Criminal Justice News

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflecting on National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

By Tracy Russo

January 31, 2010 - January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. If you suspect an act of human trafficking in your area, you can report a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. This national, toll free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

President Barack Obama proclaimed January 2010 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. During January, the President urged all Americans to, “educate themselves about all forms of modern slavery and the signs and consequences of human trafficking.”

Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice are deeply committed to combating all forms of modern slavery and trafficking in persons. In coordination with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, as well as and nongovernmental organizations we investigate and prosecute human traffickers and provide comprehensive assistance to victims.

In 2009, the Department’s Civil Rights Division, in partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, brought a record number of human trafficking cases, including the highest number of labor trafficking cases ever brought in a single year. These cases involve the use of force, threats of force, or other forms of coercion to compel labor or services, including commercial sex acts, from victims.

One case involved the trafficking of two young girls, including a 13 year-old, from rural Mexico to Tennessee with the intent of forcing them into prostitution. In December a woman from Tennessee was sentenced to 190 months in prison on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Her co-defendant was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2008. Both pleaded guilty and admitted to fraudulently luring the two young girls. The multi-agency investigation and federal prosecution resulted in the successful conviction of 11 defendants.

Earlier this month, the Civil Rights Division secured guilty pleas from two defendants in a forced labor case in Hawaii. Farm co-owners pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit forced labor. The men admitted to conspiring with one another and others to hold 44 Thai agricultural workers in service at their farm through a scheme of debts, threats of harm and restraint. They each face up to five years in prison for their roles in the labor trafficking scheme.

Through the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Sections, as well as the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, the Department investigates and prosecutes American citizens who contribute to the sex trafficking of children abroad by engaging in a practice known as “child sex tourism,” where individuals travel abroad and pay to have sex with children. One such child sex tourist admitted that he had repeatedly traveled to the Philippines where he made two young girls sign a contract to be his “sex slave.” In another case resulting in a guilty plea, an American child sex tourist admitted he traveled to Thailand each year from 2000 to 2002 to sexually abuse children. While there, he paid for unfettered access to children, brought items to facilitate their sexual abuse, and then sexually abused the children at will, sometimes photographing and videotaping the activity.

In addition to prosecuting cases that directly involve human trafficking, the Department is continuing its efforts to disrupt trafficking by prosecuting human smuggling rings. The Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section, working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), targets human smuggling networks that are known to transport people under dangerous conditions or where patterns of egregious migrant abuse is evident. Dismantling smuggling networks and disrupting the routes used by traffickers contributes to the overall efforts to end the scourge of trafficking.

Another one of the ways the Department works to combat human trafficking and support victims is through its Office of Justice Programs (OJP). OJP provides funding support, training, and technical assistance to 39 anti-human trafficking law enforcement task forces and 39 nongovernmental victim service organizations throughout the United States. This dual approach entails a victim-centered approach for identifying, rescuing, and providing timely, comprehensive assistance to victims of human trafficking who are foreign nationals—including both female and male victims of sex and labor trafficking.

Since 2003, OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has provided funding to nongovernmental victim service organizations to support the needs of trafficking victims. Those needs often include shelter/housing, sustenance, medical and dental care, mental health treatment, nterpretation/translation services, legal and immigration services, literacy education, and more. OVC partnered with OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in 2004 to support the anti-human trafficking task force model around the country. Each task force includes, but is not limited to, representation from local or territorial, state, and federal law enforcement prosecutorial agencies (including the FBI, ICE, and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices), and an OVC-funded trafficking victim service provider organization.

In December 2009, OVC launched a 3-year demonstration project, in three sites, to provide comprehensive services to domestic minor victims of human trafficking in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. They will develop programs to serve female and male victims of sex and labor trafficking who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The types of assistance provided to these victims are similar to those provided to victims who are foreign nationals; however, services are geared toward the unique circumstances of U.S. citizens who are under 18 years old.

Also in December 2009, OVC and BJA hosted the first Regional Training Forum in Tampa, Florida, for the South and Southeast regions of the U.S. The Forum provided an opportunity for the BJA task forces and the OVC service providers to receive training, discuss case information, share intelligence, and network with other law enforcement and victim service providers in the region.

According to one attendee, the Forum included “one of the best active intelligence exchanges I have attended with law enforcement in a long time…in part because this was a regional training, where patterns and cases were seen crossing into each other’s backyards.” Additional forums will take place around the U.S. in 2010.

In May 2010, the Department will host its fourth National Conference on Human Trafficking in Arlington, Virginia. Approximately 600 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim service providers, and other professionals will be invited to attend this event. We will address the complexities of human trafficking, facilitate the sharing of promising practices, and support the development of evidence-based strategies to combat slavery and human trafficking in the U.S.

For more information on both the Department of Justice and the Federal Government’s efforts to combat trafficking, please see the Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, released in June 2009. This report is compiled and released annually.

As President Obama states in his proclamation, “Together, we can and must end this most serious, ongoing criminal civil rights violation.”

If you suspect an act of human trafficking in your area, you can report a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. This national, toll free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lean Six Sigma for Law Enforcement

On March 4, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a conversation Sergeant William Wilkerson, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Lean Six Sigma for Law Enforcement.

Program Date: March 4, 2010
Program Time: 1700 Hours Pacific
Topic: Lean Six Sigma for Law Enforcement
Listen Live: http://www.americanheroesradio.com/lean_six_sigma_law_enforcement.html

About the Guest
William "Billy" Wilkerson is a Police Sergeant with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and 20 Year veteran with the Florida Air National Guard. He is currently assigned to the Sheriff's Office Continuous Improvement Division along with serving as the Staff Inspections Unit supervisor. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has been using Lean Six Sigma to streamline its processes since 2004, with much success. Billy is a certified “Kaizen” facilitator through the Jacksonville Lean Consortium, and the US Air Force, and has received Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt training with the Jacksonville Electric Authority. Billy has also been assisting with the Florida Air National Guard's rollout of their CPI Program (Continuous Process Improvement).

According to the Six Sigma Website, “The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. This is accomplished through the use of two Six Sigma sub-methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV. The Six Sigma DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) is an improvement system for existing processes falling below specification and looking for incremental improvement. The Six Sigma DMADV process (define, measure, analyze, design, verify) is an improvement system used to develop new processes or products at Six Sigma quality levels. It can also be employed if a current process requires more than just incremental improvement. Both Six Sigma processes are executed by Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts, and are overseen by Six Sigma Master Black Belts.”

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.americanheroesradio.com/lean_six_sigma_law_enforcement.html
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Justice Department Files for Immediate Relief Regarding Conditions in Georgia’s Hospitals

January 30, 2010 - The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division today announced that it has filed a motion for immediate relief to protect individuals confined in seven state-run psychiatric hospitals in Georgia from the imminent and serious threat of harm to their lives, health and safety. The motion, filed late yesterday, seeks appointment of a monitor who will set binding targets and timetables for reducing the number of residents at the hospitals and expanding appropriate community based services.

A year ago, the state of Georgia and the Justice Department entered into an agreement to ensure that individuals in the hospitals were served in the most appropriate integrated settings and that unlawful conditions in the hospitals were remedied. The agreement was filed in United States v. Georgia, and the parties asked U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr. to approve the agreement. However, the court has not yet approved the agreement.

The Justice Department has been monitoring conditions in the hospitals and has found that the facilities continue to be dangerous and that hundreds of individuals who could and should be served in the community remain institutionalized and continue to be exposed to dangerous conditions. Georgia continues to fail to serve patients in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, and preventable deaths, suicides and assaults continue to occur with alarming frequency in the hospitals.

"States responsible for the care of individuals living in state run facilities have a duty to protect them from harm. Individuals in Georgia’s hospitals are being subjected to a widespread pattern of violence and are not being protected from preventable deaths," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division. "We need quick action to protect these individuals."

More than a decade ago, in Olmstead v. L.C., the Supreme Court found that Georgia Regional Hospital in Atlanta was impermissibly segregating two individuals with disabilities in that hospital when they could have been served in more integrated settings. The Supreme Court ordered states to serve individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. In the same hospital involved in that landmark case, and the other six run by Georgia, the state continues to impermissibly segregate hundreds of individuals.

In addition to the unlawful segregation, individuals in the hospitals are exposed to egregious harm. Some examples include:

• In 2009, the state failed to adequately supervise an individual who had killed previously. The individual assaulted and killed another individual in the hospital.

• In 2008, hospital staff failed to intervene in a fight between individuals. One of the individuals was knocked unconscious and died a few days later from blunt force trauma to the head.

• In 2009, staff failed to adequately supervise an individual who raped another individual.

• In 2009, an individual committed suicide by tipping his bed up and hanging himself from the upended bed. The Justice Department’s experts had repeatedly warned hospital staff during on-site visits of the dangers posed by these beds that were not bolted to the floor.

• This month, the state failed to adequately supervise an individual who expressed suicidal thoughts the day before she committed suicide.

The seven hospitals include East Central Regional Hospital, Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah, Georgia Regional Hospital at Atlanta, Southwestern State Hospital, Central State Hospital, West Central Georgia Regional Hospital and Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.

The Civil Rights Division is authorized to conduct investigations under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CRIPA authorizes the Attorney General to investigate conditions of confinement in certain institutions owned or operated by, or on behalf of, state and local governments. In addition to psychiatric hospitals, these institutions include nursing homes, residential facilities serving persons with developmental disabilities, jails, prisons and juvenile correctional facilities. CRIPA’s focus is on systemic deficiencies rather than individual, isolated problems. The ADA authorizes the Attorney General to investigate whether a state is serving individuals in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. Please visit http://www.justice.gov/crt to learn more about CRIPA, the ADA and other laws enforced by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The motion for immediate relief was filed by Mary Bohan, Timothy Mygatt, Robert Koch and Emily Gunston, Trial Attorneys in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division.

Corrections Officer Charged

FEDERAL CORRECTIONS OFFICER CHARGED WITH ACCEPTING BRIBES AND ATTEMPTING TO POSSESS COCAINE WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

January 30, 2010 - Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, Teresa Gulotta-Powers, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, John T. Rathman, Warden, Bureau of Prisons, and Miguel Exposito, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, announced the filing of federal criminal charges against Octavius Allen, a federal corrections officer at the Federal Detention Center (“FDC”) in Miami, Florida. The defendant’s bond hearing is scheduled for Friday, January 29, 2010, at 11 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum.

On January 28, 2010, a criminal complaint was filed in federal court charging that, on January 27, 2010, the defendant knowingly attempted to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. The complaint also charges that, between December 24, 2009, and continuing through January 27, 2010, the defendant, a public official, did corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive and accept a thing of value in return for being induced to do an act in violation of his official duty, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 201(b)(2)(C). If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of up to twenty years in prison on the drug charges and up to fifteen years on the bribery charges.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, between December 25, 2009 and January 23, 2010, the defendant smuggled six plastic bottles filled with Remy Martin VS liquor into FDC and delivered them to two different inmates. These inmates, the complaint alleges, arranged for their family members to meet with the defendant at a Sears parking lot in Miami and pay him approximately $600 per bottle. The complaint further alleges that, after the inmates described these events to FBI and OIG agents, one of the inmates introduced the defendant to an undercover agent (“UC”) under the pretense that the UC, whom the inmate described as an ex-girlfriend, would be handling all future payments to the defendant. According to the complaint, on January 26, 2010, the UC met the defendant at a Starbucks in Miami and paid the defendant $700 for a bottle of alcohol the defendant had smuggled into FDC the week before.

The complaint further alleges that, on January 26, 2010, the UC offered the defendant

$3,000 if he would agree to smuggle two packages of cocaine into the prison, a proposition the defendant accepted the following day. According to the complaint, when, on January 27, 2010, the UC handed the defendant an envelope containing a bag of what appeared to be cocaine and $2,200 in cash, the defendant stuffed the envelope into a pair of shorts he was wearing underneath his pants. At that point, the defendant was arrested.

According to the complaint, after waiving his Miranda rights, the defendant provided a full confession, which he memorialized in a signed statement. The complaint further states that the defendant admitted to receiving several hundred dollars in cash on several occasions in exchange for smuggling contraband into FDC. According to the complaint, the defendant also confessed that, in exchange for several thousand dollars, he had taken what he believed to be cocaine from the UC with the intention of smuggling the cocaine into the inmates at FDC.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, DOJ’s Office of Inspector General, Bureau of Prisons and City of Miami Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roy Altman and Alicia Schick.

An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.

White Plains Entrepreneur Sentenced to 76 Months in Prison for Identity Theft and for Conspiring to Make False Statements to Financial Institutions

January 30, 2010 - PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TERRENCE CHALK was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge STEPHEN C. ROBINSON to 76 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to make false statements and representations to financial institutions in connection with applications for loans, lines of credit, and credit cards, and for the crime of aggravated identity theft for using another person's Social Security number to seek a line of credit from a bank. As part of the sentence, Judge ROBINSON ordered that CHALK pay restitution of $750,000.

According to the charging instruments in this case and statements made during the sentencing proceeding and other proceedings in this case:

CHALK, 47, the principal of a White Plains-based computer systems company, and others submitted applications for loans, lines of credit and credit cards, in the names of various business entities controlled by CHALK (the "CHALK Entities") that contained false information and representations. Some of the applications falsely represented that certain Chalk employees and clients were guarantors for the loans and/or were owners and officers of the various CHALK Entities when in fact they were not.

Included in the applications was personal identification information, such as names, addresses and Social Security numbers of the CHALK Entities' employees, agents, or clients, without their knowledge or permission. While seeking to obtain the loans, lines of credit, and/or credit cards, CHALK and others met with representatives of financial institutions and falsely represented the ownership of the Chalk entities and the identity of the guarantors and/or supplied false financial information. Among other things, CHALK sought a loan using the name and personal information of a dead relative. CHALK continued his criminal conduct even after his initial arrest in this case, when from prison, he directed others on the outside to submit false information to BMW of Ridgefield, Connecticut, in order to secure BMW vehicles for, among others, CHALK's girlfriend and someone who signed a bond to help secure CHALK’s release on bail. CHALK’s release on bail ended in July 2008 with his arrest in connection with the car leasing scheme.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and added that the investigation is continuing.

Assistant United States Attorneys EUGENE INGOGLIA and KATHRYN MARTIN are in charge of the prosecution.

Peek-a-Boo Perpetrator Wanted for Bank Robberies


January 30, 2010 - The New York FBI Joint Bank Robbery Task Force is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who is now suspected in two armed bank robberies and two attempted bank robberies. The first two robberies occurred within the confines of the 105th and 111th Precincts in Queens, New York, to include: two QUEENS COUNTY SAVINGS BANKS, located at 247-53 Jamaica Avenue, on Friday, 01/22/2010 and 224-04 Union Turnpike, on Monday, 01/25/2010. The attempted robberies both occurred on Thursday 01/28/2010 at CHASE BANK 196-03 Northern Blvd, Flushing, and QUEENS COUNTY SAVINGS BANK at 156-02 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach.

After approaching either a customer service representative or branch manager, the “Peek-a-Boo Perpetrator” produces a hoax device, displays a handgun, and demands cash. He is described as a black male, 35-45 years of age, approximately 6’2”, 180 lbs, wearing a dark trench coat, black wool cap, black dress pants, black shoes, and brown frame glasses with tint.

Any information regarding this subject should be immediately reported to: The FBI/NYPD Joint Bank Robbery Task Force at (212) 384-5000 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-577-TIPS. There is a reward for information leading to his arrest.

First Extradition from El Salvador

First Extradition from El Salvador to the United States Brings Salvadoran National Back to Serve Prison Sentence on Texas State Sexual Assault Charges

January 30, 2010 - Jose Marvin Martinez, a Salvadoran national, was surrendered to U.S. authorities today in the first extradition from El Salvador to the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Martinez was convicted on March 30, 2006, in Brazoria County, Texas, of one count of sexual assault on a child and one count of indecency with a child. According to the evidence presented at trial, in March 2004 Martinez sexually assaulted his daughter, who was 14-years-old at the time. The day after his conviction, a Texas jury sentenced Martinez to eight years in prison on the sexual assault charge and 10 years of community supervision on the indecency charge. Martinez, who had been free on bond during the trial, fled before the jury began deliberations.

Martinez fled to El Salvador where he was arrested on Jan. 11, 2008, by Salvadoran law enforcement authorities based on a provisional arrest warrant for his extradition. On Dec. 22, 2009, the Supreme Court of El Salvador voted 10 to 5 to extradite Martinez to the United States to serve his sentence for the sexual assault charge. The Salvadoran Supreme Court denied extradition on the indecency with a child conviction because there is no similar Salvadoran offense and it was also not listed in the U.S./El Salvador Bilateral Extradition Treaty.

In July 2000, El Salvador amended its constitution to allow for the extradition of Salvadoran nationals. This case marks the first extradition by El Salvador of a Salvadoran national to the United States in modern times.

"Today’s extradition brings a criminal to justice and paves the way forward in our law enforcement partnership with El Salvador," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. "This first extradition from El Salvador to the United States marks a turning point in our continued efforts to strengthen our joint efforts to hold criminals accountable. The long arm of the law reaches farther with every successful extradition to and from the United States, as we work with our partners around the world to make sure criminals cannot find safe haven from justice."

The extradition announced today is the result of close cooperation between the FBI; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Brazoria County, Texas, Sheriff's Office; the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador and Salvadoran law enforcement authorities. The Department of Justice Attaché in San Salvador and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs were instrumental in achieving this extradition.

Destrehan Man Charged with Conspiracy to Solicit and Give Bribes Involving a Public Official

January 30, 2010 - RAY ANTHONY DAVEZAC, age 55, a resident of Destrehan, Louisiana, was charged today in a one-count Bill of Information with Conspiracy to Solicit and Give Bribes Involving a Public Official, announced United States Attorney Jim Letten.

According to the court documents, DAVEZAC owned and operated Davezac Consulting Engineers, LLC of Destrehan, Louisiana. The bill of information alleges that the President of St. John the Baptist Parish, William Hubbard, solicited a bribe from DAVEZAC. DAVEZAC paid a $5,000 bribe made payable to a local automobile dealership for the benefit of Hubbard. Further, the bill of information alleges that DAVEZAC received a contract from St. John Parish at a date after the bribe payment was solicited and paid.

If convicted, DAVEZAC faces a possible maximum sentence of five (5) years' imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three (3) years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian Klebba and James R. Mann.

Wanblee Woman Sentenced in Connection with Death of Her Infant Child

January 30, 2010 - U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a woman charged with abuse of a minor was sentenced on January 27, 2010, by U.S. District Judge Richard H. Battey. Jackie Black Hawk, age 28, of Wanblee, was sentenced to 27 months' imprisonment, three years' supervised release, and ordered to pay $100 to the Victim Assistance Fund. Jackie Black Hawk was indicted for abuse of a minor by a federal grand jury on December 16, 2008. Black Hawk and her 5-month-old child were passengers in a vehicle, and Black Hawk knew the vehicle’s driver was intoxicated and driving too fast for the road conditions. The vehicle left the road and rolled numerous times. The driver and Black Hawk placed her 5-month-old child unrestrained in a car seat, and the infant was killed as a result of the crash. Black Hawk pled guilty on October 27, 2009. “The principal obligation of every parent is to protect their children. This case reminds us of the tragic consequences when that role is abdicated,” US Attorney Johnson said. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mara M. Kohn prosecuted the case. Black Hawk was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Pine Ridge Woman Pleads Guilty to Killing a Child by Lying on Top of Him

January 30, 2010 - U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Kendra Warrior, age 23, of Pine Ridge, appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard H. Battey on January 27, 2010, and pled guilty to count one of an indictment that charged her with involuntary manslaughter. The maximum penalty upon conviction is eight years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Warrior and the child’s father had consumed alcoholic beverages and then placed their 5-month-old child in the same bed in which both adults were sleeping. The child was killed as a result of Warrior lying on top of him. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mara M. Kohn. A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for April 13, 2010. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending sentencing.

Pine Ridge Man Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment Resulting in Death

January 30, 2010 - U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that John Bissonette, age 37, of Pine Ridge, appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard H. Battey on January 27, 2010, and pled guilty to count two of an indictment that charged him with abuse of a minor. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 15 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Bissonette and the child’s mother had consumed alcoholic beverages and then placed their 5-month-old child in the same bed in which both adults were sleeping. The child was killed as a result of being rolled upon by one of the adults. Bissonette pled guilty to placing his 5-month-old child in a dangerous environment instead of placing the child in his own bed or another secure place. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mara M. Kohn. A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for April 13, 2010. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending sentencing.

Businessman Sentenced for Purporting to Bribe Local Officials

January 29, 2010 - Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Luke Facarazzo, Jr., was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment and fined $15,000 by United States District Court Judge Hurley. The federal advisory sentencing guideline range for Facarazzo was 15-21 months. However, in ordering the 24-month sentence for Facarazzo, Judge Hurley noted the seriousness of the offense.

Facarazzo had been the president and chief executive officer of Lukes’ Sawgrass Landscaping (Luke’s). In November, Facarazzo entered a plea of guilty to a one-count Information which charged a wire fraud conspiracy. As set forth in the information, undercover FBI agents were told by a coconspirator who worked for a construction company that the coconspirator needed to make three payments in the amount of $50,000 each to City of Miramar officials. The coconspirator claimed these payments were to be paid to the city officials for their assistance in awarding a contract to construct a multi-service center and sports complex in Miramar to the co-conspirator’s business. In order to disguise the payments, the coconspirator claimed that there was $150,000 built into the defendant’s landscaping company’s costs, which was earmarked specifically to pay kickbacks to City of Miramar officials.

The coconspirator claimed that the defendant could not pay out large amounts of cash directly from his landscaping business without causing suspicion, because the defendant’s company was part of a publicly traded company. The coconspirator requested that undercover FBI agents issue phony invoices totaling $50,000 through their company, Le Bec Asset Management, to the defendant’s company. Defendant Facarazzo agreed to then issue checks totaling $50,000 to Le Bec, that would then be converted to cash to be used for the alleged payoffs.

The undercover FBI agents issued the invoices to the coconspirator. Defendant Facarazzo then altered the invoices to insure that his company would honor them. The checks were then issued by defendant Facarazzo’s employer to the undercover agents for services that were never performed. Cash was provided to the coconspirator who claimed that he was going to pay the Miramar public officials.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Kaplan.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Homer Glen Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested After Chase

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was joined today by Paul J. Kaupas, Will County Sheriff, in announcing the arrest of a Manteno, Illinois man for the armed robbery yesterday of the Palos Bank and Trust branch, located at 15801 South Bell Road in Homer Glen.

BRIAN J. ELLIS, age 40, whose last known address was 327 Lynn Street in Manteno, was arrested yesterday evening by an off-duty Evergreen Park, Illinois Police Officer and Deputies from the Will County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), following a foot chase and brief struggle. ELLIS was charged in a criminal complaint filed earlier today in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of bank robbery, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, ELLIS entered the Palos Bank and Trust branch shortly before 5:00 p.m., approached a teller, and handed her a note announcing a robbery and demanding money. This was followed by a verbal demand and a threat of physical harm if his demands were not met. ELLIS claimed to be armed with a handgun, although no weapon was displayed and no injuries were reported during the robbery.

After receiving over $7,000.00 in cash, ELLIS fled the bank on foot. An off-duty Evergreen Park Police Officer, working in the bank as a security guard, noticed the teller appeared upset after ELLIS left her window. When he inquired what was wrong, the teller said she had just been robbed. The officer gave chase and eventually caught up with ELLIS several blocks from the bank. After a brief struggle, ELLIS was handcuffed and turned over to WCSO Officers who responded to a robbery alarm.

Subsequent investigation by the Chicago FBI and Detectives from the WCSO developed additional evidence linking ELLIS to the robbery and the filing of the charges announced today.

Though not charged, ELLIS is also a suspect in the December 11, 2009 robbery of the MB Financial Bank branch in Oak Brook, Illinois and the December 22, 2009 robbery of the US Bank branch in Hinsdale, Illinois.

ELLIS appeared before Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole in Chicago earlier today, at which time he was formally charged. ELLIS was ordered held without bond, pending his next court appearance, and will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, ELLIS faces a possible sentence of up to twenty (20) years' incarceration.

Additional information about this and other recent Chicago area bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available at the Bandit Tracker website, www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Copies of the criminal complaint filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI’s press office at (312) 829-1199.

FBI Seeks Public’s Assistance to Identify the “Geezer Bandit”


January 29, 2010 - The FBI, San Diego Police Department, and San Diego Sheriff’s Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the unknown male bank robber dubbed the “Geezer Bandit.” The “Geezer Bandit” is believed responsible for robbing six banks in San Diego County. Three different rewards totaling $16,000 are being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the “Geezer Bandit.”

On Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at approximately 5:50 p.m., a lone male entered the San Diego National Bank, located at 1075 Rosecrans, San Diego. The robber presented a demand note and displayed a silver and black semiautomatic weapon.

Witnesses describe the robber as follows:

Sex: Male

Race: White

Age: 60-70 years old

Height: Approximately 6’0”

Weight: Approximately 190 pounds

Build: Average

Clothing: White sweatshirt with hoodie, white ballcap, blue jeans, white tennis shoes

The “Geezer Bandit” is believed to be responsible for robbing the following San Diego County banks:

August 28, 2009 US Bank 9643 Mission Gorge Rd., Santee

September 12, 2009 San Diego National Bank 7877 Ivanhoe, La Jolla

October 9, 2009 US Bank 4627 Carmel Mountain Rd.,San Diego

October 26, 2009 Bank of America 17008 Avenida de Acacias, Rancho Santa Fe

November 16, 2009 Bank of America 7680 Girard Ave., La Jolla

Friday, January 29, 2010

Operation Newport Takes Seven into Custody on Cocaine Charge

January 29, 2010 - Jane W. Duke, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; William J. Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Little Rock Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Sheriff David Lucas, Jackson County, Arkansas announced that seven defendants were taken into custody this morning on warrants following an indictment which was returned January 6, 2010. Joe Lewis Brandon, Jr.,a.k.a. Tall, age 29, of Newport; Frederick Lamond Taylor, a.k.a. Freddie O, age 30, of Newport; Henry Demon Peel, a.k.a. Moon, age 23, of Newport; Leslie Armstrong, a.k.a. Wes B, age 34, of Newport; Otis Lesley Hill, a.k.a. O, age 28, of Jonesboro; Timothy D. Maddox, a.k.a. Tim Tim, age 32, of Searcy; and Vidall Lyn Swanson, age 37, of Newport were charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. They will make their initial appearance for plea and arraignment this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere.

Due to its size and scope, the investigation has been conducted as an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case known as “Operation Newport”. During the investigation, law enforcement agents, acting through cooperating witnesses, purchased multiple ounces of crack cocaine. Agents have also seized more than 15 kilograms of cocaine power. Cocaine powder is utilized in the manufacture of crack cocaine. The defendants distributed the crack cocaine in Newport, Jonesboro, Searcy, Blytheville, Little Rock and the surrounding towns.

This was an extensive criminal enterprise plaguing northeast and central Arkansas. The only way an organization of this nature can be adequately investigated and dismantled is through a coordinated local and federal law enforcement effort,” stated Duke. “The contributions of both the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jonesboro Drug Task Force were vital to the success of this operation.”

All defendants face a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $4,000,000 or both, and 5 years of supervised release. In addition, any defendant who has a prior drug trafficking conviction could have his sentence doubled under the federal repeat offender drug laws. There is no parole in the federal system.

This investigation is being conducted by the Little Rock Field Office,Drug Enforcement Administration; Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, 2nd Judicial District (Jonesboro) Drug Task Force; 3rd Judicial District Drug Task Force; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Arkansas State Police; Arkansas Highway Police; and Arkansas National Guard. Assistant United States Attorneys Edward O. Walker and Anne Gardner are prosecuting this case for the United States.

An indictment is only an allegation of wrongdoing. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Little Rock Man Sentenced to 7 ½ Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking and Related Charges

January 29, 2010 - United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jane W. Duke, and Thomas J. Browne, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today that Everett Cooney was sentenced by United States Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes to 90 months' imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release on a federal charge of sex trafficking an underage female.

At his plea hearing on July 10, 2009, Cooney admitted he knew an underage female with the initials of “DB” was between the ages of 14 and 18 when she was caused to engage in commercial sex acts and that Cooney benefitted from her engaging in the commercial sex acts. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the pending indictment was dismissed.

Cooney’s co-defendant, Tommy Handy, plead guilty to a charge of sex trafficking on October 23, 2009. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the pending indictment was dismissed. Handy’s plea exposes him to a minimum of 10 years' and up to life imprisonment. He is awaiting sentencing by the court. Handy remains in custody pending his sentencing.

The case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Little Rock Police Department. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Volpe, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Jim Felte.

INVESTORS BEWARE: Stock Fraud Case Offers Lessons

January 29, 2010

If you're not familiar with “pump-and-dump” fraud schemes, it might be a good time to get educated.

That's because the FBI and its partners are now wrapping up an investigation of such a scam that was so massive it took the better part of a decade to unravel. So far, our joint investigation has uncovered more than 40 schemes, convicted 40 perpetrators, identified thousands of victims in nearly every state and several foreign countries, and discovered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

In Operation “Shore Shells,” so-named because it involved fake (or shell) companies and began in the coastal area of southern New Jersey, a group of co-conspirators—CEOs, stock brokers, CPAs, financial advisors, attorneys, etc.—had been engaging in pump-and-dump and other schemes for years.

How do these scams work? In this case, the ringleaders reated shell companies whose penny stock (worth less than $5 a share) was traded on the OTC Bulletin Board (not on the more widely known New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ). They secretly issued most of the shares for themselves in fictitious names, then touted their companies’ stock through false statements in press releases, electronic bulletin board postings, online newsletters, and the like.

Often using their retirement funds, unsuspecting investors purchased the highly-touted stock—or their unscrupulous financial advisors did so without their knowledge—driving or “pumping” up the price. Then, the fraudsters “dumped,” or sold, their stock for thousands or millions of dollars, causing the stock to plummet and innocent investors to lose their shirts.

In many cases, the losses were significant. And while running an undercover operation and gathering enough evidence to put the criminals behind bars, our focus has been on helping victims get some of their hard-earned money back. We spent years interviewing more than 600 mainly elderly victims, painstakingly documenting their sometimes heartbreaking losses. For example:

We assisted a doctor from a prestigious hospital who began suffering from severe depression after learning of the scam and became unable to work.

To help a husband and wife who had both developed dementia during the investigation, our agents traveled to their nursing home and spent hours with them, their family members, and their accountants to substantiate their financial losses.

We worked with a man suffering from multiple sclerosis whose stockbroker had liquidated his pension and IRA and left him nearly penniless.

We learned of another victim who not only invested her savings and her pension, but also took out a second mortgage to invest more. Needless to say, she lost everything.

It was worth the effort. So far, more than 100 seizures and forfeitures totaling over $70 million in cash, artwork, jewelry, homes, cars, and other valuables have been made, and criminals have been ordered to pay more than $130 million in restitution. We expect millions more to be forfeited and repaid to the victims.

Because of their work on behalf of the victims in this case, the investigative team—comprised of special agents from our Atlantic City Resident Agency (out of the Newark FBI office), a Criminal Investigation agent from the Internal Revenue Service, and the Newark FBI’s victim/witness specialist—was awarded the FBI Director’s Annual Award for Distinguished Service for Assisting Victims of Crime.

LINDSEY BAUM MISSING PERSON


DESCRIPTION
• Age: 10 years old Place of Birth: Unknown
• Sex: Female Hair: Brown
• Height: 4'9" Eyes: Brown
• Weight: 80 pounds Race: White

THE DETAILS
Ten-year-old Lindsey Baum was last seen leaving a friend's house on the evening of June 26, 2009, in McCleary, Washington. She was wearing a light blue hooded pullover shirt and blue jeans. Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.

Former Willbros International Executives Sentenced to Prison for Their Roles in $6 Million Foreign Bribery Scheme

January 29, 2010 - Two former executives of Willbros International Inc. (WII), a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc. (Willbros), were sentenced today for their roles in a conspiracy to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and officials from a Nigerian political party, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Acting Assistant Director in Charge John G. Perren of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Jason Edward Steph, 40, was sentenced today to 15 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Simeon T. Lake III in Houston. In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Lake ordered Steph to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term and to pay a $2,000 fine. The court acknowledged at the sentencing hearing the assistance Steph provided in ongoing investigations.

Jim Bob Brown, 48, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in prison by Judge Lake. In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Lake ordered Brown to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term and to pay a fine of $1,000 per month while Brown is on supervised release. The court acknowledged at the sentencing hearing the assistance Brown provided in ongoing investigations.

Steph and Brown both had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) before Judge Lake in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. In pleading guilty, Steph and Brown admitted that Willbros, a publicly traded company that provides construction, engineering and other services in the oil and gas industry, conducted its international operations through WII and that they were both employees of WII. Steph admitted that beginning in approximately late 2003, he conspired with others to make a series of corrupt payments totaling more than $6 million to various Nigerian officials and officials from a Nigerian political party to assist Willbros in obtaining and retaining the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) Project, which was valued at approximately $387 million.

Steph also admitted that in early 2005, he, along with former WII executive Brown and others, arranged for the payment of approximately $1.8 million in cash to government officials in Nigeria to further the conspiracy. Steph admitted that in order to make these payments, he obtained $550,000 in cash from another co-conspirator, for the purpose of paying that money to Nigerian government officials. He also admitted that he obtained approximately $350,000 from a petty cash account, which was raised over several weeks by falsely inflating petty cash funding requests transmitted to Willbros and by covering the inflated amounts with invoices from fictitious vendors representing purportedly legitimate business expenses.

Brown admitted that in early 2005, he conspired with others to pay bribes to government officials in Nigeria for the purpose of retaining the EGGS Project. Brown admitted that to further this conspiracy, he, with the assistance of others, obtained a suitcase filled with $1 million in cash from a WII’s German construction company partner, which Brown then paid to another co-conspirator for the purpose of forwarding that money to Nigerian government officials.

Brown also admitted that in at least 1996 and continuing through at least 2004, he conspired with others to negotiate lower federal and state tax obligations in exchange for corrupt, "under the table" payments to Nigerian revenue officials, including officials responsible for auditing and enforcing taxes , for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business and for securing an improper advantage. Brown admitted he also conspired with others to make corrupt payments to officials of the Nigerian judicial system in exchange for favorable action on pending cases, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business and for securing an improper advantage.

Additionally, Brown admitted to making at least $300,000 in corrupt payments to Ecuadorian government officials affiliated with PetroEcuador and PetroCommercial, for the purpose of obtaining and retaining business for Willbros, WII and others, including the Proyecto Santo Domingo project. In connection with the Ecuador transaction, Brown and others agreed to pay $150,000 to the Ecuadorian officials up front and $150,000 at the project’s conclusion.

To date, in addition to Steph and Brown, the prosecution in this matter also includes:

• On Nov. 12, 2009, former WII consultant Paul Novak pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and one substantive count of violating the FCPA, in connection with his role in paying bribes to Nigerian government officials. Novak’s sentencing is currently scheduled for July 9, 2010.

• On Dec. 19, 2008, an indictment was unsealed against former Willbros executive Kenneth Tillery, charging him with conspiring to make more than $6.3 million in bribe payments to Nigerian and Ecuadoran officials; two individual counts of violating the FCPA in connection with the authorization of specific corrupt payments to officials in those countries; and one count of conspiring to launder the bribe payments through purported consulting companies. He remains a fugitive.

• On May 14, 2008, Willbros entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay a $22 million criminal penalty, in connection with the company’s payment of bribes to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Chief Hank Bond Walther and Trial Attorney Laura N. Perkins of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office squad that specializes in investigations of FCPA violations.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli Speaks at Teen Dating Violence Month Event

Washington, D.C. ~ Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good afternoon. My name is Tom Perrelli, and I am the Associate Attorney General of the United States. As the third ranking official at the Department of Justice, my responsibilities include overseeing our grant making programs for state, local and tribal law enforcement. That includes the Office on Violence Against Women, which administers critical funding to victim service providers and programs across the country.

I am honored to stand here with Senators Crapo, Whitehouse and Lieberman to shine a spotlight on the critical issue of teen dating violence. For the first time, this crime is being commemorated as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month," instead of a week. This is no small feat, and I commend these Senators and their colleagues for its unanimous passage earlier this week. Finally, teen dating violence is being given parity among the other three crimes authorized as part of the Violence Against Women Act – or VAWA. And while I stand here in the hope that one day we will put an end to all four crimes – sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and teen dating violence – the Department will use the month of February to raise awareness regarding teen dating violence and to provide opportunities for schools and communities to protect young people.

Violence against women and children is an issue I personally care deeply about, and it is one of the many areas where I believe that we are at a critical point to make a real and significant difference. This September marked t he 15 year anniversary of President Clinton signing VAWA into law. We at the Department have embarked on a year’s worth of activities meant to raise public awareness, to make sure that survivors everywhere know that they have a place – and a voice – in this administration, and to build toward a future where teen dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking are eradicated.

But this year cannot just be an anniversary – it must be a call to action, and that is how we at the Department are viewing it. We want to use this year to recommit ourselves to ending violence against women. Our government and this Department have a responsibility to speak out and act on issues of violence against women. This administration has committed itself to thinking outside the box – to bringing in new ideas, and new coalitions, to bring about change. It’s time to examine what we’ve done right, and more critically, what we’ve done wrong. Far too many communities in the United States are affected by this issue. We are committed to working with federal, state, local and tribal partners to ensure that all communities – particularly those that have been chronically neglected – are given the resources and support they need.

Violence against women is the seed to so many other forms of violence, and continues to have devastating effects on entire communities. And teen dating violence affects our most vulnerable – our young children – many of whom do not know how to identify, prevent or report incidences of teen dating violence. We know that a child who feels threatened cannot thrive at school or at home. How can we encourage our children to strive for the best, when they are afraid of who will be at their locker when they get out of class, or what might be waiting for them as they walk home after school?

Recently, the Attorney General and Secretary Arne Duncan sponsored a conversation with the Boston teenagers and others from different parts of the country who work on promoting healthy relationships in their own communities. These kids were so impressive. In response to a question "why should this be a top priority?," one student explained, "You guys would be amazed at how much this stuff is intertwined," adding that kids can’t do well in school when their outside lives are unhealthy. Work on the social and emotional parts of a child’s life, she said, and academic success can follow.

We must do better – and we must do this work together. We must involve our federal, state, local and tribal partners as well as individual communities. Communities must be involved in addressing the needs of our young people and holding offenders accountable. It cannot be the work of the Department of Justice alone, or the criminal justice system, or state government. Each community must take an active role in defining their response to stalking.

We at the Department share a vision where men, women, boys, girls and communities can live in a world without the fear of violence. Today, we take another step towards raising awareness and the profile of teen dating violence. If we’re going to do this, we are going to have to do it together. Thank you for taking yet another step in that commitment today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Police Leadership

Editor's Note:  Both authors are retired law enforcement.

A recent review of Leadership: Texas Hold 'em Style said, "This is without question one of the best books on effective leadership ever written and it is profound and entertaining as one of the most unusual yet best possible analogies is used. Poker is a game that requires a combination of skill and luck, luck in the sense that the cards you receive are randomly selected and skill in the sense that the best hand does not always win. This combination is one that is directly applicable to the situation faced by leaders in that they must play the hand they are dealt. While people in leadership positions can often select the people that work under them, there are many cases where they do not. Of course they generally have little to no influence in selecting the people in other areas that they must work with or the exterior circumstances such as market forces and economic tides. The latter part is the equivalent of the cards that you are dealt, which is important but not the only factor.


Complaining about the cards you have received is a common action and quite healthy, as long as it is not taken too far. Bouncing back and forth between leadership in the workplace and the equivalent situation in a poker game, the authors write some of the best advice for leaders and just generally dealing with life ever put on paper. We are all constantly buffeted by forces and events largely beyond our control, yet the worst thing we can do is to let our complaining and blaming become a dominant force in our lives. Winners in poker examine the cards they are dealt, examine the cards that the other players have exposed, make reasonable estimates regarding the unseen assets of their opponents, examine their current financial stake, look closely at their opponents in an attempt to read any subtle signals in their mannerisms and then take a calculated risk. This is what should be done in the business world. Sometimes the cards simply aren't there yet you bet anyway just to keep the opposition confused. In the business world, this is known as strategic thinking, taking a gamble on an immediate loss with the opportunity for greater benefits in the future. If you don't lose on occasion, you are not pressing the issues as much as you should.

Many books on leadership tend to be correct in their content but dull in their delivery. In this case the content is superb and the delivery is even beyond that, the comparisons between poker and quality leadership are apt, educational and make this book one that should be read, re-read and intellectually digested.

San Antonio Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

January 28, 2010 - United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in San Antonio this afternoon, 46-year-old Theresa A. Tolliver was sentenced to life in federal prison for conspiring to kill her husband in order to collect insurance proceeds.

In addition, United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ordered that Tolliver pay $594,200.73 in restitution, which represented the life insurance proceeds as well as the military and VA death benefits she collected.

On October 22, 2009, a jury found Tolliver guilty of conspiracy to cause travel in commission of murder-for-hire. Testimony during trial revealed that from October 2000 until November 2000, Tolliver conspired with her boyfriend, Emanuel Fonzie, to cause Jeremy Farr, a Helena, Arkansas resident, to travel to San Antonio in order to carry out the murder of Tolliver’s estranged husband, Derrick T. Tolliver. On November 20, 2000, authorities discovered Derrick Tolliver’s body inside his San Antonio residence with two gunshots to the back of his head.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorneys Bill Baumann and Tom Moore.

Houston-Area Patient Recruiter Convicted of Health Care Fraud

January 28, 2010 - Sylvia Smith, 64, a retired nurse, was convicted today of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson of the Southern District of Texas; and Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

At trial, Noel Jhagroo, owner of Trucare Medical Equipment Services (Trucare), a Houston-area durable medical equipment company, testified that he entered into a kickback arrangement with Smith, whereby he agreed to pay her 10 percent of what Medicare paid Trucare for each patient Smith referred. Jhagroo and Smith submitted claims to Medicare for enteral nutrition supplies and for bundles of orthotics, referred to as "artho kits." Jhagroo also testified that he paid Smith a kickback of $300 per patient in this scheme. In total, Jhagroo and Smith submitted $747,258 in phony claims to Medicare.

In order to bill Medicare for enteral nutrition supplies, Medicare regulations require that a beneficiary have a feeding tube. The forms supplied by Smith indicated that the beneficiaries she referred had such a feeding tube. The evidence at trial, however, showed that none of the patients referred by Smith had a feeding tube. The evidence also showed that Smith provided Jhagroo with high-dollar Medicare codes for specialized enteral food supplements. In fact, Smith and Jhagroo supplied patients with over-the-counter supplements, one of which stated on the bottle that it was "not for tube feeding."

The evidence at trial showed that Smith also provided Jhagroo with a product list of inexpensive, soft, over-the-counter supplements to be included in the artho kit. The evidence showed that Smith provided Jhagroo with Medicare codes to be used for billing purposes that were actually for expensive, rigid, high-end orthotics, in contrast to the inexpensive products that were actually delivered. After refusing the inexpensive artho kits initially, two Medicare beneficiaries testified that Smith offered them $100 if they would agree to accept the kits.

In addition to referring patients, the evidence at trial showed that Smith supplied Jhagroo with phony certificates of medical necessity signed by a Houston-area physician, so that Trucare could submit claims to Medicare. A Medicare beneficiary testified at trial that she had never heard of the physician who signed the form supplied by Smith to Trucare.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for May 12, 1010. Smith faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for the conspiracy count, as well as 10 years in prison for each of the six counts of health care fraud for which she was convicted. Smith also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 per count. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime. Jhagroo pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2009, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for his role in the scheme.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Chief John S. (Jay) Darden and Trial Attorneys Katherine Houston and Jennifer L. Saulino of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and the Railroad Retirement Board.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 500 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $1 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/

New York Man Arrested for Attempting to Open Aircraft Door During Flight

January 28, 2010 - Gregory Thomas Burns, age 33, a Sydney Center, New York, man, was arrested this morning on charges of interference with flight crew and attendants for his conduct aboard United Airlines Flight #223 on January 23, 2010, U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge James H. Davis announced. Burns, whose was charged in a sealed Criminal Complaint, was arrested without incident. Burns appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon where he was advised of the charges pending against him. He is next scheduled to be in court on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. for a detention and preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland.

The affidavit in support of the Criminal Complaint states, on January 23, 2010, the Denver Police Department and the FBI were advised that United Flight #223, which was flying from Dulles, Virginia to Las Vegas, Nevada, was being diverted to Denver International Airport because a disruptive passenger tried to open an entrance/exit door onboard the aircraft during flight.

According to the plane’s captain, he received a call from a flight attendant, who reported that passenger Burns attempted to open the aircraft’s door. The attendant further reported that Burns was restrained by passengers. The captain then declared an in-flight emergency, which resulted in immediately diverting to Denver.

One passenger interviewed by agents and officers said he noticed Burns come up from economy class and attempt to open the front left door of the aircraft. The passenger, with the assistance of other passengers, restrained Burns. After Burns was restrained he was searched for weapons and/or explosives, with negative results.

A flight attendant interviewed by agents and officers stated that she looked at the front left door and noticed the door’s operating handle was up and the cabin pressure light was on, which indicated the door was losing pressure. She tried to pull the operating handle down but it seemed jammed. The attendant then kept her hand on the operating handle. As the plane descended to Denver the handle locked down. She also had the female passengers seated in first class move to coach and had male passengers sit near Burns. For her safety, she obtained a carrier door which could be used as a shield. Another flight attendant retrieved two wine bottles from the galley. He gave one to a passenger seated near Burns. He kept the other bottle, which were held for passenger protection. He also blocked Burns’ access to the aisle.

Once the plane landed safely at DIA, Burns was removed from the plane and then detained. According to investigators, Burns drank multiple beers and gin drinks before and during the flight. He also allegedly took tranquilizer-type pills. Burns told the agents and officers that he thought he was on the wrong aircraft and that the plane was on the ground.

“This incident, as did the recent incident in Colorado Springs, shows that flight crews can quickly act to address the illegal conduct of a disruptive passenger,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

“The FBI would like to acknowledge the passengers’ efforts on United Flight #223 to recognize and diffuse a disruptive and potentially dangerous situation,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James H. Davis. “Everyone who flies should be on notice that actions and behavior that are disruptive or violent, affecting the flight crew or passengers, will be taken seriously. These crimes endanger everyone and the FBI will continue to aggressively investigate and pursue federal charges.”

If convicted, Burns faces up to 20 years in federal prison, and /or not more than a $250,000 fine.

A Criminal Complaint is a temporary probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony crime has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the Denver Police Department.

Burns is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Bergsieker.

These charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Colorado Springs Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Perjury

January 28, 2010 - Lawanna Clark, age 47, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was sentenced late last week by U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello to serve six months in federal prison for perjury, U.S. Attorney David M. Gaouette and IRS Criminal Investigation Denver Field Office Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Sigerson announced. Following her prison term, Clark is to serve two years on supervised release, with a special condition that she perform 100 hours of community service. Clark was ordered to report to a facility designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons within 15 days of designation.

Lawanna Clark was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 4, 2009. A summons was issued, ordering Clark to appear in court on April 23, 2009. Clark failed to appear, and an arrest warrant was issued. That warrant was executed on May 14, 2009. On November 12, 2009, a jury found her guilty of perjury following a two-day trial. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning their guilty verdict.

According to information contained in Clark’s indictment as well as the evidence presented at the trial, on February 6, 2007, Clark testified under oath before the federal grand jury regarding an investigation of a scheme to defraud over forty staffing companies.

The Banks indictment alleges that the named defendants, acting through companies known as Leading Team, Inc. (“LT”), IRP Solutions Corporation (“IRP”), or DKH, LLC (“DKH”), defrauded the victim staffing companies by perpetrating a scheme that included approving and submitting to staffing companies time reporting cards containing false statements about the number of hours worked by employees, the times of day during which employees worked, and/or the nature of the work performed by employees. Several of the defendants named in that indictment and many of the other alleged employees were either Clark’s family members, members of her church, or both. Clark was placed at Leading Team through a staffing company called Analysts International (“AI”), as a software tester.

During Clark’s appearance before the grand jury on February 6, 2007, Clark was questioned about a number of topics, including Analysts International, her knowledge of the businesses of Leading Team, IRP, and DKH, and her dealings with a bank account in the name of IRP over which she had, at least initially, sole signatory authority. Clark provided testimony on all of these topics that was contradicted by evidence introduced during her trial. Specifically she was asked, “You never withdrew any money from the [IRP] bank account?” Defendant Clark testified, “No.” Evidence later demonstrated that on April 22, 2003, Defendant Clark made two cash withdrawals of $4,000 each from this account.

“Lying before a grand jury is a serious crime with serious consequences,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

“This case sends a clear message, there are consequences for lying while under oath in a court of law,” said Christopher M. Sigerson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch.

Federal Grand Jury Returns Indictments

January 28, 2010 - A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, returned the following indictments today. You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

JANESVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH DRUG CRIMES

Byron D. Broomfield, 22, Janesville, Wis., is charged with three counts of distributing five grams or more of crack cocaine. The indictment alleges that he distributed crack cocaine on November 13, 19 and 22, 2009.

If convicted, Broomfield faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison on each count. The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Janesville Police Department. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Reinhard.

RICE LAKE MAN CHARGED WITH GUN CRIME

Daniel Hoy, 27, Rice Lake, Wis., is charged with making a false statement on a Firearms Transaction Record to be kept in the records of Wild Bill’s Outpost, Cameron, Wis. The indictment alleges that on March 7, 2008, Hoy stated on the Firearms Transaction Record that he was the actual buyer of a .45 caliber pistol, whereas in truth he was not. If convicted, Hoy faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow.

BOYCEVILLE WOMAN CHARGED WITH MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN LOAN DOCUMENTS

Joy Ann Wyss, 44, Boyceville, Wis., is charged with 14 counts of making false statements to Bremer Bank, NA, Colfax, Wis. The indictment alleges that Wyss, the owner and operator of Fast Lane Transport, LLC and J.C. Logistics, LLC, made statements to Bremer Bank in which she falsely stated that the companies had accounts receivable in amounts required by a loan agreement.

If convicted, Wyss faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on each count. The charges against her are the result of an investigation by the Eau Claire office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Grant C. Johnson.

TWO MINNESOTA MEN CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTING METHAMPHETAMINE

Juan L. Loredo, 35, St. Paul, Minn., and Federico Perez, 26, St. Paul Park, Minn., are charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The indictment also alleges that Loredo and Perez distributed 100 grams or more of methamphetamine on October 28, 2009, and five grams or more of methamphetamine on November 11, 2009.

If convicted, Loredo and Perez face a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison on each of the first two counts, and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison on the third count. The charges against them are the result of an investigation by the West Central Drug Task Force. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. O'Shea.

INMATE CHARGED WITH ASSAULT

Anthony Prellowitz, 31, Oxford, Wis., is charged with committing simple assault. The indictment alleges that the assault took place on December 9, 2009, at the Federal Correctional Institution at Oxford, Wis.

If convicted, Prellowitz faces a maximum penalty of six months in federal prison. The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and FCI-Oxford. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman.

Former Credit Union Loan Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

Defrauded at Least Five Customers of More Than $171,000

January 28, 2010 - Felicia Douglas, age 42, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to defraud customers at the credit union where she worked.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Douglas’ plea agreement, between about January 2001 and November 2005, she was employed as a loan supervisor at the Educational Systems Employees Federal Credit Union (“ESEFCU”), which maintained offices in Bladensburg and Greenbelt, Maryland. During her employment, Douglas created fraudulent checking and share accounts, loans, lines of credit (“LOC”), and credit card accounts in the names of at least five ESEFCU customers, without their knowledge or consent, and manipulated ESEFCU customers’ existing LOC and credit card accounts to increase credit limits, also without customers’ knowledge or consent. Douglas used these accounts to obtain at least $171,033.06, which she used to pay her credit card bills and otherwise for her personal benefit. Douglas concealed her conduct by using a portion of the funds she fraudulently obtained to repay some of the loans, LOC, and credit card accounts; by backdating transactions and changing terms, such as due dates; and by altering mailing instructions on the accounts to prevent statements and notifications from being sent to the victim ESEFCU customers.

Douglas faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on bank fraud and two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for April 19, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf, who is prosecuting the case.

Miami Resident Sentenced to 22-Year Prison Term for Medicare Fraud Scheme; Five Others Sentenced to Jail Terms

January 28, 2010 - Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division; Al Lamberti, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office; and Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, announced that defendants Michel De Jesus Huarte, Alyd Dazza, Ricco Dazza, Monika Blacio, Dayron Porrata, and Wally Proenza, all residents of Miami-Dade County, were sentenced today by the Honorable Patricia Seitz for various offenses including conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. One remaining defendant, Vicente Gonzalez, will be sentenced on February 1, 2010.

The lead defendant, Michel De Jesus Huarte, was sentenced to 264 months' incarceration while co-defendant Alyd Dazza was sentenced to 179 months' imprisonment, co-defendant Ricco Dazza was sentenced to 115 months' imprisonment, co-defendant Monika Blacio was sentenced to 78 months' imprisonment, co-defendant Dayron Porrata was sentenced to 84 months' imprisonment, and co-defendant Wally Proenza was sentenced to 17 months' imprisonment for their respective roles in two fraud schemes.

Medicare HIV-Infusion Fraud Scheme

The first conspiracy alleged that Huarte and other conspirators operated and controlled six purported medical clinics in Miami Dade County. According to the Indictment, these clinics submitted at least $50.2 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for infusion therapy, injection therapy, and other expensive medical treatments designed treat Medicare beneficiaries suffering from a wide variety of ailments including cancer, HIV, AIDS, chronic pain, and varicose veins. Based on these fraudulent claims, Huarte and his conspirators were paid at least $19.2 million.

To conceal their involvement in the scheme, Huarte and his conspirators recruited nominee or “straw” owners for each company, and paid them large sums of cash to sign the corporate records, bank records, and other business documents.

The six purported clinics involved in the fraud were Zigma Medical Care, Inc., Tender Loving Care Medical Center, Inc, Professional Medical Health, Inc., Metro Med Care, Inc., San Diego Medical & Rehab Center, Inc., and Eulogia's Diagnostic Medical Center, Inc.

Multistate Medicare Advantage Fraud Scheme

Huarte was involved in a second Medicare fraud conspiracy along with co-defendants Alyd Dazza, Ricco Dazza, Monika Blacio, and Dayron Porrata. In the second conspiracy, Huarte and his conspirators expanded the Medicare fraud scheme by opening twenty-nine (29) medical clinics in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Many of the clinics were simply P.O. Boxes, or empty, abandoned storefronts. These sham medical clinics collectively submitted approximately $55.5 million in false and fraudulent claims to various private insurance companies that offered coverage to Medicare beneficiaries through Medicare Advantage programs. Based on these false and fraudulent claims, the Medicare Advantage programs paid approximately $14.6 million dollars to the sham clinics. A substantial portion of the billings were for expensive cancer and HIV medications that are often administered via infusion treatments, i.e., the insertion of a needle into a patient's vein.

According to court documents, the final defendant, Wally Proenza stole and sold the identities of 718 Medicare beneficiaries living in at least five (5) states. Proenza stole the identities from from his employer where he had access to personal identifying data of millions of Medicare beneficiaries. Proenza then sold the identifications to co-defendant Dayron Porrata. Porrata transferred the identifications to other conspirators, including Huarte, who utilized the Medicare beneficiaries identifications to submit false and fraudulent claims through the twenty-nine (29) sham clinics located in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Stumphauzer, Dan Bernstein, and Alison Lehr.

Robbery of TD Bank Branch in Haddonfield, New Jersey


January 28, 2010 - The FBI and the Haddonfield Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify and locate the subject responsible for the robbery of the TD Bank located at 100 Haddon Avenue, Haddonfield, New Jersey, earlier today.

At approximately 9:58 a.m., the subject entered the bank and presented a threatening demand note to a teller. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, the subject fled the area of the bank on foot.

The subject is described as a black male in his late 20’s to early 30’s, 6’0” tall, medium build, wearing a maroon colored baseball cap with a black brim and a word across the front, a light colored shirt with multiple colored vertical stripes, and khaki or tan pants. It is also believed that the subject was wearing a long, black wig.

Two pictures from the bank’s security cameras are below.

Anyone with information about this subject or robbery is asked to call the FBI office in Cherry Hill at 856-795-9556 or the Haddonfield Police Department. There may be a reward for information leading to this subject’s apprehension, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Riverside Gang with Links to Mexican Mafia Targeted in Federal Case that Alleges Methamphetamine Trafficking

Twenty Members and Associates of Eastside Riva Charged in Federal Court

January 28, 2010 - Law enforcement authorities this morning arrested six defendants linked to a Riverside street gang that is alleged to act under the control of the Mexican Mafia and to engage in the trafficking of methamphetamine and other federal offenses that include hate crimes targeting African-Americans. The six defendants are among 20 charged in three criminal complaints filed yesterday afternoon in United States District Court and unsealed this morning. Nine of the defendants charged in the federal cases are already in state custody, in some cases on related charges, and five of the defendants are currently being sought by authorities.

The federal criminal cases are part of a coordinated crackdown on the Eastside Riva (ESR), a 20-year-old street gang with about 500 members that claims territory on the east side of the City of Riverside. The federal investigation, which started in November 2008, led to the criminal complaints that were unsealed today and allege numerous methamphetamine transactions, as well as tactics that ESR uses to maintain power and to cooperate with the Mexican Mafia, to which ESR pays monetary tribute referred to as “taxes” or “rent.”

Of the three criminal complaints filed in federal court, two charge single defendants—one with drug trafficking, one with being a felon in possession of a firearm—and the third complaint charges 18 defendants. The main complaint outlines the alleged structure, rules and activities of ESR, noting that:

- ESR frequently engages in “cruising,” where ESR members arm themselves with an array of deadly weapons and travel in groups to rival gang territory to attack rival gangsters;

- ESR rules require that members of the gang attack individuals who intentionally or inadvertently enter ESR territory, whether they are rival gang members or simply innocent bystanders traveling through ESR territory;

- ESR members use MySpace.com to communicate about gang business, and they use rap music videos and recordings to deliver messages of violence and intimidation;

- ESR is hostile to the presence of African-Americans in ESR territory, even if they are not affiliated with a gang; and

- ESR relies on the possession of firearms to defend and maintain its turf, to attack or defend themselves from rival gang members, and to create an atmosphere of fear in which victims and witnesses will be reluctant to testify against gang members out of fear of retaliation.

The investigation into ESR was conducted by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, investigators with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office and the Riverside Police Department, and special agents with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“Federal law enforcement authorities have partnered with local enforcement to take gang members off the streets of communities across Southern California,” said Acting United States Attorney George S. Cardona. “As this action targeting Eastside Riva demonstrates, we will continue to work with local authorities to go after the worst street gangs that traffic in narcotics and terrorize neighborhoods with their violence.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum stated: “Our communities deserve to exist without fear and intimidation inflicted by violent drug gangs. Today’s arrests should significantly impact the violent drug related activity that has wreaked havoc throughout the eastside of Riverside. This effort, as part of Operation Promise, is a promise to our citizens of the continued commitment of law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels to keep our streets safe.”

Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, commented: “Law enforcement at the local and federal levels have once again joined to disrupt a criminal organization responsible for igniting the violence which has a paralyzing effect on the law-abiding citizens of Riverside, and which devastates otherwise peaceful communities. The crimes alleged in this case have serious consequences and, if convicted, ESR gang members will spend a good part of their lives behind bars.”

Those named in the main criminal complaint are:

Salvador Orozco Hernandez, Jr. (aka “Toro” and “Tio”), 45, of Bloomington, a Mexican Mafia member currently in state prison on attempted murder charges, who is accused of issuing directives to senior ESR members on topics including “tax” collections and drug distribution in ESR territory;

• Robert Zavala Carrillo (aka “Pato”), 37, of Moreno Valley, accused of being the de facto leader of the ESR gang and the president of an ESR clique, who is a fugitive;

• Christopher Nevarez (aka “Flako), 38, of Riverside, the alleged liason between the ESR and the Mexican Mafia, who is currently in state custody on a parole violation;

• Ronnie Marquez (aka “Shadow”), 41, of Riverside, allegedly a senior member of ESR who is in custody awaiting trial on drug and weapons offense;

• Ignacio Chavez (aka “Kartune”), 32, of Riverside, a senior member of ESR who is in custody awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder and drug traficking;

• Mark Gil (aka “Papa” and “Little G”), 35, of Moreno Valley, a senior member of ESR, who is a fugitive;

• Andrew Pacheco Moreno (aka “Drew”), 37, of Fontanam, who was arrested this morning;

• Daniel Henry Padron (aka “Danny Boy” and “Sneaky”), 33, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of drug trafficking;

• Jose Arredondo (aka “Tony”), 40, of Hemet, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of drug trafficking;

• Johnny Gomez, 44, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

• Nateno Moreno (aka “Shorty”), 32, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

• Vanessa Garcia (aka “Pookie” and “Erica”), 22, of Riverside, who is in custody on a parole violation;

• Allexxis Olonna Smith, 24, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted of carjacking;

• Chris James Garcia (aka “Chuco”), 42, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

• Rudy Tovar (aka “Dinky”), 30, of Riverside, who is currently incarcerated after being convicted on drug trafficking charges;

• Paul Cortez (aka “Wiskers”), 22, of Riverside, who was arrested this morning;

• Allan Patrick Staley (aka “Paya”), 37, of Riverside, who is a fugitive; and

• Deanna Wagner, 33, of Riverside, who is a fugitive.

The other two defendants charged are: David Martinez, 37, who was arrested this morning after being charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Ronnie Granado, 42, a fugitive who is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The six defendants arrested today are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside. As for the nine defendants currently in state custody, the United States Attorney’s Office expects to file writs to have them brought into federal custody. Authorities continue to search for five of the defendants named in the federal cases

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted, each of the 19 defendants charged with narcotics violations faces a maximum statutory sentence of life without parole in federal prison. Granado faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the weapons violation.

United States Announces Extradition of Individual Charged in the Death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar

January 28, 2010 - U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Karen P. Hewitt announced today the extradition of Jesus Navarro-Montes from the Republic of Mexico. According to the indictment, previously unsealed in San Diego federal court, Navarro-Montes is charged in a three-count superseding indictment with federal narcotics violations and second-degree murder in connection with the death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar on Jan. 19, 2008.

Navarro-Montes arrived today in Houston, where he will be presented in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Navarro-Montes will be transferred in the coming days by the U.S. Marshals Service to the Southern District of California where he will make his initial appearance there.

According to the superseding indictment, Agent Aguilar was on duty on Jan. 19, 2008, in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, Calif., when he was struck and killed by a Hummer H2 driven by Navarro-Montes. The superseding indictment further alleges that Navarro-Montes conspired to distribute marijuana beginning at a date unknown and continuing up to and including Jan. 19, 2008. The superseding indictment was handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on May 6, 2009, and unsealed on May 14, 2009. The superseding indictment replaced an initial indictment handed up by a San Diego federal grand jury on Feb. 18, 2009, alleging that Navarro-Montes had possessed with intent to distribute approximately 445 kilograms of marijuana on Sept. 23, 2007.

If convicted of the charges in the superseding indictment, the defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of 40 years on the narcotics charges and a maximum sentence of life in prison on the murder charge.

The extradition announced today is the result of close cooperation between the United States and Mexican law enforcement authorities. The Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs was also instrumental in achieving this extradition.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Border Patrol - El Centro and Yuma Sectors.

The case is being prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Leshner and Todd W. Robinson.

An indictment is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Manhattan Real Estate Developer Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for $27 Million Mortgage Fraud and Ponzi Scheme

January 28, 2010 - PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Manhattan real estate developer MICHAEL HERSHKOWITZ was sentenced today to four years in prison for his participation in a $27 million Ponzi scheme involving fraudulent loans secured by nonexistent mortgages.

According to the documents filed in the case in Manhattan federal court:

HERSHKOWITZ, working through a Manhattan real estate development company, The Kingsland Group, Inc., and related entities (collectively, "The Kingsland Group"), fraudulently induced approximately 100 individuals to lend the Kingsland Group over $27 million to fund the renovation of approximately sixteen multi-family apartment buildings located in upper Manhattan. HERSHKOWITZ and a co-conspirator, IVY WOOLF-TURK, falsely represented that the lenders would hold, as collateral for the loans, interests in bona fide first mortgages in the various properties in which they thought they were investing. In truth and in fact, HERSHKOWITZ did not record mortgages on behalf of the lenders. Some interest was paid to some of the defrauded lenders with loans made by other victims, and HERSHKOWITZ or WOOLF TURK made false statements to investors about the status of their loans. Ultimately the principal on the loans was not repaid when due, and the lenders learned that they did not have valid first mortgages on the properties in question, as had been falsely promised to them.

Numerous victims wrote letters to the Court, describing the impact of HERSHKOWITZ and WOOLF-TURK's Ponzi scheme. One stated that she had "lost my life savings of a little over $200,000 because I trusted MICHAEL HERSHKOWITZ's integrity," and that her "life had changed completely, and I fight depression every day." Another victim stated that because of the fraud, she "can no longer afford health insurance," and "ha[s] no way to get decent health care despite having spinal cord and health problems." Another complained that HERSHKOWITZ "preyed upon unsuspecting retirees, such as myself, with promises of safe, secure investments supported by New York City real estate." Victims also complained that the fraud had decimated their retirement savings and their childrens' college funds, and made them unable to make mortgage payments.

HERSHKOWITZ, 53, of New York, New York, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He was sentenced today by United States District Judge P. KEVIN CASTEL. In addition to the four-year prison term, Judge CASTEL ordered forfeiture of $27,184,750, representing the funds obtained through the fraud.

In sentencing HERSHKOWITZ, Judge CASTEL said, "this was a systematic course of criminal conduct."

WOOLF TURK, of Port Washington, New York, previously pleaded guilty to a related charge and was sentenced on November 23, 2009, to five years in prison and restitution of $27,184,750.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Michael Hershkowitz and Ivy Woolf Turk defrauded nearly 100 victims out of more than $27 million dollars. Their victims entrusted sometimes a lifetime's worth of hard-earned savings, only to lose everything. We will continue to work with our partners at the FBI to combat fraud and to bring those responsible to justice," said U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA.

This prosecution is being handled by the Complex Frauds Unit of the United States Attorney's Office. Assistant United States Attorney HARRY A. CHERNOFF is in charge of the prosecution.