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Monday, July 31, 2017

Good and Bad Ways to Fix Our Monetary System





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Laudable Pursuit: Seeking Accountability for Federal Lands and Water Pro...





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Feinstein on North Korea, Sessions, Health Care

The views expressed by Senator Feinstein do not necessarily reflect those of the JBK-Current-Events blog or its staff. This video is presented for informational purposes. - JBK



Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) appeared on CBS's Face the Nation to discuss the North Korea missile test, the failure of the Republican health care bill and the future of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Sunday, June 30, 2017.







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Scaramucci removed from White House communications director post: Report





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Trump threatens to end subsidies for Congress and insurers





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Former Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $2.8 million from Company

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Former Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $2.8 million from Company

St. Louis, MO – Ramon “Trey” Luina III, 42, Chesterfield, MO, pled guilty today to one charge of mail fraud in connection with his embezzlement of approximately $2.8 million from CMS Communications Inc. Luina appeared today before United States District Judge John A. Ross. Sentencing is set for November 2, 2017.

According to court documents, Luina wrote checks from CMS to himself and other entities for personal benefits such as the construction of his lake house, vehicles for private use, professional services, rent for other business ventures not related to CMS, vacations, and credit card payments. Luina used CMS funds, via wire transfers and ACH payments, to make payments to his personal credit cards and invoices related to construction on his lake house. Luina also created fictitious vendors and listed these companies as consultants to CMS. Luina then directed payments, for fictitious work, to the vendors as another route to direct funds from CMS to Luina. Additionally, Luina fraudulently increased his payroll salary which was received via direct deposit. This, in turn, falsely inflated his 401k match and bonuses. Additionally, Luina falsely took partnership disbursements for CMS Partnership although he never completed the process of partnership.

In total, Luina embezzled over $2.8 million from CMS for his personal benefit, and the benefit of others, during the relevant timeframe.

Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Dianna Collins is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prison Inmate Sentenced for Threatening to Kill the President of the United States

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Prison Inmate Sentenced for Threatening to Kill the President of the United States

BOSTON – A former inmate at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for threatening to kill the President of the United States.
Alex Hernandez, 32, of Worcester, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 37 months in prison, to be served concurrently with a state sentence he is currently serving, and three years of supervised release. In May 2017, Hernandez pleaded guilty to one count of threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States. Hernandez is currently serving a five-to-eight-year sentence at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center following a 2011 state conviction for drug and firearms offenses, including the illegal possession of a .22 caliber handgun, a Tec-9, a .22 caliber rifle - all of which were equipped with high capacity magazines, and ammunition.
In March 2015, federal agents obtained information alleging that Hernandez wanted to kill the President and had expressed an interest in obtaining false travel documents so he could flee the country after his attack. Law enforcement officers then set up a meeting between Hernandez and an undercover agent who posed as an embassy contact with the ability to assist Hernandez with obtaining false travel documents.
On Dec. 22, 2015, and Feb. 12, 2016, the undercover agent met with Hernandez at Old Colony Correctional Center. During the first meeting, Hernandez stated that he wanted to attack the White House and that he was studying how to make explosives that could be placed around government buildings to “create chaos.”  During the second meeting with the undercover agent, Hernandez, a Muslim convert, discussed the motivation for his planned attacks, telling the agent that his “brothers are fighting to uphold the laws and structure of the caliphate in the Middle East” and that “this government . . . is painting it like they are the bad guys[.]” Hernandez also explained that he wanted to target the President because “he’s the one that gives the orders[.]”    
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Stephen A. Marks, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Boston Field Office; Matthew J. Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; and Thomas Turco, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordi de Llano of Weinreb’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.

MS-13 Member Sentenced to Prison for RICO Conspiracy

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MS-13 Member Sentenced to Prison for RICO Conspiracy

Defendant admitted to attempted murder

BOSTON – A member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique in Chelsea was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy involving the attempted murder of a rival gang member.

Angel Pineda, a/k/a “Bravo,” 21, a Honduran national who resided in Revere, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 93 months in prison and will be subject to deportation after completion of his sentence. In April 2017, Pineda pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. He also admitted responsibility for an attempted murder of a rival gang member.

Pineda was a member of the Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha clique in Chelsea. On Sept. 8, 2014, Pineda and another MS-13 member, Jose Vasquez, a/k/a “Little Crazy,” attempted to murder an 18th Street gang member by stabbing him in Chelsea.

After a three-year investigation, Pineda was one of 61 defendants named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. According to court documents, MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence against rival gang members to gain promotions and to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Truco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Three Additional Individuals Sentenced on Methamphetamine Conspiracy Charges

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Three Additional Individuals Sentenced on Methamphetamine Conspiracy Charges

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On July 25, 2017, three additional individuals were sentenced by the Honorable R. Leon Jordan, U.S. District Judge, for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy centered in and around the Morristown, Tennessee area. Misty Munsey- Killian, 38, of Whitesburg, Tennessee, who was also convicted of participating in a money laundering conspiracy, will serve 235 months. Larry Wayne Martin, 54, of Russellville, Tennessee, and Jeremy Kane Jones, 31, of Morristown, Tennessee, will serve 120 and 110 months respectively.

According to the plea agreements on file with the U.S. District Court, the combined total amount of actual methamphetamine attributed to Munsey-Killian, Martin and Jones was between 235 to 700 grams.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, Morristown, Tennessee Police Department and the Third and Fourth District Judicial Drug Task Forces. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne Taylor and David Gunn represented the United States.

This case was a result of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

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Eunice man sentenced to 9 months in prison for stealing cash from bank

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Eunice man sentenced to 9 months in prison for stealing cash from bank

ALEXANDRIA, La.  Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a Eunice man was sentenced last week to nine months in prison for entering a Eunice bank and taking more than $5,000 from two teller stations.

Randall Scott Courville, 42, of Eunice, La., was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on one count of bank theft. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $5,290 restitution. According to the April 19, 2017 guilty plea, Courville entered a bank on North Second Street in Eunice on January 20, 2017 wearing a surgical mask, hooded sweatshirt and gloves. He walked up to a teller’s station, reached across the counter into the teller’s drawer and removed money. He then moved to another teller’s station and removed money from that teller’s drawer as well. He left the bank with $5,290.

The FBI and Eunice Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph T. Mickel prosecuted the case.

Former Contractor of Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Role in Fraud Conspiracy

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Former Contractor of Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp. Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Role in Fraud Conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. –The sole proprietor of two companies that purportedly provided printing and digital marketing services to the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC) was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for defrauding the agency, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Kevin Gleaton, 53, of West Orange, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud with Donald Bernard Sr., Linda Watkins Brashear, and others, to defraud the NWCDC of money and property and one count of misuse of Social Security numbers in connection with personal bankruptcy proceedings. Judge Linares imposed both sentences today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in these cases and statements made in court:
From May 2011 to September 2012, Gleaton conspired with Bernard, who was then employed as manager of Special Projects for the NWCDC, Brashear who was then the NWCDC executive director, and others, to defraud the NWCDC of more than $110,000 for work that was never performed by Gleaton or his companies. Gleaton was the owner of the Synergy Group, a company that received more than $58,000 in 2011 from the NWCDC, purportedly for printing services, as well as Mindshare Media, which received more than $52,000 from the NWCDC in 2012, purportedly for digital marketing services.
Gleaton deposited the payments issued to his companies by the NWCDC on the basis of fraudulent invoices, and then provided a substantial portion of the money received – more than $97,000 – to Bernard, who, in turn, shared a portion with Brashear, among others. Gleaton provided the money to Bernard either directly, or indirectly through the “consultant intermediary,” an individual who operated a firm that provided consulting services to the NWCDC. The conspiracy was facilitated by interstate wire transmissions, including emails sent by Bernard to Brashear and the consultant intermediary. Brashear pleaded guilty in December 2015 to scheming to defraud the NWCDC of her honest services in the affairs of the NWCDC by taking kickbacks (from various vendors including Gleaton), and of the NWCDC’s money and property, as well as to subscribing to a false federal personal income tax return. In January 2016, Bernard pleaded guilty to Counts 9 and 10 of a 20-count indictment returned in December 2014, charging him with the use of interstate facilities to promote and facilitate bribery in violation of the Travel Act, and Count 1 of an information that charged him with making and subscribing a false personal tax return.
Gleaton also admitted to using multiple Social Security numbers, other than the number lawfully issued to him by the Commission of Social Security, in connection with his bankruptcy filings in 2011 and 2012.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Gleaton to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $111,600.
Bernard was sentenced by Judge Linares on July 13, 2017, to eight years in prison. Watkins Brashear is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 11, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher; the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John Grasso; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, Newark office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi; IRS–Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; and criminal investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation. Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick also thanked the N.J. Office of the State Comptroller, under the direction of State Comptroller Philip James Degnan, for its assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacques Pierre and Leslie Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.

Cincinnati Trafficker Pleads Guilty To Interstate Prostitution

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cincinnati Trafficker Pleads Guilty To Interstate Prostitution

Tampa, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Gary Paul Moorman (34, Cincinnati, Ohio) has pleaded guilty to interstate prostitution. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Moorman will be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, the statutory maximum penalty for this offense.

According to court documents, Moorman systematically and violently abused multiple victims to induce them, against their will, into prostitution for his own financial gain. He also induced the victims to travel between Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere to engage in sexual acts. In furtherance of his criminal activity, Moorman took provocative photos of the victims to post prostitution ads on the Internet. After the victims provided these services, Moorman demanded and took all of the proceeds.

This case was investigated by the FBI - Tampa Division (Pinellas Resident Agency), with support from the St. Petersburg Police Department and the Clearwater Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office and the Cincinnati Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Stacie B. Harris and Kristen A. Fiore.

Former Bank Executive Admits To Embezzling More Than $200,000 And Pleads Guilty To Charges

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Former Bank Executive Admits To Embezzling More Than $200,000 And Pleads Guilty To Charges

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A former Wholesale Banking Relationship Support Manager of a Charlotte area bank appeared in court today and admitted to stealing more than $216,889 from his employer, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Mark Isaac Coffino, 38, of Huntersville, N.C. pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina.
According to filed court documents and today’s court proceedings, from 2010 to 2016, Coffino was employed by a large international bank. Coffino used his position as a wholesale banking relationship support manager to create and issue approximately 20 cashier checks payable to his personal accounts. Coffino used the bank operating expenses ledger account numbers to conceal the origin of the funds. Court records indicate that Coffino lied to his direct reports to obtain approval of the cashier checks.

According to plea related documents, Coffino embezzled funds on twelve occasions between May 2015 and December 2016 in amounts ranging from $6,995 to $48,659.

Coffino was released on bond following his guilty plea. The charge carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $1,000,000 fine. As part of his plea agreement, has agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the Court at sentencing. A sentencing date for the defendant has not been set yet.

The investigation was led by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Jenny Sugar, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is prosecuting the case.

Wall Street Investment Analyst Sentenced To More Than 3 Years In Prison For Insider Trading

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wall Street Investment Analyst Sentenced To More Than 3 Years In Prison For Insider Trading

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOHN AFRIYIE, a former analyst at a Manhattan-based private investment fund (the “Fund”), was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 45 months in prison for committing insider trading.  AFRIYIE was convicted on January 30, 2017, following a jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who also imposed today’s sentence.   
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Kim said: “On more than two dozen occasions, John Afriyie traded on material nonpublic information, and then used his own mother and destroyed emails to cover up his crimes. The heavy price of the illegal edge Afriyie sought was his liberty.”
According to the Indictment, other filings in Manhattan federal court and the evidence presented at trial:
In January 2016, Apollo Investment Management LLC (“Apollo”) contacted the Fund to discuss the possibility of the Fund providing debt financing for Apollo’s potential acquisition of ADT Corporation (“ADT”). The Fund entered into a non-disclosure agreement with Apollo and was granted access to confidential documents related to the ADT transaction. As an investment analyst at the Fund, AFRIYIE had access to the Fund’s network server, which maintained, among other things, electronic shared directory file folders containing material nonpublic information, including information about Apollo’s acquisition of ADT.
In violation of the Fund’s policies and in breach of his duties to the Fund, AFRIYIE repeatedly accessed material nonpublic information about Apollo’s pending acquisition of ADT in an electronic shared drive folder on the Fund’s network server. In approximately 28 separate transactions between January 28, 2016, and February 12, 2016, AFRIYIE purchased approximately 2,279 ADT call options for a total of $24,254 before the public announcement of that transaction. AFRIYIE purchased the ADT call options through a brokerage account that AFRIYIE controlled, but was held in the name of AFRIYIE’s mother. As cover for his criminal scheme, AFRIYIE repeatedly pretended to be his mother in recorded telephone calls with his broker.  AFRIYIE did not reveal his trades or the existence of the brokerage account to the Fund.
The public announcement of Apollo’s acquisition of ADT in February 2016 caused ADT shares to hit $39.64 per share, up from its value of $29.20 per share on the day AFRIYIE began purchasing ADT options.  Upon subsequently selling the ADT options, AFRIYIE generated more than $1.5 million in illicit profits.
In connection with his arrest, AFRIYIE lied to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) about his ADT options trades and falsely claimed that his own voice on a recorded call with his broker was really his mother’s voice.  Following his arrest, AFRIYIE also attempted to delete the contents of an email account that he had used to communicate with his broker.
After the guilt phase of the trial had concluded, and based on AFRIYIE’s request, the jury also determined that $2,648,862.46 in seized funds were subject to forfeiture as proceeds of AFRIYIE’s crimes.    
*          *          *
In addition to his prison term, AFRIYIE, 29, of Freehold, New Jersey, was sentenced to three years of supervised release, ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $2,780,720.02, including the forfeiture of $2,705,128.66 in seized funds, and restitution to the Fund in an amount no less than $691,046.42, with a final restitution order to be entered within 90 days of sentencing.  AFRIYIE was remanded on January 23, 2017, after he refused to appear in court for trial, and he remains in custody. 
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Office’s Criminal Investigators.  He also thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance. 
This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward A. Imperatore and Christine I. Magdo are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer L. Gachiri is handling the forfeiture aspects of this prosecution.

Former New York City Police Officer Merlin Alston Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Former New York City Police Officer Merlin Alston Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

Joon Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Former New York City Police Officer MERLIN ALSTON, was sentenced this afternoon in Manhattan federal court to a prison term of 20 years for participating in a long-running conspiracy to distribute large quantities of cocaine in the Bronx while he was an active-duty police officer, as well as for using firearms to protect members of that conspiracy. ALSTON was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, who presided over a two-week jury trial last year at which ALSTON was convicted on all counts.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “Merlin Alston betrayed his city and his shield. Instead of serving and protecting the citizens of New York City, as he swore an oath to do, Alston served and protected drug dealers, participating in a long-running conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the Bronx. For his criminal betrayal that included sharing confidential police information with drug dealers, Alston was convicted by a jury and now sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.”
According to court papers and evidence admitted at trial:
From 2010 to 2014, ALSTON, who at the time was an active NYPD police officer, conspired with others to distribute large quantities of narcotics. ALSTON personally delivered approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine during that time, and in total members of his conspiracy delivered approximately 200 kilograms of cocaine. In addition, ALSTON provided armed security to a cocaine trafficker, using a shotgun and his NYPD service weapon to do so. ALSTON also provided confidential information about law enforcement operations, including arrests and surveillance, to several Bronx drug dealers.
* * *
In addition to his prison sentence, ALSTON, 34, of the Bronx, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
Mr. Kim praised the DEA, the FBI, the NYPD, and the New York State Police for their outstanding work in this investigation. He also thanked the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York for its invaluable assistance.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared Lenow and Thomas McKay are in charge of the prosecution.

Arizona Man Sentenced On Drug Charge

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Arizona Man Sentenced On Drug Charge

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Elijah Chaffino, 37, of Scottsdale, Arizona, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, was sentenced to time served by Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. 
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that between early 2009 and February 1, 2012, the defendant conspired with co-defendants Jordan Ali, Shane Graffman and others, to distribute marijuana.
In early 2009, after developing a friendship with Jordan Ali, Chaffino began shipping packages, which contained marijuana, from Arizona to addresses located in Buffalo, at Ali’s direction. Some of these packages were shipped to co-defendant Jason Nati’s address on Villa Avenue in Buffalo, while others were sent to individuals residing in the Niagara Falls area. Chaffino sent the last package in January 2012, which contained approximately 30 pounds of marijuana. The package was intercepted by law enforcement officers in Buffalo.
A total of six defendants were arrested and convicted in this case. 
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Division; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James D. Robnett; United States Postal Service Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Shelly Binkowski; Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Adam S. Cohen; Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; Erie County Sheriff's Department, under the direction of Sheriff Tim Howard; Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, under the direction of Chief George Gast; Tempe, Arizona Police Department; Apache County, Arizona Sheriff's Department; and Oklahoma State Police.

Child Sex Trafficker Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison. His Mother was Sentenced to 120 months

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Child Sex Trafficker Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison. His Mother was Sentenced to 120 months

Pratt was the first human trafficker convicted at trial in South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated that Samuel Pratt, a/k/a “Promise,” age 35, of Gastonia, North Carolina was sentenced to life in federal prison and his mother, Daphne Pratt, age 53, of Gastonia, North Carolina was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. Samuel Pratt had previously been found guilty on eight counts related to sex trafficking, child pornography, and firearm charges in federal court in Columbia.  Chief United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten, of Columbia, sentenced the defendant to life sentences on four counts related to sex trafficking, 360 months on production of child pornography, 120 months on possessing child pornography, 120 months on being a felon in possession of a firearm and 60 months for obstruction of justice. There was also over $40,000 of restitution ordered to be paid to the child victims. Daphne Pratt pled guilty to conspiracy to sex traffic minors and testified against her son in his trial, receiving a reduced sentence for her testimony.
Evidence presented trial established that Samuel Pratt ran a prostitution business of both adults and juveniles, in South Carolina, North Carolina, and New York.  The trial opened a window into the seedy world of human trafficking in the Carolinas.  Witnesses provided extensive testimony of the manipulation and abuse, as well as the inner-workings of the human trafficking operation. During the trial, Daphne Pratt testified about her son’s control of the minors, as well as her role in running the business at his direction after her son was incarcerated on federal charges. Telephone calls recorded from the jail corroborated Daphne Pratt’s testimony and, along with text messages, provided the jury a view of the depraved world of sex traffickers. Two of the victims of the trafficking were 14 and 17 years old. This was the first human trafficker convicted at trial in South Carolina.
Ms. Drake stated, “the first step on addressing the cancer of human trafficking is to hold the traffickers accountable and that is what this case and this sentence does. Those who traffic in sex need to take notice that our office, along with our federal and state law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute all those who operate in this destructive field.”
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI of both South Carolina and North Carolina, the ATF, the US Marshals and Richland County Sheriff’s Department.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May and Will Lewis of the Columbia Office prosecuted the case.
#####

Chicago Trader Sentenced to Five and a Half Years in Federal Prison for Misappropriating More Than $1.7 Million in Client Funds

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chicago Trader Sentenced to Five and a Half Years in Federal Prison for Misappropriating More Than $1.7 Million in Client Funds

CHICAGO — A Chicago trader was sentenced today to more than five and a half years in federal prison for defrauding clients out of more than $1.7 million by pocketing their money instead of investing it.
RANDALL RYE, the owner of Faster Than Light Trading LLC, promised substantial profits from hisproprietary trading program. Rye claimed that he would invest his clients’ money in options and futures contracts using a computer algorithm. In reality, Rye misappropriated the investors’ funds for his own personal use. He made large cash withdrawals and spent heavily on travel expenses to St. Lucia and Bali. Rye also used investor funds to purchase expensive tickets to several events, including $47,000 for five tickets to the 2016 Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, $110,000 for 14 tickets to the 2016 World Series, and $75,000 for one premium package ticket to the 2016 Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
As a result of the scheme, Rye fraudulently misappropriated a total of $1.72 million from approximately 20 investors.
Rye, 26, of Chicago, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman imposed the 70-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Randall Rye is a con man,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sunil Harjani argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “His brazen scheme, executed with little regard for his victims, is truly appalling. His victims, many of whom gave him part of their retirement savings, are suffering the consequences of his fraud.”
According to the charges, Rye attempted to conceal the fraud by sending his investors false account statements purporting to show that their funds were invested and profitable. In reality, there was no proprietary algorithmic trading program, and the client funds were not actually maintained at any financial services companies. Rye often spent his clients’ funds soon after they were invested with him.

Two Plead Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Compounding Pharmacy Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Two Plead Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Compounding Pharmacy Fraud Scheme


Hattiesburg, Miss. – Jason May, 40, of Lamar County, Mississippi, and Gerald Jay Schaar, 46, of Biloxi, Mississippi, entered guilty pleas on July 25, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, for their roles in a multi-million dollar compounding pharmacy health care fraud conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie, and John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Southeast Field Office.
May pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering in connection with his role as co-owner and pharmacist in charge of Advantage Pharmacy, which received approximately $192 million in reimbursements from TRICARE and other health care benefit programs for compound topical creams. He selected formulas for the compound creams based on reimbursement rates as opposed to medical efficacy. In order to facilitate the scheme to defraud, May and Advantage Pharmacy either did not collect patient copayments for the compound topical creams or paid copayments on behalf of beneficiaries. As a co-owner of Advantage Pharmacy, May received a portion of the reimbursements associated with the fraudulently obtained compound creams and transferred certain of those proceeds from the fraud – in transactions greater than $10,000 - into a money market account held in his name.
Schaar pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for his role in a fraudulent scheme in which he, acting as a marketer for a pharmacy located in Lamar County, solicited physicians and other medical professionals to write prescriptions without seeing patients for compound topical creams dispensed by the pharmacy. Schaar, together with others, later falsified patient records to make it seem as though medical professionals had examined the patients who received prescriptions for the compound creams. In total, the pharmacy received $2.3 million in reimbursements for the prescriptions solicited by Schaar.
The charges against May and Schaar were brought as a result of the largest ever national health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants in 41 federal districts across the country, targeting schemes which involved billing Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (a health insurance program for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families) for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that often were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries.
"Health care fraud costs the United States tens of billions of dollars a year," said Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. "The FBI Jackson
Division, alongside our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek out those that defraud health care systems in the United States."
"DCIS and our investigative partners remain committed to bringing to justice any individuals who defraud TRICARE, the Department of Defense health care program dedicated to providing medical care to military members and their families," stated Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, DCIS. "The fraud and corruption uncovered as part of this complex case diverted and wasted precious taxpayer dollars needed for the critical care and well-being of our military members and their families."
Jason May and Gerald Jay Schaar will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett on October 17, 2017 in Hattiesburg. May faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Schaar faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Hattiesburg Resident Agency, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and other government agencies. Department of Justice trial attorneys Dustin Davis and Katherine Payerle, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Helen Wall are prosecuting the case for the government.

Grant County Man Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of .50 Caliber Machine Gun

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Grant County Man Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of .50 Caliber Machine Gun

EUGENE, Ore. – On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Michael Ray Emry, 55, of John Day, Oregon, to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release. Emry had previously pleaded guilty on January 23, 2017 to unlawfully possessing a fully automatic .50 caliber machine gun that was not registered to him.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on May 6, 2016, federal agents executed a search warrant on Emry’s trailer in John Day and recovered a Browning M2 .50 caliber machine gun with an obliterated serial number. Emry told agents that the firearm was fully automatic and could fire between 550 and 650 rounds per minute, that he had stolen it from a man in Idaho and that he had removed the serial number prior to bringing it to Oregon.
"I applaud federal and state law enforcement officers for their swift and decisive action in removing a very dangerous stolen weapon from the community," said Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. "Transporting stolen weapons is a serious crime and will be met with equally serious consequences."
"I appreciate the partnership with ATF and OSP in this investigation," said Loren Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. "The people's representatives pass laws to keep our communities safe. Mr. Emry broke those laws and as a consequence, he will spend time in federal prison."
The case was investigated by the FBI in collaboration with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Oregon State Police (OSP), and was prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Phoenix Man Sentenced To Over 68 Years In Prison For Threat And Assault Of Federal Law Enforcement And Other Charges Related To 2014 Armed Standoff In Bunkerville

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Phoenix Man Sentenced To Over 68 Years In Prison For Threat And Assault Of Federal Law Enforcement And Other Charges Related To 2014 Armed Standoff In Bunkerville

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Phoenix, Ariz. man was sentenced today to 819 months in prison in connection with the armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in the Bunkerville, Nev. area in April 2014, over rancher Cliven Bundy’s trespassing cattle from public lands. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Chief Judge Gloria M. Navarro sentenced Burleson to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division, and Acting Director Michael D. Nedd of the Bureau of Land Management made the announcement.

Following a 32-day jury trial, Gregory P. Burleson, 53, was convicted on April 24, 2017, of assault on a federal officer; threatening a federal law enforcement officer; obstruction of the due administration of justice; interference with interstate commerce by extortion; interstate travel in aid of extortion; and three counts of use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

According to the superseding indictment, Burleson traveled to Nevada with the intent to commit a crime of violence to extort federal law enforcement officers while they were executing a federal court order to remove and impound Cliven Bundy’s cattle that were trespassing on federal public lands in and around Bunkerville. On or about April 12, 2014, Burleson used and brandished a firearm to impede, intimidate, and to threaten to assault federal law enforcement officers involved in the federal impoundment operations. He also threatened and used force and violence to obstruct interstate commerce by extortion in that he obtained and attempted to obtain approximately 400 cattle that were in the possession of federal law enforcement officers.

The case was investigated by the FBI and BLM. The case was prosecuted by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas D. Dickinson and Nadia J. Ahmed, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin M. Creegan.
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