Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

PERRIS MAN CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING UNREGISTERED PESTICIDES

SAN DIEGO – Luis Alberto Vargas of Perris was arraigned today on a felony complaint charging him with smuggling pesticides into the United States from Mexico. Vargas made his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge F.A. Gossett.

The complaint alleges that Vargas smuggled three containers with 2.25 liters of Mexican pesticides into the United States on September 9, 2019.  According to the complaint, Vargas brought in pesticides containing the active ingredients chlorpyrifos and abamectin, chemicals which are considered to be restricted-use pesticides in the United States because they are lethal if ingested, harmful if absorbed through the skin or inhaled, and toxic to bees and other wildlife.” read here

BOISE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR COUNTERFEIT CELLPHONE SCHEME

“BOISE – Artur Pupko, 28, of Boise, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to trafficking in counterfeit goods, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced today. Sentencing for Pupko has been set for December 17, 2019 before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.

According to court records, Pupko conspired with others to operate a multi-million dollar scheme wherein they sold counterfeit cellphones and cellphone accessories on Amazon.com and eBay.com that were misrepresented as new and genuine Apple and Samsung products. Using at least six different corporate entities, Pupko smuggled counterfeit cellphones and cellphone accessories in bulk from manufacturers in Hong Kong and China, repackaged the products in the Treasure Valley, and then individually resold to consumers online as genuine and new in order to deceive customers. Also as part of his plea, Pupko admitted that, on three different occasions in October through December 2017, his company sold counterfeit Apple and/or Samsung products to law enforcement.” read here

U.S. AIR FORCE MASTER SERGEANT INDICTED WITH FEDERAL FIREARM AND DRUG CHARGES

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An active-duty United States Air Force Master Sergeant currently assigned to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 24, 2019, with federal firearm and drug trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

The indictment charges Michael Reimers, 39, of Las Vegas, with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and one count of sale of a firearm to a prohibited person.” read here

FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS SEX TRAFFICKER OF USING CRACK COCAINE AND HEROIN TO COERCE VICTIMS INTO PROSTITUTION

“BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal jury has convicted Valentino Shine, Sr., 51, of Buffalo, NY, of five counts of sex trafficking, and one count each of sex trafficking conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life, and a $20,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth R. Moellering and Meghan A. Tokash, who prosecuted the case, with support from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, stated that the defendant ran a sex trafficking operation out of his Humboldt Parkway residence in Buffalo. Shine preyed upon and exploited women who were vulnerable and addicted to drugs, coercing them to engage in commercial sex acts. The defendant provided or withheld drugs to coerce the victims to engage in commercial sex acts.” read here

WDNY TAKES PART IN FEDERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN

“FEDERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN IN NORTHEASTERN U.S. RESULTS IN CHARGES AGAINST 48 INDIVIDUALS

Three Plead Guilty to One of Largest Health Care Fraud Schemes Prosecuted Involving Fraudulent Telemedicine Networks Targeting Elderly Patients Nationwide

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a coordinated health care fraud enforcement action across seven federal districts in the Northeastern United States, involving more than $800 million in loss and the distribution of over 3.25 million pills of opioids in “pill mill” clinics.  The takedown includes new charges against 48 defendants for their roles in submitting over $160 million in fraudulent claims, including charges against 15 doctors or medical professionals, and 24 who were charged for their roles in diverting opioids.” read here

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE AT CAMP MABRY IN AUSTIN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF OVER $1 MILLION IN MILITARY EQUIPMENT

“In Austin today, a federal government employee at Camp Mabry surrendered himself to federal authorities on charges that he allegedly stole and unlawfully sold more than $1 million worth of items from the military installation in Austin, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash.

A federal criminal complaint filed today charges 35–year-old Joseph Mora with one count of theft of government property and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the U.S. The complaint states that Mora has served as a Program Analyst at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office warehouse since 2013. The complaint alleges that Mora conspired to remove large quantities of sensitive military grade equipment, including rifle scopes, infrared laser aiming devices and thermal night vision goggles, from the facility without authorization. He later sold many of the stolen items on eBay and by other means.” read here

DRUG DEALER WHO SOLD HEROIN THAT KILLED 18-YEAR OLD SENTENCED TO 28+ YEARS

“An Arlington drug dealer who sold the heroin that killed an 18-year-old Southlake girl was sentenced today to more than 28 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Michael Dasean Robinson, 33, pleaded guilty on April 12 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and was sentenced to 340 months’ imprisonment by Senior U.S. District Judge John H. McBryde Thursday.” read here

FEDERAL OFFICIALS CLOSE CIVIL RIGHTS INVESTIGATION INTO THE FATAL SHOOTING OF STEPHON CLARK

“SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Special Agent-in-Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Division today announced that the independent federal review into the fatal shooting of Stephon Clark on March 18, 2018, found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal civil rights charges against the Sacramento Police Department officers involved. Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI met today with Clark’s family to inform them of this decision.
After a careful and thorough review into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators and prosecutors determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of the federal statute. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and career prosecutors in the Civil Rights Division conducted a comprehensive, independent review of the events surrounding the shooting that resulted in Clark’s death. Federal authorities also reviewed all of the evidence generated by the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Justice in earlier investigations, including witness statements, audio and video recordings, dispatch records, police reports, and autopsy reports, and gathered additional evidence pertinent to the federal investigation.” read here

LAWRENCE RESIDENT INDICTED ON SEXUAL EXPLOITATION CHARGES

“BOSTON – A Lawrence resident was indicted today in federal court in Boston with sexually exploiting two children under four years of age.

Jakob Nieves, who also goes by the name Dakota, 19, was indicted on two counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Nieves was charged by complaint and arrested on Aug. 14, 2019. Nieves has been detained since that time.” read here

WORCESTER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENSES

“BOSTON – A Worcester man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Worcester to possession of child pornography.

Michael Chapman, 62, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Dec. 19, 2019. Chapman was charged by criminal complaint in March 2019.

On July 2 and 3, 2017, Chapman uploaded images depicting child pornography using his Skype account. He also possessed child pornography on Oct. 6, 2017, on his computer, which agents seized during the execution of a search warrant. Chapman is a registered Level 3 sex offender due to multiple prior convictions. In 2004, he was convicted of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and three counts of obscene material; in 1994, he was convicted of transporting in interstate commerce a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and, in 1984, he was convicted of rape of a child and four counts of lewd and lascivious acts.” read here

BROOKLYN CENTER MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DISTRIBUTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of JUSTIN THOMAS CHAPMAN, 38, to 180 months in prison for distributing child pornography. CHAPMAN, who pleaded guilty on May 8, 2019, was sentenced today before Judge Eric C. Tostrud in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, from March 2017 through August 10, 2018, CHAPMAN moderated and participated in online chatrooms where participants distributed, traded, and received child pornography. CHAPMAN and other participants also used the chatrooms to express their preferences in child pornography as well as discuss means to avoid detection by law enforcement. As a chatroom moderator, CHAPMAN communicated and enforced the “rules” of the chatrooms, including limits on content, the way child pornography could be shared, and a code of conduct for the chatroom members.” read here

CEDAR RAPIDS MAN WHO CARJACKED A TEENAGER AND ROBBED A STORE WHILE CARRYING A GUN SENTENCED TO OVER 18 YEARS IN PRISON

“A Cedar Rapids man who carjacked an 18-year old woman at gunpoint and carried a loaded handgun during and in relation to the robbery of a Cedar Rapids cell phone store was sentenced in United States District Court in Cedar Rapids on September 25, 2019, to 222 months’ in federal prison.

Cedric Antonio Wright (a/k/a “Tony” or “Mitch”), age 22, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted by a federal jury in November 2018 of four charges: carjacking; carrying and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to the carjacking; unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon and unlawful drug user; and carrying a firearm during and in relation to the October 23, 2017 robbery of a phone store in southwest Cedar Rapids. Wright had earlier pleaded guilty in the same case, on October 29, 2018, to one count of robbery and conspiracy to rob the phone store.” read here

CEDAR RAPIDS MAN SENTENCED TO 32 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR SEXUALLY EXPLOITING A CHILD

“A man who sexually exploited a 14-year-old girl, enticed her to engage in prostitution, and received child pornography was sentenced today to 32 years in federal prison.

Kevin Herring, age 30, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the sentence after a September 28, 2018, guilty plea to one count of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of receipt of child pornography. Evidence at sentencing showed that, in January 2018, Herring was at a halfway house in Cedar Rapids following his federal prison sentence for being a felon and domestic abuser in possession of a firearm. While on a pass from the halfway house, he met the victim, a runaway 14‑year-old girl. Herring persuaded, induced, and enticed the victim to engage in prostitution and to send him sexually explicit images of herself. Herring asked the victim if she loved him and told her she could live with him after he left the halfway house.” read here

GUATEMALAN MAN WHO USED A FRAUDULENT SOCIAL SECURITY CARD SENTENCED TO PRISON

“A man who used a false identification document and someone else’s social security number was sentenced today to almost three months in federal prison.

Daniel Riz-Morente, age 35, a citizen of Guatemala illegally present in the United States and residing in Postville, Iowa, received the prison term after a July 3, 2019, guilty plea to one count of unlawful use of an identification document and one count of misuse of a social security number.” read here

FORMER POSTAL EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF MAIL

“John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CAREEMA LEWIS, 33, of Waterbury, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to theft of mail by a postal employee.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between September 2018 and January 2019, while she was employed as a postal worker at the U.S. Post Office in Plymouth, Lewis stole numerous pieces of mail, specifically, greeting cards that contained gift cards or other items of value. When confronted by investigators in January 2019, Lewis admitted that she stole “between 20 and 50” gift cards from the mail. Lewis subsequently surrendered approximately 10 gift cards that she had stolen from greeting cards, and approximately 17 pieces of stolen mail that she had in her vehicle and her purse.” read here

PRIME CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEE AT U.S. MILITARY BASES SENTENCED TO 28 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR $1.4 MILLION FRAUD AND TAKING KICKBACKS

“NEWARK, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man employed as a regional manager for a contractor involved with construction projects at Picatinny Arsenal (PICA) and at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst (Ft. Dix) was sentenced today to 28 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that caused losses of $1.4 million, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

James Conway, 48, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of accepting unlawful kickbacks. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.” read here

VIRGINIA MAN ADMITS TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

“MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Alan Williams, of Hillsboro, West Virginia, has admitted to producing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Williams, age 54, pled guilty to one count of “Production of Child Pornography by Person Having Custody or Control.” Williams admitted to permitted a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to produce child pornography to be shared in February 2019 in Jefferson County.” read here

BERKELEY COUNTY MAN ADMITS TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

“MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Timothy Alan Himelright, of Inwood, West Virginia, has admitted to distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Himelright, age 35, pled guilty to one count of “Distribution of Child Pornography.” Himelright admitted to distributing child pornography in October 2018 in Berkeley County.” read here

WESTFIELD MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD  PORNOGRAPHY OFFENSES

“BOSTON – A Westfield man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Springfield to child pornography charges.

Stephen Cote, 48, pleaded guilty to three counts of receipt of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of offering to receive child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18, 2019. Cote was indicted in January 2016, and he has been detained since his arrest on July 20, 2018.” read here

RALEIGH COUNTY WOMAN INDICTED ON MULTIPLE COUNTS OF WIRE FRAUD, BANK FRAUD, BANKRUPTCY FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING

“BECKLEY, W.Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging a Beckley woman with multiple counts of fraud, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Natalie P. Cochran, 38, owner of Technology Management Solutions (TMS) and Tactical Solutions Group (TSG), was charged in a 26-count indictment with wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and bankruptcy fraud.

“A 26-count indictment alleging wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and bankruptcy fraud,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “All indictments are serious and this is a serious matter. Ms. Cochran pretended to be a government contractor, intentionally misled investors to raise money for her fraudulent schemes, intentionally stole personal identification information from multiple individuals, falsely marketed herself and her companies as experienced, leading suppliers of government services while never being awarded a single federal contract and having two potential state contracts cancelled, and then engaged in bankruptcy fraud. I want to thank the work of my team and the West Virginia State Police, Secret Service, FDIC and ATF for their tremendous work in this matter.”read here

TAMPA MAN SENTENCED TO NEARLY FOUR YEARS AND ORDERED TO PAY OVER $1.2  MILLION  TO VICTIMS OF DIALING FOR DOLLARS FRAUD SCHEME

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven today sentenced Richard Buffington (49, Clearwater) to 46 months in federal prison for committing wire fraud. The court also ordered Buffington to forfeit more than $1.2 million, which is traceable to the proceeds of the offense, and to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud scheme.

Buffington had pleaded guilty on April 30, 2019. read here

ALEXANDRIA WOMAN SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR SUBMITTING FALSE STUDENT AID APPLICATIONS TO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

SHREVEPORT, La. United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Adaysha Tanner, 36, of Alexandria, Louisiana, was sentenced September 25 by Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr., to 10 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for financial aid fraud, in connection with a scheme where she filled out and submitted false student aid applications for more than $95,000.  Judge Hicks also ordered Tanner to pay $106,744 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Education.  Tanner pleaded guilty on May 14, 2019.

Beginning in the spring semester of 2013 through the spring semester of 2015, Tanner filled out financial aid applications through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and through Federal Direct Loans for four students, representing that they would be attending Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), and listed her physical address and email address as the contact information.  In reality, Tanner would take over the individual’s BPCC student accounts, attend classes, and do minimal coursework in order to keep financial aid flowing.  In one instance in particular, Tanner enrolled a student in 18 classes over four semesters, of which she withdrew from seven.  In total, Tanner enrolled four students in classes, many of which were identical to classes that Tanner was taking at BPCC.  For the majority of these classes, they were eventually withdrawn or given a failing grade. ” read here

FORMER MEXICAN STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY

“A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, and the former State Attorney General for the State of Nayarit, Mexico, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release, following his guilty plea to an international heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana manufacture and distribution conspiracy.

Edgar Veytia, 48, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon, who also ordered Veytia to forfeit $1 million, following a conspiracy charge relating to a scheme to import illegal drugs from Mexico to the United States.” read here

FAYETTEVILLE MAN SENTENCED FOR COERCION AND ENTICEMENT OF A MINOR TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY

“RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced FRANKIE LEE JONES, 34, of Fayetteville, North Carolina to 180 months imprisonment, followed by 15  years of supervised release.

JONES was named in an Indictment filed on July 25, 2018 charging him with multiple counts of coercion and enticement of a minor to produce visual depictions of sexually explicit conduct and to engage in sexual activity.  On July 29, 2019, JONES pled guilty to one count of coercing and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity.” read here

NEW CUMBERLAND MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS’ IMPRISONMENT FOR RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Earl T. Cook, Jr., age 55, of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on September 25, 2019, by United States District Court Judge John E. Jones III, to five years’ imprisonment followed by five years’ on supervised release, for receipt of child pornography. Judge Jones also ordered Cook to pay an assessment of $5,000 under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Cook admitted to receiving child pornography over the internet between October 2014 and March 2015, in New Cumberland.” read here

HOLLY RIDGE MAN SENTENCED FOR PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced KENNETH WADE REINHOLD, 33, of Holly Ridge, North Carolina to 360 months imprisonment, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.

REINHOLD was named in an Indictment filed on January 19, 2019 charging him with multiple counts of manufacture of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography.  On June 12, 2019, REINHOLD pled guilty to manufacturing child pornography.” read here

ADDITIONAL NEW JERSEY CASE ANNOUNCED AS PART OF FEDERAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN IN NORTHEASTERN U.S.

“NEWARK, N.J. – The Justice Department today announced a coordinated health care fraud enforcement action across seven federal districts in the Northeastern United States, involving more than $800 million in losses and the distribution of over 3.25 million pills of opioids in “pill mill” clinics and doctors’ offices. The takedown includes new charges and convictions by guilty plea against 54 defendants for their roles in submitting nearly $800 million in fraudulent claims made to federal payers, including 15 doctors or medical professionals, and 24 defendants are charged for their roles in diverting opioids.

Attorney for the United States Rachael A. Honig said the cases prosecuted by this Office in connection with the takedown reflect all of the different facets of the office’s health care and opioids work. Doctors, marketing executives, pharmacists, and the owners and operators of a genetic testing laboratory have been charged with, or have plead guilty to a range of criminal conduct, including: the criminal prescription of highly-addictive opioid pills to patients with no medical need, the paying of kickbacks and other fraud related to unnecessary genetic testing, fraud and abuse in the compounded medicines business, and other crimes that victimize federal health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as patients across New Jersey who need medical care.” read here

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA CHARGES 30 INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE FOR $86 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT BILLING AS PART OF HEALTHCARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN

“Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Atlanta Regional Office, announced that a total of 30 defendants were charged with offenses relating to their alleged participation in various schemes to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. The conduct allegedly resulted in more than $86 million in fraudulent billings. Those charged included physicians as well as other medical and business professionals.

The charges announced involve schemes alleged to have billed Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies for medically unnecessary services, such as home health, prescriptions drugs, durable medical equipment and addiction treatment services.” read here

GAITHERSBURG MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGES FOR RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND EXTORTION BY THREAT TO RUIN THE REPUTATION OF ANOTHER

Greenbelt, Maryland – Zhi Tian Lang, age 23, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, pleaded guilty on September 25, 2019, to receipt of child pornography and to extortion by threat to ruin the reputation of another.  Lang admitted that he threatened to post revealing photos of the victims on social media and other Internet platforms if they did not send him sexually explicit photographs and/or videos of themselves.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Acting Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department.” read here

FIVE DEFENDANTS, INCLUDING TWO MEDICAL DOCTORS, CHARGED AS PART OF NORTHEAST REGIONAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN

“Four individuals, including two doctors, a pharmacist who had previously lost his license and been excluded from participating in the Medicaid and Medicare programs and a pharmacy owner have been charged for their participation in schemes in which the Medicare and Medicaid programs were fraudulently billed more than $17 million. A fifth individual, a registered nurse, pleaded guilty to possession of fentanyl that he stole from his employer, a hospital on Long Island. The charges filed in federal court in Brooklyn and Central Islip are part of a coordinated health care fraud enforcement action across seven federal districts in the northeast United States, led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, that resulted in criminal charges against 48 defendants for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $800 million in false and fraudulent claims.

The charges were announced by Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA); and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Regional Office (HHS-OIG).” read here

50 INDIVIDUALS CHARGED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING IN PUERTO RICO AS PART OF THE ORGANIZED CRIME DRUG ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE (OCDETF)

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On September 25, 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment against 50 defendants charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, controlled substances, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), Ponce Strike Force, were in charge of the investigation, with the collaboration of the US Marshals Service.

The indictment alleges that since the year 2013, the drug trafficking organization distributed heroin, crack, cocaine, and marihuana, within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising the José N. Gándara, and the Hogares de Portugués Public Housing Projects located in the Municipality of Ponce, and other areas in the southern part of Puerto Rico, all for financial gain and profit.” read here

THIRTY-ONE DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN TAKEDOWN OF TWO SEPARATE BURLINGTON COUNTY DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS

“TRENTON, N.J. – Federal criminal charges have been filed against 31 individuals for their roles as members, associates, and suppliers of multiple drug-trafficking conspiracies that distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in the Burlington County, New Jersey, area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Twenty-eight defendants were arrested today, one was already in state custody, and two remain at large. Those arrested today are scheduled to have their initial appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court. (See chart below.)” read here

CRANSTON MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 12 YEARS FOR ENTICING MINORS ONLINE

“PROVIDENCE – Paul J. Stabile, 39, of Cranston, who used an online persona of “Cindi Mennillo,” a 16-year-old girl from Newport, to persuade numerous young boys between the ages of 13-15 to engage in explicit sexual activity in live stream videos over Facebook Messenger and Skype, was sentenced today to 151 months in federal prison.

The investigation that led to identifying Stabile as a person directing young teenage boys to participate in sexually explicit live-stream videos began in December 2017, when the mother of a 14 year-old boy in Nevada reported to the FBI that her son was the victim of an online enticement. The investigation uncovered chats between Stabile, pretending to be 16 year-old “Cindi Mennillo,” and the minor victim. During some of the conversations, Stabile directed the young teenager to send back live video streams of himself participating in sexually explicit acts. To deceive the minor victim, Stabile falsely claimed technical difficulties were preventing “Cindi” from reciprocating with live video. Instead Stabile sent the young teenager images, both pornographic and non-pornographic, of an athletic young female purported to be “Cindi.”read here

PHYSICIANS AND PHARMACY SALES REPS INDICTED FOR KICKBACK CONSPIRACY IN WHICH DOCTORS ALLEGEDLY RECEIVED MONEY IN EXCHANGE FOR WRITING UNNECESSARY PRESCRIPTIONS OF NUEDEXTA

“Two doctors from Northeast Ohio and two drug company salesmen were indicted in federal court for their roles in a kickback conspiracy in which the doctors allegedly received money and other things of value in exchange for writing prescriptions of Nuedexta for patients that did not have the condition.

Named in the 83-count indictment are: Deepak Raheja, 63, of Hudson; Gregory Hayslette, 43, of Aurora; Frank Mazzucco, 41, of Dublin, and Bhupinder Sawhny, 70, of Gates Mills. All four are charged with conspiracy to solicit, receive, offer and pay health care kickbacks.” read here

NYE’S PHARMACY SETTLES ALLEGATIONS OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT VIOLATIONS

Columbia, South Carolina — United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Nye’s Pharmacy, of Conway, has agreed to pay the United States $185,000 to resolve allegations that it failed to abide by recordkeeping requirements of the Controlled Substances Act and filled prescriptions without confirming that they served a legitimate medical purpose.  The settlement also requires Nye’s to comply with heightened reporting requirements for a two year period.

“Pharmacies have a duty to ensure that they track and dispense controlled substances in compliance with the law,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon.  “Doctors and pharmacists are uniquely positioned to assist in preventing the abuse and diversion of controlled substances.  Adhering to the basic rules of recordkeeping and prescription review is essential to helping fight the opioid epidemic.”  read here

HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND OPIOID ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS BRINGS MULTIPLE CHARGES ACROSS THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

“Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces a significant health care fraud and opioid enforcement operation across the Middle District of Florida, involving charges against seven individuals for their alleged involvement in various schemes to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care benefit programs, and in various conspiracies to illicitly obtain and distribute oxycodone and other controlled substances.

Among those charged in partnership with the Justice Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force are the following:” read here

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