Myron Fuller served in the FBI for 30 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams, Fuller is interviewed about his undercover and case agent roles in the case code-named ABSCAM, which was actually a spin-off of Operation Fountain Pen (OPFOPEN), the largest investigation by the FBI conducted into the activities of white-collar criminals (Jim Wedick is interviewed about OPFOPEN in Episode 6). ABSCAM was originally initiated to investigate and penetrate white-collar crime and organized crime targets in the New York area. Specifically, it was begun as an undercover operation to infiltrate a conspiracy involving members of organize crime attempting to purchase businesses, including a mortgage company, for fraudulent and criminal purposes. The sophisticated ABSCAM scenario featured a fictitious wealthy Lebanese businessman who wanted to funnel millions of dollars from the Middle-East into ventures in the United States. Fuller and his undercover partner, agent John Hauss, represented that they worked for a consortium of foreign banks and had access to a $7 Million bank account. The scenario, with the cooperation of con man Mel Weinberg, allowed for the successful investigation and conviction of organized crime figures, con men, and ultimately, corrupt politicians. Fuller retired as the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Honolulu Division.
Retired agent Bill Grace served more than 33 years with the FBI. He is interviewed about conducting two high-profiled municipal corruption investigations at the same time, one directed at the corrupt activities of Camden, New Jersey Mayor Milton Milan and the other targeting Washington Township, New Jersey Mayor Jerry Luongo. Electronic and physical surveillance indicated that even before Milan entered municipal politics he was associating with a local drug dealer, as well as members of the Philadelphia mob and that he continued those relationships after being elected to City Council and then as mayor. During Milan’s corruption trial, the former head of the Philly mob cooperated and testified against him. The Luongo case was initiated based on a questionable local land deal, but resulted in the mayor being charged with the misuse of the township’s community fund.
This is the second half of a two-part episode with former FBI agent Terry Hake. Terry continues his account of working undercover as a crooked defense attorney in the largest public corruption investigation in America. When the investigation—code named Operation Greylord—was initiated, Terry was a young Assistant State’s Attorney fed up with corruption in the Cook County, Illinois court system. During the investigation, he was hired by the FBI, first as a project development specialist and then as a special agent. In this episode, he also explains why, after being an employee for only seven years, he resigned from the FBI and instead continued his 23-year career in federal law enforcement at several other non-Bureau agencies.
Former FBI agent Terry Hake officially served seven years with the FBI. However, his service to the Bureau, the Department of Justice, and other federal law enforcement agencies actually spanned more than 23 years. Terry is interviewed about working undercover as a crooked defense attorney in the largest public corruption investigation in America. When the investigation—code named Operation Greylord—was initiated, Terry was a young Assistant State’s Attorney fed up with corruption in the Cook County, Illinois court system. He wore a wire for three-and-a-half years fully aware that he could have been jeopardizing his reputation and law career in doing so. At the conclusion of the undercover operation, Terry testified in 23 trials over the next 10 years and eighty-three judges, lawyers, court personnel and policeman were convicted for accepting bribes to fix court cases. Terry has written a book—Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust— about his experiences and provides an insider’s look into the case.
Retired Supervisory Special Agent Harry Garcia served in the FBI for 22 years. Throughout most of his Bureau career, Harry, an accountant and a former IRS revenue agent, worked complex financial investigations, including bank fraud and bank failure cases involving public corruption. He is interviewed about a multiagency Southwest Border Taskforce investigation—code named “Port Sweeper” and “Boiling Point”—initiated in the 1990s that resulted in sentences of life imprisonment and 27 years in prison for the main subjects—two corrupt inspectors assigned to the Calexico border patrol station and the seizure of $1.2 million in cash. Harry points out that the IRS played a significant role in investigating the money laundering violations and determining the illicit net worth increases of corrupt inspectors.