Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

NORTH CAROLINA MAN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING EMPLOYER’S CHARITY MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that STEVEN KENT STRANGE, 49, of Bailey, North Carolina, was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with defrauding his employer’s charity matching gift program.

According to the criminal complaint, Strange is employed by Collins Aerospace, which is a business unit of United Technologies Corporation (“UTC”), based in Farmington, Connecticut. UTC has a Matching Gift Program, through which the company will match an employee donation, up to $25,000 annually, to a charity. In 2008, Strange established the Housing Development Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., and listed his residence at the principal office for the charity. Strange began working for Collins Aerospace in 2014.

BAKERSFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY POSSESSING A FIREARM THAT WAS CONVERTED INTO MACHINE GUN

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against Liodam Gonzalez, 27, of Bakersfield, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, on Aug. 30, at 3:20 a.m., law enforcement officers received an alert indicating that gunshots had been fired on South Kern Street in Bakersfield. The spent shell casings were traced to Gonzalez’s residence where more bullet casings were found on the car that he drove. A search of the residence yielded a Glock handgun that was converted to fire as a fully automatic machine gun. read here

FORMER AUSTIN BANK EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR STEALING OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS FROM CUSTOMER

n Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 40–year-old former Austin Capital One bank employee Paola Gallego of Round Rock, TX, to five years in federal prison for stealing over $1 million from a bank customer, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, and Special Agent in Charge Laurie L. Younger, FDIC Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG), Dallas Region.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered Gallego to pay a monetary judgment forfeiture in the amount of $1.2 Million; pay $1,403,979.13 in restitution to Capital One Bank (which had reimbursed the victims for their losses); and, be placed on supervised release for a period of four years after completing her prison term. Gallego remains on a $1 million bond pending Bureau of Prisons notification as to when and where to report to begin her prison sentence. read here

FRESNO MAN INDICTED FOR CREDIT CARD FRAUD AND POSSESSION OF STOLEN MAIL

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Justin Deger, 28, of Fresno, charging him with credit card fraud and possession of stolen mail, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, between Dec. 5, 2018, and March 28, 2019, Deger allegedly conducted more than $1,000 in unauthorized transactions on another person’s credit card, possessed 15 or more people’s credit cards or other access devices without their authorization, and possessed more than 2,000 pieces of stolen mail. read here

SEPARATED U.S. ARMY SOLIDER FROM NACOGDOCHES, TX, SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR THEFT AND POSSESSION OF STOLEN FIREARMS ON FORT BLISS

In El Paso today, a federal judge sentenced a 25–year-old separated U.S. Army soldier from Nacogdoches, TX, who still had access to Fort Bliss, to 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for theft and possession of stolen firearms on Fort Bliss, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama ordered that Christopher Darnell Harris be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. read here

BATAVIA MAN CAUGHT WITH CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AT A HALFWAY HOUSE PLEADS GUILTY

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Daryl Sumeriski, 51, of Batavia, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to possession of child pornography. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who is handling the case, stated that Sumeriski was residing in a halfway house in Bath, NY, when fellow residents expressed concern about certain images they observed on the defendant’s cell phone and alerted authorities. As a result, a search warrant was executed and investigators found more than 3,000 images of child pornography on Sumeriski’s phone. Some of the images depicted violent abuse of infants and toddlers. read here

DOMINICAN NATIONAL CHARGED WITH UNLAWFUL REENTRY

BOSTON – A Dominican national was indicted today in federal court in Boston of illegally reentering the United States.

Manuel A. Mendez Pimentel, 44, a Dominican national formerly residing in New Bedford, was indicted on one count of unlawfully reentering the United States after being deported.

According to the indictment, Mendez Pimentel was removed in 2009 and subsequently reentered the United States without permission. The indictment further alleges that Mendez Pimentel was deported after being convicted of an aggravated felony. read here

COLLIN COUNTY COUPLE INDICTED IN SEX TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

PLANO, Texas – Two Plano residents have been arrested for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown and Homeland Security Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ryan Spradlin today.

Quan Tu, 48, a Vietnamese national, and Li Xin, 44, a Chinese national, were arrested on Aug. 15, 2019, in Houston on Dallas County charges stemming from an ongoing sex trafficking investigation in Collin and Dallas counties. On Sep. 11, 2019, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas returned a three-count indictment charging Tu and Xin with conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; conspiracy to use interstate facilities to manage and facilitate an unlawful prostitution enterprise; and money laundering. read here

MASSIVE TAKEDOWN TARGETS EAST COUNTY DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORKS

SAN DIEGO – Eight indictments were unsealed today in San Diego federal court charging 85 members of drug distribution networks linked to the Sinaloa Cartel, with federal drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms offenses.

During the coordinated takedown that began early this morning, investigators executed over a dozen search warrants and seized approximately four pounds of methamphetamine and two firearms. As of today at 1 p.m., 47 of the 85 defendants are either in federal or state custody. Authorities are continuing to search for 38 defendants. Many of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Allison H. Goddard at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. read here

CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN PRISON, LIFETIME SUPERVISED RELEASE FOR PRODUCING CHILD  PORNOGRAPHY ON SNAPCHAT

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of BARTON GEORGE SCOTT, 36, a registered sex offender, to 25 years in prison for producing child pornography. SCOTT, who pleaded guilty on February 6, 2019, was sentenced today before Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

United States Attorney Erica MacDonald said, “Mr. Scott is a convicted sex offender and a sextortionist. He terrorized his victims by hacking into their Snapchat accounts to access highly sensitive and private pictures. He then taunted his victims and threatened to disseminate their private pictures if they didn’t comply with his demands. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that sextortion is a serious crime that will be met with serious consequences.” read here

SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 24 MONTHS OF IMPRISONMENT FOR FAILING TO REGISTER

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of failure to register as a sex offender was sentenced on September 9, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Virgil Running Bear, age 46, was sentenced to 24 months of federal custody, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

According to court documents, Running Bear was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the District of North Dakota. Judgment was entered on October 31, 2005. This conviction requires him to register as a sex offender for life. Since on or about December 25, 2017, Running Bear’s whereabouts were unknown until his arrest in Winner, South Dakota. His last known address was at a hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota, but that residence was vacated with no sign of Running Bear since December 25, 2017. read here

FRESNO MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF A MACHINE GUN AND BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against Walter Ryan Keith, 41, of Fresno, charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of a machine gun, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, after execution of a search warrant at his home on June 5, Keith was found in possession of 14 firearms and a machine gun conversion device. Keith is a previously convicted felon and is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

This case is the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Massey is prosecuting the case. read here

CEO OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD

CAMDEN, N.J. – The chief executive officer of a private equity investment firm today admitted he defrauded an investor of $1.35 million dollars, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Karl James, 48, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information that charged him with one count of wire fraud. read here

LEADER OF NEW JERSEY GANG AND ASSOCIATED CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTING HEROIN AND FENTANYL IN PRISON, RESULTING IN INMATE OVERDOSE

NEWARK, N.J. – Two Hudson County men were charged for their alleged roles in trafficking heroin and fentanyl into a New Jersey state prison, which resulted in an inmate’s overdose, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Noel Salgado, 39, a/k/a “Kuko,” and Rodgerick Garrett, 38, a/k/a “50,” a/k/a “Fif,” a/k/a “Boo,” both of Jersey City, New Jersey, were each charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl and one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, which resulted in serious bodily injury to a person. Both men are scheduled to appear Sept. 30, 2019, for arraignment before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti. read here

COUSHATTA MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ACCESSING A “DARK WEB” SITE WITH INTENT TO VIEW CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

SHREVEPORT, La. United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Paul Andrew Talley, 51, of Coushatta, Louisiana, was sentenced Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to 10 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for accessing the internet with intent to view child pornography.  Talley is also required to register as a sex offender. 

According to documents presented at Talley’s guilty plea hearing on April 11, 2019, law enforcement agents identified Talley’s computer as accessing a “Dark Web” child porn site and being a regular user.  Forensic analysis on the computer equipment seized from Talley’s home on August 20, 2015, revealed more than 2,300 images of child pornography.  The images found on the computer matched the images from the “Dark Web” site. read here

SACRAMENTO MAN CHARGED WITH FAILING TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today against Walter Ryan Keith, 41, of Fresno, charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and possession of a machine gun, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, after execution of a search warrant at his home on June 5, Keith was found in possession of 14 firearms and a machinegun conversion device. Keith is a previously convicted felon and is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. read here

FLORIDA MAN WHO MOLESTED 12-YEAR-OLD CHILD IN PHILADELPHIA HOTEL SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON

PHILADELPHIA – First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Liam Heim, 23, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment, and lifetime supervised release by United States District Judge Petrese B. Tucker for child exploitation offenses which occurred in Philadelphia.

In early 2018, while living in Florida, the defendant started an online forum on the messaging service Discord, through which he met a 12-year-old girl living with her parents in southern New Jersey. Heim groomed his seventh-grade victim to believe that they were in a romantic relationship, eventually convincing her to meet with him in person so that he could sexually assault her. On March 29, 2018, Heim flew from Florida to Philadelphia, picked up the victim in southern New Jersey, and brought her to a hotel near the airport in Philadelphia where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her over the course of an approximately 36-hour period before the victim was recovered by authorities and Heim was arrested. The defendant ultimately pled guilty to charges of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and transportation of a minor in interstate commerce with intent to engage in unlawful sexual activity. read here

WEST HOLLYWOOD FACES FEDERAL CHARGES OF ADMINISTERING METHAMPHETAMINE TO VICTIM WHO SUFFERED FATAL OVERDOSE

LOS ANGELES – A West Hollywood man is being taken in to federal custody this afternoon after being charged in United States District Court with providing methamphetamine to a man who died after receiving the drug intravenously.

Edward Buck, 65, is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court later this afternoon. Buck was named in a federal criminal complaint filed last night that charges him with one count of distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death. read here

EFFINGHAM MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FENTANYL TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY AND FIREARM CHARGES

CONCORD – Justin English, 35, of Effingham, pleaded guilty in federal court to participating in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy and possessing firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between early 2018 and October 4, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Southern Maine Safe Streets Gang Task Force conducted an investigation into English’s fentanyl trafficking in Effingham, New Hampshire and York, Maine. On October 4, 2018, the FBI executed a search warrant on English’s residence, arrested English and his co-conspirator, and seized approximately 200 gram so fentanyl, currency, collectible coins, and four firearms. Under the terms of the plea agreement, English agreed to forfeit to the United States $28,386 in cash and $45,738 in collectible coins. The FBI previously administratively forfeited the firearms. read here

LAS VEGAS MAN SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR POSSESSION OF 65 FIREARMS STOLEN FROM A GUN SHOW

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A trade show worker who pleaded guilty to stealing 65 firearms (including machine guns and silencers) from the 2019 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) show in Las Vegas was sentenced today to two years in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Ray Roundtree of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Jamikko Foster, 27, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in June 2019, to one count of theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and one count of unlawful possession of a machine gun. United States District Judge Richard F. Boulware II presided over the sentencing hearing. read here

VAN ZANDT COUNTY MAN GUILTY OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY VIOLATIONS

TYLER, Texas – A 58-year-old Wills Point, Texas man has pleaded guilty to child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

James Joseph Veeser pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

According to information presented in court, between January 2016 and January 2019, Veeser received child pornography using the internet and a computer, including three videos containing child pornography. read here

MANCHESTER MAN GUILTY OF LYING TO FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT DURING INTERVIEW

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a jury in New Haven has found FAREED AHMED KHAN, 61, of Manchester, guilty of making a false statement during an interview with federal law enforcement. A trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer began on September 16 and the jury returned its verdict this morning.

According to the evidence presented during the trial, Khan was born in Pakistan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in February 2003. Khan was a member of the Islamic Circle of North America (“ICNA”) and was responsible for collecting cash and check donations to ICNA for its various charitable events. In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that, over the course of approximately eight years, Khan received more than $200,000 in cash deposits into his bank account. Investigators also learned that Khan was transacting with an individual in Pakistan who was arranging for third parties to deposit cash into Khan’s account to fund medical equipment purchases for the individual in Pakistan. Khan then collected the purchased medical equipment, repackaged the items, and shipped them to Pakistan. read here

MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT OF NEW JERSEY MAN FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF HIZBALLAH’S ISLAMIC JIHAD ORGANIZATION

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that ALEXEI SAAB, a/k/a “Ali Hassan Saab,” a/k/a “Alex Saab,” a/k/a “Rachid,” was charged today in a nine-count Indictment for offenses related to his support for Hizballah and separate marriage-fraud offenses. SAAB was arrested July 9, 2019, in New York, New York, pursuant to a criminal complaint, and remains detained. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe. read here

MCKEESPORT SEX OFFENDER ADMITS TO COERCING A MINOR TO ENGAGE IN ILLEGAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

PITTSBURGH, PA – A former resident of McKeesport, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Scott Joseph Payne, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of each of the above-described offenses before Senior United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer. In addition to the guilty plea, Payne accepted responsibility for two additional counts of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and three counts of production of images depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor. read here

GEORGIA MAN SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS FOR CREDIT CARD FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT AT RESORT AND THEME PARKS

Orlando, FL – U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp today sentenced Melvin Mack Gatlin (34, Tucker, GA) to four years in federal prison for committing credit card fraud and identity theft while visiting Orlando in early April 2018. The court also ordered Gatlin to forfeit the computer and credit card encoder he had used to commit the offense and, to pay $7,184.24 in restitution to his victims. Gatlin had pleaded guilty on June 17, 2019.

According to court documents, on April 1, 2018, Gatlin used a fake driver license and a counterfeit credit card, in the name of a victim, R.P., to check into a resort hotel. The following day, using the fake driver license and a counterfeit credit card, he purchased 11 theme park tickets. On April 3, 2018, he purchased 11 more theme park tickets using the fake driver license and a counterfeit credit card. Gatlin was arrested and admitted that he had obtained the fake credit cards and stolen account numbers on the dark web. Investigators found that Gatlin had incurred thousands of dollars in fraudulent transactions in just a few days in Orlando. read here

ROCK HILL MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE

Columbia, South Carolina – United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Darrell Henry Adam, age 29, of Rock Hill, was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison for manufacturing child pornography.

Facts presented during the hearing showed that Adam recorded his sexual assault of a child.  Adam then showed the video to a confidential witness he met through an online dating app.  Adam indicated to the confidential witness that he had also provided methamphetamine to the child.  After the confidential witness saw the recording, he called the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report the abuse.  The York County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI responded to Adam’s residence that day.  After questioning Adam, the investigators obtained a search warrant to look through the home and Adam’s electronics. Investigators discovered hundreds of child pornography images and videos within Adam’s electronic devices, including the abuse video described by the confidential witness. Adam was immediately arrested and has remained in custody during the prosecution of his case. read here

MARYLAND RESIDENTS FACING FEDERAL CHARGES FOR STEALING OVER $820,000 IN V.A. BENEFITS FRAUD SCHEME

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Angela Marie Farr, a/k/a Angela Pace, Angela Mullins, and Angela Biggs, age 33, of Leonardtown, Maryland; Michael Vincent Pace, age 39, of Leonardtown, Maryland, and Mary Francis Biggs, age 62, of Lexington Park, Maryland with conspiracy and theft of government property.  Farr was also charged with aggravated identity theft and social security fraud.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Field Office Kim R. Lampkins for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General. read here

FORMER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER ADMITS TO EXTORTION

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 32-year-old former La Feria deputy constable has entered a guilty plea to extortion under color of official right, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

At the time of the offense, Armando Gonzalez was a Precinct 5 deputy constable.

While serving as a deputy constable, he admitted he received a $50 Bass Pro Shop gift card in exchange for conducting a license plate check on a vehicle for someone he personally knew. Gonzalez also knew that individual had been involved in narcotics trafficking. Gonzalez spent the gift card a few days later. read here

DELRAY BEACH DOCTOR SENTENCED TO PRISON AND ORDERED TO PAY RESTITUTION ON FEDERAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that Dr. David Edward Nowak, 42, of Delray Beach, Florida, was sentenced to prison on federal child pornography charges.

Dr. Nowak previously pled guilty to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(2), and possession of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a)(4)(B) (Case No. 19cr80049).  On September 17, 2019, U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman sentenced Dr. Nowak to 9 years in prison, to be followed by 20 years of supervised release.  Dr. Nowak was also ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to the victims. read here

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY OF TROY, MICHIGAN, FOR RESTRICTIONS ON MUSLIM RELIGIOUS GROUP TRYING TO ESTABLISH A PLACE TO WORSHIP

The Justice Department today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the City of Troy, Michigan, alleging that the City violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) by treating places of worship worse than equivalent nonreligious assemblies in its zoning code and denying zoning approval to a Muslim group seeking to establish a place of worship.

“Zoning laws that treat mosques, churches, synagogues, and other religious assemblies less favorably than nonreligious assemblies illegally restrict religious exercise in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act,” said Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that local governments do not discriminate against faith communities in violation of federal law.” read here

COMPOUNDING PHARMACY, TWO OF ITS EXECUTIVES, AND PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM AGREE TO PAY $21.36 MILLION TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS

The Department of Justice announced today that compounding pharmacy Diabetic Care Rx LLC, or Patient Care America (PCA), PCA’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Smith, PCA’s former Vice President of Operations Matthew Smith, and private equity firm Riordan, Lewis & Haden Inc. (RLH) have agreed to resolve a lawsuit alleging that they violated the False Claims Act through their involvement in a kickback scheme to generate referrals of prescriptions for expensive pain creams, scar creams, and vitamins, regardless of patient need, which were reimbursed by TRICARE, the federal health care program for military members and their families. PCA and RLH have agreed to pay $21,050,000, Patrick Smith has agreed to pay at least $300,000, and Matthew Smith has agreed to pay at least $12,788. These settlement amounts were based on defendants’ ability to pay. read here

VIOLENT OFFENDER SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY RE-ENTERING UNITED STATES

SHERMAN, Texas –A 43-year-old Mexican national with a prior felony conviction has been sentenced to federal prison for immigration violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

Julio Edgar Ruiz-Bautista pleaded guilty on July 19, 2019, to unlawful reentry by a deported alien and was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Sep. 18, 2019. read here

WISCONSIN MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES

Jeffrey H. Ernisse, 63, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography in 2015 and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in the Philippines between 2014 and 2015. U.S. District Court Judge Lynn S. Adelman of the Eastern District of Wisconsin ordered the sentence to run consecutive to a state sentence on which Ernisse has another three years to serve, and will be followed by ten years of supervised release.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin made the announcement. read here

NEW ORLEANS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLEMENT OF UNION FUNDS

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – MARK DOUGLAS, age 72, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty on September 17, 2019 to a one-count bill of information for embezzlement of union funds before the Honorable Greg G. Guidry, announced U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser. Sentencing is scheduled for January 20, 2019.

According to court documents, between November 11, 2011 and January 17, 2015, DOUGLAS acted as President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1101. DOUGLAS was responsible for the local’s grievances with the Domino Sugar Company and running the day to day operations of the union.  read here

WOMAN SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN JAIL FOR 12 YEAR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD

WILMINGTON, Del. – A Smyrna woman was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika to 18 months in prison for defrauding the U.S. Social Security Administration (“SSA”) of more than $175,000.

According to court documents, Deborah Vaughn, 63, spent over a decade collecting fraudulent Social Security funds intended for her deceased mother-in-law. Each month for twelve years, the SSA deposited approximately $1,100 into a bank account belonging to Vaughn’s mother-in-law. Vaughn, who was a joint-user on the bank account, fraudulently accessed and withdrew the money—knowing that her mother-in-law, the rightful beneficiary of the Social Security funds, had died in 2006. When the SSA contacted Vaughn in 2013 and again in 2018, Vaughn repeatedly lied, including pretending to be her deceased mother-in-law, to ensure that the Social Security deposits would continue. read here

FRANKLIN COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENT IN ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE A FIREARM WAS SUBJECT TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ORDERS

FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Tuesday, Joshua Bybee, 23, of Frankfort, Kentucky, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove for making a false statement in the acquisition of a firearm.

Bybee had previously pleaded guilty to one count involving the making of a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. On January 14, 2019, Bybee entered Dan’s Discount Jewelry and Pawn in Frankfort, a federally licensed firearms dealer, and attempted to purchase a 9mm pistol. In his attempt, Bybee represented that he was not legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm when, in fact, he was subject to two separate domestic violence orders from two different individuals. Both domestic violence orders restrained Bybee from harassing, stalking, or threatening individuals covered under the order. Additionally, both orders prohibited the Bybee from possessing a firearm while each order was in effect. Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms by persons subject to domestic violence orders.  The business declined to sell the firearm to Bybee after a background check revealed the domestic violence orders. read here

FORMER FSU CREDIT UNION OFFICIAL SENTENCED FOR $1.2 MILLION BANK FRAUD, AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT, AND FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS

Between June 2014 and November 2017, Lee was the lending director of FSU Credit Union (FSUCU), a Tallahassee-based credit union. As lending director, Lee’s position allowed him to open new customer accounts and approve lines of credit. He also served as treasurer of the Tallahassee Chapter of Credit Unions (TCCU), a non-profit organization that advocates legislation favorable to credit unions. In 2014, Lee used the name, date of birth, and social security number of the President of TCCU to create a second fraudulent account for that organization. Lee used the original TCCU account for fraudulent activity while leaving the new account for legitimate TCCU transactions. Lee also created two accounts using the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of his college roommates and used them as “intermediary accounts” into which funds stolen from FSUCU customers were deposited. Lee transferred funds from inactive customer accounts to pay down the lines of credit to the intermediary accounts he created or deposited them into TCCU’s original bank account. He also used the stolen funds to pay off personal credit cards, make mortgage and car payments, and pay for his children’s private school tuition. In total, Lee stole over $800,000 from the FSUCU. Additionally, in February 2016, March 2017, and March 2018, Lee filed tax returns in which he failed to claim as income the funds he stole from FSUCU. read here

FORMER LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR AND COUNSELING CENTER OWNER INDICTED FOR MEDICAID FRAUD, CONSPIRACY, FALSE STATEMENTS, AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Stephanie Lynn Fleming, 42, and Helen Elizabeth Storey, 37, both of Waldorf, Maryland (and formerly of Tallahassee, Florida), were arrested in Maryland after a federal grand jury in Tallahassee returned an indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 75 counts of health care fraud, false statements in connection with a health care matter, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The offenses are alleged to have been committed in the Northern District of Florida. The indictment was announced by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. read here

NORTH TEXANS CHARGED WITH HEALTH CARE FRAUD VIOLATIONS

SHERMAN, Texas – Three North Texas residents have been indicted on health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

Demetrius Cervantes, 44, of McKinney, Texas, Amanda Lowry, 39, of Sherman, Texas, and Lydia Henslee, 27, of Denison, Texas, were named in a federal indictment returned by a grand jury on Sep. 11, 2019. The defendants were each charged with conspiracy to obtain information from a protected computer and conspiracy to unlawfully possess and use a means of identification. read here

 

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