- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009


Nearly 100 charged in ID theft scheme

LOS ANGELES | U.S. and Egyptian authorities have charged nearly 100 people with helping an identity theft ring steal money from thousands of bank accounts.

An FBI statement said an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Los Angeles charges more than 50 people in the United States with running the “phishing” scheme. Egyptian authorities have charged 47 more people. The FBI said it’s the largest number of defendants ever charged in a cybercrime case.

The indictment claims Egyptian hackers used e-mails to direct victims to phony bank Web sites, where they were asked to provide account numbers. Authorities say the crooks then raided their bank accounts.

The FBI said 33 people were arrested Wednesday morning, mostly in Southern California and in Nevada and North Carolina.


Pipe bombs, rifles found in car

NEW HAVEN | Two Connecticut men face charges of bomb making and other offenses after police say they found them in a Mercedes-Benz with explosives in a residential New Haven neighborhood.

It was not clear whether the suspects planned to use the explosives because they are not talking to investigators, Officer Joseph Avery said Wednesday.

Police charged John Iannucci, 38, of Branford, and Jessup Bollinger, 27, of New Haven, with manufacture of bombs, illegal possession of explosives and other charges.

Both men, who were being held on $500,000 bond, have been arrested recently. Mr. Iannucci was previously charged with bomb making.


DNA sample sought in Craigslist killing

BOSTON | Prosecutors said Wednesday that they are seeking a DNA sample from a former Boston University medical student charged with killing a masseuse he met on Craigslist, but the man’s lawyer would not say whether he will turn it over voluntarily.

Philip Markoff, 23, has pleaded not guilty in the April 14 fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman of New York City and the armed robbery four days earlier of a Las Vegas woman, both at Boston hotels. Rhode Island prosecutors also announced Wednesday that his indictment in an alleged attack on a stripper during the same week.

Authorities said he met all three women through Craigslist, a classified advertising Web site.


Lawmaker faces felonies in crash

HELENA | Prosecutors have filed felony charges against Montana state Sen. Greg Barkus, accusing him of having a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit after an August boat crash in which five people were seriously injured, including U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Court documents filed Wednesday said Mr. Barkus faces charges of criminal endangerment, negligent vehicular assault and negligent vehicular assault, each with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

The Flathead County attorney contends Mr. Barkus knowingly, while intoxicated, engaged in conduct that created substantial risk of death to passengers, including one who was left in a coma.

Documents filed Wednesday said Mr. Barkus’ blood-alcohol level was .16 percent almost two hours after the accident on Flathead Lake. The legal limit for operating a motor vehicle is .08 percent.


Offender challenges church restrictions

RALEIGH | A North Carolina man is challenging a state law aimed at keeping people like him away from children. The case pits the right to worship against laws that restrict where convicted sex offenders can go.

Police arrested James Nichols in March after he attended a Sunday service at a church that offers day care.

Many of the three dozen states that establish zones where sex offenders can’t live or visit don’t provide exemptions for churches.

Advocates agree some convicted sex offenders should never be allowed around children. But they say barring all offenders denies them support needed to become productive citizens.


Diocese won’t defrock clergy who left

PITTSBURGH | The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh said it will not defrock 100 priests and deacons who left when their parishes joined a separate Pittsburgh diocese in the new, more conservative, Anglican Church in North America.

The Episcopal Church has been wracked by similar splits in other dioceses, which generally have defrocked clergy who left. But Pittsburgh leaders said they didn’t want to punish clergy who simply followed their conscience, and the new Anglican group say they appreciate Monday’s decision.

Forty-seven parishes in the diocese voted to leave for the Anglican group last October, because of disagreements including the authority of Scripture, the divinity of Christ and sexual ethics, among others.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh now includes 28 parishes.


Abduction suspect remains in jail

NASHVILLE | An Alabama woman charged with kidnapping a newborn was ordered to remain in federal custody after a court appearance in Tennessee.

Tammy Renee Silas, 39, is charged in the Sept. 29 abduction of a 4-day-old boy, taken after his mother was stabbed at their Nashville home. The baby was found unharmed with Miss Silas in Ardmore, Ala., last week.

A magistrate said Wednesday that Miss Silas must remain in jail and set a bond hearing for Oct. 27.

Public defender Isaiah Gant asked for an interpreter for the case, explaining that while Miss Silas speaks English and Spanish she needs an interpreter to fully understand the legal complexities.

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