29 Suspects Indicted in Theft Ring After Installing Pole Cameras
Two activated Internet Protocol (IP) pole cameras on loan from the MAGLOCLEN equipment staff were utilized by the Chatham Township, New Jersey, Police Department in an investigation involving stolen vehicles in its jurisdiction. The intelligence gained from the installation of the cameras assisted the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General with an investigation involving an international auto theft ring that was operating in Essex, Union, Morris, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Bergen Counties in New Jersey.
The theft ring was stealing high-priced luxury vehicles and shipping them to West Africa for prices in excess of the current market value. The operation, named “Operation Jack,” involved the
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the Massachusetts State Police; the Delaware State Police; the Connecticut State Police; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the U.S. Marshals Service; the Essex County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office; the Somerset County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office; the Union County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office; and the Morris County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office. There were 29 suspects who were indicted in the investigation, and 160 vehicles, valued at $8 million, were recovered.
Analytical Product Leads to Suspects’ Guilty Plea in Six-Year Multistate Conspiracy Theft Investigation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General-Kansas City, Missouri, requested assistance from MOCIC in a complex multistate truck and cargo theft investigation that involved nearly a dozen local, state, and federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department; the National Insurance Crime Bureau; the National White Collar Crime Center; the Travelers Investigative Services; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Florida Highway Patrol; and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The suspects participated in a six-year multistate conspiracy that involved the theft of commercial trucks and related cargo valued at nearly $1 million. The stolen vehicles were also used in a trucking business owned by two suspects who engaged in activity that subjected their business to a total of $450,000 in fines and numerous “out of service” orders directing them to cease operating in interstate commerce, which they ignored. The MOCIC intelligence research staff obtained information related to the suspects that assisted in furthering the investigation. The MOCIC analytical staff created analytical products for investigators, including a timeline and a specialized product that assisted with the organization and management of the tremendous amount of information and evidence obtained during the investigation.
As a result of the investigation, five suspects pled guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri tried three suspects in federal court, where they were convicted on numerous counts of aiding and abetting the possession of stolen goods, aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen goods, aiding and abetting the possession of stolen vehicles, and aiding and abetting the transportation of stolen vehicles.
Digital Forensics Analysis Leads to Arrest of Child Pornography Suspect
The Plaistow, New Hampshire, Police Department requested NESPIN digital forensics analysis on a computer that was brought to a local computer store for removal of viruses in which there was suspected child pornography. The analysis discovered multiple victims, including an 8-year-old living in the home of the suspect. The suspect was arrested and pled guilty and will be sentenced on three charges: distributing child pornography, possessing child pornography, and accessing child pornography.
The suspect faces up to 20 years in prison on the distribution charge, with a mandatory minimum of 5 years behind bars. All three counts include fines up to $250,000 and supervised probationary periods from five years to life after release. A full report by NESPIN from the original Plaistow evidence was produced that detailed the child pornography activity, including correspondence with other persons participating in the sharing of child pornography and child abuse. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has used this report to go after suspects in other jurisdictions that were identified from chat logs and correspondence.
Audio Enhancement Is Instrumental in Convicting Murder Suspect
The Phoenix, Arizona, Police Department requested assistance from RMIN for audio enhancement in a conspiracy case involving murder. The suspect in this case met with a confidential informant (CI) and discussed a murder-for-hire plot. The suspect gave the CI $10,000 cash. This meeting was recorded, but the results were difficult to hear because of the background noise. Audio enhancement by RMIN allowed the recording to be played to the jury and was instrumental in the conviction of the suspect. The suspect received a life sentence, with possible parole in 25 years.
Minor Trafficking Violation Results in Rescued Human Trafficking Victims
A traffic stop for a minor violation escalated into a major investigation of human trafficking. The Austin, Texas, Police Department contacted the ROCIC intelligence research staff to identify four suspected traffickers. The results included the rescue of 28 human trafficking victims and the arrests of two suspects, with two additional arrests pending on federal smuggling charges. Initially, the traffic offender produced false identification.
At the police station, after being fingerprinted, the suspect gave his real name and admitted that a large shipment of human cargo was expected to be delivered the next morning. ROCIC was supplied with the names of the four suspects and ran numerous searches on various database resources. A comprehensive report was produced for each suspect, including previous addresses, relatives, associates, booking records, and phone numbers. The suspects were positively identified; a dynamic entry was made at the delivery point in cooperation with ICE. The victims were rescued and the suspects were apprehended.
Use of Covert Cameras Results in Multiple Seizures of Drugs and Property
The WSIN equipment staff loaned the Alaska State Troopers two covert cameras-one was modified to fit into a jacket and the other was modified to fit in a credit card. These cameras were used to record illicit activity, resulting in the seizure of drugs, vehicles, property, real estate, U.S. currency, and weapons.
The estimates of the items seized included more than 1 pound of marijuana, valued at around $100 per 1/8 ounce; more than 2 pounds of cocaine, valued at $100,000; more than 3 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at $544,000; 75 grams of brown tar heroin and 25 grams of brown powder heroin, valued at $100,000; 1.1 ounce of amphetamine; less than $10,000 in U.S. currency; around $10,000 in expensive alcohol; two vehicles, valued at $30,000; two weapons valued at $2,500; and three residences-asset forfeiture through DEA-valued at $750,000, $500,000, and $1.65 million.
Providing Homicide Investigators With Critical Tools and Resources
A homicide is one of the most important investigations that an officer or an investigator may encounter in his or her career.
It is often complex and high-profile, impacting families, communities, law enforcement, and public safety personnel. It is essential that investigators
have the ability to carefully collect evidence and access the tools and resources needed to effectively and rapidly initiate appropriate law enforcement action.
Law enforcement can leverage available resources through the RISS Program to help identify, apprehend, and prosecute criminals involved with homicide investigations.
The RISS Centers have supported homicide investigations since the organization’s inception more than 40 years ago. RISS’s all-crimes approach is
ideal in supporting all law enforcement efforts. RISS’s structure and service delivery model enable officers to obtain timely access to critical
information to aid their efforts. An Assistant District Attorney with the Delaware County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney’s Office
stated, “MAGLOCLEN materials proved incredibly helpful in documenting the crime scene for the jury. The jury took several of the MAGLOCLEN-prepared exhibits
into the deliberation room. The defendant was found guilty on a third-degree murder charge.”
RISS offers law enforcement agencies and officers a full range of support services that can assist with homicide investigations. RISS offers important
information sharing and intelligence resources via the RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET) as well as numerous and diverse investigative support services and officer
safety resources. Partner and other criminal justice resources are also accessible via RISSNET.
One unique resource available via RISSNET and maintained by the MOCIC RISS Center is the Cold Case Locator System, which connects investigators working similar
homicides across the country. The system is designed to assist homicide investigators to quickly locate unsolved homicides, based on geographic
location, victim age, victim gender, and approximate date of death. The system can also target traveling homicide suspects, present homicide locations
via a mapping interface, and enable investigators to click on a mapped location that displays the entered details, including contact information for
the officer and the agency responsible for the investigation of the selected homicide. Additional RISS resources available to homicide investigators include:
- Simultaneously query dozens of databases to obtain information on suspects, associates, victims, and witnesses; driver’s license photos;
past residences and employers; and criminal histories.
- Request case organizational aids and courtroom presentations, such as crime scene diagrams, timelines, link analysis, cell tower mapping,
financial analysis, and photographic enlargements.
- Request audio and video enhancements and analysis of seized electronic devices, such as computers, cell phones, cameras, tablets, and Global
Positioning System (GPS) devices for evidence and provide documentation.
- Borrow sophisticated equipment ranging from ground-penetrating radar to covert recording devices.
- Obtain training on new and emerging topics, such as recovery of skeletal remains; prescription overdose deaths; and strategies
for successful homicide investigations, such as the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), forensic odontology, and missing persons’ databases.
- Access critical publications, such as occult and ritualistic crimes, forensic anthropology, workplace and campus
violence, school response plans, the sovereign citizen movement, and active shooters.
- Obtain confidential funds to provide for investigative expenses, such as travel to conduct interviews with suspects or witnesses.
- Use the RISSLeads Investigative Website to establish a secure discussion board on various topics, including homicides.
Training and other events are also posted.
- Access the RISS Officer Safety Website to obtain trusted officer safety-related information and materials on such topics as armed and dangerous
individuals and situations, weapon concealments, and other officer safety-related concealments. The site also includes awareness information
regarding topics such as social media, active shooters, gangs, and sovereign citizens. Training and awareness videos are also housed at the site.
These are services and resources that some agencies and officers may not otherwise receive and can have a direct impact on the successful resolution of
homicide investigations, including prosecution and conviction of criminals, as noted in the success story from the MOCIC RISS Center below.
The Branson, Missouri, Police Department requested assistance from the MOCIC analytical staff with a homicide investigation. A female victim was found murdered
in a hotel. Shortly thereafter, authorities arrested her ex-husband. At the request of officers and prosecutors, the MOCIC staff prepared several analytical
products-one highlighted the significant knife wounds on the victim and the other displayed a timeline of significant events-a crime scene sketch and a timeline
of phone calls and text messages. As a result of the investigation and successful prosecution, the suspect was found
guilty of first-degree murder and armed
criminal action and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole
. Authorities said that the MOCIC analytical products were instrumental
in the successful prosecution.
This is just one example of many situations in which law enforcement has utilized RISS services to resolve a homicide investigation.
To view additional
homicide-related and other shared successes
submitted by agencies and officers, visit www.riss.net/Impact.
Enhancing Secure Communications Capabilities Among Medicaid and Medicare Fraud Investigators
The Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) investigate and prosecute health care providers that defraud the Medicaid program, as well as patient abuse
and neglect in health care facilities. According to the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (NAMFCU) Website, the typical schemes
that providers use to defraud the Medicaid program include billing for services not provided, double billing, falsifying credentials,
and billing for unnecessary services or tests. The MFCUs have prosecuted individual providers such as physicians, dentists, and mental
health professionals. In addition, the MFCUs have also prosecuted fraud in numerous segments of the health care industry, such as hospitals,
nursing homes, home health care agencies, medical transportation companies, pharmacies, durable medical equipment companies, pharmaceutical
manufacturers, and medical clinics.
In July 2011, the Vermont MFCU contacted the NESPIN RISS Center regarding the possibility of establishing a pilot site for secure information sharing
among the MFCUs in the New England region, with the intent that it would expand to be a nationwide site. The NESPIN staff suggested that the
Vermont MFCU establish a RISS Secure Hosted Website. These secure collaboration sites are hosted by RISS on the RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET), in
coordination with the in-region RISS Center. RISS works with the partner to develop the secure hosted website so that members of the partner’s
group can share information, post materials, and communicate with each other.
Following discussions, a pilot MFCU Secure Hosted Website was established. Examples of the types of information included at the site are
wanted persons, provider fraud resources, training information, strategies, best practices, lessons learned, and other information to help
in detection and prosecution efforts.
Leveraging the existing Vermont MFCU site and the successes it had experienced, RISS facilitated a conversation between Vermont
and Indiana. A decision was made to expand the existing MFCU site to include Indiana and any other state MFCUs that wanted to participate.
Recognizing the success and continued need to expand this effort, the Office of the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), provided
funding support to RISS to build on and enhance secure communications capabilities among Medicaid and Medicare fraud investigators and appropriate
stakeholders by leveraging and expanding the secure hosted website capabilities.
One goal of the project was to support a stakeholder meeting for Medicaid and Medicare fraud representatives to learn about RISS’s current efforts
in this area and to identify additional needs and possible solutions. A focus group meeting was held in March 2014 at the ROCIC RISS Center.
Attending were representatives from a number of the MCFUs, as well as from Medicare, the
PM-ISE, and RISS. Agenda topics included an overview of RISS and the RISS Secure Hosted Websites, an overview of the roles and
responsibilities of the MFCUs, Medicare fraud programs, and joint Medicaid/Medicare fraud efforts. A number of enhancements to the MFCU Secure
Hosted Website were identified and subsequently completed. Since the meeting, there has been a 70 percent increase
(more than 100 users representing multiple states) of users accessing the MCFU site. In addition, multiple states are in the process of
adding users or requesting access to RISSNET.
Recently, the RISS National Coordinator attended the NAMFCU conference and addressed its executive policy board regarding the Medicaid/Medicare
Fraud project and partnership opportunities. In addition, a RMIN RISS Center field staff member and a Vermont MFCU detective provided a presentation
on RISS’s services and the MFCU Secure Hosted Website during the conference.
Over the next few months, RISS will collaborate with stakeholders on joint outreach and training efforts, site population, and site expansion.
For information regarding access, contact your in-region RISS Center.
RISS and HSIN Join Forces to Enhance Information Sharing
Today’s law enforcement and public safety agencies are leveraging technology to develop databases, house and query information, and enhance the
ability to securely exchange information. Many agencies and users, however, are overwhelmed with the vast amount of information available and
with multiple accounts and authentication protocols. Law enforcement and public safety users require the capability to effectively log on to
one system and securely access other approved partner systems.
Streamlining the user’s ability to access secure systems and obtain needed information is a critical step in creating an effective and efficient
information sharing environment. This process, known as Single Sign-On (SSO), enables users to quickly access secure networks and systems without
having to reauthenticate to individual networks or systems with various and unique credentials. This capability saves users time, enables them
to obtain needed information quickly, and helps them be better equipped to respond to criminal situations occurring in their communities.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and RISS have been working on a multifaceted approach to securely share critical law enforcement and
homeland security information between the DHS Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) and the RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET).
As foundational members of the Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Working Group and the National Identity Exchange Federation (https://nief.gfipm.net/),
HSIN and RISS have made significant progress in implementing bidirectional secure SSO between the two systems. Since March 2014, HSIN users have been
accessing resources on RISSNET directly from HSIN. Currently, HSIN users have access to TechPage and the RISS Automated Trusted Information
Exchange (RISS ATIX). Additional RISSNET resources will be available to HSIN users in the next phase of this project. As of July 1, RISSNET users
have been accessing resources on HSIN directly from the RISSNET Portal. This integration provides a streamlined approach enabling users to quickly
and easily access critical information when they need it.
The next step in this partnership is to provide users with a tool that will permit them to access critical information by securely searching their
own system and the partner system at the same time without going to the partner system. The technology that provides this capability is referred
to as a secure federated search. The results returned to a user using a secure federated search are under the control of the owner of the
information. Each user will receive only the information that is appropriate for his or her particular level of authentication and authorization.
Development of the federated search capability is a multiphased effort that also involves the two other SBU Working Group partners: the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and Intelink-U. The effort began with the working group’s publication
of a National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) in March 2012 that defines the search methodology
and presents a set of normative exchange specifications, examples, metadata, and descriptive documentation for the SBU secure federated search.
In the current phase, RISS is developing a proof of concept of the security-trimmed federated search capability, which is scheduled to be
completed in the fall. Once this phase is complete, users from the SBU Working Group partner systems will be able to search resources on
RISS and receive security-trimmed results. As the project continues, HSIN and RISS will use the knowledge gained from the current phase
to implement a system-to-system security-trimmed federated search capability that will enable users to search their own system and partner
systems using one interface located on the user’s home system. Work on this phase is anticipated to begin later this year.
HSIN and RISS are proud of this partnership and the progress achieved. Recently, Donna Roy, Executive Director of the Information
Sharing Environment, DHS Office of the Chief Information Officer, published an article about this project. She stated, “RISSNET is
one of the most resilient networks for helping protect our nation, and I am very proud to announce this partnership, which gives users
expanded access to the information they need to help keep our nation safe.” To view her full article,
RISS and HSIN look forward to continued growth with this information sharing partnership and are excited to provide users with access to
information they need to keep our communities safe.
RISS and LEEP: Partners in Information Sharing
Accurate, timely, and easily available information has always been critical to criminal justice agencies keeping the public and its officers safe. In the past ten years, the law enforcement community has seen dramatic enhancements in the ability to reach across jurisdictional boundaries to obtain the information they need to support their missions. One critical piece of technology that has significantly increased the secure sharing of information across jurisdictions is Simplified Sign-On (SSO), based on proven federated identity technology.
Since 2010, the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) has been partnering with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) using SSO between the two information sharing environments. SSO enables users who authenticate to either system to gain access to the wealth of information contained in both environments using their home system credentials.
LEEP is a gateway that provides users from a wide range of partners, including RISS, with access to a variety of information that can be of critical value to law enforcement agencies, intelligence groups, and criminal justice entities. Examples of resources available to RISS users on LEEP include:
- Law Enforcement Online (LEO)-A secure, Internet-based information sharing system for agencies around the world that are involved in law enforcement, first response, criminal justice, anti-terrorism, and intelligence.
- Intelink-A secure portal for integrated intelligence dissemination and collaboration efforts.
- National Gang Intelligence Center-A multiagency effort that integrates gang information from local, state, and federal law enforcement entities to serve as a centralized intelligence resource for gang information and analytical support.
- Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)-Serves as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cybercrime.
- Joint Automated Booking System (JABS)-A repository of federal arrest information.
- Active Shooter-A resources web page that serves as LEO’s single clearinghouse for all materials available for use by law enforcement agencies and other first responders around the country.
- Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC)-Provides a rapid, mobile biometric search of “high-value” subjects, including wanted persons with FBI numbers in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) entry, immigration violator file records, sexual offender registry subjects, and known or appropriately suspected terrorists.
LEEP also provides users from partner agencies, such as LEO; the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), with SSO access to resources on the RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET) Portal. The mature level of the SSO relationship between LEEP and RISS enables RISS to provide access to a wide variety of resources while ensuring that each user has access to only those resources for which they are authorized.
RISS resources available to all LEEP users:
- Automated Trusted Information Exchange (ATIX) Website-Contains links to restricted and public websites relevant to more than 40 law enforcement, homeland security, public safety, and critical infrastructure communities of interest, with a natural disaster and terrorism nexus. It also provides secure online forums for users to collaborate and post public information on matters of interest.
- TechPage-Contains technical information of interest to RISSNET users, such as systems outage announcements, technical and user documentation, and related technology news and discussions.
RISS resources available to Sworn Law Enforcement Officers (SLEO) or those acting for SLEO:
- Cold Case Locator System-Designed to help users quickly locate unsolved homicides based on geographic location, victim age, victim gender, and approximate date of death.
- National Criminal Intelligence Resource Center (NCIRC)-A secure DOJ website that provides criminal justice professionals with resources primarily concerned with law enforcement intelligence operations and practices.
- National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS)-Created to prevent the introduction of stolen motor vehicles into interstate commerce; protect states, consumers, and other entities from fraud and unsafe vehicles; and reduce the use of stolen vehicles for illicit purposes, including funding of criminal enterprises.
- RISS National Gang Program (RISSGang) Website-Provides gang-specific news, documents, and publications that are organized into topical areas, such as types of gangs (e.g., motorcycle, prison), hand signs, terminology, graffiti, colors, and crypto/codes.
- RISS Officer Safety Website-Provides law enforcement and criminal justice users with timely officer safety information and a secure means to exchange and share officer safety-related information among agencies.
- Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) Search Tool (must have SAR account)-Provides authorized users of the SAR Search Tool with access to that tool.
- Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Electronic Learning Portal (ELP)-Currently offers more than 100 professional development courses that are available online for access by U.S. sworn law enforcement officers and agents.
The number of resources made available by both LEEP and RISS will continue to grow. RISS is actively pursuing a plan to expand the resources that are available
to federated partners, such as LEEP. RISS is also working with the FBI on the possibility of providing authorized RISS users with SSO access to
the National Data Exchange (N-DEx). LEEP continues to add resources that are available to RISS users. LEEP also continues to add partners whose users are able to access the growing number of information resources available on RISSNET.