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Monday, June 30, 2014

Contradictions Emerge in Relative Quiet of ISIS Ruled Iraqi City - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Fault lines in Iraq are widening as ISIS advances: Even as the Shiite government in Baghdad digs it its heels, the country's Sunnis are losing their faith in a single nation and the Kurds are hoping for independence. But what is ISIS, really?



Contradictions Emerge in Relative Quiet of ISIS Ruled Iraqi City - SPIEGEL ONLINE

SPIEGEL Interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari - SPIEGEL ONLINE

In an interview, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, warns that his country is threatened with collapse under the pressure posed by ISIS terrorists. But, he says, it isn't a civil war yet.



SPIEGEL Interview with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Cornyn Statement on Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case

Senator John Cornyn News Release:

Jun 30 2014

FORT WORTH—U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby and limited Obamacare’s contraception mandate:
“Today’s decision is a victory against Obamacare’s unprecedented overreach into our daily lives and the Administration’s disregard for the freedom of religion that Americans cherish. All Texans and Americans have the right to practice their religious beliefs without obstruction from the federal government, and today’s decision by the Supreme Court affirms that Obamacare does not trump those fundamental rights.”
In January, Sen. Cornyn joined an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby’s challenge to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, which requires all employers to provide health care coverage that covers contraceptive costs.

McConnell on Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Ruling

Press Releases

Jun 30 2014

McConnell on Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement today regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision makes clear that the Obama administration cannot trample on the religious freedoms that Americans hold dear. Obamacare is the single worst piece of legislation to pass in the last 50 years, and I was glad to see the Supreme Court agree that this particular Obamacare mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”
Background: McConnell was among a group of 15 current Members of Congress who voted for RFRA in 1993 and who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing that the mandate violates RFRA. 
Read the Amicus Brief here.

Interview with Obama Advisor John Podesta on NSA and Cyber Security - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Instead of a no-spy deal, the US has begun a Cyber Dialogue with Germany. In a SPIEGEL interview, John Podesta, a special advisor to President Barack Obama, speaks of the balance between alliances and security and says that changes are being made to NSA espionage practices.



Interview with Obama Advisor John Podesta on NSA and Cyber Security - SPIEGEL ONLINE

‘No One Should Be Put Through That — No One’: Justina Pelletier Speaks Out on Her Treatment While Under Gov’t Care | Video | TheBlaze.com

Returning to her parents home after spending 16 months out of their custody, Justina Pelletier is now speaking out about her treatment while in the care of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“This should never happen again to anybody,” the 16-year-old from Connecticut said in an interview with Mike Huckabee on Fox News. “They should never be put through what I’m put through. They were so mean and nasty to me and they were being mean and terrible to my family also and no one should be put through that — no one.”


‘No One Should Be Put Through That — No One’: Justina Pelletier Speaks Out on Her Treatment While Under Gov’t Care | Video | TheBlaze.com

This Is Rich: IRS Stresses Saving Electronic Records | Speaker.gov

It’s hurricane season, and the IRS is concerned.   So concerned, in fact, that it has put out this press release stressing the importance of – wait for it – saving electronic records: 



This Is Rich: IRS Stresses Saving Electronic Records | Speaker.gov

Senator Robers Issues Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on Hobby Lobby Case

Senator Pat Roberts News Release:

Applauds Court Ruling to Uphold Religious Freedom

Jun 30 2014

Senator Roberts Issues Statement on SCOTUS Ruling on Hobby Lobby Case
WICHITA, KS -- U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts applauded the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding religious freedom in the decision on the challenges by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties against Obamacare’s contraception mandate.  Roberts had signed an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood in their challenge.
"Every American has a right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution. This right has been upheld time and again by the Supreme Court over the last 200 years. I applaud the Court for upholding this fundamental principle of our nation.
 “Kansans join millions of pro-life Americans in celebrating this victory, especially at a time when the Obama Administration has said it will circumvent the Congress to enact its agenda. The Court’s ruling has affirmed that they cannot circumvent the Constitution.”
Senator Roberts is pro-life and is an outspoken opponent of Obamacare. Late last year, Roberts introduced a bill to force Obamacare exchanges to prominently disclose whether plans offer abortion. Called the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, the bill requires information on abortion to be prominently disclosed and transparent so consumers can make informed, values-based decisions.
Until Obamacare is repealed, Roberts has introduced four bills in a comprehensive effort to protect life at all stages from the detrimental policies in the health care law. For more on the bills, visit here.

Sen. Cruz: Landmark Victory for Religious Liberty

Senator Ted Cruz News Release:

Sen. Cruz: Landmark Victory for Religious Liberty

STATEMENT ON BURWELL V. HOBBY LOBBY

June 30, 2014

  |  

(202) 228-7561

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement commending the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
“Today the Supreme Court handed our nation a landmark victory for religious liberty.   The decision affirms that Americans, contrary to what the Obama Administration attempted to impose, have a right to live and work in accordance to their conscience and can’t be forced to surrender their religious freedom once they open a business.
“This ruling is a repudiation of the Obama Administration’s untenable position that people with sincerely held religious beliefs should be forced to comply with an unconstitutional mandate while a parade of waivers, exemptions, and delays are granted for purely commercial and political interests.
“In making this ruling the Court relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was passed with broad bipartisan support, proving the strength and necessity of the legislation and showing the nation the effectiveness members of Congress can have when they work together to protect religious liberty.
“Certainly, the struggle for religious freedom will continue, as cases made by hundreds more plaintiffs will wend their way through the courts. The right to religious liberty, as enshrined in the First Amendment, remains under an incredible assault by this Administration on a variety of fronts. But, with this decision, I am hopeful that the courts will also work to safeguard the religious liberty for non-profits, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor and others, just as the Supreme Court did today for private businesses.”
    ###

    Senator Blunt Applauds Supreme Court Decision On Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood

    Senator Roy Blunt News Release:



    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) issued the following statement today applauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on two cases challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate:

    “Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is an important victory to protect Americans’ fundamental right of religious freedom. Americans should not be forced to choose between giving up their business for their faith or giving up their faith for their business. I applaud the Court’s decision today, which simply affirms the fundamental religious freedom that Americans have enjoyed for more than 220 years.”

    Blunt previously authored the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act,” and he led an effort to fight for Americans’ First Amendment rights by filing an amicus brief regarding Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius. The amicus brief was co-signed by a bipartisan group of 15 Senators and 71 House members. To read the amicus brief, click here. To read more about Blunt’s efforts to protect religious freedom,click here.
    # # #


    News - Roy Blunt, United States Senator for Missouri

    Supreme Court Pares Back Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate | TheBlaze.com

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Obamacare cannot force companies to pay for emergency contraceptive coverage for their employees that could lead to abortions, in violation of their religious beliefs.
    The 5-4 ruling delivered a huge victory to conservatives who have worked for years to scale back the various mandates of the controversial healthcare law.


    Supreme Court Pares Back Obamacare’s Contraception Mandate | TheBlaze.com

    Supreme Court Deals Blow to Labor Unions | TheBlaze.com

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says public sector unions can’t collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union.
    The justices on Monday said collecting the fees violates the First Amendment rights of workers who are not union members.


    Supreme Court Deals Blow to Labor Unions | TheBlaze.com

    Barack Obama taps ex-Procter and Gamble exec Robert McDonald to lead VA

    Why on earth would he want it?



    President Barack Obama plans to nominate former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, which has been plagued by long waits for treatment, a White House official said Sunday.

    The president will formally announce his pick on Monday, exactly a month after Eric Shinseki, the VA secretary since the start of the Obama administration, resigned on May 30 after allegations of delayed care came to light.


    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/robert-mcdonald-department-of-veterans-affairs-108418.html#ixzz367oa9t1n




    Barack Obama taps ex-Procter and Gamble exec Robert McDonald to lead VA

    Sunday Shows June 29 2014 | National Review Online

    Summaries of yesterday's Sunday Morning Talk Shows:



    Sunday Shows June 29 2014 | National Review Online

    The Loneliest Hawk - Michael Hirsh - POLITICO Magazine

    Once again “John Wayne” McCain is calling for air strikes—this time in Iraq—and everyone’s making fun of him. But what if he’s right?



    The Loneliest Hawk - Michael Hirsh - POLITICO Magazine

    Louie Gohmert: $1M for lost IRS emails

    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) is proposing a bounty bill for anyone who can recover the missing Internal Revenue Service emails.

    “You can have a Justice Department that is actually involved in justice and they use pressure, and they will get it done. But we don’t have a Justice Department. We have a ‘just us’ — or injustice — department,” he said on Fox News on Friday morning. The bill would offer $1 million for anyone who can produce ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s missing emails and an additional $500,000 for any information on someone who destroyed the emails.


    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/louie-gohmert-1m-for-lost-irs-emails-108386.html#ixzz367luCOkM




    Louie Gohmert: $1M for lost IRS emails

    The Shocking Comment From the Mother of One of the Prime Suspects in Israeli Teen Abduction Case | TheBlaze.com

    The mother of one of the prime suspects in the kidnapping of three Israeli teens two weeks ago says that if her son committed the crime, she would be “proud of him.”
    Israeli security officials on Thursday named two Palestinians from Hebron, Amer Abu Aysha, 33, and Marwan Kawasme, 29, as the key suspects in the abduction who disappeared at the same time as the kidnapped teens and have not been seen since. Both are reported to be Hamas members.


    The Shocking Comment From the Mother of One of the Prime Suspects in Israeli Teen Abduction Case | TheBlaze.com

    Falls Church Grocery Store Owners Convicted of Insurance Fraud

    FBI Washington Field Office Press Release:

    Falls Church Grocery Store Owners Convicted of Insurance Fraud
    Defendants Filed False Insurance Claims for Over $100,000 After 2009 Fire Destroyed Business

    U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJune 27, 2014
    • Eastern District of Virginia(703) 299-3700
    ALEXANDRIA, VA—Suzanne DeLyon, 65, of McLean, Virginia, and Byoung Kyung Kim, 53, of Centreville, Virginia were convicted yesterday by a federal jury on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud.
    Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
    DeLyon and Kim face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when they are sentenced on Oct. 3, 2014.
    DeLyon and Kim were indicted on Jan. 30, 2014 by a federal grand jury. According to court records and evidence at trial, DeLyon and Kim were partners in an international grocery store in Falls Church, Virginia that was destroyed by a fire on Jan. 16, 2009. In the course of claiming insurance reimbursements from Travelers Insurance, DeLyon and Kim conspired to falsify payroll documents and records, and they made false representations to Travelers to get over $100,000 more than what they were legally owed.
    This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and IRS-CI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maya D. Song and Gene Rossi and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison L. Anderson are prosecuting the case.
    A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of theDistrict Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-32.

    FBI and Escondido Police Department Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify US Bank Robber

    FBI San Diego Division Press Release:

    FBI and Escondido Police Department Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify US Bank Robber

    FBI San DiegoJune 27, 2014
    • Emily Yeh(858) 320-8312
    The FBI and Escondido Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify an unknown male who robbed the U.S. Bank branch located inside the Albertsons at 1509 East Valley Parkway in Escondido, California, on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
    On Thursday, June 26, 2014, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a white male robbed the U.S. Bank branch located inside the Albertsons at 1509 East Valley Parkway, Escondido, California. The robber walked up to the counter and placed an open lunch box over the counter. The robber used a demand note and verbally demanded money. No weapon was seen or used. After receiving a sum of money, the robber exited the Albertsons in an unknown direction.
    Witnesses describe the robber as follows:
    • Sex: Male
    • Race: White
    • Height: 5’5” to 5’10” tall
    • Age: Late 40s to early 50s
    • Eyes: Wore sunglasses
    • Clothing: T-shirt, jeans, sunglasses, floppy hat
    • Tattoos: None visible, no visible marks or scars
    • Other: Clean-shaven
    Bank surveillance photographs from the U.S. Bank, located inside the Albertson’s at 1509 East Valley Parkway, Escondido, California, on Thursday, June 26, 2014:
        

     
    Anyone with information concerning this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at telephone number (858) 320-1800, Crime Stoppers at (888) 540-8477, or Escondido Police Department at (760) 743-8477.

    New York Resident Admits Operating Investor Fraud Scheme

    FBI New Haven Division Press Release:

    New York Resident Admits Operating Investor Fraud Scheme

    U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJune 27, 2014
    • District of Connecticut(203) 821-3700
    Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that CHARLES PRINCIPATO, 52, of Rye, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Monday in New Haven federal court to engaging in a scheme to defraud investors of more than $1.3 million.
    According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately January 2011 and February 2014, PRINCIPATO acted as principal of Prince Direct, Inc., an entity that he represented to victim-investors as being in the business of marketing products through advertising such as “infomercials.” PRINCIPATO solicited money from victims, including Connecticut residents, for the stated purpose of funding the business operations of Prince Direct. However, instead of using victims’ money for the stated purposes, PRINCIPATO used it for his own personal expenses, including for vacations and home renovations, and for gambling. Through this scheme, PRINCIPATO defrauded victim-investors of more than $1.3 million.
    On June 23, 2014, PRINCIPATO waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to one count of wire fraud. Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for October 7, 2014, at which time PRINCIPATO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
    PRINCIPATO is currently released on a $250,000 bond.
    This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines.

    Patient Recruiter Pleads Guilty for Role in $6.5 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

    FBI Miami Division Press Release:

    Patient Recruiter Pleads Guilty for Role in $6.5 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

    U.S. Department of JusticeJune 27, 2014
    • Office of Public Affairs(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
    WASHINGTON—A patient recruiter for a Miami home health care agency pleaded guilty today in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Nestor’s Health Services Inc. (Nestor HH). The owner and operator of Nestor HH pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme earlier this month.
    Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan Lynch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office made the announcement.
    On June 27, 2014, Euridice Borroto, 45, of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive health care kickbacks and to defraud the United States. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2014.
    According to court documents, Borroto was paid bribes and kickbacks for recruiting patients on behalf of Nestor HH, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. The owner and operator of Nestor HH operated Nestor HH for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.
    According to court documents, Borroto solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from the owner and operator of Nestor HH in return for recruiting and providing patients to Nestor HH for home health care and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and, in many instances, were not provided. Nestor HH would then fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services on behalf of the recruited patients, in violation of federal criminal laws. Borroto knew that in many instances the patients she recruited for Nestor HH did not qualify for the services billed to Medicare.
    From approximately March 2009 through at least January 2014, Nestor HH submitted more than $6.5 million in claims for home health services. Medicare paid Nestor HH more than $6.1 million for these fraudulent claims before the fraud was exposed.
    In documents filed with the court, Borroto also acknowledged her involvement in similar fraudulent schemes at other Miami health care agencies.
    The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Anne P. McNamara and A. Brendan Stewart of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
    Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
    To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT), go to:www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
    # # #

    Former Army Soldier Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of His 5-Year-Old Daughter

    FBI Honolulu Division Press Release:

    Former Army Soldier Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of His 5-Year-Old Daughter

    U.S. Department of JusticeJune 27, 2014
    • Office of Public Affairs(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
    WASHINGTON—Army Soldier Naeem Williams, 34, will receive a life sentence for murdering his five-year-old daughter, Talia Williams, after a federal jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, reported today it was unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether to impose the death penalty.
    Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and United States Attorney Florence T. Nakakuni of the District of Hawaii made the announcement.
    The jury previously found Williams guilty of killing his daughter on July 16, 2005, by engaging in child abuse that included beating and punching her at the family’s residence on Wheeler Army Airfield in Honolulu. Williams was also convicted of participating, along with his wife, Delilah Williams, in a pattern and practice of assault and torture from December, 2004, until July 16, 2005, that resulted in Talia’s death. In addition, Williams was convicted of conspiring to engage in a pattern and practice of assault and torture leading to death, obstructing justice, and making false statements to Army Criminal Investigation Division agents on the night of his arrest in July 2005.
    The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Naeem Williams and his wife Delilah Williams beat Talia Williams almost daily. Naeem Williams testified that the abuse was aimed at disciplining his daughter as a result of bathroom accidents and was exacerbated due to frustrations he was experiencing in his marriage. The evidence indicated the defendant’s physical abuse included punching Talia repeatedly, commanding her to eat her own feces, and using duct tape to bind her from head to toe to a bed post where she was whipped with a belt. In the hours preceding Talia’s death, Williams struck a frontal blow to Talia and her head slammed backwards against the floor. Talia then appeared to have a seizure.
    This case was investigated by the FBI and the Army Criminal Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steve Mellin from the Capital Case Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching.

    Three Foam Manufacturers Plead Guilty in Price Fixing Scheme

    FBI Cleveland Division Press Release:

    Three Foam Manufacturers Plead Guilty in Price Fixing Scheme
    Companies Agree to Pay a Total of $6.1 Million in Criminal Fines

    U.S. Department of JusticeJune 27, 2014
    • Office of Public Affairs(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
    WASHINGTON—Three manufacturers of polyurethane foam used to create interior components for automobiles pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to fix prices to customers, the Department of Justice announced.
    Riverside Seat Co., Woodbridge Foam Fabricating Inc. and SW Foam LLC pleaded guilty to a one-count felony charge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. According to the charge, the companies conspired with others to fix prices for polyurethane flexible slab stock automotive foam in the U.S. and elsewhere from at least as early as June 9, 2008 until at least April 20, 2009. The companies have agreed to pay a total of $6,148,800 in criminal fines and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.
    “Today’s charges demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s commitment to holding companies accountable for conspiracies that affect components used in products that consumers rely on every day,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division will vigorously prosecute companies that engage in price-fixing schemes that subvert normal competitive processes and defraud American consumers and businesses.”
    Riverside Seat, Woodbridge, and SW Foam manufactured polyurethane flexible slab stock automotive foam – a low-density, slab stock, flexible foam used as a component of automotive interior parts, including seats, headliners, headrests, door panels and armrests. Polyurethane flexible slab stock automotive foam includes only the foam itself and does not include any automotive parts in which such foam may be a component.
    According to the charge, the companies and their co-conspirators discussed polyurethane foam prices and agreed to coordinate the timing and amount of price increases to customers. The companies carried out the agreement and exchanged information for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreement.
    The three manufacturers are charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries maximum penalties of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
    Today’s pleas are the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation being handled by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, with assistance from the Cleveland Field Office of the FBI and the New York Field Office of the FBI. Anyone with information concerning price fixing or other anti-competitive conduct in the polyurethane foam industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visitwww.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

    South Carolina National Guard Official Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes to Award Freight Contracts to Alabama Companies

    FBI Birmingham Division Press Release:

    South Carolina National Guard Official Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes to Award Freight Contracts to Alabama Companies

    U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJune 27, 2014
    • Northern District of Alabama(205) 244-2001
    BIRMINGHAM—A South Carolina National Guard official pleaded guilty today in federal court to wire fraud and accepting bribes to steer freight contracts to an Alabama broker, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. and Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.
    TIMOTHY WOOTEN, 52, a traffic management specialist for the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Property and Fiscal Office, in South Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala to three wire fraud counts and one bribery count involving freight transportation contracts totaling about $321,949. His sentencing is scheduled Oct. 15.
    According to Wooten’s plea agreement with the government, he overrode the electronic system that generated a list of “Best Value Carriers” for freight shipments so that he could manually select a company for a shipment. Between September 2011 and January 2012, Wooten manually awarded 55 contracts to two Tuscaloosa-area companies, identified as C.E. and U.S.T. The freight broker who worked as an agent for both companies paid Wooten about 25 percent of his commissions on the freight contracts in return for Wooten awarding them to his companies. The agent received about $115,882 in commission on the 55 contracts and paid about $29,742 in bribes to Wooten, according to the plea agreement.
    The agent is identified in government documents by the initials, D.B. He attempted to conceal the bribes to Wooten by making the payments to Wooten’s wife, who D.B. purportedly hired as a broker for one of his companies. Aside from making a few phone calls, Wooten’s wife did no work for D.B., the plea agreement says. The payments to her “were in return for Wooten providing freight contracts to D.B.’s companies,” it says.
    Wooten directed government payment to D.B.’s two companies on completed transportation contracts by initiating wire transfers from U.S. Bank in Minneapolis, Minn., to a bank in Tuscaloosa, according to the plea agreement. Those payments constitute the wire fraud counts against Wooten.
    Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine. The bribery count carries has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe.
    The FBI and Army CID, MPFU, investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamarra Matthews Johnson is prosecuting.

    Former Attorney Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Bilking Investors of $2.8 Million

    FBI Birmingham Division Press Release:

    Former Attorney Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Bilking Investors of $2.8 Million

    U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJune 27, 2014
    • Northern District of Alabama(205) 244-2001
    BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge late Thursday sentenced a former Birmingham attorney to five years and 11 months in prison for a securities fraud scheme through which he took more than $2.8 million from 12 investors and spent it on a lavish home, private jets, championship football trips and island vacations, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg.
    U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins sentenced CHRISTOPHER SHAWN LINTON, 35, of Alabaster, on one count each of wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering as part of his investment fraud scheme. She also sentenced him on one bank fraud count for submitting a fraudulent commercial loan application to Iberia Bank for a $908,650 loan. Linton used fraudulently obtained investor funds to pay the down payment on the commercial loan, but then defaulted on the loan by writing a $78,960 bad check at closing for his remaining equity on the loan. Linton pleaded guilty to the charges in February.
    As part of his plea agreement, Linton is required to pay $2.5 million in restitution to the investors he defrauded, and to pay Iberia Bank $19,850 in restitution. The government’s sentencing memorandum notes, however, that the Alabaster house Linton bought with $560,000 in investor funds, and then lavishly improved, cannot be used as means to compensate Linton’s victims because there is not enough equity to satisfy a court judgment because Linton used the house as collateral on business and personal loans, which take priority over any judgment.
    Linton must report to prison Sept. 22.
    “The victims in this case trusted that this defendant, an attorney, would protect their investments. Instead, he robbed them of their savings so he could live a fantasy life of luxury,” Vance said. “I appreciate the hard work of the FBI and the Alabama Securities Commission in helping us bring Mr. Linton to justice.”
    “Mr. Linton risked his clients’ retirement funds, money for their children’s education, and for their livelihood,” Schwein said. “His actions are a dishonor to those who practice law with the utmost commitment and integrity, and the sentence handed down today recognizes his deplorable conduct.”
    “This Commission feels strongly that the sentence imposed by the federal court is proper and just,” said Borg, the ASC director. “We expect this sentence to send a powerful message that professional misconduct that causes damage to our citizens’ financial security, and to public confidence in the integrity of the practice of law, will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. We are very proud to successfully combine our efforts with the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce Vance, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ensure that justice is served on behalf of the victims.”
    Unlike Linton, the people who invested with him “worked hard and saved for years hoping to do a small remodeling project on their home,” or to take grandchildren on vacations or leave money behind for their family, the government said in its sentencing memorandum. Some of the investors now need the money for assisted living and medical conditions, the government said.
    “Linton’s frivolous spending and reckless disregard for the investors’ funds will have a lasting financial and emotional impact on the investors and their families for decades,” the sentencing memorandum said.
    According to the memorandum and Linton’s plea agreement, he conducted the securities fraud scheme as follows:
    In 2007, Linton became an officer, partner and part owner of a business known as Integrity Capital Inc., by purchasing stock in the company. Integrity Capital Inc. was located in the greater Birmingham area and its business was to make advance payments to lawyers who had submitted payment vouchers for work performed for the State of Alabama. Integrity Capital would then receive the voucher payments from the state and keep a percentage as a fee.
    In 2009, Linton formed Integrity Capital LLC. Beginning about August 2009, Linton recruited advisors to solicit investments in Integrity Capital LLC in order to purchase the assets and capital stock of Integrity Capital Inc. Between September 2009 and December 2011, 12 individuals invested more than $2.8 million in Integrity Capital LLC. The investors mailed, wired or delivered money to Linton, who deposited the money into one of several bank accounts held by the law firm where he was a partner.
    After receiving the investor funds, Linton fraudulently converted them for personal use by writing personal checks to himself and by using the funds for non-investment purposes. The non-investment purposes included, but were not limited to, the purchase of his personal residence, construction projects at the residence, private jet flights, vacations, recreational vehicles, furniture, luxury items, championship Auburn football tickets and a donation to the Heisman Trophy Trust.
    The FBI and Alabama Securities Commission investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark and Assistant Attorney General Greg Biggs, with the Alabama Securities Commission, prosecuted.
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