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1033 Program

Provision of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the federal government to transfer surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies.

It is Section 1033 of the bill.

Alternative Right (Alt-Right)

Self-proclaimed groups and individuals with the core belief that their white (and often male) identity is threatened by the social gains of other cultures.

Much of their messaging takes place on social media.

They commonly are known as the alt-right.

Burner Phone

A mobile phone purchased to be used anonymously and then thrown away.

A common way to obtain one is to buy a cheap phone along with pre-paid minutes, paying cash for everything. While the phones and pre-paid time have many legitimate uses (and are not made to be disposable), they have become a common tool for people planning crimes because it can be extremely difficult for law enforcement to link them to the user.

Civil Asset Forfeiture


Drug War

Also referred to as the War on Drugs, the term was first used by President Richard Nixon to describe using federal resources to eliminate illegal drugs in the country.

Equitable Sharing Program

A 1984 program that allows property seized by state or local law enforcement agencies by Civil Asset Forfeiture to be turned over to the federal government.

The federal government then sells the property and returns part of the proceeds to the agency that confiscated the property.


Usually referred to as capital punishment or the death penalty, it is the taking of the life of a person convicted of certain crimes (referred to a capital offenses) under certain circumstances.


A serious crime (as opposed to less serious crimes such as misdemeanors and infractions).

Different jurisdictions define felonies differently. Federal laws that are punishable by more than a year in prison are classified as felonies. Each state has its own definition.

Referenced by...
Florida to allow ex-felons to vote (2018-Nov-07)
Tool helps convicted felons regain their vote (2018-Aug-26)


An unauthorized attempt to exploit a computer system for an illicit purpose.

Hate Crime


Human Trafficking

An organized system of forced, fraudulent, or coerced subjugation of people, for the purpose of commercial sex or labor.

For more, visit the website for the Polaris Project

Identity Theft

The term identity theft has become the common term for when someone pretends to be you for criminal reasons.

Some of the fraudulent practices of identity thieves include...

o Obtaining a credit card in your name. When the thief doesn't pay the bill, your credit rating will be damaged.

o Filing a tax return using your Social Security Number, claiming a very large refund.

If someone does file a tax return as you, the following is likely to happen..

o The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will pay the refund to the thief without question, because it doesn't reconcile tax returns with income documents until later in the year.

o When you file your return, the IRS will refuse to give you your refund - because they believe they already did.

o When the IRS does reconcile the fraudulent tax return with your income documents, they will demand that you reimburse them what they paid to the identity thief.

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments

Insider Trading

Buying or selling investments based on information that has not been made public.

Referenced by...
NY: Rep. Chris Collins indicted for insider trading (2018-Aug-08)

Money Laundering

Taking money obtained from criminal activity (dirty money) and "laundering" it to make it appear as though it were legally obtained (clean money).

Criminals use a variety of methods, including real estate purchases, cash smuggling to offshore banks, and deposits in businesses that deal in large amounts of cash. They often use shell companies and complicated layers of financial transactions to disguise the true source of the money.

Methods of money laundering have interesting names. They include...

Mirror Trades
The scheme requires the cooperation of the bank involved. Here's how it works...

o A Russian client buys a few million dollars worth of a stable stock from a branch of a bank in Russia - paying in (dirty) rubles.

o Almost immediately after, a non-Russian client sells the same amount of the stock in a branch outside of Russia - receiving payment in (clean) dollars.

In reality, the two clients are the same.

Global Laundromat
This scheme involves two shell companies and another cooperating company.

One shell company lends (dirty) money to the other. The loan is guaranteed by the third company. When the borrowing company defaults on the loan, the lending company sues. A court then orders the insuring company to pay the lending company the (clean) amount that was guaranteed.

Referenced by...
Issue: Mueller's Indictments


Email - usually from a source that appears to be trustworthy - sent to be malicious in some way.

For example, the link in the email might be pretending to be for your bank. Clicking it and entering your password will give your password to the hackers. Or clicking might install malicious software on your computer.

Spear phishing - is a type of phishing directed toward a specific person or organization.

Referenced by...
Issue: Trump Campaign Russian Timeline

Prison Sentence

The amount of time a person convicted of a crime must serve in prison.

If a person is convicted of multiple crimes, the sentences can run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one sentence begins after the other ends).


A classification of 35 federal and state crimes (referred to as predicate crimes) that must be committed under certain circumstances....

o Crimes must be connected to an enterprise - multiple people related in some way (such as a crime organization, gang, political party, or corporation).

o There must have been multiple crimes committed by the enterprise within a 10-year period.

Predicate crimes include...

o Arson
o Assault
o Blackmail and extortion
o Bribery
o Counterfeiting
o Drug offenses, gambling, and prostitution
o Fraud (including mail and wire)
o Kidnapping
o Money laundering
o Murder

RICO: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

Part of the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, was enacted to help the government prosecute racketeering crimes.

The RICO act also allows for lawsuits to be based on racketeering.

Shell Company

A company that has no real underlying business, but rather serves only as a vehicle for financial transactions.

While not necessarily illegal, shell companies often are created to cover up illegal activity - such as for disguising who the participants are of financial transactions.

Statute of Limitations

A limit to how long after you commit a crime that you can be held responsible for it.

For example, if you understate your income on your tax return by more than 25 percent, the current law has a 6-year statute of limitations - meaning that after six years the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can no longer reassess your tax liability.

Referenced by...
NYT: Trump fortune built on fraud, cost gov't half billion (2018-Oct-15)


A term generally used to describe illegal acts that are politically-motivated and that cause harm of some sort.

Often the harm is to people who are not specifically targeted by the perpetrator. But it can be against property.

It is not necessarily violent, for example in the case of an internet attack on a computer system (cyber terrorism) or a financial system.

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