Articles Posted in Cyber Crimes

Hey, anybody out there remember Boston’s own Eliezer Gonzalez?

Mr. Gonzalez, formerly a Boston police officer and hereinafter the “Defendant” has brought to a close his federal criminal case. His case involved white collar crime.

The Defendant was accused of faking injuries and fraudulently collecting injury leave pay. According to federal prosecutors, the defendant had collected about $173,000 in injury leave pay and had filed for accidental disability retirement after supposedly suffering on-the-job injuries in 2007.

Unfortunately for the Defendant, he was seen going to the L Street Bathhouse, salsa dancing, and traveling abroad without difficulty during said leave.

And so it was that the Defendant found him charged with fraud. Yesterday, he received a year and three months in federal prison after pleading guilty to 34 counts of mail fraud.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts White Collar Crime And Mail Fraud

White collar crimes are crimes which involve unlawful, nonviolent conduct committed by business and government professionals. These crimes involve fraud, theft or other violations of trust committed in the course of one’s employment. These crimes can also be brought on behalf of various agencies in which subscribers or others in a contractual relationship commit such fraudulent acts.
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As a Boston criminal defense attorney, I have to tell you that there seem to be more and more of these cases. Folks in fairly responsible positions are finding themselves charged with the Massachusetts possession of child pornography.

This time, the gentleman hereinafter referred to as the “Defendant” is Jared Surette. The twenty-six year old former manager of a Lynn ice rink today pleaded not guilty to the charges in Lynn District Court.

The Defendant was arrested by members of the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children task force and charged with distributing material of a child in a sexual act and with possession of child pornography, according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.

The Defendant was released on $1,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty. He is due back in court on July 11. In addition to the cash bail, he is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 and cannot use a computer or the Internet.
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It would appear that “kids’ media” is growing up. And the ball they are up at bat to strike is bullying. Massachusetts bullying, New York bullying and Everywhere, U.S.A. bullying.

The cable channel, Nickelodeon, is the most-watched television network among kids ages 2 to 14. Half of young people ages 14-24 said they had been the victim of cyberbullying, according to a survey conducted in late 2009 for The Associated Press and MTV.

The advice offered in one ad featuring Ashley Argota of “True Jackson, VP” and Gage Golightly of “The Troop”: Sign off the computer; don’t reply to a hostile messenger; block bullies from access; make a copy of the message to show to an adult you trust.

Apparently, the program also stresses the message that “It’s not tattle-telling…It’s standing up for yourself.”

The hope is that the anti-bullying effort can become as pervasive and successful as campaigns calling for a designated driver who has not consumed alcohol when friends are out drinking, said James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, about their national drunk driving campaign.

The program will begin an on-air public service campaign Monday featuring some of its stars offering advice on what young people should do when confronted with hostile texts, emails or Facebook posts. Miranda Cosgrove and Nathan Kress of Nick’s “ICarly” are also participating in the campaign, which will last for two years, said Marva Smalls, Nick’s executive vice president for public affairs.
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How do former Massachusetts prosecutorial politicians and general politicians admit that they were wrong? Well, they don’t. They simply, and quietly, try to seek a “do over”, as young kids would say.

And so it was that former South Hadley prosecutor, Elizabeth Scheibel (hereinafter, “EXDA”), joined with others yesterday to address the fact that her and other heroic (and speedy) legislators’ measures regarding bullying do not seem to be working very well.

You remember EXDA, don’t you? In response to the public outcry of Phoebe Prince’s suicide, she is the political prosecutor (“PP”) who made headlines, instead of sense, when she indicted a bunch of kids for, when it comes down to it, bullying. Rather than doing further investigation (which the media did later for her), it was more palatable for her to ruin the lives of the other kids involved.

The transparently political move, while gaining accolades at first, soured in the light of day and she thereafter retired. However, the damage had been done. Part of that damage was to “up the ante” with her fellow politicians regarding bullying. So, in true political fashion, they pushed through what they called “the toughest anti-bullying law in the country” Unfortunately, the awesome law did little save give a false sense of security to the general public and confuse those who had to actually read the thing.

Oh. And it also gave us “No Name Calling Day”.
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While Massachusetts schools have been struggling with ways in which to comply with the over-arching and extremely broad anti-bullying law, a couple of students at Brookline High School have apparently been doing their own planning. According to officials, that planning would include a mass homicide.

The students allegedly posted on Facebook plans to meet after school and commit the deed according to the prosecution. They indicated online that they could use gallons of gasoline and use thousands of syringes full of bear tranquilizers. When one of the lads suggested shooting some guns at proposed victims, the other genius responded that he was “way ahead of you,”.

Brookline police searched the homes of both students and seized their computers, but have not found any weapons, according to police..

The pair were arrested on Wednesday after one of their fathers became aware of the cyber-conversation and, apparently, felt that it would be better that his son end up in trouble…than dead or culpable for mass murder.
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Rutgers University freshman Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei say that they did not bully Tyler Clementi. Ravi and Wei have been charged with third- and fourth- degree invasion of privacy in the death of Clementi, who committed suicide by jumping into the Hudson River.

Clementi and Ravi were roommates. Ravi and Wei are accused of filming Clementi while he was having a “sexual encounter” with another male in his dorm room and streaming the video live online. Ravi allegedly tweeted that he was using a webcam to film the incidents.

On September 22, 2010, a day after Ravi allegedly invited people on Twitter to video chat him while he was recording Clementi, the latter posted a message on his Facebook page noting that he was going to jump off the George Washington bridge.

If convicted of the invasion of privacy charges in the internet voyeurism case, Ravi and Wei could spend up to five years in prison. Prosecutors are continuing to investigate the college campus crime to determine whether to file a bias charge or charge them with committing a hate crime. Meantime, Wei’s criminal defense team has said that she is innocent of the cyber crime and that her reputation has been “unjustly tarnished” and “maligned by unfounded attacks on her character.”

On October 4, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said that there may not be sufficient evidence to upgrade the charges against Wei and Ravi to a hate crime. If the charges are upgraded to a second-degree bias crime and they are convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Evidence may not be enough to upgrade charges against Rutgers students Dharun Ravi, Molly Wei, NJ Real-Times News, October 4, 2010
Rutgers Students Investigated After Death of Classmate Break Their Silence, ABC News, October 6, 2010
Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump, NY Times, September 29, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Cyber Crime,
Hate Crimes, FBI
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Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is having a field day on this one. Who can blame him?: The surface-layer ironies here are numerous!

“Hey”, he muses, “they don’t call it the Red Line for nothing.”

The rollicking news that some Cambridge residents have been arrested and accused of being Russian spies should be enough to keep us in stitches with puns focusing on titles like “Reds”, “Ruskies” and ( of course) “The People’s Republic Of Cambridge” for weeks to come.

Anyone out there miss the “good old days” of the 1950’s? Here is your chance to experience yesteryear.

The story treating us to all this hilarity is the arrests of accused Russian agent Donald Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”), among others in other locations not as humorous, for espionage. According to federal authorities their investigation shows that they are a part of a Russian spy ring arrested this past weekend.

It remains in doubt, according to the federal prosecutors, how much useful information from the Defendants or their co-defendants actually reached Moscow. It is clear, however, that the Defendants and their alleged cohorts were in places where valuable information was available.
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Yesterday, we began discussing the topic of bullying again. As if the topic were not enough, I was inspired by the Sunday Boston Globe front page article on the subject this past week. As a criminal defense attorney of some years, it is a subject that deeply troubles me. If you are a regular reader to this blog, you know that I am troubled by not only the bullies…but the response to and perpetuation of the bullying itself.

The Boston Globe article focused on a young lady from a suburb west of Boston. She shared the back-story of the bullying. It is not an unusual story. The rather brave high schooler, willing to give all details as well as have her name printed (which, due to her age, both the Globe and I have decided not to reveal), revealed the rather typical story.

Lexi had a friend before she began her new school. They had been friends since grade school. Like most friends, they had shared sleepovers, secrets, and favorite movies. Then, last summer, the friendship ended. Lexi decided that her friend was a negative influence. What happened at the start of the new school year, her former friend confirmed that belief. The first shot over Lexi’s bow was the posting of silly pictures she had taken with said former friend. They were posted on Face Book and viewed by everyone.

It would appear that the saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” goes for platonic friendships as well. As described more yesterday, this began the deluge of bullying that Lexi was to endure throughout the school year.
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Well, it looks like the state Legislature has unanimously approved the new state law cracking down on bullying. It must be a great thing, right? After all, it passed unanimously! How could so many politicians in the Boston area be wrong?

The legislation would require school employees to report all instances of bullying and require principals to investigate them. Now, how could that be a bad thing?

“Bullying is not new. Bullying has been with us from time immemorial”, explained Senator Robert O’Leary, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “But what has changed is that it appears to be more pervasive, more destructive By this, one would imagine he refers to the new cyber-bullying. In fact, it would appear that it used to be more violent. As for “destructive”? Well, recently two victims of bullying have tragically taken their own lives
“We’re going to send out a message that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and the community needs to deal with it,” O’Leary said.

Meanwhile, Representative Martha Walz, House chairwoman of the Education Committee, said the bill was “very strong legislation that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of children in our state.”

“This is a day that we can be proud we have done something positive – to eradicate bullying and to demonstrate to this Commonwealth and to the nation that bullying will no longer be tolerated,” said Representative John Scibak, whose district includes South Hadley, where the case of Phoebe Prince drew international attention to the issue of bullying.

Both the House and Senate had previously passed versions of the bill. A House-Senate conference committee on Wednesday released a compromise version.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk. A spokeswoman said Wednesday the governor would review the bill but considered passage of strong anti-bullying legislation “a top priority.”

And so you have it, right? Short blog today. Nothing to say. All is good in the Commonwealth, or it will be as soon as this bill is law.

Well, maybe not so short after all. I have a few concerns.
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Oboy! It’s so exciting to solve age-old presumably unsolvable problems! Here in the Boston area, we seem to be doing just that. Can it be that our government is going to come up with really well-thought-out solutions and reduce the need for lawyers running around in civil and criminal courtrooms dealing with the fallout?

Sure. We’ve also finally outlawed the Ozone Layer.

Sweeping ant bullying legislation is poised for passage after lawmakers have struck agreement on a measure that proposes to require school employees to report all bullying incidents and require principals to investigate them. And that’s just for starters!

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives and Senate, where it is expected to win overwhelming approval any minute now.

Governor Devil Patrick has also voiced strong support for the bill, which gained momentum after the highly publicized deaths of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince and 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who took their own lives after being bullied.

Representative Martha Walz, the bill’s primary author, said the mandatory reporting requirements will help deter bullying and prevent it from reaching dangerous proportions.

Gee, and I thought the indictments against 9 kids brought by certain very public super-heroic district attorney was supposed to have done that…!
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