Insider Signal - 2021.05

In our 3rd issue, we cover a neo-Nazi police officer, a spy in the military, a charity CEO stealing suitcases of cash, and a site supervisor funneling money to a bogus firm.

UK Police Officer Convicted of Terrorism Offenses

A British court convicted Benjamin Hannam, 22, on charges relating to membership in the neo-Nazi group National Action. Hannam had worked as a police probationary officer for almost two years when his name surfaced on a leaked database for an extreme right-wing online forum. Hannam was convicted of:

  • two counts of fraud for obtaining his position by deceit,

  • possessing an explicit image of a child,

  • lying on his police application, and

  • possessing terrorist documents about knife combat and making explosives.

Analysis Highlights

  • Police failed to ask Hannam's school for a reference, a flagrant omission.

  • Hannam's activity might have been flagged on social media before he was hired by the police.

Deeper Analysis

  • Peers had recognized Hannam was desperate to belong to an organization and respected by elders.

  • Hannam was on the autism spectrum, which may have made him “more susceptible” to National Action propaganda.

  • Some of Hannam's background and behavior defied stereotypes: he had a Jewish grandparent and African Muslim girlfriend.

  • A teacher had called out Hannam for submitting a virulently anti-Muslim paper.

  • There was no evidence that Hannam attempted to infiltrate the police to carry out activities on behalf of National Action.

  • The revelation is a blow to the reputation of policing, which is under the microscope in the UK and elsewhere following high-profile police abuse incidents in the West, particularly in the United States.

  • Hannam had a collection of far-right and neo-Nazi memorabilia in his home, which would have been apparent to any visitor.

  • Hannam regularly posed on National Action's message board before the group was banned in 2016.

  • He also posted on the neo-Nazi Iron March site in 2016-2017.

  • When making hiring decisions based on social media, organizations must consult various privacy laws and regulations.

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Sources & Additional Information

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-56941544

  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/30/met-police-officer-benjamin-hannam-convicted-of-belonging-to-neo-nazi-terror-group-jailed

  3. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/benjamin-hannam-neo-nazi-metropolitan-police-b1840209.html

  4. https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/30/uk/british-police-officer-neo-nazi-group-is-jailed-intl-gbr/index.html


U.S. Army Special Forces Captain Spied for Russia

Peter Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for conspiracy to gather or deliver defense information to aid a foreign government. Debbins, a captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces, conspired with Russian intelligence agents to provide details on U.S. agents in Russia, troop deployments, and security and counterintelligence information. Dobbins' activity took place both during his service with the Army (1998-2005) and beyond as an intelligence contractor.

Analysis Highlights

  • Debbins eventually received top security security clearance even though his mother was Russian and he married a woman whose father served as a colonel in the Russian Air Force.

  • Debbins was recruited in 1996 while he was studying abroad in Chelyabinsk in west-central Russia.

Sources & Additional Information

  1. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-army-green-beret-sentenced-russian-espionage-conspiracy

  2. https://www.newsweek.com/who-peter-dzibinski-debbins-ex-green-beret-sentenced-russian-espionage-charges-1591628

  3. https://www.stripes.com/News/2021-05-10/Prosecutors-recommend-17-year-sentence-for-former-Green-Beret-convicted-of-spying-for-Russia-1519498.html


International Aid CEO Plundered €1.1M from Organization

In front of the Irish High Court, former Bóthar chief executive David Moloney, 56, admitted stealing suitcases full of cash from the international aid charity over 21 years. About one-fifth of the gains came from funds the charity believed were delivered to an order of Roman Catholic nuns in Tanzania from 2013 to 2018. Another €100K-plus went to an English company with which Moloney was involved that purportedly provided services in Rwanda, but did not. Moloney split that money with CEO of that company. Yet another €100K was paid into Moloney's pension fund. Moloney admitted taking the charity’s money “in small suitcases of cash” and using it for family holidays and gifts for friends.

Analysis Highlights

  • Given his salary, Moloney's lavish spending, especially in cash, should have been seen as a red flag.

  • The sheer length of the fraud may be why red flags were not raised; misappropriation was gradual, and Moloney's individual expenses were not exorbitant.

Sources & Additional Information

  1. https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/former-bothar-boss-david-moloney-admits-taking-suitcases-of-cash-out-of-the-aid-charity-40428396.html

  2. https://www.thesun.ie/news/6911517/ex-ceo-of-bothar-admits-misappropriating-monies-donated/


Site Supervisor for Wind Tech Company Funneled $550K plus to Bogus Business

Arturo Salazar, III, 41, pled guilty in the Northern District of Texas for embezzling $550,000 from his employer, Vestas-American Wind Technologies. Salazar, the former site manager, admitted to four counts of unauthorized transactions with access devices. Salazar conspired with Keith Krier to create a bogus firm called BT Machine, which issued invoices to Vestas from 2016 to 2019. Salazar also used company credit cards to make $80,000 of unauthorized purchases including a universal terrain vehicle, a dump trailer, and other items.

Analysis Highlights

  • Basic due diligence would have revealed BT Machine's connection to Salazar; the registered address was a residence owned by Salazar.

Sources & Additional Information

  1. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/pr/former-wind-farm-manger-pleads-guilty-550000-embezzlement-scheme

  2. https://sanangelolive.com/news/crime/2019-12-24/san-angelo-wind-turbine-company-employee-sued-stealing-600k


More Insider Threat Stories

NGO Staff Stole Aid Earmarked for Sex Workers

Pune (India) police arrested three women and two men affiliated with an NGO called Kayakalpa for diverting state funds meant to assist commercial sex workers. The culprits, Gauri Gurang (32), Savita Karishma Lashkare (26), Sarika Lashkare (30), Amol Mali (25), and Mahesh Ghadsingh (20), siphoned 10,000 of the 15,000 rupees to be paid to each of workers. The payments were intended to alleviate financial hardships among commercial sex workers affected by the pandemic lockdown. Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/police-arrest-5-for-misappropriation-of-state-funds-meant-for-csws-101620916130808.html

Comptroller Defrauded Ballet School to Feed Gambling Habit

The former comptroller of the Washington, D.C., Kirov Ballet School, Sophia Kim (60), pled guilty to defrauding the school out of $1.5 million to feed her gambling habit. She used credit cards, debit cards, and checks to access the funds. The school is owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Kim had worked for Moon previously at the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation, where she was terminated for taking money from the foundation's programs and using it to gamble in casinos. Moon forgave Kim and rehired her at the school. Source: https://www.usgamblingsites.com/news/former-dc-comptroller-pleads-guilty-to-embezzlement-charges-in-gambling-case/

Bookkeeper Manipulated Payroll to Appropriate $1.1 Million

Maribel Rios, 51, of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, was arrested on money laundering and theft charges from a carpentry business where she served as a bookkeeper. According to the charges, for about three years Rios manipulated the company payroll system to make deposits to fictitious employees, issued company checks to accounts she controlled, and adjusted numbers in accounting software to cover the checks. She diverted a total of $1.1 million. Source: https://bcpo.net/press-releases/zpd9t8nc3ra572f7e3x0i1kcdubxbn

CEO of Nonprofit for Disabled Children Pocketed $800,000

Stuart Nitzkin, 45, was charged with wire fraud in federal court in Illinois for swindling $800,000 from American Friends Of Israel Sport Center for the Disabled, which helps physically compromised children participate in athletics. Nitzkin had served as a director. He allegedly paid for personal items on his personal credit card, then was reimbursed by his employer. He also allegedly took cash from donations, overpaid a vendor who was a friend of his, and began his own business to provide goods and services to a camp with no connection to to his employer, yet still charged expenses to his employer. Source: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/man-pleads-guilty-stealing-800k-022519528.html

Netflix IT Head Convicted of Fraud

Former Netflix Vice President of IT, Michael Kail, was convicted on 28 fraud and money laundering counts involving a "pay to play" arrangement. Kail received bribes and kickbacks for awarding contracts to third-party tech companies. He netted more than $500,000 plus stock options. Kail set up an LLC called Unix Mercenary to process the illegal payments. Source: https://www.irs.gov/compliance/criminal-investigation/former-netflix-executive-convicted-of-receiving-bribes-and-kickbacks-from-companies-contracting-with-netflix

UAW President Embezzled Funds from Union

Former United Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams, 68, received a 21 month sentence for conspiring with other union officials to embezzle money from the union. Willliams used the money to fund luxury vacations, lavish meals, golf trips, and alcohol. The money was drained from training centers funded by union contracts. Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/former-uaw-president-sentenced-21-months-corruption-probe-2021-05-11/

Hawaii Cop Offered Perjury for Sex

Former Maui police officer Brandon Charles Saffeels, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court to offering to lie on the witness stand for a suspect if she had sex with him. Saffeels had arrested the suspect for driving under the influence, then contacted her offering to perjure himself so she would be exonerated in court. The quid pro quo was that she agree to a sexual relationship. Source: https://mauinow.com/2021/05/05/former-maui-police-officer-pleads-guilty-to-7-count-indictment-alleging-public-corruption/

Health System Employee Improperly Accessed Medical Records

University of Florida Health Shands admitted a former employee “accessed medical records outside the scope of their duties.” That unnamed person acquired names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, medical record numbers, and dates of birth, as well as information from emergency room visits. Records were accessed between March 2019 and April 2021. More than 1500 patients were affected. Source: https://www.databreaches.net/university-of-florida-health-shands-notifies-patients-of-privacy-breach/

U.S. Air Force Colonel Accessed Child Porn

Brian Wade Eddy, 46, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was sentenced to serve 64 months in federal prison for accessing and viewing images of child pornography on his government-issued laptop. Eddy was a civilian employee at Tinker Air Force Base and a ranking Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. Source: https://www.nellis.af.mil/News/Article/2628531/5-month-investigation-results-in-5-year-sentence/

Ex-Employee Opened Fire at Long Island Supermarket

Police arrested Gabriel DeWitt Wilson, 31, who had a job returning shopping carts for a Stop & Shop supermarket in West Hempstead, New York. Wilson arrived at work on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 and opened fire, wounding a man and a woman before moving down the hall and killing a 49-year old store manager. Wilson had been involved in a shooting in Baltimore in 2014, but murder charges against him were dropped. Wilson also had previously been taken into custody for a mental health evaluation. Source: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2021/04/21/stop-and-shop-shooting-west-hempstead-gabriel-dewitt-wilson-nassau-county-police/


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