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June , 2018
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He deserves a grant of clemency from President Obama By Brittany K. Barnett-Byrd, Esq. As the daughter of ...
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Visitors to Chicago have a new guide to help navigate LGBTQ and mainstream events and ...
Letters to Editors The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: Section 1. Slavery prohibited. ...
Illinois Shakespeare Festival presents The Young Performers’ Sonnet Slam Contest at Illinois Wesleyan University, Hansen ...

Archive for the ‘Legal Matters’ Category

2 Different Cases, 2 Different Bad Cops, 2 Exonerations: Wrongful Conviction to be Overturned

Posted by Admin On April - 30 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

On Monday, two judges in two separate cases, involving two different cases of notorious Chicago police misconduct, are set to declare two men innocent who between them spent 45 years wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they didn’t do.

 

Between them, the two cases highlight the continuing systemic problem of Chicago police misconduct, which has led it to being dubbed “the false confession capital.”

* Press Conference Immediately After Court *

Monday, April 30, 2018 at approximately 10:45 am

Outside of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse
2650 S. California Ave, Chicago

 

Anthony Jakes was 15-years-old when Chicago Detectives Kill and Kenneth Boudreau, proteges of Jon Burge, beat a false confession out of him. Robert Bouto was 17-years-old when Chicago Detective Reynaldo Guevara framed him for murder.

Immediately after both cases are heard Monday morning, both men and their attorneys at The Exoneration Project will hold a press conference just outside of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Avenue. Details on both men’s cases and Monday morning’s brief court hearings are below

Case #1: People v. Bouto

Courtroom 706, 10 am

Robert Bouto’s conviction for a 1993 shooting death near Roosevelt High School will be vacated Monday morning after the Cook County State’s Attorney announces she will not oppose Bouto’s request for a new trial.

Bouto, 42, spent 23 years in prison before he was paroled in 2016. Bouto, 17-years-old when he was falsely arrested, was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment. Bouto’s exoneration represents the 18th* case that has unraveled because of false evidence presented by Det. Reynaldo Guevara.

Det. Guevara, who has been accused of misconduct in almost 100 other cases, refused to testify as to whether he framed Bouto for murder, and asserted his Fifth Amendment right to silence on grounds that a truthful answer would subject him to criminal liability. Two witnesses have come forward to explain that their identifications of Bouto were tainted by Det. Guevara, and Bouto’s alibi witnesses have maintained for over 20 years that they knew an innocent man was wrongfully convicted because they were with him at the time of the crime.

“They didn’t care about who was guilty or who was innocent. Guevara knew I didn’t do it, but he wanted to close a case. I’ve been telling the same story for twenty years to anyone who will listen.” said Bouto.

This is the sixth Exoneration Project client to have his Guevara-related conviction overturned in two years. The Exoneration Project has five additional pending cases of wrongful conviction connected to Guevara, and numerous other investigations are still under way.

* Other Detective Reynaldo Guevara-related exonerations:

1. Roberto Almodovar;

2. Xavier Arcos (conviction reversed on appeal)

3. Robert Bouto (conviction vacated, pending retrial);

4. Santos Flores (conviction reversed on appeal, then took a plea in exchange for release);

5. Ariel Gomez;

6. Henry Johnson (conviction reversed on appeal, then took a plea in exchange for release);

7. Juan Johnson;

8. Jose Maysonet;

9. Jose Montanez;

10. William Negron;

11. Jorge Pacheco (conviction vacated at sentencing);

12. Arturo Reyes;

13. Jacques Rivera;

14. Angel Rodriguez (conviction reversed on appeal);

15. Ricardo Rodriguez;

16. Armando Serrano;

17. Thomas Sierra; and,

18. Gabriel Solache.

Case #2: People v. Jakes

Courtroom 301, 10:30 am

Anthony Jakes, 41, was 15-years-old when he was beat by Chicago Detective Michael Kill and coerced by Detective Kenneth Boudreau, police trained by Jon Burge, into signing a false confession. During the course of a sixteen-hour interrogation without a parent or youth officer present, Jakes was slapped, punched, kicked, and threatened that he would be thrown out of a window, and his family harmed.

Jakes immediately stated that his confession was the product of abuse, and at his bond hearing, injuries to Jakes’ back, stomach, knee, elbows and ribs were photographed. Jakes gave a demonstrably false confession stating that he saw the victim laying in the street while looking out the window of his house. The investigating detectives did not know that this was impossible – Jakes lived in the carriage house behind another building, and could not see the street from his house.

After an evidentiary hearing that has spanned two years, Special Prosecutor Robert Milan will dismiss all charges against Anthony Jakes for a 1991 murder in a Back of the Yards’ sandwich shop. After serving 22 years of a 45-year sentence, Jakes was paroled from prison in 2013.

“It’s been more than 20 years since Chicago was finally forced to fire its notorious Police Commander Jon Burge, and yet his legacy of destroying lives and families continues on,” said Attorney Russell Ainsworth of the Exoneration Project. “This is Burge 2.0. Boudreau and others picked up where Burge left off by abusing young men of color into giving false confessions. Because the City knew about the gross misconduct but refused to stop it, the Detectives believed they could violate people’s rights with impunity, and thus the City is complicit in each of these wrongful convictions.”

Mr. Jakes is the 15th** person to have his conviction overturned in cases where Boudreau played a critical role in obtaining the evidence used to gain the wrongful conviction. It is the sixth Boudreau-related conviction overturned by the Exoneration Project.

** Other Boudreau-related exonerations:

1. Harold Hill;

2. Dan Young;

3. Tyrone Hood

4. Wayne Washington;

5. Michael Saunders;

6. Harold Richardson;

7. Vincent Thames;

8. Terrill Swift;

9. Nevest Coleman;

10. Darryl Fulton;

11. Charles Johnson;

12. Lashawn Ezell;
13. Larod Styles; and,

14. Troshawn McCoy.

* Over a dozen additional men were acquitted at trial despite confessing to murder in cases handled by Boudreau, including Mr. Jakes’s co-defendant, Arnold Day.

Former North Carolina Police Sergeant Charged with Using Excessive Force Against an Arrestee

Posted by Admin On April - 24 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

The Department of Justice today announced that Robert George, a former sergeant with the Hickory Police Department (HPD), has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of using excessive force against a female arrestee, and for obstructing justice.

The indictment alleges that on Nov. 11, 2013, George assaulted a female victim, identified in the indictment by the initials C.D., by slamming her face-first to the ground, causing her to suffer bodily injury. The following day, George allegedly wrote a false police report to cover up the offense.

George, 45, of Hickory, North Carolina, was arraigned on these charges in federal court.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Department of Justice Assistant United States Attorney Kimlani Ford and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel.

Source: FBI

Federal Court Ruling Affirms Chicago’s Welcoming City Policies, Strikes Another Blow to Administration’s Anti-Immigrant Agemda

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

CHICAGO, IL – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the Department of Justice cannot legally withhold law enforcement funding from cities that have refused to enlist their local police in federal immigration enforcement. The court upheld a federal district court’s nationwide injunction in the case.

“We are glad to see the appellate court reaffirm that local communities get to decide the best strategies for promoting public safety without being coerced into fulfilling this administration’s immoral immigration agenda,” said NIJC Associate Director of Litigation Mark Fleming, who along with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case. “Our communities are safer when everyone feels they can go to the police for help, rather than fear that any interaction with the police will result in deportation and family separation.”

The City of Chicago sued the U.S. Department of Justice in August 2017 after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would cut federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funding to “sanctuary” cities that refuse to honor immigration detainers, warrantless requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to local law enforcement agencies to hold individuals for 48 hours beyond when they normally would be released from local custody. At issue was Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, which limits the city’s police from detaining and transferring individuals over to ICE for civil immigration violations.

The unanimous decision, by a three-judge panel comprised of all Republican appointees, emphasizes that the core issue at hand, and one of utmost importance, is separation of powers. The court states, “If the Executive Branch can determine policy, and then use the power of the purse to mandate compliance with that policy by the state and local governments, all without the authorization or even acquiescence of elected legislators, that check against tyranny is forsaken.”

This decision follows similar victories in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

Link to this statement online at: http://immigrantjustice.org/press-releases/federal-court-ruling-affirms-chicagos-wecloming-city-policies-strikes-another-blow

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers through a unique combination of direct services, policy reform, impact litigation and public education. Visit immigrantjustice.org and follow @NIJC.

Justice Report: A Year in Review

Posted by Admin On April - 12 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS
From: Kim Foxx
Cook County State’s Attorney

Recently, I was announced the winner of Emily’s List’s Rising Star Award. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your support has always pushed me across the finish line when it’s mattered most.
I am humbled to be counted among the incredible women fighting for change in their communities, but this award also signals a true sea change: Cook County has emerged as a national leader in the fight for meaningful criminal justice reform. The world is watching us – and the groundbreaking work we’re doing here to reimagine what real justice and public safety look like. In that spirit, I wanted to update you on some of the steps we’ve taken in the last year to make the State’s Attorney’s Office a powerful force for good:
  1. Pursuing bail reform: In recognition of the unfair impact our system has on the poor, my office has worked to address the injustices of a cash-based bond system. In collaboration with the Public Defender’s office, we have allowed for the pre-trial release of people in jail on bonds of $1,000 or less without having to put up cash. Not only does this save taxpayer dollars, but it can help to change the trajectory for nonviolent defendants who would be adversely affected by an unnecessary stay in jail.
  2. Building bridges with law enforcement: For the first time in this office’s history, we are meeting monthly with the Chicago Police Department to share data about gun prosecutions and work together to improve the prosecution of those cases. We are also partnering with law enforcement to embed prosecutors in the most violent Chicago Police Districts as part of a new intelligence-driven prosecution model that prioritizes building strong cases against the small number of offenders who are driving the most violence.
  3. Facilitating public accountability: To maximize transparency and build public trust, we’ve released annual data reports summarizing our work as well as over six years of felony criminal case data on the Cook County Open Data Portal. By providing unprecedented access into the State’s Attorney’s Office and hiring our first ever Chief Data Officer, we are making sure our work is driven by data rather than anecdote, and pushing ourselves to measure success in metrics instead of war stories.
  4. Addressing past wrongs: Under the leadership of our new Conviction Integrity Unit Director, Mark Rotert, we are rigorously investigating claims of wrongful convictions and developing groundbreaking protocols to bring clarity and transparency to this crucial work. Already, jurisdictions from around the country are seeking to learn from our efforts, adopting similar protocols in their own offices. People are so confident that we will look at these cases seriously that we’ve already seen a 500% increase in requests for review.
  5. Shifting priorities: From raising the threshold for felony retail theft to $1,000 to declining to prosecute misdemeanor driving offenses, we have shifted our limited resources away from financial-based offenses to help break the cycle of criminalization in Cook County’s most vulnerable communities. As a result, the number of people charged with felony, instead of misdemeanor, retail theft dropped significantly in 2017, meaning fewer people will serve lengthy prison sentences for low-level retail theft.
I hope you found this informative, and that you take pride in the special role you’ve played to make our work possible. Like I told you at the start of this journey, the kind of change we are seeking will take time. Our criminal justice system will not transform overnight. But while there is always more we can do – a fact that weighs heavily on me – I am proud of the progress we’ve made so far and excited about the bold new path we are charting.

As we continue to grow in our work and act on our broader vision of justice, I am grateful for your support and energized for all that lies ahead.

Sincerely,

Kim Foxx
Cook County State’s Attorney

Two Paterson Police Officers Charged With Conspiring To Violate Civil Rights

Posted by Admin On April - 12 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

NEWARK, N.J. – Two Passaic County, New Jersey, men were arrested today for allegedly violating the civil rights of two individuals during a motor vehicle stop in Paterson, New Jersey, with one officer also being charged with extortion for personally accepting a firearm in exchange for reducing the charges on an arrestee, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jonathan Bustios, 28, and Eudy Ramos, 31, both of Paterson, New Jersey, were arrested by federal agents this morning and charged by complaint with conspiring to deprive individuals of civil rights under color of law. Bustios was also charged with one count of extortion under color of official right. Both defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.

According to the complaint:

The investigation uncovered instances in which Bustios and Ramos, both officers of the Paterson Police Department, allegedly stopped motor vehicles, detained the occupants, and searched those vehicles without any justification. On certain occasions, Bustios and Ramos also took cash and other items without justification before releasing the detained occupants.

For example, on Feb. 20, 2018, while on duty, Bustios pulled over a BMW and stopped behind the vehicle, while Ramos stopped his police car in front of the vehicle. Bustios and Ramos exited their police cars and proceeded to search the front and back of the BMW and the trunk. Bustios and Ramos also detained and searched the two occupants of the BMW and put them into the backseat of Ramos’ police car.

After searching the BMW, Bustios left the scene, drove for ten minutes, then stopped his police car and took out a white plastic bag that was filled with cash. Bustios also took out a firearm. He then called Ramos, after which Ramos released the two detained occupants of the BMW and drove to meet Bustios. Bustios passed a portion of the recovered cash to Ramos through the window of Bustios’ police car.

Later that day, Bustios and Ramos turned in the firearm that they had recovered. In the offense report pertaining to the firearm, they told a false story about having recovered the firearm due to a tip by a concerned citizen. In fact, there was no tip by a concerned citizen. They did not report to the Paterson Police Department that they had stopped and searched the BMW, detained and searched its occupants, and taken cash, all without any warrants.

Bustios was also charged with extortion under color of official right for an incident that allegedly occurred on March 14, 2018. Bustios arrested and detained an individual and placed the individual in the backseat of his police car. Bustios then told the individual that Bustios would not charge the individual with resisting arrest and would allow the individual to keep the cash that the individual had on him, in exchange for the individual helping Bustios acquire a firearm. Specifically, Bustios said, “I ain’t gonna charge you with resisting, and I’m letting you keep your money bro.” Bustios then told the individual, “If you don’t wanna make the deal, you don’t have to make the deal.”

The individual ultimately agreed and directed Bustios to the location of a firearm, which Bustios allegedly recovered and kept without turning it over to the Paterson Police Department. According to Paterson Police Department records, as he had promised, Bustios did not charge the individual with resisting arrest. Bustios also submitted an arrest report in which he failed to mention any details about recovering a firearm.

The conspiracy to violate civil rights count with which Bustios and Ramos are charged carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The extortion under color of official right count with which Bustios is charged carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley W. Cohen in Newark, with the ongoing investigation leading to today’s arrest. He also thanked the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale and Police Chief Troy Oswald, as well as the Paterson Police Department Office of Internal Affairs, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.

Source: FBI

Stolen Identities: Hackers Infiltrated Mortgage Company Computers to Steal Customer Information

Posted by Admin On April - 7 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

Conceptual image depicting an FBI agent in a raid jacket fading into a rack of computer servers and code.

A recently closed California hacking and identity theft case sadly illustrates the misery that can be visited on unsuspecting victims when their personal information is compromised.

Between 2011 and 2014, four U.S. citizens who resided in San Diego—but carried out their crimes from across the Mexican border in Tijuana—hacked the computer servers of major U.S. mortgage brokers, stealing detailed loan application information from thousands of customers and then using the victims’ Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers to open unauthorized lines of credit and take over and drain victims’ retirement accounts.

“The damage crimes like these have on victims, the economy, and society in general are significant,” said Special Agent Chris Christopherson, who investigated the case from the FBI’s San Diego Division. “Individuals had their finances wrecked and their credit destroyed, through no fault of their own. For many of them,” he added, “the impacts are still being felt.”

One of the fraudsters in the conspiracy, John Baden, was the chief hacker. He infiltrated mortgage companies using a common hacking technique known as “fuzzing,” which works by overloading a web server with massive amounts of data that can lead to the server revealing security loopholes.

Once Baden had access to victims’ information, he and his conspirators, Victor Fernandez, Jason Bailey, and Joel Nava, went to work. Fernandez—the group’s ringleader—identified multiple victims’ brokerage accounts and took control of them by calling the companies and providing the victims’ personal information to change passwords and contact information. Then it was simple for him and his conspirators to wire funds—sometimes up to $30,000 at a time—from the victims’ accounts to accounts they controlled.

Victims stretched from California to Florida, and one individual lost nearly $1 million in the scheme, Christopherson said. A second part of the scheme involved extensive credit fraud. The criminals used victims’ detailed personal information to set up bogus lines of credit and retail credit card accounts to which they charged thousands of dollars for goods and services. Most of the proceeds from the sale of items in these crimes were used to buy drugs.

“The damage crimes like these have on victims, the economy, and society in general are significant.”

Chris Christopherson, special agent, FBI San Diego

In all, Christopherson estimated there were more than 25,000 victims, and although charging documents listed victim losses at approximately $2.5 million, “in reality the amount was much higher than that,” he said. “There was so much retail fraud over such a long period of time, it was impossible to calculate an accurate and provable loss amount.”

The FBI was alerted to the fraud by a financial institution that noticed irregularities, and about the same time, FBI cyber investigators detected that many victims had a “common point of compromise,” Christopherson said. “They had all recently applied to the same mortgage company.”

Armed with that information, investigators worked backward from the mortgage company, eventually identifying the hack—and the hackers. By that time, Baden was hiding in Mexico. In 2014, he was named to the San Diego FBI’s Most Wanted Cyber Fugitives list, and the reward offered in the case eventually led to his capture in Mexico, Christopherson said.

All four subjects pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud scheme. In 2015, Baden was sentenced federally to nine years in prison. In January 2018, Fernandez was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. Bailey received a sentence of more than five years, and in February 2018, Nava was the last subject to be sentenced, to 44 months in prison.

But even years after the crimes were committed, Christopherson said, “the court was still receiving victim impact statements.” Many victims were unable to get jobs or be approved for mortgages or car loans because their credit had been ruined by the fraudsters.

“We are pleased that these criminals are now behind bars and will not be able to victimize anyone else,” said Christopherson, who encouraged the public to regularly check their credit information to make sure their personal information has not been compromised.

KC Paramedic Indicted for Stealing Fentanyl, Morphine from Ambulances

Posted by Admin On April - 3 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department paramedic has been indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing fentanyl and morphine from ambulances and replacing fentanyl with another substance.

Michael L. Fostich, 36, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Fostich’s arrest and initial court appearance.

Fostich is charged with one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (related to the theft of fentanyl and morphine) and one count of tampering with a consumer product (related to the replacement of fentanyl with another substance).

Fostich was employed at the Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) as a paramedic from August 2014 to Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich had access to fentanyl and morphine, which were stored in sealed narcotics boxes and locked in safes on KCFD ambulances. Each sealed narcotics box contained two vials of fentanyl, each containing 100 micrograms of liquid fentanyl, two syringes of morphine, each containing 10 milligrams of liquid morphine, and two vials containing 5 milligrams of liquid midazolam. As a paramedic, Fostich was able to unlock the electronic safe and open the sealed narcotics boxes in order to administer controlled substances to patients, if necessary.

The federal indictment alleges that Fostich engaged in a scheme from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 11, 2016, to fraudulently obtain fentanyl and morphine. As part of the scheme, Fostich allegedly prepared patient care records and state reporting forms that contained misrepresentations regarding his use of fentanyl and morphine.

According to the indictment, Fostich reported he was responsible for the use of 806 doses of fentanyl, which accounted for approximately 39 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use during that period of time. Fostich also reported he was responsible for the use of 636 doses of morphine, which accounted for approximately 63 percent of all of the KCFD’s total reported use of morphine during that period of time.

The federal indictment also alleges that Fostich tampered with a container of fentanyl on Dec. 11, 2016. Fostich removed fentanyl from the vials contained in a KCFD narcotics box and replaced them with another solution in the vials, the indictment says, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of death or bodily injury. Fostich allegedly placed the vials back in the narcotics box, attempted to reseal the narcotics box, and then placed the narcotics box back in a safe located on a KCFD ambulance.

The charges contained in this indictment are accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jess E. Michaelsen and Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigation.

Source: FBI

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy to Illegally Export Defense Articles to Russia

Posted by Admin On March - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Vladimir Nevidomy, 31, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty on March 19, to conspiring to illegally export military-grade night vision and thermal vision devices and ammunition primers to Russia.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

According to information contained in court documents, from as early as April 2013 through November 2013, customers in Russia contacted Nevidomy by email requesting night vision rifle scopes, thermal monoculars and ammunition primers, all of which were on the U.S. Munitions List and subject to export control by the U.S. Department of State.  Nevidomy proceeded to obtain at least three ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes and an ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular from U.S. vendors by falsely representing to the vendors that the items were not for export.

On or about April 16, 2013, a co-defendant caused a wire transfer from a Shanghai, China bank account in the amount of $11,755 for the purchase and shipment of two ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes.  That same day, Nevidomy paid $9,599 to a U.S. vendor for the purchase of those two night-vision rifle scopes.  On or about May 2, 2013, Nevidomy also caused a wire transfer in the amount of $10,000 to be sent to a U.S. vendor for the purchase of the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular.

Later, Nevidomy’s co-defendant caused a wire transfer from a bank account in Riga, Latvia in the amount of $18,036, part of which was for the purchase of a third ATN Mars 4X4 night-vision rifle scope. On the same day, Nevidomy caused a wire transfer in the amount of $9,599 to a U.S. vendor, part of which was for the purchase of the third ATN Mars 4X4 night-vision rifle scope.

After the U.S. vendors sent the night vision devices to Nevidomy in South Florida, he exported them to the co-defendant in Russia by either concealing the defense articles in household goods shipments sent through a freight forwarding company or using a private Russian postal service that operated in South Florida.  In June 2013, Nevidomy aided and abetted the export of the ATN MARS 4×4 night-vision rifle scopes from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Russia, and in August 2013, he exported the ODIN 61BW thermal multi-purpose monocular from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Russia.

On or about July 19, 2013, the same co-defendant sent an email to Nevidomy requesting 1,000 large-rifle ammunition primers to be shipped to Vladivostok, Russia.  On or about Oct. 2, 2013, Nevidomy attempted to export 1,000 Sellier & Bellot ammunition primers from the U.S. to the co-defendant in Vladivostok, Russia.  These ammunition primers were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

These night vision rifle scopes, thermal monocular, and ammunition primers required a license or other authorization from the U.S. Department of State before being exported from the U.S. since they were on the U.S. Munitions List.  A certified license history check revealed that neither Nevidomy nor his associates ever applied or attempted to apply for an export license from the State Department for the night-vision equipment or ammunition primers.

Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams, on May 25. Nevidomy, a Ukraine-born naturalized U.S. citizen, faces a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

In addition, on Feb. 5, in a separate federal case, Nevidomy pleaded guilty to passport fraud and conspiracy to commit passport fraud in the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Demers and Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HSI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Thakur and Rick Del Toro of the Southern District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Christian Ford of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

Source: FBI

Fayette County Brothers Sentenced to Federal Prison for Roles in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

Posted by Admin On March - 19 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Two Fayette County brothers were sentenced to federal prison today on drug charges, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Cheyenne Fragale, 30, and Macon Fragale, 34, both from Boomer, previously entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, a quantity of oxycodone, and a quantity of heroin.  Cheyenne Fragale was sentenced to 144 months in federal prison, while Macon Fragale was determined to be a career offender and was sentenced to 200 months in federal prison.   U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Beckley Police Department on these cases.

U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the cooperative investigative efforts of several agencies, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the Beckley Police Department, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, the West Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Postal Inspection Service also provided assistance throughout the investigation.

“Prison time awaits those who peddle poison in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Stuart. “These two brothers are not a good example for the model family.  Their smorgasbord  of drug dealing from meth, to pills to heroin  has one spending the next 12 years behind bars and the other even longer.  The message is, “Don’t sell drugs.””

Cheyenne and Macon Fragale previously admitted that between May 2017 and June 28, 2017, they took part in a drug trafficking conspiracy with multiple participants. They also admitted that during the course of the conspiracy, they distributed over 2,000 thirty mg tablets of oxycodone and over 500 grams of methamphetamine, as well as heroin. They additionally admitted that they sold the drugs in and around Fayette County. On June 28, 2017, law enforcement executed search warrants at several locations associated with the conspiracy. During the execution of the search warrants, officers seized over 300 grams of crystal methamphetamine, as well as heroin, fentanyl, and over $29,000 in cash. The methamphetamine was later laboratory tested and confirmed to be 94% pure. Cheyenne Fragale admitted that the cash was proceeds from drug dealing. As part of their plea agreements, Cheyenne and Macon Fragale both admitted to all the drug trafficking activity charged in the indictment.

Several individuals implicated as a result of this investigation have entered guilty pleas to drug charges and are awaiting sentencing. Velarian Carter, of Beckley, faces a mandatory minimum of not less than 20 years and up to life in federal prison when he is sentenced on April 17, 2018. Dominic Copney, of Beckley, faces a mandatory minimum of five and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on April 17, 2018. Detria Carter, of Beckley, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of not less than five and up to 40 years in federal prison when she is sentenced on April 24, 2018. Donald Scalise, of Montgomery, faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on April 25, 2018. Tiffany Ramsey, of Boomer, faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison when she is sentenced on May 2, 2018. Shawn Akiem Anderson, of Mt. Hope, faces up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on May 29, 2018.   Rory White, of Montgomery, faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on June 6, 2018.

Karl Funderburk, of Teays Valley, who previously pled guilty to a gun charge, faces at least 5 years and up to life in federal prison for using and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime when he is sentenced on May 29, 2018.

Shaun Jones of Beckley has entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.  Jonathan Moore, also of Beckley, has entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. Each faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison when they are sentenced on May 29, 2018.

Corey Larkin, of Beckley, previously entered a plea to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 100 grams of heroin.  He also faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on June 5, 2018.

Esau Burnette, of Beckley, has entered a plea to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute more than 28 grams of cocaine base and a quantity of cocaine.  He faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on May 30, 2018.  James Rodney Staples, of Woodbridge, Virginia, faces at least 10 years in federal prison and up to life when he is sentenced on May 30, 2018 after entering a plea to conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, more than 280 grams of cocaine base, and more than one kilogram of heroin.

Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Boggess handled the prosecutions.  United States District Judge Irene C. Berger imposed the sentences.

These cases are being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

 

Ocean County, New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Provide Material Support To ISIS

Posted by Admin On March - 15 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

TRENTON, N.J. – A Point Pleasant, New Jersey man admitted that he planned to construct and use a pressure cooker bomb in New York on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers announced.

Gregory Lepsky, 20, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, specifically ISIS.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Feb. 21, 2017, Lepsky was arrested by the Point Pleasant Police Department in connection with an incident that occurred that day in his family’s home. Following the arrest, law enforcement officers searched the residence and found a new pressure cooker stored behind a roll of bubble wrap in Lepsky’s bedroom closet.

During searches of computers and other digital evidence linked to Lepsky, law enforcement officers found evidence of Lepsky’s plan to build and detonate a bomb as part of his support for ISIS. During several social media communications, Lepsky told others that he intended to fight on behalf of ISIS and that he would, if necessary, become a martyr by driving a “bunch of explosives” to where the “enemies” could be found and blowing himself up.

Law enforcement officers also located a series of instructions that had been published online by another terrorist group that gave specific, step-by-step instructions on how to build a pressure cooker bomb, which coincided with the delivery of the pressure cooker to Lepsky a short time before his arrest. In addition, law enforcement officers recovered a message forwarded by Lepsky from another ISIS supporter stating that if a westerner could not travel to Syria to fight for ISIS, he could conduct a terrorist attack in his home country using improvised explosive devices.

During today’s plea hearing, Lepsky admitted that beginning in January 2017, he began to formulate a plan to detonate the pressure cooker bomb in New York City on behalf of ISIS. Lepsky admitted that he used the internet to access ISIS directives, obtain bomb-making instructions, and purchase the pressure cooker and other items to be used in the attack.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, if accepted by the Court, Lepsky will be given a sentence between 16 and 19 years in prison and a lifetime term of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2018.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General Demers credited the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; the N.J. State Attorney General’s Office under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir Grewal; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Joseph Coronato; the Point Pleasant Police Department under the direction of Chief Richard P. Larsen; and the N.J. Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness under the direction of Director Jared Maples, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Donnelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Defense counsel: Lisa Mack Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Source: FBI

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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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