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Friday, October 31, 2014

Why Turkey needs to take ISIS threat seriously – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

The beleaguered Kurds, fighting a desperate battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Kobane, Syria, are finally receiving reinforcements. A small contingent of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga are reportedly crossing Turkey to help defend their ethnic compatriots battle this existential threat.
But Turkey’s leaders are probably not thrilled with their reluctant decision to let Iraqi Kurds join the fight in Syria. Indeed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month made his feelings about fighting ISIS crystal clear. “For us,” Ergodan reportedly said, “the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK] is the same as ISIL (ISIS). It is wrong to consider them as different from each other."


Why Turkey needs to take ISIS threat seriously – Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs

Video: Electronic Voting Machines Switching Republican Votes to Democrat Votes

From Fox & Friends:

CAUGHT ON CAMERA! Is this evidence that some machines are switching Republican votes to Democrat votes? This happened in Illinois. We Report, You Decide. http://fxn.ws/1DB1ykW

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=730059080415024&fref=nf

Calibration Error

From 98.9 FM The Answer:




It was a “calibration error” that caused a Chicago-area voting machine to register GOP votes as Democrat. Or is it because Illinois Democrats couldn’t round up enough dead voters to get the outcome they’re looking for?

Accountability Needed for HHS Response to Ebola Crisis

From Senator John Cornyn:


Sens. Cornyn, Cruz send letter to HHS Secretary Burwell, joined by all 24 Texas House Republicans

Oct 31 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas today sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, joined by all 24 Texas House Republicans expressing concern about how existing public health resources were used in response to the outbreak of Ebola in the United States.
“In fact, of the $10.8 billion the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates it spent in FY 2014, almost $1.4 billion went to ‘Public Health Preparedness and Response’ activities,” the letter said. “Among these activities is a Cities Readiness Initiative to ‘support local medical countermeasure distribution and dispensing planning in the nation’s 72 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSA).’ Since Dallas is one of the cities in this initiative, and ground zero for the first U.S. Ebola case, it is especially troubling to witness the federal government’s communication missteps and confusion about protocols knowing that a wide range of federal resources have already been in place for years."
The letter went on, “As the brave health professionals directly involved with the treatment of this virus do their part, we must understand how years spent developing strategic plans and applying these significant resources failed to adequately prepare for dealing with Ebola after it was first discovered here. Before contemplating any additional course of action, we need a better understanding of how your Department has utilized the tools it’s already been given."
The Texas Republican Congressional delegation submitted the five following requests to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.
1.    Please identify all strategic plans, policies, and protocols developed under the authorities of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Acts involved in the treatment and containment of the current Ebola crisis, along with a description of how these procedures are being implemented.
2.    Please provide an accounting of the role and steps taken by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, a position created by the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006, involved in the treatment and containment of the current Ebola crisis.
3.    Please provide an accounting of how all your Department’s Public Health Preparedness and Response activities, such as the State and Local Preparedness and Response Capability and the CDC Preparedness and Response Capability, were utilized in preparation for and in response to Ebola cases in the United States.
4.    Please provide any distinction between the role and responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and those of the recently appointed "Ebola Czar," Ron Klain, involved in the response to the current Ebola crisis, including containment efforts.
5.    Please identify any additional authorities and programs being used by the Department involved in the treatment and containment of the current Ebola crisis.
The letter was signed by the following Texas Republican members of Congress:
Sen. John Cornyn

Sen. Ted Cruz
Rep. Joe Barton
Rep. Kevin Brady
Rep. Michael Burgess
Rep. John Carter
Rep. K. Michael Conaway
Rep. John Culberson
Rep. Blake Farenthold
Rep. Bill Flores
Rep. Louie Gohmert
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. Ralph M. Hall
Rep. Jeb Hensarling
Rep. Sam Johnson
Rep. Kenny Marchant
Rep. Michael T. McCaul
Rep. Randy Neugebauer
Rep. Pete Olson
Rep. Ted Poe
Rep. Pete Sessions
Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Steve Stockman
Rep. Mac Thornberry
Rep. Randy Weber
Rep. Roger Williams

Key Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates About Our Fiscal Future (Fall 2014) | The Concord Coalition

As in past economic recoveries, the short-term federal budget picture has been improving. But deficits are projected to begin rising again in a few short years, Congress flounders over what were once considered routine decisions, and the nation remains on a long-term fiscal path that is simply unsustainable.
Voters should expect candidates for federal office this fall to explain how they intend to deal with the huge challenges ahead. These include some   problems that must be addressed in the very near future.


Key Questions Voters Should Ask Candidates About Our Fiscal Future (Fall 2014) | The Concord Coalition

Davenport Man Faces Fraud, Money Laundering Charges

FBI Springfield Division Press Release:


Davenport Man Faces Fraud, Money Laundering Charges
Allegedly Defrauded Former Employer of $2.7 Million

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • Central District of Illinois(217) 492-4450
ROCK ISLAND, IL—Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, announced that Dominic Scodeller, 47, of the 2000 block of Meadowbrook Drive, Davenport, Iowa, made his initial appearance in federal court today on charges of fraud and money laundering. The grand jury returned the indictment on Oct. 21, 2014; however, the indictment had remained sealed pending the defendant’s arrest and court appearance.
The 15-count indictment alleges that from about 2001 to May 2013, Scodeller defrauded his former employer, Bituminous Insurance Companies (BITCO), which has its headquarters in Rock Island, of at least $2.7 million. As a manager of purchasing and facilities for BITCO, Scodeller allegedly approved payments to bogus entities he created and controlled. After BITCO paid the fraudulent entities, Scodeller allegedly transferred the stolen money from the entities’ accounts for his personal use.
If convicted, the statutory maximum penalty for each count of mail or wire fraud is 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000; the statutory maximum penalty for each count of money laundering is 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the value of property involved in the transactions, whichever is greater.
Scodeller was arrested today and appeared this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sara L. Darrow, in Rock Island. Scodeller was ordered temporarily detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention hearing scheduled on Oct. 29, at 11:00 a.m.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Donald Allegro and Meredith DeCarlo. The matter was referred to federal law enforcement, the FBI and IRS, Criminal Investigation, by BITCO following its internal investigation of the alleged fraud.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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FBI Seeking Information to Identify Rapist

FBI San Antonio Division Press Release:


FBI Seeking Information to Identify Rapist

FBI San AntonioOctober 28, 2014
  • Special Agent Michelle Lee(210) 650-6333
The FBI is asking the public to help identify an unknown male smuggler who reportedly raped, robbed, and abandoned an adult female from Central/South America while on a U.S wildlife refuge near Mission, Texas in late June 2014. The victim was rescued by U.S. Border Patrol agents and provided medical care.
The suspect, known as “Chapulin” and depicted in the sketch below, is described as a Hispanic male (possibly Mexican), approximately 35 years of age, 5’ 4” tall, with a medium build, medium olive complexion, short black hair, and dark brown eyes. At the time of the crime, the suspect wore dark blue jeans, a dark blue polo-type shirt with yellow lettering, and black sneakers with a red stripe. The suspect has a round shaped scar on his left cheek and a small bald patch on the crown of his head (possibly from another scar).
San Antonio wanted rapist 10/28/14
Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity is urged to contact San Antonio FBI, McAllen Resident Agency Office at 956-984-6300. Information can also be submitted online via the FBI’s website https://tips.fbi.gov/. Those providing information may remain anonymous.

El FBI busca información para identificar a violador
El FBI pide la ayuda del público para identificar a un traficante de humanos. Se sospecha que a finales de junio de 2014 el individuo le robó, violó, y abandonó a una mujer de centro/sudamérica mientras que ella se encontraba en una reserva natural federal de los Estados Unidos, cerca de Mission, Texas. La víctima fue rescatada por agentes de la agencia de Aduanas y Protección Fronteriza, y fue llevada a recibir atención médica.
El sospechoso, conocido como “Chapulín”, representado en el retrato hablado, es un hombre hispano, (posiblemente mexicano), de aproximadamente 35 años de edad, 162 cm de estatura, de una complexión mediana, tez aceitunada, cabello negro y corto, y ojos castaños. En el momento del delito, el sospechoso traía puesto unos pantalones de mezclilla de color azul oscuro, una camisa tipo polo de color azul oscuro con letras amarillas, y tenis negros con rayas rojas. El sospechoso tiene una cicatriz redonda en su mejilla izquierda y un parche calvo pequeño en la coronilla (posiblemente de otra cicatriz).
San Antonio wanted rapist Spanish-version 10/28/14
Personas con información sobre la identidad del sospechoso se les pide llamar a las oficinas del FBI de San Antonio (Oficina local de McAllen), al 956-984-6300. También pueden dar información por internet a la página del FBI al https://tips.fbi.gov/. Aquellos que desean dar información pueden hacerlo de forma anónima.

Seventeen Arrested in Tuba City Drug Sweep

FBI Phoenix Division Press Release:


Seventeen Arrested in Tuba City Drug Sweep

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • District of Arizona(602) 514-7500
PHOENIX—Following a coordinated federal, tribal and state task force investigation into drug trafficking on the Navajo Nation, 20 individuals have been charged with federal drug trafficking crimes. Five remain fugitives. In addition to the 15 arrested on drug trafficking charges, two individuals were arrested for alleged violations of the terms of their pretrial release having been arrested in May on assault-related charges, along with 10 other individuals, during the Tuba City violent offender initiative—the first phase of this community impact initiative.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, the Coconino County METRO Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration led this enforcement action, with substantial assistance from the United States Marshals Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
United States Attorney John S. Leonardo said, “This joint investigation is an example of the impact that federal, state and tribal law enforcement agencies can have in disrupting drug trafficking activity in Indian Country when they coordinate their resources.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas G. Price stated he wanted “to thank our law enforcement partners not only for the assistance they provided during this specific drug operation but the assistance they provide on a regular basis.”
Navajo Nation Captain Harry Sombrero, who currently serves as Director of Criminal Investigations, also said, “The undercover drug investigation was conducted over a period of months and involved hundreds of hours of team investigative work. It is believed that these arrests will have a significant impact on the local drug trafficking network. The credit goes to the field investigators for their commitment, dedication and hard work to keep the community safe.”
Convictions for the drug offenses currently charged, which involve trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine, carry penalties up to 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines.
Although these individuals have been charged with federal crimes by way of Complaint or Indictment, these charging documents are simply methods by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raise no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution is being handled byDimitra H. Sampson of Phoenix and Adam Zickerman of Flagstaff, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona.
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Judge Sentences Defendants in West Philadelphia Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:


Judge Sentences Defendants in West Philadelphia Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania(215) 861-8200
PHILADELPHIA—Defendants in a mortgage fraud conspiracy involving KREW Settlement Services were sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Berle M. Schiller for their roles in the multi-million dollar scheme involving more than 100 fraudulent mortgage loans. Eric Sijohn Brown, 46, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and was ordered to pay $10,849,873 in restitution to the lenders; Kevin Joseph Franklin, 51, of Albany, Georgia, was sentenced to 139 months in prison and was ordered to pay $9,454,607 in restitution to the lenders; Roderick L. Foxworth, Sr., 57, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 84 months in prison and was ordered to pay $2,701,868 in restitution to the lenders. For false filing of tax returns, Brown was also ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $209,777, plus interest and penalties; Franklin was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $51,622, plus interest and penalties; and Foxworth was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $140,305, plus interest and penalties. All three defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit loan fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements. Co-conspirators Walter Brown and Cynthia Brown were convicted at trial. The fraud scheme resulted in more than $20 million in fraudulent loan proceeds.
Eric Sijohn Brown—a general contractor—worked with other co-conspirators to identify distressed properties to purchase, typically in the West Philadelphia area. The scheme involved recruiting “straw buyers” whose credit history and personal information was used to purchase the properties, obtain mortgage loans, and take title to the properties, when, in reality, the properties were owned and controlled by the defendants. Mortgage loan applications were then prepared in the names of the straw buyers containing a host of false information, including false purchase prices, false employment and income information, and false statements about the straw buyers living in the properties. Mortgage brokers—including Roderick Foxworth and Walter Brown—submitted the fraudulent loan applications to lenders to secure the loans for the buyers, knowing that the information was false. Cynthia Evette Brown falsely verified that many of the straw buyers worked for her employer, Unicco Service Company, when they did not. Kevin Joseph Franklin, a title agent, falsely prepared two deeds and settlement statements (referred to as “Form HUD-1”)—one for the seller that showed the actual agreed-upon purchase price and a false one for the lender that showed the grossly inflated purchase price. Franklin also created false title insurance policies for the lenders.
After the loans funded, the seller was paid the agreed-upon purchase price, and the difference between the actual purchase price and the false purchase price quoted to the lender was shared with and distributed by Franklin to Eric Brown, Foxworth, Walter Brown, and Cynthia Brown, and many of these payments were not reflected on the HUD-1 forms.
Eric Brown pleaded guilty on April 8, 2014; Franklin and Foxworth pleaded guilty on April 9, 2014.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.
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Robbery of Citizens Bank Branch in Norristown

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:


Robbery of Citizens Bank Branch in Norristown

FBI PhiladelphiaOctober 28, 2014
  • Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski(215) 418-4135
The Lower Providence Township Police Department and the FBI are seeking the public’s assistance to identify and locate the subject responsible for the robbery today of the Citizens Bank branch located inside the Giant Food store at 2668 Egypt Road, Norristown in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
At approximately 2:54 p.m., the subject approached the bank counter and handed a teller a demand note. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, the subject fled the store—possibly in a white Saturn.
The subject is described as a white male in his mid-30s, bald, bearded, eyeglasses, with a number of tattoos on his right arm. He wore a dark-colored T-shirt and jeans.
ph102814_1.jpg ph102814_2.jpg
This subject is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about this robbery or this subject is urged to call the Lower Providence Township Police Department at 610-539-5900 or the FBI at 215-641-8910. There may be a reward for information leading to this subject’s capture; tipsters can remain anonymous.

Two Charged in $5.8 Million Reloadable Debit Card Extortion Scam

FBI Newark Division Press Release:


Two Charged in $5.8 Million Reloadable Debit Card Extortion Scam

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • District of New Jersey(973) 645-2888
NEWARK, NJ—Two Philadelphia men were arrested this morning for allegedly conspiring to extort victims to load prepaid debit cards with funds that were stolen as part of the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Special agents of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Alpeshkumar Patel, 30, and Vijaykumar Patel, 39, of Philadelphia at Vijaykumar Patel’s home on a complaint charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The pair, who are not related, are expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint unsealed today:
From September 2013 through March 2014, Alpeshkumar Patel and Vijaykumar Patel were part of a conspiracy to steal money using reloadable debit cards. First, the conspirators would purchase reloadable Green Dot Cards, and register them in names other than their own. The conspirators—some of whom were located in India—contacted victims by phone and used threats or deceit to induce them to put money on MoneyPak cards, which are used along with assigned PIN codes to add funds to Green Dot Cards. The conspirators then used the reloadable cards to purchase money orders that were deposited into bank accounts. All of the steps were taken quickly so law enforcement and victims could not identify the conspirators or prevent or reverse the fraudulent transfers.
As one example, a retail store located in New Jersey received a telephone call from an unknown caller on Sept. 10, 2013. The caller said there was a bomb in the store and the store manager had five minutes to comply with the caller’s demands or the bomb would detonate. The caller then demanded the manager load 10 $500 MoneyPak cards and provide the caller with the associated PIN codes. The manager had provided the code for one card before law enforcement arrived at the store, instructed the manager to hang up the phone, and evacuated the building.
The $500 associated with that code was transferred to an existing prepaid reloadable Green Dot Card. Surveillance video showed Alpeshkumar Patel in the Philadelphia CVS where the Green Dot Card was bought. That card was then used by Vijaykumar Patel, who was caught on video purchasing two money orders in a Philadelphia Wal Mart. The money orders, in turn, were used to deposit funds into a bank account.
Phone numbers and IP addresses associated with the Sept. 10, 2013, call and other calls tied to the conspiracy were tied to approximately 2,500 Green Dot Cards that were funded in excess of $5.8 million.
The charge of conspiracy to wire fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, or twice the gross profits to the defendants or twice the gross loss suffered to the victims of the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents, detectives and investigators assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, under the direction of FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, under the direction of FBI Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko in Philadelphia, and special agents of HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees in Newark, with the ongoing investigation. Special agents of HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan in Philadelphia, assisted with the arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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Gambino Crime Family Associate Gennaro Bruno Charged with the 2002 Murder of Martin Bosshart

FBI New York Field Office Press Release:


Gambino Crime Family Associate Gennaro Bruno Charged with the 2002 Murder of Martin Bosshart
Bruno Indicted and Arrested for His Role in a Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Predicate Acts of Murder, Narcotics Trafficking, Extortion, and Obstruction of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • Eastern District of New York(718) 254-7000
Earlier today, an indictment was unsealed charging Gennaro “Jerry” Bruno of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Gambino crime family”) with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, narcotics trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice. Bruno was arrested today in Las Vegas, Nevada, where his initial appearance for removal proceedings to the Eastern District of New York is scheduled for later today at the Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The charges and Bruno’s arrest were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.
“As alleged, Gennaro Bruno started his criminal career at a young age as a member of a street gang where he earned his criminal credentials. He then graduated to become an associate in the Gambino crime family, where he proved himself to be both an earner for the family and capable of murder. The arrests and charges announced today are a testament to the tireless pursuit of justice by law enforcement,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will not rest until violent criminals who use their mafia ties to obstruct justice and evade the law are brought to justice.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI for its extraordinary work in bringing this defendant to account for the charged crimes.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos stated, “As alleged, Gennaro “Jerry” Bruno was originally trained as a member of the “Young Guns.” After being released from prison, Bruno was promoted to associate of the Gambino crime family. In January of 2002, Bruno executed Martin Bosshart by shooting him in the back of the head. Bruno was as ruthless as he was calculating, and after a long run of evading justice, Bruno’s gig is up.”
According to the indictment and other court filings, when Bruno was released following a term of imprisonment from approximately 1997 to 2000, he emerged as an associate of the Gambino crime family, having graduated from the local gang of young men referred to as the “Liberty Posse” or the “Young Guns.” Over the next 14 years, before his arrest today, Bruno engaged in a myriad of crimes with and on behalf of a faction of the Gambino crime family aligned with Joseph “JoJo” Corozzo, a powerful Gambino member who had risen to become the consigliere of the family. Bruno and other Gambino crime family members and associates moved large quantities of high-potency marijuana from Canada into the New York City area. In 2001, Bruno’s criminal associate Martin Bosshart began efforts to exclude one of Bruno’s coconspirators from the marijuana importation operation. In an effort to prevent Bosshart from doing so, Bruno plotted with other Gambino crime family members and associates, including Todd LaBarca, to murder Bosshart. On the night of January 2, 2002, Bruno and others lured Bosshart to an isolated location in Queens, New York. There, Bruno allegedly shot Bosshart in the back of the head at point-blank range, killing him immediately. The body of Martin Bosshart, who was 30 years old at the time, was recovered at the scene.
Thereafter, Bruno evaded justice for years and conspired with other Gambino associates to obstruct an official grand jury proceeding into the Bosshart murder, while continuing to participate in the core money-making activities of the Gambino crime family, including drug trafficking and extortion. As part of the alleged pattern of racketeering, Bruno, among other things, used his position in the Gambino crime family to extract extortionate payments from the owner of a waste carting company in Queens, New York.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney M. Kristin Mace.
The Defendant:
GENNARO BRUNO, a/k/a “Jerry” Age: 41 Las Vegas, Nevada
1 The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
2 On April 26, 2012, fellow Gambino associate Todd LaBarca pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to racketeering, with predicate acts of conspiracy to murder Martin Bosshart, narcotics trafficking, extortion and bookmaking, as well as conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering.

Aubrey Lee Price, Former Bank Director Who Faked His Own Death, Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

FBI New York Field Office Press Release:


Aubrey Lee Price, Former Bank Director Who Faked His Own Death, Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeOctober 28, 2014
  • Southern District of Georgia(912) 652-4422
STATESBORO, GA—Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, and Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that Aubrey Lee Price, 48, was sentenced today in Statesboro federal court to 30 years in federal prison for perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that resulted in millions of dollars of losses to dozens of Price’s investors and led to the collapse of a federally insured bank. Today’s sentencing took place before the Honorable B. Avant Edenfield, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia.
“Through a web of lies and deceit, Aubrey Lee Price conned his elderly investors and a federally insured bank of more than $70 million, and then attempted to further his con and avoid accountability by faking his own death. However, his life on the lam ended with a routine traffic stop. Today’s sentence sends a strong message to those who seek to defraud the investing public and our financial institutions that we will pursue them and bring them to justice,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
“The sentence imposed today reflects the magnitude of Aubrey Lee Price’s fraud,” said United States Attorney Tarver. “Price engaged in a staggering betrayal of trust, leaving his elderly investors practically penniless, and at the same time, contributing to the collapse of a federally insured bank. For his crimes, Price richly deserves the heavy sentence handed down today by the Court.”
George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, FBI New York Field Office, along with J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “While today’s sentencing of former banker Aubrey Lee Price concludes a lengthy investigation as well as an extensive and resource-intensive manhunt, it does not restore the financial harm done to his many victims. The FBI would like to express its gratitude to those many and varied law enforcement agencies whose efforts in the investigation and apprehension of Mr. Price made today’s sentencing possible. We are hopeful that this announcement will provide some solace to his victims.”
Jason T. Moran, Special Agent in Charge, FDIC Office of Inspector General, stated: “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General is pleased to have joined the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement colleagues in investigating the fraud that led to the conviction of Aubrey Lee Price. It is particularly troubling when bank insiders violate the public trust and engage in activities that impact the safety and soundness of our nation’s banks.”
“Theft of employee benefit assets jeopardizes the benefits of workers. This case reaffirms the Labor Department’s commitment to protect workers’ benefits by identifying criminal activity wherever and whenever it occurs,” said Isabel Colon, Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor Employee Benefit Security Administration’s Atlanta Regional Office.
According court filings and evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Price embezzled over $21 million in capital from MB&T, and lost much of it by investing in risky equity securities and options. To cover up his fraud, Price provided MB&T officials with bogus account statements and other false documents which falsely indicated the bank’s capital was safely held in an account at a financial services firm, when in truth, most of the money was gone. A further investigation of Price revealed that between June 2009 and June 2012, he also defrauded approximately 115 individual investors who had invested $51 million in two investment funds he managed. Price lost almost all of that money through speculative trading, and to cover up his losses, Price posted fake account statements on a secure website that fraudulently reflected fictitious assets and fabricated investment returns for each investor.
In mid-June 2012, Price sent acquaintances “suicide letters” in which he admitted he had defrauded MB&T Bank and Price’s individual investors, and that he planned to kill himself by throwing himself off a high-speed ferry boat after it left Key West, Florida. As a result of the suicide claim, the United States Coast Guard searched to no avail for Price’s body. Shortly after sending the letters, Price disappeared. After more than a year of searching for Price, he was arrested on December 31, 2013, after he presented a false identification during a routine traffic stop in Brunswick, Georgia.
Price has been in custody since his arrest on December 31, 2013. In addition to being sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment, Price was also sentenced to serve a term of five years of supervised release. Tarver noted that there is no parole in the federal system. As part of his sentence, Price will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victims of his crimes in an amount to be determined at a restitution hearing to be held by February 1, 2015. In addition, Price was ordered to forfeit a total of $51 million, representing the proceeds of his crimes.
U.S. Attorneys Tarver and Lynch credited the FBI in Georgia, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Johnson, and in New York, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. They also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida; the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Atlanta Regional Office; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); the Federal Reserve Board, Office of Inspector General; the United States Coast Guard; the United States Department of Labor; the Lowndes County Georgia Sheriff’s Department; the Glynn County Georgia Sheriff’s Department; the Toombs County Georgia Sheriff’s Department; and the Marion County Florida Sheriff’s Department for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation and prosecution of Price.
The government was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Brian T. Rafferty of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia, and Assistant United States Attorneys Shannon C. Jones and Brian Morris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York.
This prosecution was the result of efforts by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.StopFraud.gov.
The Defendant:
AUBREY LEE PRICE
Age: 48
Valdosta, Georgia
S.D.G.A. Docket No. 612-CR-10
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 13-CR-058