Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

TUCSON COUPLE SENTENCED TO 5 YEARS PRISON FOR WEAPONS SMUGGLING

TUCSON, Ariz. – On September 3, 2019, Michael Justin Huynh, 29, of Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer G. Zipps to 63 months’ imprisonment. Huynh’s co-defendant, Katie Ellen O’Brien, 28, also of Tucson, was sentenced by Judge Zipps to 60 months’ imprisonment on January 16, 2019. Both had previously pleaded guilty to smuggling AK-type and .50 caliber semiautomatic assault rifles from the United States into Mexico.

Between June of 2017 and January of 2018, Huynh and O’Brien together purchased a total of at least 16 AK-type semiautomatic rifles and three .50 caliber semiautomatic rifles. They purchased these firearms for another individual whom they knew was a drug trafficker, and provided the firearms to the trafficker with the knowledge that they would be smuggled into Mexico and provided to a criminal organization. read here

PINON MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR VIOLENT CRIMES COMMITTED IN GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Last month, Nathaniel Vernon Dempsey, of Pinon, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dominic W. Lanza to 30 months of imprisonment to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Dempsey had previously pleaded guilty to burglary and assault on a federal officer.

On October 10, 2018, Dempsey went to his girlfriend’s residence inside Grand Canyon National Park. While no one was home, Dempsey burglarized the residence and stole several items. After his girlfriend returned home later that night, Dempsey returned to the home, tried to force his way inside again, and threatened her with a knife. Law Enforcement Rangers with the National Park Service responded to the home. When a Ranger ordered Dempsey to get on the ground, Dempsey refused. Dempsey, holding a knife in each hand, then charged at the Ranger. The Rangers eventually took Dempsey into custody without anyone being seriously injured. read here

MISISSIPPI MAN SENTENCED TO 11 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CROSSBURNING

WASHINGTON – The Honorable Judge Keith Starrett, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, sentenced defendant Louie Bernard Revette, 38, to serve 11 years on federal charges for his commission of a crossburning on Oct. 24, 2017, in Seminary, Mississippi. Revette previously pled guilty on April 12, to one count of interference with housing rights, a federal civil rights violation, and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony. Revette, along with a co-conspirator whom he recruited, built and burned a wooden cross near the home of a juvenile victim, M.H., who lived in a predominantly African-American residential area of Seminary. He burned the cross to threaten, frighten, and intimidate M.H. and other African-American residents because of their race and color, and because they lived in and occupied residences in that area of Seminary.

“The defendant terrorized members of a community simply because of their race and where they lived,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate these acts of hate, and we will continue to prosecute hate crimes like these to the fullest extent of the law.” read here

NATIONAL, STATE, LOCAL AND TRIBAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE NEW STATEWIDE MISSISSIPPI HUMAN TRAFFICKING COUNCIL

Jackson, Miss. – Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division joined U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Southern District of Mississippi, U.S. Attorney Chad Lamar, Northern District of Mississippi, Commissioner Marshall Fisher, Mississippi Department of Public Safety, and Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, today to announce the creation and launch of a new, statewide Mississippi Human Trafficking Council.

Building on the foundation established byGovernor Phil Bryant’s Human Trafficking Task Force Report from 2015, as well as task forces from around the country, the Mississippi Human Trafficking Council’s mission will be to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute criminals using a victim-centered, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary model. The Council will be led by three Co-Chairs: (1) Susan Bradley, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Mississippi; (2) Kathlyn Van Buskirk, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Mississippi; and (3) Ashlee Lucas, Mississippi Human Trafficking Coordinator, Mississippi Department of Public Safety. read here

CUPERTINO MAN CONVICTED OF EMBEZZLING MORE THAN $7.5 MILLION IN DONATED FUNDS

SAN JOSE – A federal jury convicted Jonathan Chang of four counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The verdict follows a four-week trial before the Honorable Edward J. Davila, United States District Judge.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that Jonathan Chang, 63, of Cupertino, Calif., engaged in a scheme to defraud a wealthy donor of money intended to support the Home of Christ 4 Christian Church (HOC4), located in Saratoga, Calif. Chang, who served as an “elder” responsible for managing the finances of the church, furthered his scheme by establishing charitable organizations with names similar to the church. He then directed more than $6 million from the donor to his own organizations rather than to the HOC4. In addition, Chang embezzled approximately $900,000 from HOC4-related bank accounts in his scheme to defraud. read here

CHILD SEX TRAFFICKER SENTENCED TO OVER 17YEARS IN PRISON

SAN JOSE – Damari William Singleton was sentenced today to 210 months (17.5 years) in prison and ordered to pay restitution to child victims of his sex trafficking scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Beth L. Freeman, U.S. District Judge.

On January 22, 2019, Singleton, 29, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children. According to the plea agreement, from December of 2014 thorough early 2016, Singleton, along with various co-conspirators, operated a prostitution business throughout the state of California. Singleton sold the commercial sexual services of underage girls and adult women. Using primarily social media websites, Singleton repeatedly recruited and exploited girls and women from troubled homes with histories of sexual abuse. read here

WEST VIRGINIA PHARMACIST FOUND GUILTY OF DRUG TRAFFICKING IN EASTERN KENTUCKY

PIKEVILLE, Ky.— Jackson Noel, a pharmacist operating Buffalo Drug Inc., in Buffalo WV., was found guilty on Tuesday of conspiring to dispense and distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.

Proof at trial established that as part of the conspiracy Noel unlawfully dispensed oxycodone and oxymorphone pills from the pharmacy to out-of-state customers, including customers from Kentucky.  Noel dispensed the pills on a cash only basis. read here

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR ILLEGALLY ACCESSING PRIVATE HEALTH DATA AND STEALING OPIOIDS

A licensed occupational therapist who improperly accessed the private health and residence information of at least 1,900 patients, and then entered or burglarized thirteen homes across North Central Iowa in repeated attempts to steal prescription opioids from vulnerable and elderly persons, was sentenced September 9, 2019, to more than one year in federal prison.

Samantha Jo Rogers, age 33, from Mason City, Iowa, originally from Lapeer, Michigan, received the prison term after a March 11, 2019, guilty plea to one count of acquiring and attempting to acquire a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge, one count of wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information under false pretenses and with intent to use for personal gain, and one count of false statements relating to health care matters. read here

SEVEN NIGERIAN NATIONALS INDICTED IN INTERNATIONAL PHISHING, ROMANCE SCAM, AND OTHER CYBER FINANCIAL FRAUD SCHEMES

BOSTON – Seven Nigerian nationals were charged in indictments unsealed today in connection with their roles in expansive online fraud schemes targeting individuals and businesses in the United States, including phishing schemes, romance scams, business email compromise schemes, work-at-home scams, identity theft schemes, theft of personally identifiable information (PII) and credit card theft.

Chukwuemeka Francis Meke, a/k/a “Meke Angelo,” a/k/a “Lvrkdnona,” was charged on July 23, 2019, with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, wire fraud conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft. Jude Akhigbe, Happy Chukwuma, and Uche Solomon were charged on Aug. 20, 2019, with two counts of wire fraud conspiracy. Micahel Eromosele Iyoriobhe and Ajibola Ayomide Olanrewaju were charged on Sept. 3, 2019, with wire fraud conspiracy, unlawful possession of means of identification, and aggravated identity theft. Talib Gbolahan a/k/a “Talib Gbolahan Nkosi,” a/k/a “Loco Smith,” was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. All four indictments were unsealed today in Boston. read here

MEXICAN FOREIGN NATIONAL CONVICTED OF METHAMPHETAMINE TRAFFICKING

HOUSTON – A federal jury sitting in Houston has convicted a 34-year-old man for conspiracy and methamphetamine smuggling, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for less than three hours following a three-day trial before convicting Rogelio Rivera Benito aka Mecanico, who illegally resided in Houston, for the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

The jury heard testimony from co-defendant Mexican national Genaro Pavon Pena that Benito operated stash houses in Houston between July 2016 and late 2017. The stash houses were used to produce methamphetamine for distribution in Houston, and Benito and Pena had discussed the movement of methamphetamine and cash proceeds. The jury also heard from law enforcement officers regarding search warrants and seizures of more than 130 kilograms of methamphetamine between November 2016 and February 2018. read here

OWNERS OF PASCO COUNTY MARKETING FIRM PLEAD GUILTY FOR CONSPIRING TO PAY HEALTHCARE KICKBACKS

Tampa, Florida – Frank Monte (40, Valrico) and Kimberley Anderson (52, New Port Richey) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks. Each faces up to five years in federal prison and each has also agreed to forfeit $1,717,925.50 in assets.

According to the plea agreement, in May 2014, Monte and Anderson, acting on behalf of their marketing company Centurion Compounding, Inc., entered into a marketing agreement with the owners of a Pinellas County-based pharmacy called Lifecare. Centurion employed sales representatives to market compounded medications, specifically creams for pain and scars, among others, to beneficiaries of healthcare plans, especially TRICARE. These creams typically ranged in price from $900 to $21,000 for a one-month supply. Between June and November 2014, Monte, Anderson, the owners of LifeCare pharmacy (Carlos Mazariegos and Benjamin Nundy), and a Pinellas-based physician (Dr. Anthony Baldizzi), agreed that, in exchange for paying kickbacks to Baldizzi equal to 10% of the after-cost amount of each claim paid by TRICARE or other health care benefit programs, Baldizzi would write prescriptions for compounded medications filled by LifeCare for Centurion-recruited patients. Mazariegos, acting on behalf of the conspirators, made cash payments and provided other things of value to Baldizzi as kickbacks, including a new BMW M3. read here

FORMER EXECUTIVE AT ADAMO GROUP SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT HONEST SERVICES FRAUD IN CONNECTION WITH THE DETROIT DEMOLITION PROGRAM

nthony Daguanno, 62, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison after having pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud in connection with the Detroit Demolition Program.

The Honorable Victoria Roberts sentenced Anthony Daguanno to serve 12 months in federal prison following his conviction for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud by taking bribes and kickbacks from a subcontractor while Daguanno was employed as an executive at Adamo Group. Following his release from prison, Daguanno will serve a two year term of supervised release and will complete 72 hours of community service. The court also ordered Daguanno to pay a $10,000 fine and to forfeit $372,750 for the bribes that he took while at Adamo. read here

281 ARRESTED WORLDWIDE IN CORDINATED INTERNATIONAL ENFORCEMENT OPERATION TARGETING HUNDREDS OF INDIVIDUALS IN BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE SCHEMES

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities announced today a significant coordinated effort to disrupt Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes that are designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens. Operation reWired, a coordinated law enforcement effort by the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Department of State, was conducted over a four-month period, resulting in 281 arrests in the United States and overseas, including 167 in Nigeria, 18 in Turkey and 15 in Ghana. Arrests were also made in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom (UK). The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $3.7 million. read here

CHURCH LEADERS INDICTED IN FORCED LABOR CONSPIRACY

El CENTRO – A dozen leaders of Imperial Valley Ministries, including the former pastor, are charged in an indictment unsealed today with subjecting dozens of mostly homeless people to forced labor, coercing them to surrender welfare benefits and compelling them to panhandle up to nine hours a day, six days a week, for the financial benefit of the church leaders.

The defendants were arrested today in El Centro, San Diego and Brownsville, Texas and charged with conspiracy, forced labor, document servitude and benefits fraud. The local defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in El Centro today at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro. read here

DEFENDANTS INDICTED IN WICHITA AMONG HUNDREDS INDICTED IN WORLDWIDE FRAUD PROBE

WICHITA, KAN. – Five men indicted in federal court in Wichita are among hundreds of defendants charged in an international fraud investigation, U.S. Attorney Stephan McAllister said today.

King Bassey Essien, 26, Wichita, Kan., Franklin Ogochukwu Okapu, 20, Wichita, Kan., Oluwatimileyin Aloaye Frederick Diyaolu, 21, Wichita, Kan., Emmanuel Oluwaseun Daramola, 22, Wichita, Kan., and Abasiakara Ime Ekanem, 22, Nigeria, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. read here

FEMA DEPUTY REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR,FORMER PRESIDENT OF COBRA ACQUISITIONS, LLC, AND ANOTHER FEMA EMPLOYEE INDICTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT BRIBERY, HONEST SERVICES WIRE FRAUD, DISASTER FRUAD, AMONG OTHER CHARGES

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– Ahsha Nateef Tribble, a FEMA Region II, Deputy Regional Administrator; Donald Keith Ellison, former President of Cobra Acquisitions, LLC; and Jovanda R. Patterson, a.k.a. “Jo/Jojo,” former FEMA Deputy Chief of Staff, have been indicted and arrested on charges of: conspiracy to commit bribery of public officials; acts affecting a personal financial interest; false statements; disaster fraud; honest services wire fraud, Travel Act violations, and wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG), conducted the investigation with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The indictment returned Tuesday, September 3, 2019, by a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico, includes 15 counts against the following individuals: read here

ARKANSAS MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 12 YEARS FOR COERCING A WESTERN PA MINOR TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY

PITTSBURGH, PA-A former resident of Van Buren, Arkansas, has been sentenced in federal court to a term of imprisonment of 12 years and seven months (151 months) and 27 years of supervised release on his conviction of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on Alastair Lee Stewart, 27. read here

FORMER CFO OF LONG ISLAND REAL ESTATE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTI MILLION DOLLAR FRAUD

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Kwesi Bovell, the former chief financial officer (CFO) of The Mulholland Group, a real estate company in Manhasset (Mulholland), pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with his embezzlement of millions of dollars from his employer over the course of three years. The plea was entered before United States Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown. When sentenced, Bovell faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as restitution and a fine.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea. read here

FIVE DEFENDANTS INDICTED IN MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Iskyo Aronov, Michael Konstantinovskiy, Tomer Dafna, Avraham Tarshish and Michael Herskowitz with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and related wire fraud counts, in connection with a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders, including the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) and borrowers. Konstantinovskiy, Dafna, Tarshish and Herskowitz were arrested this morning in New York, and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom. Aronov was arrested in Florida, and will appear this afternoon for a removal hearing at the federal courthouse in Miami.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Robert Manchak, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region (FHFA-OIG), and Christina Scaringi, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Region (HUD-OIG), announced the charges. read here

FORMER DIRECTOR OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATION SENTENCED FOR STEALING FUNDS

St. Louis, MO – Paul Kesterson, 48, of Washington, MO, who was employed as a Lieutenant with the Washington, Missouri Police Department, was sentenced to two months and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $25,556 for stealing funds. Kesterson appeared today before U.S. District Judge Webber.

According to court documents, between February 1, 2018 and April 2019, Kesterson served as the Director of the St. Louis Area Law Enforcement Exploring Association (STLEEA) and as a Lieutenant with the Washington, Missouri Police Department. As the Director of STLEEA, Kesterson handled all of the finances and managed the Explorer Academy training. He was issued a credit and debit card so he could draw upon funds of the STEELA checking account for the benefit of the organization. After the Assistant Director received a phone call from U.S. Bank regarding a late credit card payment, an investigation was conducted regarding Kesterson’s use of the STLEEA account, as well as a Washington Police Department bank account controlled by Kesterson on behalf of STLEEA. Financial records revealed that Kesterson had been using the credit/debit card to make personal purchases. During the instant investigation regarding the STLEEA U.S. Bank account activity from 2018 to April 2019, no other members of the Washington Police Department or any other law enforcement agencies were found to be involved in Kesterson’s criminal activity. read here

FORMER BLACKWATER EMPLOYEE RE-SENTENCED FOR FATAL 2007 SHOOTING IN NISURE SQUARE IN IRAQ

WASHINGTON – Three former security guards for Blackwater USA were sentenced September 5, 2019, for their roles in the Sept. 16, 2007, shooting at Nisur Square in Baghdad, Iraq, that resulted in the killing of 14 unarmed civilians and the wounding of numerous others.

The sentencing, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced today by U.S. Attorney Liu and Timothy R. Slater, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. read here

 

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