Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FBI Knoxville Division Warns Consumers to Beware of Latest Fraudulent Check Scheme

The Knoxville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns the public of a new check scam which has affected multiple individuals in East Tennessee. Counterfeit checks, which appear to be issued by UT-Battelle LLC and range in amount from approximately $2,200 to $3,000, have been sent to multiple individuals in various states.

The scam involves checks being sent via FedEx to specific victims directing them to deposit the checks into their personal checking accounts. The victim is instructed to keep a portion of the deposit proceeds and send the remaining funds back to the sender. By the time the bank notifies the depositor the check is fraudulent, the depositor may have already sent the remaining funds back to the sender.

Personally identifiable information can readily be obtained from many different sources. However, early indications suggest some of the individuals who have received the UT-Battelle checks have either had items listed for sale on Craigslist or have responded to ads posted there. The FBI advises the public to be aware of such fraudulent schemes and to be diligent when receiving checks or solicitations in the mail or via e-mail. The FBI encourages the public to protect themselves and avoid becoming a victim of these types of scams. For more information please visit the FBI website’s Scams and Safety section at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud for the latest information on current fraud schemes and ways to defend against them.

Older, Well Dressed, and Accessorized Man Robs Bank

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force needs your help identifying the well dressed and accessorized man who robbed a Houston area bank on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. The bank’s surveillance cameras captured photographs of the man during the robbery of the Patriot Bank located at 9545 Katy Freeway, Suite 100, in Houston, Texas.

At approximately 11:45 a.m., the man entered the bank wearing sunglasses, a sport coat, dress pants, and a nice black shoulder bag. He walked up to the teller counter and handed the teller a note. He then pulled out a black semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at the teller, and demanded cash. The teller gave the robber some cash. He placed it into his black shoulder bag, and left the bank. No one was physically hurt during the robbery.

The robber is described as a white male, approximately 50-59 years old, 5’8” -5’9” tall, 170-175 pounds, with an average build and a light complexion. He wore sunglasses, a sport coat, dress pants, and carried a black shoulder bag. He was armed with a black semi-automatic pistol.

Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and arrest of this robber, or any felony suspect. If you have information about this crime, please call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 713-222-TIPS (8477), or the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.

Philly CBP Nails Local Heroin Internal Smuggler at PHL

Philadelphia – Customs and Border Protection officers arrested an alleged internal heroin smuggler at Philadelphia International Airport on August 20, after the local man passed 58 thumb-sized pellets of heroin. The heroin weighed about 1.65 pounds and had an approximate street value of about $45,000.

Santos Daniel Rivera, 21, of Philadelphia, faces federal narcotics smuggling charges. He will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Rivera arrived from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on August 18 and was referred for a secondary inspection. A CBP officer reportedly detected inconsistencies in Rivera’s story. CBP officers escorted Rivera to a local hospital where an x-ray detected the presence of foreign bodies. Rivera ultimately passed 58 pellets. A field test on the substance detected the presence of heroin.

“This heroin arrest proves that law enforcement is mostly about listening and observing. A CBP officer detected inconsistencies in Mr. Rivera’s story and noticed non-verbal communications which led us to believe there was more to Mr. Rivera’s story,” said Allan Martocci, CBP Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia. “CBP remains committed to stopping narcotics couriers from smuggling their deadly poison through Philadelphia.”

CBP officers turned Rivera over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations agents.

Internal concealment is difficult to detect, but may also provide dire consequences for the smuggler. Carriers have reportedly died painful deaths after pellets have breached while inside them.

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.

St. Petersburg Marijuana Distributor Sentenced

TAMPA, FL—U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore has sentenced Michael Tedesco (29, St. Petersburg) to 10 years in federal prison for possessing 100 kilograms or more of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The court also ordered the defendant to forfeit $9,500.00 in cash, which are traceable proceeds of the offense. Additionally, the court ordered Michael Tedesco to forfeit property that facilitated his crime, including a H.264 16 Channel DVR, a An-Tone DVR, a Sanyo DVR Monitor, a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, and various ammunition. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $39,150.00, the proceeds of the marijuana distribution conspiracy.

Tedesco pled guilty on May 3. 2011.

According to court documents, beginning in or around 2003, Tedesco and others began a conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana. Between 2009 and 2010, Tedesco was responsible for the distribution of at least 160 kilograms of marijuana in St. Petersburg. During the execution of a search warrant, agents found two loaded firearms, as well as additional marijuana in his home. Tedesco also had his entire residence equipped with surveillance cameras and recording equipment. He admitted that the firearms and surveillance were used for protection of himself, drugs, and money that were found in his home.

This case was investigated by the FBI, as a part of its Safe Streets Task Force, and the St. Petersburg Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew H. Perry and Shauna S. Hale.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Willow Grove Man Charged with Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography

A two-count Information1 was filed today against William Risko, charging that between January 2010 and October 7, 2010, he received over the Internet pictures and videos that depicted children being sexually abused, and he possessed in excess of 600 images of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

INFORMATION REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS

NAME,  ADDRESS,  AGE OR YEAR OF BIRTH
William Risko, Willow Grove, PA 50 years old

If convicted, Risko faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years’ incarceration, which includes a mandatory five year term of imprisonment, five years up to a lifetime of super vised release, a $500,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery W. Whitt.

1An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

New York CBP Finds Cocaine in False Bottom Suitcase

Jamaica, NY – Falling into a routine and letting your guard down is not an option for U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers who are locked in a constant battle to halt the flow of illegal narcotics looking to enter the United States. 

On August 23, CBP officers stopped a passenger who arrived at JFK Airport on Caribbean Airlines from Georgetown, Guyana. The passenger, Careem Walsh, presented a United States passport and a brown suitcase for inspection. As the CBP officers were inspecting Walsh’s suitcase, they noticed that the sides and bottom of the suitcase looked and felt unusually thick.

New York Field Operations Director, Robert E. Perez said, “This method of attempted narcotics smuggling is not uncommon; however, CBP officers remain ever vigilant in their duties to stem the tide of illegal drugs destined for distribution within the United States.”

CBP officers probed the bottom of the suitcase revealing a white powdery substance, which tested positive for cocaine. CBP officers placed Walsh under arrest, while contacting Homeland Security Investigations for processing and follow-up investigation. Federal prosecution was accepted.

The total weight of the seized cocaine was 10.05 pounds with a street value of approximately $220,000.

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.

Florida Native Took Car from Greene County as Part of a Kidnapping

GREENEVILLE, TN—David Jackson, 42, of Miami, Fla., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court, Greeneville, Tenn., to serve 262 months in federal prison for carjacking and interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle. The sentence was the result of his March 17, 2011, conviction at trial.

Jackson’s conviction related to a July 2010 violent disagreement about custody of his infant son with the child’s mother, which led to the carjacking and kidnapping of the baby. Jackson, the infant, two adults, and one teenager drove from a remote home in Greene County, Tenn., to a motel in Miami, Fla. The infant was the subject of a nationwide Amber Alert and his whereabouts were unknown to his mother for 36 hours. The other two adults pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges and testified on behalf of the United States.

At sentencing, the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge, noted that: Jackson was a career criminal in the common understanding of the term; Jackson had a very serious and significant criminal history; the circumstances which led to the federal convictions involved illegal drugs and intimidation of his co-defendants; and, Jackson had a long history of lack of respect for the law and law enforcement officers. He found that the need to protect the public from Jackson was obvious and that he was, in fact, a danger to the public.

“Thanks to the various federal and multi-state task forces, Greene County, Tennessee, Newberry, South Carolina and others, this cooperative effort resulted in a lengthy sentence for a very dangerous member of our society. The quality and persistence of AUSA Helen Smith’s prosecution efforts helped accomplish this needed incarceration,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.

The indictment, conviction, and sentencing of Jackson resulted from investigation by several agencies, including the Greene County, Tennessee’s Sheriff’s Office; Newberry, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office; Metro-Miami-Dade Safe Streets Task Force; National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith represented the United States.

Louisville CBP Officers Seize 33 Pounds In Synthetic Marijuana Compounds

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Louisville, KY — Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Louisville UPS express consignment operation seized over 33 pounds of prohibited substances including synthetic marijuana compound JWH-018; an analog derivative of JWH-018, and packages of Afghan incense. CBP officers found the compounds within four shipments, all originating in China and destined to various locations throughout the country.

The CBP examination revealed an unidentifiable white powder in Ziploc bags, 1,000 individual packages of Afgan incense, and bags made of foil consistent with past interdictions of synthetic designer drugs. CBP Laboratory and Scientific Services in Chicago confirmed the material was JWH-018 and a JWH-018 analog. It is estimated that one gram of synthetic marijuana contains 1/10 tenth of a percent of JWH-018, which means over 300 pounds of synthetic marijuana could be produced using the seized shipments.

CBP officers working at the Louisville UPS express consignment operation recently found 33 pounds of dangerous and prohibited substances.

“Using synthetic marijuana is extremely dangerous. You have no idea what you're ingesting,” said Steven Artino, Acting CBP Director of Field Operations in Chicago. “These CBP seizures are a great example of our officers and Laboratory and Scientific Services working together to identify and seize substances that could harm our community.”

JWH-018 originated at Clemson University, where researchers developed synthetic cannabinoids in an effort to create therapeutic drugs; however, it also can mimic the narcotic effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The original developers have said that the effects in humans have not been studied and could very well be toxic. Side effects can include elevated heart rates, extreme paranoia, vomiting and hallucinations.

On March 1, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final order to temporarily place several synthetic cannabinoids into the Controlled Substances Act pursuant to temporary scheduling provisions.

CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at the express consignment facilities located throughout the country. CBP works very closely with UPS to support our mission without disrupting express consignment operations. CBP constantly conducts enforcement operations on international parcels and is always on the lookout for any type of contraband or prohibited items being shipped into, from or through the United States.

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.

Firefighter Fatalities

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality:
 
Name: Steve Cox
Rank: Fire Marshal
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Status: Career
Years of Service: 22
Date of Incident: 08/26/2011
Time of Incident: 0730hrs
Date of Death: 08/28/2011
 
Fire Department: South Davis Metro Fire Agency
Address: 255 S 100 W, Bountiful, UT 84010
Fire Department Chief: Jeff Bassett
Fire Department Website: http://www.sdmetrofire.org/
 
Incident Description: Fire Marshal Cox was performing a fire fighters skills fitness test. During the test, Marshal Cox started to have difficulty breathing and maintaining his balance, the test was stopped and he was quickly treated by fellow firefighters and taken to Lakeview Hospital where he became unresponsive and was admitted to the ICU.

On August 27, 2011 his condition became worse and his body organs started to shut down, he was flown by medical helicopter to the University of Utah Medical center for further care. The following day, Fire Marshal Cox passed away from a cause still to be determined.

Incident Location: 255 S 100 W, Bountiful, UT 84010
 
Funeral Arrangements:
Viewing
Thursday September 1, 2011 at the Bountiful-Woods Cross Regional Center located at 835 North 400 East in North Salt Lake City from 5:30pm till 9:00pm.
Funeral
Friday September 2, 2011 services will be at the Bountiful-Woods Cross Regional Center starting at 11:00am, no viewing before the service.
Burial location is the Bountiful Cemetery 2224 South 200 West in Bountiful.
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending
Tribute is being paid to Fire Marshal Steve Cox at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/
 
To date, 66 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2011; 61 from incidents that occurred in 2011 and five from previous years’ incidents.  Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online @ http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/statistics/ff_stats.shtm.

Monday, August 29, 2011

West Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

White collar federal crime hurts a lot more people than you know.  Find out why, and how YOU can fight against federal crime, from these federal law enforcement writers.

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Robert C. Sasser, age 31, of West Columbia, pled guilty in federal court in Columbia, to Wire Fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the plea and will impose a sentence in approximately ninety days.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Sasser was a realtor and mortgage broker. He was involved in eight real estate transactions financed by Wachovia for approximately $2.5 million. The loans were collateralized by homes that were significantly overvalued.

The loan documents contained multiple misrepresentations, including (1) grossly overstated or fabricated income and asset information, (2) forged signatures, (3) down payments paid by Sasser rather than by the purchaser, and (4) loan payments paid on behalf of, instead of by, the actual purchasers. Significantly, this caused loans to be approved in the names of individuals who could not afford them, which caused them all to go into foreclosure.

The amount of loss suffered by the lender in this case is approximately $1,689,053.97.

Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Sasser can receive is a fine of $250,000 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Winston D. Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office handled the case.

Milwaukee Residents Charged with Using United States Mail to Facilitate Drug Trafficking, Drug Conspiracy, and Firearms Offense

United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced that an indictment returned in July 2011 has been unsealed charging nine individuals with using the United States mail to facilitate drugtrafficking, conspiring to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and a firearms offense.

The following individuals are charged in the indictment:

Name,  Residency: 
Steve Buckner (33)  Milwaukee 
Thompson Cunningham (32)  Milwaukee 
Jarrell Henry (29)  Milwaukee 
Britany Jackson (20)  Milwaukee 
Aubrey Jordan (26)  Milwaukee 
Kenneth Lyons (48)  Milwaukee 
Eric Murray (37)  Milwaukee and Houston, TX 
Mausette Williams (29)  Milwaukee 
Schivon Young (26)  Milwaukee 

Murray, Henry, and Cunningham are charged with a drug conspiracy in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B). If convicted of this offense, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to forty years in prison; a fine of up to $5,000,000; and between four years and life on supervised release. In addition, all nine defendants are charged with using the United States Mail to facilitate marijuana distribution in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(b). If convicted of this offense, they face up to four years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to one year of supervised release. Finally, Steve Buckner is charged with being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1). If convicted of this offense, he faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

The defendants were charged after a lengthy investigation by the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) and United States Postal Inspection Service. The Milwaukee HIDTA consists of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, detectives, and special agents.

Seven of the defendants were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday; one was previously in custody for violation of parole in a state offense. The remaining defendant, Thompson Cunningham, remains at large.

The following agencies participated in the arrests this week: United States Postal Inspection Service, Milwaukee Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, West Allis Police Department, and the Milwaukee Metro Drug Enforcement Group.

The investigation is part of an ongoing, long-term effort by law enforcement to target individuals who use the mail to ship controlled substances. This investigation was initiated in 2010 based on the inspection of a series of suspicious parcels that were shipped from the Houston, Texas, area to numerous locations across Milwaukee. The organization involved multiple defendants who received packages of marijuana via United States mail. These defendants then are alleged to have distributed the marijuana in and around Milwaukee.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget J. Domaszek of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, United States Department of Justice.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

For additional information contact:
Assistant United State Attorney Bridget J. Domaszek Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig (414) 297-1700

Attorney and Client Convicted of Immigration Fraud; Attorney Also Convicted of Filing False Federal Income Tax Returns

PHILADELPHIA—On Friday evening, August 26, 2011, a federal jury found attorney Michael Choi, 55, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, and his client, Jong Soon Park, 48, of Blue Bell, PA, guilty of conspiring to violate the federal immigration laws, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Choi was also convicted of five counts of making false statements to the government, and two counts of filing false tax returns for the years 2005 and 2006 that failed to report substantial income from Choi’s law firm. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for November 22, 2011.

Choi is the principal of a law firm, Choi and Associates, P.C., located in Elkins Park, PA. At trial, three business owners, co-defendants Sung Mahn Gang, Hee Chan Bang and Keun S. Hwang testified that they had joined Choi in conspiring to defraud the government and make false statements to the United States. The business owner defendants and a number of Choi’s former immigration clients testified that they arranged for Choi’s alien clients to fraudulently obtain Alien Registration Receipt Cards, commonly known as “green cards,” so that the aliens could remain in the United States when they were not entitled to remain here. The business owners and Choi’s former wife and office manager, Sandra Oh, testified that Choi provided cash and legal services to business owners, including his co-defendants, to induce them to sign petitions falsely stating that their business intended to employ Choi’s alien clients.

The trial evidence also included tape recordings of meetings and conversations between Choi and a fourth business owner, who, unbeknownst to Choi, was working undercover at the direction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The evidence showed that the defendants presented false petitions to the United States Department of Labor, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which then issued employment documents for the aliens. The defendants, assisted by others, also caused fraudulent payroll checks to be submitted to USCIS that falsely indicated that the aliens were employed by the businesses owned by Gang, Bang and Hwang. Finally, the jury found Choi guilty of filing false income tax returns for the years 2005 and 2006 that failed to report substantial additional income from Choi’s law firm.

The case was tried before the Honorable Petrese B. Tucker and a jury. Defendant Michael Choi faces a maximum possible sentence of 36 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million; defendant Jong Soon Park faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mary E. Crawley and Andrew J. Schell.

CBP Officers, Agents Seize More than $1.1 Million in Cash

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and agents in California and Arizona seized more than $1.1 million in currency during the course of several inspections in the last two weeks.

On Aug. 23, Border Patrol agents from the El Paso Sector seized $122,500 in cash at the Interstate 10 checkpoint near Las Cruces, N.M. Agents discovered the money after an immigration inspection that also resulted in the seizure of two weapons and a small amount of marijuana. Three U.S.citizens were arrested and turned over to other federal agencies for investigation and prosecution.

CBP officers conducting outbound operations Tuesday at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry in Nogales, Ariz., stopped a Ford sedan bound for Mexico. During an extensive search of the vehicle, 23 packages were removed from a non-factory compartment in the front of the vehicle. The packages contained more than $147,000. The 19-year-old driver, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody and handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for additional investigation.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Mariposa port of entry in Arizona stopped a Chevy SUV to question the occupants and perform a vehicle inspection. During the inspection, officers discovered 15 packages of U.S. currency valued at $379,863, hidden inside a compartment built into the vehicle’s firewall area. Officers seized the undeclared currency and the vehicle. The driver, a 51-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, CBP officers conducting outbound enforcement operations at the Dennis DeConcini port of entry stopped a Chevy Traverse to question the occupants and perform a vehicle inspection. During the inspection, officers discovered 26 packages of U.S. currency valued at $494,287 hidden inside a compartment built into the vehicle’s firewall. Officers seized the undeclared currency and the vehicle. The driver, a 38-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested and turned over to ICE HSI for further investigation.

On Monday, Aug. 15, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered a 20-year-old male U.S. citizen, and resident of Las Vegas, driving a white 2011 Toyota Camry. During a routine Border Patrol checkpoint stop along highway 395 near Temecula, Calif., agents determined further inspection by a Border Patrol canine team was necessary. Following a cursory inspection of the vehicle, agents found plastic bags of U.S. currency valued at $11,900, and more than six pounds of marijuana inside a suitcase in the vehicle’s trunk. The agents seized the narcotics, cash and the vehicle, and the driver was turned over to a multi-agency drug task force.

CBP’s focus on outbound inspections has significantly increased the cost of doing business for violent criminal organizations and will continue to serve as a valuable tool in our efforts to conduct effective border operations.

In March 2009, CBP created the Outbound Programs Division within the Office of Field Operations. This division creates plans to stem the outbound flow of firearms, currency, stolen vehicles, and fugitives from the United States. CBP also increased its use of “pulse and surge” strategies for outbound operations on the southwest border. As of July 31, CBP has seized more than $40 million in cash exiting the U.S. this fiscal year.

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. Check out these Homeland Security books written by the experts and educate yourself on how to keep America safe! CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Niobrara Man Sentenced for Sexual Abuse

United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Larry Rouillard, 49, of Niobrara, Nebraska., was sentenced on August 25, 2011, to 30 months in prison by Senior United States District Judge Lyle E. Strom, for his sexual abuse conviction. In addition to his prison term, Rouillard will serve five years of supervised release following his release from prison.

Rouillard was charged with sexual abuse for engaging in a sexual act with a Native American female while she was incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct and was physically incapable of declining participation in or otherwise communicating an unwillingness to engage in a sexual act. The offense occurred on the Santee Sioux Indian Reservation near Niobrara, Nebraska. Rouillard was found guilty by a jury on June 2, 2011.

The evidence presented at trial showed that from the evening of May 29, 2010, into the early morning hours of May 30, 2010, the victim was drinking with Rouillard. The victim eventually passed out from the amount of alcohol she had consumed. Prior to passing out, she had not expressed any willingness to participate in any sexual acts with Rouillard. When she awoke, she had visible bruising on her right bicep and thigh, and some of her clothing had been removed or changed. Rouillard admitted engaging in a sexual act with the victim, but, at trial, claimed it had been consensual. The jury concluded otherwise.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santee Sioux Police Department.

Three Men Convicted of Drug Trafficking in Kansas City, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, KS—Three men who were members of a drug trafficking ring that tried to take over the neighborhood around 20th Street and Longwood Avenue in Kansas City, have been convicted on federal drug trafficking charges, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. were:

Marcus L. Quinn, 30, Kansas City, Kan.: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”); one count of conspiracy to maintain a residence at 2636 N. 20th Street in furtherance of drug trafficking; one count of conspiracy to maintain a residence at 2632 N. 20th Street in furtherance of drug trafficking; one count of maintaining a residence at 2635 N. 20th Street in furtherance of drug trafficking; five counts of distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Northwest Middle School; and, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Northwest Middle School.

Mark A. Brooks, 33, Kansas City, Kan.: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”); one count of conspiracy to maintain a residence at 2632 N. 20th Street in furtherance of drug trafficking; and, one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Northwest Middle School.

Willie F. Ford, 30, Kansas City, Kan.: One count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”); one count of conspiracy to maintain a residence at 2632 N. 20th Street in furtherance of drug trafficking; one count of distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Northwest Middle School; and, one count of using a cellular phone in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The three defendants were members of a drug trafficking organization targeted by local and federal law enforcement agencies in an operation named Operation Camera Shy. Antonio D. Quinn, 32, Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty to leading the conspiracy and was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

Sentencing is set for November 15, 2011.

These defendants face the following penalties:

■Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine: Not less than 10 years’ imprisonment and not more than life in federal prison and a fine up to $4,000,000.
■Conspiracy to maintain a residence in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $4 million.
■Distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school: Not less than a year imprisonment and not more than 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $2 million.
■Using a cellular phone in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000.
■Possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school: Not less than a year imprisonment and not more than 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $2 million.

Grissom commended the following agencies for their work on the case: The FBI; the Kansas City Kansas Police Department; the Kansas City Police Department (MO); the Lee’s Summit Police Department; the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department; the Leavenworth Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zabel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tris Hunt

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Forensic Scientist Publishes First Novel


Steve Scarborough “is a Forensic Scientist with over 30 years experience in Law Enforcement with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (yes, home of CSI) and the FBI. He has a B.S. degree in Police Science and has testified in court and presented scientific evidence in almost 300 cases. Steve has given lectures and/or presentations at IAI, SCAFO, NVIAI and other law enforcement conferences on AFIS Workflow & Design, Digital Imaging, Photographic Documentation, the PEPCON (Las Vegas) explosion ,The Daubert Card and Fingerprint Science.” Steve Scarborough is the author of Scrafitto.

According to the book description of Scrafitto “After fleeing the States, ex-homicide cop Mitch Sharp now has a great life as a commercial photographer in a Costa Rican resort town. He describes his new life in picturesque Quepos with a local saying, pura vida, “this is living.” His comfortable existence in the expatriate art community is shattered when someone begins attacking women and cutting them with a razor-like knife, deliberately splattering their blood on nearby walls. The local police are loath to investigate. The Latin macho society wants to ignore the socially uncomfortable crimes against women. Mitch is also reluctant to help, thinking he left that life behind. When the attacks escalate to murder, and Mitch's new love is targeted by the slasher, he can't avoid being drawn in. Isolated in a foreign country, Mitch must combine an unusual team of ex-pats with his investigative and photography skills to stop the killer from striking again.”

One reader of Scrafitto said, “Ex-homicide detective Mitch Sharp has relocated to Costa Rica, bringing some anger issues along in his luggage. He hopes he can settle down into a nice quite life as a photographer until someone starts attacking local women and cutting them with a sharp knife or razor. The attacks escalate to murder, and the local authorities aren't equipped to handle these types of crimes. A new love interest may be the next victim, so a reluctant Mitch pitches in and uses his experience to try to track down the killer. Author Steve Scarborough is a retired Forensic Scientist, so when his character begins to add things up, you can take it to the bank. He knows what he's talking about. This was a good story with a variety of interesting characters, and I'll be looking for more from Steve Scarborough.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guilty Plea In Mortgage Fraud Case

United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown announced today that Lance A. Collins, of Atlanta, Georgia entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. Collins faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years and a fine of $250,000.00. Restitution is mandatory.

The case arose from an investigation conducted by the FBI and was prosecuted by United States Attorney Deborah Griffin.

Collins admitted participating in a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders by submitting false loan applications to obtain mortgage loans for the purchase of condominiums in the Southern District of Alabama. To carry out the scheme, commonly known as a “silent second” or “equity skimming” scheme, documents required for closing the loans were sent by a commercial interstate carrier or faxed from the Southern District of Alabama to mortgage lenders in Birmingham, Alabama and out-of-state. Collins and other members of the conspiracy would provide the funds for the down payments of the properties purchased. The buyers would receive a check at closing, in approximately twice the amount of the down payment, which they then gave to Collins or the co-conspirator who had provided the down payment. Members of the conspiracy acting as buyers were not paying anything down on the purchase of the properties and had no equity in the property from the date of closing.

CBP Officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge Seize a Load of Cocaine Found Hidden in a Nissan Sentra Sedan

Hidalgo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Hidalgo International Bridge seized approximately 26.5 pounds of cocaine early Wednesday morning. The estimated street value of the cocaine is $850,799.

On August 24, a CBP officer working at the Hidalgo International Bridge referred a 2003 Nissan Sentra sedan and its female driver, to secondary for further inspection. In secondary, the northbound female was identified as a 23-year-old Mexican citizen from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. During an examination of her vehicle, officers seized 11 packages of alleged cocaine that were found hidden within the vehicle’s dashboard area. The vehicle was also seized by CBP.

The female traveler was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement –Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) for further investigation.

Efrain Solis Jr., acting CBP port director, Hidalgo/Pharr said, “Our frontline officers continue their work to prevent contraband and dangerous hard narcotics from entering our country.” Solis further said, “I commend our officers for a job well done.”

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.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Intelligence Analysts Part 3: A Rewarding Career

In the decade since the 9/11 attacks, the FBI’s intelligence program has tripled in size, and our analysts work around the world—from the front lines in Afghanistan to the White House Situation Room—to help keep the country safe.

Behind the scenes, Bureau administrators are working hard to make the FBI a great career choice for intelligence professionals by defining career paths, offering advanced training, and establishing senior-level positions within the organization.

Tonya Ugoretz, the Bureau’s chief intelligence officer, manages our senior intelligence officers (SIOs), a group of highly skilled professionals whose job description did not exist 10 years ago. “Certainly 9/11 was part of the reason for creating the SIO corps,” Ugoretz said. “We needed an entity that transcended the stove pipes of specific program areas, and we wanted to provide analysts with senior positions they could aspire to. Developing this career ladder helps us increase the opportunities for analysts, and it deepens our bench analytically.”

Currently, there are approximately a dozen SIOs whose expertise covers all FBI investigative programs, from counterterrorism and counterintelligence to criminal matters. Some SIOs are assigned geographic territories—where many criminal and national security investigations overlap—and are acknowledged experts on key areas around the world.

“SIOs look at threats and issues from a very broad perspective,” Ugoretz explained. “Our focus is more big-picture than day to day cases. SIOs regularly give advice and counsel to our senior leadership, so we are always looking at what we know, and also what we don’t know.”

That means SIOs are required to understand current threats but are also responsible for “looking over the horizon to see what we should be anticipating,” Ugoretz added. “What do we know today? What should we be thinking about for the future? What are the risks and opportunities that present themselves? These are the issues tailor-made for senior intelligence officers.”

SIOs also serve as a bridge between the FBI and the wider intelligence community, making sure that the FBI’s perspective is factored into the entire intelligence community’s thinking—and making sure the intelligence community’s perspective is known to decision makers inside the Bureau. SIOs perform a similar liaison role with the academic community as well.

These senior analysts usually come from the ranks of career intelligence professionals and have significant subject matter expertise in their chosen field. “My section mainly focuses on intelligence for the Bureau’s executive decision-makers,” Ugoretz said. “Our role is to make sure leadership is aware of all the information and analysis we are generating Bureau-wide. The products we provide can ultimately factor into decisions made at the highest levels of government.”

The concept of senior intelligence officers is a relatively new one to the FBI, Ugoretz said. “So far, the more interaction our workforce has with SIOs, the more they see the value of the position. We look forward to building on that success.”

Career Paths for Analysts
Since 9/11, the FBI has worked hard to establish career paths for intelligence analysts and senior positions they can aspire to.

After an intensive 10-week basic training course, intelligence analysts (IAs) specialize in one of three analytic areas—tactical, strategic, or collection/reporting. They may work at FBI Headquarters, in one of our 56 field offices, or internationally in one of our legal attaché offices.

As they gain experience and subject matter expertise, IAs can move up the career ladder to intermediate and advanced positions such as supervisory intelligence analysts and senior intelligence officers.

East St. Louis Man Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Heroin Overdose Death

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that Tavis D. Doyle, 43, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced today in United States District Court to prison for the rest of his life for the offense of Distribution of Heroin Resulting in Death. A jury previously convicted Doyle, on February 22, 2011, at the conclusion of a 2-week jury trial.

Doyle also received concurrent sentences of 60 years for Distribution of a Controlled Substance to a Person Under 21, and 20 years for Maintaining Drug-Involved Premises.

“Heroin distributors, such as Mr. Doyle, are no better than cold-blooded murders. Mr. Doyle’s actions reflect this fact and his sentence properly punishes his actions. My office will continue to pursue the distributors of illegal drugs and to bring them to justice for their crimes.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “I have said in many places, at many events, that drug dealers are on notice – the poison you dispense kills people. You will be held responsible for your actions, even if you do not intend to kill. If convicted, your punishment will be severe, as Mr. Doyle has discovered.”

According to evidence presented at trial, Doyle sold heroin to Jonathan “J.J.” Ward on May 28, 2009, at a crack house which Doyle maintained on Walter Street in East St. Louis. Ward, an Effingham, Illinois, resident who was 30 years old when he died, was pronounced “dead on arrival” at Barnes Hospital on May 29, 2009. Witnesses testified that Doyle had refused to allow anyone at his residence to call 9-1-1 when Ward collapsed. Instead, Doyle attempted (unsuccessfully) to revive Ward by placing frozen meat in Ward’s pants. Doyle then insisted for several hours that Ward “just needed to sleep it off.” Acquaintances of Ward eventually transported Ward to Barnes, approximately twelve hours after Ward’s collapse.

In addition, according to witnesses who testified at trial, Doyle provided copious quantities of crack to a 17-year-old female runaway from rural Kentucky who lived with Doyle during the summer and fall of 2008.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert L. Garrison and Michael J. Quinley.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging Religious Discrimination by City of Lilburn, Georgia, Against Muslim Group

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department filed a complaint today against the city of Lilburn, Ga., alleging that the city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) when it rejected the Dar-E-Abbas Shia Islamic Center’s requests for rezoning to construct a mosque.  Both parties have agreed to a consent decree that will be filed on Aug. 29, 2011.

The city twice rejected the Islamic Center’s applications to rezone property it owned to build a mosque in November 2009 and December 2010.  The government’s lawsuit alleges that the city’s denials of the rezoning applications were based on the religious bias of city officials and to appease members of the public who opposed the construction of a mosque because of religious bias.  The complaint further alleges that the city treated the Islamic Center differently than it treated non-Muslim religious groups that regularly have been granted similar rezoning requests. 

The department notified the city of its intention to file a lawsuit for violations of RLUIPA in June 2011, and the city and the United States have been engaged in pre-suit negotiations to settle the lawsuit since that time.  On Aug. 16, 2011, the city approved rezoning for the Islamic Center that was substantially similar to the rezoning request the Islamic Center made in 2010. 

“Religious freedom is among our most fundamental rights. Under federal law, cities may not use their zoning laws to discriminate against religious groups seeking to build places of worship,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “The department acknowledges and commends the city’s decision to ultimately approve the rezoning, and it is pleased that the city has agreed to enter into a decree with the United States that helps ensure that freedom of religion in the United States is a reality for persons of all faiths.”

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates said, “Religious freedom requires that local government decisions impacting the exercise of that freedom be free of discrimination. The city of Lilburn twice failed to approve rezoning permits to allow building a mosque, and the complaint alleges that the rejection was because the applicants are Muslims. We are pleased that the city is settling the lawsuit and that the rezoning issue is being resolved.”

Under the agreement, the city may not impose different zoning or building requirements on the Islamic Center or other religious groups, and will publicize its non-discrimination policies and practices.  The city also agreed that its leaders, managers and certain other city employees will attend training on the requirements of RLUIPA.  In addition, the city will adopt new procedures that clarify its complaint process for zoning and permitting decisions regarding houses of worship, and will report periodically to the Justice Department.

RLUIPA, enacted in 2000, prohibits religious discrimination in land use and zoning decisions. Persons who believe that they been subjected to religious discrimination in land use or zoning may contact the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-896-7743.   More information about RLUIPA, including a report on the first 10 years of its enforcement, may be found at justice.gov/crt/about/hce/rluipaexplain.php.

Situational Alert Regarding Charitable Contribution Schemes

In light of Hurricane Irene, the public is reminded to beware of fraudulent e-mails and websites claiming to conduct charitable relief efforts. Disasters prompt individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization or a good cause.

To learn more about avoiding online fraud, please see "Tips on Avoiding Fraudulent Charitable Contribution Schemes" at: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2011/110311.aspx.

For updates and tIps on preparing for hurricanes and other emergencies, go to Ready America at ready.gov.