Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Glove Bandit Strikes Third New York City Bank

This morning, at approximately 8:57 a.m., a Chase Bank located at 57-27 Main Street in Flushing, New York was robbed at gunpoint. A black Hispanic male entered the bank, approached several tellers, and demanded cash while pointing his silver/grey hand gun at bank staff. The individual fled on foot with a large amount of money. This is the One Glove Bandit’s third alleged robbery, which are increasingly violent.

The black Hispanic male was described as roughly 5’8, 190 to 195 pounds, and medium build. He was last seen wearing a blue Yankee hat, large black sunglasses, and a blue and black long sleeve plaid shirt, with light facial hair. The One Glove Bandit is also believed to have robbed:

■Signature Bank located at 84 Broadway, Brooklyn, New York on Friday May 6, 2011, and again on Friday July 1, 2011

A significant reward is available for a tip that breaks the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI immediately at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Tucson Firearms Dealer Indicted and Arrested on Multiple Federal Firearms Charges

TUCSON, Ariz. – A federal grand jury in Tucson returned a 9-count indictment on Wednesday against Michael James Gesty, 46, of Tucson, for violations of making machineguns, making false statements on an application for a federal firearms license, making false statements during purchase of firearms, failure to keep records of firearm sales, and possession of firearms and ammunition by a drug user. Gesty was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives today on a warrant issued as a result of the indictment, and is currently detained pending an initial appearance scheduled tomorrow.

The indictment alleges that Gesty, a federally licensed firearms dealer, doing business as Spartan Armory and Black Wolf Weapons, instructed and assisted others in making several fully automatic machinegun rifles. The indictment also alleges that Gesty, a habitual user of marijuana, made a false statement when applying for his federal firearms license by stating that he was not a user of marijuana or any controlled substance, and unlawfully possessed several firearms and ammunition both at his residence and business while being a user of marijuana. The indictment further alleges that Gesty failed to keep required records of several firearms sales he made through his business, and that he also instructed and encouraged others to make false statements in Gesty's business records.

A conviction for making machineguns and possession of firearms and ammunition by a drug user carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, a $250,000 fine or both. A conviction for making false statements on an application for a federal firearms license, making false statements during purchase of firearms, and failure to keep records of firearm sales carries a maximum penalty of five years, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, U.S. District Judge Collins will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The prosecution is being handled by Angela W. Woolridge, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

RELEASE NUMBER: 2011-161(Gesty)

Jury Convicts Member of Counterfeit DVD and CD Trafficking Group

WASHINGTON—Charles Ndhlovu was convicted today for his participation in a counterfeit DVD and CD ring, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates for the Northern District of Georgia.

A federal jury in the Northern District of Georgia convicted Ndhlovu of one count of trafficking in counterfeit labels and three counts of criminal copyright infringement. Ndhlovu and his co-defendants were originally indicted in May 2009. Ndhlovu was charged with additional counts in a superseding indictment returned by a grand jury on May 20, 2011.

The jury returned its verdict today after three days of trial and six hours of deliberation. The evidence at trial established that other defendants named in the May 2009 indictment rented space at a warehouse on Metropolitan Parkway in Atlanta, where they “burned,” or copied DVDs and CDs and produced counterfeit labels and packaging. According to the evidence at trial, Ndhlovu purchased labels and blank digital media for use in manufacturing the infringing DVD and CD copies of copyrighted material and distributing them to retail outlets. The entire criminal enterprise was responsible for the distribution of illegal products that, if legitimate, would have been valued at more than $12 million.

The charges each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. In addition, the defendant faces a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Pearce in the Northern District of Georgia and Senior Counsel John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS). The case was investigated by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security, together with the Atlanta Police Department Organized Crime Unit, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, College Park Police Department, and East Point Police Department, with assistance from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Texas Lawmen, 1835-1899: The Good and the Bad

With the addition of Ron DeLord's New book, Police Books now lists 1127 law enforcement professionals from 427 US state or local police departmentss and the 2456 books they have written.

Ron DeLord is recognized as one of the leading police union contract negotiators in Texas; an expert on police unions in US, Canada and Australia; author and lecturer on police union leadership, power, organization, media and political action in all three countries; and historian for various police memorials.

Ron DeLord was elected in 1977 to the first of ten three-year terms as president of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), representing 18,000 members. He later served as executive director and is currently serving as the special counsel to the executive director at CLEAT. Prior to joining CLEAT, DeLord served as a police officer for the Beaumont (Texas) Police Department from 1969 to 1971 and the Mesquite (Texas) Police Department from 1971 to 1978.

According to the book description of Texas Lawmen, 1835-1899: The Good and the Bad, “The tally of Texas lawmen killed in the line of duty during the state's first sixty-five years of organized law enforcement is truly staggering. From Texas Rangers the likes of Silas Mercer Parker Jr., gunned down at Parker's Fort in 1836, to Denton County sheriff's deputy Floyd Coberly, murdered by an inmate in 1897 after ten days on the job, this collection accounts for all of those unsung heroes. Not merely an attempt to retell a dozen popular peace officer legends, Texas Lawmen, 1835-1899 represents thousands of hours of research conducted over more than a decade. Ronald DeLord and Cliff Caldwell have carefully assembled a unique and engaging chronicle of Texas history.”

Friday, July 29, 2011

Four Metro Men Plead Guilty in Connection with Edmond Condominium Project

OKLAHOMA CITY—Yesterday, SHAWN PATRICK LINN, 42, of Edmond, pled guilty to a federal conspiracy charge related to a failed Edmond commercial and residential development called “The Falls,” announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Earlier this year, DEREK CHRISTOPHER SWANN, 38, of Oklahoma City, GIOVANNI BRYAN STINSON, 38, of Edmond, and MARK A. VANHOOSE, 32, of Oklahoma City, also pled guilty to felony charges in connection with The Falls.

According to the informations filed against Swann and Stinson, those two men decided in 2005 to try to build The Falls project in Edmond. The next year, Swann, Stinson and others at their direction began soliciting private investors for money to develop The Falls. Swann and Stinson acquired investor proceeds for The Falls based on false information and then used those proceeds for personal expenses and repayment of earlier investors. According to the informations, individuals invested more than $5 million into The Falls based on promises that the monies would be spent for engineering, architectural, and infrastructure costs. Rather than paying for those expenses, Swann and Stinson used investor proceeds to pay for golf and entertainment expenses at a private Oklahoma City golf club, to lease BMW cars for The Falls’ officers and their spouses, and to repay earlier investors who had been promised repayment. The Falls project was never completed.

On February 28, 2011, Swann pled guilty to one count of money laundering. At the plea hearing, Swann admitted that he helped to convince a Texas investor to wire $255,000 to a local bank for the Edmond project. Swann further admitted that after receiving those funds, he transferred the money to another account and used some of those funds for purposes not disclosed to the investor. On July 6, 2011, Stinson pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud, in connection with raising investor proceeds for The Falls based on false information.

On February 4, 2011, VanHoose pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to Citizens Bank of Edmond for a $50,000 personal loan in his name. Yesterday, Linn pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to Citizens Bank for the same loan. According to the Informations filed against VanHoose and Linn, the financial statements presented to the local bank for VanHoose exaggerated his assets and net worth. At VanHoose’s plea hearing, he admitted that he conspired with Swann and Linn to get a $50,000 personal loan in his name from a local bank. VanHoose later diverted most of the loan proceeds, without the bank’s knowledge, to The Falls project.

Swann faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the money laundering count. Stinson, Linn, and VanHoose each face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the conspiracy counts. Each defendant will also be required to pay restitution to victims. Sentencing for VanHoose is set for September 7, 2011. Sentencing for the other three defendants has not been set.

These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris M. Stephens and Nick Lillard.

Greene County Man Charged with Robbing Morrisville Bank at Knife-Point

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Greene County, Mo., man was charged in federal court today with robbing a Morrisville, Mo., bank at knife-point yesterday.

Daryl Williams, 50, of Greene County, was charged in a federal criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. Williams remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

Today’s complaint alleges that Williams stole approximately $3,000 from Farmer’s State Bank, 1168 Maple St., Morrisville. According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s complaint, Williams entered the bank at approximately 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Williams allegedly had a nylon panty hose stocking pulled over his head and face and was wearing a baseball cap.

Williams was brandishing a knife with a wooden handle and a six- to eight-inch blade, the affidavit says. He allegedly told a bank employee working behind the counter, “This is a robbery,” and ordered the employee to give him money. The employee gave Williams the money from the teller drawer, the affidavit says, then Williams told another employee at an adjacent teller station, “Give me your 100s, 50s and 20s.” As Williams said this, he allegedly tapped the knife on the teller counter. The employee handed over the money from the teller drawer.

According to the affidavit, Williams left the bank and drove away in a red/maroon extended cab Ford F-150 truck headed east on Missouri Highway 215 in the direction of Missouri Highway 13. Bank employees notified law enforcement of the bank robbery and provided a description of the vehicle.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. the same day, law enforcement officers with the Polk County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and an officer with the Missouri Department of Conservation stopped Williams’ vehicle on a gravel side road near the intersection of Highway 215 and Highway 13. Officials found a substantial amount of money in the vehicle and Williams was arrested.

Phillips cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Polk County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the FBI.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CBP Officers at Imperial Valley Ports Intercepted more than $102,000 worth of Narcotics in One Day

Imperial Valley, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Andrade and Calexico downtown ports of entry arrested three U.S. citizens on Monday, July 25, for allegedly attempting to smuggle more than $102,000 worth of narcotics from entering the United States.

The first seizure occurred at about 11:30 a.m. at the Andrade port of entry when a 37-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a white 2001 Ford F-150 Pick-up truck was referred for further examination.

During the secondary examination, a canine screening of the vehicle led officers to the discovery of 36 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed inside the spare tire. The weight of the narcotic was 63 pounds with an estimated street value of $102,530.

The driver, a resident of Yuma, Arizona, was arrested and turned over to Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) for further processing.

The second seizure occurred six hours later at the Calexico downtown port of entry when a CBP officer conducting inspections of vehicles and travelers referred two male U.S. citizens in a blue 2002 Ford Mustang for further examination.

An intensive inspection that included a canine screening led officers to the discovery of six wrapped packages of methamphetamines concealed inside a non-factory compartment in the spoiler that was affixed on top of the vehicle’s trunk. The weight of the narcotic was seven pounds with an estimated street value of $77,000.

The driver and passenger, 23-year-old and 22-year-old male residents of Holtville, California, were arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of HSI for further processing.

Violators were transported to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

In both incidents, CBP seized the narcotics and vehicles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

DEA Leads Largest U.S. Strike Against La Familia Cartel

Twenty-Month Series of Investigations Lead to Nearly 2,000 Arrests, Over $60 Million Seized

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JUL 21 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of Project Delirium, a 20-month series of investigations nationwide targeting the La Familia Michoacana cartel. DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart announced the results of the largest strike against La Familia in the United States: 1,985 arrests, $62 million in U.S. currency, and approximately 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine, 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in other assets. Over 70 of these arrests took place yesterday and today, and over 200 have been arrested since June 1.

“Project Delirium is the second successful, strategic and surgical strike to disrupt and destroy one of the most violent Mexican cartels, La Familia,” said Administrator Leonhart. “Through their violent drug trafficking activities, including their hallmark of supplying most of the methamphetamine imported into the United States, La Familia is responsible for recklessly and violently destroying countless lives on both sides of the border. The strong joint efforts with our Mexican and U.S. law enforcement partners are crippling this brutal organization by capturing its leaders, strangling its distribution networks, and relentlessly pursuing its members and those who facilitate them.”

“Through coordinated and strategic efforts like Project Delirium, we are disrupting the operations of Mexican drug cartels in the United States and Mexico,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. “Today, we see drug traffickers operating in urban and rural communities alike. The arrests and seizures we are announcing today have stripped La Familia of its manpower, its deadly product and its profit, and helped make communities large and small safer. The department is determined to continue our aggressive efforts, along with our Mexican law enforcement partners, to diminish and ultimately eliminate the threat posed by these dangerous groups.”

“Through the Secretariat of Public Security, the Government of Mexico has seen increased results in their fight against the drug trafficking organizations,” said Mexico’s Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna. “Due to increased information sharing and collaboration with the DEA, these efforts have resulted in successful and significant arrests and seizures of drugs and money.”

“Law enforcement officials here in the U.S., in Mexico and all around the world are cooperating at unprecedented levels. There is a willingness -- like never before -- to work hand-in-hand to fight the cartels, the criminal enterprises, and the violent gangs that threaten the peace and security of people on both sides of the border,” said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“Investigations such as Project Delirium target the dangers these organizations pose to the United States and Mexico,” said Shawn Henry, FBI’s executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “The FBI, together with our federal and international law enforcement partners, will continue to commit our resources to combat the threat posed by transnational criminal enterprises.”

Project Delirium is the result of information gathered during the course of a previous effort targeting La Familia, known as Project Coronado, which culminated in 2009.

As part of Project Delirium, arrests have been made or charges have been unsealed to date in the following districts: the Northern District of Alabama; the Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California; the District of Colorado; the District of Columbia; the Northern District of Georgia, the District of Kansas; the Eastern District of Michigan; the District of Minnesota; the Eastern District of Missouri; the District of New Mexico; the Eastern and Western Districts of North Carolina; the Western District of Tennessee; and the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas. On June 21, 2011, Mexican law enforcement arrested La Familia leader and Consolidated Priority Organizational Target (CPOT) Jose de Jesus Mendez-Vargas, aka “El Chango” or “The Monkey,” based on Mexican charges.

Charges include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to import narcotics into the United States; money laundering; and other violations of federal law. Numerous defendants face forfeiture allegations as well.

The investigative efforts in Project Delirium were coordinated by the multi-agency Special Operations Division, comprised of agents and analysts from the DEA, FBI, ICE, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Office of International Affairs. More than 300 federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies contributed investigative and prosecutorial resources to Project Delirium through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

The department thanks the Government of Mexico and its Mexican law enforcement partners for their continued partnership and collaboration in the ongoing efforts to combat Mexican drug cartels.

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Manufacturing and Sending Synthetic Drug to Alaska

ANCHORAGE—United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that today, July 27, 2011, Ryan Travis Brown, a resident of Palm Harbor, Florida, pled guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute 400 grams or more of a substance containing fentanyl. Chief United States District Judge Ralph R. Beistline accepted the guilty plea from Brown, age 30.

According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Russo, Brown conspired with Anchorage co-defendants Brackston Moores, Amanda Moss, and Ronnie Adams to distribute the substance, which is similar to a synthetic heroin, between December 2008, and April 22, 2009. Plea documents indicate that the defendant’s role in the conspiracy was to manufacture the substance containing fentanyl using a formula he developed. The substance was created by mixing the fentanyl, which Brown purchased from China, together with other substances including a plant called kratom, diphenydramine, caffeine, and a small amount of morphine. Brown would then send packages of the substance to Anchorage for distribution by Moores, Adams, and Moss, whose cases are still pending in United States District Court in Anchorage.

The plea documents further allege that, during the period of the conspiracy, over 400 grams of fentanyl were shipped, or attempted to be shipped, by Brown from Florida to Alaska. On February 19, 2009, during the period of the conspiracy, M.C., a friend and drug customer of both Moores and Adams, died from an overdose of fentanyl. Analysis of M.C.’s blood revealed traces of kratom, diphenhydramine, caffeine, and morphine, as well as fentanyl. In M.C.’s bedroom, there was also a quantity of the fentanyl mixture, in the same chemical ratios used by Brown to create the substance.

Judge Beistline set sentencing for October 19, 2011. The law provides for a total sentence of up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and a fine of $4 million for this offense. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Anchorage District Office, the Anchorage Police Department’s Vice Unit, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of this case. They were assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory.

Lindenwold, New Jersey Man Sentenced to Prison for Robbery of Gas Station Owner

CAMDEN, NJ—A Lindenwold, N.J., man was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for his role in the robbery of a gas station owner outside a TD Bank in Deptford, N.J., U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jamaine Levi, 23, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of aiding and abetting a Hobbs Act robbery. Levi entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez. Judge Rodriguez also imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court: Prior to the robbery on June 11, 2010, Donnell Cheek told Levi about a tip he had received from TD Bank teller Stephanie Jordan regarding a bank customer that made large cash deposits. The customer owned several gas stations.

Levi admitted that on the day of the robbery, he and co-conspirators Donnell and Dashawn Cheek waited near the gas station owner’s house and then followed him to several gas stations and to the TD Bank in Deptford.

At the bank, the Cheek brothers got out of the car, approached the gas station owner, and took his blue Sunoco money bag containing approximately $65,440 in proceeds of his gas stations’ sales. After stealing the money, the Cheeks ran back to where Levi was waiting in the car. They later split the cash.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Levi to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $72,684 in restitution.

Jordan and the Cheek brothers have all pleaded guilty to related offenses. Dashawn Cheek was sentenced to 50 months in prison on June 22, 2011; Jordan and Donnell Cheek await sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos in Philadelphia; investigators with the Camden County and Gloucester County Prosecutors’ Offices, under the direction of Prosecutors Warren W. Faulk and Sean F. Dalton, respectively; and officers with the Voorhees and Deptford Township Police Departments for the investigation leading to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel: Troy A. Archie Esq., Camden

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ATF Offers $3,000 Reward in Gun Store Theft

TULSA, Okla – Robert R. Champion, Special Agent in Charge for the Dallas Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced that ATF is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those persons responsible for a burglary and theft that occurred sometime between the evening hours of Friday, July 8 and the early morning hours of Monday, July 11, 2011. The burglary took place at the Pryor Creek Armory, located at 4 W. Graham Avenue in Pryor, Oklahoma. The suspect(s) took approximately 47 handguns and one shotgun.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact the ATF Tulsa Field Office at (918) 594-1800, or the Pryor Police Department at (918) 825-1212. All calls will be kept confidential.

“Face to Face” Meeting with Offender Population

DETROIT—Reporters and photographers are invited to attend one of two “Face to Face” meetings scheduled between law enforcement and parolees. The educational meeting is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC); Michigan State Police (MSP); Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office (WCPO); Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office (OCPO); the Detroit Police Department (DPD); and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO). Face to Face is designed to prevent recidivism among the offender population.

Face to Face provides offenders with information about the consequences of committing new gun crimes, which includes stiff federal sentences with no chance of parole and prisons in distant locations. The program also provides information about opportunities, such as education, job training, drug treatment, and employment from wrap-around service organizations.

“Statistics show that two-thirds of all offenders will become repeat offenders,” McQuade said. “We are taking a targeted approach to reducing crime by telling offenders about of the consequences of committing new crimes and about the support services that are available to help them succeed outside of prison.”

The first meeting will take place at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, located at 38 East Sheriff’s Headquarters (on the NW corner of the county campus) on July 27, 2011 and will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Speakers will include representatives from ATF, MDOC, Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

The second meeting will take place at Rosedale Park Baptist Church, located at 14179 Evergreen Road, Detroit, Michigan, on July 28, 2011 and will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Speakers will include representatives from ATF, MDOC, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Detroit Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

For more information, please contact Gina Balaya at (313) 226-9758 or Robert Poikey at (313) 226-9120.

Guidelines: Photographers will not be allowed to shoot the faces of parolees or probationers, only the faces of law enforcement officials and the backs of heads of the audience members. Reporters may conduct interviews with law enforcement officials only and will not identify parolees or probationers in print, Internet, or broadcast media.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Man Sentenced for Making Threats to Burn Churches and NAACP Headquarters

BOSTON—A Medford man was sentenced in federal court today to 15 months in prison for mailing threatening letters to churches with predominantly African-American congregations and to offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Jeffrey Smith, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro to 15 months in prison, three years’ supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $1,300 special assessment. Smith was also ordered to have no contact with two individuals to whom he had also sent threatening letters. Because Smith had been incarcerated on these charges since last July, he was released to the custody of the Department of Mental Health to provide necessary services.

Smith previously pleaded guilty to 11 counts of mailing letters threatening to burn down seven predominantly black churches and four NAACP headquarters in Mass., R.I. and N.C. Smith also pleaded guilty to two counts of sending letters to individuals in N.C. and Providence threatening to kill or injure them.

Smith was arrested on April 15, 2010. Between September 17-19, 2009, the Saint Paul American Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Mass. and the NAACP chapter in Roxbury, Mass. each received letters stating that the author did “not like African American or minorities in charge as supervisors of my security department at Novartis, nor I like them as President of the United States. For that I am going to burn down your offices just let you know how I feel. What right does some black person has the right to be in charge of me.”

Between September 22, 2009 and March 16, 2010, the FBI was notified of 29 additional computer generated letters, similarly packaged. Nine of the additional letters were addressed to churches and NAACP chapters in Medford, Mass., Charlotte, NC and Providence, RI. Each of the nine letters articulated a specific threat to burn down the church or NAACP chapter which received the letter. The letters referenced racial animus towards “Blacks and minorities,” and the election of President Barack Obama as justification for burning down the NAACP office. Two additional letters allegedly threatened to shoot the recipients “on site” should they enter Boston or Providence.

Smith admitted to agents during an interview that he composed and mailed all the threatening letters to the churches and NAACP using the name of a Securitas supervisor with whom he did not get along, or whom he believed had unfairly taken employment action against a co-worker who is black. (Securitas is the security management company for Novartis.)

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas; Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr.; Providence Police Colonel Dean Esserman; and Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Theodore Merritt of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team and Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.

District Man Sentenced to More Than Nine Years in Prison for Taking Part in Armed Robbery of Armored Truck

He and Two Others Carried Out Brazen Mid-Afternoon Crime

WASHINGTON—Richard Lee, 32, was sentenced today to nine years and two months in prison for the armed robbery of a Brink’s armored truck, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

During the brazen, mid-afternoon robbery, Lee and two others held the truck’s guard at gunpoint and escaped with a significant amount of money.

Lee, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty earlier this year to armored car robbery. Two others—David Reddix, 23, of Temple Hills, Maryland, and Tyronda Ferrell, 23, of Hyattsville, Maryland, also pled guilty to the charge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Reddix was sentenced in June 2011 to 80 months in prison. Ferrell was sentenced in May 2011, also to 80 months of incarceration. All three defendants were sentenced by the Honorable Ellen S. Huvelle.

According to the government’s evidence, Ferrell, then a guard for Brink’s, had several conversations prior to the crime with Reddix about robbing a Brink’s armored truck. Reddix, a longtime friend to Ferrell, recruited another friend, Lee, to assist with the robbery.

Reddix and Ferrell developed a plan that they carried out on September 2, 2010, when Brink’s dispatched an armored truck to deliver and pick up money and other valuables from banks and businesses in Northern Virginia. Ferrell was one of two armed guards and the driver of the truck. Once Ferrell completed her normal pick-ups in Northern Virginia, she then drove the truck to a Wendy’s restaurant in the 4000 block of Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE.

At the Wendy’s, at about 2:40 p.m., Ferrell parked the armored truck and, shortly afterward, the second guard was approached by Reddix and Lee. Reddix, wearing a mask and carrying a pellet gun that closely resembled a handgun, ordered the second guard to open the door to the truck.

Reddix and Lee entered the truck, ordered the second guard to fill a bag with money, and instructed Ferrell to drive away. The second guard was forced into the rear of the truck, where Lee took his gun. Lee and Reddix remained in the back of the armored truck, holding the second guard at gunpoint, while Ferrell drove the armored truck to an alley on 45th Street NE.

Reddix and Lee then left with the money that they took from the vehicle. They planned to meet Ferrell later that night to split the stolen money. However, Ferrell was arrested that night, and Reddix and Lee were arrested within days.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin, and Chief Lanier commended the exceptional investigative work of the FBI/MPD Violent Crimes Task Force and MPD Detective Buddy Baylor. They also thanked Legal Assistant LaToya Wade, who provided administrative support, and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, which assisted with the investigation. Lastly, they praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine K. Connelly, who prosecuted the cases.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor Announce Selection of Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams

WASHINGTON – The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor announced today the selection of Pilot Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams) as part of a nationwide Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative designed to better coordinate federal criminal investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking offenses.

The Phase I Pilot ACTeams will be based in Atlanta; El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; and Miami, under the leadership of the local U.S. Attorney and the highest-ranking federal investigative agents from the relevant regional FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Labor field offices.

The announcement today follows the conclusion of a competitive, interagency selection process led by the Federal Enforcement Working Group, a collaboration of the Justice Department’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys and FBI; the Department of Homeland Security’s ICE Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit; and the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of the Inspector General.

On Feb. 1, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis jointly announced the launch of the ACTeam Initiative and the commencement of the competitive interagency selection process.

Each ACTeam, which is comprised of federal prosecutors and federal agents from the participating federal enforcement agencies, will implement a law enforcement strategic action plan to combat identified human trafficking threats. The ACTeams will focus on developing federal criminal human trafficking investigations and prosecutions to protect the rights of human trafficking victims, bringing traffickers to justice and dismantling human trafficking networks.

Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Solis have each declared the fight against human trafficking to be a top priority, and have committed to collaborating with federal, state, local and international law enforcement agencies, and other governmental and non-governmental partners to further enhance their anti-trafficking efforts.

CBP to Enforce USDA Restriction on Importation of Rice from Countries Where Khapra Beetle is Known to Occur

Washington—U.S. Customs and Border Protection will enforce a federal quarantine order beginning July 30 that restricts the importation of rice into the U.S. from countries with known Khapra beetle infestations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is restricting the importation of rice from countries known to have Khapra beetle due to an increasing number of detections at U.S. ports of entry of infested shipments of rice from these countries. The introduction and establishment of Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) into the U.S. poses a serious threat to stored agricultural products, including spices, grains and packaged foods.

Noncommercial quantities of rice from countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur will be prohibited from entering the U.S. Noncommercial quantities are defined as amounts of rice for personal use and not for resale, including those transported in international passenger baggage, by mail or by courier.

In addition, commercial shipments of rice originating from countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur must be inspected and must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration stating that the shipment was inspected and found free of Khapra beetle.

A phytosanitary certificate or phytosanitary certificate of re-export with the same additional declaration will also be required for commercial shipments of rice originating from countries known to have Khapra beetle that make entry into another country before re-exportation to the U.S. 

These restrictions apply to all countries where Khapra beetle is known to occur, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.

According to APHIS, previous detections of Khapra beetle have resulted in massive, long term-control and eradication efforts at great cost to the American taxpayer. Established infestations are difficult to control because the beetle can survive without food for long periods of time, requires little moisture, hides in tiny cracks and crevices, and is relatively resistant to many insecticides and fumigants.

This year, CBP agriculture specialists have made 100 Khapra beetle interceptions at U.S. ports of entry compared to three to six per year in 2005 and 2006, and averaging about 15 per year from 2007 to 2009.

Infestation affects grain quality as well as quantity. Infestation of commodities with Khapra beetle can lead to the following consequences:

Economic loss of valuable grain or other domestic or export products
Lowered quality of products due to contamination
Costs associated with prevention and treatment
Consumer health risks when exposed to products contaminated with insect parts

In the U.S., infestation can result in the loss of export markets. If the Khapra beetle became established in the U.S., other countries would likely place restrictions on imports of U.S. grain, cereal products, or seed.

St. Paul Woman Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS—Late the past Friday afternoon a 29-year-old St. Paul woman was charged with participating in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders out of more than $5 million. Lindsey Rae Loyear was charged via an information with one count of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.

Allegedly from 2006 through October of 2008, Loyear conspired with others to defraud mortgage lenders in connection with financing real estate transactions in the Twin Cities, including the purchase of Cloud 9 Sky Flats development in Minnetonka. The scheme involved the submission of false information to lenders in order to obtain mortgage loans.

As a real estate agent and mortgage broker, Loyear allegedly concealed information from potential lenders, including that she had arranged short-term loans to buyers to use as down payments and had paid cash kickbacks to buyers for purchasing the properties.

Altogether more than 130 units were sold through the scheme, and more than $8 million was transferred to accounts, which were then used to pay kickbacks and share loan proceeds among co-conspirators.

If convicted, Loyear faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Lewis and Tracy L. Perzel.

This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

FBI Newark Thinking Outside the Box: New Approach to Combat Health Care Fraud

NEWARK, NJ—Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, announces an advertisement campaign today that was conceived and implemented by Newark’s own agents to increase reporting of health care fraud (HCF). Four separate ads crafted by the agents with artwork created by Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) will be featured on CCO’s digital billboards on Interstates 95, 80, 78, 287, and 280, and in 40 kiosks in 13 malls throughout New Jersey—all beginning July 25 and running through September 25. FBI headquarters has designated this as the “pilot” program, meaning the program will be scaled to a national level if it successful. Success will be measured by a significant jump in citizen reporting of HCF incidents. This is the first time the FBI has used advertisements to further a general investigative priority.

The Problem Defined

As Americans live longer, health care costs are expected to rise per the increased demand for benefits. Health care expenditures continue to rise at more than twice the rate of inflation, and public funding for government sponsored programs is approaching $1 trillion.

Along with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and state and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI is charged with addressing HCF threats and vulnerabilities to include fraud, abuse, and threats to public safety. In fact, Congress budgets funds through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) for the FBI’s HCF program which are separate and distinct from the general FBI budget. This is because health care fraud causes one of the largest losses of taxpayer dollars from a government program. Medicare and Medicaid represent the largest publicly funded programs and are, therefore, targeted frequently. Independent estimates of fraudulent billings to health care programs in the United States, both public and private, are estimated at between 3 percent -10 percent of total health care expenditures, representing a staggering $60 billion to $200 billion in losses to fraud each year. These losses are more substantial than losses in any other sector of the public or private marketplace. Daily HCF losses are estimated at $164 million at the 3 percent figure. In New Jersey alone, losses for 2010 are estimated to be $7.5 million (based on national health care expenditures for 2010 and a 10 percent fraud loss). This ranks New Jersey’s HCF losses as the ninth highest total in the nation. (States ranking higher than New Jersey are: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.)

But Why Use an Ad Campaign?

The FBI is committed to addressing HCF through disruption and dismantlement and subsequent prosecution of criminals who engage in such activity. Indeed, FBI offices throughout the nation have proactively addressed significant HCF threats through coordinated initiatives, task forces (such as Newark’s HCF Task Force), and undercover operations, resulting in an active nationwide caseload of 2,600 HCF investigations, charges against almost 1,000 subjects, and 750 convictions.

Though the numbers sound large, FBI Newark believes this is only scratching the surface. For example, the number of HCF complaints FBI Newark received from the public in 2010 totaled 18, down from 25 in 2008. Referrals from other agencies in 2010 totaled 9, down from 66 in 2008. The primary cause of the drop in numbers can be attributed to a decreased source base, meaning less reporting of HCF incidents by the public. Though the reason for a drop in citizen complaints is unclear, recognizing HCF for what it is and knowing where and how to report it a major consideration. On the contrary, a recent report by the Associated Press (Kelli Kennedy, July 12, 2011) cited the systemic problems in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) own computer systems for tracking HCF. However, without source reporting, it is difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate criminal groups:

“Post 9/11, the FBI transformed itself from the traditional police organization into an intelligence-driven machine,” said Ward. “Every step of every investigation is based on information from many different types of sources and interagency cooperation and it is all checked and rechecked. As a result, the end product produced by this machine is only as good as what you initially put into it. Databases only help you gather historical information and only get you so far, but they are certainly not the end-all in criminal investigations, particularly in health care fraud. To make a good case—any case—you need human source reporting. So, the aim of our new health care fraud ad campaign is three-fold: to increase awareness and educate the public about health care fraud, to enlighten them that it is something that affects each American individually and not some nebulous government problem, and finally, to give people a phone number and a face to talk to about it.” That phone number will be FBI Newark’s main number: (973) 792-3000.

Each advertisement targets a different audience. For example, one ad featuring a mother cradling an infant is targeted toward women and young parents: “Report health care fraud! It hurts more than the government and insurance companies.”

Another is geared primarily toward health care professionals and features an unidentified surgeon with a scalpel. Another targets the senior population—it features a picture of a bottle of medication with the caption: “There’s no magic pill to fix our health care system. Report health care fraud!”

Still another ad geared toward a more general and fiscal-minded group depicts an intravenous bag filled with blood dripping onto a pile of cash. The caption? “Report health care fraud! It’s bleeding our nation dry!”

Because of the FBI’s agreement with Clear Channel Outdoor, the exact cost of the program cannot be disclosed. The FBI can report, however, that the program is being paid for with HCF program funds from FBI Headquarters. “FBI research has shown that since 1997, for every dollar spent investigating HCF, $4.9 taxpayer dollars are recovered,” said Ward. (More recently, $6.8 dollars have been recovered for every $1 spent for the period of 2008 through 2010.) “Our purpose with this campaign is to generate an abundance of new leads. By coming to law enforcement with information about criminal activity, the public becomes a force multiplier. It’s almost as good as having an agent right there in the midst of the criminal activity. That alone will put criminals on alert and hopefully discourage the rampant theft from these programs.”

The program is scheduled to launch on Monday, July 25. Representatives from the FBI will be available to the press on location (at one of the malls featuring the ads) for comment on this endeavor. Contact Special Agent Bryan Travers at 973-792-3020 for information.

Houston Venture Capitalist Charged with Fraud

HOUSTON—Harvard H. Hill, of Houston, has been charged with three counts of wire fraud in connection with an investment in the general partnership of a Houston-based venture capital fund he promoted, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Hill, 74, surrendered to FBI agents this morning as a result of the return of the three-count indictment on July 21, 2011. He made his initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy. He is scheduled to appear again today at 1:45 p.m., at which time the issue of bond will be decided.

The indictment alleges that Hill defrauded an investor in the general partnership that managed the James Sunbelt Investment LP Fund that Hill promoted. Hill, who has operated venture capital funds in Houston under the name Houston Partners, solicited an investor to become a special limited partner in the general partnership. Under the supposed structure of the fund, the general partnership would receive 20 percent of the fund’s profit distributions and a 2 percent annual management fee. The special limited partner would receive a percentage of the general partnership’s stake, so the ability to repay the special limited partner depended in significant part on the amount invested in the fund given the annual 2 percent management fee.

The indictment alleges that Hill misrepresented that millions of dollars were already in the fund under the management of the general partnership, provided false information listing the names of companies in which the fund was supposedly invested and falsely claimed that professors at Rice and MD Anderson Cancer Center had agreed to serve on the fund’s Scientific Advisory Board. The indictment further alleges that within a week of the investor wiring $500,000 to Hill in July 2006, Hill had transferred over half the funds to a personal account in his name, a bank account controlled by a member of Hill’s family and an account in the name of another fund in which Hill had past due expenses. According to the indictment, within two months of receipt of the investment, more than 80 percent of the money had been spent and was not used for promoting and managing the fund.

Each wire fraud count carries a potential punishment of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregg Costa.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Michigan Man Charged with Federal Sex Trafficking of a Minor

CHICAGO—A Michigan man is facing a federal detention hearing today after he was arrested late last week for allegedly engaging in sex trafficking of a minor, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Fabriel Delaney, was arrested by FBI agents early Friday morning outside a hotel in south suburban Tinley Park where he allegedly brought three females, two of whom were under age 18, from Michigan to engage in prostitution. The charges allege that Delaney believed he was transporting the two youths and a young woman to engage in commercial sex acts at a purported bachelor party at the hotel, but which, in fact, was a sting operation designed to arrest him following a long-term investigation.

Delaney, also known as “Face,” 25, of Kalamazoo, was charged with transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court. He is scheduled to return to court at 11:30 a.m. today for a detention, or bond, hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole, after an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Cole on Friday.

The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison upon conviction. The arrest and charge were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The investigation is continuing, they said. The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, the Illinois State Police, the police departments in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, Mich., and the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office are assisting in the investigation.

According to the complaint affidavit, late last Thursday and early Friday, Delaney drove the three females from the Kalamazoo area to the Tinley Park hotel, expecting to take them to a bachelor party where they would engages in sexual activity with 10 to 12 men and charge between $150 and $300 per customer for various sex acts. The three females were Victim 1, age 17; Victim 2, age 16; and Individual B, who is Victim’s 1 sister and over age 18. Victim 2 told agents that she met Delaney earlier this month and since then, at his direction, had gone on 20 to 24 calls for commercial sex, providing him with half the money she had received.

The charges detail the investigation, which began in September 2010 when state police made a traffic stop in Will County and found Delaney driving with three female passengers, including Victim 1. The charges allege that Delaney was sex trafficking Victim 1, who was then 16 and later turned 17, at a hotel in the Joliet area. Delaney allegedly used various Internet web sites to advertise prostitution services. Delaney typically met customers in a hotel parking lot to ensure they were not undercover police before sending them to Victim 1’s hotel room and he received a portion of the money she was paid.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Halley B. Guren and Rajnath Laud.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the United States has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.