Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

OPERATION INDEPENDENCE DAY ARREST RESULTS IN GUILTY PLEA

“Sperry Man Admits to Sexual Exploitation of a Child

A man arrested as part of a month long operation to capture predators and identify child victims pleaded guilty Friday in federal court for sexual exploitation of a child, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Thomas Dustin Daughtry, 42, of Sperry, illegally engaged with the minor from Feb. 18, 2019 through June 25, 2019. In his plea agreement, Daughtry stated that he knowingly enticed a 15-year-old into engaging in sexually explicit conduct and persuaded the minor to send sexual images to him.” read here

TULSA MAN INDICTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO DESTROY HIS APARTMENT BUILDING WITH EXPLOSIVE MATERIALS

“A federal grand jury returned an indictment this week charging Charles Michael Fox, 44, of Tulsa, with attempting to destroy his apartment building by means of fire and explosive materials, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

The incident began on Sept. 29, 2019, at the French Villa Apartments, located on Harvard Avenue in Tulsa, and lasted until early the next morning. The Tulsa Police Department’s Bomb Squad and Special Operations Division; Tulsa Fire Department’s Engine and Ladder 23 and HAZMAT crews; Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA); and Oklahoma Natural Gas responded to the incident.” read here

CHICAGO MAN CHARGED WITH CONDUCTING ILLEGAL SPORTS GAMBLING BUSINESS

“CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been charged in federal court with conducting an illegal sports gambling business and concealing the income in a bankruptcy proceeding.

MICHAEL FRONTIER, also known as “Ira Goldberg,” “Brian Seagal,” and “Matthew Sullivan,” provided bettors with gambling accounts at an online sportsbook based in Costa Rica, according to a 14-count indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Frontier paid a service fee to the sportsbook for use of its platform, and then personally collected or paid cash to the bettors depending on the outcomes of their bets, the indictment states.” read here

INGLEWOOD BASED TAX PREPARER CONVICTED IN SCHEME THAT SOUGHT MORE THAN $5 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT REFUNDS

“LOS ANGELES – A tax preparer and ex-California Franchise Tax Board employee was found guilty by a jury today of federal criminal charges accusing him of defrauding the IRS out of millions of dollars by declaring bogus withholdings used to fraudulently claim substantial tax refunds.

Cubby Wayne Williams, 64, of Alhambra, was found guilty of 22 counts of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for his clients and four counts of subscribing to false tax returns for himself.

United States District Judge Percy Anderson has scheduled a December 16 sentencing hearing, at which time Williams will face a statutory maximum sentence of 78 years in federal prison.” read here

ACUPUNCTURIST PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGES IN SCHEME THAT CAUSED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN LOSSES TO AMTRAK’S HEALTH CARE PLAN

“LOS ANGELES – A licensed acupuncturist pleaded guilty today to federal criminal charges and admitted fraudulently billing Amtrak’s health care plan for millions of dollars’ worth of acupuncture, massages and facials that either were medically unnecessary or were never provided.

Guiqiong Xiao Gudmundsen, 52, a.k.a. “Kimi” Gudmundsen, of Anaheim Hills, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.

Gudmundsen owned Healthy Life Acupuncture Center, which operated in Riverside and in Los Angeles. From January 2008 until December 2015, Gudmundsen recruited Amtrak employees to visit Healthy Life and then, among other things, billed the Amtrak health care plan for acupuncture, which she knew wasn’t being provided, according to her plea agreement.” read here

SERIAL FRAUDSTER SENTENCED TO 46 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON

“Committed Second Fraud While On Pretrial Release After Pleading Guilty to a Previous Federal Fraud Charge

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow today sentenced Curlee Smittee, Jr., age 47, of Baltimore, to 46 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and for bank fraud, resulting in losses of more than $373,000.  Judge Chasanow also entered an order requiring Smittie to pay restitution of $342,776.89.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to Smittee’s plea agreement, from March 2013 through July 29, 2015, while Smittee was on supervised release from a previous federal fraud conviction, he and his long-time romantic partner, Douglina Rosa Battle, conspired to defraud at 15 banks and credit card companies.” read here

MAN CONVICTED BY SOUTH FLORIDA JURY OF LAUNDERING MORE THAN $3 MILLION IN  PROCEEDS FROM INTERNATIONAL CYBER SCAMS

“FORT LAUDERDALE – Elvin I. Lewis, Jr., of Hollywood, Florida, was convicted today of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering charges, following a five-day jury trial.  The charges stemmed from his decision to launder more than $3 million dollars in fraud proceeds from business email compromise (“BEC”) cyber scams, announced U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Brian Swain of the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office.

According to evidence at trial, from approximately November 2017 through August 2018, in Broward County, Florida, and elsewhere, Lewis knowingly and willfully agreed to participate in, and did participate in, a conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h) (Case No. 19cr60034).  The purpose of the scheme was for Lewis and his co-conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves, to hide illegal proceeds, and to further wire fraud schemes by, among other things, withdrawing, depositing, and transferring fraudulently obtained funds between banks, and individuals.  As trial testimony established, Lewis also recruited others into the money laundering network, including a co-conspirator based in Detroit, whom he originally solicited on Craigslist.” read here

VAN NUYS MAN WHO SOLD FENTANYL THAT LED TO FATAL OVERDOSE AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO NARCOTICS CHARGE AND SERVE 15 YEARS IN PRISON

    “LOS ANGELES – A Van Nuys man who sold the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl to a 23-year-old man who suffered a fatal overdose has agreed to plead guilty to drug trafficking offense and serve 15 years in federal prison.

James Dorion Rodriguez, 28, agreed to plead guilty to possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute in a plea agreement filed today in United States District Court.

In the plea agreement, Rodriguez admits that he delivered fentanyl to the victim, who ingested the drug and suffered a fatal overdose in Sherman Oaks on the morning of March 18, 2018.” read here

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH FLORIDA TECH SUPPORT SCAM SENTENCED TO TEN AND A HALF YEARS IN PRISON

“The former vice president and sales manager of a fraudulent tech support business known as Client Care Experts, LLC (CCE) will be spending the next 10½ years in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced today. Grant Clark Wasik, 36, of Oakland Park, Florida, was sentenced yesterday in federal district court in East St. Louis, Illinois, to 125 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The court also ordered Wasik to pay over $10.5 million in
restitution to the victims of the fraud scheme.

Wasik was the vice president and sales manager of CCE, formerly known as First Choice Tech Support, which was based in Boynton Beach, Florida. The company also operated a similar tech support business called ABC Repair Tech (ABC), located in Costa Rica.” read here

VIRGINIA BEACH AREA WOMAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEX TRAFFICKING

“Defendant helped co-defendant have sex with a teenage victim

BOSTON – A Virginia Beach area woman was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Springfield for sex trafficking.

Claire Poole, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 125 months in prison and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and two counts of sex trafficking. Poole was arrested on July 7, 2017, and has been detained since that time.

Poole moved to the Springfield area in early 2017 and began helping co-defendant Walter Brown have sex with a teenage girl. Brown induced the girl to provide pornographic videos and to have sex with him on two occasions by paying her money. Poole acted as a go-between, first by conveying Brown’s initial offer to the girl and then by relaying Brown’s messages to the victim, which included negotiations about what Brown would pay. Poole also provided a cell phone to produce the pornographic videos, and Poole transported the minor to Brown’s house in Ware for sex on two occasions.” read here

MIAMI BASED FINANCIAL ADVISOR PLEADS GUILTY FOR CONSPIRING TO LAUNDER MONEY RELATING TO FCPA AND ECUADORIAN BRIBERY LAW VIOLATION

“A financial advisor based in Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty today to a money laundering conspiracy for his role in using the U.S. financial system to launder money to promote violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Ecuadorian bribery law violations and to conceal and disguise the true nature of those illegal bribe payments. Specifically, this conspiracy related to a scheme to pay bribes to officials of Ecuador’s state-owned and state-controlled oil company, Empresa Pública de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador (PetroEcuador).

U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Kelly Jackson of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C. office, Special Agent in Charge Raymond Villanueva of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., office and Special Agent in Charge George Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office made the announcement.” read here

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL RACKETEERING CHARGE RELATED TO MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE JESSUP

“Correctional Officer Accepted Bribes to Smuggle Contraband Into Prison, Including Drugs

Greenbelt, Maryland – Correctional Officer Janel Griffin, age 41, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to a federal racketeering charge for participating in a scheme to smuggle contraband into the Maryland Correctional Institute Jessup (MCIJ), including narcotics, unauthorized flash drives, tobacco, and cell phones into the prison.  Inmate Corey Alston, a/k/a “C,” age 29, pleaded guilty on September 18, 2019, to the same charge.

The guilty pleas were 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 Secretary Robert L. Green, of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.” read here

NEVADA REAL ESTATE BROKER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TAX FRAUD

“Did Not File Tax Returns for Nearly Two Decades

WASHINGTON – William Waller Jr., a Las Vegas real estate broker and the owner of Burbank Holdings or Platinum Properties, was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Tax Division and United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

‘The vast majority of Americans work hard to file honest tax returns and pay their fair share of taxes every year,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman.  “Those who willfully evade taxes with false claims that the tax laws do not apply to them will be prosecuted and risk imprisonment, like William Waller’s sentence today.’ ” read here

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN SOUTH FLORIDA LEAD EFFORT TO SEIZE INDEPDENTGIRLS.COM, AN INTERNET FORUM FOR PROSTITUTION ADS SOME ADS INVOLVED MINORS

“U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Sheriff Gregory Tony of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) announced the Oct. 4, 2019 seizure of independentgirls.com, an Internet forum for escort services and prostitution.

The main purpose of independentgirls.com was to allow escort agencies and independent escorts to post advertisements for prostitution services and provide a forum in which potential customers of prostitution could review the prostitute and post it on the website for others to read. Independentgirls.com allowed customers paying for sex to buy upgraded user accounts where they would be able to read customer reviews of advertising prostitutes, write reviews of prostitutes that were seen by other members, private message prostitutes, and view which prostitutes were currently available. Website members with upgraded user accounts were entitled to discounted hourly rates, invitations to parties hosted by independentgirls.com, as well as message forums discussing recent law enforcement action. Some of the females advertised for escort services and prostitution were minor victims.” read here

PORT BARRE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TRANSPORTATION OF A MINOR WITH INTENT TO ENGAGE IN CRIMINAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY

“LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Cory Shane Disotell, 48, of Port Barre, Louisiana, appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert R. Summerhays today and pled guilty to transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

According to facts presented during today’s plea, Disotell devised a plan to coerce a 15-year old Port Barre minor to leave school and run away with him. On March 28, 2019, the defendant traveled to the school where the minor was a student and convinced the child to leave with him.  He then transported her to Mississippi, and thereafter to Durango, Colorado, where he was apprehended after an extensive nationwide manhunt. At the time of his arrest, the defendant admitted he took the child from Port Barre, Louisiana, to Mississippi, and ultimately to Durango, Colorado, engaging in sexual acts along the way.” read here

CALIFORNIA ENTREPRENEUR SENTENCED IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS CASE

“BOSTON – A California man became the eighth parent to be sentenced today in connection with the college admissions case.

Peter Jan Sartorio, 53, of Menlo Park, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to one year of probation, ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and to pay a fine of $9,500. In May 2019, Sartorio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

The government recommended a sentence of one month in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $9,500.” read here

HARRISON COUNTY MAN SENTENCED AFTER HE ADMITS TO SEX OFFENDER CHARGE

“CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Scotty Lee Morris, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 30 months incarceration after he admitted to failing to update his sex offender registration, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Morris, age 48, pled guilty today to one count of “Failure to Update Sex Offender Registration.” Morris failed to update his sex offender registration in October 2018 in Harrison County.

This case is prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.” read here

MEXICAN NATIONAL INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY

“NEW ORLEANS U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser announced today that OSIEL PEREZ-CORREA, age 30, was charged on October 10, 2019 in a one-count indictment for illegal reentry of a removed alien in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1326(a).

According to the indictment, OSIEL PEREZ-CORREA (“PEREZ”), reentered the United States after he was previously deported on September 14, 2019.  If convicted, PEREZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of two years, a maximum fine of $250,000, a maximum term of supervised release of one year, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.” read here

MAN SENTENCED FOR SEXUALLY ABUSING A CHILD AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Williamsburg man was sentenced today to six years in prison for travelling to North Carolina to sexually abuse a child, and receiving child pornography from a child in Nebraska.

According to court documents, Derek Thomas, 26, met Jane Doe #1 online and began a relationship during the summer of 2018 when she was 14 years old. During the summer, both Jane Doe #1 and Thomas sent nude images of themselves to one another over social media platforms. Eventually, Thomas travelled to North Carolina to engage in sexual activities with the child. Also, during the summer of 2018, he met Jane Doe #2 on-line. They sent nude images of themselves to one another. Thomas knew the age of each victim prior to engaging in criminal activity with the children.” read here

MISSOULA MAN SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CRIMES

“MISSOULA—A Missoula man who admitted to multiple child pornography crimes was sentenced today to 12 years in prison, 10 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,000 restitution, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Mark Allen McNeely, Sr., 51, pleaded guilty in June to a dozen counts, including distribution of child pornography, transportation of child pornography and receipt of child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

In court records filed in the case, the prosecution said that on Nov. 20, 2018, a Missoula Police detective and member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force served a search warrant on McNeely’s residence. An examination of a laptop seized in the search determined it had been used to search for, download and store images and videos of child pornography. The laptop also had been used to communicate with others in chatrooms on child pornography. The detective also obtained records from Skype and Facebook that were associated with accounts used by McNeely. Those records showed that McNeely distributed images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct on multiple dates.” read here

INMATE LED SEX AND DRUG TRAFFICKING RING FROM STATE PRISON CELL

“NORFOLK, Va. – A California man pleaded guilty today to organizing and running a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and commercial sex ring from his state prison cell.

‘Gaines directed a drug and sex trafficking organization from the confines of his state prison cell,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “His crime was brazen, dangerous, manipulative, and inflicted untold mental, emotional, and physical harm on some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals.'” read here

NEW ORLEANS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD AND AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT

“NEW ORLEANSU.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that RYAN CLARK, age 34, of New Orleans, LA, pleaded guilty on October 9, 2019 to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft (count 1) and aggravated identity theft (count 3) before U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk.

According to court documents, the defendant was arrested after an investigation initiated by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service. CLARK and others created and sold fake Louisiana drivers’ licenses with the names and dates of birth of real persons who were victims of identity theft. Using the fake licenses, CLARK facilitated the sale of at least six motor vehicles from several local dealerships. The fraudsters would use the stolen identities and the fake licenses to buy high end used cars. No money was ever paid and the loans went into default.” read here

FORMER OSHKOSH RESIDENT CHARGED IN FEDERAL COURT FOR WALKING FROM INDIANAPOLIS SUBURB TO WISCONSIN TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH 14 YEAR OLD

“United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that Tommy Lee Jenkins (age: 32), recently a resident of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was charged via a criminal complaint following his October 10, 2019, arrest by local and federal authorities.

According to the complaint and supporting affidavit, starting on October 1, 2019, Jenkins, who recently moved from Oshkosh to Whitestown, Indiana, began exchanging instant messages with “Kylee” whom he believed to be a 14 year-old girl living in Neenah, Wisconsin with her mother. Jenkins began demanding sexually explicit photographs from “Kylee” and making plans to engage in sexual activity with the minor. When his numerous requests for “Kylee” to join him in Indiana were rebuffed, Jenkins began walking the 351-mile trek from Whitestown, Indiana to Neenah, Wisconsin. Along the way, Jenkins continued to engage “Kylee” in sexually explicit conversations and updated her as to his current location.” read here

GLENWOOD POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING MORE THAN $100,000 IN GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

“United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of LISA ANN SCHAFER, 57, for stealing $108,490.47 in federal disability benefits. SCHAFER, who was charged via felony information on September 24, 2019, entered her guilty plea before Judge Eric C. Tostrud in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from September 18, 2015, through May 3, 2019, SCHAFER, at the time an employee of the United States Postal Service, knowingly claimed Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) benefits by falsely asserting that a work-related injury prevented her from working in a full-time capacity. SCHAFER reported to her doctor that her medical condition required her to rest most of the day and that she could tolerate only sedentary work. SCHAFER’s doctor accordingly limited her to no more than two hours of office work a day, enabling SCHAFER to collect FECA benefits due to her purported work-related injury. However, during this time period, SCHAFER was observed participating in 30-40 dog-agility competitions where she is seen running, bending quickly at the waist, and using large arm movements to navigate dogs through a variety of exercises. In total, SCHAFER stole $108,490.47 in FECA benefits that she knew she was not entitled to receive.” read here

BROWARD COUNTY RESIDENT CHARGED WITH WIRE FRAUD, MAIL FRAUD, AND MONEY LAUNDERING RELATING TO DRAGON-CLICK INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME THAT TARGETED THE ELDERLY

“Isaac Grossman, 45, of Parkland, Florida, was arrested today on wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges, for allegedly directing an elder fraud scheme involving the sale of stock in Dragon-Click Corp, a South Florida-based technology company announced Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office.

Grossman was charged by an indictment, that was unsealed today, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h); and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 19567 (Case No. 19CR60300).  If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison for each fraud count, and up to 10 years in prison for each money laundering count.” read here

MELVINDALE MAN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING THE MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AGENCY

“A Melvindale, Michigan resident was sentenced yesterday to 70 months in federal prison after having pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with unemployment compensation scheme, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced today.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Tim Kolar, State Administrator – Investigations and Collections Unemployment Insurance

LeRoy Constantine, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith who also ordered Constantine to pay full restitution in the amount of $188,946 and 3 years of supervised release.” read here

STERLING HEIGHTS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO EXPORTING FIREARMS PARTS HIDDEN INSIDE TOY MOTORCYCLES TO AUSTRALIA

“A Sterling Heights man pleaded guilty today to willfully exporting firearms parts without a license, announced Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Vance Callender of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Detroit.

Rrok Martin Camaj, 34, entered the guilty plea before United States District Court Judge Terrence G. Berg.” read here

CEO OF CREDIT CARD PROCESSING COMPANY CHARGED IN $19 MILLION CREDIT CARD LAUNDERING SCHEME

“Defendant Charged with Creating Sham Merchant Accounts to Enable Access to Credit Card Processing System for Deceptive Businesses

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced a superseding indictment today against BRANDON BECKER, the former CEO of CardReady, LLC (“CardReady”), on charges of fraudulently operating a credit card laundering scheme that enabled access to the credit card system for certain deceptive businesses, including an underlying telemarketing scheme.  From about 2012 through 2015, according to the Indictment, the telemarketing scheme raised over $19 million from thousands of customers who received cold calls promising to reduce their overall debt burdens for fees of up to $1,495.  The scheme resulted in many complaints of fraud and deceptive tactics and requests for millions of dollars in refunds and chargebacks.  The charges include that, from approximately 2012 through 2015, BECKER and his co-conspirators enabled the scheme by creating dozens of sham merchant accounts and false merchant applications, defrauding an associated credit card processing company and a federally insured bank into processing more than $19 million in payments for the scheme.

BECKER was originally arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on September 22, 2019.  He is scheduled to appear for arraignment on the instant charges on October 17, 2019, before United States District Judge Loretta A. Preska.” read here

UNLICENSED LAWYER SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 4 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR CHEATING ‘CLIENTS’ AND FRAUDULENTLY SEEKING INCOME TAX REFUNDS

 “LOS ANGELES – A Pasadena man who falsely claimed to be a licensed attorney was sentenced today to 50 months in federal prison for his conviction on charges related to his representation of “clients” in federal and state courts.

Kenneth Paul Ferreyro, 37, who resided in Glendale during most of the criminal conduct, also sought well over $100,000 in refunds on federal tax returns that falsely claimed substantial payroll taxes had been withheld and remitted to the IRS.

United States District Judge John F. Walter imposed the sentence, calling Ferreyro’s criminal conduct “absolutely despicable.” In addition to the prison term, Judge Walter ordered Ferreyro to pay $190,887 in restitution to the IRS.” read here

FORMER PCAOB EMPLOYEE SENTENCED FOR SCHEME TO STEAL CONFIDENTIAL PCAOB INFORMATION

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JEFFREY WADA, a former employee of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”), was sentenced today to nine months in prison for participating in a scheme to defraud the PCAOB by obtaining, disseminating, and using confidential lists of which KPMG audits the PCAOB would be reviewing so that KPMG could improve its performance in PCAOB inspections. Wada was convicted of wire fraud charges in March 2019 following a month-long trial before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, who imposed today’s sentence.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: ‘Jeffrey Wada violated not just the terms of his employment with the PCAOB but also the law when he provided confidential information about upcoming audit reviews to co-conspirators at KPMG. Wada hoped to secure a job at KPMG. What he got was a nine-month prison sentence.'” read here

WOMAN CONVICTED OF SEXUAL BATTERY OF A CHILD SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL REENTRY

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Bolivian woman who was recently convicted of aggravated sexual battery of a child family member was sentenced today to more than a year in prison for illegally reentering the United States.

‘This case is yet another example of an individual who is here in the United States illegally and committing serious crimes,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Not only did Siles reenter this country illegally, but she used her time here to sexually abuse a vulnerable child. We will continue to investigate and prosecute these criminal immigration cases, especially those with defendants like Siles that pose a significant threat to the most vulnerable in our communities.'” read here

FORMER BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP POLICE CHIEF WILL BE RETIRED ON HATE CRIME AND USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE CHARGES

“Defendant Previously Convicted of Lying to FBI

CAMDEN, N.J – U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today that his office will retry the retired chief of the Bordentown Township Police Department on hate crime and civil rights charges after a jury deadlocked on those counts at his trial. The defendant was convicted by the same jury on Oct. 9, 2019, of lying to FBI agents who questioned him about violating an 18-year-old man’s civil rights during an arrest.

The jury deliberated eight days in the trial of Frank M. Nucera Jr., 62, of Bordentown, New Jersey, before announcing that they could not reach a unanimous decision on Counts One and Two – hate crime assault and deprivation of civil rights under color of law, respectively. U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler declared a mistrial on those counts. U.S. Attorney Carpenito thanked the jury for its efforts during deliberations.” read here

HOOKSETT MAN SENTENCED TO PROBATION AND ORDER TO PAY RESTITUTION FOR EMBEZZLING LABOR UNION ASSETS

“CONCORD Dennis Robertson, 43, of Hooksett, was sentenced on Thursday in federal court to 3 years of probation and ordered to pay more than $37,000 in restitution for embezzling labor union assets, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.  

According to court documents and statements made in court, Robertson served as the business manager for a local union based in New Hampshire for approximately 14 years until his dismissal in or around March 2017.  He was the only full-time paid officer or employee of the local union, which had approximately 140 to 170 dues-paying members.  Robertson’s duties included managing finances, receiving dues, dispatching workers, and handling grievances.” read here

COURT SENTENCES FOUR DRUG SMUGGLERS FOR ATTEMPTING TO SMUGGLE 182 KILOGRAMS OF COCAINE INTO UNITED STATES TERRITORY

“On October 7, 2019 United States District Court Judge Jeffrey U. Beaverstock sentenced four drug smugglers: Angel Castro Garcia; Pedro Dino Cedado Nunez; Manely Enriquez; and Mike Castro Martinez, all Dominican Republic nationals, for attempting to smuggle 182 kilograms of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico. The men were previously convicted at a jury trial concluding on June 28, 2019. Judge Beaverstock sentenced Angel Castro Garcia, Manely Enriquez and Mike Castro Martinez to 188 months imprisonment. Pedro Dino Cedado Nunez was sentenced to 132 months confinement. The Court recognized that Nunez was honest when confronted by law enforcement about his illegal activities.

The case arose when, on December 24, 2018, a United States Customs and Border Protection aircraft spotted a suspected drug smuggling vessel operating in international waters northeast of the Dominican Republic. The vessel was travelling on a known drug smuggling route to Puerto Rico. The aircraft notified the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the USCG Cutter “Richard Dixon” proceeded toward the drug smuggling vessel. The USCG Cutter then launched an Over the Horizon (OTH) Zodiac type vessel from the Cutter with a four man crew.” read here

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL OFFICER ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH BRIBERY CONSPIRACY

“MIAMI – Victor Manuel DeJesus, 47, of Miami-Dade County, who is a correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Miami, has been arrested on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit bribery, bribery, and other offenses in connection with a scheme to provide contraband items to inmates at the federal prison.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI’s Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

A 14-count indictment, filed in the Southern District of Florida, charges DeJesus and others with conspiring to bribe and bribing DeJesus with money in exchange for providing contraband to inmates within FCI-Miami.  According to the indictment, from at least as early as December 2018 through September 2019, inmates and those acting on their behalf supplied DeJesus with bribe payments.  DeJesus then deposited these monies in his personal bank account. In exchange for these bribe payments, the indictment alleges DeJesus used his official position to bring in prohibited items into the prison. The indictment further alleges that DeJesus had inmate co-conspirators distribute the contraband in FCI-Miami.” read here

FORMER STUDENT ADMITS RUNNING PONZI SCHEME FROM FRATERNITY HOUSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA

“More than 100 People, Including Fellow Students and Their Families, were Victims of the Scheme

Macon, GA— A former University of Georgia undergraduate student admitted to operating a Ponzi scheme which collected approximately $1 million in investments and defrauded 117 investors, including fellow students and their families. Syed Arham Arbab, 22, of Augusta, pleaded guilty on Friday, October 11, 2019 to a one-count information charging him with Securities Fraud before United States District Judge C. Ashley Royal. In his guilty plea, Mr. Arbab admitted he spent investor funds on personal expenses, including clothing, shoes, retail purchases, fine dining, alcoholic beverages, adult entertainment and interstate travel, including spending thousands of dollars gambling during three trips to Las Vegas in 2018. Mr. Arbab faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, three years supervised release and is subject to any restitution ordered by the Court. He will be sentenced on January 8, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Athens. There is no parole in the federal system.

‘The defendant engaged in a pattern of deceit to gain the trust of unwitting investors who gave him their hard-earned money for what they believed was a sound investment. Instead of investing the victims’ money, the defendant funded a lavish lifestyle,” said Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Our office is committed to protecting investors who are duped by fraudsters. I want to thank the FBI and the SEC for their efforts working together to bring justice for the victims.'” read here

BROOKLYN SUPREME COURT JUSTICE AND FORMER CHAIR OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MUNICIPAL CREDIT UNION CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

“Former New York City Police Department Officer and Supervisory Committee Member Also Charged With Embezzlement, Fraud, and Controlled Substance Offenses

Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that SYLVIA ASH, presiding judge of the Kings County Supreme Court, Commercial Division, and former chair of the board of directors of Municipal Credit Union (“MCU”), was charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice, arising from a scheme to seek to influence and impede an ongoing federal investigation into fraud and corruption at MCU, a non-profit, multibillion-dollar financial institution.  U.S. Attorney Berman also announced today that Joseph Guagliardo, a/k/a “Joseph Gagliardo,” a former New York City Police Department Officer and former member of MCU’s supervisory committee, was charged separately with embezzlement, fraud, and controlled substance offenses arising from abuse of his position as a member of the supervisory committee.  Guagliardo was arrested in Brooklyn, New York, yesterday afternoon and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang in Manhattan federal court.  ASH was arrested at LaGuardia Airport this morning and is expected to appear before Magistrate Judge Wang in Manhattan federal court this afternoon.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  ‘The charges announced today reflect the latest in our ongoing work to uncover criminal conduct at the highest levels of MCU, a multibillion-dollar, federally insured credit union.  As alleged, Sylvia Ash, a sitting state court judge, took repeated steps to obstruct a federal investigation into significant financial misconduct at MCU during Ash’s tenure as chair of the board of directors.  Joseph Guagliardo allegedly abused his position as an MCU supervisory committee member to enrich himself and his family.'” read here

FEDERAL AGENT PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLEMENT AND CONVERSION OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

“CONCORD Shawn Meehan, 47, of Scarborough, Maine, pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday to embezzlement and conversion of government property, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, from about April 2015 to about October 2018, when Meehan was employed as the Resident Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations office in Portland, Maine, he sold government property on eBay for his personal profit.” read here

SEVEN INDICTED IN CALIFORNIA TO RHODE ISLAND DRUG TRAFFICKING PIPELINE

“PROVIDENCE – Seven individuals have been indicted for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that investigators believe is responsible for the shipment of more than 200 packages containing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine from the Los Angeles, CA., area to rented commercial mailboxes in dozens of locations in greater Providence and Southeastern Massachusetts.

The investigation revealed that more than 100 packages containing large amounts of cash were allegedly sent from the greater Providence area Southeastern Massachusetts back to members of the conspiracy in Los Angeles, Culver City, and Marina del Rey, CA.” read here

 

 

 

 

 

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