By Jim Kouri
What at first appeared to be government officials involved in embezzlement to the tune of more than a half-billion dollars now appears to be also connected to a Palestinian money-laundering operation, according to several Law Enforcement Examiner sources.
A top U.S. intelligence chief pleaded guilty last week as a result of a far-reaching federal fraud investigation that nabbed a total of five members of the Department of Homeland Security and may be connected to funnel money to a Palestinian ring, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Examiner.
James M. Woosley, the acting director of intelligence for DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of more than $180,000 in a scheme involving fraudulent travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims, according to court documents.
The 48-year old former resident of Tucson, Arizona, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money, according to the Department of Justice.
Four other suspects pleaded guilty to charges related to the Woosley case: Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, an ICE supervisory intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in October 2011; William J. Korn, 53, an ICE intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in December 2011; Stephen E. Henderson, 61, a former contractor doing work for ICE, pleaded guilty in January 2012; and Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, an assistant to Woosley, pleaded guilty in March 2012. Abdallat pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia.
Between February 2009 and September 2010, ICE Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist Ahmed Adil Abdallat also traveled from El Paso, Texas to Washington, D.C. more than ten times, according to records submitted to DHS. Abdallat did so at the recommendation of the ICE Supervisor, and Abdallat submitted fraudulent travel vouchers for expenses that he did not incur, so that he could kick back money to the ICE Supervisor, according to former U.S. Congressman Tom Trancredo, who remains active in monitoring U.S. immigration policy and agencies in the United States.
As a result of the fraudulent travel vouchers, ICE reimbursed Abdallat a total of approximately $116,392.84. Abdallat kept some of the money, but kicked back approximately $58,550 to the ICE Supervisor, Rollerson and another individual, according to court records.
Ahmed Adil Abdallat was sentenced to a mere 12 months in prison for illegal use of a diplomatic passport and submitting fake travel receipts to ICE. According to federal sentencing guidelines, he should have received up to 10 years in federal prison for his unlawful use of a diplomatic passport.
All told, the actions of the various defendants cost taxpayers upwards of $600,000.
“[On May 2] James Woosley became the fifth – and highest-ranking – individual to plead guilty as part of a series of fraud schemes among rogue employees and contractors at ICE,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., District of Columbia.
“He abused his sensitive position of trust to fleece the government by submitting phony paperwork for and taking kickbacks from subordinates who were also on the take. This ongoing investigation demonstrates our dedication to protecting the taxpayer from corrupt government employees and contractors,” Machen added.
According to the government’s evidence, with which Woosley agreed, between May 2008 and January 2011, Woosley participated in fraudulent activity involving travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims. In addition, from June 2008 until February 2011, Woosley was aware of or willfully overlooked fraudulent activity of ICE employees or contract employees under his supervision, such as Palestinian Ahmed Adil Abdallat, a supervisory intelligence specialist.
The other employees included Rollerson, who he met in or about 2007, while he was deputy director for ICE’s Office of Intelligence. Woosley and Rollerson developed a close, personal relationship. In or about May 2008, Rollerson was hired as an intelligence reports writer for a company that did contract work for ICE. Later that year, she was hired by ICE as an intelligence research specialist.
This placed her first in the chain of command under Woosley, and she later became Woosley’s personal assistant. Rollerson’s official duty station was in Washington, D.C., and she lived in Virginia, with Woosley.
Rollerson helped Woosley and the other participants with the paperwork to support the fraudulent payments they later received.
A Palestinian Connection?
According to investigative journalist and radio commentator Debbie Schlussel, suspect Ahmed Adil Abdallat, a Palestinian, served as an intelligence analyst for ICE. And his boss Woosley, the ICE Intelligence chief, could not say anything about it because he is a co-conspirator with Abdallat in submitting phony expense documents to ICE for reimbursement.
“The money, stolen from American taxpayers who paid it to fund this country’s national security, is probably going to fund Islamic terrorism and is definitely going to a multi-million dollar Palestinian money-laundering ring and its bank accounts in Jordan. The Muslim ICE official [had] a US-government-issued diplomatic passport, which he misuse[d] for eight personal trips to Jordan to see Muslim brothers” wrote Schlussel.
“Homeland Security and the Justice Department are minimizing these parts of the story and are succeeding. But the truth is that this is a major national security breach and a gargantuan example of the failure of political correctness and pan-Muslim affirmative action in federal law enforcement agencies” Schlussel stated.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, appointed to the court in 2011 by President Barack Obama, scheduled sentencing of Woosley for July 13, 2012. Under federal guidelines, Woosley faces a likely sentence of 18 to 27 months in prison as well as a potential fine.
In addition, as part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeiture of the money he wrongfully obtained. This case was investigated by the DHS Office of Inspector General, the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
“The fact that the investigation was handled by the Homeland Security Department and its components instead of by the FBI or other federal investigators is highly suspicious to me. These were high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials who were stealing larges sums of money without the slightest hesitation. Could not these same officials compromise national security or worse?” asks former military intelligence officer and police detective Sid Franes.
“Are Americans getting the whole story? Or are we once again facing yet another political agenda?” he asks.