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ABSCAM was the code name of an undercover operation that was initiated from the New York Field Office in 1978. It was initially designed to capture purveyors of stolen art and securities. To that end, the FBI established “Abdul Enterprises”, a bogus fencing operation on Long Island. To further the investigation, a convicted swindler named Mel Weinberg was recruited to solicit business for a mythical client, Arab sheik Kambir Abdul Rahman, the “owner“ of Abdul Enterprises. Before the end of 1978 however, the emphasis of the operation had shifted to a probe of political corruption in New Jersey, starting with the office of Camden mayor Angelo Errichetti. Posing as an agent of sheik Rahman, FBI agents offered Brochette $25,000 to pave the was for a state casino license. Errichetti not only took the bribe, but also introduced the agents to other corrupt politicians, including U.S. Senator Harrison Williams Jr.
As the web of corruption expanded, the emphasis once again shifted from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. Agents rented a house and equipped it with closed-circuit TV cameras, entertaining a parade of Congressmen who demanded an average of $50K for political favors. The operation ended prematurely on February 3, 1980 when information about the sting leaked to the New York Times, which ran a front-page story on it.
ABSCAM was one of the first sting operations to use videotapes in surveillance and as evidence in a court. In all, twelve corrupt politicians, including seven members of Congress, were convicted of Bribery and Conspiracy charges. Appeals on grounds of entrapment were rejected by higher courts.
The patch was designed with an Arab Sheik’s face on the body of a bee, to symbolize the Abdul Enterprises Sting Operation.
Source: The FBI Encyclopedia