Tag Archives | Crime

DEA Agents Investigating Silk Road Embezzled Bitcoin

Cops pilfering criminals’ loot isn’t exactly new, but perhaps it is when the bounty is Bitcoin. From the Guardian:

“French Maid” wasn’t Carl Force’s officially sanctioned darknet alias.

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In his capacity as an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency agent, and a senior member of the team investigating the deep-web drug market Silk Road and its owner, Force used the alias “Nob”.

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road known then as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, believed Nob to be a drug smuggler operating in the US with criminal underworld connections.

But Force also created “French Maid” and “Death from Above” – separate aliases not sanctioned by his bosses which he used to extort from Ulbricht hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin, according to a complaint filed in a US district court in California.

In 2013, after a two-year investigation, the FBI arrested Ulbricht. In February 2015 he was found guilty on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic drugs and attempted purchase of a murder-for-hire.

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Ring her bell – you’ll unleash hell!

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Via KC Star:

Missouri woman pleads guilty to assaulting doorbell pranksters.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield woman could get a 10-year prison sentencing for threatening boys who rang her doorbell and ran away.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Ashley Crossland pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 to burglary, assault and unlawful use of a weapon after becoming angry because of a January 2014 prank.

A probable cause statement says Crossland tried to run one boy down with her van and punched another three times while holding a knife to his chest.

The Springfield News-Leader reports she was also charged with going to the home where the boys were having a sleepover and illegally entering the home.

One of the boys reportedly told police that Crossland came out of her home and began yelling at them as they ran away after they rang her doorbell. The boy said that after he turned a corner, he saw a van “driving crazy.”

Probable cause documents said the van tried to run the boy over, and backed him up against a fence.

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It’s Poverty, Not the ‘Teenage Brain,’ That Causes the Most Youth Crime

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Lauren Kirchner writes at The Pacific Standard:

While trading stories about the wide range of things that confused us when we were young children, a friend described how afraid he used to be of teenagers. He wasn’t afraid of any actual young adults in his life, but rather the capital-T teenagers he heard about when his parents watched the local news on TV every evening. It seemed to his nervous ears as though the police were always on the hunt for some devious, dangerous Teenagers who had committed some crime or another in his town.

Compounding his confusion was the vague knowledge that all of the adults in his life were once themselves teenagers. If being a Teenager necessarily meant committing crimes, then what had his parents and grandparents and teachers done in their day, he wondered? And how did they all seem to have gotten away with it?

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A Mad Pooper is Loose in Akron, Ohio

The Mad Pooper is still on the loose.

The Mad Pooper is still on the loose.

I once had a coworker who played a game called: “Ohio or Florida?” He would read news headlines of bizarre stories/crimes and try to guess if they happened in Ohio or Florida. His theory was that 9 times out of 10, these wild tales happened in either my home-state of Ohio or Florida. I would balk at this idea because, DUH, Ohio is great.

But then, I stumble upon stories like this and I realize, fuck, he may be right. I hail from Northeast Ohio, which makes this story even more hilarious.

There is a wild defecator on the loose in Akron, OH and his preferred toilet is the hood of cars. He also enjoys smearing it around—for some reason I’d rather not know. I think we need Tina Belcher to open an investigation.

It’s unclear if the mad pooper’s motive is mischief or if he has some underlying mental health issue. … Read the rest

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Predictive Policing and the Felony Lane Gang

Predictive policing is on the rise in the US, UK and Europe. The technique now faces one of its toughest challenges: the Felony Lane Gang, writes Chris Baraniuk at New Scientist:

They always choose the line at the bank farthest from CCTV – that’s how the Felony Lane Gang got its name. With crimes committed in 34 states, they’ve withdrawn millions of dollars from banks using cheques and credit cards stolen from cars. A handful of individuals connected to the group have been arrested, but the ringleaders have remained at large for years. Can crime-predicting software finally stop them in their tracks?

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Photo: Pierre-alain dorange (CC)

 

That’s the hope of police in the US, who have begun using advanced software to analyse crime data in conjunction with emails, text messages, chat files and CCTV recordings acquired by law enforcement. The system, developed by Wynyard, a firm based in Auckland, New Zealand, could even look at social media in real time in an attempt to predict where the gang might strike next.

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Everything I know about homelessness I learned from SimCity

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Aaron Sankin at Kernel Mag:

In October 2012, a gamer posted a provocative comment to a forum run by Electronic Arts about its beloved, long-running SimCity franchise.

“There is one area I’d like to see as future expansion … the homeless,” gamer IanLoganson wrote. “Most cities have homeless … Some of the world’s biggest cities now are in the rapidly developing countries and one big problem [they] seem to have is slums. Let’s say you have a thriving commercial city full of landmarks, high-end jobs and high-end housing. Such city lights draw the dispossessed in search for hope and if there aren’t enough low-end jobs, low-end housing, or a social safety net, they end up on the street.

“A small homeless problem is no big deal, but as it gets bigger it brings down property value and discourages tourists,” IanLoganson continued. “You need to think of helping them with aid, providing more jobs/housing for them, or getting the police to kick them out of the centre.

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States Predict Prison Inmates’ Future Crimes With Secret Surveys

I can’t decide if this is despicably Orwellian or actually quite sensible. Comments anyone? From AP:

States are trying to reduce prison populations with secretive, new psychological assessments to predict which inmates will commit future crimes and who might be safe to release, despite serious problems and high-profile failures, an Associated Press investigation found.

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“Tucker Unit – Maximum Security” by Richard Apple (CC)

 

These programs are part of a national, data-driven movement to drive down prison populations, reduce recidivism and save billions. They include questionnaires often with more than 100 questions about an offender’s education, family, income, job status, history of moving, parents’ arrest history — or whether he or she has a phone. A score is affixed to each answer and the result helps shape how the offender will be supervised in the system — or released from custody.

Used for crimes ranging from petty thievery to serial murders, these questionnaires come with their own set of risks, according to the AP’s examination.

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America Is Really Good At Putting People Behind Bars

It’s no secret that the United States’ incarceration rate has gone through the roof, but FiveThirtyEight has some statistics that prove the point, and then some:

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.

US federal prison population

Pick a stat, any stat. They all tell you the same thing: America is really good at putting people behind bars.

It’s supposed to help the country reduce crime in two ways: incapacitation — it’s hard to be a habitual offender while in prison — or deterrence — people scared of prison may do their best to not end up there.

But recent research suggests that incarceration has lost its potency. 

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Emerging victim testimonies of child abuse by British MPs

There have been many allegations of child abuse made over the past couple of years against various members of parliament and prominent media figures in Britain. But the media coverage has been minimal. Perhaps their silence is due to big media and the government being potentially implicated in this long running cover up.

Since the iconic British celebrity Jimmy Savile was posthumously uncovered as being a serial pedophile, necrophile and procurer of children in 2013, there have been more and more victims coming out about abuse in the 70s and 80s by figures of power both in politics and the media in Britain. It’s likely that the victims hadn’t spoken up until recently because they were put under the impression that nobody would believe them — they also feared for their and their families’ safety.

From this video you can see that Jimmy’s sexual appetite was common knowledge to anybody in the know.Read the rest

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The loneliness of the long-distance drone pilot

Aaron Sankin via The Kernel:

Bruce Black had been preparing for this moment for most of his life.

Growing up, he always wanted to be a pilot. After graduating from New Mexico State University in 1984 with a degree in geology, Black was commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He spent years as an instructor pilot before quitting to join the FBI, where he specialized in chasing down white-collar criminals, but the pull of military was too strong. He eventually found himself in the air above Afghanistan.

Black flew constantly. Once, in the spring of 2007, Black’s job was to serve as another set of eyes high above a firefight happening on the ground. An Army convoy had been patrolling near a site of a previous strike and gotten ambushed by Taliban fighters while returning to base. Black was acting as a crucial communications relay, sending life-and-death updates back and forth from the men and women on the ground to the Pentagon and a network of support staff located around the world through the military’s version of the Internet.

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