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Archive for the ‘Legal Matters’ Category

Federal Prosecutors Charge Huntsville Man with Material Support to Foreign Terrorist Organization

Posted by Admin On March - 12 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

BIRMINGHAM – Earlier this week, federal prosecutors filed a terrorism charge against a Huntsville man who has acknowledged that he bought bomb-building ingredients last year, stated his aspirations to conduct ISIS-inspired attacks on police stations and Redstone Arsenal, and attempted to form a cell to conduct violent acts within the United States.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. announced the charge and today’s guilty plea.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a one-count information charging AZIZ IHAB SAYYED, 23, with attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. According to the charge and an accompanying plea agreement, Sayyed attempted to provide services and personnel (himself) to ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham – knowing that ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization. Sayyed pled guilty to the charge before U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon. Sayyed’s plea agreement stipulates a 15-year prison sentence. The judge scheduled Sayyed’s sentencing hearing for June 20.

“The successful resolution of this case can be entirely attributed to the robust cooperation between local, state and federal members of law enforcement,” Town said. “The Madison County District Attorney’s Office, HPD, UAHPD, and especially the FBI played key, complimentary roles in this investigation and all contributed significantly in bringing Aziz Sayyed to justice. The National Security Division of the Department of Justice also played an important role in the investigation and prosecution of Sayyed. Moreover, Sayyed was brought to our attention because citizens saw something, so they said something. If we are to keep our cities safe, no matter the type of suspicious activity, our community must play an active role,” Town said.

“I want to commend the work of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Huntsville Police Department, the Madison County District Attorney’s Office, and our many other law enforcement partners that worked to bring Mr. Sayyed to justice,” Sharp said. “The citizens of north Alabama can rest assured that the FBI will continue to work with our partners and the community to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”

Between January and June of 2017 in Madison County, Sayyed, a U.S. citizen, obtained and viewed ISIS propaganda videos depicting ISIS forces committing bombings, executions by gunshot and beheading, and other violent acts, according to the court documents. Sayyed shared the videos and expressed his support for ISIS and for ISIS terrorist attacks around the world.

Sayyed researched and learned how to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly volatile and extremely dangerous explosive material, then he purchased the necessary ingredients for the explosive, and professed his aspiration to use TATP in an explosive belt and/or a car bomb, according to his plea agreement.

On June 13, 2017, Sayyed met with an individual he understood to be an ISIS member.  In fact, the person was an undercover employee (UCE) of the FBI.  Sayyed and the UCE discussed the danger of TATP, ISIS’s preference for the use of certain explosives, and Sayyed’s desire to assist ISIS, according to the plea agreement. In that meeting, Sayyed offered to personally carry out attacks on behalf of ISIS.

The FBI investigated the case in conjunction with the Huntsville Police Department, Madison County District Attorney’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Army 902 MI Group, Redstone Arsenal’s Garrison Command, University of Alabama at Huntsville Police Department, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Enforcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Davis Barlow are prosecuting the case with the assistance of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Source: FBI

Connecticut Business Owners Admit to Profiting from Unlawful Exports to Pakistan

Posted by Admin On March - 8 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MUHAMMAD ISMAIL, 67, of Meriden, and KAMRAN KHAN, 38, of Hamden, pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to money laundering in connection with funds they received for the unlawful export of goods to Pakistan.  A third defendant, Imran Khan, 43, of North Haven, previously pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export laws.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from at least 2012 to December 2016, Ismail, and his two sons, Kamran and Imran Khan, were engaged in a scheme to purchase goods that were controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) and to export those goods without a license to Pakistan, in violation of the EAR.  Through companies conducting business as Brush Locker Tools, Kauser Enterprises-USA and Kauser Enterprises-Pakistan, the three defendants received orders from a Pakistani company that procured materials and equipment for the Pakistani military, requesting them to procure specific products that were subject to the EAR.  When U.S. manufacturers asked about the end-user for a product, the defendants either informed the manufacturer that the product would remain in the U.S. or completed an end-user certification indicating that the product would not be exported.

After the products were purchased, they were shipped by the manufacturer to the defendants in Connecticut.  The products were then shipped to Pakistan on behalf of either the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (“PAEC”), the Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (“SUPARCO”), or the National Institute of Lasers & Optronics (“NILOP”), all of which were listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List.  The defendants never obtained a license to export any item to the designated entities even though they knew that a license was required prior to export.  The defendants received the proceeds for the sale of export controlled items through wire transactions from Value Additions’ Pakistan-based bank account to a U.S. bank account that the defendants controlled.

Ismail and Kamran Khan each pleaded guilty to one count of international money laundering, for causing funds to be transferred from Pakistan to the U.S. in connection with the export control violations.  In pleading guilty, Ismail and Kamran Khan specifically admitted that, between January and July 2013, they procured, received and exported to SUPARCO, without a license to do so, certain bagging film that is used for advanced composite fabrication and other high temperature applications where dimensional stability, adherence to sealant tapes and uniform film gage are essential.  The proceeds for the sale of the bagging film was wired from Pakistan to the defendants in the U.S.

When they are sentenced, Ismail and Kamran Khan face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.  Since the time of their arrests in December 2016, Ismail has been released on a $50,000 bond, and Kamran Khan has been released on a $100,000 bond.

Ismail and Kamran Khan are both citizens of Pakistan and lawful permanent residents of the U.S.

On June 1, 2017, Imran Khan pleaded guilty to one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  In pleading guilty, KHAN specifically admitted that, between August 2012 and January 2013, he procured, received and exported to PAEC an Alpha Duo Spectrometer without a license to do so.  He is released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacabed Rodriguez-Coss and Stephen B. Reynolds, in coordination with Trial Attorney Scott McCulloch of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES).

Source: FBI

New Mexico Man Charged for Defrauding Investors Out of $4.4 Million

Posted by Admin On March - 5 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

A New Mexico man was charged in federal court for his role in defrauding investors out of at least $4.4 million, said U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.

Eugene Turner, 64, of Animas, New Mexico, was charged via criminal information with one count of wire fraud.

Turner and Timothy E. McShane established several companies between 2006 and 2012, including McShane Construct All International LLC, Rancho Hidalgo LLC, Lordsburg Land Development LLC, Hidalgo Alfalfa Company LLC, New Mexico Natural Beef & Pork, LLC, Firewater Hydrogen Fuel LLC, Granite Gap Development LLC and New Horizons West, Inc.

Turner and McShane solicited investments in the companies by giving investors promissory notes and/or founder’s shares in the companies, which where not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission nor traded on any public stock exchange.

They collateralized investments in the companies with assets, such as land pledges, crop pledges, real property and other items, purportedly belonging to the companies when, in reality, Turner and McShane knew they did not own those assets.

They used personal, social and business relationships of current investors to establish relationships of trust with prospective investors. They made false statements to investors about the progress of the companies. They also misused funds from new investors to make small payments to other investors who complained about lack of return on their investments, according to the information.

Because of Turner and McShane’s scheme to defraud, investors in the companies had a combined out of pocket loss of approximately $4.4 million between 2008 and 2015. Additionally, they did not receive the interest payments the defendants guaranteed or the investment gains the defendants falsely promised during the scheme, according to the information.

McShane, of Stow, has pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced March 6.

“These defendants stole millions of dollars from investors through years of lies, deception and false promises,” Herdman said. “This case serves as a reminder that there is no such thing as a sure thing and people need to exercise caution when deciding how to invest their savings.”

“This defendant, along with his cohort, defrauded numerous investors out of millions of dollars all under a ruse that they would receive financial benefit from their investments,” Anthony said. “Until now, the only people that benefited were the defendant, Eugene Turner, and his partner, Timothy McShane, but their time has come and both will be held accountable for their fraudulent scams.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice.

If convicted, the Court will determine the defendant’s sentence after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: FBI

Massachusetts Man Arrested for Mailing Threatening Letters Containing Suspicious White Powder

Posted by Admin On March - 2 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

BOSTON – A Beverly, Mass., man was arrested today in connection with mailing five threatening letters containing suspicious white powder to high-profile individuals around the country.

Daniel Frisiello, 24, was charged in a criminal complaint with five counts of mailing a threat to injure the person of another and five counts of false information and hoaxes. Frisiello was arrested this morning and will appear in federal court in Worcester later this afternoon.

As alleged in court documents, law enforcement has connected Frisiello to at least five incidents of high-profile individuals around the country who received an envelope that bore a Boston postmark, containing suspicious white powder and a note indicating or implying that the powder was dangerous or intended to cause harm.

“This investigation should remind people that law enforcement will prioritize finding and charging those who try to cause panic by sending threatening letters containing what looks like dangerous substances,” said United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling. “Beyond terrifying the victims, these incidents caused law enforcement agencies around the country to spend time and money deploying emergency response units. Thankfully, the white powder in these letters was inert and no one was harmed. This does not change the fact that the defendant allegedly used the internet, the U.S. Mail, and popular fears of biological weapons to threaten and frighten people who did not share his views, and that is something we will prosecuted accordingly.”

“This investigation by the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force sends a strong message to those who seek to terrorize the public by sending powder letters through the mail. Whether real or a hoax, don’t do it. There are plenty of appropriate, lawful ways, to express your opinion and voice your displeasure, but inducing panic and sending what is believed to be a weapon of mass destruction through the mail is certainly not one of them. As alleged, Mr. Frisiello sent letters from the Boston area containing white powder that required emergency responses all over the country,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division. “While we determined that the mailings did not contain toxins or poison, each of these incidents required a significant law enforcement response, a field screening of the letter’s contents, and a methodical analysis by FBI weapons of mass destruction and laboratory experts. All this comes at a cost to taxpayers’ money and diverted first responders and other limited resources away from actual emergencies.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to keeping the U.S. Mail, its employees, and customers safe,” said Raymond Moss, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division. “When the U.S. Mail is used to transport dangerous or potentially dangerous items or substances, it is taken very seriously. The arrest of this individual is a result of a coordinated investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and other federal, state and local partners. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to investigate and bring criminals to justice to ensure the public’s trust in the U.S. Mail.”

“This case demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Secret Service to fully investigate any type of threatening behavior directed towards our Protectees.  It also highlights the ongoing collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners, specifically the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and all of our state and local partners involved in the Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said Stephen Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office.

It is alleged that the first envelope was addressed to “DonalD trump Jr,” the son of President Trump, and was postmarked in Boston on Feb. 7, 2018. The addressee’s wife opened the envelope, which contained an unknown suspicious white powder, and the following printed message:

You are an awful, awful person, I

am surprised that your father lets

you speak on TV. You make the

family idiot, Eric, look smart. This is

the reason why people hate you,

so you are getting what you

deserve. So shut the **** UP!

The second envelope was addressed to Nicola T. Hanna, the Interim United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Also postmarked in Boston on Feb. 7, 2018, the envelope contained an unknown suspicious white powder, which spilled out when it was opened. The letter inside the envelope bore the following printed message:

That’s for murdering Mark Salling! I

Hope you end up the same place as Salling.

As alleged in court documents, Mark Salling, who committed suicide in January 2018, was a defendant in a child pornography case being prosecuted by Hanna’s office.

Subsequent envelopes containing threatening letters were mailed to Michele Dauber, a Professor of Law at Stanford University; U.S. Senator Deborah Stabenow of Michigan; and Antonio Sabato Jr., who is running for a congressional seat in California.

After each envelope was opened, a hazardous material response was required by law enforcement.

It was determined that there were notable commonalities among the envelopes, including that all five envelopes contained an unknown powdered substance, which has since been determined to be nonhazardous. Further investigation revealed that Professor Dauber was also sent a “glitter bomb.” A glitter bomb is a letter containing glitter sent to an unsuspecting individual that, when opened, spills out onto the recipient. Law enforcement traced financial records to Frisiello who ordered and paid for the glitter bomb to be delivered to Professor Dauber. Furthermore, on Feb. 21, 2018, agents recovered trash from Frisiello’s residence that appeared to contain remnants of the cut-out messages that Frisiello allegedly sent to the victims.

The charge of mailing a threat to injure the person of another provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, 10 years in prison for threats addressed to a federal official, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of false information and hoaxes provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Lelling, FBI SAC Shaw, Acting Inspector in Charge Moss, USSS SAC Marks and Beverly Police Chief John G. LeLacheur made the announcement today. This investigation was conducted by the FBI Boston Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force led by members of the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service and the Beverly Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Garland of Lelling’s National Security Unit.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Source: FBI

Two New Mexico Men Facing Federal Charges Arising From Social Media School Shooting Threats

Posted by Admin On February - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

ALBUQUERQUE – The FBI has filed federal charges against two New Mexico men for using social media platforms to post school shootings threats, announced U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.  The criminal charges arise from tips received by the FBI and its law enforcement partners since last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

“The Department of Justice will investigate and prosecute school shooting threats on social media platforms, which have recently spread like wildfire in the District of New Mexico in the wake of the Parkland shootings and other tragedies, causing fear and concern in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson.  “When the lives of our children potentially are at stake, we will take action.  These serious criminal charges should motivate everyone – adults and minors alike – to consider the consequences of posting threatening messages on social media platforms, and to report this unlawful behavior where it occurs.”

“The FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens to do harm to others,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Wade.  “We hope these charges send a strong message that the FBI, working in conjunction with our state and local partners, will investigate these tips thoroughly so we can keep our communities safe.”

The FBI arrested Sebastian Jarvison, 25, of Brimhall, N.M., yesterday afternoon on a criminal complaint charging him with transmitting in interstate commerce communications containing threats to injure others in McKinley County, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2018.  The complaint alleges that on Feb. 16, 2018, the FBI received a tip regarding school shooting and bomb threats allegedly posted by Jarvison on Facebook.  Jarvison’s Facebook posts allegedly included threats to “go shoot a school,” “put a bomb on a plane,” and “put a bomb on a plane and shoot up a school.”

This morning, Jarvison made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M.  Jarvison remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for Feb. 26, 2018.

A separate criminal complaint, filed on Feb. 22, 2018, charges John Russell Williams, 19, of Farmington, N.M., with a similar offense.  The complaint alleges that Williams committed the offense in San Juan County, N.M., on Feb. 15, 2018, by replying to a school shooting threat on Facebook with a slang term that means “let’s do it.”  According to the complaint, on Feb. 15, 2018, law enforcement authorities received a tip about a Facebook post allegedly made by a juvenile containing the following statement:  “only 2 months into 2018 and already we got 29 school shootings.  F**k it my turn.”  Williams allegedly replied to the post with the term “Haha esketit” – which means “let’s do it” or “let’s get it” – and a laughing emoji.

Williams was arrested on a related state charge on Feb. 16, 2018, and is currently in state custody on that charge and other pending state charges.  Williams will be transferred to federal custody to face the federal charge in the criminal complaint.

If convicted, Jarvison and Williams each face a statutory maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

These cases were investigated by the Gallup, Farmington and Albuquerque offices of the FBI with assistance from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Farmington Police Department, and Bloomfield Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the cases.

Jarvison Complaint    Williams Complaint

Source: FBI

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced For Stealing Funds Which Resulted In Closing Of Credit Union

Posted by Admin On February - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Norma Gold, 57, of Eldred, PA, who was convicted of making false entries in federal credit union reports, was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $179,939.21.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, stated that Gold was an employee of the Olean Tile Employees Federal Credit Union (OTEFCU) for approximately 26 years between 1986 and December 2012. For a portion of her tenure, Gold served as office manager and was responsible for keeping accurate financial records on behalf of the Credit Union.

Between December 2007 and December 2012, Gold embezzled funds and made false entries in OTEFCU’s general ledger and altered financial statements, making it appear that the OTEFCU’s account balances were larger than they actually were. Gold’s conduct caused substantial hardship to the OTEFCU and it was ultimately forced to close as a result of the theft. The OTEFCU suffered a total loss of $179,939.21.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin P. Lyons; the National Credit Union Administration; the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Lewis Robinson; and the Olean Police Department, under the direction Chief Jeffrey Rowley.

Source: FBI

Justice Department Coordinates Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep of More Than 250 Defendants

Posted by Admin On February - 24 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and law enforcement partners announced today the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.   The cases involve more than two hundred and fifty defendants from around the globe who victimized more than a million Americans, most of whom were elderly.  The cases include criminal, civil, and forfeiture actions across more than 50 federal districts.  Of the defendants, 200 were charged criminally.  In each case, offenders engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors.  In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused losses of more than half a billion dollars.  The Department coordinated its announcement with the FTC and state Attorneys General, who independently filed numerous cases targeting elder frauds within the sweep period.

Attorney General Sessions was joined in the announcement by FBI Acting Deputy Director David Bowdich; Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell; FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen; and Kansas Attorney General and President of the National Association of Attorneys General Derek Schmidt.

“The Justice Department and its partners are taking unprecedented, coordinated action to protect elderly Americans from financial threats, both foreign and domestic,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “Today’s actions send a clear message:  we will hold perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable wherever they are.  When criminals steal the hard-earned life savings of older Americans, we will respond with all the tools at the Department’s disposal – criminal prosecutions to punish offenders, civil injunctions to shut the schemes down, and asset forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains.  Today is only the beginning.  I have directed Department prosecutors to coordinate with both domestic law enforcement partners and foreign counterparts to stop these criminals from exploiting our seniors.”

The actions charged a variety of fraud schemes, ranging from mass mailing, telemarketing and investment frauds to individual incidences of identity theft and theft by guardians.  A number of cases involved transnational criminal organizations that defrauded hundreds of thousands of elderly victims, while others involved a single relative or fiduciary who took advantage of an individual victim.  The schemes charged in these cases caused losses to more than a million victims.

“Winners. That’s what so many of the people who received these solicitations in the mail thought they were. But they’re not. They are victims (link is external) of scams that Postal Inspectors have seen and investigated for decades. In fact, some of the same operators we encountered 20 years ago are back. But so are we. Yesterday, Postal Inspectors around the country executed search warrants on 12 locations that some of these same operators used to run their scams. We’re letting the American public know – and especially our vulnerable older Americans – that Postal Inspectors are working hard to protect them and ensure their confidence in the U.S. Mail,” said Chief Postal Inspector Cottrell.

“Over the last year, the FBI has initiated more than 200 financial crimes cases involving elderly victims who were devastated financially, emotionally, mentally and physically. Picking up the pieces of these fraud schemes can be equally as traumatizing for the caregivers of these elderly victims,” said Acting Deputy Director Bowdich.  “The FBI reminds seniors and their caregivers to be vigilant. If any person believes they are the victim of, or have knowledge of fraud involving an elderly person, regardless of the loss amount, they should report it to the FBI.”

Actions against mass-mailing fraud industry

As part of the initiative, the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and others, brought numerous cases this past week in a coordinated strike against more than 43 mass-mailing fraud operators, including criminal charges against six individuals.  In addition, law enforcement agents executed 14 premises search warrants from Las Vegas to south Florida, served numerous asset seizure warrants, and coordinated with the Vancouver Police in Canada, who executed over 20 warrants, including search warrants on business premises.

“The defendants targeted elderly and vulnerable consumers both in the United States and abroad, using U.S. addresses and the U.S. mails to try to legitimize their fraudulent schemes,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue.  “They sold false promises of life-changing prizes that never came true.  We will pursue the perpetrators of these mail schemes wherever they are located, and hold them accountable.”

These recently filed cases particularly targeted transnational criminal actors who collectively defrauded at least a million victims out of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Indeed, just one of the schemes prosecuted criminally by the Consumer Protection Branch operated from 14 foreign countries to cost American victims more than $30 million.  Click here for map showing a transnational, single fraud scheme.

Mass-mailing fraud inflicts hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to elderly U.S. victims each year.  Department prosecutors and U.S. Postal Inspectors have taken a comprehensive approach to combatting this fraud, disrupting and prosecuting individuals who manage the schemes, artists who draft the fraudulent solicitations, list brokers who supply victim lists, and individuals who collect victim payments. Click here for fact-sheet with cases on mass-mailing fraud.

Actions against other elder fraud schemes

Prosecutors across the country from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, the Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices have heeded the call to focus resources on elder fraud cases.  Over 50 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department Components filed elder fraud cases in the last year.  A list of Elder Fraud cases is provided on this interactive map.

Some examples of the elder financial exploitation prosecuted by the Department include:

  • “Lottery phone scams,” in which callers convince seniors that a large fee or taxes must be paid before one can receive lottery winnings;
  • “Grandparent scams,” which convince seniors that their grandchildren have been arrested and need bail money;
  • “Romance scams,” which lull victims to believe that their online paramour needs funds for a U.S. visit or some other purpose;
  • “IRS imposter schemes,” which defraud victims by posing as IRS agents and claiming that victims owe back taxes;
  • “Guardianship schemes,” which siphon seniors’ financial resources into the bank accounts of deceitful relatives or guardians.

Many of these cases illustrate how an elderly American can lose his or her life savings to a duplicitous relative, guardian, or stranger who gains the victim’s trust.  The devastating effects these cases have on victims and their families, both financially and psychologically, make prosecuting elder fraud a key Department priority.

Public education

The Department has partnered with Senior Corps, a national service program administered by the federal agency the Corporation for National and Community Service, to educate seniors and prevent further victimization. The Senior Corps program engages more than 245,000 older adults in intensive service each year, who in turn, serve more than 840,000 additional seniors, including 332,000 veterans.

Using its vast network operating in more than 30,000 locations, Senior Corps volunteers will communicate about elder fraud to potential victims across the country and will use their skills, knowledge and experience to educate their peers and caregivers about the most prolific types of schemes and how to avoid them. Click here for information on Senior Corps’ efforts to reduce elder fraud.

Coordination with state officials

Kansas Attorney General Schmidt highlighted the cases filed by state Attorneys General targeting elder frauds within in the sweep period, and he emphasized efforts at the state level to combat elder abuse and protect seniors from fraud and exploitation.  He encouraged all of the state Attorneys General to devote enforcement and public education resources to preventing financial exploitation of senior citizens.

Coordination with foreign law enforcement

Exceptional assistance from foreign law enforcement partners amplified the effectiveness of the Department’s initiative.  The sweep announced today benefited greatly from the work of the International Mass-Marketing Fraud Working Group (IMMFWG), a network of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Europol, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The IMMFWG is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Justice and FTC, and law enforcement in the United Kingdom, and serves as a model for international cooperation against specific threats that endanger the financial well-being of each member country’s residents.  Attorney General Sessions expressed gratitude for the outstanding efforts of the working group, including law enforcement action taken as part of the sweep by the Vancouver Police Department in Canada to halt mass mailing schemes that defrauded hundreds of thousands of elderly victims worldwide.

Elder fraud complaints

Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP.  The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at www.ovc.gov.

South Florida Doctor Sentenced in Medicare Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On February - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Dr. Salomon Melgen was sentenced to 17 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release by the U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida.  This sentencing is the culmination of a multi-year investigation, which was followed by an eight week jury trial in April 2017 that resulted in Melgen’s conviction on 67 counts of health care fraud and related charges.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office; Shimon R. Richmond, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG); Patrick Fletcher, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Inspector General (RRB-OIG); and John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), made the announcement.

            Melgen, an ophthalmologist who specialized in the treatment of retinal disorders and who had practiced in Palm Beach and St. Lucie Counties for many years until his arrest in 2015, engaged in a scheme to defraud the Medicare program and other health care benefit programs, by, among other things, falsely diagnosing Medicare patients with macular degeneration and then performing and billing for excessive and medically unnecessary tests and procedures, which included injections of expensive drugs and laser treatments.  These tests and procedures resulted in Melgen’s receiving tens of millions of dollars in reimbursement from the Medicare program alone during the six-year period of January 2008 through December 2013.

In sentencing Melgen, Judge Marra found that the intended fraud loss was over $70 million and the actual fraud loss to Medicare was $42 million.  In addition to the term of incarceration, the defendant was ordered to make full restitution to Medicare.   Losses to other insurance companies and to individual patients will be determined at a future hearing.

“In perpetrating his multi-million fraud scheme on health care benefit programs like Medicare, Dr. Melgen showed complete disregard for what was best for his patients and abused their trust for his own personal financial gain,” stated U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg.  “Dr. Melgen has been held responsible for his egregious fraud scheme.  Today’s sentence should serve as a reminder that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to bringing those who illegally divert the community’s tax dollars to justice, regardless of their professional position.”

“The reprehensible conduct of Salomon Melgen is a disgrace to the medical profession,” said Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami.  “Not satisfied with being a successful ophthalmologist committed to treating his patients’ legitimate medical conditions, Melgen devised a scheme to enrich himself by defrauding Medicare and other benefit programs to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.  The FBI will not relent in its pursuit of Medicare fraudsters – including greedy doctors.”

“Salomon Melgen callously took advantage of patients who came to him fearing blindness,” said Shimon Richmond, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. DHHS Office of Inspector General’s Miami Region.  “Instead of treatment, they received medically unreasonable and unnecessary tests and procedures that victimized his patients and the American taxpayer.  Today’s sentencing is a stark reminder that the OIG and our partners will not tolerate Medicare fraud and will not rest in our efforts to protect patients in their time of need.”

“The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Inspector General is committed to fighting Medicare fraud, waste and abuse and is proud to be part of this collaborative effort with the FBI, HHS-OIG, DCIS-OIG and OPM-OIG,” said Inspector General Martin J. Dickman. “The sentencing of Dr. Melgen sends a loud and clear message that combating Medicare fraud is a top Federal law enforcement priority and unscrupulous Medicare providers will not be tolerated.”

“This sentencing demonstrates the effectiveness of our joint investigations to pursue corrupt health care providers who defraud Federal health care programs,” stated Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office.  “DCIS is committed to preserving the integrity of DoD’s TRICARE program which serves America’s Warfighters and their families.”

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, HHS-OIG, RRB-OIG and DCIS.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger H. Stefin, Carolyn Bell and Alexandra Chase.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

FBI Statement Response to the Shooting in Parkland, Florida

Posted by Admin On February - 19 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

FBI Statement:

On January 5, 2018, a person close to Nikolas Cruz contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) tipline to report concerns about him. The caller provided information about Cruz’s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting.

Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life. The information then should have been forwarded to the FBI Miami Field Office, where appropriate investigative steps would have been taken.

We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami Field Office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said:

“We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter, as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. It’s up to all Americans to be vigilant, and when members of the public contact us with concerns, we must act properly and quickly.

“We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy. All of the men and women of the FBI are dedicated to keeping the American people safe, and are relentlessly committed to improving all that we do and how we do it.”

Victim of Police Det. Guevara Sues Over 19-Year Wrongful Imprisonment

Posted by Admin On February - 15 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Guevara Beat Arturo Reyes and Threatened Him With Electric Chair to Get Coerced Confession

CHICAGO, IL – Arturo Reyes, a wrongfully convicted man who served 19 years in maximum security prison, today filed a federal lawsuit charging that disgraced former Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara and others fabricated a false confession from him through physical violence, psychological abuse, and a days-long interrogation.

Reyes was wrongly convicted of a 1988 double murder and child abduction in Chicago. His suit comes two months after his exoneration, which occurred when Cook County Judge James Obbish dismissed murder charges against him. From the bench, Obbish excoriated Guevara, accusing him of telling “bald faced lies” while under oath in his testimony denying misconduct in Reyes’ case.

Also named in the suit are other Chicago police officers and Cook County prosecutors involved in the interrogations of Reyes, his co-defendant Gabriel Solache, and other witnesses. The suit charges that during a grueling 40-hour interrogation, Det. Guevara repeatedly hit Reyes and threatened him with the electric chair. Det. Guevara and other Chicago Police allegedly also abused other individuals to get them to wrongly implicate Reyes in the crime.

The suit notes that, despite a grisly murder scene full of blood, fingerprints and other physical evidence, none of it connected Reyes to the crime. In addition, post-conviction DNA testing on evidence at the scene further excluded Reyes and instead placed an unidentified person at the crime scene.

Over his nearly two decades of imprisonment, Reyes has consistently maintained his innocence. He is one of 14 men to have their convictions thrown out based on allegations that Det. Guevara engaged in misconduct in order to convict them.

For his part, Det. Guevara has invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself when asked in court proceedings whether he framed and abused Reyes.

Mr. Reyes is represented by Attorneys Jon Loevy, Steven Art and Anand Swaminathan of the civil rights firm Loevy & Loevy. The attorneys issued the following statement:

“The wrongful convictions caused by Detective Guevara’s misconduct as a police officer have destroyed dozens of families and have led to literally hundreds of years of wrongful imprisonment. But the horrible injustice that Arturo has endured must be attributed not only to the criminal acts of Detective Guevara, but also to his colleagues who knew what he was doing and often participated, as well as a police department that permitted and in fact incentivized the misconduct of Guevara and others.”

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country. A copy of the suit, Arturo Reyes v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 1:18-cv-01028, is available here.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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