Jun 052013
 

Porn star ‘Mr Marcus’ jailed for knowingly exposing co-stars to syphilis and causing outbreak that closed the industry

  • Porn star Mr Marcus admitted altering his syphilis-positive test results to continue performing in adult films

  • He hid the details of the bacterial infection when showing producers his blood test results

  • The adult film industry shut down after at least nine porn stars contracted the infection

 

DAILY MAIL / UK
June 5, 2013

Returned to work: His doctor said Mr Marcus would not be contagious 10 days after a pencillin shot so he returned to work at porn shoots after 11 days (Pic: Lukeisback.com)

Returned to work: His doctor said Mr Marcus would not be contagious 10 days after a pencillin shot so he returned to work at porn shoots after 11 days (Pic: Lukeisback.com)

 

A male porn star has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after admitting responsibility for the syphilis outbreak that closed down the adult film industry in Los Angeles last August.

‘Mr Marcus’, 42, whose real name is Jesse Spencer, contracted the bacterial infection on set before altering his syphilis-positive test so he could continue performing.

The 19-year veteran pleaded no contest in Los Angeles Superior Court where he was also sentenced on Tuesday to 36 months’ probation and 15 days of community labor.

In August his admission came after the industry’s self-imposed 10 day moratorium which saw more than 1,000 performers in the LA area get tested and administered preventative antibiotics.

At least nine porn stars were revealed to have contracted syphilis.

Mr Marcus said: ‘I tried to cover it up…because I said it was like the scarlet letter. It’s the word. Syphilis, whoa.

 

Jailed: Porn star Mr Marcus has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after continuing to work after contracting the bacterial infection (pic: Facebook)

Jailed: Porn star Mr Marcus has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after continuing to work after contracting the bacterial infection (pic: Facebook)

 

‘Mr Marcus, syphilis? Mr Marcus, the one I worked with? The one that everybody works with? The one that’s been in this industry forever?’

Returned to work: His doctor said Mr Marcus would not be contagious 10 days after a pencillin shot so he returned to work at porn shoots after 11 days

A doctor told Mr Marcus that he would not be contagious 10 days after taking a shot of penicillin on July 13.

With that diagnosis he returned to work 11 days later, on July 24, still with syphilis.

Instead of presenting a paper or digital copy of the test results he showed the producer a copy on his phone so the details about the infection were not visible.

While filming another porn film, Mr Marcus said he folded the test to hide the syphilis diagnosis and photocopied it but a producer noticed the results were missing and questioned him about it.

He said: ‘I have to live with this, no one else does.

‘I’m very sorry. I did not think that this would come out like this.’

The porn star posted on Twitter yesterday: ‘You can be disappointed, but don’t throw stones. Some of you are living in glass houses.’

The bacterial infection has a 90-day incubation period meaning a porn actor could potentially be carrying the disease without it showing up on tests.

Porn star Aletta Ocean, 24, said she contracted syphilis while shooting movies in Budapest, Hungary.

Her revelation led to speculation that the outbreak of the disease came from Hungary.

On hold: Pornographic films are being set outside of Los Angeles because of the city's law that now requires performers to wear condoms, leading to increased permit requests in neighboring towns (pic: Peter Turnley / CORBIS)

On hold: Pornographic films are being set outside of Los Angeles because of the city’s law that now requires performers to wear condoms, leading to increased permit requests in neighboring towns (pic: Peter Turnley / CORBIS)

 

According to porn industry blog LukeIsBack.com she tweeted: ‘F****** siphilis problem… In Budapest many people got it..Me too…’

Sex workers are supposed to undergo regular blood tests to ensure they are free of sexually transmitted disease.

It was reported that one of the labs frequented by porn stars does not test for syphilis.

Speculation it came from Hungary: Porn star Aletta Ocean said on Tuesday that she contracted syphilis in Hungary leading to speculation that the outbreak came from there (pic: Facebook)

Speculation it came from Hungary: Porn star Aletta Ocean said on Tuesday that she contracted syphilis in Hungary leading to speculation that the outbreak came from there (pic: Facebook)

 

Syphilis is a treatable bacterial infection that can be spread by both bodily fluids and contact with infected skin. 

Its causes skin lesions and rashes. If left untreated, it can permanently alter and damage internal organs and brain function.

The number of syphilis cases in California has jumped 18 per cent according to a report from the California Department of Public Health.

The results showed a much higher rate of men had contracted the infection and that African Americans were affected more than any other racial demographic.

Requests for filming permits for porn shoots have dropped dramatically since LA imposed a law forcing performers to wear condoms during sex scenes.

Neighboring towns are now putting a moratorium on permit approvals as they deal with an influx from production companies who are looking for places to film without condoms.

LA residents voted in November to force actors in pornographic films to wear condoms during shoots, and now the industry is feeling the results as many producers have opted for different shoot locations.

 

Direct Link:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336321/Porn-star-Mr-Marcus-jailed-knowingly-exposing-stars-syphilis-causing-outbreak-closed-industry.html

 

Jul 112012
 

L.A. County sheriff recalls 200 badges given to local politicians

 

Los Angeles Times

by Robert Faturechi

by Jeff Gottlieb

July 10, 2012

 

 

This photo of a woman wearing the Sheriff’s Department badge of Cudahy Councilman Osvaldo Conde was released by the U.S. attorney’s office. (unknown / July 10, 2012)

 

 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which has faced criticism for handing out official-looking credentials to civilians with no law enforcement duties, is recalling an estimated 200 badges the department gave to local politicians, according to documents and interviews.

Sheriff Lee Baca‘s decision to recall the badges comes two weeks after the FBI arrested three city officials in Cudahy on bribery charges. In support of the charges, the U.S. attorney’s office released a photo of a smiling young woman in a Cudahy nightclub, brandishing two handguns and wearing a councilman’s badge on her chest.

One command-level sheriff’s official briefed on the badge recall said the move was prompted by the revelation in Cudahy. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore, however, said that the timing was a coincidence and that a 2007 state attorney general’s warning prompted the call to return the badges.

Asked why it took more than four years for the Sheriff’s Department to take action on the attorney general’s legal opinion, Whitmore replied, “That’s a good question.”

The emergence of the Cudahy photo is the latest in a series of incidents in which official-looking credentials given to civilians by law enforcement agencies have come under scrutiny. Critics have long said badges and identification cards appeared to be rewards for political contributions and had the potential for abuse.

After a series of Times stories, California police chiefs and sheriffs were told by then-Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown in 2007 that handing out badges created the potential for civilians to falsely pose as law enforcement officers. The attorney general’s opinion covers any badge “that would deceive an ordinary reasonable person into believing that it is authorized for use by a peace officer.”

In the wake of the opinion, some agencies pledged to stop issuing the IDs and badges.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recalled official-looking identification cards but continued giving badges to council members and city managers in cities that contracted for the department’s police services.

At first glance, the badges closely resemble those deputies wear, with the same six-pointed star design. Instead of identifying the person as a “deputy sheriff,” the badges read “City Official Los Angeles County.”

Whitmore said the badges were given to city officials for use during emergencies so they could pass through sheriff’s command posts. He estimated that about 200 badges will be recalled from about 40 cities.

Aside from the Cudahy case, Whitmore said he was not aware of any other incident in which a city official misused a badge. But civilian abuse of such credentials has been a problem in the past.

In the 1980s, the issue caught the attention of members of the county Board of Supervisors after they learned that “Hillside Strangler” Kenneth Bianchi had used a county emblem to pose as a police officer while luring his victims.

Prior to the attorney general’s 2007 opinion, two political contributors to the Riverside County sheriff told The Times they displayed their honorary badges during encounters with law enforcement. One used it to gain access to a secure area of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. The other showed it to police officers serving a search warrant at his business.

About the same time, a Compton man was arrested after allegedly flashing Redondo Beach police officers a badge issued to him by a state assemblyman.

The Times also reported that Baca gave official-looking identification cards to members of his Homeland Security Support Unit, a civilian group that was staffed by many of his political donors.

According to an internal policy memo, the practice of giving badges to city officials has been going on since 1986. In fact, the policy was reexamined in 2010 but allowed to continue despite the attorney general’s warning on the matter three years earlier.

Whitmore said the photograph of the woman wearing Councilman Osvaldo Conde’s badge at the El Potrero nightclub in Cudahy was “a vulgar display.”

Three Cudahy officials were arrested June 22 as part of a federal investigation into allegations of corruption in the city’s government. Conde, then-Mayor David Silva and Angel Perales, the former head of code enforcement, are accused of taking a total of $17,000 in bribes from the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary who wanted to open a store in the city.

In a transcript of a secretly recorded conversation, Perales is quoted talking about “a crooked deputy.”

“Well, he just got transferred to Cudahy, but I knew all about him before … he came in,” Perales tells an FBI informant.

The two men talk about paying off the deputy. “Money makes the monkey dance,” Perales says.

Whitmore said department investigators looked into the allegation about a corrupt deputy and concluded that it was a “fabrication, it’s not real.”

 

Direct Link:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-sheriff-badges-20120711,0,7628614.story

Apr 192012
 

L.A. Now Live: LAPD’s Chief Beck; Marine who criticized Obama

Los Angeles Times
by: Kimi Yoshino
- Tony Perry and Joel Rubin
April 16, 2012

Chief Beck

 

Times reporters Tony Perry and Joel Rubin will join city editor Shelby Grad for a chat about two stories in the news.

The chat will begin at 9 a.m at www.latimes.com/lanow. Questions can be asked live during the chat or by submitting a comment above.

Perry, who reports on the military out of San Diego, has been following the case of Sgt. Gary Stein, the Marine who criticized President Obama on a Facebook page. An Administrative Separation Board at Camp Pendleton has voted 3-0 to recommend that Stein should be dismissed and given an other-than-honorable discharge for making comments “prejudicial to good order and discipline.”

He’ll have the latest on that case.

Rubin will be discussing a story that appears on the front page in today’s paper about LAPD Chief Charlie Beck facing rare criticism from his civilian bosses. Some of those commission members say they are troubled by Beck’s reluctance to punish officers they found had killed or wounded people unjustifiably.

Since Beck took over as chief in late 2009, the commission has ruled on about 90 incidents involving officers who fired weapons or used other deadly force. In almost all of them, Beck concluded the officers used force appropriately and urged the commission to clear them of wrongdoing. The board followed his guidance most of the time.

But in four shootings — in which three people were killed and three others wounded by police gunfire — the commission went against the chief’s recommendations and ruled the officers’ use of lethal force inappropriate, Rubin reported.

– Kimi Yoshino

 

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/la-now-live-newsroom-chat.html

Apr 052012
 

I worked a very similar (No GPS, Old School Surveillance) case years ago, and assisted the Metro-Dade Auto Theft Unit. The vehicles were being shipped to the Caribbean from the Port of Miami!

—————

 

Stolen high-end cars recovered at Port of L.A.

Los Angeles Times
Bob Pool
April 3, 2012

Stolen cars recovered

Photo: Among the stolen vehicles Customs and Border Protection officers recovered was a 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia valued at $280,000. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

 

 

The shipping containers filled with “used fitness equipment” have given customs agents at the Port of Los Angeles a workout.

Instead of exercise gear, however, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the containers held a 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia valued at $280,000 and 15 other stolen high-end vehicles headed for Hong Kong and Vietnam, officials said Tuesday.

Four other expensive cars had already been shipped to Vietnam and the U.S. is working with Vietnamese customs officials to have them returned to this country, said Jaime Ruiz, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The stolen vehicles were discovered after a car rental company became suspicious when a GPS device in a rented 2010 Ferrari showed that the vehicle was at the harbor and was not moving. After opening the container with the GPS-equipped Ferrari, agents checked other containers whose manifests also listed “used fitness equipment” as the cargo and discovered the other cars.

Officers estimate the value of the recovered vehicles at $1.5 million. When resold in Asia, the cars’ prices typically double, Ruiz said.

The smugglers apparently stole the cars after leasing or purchasing them using false identities. Several local dealerships were defrauded, along with banks and insurance companies, authorities said.

Ruiz said the investigation into the car smuggling ring was continuing, although no arrests have been made. The recovered vehicles will be turned over to the California Highway Patrol for return to their rightful owners, he said.

Last year, officers seized 61 vehicles and 49 engines valued at $1.8 million from outbound containers at what customs agents refer to as the Los Angeles /Long Beach Seaport. Two dozen of the cars had been reported stolen.

 

Direct Link:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/04/stolen-high-end-cars-los-angeles-harbor.html

Feb 292012
 

Website matches targets and hit man

 

The case began with a website called HitmanForHire.net. The designer thought it was a joke, but the FBI and Irish police soon learned that Essam Ahmed Eid, a Las Vegas poker dealer, was in business.

Los Angeles Times
By Victoria Kim
February 28, 2012
FBI Agent Ingerd Sotelo 

FBI Agent Ingerd Sotelo helped unravel the case of the hit-man website.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times / February 27, 2012)

 

As with other online businesses, the site promised convenience and efficiency.

With a few clicks of the mouse, one could hire a professional hit man ready to kill “at a moment’s notice.” On the “employment” section of the site, would-be assassins could upload resumes for consideration.

“Thanks to the Internet, ordering a hit has never been easier,” read the site HitmanForHire.net, in a chipper, infomercial-like tone.

Most thought it was a joke, including the Web designer in Florida commissioned to create the site. FBI Agent Ingerd Sotelo, who had investigated perhaps half a dozen hit-man cases in her 12-year career, probably wouldn’t have taken it seriously if she came across it Web-surfing.

Except there was a terrified 23-year-old woman sitting in front of her, pale with genuine fear, saying someone had used the site to put a $37,000 hit on her head.

The man behind HitmanForHire.net showed up at Woodland Hills mortgage broker Anne Lauren Royston’s office one Saturday morning in 2006, wearing head-to-toe black and driving a yellow Corvette.

He was middle-aged and tan, with a thick mustache and a heavy accent, and brought along a woman with cigarette breath he called his wife. He carried a black folder holding numerous photos of Royston and an e-mail message: “I want her done by a shot to the head.” The message was from her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

His client, the man said, had deposited $17,000 for the job.

The hit man calmly told Royston she reminded him of his daughter. Then he made her an offer: Pay him the balance on the contract, and he would let her live. She had three days.

Sotelo, who other agents in the violent crime squad knew as the “prison girl” for the number of federal lockup cases she’s investigated, now sat in the same conference room with Royston. It was Tuesday, the deadline the man had given.

Royston easily picked him out in a photo lineup. In either a sophomoric gaffe or a sign of brazen confidence, he had given Royston his real name.

Essam Ahmed Eid of Las Vegas seemed an unlikely killer — or at least one who hid it incredibly well. The Egyptian-born man was 51, had a heart condition, and worked as a poker dealer at the Bellagio. He lived in a four-bedroom tract home in North Las Vegas with his family, including a daughter in college.

Sotelo recorded a series of calls to Royston in which Eid and the woman purported to be his wife repeated their demands for money. At the agent’s direction, Royston asked for more time to come up with the cash. But a couple of weeks later, the man seemed to disappear.

Following her instincts, the agent pulled up a database of entry and exit records into and out of the United States. Sure enough, Eid, along with a woman named Teresa Engle, had left the country.

But the couple hadn’t flown to Eid’s native Egypt, or some remote tropical paradise with no extradition treaties with the United States.

Eid, it appeared, was in western Ireland.

Around the same time, detectives in the quaint riverbank town of Ennis — billed on an Irish travel site as “the most endearing town” — were scratching their heads over a similar situation.

It had started with a cut-and-dry burglary case: Two laptops were stolen from the office of wealthy businessman P.J. Howard. The next day, a man contacted one of Howard’s two sons and told him someone wanted their father and both sons dead, for 130,000 euros. But for a discounted sum on the balance of the contract — 100,000 euros — he would let them live.

The Irish police — Gardai, as they are known — swiftly arrested the man. Their suspect was Eid.

Sotelo learned of the arrest through the FBI’s attache in London. Investigators on both sides of the Atlantic compared notes but weren’t sure exactly what they were looking at — an audacious, bumbling extortion scam, or something more.

For answers, federal agents raided Eid’s Las Vegas home. The “mother lode,” as Sotelo later recalled, was on the family computer. Over about a week, she scoured its contents.

Through the website, people around the world had written to Eid — some clearly more serious than others. A fifth-grade girl in Kentucky wanted another girl in her class dead. Several volunteered to kill for hire. One woman wanted help committing suicide.

Two women, one in Pennsylvania and another in Ireland, confided about men in their lives who drove them to want to kill.

Marissa Mark, a collections agent in Allentown, Pa., was to the point about the new girlfriend of the man who left her behind and moved to the West Coast: “I need someone by the name of Lauren Royston killed ASAP. She is located in Los Angeles, CA.”

She had sent a $17,000 deposit through PayPal by cobbling together charges on three stolen credit cards.

Sharon Collins, a divorcee in Ennis, went into far more lurid detail about how she wanted her lover P.J. Howard killed, and why.

In e-mails that went on for pages, she told Eid that his two sons were to be killed first. Then, it should appear as though Howard jumped to his death from his 14th-floor penthouse vacation home in Spain.

“Remember, I need it to look like he has committed suicide after hearing about his sons,” she wrote.

She wanted to inherit Howard’s fortune, Collins wrote, but told Eid that wasn’t the main motivation. Howard, she wrote, “wants to control every part of my life.”

“The main reason I’m doing this is because he is continually trying to force me to go out and pick up a stranger for sex…. The mother of my boys is not a slut.”

As a deposit, Collins sent 15,000 euros in cash wrapped in brown paper to Eid’s home.

His clients may have thought they were emailing a veteran killer, but his computer records painted Eid as a novice when it came to murder for hire. After launching the website a few months earlier, Eid appeared to have done what any modern-day neophyte would do with a new task — he turned to Google.

Between numerous searches for Clay Aiken — Eid’s wife was an avid fan — Sotelo found records showing that Eid had surfed the Web about his new trade. He looked up how to make a homemade silencer from toilet parts, attempted to place an Internet order for cyanide, and researched ricin — the castor bean-derived poison famously used in the 1978 assassination of Bulgarian dissident journalist Georgi Markov through an umbrella gun.

“The powder you have made is tasteless and odorless. It can be sprinkled into soup or placed in a drink or inhaled,” read one Web page that Eid searched, which offered a 15-step instruction on making ricin. “It takes about 3-4 days to act and when it does the guy will be dead within a week.”

At the home, agents found indications that Eid had utilized his research. There was a 9mm pistol with a homemade rubber silencer, and a shriveled castor bean plant in the backyard.

With the information, Sotelo pressed Teresa Engle about the ricin. Engle had married Eid a year earlier, even though he was legally married to another woman — the Aiken fan. All three lived in the Las Vegas home. Engle would later tell a federal judge Eid “dominated and controlled” her.

Whether it was because of Eid’s control or by her own will, Engle had accompanied Eid to Woodland Hills and then to Ireland. After Irish authorities decided not to charge her because she had little direct involvement there, she quickly flew back to the United States and began cooperating with the FBI.

Engle described how they made ricin in the garage — boiling and grinding the beans, eventually producing a fine powder. They had packed it into a contact lens case, and flown with it across the Atlantic, Engle told Sotelo. It was in Eid’s bag of toiletries.

Sotelo quickly called her Irish counterparts. To their horror, his toiletry bag had been searched at the time of Eid’s arrest and returned to him because it contained the medication he needed for his heart condition.

Irish authorities raided his jail cell, and seized the bag. They found the lens case.

It was empty.

In 2008, Sotelo arrived in Dublin to testify in Eid’s trial and found herself being chased by cameramen like a Hollywood starlet.

The case was a sensation there. Considering Howard’s fortune, Collins’ beauty, the flirtatious tone of email exchanges between Collins and Eid — “You’re very handsome,” she wrote after they sent each other photos — the story was tabloid gold.

Then there were the lab results that came back from the lens case: It tested positive for traces of ricin.

After a six-week trial, with every sordid detail splashed across the national media, Eid was convicted of extortion and burglary, but acquitted of solicitation of murder. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Last year, he was extradited to Los Angeles to face charges. On the eve of his trial, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy relating to extortion and received a 33-month prison sentence. Engle was sentenced to a lighter eight months because of her cooperation.

Collins, dubbed the “Devil in the Red Dress” by Irish media for a photo she sent to Eid of herself, was convicted of soliciting murder and sentenced to six years in prison, according to press accounts there. Mark, who hired Eid to kill Royston, was sentenced in Pennsylvania last month, also to six years.

Throughout, Eid has kept mum about what it was that led him to such a drastic midlife career change, smiling enigmatically at the Irish cameras and occasionally waving to them. Sotelo said the motivation appeared to be financial — he seemed to enjoy the finer things in life, like his prized Corvette.

But in the end, Eid’s Web venture may have revealed far more about the people enticed by its promises than the man behind it.

Eid now sits in federal prison in Mississippi after having served his sentence in Ireland. He could be released as early as November 2013, just after celebrating his 58th birthday.

 

 

 

Direct Link:  http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hitman-for-hire-20120228,0,6070854,full.story