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Friday, November 30, 2012

Canadian Fugitive Surrenders at Border in Nation’s Largest Eco-Terrorism Case

FBI Press Release:


Canadian Fugitive Surrenders at Border in Nation’s Largest Eco-Terrorism Case
Fugitive Remains in Custody and Will Return to Face Trial in Oregon

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of Oregon(503) 727-1000
PORTLAND, OR—Today, Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, age 39, a Canadian citizen, surrendered herself into FBI custody at the international border in Blaine, Washington, to face federal arson, destructive device, and conspiracy charges in Oregon, Colorado, and California. Rubin’s arrest marks the end of her decade-long period as an international fugitive in the largest eco-terrorism case in United States history. After an appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Rubin will be transferred in custody to Oregon to face trial.
Rubin is charged in Oregon with being part of a conspiracy with 12 other people involving 20 acts of arson, spanning five years (1996-2001) and five Western states, committed by self-proclaimed members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). According to the indictment, the group sought to influence and affect the conduct of government, private business, and the civilian population through force, violence, sabotage, mass destruction, intimidation, and coercion, and to retaliate against government and private businesses by similar means.
Rubin’s Oregon charges include her participation in the November 30, 1997 arson at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Harney County near Burns, and the December 22, 1998, attempted arson at the offices of U.S. Forest Industries Inc. in Medford.
A Colorado federal indictment charges Rubin with eight counts of arson in the October 19, 1998, fires that destroyed Two Elk Lodge and other buildings at the Vail ski area in Eagle County, Colorado.
An indictment in the Eastern District of California charges Rubin with conspiracy, arson, and using a destructive device in the October 15, 2001 fire at the BLM Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals near Susanville, California.
In August 2007, 10 other defendants in the case received prison terms ranging from 156 months to 37 months after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Eugene to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. Two other defendants, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee and Josephine Sunshine Overaker, remain at large as international fugitives.
Each count of arson and attempted arson carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, up to a maximum of 20 years. Use of a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of 30 years in prison. Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of five years. Each count in the three indictments carries a potential fine of up to $250,000.
The ELF/ALF conspiracy case (Operation Backfire) was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Oregon State Police; the Oregon Department of Justice; the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the U.S. Forest Service; the Eugene Police Department and the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted in Oregon by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen F. Peifer.

North Royalton Woman Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Mortgage Fraud

FBI Press Release:


North Royalton Woman Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Mortgage Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • Northern District of Ohio(216) 622-3600
A North Royalton loan officer was sentenced to more than two years in prison for a mortgage-fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $1 million, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
Antoinette Payne, 44, was sentenced to 27 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan and ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.
She previously pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud andconspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme to defraud various lenders.
Payne worked as a mortgage broker and loan officer for Supreme Funding, a mortgage broker in Euclid, Ohio. She was also the owner of TLC Properties (TLC) and Designer Loan Properties (Designer), which were simply sham companies that she used to receive kickbacks and reimbursements for undisclosed down payment assistance she was providing to purchasers from the various loans’ closings she was handling, according to court documents.
These funds were in addition to the fees paid to Payne as a mortgage broker and loan officer in handling these transactions. Payne recruited purchasers for properties and promised to pay them money for filling out the paperwork for a mortgage loans where the price of the properties had been greatly inflated. She also provided any down payments as necessary, according to court documents.
To accomplish this, Payne sometimes drew money out of her TLC bank account and purchased official checks made payable to the title company as purported down payments by purchasers. Payne also falsified the income and asset on the loan documents of the purchasers she recruited to ensure their approval. She provided phony lists of improvements to the lender to support inflated the price of the real estate, according to court documents.
Once the purchasers stopped making payments on the mortgage loans, the properties went into default, resulting in a loss to lenders in the amount of approximately $1 million, according to court documents.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John M. Siegel and Christian H. Stickan, following investigation by agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Office, with the assistance of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General in Cleveland.

Cleveland Woman Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking of a Minor

FBI Press Release:


Cleveland Woman Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking of a Minor

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • Northern District of Ohio(216) 622-3600
A Cleveland woman was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for her role in a sex trafficking ring that forced children into prostitution, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federau Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Field Office.
Chardee Barfield, 22, previously pleaded guilty to two counts: sex trafficking of a minor and transportation of a minor to engage in prostitution. She was sentenced to 70 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster.
Her co-defendant, Ernest F. McClain, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, November 30 at 1:30 p.m.
“Stopping human trafficking is a top priority of this office,” Dettelbach said. “Forcing children to sell their bodies as part of the commercial sex industry is appalling.”
Anthony said, “The FBI and its partners are committed to rescuing victims of this horrible crime and bringing these predators to justice.”
From October 1, 2011 through December 5, 2011, McClain and Barfield recruited, enticed, harbored, provided, obtained, and maintained, by any means, a person, knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that the person had not attained the age of 18 years and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act, according to court documents.
Also, from on or about December 16, 2011 through December 31, 2011, McClain and Barfield transported a 16-year-old girl from Ohio to Pennsylvania with the intent that the girl engage in prostitution, according to court documents.
One confidential informant, a 15-year-old runaway, told investigators that McClain and Barfield forced her to prostitute herself 10 times a day over a month-long period with a total of 200 men, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
McClain and Barfield used websites, including backpage.com, to advertise the prostitution operation, according to the affidavit.
Another person told investigators that McClain beat girls who prostituted for him to ensure they kept working for him, according to the affidavit.
This case is being prosecuted by Northern District of Ohio Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. Sullivan. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Wickliffe and Mentor police departments.

Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison for Attempted Extortion in Vehicle Towing Investigation

FBI Press Release:


Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced to More Than Three Years in Prison for Attempted Extortion in Vehicle Towing Investigation

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • Northern District of Illinois(312) 353-5300
CHICAGO—A former Chicago Police officer assigned to the Shakespeare District on the city’s north side was sentenced today to three-and-a-half years in federal prison for taking thousands of dollars in bribes to steer towing business from accident scenes in 2006 and 2007. The defendant, Juan Prado, pleaded guilty in July to attempted extortion, admitting that he accepted a total of $3,790 from a cooperating witnesses as part of an undercover investigation, Operation Tow Scam, conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs.
At sentencing, the government presented evidence that Prado accepted at least $12,400 in additional bribes resulting from hundreds of tows from accident scenes that he handled.
Prado, 47, of Chicago, an officer for nearly 13 years, was also fined $5,000, and he was ordered to begin serving his 42-month sentence on March 12, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan. Prado, who was initially charged in June 2010, has already paid back $3,790 in bribe money to the FBI.
“Prado turned his badge into a private concession and, in the process, dictated which tow drivers could conduct their business at his accident scenes,” the government argued at sentencing.
Prado is among 10 Chicago Police officers who have been charged in the corruption probe. Seven officers and three civilians, including two truck drivers, have been convicted. Charges are pending against three other officers who were recently charged.
The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.
The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Donovan and Margaret Schneider.

Approximately $9 Million to be Returned to Victims of Oil and Gas Ponzi Scheme

FBI Press Release:


Approximately $9 Million to be Returned to Victims of Oil and Gas Ponzi Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • Western District of New York(716) 843-5700
ROCHESTER, NY—The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that the government will return approximately $9,000,000 in forfeited funds to the victims of a Ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by the late Ashvin Zaveri of Honeoye Falls, New York. More than 120 victims of the scheme may be eligible to receive a share of the forfeited funds. The victims’ claims will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace Carducci, who is handling the case, Ashvin Zaveri was indicted in 2009 on 16 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Zaveri was accused of defrauding investors who, between April 2003 and March 2009, invested approximately $35,000,000 in “oil and natural gas exploration partnerships” in Tennessee and Kentucky through his company Zaveri Oil & Gas Ltd. The victims invested in a total of 25 partnerships that were allegedly utilized by Zaveri in the Ponzi scheme. Most of the proceeds were used to pay off previous investors and for Zaveri’s own personal use.
Ashvin Zaveri was under indictment at the time of his death in August 2010. Due to his death, the criminal case against Zaveri was dismissed. However, the U.S. Attorney’s Office continued with a civil forfeiture action against the assets involved in the offense or traceable to the entire Ponzi scheme allegedly operated by Zaveri. The government pursued the proceeds of two of Zaveri’s life insurance policies and a bank account in order to repay victims for their losses.
“This case makes clear that our office’s efforts on behalf of crime victims will continue even when we are no longer able to prosecute those who were alleged to have committed the crimes,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. “We will pursue every legal remedy available to ensure that victims of crime are compensated and provided some measure of justice. Those remedies include using the forfeiture laws and suing the estate of the alleged wrongdoer in order to be able to get money to provide restitution to crime victims.”
This case was the result an investigation by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.

New York Man Sentenced to Five Years in Credit Union Robbery

FBI Press Release:


New York Man Sentenced to Five Years in Credit Union Robbery

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of New Hampshire(603) 225-1552
CONCORD, NH—Prince Sage, 28, of New York, and recently of Laconia, New Hampshire, appeared was sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to robbing the Northeast Credit Union in Manchester, New Hampshire, in December of 2011, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.
The defendant was apprehended in Laconia in December of 2011.
Also arrested in connection with the credit union robbery were Walter Williams of Compton, California, and Shyloe Johnson of New Hampshire. Johnson was sentenced to three years for aiding and abetting the robbery. Williams was sentenced earlier this week to 20 years for his participation in the credit union and two other robberies.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Manchester Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Helen White Fitzgibbon.

Owner of Baltimore Real Estate Consulting Company Pleads Guilty in Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FBI Press Release:


Owner of Baltimore Real Estate Consulting Company Pleads Guilty in Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Perpetrators of Mortgage Fraud Steal from Lenders and Damage Neighborhoods

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of Maryland(410) 209-4800
BALTIMORE—Alexander Sivels, II, age 28, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud involving the fraudulent purchase of at least nine properties in Baltimore using fraudulent loan documentation and settlement documents, resulting in actual or attempted losses of more than $1 million.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Joe Clarke of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General (OIG)-Office of Investigations; and Special Agent in Charge Robert Jasinski of the United States Secret Service-Baltimore Field Office.
“Mortgage fraud perpetrators steal from lenders that are induced to make loans that will never be repaid and damage neighborhoods when the resulting foreclosures drive down property values,” stated U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to Sivels’ plea agreement, in 2007 or 2008, Sivels met Andreas Tamaris, a Baltimore real estate developer whose business focused on buying, renovating, and reselling homes in Baltimore City, especially in the area east of Patterson Park. Sivels, who owned Royal Real Estate Consultants LLC, agreed to assist Tamaris to find purchasers for houses he had bought and renovated or that were owned by developers who owed money to Tamaris for renovation work. Tamaris told Sivels what he needed to receive from the sale of each property to recover his investment and earn a profit. Tamaris told Sivels that he could keep any excess funds generated if Sivels sold the house for more than the amount Tamaris needed to cover his costs.
Between 2008 and 2011, Sivels participated in the sale of at least nine properties, all of which were eventually foreclosed upon, resulting in a loss of at least $1 million. In 2008 and 2009, Sivels recruited buyers to purchase houses, knowing that they did not qualify for the home mortgages. Two of the buyers purchased two properties, neither of which they could afford. To enable the buyers to purchase the properties, Sivels prepared fraudulent mortgage applications which misrepresented the buyers’ income and assets. Sivels sometimes created fake tax documents and false paystubs and falsified bank statements to reflect the substantial balances referenced by the loan application. Sivels often inflated the price of the house to insure a profit for himself. At the settlements for the properties, the proceeds of the sale were generally distributed to Tamaris, who would write checks to Sivels for his portion of the profits.
In 2010 and 2011, Sivels assisted with the sales of several other Tamaris-owned properties by providing prospective lenders with fraudulent verifications of employment for the purchasers, falsely representing that they worked at a home renovation company Sivels owned, receiving cash payments in return for his assistance.
Tamaris previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6, 2013, at 10:00 a.m.
Sivels faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar scheduled his sentencing for March 20, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the task force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets. Information about mortgage fraud prosecutions is available www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage-Fraud/index.html.
Today’s announcement is 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.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, HUD OIG-Office of Investigations, and the U.S. Secret Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jefferson M. Gray, who is prosecuting the case.

Albuquerque Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Robbing New Mexico Bank & Trust in March 2012

FBI Press Release:


Albuquerque Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Robbing New Mexico Bank & Trust in March 2012

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of New Mexico(505) 346-7274
ALBUQUERQUE—This afternoon a federal judge sentenced Jacob Balducci, 35, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a 57-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his bank robbery conviction. Balducci also was ordered to pay full restitution to the bank that was the victim of his offense.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Balducci was convicted of robbing the New Mexico Bank & Trust located at 3701 Fourth Street NW on March 17, 2012, by a guilty plea that was entered on June 6, 2012.
According to court filings, on March 17, 2012, Balducci drove up to the bank’s drive-through window and presented the teller with a note claiming that he had wired four plastic bombs to the bank and threatening to detonate the bombs unless he received cash. The bank teller complied with the demand and Balducci drove away with the cash. Thereafter, officers of the Albuquerque Police Department went to the vicinity of 6th Street and Coal Avenue NE, where they executed a stop on a vehicle that fit the description of the vehicle used by the bank robber. Based on an eye witness description of the bank robber, the officers determined that the driver, Balducci, was the bank robber. Thereafter, a witness who was at the scene of the bank robbery positively identified Balducci as the bank robber. After his arrest, Balducci admitted robbing the bank. Balducci has been in federal custody since his arrest.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Field Office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon K. Stanford.

Kewa Pueblo Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Federal Child Sex Abuse Conviction

FBI Press Release:


Kewa Pueblo Man Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Federal Child Sex Abuse Conviction

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of New Mexico(505) 346-7274
ALBUQUERQUE—This afternoon, Pete Victor Reano, Jr., 47, a member and resident of Kewa Pueblo, was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment for his abusive sexual contact conviction. Reano will be on supervised release for five years after he completes his prison sentence. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that on August 23, 2012, Reano pled guilty to sexually assaulting a Kewa Pueblo girl who had not yet attained the age of 12. In entering his guilty plea, Reano admitted unlawfully touching the child by placing his hand on her genitals over her clothing. The sexual assault took place at Reano’s Kewa Pueblo residence in spring of 2008. Reano has been in federal custody since his arrest on November 9, 2011.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Southern Pueblos Agency, with assistance from the Santo Domingo Social Services, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Nayback.

Bloomfield Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Second-Degree Murder Charge

FBI Press Release:


Bloomfield Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Second-Degree Murder Charge

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • District of New Mexico(505) 346-7274
ALBUQUERQUE—This morning in federal court, Jasper Fernandez, 38, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Bloomfield, New Mexico, entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Fernandez was arrested on February 22, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging him with the November 4, 2011 murder of Vernita Jose, a 36-year-old Navajo woman. He subsequently was indicted on a second-degree murder charge on March 13, 2012. Fernandez has been in federal custody since his arrest.
During today’s plea hearing, Fernandez admitted that he murdered Ms. Jose at a remote location in the Navajo Indian Reservation on the night of November 4, 2011. Fernandez’s plea agreement states that he killed the victim during the course of an argument by forcibly holding the victim’s head against the inside of the car until she stopped breathing. The murder occurred shortly after Fernandez left a party where he had been drinking alcohol.
After burying the victim’s remains, Fernandez attempted to conceal the murder by driving the victim’s vehicle to an apartment complex in Farmington, New Mexico, located near her residence. Fernandez also took steps to establish an alibi by sending text messages to the victim’s phone. Court records reflect that the victim was reported missing as of November 4, 2011, and that her murder was revealed when her remains were discovered on December 16, 2011.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Fernandez will be sentenced to a prison term of eight to 10 years, to be followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Fernandez remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque and Farmington Offices of the FBI, the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, and San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.

Kimber Pleads Guilty to Using Mercury as a Chemical Weapon at Albany Medical Center

FBI Press Release:


Kimber Pleads Guilty to Using Mercury as a Chemical Weapon at Albany Medical Center

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeNovember 29, 2012
  • Northern District of New York(315) 448-0672
ALBANY—Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced today that Martin S. Kimber, 59, of Ruby, New York, pled guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn to all three counts of an indictment that charged him with using a toxic chemical, mercury, as a weapon (counts one and two), and tampering with consumer products (count three). Kimber admitted that on four occasions, he spread mercury, a potentially fatal neurotoxin, throughout various areas of the Albany Medical Center in ways which could lead to inhalation or absorption of the mercury, to retaliate for what he thought were unfair hospital bills.
In pleading guilty, Kimber admitted that:
  • $ On or about December 10, 2010 and December 23, 2010, Kimber received medical treatment at the Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York. On various dates thereafter, including on January 24, 2011, Kimber wrote to express concern about having to pay for his medical care. On February 22, 2011, the Albany Medical Center Associate Medical Director wrote back and explained why the bills were appropriate and discussed the outcome associated with Kimber having provided inaccurate information about his injury and his decision not to complete the care prescribed by his treating physician.
  • On or about March 28, 2011, April11, 2011, June 23, 2011, and March 2, 2012, patients, visitors, and hospital personnel discovered liquid mercury deposited in sundry locations throughout the Albany Medical Center. On March 28, 2011, mercury was found in the level D basement, the hallway outside the Post-Operative Care Unit, the Triage window in the emergency room, and in the tracks to the door of the center elevator for Building D. Hospital; emergency response units identified and collected several pounds of mercury. On April 11, 2011, mercury was found in the men’s bathroom on the AI level and in the main hallway in Building E, extending from the M doors to the elevator lobby. Approximately one to two pounds of mercury was collected by emergency response personnel. On June 23, 2011, mercury was found on the pedestrian ramp leading from the main lobby up to the pedestrian parking garage bridge and in the E-1 corridor exiting the Choice Cafe and the center elevator of Building A elevator triplex. Approximately two pounds of mercury was collected. On March 2, 2012, mercury was found in the cafeteria at Albany Medical Center, in the salad bar, in an apple bowl, in a banana basket, in a toaster, on a table by the coffee station, in the cooler for the packaged salad dressing, in the ice cream freezer, and in a container of chicken tenders that were being warmed under heating lamps and were available for purchase and consumption by cafeteria customers.
  • Kimber was responsible for each of these mercury disposals and for tampering with the described products, including the mercury, each item of food, and the restaurant equipment, to include the fruit, bowl, toaster, table, cooler, freezer, and heating lamps. The food products and food containers into and near which the defendant deposited mercury affected interstate commerce.
  • Kimber’s purpose in disposing of the mercury throughout the Albany Medical Center and cafeteria on multiple occasions was to retaliate for hospital bills that he felt were unfair by causing panic at the hospital/cafeteria and an attendant loss of business when people became fearful of gaining treatment and eating there.
  • On March 29, 2012, Kimber possessed two canisters of mercury, one stored in his car and the other stored in his house. A search by law enforcement officers resulted in the seizure of both canisters. Kimber engaged in computer searches at sites where more mercury could be purchased.
Mercury is a well-documented hazardous substance. Among other things, mercury is a neurotoxin that can kill human nerve cells. Mercury is readily absorbed through unbroken skin. Inhalation and other forms of absorption can lead to death, brain, and lung damage; impairment of speech; constriction of the visual field; hearing loss and somatosensory change; and other serious bodily injuries. Having been a licensed pharmacist for 36 years, Kimber well understood these dangers and that the heating of mercury, including the placing of mercury on or in toasters, and on or around heated food, greatly increased the likelihood that mercury would vaporize into the air and be inhaled by individuals consuming such food or using or near such heating devices.
As part of his plea agreement, Kimber agreed to abandon his computer and consented to the entry of an order directing him to:
  • Pay restitution to the Albany Medical Center in the amount of $200,451.48;
  • Pay restitution in full to the United States for any expenses incurred incident to the seizure, storage, handling, transportation, and destruction of any property seized in connection with an investigation of his use of mercury as a chemical weapon;
  • Pay restitution to any other victims;
  • Forfeit the residence at 8 Lena Lane, Ruby, New York; and
  • Forfeit his 2007 Pontiac Solstice.
Kimber was arrested on April 25, 2012, by special agents of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. On March 2, 2012, following a hearing, Kimber was detained as a danger to the community. He remains in jail pending imposition of sentence.
Each count charging the use of mercury as a chemical weapon carries a maximum possible term of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss to any victim. The consumer product tampering charge carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss to any victim.
Sentencing in this matter has been set for March 7, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in Albany.
United States Attorney Hartunian said, “Congratulations and thank you to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations, whose cooperative investigation quickly brought the defendant to justice for this very dangerous conduct; to the patients, visitors, and hospital personnel who discovered the mercury; and to the emergency response units who collected it. Their alertness and professionalism prevented the dire consequences that could have resulted from the defendant’s use of several pounds of mercury as a chemical weapon and contaminating food and food service items at a hospital.”
“There are honest accidents and there are clear cases of criminal conduct,” said William V. Lometti, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in New York. “The defendant’s action threatened public health and safety and sent an innocent victim to the hospital. Today’s plea demonstrates that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. EPA is encouraged by the level of partnership shown by the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies involved in this joint investigation.”
The defendant demonstrated a disregard for the potentially life-threatening consequence of his actions and for the potential harm that he could have inflicted,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement counterparts to aggressively pursue those who place the public health at risk and harm others by tampering with food, drugs, or other FDA-regulated products.”
This case was investigated by special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Food & Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations. Assistance has been provided by the Towns of Albany and Ulster Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Craig Benedict, to whom questions may be directed at 315-448-0672 or cell phone 315-391-1110.


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Preying on the Weak Estate Planner Victimized Terminally Ill

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/november/estate-planner-victimized-terminally-ill/estate-planner-victimized-terminally-ill

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U.S. Chamber Launches Native American Enterprise Initiative

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Press Release:


Release Date: Nov 29, 2012Contact: 888-249-NEWS

U.S. Chamber Launches Native American Enterprise Initiative

New Advocacy Initiative Will Promote Interests and Agenda of Tribes and Tribal Entrepreneurs
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched the Native American Enterprise Initiative (NAEI) to promote the interests and agenda of tribes and tribal entrepreneurs across the country. The NAEI will work with tribes and businesses to highlight opportunities for economic growth and networking for Native American enterprises, as well as promote foreign direct investment on tribal lands and pursue an aggressive advocacy agenda before Congress and the administration in coordination with other Native American advocacy organizations.
“Tribes and tribal enterprises across the country face a unique set of economic opportunities and challenges as entrepreneurship and economic diversification in Indian Country continues to grow,” said Rolf Lundberg, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Congressional and Public Affairs.  “The U.S. Chamber is launching NAEI to help boost economic growth and job creation by identifying opportunities and advocating for the policies that will help tribes and tribal entrepreneurs succeed. Drawing on the Chamber’s longstanding track record of successful business advocacy, NAEI will provide value to Indian Country by working to remove legislative and regulatory road blocks to their economic success.”
The issues that NAEI’s advocacy will focus include taxation, energy development, trade and economic development, and promoting a sensible regulatory policy. NAEI’s Leadership Council, composed of major tribes and tribal enterprises, will serve as the governing body of the initiative and will further develop policy priorities.
More information is available at http://www.uschamber.com/naei
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Sen. Vitter, Rep. Pompeo to Introduce Concurrent Resolution Opposing “Carbon Tax”

Senator David Vitter Press Release:


November 29, 2012

Sen. Vitter, Rep. Pompeo to Introduce Concurrent Resolution Opposing “Carbon Tax”


(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) today announced that they will be introducing a concurrent resolution in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax is not in the economic interest of the United States.  Vitter and Pompeo are actively reaching out to colleagues of both parties to support the resolution.

“There’s a lot of talk in Washington about raising taxes, and finding ‘revenues’ in creative ways, to avoid going over the fiscal cliff,” Vitter said. “But a carbon tax – which would force more financial hardship upon family budgets, energy consumers and job seekers – needs to be completely taken off the table. Our resolution would enshrine that.”
“A carbon tax would be disastrous to our nation’s economy by driving up energy prices and increasing the cost of everything built in America, as well consumer goods purchased by every American,” said Pompeo.  “I am proud to join Senator Vitter in introducing this resolution, which is aimed at putting Congress on the record in opposition to this awful idea.”

The concurrent resolution states that a carbon tax, which would increase the cost of manufactured goods and harm America’s manufacturing sector, is regressive in nature and would unfairly burden those vulnerable individuals and families in the U.S. who are struggling under a stagnating economy.

The resolution comes in response to growing pressure for Congress to consider a carbon tax.  At a November 15 press gaggle, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one.”
Last week Vitter sent U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner a letter asking for answers on his department’s involvement in proposing a “carbon tax.” A release of Treasury’s emails has been requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the government watchdog organization, Competitive Enterprise Institute.  Treasury has not released them, and asked the organization to pay a large sum for the documents – which goes against the intent of FOIA law. Vitter is also pressing Geithner for an economic analysis of a “carbon tax.” Click here to read a copy of Vitter’s letter. 

Vitter: Charges Dropped for Slidell Man who was Detained in South Sudan

Senator David Vitter Press Release:


November 29, 2012

Vitter: Charges Dropped for Slidell Man who was Detained in South Sudan


(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) office spoke with the U.S. Department of State this morning, and the South Sudanese judge has formally dropped charges against Slidell resident Elton Mark McCabe. The South Sudanese Minister of Justice still has to sign a paper to allow him to leave, and according to the DOS his departure is not scheduled until December 6. McCabe was detained by members of the South Sudanese National Security Service on Sunday, October 14, and is scheduled to appear in court on November 29.
“Really good news – the South Sudanese judge has formally dropped the charges against Mark McCabe. Unfortunately, their Minister of Justice still has to sign a paper to allow him to leave the country, and that's not scheduled until December 6,” Vitter said. “I’ll be contacting the South Sudanese Ambassador today to say how outrageous that is and to push to expedite that date.  Mr. McCabe is currently at the U.S. Embassy for safety.”
On November 15, Vitter sent a letter to the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, urging him to ensure that Slidell resident, Mark McCabe would be granted due process as guaranteed by the laws of South Sudan, as well as by international law.
Upon news of McCabe’s deteriorating health while being detained, Vitter requested that President Kiir allow McCabe to be evacuated to Nairobi to see a cardiologist, as his doctor in Juba has specifically and urgently recommended. McCabe suffered a heart attack in jail before he was released on bail.
Yesterday on the U.S. Senate floor, Vitter called foreign aid proposals to South Sudan into question if cases involving American citizens are mishandled. In FY2012 the U.S. provided South Sudan with estimated $32 million in law enforcement funds alone. That figure is on top of an estimated $242 million on other aspects of humanitarian aid.

Sessions Delivers Remarks On Folly Of Secret Fiscal Negotiations

Senator Jeff Sessions Press Release:


From time to time my office distributes press releases and written statements on state and national issues, debate in the Senate, and legislation that I am working on. For your convenience, I post these documents on my site for your review.


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Sessions Delivers Remarks On Folly Of Secret Fiscal Negotiations

Thursday, November 29, 2012
“Insofar as I can see, a tax-and-spend policy remains [President Obama’s] goal today. The White House isn’t planning to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, but to grow the government. I don’t believe Congress will accept such a deal if that is what is being discussed…
 
Shouldn’t the President of the United States, the only person who represents everybody in the country, lay out his plan, or must that remain a secret too? Will it just be revealed to us on the eve of Christmas or eve of the new calendar year? We will be asked to vote for it, to ratify it like lemmings, I suppose.”
 
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor today about the ongoing secret negotiations relating to the so-called fiscal cliff:
 
“I rise today to express my reservations about the fiscal cliff negotiations that are currently underway.
 
Over the last two years, Congress and the President have held an endless series of secret negotiations. There have been gangs of six and eight, a supercommittee of 12, talks at the Blair House and the White House. But the only thing these secret talks have produced is a government that skips from one crisis to the next. Everything has been tried but the open production of a 10-year budget plan as required by law and open discussions of the difficult choices.
 
All of this secrecy allows the President to position himself as being in favor of a ‘balanced’ plan while the only comprehensive proposal he put on paper, his FY 2013 budget, increases taxes to fuel a further increase in spending. In fact, despite a massive tax increase of $1.8 trillion, his budget also calls for $1.4 trillion in new spending. The result is $25.4 trillion in total debt at the end of 10 years—an unacceptable course.
 
Insofar as I can see, a tax-and-spend policy remains his goal today. The White House isn’t planning to raise taxes to reduce the deficit, but to grow the government. I don’t believe Congress will accept such a deal if that is what is being discussed.
 
President Obama campaigned on a tax increase of ‘only’ $800 billion. But now the White House is demanding $1.6 trillion in new taxes. Don’t the American people have a right to see these taxes and where they will fall? Shouldn’t the President of the United States, the only person who represents everybody in the country, lay out his plan, or must that remain a secret too? Will it just be revealed to us on the eve of Christmas or eve of the new calendar year? We will be asked to vote for it, to ratify it like lemmings, I suppose.
 
The White House has repeatedly asserted that they believe in $2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes hikes. So if the White House now wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes, where is the $4 trillion spending cut?
 
In fact, the President is giving speeches calling for even more spending. On Tuesday, he gave a speech in which he said he wants to use the tax hikes to ‘invest in training, education, science, and research.’ Investment, of course, is just code for spending.
 
Not once in the speech did he discuss entitlements, our $16 trillion debt, or the economic catastrophe that could occur if we don’t get off this unsustainable path.
 
The President will go out to the press and use all the buzz words—he says he’s for a ‘balanced plan,’ and talks about a ‘responsible path to deficit reduction.’ But where are the cuts? What is the plan? It seems to me the President’s plan is to talk in general, to meet in secret, and then, under threat of panic, to force through some deal that maintains the status quo: more taxes, more spending, more debt.
 
That’s why the process needs to be taken out of the shadows. With public debate, people would learn facts that are now obscured.
 
People would discover that, according to CBO, mandatory spending—that’s entitlement programs of all kinds—is going to increase nearly 90 percent over the next decade. We already spend $2.32 trillion on mandatory costs today, but will spend $4.12 trillion in the 10th year of the budget window. That’s a huge increase.
 
People would also learn that welfare costs are now the single largest item in the budget—exceeding Medicare, Social Security, or defense. We spend enough on these poverty programs to send every household beneath the poverty line a check for $60,000. And the President’s budget did not deal with that at all; in fact, welfare spending would increase another 30 percent over the next four years.
 
The Budget Control Act that was passed 15 months ago explicitly failed to address some of these programs. Is this going on again? Like the Budget Control Act talks, is welfare spending off limits, not to be discussed? Or will welfare reform be part of the framework?
 
I don’t see how we can support a plan that doesn’t at least begin to reform these programs and improve their operation.
 
Meanwhile, as the President demands more taxes, he refuses to do anything about government waste. Lavish conferences, duplicative programs, billions in refundable tax credits being mailed every year to illegal immigrants. No one is managing this government effectively. Why should the American people send one more dime in taxes to Washington when we won’t reform and manage the money we are already getting from them?
 
So I am concerned about the nature of these secret talks and the fact that the Senate is really not participating. News reports say that it is only the Speaker and the President of the United States who are negotiating. Apparently the Majority Leader of the Senate is not intimately involved, the Chairman of the Budget Committee is not involved, the Chairman of the Finance Committee is not involved. These are Democratic leaders in the Senate. Certainly Republican leaders are not involved.
 
The Senate is a great institution, and we ought to be engaged. The engagement of the Senate would allow the American people to know what’s happening. They are entitled to that. I believe we can do better. We must do better.”