Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Michigan breaks up auto insurance racket

A five-year investigation by Michigan State Police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau has resulted in 115 criminal charges against 10 individuals linked with an auto insurance fraud racket in metro-Detroit, according to a story by Ben Schmitt in today's Free Press.

State Attorney General Mike Cox said at least a dozen auto shops in the Detroit area are connected to the ring.

Norman Dehko, 35, of Orchard Lake, is accused of leading a criminal conspiracy that staged accidents and thefts and submitted false insurance claims.

Witness intimidation in Newark NJ

Corey McGill, 29, and Llewellyn Johnson, 26, were indicted Friday on charges of witness tampering and other offenses connected with the Jan. 23 beating of a government informant, according to a story by Anthony Ramirez of the New York Times.

The two men are reported to be members of the Grape Street Crips street gang.

They are accused of beating and threatening an informant who cooperated in an FBI drug investigation of the gang in 2005.

The incident is seen as an illustration of a growing problem of witness intimidation in New Jersey.

Sicilian Mafia link seen in Namibian gem firms

There is evidence that two recently licensed diamond firms in Namibia are linked to the Sicilian Mafia, according to a story published March 23 by The Namibian.

That story reports on an 18-month-long investigation into the licenses. Zackey Nefungo Nujoma, son of a former Namibian president and ex-member of the national intelligence service, was reportedly involved in obtaining approval for the licenses to cut and polish gems. Nujoma has stated that he did nothing improper and is not aware of any organized crime links to to the Avila and Marbella companies.

The newspaper quoted unnamed official sources as saying the companies are fronts for reputed Mafioso Vito Palazzolo.

Russian Mafiya suspect killed at courthouse

Accused blackmailer Maxim Kurochkin was shot to death today as he left a court building in Kiev, Ukraine, according to a story by the Reuters news agency.

Officials have linked Kurochkin (left) with a number of corporate scandals and with the Russian Mafiya organization. He was in court for a hearing on extortion charges.

An unidentified gunman shot Kurochkin and a police officer in the yard outside the court building. The police officer survived the attack.
An unsuccessful attempt was made on Kurochkin's life back in 2004.

About Me

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at tphunt@gmail.com.)
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website Mafiahistory.us; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.