Search This Blog

Thursday, April 30, 2015

WY Oil and Gas Supervisor Testifies Before Senate on BLM Fracking Rule

Barrasso Chairs Subcommittee Hearing on BLM’s Fracking Rule

Sen. Barrasso Introduces Bi-Partisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act

Philadelphia protesters clash with police

Guilty Verdict Returned Against Peter Hoffman, Michael Arata, and Susan Hoffman for Fraudulent Film Tax Credit Scheme

FBI New Orleans Division #News Release:


Guilty Verdict Returned Against Peter Hoffman, Michael Arata, and Susan Hoffman for Fraudulent Film Tax Credit Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • Eastern District of Louisiana(504) 680-3000
NEW ORLEANS—U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that this afternoon, a jury returned guilty verdicts against three defendants for their participation in a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of a fraudulent tax credit scheme.
The jury found PETER M. HOFFMAN, age 65, of Los Angeles, guilty on Counts 1 through 21, which includes a variety of substantive mail and wire fraud offenses. In total, PETER HOFFMAN faces 405 years in prison. MICHAEL P. ARATA, age 49, of New Orleans, was convicted on Counts 1 through 7, 13, and 21 through 25, which includes four counts of making false statements. He faces a maximum of 185 years in prison. Lastly, the jury found SUSAN HOFFMAN, age 69, of New Orleans, guilty on Counts 1, 11, and 21, for which she faces a total of 45 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Polite stated: “I appreciate the hard work of AUSAs Baehr, Kammer, and Menon, as well as our law enforcement partners from the FBI and the Louisiana Office of the Inspector General. We are pleased with the verdict, and we thank the jury and the court for their consideration of this case. This case is important because it sends the message that our state’s business, especially our growing film industry, will no longer fall prey to fraud and corruption. Just as important, today’s verdict underscores the fact that wherever we find criminal conduct, as we did in the case of the Hoffmans and Michael Arata, we will follow the facts and bring justice to those individuals, regardless of where they live, their wealth, or their last names.” Louisiana State Inspector General Stephen Street commented: “I am pleased that the jury saw this for what it was: plain and simple thievery. These guilty verdicts should send the message loud and clear that we have zero tolerance for those who defraud Louisiana’s tax credit programs, and will continue to make pursuing these criminal cases a top priority. I want to thank our partners at the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office for their outstanding work on this case, and in particular the Assistant United States Attorneys for a fine job with the prosecution.”
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Two Abide Home Care Employees Plead Guilty to Charges Related to Filing Fraudulent Claims for Oil Spill Compensation

FBI New Orleans Division #News Release:


Two Abide Home Care Employees Plead Guilty to Charges Related to Filing Fraudulent Claims for Oil Spill Compensation

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • Eastern District of Louisiana(504) 680-3000
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that CLARA AITCH, age 39, and WENDY ERVIN, age of 42, both of New Orleans, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday before U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan each to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to the fraudulent applications they made or caused to be made to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for financial assistance during the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
On March 12, 2015, AITCH and ERVIN were indicted along with 18 other defendants in a 26-count indictment charging approximately $30,052,295 in Medicare fraud and the BP fraud.
According to court documents, the GCCF made disaster assistance money available to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. In November, 2010, AITCH and ERVIN conspired with Lisa Crinel to apply for disaster assistance funds, and represent that they were employees of LACE, a reception hall owned and operated by Lisa Crinel, when, in truth, AITCH and ERVIN were full time employees of Abide Home Care Services, Inc.
Based on AITCH and ERVIN’S fraudulent applications, they both received approximately $2,228.58 to which they were not entitled.
AITCH and ERVIN both face a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a $250,000 fine, and three (3) years of supervised release following imprisonment. Sentencing is set for July 29, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Polite thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for investigating this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan, Sharan Lieberman and Andre Lagarde are in charge of the prosecution.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

New York Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge

FBI New Haven Division #News Release:


New York Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Extortion Charge

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • District of Connecticut(203) 821-3700
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that ERNEST SYKU, 44, of the Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to a federal extortion charge.
According to court documents and statements made in court, SYKU and Robert Francella, also known as “Bobby Fingers,” of Yonkers, N.Y., threatened a Connecticut resident with violence in order to induce the victim to pay an alleged $240,000 debt.  SYKU claimed that this debt was owed to SYKU’s deceased uncle.  On one occasion, SYKU told the victim that SYKU was “the one who can break you in many pieces.” SYKU further told the victim “to have mercy on yourself” if the victim did not bring SYKU the money.  On another occasion, SYKU provided his cellular telephone to Francella, who left a threatening voice mail for the victim.
SYKU and Francella were arrested on March 13, 2014.
After he was arrested, SYKU confessed to law enforcement that he had directed Francella to scare the victim into paying the alleged debt.
SYKU pleaded guilty to one count of attempted collection of extension of credit by extortionate means, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.  Judge Chatigny scheduled sentencing for July 15, 2015.
Francella pleaded guilty on November 17, 2014.  He awaits sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force and the Bridgeport Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hal Chen and Heather Cherry.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Former Chief of Staff to House Republican Minority Leader Admits Profiting by Steering Campaign Business

FBI New Haven Division #News Release:


Former Chief of Staff to House Republican Minority Leader Admits Profiting by Steering Campaign Business

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • District of Connecticut(203) 821-3700
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GEORGE GALLO, 46, of East Hampton, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to one count of mail fraud related to his receipt of more than $100,000 from a political campaign direct mail company to which he steered business.
According to court documents and statements made in court, GALLO was an employee of the State of Connecticut as the Chief of Staff to the Minority Leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives. As part of his responsibilities, GALLO was responsible for designing and overseeing the campaign program of the House Republican Campaign Committee (“HRCC”), a state-registered political action committee that provides material and strategic support to Republican candidates for the Connecticut House of Representatives.
In 2008, GALLO and others developed a HRCC campaign program in anticipation of the first general election cycle in which candidates seeking election to the Connecticut General Assembly or statewide office would receive public financing through the state’s Citizens’ Election Program (“CEP”). The purpose of the new program, in part, was to enable the HRCC to centrally coordinate CEP funded campaigns by providing Republican House candidates with access to comprehensive campaign related services, including direct mail services, voter information, polling, messaging advice and campaign management. GALLO selected the campaign service vendors that were permitted to participate in the HRCC program. In pleading guilty, GALLO admitted that he informed an employee of a Florida-based company that provided direct mail services to political campaigns of a new business opportunity in Connecticut. GALLO indicated to the employee that the CEP would lead to greater numbers of well-funded Republican House candidates in need of direct mail services, and that the Florida company could serve as a HRCC sponsored vendor with access to CEP funded Republican candidates. In exchange, the company would make payments to GALLO equal to 10 percent of the revenue that the company received from candidates participating in the HRCC program. GALLO indicated to the employee that such an arrangement would be “good for [the company] and good for George Gallo.” The employee agreed to GALLO’s proposal.
As part of the scheme, GALLO and the HRCC hosted “campaign schools” for House Republican candidates where HRCC sponsored vendors, including the Florida company, gave presentations marketing their services. GALLO and others arranged for candidates to meet individually with the Florida company to discuss in greater detail the company’s services, prices and a direct mail plan. These meetings occurred at several locations, including the State Capitol. During the 2008 and 2012 election cycles, GALLO made false representations to the Minority Leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives that he did not have a financial relationship with or receive any compensation from any of the HRCC sponsored vendors. During the 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles, GALLO made additional false representations to others, knowing that his statements would be communicated to House Republican candidates participating in the HRCC campaign program, that he did not receive any compensation from any HRCC sponsored vendor.
From 2008 through 2012, the Florida company mailed checks made payable to the Vinco Group, a Cromwell based limited liability company in which GALLO was the sole member, totaling approximately $117,266.63. In pleading guilty, GALLO further admitted that he made multiple false statements to FBI special agents on October 1, 2013, when he was interviewed about his relationship with HRCC sponsored vendors. In the interview, GALLO denied that either he or the Vinco Group had a business relationship with any vendors utilized by HRCC, and he denied that he had received any income through the Vinco Group since becoming Chief of Staff to the Connecticut House Minority Leader.
Judge Bryant scheduled sentencing for July 29, 2015, at which time GALLO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Follow his guilty plea, GALLO was released on a $200,000 bond.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Connecticut Public Corruption Task Force and the State Election Enforcement Commission. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Senate Passes Bill to Create “Blue Alert” to Help Catch Suspects Who Attack Law Enforcement Officers

Press Releases

Apr 30 2015

Senate Passes Bill to Create “Blue Alert” to Help Catch Suspects Who Attack Law Enforcement Officers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today the Senate passed a bill he co-sponsored to establish a national “Blue Alert” system within the U.S. Department of Justice to help catch those who kill, harm, or threaten law enforcement officers. The National Blue Alert Act would create a nationwide system similar to what the Amber Alert system does for abducted children. 
“Should law enforcement officers be killed, seriously injured, threatened, or go missing while in the line of duty, this system would be utilized to widely disseminate information to help identify and apprehend potential suspects,” Senator McConnell said. “Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect Kentuckians and this legislation will help bring to justice those who would harm our police officers and hopefully help to deter the violence in the first place. I was honored to support it and help push for its passage on behalf of the thousands of brave Kentucky law enforcement officers.”        
                          
###

Armed With a Machete, ‘Baltimore Batman’ Risked His Life to Protect His Place of Employment From Looters — Here’s Why | Video | TheBlaze.com

He’s being hailed as the “Baltimore Batman.”



Armed With a Machete, ‘Baltimore Batman’ Risked His Life to Protect His Place of Employment From Looters — Here’s Why | Video | TheBlaze.com

CORKER: FHFA STRESS TEST YET ANOTHER STARK REMINDER OF NEED FOR GSE REFORM

Senator Bob Corker #News Release:


Apr 30 2015

CORKER: FHFA STRESS TEST YET ANOTHER STARK REMINDER OF NEED FOR GSE REFORM

Report Shows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Could Require $157 Billion Taxpayer Bailout During a Future Crisis

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today released the following statement regarding a Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) report that indicates government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could require a $157 billion taxpayer bailout to keep them afloat during a future crisis.
“Today’s FHFA stress test is yet another stark reminder of the need for Congress to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform our housing finance system,” said Corker. “With control of both houses and with the amount of effort that has been put forth to develop a bipartisan, bicameral consensus, this Republican-led Congress has the opportunity to demonstrate it is serious about protecting American taxpayers, and I hope we will not let this opportunity pass us by.”
Legislation first introduced by Corker and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) in June 2013, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act (S.1217), passed the Senate Banking Committee in May 2014 by a vote of 13 to 9.
During the 2008 financial crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken into government conservatorship and given a $188 billion capital injection from taxpayers to stay afloat. As a result, the private market almost completely disappeared, and nearly every loan made in America today comes with a full government guarantee. Despite this unsustainable situation, there still has been no real reform to our housing finance system.
###

Bipartisan Senate Iran Bill Provides an Opportunity to Review the Interim Nuclear Agreement

Press Releases

Apr 30 2015

Bipartisan Senate Iran Bill Provides an Opportunity to Review the Interim Nuclear Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today emphasizing the importance of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act:
“The Senate will soon resume consideration of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. I expect we’ll consider several amendments today, and I continue to encourage Senators to come to the floor and offer them.
“The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act is bipartisan legislation that will ensure Congress and the American people have a chance to review any comprehensive agreement reached with Iran; and it ensures they’ll be able to do so before congressional sanctions are lifted.
“Here’s why that’s critical.
“First, these sanctions are a big reason why America was able to even bring Iran to the table in the first place. We shouldn’t be giving up that leverage now without the American people, through the members of Congress they elect, having a chance to weigh in.
“Second, Iran wouldn’t just use the funds derived from sanctions relief to rebuild its economy — it’s certain to use that money to fund proxy forces such as Hezbollah and to prop up the Assad regime.
“What’s clear is that Iran is determined to use every tool at its disposal to aggressively expand its sphere of influence across the greater Middle East.
“The regime’s belligerent behavior in the Strait of Hormuz was another reminder of that fact. But it reminds us of something else too: our need to invest in the naval and seaborne expeditionary capabilities in the Persian Gulf that will be necessary not just to retain dominance at sea, but to contain Iran's military and irregular forces too.
“Today though, we’re focused on one point above all else: that the American people and Congress deserve a say before any congressional sanctions are lifted.
“At the very least, sanctions certainly should not be lifted before the Iranians fully disclose all aspects of research and development as it relates to the potential military dimensions of their nuclear program.
“And yet, the current interim agreement, as it’s been explained to Congress, would bestow international recognition to Iran’s research and development program, along with international blessing for Iran to become a ‘nuclear threshold’ state, poised at the edge of developing a nuclear weapon. It’s frightening to think what Iran might be able to achieve covertly in that context.
“To a lot of Americans, this all sounds quite different from what they were led to believe a deal with Iran would actually be about: preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and dismantling Iran’s enrichment capability.
“So the American people deserve a say through their members of Congress. The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act will ensure Congress gets a vote to either approve or disapprove of the comprehensive agreement.
“Just as President Obama's successor will need to modernize our military to deal with the challenges posed by Iran’s aggression, so too will the President's successor want to consider Congress’ view of any comprehensive deal. And a failed resolution of approval — as the bill before us would permit — would send an unmistakable signal about congressional opposition to lifting sanctions.  
“So now is the time for Congress to invest in the capabilities President Obama’s successor may need to use to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program if the Iranians covertly pursue a weapon, or violate the terms of the ultimate agreement.
“And now is the time for Congress to pass the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.”

Senate to Vote on Balanced Budget Conference Report Next Week

Press Releases

Apr 30 2015

Senate to Vote on Balanced Budget Conference Report Next Week

‘It’s a balanced budget that could help lead to more than a million additional jobs and boost our economy by nearly half a trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the congressional budget:
“I was glad to see yesterday’s announcement of a budget conference agreement. That means Congress is now one step closer to passing a balanced budget that supports a healthier economy, funds national defense, strengthens Medicare, and begins to tackle our debt problems without taking more money from hardworking Americans.
“It’s a balanced budget that could help lead to more than a million additional jobs and boost our economy by nearly half a trillion dollars, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
“In short, it’s a balanced budget that’s all about the future. That’s also why it provides a tool for the Senate majority to repeal a failed policy of the past — Obamacare — so we can start over with real, patient-centered health reform.
“This is a good balanced budget every Senator should want to support. And I look forward to the Senate taking up the budget agreement next week.”

Ryan Keeps Making the Case for Trade | U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan

This week, First District Congressman and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan has been making the case for swift Congressional consideration of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade and Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which will give Congress a say in trade agreements with Pacific and European nations, increase accountability and transparency, and ensure American workers and job creators get the best trade deals possible.



Ryan Keeps Making the Case for Trade | U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan

Floyd Mayweather: The star athlete no sponsor will touch - Apr. 30, 2015

Floyd Mayweather is one of the most successful athletes in the world, but no advertiser wants him selling their product.



Even companies such as Nike (NKE) and Coca-Cola (KO) that have signed or stayed with athletes who find themselves in legal trouble, such as Michael Vick or Kobe Bryant won't touch Mayweather, who is undefeated in 47 professional matches.



Floyd Mayweather: The star athlete no sponsor will touch - Apr. 30, 2015

Graham Receives Testimony on U.S. European Command During SASC Hearing

Sen. Rand Paul Questions Sec. Jeh Johnson at HSGAC Hearing - April 29, 2015

Senator Hatch on New Patent Troll Bill

Sen. Murkowski Thanks Bear Valley Elementary Students for Writing In

Murkowski grills EPA on lack of common sense in policies, rules

Murkowski to DHS Secretary: How Do We Expedite Construction of Polar Ice...

Rubio Marks 5th Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill

Senator Isakson's Opening Remarks at VA High Risk Hearing

Senator Blunt Questions EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Regarding Doe Ru...

Senator Blunt Discusses Missouri Defense Priorities During Appropriation...

Senator McConnell Questions EPA Administrator on War On Coal

Press Releases

Apr 29 2015

Senator McConnell Questions EPA Administrator on War On Coal

At Congressional hearing, McConnell suggests Congress can use Section 102(c) of Clean Air Act to block job-killing EPA regulation

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy today during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing regarding the EPA’s anti-coal regulation that would devastate Kentucky coal jobs and harm our economy.  Earlier this year, Senator McConnell joined the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies for the 114th Congress – the panel which oversees the budget for the EPA. 
Senator McConnell said to EPA Administrator McCarthy during the hearing, “Administrator McCarthy, as you know, things are not well in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have a depression in eastern Kentucky. Your agency’s proposed budget request, if approved, would facilitate the EPA’s plan to shutter coal plants in my state and put countless more of my constituents out of work—all at the service of a regulatory agenda. The actual benefits of which neither you or anyone else can seem to explain. My constituents want their dignity restored. They want to be able to work and they want to be able to provide for their families. You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t cost my constituents jobs. You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t raise their utility bills. You refused my multiple invitations to come to our state and discuss these regulations with my constituents… Now I know that the Obama administration points to Kentucky as a state where your plans are actually underway. But according to our governor’s office, my state will not be able to submit a state plan that meets your demands before the current governor leaves office, which is December of this year. So you might be interested to know that all our major candidates for governor this year, one whom will take office in December of this year, said they’re not going to submit a plan. The current governor, who’s working with you will be gone. He says he can’t finish it by December and none, the Democrat and multiple Republican candidates, none of them are going to submit a plan. So my question is, how in the world do you intend to force my state to comply with a federal plan?”
Senator McConnell also said that Congress could block the plan by using Section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act, which requires Congressional consent for cooperative agreements.
“You and your colleagues like to imply that Congress won’t have a role in this process but when you proposed this plan last year, you cited multi-state programs as a basis to ensure ‘more flexibility and lower costs.’ Recently, one of your deputies told FERC that multi-state plans are a significant part of your strategy. I’d like to acquaint you with Section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act --requires Congressional consent for cooperative agreements,” Senator McConnell said to EPA Administrator McCarthy. “The law reads: ‘No such agreement or compact shall be binding or obligatory upon any State  . . . unless and until it has been approved by Congress.’ Doesn’t seem ambivalent to me. I can assure you that as long as I am Majority Leader of the Senate, this body will not sign off on any backdoor national energy tax.”
Click the image below to view the remarks by Senator McConnell and Administrator McCarthy.
The following are Senator McConnell’s remarks:
SENATOR McCONNELL: Administrator McCarthy, as you know, things are not well in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have a depression in eastern Kentucky. Your agency’s proposed budget request, if approved, would facilitate the EPA’s plan to shutter coal plants in my state and put countless more of my constituents out of work—all at the service of a regulatory agenda. The actual benefits of which neither you or anyone else can seem to explain.
My constituents want their dignity restored. They want to be able to work and they want to be able to provide for their families. 
You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t cost my constituents jobs.
You cannot guarantee your carbon regulations won’t raise their utility bills.
You refused my multiple invitations to come to our state and discuss these regulations with my constituents…
And one of your deputies, listen to this, added insult to injury when she said EPA only held hearings on the carbon regulations in areas where your colleagues “were comfortable coming to”.  I assume that’s places unlike Pikeville, Kentucky.
Now I know that the Obama administration points to Kentucky as a state where your plans are actually underway. But according to our governor’s office, my state will not be able to submit a state plan that meets your demands before the current governor leaves office, which is December of this year.
So you might be interested to know that all our major candidates for governor this year, one whom will take office in December of this year, said they’re not going to submit a plan. The current governor, who’s working with you will be gone. He says he can’t finish it by December and none, the Democrat and multiple Republican candidates, none of them are going to submit a plan.
So my question is, how in the world do you intend to force my state to comply with a federal plan? What are you going to require Kentucky to do? Run coal plants less of the time? Build gas plants? Erect windmills? Put up solar panels? Build pipelines? Does EPA really know how to do all these things? Do you think you can really require these things under the Clean Air Act?
Administrator McCarthy responds.
SENATOR McCONNELL: So you have a current governor who can’t finish before he leaves office in December and a next governor whose not going to file the plans. So I assume you’ll have to wrestle with that. So let me move onto another issue.
You and your colleagues like to imply that Congress won’t have a role in this process but when you proposed this plan last year, you cited multi-state programs as a basis to ensure “more flexibility and lower costs.”
Recently, one of your deputies told FERC that multi-state plans are a significant part of your strategy.
I’d like to acquaint you with Section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act requires Congressional consent for cooperative agreements.
The law reads: “No such agreement or compact shall be binding or obligatory upon any State...unless and until it has been approved by Congress.” Doesn’t seem ambivalent to me.
I can assure you that as long as I am Majority Leader of the Senate, this body will not sign off on any backdoor national energy tax.
One final point: You have assured international officials that the U.S. is serious about imposing climate change regulations. I’d say what we have learned from your recent time on Capitol Hill is this is not the case. I would remind you that the Executive Branch is only one-third of the U.S. government. The Congress of course didn’t pass Cap and Trade back in 2009 and 2010 when the Democrats had very large majorities here. So, the failure of Congress to sign off should signal to other countries that they should proceed with caution into the December 2015 climate talks in Paris.
Administrator McCarthy responds.
SENATOR McCONNELL: That’s going to be the test. You’re going to have to prove it in court as you know. In the meantime, we got a grim, grim situation in Kentucky.

Ayotte Questions Homeland Security Secretary About The "REAL ID Act"

Alexander to McCarthy: Picking Wind, Solar Energy Over Nuclear is Like "...

Baltimore Mayor: Pain in city about larger issues than just Freddie Gray

Uneasy calm sticks in Baltimore after Monday's chaos

Over 100 arrested in New York City during Freddie Gray protests

Six-Day Trial Results in Guilty Verdict of Blaine Man for Trafficking 18-Year-Old Victim

FBI Minneapolis Division #News Release:


Six-Day Trial Results in Guilty Verdict of Blaine Man for Trafficking 18-Year-Old Victim

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • District of Minnesota(612) 664-5600
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the conviction after a jury trial of RAHMAD LASHAD GEDDES, a/k/a “Face,” a/k/a “Poo Poo,” 36, for trafficking an 18-year-old woman from Wisconsin to Duluth, Minn., for the purpose of commercial sex. On April 8, 2015, GEDDES was charged by indictment with one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, one count of transportation with intent to engage in prostitution, and one count of armed career criminal in possession of a firearm. Following a six-day trial, a jury found GEDDES guilty of all counts in the indictment.
As proven at trial, on January 6, 2014, GEDDES recruited the victim from her home in Eau Claire, Wis., for the purpose of trafficking her for commercial sex. The defendant and a friend took the victim to a motel in Duluth, Minn., where they took pictures of her to place an advertisement for commercial sex on backpage.com. GEDDES used an anonymous prepaid credit card to pay for the online advertisement. GEDDES and his friend used the victim’s cell phone to set up several “dates” between the victim and “johns.” On one occasion, after a meeting with a “john,” GEDDES accused the victim of hiding money. The defendant physically assaulted the victim and told her that he hit her because she did not do what she was told.
As proven at trial, on January 9, 2014, GEDDES traded drugs, which he referred to as “rocks,” for two semi-automatic handguns and ammunition. GEDDES has four previous felony convictions in Cook County, Ill., Hennepin County and Sherburne County, Minn., making him an armed career criminal under federal law.
As proven at trial, on January 14, 2014, GEDDES returned the victim to her home. She immediately reported to her pastor that she “had been used for prostitution.” This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Duluth Police Department and St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon Holets of the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case.
Defendant Information:
RAHMAD LASHAD GEDDES, a/k/a “Face,” a/k/a “Poo Poo,” 36
Blaine, Minn.
Convicted:
  • Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud, or Coercion, one count
  • Transportation with Intent to Engage in Prostitution, one count
  • Armed Career Criminal in Possession of a Firearm, one count
This content has been reproduced from its original source.

Leader of Oxnard Gang and Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Federal Prison for Drug and Gun Offenses

FBI Los Angeles Division #News Release:


Leader of Oxnard Gang and Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to Life Without Parole in Federal Prison for Drug and Gun Offenses

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeApril 27, 2015
  • Central District of California(213) 894-2434
LOS ANGELES—The leader of the Oxnard-based Colonia Chiques street gang was sentenced this afternoon to life without parole in federal prison, plus an additional 55-year consecutive term, for his conviction on a host of narcotics and weapons offenses, including leading a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE).
Luis Manuel Tapia, 39, of Ojai, the leader of the Colonia Chiques and a validated associate of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II.
At the conclusion of a trial in September, Tapia was found guilty of each of the 26 federal charges filed against him.
Tapia had previously sustained two narcotics convictions—one involving cocaine, and the second involving methamphetamine—in Ventura County Superior Court. Under federal law, the third drug trafficking conviction last year in federal court brought a mandatory life sentence. The CCE count—in conjunction with special findings made by the jury, such as the fact that the enterprise involved at least a kilogram of actual methamphetamine and that defendant was the organization’s principal leader—also carried a mandatory life sentence.
Tapia was the leader of the Colonia Chiques and was one of Ventura County’s most notorious criminals, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors. Tapia “was a prolific and versatile poly-drug (methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine) trafficker [who] owed a significant part of his authority to his direct connection to the Mexican Mafia,” according to the court document that discusses Tapia’s importation of high-quality narcotics from Mexico that allowed him to engage in transactions worth as much as $1 million.
The evidence presented during a two-week trial in federal court in Los Angeles showed that Tapia was deeply involved in the business of running the Colonia Chiques and was personally involved in the sale of firearms and narcotics. During a series of secretly recorded meetings with Tapia, he described himself as the “CEO” of his enterprise, comparing it to Walmart because he supplied a wide array of contraband and always guaranteed his product’s quality. In October 2011, Tapia orchestrated a $200,000 drug transaction that involved approximately 10 pounds of nearly pure methamphetamine.
During the investigation, authorities conducted an undercover operation in Las Vegas in which an undercover FBI agent posed as a senior member of the Italian mob and negotiated to have Tapia supply the Las Vegas syndicate of the Italian mob with up to 20 pounds of highly pure methamphetamine every month.
The jury also heard Tapia, in a video recording, bragging that his heroin was so strong that it had “killed six people”—and that this was a “good advertisement” for his drug operation. Tapia also explained how his high-quality methamphetamine—which lab results confirmed was often 100 percent pure—was obtained from Mexican drug cartels. In another video recording, Tapia was heard directing a large assembly of younger Colonia Chiques gang members to monopolize their drug selling territory, to seek out and kill informants—something Tapia had bragged he had previously done personally—and to heed the directives of the Mexican Mafia.
Tapia was specifically found guilty of leading a continuing criminal enterprise that distributed at least 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, 10 substantive counts of drug distribution (involving heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine), three counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, seven counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and the illegal transfer of a fully-automatic machine gun. Counting the machine gun, investigators seized 19 firearms from Tapia, including an AR-15 assault rifle, a custom built AK-47 with a bayonet, and a pistol grip sawed-off shotgun.
Four of Tapia’s co-defendants—Diana Zamora, Edgar Aguilar, Roger Armendariz and Jaime Cardenas—pleaded guilty to conspiring traffic narcotics and/or firearms and were sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison. An unknown male, known only as “Pancho,” who allegedly supplied narcotics to Tapia, is a fugitive believed to be in Mexico.
Tapia’s sentencing concludes the second phase of a three-phase investigation called Operation “Supernova,” which was conducted by the Ventura County Federal Violent Crimes Task Force—made up of agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officers with the Oxnard Police Department.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.