NUMEROUS PREVIOUSLY DETAINED ALIENS WITH SMALL CHILDREN RELEASED ON HUMANITARIAN GROUND
Pursuant to HSI procedures as part of this operation, all those detained yesterday were asked when they arrived at the processing center whether they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up. In order to make it possible for detained aliens to contact family members and address childcare issues, HSI made cell phones available for use by detained aliens to make arrangements for the care of their children or other dependents. In addition, HSI had liaison officers working with the school districts to facilitate this process.
As part of HSI procedures pursuant to this operation, if HSI encountered two alien parents with minor children at home, HSI released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that individual to the place from which they were arrested. HSI similarly released any single alien parent with minor children a home on humanitarian grounds and physically returned that person to the place where he or she was originally detained. Based on these procedures, it is believed that all children were with at least one of their parents as of last night.read here
TULSA MAN WHO FLED FROM SMUGGLING CHARGE PLEADS GUILTY
Jeremy Daniel Singer, 36, stated in a signed plea agreement that he placed an order for 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as “MDMA” or ecstasy, through an encrypted site on the “dark web” and had it shipped to his Tulsa home under a pseudonym. Singer stated that he planned to sell the ecstasy for profit. Customs and Border Protection officials intercepted the package containing the pills when it entered the United States. Undercover agents with Homeland Security Investigations, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office later delivered the package to Singer’s home in Tulsa and arrested Singer when he signed for the package.
While on bond awaiting a hearing on state drug charges relating to the ecstasy shipment, Singer agreed to appear in federal court on March 12 on federal drug charges and the smuggling charge. Instead of appearing in court, Singer fled the state. Authorities searched for Singer for nearly a month, when, on April 9, authorities in Johnson County Wyoming attempted to stop Singer’s vehicle. Singer led them on an off-road chase before abandoning his vehicle and disappearing into nearby fields. He was found the next day and attempted to elude authorities on a bulldozer he had stolen, before he was finally arrested. read here
PINE RIDGE MAN FOUND GUILTY OF AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Robert Dowty, Sr., age 57, was found guilty of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor following a federal trial in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, up to life, and/or a $250,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Evidence at trial established that between June and September of 2018, Dowty forcibly sexually assaulted a child under the age of 16 years. Additional victims testified at trial that they also were sexually assaulted in the past by Dowty. read here
PINE RIDGE MAN SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR ABUSIVE SEXUAL CONTACT
James Janis, age 39, was sentenced on August 2, 2019, to 10 years in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Janis was indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2018. The charge related to Janis forcibly engaging in sexual contact with a juvenile victim at the White Clay Dam in Pine Ridge on November 17, 2017. read here
RAPID CITY MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO SEXUAL ABUSE OF JUVENILES
Ira Little Bear, age 29, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to life in prison, lifetime supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges relate to Little Bear engaging in and attempting to engage in sexual contact and acts with juvenile females at Wounded Knee between 2015 and 2017. read here
NEBRASKA MAN SENTENCED FOR SEXUAL ABUSE OF A MINOR
Lawrence Martin, Jr., age 20, was sentenced on August 2, 2019, to time served, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Martin was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2018. The charge related to Martin engaging in a sexual relationship with a 13-year old female in 2017 and 2018. read here
PINE RIDGE BROTHERS CHARGED WITH KIDNAPPING
Jesse Sierra, age 33, and Dustin Sierra, age 35, were charged on July 30, 2019. Dustin Sierra appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on July 31, 2019, and Jesse Sierra appeared on August 2, 2019, and pleaded not guilty to the charge. The maximum penalty upon conviction is life in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, 5 years supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charge relates to the Sierra brothers kidnapping a female from Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 13, 2019, transporting her against her will and holding her on the Pine Ridge Reservation for several days, and ultimately taking her across state lines to Nebraska. On July 21, 2019, the victim was dropped off at the hospital in Chadron, Nebraska, with severe injuries, including broken bones and bruising to her face and body. read here
PINE RIDGE MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING FEDERAL OFFICER
Joseph John Winters, age 44, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is 8 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charge relates to Winters striking an officer in the face with a closed fist on March 3, 2019, at Pine Ridge. read here
FORMER DOCTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR ILLEGALLY SELLING PAINKILLERS FOR CASH AT HIS HIGH DESERT MEDICAL CLINIC
Wendell Mark Street, 67, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of illegally prescribing oxycodone to patients without a legitimate medical purpose. United States District Judge George H. Wu has scheduled a December 9 sentencing hearing, at which time Street will face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.
Street admitted in court today that, while he was a licensed anesthesiologist, on August 1, 2013, he sold two prescriptions for $300 each to a confidential informant and an undercover investigator with the California Medical Board. He further admitted that he wrote the prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose and intentionally acted outside the usual course of professional practice, including by failing to conduct a physical examination, establish diagnostic testing, provide a treatment plan, and create documentation to establish a medication indication for the prescriptions. read here
FORMER DISTRICT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS FOR CARRYING OUT EMBEZZLEMENT SCHEME
Holliday’s job responsibilities at DHS included representing the agency at “fair hearings” that involved disputes between DHS and its clients about eligibility and benefits. In cases where the agency lost the hearing, Holliday was responsible for creating a memorandum summarizing the conclusions of the hearing and directing another employee at DHS to calculate and pay whatever “underpayments” the client was owed. Holliday created and submitted a fraudulent memorandum in which he falsely claimed that as a result of a purported fair hearing, a client of DHS needed to be processed for SNAP and TANF underpayments.
In fact, the named client had not applied for benefits (the client’s alleged application had been forged by Holliday) and there had never been a fair hearing regarding the client’s eligibility for benefits. As a result of the Holliday’s actions, another employee created an active underpayment account for the client in the DHS computer system. Then, between June 2017 and November 2018, Holliday used his access to the DHS computer system to create over 400 fraudulent underpayments for the client, totaling in excess of $400,000. He accessed the fraudulent proceeds by using the client’s benefit card. read here
LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN TIED BY TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO HEZBOLLAH IS SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME INVOLVING THE EVASION OF U.S. SANCTIONS
Kassim Tajideen, 63, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments in furtherance of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). In 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Tajideen as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist based on his tens of millions of dollars of financial support of Hezbollah. The designation prohibited Tajideen from being involved in, or benefiting from, transactions involving U.S. persons or companies without a license from the Department of the Treasury.
“This defendant knowingly violated sanctions and put our nation’s security at risk,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division. “His sentencing and the $50 million forfeiture in this case are just the latest public examples of the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to disrupt and dismantle Hezbollah and its support networks.” read here
A MORGAN COUNTY MAN WHO FAKED HIS DEATH PLEADS GUILTY
According to Hall’s plea agreement, Hall was facing criminal charges of rape 1st degree and sodomy 1st degree (a child under 12 years of age) in Cullman County, Alabama, and an aggravated child abuse charge in Madison County, Alabama. Hall had pending court dates in both counties in March 2016 and April 2016. Between December 2015 and February 2016, Hall used another person’s identifiers to obtain a social security card, Alabama Driver’s license, and U.S. passport. He then faked his death and used those documents to travel out of the country. In September 2017 Hall was apprehended in Koh Samui, Thailand, by Thai authorities. In October 2017, the U.S. Marshals Service, along with a Madison County task force officer assigned to the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, and took custody of Hall and transported him back to the United States of America.
The maximum penalty for Social Security fraud is five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000.
The penalty for aggravated identity theft is two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. read here
KANSAS MAN SENTENCED TO 84 YEARS FOR PRODUCING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Anthony Shultz was charged by complaint in July 2016 and pleaded guilty to three counts of producing child pornography in July 2018 before U.S. District Judge Eric F. Melgren of the District of Kansas.
According to admissions made in conjunction with the guilty plea, Shultz engaged in sex acts with minor females in the Philippines. He videotaped his sexual encounters with two minors and transported the videos to his home in Kansas. Shultz would also sell the videos online. One of the girls was only 12 years old at the time; the other was 15 years old. In one of the videos, Shultz is seen giving the 15-year-old money after having sex with her. Shultz also produced child pornography of an 8-year-old girl in the Philppines by communicating on Skype with the child’s mother and directing the mother to expose the child’s genitals and live-stream it on web camera. read here
WOMAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $350,000 FROM DELLS FIRE & EMS COMMISSIONS
n May 21, 2019, Czuprynko pleaded guilty to embezzling public monies that involved at least $10,000 in federal funds. At the plea hearing, the government proffered facts showing that Czuprynko, who worked as the secretary/bookkeeper for the Delton Fire Department Commission and Dells-Delton Emergency Services Commission, had embezzled funds from the checking accounts of those two commissions. On November 20, 2018, the Lake Delton police confronted her with the missing money in the checking accounts and she confessed to stealing the funds. The total loss amounted to $358,233.42, and spanned from February 1, 2016 to November 16, 2018. Czuprynko provided spreadsheets to the police detailing her thefts. read here
BOSSIER PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER PLEADS GUILTY TO ANABOLIC STEROID DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY
From January 2016 to May 2018, Mosura was involved in a scheme to distribute anabolic steroids in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, along with co-defendants Brant R. Landry, 39, and wife Julie Landry, 42, both of Bossier City. When a Bossier Parish deputy stopped Brant Landry’s vehicle on Mary 22, 2018, for driving erratically, Brant Landry told the deputy that he had a .45-caliber pistol and medication inside the vehicle. After searching it, the deputy found a plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance that was later identified as Xanax and 11 vials of yellow liquid, later determined to be anabolic steroids.
Further investigation revealed that Brant Landry distributed steroids to Mosura, who in turn consumed and distributed the steroids to third parties. Mosura admitted to receiving and distributing the steroids. read here
BROOKLYN MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO INVESTMENT SCHEME THAT DEFRAUDED ELDERLY VICTIMS
“John Cucinella represented himself to investors as a ‘financial concierge’, but rather than service the needs of elderly investors, he swindled them out of thousands of dollars and then spent the money on himself,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The Department of Justice and this Office are committed to prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law those who prey on vulnerable victims for their own selfish benefit.”
According to court filings and facts presented at the plea proceeding, between approximately March 2015 and April 2018, Cucinella falsely represented to Mackrow investors, many of whom were elderly, that their funds would be used to invest in pre-initial public offering (pre-IPO) shares of private companies, including a company purportedly that manufactured bug spray. In a brochure that Cucinella provided to clients, Mackrow was described as “providing you all the resources of a true financial concierge.” During the same time period, Cucinella transferred more than $400,000 from the Mackrow account to bank accounts he controlled, and spent approximately $108,000 for credit card payments and $40,000 at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Brooklyn. More than 80 individuals invested approximately $778,000 with Mackrow, and received only $80,818 in return. read here
FORMER RANCHO CORDOVA AND TRACY RESIDENTS AND UTAH RESIDENT INDICTED FOR “REFUND FRAUD” SCHEME
According to court documents, Ward, Nunes, and Toilolo conspired to defraud financial institutions using a scheme called “refund fraud” or “force post refund fraud.” This scheme exploited the refund process used by businesses and retail establishments to pay back customers for returns, reimbursements, and erroneous charges. The defendants posed as merchants and executed fraudulent debit or credit card refunds, which caused the unauthorized transfer of money from a merchant bank account to an account under the defendants’ control.
The defendants allegedly committed this scheme by stealing or purchasing point-of-sale (POS) terminals that are used by businesses to process bankcard transactions. The defendants programmed each terminal to make it appear as if it was authorized by a particular merchant, connected the terminals to payment processing intermediaries, and executed refund transactions even though no purchases had been made. The payment processors, falsely believing the terminals were authorized, approved the refunds and caused the merchants’ banks to transfer funds to the defendants’ accounts. The defendants then drained the stolen funds from the accounts. The indictment alleges that this scheme caused at least $3.5 million in intended victim losses. read here
FINAL DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY IN BID-RIGGING CONSPIRACY INVOLVING GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
According to court documents, Dixon conspired with John Brewer, 50, of San Francisco, and Brent Vinch, 49, of New York, to rig the state of California’s competitive bidding process. Dixon was a regional representative for a software company that produced software used by several California state agencies. Brewer and Vinch were the owners of, and senior executives for, a company called Expert Network Consultants (ENC), which submitted bids to the state for various government contracts, including contracts to supply the software produced by Dixon’s employer.
Working together, Dixon, Brewer, and Vinch thwarted the competitive bidding process in order to ensure that ENC won contracts with California agencies to supply the software in question. The process requires that any IT purchase over $4,999 and not advertised must obtain at least two bids from prospective sellers, and the contract must be awarded to the lowest bidder. Brewer solicited bids from individuals and companies that had no intention or ability to perform the work called for in the contracts, and Brewer directed Vinch to create and submit non-competitive bids. Dixon often directed Brewer and Vinch to create, collect, or submit bids to certain agencies, and on other occasions advised them on how to act in bidding. Dixon solicited cash and wine from Brewer and Vinch to continue steering contracts to them and advising them on the non-competitive bidding process, and she joined ENC as an employee in 2012. read here
FORMER SACRAMENTO RESIDENT SENTENCED TO OVER 3 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER
According to court documents, Barnes had three prior Nevada state convictions for pandering of a minor, and failed to register as a sex offender upon his release in 2013. Between 2013 and 2018, Barnes lived in Sacramento and did not register as required under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and Nevada and California law. read here
TOLEDO MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HIS ROLE IN CONSPIRACY TO USE EXPLOSIVES TO LAUNCH MASS-CASUALTY ATTACK
“This defendant has admitted to helping plot and plan a mass-casualty attack in Toledo,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “His guilty plea today is an important step as we seek justice in this case, and the facts to which he admitted today reflect the serious nature of the charges against him and his co-conspirator.”
“Vincent Armstrong has accepted responsibility for the steps he took to put his unfathomable desire of committing mass murder into action,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said. “Law enforcement urges the public to report suspicious, concerning behavior – see something, say something.” read here
CALIFORNIA RESIDENT CHARGED IN SCHEME TO SELL FORGED ARTWORKS IN SOUTH FLORIDA
According to the indictment, Righter engaged in a scheme to defraud a South Florida art gallery owner and others by making materially false and fraudulent representations, and by the concealment of material facts, concerning, among other things, the source and authenticity of certain artworks purportedly created by deceased artists K.H. and J.M.B.
Righter is alleged to have acquired forged and fraudulent artworks through, among other sources, the eBay online marketplace. In order to make the forged and fraudulent artworks appear authentic, Righter created fraudulent letters certifying their authenticity. These fraudulent letters bore the names of legitimate representatives of the artists’ estates. read here
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST NEW YORK PROPERTY OWNER
Under the Consent Decree in United States of America v. Douglas S. Waterbury, et al., which still must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, Defendants have agreed to pay a total of $450,000, which includes $400,000 in monetary damages to former tenants and potential tenants who were harmed as a result of the sexual harassment, as well as a $50,000 civil penalty. Additionally, the Defendants will pay $400,000 to compensate nine plaintiffs in the related private suit. The Consent Decree also bars Douglas Waterbury from participating in the rental or management of residential properties.
“The sexual harassment of the vulnerable female applicants and tenants in this case by their landlord is an egregious and intolerable violation of federal civil rights law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Department of Justice will continue to pursue any depraved landlords and others who prey upon vulnerable women.” read here
WHITMAN MAN INDICTED FOR SEXUALLY EXPLOITING CHILDREN
According to the charging documents, the investigation began when Murphy, posing as a teenage girl, used a Snapchat account to extort nude photographs from a Massachusetts middle school boy. Agents obtained portions of the Snapchat account Murphy had created in the fake identity and uncovered evidence of similar extortion of other minors in the area. The indictment charges Murphy with using five separate Snapchat accounts to sexually exploit children. read here
CEO OF MIAMI INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT COMPANIES PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING INVESTORS OF OVER $7.5 MILLION
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that FABIO BRETAS DE FREITAS pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Laura T. Swain to defrauding a group of investors (the “Victims”) by soliciting funds for investment in the commodity futures markets, but instead using the funds for personal and other expenses. BRETAS lulled his Victims and furthered the scheme by distributing fictitious financial statements to the Victims, purporting to show their investments’ position and growth under his management. When his companies were audited by regulators, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and the National Futures Association (“NFA”), BRETAS lied to the regulators in order to cover up his crimes, going so far as to steal the identity of one Victim and to impersonate that Victim in email communications with the NFA. read here
FEDERAL PRISON INMATE SENTENCED FOR ASSAULTING FELLOW INMATE
On November 5, 2017, Richardson brutally attacked a fellow inmate at FCI-Oxford using a combination lock that he secured to the end of a belt. As a result, the victim sustained significant injuries to his hands, face, neck, and head. During sentencing, Judge Peterson stressed the importance of keeping people safe in prison. He also explained that inmates insult the integrity of the institution by engaging in such conduct. read here
SALVADORAN NATIONAL INDICTED AFTER HE WAS STOPPED ON THE OHIO TURNPIKE TRANSPORTING PEOPLE WHO WERE IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY
Melvin Enriquez Rios, 37, was indicted on seven counts of transportation of aliens not lawfully in the United States.
Rios was in a Toyota Sequoia with a Texas license plate that was stopped by an Ohio State Patrol trooper on July 15 in Wood County.
None of the occupants of the van had any personal items with them and their cell phones were stored together inside a bag in the front glove compartment. The van’s windows were tinted. Only Rios spoke and only he had access to the cell phones, according to court documents.
Rios said upon further questioning that he was being paid to drive the people from Houston to Chicago and then a location in Maryland and would be paid for transporting them upon his return to Houston, according to court documents. read here
FORMER POSTAL WORKERS UNION OFFICER ADMITS EMBEZZLEMENT
Robert Peter, 58, of Sicklerville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of embezzling funds from the operating account of the Local 526 Postal Workers Union. Local 526 represents approximately 900 members who work in the clerk, maintenance, and motor vehicle crafts for the U.S. Postal Service in southern New Jersey.
Between May 1, 2018, and June 13, 2018, Peter issued eight checks to himself, totaling $22,500, by fraudulently utilizing the union president’s “signature stamp” to authorize the disbursement of members’ money. He also withdrew, without proper authorization, $12,000 in cash from the union’s account through ATM machines in Atlantic City. read here
TWO MEN SENTENCED FOR IMMIGRATION CRIMES
Six prior removals between these two men,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Line skippers. They need to get in line and obtain permission to legally enter our country.”
Juan Carlos Reyes-Molina, 23, a Honduran man, was sentenced for “time served” Reyes-Molina previously entered a guilty plea to the felony offense of Reentry of a Removed Alien on May 29, 2019 and has been incarcerated since March 1, 2019. Reyes-Molina was remanded to ICE agents for administrative removal proceedings. The West Virginia State Police and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the investigation. read here
DOMINICAN NATIONAL SENTENCED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
Ulises Mota Carmona, 36, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to two years and one day in prison. He will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Mota Carmona was arrested and charged in a July 2018 federal law enforcement sweep of 25 individuals accused of document and benefit fraud.
On Aug. 5, 2015, Mota Carmona applied for a learner’s permit with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles using the name and Social Security number of a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico. He presented a birth certificate and Social Security card in the other person’s name to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles as proof of his identity. Mota Carmona also used the name and Social Security number of a U.S. citizen to receive MassHealth benefits. read here
DOMINICAN NATIONAL ARRESTED IN U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS FOR CRIMES RELATED TO ALIEN SMUGGLING AND PROSTITUTION SCHEME
Yohanna Gonzalez-McFarlane, 38, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, was arrested on August 7, and charged in a criminal complaint with one count of alien harboring for financial gain and one count of interstate transportation for prostitution. The arrest was announced by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands.
According to court documents that were unsealed today, between at least December 2018 and August 2019, the defendant recruited young foreign women and arranged to have them smuggled into the U.S. Virgin Islands. The defendant then housed the women at a residence on St. Thomas and required them to engage in commercial sex at the defendant’s nightclub to repay a smuggling debt. The case came to law enforcement’s attention when one of the women reported the conditions of her treatment to her family, who then called the Virgin Islands Police Department. read here
MAPLE HEIGHTS WOMAN SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR ROBBING THE SAME CONSIGNMENT STORE ON CHAGRIN BOULEVARD ON CONSECUTIVE DAYS, INCLUDING USING A FIREARM IN THE SECOND ROBBERY
Rachellette McKissack, 26, was sentenced to 114 months in federal prison. She previously pleaded guilty to two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence.
McKissack robbed the Cleveland Consignment Shoppe at 28790 Chagin Blvd. in Woodmere on November 15, 2018, according to court documents.
McKissack again robbed the Cleveland Consignment Shoppe on November 16, 2018, this time using a firearm during the robbery, according to court documents. read here
MASTERMIND OF $1.3 BILLION INVESTMENT FRAUD (PONZI) SCHEME – ONE OF THE LARGEST EVER CHARGED IN SOUTH FLORIDA – PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY AND TAX EVASION CHARGE
On August 7, 2019, Sherman Oaks, California native, Robert Shapiro, 61, pled guilty to orchestrating and leading a massive investment fraud scheme, in which more than 7,000 victims suffered financial losses, as well as tax evasion, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349 and 26 U.S.C. § 7201. Shapiro is the former owner, president, and CEO of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC (“Woodbridge”). Shapiro is scheduled for sentencing on October 15, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. He faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. read here
THREE NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH SEX TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY
According to the allegations in the complaint, the defendants conspired to coerce multiple women to engage in commercial sex in New Jersey and New York. Specially, Noriega used violence, threats of violence, threats of drug withdrawal, and other means, to compel the victims to engage in commercial sex for his profit, including after his incarceration in New York in 2017. Oyola and Gonzalez helped Noriega control the victims through various means, collect the proceeds, and otherwise carry out his sex trafficking activities while Noriega was incarcerated. read here
DALLAS BROTHEL OWNER TARGETED IN STING OPERATION PLEADS GUILTY
In plea papers, Ms. Kim – the owner of brothels “Pink One” and “Illusion Spa” – admitted that she agreed to take more than $40,00 in exchange for providing illicit sex services to a group of out of town “businessmen” partying at a local hotel.
Those “businessmen” were in fact undercover law enforcement. More than 50 officers from the Dallas Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Homeland Security Investigations participated in the Nov. 1 undercover operation, which involved agents posing as businessmen posted at the hotel bar and in rooms upstairs. read here
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF NORMAN COMPANY INDICTED FOR EMPLOYMENT TAX FRAUD
According to the indictment, Anglin was the Controller and Chief Financial Officer for a group of companies owned by the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, located in Wetumpka, Oklahoma. In that role, Anglin was responsible for collecting and paying over to the IRS taxes withheld on behalf of the employees of Atmospheric Technology Services Company (ATSC), which was headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma.
The indictment alleges that Anglin failed to collect and pay over a total of $1,744,047.68 for the employees of ATSC from the second quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Anglin allegedly approved hundreds of thousands of dollars of non-tax expenditures, including salary and bonuses for herself and payments for the personal benefit of another person associated with the companies. read here
DEFENSE CONTRACTOR TO PAY $3.3 M TO RESOLVE FALSE CLAIMS ACT ALLEGATIONS
The settlement resolves allegations that, between December 2011 and March 2015, Ambu, a provider of medical supplies, submitted false claims to the Defense Logistics Agency (“DLA”) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (“VA”) for payment relating to Ambu’s sales of medical supplies. The Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”) requires that products sold to government agencies must come only from countries with which the United States has a trade agreement. While many countries qualify as TAA compliant countries, China and Malaysia do not. Ambu began manufacturing its products in these countries and selling them to government agencies in violation of the TAA. Indeed, over 80% of Ambu’s sales to DLA and VA under these contracts were from these non-compliant countries during the years covered by the settlement. Ambu executives certified that its products came from compliant countries despite allegedly knowing that most of the products were manufactured in non-compliant countries. read here
NEW YORK MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 26 YEARS FOR SEX TRAFFICKING AND HEROIN AND CRACK DISTRIBUTION
According to court records, in 2015, Graham, using force and threats, recruited an adult female to engage in commercial sex acts in Biddeford, Maine. Graham verbally abused and assaulted the victim, threatened her with violence, and exploited her heroin and crack addictions. Graham distributed crack to the victim. He also supplied her with just enough heroin to avoid withdrawal and threatened to cut off her supply and cause her to suffer withdrawal if she refused to engage in commercial sex acts. Graham also caused the victim, and a second woman, to travel from Maine to New Hampshire and Massachusetts to engage in prostitution. read here
HONDURAN MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY USING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT
United States District Court Judge Martin L.C. Feldman sentenced MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ to time served (2 months of imprisonment), followed by 1 year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment fee. The defendant will be surrendered to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal proceedings.
According to court documents, on June 14, 2019, MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ submitted a fraudulent Form I-9 application in order to obtain employment with a local company. He attested on the form that he was someone else. He used a fraudulent Social Security card in the name of the other person which also contained that person’s actual Social Security number as verification. In order to finalize employment with that company, he was required to take a safety course at another location on June 18, 2019. He once again provided the fraudulent Social Security card as proof of his identity, but an employee suspected the card was fraudulent and alerted Customs and Border Protection. Subsequent record checks confirmed his real identity. read here
RALEIGH MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 32 YEARS FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION OFFENSES
ENSENAT was named in an Indictment filed on August 16, 2017, and pleaded guilty on April 2, 2018, to production of child pornography and possession of child pornography.
On November 5, 2014, while executing a search warrant at ENSENAT’s residence, Raleigh Police Department officers and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents discovered images of child pornography involving a ten-year-old victim. Later analysis confirmed the identity of the victim and discovered other images of child pornography involving the victim and other children. The victim later disclosed that ENSENAT was sexually abusing her. read here
GRAND JURY INDICTS STEVEN WIGGINS ON FEDERAL CHARGES RELATING TO DEATH OF DICKSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – August 8, 2019 – A federal grand jury sitting in Nashville yesterday, returned a four-count indictment charging Steven J. Wiggins, 32, of Dickson, Tennessee with federal carjacking and firearms violations which resulted in the death of Dickson County Sheriff’s Sergeant Daniel Baker. U.S. Attorney Don Cochran immediately filed a notice with the Court that the government intends to seek the death penalty.
After a thorough review by the Department of Justice, Attorney General William P. Barr recently granted authority to seek the death penalty in this case. read here