When a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin valued at more than $5 million was stolen from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond last year, investigators initially believed the theft ...
The Case of the Stolen Stradivarius
|The Lipinsky Stradivarius, shown here shortly after recovery, is 300 years old and valued at more than $5 million.
When a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin valued at more than $5 million was stolen from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond last year, investigators initially believed the theft may have been the work of sophisticated art thieves. The truth turned out to be much less glamorous.
Still, the tale of the theft and recovery of this rare instrument goes down in the annals of the FBI’s Art Crime Team as a one-of-a-kind case.
Today, in a speech at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Conference in Washington, D.C., Director Comey discussed the Bureau’s current priorities as well as collective issues facing the law ...
Director Comey Discusses Latest Law Enforcement Issues with Nation’s Sheriffs
Today, in a speech at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Conference in Washington, D.C., Director Comey discussed the Bureau’s current priorities as well as collective issues facing the law enforcement community as a whole. He specifically highlighted our number one priority—counterterrorism—and talked about how the proliferation of al Qaeda offshoot groups and the use of the Internet to spread terrorist propaganda and recruit new members complicates our efforts. He focused on the need for a national conversation on the Going Dark issue, in which a combination of outdated laws and rapid changes in technology is making it increasingly difficult for law enforcement to access the evidence needed to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism. Comey also discussed the recent increase in shootings and ambush-style attacks against law enforcement officers and said that law enforcement personnel and the communities they serve both need to better understand each other’s concerns and the challenges they face.
According to FBI Assistant Director Kerry Sleeper, who heads the Bureau’s Office of Partner Engagement, Director Comey’s meetings with law enforcement groups like the National Sheriffs’ Association “reinforce the Bureau’s stated commitment to collaborate and share information with our state and local law enforcement partners.”
After Comey’s remarks, he was presented with an award from the National Humane Society for approving—at the request of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Animal Welfare Institute—the addition of animal cruelty offenses as a separate category in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. The collection of this data will begin in 2016.
Ransomware has been around for several years, but there’s been a definite uptick lately in its use by cyber criminals. And the FBI, along with public and private sector partners, is targeting these ...
Ransomware on the Rise
Your computer screen freezes with a pop-up message—supposedly from the FBI or another federal agency—saying that because you violated some sort of federal law your computer will remain locked until you pay a fine. Or you get a pop-up message telling you that your personal files have been encrypted and you have to pay to get the key needed decrypt them.
These scenarios are examples of ransomware scams, which involve a type of malware that infects computers and restricts users’ access to their files or threatens the permanent destruction of their information unless a ransom—anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid.
Ransomware has been around for several years, but there’s been a definite uptick lately in its use by cyber criminals. And the FBI, along with public and private sector partners, is targeting these offenders and their scams.
Earlier today, British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Director James Comey at the FBI-administered National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force facility in Virginia, where they discussed ...
British Prime Minister Cameron and Director Comey Talk Cyber
|FBI Director Comey (left) and Prime Minister Cameron met at the NCIJTF in Virginia on January 16, 2015.
Earlier today, British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Director James Comey at the FBI-administered National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force facility in Virginia, where they discussed critical cyber issues facing both the United Kingdom and the United States.
While at the facility, Prime Minister Cameron also received briefings on cyber threats and vulnerabilities, the Bureau’s investigation into the recent Sony cyber intrusion, and the work of the NCIJTF. The NCIJTF—made up of representatives from nearly two dozen federal intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies who work with local law enforcement agencies and international and private industry partners—serves as the government’s central hub for coordinating, integrating, and sharing information related to cyber threat investigations.
The visit to the NCIJTF came on the heels of Prime Minister Cameron’s trip to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Barack Obama on cyber security and other pressing matters.
Inside the case of drug trafficker Kaboni Savage, who went to great lengths to retaliate against anyone who crossed him—including masterminding a firebombing that resulted in the deaths of six ...
Extreme Case of Witness Intimidation
|This Philadelphia row house was firebombed by individuals who worked for Philadelphia drug trafficker Kaboni Savage. Four children and two adults, family members of a federal witness, died in the fire. The adjacent row homes were also damaged.
As far as witness intimidation goes, Philadelphia drug trafficker Kaboni Savage and members of his criminal enterprise appeared to corner the market on how far they’d go to silence anyone willing to testify against the organization. The most horrifying example of this was the brutal firebombing that resulted in the deaths of six members of a federal witness’ family in retaliation for his cooperation with law enforcement.
But a long-term, multi-agency investigation eventually proved that Kaboni Savage was responsible for those six murders—and at least six others—and that he headed a drug trafficking enterprise that excelled in using violence and other criminal tactics against anyone who threatened its drug trade. Recently, the final defendant charged in the firebombing deaths was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and Savage himself, convicted in 2013 on murder and racketeering charges, eventually received the death sentence.
The Junior Special Agent Program—one component of the Bureau’s Adopt-A-School Program—aims to give fifth- and sixth-graders in disadvantaged neighborhoods the information, skills, and discipline they ...
Adopt-A-School Program, Part 2: Becoming a Junior Special Agent
The 22 fifth-graders who participated in a Junior Special Agent Program last summer sponsored by the FBI’s San Diego Field Division live in a tough neighborhood, and few of them have a permanent place to call home.
“We chose the Monarch School because it’s in one of our high-crime areas,” said Cheryl Dorenbush, a community outreach specialist in our San Diego Office who organized the program. “Every kid in the class was in some stage of homelessness. Most were in shelters or temporary housing, and some were living out of cars. This is where we thought we could have the biggest impact.”
The Junior Special Agent Program—one component of the Bureau’s Adopt-A-School Program—aims to give fifth- and sixth-graders in disadvantaged neighborhoods the information, skills, and discipline they need to stay away from gangs, drugs, and crime. Along the way, students learn about the FBI and the ways in which law enforcement helps to serve and protect their communities. One of the most important pieces of information the 10- and 11-year-old San Diego students received was simple but powerful: Where you start in life doesn’t have to dictate where you end up.
A complex, multi-agency investigation into the activities of the California-based Armenian Power criminal enterprise resulted in a serious blow to the group’s operations.
Armenian Criminal Enterprise Dealt Serious Blow
|Shown here are some of the firearms seized during a multi-agency investigation into the activities of the California-based Armenian Power criminal enterprise.
In May 2008, a massive shootout between Armenian Power and another California gang on the streets of North Hollywood ended with the deaths of two rival gang members. And while local law enforcement and the FBI already had Armenian Power on their radar, this deadly firefight on the streets of a major American city raised the group’s profile—and resulted in efforts by the FBI and its partners to go after Armenian Power and its leadership through federal racketeering statutes.
The investigation revealed that this street gang was actually an international organized criminal enterprise whose illegal activities ranged from bank fraud and identity theft to violent extortion and kidnappings. It also revealed that this enterprise victimized its own Armenian community in California.
During remarks today at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University in New York City, Director James Comey reiterated that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on ...
Addressing the Cyber Security Threat
|Director Comey addresses attendees at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University.|
During remarks today at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University in New York City, Director James Comey reiterated that North Korea was responsible for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Comey cited the recent intrusion against Sony as proof of the seriousness of the cyber threat facing the U.S. and said the FBI and the intelligence community have a “very high confidence” that North Korea was responsible for the hack. He added that the Bureau and its partners were using a range of sensitive tools and techniques to arrive at that conclusion.
At the annual cyber conference, sponsored by the FBI and Fordham University—which brings together professionals from around the world to discuss emerging cyber threats and how to deal with them—Comey explained that the FBI’s strategy for dealing with the cyber threat hinges on several key areas, chief among them strengthening partnerships with state and local law enforcement, international law enforcement agencies, and the FBI’s private-sector partners.
Director Comey spoke at the memorial service Sunday of slain New York City Police Officer Wenjian Liu. “What I believe with all my heart is that our obligation is to try to make something good come ...
Director Comey Honors Slain NYPD Officer
Director Comey spoke at the memorial service Sunday of slain New York City Police Officer Wenjian Liu. “What I believe with all my heart is that our obligation is to try to make something good come of tragedy,” he said, “so that evil is not allowed to hold the field, so that evil is not allowed to win the day.”
Officer Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos were killed December 20 inside their patrol car in Brooklyn. The shooter killed himself after the murders.
“These are our most difficult days,” Comey said at the funeral in Brooklyn. “They are days where we struggle to find meaning from tragedy, when we struggle to find words to define our loss. ...But I believe our obligation is to try and do good to honor this good man and do everything we can to protect those who protect us.”
Twenty years ago, the FBI began a program to help kids steer clear of drugs and gangs while learning core values that would make them good citizens. Since the Adopt-A-School Program was established ...
Adopt-A-School Program, Part 1: Bringing a Message of Hope
|Junior Special Agents tour the U.S. Capitol in December.
Twenty years ago, the FBI began a program to help kids steer clear of drugs and gangs while learning core values that would make them good citizens. Since the Adopt-A-School Program was established in 1994, special agents and other FBI employees have volunteered thousands of hours to make a positive impact on young people around the nation.
The Adopt-A-School Program identifies schools in disadvantaged communities—where kids may face greater exposure to gangs, drugs, and criminal activity—and sends Bureau employees there to mentor and tutor students.
“This is a great program that can have a profound influence on young people,” said Special Agent Paul Geiger, chief of the Community Relations Unit at FBI Headquarters in Washington. “We teach students that despite any hardships they may be facing now, if they work hard and make the right decisions, they can accomplish anything they want with their lives.”