27
April , 2017
Thursday

President Barack Obama will address the 106th NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia, PA on ...
Select local barbershops to host events and provide fathers with parenting resources ...
   The “Great Soul” and the Great Emancipator                      Springfield, IL – Two of world history’s ...
A Chicago man convicted of the 2012 early morning sexual assault of a pregnant woman ...
With Monday's deadline for a nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States ...
Live Event will Feature All Candidates and  Focus on African American Issues CHICAGO, IL –The ...
Student Organizing Results in Columbia University Becoming First to Divest from Private Prison Industry On Monday ...
Asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of ...
At approximately 9:40 a.m. (Pacific) on Thursday, February 11, 2016, the FBI brought three of ...
  CHICAGO, IL  – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan honored Veterans Day and reminded Illinois veterans, ...

Archive for the ‘Legal Matters’ Category

Men Sentenced to Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $6 Million Restitution for Tax Fraud at Hope Hospital

Posted by Admin On April - 25 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Texarkana, Arkansas – Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that two men were sentenced this week on one count each of Failure to Collect or Pay Over Tax.  James R. Cheek, age 68, of Waleska, Georgia and Herschel J. Breig, Sr., age 69, of Nixa, Missouri were each sentenced to 36 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Restitution of $6,000,000 is ordered jointly and severally between the two defendants.  Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District court in Texarkana.

According to court records, as principals of Hope Medical Park Hospital, both Cheek and Breig were responsible to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over the hospital’s payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service during the calendar years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.  They failed to pay approximately $6,000,000 in payroll taxes as was required.

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in July, 2015 and both pleaded guilty in September, 2016.

“Corporate executives have a responsibility to withhold federal income taxes for their employees and then remit those taxes to the IRS on their behalf. Employment tax evasion not only results in the loss of tax revenue to the United States government, employees also lose future social security or Medicare benefits” stated Tracey D. Montaño, Special Agent in Charge. “Failure to pay over withheld taxes is a serious offense, and continues to be an investigative priority for IRS Criminal Investigation.”

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorneys Candace Taylor and Jonathan D. Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.

Source: FBI

Pharmacist Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Pay Healthcare Kickbacks

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Carlos Mazariegos (40, St. Petersburg) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

 

According to court documents, Mazariegos was a licensed pharmacist who co-owned Lifecare Pharmacy in Pinellas County with his business partner, Benjamin Nundy. In 2014, Mazariegos, Nundy, and Dr. Anthony Baldizzi, a licensed physician, agreed that Lifecare would pay Baldizzi illegal kickbacks for prescriptions of compounded medications written by Baldizzi and filled at Lifecare. In May 2014, Mazariegos, acting on behalf of Lifecare, entered into a marketing agreement with Centurion Compounding Inc., a marketing firm located in Pasco County that employed sales representatives to market compounded medications, specifically creams for pain and scars, to beneficiaries of health care plans, especially TRICARE. These compounded creams typically ranged in price from approximately $900 to $21,000 for a one-month supply.

 

Between May and November 2014, Centurion directed patients that it had recruited and the physicians within its network to send all of their compounded creams prescriptions to Centurion. Centurion then transmitted these prescriptions to Lifecare to be filled. Mazariegos, Nundy, and the principals of Centurion agreed to pay illegal kickbacks to Baldizzi equal to approximately 10% of the after-cost amount of each claim paid by TRICARE and other health care benefit programs as a result of compounded medications prescriptions written by Baldizzi and filled by Lifecare, for Centurion-recruited patients. For example, in December 2014, Mazariegos wrote a check to a car dealership for $71,900, funded with the proceeds from the operation of Lifecare, to pay for a BMW for Baldizzi in partial satisfaction of the kickbacks owed to him.

 

Lifecare received approximately $5.3 million from TRICARE for claims made for compounded medications prescribed by Baldizzi resulting from this illegal kickback relationship. Mazariegos and Nundy also billed Medicare $1,064,729 for compounded medications that Lifecare made with bulk powder ingredients when they knew that Medicare only reimbursed for such medications when they were made using crushed tablets.

 

Nundy is scheduled to plead guilty to engaging in a conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud at a hearing on April 26, 2017.

 

A grand jury returned an indictment charging Baldizzi with conspiracy, healthcare fraud, receiving health care kickbacks, and engaging in illegal monetary transactions. The case is currently set for trial in May 2017.

 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, the Defense Investigative Service, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mandy Riedel and Megan Kistler.

Source: FBI

Two Men Charged With $900,000 Interstate Theft Scheme

Posted by Admin On April - 17 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

NEWARK, N.J. – Two New Jersey men were arrested for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $900,000 in commercial and residential merchandise from various companies, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Roy Depack, a/k/a “Ray Depack,” a/k/a “Roy Soriano,” a/k/a “John Soriano,” 42, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and Louis J. Pobutkiewicz Sr., 39, of Newark, are charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Both defendants were arrested this morning by FBI special agents and postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark federal court.

According to the complaint:

Beginning in mid-2014, Depack allegedly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain merchandise – including Apple computers, iPads, digital scales, a walk-in freezer, a dishwasher, microwaves, gas ranges, refrigerators, ice makers, commercial grade food processors, coin operated commercial washers and dryers, Samsung televisions, Dewalt and Milwaukie tools kits, plasma cutters, and NFL jackets – from at least six different victim companies.

In furtherance of the scheme, Depack called the victim companies and falsely claimed to be a representative of companies that had preexisting business relationships, lines of credit, or accounts with the victim companies. Depack would then direct the victim companies to ship the products to various addresses in Newark, Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey, and New York, while the victims billed the companies that Depack was pretending to represent.

At times, Pobutkiewicz would accept the shipments of the fraudulently ordered merchandise. Afterwards, Depack and others sold and attempted to the sell the fraudulently obtained merchandise to pawn stores and others.

For example, on Nov. 21, 2016, Depack called a victim company in Illinois while fraudulently using the name “Greg” and claiming to be a representative of an electric distributor that operates in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. Depack ordered a power tool kit valued at approximately $1,241.65 and directed the company to deliver the merchandise to an address in Newark that was close to Pobutkiewicz’s residence. The next day, federal agents conducted surveillance near the delivery address in Newark and observed Depack and Pobutkiewicz meet near the delivery address. Afterwards, federal agents observed Pobutkiewicz take possession of the parcel.

Depack used over 100 different telephones numbers to call the victim companies. These phone numbers were often registered in another person’s name. In addition to using different names to place orders, Depack often attempted to use a female voice. The Victim Companies recorded many of these the calls – including the above example – and provided them to federal agents.

When the victim companies rejected his orders, Depack sometimes threatened to cancel business accounts or file lawsuits. In one instance, after a company rejected his order, Depack stated, “I’m gonna come down there with a Louisville Slugger. We’re gonna see what their gonna do now, alright. Thank you.”

In total, Depack and others caused and attempted to cause over $900,000 in financial losses to the victim companies.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. After the initial appearance, Depack was detained. Pobutkiewicz will be detained temporarily pending further proceedings.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy A. Gallagher in Newark, and postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, with the investigation.

The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense Counsel:

Depack: Stacy Ann Biancamano Esq., Chatham, New Jersey

Pobutkiewicz: Chester Keller Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Source: FBI

New Top Ten Fugitive: FBI: Help Us Catch a Murderer

Posted by Admin On April - 13 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

A New Jersey gang member wanted in connection with a brutal, premeditated murder has been named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and a reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to his capture.

Walter Yovany Gomez, in his early 20s at the time of the 2011 murder in Plainfield, New Jersey, was attempting to become a full member of MS-13 by carrying out a gang-ordered killing. It didn’t matter that the target was Gomez’s friend—the man had allegedly shown disrespect to the gang.

 

Part of the Plainfield Locos Salvatrucha (PLS) crew, Gomez was assigned the hit when his bosses heard that one of their associates had been seen socializing in a bar with a rival 18th Street Gang member. Ordering a murder for such a sign of disrespect is not uncommon for MS-13, a transnational gang known for its extreme violence.

“To become a full-fledged member of MS-13,” said Special Agent Dan Brunner, who is investigating the case from the FBI’s Newark Division, “you have to kill someone on behalf of your local clique, or crew. Only then can you get the MS-13 letters tattooed on your body,” Brunner explained. “Gomez had not earned his letters yet.”

On May 8, 2011, Gomez—known to his friends as Cholo—invited himself and a co-conspirator to the victim’s house. Another person was there who was not involved in the plot. The four were drinking, smoking weed, and watching TV. “They were all friends,” Brunner said. “The victim had no reason to suspect that he was going to be murdered.”

“This is an extremely violent criminal who needs to be captured.”

Dan Brunner, special agent, FBI Newark

The victim, Julio Matute, partied with his friends all night. Early the next morning, as he was getting dressed to go to work, Gomez grabbed an aluminum baseball bat and struck Matute in the back of his head several times. When he fell to the floor, Gomez cut his throat with a knife, then grabbed a screwdriver and repeatedly stabbed him in the back.

“He was stabbed so many times that when his body was discovered a week later,” Brunner said, “police officers thought that he had been shot with a shotgun.”

Gomez’s fellow attacker was later arrested, but when police went to Gomez’s residence, he jumped out a rear window and fled into the woods. Later investigation revealed that he drove to Maryland with assistance from fellow MS-13 gang members.

A Honduran citizen who came to the U.S. illegally, Gomez is not believed to have left the country. He may be residing in Maryland or Northern Virginia, where there are thousands of MS-13 members, Brunner said. Or he may have returned to New Jersey. “He would probably be considered a higher-ranking member of the gang now,” Brunner added.

With the exception of Gomez, all of the gang members involved in Matute’s murder have been prosecuted. In 2013, Gomez was charged with murder in the aid of racketeering, which carries a mandatory life sentence (Gomez’s fellow attacker received a mandatory life sentence).

Brunner believes the $100,000 reward in the case will bring someone forward. “It is unlikely that a fellow MS-13 member would turn Gomez in,” he said, “but he works construction doing dry wall, and someone on a construction crew not involved with the gang could recognize him and do the right thing. This is an extremely violent criminal who needs to be captured.”

Anyone with information concerning Gomez should contact the nearest FBI office or local law enforcement agency, or submit a tip online.

Source: FBI

Former District Attorney Walter P. Reed and his Son, Steven P. Reed, Sentenced

Posted by Admin On April - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that former St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter P. Reed, age 70, and his son Steven P. Reed, age 45, both of Covington, were sentenced after being convicted by a federal jury in May of 2016.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon sentenced Walter P. Reed to 48 months incarceration to be followed by 2 years of supervised release. Walter P. Reed was also ordered to pay $572,000 in restitution, $40,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, and a $15,000 fine. Additionally, per a prior ruling, Walter P. Reed was ordered to pay $609,217.08 in forfeiture. Furthermore, Judge Fallon ordered Walter P. Reed and Steven P. Reed jointly and severally responsible for $46,200 in forfeiture.

Steven P. Reedwas sentenced by U.S Judge Fallon to 5 years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service.

Walter P. Reed was convicted of one count conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of false statement on income tax return; and, five counts of mail fraud.

Steven P. Reed was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering; one count of wire fraud; and, one count of money laundering,

“Walter and Steven Reed broke the law and have now been punished for their crimes,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. “We want to assure the public that with the continued assistance from our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, this Office will identify and prosecute any individual who commits an act of public corruption.”

“I would like to thank the men and women of the FBI, the IRS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this very important matter,” stated FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sallet.

“Today, Walter and Stephen Reed were held accountable for their actions. It is a severe abuse of the public trust when elected officials misuse campaign funds for personal purposes, and abuse their positions for personal gain. IRS – Criminal Investigation is extremely proud of the work we do in cases such as these, and we stand ready to pursue further investigation and criminal actions against individuals engaged in all forms of public corruption,” stated Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie.

Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation for investigating this matter and thanked the Metropolitan Crime Commission for its assistance. The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Jordan Ginsberg, Brian M. Klebba, Maria Carboni, and Jeff Sandman.

Source: FBI

Islamic American Relief Agency Sentenced for Transferring Nearly $1.4 Million to Iraq in Violation of Sanctions

Posted by Admin On April - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
 IARA employee provided satellite phone used in 1998 terrorist bombings of U.S. Embassies; $818,000 in assets transferred to Heifer International

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA), formerly headquartered in Columbia, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today for transferring nearly $1.4 million to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions.

IARA has been dissolved, and has divested itself of all its funds and property. IARA’s assets, which consisted of 14 bank accounts and an interest in a piece of real estate in Boone County, Mo., were transferred to Heifer International, Inc., an unrelated charity. A total of $818,894 was given to Heifer International to further the goal of providing relief to farmers and drought victims in east Africa. The real estate has not yet been sold. Articles of Dissolution were filed with the Missouri Secretary of State on April 5, 2017, terminating IARA as a registered corporation with the state of Missouri.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich summarized the organization’s conduct for the court, stating that IARA willfully violated U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq, a very important national security matter, and further misused its status as a charity to solicit donations that donors thought were going toward lawful charitable projects, but were not. Further, IARA knowingly engaged in prohibited transactions with a deputy to specially designated global terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, in Pakistan. Then, when Congress placed IARA on a list of organizations that supported terrorism, the organization hired a former member of Congress, co-defendant Mark Siljander, to act as an unregistered agent for a foreign entity, and at Siljander’s direction concealed the payments to him by routing them through non-profit entities.

However, Mohlhenrich emphasized, the reason the case was important, and the reason IARA was ultimately designated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as a specially designated global terrorist, should not be forgotten. IARA was a member of a larger organization headquartered in Sudan that was itself an al-Qaeda supporter. The IARA connection to al-Qaeda dated back to well before Sept. 11, 2001; it arose while Osama Bin Laden was a guest of the government of Sudan. During that same period, Ziyad Khaleel, who lived in Columbia and was a fundraiser for IARA, purchased a satellite telephone and deliver it to al-Qaeda operatives while he was on travel paid for by IARA in February 1997. That satellite phone was used by al-Qaeda to direct operations and to orchestrate the Aug. 7, 1998, simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.

On July 20, 2016, IARA (through a representative of the board of directors) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of obstructing the administration of internal revenue laws, which were contained in an Oct. 21, 2008, federal indictment.

IARA served as the U.S. office of the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), an international organization headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan. IARA took in between $1 million and $3 million in contributions annually from 1991 to 2003. It also received funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IARA employed approximately six full-time employees and 10-12 part-time employees.

IARA was closed in October 2004 after being identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a specially designated global terrorist organization. IARA was reconstituted in order to resolve this criminal matter. Now that this case is resolved, IARA has dissolved itself as a corporation for all time. Under the terms of the plea agreement, IARA and its board of directors agreed they will not form a new corporation to conduct the activities that IARA formerly conducted.

IARA secretly funneled $1,375,000 to Iraq in violation of United States economic sanctions. President George H.W. Bush declared a national emergency with respect to Iraq in August 1990, which resulted in sanctions against sending or transferring money, funds or goods directly or indirectly to any person in Iraq or to the government of Iraq. In violation of the Iraqi sanctions, IARA collected funds that were illegally transferred to Iraq with the assistance of a Jordanian national. According to today’s plea agreement, this individual either took the cash into Iraq or purchased items in Jordan and transported them into Iraq.

IARA corruptly endeavored to impair and impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws by using its tax-exempt status to solicit funds, representing that they were legitimate charitable contributions, and to misuse part of those funds by transferring those funds to Iraq, a purpose prohibited by law. During the entire period in which the Iraq sanctions were in effect, IARA solicited donations through various means, including pamphlets, flyers, newsletters and personal correspondence, requesting contributions to pay for projects in Iraq. IARA did not disclose the fact that the organization had provided funds for projects and persons in Iraq in its annual filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

Several officials and employees of IARA have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

IARA Executive Director Mubarak Hamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sudan, was sentenced to four years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Hamed pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally transfer more than $1 million to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions. Hamed also pleaded guilty to obstructing the administration of the laws governing tax‑exempt charities by misusing IARA=s tax‑exempt status, providing false information to the IRS, and lying to federal agents.

IARA fundraiser Abdel Azim El-Siddig was sentenced to two years of probation. El-Siddig pleaded guilty to conspiring to lobby for IARA=s removal from a Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties, while concealing this advocacy and not registering with the proper authorities.

IARA board member Ali Mohamed Bagegni, a native of Libya who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and IARA fundraiser Ahmad Mustafa, a citizen of Iraq and a lawful permanent resident alien, were each sentenced to six months of probation. Federal prosecutors asked the court to give Bagegni and Mustafa credit for their substantial assistance to the government in the investigation and prosecution of the case. Bagegni pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to illegally transfer funds to Iraq in violation of federal sanctions. Mustafa was a fundraiser for IARA from 1996 until it was closed in 2004, but at the time he worked for the organization he was unaware it had no permission to send funds to Iraq. Mustafa pleaded guilty to illegally transferring funds to a family member in Iraq in violation of federal sanctions.

Hamed and El‑Siddig hired Mark Deli Siljander in 2004 to lobby for IARA=s removal from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism, and its reinstatement as an approved government contractor. IARA lost its status as an approved government contractor in 1999, when the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) terminated grants for two relief projects in Mali, Africa.

Siljander, who operated a Washington, D.C. consulting business called Global Strategies, Inc., had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan and was a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly. Earlier in 2004, Siljander had assisted IARA in hiring another former congressman and lobbyist (identified as “R.P.H.”), who was paid $15,000 to advocate for IARA’s removal from the list and reinstatement as an approved government contractor.

Siljander, Hamed and El‑Siddig agreed with each other to conceal Siljander=s efforts on IARA=s behalf. In order to do so, Siljander instructed Hamed and El‑Siddig to transfer $75,000 of IARA=s funds to him by funneling them through nonprofit entities. El-Siddig carried at least three checks issued to Siljander=s charities from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and gave them to Siljander.

In exchange for the payments, during the summer of 2004, Siljander acted as an agent for IARA by contacting persons at the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, USAID, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Army, in an effort to have IARA removed from the USAID list of debarred entities, and to remove IARA from the Senate Finance Committee=s list of charities suspected of funding terrorism. Federal law requires anyone who serves as an agent of a foreign entity, including an organization, to register with the U.S. Attorney General.

Siljander admitted that in two separate interviews he repeatedly lied to FBI agents and prosecutors acting on behalf of a federal grand jury. Siljander obstructed justice by falsely denying that he was hired to advocate for IARA, and by falsely claiming that the payments from IARA were charitable donations intended to assist him in writing a book about bridging the gap between Islam and Christianity.

Siljander was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven M. Mohlhenrich and Brian Casey from the U.S. Attorney=s Office for the Western District of Missouri, and Trial Attorney Paul G. Casey from the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of the Inspector General.

Source: FBI

Former Fresno Bank of America Manager Pleads Guilty to Embezzling at Least $100,000 from Bank

Posted by Admin On April - 6 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

FRESNO, Calif. —Sylvia Ochoa, 34, of Fresno, pleaded guilty today to embezzlement by a bank employee, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Ochoa was the manager of a Bank of America branch on Tulare Street in downtown Fresno. On multiple occasions in 2013, Ochoa entered the bank vault after other employees had left for the day and removed cash without authorization. Ochoa used the money to purchase items for herself and her boyfriend, including designer handbags and a truck that she purchased for $24,000 in cash. Ochoa also caused Bank of America to electronically credit accounts that she set up. For example, Ochoa transferred at least $69,000 of Bank of America’s money into her boyfriend’s bank account. Ochoa admitted that she embezzled at least $100,000 from Bank of America during this time.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. Tierney is prosecuting the case.

Ochoa is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on July 11, 2017. Ochoa faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Source: FBI

Prison Strike Leader Moved to Infirmary after Twenty Four Days Refusing Food

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a national prisoner leader has been on hunger

strike since Monday, February 27th. On Friday, March 24th he was moved

to the infirmary, presumably due to failing health. His appeal to the

Rules Infraction Board (RIB) was also denied by Ohio Department of

Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Director Gary Mohr.

 

The administration at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) has been targeting

and restricting Hasan’s communication access on any pretense they can

find or invent since his outspoken support for the nation-wide prisoner

strike on September 9th of 2016.

 

Hasan and another prisoner, Jason Robb began refusing food when the OSP

administration put them on a 90 day communication restriction for being

interviewed by the Netflix documentary series Captives. Hasan appealed

the RIB’s decision, arguing that they violated policies regarding

timelines, access to witnesses, and prisoners’ due process rights.

Director Mohr’s response to the appeal was a form letter that did not

address any of the issues Hasan raised.

 

Hasan and Robb are on death row and have been held in solitary

confinement since the 1993 prison uprising in Lucasville. They believe

that the ODRC and the Ohio State prosecutors targeted them after the

uprising because of their role in negotiating a peaceful surrender.

State officials, in both the Captives documentary and a 2013 documentary

called The Shadow of Lucasville, have admitted that some prisoners were

given deals to testify against Hasan, Robb and others, and that no one

really knows who committed the most serious crimes during the uprising.

In court, they argued the opposite to secure death penalty convictions.

 

The Lucasville Uprising prisoners have been fighting to tell their story

for decades, and are currently suing the ODRC over an unconstitutional

media blockade, which the Captives documentary crew circumvented by

unofficially recording video visits with Hasan and Robb. The current

hunger strike is part of an ongoing struggle for equal protection, basic

human rights and survival after decades of living under the most

restrictive and torturous conditions of confinement at OSP, Ohio’s

supermax prison.

 

Supporters are asking people to please call Director Gary Mohr at

614-387-0588 or email him at drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us as well as

Northeast Regional Director Todd Ishee, 330-797-6398. Demand that the

punishments being imposed on Jason Robb and Siddique Abdullah Hasan be

reversed and that OSP authorities be severely reprimanded for violating

their rights to due process and displaying bias toward them.

 

For more information on the Lucasville Uprising, the struggles of these

prisoners, and the media blockade against them, please visit

LucasvilleAmnesty.org.

 

Hasan’s Conduct Report and appeal:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxez-nYn2VrpVTVESENUZENnaVU/view?usp=sharing

 

Gary Mohr’s form letter response:

https://drive.google.com/a/lucasvilleamnesty.org/file/d/0B9q-BEqATW6TeHVUUHM1ZVF5bnc/view?usp=sharing

 

Feb 28th announcement of hunger strike:

http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/2017/02/uprising-prisoners-censored-respond.html

 

Info about the lawsuit against media blockade:

http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/2014/04/aclu-articles-on-lucasville.html

 

Articles about Hasan’s involvement with the September 9th prison strike:

http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/search/label/strike%20september%209th

_______________________________________________

Iwoc-news mailing list

Iwoc-news@lists.iww.org

http://lists.iww.org/listinfo/iwoc-news

 

Women Sentenced for Providing Material Support to Terrorists

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two women were sentenced today for terrorism crimes related to their material support of al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, were sentenced to 12 and 11 years, respectively, for conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The women were found guilty of the crimes after a bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga on Oct. 25, 2016.

According to court documents, Jama and Dhirane, who are both originally from Somalia and are naturalized United States citizens, sent money to financiers of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, which they referred to respectively as the “Hargeisa side” and the “Nairobi side.” The defendants also organized what was called a “Group of Fifteen,” which included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota. The “Group of Fifteen” met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organize and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side,” which was used to finance al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to fund two al-Shabaab safehouses. One of the safehouses was used by al-Shabaab to store weapons and to prepare for attacks. The other was used to treat al-Shabaab fighters who had been wounded in battle.

A substantial part of the government’s case consisted of recorded telephone calls and other communications among the “Group of Fifteen.” These recordings demonstrated that the women had close connections with al-Shabaab leadership and were privy to non-public, inside information concerning al-Shabaab activities. Jama and Dhirane were recorded as they laughed as the carnage at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was still taking place. Dhirane and co-conspirator were also recorded as they laughed at the Boston Marathon Bombing before it became known who committed the attack.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mary B. McCord, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Jay S. Tabb, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James P. Gillis and Danya E. Atiyeh prosecuted the case with assistance from C. Alexandria Bogle, Trial Attorney, Counterterrorism Section.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI’s Minneapolis and Seattle Field Offices. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis also provided valuable assistance to the prosecution. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs played an essential role in coordinating arrests and searches with foreign authorities.

Source: FBI

Civil Rights Group Sues Chicago Over Preservation of 911 Tapes

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

City Routinely Violates the Law By Destroying Tapes After Only 30 Days, Jeopardizing Defendants’ Ability to Challenge Police & Others’ Accounts of Crimes

CHICAGO, IL – Attorneys with the Chicago Civil Rights Project filed suit against the City of Chicago today for the failure of the City’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications to routinely preserve 911 tapes, in clear violation of Illinois’ Local Records Act (LRA – 50 ILCS 205).

Since many defendants aren’t arrested, let alone able to secure representation within the narrow 30-day window during which records are currently preserved, evidence that could prove useful for their defense is routinely lost.

 

Not preserving this evidence heightens the risk that innocent people are wrongfully convicted and serve prison terms that they shouldn’t. Civil suit plaintiffs who feel their rights have been violated by police and others are also deprived of evidence that could buttress their claims.

“The cost of preserving this important evidence is at most a few thousand dollars with technology that has been readily available for several years now,” said Nick Albukerk, a volunteer and co-founder of the Chicago Civil Rights Project (CCRP), an organization of Chicago-area attorneys dedicated to civil rights and police accountability. “Balanced against the financial, let alone human cost of just one wrongful conviction, it is unconscionable that the City refuses to preserve this evidence.”

As the suit (No. 2017-CH-04038) notes,

For a cost of less than $10,000, OEMC could purchase sufficient computer memory to store 20 years of 911 calls…. The LRA conditions destruction of 911 recordings on a certification by OEMC that the recordings for which disposal is sought comply with the conditions in the Application: that the recordings in question do not contain any relevant evidence in any proceeding either pending or anticipated.”

Officers of OEMC have certified for decades that the 911 recordings that they seek to destroy meet the above conditions without conducting any affirmative investigation and with knowledge that the current system is inadequate to ensure compliance

The fact that OEMC violates the Local Records Act by routinely destroying 911 records after 30 days was confirmed by a federal judge’s ruling in last year’s Colyer v. City of Chicago case.

“It is unfortunate that we have to resort to suing the City in order to force it to do what should be a routine administrative procedure,” said Albukerk. “The City’s refusal to implement inexpensive, common sense procedures to ensure defendants’ rights is a waste of taxpayer funds and serves to reinforce the City’s negative national reputation as being laggards in ensuing the fair administration of justice.”

The Chicago Civil Rights Project is represented in the suit by Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, the firm which successfully obtained the release of the dashcam video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting death at the hands of Chicago police.

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