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South China Morning Post

Prisoner or boss? Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's private jailers act like bodyguards

By Ian Young

May 6, 2019

Canada launches full-court press in US for help in resolving China dispute

Former New York Police Department detective Nick Casale, now a private security consultant, acted as a bail monitor for Ponzi-scheme fraudster Bernie Madoff for months, escorting him to and from court and guarding him at home.

Bernie Madoff (left) exits a New York court with his private bail monitor, Nick Casale, in 2009.

He said Meng was being given a long leash, and her relative freedom of movement would increase the costs of her guards. Casale said he was “very surprised” that Meng was allowed visitors, unlike Madoff, who was only allowed to see his lawyers.

[It] reeks of preferential treatment …[but] bail has always been a component of a democratic judicial process.


Bail serves a purpose - - - Nick Casale, security consultant, “The fact that she is allowed all these visitors and that she travels has to increase the security costs dramatically,” he said.

But when the Post described what it encountered at the Dunbar house – four visible guards and three Cadillac Escalade SUVs, all apparently linked to Lions Gate – Casale said the costs could reach US$10,000 a day or more.

Casale – who continues to offer bail monitoring services and act as a bail consultant – said he didn’t see a conflict in guards being paid by their prisoner. “The crown has vetted this company. They’re going to be former law-enforcement people … the crown says they have the integrity and know-how to do this,” he said.

He acknowledged that Meng’s situation – and those of other wealthy suspects on bail under private guard – “reeks of preferential treatment, of discrimination, wealth and power … but going back to the Republic of Rome, they had bail. Bail has always been a component of a democratic judicial process. Bail serves a purpose.”


Asked whether a bail monitor might become friends with a prisoner, Casale demurred. “Did I get to know Bernie Madoff? Well, I probably spent more time with him than anyone other than his wife in that time. Let’s put it that way.”






Gun attack drills more realistic, intense as schools brace for a possible ‘active shooter’ incident

By Sasha Goldstein

Other training options include using consultants like counterterrorism expert and former NYPD Detective Nick Casale of Casale Associates, who uses a “no-notice mobilization” drill when he works with New York-area schools.

Staffers know that there are two drills each semester, and that each one starts when a Casale employee comes to the school with a red envelope.

“ ‘I have a gun,’ it says,” Casale said. “What are you gonna do?”

There’s also a blaring, disorienting alarm that prompts teachers to hustle all children into classrooms. He instructs school districts to invest in heavy, solid, lockable doors that can withstand an attack.

“The drill checks your vulnerabilities,” Casale said. “It may sound dramatic, but you’ve got to be able to train the same way, just like they do for a fire alarm.”



How New York Guards Against Terror On Its Subway

Unlike the case in many other major cities, its transit system has largely avoided extremist attacks.

New York, December 12, 2017 --- Part of the reason that New York has managed to avoid a large-scale attack on its subways, experts say, is because of the immense scale and resources put into its counterterrorism operations ― from patrolling subway cars to inter-agency intelligence gathering on possible plots.


“I don’t believe that it’s by luck that the New York City subways haven’t been attacked,” said Nick Casale, a former deputy director of counter-terrorism for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


“The reason that the subways aren’t attacked is that there’s a tremendous vigilance” by the New York Police Department, he said.


Following the Sept. 11 attacks, New York developed one of the most well-funded counterterrorism apparatuses in the world. In total, the city spent around $540 million last year on anti-terror measures that included protecting the subways, airports and major tourist hubs.


When it comes to the transit system specifically, the NYPD initially looked at London for cues on anti-terrorism measures, according to investigator and counterterrorism analyst Anthony Roman. The department then set out to improve the U.K. systems, including its detection devices for dangerous materials and an elaborate network of surveillance cameras. 


In addition to surveillance, almost 3,000 transit police patrol New York’s subway system each day and the NYPD has specific bureaus for transit and counterterrorism operations. After recent bombings on metro systems abroad, members of the NYPD have been trained in urban assault tactics and officers run routine sweeps of subway trains for suspicious activity. The city initiated random bag searches on the subway in 2005.


There is also extensive information sharing between different government agencies and law enforcement, in order to to provide authorities with the clearest picture of potential threats. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, made up of NYPD detectives and FBI agents, investigates terror-related cases pertaining to the city ― including collecting intelligence on foreign threats.



Before the Con Man Comes Knocking

Security needs range from strong passwords to private detectives

By Norb Vonnegut

Recently, I spent time with Nick Casale and his team at Casale Associates. Mr. Casale is a private investigator. His firm occasionally gets in the news, as it did when it was retained to baby-sit Bernie Madoff while he was out on bond before his fraud conviction.

I asked Mr. Casale how to spot financial predators who cozy up to families and work their way into their victims' personal lives. His single most important warning to financial advisers:

"If it's out of ordinary, don't believe it's random."


WNYC News NPR Radio

Experts: Penn Station's Design Flaws Pose Security Risks

New York, April 21, 2017 --- Panic ensued at Penn Station last Friday after unfounded reports of shots fired set off a stampede during the evening commute. The chaos has put the station under the spotlight once again, highlighting the potentially dangerous design flaws of the busiest transit hub in the country.


"The new Penn Station has always been wrongly designed," said former New York Police Department detective Nick Casale


The original station, bright and airy, was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden. The redesign came at a time when rail commuting was in decline. But today, about 650,000 commuters trek through the hub each day, packed together under low ceilings and trudging through maze-like corridors.

Casale was appointed the first ever Deputy Director of Counter-terrorism for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. So he's used to identifying signs of possible danger. 


During a recent tour of the station with WNYC, Casale spotted unattended baggage, unsecured construction areas and noted the lack of uniformed police presence. While these problems could be fixed with more manpower and resources, other issues like the lack of signage pointing to the nearest exit or police department persist.


"If anything does occur, it's confusing to discover, which way to go to get away form the danger," Casale said.

Communicating with commuters in the event of an emergency presents another challenge. Though an Amtrak spokesman said the building has two public address systems that can send messages between Amtrak, The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and NJ Transit, Casale said the station would benefit from a single system that could send real-time alerts, including to the MTA. 

USA Today

Vulnerable NYC bridges make tempting terror targets

By Melanie Eversley

New York, September 7, 2014 --- Mayor Bill de Blasio said  his office was investigating how to better secure the Brooklyn Bridge. Former NYC security official Nicholas Casale warned that heightened security around the structure has to be done well.


Transportation is a top-priority target of terrorists, said Casale, former chief of counterterrorism for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the parent agency to New York's subways and public buses. He pointed to bombings in the London tube in 2005, the Madrid rail lines in 2004 and the Moscow Metro bombing the same year.


"To me, it's incomprehensible that we're discussing this 13 years after 9/11," Casale said. "If we don't believe we are in the crosshairs of terrorists, then let the buildings reopen up, take away the street barriers."


Terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda have long eyed the Brooklyn Bridge and another famous connector, the George Washington Bridge linking New York and New Jersey, as targets.

Casale said change needs to be sweeping. Local, state and federal officials are supposed to be working together to protect the city's infrastructure from terrorism, but officials will not publicly say what they are doing.


Casale said allocated funds are not spent efficiently and pointed to a state comptroller report released this summer that says MTA anti-terrorism funds are over budget and slow to be used. Casale suggested that an outside person or body review procedures and make recommendations that can be implemented without political delays or maneuvering.

Helping clients navigate tough times and difficult challengers.

The New York Times

Bail Sitters



DEC. 24, 2009

IF you had been looking closely during the criminal case of Bernard L. Madoff, you might have spotted a portly man with a gourmand’s jowls and a walrus mustache hovering just behind the defendant’s elbow on his various trips to court. Though dressed like a lawyer, he was not one; nor a prosecutor, a personal assistant, a limousine driver or a family friend.


His name, in fact, is Nick Casale and he is a retired New York Police Department detective who was serving as a monitor in the latest iteration of that age-old institution known as bail. Mr. Casale, in short, was a state-sanctioned nanny, escorting Mr. Madoff back and forth from his penthouse to the courthouse to ensure that the world’s most famous fraudster abided by the strict conditions that had gotten him out of jail.


“It was an almost military matter,” Mr. Casale observed proudly, sitting in his office, high over Madison Avenue, where Mr. Madoff’s bulletproof vest was, months later, still fetched up against the wall. Not only did the high-profile and high-paying baby-sitting gig rely on the assistance of several former cronies from the Police Department; it required the deployment of a chase car, a digital voice recorder, a broadband wireless router, several metal door bars and a high-resolution, vandal-resistant Nuvico day/night camera — the one with the plastic dome and manual zoom lens.

 It was, in other words, a drastic distance from the seemingly quaint alternatives of a) incarceration or b) release in advance of standing trial.


Bail, of course, is nominally the province of the government, but as with certain toll roads and various crucial functions of the military, it has lately seen a wave of privatization. Over the past two years, a handful of the hottest criminal cases involving the famous and the wealthy have led to the hiring of specialized Manhattan firms like Mr. Casale’s. Such firms, which also do private investigations and other security work, are stocked with retired city officers and former federal agents who tend to make the shift quite naturally from, say, protecting snitches at the Motel 6 in Scranton to watching over Wall Street cheats returned to their ample apartments.

But the new arrangements are complicated by several questions, including: Whom are the monitors really serving — the judge who devised the terms of the release or the defendant footing the bill?


“The client is the court,” said Ed Stroz, a former F.B.I. man, "This is like jail outside.”


Mr. Casale was not so certain. “It’s a complex issue,” he said. Would you, as a bail guard, reprimand the man who signs your paychecks? Lock him in the bathroom? Tackle him if he ran out the door?


And then there are the sociological implications of letting the rich drop wads of cash on the sensitive scales of justice while criminal suspects of modest means languish behind bars.


“There’s no doubt about it: privilege has its privilege,” said Mr. Casale, a broad, bearish man with a happy capitalist pluck. “The thing is,” he posited hypothetically, “I happen to own a body shop that specializes in Mercedes. So what am I supposed to say? That you can’t drive a nice Mercedes-Benz?”


•When Marc S. Dreier was arrested last December in a $400 million fraud case in which he sold fake debt to a number of New York hedge funds, his lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, understood at once what he had to do. Mr. Dreier’s assets had largely been seized or frozen by the government, and he lacked the cash or property to post a convincing bail. So Mr. Shargel, a creative legal thinker, reached deep into his playbook and suggested that his client be released into the custody of a team of private guards, paid for mostly by Mr. Dreier’s family.


“What guards do is put a mechanism in place that reassures the court,” Mr. Shargel explained. “There are people on site” — people with guns, it should be said — “who are there to make sure that the conditions are enforced.” (Excerpt)


The perp walk

By Christopher Beam


The perp walk has been described as primarily serving the interests of the police and the media rather than the defendant or justice. "Cynics might call the perp walk the crime reporter's red carpet", says crime reporter Art Miller.


"Police and prosecutors get to show off their trophy. [We] lap it up because that's all we know we're going to get" since so many other aspects of the criminal justice system prior to trial take place out of public view, and even trials themselves may not always be televised or even photographed. "Those 30 seconds of a perp walk are the lifeblood to the TV news.


Between that and the mug shot that is often all you got as visuals to tell a crime story." Retired NYPD detective Nicholas Casale likens it to a service: "It promotes the arrest, it allows the defendant an opportunity to make a statement to the press, and it's centralized".

WNYC (NPR Radio)

The number of police officers shot and wounded in the line of duty has spiked from zero to nine this year compared to the same period in 2011, NYPD data shows.


The number of people shot by police has also increased. So far this year, 18 people have been shot by cops compared to 10 over the same period in 2011.


But Nicholas Casale, a former NYPD detective tasked with investigating police-involved shootings, said in the past when there has been a spike in shootings of police officers, there is often a parallel increase in civilians shot by police.


"We saw that during the crack epidemic from around 1982 to 1987. And we also prior to that the end of the 1960s into the early 70s we saw a spike and we attributed it to racial tension," Casale said.