Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

BOISE MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON ON FEDERAL GUN CHARGES

“BOISE – Jonathan Edward Ball, 35, of Boise, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for unlawful possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also sentenced Ball to serve three years of supervised release once he has completed his prison term. A federal grand jury indicted Ball on September 11, 2018.

According to court records, in October 2017, officers arrested Ball on an outstanding parole warrant at a home in Nampa, Idaho. Subsequent investigation revealed that Ball concealed a firearm, magazine, and ammunition inside of the home shortly before officers arrested him. Ball has prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and grand theft.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Nampa City Police Department.” read here

BLACKFOOT WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENT TO FBI AGENT

“POCATELLO – Olivia Sabrina Jay, 23, of Blackfoot, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for making a false statement to a federal officer, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Chief District Judge David C. Nye also ordered that Jay serve three years of supervised release after her release from prison. Jay pleaded guilty to the offense on June 25, 2019.

According to court records, on September 14, 2018, the Fort Hall Police responded to a residence on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation where a person had been run over by a car and suffered severe injuries. Officers contacted Jay, who blamed an intoxicated man for intentionally running over the victim with a car. Jay was later interviewed about the incident by an FBI Special Agent. Jay again said that the intoxicated man targeted and deliberately ran over the victim with a car.” read here

MADISON BUSINESS OWNER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR HARBORING ILLEGAL ALIENS

“Jackson, Miss. – Hector Valdez-Loera, 42, of Madison, was sentenced on Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III to 12 months and one day in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for harboring an illegal alien for commercial advantage and private financial gain, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, and William Joyce, Acting Field Office Director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). Valdez-Loera was also ordered to pay an administrative fine in the amount of $79,784.00.

On April 13, 2017, while searching for an illegal alien fugitive who had a prior order of removal for illegal reentry into the United States, ICE ERO officers went to a home located in Ridgeland, Mississippi where the illegal alien fugitive had been living. Upon arrival, officers found two additional illegal aliens living at the residence. Officers later determined the illegal alien fugitive had left for work at a jobsite located in Madison, Mississippi. At the jobsite, Madison Concrete was performing concrete work. Upon arrival, a number of the workers fled into the woods. Officers gave chase but was unable to apprehend the illegal alien fugitive.” read here

SEVEN INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH GAS STATION SKIMMING SCHEME

“ALBANY, NEW YORK – Seven people have been indicted for a scheme in which they stole and used credit and debit card numbers of gas station customers in Albany, Broome and Montgomery Counties.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Inspector in Charge Joseph Cronin, Boston Division, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).” read here

WARREN COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“ALBANY, NEW YORK – Terry Lajeunesse, age 48, of Pottersville, New York, was arrested yesterday and charged by criminal complaint with possessing child pornography.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

According to a criminal complaint, Lajeunesse possessed multiple images of child pornography on his cell phone. The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.” read here

JURY CONVICTS NIGERIAN FOR PRESENTING FAKE BRITISH DOCUMENTS TO OPEN LOCAL BANK ACCOUNTS

“HOUSTON – A jury has returned a guilty verdict against a 57-year-old Nigerian man for committing passport fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for one hour before convicting Ademola Okulaja, Kingwood, following a two-day trial.

On June 6, 2016, Okulaja opened a checking account at a Houston branch of the International Bank of Commerce (IBC). At that time, he claimed to be a British citizen known as “Michael Millet” and provided the bank with a fraudulent passport the United Kingdom purportedly issued.” read here

FORMER FORT PECK TRIBAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SENTENCED FOR THEFT, TAX EVASION

“GREAT FALLS—An ex-law enforcement officer for the Fort Peck Tribes was sentenced today to six months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and back taxes for stealing $40,000 from a tribal program intended to help youth, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Willard Wilson White III, 44, of Glasgow, pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud and to income tax evasion.

U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Judge Morris also ordered White to pay $40,000 restitution to the tribes and $18,050 to the IRS.” read here

MATTOON MAN CHARGED WITH TRANSPORTATION, POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“URBANA, Ill. – An initial trial date of Dec. 9, 2019, has been scheduled for a Mattoon, Ill., man, Tyler L. Foote, 28, indicted on federal child pornography charges on Oct. 1. The indictment had remained sealed pending Foote’s arraignment today in federal court in Urbana. Foote, of the 1300 block of Champaign Ave, in Mattoon, was arrested on Aug. 16, on Coles County state charges.

The indictment alleges that on four occasions between March 2017 and January 2019, Foote used a computer to transmit sexually explicit images of minors, and that at the time of his arrest, on Aug. 16, 2019, Foote possessed child pornography.” read here

JURY FINDS LAUDERDALE COUNTY MAN GUILTY OF BEING A CONVICTED FELON IN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS USED IN THE MURDER OF A PREGNANT WOMAN

“Memphis, TNAfter a three-day jury trial, Sequna Copeland a/k/a “Cutthroat”, 30, of Ripley, Tennessee has been found guilty of two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty verdict today.

According to information presented in court, on June 18, 2018 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee a white minivan crashed on Highway 19. Two men emerged from the vehicle and ran in the direction of Maple Hill Circle. Multiple people identified these men as Sequna Copeland and Bryson Bonds. The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the wreck and found a Canik 9mm pistol and a Harrington & Richardson .22 revolver in the minivan. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab tests, codefendant statements, and circumstantial evidence revealed that these two handguns were used to kill Jessica Hunt and her unborn child on Berry Morrow Road earlier that same morning.” read here

CITIZEN OF SINGAPORE INDICTED IN SCHEME TO STEAL CLOUD COMPUTING POWER FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING

“Masqueraded as California video game developer to access cloud computing services

Seattle – A 14-count indictment was unsealed today charging a citizen of Singapore, HO JUN JIA, a/k/a Matthew Ho, 29, with federal crimes related to his scheme to mine cryptocurrencies using stolen computing power and services, obtained with the stolen identity and credit card account information of California and Texas residents, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. HO was taken into custody by the Singapore Police Force on September 26, 2019, and is being investigated for various alleged offenses committed under Singapore law.

According to the indictment, between October 2017 and February 2018, following the surge in popularity, and value, of cryptocurrencies, HO ran a large-scale cryptocurrency mining operation, propelled predominantly, if not exclusively, through fraud and identity theft.  HO, allegedly used stolen identity and credit card information of a prominent California video-game developer to open cloud computing accounts at multiple U.S. cloud service providers, which he used to mine various cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. HO created a web of phony email accounts and used social engineering techniques to trick cloud computing providers to approve heightened account privileges, increased computer processing power and storage, and deferred billing.” read here

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City, New Jersey, man was charged today with allegedly receiving images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Benigno Gonzalez-Mendoza, 35, is charged by complaint with one count of receipt of child pornography. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From March 9, 2019, through July 27, 2019, Gonzalez-Mendoza knowingly received images and videos of child sexual abuse, including videos of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts with adults.” read here

WIFE OF PONZI SCHEME PERPETRATOR PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CHARGE FOR CONSPIRING TO REMOVE AND CONCEAL ASSETS IN VIOLATION OF COURT ORDERS

“Baltimore, Maryland – Amanda Mahlstedt Merrill, age 30, of Towson, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charge of conspiracy to remove property to prevent seizure, obstruct justice, and disobey court orders.

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 Special Agent in Charge Robert W. Manchak of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.” read here

WAUSAU DOCTOR SENTENCED FOR FRAUDULENT FENTANYL PRESCRIPTION SCHEME

“Madison, Wis. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Thomas Strick, 60, Wausau, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William Conley to three months in federal prison for obtaining fentanyl by use of misrepresentation and fraud.

During the timeframe of the government’s investigation, Strick was employed as a family practice physician at Aspirus Wausau Hospital and the Aspirus Wausau Family Clinic. The government’s investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2018, Strick prescribed fentanyl patches to at least six patients without a medical need. Strick instructed the patients to fill the prescriptions and return the fentanyl patches to him for personal use, telling the patients that he needed the fentanyl to relieve his pain. Investigators determined that Strick had written 193 fraudulent prescriptions for fentanyl patches and had acquired 3,156 patches as a result of the prescriptions.” read here

BROCKTON MAN SENTENCED FOR POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“BOSTON – A Brockton man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for possession of child pornography.

Alex Levin, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 78 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and restitution to be determined at a later time. In May 2019, Levin was convicted following a four-day jury trial of one count of possession of child pornography.

In August 2015, a search warrant was executed at Levin’s Norwood residence following a nation-wide investigation into the use of the Dark Web for the trade of child pornography. As a result of the search, videos and images depicting the rape and abuse of young children were found on Levin’s computer.” read here

FORMER BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP POLICE CHIEF GUILTY OF LYING TO FBI

“Jury Will Return Tomorrow to Resume Deliberations on Hate Crime and Use of Excessive Force

CAMDEN, N.J. – The retired chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department was convicted today of lying to FBI agents who were questioning him about violating an 18-year-old man’s civil rights during an arrest; the jury will return to court tomorrow to resume deliberations on the hate crime and civil rights counts, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Frank M. Nucera Jr., 62, of Bordentown, New Jersey, was convicted of one count of making false statements to FBI agents who were interviewing him about an arrest that occurred Sept. 1. 2016. Nucera is also charged by indictment with one count of hate crime assault and one count of deprivation of civil rights under color of law; the jury will return to court tomorrow to continue deliberating on those counts.” read here

ROCHESTER MAN GOING TO PRISON FOR 10 YEARS ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

“ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Christopher Johnson, 47, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted of receipt of child pornography, was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison and 15 years supervised release by U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa. The defendant was also ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who is handling the case, stated that Johnson was arrested in June 2018, after distributing child pornography to an undercover FBI Agent via the Internet. That arrest prompted law enforcement officers to execute a search warrant at the defendant’s residence in Rochester. Investigators seized Johnson’s computers which contained approximately 52,372 images and 316 videos of child pornography. Some the videos and images depicted the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers.” read here

FORMER NEW HAVEN RESIDENT CHARGED WITH POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Jason J. Molina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment today charging MICHELLE LYNN GSCHLECHT, formerly known as RICHARD GSCHLECHT, 49, last residing in New Haven, with possession of child pornography.

As alleged in the indictment, Gschlecht knowingly possessed child pornography on July 31, 2019. Gschlecht was previously convicted in state court of possession of child pornography and sexual assault in the first degree.” read here

MINNESOTA MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS ON ATTEMPTED ENTICEMENT AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

“United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Jordan, Minnesota, man convicted of Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet and Receipt of Child Pornography was sentenced on October 2, 2019, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.

Rodney Allen Buetow, age 36, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.” read here

FORMER CITY COUNCILMAN ADAM MCFADDEN PLEADS GUILTY TO NEW CHARGES

“ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Adam C. McFadden pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. On April 1, 2019, McFadden previously pleaded guilty to unrelated wire and tax fraud charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant was the executive director of Quad A for Kids. Founded in 1994, Quad A for Kids provides after-school and extended-day learning programs at some Rochester City School District elementary schools. The four A’s in Quad A for Kids represent the well-rounded programming it delivers to the students: academics, athletics, arts, and achievement. Quad A for Kids operates as a separate entity funded through the Rochester Area Community Foundation Initiatives Inc. (RACF).” read here

MAN WHO ATTEMPTED TO ROB A SOUTH SIDE BANK IN A WHEELCHAIR IS INDICTED

“PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of attempted bank robbery, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

The one-count Indictment, returned on October 8, named Emanuel Luna, 54, as the sole defendant. According to the Indictment and criminal complaint, Luna, while in wheelchair, attempted to rob the First National Bank, located at 1114 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA, on August 13, 2019. Upon entering the bank, Luna approached the teller counter and handed the teller a note that stated he had a bomb and “will press the button and kill us all for no less than $50,000.” Luna left the bank prior to receiving money from the teller. Surveillance video following the attempted robbery shows Luna using a cane to walk.” read here

INDICTMENT: FORMER IMMIGRATION OFFICER PRETENDED TO BE ICE SUPERVISOR

“WICHITA, KAN. – A former ICE officer was indicted today on a charge of impersonating a federal officer, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Andrew J. Pleviak, 42, Topeka, is charged with one count of false impersonation of a federal officer. In court documents, Pleviak is alleged to have tried to have a man who was arrested by the Kingman County Sheriff’s Department released from custody.” read here

GENETIC TESTING COMPANY AND THREE  PRINCIPALS AGREE TO PAY $42.6 MILLION TO RESOLVE KICKBACK AND MEDICAL NECESSITY CLAIMS

“WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that UTC Laboratories, Inc. (RenRX) has agreed to pay $41.6 million, and its three principals, Tarun Jolly, M.D., Patrick Ridgeway, and Barry Griffith, have agreed to pay $1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks in exchange for laboratory referrals for pharmacogenetic testing and for furnishing and billing for tests that were not medically necessary.  RenRX, a laboratory company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, also agreed to a twenty-five year period of exclusion from participation in any federal health care program.

“The payment of kickbacks in exchange for medical referrals undermines the integrity of our healthcare system.  Today’s settlement reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to ensuring that taxpayer monies are well spent and not wasted on unnecessary medical testing,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.” read here

NATICK MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“BOSTON – A Natick man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to possessing child pornography.

Joshua Bemis, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Jan. 8, 2020. Bemis was arrested and charged in November 2018.” read here

DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY EMPLOYEE ARRESTED FOR LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION TO JOURNALISTS

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was arrested today on charges related to his alleged disclosure of classified national defense information (NDI) to two journalists in 2018 and 2019.

Henry Kyle Frese was entrusted with TOP SECRET information related to the national defense of our country,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Frese allegedly violated that trust, the oath he swore to uphold, and is charged with engaging in dastardly and felonious conduct at the expense of our country. This indictment should serve as a clear reminder to all of those similarly entrusted with National Defense Information that unilaterally disclosing such information for personal gain, or that of others, is not selfless or heroic, it is criminal.” read here

FRESENIUS AGREES TO PAY $5.2 MILLION TO RESOLVE ALLEGATIONS THAT IT OVERBILLED MEDICARE FOR HEPATITIS B TESTS

“BOSTON – The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc., d/b/a Fresenius Medical Care North America, Inc., the largest operator of kidney dialysis clinics in the United States, has agreed to pay $5.2 million to resolve allegations that the company tested dialysis patients for Hepatitis B surface antigen more frequently than medically necessary and then billed Medicare for the unnecessary tests.

Providers are expected to closely follow Medicare rules and bill properly — nothing more, nothing less,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “When that obligation is violated, government health care programs – and American taxpayers – pay the price. This settlement is an example of how whistleblowers and government can work together to recoup and deter overbilling practices.” read here

ARIZONA ADOPTION ATTORNEY ARRESTED FOR ADOPTION FRAUD AND ALIEN SMUGGLING

“Fayetteville, Arkansas – Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas; Andrew Parker, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI and Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General announced today that Paul Petersen was arrested on federal charges.  A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas indicted Petersen on one count of Conspiracy to Smuggle Illegal Aliens for Commercial Advantage and Private Financial Gain, four counts of Aiding and Abetting in Alien Smuggling for Commercial Advantage and Private Financial Gain, seven counts of Wire Fraud, five counts of Mail Fraud, one count of Conspiracy to Commit Visa Fraud, and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.

According to the Indictment, Petersen is a licensed attorney who practices law in Arizona, Utah, and Arkansas.  Beginning in 2014, Petersen devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from unknowing adoptive parents and others.  He paid pregnant Marshallese women large sums of United States currency to induce them to travel to the Western District of Arkansas and to put their babies up for adoption in the Western District of Arkansas.  He purchased airline tickets for them and caused them to conceal their true travel purpose from the authorities in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the United States.” read here

SOUTH FLORIDA JURY CONVICTS MAN WHO CYBER STALKED AND THREATENED FAMILIES OF PARKLAND VICTIMS

“MIAMI – Today, a federal jury in South Florida convicted Brandon Michael Fleury, 22, of Santa Ana, California, of cybserstalking and sending a kidnapping threat to families of victims of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, announced U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office.

According to evidence introduced at trial, Fleury used thirteen different Instagram accounts, using aliases including alleged Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, and others, to target families and friends of Parkland shooting victims with messages over the course of three weeks between Dec. 22, 2018 and Jan. 11, 2019.  Many of the messages, including ones written under usernames referring to Cruz and containing Cruz’s profile picture, taunted the message recipients about the deaths of loved ones in the Parkland shooting.  On Dec. 25, 2018, Fleury, sent a message stating, “I’m your abductor I’m kidnapping you fool.”  On January 9, 10, and 11, 2019, Fleury continued to harass, intimidate, and threaten the message recipients from multiple Instagram accounts.  These included messages sent under the username “the.douglas.shooter,” and using a profile picture of Nikolas Cruz.  These messages included statements like, “With the power of my AR-15, you all die,” and “With the power of my AR-15, I take your loved ones away from you PERMANENTLY.” read here

NORTH CAROLINA LICENSED ATTORNEY SENTENCED FOR HARBORING ALIEN

“NEW BERN – Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announces that SARAH JANE BRINSON, age 34, of Clinton, North Carolina, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to three months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons followed by three years of supervised release, for the crime of harboring an alien.

On June 4, 2019, BRINSON pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging that she encouraged and induced an alien to reside in the United States, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that such residence in the United States was in violation of the law.  Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement leading to BRINSON’s guilty plea, BRINSON surrendered her law license to the North Carolina State Bar and forfeited $5,000.” read here

 

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