Long’s scam is part of a pattern of fraud and theft among U.S. soldiers responsible for paying Afghans who support U.S. forces. Last year, 18 U.S. soldiers were charged with such thefts, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction. Nine U.S. contractors also were charged…

At least two other U.S. Army officers are under investigation in Long’s scam, and federal prosecutors say more indictments are likely. As part of a plea deal, Long agreed to testify against others allegedly involved.

At Long’s hearing March 4, U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle called the case “a critically symbolic prosecution,” and speculated that Long and her suspected allies might have actually stolen $10 million or more. The judge suggested that such thefts have been going on since the U.S. mission in Afghanistan began more than a decade ago.

The judge said…Long’s theft undermined America’s mission in a country where the Afghan government is routinely accused of rampant corruption and bribery…

“There were tens of thousands of other soldiers … under 24-hour-a-day threat of death,” the judge told Long. “Where is your sympathy for them while you were stealing? What a betrayal!”

Under Long’s plea agreement, Boyle could not sentence her to more than five years in prison. He told her he was imposing the full five years, plus three years of supervised release — and ordered restitution of $1 million.

Someone mail me a penny postcard when Dick Cheney, George W Bush and flunkies like Paul Bremer and Ahmad Chalabi are indicted for corruption – sending our nation’s military off to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, “losing” money by the pallet-load.

There’s no denying Sergeant Long is a crook. But, her crime compares to those of Bremer, Chalabi and Company like someone robbing parking meters compared to car theft rings shipping boatloads of hot cars to Mexico. And she didn’t kill any civilians in the process.

Postal worker caught stealing cash – and penis enlargement pills

Stephan Brooks, a postal worker, was caught stealing penis enlargement pills from a parcel.

Brooks was spotted by his manager using a penknife to slice open post at his job at the Royal Mail sorting office in Chelmsford, Essex. The 47-year-old from Benfleet, Essex was put under two days of surveillance.

Investigators watched as Brooks helped himself to a pot of VigRX – a penis enlargement supplement – from a parcel he had opened.

Staff watched Brooks opened up parcel after parcel, checking contents before putting them back if they were of no interest. During a second day of CCTV surveillance he took his penknife to seven more packages and stole cash…

Brooks was confronted by security staff and asked that he be allowed to turn himself in to police…

Brooks was handed a six-month suspended sentence at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court after admitting two counts of theft and three charges of unlawfully opening Royal Mail packages…

Other items Brooks nabbed included Ray-Ban sunglasses, a designer watch, cufflinks and a harmonica.

A Renaissance thief – though his mates will never let him hear the end of stealing penis enlargement pills. No doubt.

So, you check out this parked car and there’s $15 million in cash and 3 kilos of coke inside – WTF?


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Soldiers in Mexico have seized $15.3 million in cash, believed to belong to the country’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

The security forces said they found the money when they searched a car in a well-to do neighbourhood of Tijuana, on the US-Mexico border. They said the money was being taken to a safe house used by Shorty Guzman and his gang, the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

It is the second largest cash seizure since Felipe Calderon became president.

Defence Ministry spokesman Gen Ricardo Trevilla said the find was made during a “surprise operation” in the Cumbres de Juarez neighbourhood of Tijuana, in Baja California state.

He said the soldiers found $15.35m in cash, 3kg of cocaine, four weapons, and jewellery inside the car…

He did not say what led the troops to the cash. No arrests were made.

No arrests were made? No idea who the car belonged to? No search of nearby houses?

Are we to think the drogas drop a car full of cash and coke blocks away from easy access?

Convent robbers took amazing stash of cash from nuns

They have all taken the traditional vow of poverty, so police and tax inspectors in Spain want to know why the nuns at Zaragoza’s Santa Lucia convent claimed that a robber had stolen €1.5million in cash from them.

The nuns’ unorthodox banking system, using dozens of black bin liners stuffed with high denomination euro banknotes, has made investigators suspect that the cash they handled did not come solely from the Sunday collection plate. The fact that they later changed their story to claim that the money that disappeared while they were saying their prayers a fortnight ago only amounted to €450,000 has done nothing to allay those suspicions.

According to the evidence given to police, the nuns kept their haul of cash in a locked cupboard, much of it in the €500 notes favoured by those paying for, or receiving, services in Spain’s abundant black economy…

The nuns said they had been preparing to distribute some of the money to other convents in financial difficulties. Unlike most of the nuns who live in the hundreds of crumbling, half-empty convents dotted around Spain, the 16 Cistercians at Santa Lucia have no financial problems.

As expert restorers of old books, their services are constantly required by libraries and private collectors. Neighbours said the convent was always busy, with the nuns’ white van constantly driving in and out of the gates. One of their number, Sister Isabel Guerra, is a renowned portrait painter whose pictures fetch up to €40,000 each and are key to maintaining other Cistercian convents around Spain…

The nuns’ lawyer, Jesús Garcia Huíci, said…”The money comes from a lifetime of saving.”

So, if they are telling the truth, why didn’t they use a bank. I doubt if there’s a dicho in their catechism about refusing interest on savings.

Nope – changing your story to reduce the cash stolen by two-thirds is another footnote that prompts a bit more than curiosity.

Faking cancer for cash!


A miracle? Not really…

Canada — A Burlington woman who police say pretended to have cancer to raise money for herself appeared briefly in a Milton court Monday morning. Ashley Anne Kirilow is facing three counts of fraud under $5,000.

On Saturday, Kirilow’s father said he had no plans to post bail for his estranged daughter and no family members were present at her bail hearing.

Because no one showed up to act as her surety, Kirilow’s bail hearing was put over until Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to give her more time to secure bail money.

Kirilow appeared briefly in court dressed in a pale, peach-coloured frock and blue runners. Her light brown hair, now grown out, was tucked behind her ears…

Jackie Musial, 21, came from Oakville with her friend Meredith Dejonge, 25, to attend Kirilow’s bail hearing in Milton.

Both women say they were friends with Kirilow and were stunned to learn they had been lied to.

The two women aren’t exactly sure why they felt compelled to attend Kirilow’s bail hearing but they both wanted to see the woman they once considered a friend…

Musial said she never suspected Kirilow might have been lying about her illness. The woman was a convincing patient, she said, and would frequently update her Facebook status from the “hospital” or end online conversations by saying she had to go for a chemotherapy treatment…

But now, Musial wants nothing to do with Kirilow. “Everyone’s going to know her as the girl who faked cancer,” she said.

It’s hard to escape when it’s tattooed on her hands,” she added, referring to the markings Kirilow had tattooed on her hands in tribute to her alleged cancer.

Folks, I’m a firm believer in charity. Please, check out who and what you’re giving your money to!