Detainees get free phone calls, NHL's big gamble, Chinese spy at IBM?

ICE grants phone access to detainees

About 1,000 immigrants held at four detention facilities in Northern California will be allowed to make telephone calls at no charge under an agreement hammered out between the American Civil Liberties Union and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "When people are locked up on immigration charges, they deserve access to a working telephone," senior ACLU staff attorney Julia Mass said, referring to a Mexican man who was pulled over for a traffic violation and spent months in detention because inadequate phones prevented him from contacting a lawyer.

Judge shuts down Florida robocaller

A federal judge in Orlando, Florida ordered a group of inter-related companies to stop bombarding consumers with illegal robocalls that promote the sale of bogus credit card interest rate reduction and debt relief services. The action came after the Federal Trade Commission complained that the company, Life Management Services of Orange County LLC, bilked consumers out of $15.6 million during the past few years. The company falsely promised to help consumers pay off credit card balances and demanded up-front payments between $500 and $5,000, the FTC said.

Felon charged with possession of police officer's gun

Paul Leach, 35, of Independence, Missouri was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The case against Leach was worse than it appeared. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the Sig Sauer .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun found in Leach's possession had been reported stolen in a burglary of a police officer's home. Police said Leach tried to discard the loaded handgun by tossing it into a shrub while he was running to avoid capture.

Chinese national charged with stealing IBM secrets

Xu Jiaquiang, 30, who worked as a software engineer at an IBM Corp. facility in China, was charged with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets stemming from the theft of computer source code. The Department of Justice said evidence against Xu was collected by two undercover agents who pretended they were interested in acquiring software that had been stolen from IBM. Xu was arrested by FBI agents when he traveled to White Plains, NY, to transact a sale with customers who were undercover officers.

NHL move to Las Vegas signals comfort with gamblers

The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry's lobbying arm, said the National Hockey League's approval of a franchise for Las Vegas is a signal that professional sports leagues "are increasingly comfortable with legal, regulated sports betting." The AGA conducts a lobbying and public relations campaign to discredit unregulated sports betting such as Super Bowl and March Madness office pools as a "scourge" that threatens the integrity of sports.

CEO tried to export specialty metals to Iran

Erdal Kuyumcu, 44, the CEO of Global Metallurgy LLC, of Woodside, New York, faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a $1 million fine after pleading guilty to charges of illegally exporting specialty metals to Iran. The Department of Justice said Kuyumcu shipped more than 1,000 pounds of a cobalt-nickel powder to Turkey and then forwarded it to Iran. The powder is used as a coating for turbine blades and has aerospace, missile and nuclear applications.

Municipal advisors charged with fraud

Two California municipal bond advisory firms settled charges of using deceptive practices while soliciting five California school districts for their business. The Securities and Exchange Commission said it was the first enforcement action taken under the municipal advisor antifraud provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. According to the SEC, School Business Consulting Inc. was advising the school districts about their hiring of financial professionals while it was also working for Keygent LLC which was seeking the advisory business of the same school districts.

Lawsuit seeks to upset felon voting in Virginia

The conservative Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit in Bedford County, Virginia, to strike down Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's order to restore voting rights to 206,000 convicted felons. JW claimed in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of four registered voters, that felons are not eligible to vote under Virginia's laws and Constitution; and, that McAuliffe's power to restore voting rights is limited on an individual basis following "an individualized review and a finding of sufficient grounds for restoring such rights."

Rip N Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on more than 1,000 websites that are maintained by the federal government and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.