Retired agent Phil Sena served 25 years in federal law enforcement, seven as a Deputy U. S. Marshal and 18 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Phil Sena is interviewed about the fugitive investigation of Top Ten Fugitive Ted Otsuki. In October 1987, Otsuki killed Boston police officer Roy Sergei and wounded officer Jorge Torres when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. A national manhunt to locate and capture Otsuki ensued. After he developed a crucial cooperating witness, Phil Sena, working closely with Boston and San Francisco detectives, took up the fugitive hunt in San Francisco, Texas and Guadalajara, Mexico, where Otsuki was eventually captured by Mexican Federal Judicial Police and the FBI. In addition to working fugitive cases, during his Bureau career, Phil Sena gained extensive experience in the investigation of violent crime and terrorism and served as a Supervisory Special Agent of the Bank Robbery/Kidnap Squad, the Fugitive Task Force and the Violent Gang Task Force, as well as Crisis Management Coordinator and SWAT Coordinator in the FBI Tactical Operations Center for the San Francisco Division. Phil Sena is certified as a Police Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, SWAT Instructor, Police Fitness Instructor and Tactical Instructor.
Retired agent John Chesson served with the FBI for 25 years. During most of his Bureau career, John primarily worked cyber crime as an investigator and supervisor investigating computer intrusion cases and coordinating the Philadelphia and San Francisco Bay Area InfraGard Programs. However, in this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he is interviewed about a hate crime/civil rights matter from his early days in the FBI. The case involved the investigation of six South Philadelphia men suspected of violating the civil rights of an African American woman by vandalizing the home she had just rented on their block. The case was assigned to John and his co-case agent, Christina Kibbey. Mike Kates (also spelled Cates), a wheelchair-bound man who lived on the street, agreed to become their cooperating witness and to help them gather the evidence needed to prove that damaging the house was a racially motivated scheme to make the house uninhabitable and to intimidate and discourage the woman from moving into the neighborhood. Kates courageously recorded consensually monitored conversations with the subjects of the investigation and testified as the star witness in the subsequent trial. All defendants were found guilty. On October 21, 1999, FBI Director Louis Freeh awarded Mike Kates the 18th Annual “Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award” for his selfless commitment to protect victims of crime. This citizens ward was sponsored by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (read citation below). The case review includes two surprising happily-ever-after conclusions and an unexpected tragedy.
Retired agent Jim Huggins served in the FBI for 28 years. During his Bureau career, Huggins was assigned to the Minneapolis, Denver and Louisville Divisions, in addition to special assignments on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the Wounded Knee takeovers in 1973 and again in 1975 and during the RESMURS investigation of the murder of two FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Jim Huggins is interviewed about his investigation of FBI agent Mark Putnam, a new agent assigned to a two-man resident agency in Pikeville, Kentucky, high in Appalachian coal country. Based primarily on Huggins ability to elicit a confession, Putnam pled guilty and was convicted of strangling is his pregnant informant, Susan Daniels Smith, in a fit of rage. This case was probably Huggins most infamous, however, while assigned to the Louisville Division, he also conducted or supervised many of Kentucky’s biggest corruption investigations. He served as the supervisor of the Lexington Resident Agency from 1986 until his retirement. After retiring from the FBI, Jim Huggins was appointed by the Kentucky Attorney General as Director of Investigations for the Public Corruption Unit, where he worked for seven years. Recently, Huggins was hired as a technical consultant for Above Suspicion, the feature film based on the non-fiction book of the same name that depicts the tragic saga of Mark Putnam and Susan Smith.
Karl LNU, who asked that I not use his last name (LNU stands for last name unknown – or in this case unused), was investigated, charged and convicted of bribing corrupt purchasing agents to approve invoices for over-priced and inferior lighting and maintenance supplies. The scam was operated by phone. Karl, his business partner and their employees made telemarketing calls to unsuspecting businesses throughout the United States and ripped them off with the help of their own greedy employees. Karl pled guilty and served time for business to business telemarketing fraud, but his sentence was reduced significantly based on his decision to become a cooperating witness, assisting a multi-agency Group II undercover investigation targeting the business to business telemarketing fraud industry in the Philadelphia area. This was one of my economic crime cases. The investigation, worked in partnership with the U. S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division (IRS-CID), resulted in 16 search warrants and 25 convictions.
Welcome to episode 4. In this episode, I interview Judy Tyler, who served 31 years as an agent with the FBI. Judy talks about being one of the first women to join the Norfolk, Virginia police department and the dangerous drug world she navigated for most of her FBI career. Post retirement, she continues to share her experience and expertise by training current agents to develop informants as part of a specialized FBI in-service program. We discussed the importance of working well with sources and cooperating witnesses and how crucial this skill set is to the success of the Bureau.