Current events concerning politics, political office holders, political candidates, world events, local events, crime and other public affairs issues are discussed. This blog leans right (conservative), but views left of center (liberal, progressive) will also appear. This blog is not a mouthpiece of the Republican party. Democrat and other perspectives also appear. Discussion including diverse viewpoints is encouraged, but keep it clean. Abusive language may result in deletion.
Two Men Sentenced for Smuggling Drugs into Federal Prison
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
FRESNO, CA—Oronde Jones, 40, a resident of Virginia, was sentenced today to 23 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii for smuggling narcotics into the Atwater Federal Penitentiary, announced United States Attorney, Benjamin B. Wagner.
According to court records, Jones had smuggled heroin into the Atwater Penitentiary at the direction of his inmate brother, Bandele Jones, 39. On July 9, 2012, Bandele Jones received an additional 12-month prison sentence for this crime on top of the sentence he is currently serving for a previous drug trafficking conviction. As a result, Bandele Jones’s projected release date has now been pushed back to November 2022.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Assistant United States Attorney Yasin Mohammad prosecuted the case.
Former Berks County Recorder of Deeds Charged in Fraud Scheme
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
PHILADELPHIA—An indictment was filed today charging the former Berks County Recorder of Deeds, Elba Antoine, a/k/a Ellie, 68, of Bluffton, South Carolina, with defrauding the County of tens of thousands of dollars in fees paid to the Recorder of Deeds Office, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Antoine is alleged to have carried out the fraud while serving in the elected position between the years 2004 and 2007.
According to the indictment, a forensic auditor determined that for all but 10 days between December 1, 2004 and Decemeber 31, 2007, approximately $153,402.30 in cash was received at the Recorder Of Deeds Office that was not deposited into the office bank accounts. From at least December 2004 through in or about April 2008, defendant Antoine and her husband deposited cash and paid expenses with cash that was not explained by their income as reported on their federal tax returns.
The indictment alleges that Antoine established policies, procedures, and practices in the Recorder of Deeds Office that enabled her to receive fees paid to the office that were not cashiered or reported and that enabled her to convert the unreported fees paid to the office into cash. Antoine allegedly accumulated in her office safe the unreported fees and cash paid to the office. It is further alleged that Antoine devised a fee structure for the recording of official documents and deeds that did not refund overpayments to persons or businesses filing such documents and that she concealed these overpayments by establishing a system that falsely reported that the amount of overpayments had been refunded to filers as change. The overpayments were allegedly stored in envelopes in Antoine’s office safe.
The indictment further alleges that Antoine prohibited employees from attempting to independently verify the amount of money that the Recorder Of Deeds Office reported as having received from the office copying machines. Antoine allegedly directed employees who tried to verify the amount of money to stop their efforts and fired an employee who attempted to correlate the number of copies made each day with the copying fees the office collected.
Antoine is also charged in the indictment with not claiming those additional funds on her 2006 and 2007 federal income taxes. Antoine is charged with five counts of mail fraud and two counts of willfully filing a false federal income tax return.
If convicted of all charges, Antoine faces a maximum possible sentence of 106 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1.75 million, three years’ supervised release, and a $700 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, and the Berks County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Grieb.
Grand Island Man Sentenced to 70 Months for Drug Distribution Offenses
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Jose Felix-Perez, 47, of Grand Island, Nebraska, was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable John M. Gerrard, U.S. District Court Judge, to 70 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by four years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. An indictment was filed on February 2, 2012, charging Mr. Felix-Perez with four counts of distribution of five grams or more of actual methamphetamine. The offenses occurred between November 10, 2010, and December 7, 2010, in Grand Island, Nebraska. Felix-Perez pled guilty to each of the four counts on May 2, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Central Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force, which consists of investigators and agents from the Nebraska State Patrol, Grand Island Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Hastings Police Department, Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office, Kearney Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Omaha Man Gets 70 Months for His Role in Distributing Methamphetamine
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Manuel Hernandez-Ramirez, 30, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced on July 30, 2012, to 70 months in prison by United States District Judge Laurie Smith Camp for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Bellevue and South Omaha in the spring of 2011. More than three pounds of methamphetamine was distributed during the course of the conspiracy that lasted from February 1, 2010 and continued through November 16, 2011. Hernandez-Ramirez is a citizen and national of Mexico and will be deported upon the completion of serving his prison term.
This case was the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bellevue Police Department, the Omaha Police Department, and the Homeland Security Investigations.
Former Lincoln Man Sentenced for Possessing Child Pornography
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Bryan James Christensen, 26, formerly of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced yesterday in Lincoln, Nebraska, to two years in prison by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard for possession of child pornography. After serving his prison term, Christensen will also be required to serve five years of supervised release and register as a sex offender. The computer equipment used by Christensen was also forfeited to the United States.
In January 2008, the FBI was conducting a nationwide initiative targeting the transmission of child pornography over peer-to-peer networks. At that time, an FBI agent was able to download various files of child pornography using an Internet protocol address that the agent could access. The IP address was assigned to an address in Lincoln, Nebraska, which had been the residence of Mr. Christensen. The FBI further determined that the IP address that belonged to Christensen in January 2008, had up to 200 images of child pornography that were available for distribution over the peer-to-peer network. A later forensic exam of the computer equipment utilized by Christensen confirmed the possession of child pornography.
This case was brought as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
OKLAHOMA CITY—James E. Finch, Special Agent in Charge of the Oklahoma City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the robbery of the IBC Bank, 421 South Santa Fe in Edmond, Oklahoma.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on July 31, 2012, an unknown male approached a bank employee as the employee was entering the bank. The subject displayed a knife and demanded entry into the bank. The teller complied with the subject’s demand. Once inside the bank, the subject obtained an undisclosed amount of money from a teller drawer and the bank vault. The money was placed in a backpack, and the subject attempted to lock bank employees in the vault before fleeing out the south doors of the bank. No one was injured in today’s robbery.
Surveillance photos and witness descriptions depicted the subject as a black male, approximately 6’1” in height, and weighing approximately 160 pounds. He was wearing a light colored zip-up jacket, dark shirt, blue jeans, white bandana over his face, light gray knit cap, white New Balance tennis shoes, and gloves.
The robbery is being investigated by the FBI and the Edmond Police Department.
Anyone with information regarding this robbery should contact the FBI at (405) 290-7770 (24-hour number). You may remain anonymous. The Oklahoma Banker’s Association offers a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and/or conviction of anyone robbing a member bank.
Elizabeth Man Charged with Six Armed Bank Robberies Arrested with Alleged Accomplices
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
NEWARK—An Elizabeth, New Jersey man and two alleged accomplices are expected to appear in federal court today following their arrests in connection with a string of armed bank robberies, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Claude Williams, 60, is charged by complaint with six counts of bank robbery and two counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Andrea Dorsey, 53, and Teresa Webb, 41, both of Plainfield, New Jersey, are each charged with one count of bank robbery. All three defendants are scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court.
According to the superseding complaint:
Claude Williams is charged with committing six armed bank robberies between September 26, 2011, and July 12, 2012. Williams used a similar procedure for each robbery: after entering the bank armed with a handgun and wearing a bandana, hooded sweatshirt or jacket, and white gloves, Williams would vault over the counter and demand money from bank tellers at gunpoint.
In total, Williams robbed six banks, as follows:
Bank and Location
September 26, 2011
Financial Resources Credit Union in Franklin Township
November 21, 2011
Somerset Savings Bank in Somerset
February 27, 2012
Provident Bank in Piscataway
April 17, 2012
Provident Bank in Clifton
June 20, 2012
Fulton Bank in Metuchen
July 12, 2012
Unity Bank in Middlesex
In several of the bank robberies, Williams would send an accomplice into the bank to case it shortly before he entered to commit the robbery. Before the September 26, 2011 robbery, Dorsey entered the bank but did not conduct any banking transactions. Before the July 12, 2012, robbery, Webb entered the bank twice without doing any banking.
Prior to the July 12, 2012 robbery, an unarmed, off-duty police officer was parked across from the Unity Bank. The officer observed Williams leave the bank, get into the rear of the getaway car, and crouch down to hide. After noting the license plate number, the officer followed the car.
After an unsuccessful attempt to elude the officer, the getaway car stopped. Williams got out of the car and pointed his gun at the officer, forcing her to leave the scene without apprehending Williams and his accomplice.
Later, on Friday, July 27, 2012, and Saturday, July 28, 2012, law enforcement observed Williams driving in the vicinity of a Unity Bank in Somerset, New Jersey. On July 30, 2012, law enforcement again observed Williams and Dorsey in the vicinity of the bank. Law enforcement stopped the car blocks from the bank and arrested Williams and Dorsey. Williams was wearing a bandana. Law enforcement found a handgun and white gloves inside the car. Webb was arrested the same day driving Williams’ car.
If convicted of the bank robbery charges, Williams, Dorsey, and Webb each face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, for each count with which they are charged. If convicted of one count of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, Williams faces a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison for brandishing the firearm, which would run consecutive to any other prison term. If convicted of both counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, Williams faces a maximum of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years in prison to run consecutive to any other prison term.
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to the arrests and charges. He also thanked the Somerset County Prosecutors Office and the Middlesex Borough, Piscataway, Clifton, Metuchen, North Plainfield, and Plainfield Police Departments for their excellent work in this case. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar J. Benvenuto of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Two Former Hospital Employees Plead Guilty to Participating in Kickback Scheme at New York City Hospital
U.S. Department of JusticeJuly 31, 2012
WASHINGTON—Two former high-ranking employees of facilities operations at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) pleaded guilty today to an indictment charging them with conspiring to defraud NYPH, the Department of Justice announced.
Former vice president of facilities operations, Santo Saglimbeni, and former director of facilities operations, Emilio “Tony” Figueroa, were charged in a four-count superseding indictment filed on June 16, 2011. Saglimbeni, who was charged on all four counts, was convicted of counts one and two on February 2, 2012. Figueroa, who was charged on counts one, three and four, was convicted on count one on February 2, 2012. Counts three and four were severed from that indictment, and Saglimbeni and Figueroa pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to those counts today.
Saglimbeni and Figueroa pleaded guilty today for their participation in a mail fraud conspiracy, which lasted from as early as June 2001 and continued through June 2006. The scheme to defraud NYPH centered on Saglimbeni, who, with the assistance of Figueroa, awarded contracts for the installation and repair of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to a co-conspirator’s company in return for kickbacks given to Saglimbeni and Figueroa in the form of cash, goods, and services from that co-conspirator. Saglimbeni and Figueroa also pleaded guilty to a substantive mail fraud offense based upon a payment made to the co-conspirator by NYPH on an HVAC contract awarded in furtherance of the HVAC conspiracy.
“By awarding contracts in return for kickbacks, Saglimbeni and Figueroa used their positions to subvert the competitive bidding process for essential services at NYPH,” said Joseph Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s guilty pleas demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s commitment to holding purchasing officials accountable for this type of illegal conduct.”
On February 2, 2012, after a four-week trial, Saglimbeni and Figueroa were convicted of the first two counts of the indictment. At the trial, Michael Yaron and two companies owned by him, Cambridge Environmental & Construction Corp., which does business as National Environmental Associates (Cambridge/NEA), an asbestos abatement company, and Oxford Construction & Development Corp., a construction company; Moshe Buchnik, the president of two asbestos abatement companies; and Artech Corporation, a company owned by a relative of Saglimbeni, were also convicted of conspiracy to defraud NYPH. Yaron, his companies, Buchnik, Saglimbeni, and Artech were also convicted of a substantive wire fraud violation.
These convictions centered on a scheme to defraud NYPH, whereby Saglimbeni, who with the assistance of Figueroa, awarded asbestos abatement, air monitoring, and general construction contracts to Yaron, Buchnik, and their companies in return for more than $2.3 million in kickbacks paid to Saglimbeni. Those kickbacks were funneled by Yaron to Saglimbeni through Artech, a sham company Saglimbeni created in the name of his mother.
Each count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for individuals. The fine may be increased to twice the gross gain the conspirators derived from the crime or twice the gross loss caused to the victims of the crime by the conspirators.
Including today’s pleas, 15 individuals and six companies have been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges arising out of this federal antitrust investigation. On July 10, 2012, Yaron was sentenced to serve 60 months in jail, and Buchnik was sentenced to serve 48 months. Each was sentenced to pay a $500,000 criminal fine. Cambridge/NEA, Oxford, and Artech were each sentenced to pay a $1 million criminal fine.
The investigation was conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s New York Field Office. The Office of the International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division also provided assistance. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging, bribery, tax offenses, or fraud related to NYPH should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-335-8000, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm, or call the FBI’s New York Division at 212-384-1000.
Statement from Assistant Director Janice K. Fedarcyk on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker Forfeiture
FBI New YorkJuly 31, 2012
ADIC Fedarcyk released the following statement concerning the $731 million settlement of money laundering and forfeiture complaint with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker:
“Today’s forfeiture is another important step in the FBI’s investigation, allowing for serious compensation of victims. This should serve as a deterrent to others who look to actively circumvent United States law—onshore or offshore, you will be held responsible for those actions. Pokerstars and Full Tilt bet the house on their illicit scheme; fortunately, we were holding the trump card,” said FBI Assistant Director Janice K. Fedarcyk.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $731 Million Settlement of Money Laundering and Forfeiture Complaint with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker Settlement Requires PokerStars to Forfeit $547 Million and Full Tilt to Forfeit Virtually All Its Assets; Funds to be Made Available for Compensation to U.S. and Foreign Victims
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has entered into settlement agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker—two of three online poker companies sued by the U.S. in a money laundering and forfeiture complaint that was originally filed in April 2012—that were approved today by U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand. Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt Poker (“Full Tilt”), the company agreed to forfeit virtually all of its assets to the U.S. to fully resolve the charges in the complaint. Under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars, the company agreed to forfeit $547 million to the U.S. and to reimburse the approximately $184 million owed by Full Tilt to foreign players in order to fully resolve the allegations in the complaint. The settlement further provides that PokerStars will acquire the forfeited Full Tilt assets from the government. Full Tilt’s U.S. fraud victims will be able to seek compensation for their losses from the Department of Justice from the $547 million forfeited by PokerStars.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands. Today’s settlements demonstrate that if you engage in conduct that violates the laws of the United States, as we alleged in this case, then even if you are doing so from across the ocean, you will have to answer for that conduct and turn over your ill-gotten gains.”
Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt, U.S. victims of the company’s alleged fraud will be able to seek compensation from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The funds that will be used to compensate qualifying victims will come from the $547 million that will be forfeited by PokerStars as part of its settlement with the government.
In addition to forfeiting $547 million to the U.S., under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars, the company must make available to foreign players all balances that were held in the Full Tilt accounts within 90 days; the amount of those balances is approximately $184 million. Pokerstars will also acquire the forfeited Full Tilt assets from the government. PokerStars’ acquisition of the forfeited Full Tilt assets will be complete upon the government’s receipt of a $225 million payment from PokerStars, which must take place within six days of the entrance of today’s settlement.
Additional terms of the PokerStars settlement include:
Within 45 days of the acquisition of the forfeited Full Tilt assets, Isai Scheinberg, who is presently under indictment in a related criminal case, shall not serve in any management or director role at PokerStars. This provision is subject to re-evaluation by the parties upon the resolution of the criminal case.
PokerStars is also prohibited from employing, or otherwise hiring, Full Tilt Poker insiders Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst, Chris Ferguson, and Nelson Burtnick. Bitar and Burtnick are also named as defendants in a related criminal Indictment. Bitar, Lederer, Furst, and Ferguson are named as civil money-laundering defendants in this complaint.
PokerStars is prohibited from offering online poker in the U.S. for real money unless and until it is legal to do so under U.S. law.
The government will maintain a portion of the $547 million forfeited by PokerStars as a substitute for the forfeited Full Tilt assets to cover the litigation of claims by other parties asserting interests in the forfeited Full Tilt assets.
The settlements entered today with regard to Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, and the proposed settlement with regard to Absolute Poker, do not constitute admissions of any wrongdoing, culpability, liability, or guilt by any parties. Under the terms of a “domain name use” agreement entered into between PokerStars and the government on April 20, 2011, the company previously settled its accounts with U.S. players.
In a related matter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also filed a motion requesting that the court enter a settlement agreement reached with Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet that requires the company to forfeit all of its assets in order to fully resolve this action. The motion also requests that the government be permitted to liquidate the Absolute assets, with the net proceeds of that sale to be held pending the resolution of claims filed by other parties who have asserted an ownership interest in the Absolute assets.
The following allegations are based on the Amended Civil Forfeiture Complaint filed in September and the indictments returned in the related criminal action:
On October 13, 2006, the United States enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), making it a federal crime for gambling businesses to “knowingly accept” most forms of payment “in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.” Despite the passage of the UIGEA, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet (the poker companies), each located offshore, continued operating in the United States. Because U.S. banks and credit card issuers were largely unwilling to process their payments, the poker companies allegedly used fraudulent methods to circumvent federal law and deceive these financial institutions into processing payments on their behalf. For example, the poker companies arranged for the money received from U.S. gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewelry and golf balls. Of the billions of dollars in payment transactions that the poker companies deceived U.S. banks into processing, approximately one-third or more of the funds went directly to the poker companies as revenue through the “rake” charged to players on almost every poker hand played online.
To accomplish their fraud, the poker companies worked with an array of highly compensated “payment processors” who obtained accounts at U.S. banks for the poker companies. The payment processors lied to banks about the nature of the financial transactions they were processing and covered up those lies, by, among other things, creating phony corporations and websites to disguise payments to the poker companies. For example, a PokerStars document from May 2009 acknowledged that they received money from U.S. gamblers through company names that “strongly imply the transaction has nothing to do with PokerStars” and that PokerStars used whatever company names “the processor can get approved by the bank.”
Full Tilt Poker further defrauded players by misrepresenting that player funds on deposit in online gambling accounts were safe, secure, and available for withdrawal at any time. In reality, the company did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players and, instead, utilized players’ funds to distribute more than $400 million to Full Tilt’s owners. By March 31, 2011, two weeks before the initial complaint in this action was unsealed, Full Tilt Poker owed approximately $390 million to players around the world, including approximately $160 million to players in the United States. At that time, Full Tilt Poker had only approximately $60 million on deposit in its bank accounts. Full Tilt Poker’s scheme continued even after the civil forfeiture action commenced and the related criminal indictment was unsealed in April 2011. Full Tilt Poker continued accepting foreign player funds despite the fact that it had liabilities to players around the world for over $300 million yet held only a small fraction of that amount in its bank accounts.
Eleven defendants were charged criminally in connection with the original Internet poker indictment, seven of whom have been arrested. The defendants who have been arrested are: Raymond Bitar, Bradley Franzen, Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin, Brent Beckley, Chad Elie, and John Campos. All seven defendants except Bitar have each pled guilty and await sentencing with the exception of Campos, who was sentenced in June 2012 to three months in prison. Charges are still pending against the remaining four defendants—Nelson Burtnick, Isai Scheinberg, Paul Tate, and Scott Tom—who remain at large. The charges and accusations against them are allegations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara praised the FBI for its outstanding leadership in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing.
This matter is being handled by the Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sharon Cohen Levin, Michael Lockard, Jason Cowley, and Andrew Goldstein are in charge of the civil money laundering and forfeiture action. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arlo Devlin-Brown, Nicole Friedlander and Niketh Velamoor are in charge of the criminal case.
Former Owner of Plainfield Nursing Home Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison for Bankruptcy Fraud
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Stanley Rodowicz, Jr., 57, of Wellington, Florida, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $800,000 from a Plainfield nursing home that is in bankruptcy proceedings.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Rodowicz was the owner and administrator of Village Manor Health Care Inc. (VMHC), a corporation that operated a nursing home with approximately 90 beds in Plainfield, Connecticut. In February 2007, Rodowicz authorized VMHC to file a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut. From February 2007 to March 2010, Rodowicz operated VMHC as a Chapter 11 debtor and debtor in possession and maintained control over VMHC’s bank accounts, cash, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.
During the bankruptcy proceedings, Rodowicz caused VMHC to file numerous documents with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, including numerous motions for authority to use cash collateral. Rodowicz knew that VMHC was only authorized to transfer or spend its cash collateral in accordance with the cash collateral budgets once they had been approved by the bankruptcy court through the issuance of a cash collateral order. Each cash collateral order authorized VMHC to pay its “landlord,” which was a partnership also owned in part by Rodowicz, a specific sum of money in payment of rent and certain escrows.
In knowing violation of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s cash collateral orders, Rodowicz transferred VHMC’s money to its “landlord” in amounts in excess of what was authorized by the various cash collateral orders. Through this scheme, Rodowicz embezzled $817,212 from the bankruptcy estate’s accounts. Rodowicz also falsified the books and records of the nursing home during the bankruptcy proceedings to conceal the embezzlement.
After the fraud was discovered in March 2010, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee was immediately appointed by the bankruptcy court to operate the nursing home. VHMC remains in bankruptcy and has creditors claiming they are owed approximately $4 million.
Judge Burns ordered Rodowicz to pay restitution in the amount of $495,212. Rodowicz previously repaid $322,000 in an effort to conceal his fraudulent conduct.
On July 12, 2011, Rodowicz pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the U.S. Trustee Program.
The U.S. Trustee Program is the Department of Justice component that promotes and protects the integrity of the bankruptcy system by overseeing case administration and litigating to enforce the civil bankruptcy laws.
Members of the public can report suspected bankruptcy fraud via e-mail to USTP.Bankruptcy.Fraud@usdoj.gov.
In the District of Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney’s Office coordinates a Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group that includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of the United States Trustee, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ann M. Nevins.
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Travis Creig Lewis, a/k/a Travis Farmer, age 19, of Mission, South Dakota, appeared before United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange on July 30, 2012, and pled guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and aiding and abetting. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both.
The conviction stems from an incident that took place on October 12, 2011, when Lewis was involved in aiding and abetting the beating of a man who was beaten with a bat and shod feet.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Maher. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for October 22, 2012. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending sentencing.
Wakpala Man Sentenced to 360 Months for Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Wakpala man charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child was sentenced on July 30, 2012, by United States District Judge Charles B. Kornmann. Gerard Deshauquette, a/k/a Gerard Desheuquette, age 22, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence, under the Adam Walsh Act, of 360 months in custody, five years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Victim Assistance Fund.
Deshauquette was initially indicted for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and one count of aggravated sexual contact with a child by a federal grand jury on February 14, 2012. He pled guilty to aggravated sexual abuse of a child on April 30, 2012. The conviction arose from an incident that occurred between November 2009 and November 2011, in Wakpala, in which Deshauquette sexually assaulted a child under the age of 12.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Standing Rock Agency. Assistant United States Attorney Mikal Hanson prosecuted the case.
Deshauquette was immediately turned over to the custody of the United States Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence.
Seymour Man Charged with Producing and Possessing Sexually Explicit Material Involving Children Moe Local Results as Part of United States Attorney’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS—United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced this morning the indictment of Seymour resident Lance B. Grant, a/k/a Brandon Grant, age 29, on charges of both possessing and producing sexually explicit material involving minors.
“Protecting Hoosier children is a top priority of this office, and we take that obligation very seriously,” Hogsett said. “Thanks to the tireless work of our nationally recognized Project Safe Childhood team, we are more committed than ever to identifying and prosecuting anyone who seeks to exploit and victimize young people.”
The indictment alleges that on July 19, 2012, Grant was found by law enforcement to possess a number of videos and images depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The indictment identifies 14 specific videos and still images possessed by Grant on his desktop computer.
Grant is also charged with three counts of producing sexually explicit material involving a minor female between January 22 and June 10, 2012. The indictment alleges that Grant produced sexually explicit images of the minor female using a digital camera and his desktop computer.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd S. Shellenbarger, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Grant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the one count of possession of sexually explicit material involving minors. Grant also faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the three counts of production of sexually explicit material involving a minor. Grant will be held in federal custody pending trial.
These charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Cyber Crimes Task Force, based in Evansville, as part of the U.S. Attorney’s ongoing Project Safe Childhood initiative. Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood uses federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please see www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hogsett Announces Sentencing of Indianapolis Vigilantes Motorcycle Club Member
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 31, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Stephen Davis, Jr., age 59, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 120 months (10 years) in prison by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker following his guilty plea to charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in the Indianapolis area. Davis also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
“This prosecution serves as further notice that it doesn’t matter whether you drive a sports car or ride a motorcycle, who your friends are, or how powerful you may think your gang is,” Hogsett said. “Federal law enforcement will not tolerate organized criminal activity on Hoosier streets.”
Davis was a member of the Vigilantes Motorcycle Club in Indianapolis and acted as a distributor for a methamphetamine trafficking organization operating in Central Indiana. In the course of this investigation, it was discovered that this criminal organization had extensive ties to other motorcycle clubs operating throughout Indiana.
Davis admitted to receiving large quantities of methamphetamine from a member of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club in Indianapolis. Court records also indicate that the primary methamphetamine customer for Davis was a member of the Diablos Motorcycle Club in Terre Haute named Michael Pitts. Pitts has also been found guilty and was sentenced to 192 months (16 years) in prison on July 24 for his role in the operation. All told, Davis admitted to distributing one pound of methamphetamine per week from March 2011 through August 4, 2011.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force in Indianapolis. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Blackington, who prosecuted the case for the government, Davis was also sentenced to five years of supervised release following his prison term, which will subject him to random searches by probation officers and restrict him from affiliating with members of motorcycle clubs.