Daily Dose of Justice

Daily Dose of Justice

ONLINE DRUG DEALER SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR DISTRIBUTING COUNTERFEIT PILLS CONTAINING FENTANYL THAT CAUSED OVERDOSE DEATH

“SAN DIEGO – Drug dealer Trevon Antone Lucas was sentenced in federal court today to 15 years in prison for selling the counterfeit oxycodone pills containing deadly fentanyl that caused the overdose death of a La Jolla resident in June of 2018.

Lucas, a resident of Highland, California, pleaded guilty in June to Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death. In his plea, he admitted that he posted online advertisements for the illegal sale of prescription pills. The investigation revealed that Lucas was warned about the danger of the pills he was selling on two separate occasions. In late 2017, Lucas was warned that the pills he was selling were counterfeit and contained fentanyl that was much stronger than oxycodone pills. Then, just two months prior to the victim’s death in mid-2018, Lucas was explicitly warned that counterfeit pills containing fentanyl had caused the overdose of a San Diego resident. Lucas was undeterred and continued to sell the counterfeit pills.” read here

MEXICAN NATIONAL INVOLVED IN  POLY-DRUG DISTRIBUTION RING IS SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 15 YEARS IN PRISON

“STATESVILLE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Ricardo Cervantes-Sanchez, 40, of Mexico, residing in Hickory, N.C., to 188 months in prison and five years of supervised release on drug conspiracy charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Cervantes-Sanchez was a multi-kilogram level distributor of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, operating mainly out of North Carolina and Tennessee.

Cervantes-Sanchez’s co-defendant, Raymundo, Villarreal, 22, of Newton, N.C. was also sentenced to eight years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy.” read here

SECOND AREA MAN SENT TO PRISON FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

“BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 68-year-old Brownsville man has been ordered to prison following his convictions of distributing and possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick. Arnoldo Villagomez pleaded guilty Jan. 4, 2018.

Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera Jr. sentenced Villagomez to 120 months for the distribution and possession convictions, respectively. The sentences will run concurrently for a total 10-year term of imprisonment. Villagomez was further ordered to pay $263,952.83 in restitution to the known victims and will serve 10 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.” read here

BROWNSVILLE MAN SENTENCED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

“BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 43-year old U.S. citizen has been ordered to federal prison following his admission that he possessed child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Donavan Lyle Herrera pleaded guilty Feb. 6, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera Jr. sentenced Herrera to 121 months of federal imprisonment. He will also serve 10 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. Herrera will also be ordered to register as a sex offender. A hearing will be held at a later date to determine restitution.” read here

LAS VEGAS MAN SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING NEARLY $2 MILLION BUSINESS FRAUD SCHEME

“LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas man who admitted to defrauding more than $1.8 million from victims of a business fraud scheme was sentenced today to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,715,475 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

Jihad Anthony Zogheib, 53, pleaded guilty without a plea agreement in October 2018, to eight counts of wire fraud in connection to a fraud scheme. Zogheib was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks.” read here

FORMER STATE SENATOR’S ACCOUNTANT CONVICTED OF TAX FRAUD

“BOSTON—John H. Nardozzi, the certified public accountant for former State Senator Brian Joyce, was convicted today by a federal jury for conspiring with the late senator to defraud the IRS from 2011 through 2014.

Nardozzi, 67, of Waltham, was convicted after a seven-day trial of defrauding the IRS of approximately $600,000 by manipulating income that should have been reported on Joyce’s corporate tax return and by applying it to Joyce’s personal tax return. Nardozzi was also convicted of falsely creating a single-employment pension (SEP) fund for Joyce and his wife, to which they were not otherwise entitled. In doing so, Nardozzi enabled Joyce and his wife to defer taxes on approximately $400,000 of income. Nardozzi also assisted Joyce in an illegal rollover of Joyce’s SEP account to purchase stock in a private company without following the IRA rollover rules. In addition, Nardozzi attributed income from Joyce’s law firm to Joyce’s wife even though she never worked for the law firm.” read here

MS-13 LEADERS CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING, NARCOTICS, AND FIREARMS OFFENSES

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging AMILCAR ROMERO, a/k/a “Soldado,” JAIME SANTANA, a/k/a “Smiley,” JOSE GARCIA, a/k/a “Tricky,” and ALEXANDER RIVERA, a/k/a “Extrano,” with racketeering conspiracy and narcotics distribution conspiracy. CRISTIAN GUERRERO-MELGARES, a/k/a “Enigma,” and GUSTAVO LLEVANO-RIVERA are charged in the narcotics conspiracy count. Several defendants also face firearms charges.

GARCIA, GUERRERO-MELGARES, and RIVERA were arrested this morning and will be presented today before Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron. SANTANA was arrested last night and will be presented today in the Middle District of Tennessee. ROMERO is currently in state custody in California on other charges and will be transferred to federal custody in New York and presented at a later date. LLEVANO-RIVERA remains at large. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III.” read here

JACKSONVILLE MAN SENTENCED FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE FRAUD INVOLVING TROPICAL STORM DEBBY, HURRICANE MATTHEW, AND HURRICANE IRMA

“Jacksonville, Florida – Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger has sentenced Lepoleon Spikes (47, Jacksonville) to 21 months in federal prison for wire fraud involving fraudulently obtained FEMA benefits. Spikes was immediately remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. The court also ordered Spikes to pay $57,689.19 in restitution to the United States.

According to court documents, in February 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) received an allegation that Spikes had provided false information to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to receive disaster assistance. Upon receipt of the allegation, DHS-OIG determined that Spikes had submitted applications to receive disaster assistance from FEMA involving Tropical Storm Debby, Hurricane Matthew, and Hurricane Irma. A review by DHS-OIG determined that, in each of the applications submitted to FEMA for disaster assistance, Spikes falsely claimed that his primary residence in Jacksonville was damaged due to a storm. Spikes claimed that, due to the storm damage, he had to relocate and was in need of disaster assistance. Based on his applications for disaster assistance, Spikes fraudulently obtained $57,689.19 from FEMA.” read here

ILLEGAL ALIEN SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ILLEGALLY RE-ENTERING THE UNITED STATES

“Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Samuel Lopez-Lopez (29, Atlanta) to 24 months in federal prison for illegally re-entering the United States after previously being deported. Lopez-Lopez had pleaded guilty on July 2, 2019.

According to the facts described in court, on February 18, 2019, Lopez-Lopez was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer and grand theft in Columbia County. The charges arose out of an incident at a hotel in Lake City that had occurred on December 28, 2018. After Lopez-Lopez was booked on the charges, immigration agents ran his fingerprints and found that he was a citizen of Honduras who was illegally present in the United States. Lopez-Lopez also had been previously deported from the United States three times.” read here

FOUR WESTERN WASHINGTON ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVE U.S. DOJ GRANTS TOTALING MORE THAN $2 MILLION TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

“Seattle – U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced Department of Justice grants for four organizations in Western Washington who are working to rescue and support victims of human trafficking. The organizations work with young people and one has a special focus on Native American victims.

‘I’m pleased that the Seattle Indian Health Board received funding under DOJ’s Project Beacon – designed to increase services for Native Americans living in urban areas,” said U.S. Attorney Moran. “As we work to address the problem of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, developing services and informing the community about the scourge of sex trafficking is critically important.'” read here

ALABAMA MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ENTICING A MINOR FOR SEX

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Alabama man pleaded guilty in federal court today to enticing a 16-year-old victim, whom he met through the “Game of War” application on her cell phone, to engage in illegal sexual activity.

James Reece Vance, 46, of Madison, Ala., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips.

The investigation began when the child victim’s father discovered emails between Vance and his daughter. The emails, from March 7 through May 8, 2017, contained numerous exchanges where she and Vance discussed getting together, having sexual intercourse, and future plans to get married. The child victim told investigators she met Vance through the ‘Game of War’ application on her cell phone. Vance drove to Kansas City twice during April 2017 to meet the child victim for sex.” read here

CALIFORNIA ENTREPRENEUR SENTENCED IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS CASE

“BOSTON – A California woman became the ninth parent to be sentenced in connection with the college admissions case.

Marjorie Klapper, 50, of Menlo Park, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to three weeks in prison, one year of supervised release, ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and to pay a fine of $9,500. In May 2019, Klapper pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

The government recommended a sentence of four months in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $20,000.” read here

LEAD DEFENDANT IN MS-13 RACKETEERING CASE SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITH NO CHANCE OF RELEASE

“COLUMBUS, Ohio – The lead defendant in a racketeering conspiracy involving five murders was sentenced in U.S. District Court here today.

Martin Neftali Aguilar-Rivera (a/k/a Momia), 34, of Columbus, was sentenced to life in prison by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. for conspiring to commit racketeering and murder in aid of racketeering. Aguilar-Rivera accepted responsibility in July for participating in five murders.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Rebecca Adducci, Detroit Field Office Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Interim Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced the sentence imposed this afternoon.” read here

SOUTH KOREAN NATIONAL AND HUNDREDS OF OTHERS CHARGED WORLDWIDE IN THE TAKEDOWN OF THE LARGEST DARKNET CHILD PORNOGRAPHY WEBSITE, WHICH WAS FUNDED BY BITCOIN

“WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for his operation of Welcome To Video, the largest child sexual exploitation market by volume of content. The nine-count indictment was unsealed today along with a parallel civil forfeiture action. Son has also been charged and convicted in South Korea and is currently in custody serving his sentence in South Korea. An additional 337 site users residing in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State and Washington, D.C. as well as the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia have been arrested and charged.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia, Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement.” read here

FORMER IRS EMPLOYEE INDICTED FOR FRAUD SCHEME

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A former IRS employee has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing refunds from taxpayers.

Tamara R. Miller, 39, of Kansas City, Missouri, was charged in a five-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Oct. 2, 2019. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Miller’s arrest and initial court appearance.

Miller was employed by the IRS as a data transcriber at the Kansas City Service Center. As part of her duties, Miller handled individual income tax returns received by mail at the Kansas City Service Center.” read here

SHELBYVILLE MAN SENTENCED TO 151 MONTHS FOR RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

“FRANKFORT, Ky. – Joseph S. Gable, 63, of Shelbyville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison on Wednesday, by United States District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, for knowingly receiving child pornography.

Gable previously admitted that, in August of 2018, he knowingly received images of child pornography on his computer.  A forensic examination of Gable’s computer and electronic storage devices revealed 35,972 still images and 807 videos of child pornography, including some that depicted children under the age of 12 and some that depicted sadistic or masochistic conduct.” read here

MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY FILES CIVIL RIGHTS SUIT AGAINST REAL ESTATE FIRM AND DEVELOPER FOR DESIGNING AND CONSTRUCTING 68 RENTAL APARTMENT BUILD WITH INACCESSIBLE CONDITIONS

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against real estate firm ATLANTIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP, LLC (“ATLANTIC”), and its principal, PETER FINE, for engaging in a pattern or practice of violations of the accessible design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). Specifically, the United States alleges that ATLANTIC and FINE have designed and constructed more than 6,000 apartments in 68 rental buildings throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Westchester County that do not comply with the FHA’s accessibility requirements. The lawsuit seeks a court order directing ATLANTIC and FINE to retrofit these buildings to make them accessible to people with disabilities, to make changes to policies and procedures, and to compensate individuals who suffered discrimination due to the inaccessible conditions.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: ‘The Fair Housing Act’s accessibility provisions were enacted to ensure that people with disabilities are not consigned to second-class status when it comes to housing. These rights under the FHA apply equally to residents who live in affordable housing as those living in luxury high-rises. With today’s lawsuit, real estate firms and developers in this District – including developers of affordable housing like Atlantic and Fine – should know that this Office will continue to use all available tools to enforce the FHA’s promise of accessibility in housing for people with disabilities.'” read here

FORMER PRESIDENT OF LABOR UNION PLEADS GUILTY TO DEMANDING AND ACCEPTING BRIBES

“Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that GLENN BLICHT, the former president of a labor union (the “Union”), pled guilty today to violating the Taft-Hartley Act by demanding and accepting approximately $150,000 in bribe payments from an employer (the “Employer”). In exchange for these bribes, BLICHT did not represent Union members’ interests. BLICHT pled guilty before United States District Judge Analisa Torres, to whom BLICHT’s case is assigned.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: ‘As the president of a labor union, Glenn Blicht’s duty was to fight for his union members. Instead, for many years, he demanded and accepted bribes – and in return, he sold out his union members. Our Office is committed to prosecuting those who abuse positions of trust for their own gain.'” read here

MCALLEN WOMAN CHARGED IN MEDICARE KICKBACK CONSPIRACY

“McALLEN, Texas – A 44-year-old McAllen woman has been charged with conspiring to pay illegal kickbacks to physicians and marketers in exchange for the referral of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment, under seal, against Claudia Haro Oct. 9, which was unsealed as authorities arrested her today. She is expected to make her initial appearance tomorrow morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker.” read here

NYC DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO USING LONG ISLAND RESIDENCE TO MANUFACTURE ECSTASY AND CULTIVATE MARIJUANA

“Joseph Guida, an employee of New York City Department of Environmental Protection, pleaded guilty today to using a stash house in Mastic, Long Island to produce ecstasy (MDMA) and grow marijuana.  The plea was entered before United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack at the federal courthouse in Central Islip.  When sentenced, Guida faces up to 20 years in prison.  As part of his guilty plea, Guida agreed to forfeit his interest in the Mastic residence and a Dodge Durango that he used in connection with his drug operation.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York Field Office (HSI), and Troy Miller, Director of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York Field Office (CBP), announced the guilty plea.” read here

FORMER SUBOXONE CLINIC DOCTOR SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL PRESCRIBING AND HEALTH CARE FRAUD

“PITTSBURGH – A former resident of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 180 days of home confinement; three years’ probation; fined a total of $20,000.00; and ordered to pay $156,902.89 in restitution on his conviction of unlawfully prescribing buprenorphine and committing health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence on Michael Anthony Bummer, age 40.

According to information presented to the court, Bummer, a physician, was employed at Redirections Treatment Advocates (Redirections), a buprenorphine clinic with offices in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Under federal law, a prescription for a controlled substance is required to be signed and dated the day it is issued. Bummer and other doctors at Redirections would routinely pre-sign blank prescriptions for buprenorphine, which is a scheduled controlled substance under federal law. The pre-signed prescriptions were then given to other medically-unlicensed employees at Redirections who completed the prescription and provided it to the patients in exchange for cash. On numerous occaisons, the doctors were not physically present at Redirections and did not exam their patients when prescriptions bearing their names were issued. For example, on August 17, 2016, one of Bummer’s patients received a prescription for buprenorphine although Bummer was not in the office and did not see the patient. Because the prescriptions were illegally issued, Medicare and Medicaid were defrauded when Redirections’ patients used their insurance to fill the prescriptions. When confronted by an investigator, Bummer surrendered his license to prescribe controlled substances.” read here

VANCE AFB MAJOR PLEADS GUILTY TO KICKBACKS INVOLVING COMPOUNDING PHARMACIES

“OKLAHOMA CITY – ROMEATRIUS MOSS, 39, a nurse and Air Force Major stationed at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, has pleaded guilty to criminal health care fraud in which she accepted kickbacks for referring TRICARE beneficiaries to pharmacies furnishing compounded drugs, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.

According to a felony information filed on September 30, 2019, Moss solicited and received $73,823.06 in return for referrals to compounding pharmacies involving individuals covered by TRICARE, which is a health insurance program for members of the U.S. military.  Because of resulting cost increases and infringement on patient choice, it is a crime to solicit or receive payments for referrals to health care providers for an item or service that could be paid, in whole or in part, by a federal health care program.” read here

BROOKINGS MAN CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION AND RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOOGRAPHY

“United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Brookings, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Distribution and Receipt of Child Pornography.

Tyler Powers, age 25, was indicted on October 8, 2019. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on October 11, 2019, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, life of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.” read here

SIOUX FALLS MAN INDICTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES

“United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Transportation of Child Pornography and Distribution and Receipt of Child Pornography.

Enoch Fields, age 38, was indicted on September 4, 2019. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on October 11, 2019, and pled not guilty to the Indictment.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, life of supervised release, and up to $200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.” read here

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