FBI to the RESCUE - YOE almost missed the June 12th WVRC Meeting!

Yes, there's nothing like a late entrance to get everyone's attention - and I really WAS late! I could blame it on picking up the engraved Clock for our Navy ROTC Midshipman - but they say you should never explain, so I won't. However, some of what I'll report is second hand, at best, so bear with me, please.

CLAWSON BLEAK started us off with the Pledge. Next up were JACK HARRIS and LENNY FRIEDMAN, who combined for our song. CHARLES MAGNUSON provided the Invocation, starting with the recent death of David Brinkley. We were reminded that the ever-faithful IRS has a fail-safe backup plan, in case of nuclear war. Even such a catastrophe won't shut them down - as we know, they just keep coming…And if you were lucky enough to NOT be one of the 50K who were randomly selected for a full-scale audit, you indeed have a lot to be thankful for!

PP HOMER NEWMAN introduced a Visiting Rotarian, John Lotspiech, who is a Past District Governor from Marblehead, Massachusetts. . His real claim to fame is that he and DON NELSON were fraternity brothers in the good old days at UCLA - and I was there then, also. I suspect he visited just to see if DON and I were still alive and kicking…RALPH SMITH again brought his Special Guest, Tony Deryan, who is in Retirement Planning. PP GEORGE DEA was with Yuriko Suzuki, our Ambassadorial Scholar from Japan, who will be receiving her Masters degree in Public Health at UCLA tomorrow. She will next be interning at the University of Pennsylvania, and told Prexy TED how much she enjoyed meeting so many members of our club.

PP STEVE SCHERER introduced our newest member, CHRIS BRADFORD. CHRIS graduated from UCLA, and he and STEVE have been partners for over fifteen years. He's a native of LA, currently President of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and will be an active addition to WVRC - Welcome Aboard, CHRIS! We had some June Birthdays, starting with GENE PRINDLE, in Los Angeles on the 2nd. PP GEORGE DEA arrived on the 4th, but in far-away Hong Kong. There were THREE members born in Illinois - RAY ZICKFELD on the 8th, in Chicago, PP STEVE SCHERER on the 21st in New Rochelle, and FLOYD DEWHIRST four days later, the 25th, in Harvard. GREGG ELLIOTT helped the California contingent, arriving on the 11th in nearby Santa Monica.
All were suitably rewarded with bogus cash, I believe.

We have some not-too-good news about SHARON PIERCE. She has recently transferred to a convalescent hospital after undergoing extensive Chemo, and cards to their home in Beverly Hills will reach her. Let's keep in touch, please. We haven't seen ED JACKSON much recently, but he was able to attend today, and he brought with him two guests from Emerson Jr. High. They were the Cameron girls - Camille, and her Mother. Ed presented Camille with the ALAN CAMPBELL Award, given to the graduating Emerson student with the best three-year GPA. Some of our younger members may not have known ALAN, who was the long-time Principal at Emerson, but he was quite a guy - and he could be talked into playing some great jazz on our piano.

At this point, I burst upon the scene, so-to-speak. They had saved a place for me at the head table, since I was the Presenter to the Navy ROTC - and I DID have his clock, by golly! The recipient was Midshipman First Class Daniel Breeden, who was accompanied by Lieutenant Robert Wong. Lt Wong told us that our honoree was the Operations Officer in the ROTC unit, and will be graduating in Economics this fall, when he also receives his commission as an Ensign. There are seventy five members in the Navy ROTC at UCLA, and we have provided this award for many years. I learned that Lt. Wong is a Submariner - and I must confess that I'd love to have him return as a Speaker - those nuclear boats would be a fascinating subject.

We had another Visiting Rotarian, Michael Kolln, from Westchester. He is with the Parking Spot, whose slogan is "Making Air Travel a Little Easier". They have two locations adjacent to LAX, providing 4,500 parking spaces. One is next door to the In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda, and the other is at 5701 W. Century Blvd. Their two lots are fully fenced, well-lit, and they provide frequent shuttle service, every 5 to 7 minutes around the clock. In addition to their facilities at LAX, they provide parking at Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Orlando, and St. Louis - so this is really a going operation.

They have presented WVRC with ONE HUNDRED Parking Passes - each envelope includes one seven-day Courtesy Pass (for longer-term use) and five one-day passes (providing the first day free, that is). The retail value of these Passes is over $150 bucks - and they are available to us, FREE. The suggestion is that we pay the WVRC Foundation for these passes, thus helping our Foundation PLUS providing a most useful service to all of us. I'm the Keeper of the Passes - and suggest they can be bought for fifty dollars - or more, of course, if you are feeling generous. This is a real Win-Win situation, and I encourage those of you who do some flying to get aboard on this, right away, OK? Call me at (310) 277-3910 and I'll mail you the package.

MICHAEL GINTZ briefly introduced our Speaker, Carlos Narro. FBI Agent Narro is with the Westwood FBI office. His tenure with the FBI started twelve years ago, and before that he was in the banking business. His focus has been on White Collar Crime, which could be characterized as 'bad guys' who have money - this enables them to hire expensive legal talent, plus the ability to appeal any and all convictions. Recently, the Bureau has shifted focus to combating Terrorism, but many of the circumstances are still similar.

In the mid-90's Agent Narro spent 3 ½ years in Puerto Rico. He found that the local law enforcement people had become quite tolerant of political corruption. When he arrived, his team began to investigate this corruption, and they indicted over sixty persons during his tenure - ALL of whom had been simply tolerated before the FBI came on the scene.

In the ten most frequent crime categories, White Collar Crime leads in three. There are eight squads in the LA area who specialize in this. Health care fraud is a major category, along with government corruption, telemarketing fraud, and securities fraud. He reminded us that we put a lot of trust in public officials, and in corporate officers. Also, note that the penalties for White Collar Crime have increased markedly over recent years - it is now recognized for the serious threat that it presents. This field demands dedication, and long hours are part of the job - there are no shortcuts

Q&A - DON NELSON, Does the FBI handle Golf Fraud? No, but we do get a lot of phone calls from some nuts…

CHARLES MAGNUSON, How do you prove a negative?  The IRS system is unique, with lots of subpoenas (first time I ever used that word…). Foreign bonds are a problem, since we have no jurisdiction in many countries. It is easy to trace checks - but cash transactions are still traceable. The main ingredient needed is credible witnesses, and we need a court order to examine IRS records.

PP HOWIE HENKES - Is identity theft a major problem? Yes, it is particularly rampant in the LA area. From the victim's standpoint, the FBI cannot handle single cases - there are simply too many of them. But if a victim can identify enough other victims, the total amount then qualifies for FBI scrutiny.

LEE DUNAYER, Are cases more complex now than before? Yes, the bad guys are more sophisticated, and they seem to have more resources to stay ahead of the law. There is an increase in false statements, noticeably. And note, there is no perfect crime - all such leave a trail, even though sometimes quite dim.

CHRIS BRADFORD, Is it true that high profile cases are prosecuted more vigorously? Yes, that is probably a factor, in Agent Narro's opinion.

PP STEVE SCHERER, How extensive is White Collar Crime? The Mafia is involved - and note there are many ethnic Mafias. Trash recycling is an example.

PP RON LYSTER, Where do your informers come from? There are three types - friendly, street (who are usually afraid to testify, since they risk local retaliation) and cooperative witnesses - an insider, who plea bargains, for example. These can be wired, since they are very eager to reduce their own sentences.

Michael Kolln (from Westchester), Are money transfers a problem? Yes, we get 50 reports PER DAY of such activity.

ELLIOTT TURNER, How do you get into the FBI? It's a pretty good deal - but you have to be young (23 to 37), with no drug history, and a bachelors degree.
There are 10,000 FBI agents in total, and LA has 680, who are scattered across the city.  And yes, they do provide FBI tours in Washington, D.C.

LEO TSENG (who announced that his was the LAST question), Why do they seldom convict on murder charges, but usually on tax evasion, etc? Because you need witnesses for murder, and people are afraid to step forward because they are intimidated.

Final note - next week will be special - Representing Celebrities is always fascinating.  Be There!

YOE, Ernie Wolfe