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Thursday, August 11 2022
Edition: Weekly | Monthly
Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

MAN SENTENCED FOR LYING ON FARM LOAN APPLICATION

MADISON, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Henry Berg, 42, formerly of Arcadia, Wisconsin, and currently of Geneva, Illinois, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to one year and one day in federal prison for lying on a farm loan application. He was also sentenced to four years of supervised release following incarceration.

On May 2, 2019, Berg pleaded guilty to knowingly making a false statement for the purpose of influencing an Agricultural Credit Association, Badgerland Financial ACA (now Compeer Financial), in connection with a $650,000 agricultural loan. read here

FORMER NAVY PETTY OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

NEW ORLEANSDON EDWARD PANNELL, II (“PANNELL”), age 32, of Harvey, Louisiana, entered a plea of guilty on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 to Receipt of Child Pornography, announced United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser.

The case against Petty Officer 2nd Class DON EDWARD PANNELL, II developed because of an undercover child exploitation investigation conducted by special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”).  At the time of this investigation,   PANNELL was a Petty Officer 2nd Class in the U.S. Navy assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Detachment, New Orleans.  On April 2, 2018, HSI special agents along with special agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation seized electronic evidence from PANNELL’s Harvey apartment and took PANNELL into custody.  According to documents filed in federal court, HSI computer forensic examiners located over 1,000 images and 125 videos depicting the sexual victimization of children on the defendant’s homebuilt tower computer. The images and videos depicted pre-pubescent girls, including toddlers, engaged in sexual acts with adults. read here

BUTTE PASTOR ADMITS STEALING FROM CHURCH

MISSOULA, Mont. – The pastor of the United Pentecostal Church in Butte appeared today on wire fraud charges and admitted to embezzling $288,757 from the organization over a four-year period, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Kenneth Emmett Hogue, 66, of Butte, pleaded guilty to wire fraud as charged in an information during an initial appearance. Hogue faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. read here

FORMER MEMPHIS ATTORNEY CHARGED IN SCHEME TO DEFRAUD CLIENTS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Memphis attorney Michael Constantine Skouteris, 49. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty verdict today.

The seven-count indictment alleges that between 2011 and January 2016, Skouteris engaged in a scheme to defraud his clients by settling cases without notifying his clients and forging their endorsements on the settlement checks made jointly payable to him and the client. Skouteris would then deposit the checks into bank accounts he maintained at Suntrust Bank and First Tennessee Bank. According to the indictment, Skouteris fraudulently obtained in excess of $600,000 during the course of the scheme.

Skouteris faces a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment, a fine of $1,000,000 and five years supervised release as to each count. read here

MEXICAN NATIONALS CHARGED WITH MARIJUANA CULTIVATION IN SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST IN MADERA COUNTY

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Lester Eduardo Cardenas-Flores, 23, and Luis Madrigal-Reyes, 36, illegal aliens from Mexico, charging them with conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, and damaging public lands and natural resources, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, law enforcement officers located over 1,000 marijuana plants in the Dutch Oven Creek area of the Sierra National Forest in Madera County. Both defendants were found in a processing area near growing marijuana plants and fled when law enforcement officers arrived to investigate. read here

LODI MAN SENTENCED TO 7 YEARS FOR POSTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN INTERNET CHATROOM

MADISON, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Matthew Bulovsky, 25, Lodi, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James Peterson to seven years in prison for distributing child pornography. This term of imprisonment is to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Bulovsky pleaded guilty to this offense on May 15, 2019.

During the course of a child exploitation investigation, law enforcement officers determined that Bulovsky had posted numerous images and videos depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct into an internet chatroom. read here

OPERATION COOKOUT INDICTMENT CHARGES 39 DEFENDANTS IN HEROIN AND FENTANYL TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Over 120 law enforcement officers from 30 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas executed a major arrest operation over the last three days, resulting in 35 of defendants being arrested for their respective roles in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base in Hampton Roads.

In addition to the arrests, law enforcement seized 24 firearms, 30 kilograms of fentanyl, 30 kilograms of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, and over $700,000 in cash during the three-day takedown.

“This massive interdiction of narcotics, which included enough fentanyl to kill over 14 million people, is proof positive of the power and strength of federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The 39 charged defendants are just that—charged—and remain innocent unless and until proven otherwise. This operation, through its seizure of scores of kilograms of illicit narcotics, saved lives in the Eastern District and elsewhere. Any day where we can do that is particularly meaningful and impactful. An incredible thank you to our dedicated law enforcement partners and prosecutors.” read here

TOLEDO WOMAN PLEADED GUILTY TO TERRORISM CHARGES RELATED TO HER ROLE IN A CONSPIRACY TO LAUNCH AN ATTACK ON A BAR IN TOLEDO

TOLEDO, Ohio – A Toledo woman pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to her role in a conspiracy to launch an attack on a bar in Toledo.

Elizabeth Lecron, 24, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Toledo to one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists and one count transporting explosives in interstate commerce.

Her co-conspirator, Vincent Armstrong, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of conspiracy to transport or receive an explosive with intent to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual, and maliciously damage or destroy by fire or explosive. read here

LOUISIANA PHYSICIAN’S ASSISTANT SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR SCHEME TO UNLAWFULLY DISTRIBUTE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

BATON ROUGE, La. – A Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based physician’s assistant was sentenced to seven years in prison today for his role in a scheme to unlawfully distribute prescriptions for thousands of oxycodone pills.

Christopher William Armstrong, 45, of Prairieville, Louisiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles of the Middle District of Louisiana, who also ordered Armstrong to serve three years of supervised release and forfeit $168,000. In November 2018, Armstrong pleaded guilty to one count of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. read here

TREYTON THOMAS SENTENCED TO 262 MONTHS IMPRISONMENT FOR MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME AND INCOME TAX EVASION

RALEIGH, N.C.- – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that today, United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced TREYTON LEE THOMAS, age 63, to 262 months’   imprisonment for wire fraud and 60 months’ imprisonment for income tax evasion, to run concurrently.  Judge Dever also ordered THOMAS to pay approximately $7.3 million in restitution to the victims of the investment and bank fraud schemes, the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Attorney’s Office and to forfeit an additional $7.3 million to the United States.

On November 22, 2016, THOMAS was charged in a 21-Count Indictment with wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.  This Indictment charged THOMAS, who represented himself as a successful Harvard educated investment advisor, with defrauding his father’s used car warranty company, NC&VA Warranty of Roxboro, N.C., several of its customers, his wife, and his father-in-law.  THOMAS claimed he was conservatively investing their money in U.S. Treasury Bills.  Instead, through an on-line brokerage firm, THOMAS used these funds to conduct risky trades in the commodities and futures market.  To conceal this fraud scheme, THOMAS provided these victims and various financial institutions with false information and fabricated bank and brokerage statements.  To obtain additional funds, the Indictment charged THOMAS with using the same false information and fabricated statements to defraud financial institutions out of approximately 1.9 million dollars in loan proceeds.   In addition to losing the victims’ money in risky trades, the Indictment charged THOMAS with spending more than 1.6 million dollars to pay personal expenses.  read here

TEXAS WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO FACILITATE ADOPTIONS FROM UGANDA THROUGH BRIBERY AND FRAUD

A Texas woman who managed aspects of an international program at an Ohio-based adoption agency pleaded guilty today for her role in a scheme to corruptly facilitate adoptions of Ugandan children through bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding U.S. adoptive parents and the U.S. Department of State.

Robin Longoria, 58, of Mansfield, Texas, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge William H. Baughman, Jr. of the Northern District of Ohio to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), to commit wire fraud and to commit visa fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the Northern District of Ohio.

“The co-conspirators compromised protections for vulnerable Ugandan children and sought to undermine the State Department’s visa screening process,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case demonstrates how far-reaching the adverse consequences of corruption can permeate, and the Department’s commitment to detecting and prosecuting it.” read here

FORMER LINN COUNTY ATTORNEY SENTENCED FOR THEFTS OF PUBLIC PROPERTY

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The former Linn County Attorney was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison for stealing $75,000 worth of electronics and equipment that belonged to the county, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution and a fine totaling $11,000.

John Sutherland, 69, Mound City, who served as county attorney for approximately 20 years before leaving the job in January 2017, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of lying to federal investigators. The crimes took place from sometime prior to January 2009 until Sutherland left office. read here

PENNSYLVANIA MAN SENTENCED FOR TRAFFICKING PROTECTED TURTLES

David Sommers, 64, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to six months imprisonment, three years of supervised release including six months of home detention, and to pay $250,000 in restitution for trafficking protected turtles.

From November 2011 until October 2017, Sommers poached thousands of protected diamondback terrapins and their eggs from coastal marshes in New Jersey and illegally sold the turtles.  A grand jury indicted Sommers on July 10, 2018 for his criminal conduct involving the sale, export and false-labeling of packages containing protected diamondback terrapins.  On Feb. 4, 2019, Sommers pleaded guilty to false-labeling of packages containing protected diamondback terrapins. read here

FELON FOUND IN POSSESSION OF A STOLEN, LOADED FIREARM SENTENCED TO MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON

ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp has sentenced Marvas Aurelien (22, Orlando) to seven years and eight months in federal prison for possessing a firearm as convicted felon. Aurelien had pleaded guilty on May 22, 2019.

According to court documents, on March 14, 2019, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Gang Enforcement Unit located and apprehended Aurelien, who was wanted on an active arrest warrant stemming from aggravated assault with a firearm. While securing Aurelien, deputies located a fully loaded FMK 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in Aurelien’s front pocket. Law enforcement later learned that the firearm had been stolen. Aurelien is a previously convicted felon and, therefore, is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law. read here

CONNECTICUT MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO FILE FALSE CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES

TAMPA, Fla. – Jose Acevedo (39, Connecticut) pleaded guilty today to conspiring to file false claims against the United States. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the facts presented at the plea hearing, Acevedo joined in a conspiracy with others to file false and fraudulent income tax returns as claims against the United States. He and fellow conspirators used the personal identification information of persons they knew, and others, to file false and fraudulent income tax returns claiming refunds. These returns contained false information, including that the purported taxpayers had paid withholding taxes to the IRS associated with their supposed employment with business entities created by the conspirators when, in truth, the purported taxpayers were not employees of such entities and had not paid the claimed withholding taxes. Acevedo also caused the filing of several amended income tax returns with the IRS on his own behalf, using the same type of false information, causing the issuance of fraudulent refunds to himself. As a result, the IRS paid conspirators approximately $90,359 in fraudulent refunds and stopped payment on significantly more refund claims. read here

CALIFORNIA MAN SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS FOR SEX TRAFFICKING SIX VICTIMS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Sacramento, Calif., man was sentenced in federal court today for the sex trafficking of six victims.

Ronald Ean Taylor, 45, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to 18 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Taylor to pay $5,000 in restitution to one of his victims, and $6,100 in restitution to the father of another victim for funeral expenses as a result of her death from a drug overdose while in California with Taylor.

On March 19, 2019, Taylor pleaded guilty to six counts of the sex trafficking of an adult. Taylor admitted that he used force, fraud or coercion to cause six victims to engage in prostitution, from which he benefitted financially. Taylor trafficked six separate victims at various times between Nov. 1, 2014, and May 31, 2017. read here

ACTIVITY IN THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal sentenced DIEGO ALBERTO LOPEZ-MARTINEZ, 30, of Mexico on August 21, 2019 for illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien into the United States.  Lopez-Martinez was arrested in Basin, Wyoming.  He received time served plus ten days to allow for deportation proceedings.  Lopez-Martinez has previously deported from the United States in November of 2010.  The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated this case.

Chief Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl sentenced JASON ALLEN LITTLE, 43, of Meeteetse, Wyoming on August 22, 2019 for unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.  Little was arrested in Thermopolis, Wyoming.  He received thirty months of imprisonment, to be followed by thirty-six months of supervised release.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated this case. read here

NEW HAVEN TEEN PLEADS GUILTY TO FIREARM OFFENSE

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ARMOND TROUTMAN, 19, of New Haven, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on February 7, 2019, Troutman was arrested by New Haven Police after a search of his bedroom revealed a Colt .45 caliber handgun and an unloaded 9mm Sig Sauer magazine. Later that day, officers conducted a search of the basement of Troutman’s home and located a .40 caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol with an obliterated serial number. A subsequent search of Troutman’s phone revealed numerous videos and pictures of Troutman holding the Taurus firearm. read here

SOUTH TEXAS MAN GUILTY OF SMUGGLING MORE THAN 50 POUNDS OF METH

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 35-year-old Edinburg man has pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute more than 25 kilograms of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On July 7, 2019, Sarafin Rodriguez Pena drove a white Ford Focus into the primary inspection area of the Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias. A careful search of the vehicle revealed bundles of methamphetamine concealed within after-market speakers mounted in the car.

Laboratory analysis later confirmed the substance in the bundles was methamphetamine.

The methamphetamine had a total weight of 25.5 kilograms with a value of more than $1.7 million. read here

EL SALVADORIAN NATIONAL INDICTED ON PASSPORT FRAUD CHARGE

BOSTON – An El Salvadorian national was indicted today in federal court on a charge of passport fraud.

Eliseo Rivas, 41, formerly of Chelsea, is alleged to have impersonated another in applying for a U.S. passport in 2016.

Rivas faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. read here

MONONGALIA COUNTY MAN ADMITS TO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY VIOLATION

CLARKSBURG, W. Va. – Earnest Parrie Dille, of Morgantown, West Virginia, ahas admitted to failing to register as a sex offender, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Dille, age 63, pled guilty to one count of “Failure to Update Sex Offender Registration.” Dille, a person required to register as a sex offender, is accused of traveling from Idaho to West Virginia without updating his sex offender registration from January 2018 to April 2019.

Dille faces up to 10 years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. read here

DEFENSE CONTRACTOR TO PAY $940,000 TO RESOLVE ALLEGATIONS OF WITHHOLDING DISCOUNTS FROM TRICARE

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that International SOS Assistance, Inc., International SOS Government Services, Inc., International SOS, LP, Air Rescue Americas, Inc. Arnaud Vaissié; and Pascal Rey-Herme (collectively, “International SOS”), will pay $940,000 to resolve allegations that it overcharged TRICARE, a health care insurance system for members of the military services and their families, for aeromedical evacuation services by concealing discounts it received from third-party air ambulance providers in violation of the False Claims Act.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2013 and 2017, International SOS, a provider of overseas healthcare services for the government, submitted to TRICARE false claims for payment relating to International SOS’s provision of aeromedical evacuations. International SOS negotiated discounts from third-party air ambulance providers, which it was required to pass along to TRICARE. Instead, International SOS did not disclose the actual cost of the aeromedical evacuation services during the quoting process; billed TRICARE at the higher non-discounted amount; and received payment from TRICARE for the inflated costs, which International SOS contends it retained as a fee. read here

FORMER CONTROLLER SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR STEALING OVER $750,000

ORLANDO, Fla. – Senior U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp has sentenced Jeffrey McKinney (62, Minneola) to two years in federal prison for wire fraud. McKinney was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay $828,894.25 in restitution.

McKinney had pleaded guilty on May 16, 2019.

According to court documents, McKinney is a Certified Public Accountant and was the Controller of a local business. In addition to serving as the Controller, McKinney was responsible for moving funds between various accounts held by the business and one of its executives. For more than 18 months, McKinney used his position to embezzle over $750,000 from those accounts on 12 different occasions. To cover up his thefts, McKinney falsified check stubs, moved money between accounts to hide what he had stolen, and provided the executive with reports that inflated the amount of money that remained in the executive’s accounts. read here

FORMER ST. TAMMANY PARISH SHERIFF JACK STRAIN CHARGED IN 16-COUNT INDICTMENT FOR KICKBACK AND BRIBERY SCHEME INVOLVING CONTRACT FOR PRIVATIZATION OF WORK RELEASE PROGRAM IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH

NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that RODNEY J. STRAIN (a/k/a Jack Strain), age 56, from Abita Springs, Louisiana, was charged today by a federal grand jury in a 16-count Indictment with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, soliciting a bribe, and offering a bribe in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 371 (Count 1), honest services wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 1346, 2 (Counts 2-13), and soliciting and receiving bribes, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(B) (Counts 14-16) for his role in the privatization and operation of a work release program that operated in Slidell, Louisiana between 2013 and 2016.

According to court documents, STRAIN, who was the Sheriff of St. Tammany Parish from about 1996 to 2016, discussed with his two close associates and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office employees, David Hanson and Clifford “Skip” Keen, about Hanson and Keen becoming owners of a work release program in Slidell, Louisiana that STRAIN had decided to privatize.  Because STPSO rules prohibited employees from “participating in a transaction in which he has a personal substantial economic interest of which he may be reasonably expected to know involving the governmental entity,” Hanson and Keen would have had to resign from STPSO if they wanted to assume ownership and control of the Slidell work release program.  Consequently, STRAIN, Hanson, and Keen discussed ways to allow Hanson and Keen to maintain their employment and still profit from the Slidell work release program.  Ultimately, STRAIN, Hanson and Keen agreed to make Keen’s adult son (J.K.) and Hanson’s adult daughter (B.H.) owners of the Slidell work release program, with the understanding that J.K. and B.H. would funnel much of the profits to Hanson and KeenHanson and Keen agreed to give regular payoffs to STRAIN and his selected family members from the funds they received.  This understanding was based partly on STRAIN having previously required Keen to kickback to STRAIN half of the money Keen earned from a previous work release program. read here

FORMER NASA CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEE CONVICTED FOR SUBSTITUTING FOREIGN MATERIALS FOR DOMESTIC MATERIALS TO BE USED BY NASA

ORLANDO, Fla. – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that a federal jury today found Jonathan Hipps (34, Warner Robins, Georgia) guilty of mail fraud, concealment of material facts from a federal agency, and providing a false document to a federal agency. Hipps faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 4, 2019. Hipps had been indicted on January 16, 2019.

According to evidence presented at trial, Hipps was an employee at STAT Industry, Inc., a company that provided parts and materials to the aerospace industry, including NASA. In the summer of 2014, Hipps handled a contract that required STAT to provide steel rods for use in support of NASA’s Space Launch System/Orion project at Kennedy Space Center. The contract required that the steel rods originate from the United States. During the procurement, Hipps received steel rods originating from India. Instead of replacing the rods with materials from the United States, Hipps used a box cutter to cut off all of the labels from the shipment indicating that the rods were made in India, thus making them to appear that they had originated from the United States. Hipps then shipped the steel rods to the Kennedy Space Center with a certification falsely certifying that the steel rods conformed to all of NASA’s requirements. read here

ORLANDO WOMAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR STOLEN IDENTITY REFUND FRAUD

ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp has sentenced Scharlene Alisa Hudson to 7 years and 10 months in federal prison for fraudulent possession of unauthorized access devices (credit cards) and aggravated identity theft. Hudson had pleaded guilty on May 23, 2019.

According to court documents, in February 2015, law enforcement officers discovered Hudson squatting in an Orlando residence. At the time, Hudson had in her possession approximately 50 debit cards in other people’s names, a notebook, and other documents containing ledgers listing the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of numerous victims. Hudson used the personal identification information of the victims to file false tax returns and claim fraudulent tax refunds. The total loss to the government exceeded $297,000. During the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that many of the victims were elderly. read here

MONROE COUNTY MAN GUILTY OF SEX TRAFFICKING

SCRANTON, Pa.— The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that William Battle, age 28, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on August 28, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion, to participating in a sex trafficking conspiracy that involved using threats and coercion to force women to engage in prostitution in the Monroe County area between 2011 and June 2015.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Battle, who also used the street name of “Buck,” admitted to being a member of the Black P-Stones, a street gang that engaged in sex trafficking and drug trafficking in the Stroudsburg area and the state of Maine. Members of the conspiracy, including Battle, advertised prostitutes on websites, transported the prostitutes, and rented hotel and motel rooms for the purpose of having the women engage in commercial sex acts with customers. read here

IRANIAN BUSINESSMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE U.S. SANCTIONS BY EXPORTING CARBON FIBER FROM THE UNITED STATES TO IRAN

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced that BEHZAD POURGHANNAD pled guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to export carbon fiber from the United States to Iran between 2008 and 2013.

Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said: “Pourghannad was in Iran while he worked to obtain carbon fiber from the United States contrary to U.S. law. He may have believed he was out of U.S. law enforcement’s reach, but thanks in part to assistance from the German government, which extradited him, this case is now another example of the Department’s ability to hold Iran’s illicit procurement agents accountable, regardless of where they work.” read here

COLOMBIAN SUPPLIER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR COCAINE DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Colombian man was sentenced today to six and a half years in prison for conspiring to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine knowing and intending that it would be unlawfully imported into the United States.

According to court documents, Jorge Barbosa Alvarez, 33, was a member of a Colombian drug trafficking organization (DTO) based in South America. Between February and November 2016, Alvarez facilitated a multi-hundred kilogram cocaine transaction that was to be routed from South America to Central America, with a final destination of the United States. Specifically, Alvarez provided 5 kilograms of cocaine that was a sample batch for a 600-kilogram load of cocaine that he and his conspirators would provide for the transaction. read here

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

NORFOLK, Va. – A Franklin man pleaded guilty today to producing child pornography.

According to court documents, Quentin Myrick, 25, met an 11 year-old girl online in December 2018. Myrick convinced the girl to produce child pornography and send it to him, and she complied. When Myrick suspected the 11 year-old was talking to other boys, he posted the child pornography on the girl’s social media account. Myrick also produced child pornography with a second minor victim, a 17 year-old girl. When Myrick became angry with her, Myrick also posted her videos on social media.

Myrick pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison when sentenced on December 11. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. read here

TENNESSEE HEALTH CARE EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR ROLE IN $4.6 MILLION KICKBACK SCHEME

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – August 29, 2019 – A Tennessee health care executive was sentenced to 42 months in prison yesterday for her role in a $4.6 million kickback scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Atlanta region, Special Agent in Charge John F. Kihn of the U.S. Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Southeast Field Office and Director David Rausch of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Brenda Montgomery, 71, of Camden, Tennessee, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Campbell, Jr., of the Middle District of Tennessee.  Judge Campbell also ordered Montgomery to forfeit $595,676.80.  Montgomery pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute, and seven counts of violating the anti-kickback statute.

FORMER CEO OF LIVE WELL FINANCIAL CHARGED IN $140 MILLION BOND FRAUD SCHEME

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the arrest of MICHAEL HILD, the founder, former chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder in Live Well Financial, Inc. (“Live Well”). HILD’s arrest was in connection with a scheme, from in or about September 2015 through in or about May 2019, to fraudulently inflate the value of a portfolio of bonds owned by Live Well in order to induce various securities dealers and at least one financial institution into loaning more money to Live Well – through repurchase (“repo”) agreements and collateralized loans – than they otherwise would have had they known the actual value of Live Well’s bond portfolio. The scheme allowed Live Well to grow its bond portfolio exponentially, from approximately 20 bonds with a stated value of $50 million in 2014 to approximately 50 bonds with a stated value of $500 million by the end of 2016. In May 2019, in conjunction with an effort to wind down the company, Live Well wrote down the value of its portfolio by approximately $141 million. read here

FORMER GOVERNMENT CONSULTANT PLEADS GUILTY TO BRIBERY AND FRAUD SCHEME

WASHINGTON D.C. – John Woods, a consultant and independent contractor for a company that did business with the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources, pled guilty to charges that he paid more than $140,000 in bribes to a former D.C. government employee and that he stole payments on city contracts that should have gone to his employer.

John Woods, 57, of Sterling, Va., pleaded guilty on August 23 to one count of wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. As part of his guilty plea, Woods agreed to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $564,910.23. The Honorable Dabney L. Friedrich scheduled sentencing for December 16, 2019. read here

LARGEST FEDERAL HEROIN AND FENTANYL LACED SEIZURE IN DELAWARE HISTORY

WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, unsealed two criminal complaints today charging two men with drug trafficking offenses in Delaware. Both men are detained pending further proceedings.

According to statements at the press conference and court documents, Julian Rivera-Villa, age 56, and Ricardo Perez-Guillen, age 40, of Gloucester City, New Jersey were charged in federal court in Wilmington last week in connection with sales of fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone pills in Delaware. Perez-Guillen was arrested after selling a kilogram of heroin and 600 fake Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl in New Castle, Delaware. Rivera-Villa was arrested outside the residence he shared with Perez-Guillen in Gloucester City, New Jersey. A subsequent search of that residence yielded approximately 7 additional kilograms of heroin; 3 kilograms of cocaine; 14,000 fake Oxycodone pills that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and over $28,000 in cash. Law enforcement also seized another 2 kilograms of heroin from a car registered to Perez-Guillen. Those kilograms of heroin were hidden in traps located behind the car’s rear seats. read here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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