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Cops linked to $100K-bribery deal arrested after man murdered | News

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Two policemen attached to the Constant Spring Police Station in St Andrew have been arrested and a third is being sought following the murder of a tiler on Saturday morning in Red Hills in the parish.

They were detained hours after the killing that has been linked to an alleged bribery deal. 

Assistant Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Hamish Campbell confirmed the development in what he said was a “complex” investigation. 

INDECOM is the state’s chief police oversight body. 

The dead man has been identified as 49-year-old Phillip Wallace of a Green Glide Close address in St Andrew. 

About 10:41 a.m. Saturday, Wallace was reportedly standing in the community when a white Toyota Axio motorcar drove up.

Three men alighted from the vehicle and opened fire on Wallace, reports say.

A woman who was also shot at escaped without injury.

The cops at the centre of the saga reportedly requested $100,000 from Wallace following a raid a few days earlier in return for him not to be prosecuted. 

A sum was allegedly provided by the cops demanded more. 

A report was made to the Constant Spring Police Station and a corruption probe opened against the cops. 

The policemen are in custody at the Grants Pen Police in St Andrew, The Gleaner understands. 

The third cop has not been seen or heard from since and it is believed he may have departed the island.

The Major Investigation Division and the Inspectorate and Professional Standards Oversight Bureau of the Jamaica Constabulary Force are also probing the matter. 

A cop on duty at the Grants Pen Police Station declined to comment and directed queries to the Constant Spring Station. Calls placed there were not picked up. 

The police’s Corporate Communications Unit said it was aware of Wallace’s killing but was seeking further information on the reported arrest of the cops. 

– Andre Williams

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.


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U.S. Jews fear collision with expected Israeli government –

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“This is a very significant crossroads,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group in Washington. “The potential for specific actions that could be taken by this government, these are the moments when the relationship between the bulk of American Jews and the state of Israel begins to really fray. So I’m very afraid.”


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Raleigh bank teller pleads guilty to stealing customer account info

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh bank teller faces 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing customer account information.

The office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina said Davia Delores Lockley, 26, participated in a scheme to defraud banks and bank customers while employed as a teller at the Raleigh branch of an area bank.

“Financial institutions and their customers count on the integrity of bank employees,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.  “This defendant used her position of trust to steal customers’ personal financial information as part of a scheme to defraud people of their hard-earned money.”   

Court documents said bank employees were recruited by conspirators to identify customer accounts that contained significant funds and lacked a customer photo on file. Those bank employees would then access the customers’ information on the bank’s internal systems.

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According to Easley’s office, that information, including account numbers and personal identifiers, was sent to other conspirators using cell phones or handwritten notes.

In addition, so-called runners were recruited to go to banks and credit unions in order to withdraw funds from victim accounts. Conspirators were able to get fake drivers licenses that featured the victims’ personal identifiers and the runners’ picture. 

Court documents claim stolen money was split amongst conspirators.

Between January 2021 and June 2021, prosecutors say Lockley compromised the accounts of at least six bank customers. She pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after Chief United States District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted the plea. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Raleigh Police Department are investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Toby Lathan is prosecuting the cases.


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US Jews fear collision with expected Israeli government

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s ties to the Jewish American community, one of its closest and most important allies, are about to be put to the test, with Israel’s emerging far-right government on a collision course with Jews in the United States.

Major Jewish American organizations, traditionally a bedrock of support for Israel, have expressed alarm over the far-right character of the presumptive government led by conservative Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. Given American Jews’ predominantly liberal political views and affinity for the Democratic Party, these misgivings could have a ripple effect in Washington and further widen what has become a partisan divide over support for Israel.

“This is a very significant crossroads,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group in Washington. “The potential for specific actions that could be taken by this government, these are the moments when the relationship between the bulk of American Jews and the state of Israel begins to really fray. So I’m very afraid.”

Jewish-American leaders appear especially worried about the prominent role expected to be played by a trio of hard-line, religious lawmakers. The three have made racist anti-Arab statements, denigrated the LGBTQ community, attacked Israel’s legal system and demonized the liberal, non-Orthodox streams of Judaism popular in the U.S. All vehemently oppose Palestinian independence.

“These are among the most extreme voices in Israeli politics,” said Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest Jewish movement in the U.S. “What will be the trajectory of a new Israeli government with such voices in such key leadership roles is of deep, deep concern.”

More centrist organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, which fights antisemitism and other forms of hatred, and the Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella group that supports hundreds of Jewish communities, have also spoken out.

Though these groups, like J Street and the Reform movement, support a two-state solution with the Palestinians, their recent statements have focused on Israel’s democratic ideals. The Anti-Defamation League said that including the three far-right lawmakers in a government “runs counter to Israel’s founding principles.” The Federations called for “inclusive and pluralistic” policies.

For decades, American Jews have played a key role in promoting close ties between the U.S. and Israel. They have raised millions of dollars for Israeli causes, spoken out in Israel’s defense and strengthened strong bipartisan support for Israel in Washington.

But this longstanding relationship has come under strain in recent years — especially during Netanyahu’s 2009-2021 rule.

Netanyahu’s hard-line policies toward the Palestinians, his public spats with Barack Obama over peacemaking and the Iranian nuclear issue and his close ties with Donald Trump put him at odds with many in the American Jewish community.

Opinion polls show that roughly three-quarters of American Jews lean toward the Democratic Party. They tend to be more critical of the Israeli government and more sympathetic to the Palestinians than their Republican counterparts, with these divisions even wider among younger Jews in their 20s.

These trends appear set to go into hyper-drive as Netanyahu prepares to return to power after a year and a half as opposition leader, this time flanked by some of the country’s most extremist politicians.

After winning elections last month, Netanyahu and his allies are still forming their coalition. But he already has reached a number of deals that are setting off alarm bells overseas.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawmaker known for his anti-Arab vitriol and provocative stunts, has been offered the job of national security minister, a powerful position that will put him in charge of Israel’s national police force. This includes the paramilitary border police, a unit on the front lines of much of the fighting with Palestinians in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Ben-Gvir has labeled Arab lawmakers “terrorists” and called for deporting them. He wants to impose the death penalty on Palestinian attackers and grant soldiers immunity from prosecution.

Netanyahu also has agreed to appoint the lawmaker Avi Maoz as a deputy minister overseeing a new authority in charge of “Jewish identity” and giving him responsibilities over Israel’s educational system.

Maoz is known for his outspoken anti-LGBTQ positions and disparaging remarks about the Reform movement and other non-Orthodox Jews.

He wants a ban on Pride parades, has compared gays to pedophiles and wants to allow some forms of conversion therapy, a discredited practice that tries to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ children.

Maoz hopes to change Israel’s “Law of Return,” which allows anyone with a single Jewish grandparent to immigrate to Israel, and replace it with a much stricter definition of who is a Jew. He also opposes non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism. This is an affront to liberal Jewish groups, which have less rigid views on Jewish identity.

Bezalel Smotrich, a settler leader with a history of anti-gay and anti-Palestinian comments, has been granted widespread authority over settlement construction and Palestinian civilian life in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu has been generous toward his allies because they support major legal reforms that could freeze or dismiss his corruption trial. Critics say such moves will imperil Israel’s democratic foundations.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Netanyahu tried to play down such concerns as he vowed to safeguard democracy and LGBTQ rights. “I ultimately decide policy,” he said.

Halie Soifer, chief executive of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said it is premature to judge a government that hasn’t yet taken office. But she acknowledged the concerns about issues like LGBTQ rights, Palestinian rights and respect for democracy – particularly with memories of the Trump administration still fresh.

“Many of those concerns are based on our own experience with an administration that didn’t share our values,” said Soifer.

Whether U.S. policy will be affected is unclear. The Biden administration has said it will wait to see policies, not personalities, of the new government.

But Eric Alterman, author of “We Are Not One,” a new book about relations between Israel and American Jews, says the sides are moving in opposite directions.

Progressive Democrats already have pushed for a tougher approach to Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.

“It may come suddenly. It may come in pieces. But there’s simply a break coming between American Jews and Israeli Jews,” Alterman said.

___

Associated Press writers Eleanor H. Reich in Jerusalem, Luis Henao in New York and Peter Smith in Pittsburgh contributed reporting.


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