Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

DALLAS BASED HUMAN TRAFFICKER CHARGED BY CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

A Dallas man has been charged with operating a large-scale human trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Tremont Blakemore, 40, was charged by criminal complaint with sex trafficking through force, fraud and coercion and made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Rutherford Wednesday afternoon.

According to victim statements detailed in the complaint, Mr. Blakemore — who goes by the street name “Macknificent” — may have trafficked hundreds of women across the United States between 2011 and 2018. read here

LAS VEGAS TAX RETURN PREPARER INDICTED FOR PREPARING FALSE TAX RETURNS, AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT AND WIRE FRAUD

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A grand jury in Las Vegas returned a superseding indictment today charging a tax return preparer with preparing and filing false tax returns, aggravated identity theft, and wire fraud announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, United States Attorney Nicholas Trutanich for the District of Nevada, and Special Agent in Charge Tara Sullivan for the IRS-Criminal Investigation.

According to the indictment, King Isaac Umoren, was the owner and operator of Universal Tax Services, a Las Vegas tax preparation business. From 2014 to 2016, Umoren allegedly used his employees’ preparer tax identification numbers without their consent in order to prepare fraudulent income tax returns for his clients. The indictment also alleges that Umoren charged his clients hidden fees in addition to his tax preparation fee without their knowledge or consent. read here

CITIZEN OF PERU ADMITS ILLEGALLY RE-ENTERING U.S.

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CESAR RUBEN YLLESCAS, 45, a citizen of Peru last residing in Hartford, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to illegally reentering the U.S. after being deported.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on August 1, 2014, Yllescas was arrested by Hartford Police for possession of narcotics. On December 21, 2015, he pleaded guilty in state court to the drug offense and to a charge of failing to appear for a related court appearance. Yllescas served approximately six months of imprisonment and was removed to Peru in June 2016. read here

OHIO MAN SENTENCED FOR TRAVELING TO MEET A MINOR FOR SEX

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Logan, Ohio man was sentenced to prison for a federal sex offense, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Donald E. Ward, 59, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for traveling in interstate commerce in order to engage in illicit sexual activity with a minor. Following his release from prison, Ward will serve a term of five years of supervised release after completing his prison sentence and will be required to register as a sex offender.

“Protecting West Virginia’s youth is a priority of my office,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “These are absolutely egregious crimes. I will continue to focus the efforts of my office to protect our children and other vulnerable populations. Predators who seek to take advantage of those that are weaker or vulnerable, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” read here

WEST HAMLIN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MAKING HIGH SCHOOL BOMB THREAT THROUGH SNAP CHAT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A West Hamlin man pled guilty to using Snap Chat to make a bomb threat directed at local high school, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. William Lee McCallister, also known as Kreekchub, 24, pled guilty to Threatening and Conveying False Information Concerning the Use of an Explosive Device.

“We don’t tolerate threats to our schools,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Hoax threats are serious federal crimes. They are not a joke. We take every single one seriously, will investigate them thoroughly and prosecute perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law. Hoax threats waste valuable law enforcement resources and disrupt school systems. Think before you post and, if you make a threat to our schools or public safety, you’ll be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” read here

JEFFERSON PARISH WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO DISTRIBUTE KETAMINE WHICH RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF A TEENAGER WHOSE BODY WAS FOUND FLOATING IN A TEXAS BAYOU

NEW ORLEANS –  U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that LEILANI ASPURIA, age 25, of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute ketamine which resulted in the death of a Slidell, Louisiana teenager.  The eighteen year old’s dead body was found floating in a Texas bayou.

As described in court documents, ASPURIA, along with WILLIAM HARRISON FARRIS, age 39, and KACIE DOUCET, age 37, conspired to incapacitate the teenager with drugs so that he could be transported to law enforcement authorities in Texas.  ASPURIA, FARRIS, and DOUCET did so in the hope of receiving free drugs from two large scale Texas-based methamphetamine dealers.  These dealers, a married couple, had told their New Orleans customers that they wanted the teenager so they would not lose the $6000 bond they had posted for him months earlier. read here

FORMER DAVENPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER CHARGED FEDERALLY FOR MAILING HOAX BIOLOGICAL AGENTS AND TOXINS

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Maria Bassi Lauro (65, Davenport) with six counts of mailing threatening communications and transmitting false information and hoaxes. If convicted on all counts, Lauro faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

FBI special agents arrested Lauro at her home in Davenport today. She made her initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Sean P. Flynn and has been released on restrictive bail conditions. read here

FAYETTE COUNTY MAN ADMITS MAKING HOAX EMERGENCY PHONE CALLS TO ELICIT AN ARMED POLICE RESPONSE: PRACTICE IS KNOWN AS “SWATTING”

PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Dunbar, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of interstate threats, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Nicholas Huffine, age 20, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Huffine participated in a practice known as “swatting,” in which he, along with others, made hoax emergency telephone calls to the Winter Garden, Florida, Police Department, and falsely reported an ongoing, dangerous crime in order to elicit an armed police response (from a SWAT team, hence the term “swatting”) to a specific location, in order to harass someone whom he believed was there. The calls resulted in emergency personnel being deployed, as well as physical damage due to forced entry to one of the residences where Huffine directed the law enforcement officers. read here

POSTAL EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO OVER SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR DELIVERING METH: DEFENDANT IS PART OF OPERATION “MONEY DON’T SLEEP”

LITTLE ROCK—A letter carrier from West Memphis was sentenced Wednesday for his role in a methamphetamine conspiracy that federal authorities have charged as Operation “Money Don’t Sleep.” Hayward Cleavon Shaw, 44, was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge James M. Moody. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced today’s sentencing.

Operation “Money Don’t Sleep,” run by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, is an ongoing investigation focused on lowering violent crime that stems from the distribution of illegal drugs. The goal of the operation is to identify and dismantle multiple drug trafficking organizations that distribute cocaine and methamphetamine. The investigation was initiated in 2015 by the DEA Little Rock District Office and the West Memphis Police Department. read here

JURY CONVICTS SOUTH TEXAS MAN FOR TRANSPORTING ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED CHINESE NATIONALS AMONG OTHERS

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A federal jury has convicted a 49-year-old legal permanent resident from Donna for knowingly and intentionally conspiring to unlawfully transporting undocumented illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before convicting Federico Espinosa-Flores following a two-day trial.

During trial the jury heard that on Dec. 21, 2018, authorities arrested Federico Espinosa-Flores at the Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sarita.

At approximately 7:40 A.M., Espinosa-Flores drove a white Ford cargo van disguised as an adult daycare business and entered the primary inspection lane. At that time, authorities noticed him exhibiting signs of nervousness, such as avoiding eye contact and having trembling hands. Espinosa-Flores consented to a search of which resulted in the discovery of 10 undocumented aliens in the rear cargo area of the vehicle. Six were Chinese nationals. read here

FORMER BACKGROUND INVESTIGATOR FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SENTENCED FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS

WASHINGTON – Bradley Lane, 30, a former background investigator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), was sentenced today to 36 months of probation, including 6 months of GPS Electronic Monitor on one false statements charge in connection with his falsification of work on background investigations of federal employees and contractors.

U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Thomas W. South, Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management made the announcement today. read here

DOMINICAN FUGITIVE CHARGED WITH IDENTITY THEFT AND MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN AN IMMIGRATION DOCUMENT

BOSTON – A Dominican national was arrested yesterday in Miami on a federal warrant for aggravated identity theft and immigration fraud charges filed in federal court in Boston in May 2019, as well as a federal warrant from 1997 in a drug trafficking case.

Teodoro Tejada Rivas, 63, a Dominican national who resided in Lawrence until recently, was charged in an criminal complaint unsealed today with one count of passport fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Rivas made an initial appearance on those charges in the Southern District of Florida today, and was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Sept. 16, 2019 in Miami.read here

FORMER ASSISTANT TRACK COACH SENTENCED FOR POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

BOSTON – A former Wellesley High School assistant track coach, who is also a former Harvard University track coach, was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for possession of child pornography.

Walter Johnson, 71, of Framingham, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to three years in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2019, Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. read here

CHINESE NATIONAL CONVICTED AT TRIAL OF ENTERING THE RESTRICTED GROUNDS AT MAR-A-LAGO AND LYING TO U.S. SECRET SERVICE AGENTS

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office announced that Yujing Zhang, 33, a Chinese national, was convicted by a South Florida federal jury today of unlawful entry of restricted buildings or grounds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1752(a)(1) (Count 1), and making false statements to the U.S. Secret Service, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 (Count 2) (Case No. 19CR80056).

Zhang is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman, in Fort Lauderdale, on November 22, 2019, at 10 a.m.  Zhang faces a maximum statutory sentence of 1 year in prison, up to 1 year of supervised release and up to a $1,000 fine as to Count 1, and a maximum statutory sentence of 5 years in prison, up to 3 years of supervised release and up to a $250,000 fine as to Count 2.read here

SIX INDIVIDUALS ADMIT ROLES IN NATIONWIDE CREDIT CARD FRAUD AFFECTING THOUSANDS OF ACCOUNT HOLDERS

NEWARK, N.J. – Six individuals have pleaded guilty to participation in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy that used stolen credit card account information to make fraudulent retail purchases, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Hamilton Eromosele, 29, of the Bronx, New York, the leader of the scheme, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. George Edandison, 27, and Youssouf Traore, 21, both of the Bronx; Deja Handsford, 25, of New York City; Quincy Wielingen, 28, of Queens Village, New York; and Kaishce English, 32, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, all pleaded guilty before Judge Martini on previous dates to the same charge. read here

OHIO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HOLDING FOR SALE OR DISPENSING COUNTERFEIT ED PILLS

PITTSBURGH – A resident of Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of holding a counterfeit drug for sale or dispensing, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Rahnon Carter, 39, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose. read here

NEW YORK WOMAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF CREDIT CARD MANUFACTURING EQUIPMENT

acksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Changa Bush (41, New York) with possession of credit card manufacturing equipment. If convicted, Bush faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. Federal authorities arrested Bush on September 6, 2019. During the course of the court hearings, it was determined that Bush is currently on parole of out New York State for the crime of assault causing serious physical injury. Bush has been detained pending trial, which is set for November 4, 2019.

According to the indictment, Bush possessed equipment that could be used to manufacture fraudulent credit cards. read here

SOMERSET MAN CONVICTED OF RUNNING $2.2 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

LONDON, Ky. – A Somerset, Ky., man was found guilty yesterday, by a federal jury sitting in London, of conspiring with co-conspirator Jason T. Castenir to run a complex and long-running Ponzi scheme.  During the scheme, they defrauded dozens of victims out of over $2.2 million, through three fake investments.

After a brief deliberation following an eight-day trial, the jury convicted 58-year-old Rodney Scott Phelps of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 12 additional counts of wire fraud. read here

SECOND PERSON ADMITS TO DEFRAUDING DR. PEPPER OF OVER $1 MILLION

HOUSTON – A 53-year-old Houston man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for his participation in a scheme to defraud Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPSG), announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Joseph A. Isaac admitted to participating in the scheme with Anna Maria Sites, 42, of Friendswood, from 2010 through Feb. 17, 2015, by not paying rebates to those who had requested them.

Isaac was the majority shareholder of FulFill Plus Inc., which administered the DPSG rebate campaigns. The rebates included returned bottle caps or for switching to DPSG brand drinks in restaurant/convenience store soda dispensers. DPSG paid FulFill to administer those campaigns. read here

BUFFALO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RAMMING FBI PROPERTY WITH HIS CAR CAUSING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE

BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Robert Lowe, 37, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to depredation of government property. The charge carries a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Bonanno, who is handling the case, stated that on March 30, 2017, at approximately 10:45 p.m., the defendant willfully crashed his motor vehicle into two exterior gates at the Federal Bureau of Investigation office located at One FBI Plaza in Buffalo. read here

WOODSTOCK MAN WHO POSED AS DECEASED SISTER TO STEAL VA BENEFITS SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN PRISON

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN DEPPERT, 64, of Woodstock, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to six months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for stealing benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”).

According to court documents and statements made in court, Deppert’s sister received disability compensation benefits from the VA through a direct deposit to her bank account. After Deppert’s sister died in January 2015, Deppert had access to her sister’s bank account, which continued to receive regular deposits of VA benefits. read here

FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS TEXAS MAN OF POSSESSING AR-15 RIFLE AFTER TRAFFIC STOP IN GREENWOOD, LOUISIANA

SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that a federal jury handed down a guilty verdict against a Texas man Tuesday for possessing an AR-15 rifle in his car after having been previously convicted of multiple felonies.

Deandray Charles Grant, 29, of Carrollton, Texas, was convicted after a one-day jury trial presided over by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. read here

FORMER KPMG EXECUTIVE SENTENCED FOR SCHEME TO STEAL CONFIDENTIAL PCAOB INFORMATION

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DAVID MIDDENDORF, the former head of KPMG’s National Office, also known as the Department of Professional Practice (the “DPP”), was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for participating in a scheme to defraud the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”) by obtaining, disseminating, and using confidential lists of which KPMG audits the PCAOB would be reviewing so that KPMG could improve its performance in PCAOB inspections. Middendorf was convicted of wire fraud charges in March 2019 following a month-long trial before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, who imposed today’s sentence. read here

ORANGE PARK MAN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH OFFERING CHILD SEX ABUSE IMAGES FOR SALE OVER THE INTERNET

Jacksonville, Florida – Antony Eugene Woody (31, Orange Park) has been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with advertising child pornography for sale using the internet. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, and up to 30 years, in federal prison. Woody is currently detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for September 13, 2019.

According to the complaint, in February 2019, the FBI in Boston received information that an individual there was using a particular social media application to distribute child pornography online. That individual was arrested, and agents identified another user, “imsoofreakyy,” who was offering child pornography for sale on the internet. Meanwhile, in Florida, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) had learned from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that the same user (“imsoofreakyy)” was using an email address to advertise for the sale images of children being sexually assaulted. Through further investigation, CCSO detectives identified this individual as Antony Eugene Woody. read here

LOCAL DOCTOR AND FORMER PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER INDICTED FOR ILLEGITIMATE DRUG DISTRIBUTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY

ROME, Ga. – Atlanta-area doctor Victor Hanson and former professional football player Sedrick Hodge have been indicted with two other individuals for illegal distribution of prescription drugs, including opioids.

“Hanson allegedly issued numerous illegitimate prescriptions for drugs, including powerful opioid painkillers,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “While Hanson prescribed these drugs without a legitimate medical purpose, Sedrick Hodge and other associates allegedly sold these drugs in communities like Cartersville.” read here

GEORGIA WOMAN SENTENCED FOR STEALING $196,000 FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

ATLANTA – Dyann E. Ramo has been sentenced to three years on probation with the first year in home confinement after she pleaded guilty to one count theft of government funds related to her stealing her deceased mother’s Social Security benefits for nearly 20 years

“Ramo went to great lengths to conceal her theft and enjoy the benefits to which she was not entitled,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “She continued her deception until she was indicted by a grand jury. Only then did she finally own up to her graft.” read here

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