Search This Blog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Regular Joe Bandit Sought by FBI May be Responsible for Five Metroplex Bank Robberies

FBI Dallas Division Press Release:

Regular Joe Bandit Sought by FBI
May be Responsible for Five Metroplex Bank Robberies

FBI Dallas August 30, 2013
  • Public Affairs Specialist Katherine Chaumont (972) 559-5000
The FBI and local law enforcement authorities are looking for a man who may be responsible for robbing five banks since February 12, 2013.
Each robbery has occurred at a bank branch located inside a large retail store. In each instance, the man approaches the teller counter, demands cash verbally, and also presents a note. He has also indicated that he may be armed with a weapon. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, he exits through the main doors of the anchor store. To date, no one has been physically harmed.
The most recent robbery occurred on Thursday, August 15, 2013, at Woodforest National Bank, 1035 Hickory Creek Drive, Hickory Creek, Texas. He was seen fleeing the parking lot in a medium-to-large size black SUV.
The robber is described as a white male, 40 to 50 years old, approximately 5’8” to 6’0” tall, approximately 160 to 185 pounds, with a medium build; he has facial hair (several-days' growth) and a tanned complexion. The suspect has been dubbed the “Regular Joe Bandit” due to his casual appearance and composed demeanor. He wears glasses or sunglasses, long sleeves (hooded sweatshirt or casual button down), jeans, and tennis shoes. He also wears a baseball cap that appears solid in color or may have lettering or a logo that is the same color as the cap.
 The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is urged to call the Dallas Field Office of the FBI at 972-559-5000.
Robbery locations throughout the Metroplex:
DateBankAddressCityRetail Store
February 12, 2013Wells Fargo Bank2301 Justin RoadFlower MoundTom Thumb
May 28, 2013First Convenience Bank7505 N. MacArthur BoulevardIrvingKroger
June 18, 2013Woodforest National Bank9101 N. Tarrant ParkwayNorth Richland HillsWal-Mart
July 10, 2013Denton Area Teachers Credit Union101 Trophy Club DriveTrophy ClubTom Thumb
August 15, 2013Woodforest National Bank1035 Hickory Creek DriveHickory CreekWal-Mart

Mexican Couple Sentenced for Harrison County Drug Trafficking

FBI Dallas Division Press Release:

Mexican Couple Sentenced for Harrison County Drug Trafficking

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Eastern District of Texas (409) 839-2538
MARSHALL, TX—A couple from Mexico currently residing in Marshall, Texas, has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Julia Flores Saucedo, 33, of Guerrero, Mexico, pleaded guilty on January 20, 2013, to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on August 28, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Her common-law husband, Oscar Diaz-Mendoza, 35, of Guerrero, Mexico, pleaded guilty on February 28, 2013, to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on August 28, 2013, Judge Gilstrap.
According to information presented in court, from July 2011 to October 2012, the couple was involved in a conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Texas. Saucedo admitted to distributing 14.7 grams of methamphetamine on August 24, 2011, in Marshall, Texas. Diaz-Mendoza admitted to distributing 15 grams of methamphetamine on August 4, 2011, in Karnack, Texas.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment on October 3, 2012, charging the couple and Melecio Nunez-Duque with drug trafficking violations. Nunez-Duque pleaded guilty on August 6, 2013, to distributing 59.6 grams of methamphetamine and is awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marshall Police Department, and the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

Mexican National Sentenced in East Texas Meth Conspiracy

FBI Dallas Division Press Release:

Mexican National Sentenced in East Texas Meth Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Eastern District of Texas (409) 839-2538
MARSHALL, TX—A 29-year-old Sinaloa, Mexico man currently residing in Marshall, Texas, has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Joeli Higuera Fernandez pleaded guilty on May 3, 2013, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison on August 28, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. Fernandez was also ordered to submit to forfeiture of $15,000 in currency.
According to information presented in court, from March 2010 to October 2012, Fernandez was involved in a conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine in the Eastern District of Texas. Fernandez admitted to distributing 101.7 grams of actual methamphetamine during this time. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on November 7, 2012, charging Fernandez and three others with drug trafficking violations.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marshall Police Department, and the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

Chicago-Area Man Indicted for Allegedly Obstructing Justice and Soliciting the Murder of an Undercover FBI Agent

FBI Chicago Division Press Release:

Chicago-Area Man Indicted for Allegedly Obstructing Justice and Soliciting the Murder of an Undercover FBI Agent

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Illinois (312) 353-5300
CHICAGO—A Hillside man was indicted today on federal charges for allegedly soliciting the murder of an undercover FBI agent after the defendant was arrested last September and charged with attempting to detonate a purported bomb outside a bar in downtown Chicago. The defendant, Adel Daoud, was charged with one count each of solicitation of murder or attempted murder of a federal agent, murder-for-hire, and obstruction of justice in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
Daoud, 19, will be arraigned on today’s charges on a date to be determined in U.S. District Court. He has pleaded not guilty to terrorism-related charges stemming from his arrest on September 14, 2012, when he allegedly attempted to detonate a purported explosive device. His trial on those charges is scheduled for April 7, 2014.
According to today’s indictment, in July 2012, Daoud was introduced to Individual A, an undercover FBI agent posing as a terrorist residing in New York, who would supply Daoud with an explosive device to use in a terrorist attack in Chicago. After he was arrested, Daoud learned that Individual A was an FBI agent. Between October 26 and November 29, 2012, Daoud allegedly solicited another person to use physical force to murder or attempt to murder the undercover agent.
The murder-for-hire count alleges that on November 28, 2012, Daoud caused another person to use a telephone with the intent of committing the murder Individual A in return for payment. The obstruction count alleges that between October 26 and November 29, 2012, Daoud attempted to kill Individual A to prevent the agent from attending and testifying in court.
The indictment was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry Jonas and William Ridgway.
The solicitation count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; murder-for-hire carries a maximum of 10 years; the obstruction of justice count carries a maximum of 30 years; and each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Ten Defendants Indicted in Alleged $74 Million Vehicle Financing Fraud Scheme Resulting in $56 Million in Losses to Lenders

FBI Chicago Division Press Release:

Ten Defendants Indicted in Alleged $74 Million Vehicle Financing Fraud Scheme Resulting in $56 Million in Losses to Lenders

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Illinois (312) 353-5300
CHICAGO—A former area motorcycle and recreational vehicle dealer and his accountant, together with eight other defendants who allegedly acted as straw buyers in sham vehicle sales, were indicted on federal charges alleging a nearly $74 million fraudulent financing scheme that resulted in approximately 20 lenders losing more than $56 million. All 10 defendants were charged with at least one count of bank fraud, and eight of them were also charged with federal tax offenses in a 36-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury yesterday, federal law enforcement officials announced today.
The alleged bank fraud scheme involved two prongs: in one, the dealership fraudulently obtained more than $31.3 million in direct financing through five lines of credit from Fifth Third Bank, which lost more than $27.1 million; and, in the second, individual straw borrowers obtained some 200 fraudulent loans totaling nearly $42.4 million, which resulted in some 18 financial institutions losing more than $29.5 million. At least 62 of these individual loans were made to the eight defendants who allegedly acted as straw buyers.
The charges allege that all 10 defendants fraudulently obtained money for their personal uses and benefit, enabling them to maintain lavish lifestyles, operate various businesses, and/or make investments. The money they obtained created the false appearance of personal wealth and helped induce the lenders to advance funds more readily due to their misplaced confidence that the defendants had sufficient personal wealth to repay the loans. The tax offenses against eight of the defendants include one or more counts each of tax evasion, failing to file an income tax return, or filing a false federal tax return.
Lead defendant Russell S. Ott, 50, of Oswego, was the owner of Emily Inc., which did business as Pro Source Motorsports, which was last located in Morris, Illinois. Between 1995 and October 2008, Pro Source, the dealership at the center of the scheme, sold new and used motorcycles, luxury motor homes, recreational vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, and jet skis. In 2007 and 2008, Ott also had ownership interests in Liberty Cycle in Libertyville and Huntley Chevrolet in Libertyville. Ott was charged with one count each of bank fraud and tax evasion.
Defendant Brian McMahon, 54, of Naperville, was Ott and Emily Inc.’s certified public accountant, who also owned Triumph Suzuki in Naperville between 2001 and 2004 when he sold it to Ott. McMahon was charged with one count of bank fraud and two counts of filing false tax returns.
All 10 defendants will be ordered to appear for arraignment on dates to be determined in U.S. District Court.
Direct Lending Fraud
According to the indictment, Ott and McMahon fabricated false personal and business tax documents and financial statements and provided them to Fifth Third Bank, which between May 2007 and October 2008 extended Pro Source approximately $31,368,457 through five different credit lines, which funded traditional “floor plan loans.” As part of the scheme, Ott faxed false flooring requests with fictitious vehicle identification numbers for non-existent recreational vehicles or real VINs for actual RVs but with dramatically inflated values. Ott sometimes “double floored” vehicles by obtaining separate financing from Fifth Third and a different lender for the same vehicle.
Straw Borrower Fraud
According to the indictment, Ott enlisted the other eight defendants as straw borrowers so they could obtain fraudulent loan proceeds to share with Ott even though they did not actually purchase the vehicles—usually very expensive RVs—for which the loans were made and the vehicles generally did not exist. The lenders who financed these loans generally deposited the funds into Emily Inc.’s bank account, and then Ott periodically disbursed the proceeds to straw borrowers to operate and support their own businesses and lifestyles, make investments, and make monthly payments on some of the loans to perpetuate the scheme.
Ott allegedly made personal use of the fraudulently obtained funds to operate Pro Source, which operated at a loss from approximately 2001 through 2008; and to make the following purchases—a house in Elburn for approximately $679,491 and make subsequent improvements which increased the home’s cost to more than $1.1 million; a $258,000 vacation home in Butternut, Wisconsin; a $350,000 rental home in South Elgin; a Sky Hawk 172 Cessna airplane and hanger for approximately $200,000; and pick-up trucks and other vehicles for family members and employees of Pro Source. He also used the money to invest in and purchase other vehicle dealerships, including more than $3.6 million in Huntley Chevrolet and more than $1 million in Liberty Cycle.
The other eight defendants, who allegedly acted as straw buyers, and details of their charges and alleged personal use of the funds are as follows:
Andrew W. Stacy, 51, of Elburn, a parts manager at Pro Source between 1998 and 2000. In late 2005, with financial assistant from Ott, Stacy acquired TUF Powersports, a motorcycle dealership in DeKalb, which he operated until it closed in late 2008. Stacy acted as a straw borrower on six fraudulent loans totaling more than $2.5 million, and after making certain periodic payments, used a portion of the funds to operate TUF Powersports and for personal expenses.
Scott F. Darville, 48, of Racine, Wisconsin, who owned and operated Pro Source of Woodstock, in 1998 and 1999. In 2000, Darville became the owner of Racine MotorSports Ltd., a motorcycle dealership he operated until it closed in 2009. Darville acted as a straw borrower on nine fraudulent loans totaling nearly $2.5 million, and after making certain periodic payments, retained more than $2 million, which he used to operate Racine Motorsports and for personal expenses.
F. Peter Mignin, 63, of Geneva, who owned and operated Northwest Investment Company Inc., which formerly did business as Schaumburg Honda, a new and used motorcycle dealership. Mignin also owned RPM Management LLC, doing business as Liberty Cycle, which he agreed to sell to Ott in 2007, and Mignin held an ownership interest with Ott in 2007 and 2008 in Huntley Chevrolet. Mignin acted as a straw borrower on 10 fraudulent loans totaling more than $3.8 million, and after making certain periodic payments, retained more than $3.4 million, which he used to operate Schaumburg Honda, Liberty Cycle, and for personal investments and expenses, including $450,000 toward the construction of his home, residence, and an $863,000 investment in Huntley Chevrolet.
Kevin D. Hanson, 43, of Louisville, Kentucky, and formerly of Chicago, who owned and operated Safety First Racing LLC, of Arlington Heights, a professional motorcycle racing team that competed at events throughout the United States between 2003 and 2008. Hanson acted as a straw borrower on seven fraudulent loans totaling more than $2.8 million, and after making certain periodic payments, retained more than $2.4 million, which he used to operate Safety First Racing and for personal expenses.
Owen A. Weichel, 48, of Huntington Beach, California, a former professional motorcycle racer who owned and operated Center of Gravity LLC, which imported motorcycle parts from Japan and resold them in the United States. Weichel acted as a straw borrower on five fraudulent loans totaling more than $2.1 million, and after making certain periodic payments, retained more than $1.9 million, which he used to operate Center of Gravity and for personal expenses, including foreign investments in Costa Rica, Italy, and Canada of approximately $1,261,200.
John Materyn, 50, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, who worked for Ott at Pro Source in 1998 and later at Liberty Cycle. Materyn acted as a straw borrower on seven fraudulent loans totaling more than $2.3 million, and after making certain periodic payments, he used a portion of the funds to operate Pro Source Motorsports in Michigan and for personal expenses.
Jill A. Pluta, 55, of LaPorte, Indiana, Ott’s former sister-in-law who was formerly known as Jill Ott and who worked at Pro Source in 2005. She acted as a straw borrower on five fraudulent loans totaling nearly $1 million, and after making certain periodic payments, retained approximately $680,334, which she used for personal expenses.
Joan M. Quick, 52, of Walworth, Wisconsin, the office manager for Pro Source who was responsible for Pro Source’s day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting. Quick acted as a straw borrower on seven fraudulent loans, and she later wrote checks and directed electronic transfers from Emily Inc. accounts totaling more than $1 million, which she used for personal expenses, including her residence, automobiles for at least three of her children and college tuition for at least two of them, and credit card payments totaling approximately $550,125.
The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hogan.
Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or an alternative fine totaling twice the gross gain or twice the loss, whichever is greater, and restitution is mandatory. Tax evasion carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and filing a false tax return carries a maximum of three years in prison, and both carry a maximum fine of $250,000, while failure to file a tax return carries a maximum of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. In addition, defendants convicted of tax offenses face mandatory costs of prosecution and remain civilly liable to the government for any and all back taxes, as well as a potential civil fraud penalty of up to 75 percent of the underpayment plus interest. If convicted, the court must determine a reasonable sentence to be imposed under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt against each defendant.

FBI Arrests Suburban Attorney for Allegedly Stealing $2.34 Million in Clients’ Funds from Her Escrow Account

FBI Chicago Division Press Release:

FBI Arrests Suburban Attorney for Allegedly Stealing $2.34 Million in Clients’ Funds from Her Escrow Account

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Illinois (312) 353-5300
CHICAGO—A suburban attorney whose law license was suspended in May was arrested today on federal fraud charges for allegedly misappropriating approximately $2.34 million from a husband and wife who were her clients. The defendant, Kathleen Niew, was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud in a federal grand jury indictment that was returned on Tuesday and unsealed today following her arrest. FBI agents took Niew into custody without incident at her office in Oak Brook.
Niew, 57, of Burr Ridge, operated Niew Legal Partners LLC in Oak Brook. She was scheduled to be arraigned at 3 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim in U.S. District Court.
According to the indictment, Victims A and B, a husband and wife who were Niew’s clients, transferred approximately $2.34 million into Niew’s attorney escrow account to be used for closings on commercial real estate transactions. Between January 2010 and December 2012, Niew allegedly used the funds for her own benefit, contrary to the false representations she made to the couple and others.
Without the couple’s knowledge, Niew used their funds to finance the purchases of various mining operations and not to purchase any commercial property for the victims, the charges allege. As part of the fraud scheme, Niew arranged to receive a 20 percent finder’s fee for herself from a mining operation in exchange for providing it approximately $1.5 million in funds that belonged to her clients. She falsely told the couple that their funds were available in her escrow account and were to be used for closings when they were not. She further concealed her fraudulent conversion of funds by telling her clients that the bank had erroneously sent the funds intended for closings to the wrong bank accounts, even though she had not directed any such wire transfer of the clients’ funds to the title companies to purchase real estate, the indictment alleges.
The arrest and charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Shields, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or an alternative fine totaling twice the gross gain or twice the loss, whichever is greater, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Former North Carolina Probation Officer Sentenced for Coercing Probationer into Sexual Acts

FBI Charlotte Division Press Release:

Former North Carolina Probation Officer Sentenced for Coercing Probationer into Sexual Acts

U.S. Department of Justice August 29, 2013
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
WASHINGTON—Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced today that former North Carolina Department of Correction’s Division of Community Corrections Probation Officer Willie James Steele, Jr., 43, has been sentenced for violating the constitutional rights of a female probationer that he was supervising by coercing her into sexual acts on two separate occasions.
According to an indictment and evidence presented in court, Steele supervised the female probationer in 2008 after her probation was transferred to North Carolina from another state, and he had the authority to recommend to a court or other agency that the victim be incarcerated or otherwise sanctioned if she violated the conditions of her probation. On December 12, 2012, after a two-day trial, a jury found Steele guilty of two civil rights violations for depriving the victim of her constitutional right to bodily integrity by having non-consensual sexual intercourse with her during two separate probation meetings.
Chief Judge Robert J. Conrad, who presided over the trial, sentenced Steele to serve the statutory maximum incarceration of 24 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, for his convictions at trial.
“Probation officers are given a great deal of power in order to carry out their critical responsibilities, but this officer abused that power and violated the civil rights of a woman under his supervision,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Samuels. “We will vigorously prosecute any probation officer who uses his position of trust to prey upon those he supervises.”
“Any time a law enforcement officer breaks the law it undermines the public’s trust in the legal system, and we will do everything we can to ensure that trust is not compromised,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins. “My office will prosecute those who abuse their position of power and use it to violate the civil rights of others.”
This case was investigated by the FBI and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and it is being prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimlani Ford from the Western District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Shan Patel from the Civil Rights Division.

Texas Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges

FBI Buffalo Division Press Release:

Texas Man Sentenced on Drug and Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Western District of New York (716) 843-5700
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Will Johnson, 32, of League City, Texas, who was convicted of conspiracy to distribute kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ supervised release by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who handled the case stated that Johnson, formerly of Buffalo, distributed kilograms of cocaine from the Houston area to other individuals who thereafter distributed that cocaine in Buffalo and elsewhere in the Western New York. In July, 2010, during a wiretap investigation, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at locations including an apartment leased by the defendant in Missouri City, Texas, and his residence at 1546 Viejo Drive, in League City, Texas. Officers seized cocaine and plastic wrappers consistent with packaging for multiple kilograms of cocaine, $55,000, a .44 caliber loaded handgun, and boxes of assorted ammunition.
Johnson also deposited and transferred funds generated as a result of his drug trafficking through and to financial institutions. For instance, the defendant paid approximately $13,000 to a used car lot (Maxx Auto Sales) in Buffalo to purchase a 2004 Escalade motor vehicle. Johnson also arranged to have cash deposits of $20,000, proceeds from his unlawful distribution of cocaine, made into bank accounts. The funds were then used as a down payment for the defendant’s residence at 1546 Viejo Road in League City, Texas. As part of his sentence, Johnson will forfeit $203,000 in cash.
Johnson is one of the 20 defendants convicted as a result of this drug investigation.
This conviction is the culmination of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Lanser; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Weirauch; and the Niagara County Drug Enforcement Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff James Votour.

Attleboro Man Charged with Securities Fraud

FBI Boston Division Press Release:

Attleboro Man Charged with Securities Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • District of Massachusetts (617) 748-3100
BOSTON—Federal charges against an Attleboro man were unsealed today after his arrest this morning on securities fraud charges.
Robert Burton, 36, the managing director of Pinnacle Financial Consulting LLC, Pinnacle Strategic Investments LLC, and the Pinnacle Asset and Capital Management Group LLC, was arrested this morning after being charged yesterday for promoting various high-yield investments through Promissory Notes and Offering Memoranda. According to the complaint, Burton represented that he would return the principal invested within approximately 30 days, along with an interest payment equal to 100 percent of the amount invested. Burton did not make the promised payments and, in some instances, provided investors with checks that ultimately bounced.
The statutory maximum penalties for the securities fraud charges are 20 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release and a $5 million fine. Burton made an initial court appearance today and will appear for a detention hearing on September 4 at 11:30 a.m.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, which has a civil case pending against Burton, cooperated with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Walters of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.gov.

Cambridge Man Indicted for Making False Statements in the Boston Marathon Bombing Terrorism Investigation

FBI Boston Division Press Release:

Cambridge Man Indicted for Making False Statements in the Boston Marathon Bombing Terrorism Investigation

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • District of Massachusetts (617) 748-3100
WASHINGTON—A federal grand jury in Boston returned an indictment today against a Cambridge, Massachusetts man previously charged with making false statements during the Boston Marathon bombing terrorism investigation.
Robel Phillipos, 19, was indicted after having been previously charged via complaint in May 2013 with making a series of materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation. Phillipos is charged with two counts of making false statements. The indictment also charges Dias Kadyrbayev, 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, 19, both of New Bedford, Massachusetts, with conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede a terrorism investigation. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are both nationals of Kazakhstan who were temporarily living in the United States pursuant to student visas.
As alleged in the indictment, on April 18, 2013, after the FBI posted photographs of the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings (who were later identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev), Kadyrbayev received a text message from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suggesting that he go to Tsarnaev’s “room and take what’s there.” Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos, according to the indictment, went to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and removed several items, including Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, and brought them to Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov’s apartment in New Bedford. Later that night, Kadyrbayev, with Tazhayakov’s knowledge and agreement, placed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack, which contained several items, including fireworks, in a garbage bag and placed it in a dumpster outside their New Bedford apartment.
The indictment further alleges that between April 19, 2013 and April 25, 2013, law enforcement officials assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed Phillipos concerning material facts related to the terrorism investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing and one of the suspected bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. During these interviews, Phillipos concealed the fact that he, Kadyrbayev, and Tazhayakov had gone into Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013, and removed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s backpack from his room. In so doing, he made numerous false and misleading statements to the agents.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Boston Division, Massachusetts State Police, and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which is composed of more than 30 federal, state, and local enforcement agencies. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Department of Public Safety, City of New Bedford, New Bedford Police Department, Dartmouth Police Department, U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Essex County Sheriff’s Office, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations provided assistance to this investigation.
If convicted, Phillipos faces a maximum penalty of up to eight years in federal prison on each of the two counts. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and five years on the conspiracy count. All face up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each charge. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov also face the possibility of being deported at the conclusion of this prosecution.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit with the assistance of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Fifth Adams Produce Official Charged in Scheme to Defraud U.S. Government

FBI Birmingham Division Press Release:

Fifth Adams Produce Official Charged in Scheme to Defraud U.S. Government

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Alabama (205) 244-2001
BIRMINGHAM—A fifth Adams Produce Company official now faces federal charges in a scheme to defraud the federal government, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein, Jr.
A federal grand jury today indicted Michael John O'Brien, 50, of Navarre, Florida, who was general manager of the Adams Produce distribution center in Pensacola, Florida. O'Brien’s duties included determining the prices Adams Produce charged the United States under contracts it had with the government.
The 37-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges O'Brien with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense and its Defense Logistics Agency of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The indictment also charges O'Brien with 32 counts of wire fraud or aiding and abetting wire fraud and with four counts of false claims or aiding and abetting false claims in order to carry out the conspiracy.
Four other Adams Produce officials—Scott David Grinstead, David Andrew Kirkland, Christopher Alan Pfahl, and Stanley Joel Butler, II—have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with defrauding the government.
Adams Produce was a Birmingham-based company that had been a leading distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables across the Southeast for many years. It was founded more than 100 years ago as a family-owned business. The family sold the company to executives and a private equity firm in 2010. Adams Produce closed abruptly and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
The Department of Defense, through DLA, contracted with Adams Produce and other distributers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to military bases, public school systems, junior colleges, and universities. Adams Produce had contracts worth millions of dollars with the U.S. government, according to O'Brien’s indictment. Under the contracts, the price the government paid Adams depended largely on what Adams had to pay its produce suppliers.
Each week, Adams Produce electronically submitted pricing information to DLA and was required, periodically, to submit purchase orders to DLA proving its costs, according to the indictment.
Adams bought from TLC, one of the largest distributors of fresh produce in the United States, with offices located across the country. Between August 2011 and November 2011, according to the indictment, O'Brien and other Adams employees arranged and conducted transactions with TLC in Marietta, Georgia, designed to create purchase orders and invoices that reflected inflated costs to Adams Produce.
According to O'Brien’s indictment, he and others continued the conspiracy as follows:
O'Brien communicated instructions, often by e-mail, to other Adams' employees concerning the inflated prices to show on the false purchase orders. Adams' employees and officers used the false purchase orders to support false pricing information the company submitted to DLA for payment. The transactions with TLC to produce false purchase orders and the false information submitted to DLA "were intended to increase Adams Produce’s profit margins and inflate the income reported on Adams Produce’s financial statements."
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy count is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for each wire fraud count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for each false claim count is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney George A. Martin, Jr. is prosecuting.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent, and it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Huntsville Man Indicted for Series of Bank Robberies

FBI Birmingham Division Press Release:

Huntsville Man Indicted for Series of Bank Robberies

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Alabama (205) 244-2001
BIRMINGHAM—A federal grand jury today indicted a Huntsville man for 11 robberies or attempted robberies at banks across north central and north western Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein, Jr.
An indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Cedrick Lamond Hicks, 32, with nine counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery. In all, the banks were robbed of more than $43,000. Most of the charges are for robberies or attempted robberies in 2012, while one charge is for a 2006 bank robbery and two are for bank robberies this year.
The date, location, and amount of money stolen are as follows, according to the indictment:
  • December 13, 2006, Regions Bank, Madison Street, Huntsville, $3,074
  • February 22, 2012, Regions Banks, Madison Street, Huntsville, $2,870
  • March 23, 2012, First Jackson Bank, Sutton Road, Huntsville, $1,894
  • April 30, 2012, Renasant Bank, U.S. 72 West, Madison, $3,500
  • August 2, 2012, Peoples Bank, U.S. 431 South, Guntersville, $890
  • August 8, 2012, Traditions Bank, Alabama 67 South, Decatur, $7,243
  • November 27, 2012, Regions Banks, Lee Street, Rogersville, $8,009
  • January 7, 2013, Peoples Trust Bank, Military Street South, Hamilton, $9,000
  • March 6, 2013, ServisFirst Bank, Meridian Street, Huntsville, $6,575
The attempted bank robberies were on September 18, 2012, at Cadence Bank, U.S. 431 in Albertville and on November 26, 2012, at Traditions Bank, Second Avenue NW in Cullman.
The maximum penalty for each robbery count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting.
The public is reminded than an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent, and it will be the government’s responsibility to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Angel Food Ministries Founder Wesley Joseph Wingo and His Son, Andrew Wingo, Each Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison

FBI Atlanta Division Press Release:

Angel Food Ministries Founder Wesley Joseph Wingo and His Son, Andrew Wingo, Each Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Middle District of Georgia (478) 752-3511
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Angel Food Ministries (AFM) Founder Wesley Joseph (Joe) Wingo; his son, Andrew (Andy) Wingo; and his wife, AFM Co-Founder Linda Wingo, were sentenced today by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief United States District Judge, for illegal financial activities involving AFM.
AFM, based in Monroe, Walton County, Georgia, was a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c) organization founded in 1994 by defendants Joe and Linda Wingo. AFM’s primary stated mission was to provide food to the nation’s needy at discounted prices. After receiving almost $7 million in a low-interest community facilities direct loan from the United States Department of Agriculture in 2005, AFM purchased a large distribution center in Monroe, Georgia, and used its considerable purchasing power and its tax-exempt status to gain volume discounts from various food vendors. In the process of growing from a local to a regional to a national nonprofit organization, AFM utilized churches from around the country, known as host sites, to coordinate the charitable efforts of thousands of volunteers to distribute food to the needy in over 40 states.
The fact that AFM was tax exempt, that it was able to purchase in large volume at a discount, and that its distribution network was in large part manned by volunteer labor resulted in a large amount of annual revenue, an amount well in excess of expenses.
Joe Wingo entered a plea of guilty on February 25, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. As an AFM founder, and its former president, chief operating officer, and member of the Board of Directors, Joe Wingo oversaw all the operations of AFM, which included his involvement in all aspects of the financial operations of AFM. Joe Wingo admitted that he used his position and control over AFM to make several purchases and expenditures for his personal benefit, including a classic car, without the knowledge and approval of the AFM Board of Directors. Mr. Wesley Joseph Wingo also permitted other members of his family to do the same on many occasions, only later to issue “bonuses” to family members in an effort to conceal misapplied AFM funds used to pay for personal expenses.
Joe Wingo, age 64, of Good Hope, Georgia, was sentenced today by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia, to serve 84 months in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. As a part of his sentence, he was ordered to forfeit $1,503,285 and to pay a $15,000 criminal fine.
Andy Wingo also entered a plea of guilty on February 25, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. During his tenure with AFM, Andy Wingo held various titles including chief operating officer and head of Procurement. Andy Wingo admitted that while serving in these positions, he used various illegal schemes to convert funds that belonged to AFM to his own personal benefit, including purchasing a new home for himself.
Andy Wingo, age 40, of Good Hope, Georgia, was sentenced today by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia, to serve 84 months in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. As a part of his sentence, he was ordered to forfeit $2,400,000.
Mrs. Linda Wingo likewise entered a plea of guilty on February 25, 2013, to one count of misprision of a felony (having knowledge of but concealing the commission of a crime). Mrs. Wingo, along with her husband, Joe Wingo, was an AFM founder. In her plea of guilty, she admitted that she was aware that AFM was generating more money than was needed to meet its overhead as the result of the illegal financial transactions that were being made by her son, Andy Wingo. She admitted to having knowledge that her son was obtaining money illegally from specific vendors doing business with AFM and using it for personal benefit instead of providing services to the needy. Additionally, she admitted that when a search warrant was executed on AFM during the investigation, she attempted to conceal facts relating to these financial crimes.
Mrs. Linda Wingo, age 64, of Good Hope, Georgia, was sentenced today by the Honorable C. Ashley Royal, Chief United States District Judge, in Macon, Georgia, to a term of five years of probation for misprision of a felony. She was ordered to pay a $25,000 criminal fine.
United States Attorney Michael Moore said, “pure and simple, this case is about greed. The Wingos solicited donations of time from kind, good-hearted people in the name of God’s call for us to feed the hungry and help those in need. Then, instead of using that generosity to fill the pantries of the people they claimed to be called to minister to, the Wingos filled their garage with a classic automobile, their hangar with a private plane, and their pockets with cash. When people gave their volunteer labor to Angel Food Ministries because they believed they were supposed to help their fellow man, little did they know that they were supporting the Wingos’ lavish lifestyle. When I think about the people who didn’t get food because Mr. Wingo wanted a new car and a new plane, it is both sad and troubling that these individuals preyed on the goodness of the many God-fearing folks around the country who made donations of their time simply to enrich themselves.”
“The Wingos exploited family, friends, and neighbors by perpetrating a scheme that was based on lies,” stated Veronica Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “IRS-CI is committed to unraveling financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their money. The sentences announced today reinforce the commitment by law enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office that individuals who line their pockets with profits from fraudulent schemes will be held accountable.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation-Atlanta Field Office, stated, "Today’s sentencings bring to a close an extensive and complex federal investigation involving, at its core, abuses of charitable activities related tax laws and diversion of funds derived from those charitable activities. In order for these various non-profit based laws to be able to provide benefit and relief to groups and organizations as intended, the FBI, in conjunction with its various law enforcement partners, is duty-bound to investigate these types of allegations of criminal conduct within those organizations operating under non-profit status as Angel Food Ministries claimed to be."
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sharon T. Ratley, Danial E. Bennett, and Graham A. Thorpe.
For additional information please contact Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2602.

Clayton County Police Officer Assigned to U.S. Marshals Service Task Force Arrested on Public Corruption, Drug Trafficking, and Firearm Charges

FBI Atlanta Division Press Release:

Clayton County Police Officer Assigned to U.S. Marshals Service Task Force Arrested on Public Corruption, Drug Trafficking, and Firearm Charges

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • Northern District of Georgia (404) 581-6000
ATLANTA—Dwayne Penn, a Clayton County Police officer assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, and Adrian Demetric Austin have been arrested on corruption, drug trafficking, and firearm charges.
“Penn’s abuse of trust is shocking,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Police officers who manipulate their positions create mistrust with the people they are sworn to protect. As demonstrated by the number of police officer cases charged earlier this year, we are committed to pursuing these cases wherever they arise to restore the public’s trust in honest law enforcement.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “While public corruption matters overall are a priority criminal investigative program within the FBI, any allegation of public corruption involving law enforcement officers takes on a particular sense of urgency. This matter, involving Clayton County Police Officer and U.S. Marshals Task Force Officer Dwayne Penn, was worked with close cooperation and support by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While the arrest of Officer Penn is disconcerting, the public should be reminded that the vast majority of those individuals serving within the criminal justice system do so with honor and integrity.”
Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, stated, “The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve the public with honor and distinction. Officers like these unfortunately tarnish the badge of the committed men and women of law enforcement. This individual will now have to face the consequences for his deplorable actions. The success of this investigation would have not been possible without the dynamic level of law enforcement cooperation.”
“The Clayton County Police Department remains dedicated and committed to serving and protecting Clayton County residents and businesses," said Clayton County Deputy Police Chief Christopher L. Butler. “We ask that you continue your support of those unfaltering officers.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the complaint, and other information submitted in court: In August 2013, Penn, of the Clayton County Police Department, allegedly conspired with Austin, a suspected Atlanta-based drug dealer, to use Penn’s official position as a police officer to stage a fake traffic stop of a car that he and Austin believed would contain six kilograms of cocaine, conduct a fake arrest of the car’s occupant, seize the cocaine for themselves, and then sell the cocaine, sharing their ill-gotten gains. Fortunately, the person whom Penn and Austin sought to recruit for this corrupt endeavor was cooperating with federal law enforcement and agreed to record his/her meetings with Penn and Austin. In the lead-up to the fake arrest and seizure, Penn and Austin met face-to-face with the confidential informant on two separate occasions to plan their operation.
The complaint alleges that the first planning meeting, which was surreptitiously recorded by law enforcement, occurred on August 21, 2013. Penn drove his police car to the meeting. While together, Penn, Austin, and the confidential informant discussed the confidential informant obtaining cocaine from his/her drug source of supply. Penn would then conduct a fake traffic stop and arrest of the confidential informant in front of the source, using Penn’s police vehicle and lights, and seize the cocaine, leading the source to mistakenly believe the drugs had been seized by law enforcement. They would divide up the seized cocaine among themselves according to the plan. As part of the charade, Penn agreed to handcuff the confidential informant, put the drugs in the trunk of his police car, and drive the confidential informant to a second location. Penn reassured the confidential informant that they could cover his/her tracks with the source of supply to deflect suspicion.
Penn, Austin, and the confidential informant met again on August 27, 2013, at a parking lot in Decatur where the drug deal was to occur. The meeting was at Penn’s request so they could further plan the operation. Like the August 21 meeting, the August 27 meeting was surreptitiously recorded by law enforcement. Penn drove his police car to the August 27 meeting as well. The confidential informant entered Penn’s police car, where Austin was already waiting. The three continued their discussion of the staged traffic stop, arrest, and seizure, which they agreed would occur the next day at that same parking lot. Penn worked through the logistics, including where he would park during the cocaine deal; how Penn would conduct the fake traffic stop, arrest, and seizure; and the eventual split of the seized six kilograms of cocaine. Penn drove Austin and the confidential informant around the parking lot, scouting out possible spots for various events the next day. Penn even asked if Austin wanted to ride with him the next day.
As planned, on the morning of August 28, 2013, Penn and Austin arrived at the Decatur parking lot. Penn drove his police car and parked it in view of where the drug deal was to occur. While waiting, Penn ran the tags of a number of vehicles in the area through law enforcement databases. The confidential informant met with the supposed drug dealer (also a law enforcement source) in the parking lot in view of Penn. The confidential informant received a shopping bag containing six kilogram-size bricks of fake cocaine, walked back to his/her vehicle, and placed the bag inside, placing two kilogram bricks in the back seat and leaving the remaining four kilogram bricks in the shopping bag in the front seat.
Shortly after the confidential informant emerged from the vehicle, Penn sped over in his police car with the lights on and blocked the confidential informant from leaving. Penn jumped out of his car with his firearm drawn and pointed it at the confidential informant. Penn was wearing a bulletproof vest, which read “Police,” and a black baseball hat. Penn ordered the confidential informant to get on the ground and to keep his/her “hands behind your back,” which the confidential informant did. Penn holstered his firearm, picked up the confidential informant from the ground, and patted him/her down. Penn then ushered the confidential informant into Penn’s police car. The confidential informant told Penn that s/he had already taken his/her two and that there were four in the bag. Penn then walked over to the confidential informant’s vehicle and removed the shopping bag with the four kilogram bricks from the front seat, leaving the confidential informant’s share (two kilograms) in the car. Penn placed the shopping bag in the trunk of his police car, told the confidential informant to “get out of here,” and drove away with the cocaine-like substance, leaving the confidential informant and the two kilogram bricks behind at the parking lot.
Penn and Austin were arrested shortly afterward in the vicinity of the Decatur parking lot. They are charged in a criminal complaint with drug trafficking and firearm charges; Penn is also charged with public corruption. They made their initial appearance in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman today.
If convicted, Penn, 38, and Austin, 38, both of Atlanta, Georgia, face a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment for the drug trafficking charges; up to life imprisonment for the firearm charge; and, for Penn, up to 20 years on the public corruption charge; as well as fines of over $10 million dollars.
Members of the public are reminded that the criminal complaint contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant United States Attorney Scott Ferber is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

FBI, Navajo Police Ask for Public’s Help in Gallup Death Investigation

FBI Albuquerque Division Press Release:

FBI, Navajo Police Ask for Public’s Help in Gallup Death Investigation

FBI Albuquerque August 29, 2013
  • Public Affairs Specialist Frank Fisher (505) 889-1438
The FBI and Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety are investigating the death of a Navajo man from Arizona who was found lying in the weeds in a residential area on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Gallup, New Mexico.
Vincent Smith Jr., 33, of St. Michael's, Arizona, was found with apparent head injuries on the morning of Sunday, August 18, 2013, on Old Zuni Drive. He is pictured below.
He was unresponsive and lying on the ground near his blue and tan Ford F-150 truck.
Smith was transported to Gallup Indian Medical Center, where he died later that day.
Anyone with information about the incident or who might have seen Smith the day before his death is asked to contact the Albuquerque FBI at 505-889-1300 (24 hours) or send a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov.

Former Executive Director of Gallup Housing Authority Charged with Federal Fraud and Theft Offenses

FBI Albuquerque Division Press Release:

Former Executive Director of Gallup Housing Authority Charged with Federal Fraud and Theft Offenses

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2013
  • District of New Mexico (505) 346-7274
ALBUQUERQUE—A federal grand jury has indicted two men from Gallup, New Mexico, on charges that they engaged in a scheme to defraud the United States and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of more than $100,000. The indictment was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough; Phyllis Robinson, Special Agent in Charge of Region 6, HUD Office of Inspector General; and Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI.
Danny Garcia, 37, and Michael Virruso, 61, are charged in a 12-count indictment that was filed late yesterday afternoon. The indictment charges Garcia and Virruso with one count of conspiracy and eight counts of making false claims against the United States. It also charges Garcia with three counts of theft from programs receiving federal funds. According to the indictment, from June 2010 through October 2012, Garcia and Virruso engaged in a scheme to steal federal funds provided by HUD to the Gallup Housing Authority (GHA). At the time of the offenses charged in the indictment, Garcia was the executive director of GHA.
HUD is a federal agency whose core mission is to make quality, affordable housing accessible to all Americans. It oversees and funds programs designed to provide affordable housing for low-income Americans. One such program is the Capital Fund Program (CFP), which provides grants to public housing agencies for the purpose of making improvements to public housing developments. According to the indictment, GHA is a public housing agency that receives approximately $400,000 in CFP grants each year.
The indictment alleges that as executive director of GHA, Garcia was responsible for selecting contractors to carry out GHA projects, reviewing and approving invoices payable by GHA, and requesting HUD funds to pay for GHA projects. It further alleges that in summer 2010, Garcia awarded a contract to remove and replace sidewalks in a GHA housing development to a construction company that employed Virruso (company) and also appointed Virruso to act as safety inspector. While working on the project, Virruso allegedly submitted invoices to GHA for work performed by the company and for which the company received payment, and Garcia allegedly used GHA funds to pay Virruso’s invoices and then obtained reimbursement from HUD’s CFP. According to the indictment, Virruso fraudulently received more than $75,000 through this scheme. The indictment also alleges that Garcia embezzled more than $15,000 of HUD funds by misusing a GHA debit card.
Count one of the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy and carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on conviction. Counts two through nine each charge the defendants with making false claims against the United States. A conviction on each of these counts carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on conviction. Counts 10 through 12 each charge Garcia with theft of government property. A conviction on each of these counts carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Charges in indictments are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the Region 6, HUD-Office of Inspector General and the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grassley Comments on Obama Administration's Decision to Not Enforce Federal Marijuana Laws


Full Color Printing from PsPrint





Senator Chuck Grassley Press Release:

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2013

Grassley Comments on Obama Administration's Decision to Not Enforce Federal Marijuana Laws

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today made the following comment on what Reuters described as the Obama Administration’s “giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization.”

“Time and again we have seen the Obama Administration decline to enforce laws that it finds inconvenient, or that it simply doesn’t like.  Today’s announcement is the latest example.  The Administration is now effectively instructing law enforcement not to prioritize the prosecution of the large-scale distribution and sale of marijuana in certain states.  This sends the wrong message to both law enforcement and violators of federal law.  Apprehending and prosecuting illegal drug traffickers should always be a priority for the Department of Justice.”

Prevention better than punitive in Syria – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

Prevention better than punitive in Syria – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

Congressman Boehner Invites Eighth District Veterans to Attend Information Nights | John Boehner - 8th District of Ohio

Congressman Boehner Invites Eighth District Veterans to Attend Information Nights | John Boehner - 8th District of Ohio

Portman Highlights Lack of Preparedness in Implementation of Ohio Obamacare Exchange


Bigcommerce makes it easy to sell online. Click here to try it free!






Senator Rob Portman Press Release:

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expressing his concerns regarding the upcoming enrollment of individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplaces.  At last count, 26 states, including Ohio, will have federally-run Marketplaces.  An additional seven states will partner with the federal government in this effort.  These Marketplaces are slated to begin open enrollment on October 1st, 2013, but the infrastructure is not in place to handle the large number of individuals who will be obtaining their insurance through the Marketplaces.
In the letter, Portman states, “I am deeply concerned that the Marketplaces will not be operational in time and this will result in confusion and disarray for Ohioans seeking to obtain health insurance on the individual insurance market.”
Portman adds, “I would urge you to delay the start of the enrollment period until the necessary leadership and preparation are in place to ensure that the Marketplace can handle the volume on day one of enrollment.”
The letter appears below and here.
August 28, 2013
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC  20201
Marilyn B. Tavenner
Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius and Administrator Tavenner:
I am writing regarding the upcoming enrollment of individuals in the Health Insurance Marketplaces.  At last count, 26 states, including Ohio, will have federally-run Marketplaces.  An additional seven states will partner with the federal government in this effort.  These Marketplaces are slated to begin open enrollment on October 1st, 2013.
Given that the October 1st deadline for open enrollment is rapidly approaching, I continue to have significant concerns that the infrastructure is not in place to handle the large number of individuals who will be obtaining their insurance through the Marketplaces. A report commissioned by the state of Ohio estimated that 540,000 Ohioans will obtain insurance through the federally-administered Health Insurance Marketplace by 2017, this accounts for nearly five percent of the entire population of the state.
I have heard from constituents concerned that there has been minimal leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the state level.  I respectfully request that you provide detailed information describing the coordination effort HHS has had with the state of Ohio.  Specifically, who from HHS is acting as the liaison between the state and the federal government to ensure that the enrollment occurs as planned?
In addition to concerns about the lack of leadership from HHS, I also have ongoing concerns about the Information Technology (IT) capabilities of the Marketplace to handle the large number of individuals who will be utilizing the portal to obtain health insurance.  Will the necessary IT systems be ready to process the large amount of data and information on day one of enrollment?  Has HHS tested these IT systems to ensure that they will be able to handle such a large data volume?  What were the results of that testing?
Given that the open enrollment period is rapidly approaching, I would appreciate your immediate attention to these matters and a response as soon as possible.  I am deeply concerned that the Marketplaces will not be operational in time and this will result in confusion and disarray for Ohioans seeking to obtain health insurance on the individual insurance market.  Finally, I would urge you to delay the start of the enrollment period until the necessary leadership and preparation are in place to ensure that the Marketplace can handle the volume on day one of enrollment.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Portman Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the "March on Washington"


Ann Voskamp- One Thousand Gifts- Book, Gift Book, & Perpetual Calendar






Senator Rob Portman Press Release:

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released the following statement on the 50th Anniversary on the “March on Washington:”
“Today, people from around our country, including hundreds from Ohio, returned to Washington to honor those who marched on the city for freedom and equality fifty years ago.  What started as a protest turned into one of the greatest popular rallies in our nation's history in what would come to be known as "The Great March on Washington." At the conclusion of that march on August 28, 1963, before hundreds of thousands of Americans both black and white, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech that rivaled Lincoln's in eloquence and power on the steps of the memorial that bears Lincoln's name. There, he spoke of a dream of freedom and equality for all God's children.
“In the decades since, we have made great strides.  The system of Jim Crow that repressed so many has been consigned to the dustbin of history.  Discrimination on the basis of race is not only illegal, but socially unacceptable.  An African-American sits in the White House as President of the United States.
“And yet, it cannot be denied that we still have work to do.  It has been fifty years since Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech inspired a nation and sounded the death knell for legally enforced racial segregation.  But the march goes on.  Let us take time to celebrate the courage and the foresight of those who came to Washington five decades ago, and let us also continue to work together towards the day where our country can “live out the true meaning of its creed” and achieve equal opportunity for all Americans.”

Opinion: Obama, don't rush into war in Syria - CNN.com

By Rand Paul

Opinion: Obama, don't rush into war in Syria - CNN.com

FEMA Deputy Administator and DHS Secretary (ID: 67803)


Get Office Supplies at CoffeeForLess.com





Washington, D.C., Aug. 26, 2013 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino thanks Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for her service while visiting FEMA Headquarters.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano Visits FEMA Headquarters (ID: 67800)


CengageBrain - Rent or Buy Textbooks






Washington, D.C., Aug. 26, 2013 -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano visits the National Response Coordination Center in FEMA Headquarters.

Deputy Regional Administrator - Mike Bresnahan (ID: 67795)


Save up to 40% on closeout textbooks






New York, N.Y., Aug. 28, 2013 -- Region II Deputy Regional Administrator, Mike Bresnahan, temporary official photograph.

FEMA and SBA Extend Disaster Assistance Deadlines in Alaska


Carrot Ink





FEMA Press Release:

FEMA and SBA Extend Disaster Assistance Deadlines in Alaska

Main Content
Release date: 
AUGUST 29, 2013
Release Number: 
NR-018
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Survivors of the spring floods now have until Wednesday, Sept. 25 to register for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and return Small Business Administration disaster loan applications.
People with flood-related losses can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Registration is also available by calling 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585 or 711/VRS.
FEMA disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. 
The simplest way to complete an SBA application is online by using the electronic loan application. Go to DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. More information is available by calling the SBA customer service center at 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339. SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal recovery funds for individuals with property or content losses. For more information, go to SBA.gov/Disaster.
Through Aug. 27, nearly $2.7 million has been approved for survivors through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program and about $3.4 million in SBA disaster home loans has been approved.
Last Updated: 
August 29, 2013 - 13:12