CONVICTED FELON CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY POSSESSING SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLE AT VETERANS HOSPITAL IN CHICAGO
CHICAGO — A convicted felon has been charged with a federal firearm violation for allegedly illegally possessing a semi-automatic rifle at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.
BERNARD HARVEY, JR., 40, of Indianapolis, Ind., is charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Harvey illegally possessed the rifle on Aug. 12, 2019, at the medical center, 820 S. Damen Ave. in Chicago, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Harvey is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox. read here
REVERE MAN SENTENCED FOR TRAFFICKING COUNTERFEIT GOODS
Paul G. Adri, 34, was sentenced to three months of home confinement, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $7,500 fine. In April 2019, Adri pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods. Adri was charged in December of 2018, and released on conditions.
Adri improperly utilized trademarks held by Adidas, Nike, MLB, the NFL, and the NBA, among others, by importing counterfeit goods from Hong Kong and China and selling them on eBay. Adri ignored two separate notices from U.S. Customs and Border Protection relating to his illegal counterfeiting activities. read here
“JOHN DOE” INDICTED FOR PASSPORT FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS IN HEALTH CARE MATTER
BOSTON – A Southbridge man whose true identity is unknown was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boston today on charges of making false statements in an application for a U.S. passport, aggravated identity theft and false statements in a health care matter. It is alleged that Doe has used and maintained the identity of a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico for 36 years.
John Doe, whose true identity is unknown, was indicted on one count of making false statements in an application for a U.S. passport, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of false statements in a health care matter. Doe was charged by complaint. An arraignment date has not yet been set. read here
TWO COLOMBIAN NATIONALS AND ONE BELIZEAN NATIONAL SENTENCED FOR ROLES IN INTERNATIONAL COCAINE SMUGGLING CONSPIRACY
Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew has sentenced Rudolph Randolph Meighan (28, Belize), Jorge Ramon Newball-May (49, Colombia), and Calbot Reid-Dilbert (59, Colombia) each to 19 years and 7 months in federal prison for their roles in an international maritime cocaine trafficking conspiracy. In May 2019, a federal jury found Randolph Meighan, Newball-May, and Reid-Dilbert each guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine while onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on that vessel.
According to evidence presented at trial, Randolph Meighan, Newball-May, and Reid-Dilbert were part of an international maritime drug smuggling operation involving more than 600 kilograms of cocaine, worth approximately $18 million, bound for the United States. Randolph Meighan was the Belizean load guard for a Cartagena, Colombia-based cocaine smuggling crew, which included Newball-May and Reid-Dilbert as crewmembers. Prior to their interdiction by the U.S. Coast Guard, the individuals were transporting approximately 30 to 40 bales of cocaine onboard a go-fast vessel from Colombia to Belize, following a known cocaine smuggling route known as the “Honduras Rise.” read here
FORT WAYNE MAN ORDERED TO PAY $566,618.50 IN RESTITUTION
FORT WAYNE – Robin C. Opper, age 36, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Holly Brady after pleading guilty to wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II.
Opper was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. Opper was ordered to pay $566,618.50 in restitution.
“This is one of the last defendants to be sentenced in an massive fraud scheme involving federal charges against 31 former BAE employees arising out of false submissions for reimbursement from the employer’s tuition assistance program. All 31 defendants have been convicted of various charges of wire fraud and ordered to pay restitution to BAE for its loss which, as a result of the scheme, totaled $806,241.09. We, along with our law enforcement partners take financial fraud seriously and will take measures to obtain restitution for the victim of these offenses,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II. read here
ILLEGAL ALIEN SENTENCED AFTER REPEATED CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS
RICHMOND, Va. – A Guatemalan citizen was sentenced today to more than a year and a half in prison for illegally reentering the United States after removal for a felony conviction.
“Juarez-Garcia has continued to show his total disregard for our laws by illegally entering our country multiple times and committing serious criminal offenses,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Juarez-Garcia’s habitual criminal behavior, such as felony-level drunk driving and serious domestic assault, represents a clear threat to public safety.”
According to court documents, Esau Juarez-Garcia, 41, illegally entered the United States sometime around 2009, and was removed after illegally reentering twice. Juarez-Garcia’s criminal record includes 10 convictions over a 16-year period, including felony DWI and a conviction for serious domestic assault against one woman five times. read here
FEDERAL GUN PROSECUTIONS STEMMING FROM THE WESTERN DISTRICT’S PROJECT SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS INITIATIVE RESULT IN PRISON TERMS FOR FIVE REPEAT OFFENDERS
STATESVILLE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that federal gun prosecutions stemming from the Western District’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative have resulted in prison terms for five repeat offenders, for illegally possessing firearms or ammunition despite having prior felony convictions.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Wayne Lamont Johnson, 39, of Statesville, to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on charges of possession of a firearm by a felon. According to plea documents and statements made in court, on September 13, 2017, officers with the Statesville Police Department recovered a firearm from inside the vehicle Johnson was driving. Johnson has a prior Sale of Cocaine felony conviction and he is prohibited from possessing a firearm. read here
FORMER FLORIDIAN, 71, SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR ROBBING 2 PITTSBURGH-AREA BANKS AND DOING SO WHILE ON FEDERAL SUPERVISED RELEASE
PITTSBURGH, PA – A former resident of Pompano Beach, Florida, has been sentenced for two armed robberies of Pittsburgh area banks, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
United States District Court Judge Cathy Bissoon sentenced Robert Stiver, age 71, on two counts of armed bank robbery to 6½ years (78 months) in federal prison and ordered that he pay restitution for the money he stole from both banks. In addition, Judge Bissoon also ordered that Stiver serve an additional 2 years and 9 months (33 months) for committing the bank robberies while on federal supervised release. Stiver was on federal supervised release at the time of the bank robberies for a 1992 federal narcotics conviction. Stiver has been detained since his arrest at the Pittsburgh International Airport on December 22, 2016. read here
RAPID CITY MAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTED SEX TRAFFICKING
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man convicted of Attempted Commercial Sex Trafficking of Children and Attempted Enticement of a Minor Using the Internet following a federal jury trial, was sentenced on July 26, 2019, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.
Zam Lian Mung, age 30, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Mung was one of seven men who were arrested and federally indicted as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting persons willing to pay to have sex with minors obtained through the Internet. The conviction stemmed from Mung communicating with someone he believed to be associated with a 15-year-old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent, for the purpose of arranging a meeting to engage in sexual acts with the minor. read here
CONNECTICUT MAN SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS FOR ATTEMPTED RECEIPT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Kevin Carney, age 32, was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Carney was one of nine men who were arrested and federally indicted as a result of an undercover sex trafficking operation conducted during the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, targeting persons willing to pay to have sex with underage girls or boys obtained through the Internet. The conviction stemmed from Carney communicating with someone he believed to be a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts, and requesting that the minor send pornographic images to Carney. read here
GUATEMALAN MAN CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY USING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that WILMER A. GARCIA-LOPEZ, age 22, a native of Guatemala, was charged on August 8, 2019 in a one-count bill of information with Illegally using a Social Security number in order to obtain employment, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 408(a)(7)(B).
GARCIA-LOPEZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than five (5) years, a fine of $250,000.00, and a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.00. read here
BOOKKEEPER PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that LATANYA A. BRITTON, age 41, resident of LaPlace, Louisiana, entered a plea of guilty on Monday, August 12, 2019 to Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to court records, on January 22, 2018, BRITTON was hired as a bookkeeper in the client accounting services department at Accounting Firm A. Accounting Firm A was located in New Orleans, Louisiana and provided client accounting services to local businesses and individuals. Client B, a restaurant located in the New Orleans French Quarter, was a small business client of Accounting Firm A. BRITTON became the bookkeeper for Client B and was entrusted with the daily accounting and bill paying for Client B’s account. Accounting Firm A utilized a cloud-based accounting software called Restaurant 365 to manage the account for Client B. Restaurant 365 allowed BRITTON authorized access to Client B’s bank account. BRITTON’s position allowed her to issue checks to Client B’s vendors that contained an electronic signature of the managing shareholder of Client B. read here
FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTS CHRISLEY KNOWS BEST STARS TODD AND JULIE CHRISLEY
ATLANTA – A federal grand jury has indicted Todd and Julie Chrisley, the stars of the reality television show Chrisley Knows Best, on multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. The Chrisleys’ accountant, Peter Tarantino, has also been indicted on tax-related offenses.
“Todd and Julie Chrisley are charged not only with defrauding a number of banks by fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans, but also with allegedly cheating taxpayers by actively evading paying federal taxes on the money they earned,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Celebrities face the same justice that everyone does. These are serious federal charges and they will have their day in court.” read here
MORRIS COUNTY MAN ADMITS ROLE IN COMPOUNDING PHARMACY CONSPIRACY
Peter Frazzano, 46, of Randoph, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Frazzano admitted that from November 2014 through March 2016 he participated in a conspiracy to defraud health insurance plans, including the N.J. State Health Benefits plan, by knowingly causing the billing of fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary prescription compounded medications, such as scar creams, pain creams, and metabolic supplements. To ensure that a physician prescribed compounded medications regardless of medical necessity, Frazzano and a conspirator recruited a doctor to sign prescriptions ordering compounded medications without ever examining or interacting with any of the individuals who were to receive the medications. read here
BROADWAY PRODUCER CHARGED WITH POSSESSION AND DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
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 the Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the arrest of BEN SPRECHER for possession and distribution of child pornography. SPRECHER was arrested today and presented before United States Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman.
Between at least October 2018 and August 2019, SPRECHER, a Broadway producer, used a peer-to-peer file sharing network to receive and make available for download over 100 video or photograph files known to contain child pornography. The child pornography included depictions of prepubescent children engaged in sexual activity with adults. On August 13, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at SPRECHER’S apartment and recovered an external hard drive, which contained numerous files containing child pornography. read here
SEAFOOD PROCESSOR PLEADS GUILTY TO SELLING FOREIGN CRABMEAT FALSELY LABELED AS BLUE CRAB FROM THE U.S.
Phillip R. Carawan of Columbia, North Carolina, pleaded guilty today in federal court in New Bern, North Carolina, on charges that his company, Capt. Neill’s Seafood Inc., at Carawan’s direction, falsely labeled millions of dollars’ worth of foreign crabmeat as “Product of USA.”
“Seafood mislabeling is consumer fraud that undermines efforts of hardworking, honest fisherman and the free market by devaluing the price of domestic seafood,” said Acting U.S. Attorney G. Norman Acker III for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “In this case, the fraudulent scheme artificially deflated the cost of domestic blue crab and gave Carawan an unacceptable economic advantage over law-abiding competitors.” read here
FORMER FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR PRODUCTION AND TRANSPORTATION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm today sentenced Steven Hadley Hassan, age 52, of Frederick, Maryland, to 40 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for sexually abusing minors to produce child pornography and transporting those images to the United States. Judge Grimm also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Hassan must register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Hassan has been detained since his arrest on June 8, 2018.
“Steven Hadley Hassan exploited his position as a U.S. government official abroad to victimize children over the course of several years in a certain perversion of public trust,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge John Eisert. “Today’s sentencing ensures that Hassan will serve a just sentence and not again have access to additional victims.” read here
MASSACHUSETTS CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT COMPANY, OWNER, PAY $1.3 M TO SETTLE FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS
U.S. Attorney John H. Durham and officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. General Services Administration today announced that CLASSIC SITE SOLUTIONS, INC. (“CSS”) and its owner, CHERYL SADY, have entered into a civil settlement agreement with the United States in which they will pay $1.3 million dollars to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act.
CSS is a Massachusetts corporation that performs construction management and general contracting services for various federal agencies. The government alleges that CSS and Sady made false statements to the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to obtain certification as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (“HUBZone”) company. One of the central purposes of the HUBZone program is to support small businesses that locate in geographic areas that have historically been unable to attract businesses and jobs. The government awards certain contracts only to HUBZone-certified businesses and applies a price preference to HUBZone contractors making bids on other contracts. read here
MONTANA NATIVE WOMEN’S COALITION BOARD EX-TREASURER CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLEMENT OF GRANT MONEY
BILLINGS—The former board treasurer of the Montana Native Women’s Coalition was arraigned today on charges in a 10-count indictment accusing her, along with the Coalition’s ex-chairwoman, of stealing federal grant funds to make unapproved trips to Las Vegas and to receive other unauthorized benefits, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Barbara Mary Daychief, 43, of Browning, pleaded not guilty to theft from a program receiving federal funding, wire fraud, fraudulent travel claims and misprision of felony. Daychief, who was the Coalition’s treasurer, is charged with a total of six counts. read here
ACCOUNTING COORDINATOR AT NON-PROFIT FACING FRAUD CHARGES FOR EMBEZZLING $321 K IN ORGANIZATION FUNDS
The nine-count Indictment, returned on August 6 and unsealed yesterday, named Danielle Strother-Rush, 32, of Pittsburgh, PA as the sole defendant.
According to the Indictment presented to the court, from approximately August 2014 until August 2016, Strother-Rush committed bank fraud and mail fraud in order to embezzle funds from her employer, Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council, which is a nonprofit organization that assists with creating business opportunities for minority-owned supply companies. The Indictment further alleges that the total amount embezzled was approximately $321,000. read here
CARTEL-CONNECTED ILLEGAL ALIEN DRUG TRAFFICKER AND ASSOCIATE SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON
WAYCROSS, GA: Two drug traffickers, including an illegal alien with ties to a Mexican drug cartel, will spend more than a decade in federal prison after sentencing in a methamphetamine conspiracy.
Ricardo Santana-Hernandez, a/k/a “Richard Hernandez,” a/k/a “Armond,” a/k/a “Armani,” 32, of C’daltimairano, Guerroro, Mexico, was sentenced to 135 months in prison, and Ryon Bland, 32, of Douglas, Ga., was sentenced to 110 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Both were sentenced for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute large quantities of crystal methamphetamine. After completion of their sentences, Santana-Hernadez will be deported, and Bland will be placed on court-supervised release for three years. There is no parole in the federal system. read here
EAST SIDE REALTOR CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTING TO ENGAGE IN SEX WITH A MINOR
The jury convicted Thomas McLucky Hammond, 52, of one count of attempting to persuade, entice, induce or coerce a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.
According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, in June 2017, Hammond responded to an advertisement in the “casual encounters” section of Craiglsist.com. Over a period of three days, Hammond communicated with a man he believed was the step-father of a 10 year-old girl in Warwick. Hammond asked the step-father if he was sexually abusing the 10 year-old, and proposed joining in the abuse at a pool party at the family’s residence. Hammond agreed to meet the step-father in a parking lot on Post Road in Warwick before returning to the home for the pool party. When Hammond arrived at the parking lot on June 21, 2017, he was arrested by members of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a federal and state task force designed to investigate and prevent online child sexual exploitation. The purported step-father was actually a member of the ICAC operating in an undercover capacity. read here
FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE MAN AND THREE OTHERS SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR ENGAGING IN GLOBAL CHILD EXPLOITATION ENTERPRISE
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – August 12, 2019 – The creator and lead administrator of a highly sophisticated “The Onion Router” (TOR)-network-based website dedicated to the sexual abuse of children was sentenced Friday, along with three others, for their roles in a global child exploitation enterprise.
Patrick D. Falte, 29, of Franklin, Tennessee, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, three counts of advertising child pornography, and three counts of distributing child pornography. Benjamin A. Faulkner, 28, of Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 35 years in prison; Andrew R. Leslie, 24, of Middleburg, Florida, was sentenced to 30 years in prison; and Brett A. Bedusek, 35, of Cudahy, Wisconsin, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, all for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise. Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw of the Middle District of Tennessee also sentenced each defendant to a lifetime of supervised release. All were indicted in March 2017 and pleaded guilty to the charges last year. read here
FEDERAL AUTHORITIES UNCOVER SEXUAL ABUSE AND ONLINE EXPLOITATION
INDIANAPOLIS – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Bennie Schuck II and Amber Talley, both from Indianapolis, have been arrested and charged with the Sexual Exploitation of a Child for their acts against a child who was less than 12 years old. Schuck was also charged with the Distribution of Child Pornography using Kik Messenger. According to the criminal complaint, both Schuck and Talley sexually abused a minor female, who reported that the abuse had been on-going for at least a year. Schuck and Talley created images of the abuse, which they sent to each other, depending on who took the images. Schuck admitted to police that he had exploited the child “fewer than 20 times.” Schuck also sent the sexually explicit images of the child to a woman through Kik Messenger, which led to the detection of Schuck and Talley’s crimes. read here
POCATELLO MAN SENTENCED TO 100 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
POCATELLO – Lex Bennett Goodwin, 34, of Pocatello, was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison for producing, transporting, and possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye also sentenced Goodwin to a lifetime of supervised release, and entered an order forfeiting the electronic devices used to commit the offenses. Goodwin was ordered to pay restitution to the victims of the offenses and will be required to register as a sex offender. Goodwin was convicted by a jury on May 23, 2019, after a four-day trial.
According to court records, the investigation began in September 2017 after Google reported that child pornography had been uploaded to a Google account. An agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) obtained a federal search warrant for the Google account, which revealed that the account belonged to Goodwin. Within the account, the agent located several sexually explicit images of a sixteen-month-old child that Goodwin had produced. The agent obtained additional search warrants authorizing the search and seizure of Goodwin’s electronics, including his cellphone, and a second Google account belonging to Goodwin. Additional files of the sixteen-month-old child that Goodwin had produced were located on his cellphone and in the second Google account. The investigation further revealed that Goodwin had attempted to produce sexually explicit images of a six-year-old child and that he had possessed and transported numerous other files of child pornography. read here