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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Seven Vice Lords Charged in Gang-Related Shooting



Seven members of the Vice Lords were charged in an indictment unsealed today with various offenses based on their roles in a gang-related shooting.  The charges are the result of the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and the community to reduce homicide and other violent crime under the Detroit One program, which has led to the arrests and convictions of Vice Lords leaders during this past year.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Division and Chief James Craig of the Detroit Police Department.

The seven Vice Lord members charged with crimes stemming from this incident are:    

    Antonio Clark, aka Cheeto, 25, of Detroit, is charged with attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of firearms;

    Aramis Wilson, aka Ace, 24, of Detroit, is charged with attempted murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of firearms;

    Tyrone Price, aka Price, 26, of Detroit, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence;

    Jonathan Kinchen, aka Deago, 22, of Detroit, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence;

    Kojuan Lee, aka Juan, 19, of Detroit, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence;

    Kirshean Nelson, 18, of Detroit, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence; and

    Dion Robinson, aka Doggy, 37, of Detroit, is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Robinson, Clark, Price and Kinchen are in custody; arrest warrants have been issued for the other three defendants.

According to the indictment, the Vice Lords is a national gang engaged in a variety of crimes, including murder, robbery, narcotics trafficking and witness intimidation.  The indictment alleges that the Vice Lords’ leaders are located in both Chicago and Detroit, and that the gang is broken down into various “sets,” “decks,” or “branches,” including the Detroit-based Insane Vice Lords, Imperial Insane Vice Lords, Traveling Vice Lords, Conservative Vice Lords, Mafia Insane Vice Lords and Insane Goon Gang.  The indictment further alleges that members who seek to leave or withdraw from the gang oftentimes endure a physical beating, known as a “beat out,” by multiple Vice Lord members, or are targeted for killing, known as a “green light.”

According to the indictment, on May 7, 2015, to maintain and improve their positions in the Traveling Vice Lords, the defendants shot four individuals from the same family.  The indictment alleges that the shooting was prompted by two of the family members’ attempts to leave the gang.           

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations.  The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the ATF, FBI and the Detroit Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Four Men Charged with Trafficking in Pet Products with Counterfeit Labels



An indictment was recently unsealed in Houston charging four men with various offenses based on their roles in smuggling pet products with counterfeit labels into the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Catherine A. Hermsen of the Food and Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Kansas City, Missouri, Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Moskowitz of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Houston Field Office made the announcement.

Iain Nigel MacKellar, 58, of England; Lam Ngoc Tran, aka Mark Tran, 40, of Fountain Valley, California; Allen Smith, 49, of Phoenix; and William Humphreys, 58, of Laguna Hills, California, were indicted on July 9, 2015.  They are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and trafficking in counterfeit labels, and smuggling goods into the United States.  Mackellar and Tran also are charged with additional counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, trafficking in counterfeit labels and smuggling.  The defendants were suspected members of one of the largest known groups of importers of counterfeit packaged pet products.

Smith turned himself in to authorities this morning and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy.  Humphreys and Tran were taken into custody in Phoenix and in California, respectively.  Tran made his initial appearance in Houston on July 29, while Humphreys is set to appear tomorrow before Judge Milloy.  MacKellar is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest.

The indictment alleges the defendants smuggled veterinary products that were not manufactured for the U.S. market into the United States for distribution under false labels, including Frontline and Frontline Plus pesticides manufactured by Merial Pharmaceutical Company (Merial).  In some cases, the defendants allegedly imported the products into the U.S. under the pretense that the products were destined for use by charitable organizations, but instead distributed the products to large retail outlets for commercial sale, according to the indictment.

Merial did not participate in or authorize the alleged unlawful conduct.  All known counterfeit veterinary products have been removed from store shelves.

The charges contained in an indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the FDA-OCI, HSI and the Environmental Protection Agency.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Chief John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Lowery and Kebharu Smith of the Southern District of Texas.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California and the CCIPS Cybercrime Lab provided significant assistance.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Founder And Managing Partner Of R2 Capital Group LLC Pleads Guilty In Connection With Commodities Investment Scheme



Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that RYAN TOMAZIN, the founder and managing partner of R2 Capital Group LLC (“R2 Capital”), pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to a two-count Indictment charging him with defrauding investors and misappropriating investment funds.  TOMAZIN and other principals at R2 Capital caused over $850,000 of investors’ funds to be withdrawn from bank accounts associated with the commodity pool and directed to bank accounts held in their own names or that of their respective holding companies.  TOMAZIN was arrested on December 11, 2014 and pled guilty today before United States District Judge Paul A. Crotty.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “As Ryan Tomazin acknowledged today by pleading guilty to securities and commodities fraud, he lied to investors and used his company to line his own pockets with investors’ money.”

According to the Indictment, and other statements made in open court:

In late 2009, R2 Capital created a commodity pool, R2 Capital Partners I L.P. (the “Commercial Pool”) and began to solicit investors, eventually raising approximately $2.2 million.  In early 2010, TOMAZIN solicited a potential investor in the Commercial Pool (“Investment Fund-1”) and provided Investment Fund-1 with documentation that stated, among other things, that R2 Capital would receive a management fee limited to 50% of the profits earned by the Commercial Pool.  Investment Fund-1 invested over $1 million in the Commercial Pool.  From June 2010 up to and including July 2011, the Commercial Pool experienced significant net losses.  In July 2011, all trading activity in the Commercial Pool ceased.  By August 2011, there was less than $5,000 remaining in bank accounts associated with the Commercial Pool.  Nonetheless, between August 2011 and March 2013, TOMAZIN caused false “Trading Statements” to be sent to Investment Fund-1 reflecting false purported monthly trading profits and inaccurate trade balances.  Furthermore, contrary to prior representations that R2 Capital’s management fee would be limited to 50% of profits earned, TOMAZIN and other principals at R2 Capital caused approximately $850,000 to be withdrawn from bank accounts associated with the Commercial Pool for their own personal benefit.

TOMAZIN, 35, of Stamford, Connecticut, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of commodities fraud.  The securities fraud charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The commodities fraud charge carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  As part of the plea agreement, TOMAZIN agreed to pay forfeiture and restitution to the victims of the offense in the amount of $288,000.  TOMAZIN is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Crotty on December 3, 2015.

The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara thanked U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for their assistance with the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry Chernoff and Aimee Hector are in charge of the prosecution.