Justice Files Debate Day!

Justice Files Debate Day!

CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 105 MONTHS FOR CARJACKING

PHOENIX, Ariz. – On Friday, Christopher Daniel Jones, 26, of Camp Verde, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge Michael T. Liburdi to 105 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Jones previously pleaded guilty to Carjacking on February 26, 2020.

On July 27, 2019, Jones, an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community and a convicted sex offender, snuck into the victim’s parked van at a gas station located on the Yavapai-Apache Nation. When the victim returned to the van, Jones was hiding in the back.  Wielding a knife, Jones moved toward the front of the van and forced the victim to drive, holding the knife to the victim’s body. The victim jumped out of the van, and Jones drove it away, resulting in a law enforcement pursuit that ended with Jones’s apprehension about 75 miles away. Investigation revealed that Jones had an active warrant, was on supervised release in two separate Failure to Register as a Sex Offender cases, and had recently escaped from Behavioral Systems Southwest. (Read Here)

ADDITIONAL CORRUPTIONS CHARGES ADDED TO INDICTMENT AGAINST FORMER ORANGE PUBLIC OFFICIAL

NEWARK, N.J. – The former acting business administrator for the Township of Orange, New Jersey, who had previously been indicted for multiple acts of corruption and fraud, was indicted today on additional conspiracy, wire fraud, and kickback-taking charges in a superseding indictment, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Willis Edwards III, 49, formerly of East Orange, New Jersey, and currently of Lithonia, Georgia, was charged in a superseding indictment with additional counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and taking kickbacks in connection with the business of Orange, a federally funded local government. (Read Here)

SANTA CRUZ MAN CHARGED WITH FEDERAL HATE CRIME FOR ATTEMPTING TO STAB BLACK MAN

SAN FRANCISCO – Ole Hougen has been charged with a federal hate crime for attacking a black man with a knife on a street in Santa Cruz, announced U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and FBI Special Agent in Charge John L. Bennett.

Hougen, 44, of Santa Cruz, Calif., was charged by criminal complaint with willfully attempting to cause bodily injury by using a dangerous weapon because of a person’s actual or perceived race and color.  According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Hougen confronted a 29-year-old black man who was crossing a street in Santa Cruz.  Hougen took out a nine-inch knife and slashed at the man’s head, chest, and stomach multiple times while yelling racial slurs at him.  At the time of the attack, Hougen was on probation for state convictions involving a racially-motivated assault on a different black man in 2018.  The complaint also describes two additional racially-motivated assaults against black men committed by Hougen in 2014 and 2018.

Hougen is charged with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 249. The charge in the complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.  Hougen faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant United States Attorney Marissa Harris and Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.  The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

LOS ANGELES MAN CHARGED WITH RUNNING $350 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

Defendant Also Allegedly Embezzled Over $26 Million from Marin-based Property Investment Company

SAN FRANCISCO – A criminal information was filed today in federal court alleging that Lewis Wallach, the former CEO of a Marin-based company known as Professional Financial Investors, or PFI, ran the company for years as a Ponzi scheme, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sid Patel.  Wallach is charged in the information with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  Additional facts regarding the investigation and charges can be found here: https://youtu.be/M30PEgy0txo

“We allege that PFI became a classic Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson.  “Money taken from new investors was allegedly used to pay existing investors while losses mounted behind the scenes.  This alleged Ponzi scheme came crashing down just four months ago after the death of PFI’s founder in May 2020.  We allege that for years Wallach conspired with PFI’s founder to fool investors.” (Read Here)

NORTH TONAWANDA MAN CHARGED WITH COVID-19 RELIEF FRAUD

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Michael Kornaker, 50, of North Tonawanda, NY, was charged by criminal complaint with wire fraud in relation to a national emergency, and aggravated identity theft. The charges carry a minimum penalty of two years in prison, a maximum penalty of 30 years, and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas A. C. Penrose, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, the defendant was recently released from prison following a 2017 federal conviction on mail fraud and tax evasion charges, and was on supervised release. Kornaker fraudulently applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) between June and August 2020. The EIDL program provides funds to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of a declared disaster, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendant applied for and was granted $60,500 using the name and personal information of another person, without that person’s permission. (Read Here)

LEADER OF INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERING ORGANIZATION IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ARRAIGNED ON FEDERAL CHARGES

NEWARK, N.J. – The leader of an international money laundering organization in the Dominican Republic was arraigned in New Jersey today after being extradited to the United States, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Luis Velazquez-Cordero (a/k/a “El Pequeño”), 35, of the Dominican Republic, is charged by indictment with five counts of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in laundering millions in illegal cash drug proceeds. The indictment includes a forfeiture money judgment for $80 million, representing a portion of the property involved in the money laundering scheme. Velazquez-Cordero was arrested in the Dominican Republic on July 28, 2020, and extradited to the United States. He was arraigned today by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Katherine Hayden. (Read Here)

TWO DEFENDANTS AGREE TO PLEAD GUILTY TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MEDICARE FRAUD SCHEME

BOSTON – A Colorado woman and a Florida woman have agreed to plead guilty in connection with a multi-million dollar Medicare fraud scheme.

Jessica Jones, 30, of Louisville Colo., and Elizabeth Putulin, 30, of Coconut Creek, Fla., were each charged by Information with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Plea hearings have not yet been scheduled by the Court.

According to charging documents, Jones and Putulin conspired with Juan Camilo Perez Buitrag to submit more than $109 million in false and fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment (DME) such as arm, back, knee and shoulder braces. Perez was charged in July 2020 and has agreed to plead guilty. A plea hearing for Perez is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2020. (Read Here)

CONVICTED FRAUDSTER CHARGED WITH DEVISING NEW SCHEME WHILE SERVING FEDERAL SENTENCE FOR ANOTHER SCHEME

New Scheme Resulted in Alleged Loss to Investors of at Least $7 million

SALT LAKE CITY – A Felony Information filed in federal court charges Christopher D. Hales, 39, of Lehi with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy in connection with a financial fraud scheme he and other co-conspirators devised while Hales was in a halfway house serving a sentence for another federal fraud case.

The charges allege the new scheme resulted in a loss to investors of at least $7 million. An initial appearance and change of plea hearing for Hales is scheduled for Oct. 6, 2020, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daphne A. Oberg.

Hales was convicted of bank fraud in April 2011 as a part of a mortgage fraud case.  He was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $12,719,236 in restitution.  He violated terms of his supervised release in 2016 and he was sentenced to another 30 months in federal prison. (Read Here)

CHINESE NATIONAL SENTENCED FOR LAUNDERING MILLIONS FOR MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS

A Chinese national was sentenced today to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $4.2 million for laundering drug proceeds generated by large-scale cocaine trafficking in the United States.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Wendy C. Woolcock for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey T. Scott of DEA’s Louisville, Kentucky Field Division; Chief Jason Crosby of the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); and Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago, Illinois made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema for the Eastern District of Virginia. (Read Here)

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX TRAFFICKING WOMEN IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS

PEORIA, Ill. – Following jury selection, as his trial was about to begin, Franshon Stapleton, 47, entered pleas of guilty to sex trafficking young women in Central Illinois from 2016 to May 2018. Stapleton pleaded guilty to all the charges against him on Sept. 28, 2020, in Peoria, Ill., before U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid. Sentencing for Stapleton has been scheduled on Jan. 29, 2021.

U.S. Attorney John Milhiser stated, “I commend the strength of the victims in this case who came forward to provide critical evidence against this defendant.” Milhiser also recognized the sustained efforts by federal and local law enforcement to locate, investigate and prosecute dangerous predators and remove them from our communities. (Read Here)

FORMER IRS EMPLOYEE SENTENCED FOR STEALING TAX REFUNDS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A former IRS employee was sentenced in federal court today for stealing tax refunds.

Tamara R. Miller, 40, of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to two years and two months in federal prison without parole.

On Jan. 23, 2020, Miller pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government funds. Miller specifically admitted to stealing refunds from two taxpayers, totaling $5,214.

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)

MEXICAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO OVER 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SETTING FIRE TO DRUG SMUGGLING VESSEL DURING U.S. COAST GUARD INTERDICTION

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Jesus Soto-Martinez (41, Michoacan, Mexico) to 21 years and 3 months in federal prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine while onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, forcibly interfering with a lawful boarding, and knowingly using fire to commit a felony offense.

Soto-Martinez had pleaded guilty on November 20, 2019.

According to court documents, on February 19, 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter STEADFAST interdicted a go-fast vessel (GFV) carrying Soto-Martinez and his co-conspirators in international waters about 378 nautical miles south of Acapulco, Mexico. The defendants were carrying approximately 2,000 kilograms of cocaine on the GFV. During the pursuit of the vessel, Jose Varges-Merida, a co-defendant, refused to comply with the USCG commands to stop and steered the GFV in the direction of the USCG vessel carrying its law enforcement detachment, causing the USCG vessel to significantly alter course and momentarily become unstable. The coxswain was forced to make evasive maneuvers to avoid the GFV from running over the USCG vessel and its crewmen. The USCG was then able to stop the GFV by using several rounds of disabling fire. (Read Here)

NORTH CAROLINA MAN CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY SEEKING OVER $6 MILLION IN COVID RELIEF FUNDS

A North Carolina man was charged with fraudulently seeking over $6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Tristan Bishop Pan, 38, of Garner, is charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

The indictment, unsealed today, alleges that Pan perpetrated a scheme to submit fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees PPP loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  According to the allegations, Pan submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications, including on behalf of entities named Pan Insurance Agency, White Walker, Khaleesi, and The Night’s Watch.  The indictment alleges that, in support of the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Pan made false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses.  The PPP loan applications were supported by fake documents, including falsified tax filings, according to the indictment.  Pan allegedly submitted fourteen PPP loan applications seeking over $6.1 million and received more than $1.7 million in benefits following approval of the Pan Insurance Agency and White Walker PPP loan applications.  The government was able to seize some of the allegedly fraudulent loan benefits. (Read Here)

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. AGREES TO PAY $920 MILLION IN CONNECTION WITH SCHEMES TO DEFRAUD PRECIOUS METALS AND U.S. TREASURIES MARKETS

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan), a New York, New York-based global banking and financial services firm, has entered into a resolution with the Department of Justice to resolve criminal charges related to two distinct schemes to defraud: the first involving tens of thousands of episodes of unlawful trading in the markets for precious metals futures contracts, and the second involving thousands of episodes of unlawful trading in the markets for U.S. Treasury futures contracts and in the secondary (cash) market for U.S. Treasury notes and bonds.

JPMorgan entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with a criminal information filed today in the District of Connecticut charging the company with two counts of wire fraud.  Under the terms of the DPA, JPMorgan will pay over $920 million in a criminal monetary penalty, criminal disgorgement, and victim compensation, with the criminal monetary penalty credited against payments made to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under a separate agreement with the CFTC being announced today and with part of the criminal disgorgement credited against payments made to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) under a separate agreement with the SEC being announced today. (Read Here)

FORMER INDIANA STATE SENATOR AND GAMING EXECUTIVE INDICTED FOR VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAWS

A federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of Indiana returned an indictment charging a former Indiana state senator and a gaming executive with violations of federal campaign finance laws, false statements, and falsification of Federal Election Campaign (FEC) records in connection with a series of illegal corporate contributions and conduit contributions they made to fund the congressional campaign of the former state politician.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress of the Southern District of Indiana, and Acting Assistant Director James A. Dawson of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Darryl Brent Waltz, 47, of Greenwood, Indiana, was charged with one count of conspiracy to make conduit contributions, false statements and to falsify FEC records, one count of making and receiving conduit contributions, one count of falsifying FEC records, and two counts of making false statements related to a scheme to route contributions through conduit donors to his 2016 congressional campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance law. (Read Here)

FORMER CFO OF BOSTON GRAND PRIX INDICTED IN FRAUD AND TAX SCHEME

BOSTON – The former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Boston Grand Prix was arrested today on charges that he failed to report income that he received from serving as executive with the Boston Grand Prix organization on his federal tax returns and for a scheme to defraud equipment and small business financing companies.

John F. Casey, 56, of Ipswich, was indicted on eight counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, three counts of money laundering and three counts of filing false tax returns. Casey was arrested this morning and will make an initial appearance at 3:30 today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald J. Cabell.

As alleged in the indictment, Casey became the CFO of the Boston Grand Prix in January 2015. The Boston Grand Prix organization made payments to or on behalf of Casey totaling approximately $308,292 in 2015 and $601,073 in 2016 which Casey failed to include in the gross income he claimed on his personal tax returns for those years. (Read Here)

MASSACHUSETTS MAN RE-SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRING TO MURDER U.S. CITIZENS, INCLUDING POLICE, ON BEHALF OF ISIS

BOSTON – An Everett man was re-sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison for conspiring to murder U.S. citizens, including police officers, on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

David Daoud Wright, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, a/k/a Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, 31, of Everett, Mass., was re-sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. In December 2017, Wright was sentenced to 28 years in prison after a federal jury convicted him of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. In August 2019, the First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated count one (conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS) and affirmed the other counts. The case was remanded to the district court for re-sentencing, which took place yesterday. (Read Here)

GARNER MAN CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY SEEKING OVER $6 MILLION IN COVID RELIEF FUNDS

RALEIGH, N.C. – A Garner man was charged with fraudulently seeking over $6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Tristan Bishop Pan, 38, of Garner, is charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.

The indictment, unsealed today, alleges that Pan perpetrated a scheme to submit fraudulent PPP loan applications to federally insured banks.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees PPP loans under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  According to the allegations, Pan submitted numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications, including on behalf of entities named Pan Insurance Agency, White Walker, Khaleesi, and The Night’s Watch.  The indictment alleges that, in support of the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Pan made false statements about the companies’ employees and payroll expenses.  The PPP loan applications were supported by fake documents, including falsified tax filings, according to the indictment.  Pan allegedly submitted fourteen PPP loan applications seeking over $6.1 million and received more than $1.7 million in benefits following approval of the Pan Insurance Agency and White Walker PPP loan applications.  The government was able to seize some of the allegedly fraudulent loan benefits. (Read Here)

FEDERAL CARJACKING AND FIREARM CHARGES FILED AGAINST MAN FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING VEHICLE AT GUNPOINT IN CHICAGO

CHICAGO — A federal grand jury has indicted a man on carjacking and firearm charges for allegedly stealing a vehicle at gunpoint in Chicago.

On the afternoon of May 27, 2020, ELIAS QUINONES-FIGUEROA forcibly took a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle from a victim in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago, according to an indictment unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Quinones-Figueroa brandished a handgun during the carjacking, the indictment states.

The indictment charges Quinones-Figueroa, 19, of Chicago, with one count of carjacking and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.  Quinones-Figueroa was taken into federal custody on Friday.  He pleaded not guilty at a Friday afternoon arraignment in federal court in Chicago.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani scheduled a detention hearing for Oct. 1, 2020. (Read Here)

THREE OREGONIANS ACCUSED OF CRIMES DURING CIVIL DISORDER EVENTS IN PORTLAND

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that three Portland, Oregon residents have been charged with crimes during civil disorder events.

A federal grand jury in Portland, Oregon has returned a one-count indictment charging John Phillip Wenzel, with Civil Disorder on August 14, 2020.

Halston Eugene Hamilton and Michael Lee Pilgrim have been charged with Violation of National Defense Airspace, a misdemeanor, for flying a drone within federal airspace on September 26, 2020.

Each of these charges is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

OREGON RESIDENT ACCUSED OF INTERFERING WITH POLICE MAKING ARRESTS DURING CIVIL DISORDER IN PORTLAND

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Portland, Oregon resident has been charged with jumping onto the back of a police officer who was arresting someone, as the officer was engaged in lawful crowd dispersal during a civil disorder event.

A federal grand jury in Portland, Oregon has returned a one-count indictment charging Meganne Elizabeth Englich-Mills, 24, with Civil Disorder.

According to court documents, during the evening hours of September 5, 2020, a crowd of people attempted to march to the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct located at 737 SE 106th avenue from Ventura Park. When the crowd encountered law enforcement officers, multiple fire bombs and commercial grade fireworks were thrown by the crowd towards law enforcement, resulting in injury to both law enforcement and community members. The assembly was declared a riot and the crowd received multiple warning to disperse from the area. The crowd refused to disperse and people in the crowd began throwing rocks at law enforcement and lit several fires in the streets using dumpsters, garbage cans and wooden pallets. (Read Here)

FORMER MADISON COUNTY POSTAL EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH STEALING MAIL

A federal grand jury for the Southern District of Illinois has returned an indictment charging Tia M. Taylor, 27, of Alton, Illinois, with one count of theft of mail by a postal service employee. The indictment charges that in July 2020, Taylor stole four packages addressed to Godfrey residents from the Godfrey post office, where she worked as a clerk.

The arraignment for Taylor will be held on Oct. 8, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Taylor is the second postal employee charged this month with stealing mail in the Southern District of Illinois. Athens A. Shorey, 33, of Cobden, Illinois, was indicted earlier this month with taking mail from the Carbondale post office back in May. (Read Here)

LAKEWAY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AGREES TO PAY MORE THAN $1.1 MILLION TO SETTLE CIVIL FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS

U.S. Attorney John F. Bash of the Western District of Texas announced today that Lakeway Regional Medical Center, LLC (LRMC) has agreed to pay the United States and the State of Texas $1,119,177.21 to resolve allegations LRMC submitted false claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

LRMC developed and operated a hospital in Lakeway, TX.  The settlement resolves allegations that LRMC induced certain physicians to refer patients to the hospital by offering them a low-risk, high-reward investment in a joint venture formed to purchase and then lease the hospital back to LRMC.  The United States contends that claims for reimbursement submitted by LRMC to the Medicare and Medicaid programs between March 2, 2015, and August 31, 2016, based on these referrals were unlawful under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. (Read Here)

OWNER OF BITCOIN ENCHANGE CONVICTED OF RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY FOR LAUNDERING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN INTERNATIONAL CYBER FRAUD SCHEME

A Bulgarian national was found guilty today for his role in a transnational and multi-million dollar scheme to defraud American victims through online auction fraud.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Assistant Director Michael D’Ambrosio of U.S. Secret Service’s Office of Investigations and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer made the announcement.

Rossen Iossifov, 53, formerly of Bulgaria, was convicted by a federal jury in Frankfort, Kentucky of one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering after a two-week trial in front of U.S. District Judge Robert E. Wier.  Sentencing has been set for Jan. 12, 2021. (Read Here)

TWO IRANIAN MEN CHARGED BY FEDERAL GRAND JURY IN SCHEME TO SEND EXPORT-CONTROLLED COMPUTER SERVERS TO IRAN

 LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has indicted two Iranian men with participating in a conspiracy to procure and illegally send export-controlled computer servers to Iran.

Ebrahim Azadegan, 42, and Alireza Alvandi, 45, were named in a 10-count indictment returned on September 25 that charges them with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, which restrict the export of goods and services from the United States to foreign nations. Azadegan and Alvandi were also charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, smuggling goods out of the United States, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, from January 2013 through July 2017, Azadegan, Alvandi, Dana Point resident Johnny Tourino, and Spectra Equipment, Inc. purchased, sent, and attempted to send computer servers to Iran without obtaining licenses from the U.S. government that are required under IEEPA. Tourino and Spectra were previously indicted in a separate case in 2018 and are scheduled to go on trial in January. (Read Here)

FORMER MUSIC TEACHER SENTENCED FOR PRODUCING IMAGES OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

RICHMOND, Va. – A former Richmond City Public Schools elementary music teacher was sentenced today to the statutory maximum of 30 years in prison for producing images of child sexual abuse.

According to court documents, Kellen Thomas Donelson, 32, came to the attention of law enforcement in 2019 for uploading multiple images of child pornography via Snapchat and Kik Messenger. During a court-authorized search of his home and electronic devices in December 2019, law enforcement discovered additional images and videos of child sexual abuse.

According to the statement of facts, Donelson admitted that he produced several images and videos of child pornography using his personal cell phone, including with a victim as young as 4 years old. (Read Here)

UNITED STATES FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST NUTTER HOME LOANS FOR FORGING CERTIFICATIONS AND USING UNQUALIFIED UNDERWRITERS TO APPROVE GOVERNMENT-INSURED REVERSE MORTGAGES

 WASHINGTON – The United States has filed a complaint under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 and the False Claims Act against Nutter Home Loans, f/k/a James B. Nutter & Co. (Nutter), for forging certifications and using unqualified underwriters to approve Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), the Department of Justice announced today.

“The HECM program benefits America’s seniors and our communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.  “The Department is committed to holding accountable those who violate the bedrock requirements of this important program.”

“Companies participating in federal programs must operate with honor and integrity,” said Acting U.S Attorney Michael R. Sherwin for the District of Columbia.  “This action sends a clear message that we will not tolerate fraud against programs designed to financially help our nation’s seniors.” (Read Here)

NEW ROCHELLE MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FBI TASK FORCE OFFICER DURING BROAD DAYLIGHT SHOOTING IN YONKERS

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and John J. Mueller, Commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department, announced charges today against DARREN SMITH for attempting to murder a federal law enforcement officer.  The defendant will be presented in White Plains federal court today before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, the defendant fired a handgun into a commercial hub in Yonkers and, in a further wanton disregard for human life, attempted to direct his fire at a federal law enforcement officer.  Our Office will work to ensure that those who put our law enforcement partners in danger are held to account.” (Read Here)

SIXTEEN MEN CHARGED FEDERALLY AS PART OF CINCINNATI GUN VIOLENCE INITIATIVE

CINCINNATI – A federal grand jury has charged 15 Cincinnati men and one Chicago man with crimes related to Cincinnati gun violence in separate indictments unsealed here today. Six defendants were arrested late last week, and 10 were already in state custody.

U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, ATF Special Agent in Charge Roland Herndon, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced the cases as part of a 2020 Summer Gun Violence Initiative.

The aim of the initiative is to identify repeat and dangerous offenders for federal prosecution.

The cases include multiple incidents of shots fired, defendants who allegedly threatened children with firearms at a school and an apartment complex, and a handful of individuals fighting in the street with weapons. (Read Here)

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