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Friday, August 31, 2012

As Iranian Hosts Watch, Egyptian and U.N. Leaders Rebuke Syria


The following is an excerpt from an article in 



The New York Times
Friday, August 31, 2012

As Iranian Hosts Watch, Egyptian and U.N. Leaders Rebuke Syria

By THOMAS ERDBRINK and RICK GLADSTONE

TEHRAN — Iran’s triumphal stewardship of the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting here veered off script on Thursday when the two most prominently featured guest speakers — President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon — denounced the repression of the armed uprising in Syria, a close Iranian ally.

Syria’s foreign minister walked out in protest over Mr. Morsi’s remarks at the meeting, the largest international conference in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian leaders have portrayed the meeting, attended by delegations from 120 countries, as a validation of Iran’s importance in the world and a rejection of Western attempts to ostracize it.

Mr. Ban added further embarrassment to the Iranian hosts by publicly upbraiding them in his speech for threatening to annihilate Israel and for describing the Holocaust as a politically motivated myth. “I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust,” Mr. Ban said.

In what appeared to signal Iran’s effort to avoid public friction over the Syrian conflict that would detract from the tone of the Nonaligned conference, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, opened the day with a welcoming speech that conspicuously avoided any mention of Syria. But the subsequent speeches by Mr. Morsi and Mr. Ban refocused attention on it.

For more, visit www.nytimes.com.

Threat to Syrian Civilians Is Growing, Officials Say


The following is an excerpt from an article in 



The New York Times
Friday, August 31, 2012

Threat to Syrian Civilians Is Growing, Officials Say

By KAREEM FAHIM and RICK GLADSTONE

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Human rights workers and diplomats said Thursday that Syria’s military was increasingly relying on indiscriminate air power to crush the insurgency, as top United Nations officials attending a special Security Council session reported alarming new data on the severity of the crisis, including a doubling in the number of civilians who need emergency aid.

“The cohesion of Syria’s diverse society is in danger,” Jan Eliasson, the deputy secretary general, told the Council members in a meeting convened by France, which holds the rotating presidency. Mr. Eliasson also said the emergency United Nations relief operations marshaled for Syria were already under financial strain, and “as the conflict intensifies, the number of people in need clearly exceeds our capacity to assist.”

He recited a litany of updated statistics on the conflict, noting that the number of refugees in neighboring countries now exceeded 220,000, fewer than half of Syria’s hospitals are functional and food prices have tripled in some areas.

Moreover, Mr. Eliasson said that more than 2.5 million people were now in “great need of assistance and protection inside Syria” — roughly double the number reported by the United Nations in March.

The foreign minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, whose country has absorbed more than 80,000 of the Syrian refugees in an exodus that has grown drastically just in the past few weeks, exhorted the Security Council to establish safety zones inside Syria to help mitigate the crisis, which he and others said was threatening to destabilize the region.

“Now the regime is deploying fighter jets against the people,” Mr. Davutoglu said. “How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?”

For more, visit www.nytimes.com.

Report Details Iran’s Progress at Fordow Nuclear Site


The following is an excerpt from an article in 



The New York Times
Friday, August 31, 2012

Report Details Iran’s Progress at Fordow Nuclear Site

By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD

WASHINGTON — Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges it needs to complete a site deep underground for the production of nuclear fuel, international inspectors reported Thursday, a finding that led the White House to warn that “the window that is open now to resolve this diplomatically will not remain open indefinitely.”

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the last to be issued before the American presidential election, lays out in detail how Iran over the summer has doubled the number of centrifuges installed deep under a mountain near Qum. Iran has also, the report said, cleansed another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.

Based on satellite photographs, the agency said the cleanup had been so extensive that it would “significantly hamper” the ability of inspectors to understand what kind of work had taken place there.

The report confirmed that a recent boast by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that the country had added nearly 1,000 centrifuges to the underground site was accurate. But it left open the question of what, exactly, Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian leaders intended to do with those machines, and whether, by racing ahead with construction, they were seeking negotiating advantage or trying to gain the ability to build a bomb before sanctions, sabotage or military action could stop them.

For more, visit www.nytimes.com.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix Extradited from Mexico to the United States to Face Charges

Press release:


Eduardo Arellano-Felix Extradited from Mexico to the United States to Face Charges
Key Advisor to the Arellano-Felix Organization’s Leadership

U.S. Department of JusticeAugust 31, 2012
  • Office of Public Affairs(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
WASHINGTON—Eduardo Arellano-Felix, 55, one of the alleged members of the Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO), was extradited today by the government of Mexico to the United States to face racketeering, money laundering, and narcotics trafficking charges in the Southern District of California.
The extradition was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Arellano-Felix was arrested by Mexican authorities in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, on October 25, 2008, following a gun battle with a Mexican Special Tactical Team. A final order of extradition to the United States was granted in 2010. After two years of unsuccessful appeals, Arellano-Felix arrived in the United States this afternoon. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance on Tuesday, September 4, 2012, in U.S. District Court in San Diego before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Lynn Major.
U.S. Attorney Duffy, whose office secured the indictment against Arellano-Felix, said, “This extradition is a significant step in our effort to bring another key figure in the Arellano-Felix Organization to answer, in an American court of law, to very serious charges. We are grateful to the government of Mexico for its assistance in the extradition.”
“Today’s extradition is a milestone in our fight against the Mexican drug cartels. I want to thank the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs for its tireless work in helping to ensure that Eduardo Arellano-Felix and numerous of his alleged co-conspirators face justice in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.
“The extradition of Eduardo Arellano-Felix today marks the end of a 20-year DEA investigation into this vicious drug cartel,” said William R . Sherman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the San Diego Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “This extradition illustrates that DEA and all its law enforcement partners will relentlessly pursue these drug traffickers until they are brought to justice.”
San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn said, “The FBI is pleased with Mexico’s efforts to bring to justice a leader from one of the most violent criminal enterprises in our history. The spirit of cooperation between our two countries is a powerful force in disrupting the criminal activities of these groups that instill fear and threaten the safety of our citizens in the border regions of the United States.”
Long-reputed to be one of the most notorious multi-national drug trafficking organizations, the AFO controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana, and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States. Its operations also extended into southern Mexico as well as Colombia.
The seventh superseding indictment charges Arellano-Felix with conducting the affairs of an illegal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO), conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and marijuana, as well as money laundering. The indictment alleges that the leadership of the AFO negotiated directly with Colombian cocaine-trafficking organizations for the purchase of multi-ton shipments of cocaine, received those shipments by sea and by air, in Mexico, and then arranged for the smuggling of the cocaine into the United States and its further distribution throughout the U.S. The indictment also alleges that the proceeds of the AFO’s drug trafficking, estimated by law enforcement to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, were then smuggled back into Mexico.
Brothers and former leaders of the AFO, Benjamin Arellano-Felix and Francisco Javier Arellano‑Felix, are currently serving sentences in the United States following their convictions for racketeering, drug trafficking, and money laundering charges.
This case is being investigated by agents from the DEA, the FBI, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted in the Southern District of California by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph Green, James Melendres and Dan Zipp. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in the extradition. The investigation of Arellano-Felix was coordinated by an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and coordinate all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against major drug trafficking rings, drug kingpins, and money launderers.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Federal Court Arraignment

Press release:


Federal Court Arraignment

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Montana(406) 657-6101
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on August 30, 2012, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn S. Ostby, the following individual was arraigned:
Tanya Marie Nava, a 38-year-old resident of Billings, appeared on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and distribution of methamphetamine. She is currently detained. If convicted of these charges, Nava faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $4,000,000 fine, and five years’ supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Billings Police Department.
The defendant pled not guilty to the charges.
The charge, an indictment, information, or complaint, is merely an accusation and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Federal Court Arraignment

Press release:


Federal Court Arraignment

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Montana(406) 657-6101
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on August 30, 2012, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong, the following individual was arraigned:
Indian Leider, a 20-year-old resident of Box Elder, appeared on a charge of sexual abuse of a minor. He is currently detained. If convicted of this charge, Leider faces possible penalties of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and lifetime supervision. Assistant U.S. Attorney Danna R. Jackson is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The defendant pled not guilty to the charge.
The charge, an indictment, information, or complaint, is merely an accusation, and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set, and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nevada Woman Sentenced to 54 Months for Her Role in College Financial Aid Fraud

Press release:


Nevada Woman Sentenced to 54 Months for Her Role in College Financial Aid Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • Eastern District of Virginia(804) 819-5400
RICHMOND, VA—Linda Palmer Taylor, 62, of Henderson, Nevada was sentenced today to 54 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in recruiting investors and misusing their funds in a college financial aid fraud.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and John S. Adams, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Henry E. Hudson.
Taylor pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on May 14, 2012. According to court documents, Taylor was the owner of several companies that purported to assist families with finding and securing financial aid for college expenses. As part of her financial planning advice, Taylor recommended that of her clients purchase annuities through her companies, the College Dream Foundation and College Funding Associates. Taylor and her co-conspirator, Edward Menster, sold approximately $1.6 million in annuities to investors in California, Colorado, and Virginia. Taylor falsely represented to her clients that the funds would be secured or guaranteed, when, in fact, they were deposited in a checking account controlled by Taylor and were neither secured nor guaranteed.
The funds were used by Taylor and Menster for personal expenses to fund other, unrelated businesses and to make interest payments and withdrawals to previous investors in a Ponzi-like scheme. As part of her sentence, Taylor was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars in restitution to the victims of her fraud.
Taylor’s co-conspirator, Ed Menster, also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to 58 months’ incarceration on March 9, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.

Three Former UBS Executives Convicted for Frauds Involving Contracts Related to the Investment of Municipal Bond Proceeds

Press release:


Three Former UBS Executives Convicted for Frauds Involving Contracts Related to the Investment of Municipal Bond Proceeds

U.S. Department of JusticeAugust 31, 2012
  • Office of Public Affairs(202) 514-2007/TDD (202)514-1888
WASHINGTON—A federal jury in New York City today convicted three former financial services executives for their participation in frauds related to bidding for contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other municipal finance contracts, the Department of Justice announced.
Peter Ghavami, Gary Heinz, and Michael Welty, all former UBS AG executives, were found guilty on conspiracy and fraud charges in the U.S. District Court in New York City. Ghavami was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of substantive wire fraud. Heinz was found guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of substantive wire fraud. Welty was found guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Heinz was found not guilty on one count of witness tampering, and Welty was found not guilty on one count of substantive wire fraud.
The trial began on July 30, 2012. Ghavami, Heinz, and Welty were initially indicted on December 9, 2010.
“For years, these executives corrupted the competitive bidding process and defrauded municipalities across the country out of money for important public works projects,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s convictions demonstrate that the division is committed to holding accountable those who seek to unfairly and illegally undermine competitive markets.”
According to evidence presented at trial, while employed at UBS, Ghavami, Heinz, and Welty participated in separate fraud conspiracies and schemes with various financial institutions and with a broker at various time periods from as early as March 2001 until at least November 2006. These financial institutions, or providers, offered a type of contract—known as an investment agreement— to state, county, and local governments and agencies and not-for-profit entities throughout the United States. The public entities were seeking to invest money from a variety of sources, primarily the proceeds of municipal bonds that they had issued to raise money for, among other things, public projects. Public entities typically hire a broker to assist them in investing their money and to conduct a competitive bidding process to determine the winning provider.
According to evidence presented at trial, while acting as providers, Ghavami, Heinz, and Welty, with their provider and broker co-conspirators, corrupted the bidding process for more than a dozen investment agreements to increase the number and profitability of the agreements awarded to UBS. At other times, while acting as brokers, Ghavami, Heinz, Welty, and their co-conspirators arranged for UBS to receive kickbacks in exchange for manipulating the bidding process and steering investment agreements to certain providers.
Ghavami, Heinz, and Welty deprived the municipalities of competitive interest rates for the investment of tax-exempt bond proceeds that were to be used by municipalities to refinance outstanding debt and for various public works projects, such as for building or repairing schools, hospitals, and roads. Evidence at trial established that they cost municipalities around the country and the U.S. Treasury millions of dollars.
During the trial, the government presented specific evidence relating to approximately 26 corrupted bids and approximately 76 recorded conversations made by the co-conspirator financial institutions. Among the issuers and not-for-profit entities whose agreements or contracts were subject to the defendants’ schemes were the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation, the Tobacco Settlement Financing Corporation of Rhode Island, and the RWJ Health Care Corp at Hamilton.
“Corrupt bidding schemes serve to weaken the public’s trust in the municipal bond market and prevent public entities from enjoying the benefits of a true competitive bidding process,” said Mary E. Galligan, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in New York. “Today’s conviction is further proof of our efforts to weed out these corrupt criminals and ensure justice is served.”
“Today’s verdict is important because it confirms that these complex, seemingly uninteresting backroom deals have a real impact on taxpayers, who should benefit from a municipal bond issue and are ultimately responsible for paying it off,” said Richard Weber, Chief, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). “Today’s convictions send a strong message to the municipal bond industry and demonstrates the commitment of the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department to rid the industry of corrupt practices.”
A total of 20 individuals have been charged as a result of the department’s ongoing municipal bonds investigation. Including today’s convictions, a total of 19 individuals have been convicted or pleaded guilty, and one awaits trial. Additionally, one company has pleaded guilty.
Two of charged fraud conspiracies carry a maximum penalty per count of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. A third fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The two wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty per count of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. These maximum fines per count may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The verdict announced today resulted from an ongoing investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York and Chicago Offices, the FBI, and the IRS-CI. The division is coordinating its investigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Today’s convictions are part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging and related offenses in any financial markets should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-335-8000, the FBI at 212-384-5000, or IRS-CI at 212-436-1761; or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.

Florida Man Charged with Making Harassing Phone Calls to Employees of Connecticut Company

Press release:


Florida Man Charged with Making Harassing Phone Calls to Employees of Connecticut Company

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Connecticut(203) 821-3700
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Brent Q. Hansen, 49, of Seminole, Florida, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to one count of making harassing telephone calls.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately March 2011 through June 2012, Hansen telephoned employees at a company in Hartford and left approximately 270 harassing voicemail messages for them. In his messages, Hansen repeatedly states that the individuals are cursed, that God will damn their souls, and that he hopes God will kill them. During this time period, Hansen also repeatedly sent harassing e-mails to the employees.
Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for October 18, 2012, at which time Hansen faces a maximum term of imprisonment of two years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Hansen has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on July 5, 2012.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Neeraj Patel.

Actor and Accountant Agree to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charges in Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Cost Banks $3.8 Million

Press release:


Actor and Accountant Agree to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charges in Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Cost Banks $3.8 Million

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • Central District of California(213) 894-2434
LOS ANGELES—Actor Tommy Lister, who has appeared in approximately 100 movies, and a San Fernando Valley accountant were charged today in federal court with conspiring to commit mortgage fraud in a scheme that led to $3.8 million in losses.
Lister, who is also known as “Tiny” and “Zeus,” a 54-year-old Chatsworth resident, was charged this afternoon in a criminal information with one count of conspiracy.
A second person involved in the scheme—Arcelia Chavez, 48, of Northridge, who is a self-employed certified tax preparer—was also charged today with conspiracy.
In plea agreements that were also filed this afternoon in United States District Court, both Lister and Chavez agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charges.
The court documents filed today outline a scheme that ran from November 2005 through June 2007 and involved Lister, Chavez, and several other individuals, including: Sami Sager Sweiss, formerly a mortgage loan officer based in Woodland Hills; Jason Patterson, a real estate agent in Long Beach; J.R., formerly a manager of a Washington Mutual Bank branch in Woodland Hills; and Wanda Tenney, formerly an escrow officer based in the San Fernando Valley.
Lister conspired with these individuals to fraudulently acquire title to four residential properties he could not afford. With the help of these individuals and others, Lister obtained mortgages for the four properties through fraudulent means, including submitting mortgage applications that included inflated income and asset amounts; fabricating bank statements and falsifying other documents to substantiate the fraudulent statements in the loan applications; and falsifying escrow records to deceive lenders into believing Lister had made required down payments.
In addition to fraudulently obtaining the mortgages, Lister and his co-conspirators concealed from lenders the fact that he would receive kickbacks from sellers after the real estate deals closed.
Relying on the fraudulent applications and documents, lenders issued mortgages totaling $5.7 million. Lister subsequently defaulted on the four mortgages, causing those lenders and their successors to lose approximately $2.6 million.
After acquiring title to the four residential properties, Lister obtained fraudulent home equity lines of credit on each of the four properties. Lister drew down a total of $1,146,000 in cash from the four HELOCs but did not pay back any of the principal.
Lister also admitted in his plea agreement that Chavez aided and abetted him in obtaining one of the fraudulent mortgages and a fraudulent HELOC by preparing a false CPA letter, as well as fabricating W-2s and a pay stub. The false CPA letter stated that Chavez had prepared Lister’s tax returns. Chavez separately admitted in her plea agreement that she prepared the false and fictitious documents, actions that caused lenders to lose approximately $1.1 million.
Lister and Chavez will be summoned to appear in federal court in Los Angeles in September.
The charge of conspiracy carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
On July 30, 2012, Sweiss pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count before United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. As part of his guilty plea, Sweiss admitted that he conspired with Lister, Patterson, Tenney, and Chavez to commit mortgage fraud. Sweiss is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2013.
The charges in this case are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Houston-Area Ecstasy Conspiracy

Press release:


Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts in Houston-Area Ecstasy Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • Southern District of Texas(713) 567-9000
HOUSTON—A federal jury in Houston has returned its verdicts against three men in a multi-drug conspiracy operating in and around the Houston area over the course of approximately two years, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Thuong Thomas-More Vo, 36; Steven Marshal Boehning, 34; and Hung Van Dang, 36, all of Houston, were found guilty late yesterday of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a detectible amount of ecstasy, cocaine, or marijuana after eight days of trial and approximately 10 hours of deliberations.
A total of 16 people were charged in two separate indictments in relation to this case. With the exception of the three in trial this week, all have pleaded guilty.
The investigation targeted a Vietnamese and Laotian drug trafficking organization operating in Houston. The group primarily distributed ecstasy but was also involved in the distribution of cocaine and hydroponic marijuana. Vo, among others in this case, was affiliated with the Houston-based Asian gang known as NCP or “Northside Chink Posse.”
At trial, the government presented evidence that Vo, Boehning, and Dang dealt with a now-deceased drug trafficker who supplied them with ecstasy. Vo, who has a prior federal ecstasy trafficking conviction, had served as the broker for that drug trafficker and introduced Boehning and Dang to him. Vo approved the quantities and prices of ecstasy sold to Boehning and Dang who would then sell the ecstasy to their clients.
Three others who also had dealings with the same ecstasy trafficker testified at trial and described the methods used by the dealer. Two, who contended they were customers, described where they would meet to conduct drug transactions with this dealer and testified as to the coded language they used over the telephone when speaking about drug trafficking. The third person stated he was the supplier and indicated he had provided thousands of ecstasy pills to the dealer during the course of this conspiracy.
An FBI agent provided additional testimony as to conversations that took place between the dealer and Vo, Boehning, and Dang about their drug trafficking business.
Previously released on bond, Boehning and Dang were permitted to remain on bond while Vo was taken into custody pending their sentencing hearing which will be set a later date. At that time, they face up to 20 years in prison and a possible $1 million fine.
The case was the result of a two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed Operation Iron Hide, led by the FBI and assisted by the Houston Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Johnson and Rob Jones.

Three Co-Conspirators Found Guilty of Implementing Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Press release:


Three Co-Conspirators Found Guilty of Implementing Mortgage Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Colorado(303) 454-0100
DENVER—Michael Jacoby age 44, of Castle Rock, Colorado; Derek Zar, age 30, of Commerce City, Colorado; and Susanne Zar, age 58, of Frederick, Colorado, were found guilty yesterday (August 30, 2012) by a jury for wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and IRS-Criminal Investigation announced. The guilty verdicts were the result of a four-week trial before Visiting U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn H. Vratil. Jacoby was taken into custody immediately after the jury returned the guilty verdict. They are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Vratil on December 10, 2012.
They were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on September 27, 2010, along with co-defendant Michael Macy. A superseding indictment was filed on Michael Jacoby, Derek Zar, and Susanne Zar on September 15, 2011. Michael Macy pled guilty to one count of wire fraud on June 16, 2011. The jury returned guilty verdicts against the defendants on all counts with which they were respectively charged. Michael Jacoby was found guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, and two counts of bank fraud. Derek Zar was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Suzanne Zar was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
According to the indictments and testimony at trial, between January 2005 and continuing through September 2006, in the state and district of Colorado, the defendants knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud various financial institutions and other commercial lenders that funded residential mortgages and to obtain money, funds, and other property owned by and under the custody and control of those financial institutions and commercial lenders by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses and representations. In furtherance of the scheme, one or more of the defendants participated in real estate transactions involving 18 properties located in Colorado.
It was part of the scheme that Derek Zar and a co-defendant bought homes at purported discounted rates because they paid cash. Jacoby often lent them the cash for these initial purchases and was then was paid back with interest. Furthermore, Jacoby acted as the realtor for the sales. Derek Zar and a co-defendant usually bought the homes through limited liability companies they owned and operated and then resold these homes within a very short time period to themselves as individuals at inflated prices financed by mortgage loans. Additionally, Susanne Zar often refinanced the homes with mortgage loans based on an inflated value. Sometimes, the inflated value was supported by false documentation showing a higher initial purchase price than the actual initial purchase price. The defendants also prepared and submitted and caused to be prepared and submitted applications for loans which contained various materially false and fraudulent representations.
It was further part of the scheme for the co-defendants to cause to be submitted false appraisals for some of the properties. Jacoby usually recommended an appraiser to the mortgage broker for the loan approval. He supplied the appraiser with inflated values of comparable homes or omitted information concerning the home sales so the appraiser would overvalue the current home. At closing, through a grant program, the defendants funneled money back to the home buyer who was one of the defendants. They concealed from the lenders and other parties associated with the transactions that the home buyer was receiving a kickback for buying the home.
“Mortgage fraud was a core factor in the 2008 financial crisis that harmed so many Americans so deeply,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “This verdict underscores the fact that those who commit mortgage fraud, no matter how complex, will face investigation, prosecution, and criminal consequences for their misconduct.”
“I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work and effort in this successful investigation,” said Sean P. Sowards, Special Agent in Charge, Denver Field Office.
“The FBI is fully committed to protecting our economy by aggressively investigating those who commit mortgage fraud,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.
Wire fraud carries a penalty of not more than 20 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine per count. Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from wire fraud carries a penalty of not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 per count. Bank fraud carries a penalty of not more than 30 years’ imprisonment and up to a $1,000,000 fine per count.
The case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suneeta Hazra and Jamie Mendelson.

Members of Large Alaska Drug Conspiracy Indicted

Press release:


Members of Large Alaska Drug Conspiracy Indicted
Indictment Includes Members of a Local Rap Group Who Sang About Drug Trafficking

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Alaska(907) 271-5071
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that seven men and one woman were arrested during a joint federal and state takedown in Anchorage, Alaska; Atlanta, Georgia; and Rochester, New York. Eleven individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on August 22, 2012, on charges of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine, oxycodone pills, and marijuana in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy began in 2009 and continued through August 2012. The indictment detailed multiple shipments of cocaine to Alaska involving over 50 kilograms of cocaine.
The indictment names Donnell R. S. Johnson, a/k/a “D,” a/k/a “Creep”; Terrance S. Fleming, a/k/a “Baydilla,” a/k/a “Fatboy,” a/k/a “Rodney William Payne”; Antonio Fleming, a/k/a “Wookie,”; Dalon Johnson, a/k/a “DayDay,”; Tevoris Carter, a/k/a “Peanut,” a/k/a “Young Money”; Rock Edward Phelps, II, a/k/a “Skitzo Scoe,”; Demar Moultrie, a/k/a “Duckmane,” a/k/a “All Day”; Jeraelyn Hill, a/k/a “Dredhead,” a/k/a “Rae”; Jerry Wormley, Jr., a/k/a “Two-tone”; Emma Elizabeth Shine; and Brent Gunnels, a/k/a “BG,” as defendants.
The indictment alleges that Donnell Johnson, Terrance and Antonio Fleming, Dalon Johnson, Carter, Phelps, Moultrie, Hill, Wormley, and Shine would receive shipments of powder cocaine, oxycodone pills, and marijuana from sources in Nevada, California, and Washington and then distributed it in Anchorage and Fairbanks between 2009 and August 2012. The indictment alleges that Donnell Johnson, Terrance Fleming, Antonio Fleming, Dalon Johnson, Tavoris Carter, Rock Phelps, Demar Moultrie, and Jeraelyn Hill were affiliated with a local rap group known as UNDB (Up North “D” Boys), as well as Out Da Cutt Records. The indictment alleges that drug proceeds were used in an attempt to facilitate and legitimize the music careers of the members of the conspiracy by making it appear that they were profitable recording artists. These individuals produced and featured themselves in several music videos available on the website YouTube.com. In these videos, they perform under the stage names mentioned as aliases in the indictment, and lyrics to many of the songs refer to drug trafficking.
The indictment also alleges that Donnell Johnson, Shine, and Gunnels also conspired in an attempt to destroy evidence that was associated with the conspiracy located at one of Johnson’s residences in North Pole, Alaska. According to the indictment, the Donnell Johnson, Shine, and Gunnels conspired to remove a firearm and other evidence from the North Pole residence. Finally, the indictment seeks to forfeit property that facilitated the drug trafficking conspiracy, as well as property that constituted drug proceeds. Include are cash, custom jewelry, a firearm, 10 vehicles, and a house located on Dannilynn Circle in Anchorage.
Terrence Fleming, 32, formerly of Anchorage, was arrested on August 30, in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Firearms, packaging material, and custom jewelry were seized from his residence.
Carter, 26, and Moultrie, 24, also who previously resided in Anchorage, were arrested on August 30 in Rochester, New York. Terrance Fleming, Carter, and Moultrie are being detained pending transfer back to Anchorage.
Antonio Fleming, 33; Emma Shine, 24; Dalon Johnson, 35; Rock Phelps, 26; and Jeraelyn Hill, 24, were arrested on August 30, in Anchorage. Crack cocaine and a gun were seized from Shine’s residence. Over $10,000 in cash was seized with a residence associated with Antonio Fleming. They were being arraigned in federal court this morning.
Donnell Johnson, 30, has been in custody since January 2012. The indictment alleges that he was responsible for distribution of cocaine in Fairbanks.
Police have not yet arrested Jerry Wormley, Jr., 34, and Brent Gunnels, 31, both of Fairbanks. Authorities are seeking information as to their whereabouts.
The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum total sentence of life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both. Under the federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The FBI Safe Streets Task Force; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Anchorage Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the indictment. They were assisted by federal and local law enforcement in Atlanta, Rochester, and Oakland.
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.

Anchorage Drug Dealer Sentenced for Distributing Crack Cocaine

Press release:


Anchorage Drug Dealer Sentenced for Distributing Crack Cocaine

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeAugust 31, 2012
  • District of Alaska(907) 271-5071
ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that Prentiss Lashaun Johnson, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, has been sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for distributing crack cocaine.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason imposed a sentence of 32 months in prison on Johnson, 27.
According to Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin White Bradley, who prosecuted the case, Johnson sold 22.3 grams of crack cocaine to a buyer on March 18, 2011. On May 20, 2011, Johnson sold 29.6 grams of crack cocaine to the same buyer. On December 15, 2011, Johnson attempted to sell another seven grams of crack cocaine to the buyer, but he was intercepted by members of law enforcement.
In fashioning a sentence, the court noted a need to deter this type of criminal behavior.
Ms. Loeffler commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force and the Anchorage Police Department for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Johnson.
SAUSA Bradley is a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office who is funded by the municipality of Anchorage for the purpose of prosecuting gang-related and violent crime cases.



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Sens. Vitter, Landrieu to Join Corps Officials on Aerial Tour of SE Louisiana Tomorrow

Press release:


August 31, 2012

Sens. Vitter, Landrieu to Join Corps Officials on Aerial Tour of SE Louisiana Tomorrow


(Metairie, La.) – U.S. Sens. David Vitter and Mary Landrieu will be joining Col. Ed Fleming, Major General John Peabody and Lt. General Thomas Bostick on an aerial tour of southeast Louisiana tomorrow, Saturday, September 1, 2012. The tour will fly over the entire Hurricane Protection System and surrounding area, including Plaquemines, Grand Isle, Larose and Golden Meadow.
The aerial tour will begin at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District office at 10:00 a.m. CT and will return at approximately 1:00 p.m. CT. There will be a media availability upon return.

Sen. Vitter, Gov. Romney and Gov. Jindal to Assess Flooding in Lafitte

Press release:


August 31, 2012

Sen. Vitter, Gov. Romney and Gov. Jindal to Assess Flooding in Lafitte


(Metairie, La.) – U.S. Senator David Vitter will join Governors Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal today on a visit to Lafitte to meet with local officials and first responders and to assess flooding damages. There will be press availability at the end of the tour with Vitter and Jindal only.
They will depart from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at 1:15 pm. 

Grassley Pursues Federal Regulations’ Effect on Bank Workers’ Firings

Press release:


For Immediate Release
August 31, 2012

Grassley Pursues Federal Regulations’ Effect on Bank Workers’ Firings

M E M O R A N D U M

To:    Reporters and Editors
Re:    Bank firing of workers over federal regulations
Da:    Friday, August 31, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is looking into the enforcement of federal regulations that are meant to protect consumers from financial fraud but might be penalizing bank employees for old, minor infractions that are not a threat to current financial consumers.  The Des Moines Register reported that Wells Fargo has fired workers including a 68-year-old customer service representative in Des Moines for putting a cardboard dime in a washing machine 49 years ago.  Grassley’s staff has had an initial conversation with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the agency that promulgated the rule, to learn more.  His staff has asked the agency for a briefing to cover the topic in more depth, especially regarding allegations that banks including Wells Fargo are seeking waivers from the regulation for executives but simply firing low-level employees rather than pursue waivers for them.  Grassley also wants to know whether the firing of individuals for minor infractions, such as the washing machine incident, was an unintended consequence of the rules.  Grassley’s staff also contacted Wells Fargo for a briefing on how the bank is implementing the rules.

Sen. Grassley comment:

“I intend to get to the bottom of how these rules can be applied fairly.  The intent of the law was to go after those who posed a potential danger to the financial system, not to target employees who may have committed petty crimes that are decades-old.  Congress gave the FDIC the responsibility to write these regulations.  We have a responsibility to make sure the rules make sense and have their intended effect of protecting the general public.”

Corker Reacts to Bernanke Jackson Hole Speech, Says Time for Policy makers to Focus on Economic Fundamentals - United States Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee

Corker Reacts to Bernanke Jackson Hole Speech, Says Time for Policy makers to Focus on Economic Fundamentals - United States Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee

Boeing Celebrates Delivery of LAN Airlines' first 787 Dreamliner

Press release:


- LAN becomes first airline in Americas to receive the Dreamliner
Boeing Celebrates Delivery of LAN Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner
These images are available for editorial use by news media.
EVERETT, Wash., Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) and LAN Airlines, one of Latin America's leading passenger and cargo carriers, celebrated the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner to LAN making it the first airline in the Americas to receive the new airplane.
LAN is only the fourth customer in the world to include the Boeing 787 in its fleet with 32 of this new aircraft on order and lease.
LAN's top executives, Boeing representatives and authorities celebrated the delivery at an event at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, Washington, near Boeing's 787 final assembly factory in Everett. 
"We are delighted to receive this airplane. This is a landmark moment not just for LAN, but for all our passengers in Latin America and other countries the 787 will operate to/from," said Ignacio Cueto, CEO of LAN Airlines, stressing the importance of this delivery for LAN. "Thanks to this aircraft, we will be able to operate longer routes using a plane that is more environmentally-friendly and is highly efficient, which will ensure that LAN will be able to move forward through sustainable growth. Above all, the special features of the 787 will allow us to further improve the travel experience for our passengers."
The 787 Dreamliner is composed of light-weight composites and features numerous systems, engine and aerodynamic advancements making it more efficient to operate compared with its competition. It is the first mid-sized airplane capable of flying long-range routes, enabling airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by passengers.
"LAN has clearly become the leader in aviation in Latin America and across the globe due to its strong leadership, unrivaled customer service, and commitment to technology and innovation," said Van Rex Gallard, vice president of Sales for Latin America, Africa, & Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The addition of the 787 to the LAN fleet will help it maintain that leadership edge by increasing its global presence and bringing a new and exciting flying experience to more passengers in more locations around the world."
The first cities that LAN's fleet of 787s will fly to are Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid and Frankfurt. The aircraft will begin to fly commercially in the next few months, and these routes will be added gradually during its first year of operation.