Criminal Justice News

Saturday, December 31, 2011

ATF Agent John Capano

Here in NYC we have lost 2 officers in the past 2 weeks. The latest is is ATF Agent John Capone. May he Rest in Peace.
In the new year I will be ear to discuss may PD topics including to Police officers dealing with the Mentally ill. I wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to chatting with you in the New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pittsburgh Crips Gang Members Sentenced to Prison for Racketeering Charges

WASHINGTON – Two members of the Pittsburgh Crips criminal enterprise were sentenced yesterday in federal court to 154 and 120 months in prison, respectively, on charges of conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Terrance Clark, 22, aka “Doo Wop,” was sentenced to 154 months in prison and three years of supervised release and Lamon Street, 20, aka “M-Dot,” was sentenced to 120 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Clark and Street each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering conspiracy earlier this year.
According to the guilty plea, Clark, Street and others participated in a pattern of racketeering activity that included multiple acts involving gun point robberies; attempted murders; drug distribution, including cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine; and obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
According to court documents, Clark was a member of the Northview Heights/ Fineview Crips, a criminal street gang operating out of the Northview Heights public housing facility in the Northside neighborhood, and in the nearby Fineview neighborhood. The gang had been operating in Northside since 2002, when in 2003 it formed an alliance with the Brighton Place Crips to expand the gang’s drug trafficking territory and increase the gang’s capability for violence. Street was a member of the Brighton Place Crips, a criminal street gang that controlled an area of Brighton Place and Morrison Street, also known as the Mad Cave, and Federal Street in the Northside area of Pittsburgh.
The Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains exclusive control over drug trafficking in these neighborhoods through continuous violence and intimidation of rivals and witnesses. Members of the gang support each other through payment of attorneys’ fees, bond, jail commissary accounts and support of incarcerated members’ families.
In addition, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains an ongoing feud with the Manchester Original Gangsters, a criminal street gang located in the Manchester area of the Northside Section of Pittsburgh. Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang members identify themselves by wearing blue, using Crips gang hand signals, and using phrases such as “Cuz,” “C-Safe,” “Loc,” and “G.K.” Members and associates of the enterprise obtained greater authority and prestige within the enterprise based upon their reputation for violence and their ability to obtain and sell a steady supply of illegal drugs.
According to court documents, Clark and Street each acted as a “hustler” or distributor of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine for the gang. Clark also acted as a “soldier” or enforcer for the gang, providing protection for the enterprise through the commission of violent crimes.
Also yesterday, co-defendant Hosea Ghafoor was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Clark, Street and Ghafoor are among 26 defendants charged in February 2010 with being members of, and conducting racketeering activity through, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang. This prosecution resulted from a Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force investigation that began in 2005. To date, all members of the Brighton Place/ Northview Heights Crips who were charged in this indictment have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles A. Eberle and Troy Rivetti of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Kevin L. Rosenberg of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; the Allegheny County, Penn., Police Department; and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Accused Killer of Mexican Toddler Extradited to Tijuana, Mexico

WASHINGTON – Joshua Moses Morales, 36, of San Diego, was extradited to Mexico today, where he is wanted to stand trial for the alleged 2009 killing of a toddler in Tijuana, Baja California, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
According to the extradition request submitted by Mexico, Morales is charged with aggravated homicide after allegedly sexually abusing and killing the two-year old daughter of his girlfriend on Feb. 6, 2009. The alleged killing occurred when the girlfriend was at work and had left her daughter with Morales at their Tijuana apartment. Later that evening, the toddler was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead due to alleged severe bodily trauma. Morales, who is a U.S. citizen, then allegedly fled to the United States.
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Morales in Corcoran, Calif., in February 2010. In April 2011, following an extradition hearing in federal court in Fresno, Calif., the court certified his extraditability to Mexico. Morales then filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging the court’s findings and his continued detention, and the court denied that writ in December 2011.
“Continued cooperation with Mexican law enforcement agencies to improve public safety in both countries has been a priority for the U.S. Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “This case exemplifies that kind of cooperation. By working together, we ensure that fugitives cannot evade justice simply by crossing the border.”
“We will continue to work with Mexican authorities to ensure that dangerous criminals are not allowed to seek safe haven in Mexico or the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The extradition of Mr. Morales reflects the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to our law enforcement partnership with Mexico.”
This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Garriques of the Eastern District of California and Senior Trial Attorney Valinda Jones of the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Assistance was also provided by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 3rd China International Disaster Reduction and Emergency Service Show

The 3rd IDRES CHINA 2012 will be held in May 7th - 9th, 2012 at China World Trade Center, Beijing. The great show is Sponsored by Office of the State Committee for Disaster Reduction, National Disaster Reduction Center of Ministry of Civil Affairs, China Association for Disaster Prevention and Trade Development Bureau of Ministry.

The last session is one China activities during National Disaster Reduction Day, which attracted wide attention from all ranks besides medias. CCTV, BTV, Beijing Broadcasting, People Daily, Xinhua Express, Guangming Daily, Economy Daily, China Daily, China News Express, Beijing Youth, International Commerce, China Economy Guide, Beijing News, China Social News and other medias had been here for interview and report. This show is the biggest one of this field around the world, which covered 12,000 sqrs, and nearly 200 exhibitors participated in the fair from US, Germany, France, UK, Danmark, Austria, Israel, Japan, Singapore, HK-Mocau-Taiwan religon and China Mainland. More than ten thousand visitors come to the show, they are from national authorities for disaster prevention and reduction, local authorities of civil affairs, research & institute, natural disaster organizations of disaster prevention and relief, search & rescue, aid, quarantine and research institute, material reserve systems, purchase dept, overseas embassy, and China Rep of UN.

The 3rd show is also a comprehensive exposition with the theme of disaster protection, reduction and emergency, hi-tech characteristic, the purpose is to provide an open platform for disaster reduction and emergency industry. Recently, China allots ten billions yuan to procure disaster reduction equipment and products every year, which means government’s great attention to Chinese disaster reduction affair, we hope more and more dealers come here to improve the national disaster reduction and emergency affairs.    

If you are engaged in the following industry, you shouldn’t miss the fair.

1. Disaster Forecast and Inspection
2. Disaster Assistance Tech and Equipment
3. Emergency Security Equipment
4. Emergency First-aid and Quarantine
5. Emergency Rescue
6. Consulting Agencies
7. Relief Material Reserves and Public Disaster Reduction and Emergency Service
8. Safety Protection Tech and Equipment
9. Advanced technology of disaster prevention and relief

For more details, please feel free to see the attached or directly contact John Zhang.

Overseas Business: John Zhang           Chinese Name: Zhang Lei ()
Mobile: 86 +130 5163 6976              E-mail: ecidrea@yahoo.cn
Tel: 86 +(0)10-8329 4491                Fax: 86+(0)10-8329 4738

Former Navajo Police Department Officer Indicted in New Mexico on Civil Rights Charges

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury in Albuquerque, N.M., today indicted a former police officer with the Navajo Police Department on charges related to the sexual abuse of a woman who was in his custody on Jan. 25, 2009, announced the Department of Justice.
Lawrence Etsitty Jr., 30, was charged in count one of the indictment with violating the civil rights of the victim when he groped, touched and kissed her against her will, while she was restrained in handcuffs. Count two of the indictment charges Etsitty, with making false statements to the FBI.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
Anyone with information regarding this matter is encouraged to call the FBI at 505-889-1300.
This case is being investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Fara Gold of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice

Statement of Attorney General Holder on Increase in Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities

WASHINGTON – The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund today released preliminary fatality statistics for 2011, which show a 13 percent increase in the number of federal, state and local officers who died in the line of duty, from 153 in 2010 to 173 in 2011. The data shows that 68 officers lost their lives in firearms-related incidents, 64 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents and 41 deaths were attributed to other causes.
“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day – and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Departments across the country have mourned the loss of too many dedicated colleagues and friends, but my colleagues and I at the Justice Department are determined to turn back this rising tide. I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power – and use every tool at our disposal – to keep our police officers safe.”
The Department of Justice is advancing officer safety with critical new programs including the Officer Safety Initiative, which provides training programs and information-sharing platforms. In addition, in partnership with the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has established the Officer Safety & Wellness Working Group. This forum gains and shares information and insight to help enhance programs, policies and initiatives related to officer safety and wellness.
The department also is standing behind its commitment to police officers with significant strategic investments to numerous officer safety programs, including BJA’s Bulletproof Vest Partnership program. Since January 2011, 16 officers have been saved due to protective vests purchased in part with funding from this program . In FY 2011, the BJA reimbursed jurisdictions across the United States more than $23 million for 79,684 bullet- and stab-resistant vests.
In addition to this life-saving program, the department also is supporting officer safety through programs such as the Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) program. VALOR is designed to prevent violence against law enforcement officers and ensure officer resilience and survivability following violent encounters during the course of their duties. VALOR provides training and technical assistance to state, local and tribal law enforcement in a variety of ways, and will conduct and disseminate analysis of violent encounters in various forms, including after-action reviews and lessons learned publications. To date, 538 officers have been trained through the program, and more than 100 incidents where officers were forced to use their firearm have been analyzed. VALOR also includes funding that has been allocated to develop training and technical assistance programs – and resources like the Officer Safety Toolkit, which the department released this year to help officers learn how to anticipate and survive violent encounters. Since its release, approximately 5,000 print and electronic copies of the toolkit have been distributed nationwide.
The Justice Department also has made significant investments to help launch the Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police and to provide additional support for the families of law enforcement officers, especially in times of tragedy. The department also has expanded its Smart Policing Initiative, which fights crime with innovative and evidence-based strategies, granting 16 new awards in FY2011 and bringing the total number of agencies participating to 31.
For more information on BJA, including the Officer Safety Initiative, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program, the VALOR program and the Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police and the Smart Policing Initiative go to www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA . For more information on COPS, go to www.cops.usdoj.gov .

Friday, December 23, 2011

Robbery of IBC Bank Branch in Bethany

James E. Finch, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Oklahoma, announces today’s robbery of the IBC Bank located at 7723 N.W. 23rd Street, Bethany, Oklahoma.

At approximately 5:52 this afternoon, an unknown white female entered the bank and approached a teller at the teller counter. The female presented a note that stated, “I’m armed. Give me all your money. Don’t hit the alarm. No bait bills and don’t call the police until I leave.” The bank teller complied with the demand and gave the robber an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber gathered the money and was last seen heading west on N.W. 23rd Street. She was seen in a black in color, possibly a 1998 model Toyota Camry with tinted windows. The vehicle’s emblem and writing on the vehicle describing it was gold in color.

The robber was described as a white female with long, dirty blond hair. She wore a blue baseball style cap, a dark green winter coat, and dark pants. She was using a flip-type cell phone.

This robbery is being investigated by the FBI and the Bethany Police Department. Anyone with any information about this robbery may call the FBI at (405) 290-7770 (24-hour number). Callers may remain anonymous. The Oklahoma Banker’s Association offers a reward of up to $2,000 for any information leading to the identification and/or arrest of any person robbing a member bank.

Maryland Man Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Sex Crimes Involving Minors

WASHINGTON—Andrew Ramos, 26, of Landover, Maryland, was sentenced today to nine years in prison on federal charges of traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct, enticing a minor, and possession of child pornography, 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).

Ramos pled guilty on August 30, 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer sentenced him today. Upon completion of his prison term, Ramos will be placed on 10 years of supervised release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender.

According to the government’s evidence, on March 2, 2010, an undercover officer with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force entered a social network site. The defendant contacted the undercover officer and they subsequently began communicating. During their conversation, Ramos expressed interest in having sexual contact with an underaged child. Over the course of the next year, the defendant engaged in numerous discussions with the undercover officer, during which they discussed plans for meeting and engaging in sexual acts with the child.

On March 15, 2011, the defendant traveled from Landover to his workplace in the District of Columbia and subsequently to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested. He has been in custody ever since.

Following his arrest in March 2011, members of law enforcement identified videos of child pornography that Ramos possessed in his residence in Landover, Maryland.

Law enforcement also learned of an additional incident involving an actual underaged child who Ramos traveled to meet in February 2011, for purposes of engaging in sexual acts. Ramos traveled from his residence in Landover to Woodbridge, Virginia, where he met the child.

This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD.

Project Safe Childhood is 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit Projectsafechildhood.gov.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin and Chief Lanier praised the MPD detectives and special agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney David Last, who prosecuted the case.

Robbery of Bank of Albuquerque Branch

A man with a handgun robbed the Bank of Albuquerque,4201 Wyoming Blvd NE, on Thursday afternoon.

The FBI and Albuquerque Police Department are looking for a suspect described as a white male, 25-30 years old, approximately 5’10” tall, with a medium build.

He wore a black beanie, black scarf, white sweater, black gloves, blue jeans and white tennis shoes.

Witnesses say the suspect entered the bank at approximately 2:19 p.m. He covered his mouth and nose with the scarf.

The suspect approached the counter, pulled out a black handgun and demanded money from the teller.

The man left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money. He was last seen walking east on La Mirada Place NE.

Bank robbery is punishable by a 20-year prison sentence for each offense and the penalty increases if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the crime.

Anyone with information about this bank robbery is asked to call the Albuquerque FBI Office at (505) 889-1300 (24 hours) or Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 843-STOP.

The FBI may pay a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Husband and Wife Sentenced in Phony Commercial Driver’s License Scheme

PHILADELPHIA—A federal judge today sentenced Vitaliy Kroshnev, 49, and his wife Tatyana, 46, of Richboro, Pennsylvania, for their participation in a scheme to provide out-of-state residents with Pennsylvania driver’s licenses and Pennsylvania commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). Vitaliy Kroshnev was sentenced to 30 months in prison; Tatyana was sentenced to 24 months in prison. The defendants owned and operated the “International Training Academy,” arranging for hundreds of non-residents of Pennsylvania to fraudulently obtain Pennsylvania commercial driver’s licenses between 2007 and 2010. The couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce and aiding and abetting the production of an identification document without lawful authority. Vitaliy Kroshnev also pleaded guilty to making a material false statement.

The Kroshnevs paid other members of the conspiracy for allowing their home addresses to be used by ITA clients, who resided out-of-state, to submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as false proof of Pennsylvania residency.

In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Court Judge Norma L. Shapiro ordered three years’ supervised release for each defendant and a forfeiture money judgment of $445,450.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Labor, Michelle Morgan, and Trial Attorney Margaret Vierbuchen, U.S. Department of Justice, Organized Crime and Gang Section.

Informational: Federal Court Arraignments

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on December 21, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, the following individuals were arraigned:

DAN OAHEYO TWO FEATHERS, a 55-year-old resident of Hamilton, appeared on charges in three separate cases as follows: CR 11-57-M-DWM—conspiracy to commit investment fraud, investment fraud, receipt of stolen money in interstate commerce, and money laundering; CR 11-58-M-DWM—conspiracy to commit investment fraud, investment fraud, receipt of stolen money in interstate commerce, and money laundering; and CR 11-59-M-DWM—investment fraud, receipt of stolen money in interstate commerce, and money laundering. He is currently released on special conditions. If convicted of these charges, TWO FEATHERS faces possible penalties of 20 years for each charge of investment fraud; 10 years for each charge of receipt of stolen money and money laundering; and five years for each charge of conspiracy to commit investment fraud. He also faces a fine of $250,000 and three years’ supervised release on every charge. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

SHAWN ANTHONY SWOR, a 42-year-old resident of Missoula, appeared on charges of conspiracy to commit investment fraud, investment fraud, receipt of stolen money in interstate commerce, and money laundering. He is currently released on special conditions. If convicted of these charges, SWOR faces possible penalties of years 20 years for investment fraud; 10 years for receipt of stolen money and money laundering; and five years for conspiracy to commit investment fraud. He also faces a fine of $250,000 and three years’ supervised release on every charge. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carl E. Rostad is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

JEFFREY PEET FRAZSER, a resident of Bozeman, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine. He is currently detained. If convicted of these charges, FRAZSER faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and four years’ supervised release. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot is the prosecutor for the United States. The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Missouri River Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The defendants pled not guilty to the charges.

The charge—an indictment, information, or complaint—is merely an accusation and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Kirby Lofts Trio Pleads Guilty

HOUSTON—Derwin Frazier, Veronica Frazier, and Felton Greer have pleaded guilty for their respective roles in connection with fraudulently obtaining home loans in the Kirby Lofts condominium complex and others, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Derwin Frazier, 45, of Pearland, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, while Veronica Frazier, 43, also of Pearland, pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud residential lenders in connection with single family residences and individual condominium purchases in a building located at 917 Main Street in Houston, also known as the “The Kirby Lofts.” Greer pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false income tax return for failing to report funds he was paid to act as a borrower on the loans.

The fourth superseding criminal information alleged the Kirby Lofts and other single family homes were sham sales. From about December 2004 to October 2006, Derwin Frazier recruited individuals with good credit to act as borrowers in applications for mortgage loans to purchase units in Kirby Lofts and elsewhere. Co-conspirators assisted these “straw borrowers” with providing false information and documents, including bogus letters and false verifications of bank balances, to induce lenders to fund residential home purchases. Derwin and Veronica Frazier submitted invoices for payment from loan proceeds and used the money to pay themselves and straw borrowers from loan proceeds.

U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who accepted the pleas today, has set sentencing for May 15, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. At that time, Derwin Frazier faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, while Veronica Frazier and Greer face a maximum five and three years, respectively. All three also face a fine of up to $250,000. All defendants have also agreed to pay restitution, as ordered by the court.

Today’s pleas bring the total to five people who have pleaded guilty for their roles in the Kirby Lofts mortgage fraud scam. Brenda East, 50, currently incarcerated on an unrelated matter, and Duane Wardell, 49, of Palestine, Texas, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are pending sentencing on April 25 and May 18, 2012, respectively. With the exception of East, all defendants have been released on bond.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys Belinda Beek and Martha Minnis are prosecuting the case.

The case is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and was part of “Operation Stolen Dreams,” a nationwide dragnet which targeted mortgage fraudsters throughout the country, the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in contronting mortgage fraud.

Robbery of Wells Federal Bank Branch in St. Peter

On December 22, 2011, at approximately 6:55 a.m., a bank robbery occurred at Wells Federal Bank, located at 1618 South Minnesota Avenue, in St. Peter, Minnesota. The robber seized control of a bank employee who was arriving at work. The robber showed the bank employee a black handgun and demanded cash. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the robber fled from the bank.
The robber was described as a white male, early to mid-20s, 6’ tall, 180-200 lbs., medium build, wearing a red and black two-tone jacket, light colored pants, black shoes or boots, black face mask, and black gloves. If anyone has any information regarding this robbery, they are requested to contact the FBI at (612) 376-3200 or the St. Peter Police Department, (507) 931-1550.

Final Defendant in Pawn Shop Case Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Sell $20 Million Worth of Stolen Merchandise

BALTIMORE—William Cooper Jr., age 38, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to transport stolen goods. With today’s plea, all 16 defendants have been convicted of their roles in the scheme.

On December 9, 2011, a federal jury convicted co-defendant Jared Baroloto, age 38, of Monkton, Maryland, of conspiracy to transport stolen property across state lines, a money laundering conspiracy and one count of interstate transportation of stolen property.

Today’s guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

According to his plea agreement, from 2007 to March 2010, Cooper admitted that he and others were involved in the purchase and sale of mass quantities of stolen over-the-counter medications, health and beauty aid products, gift cards, DVDs, tools and other merchandise. Pawn shops purchased large amounts of stolen items from shoplifters, also known as “boosters.” The boosters would steal products from Target, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and other retailers in Maryland and other states. Investigators observed boosters bringing in large bags full of stolen material. The stolen items often had retail security labels and merchandise tags still on the products.

According to testimony at his three week trial, co-defendant Jared Baraloto would obtain stolen material from pawn shops, including shops owned by other co-conspirators. Baraloto often had his workers bring the stolen material from the pawn shops to TS Liquidators, where the items would be cleaned and prepared for shipment in interstate commerce. Co-conspirator Jerome Stal paid Baraloto approximately $1.8 million for his stolen materials. Baraloto and Stal later opened Blue Diamond Jewelry and Loan, a pawn shop located at 3438 Annapolis Road in Halethorpe, Maryland, where they also purchased some of the stolen goods, deliberately ignoring obvious evidence that the items were stolen.

Cooper was employed by defendants Jared Ezra and Spencer Garonzik, among others, and received some of the stolen products at We Buy Pawn Shop, Shine Corner Pawn Shop and other locations. Cooper coordinated with several “boosters” the purchase and drop-off of the stolen items at the pawn shops for which he worked. Cooper also purchased presumably stolen material at We Buy from an undercover agent. Cooper knew that many of the indicted defendants participated in the scheme. Some of the defendants also had on-line auction sites, such as eBay and Amazon.com, where they would sell the stolen products far below normal retail value. Cooper was one of the defendants who maintained such an eBay account. The stolen products were then delivered to unsuspecting customers by mail. Cooper and other defendants received payment using PayPal accounts and through financial institutions in Maryland.

On March 25, 2010, agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Baltimore County Police Department and the FBI executed search warrants at We Buy, Shine Corner, TS Liquidators and the pawn shops in this case. Agents recovered in total well over $1 million in stolen merchandise, approximately $1 million in bank accounts and over $140,000 in cash from these shops.

Although the entire conspiracy involved approximately $20 million in stolen merchandise, at least $400,000 but less than $1 million in stolen products was reasonably foreseeable to Cooper.

Cooper faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 13, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg. No date has been set for Baroloto’s sentencing.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Baltimore County Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore Police Department; and Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation for their work in this investigation and commended Assistant United States Attorneys Sujit Raman, Barbara S. Sale and Sean O’Connell, who are prosecuting the case.

Two Las Vegas Men Sentenced to 20 and 25 Years in Prison for Cocaine Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracy

WASHINGTON—Two Las Vegas men were sentenced yesterday in the District of Nevada to 20 and 25 years in prison for their roles in an international cocaine distribution and money laundering conspiracy, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada announced today.

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro sentenced Jose Lopez-Buelna, aka “Miguel,” 51, to 20 years in prison, and Erik Dushawn Webster, 47, to 25 years in prison. Lopez-Buelna and Webster were also sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Lopez-Buelna pleaded guilty on Feb. 16, 2011, to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to launder money, and two counts of money laundering. Webster was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 18, 2011, of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to launder money.

At the sentencing hearings, the court found that the drug distribution conspiracy in this case involved 150 kilograms or more of cocaine.

According to court documents and trial testimony, from 2007 through October 2009, Lopez-Buelna and co-defendant Jesus Gastelum recruited various individuals, including Webster and others, to drive motor homes outfitted with sophisticated, lead-lined, hidden compartments throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. The hidden compartments were used to store large amounts of cocaine and drug proceeds. Lopez-Buelna and Gastelum ordered the motor home drivers to make stops at various destinations, including Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Montreal, where the cocaine was unloaded and bulk cash was loaded into the hidden compartments. The motor home drivers then transported these proceeds from the cocaine distribution back to Mexico. Testimony at trial also indicated that Webster recruited additional motor home drivers to drive a motor home registered in his name across the U.S./Mexico border and back to various destinations in the United States.

Gastelum was charged with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, conspiracy to launder money, money laundering and other charges. He remains a fugitive in this case.

Another co-defendant charged in the conspiracy, Adolph Vargas, aka “Adolph Vargas Ibarra,” aka “Al,” pleaded guilty in January 2011 to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of money laundering. Vargas was sentenced in November 2011 to 97 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

On July 22, 2011, the court entered a final forfeiture order in the case against all of the defendants. The forfeiture order included two recreational vehicles, two .38 caliber semi-automatic pistols, various vehicles and more than $4 million, all of which represented drug proceeds that law enforcement recovered during the course of the investigation of this case.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Marty Woelfle and Margaret Honrath of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, with substantial assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.

Two Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated that James Lee Putnam, age 40, and Alissa Rae Smith, age 29, both of Myrtle Beach, pled guilty today in federal court in Florence to conspiracy to make a false statement, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. United States District Court Judge Robert Bryan Harwell accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Testimony presented at the guilty plea hearing established that Mr. Putnam conspired with others to accept a payment of $36,500 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was not reflected on the settlement statement for the transaction, which was provided to the lender. Testimony revealed that Ms. Smith received a payment of over $200,000.00 from the proceeds of a real estate transaction. The payment was reflected on the settlement statement, but was based on a fraudulent invoice.

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

The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney John C. Potterfield of the Columbia office handled the case.

West Seneca Man Pleads Guilty to Online Enticement of a Minor and Receipt of Child Pornography

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Jason Bek, 30, of West Seneca, N.Y. pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to coercion and enticement of a minor and receipt of child pornography. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $500,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O’Donnell, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant used the Internet and telephone to attempt to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a person who he believed to be a 13-year-old child to engage in sexual activity. In actuality, the 13-year-old child was fictional, and the defendant’s online conversations were with law enforcement officers posing as various individuals. Bek was arrested in May 2011, when he arrived at a pre-arranged meeting with the minor for purposes of engaging in sexual activity. The defendant was in possession of alcohol and prescription drugs, which he intended to give to the minor. In addition, Bek pleaded guilty to the knowing receipt of child pornography in March 2011. The defendant possessed in excess of 150 images of child pornography on his computer.

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 (CEOS), 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 plea was the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota and Detectives and Officers from the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Zack.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. EST, in Buffalo, N.Y., before Judge Arcara.

Cyber Alerts for Parents & Kids

Tip #1: Be Prudent When Posting Images Online

With the explosive popularity of smartphones and social media platforms, sharing photos has never been easier. Millions of pictures are uploaded to the web every day, and camera-enabled mobile phones are the perennial top-selling consumer electronic devices. So it’s a safe bet that even more photos will be cropping up on image-hosting communities and personal websites.

But what exactly is being shared?

In some cases, you might unwittingly be letting others know where you live and work and your travel patterns and habits. These details can be revealed through bits of information embedded in images taken with smartphones and some digital cameras and then shared on public websites. The information, called metadata, often includes the times, dates, and geographical coordinates (latitude and longitude) where images are taken.

While the geospatial data can be helpful in myriad web applications that plot image locations, it also opens a door for criminals, including burglars, stalkers, and predators. It’s not a stretch to imagine young teens’ images of their ventures to the mall or beach being culled by web predators and meticulously plotted on online maps.

“It’s not something we think is happening. We know it’s happening,” said Kevin Gutfleish, head of the Innocent Images Intelligence Unit in the FBI’s Cyber Division. The unit provides analysis and assessments of emerging threats for the operational arm of the Innocent Images National Initiative, which targets child pornography and sexual predators.

“The way that images are being posted in real time allows others who have access to see the metadata and see where the photos were taken and reveal their location at that time,” Gutfleish said.

An intelligence analyst in the FBI Criminal Division’s Crimes Against Children Unit said these details can reveal a “pattern of life,” particularly when images posted over time are clustered in geographic locations.

“It doesn’t have to be in real time to be dangerous,” said the analyst. “Historical data can tell you a lot about individuals’ day-to-day habits and may indicate where they are most likely to be at a certain time.”

Some popular social media sites automatically scrub metadata from images before they are published. On the other hand, some leverage the data to display location information beside the images. An amateur sleuth could easily pinpoint a location using the available latitude and longitude coordinates.

“Even if they don’t intentionally say where they are, the photos could reveal that,” Gutfleish said. “And that could present a potential danger.”

Gutfleish said he has seen an increase in intelligence reports and complaints about the potential misuse of the metadata embedded in photos. He said the proliferation of online tools that aggregate personal information from social networking and image hosting sites is enough to urge a level of caution.

He suggests mobile phone users at the very least check the “options” or “settings” on their phones (and any applicable mobile applications) to see if they are sharing location information. In many cases, the default setting is to share location information.

“It’s just a best-practice if you don’t want to give out your location,” Gutfleish says. “We simply want to make sure people know this is happening.”

This story is the first in an occasional series aimed at providing practical web advice and tips for parents and their kids.

Disabling the Location Function
Disabling the photo geotagging function on mobile phones varies by manufacturer, but is generally a straightforward process. On one of the most popular models, users can simply navigate to the following folders:

Settings > General > Location services

The path to location-based services options varies from phone to phone. Users should take special care when enabling or disabling location services (which may include navigation functions), or disabling applications (like photos) accessing the GPS data. Consult your phone manufacturer’s guidelines for more information.

Los Angeles Man Indicted for Defrauding Woman Out of More Than $7 Million in Divorce Proceeds

SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a 14-count indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Troy Stratos, 45, currently of Los Angeles. He is charged with 11 counts of wire and mail fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of obstruction of justice. Stratos was arrested this morning in Los Angeles and will make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia G. Rosenberg at 2:00 p.m. today.

According to the indictment, Stratos defrauded a woman of at least $7 million by convincing her that he would manage the proceeds of her divorce by investing them overseas where they would earn a high rate of return. Stratos represented to the woman that he was himself wealthy and successful and involved in the entertainment industry. At Stratos’s request and instruction, the woman executed a revocable trust with Stratos in Fair Oaks into which she placed the cash proceeds of her divorce and houses. Stratos then opened a bank account in Florida connected with the trust. The indictment alleges that Stratos never invested any money overseas as he promised. Instead, he diverted substantial sums of money from the trust for his own personal use. He also used portions of the money to pay the woman’s expenses, misrepresenting to her that he was spending his own money to pay for her expenses.

The indictment alleges that Stratos told the woman that he knew members of Middle Eastern royal families and that he could broker the sale of her house in Granite Bay to them. To facilitate the sale, Stratos convinced the woman that she needed to lease luxury automobiles to make the property more enticing and that they would be purchased as part of a package deal with the house. At Stratos’s request and instruction, the woman leased several luxury cars. In fact, Stratos lived in the house and made use of the automobiles, and there was never any deal arranged to sell the property to a royal family. After much of the initial cash assets had been used by Stratos, he convinced the woman to refinance several homes she owned to pull out equity, including in Granite Bay and Sacramento. Stratos told the woman this was necessary to cover her expenses while her assets were invested overseas. In fact, Stratos never invested any assets overseas, and Stratos used portions of the equity derived from refinancing the houses to pay for his own expenses.

The indictment further alleges that in February 2007, Stratos’s bookkeeper was served with a grand jury subpoena that called for the production of documents relating to Troy Stratos. Stratos told the bookkeeper to not produce some of the documents covered by the subpoena.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Todd Pickles is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Stratos faces a maximum statutory penalty for the wire and mail fraud of 20 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the money laundering and obstruction of justice charges is 10 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threatening Calls to Virginia Congressman

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Glendon Swift, 62, of Lenoir City, Tenn., pleaded guilty today to making threats against Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., and his family.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Michael F. A. Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement.

Pursuant to a Rule 20 consent to transfer jurisdiction, Swift pled guilty today in the Eastern District of Tennessee to threatening a family member of a federal official. The defense and government jointly recommended in the plea agreement a prison sentence of 13 months. He will be formally sentenced on April 4, 2012.

According to court documents, an unknown male left two voice-mail messages with Rep. Cantor’s Glen Allen, Va., office the evening of Oct. 27, 2011. The screaming, profanity-laden messages stated that the caller was going to destroy Rep. Cantor, rape his daughter and kill his wife. A Congressional staff member retrieved the messages, alerted the U.S. Capitol Police, which sought the assistance of the FBI to identify and locate the individual who made the calls.

Swift was identified as the individual who subscribed to the phone number used to make the call. He was arrested without incident on Nov. 2, 2011 by the FBI in Knoxville and the Lenoir City Police Department after having been interviewed by law enforcement.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Richmond and Knoxville Field Offices, the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Lenoir City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jamie L. Mickelson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

Eagle Butte Woman Arraigned on Charges of Child Abuse and False Statements

U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that an Eagle Butte woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for child abuse and neglect and making false statements to a federal agency. Alex White Eyes, age 22, was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 14, 2011.

She appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on December 20, 2011, and pled not guilty to the indictment. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 15 years’ imprisonment on the child abuse charge and five years on the false statements charge. The charges are merely accusations, and White Eyes is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Britt M. Haxton is prosecuting the case. White Eyes was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not yet been set.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brookline Man Sentenced for Foreign Economic Espionage

BOSTON—A Brookline man was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to six months in prison, followed by six months in home confinement and electronic monitoring, and fined $25,000 for committing foreign economic espionage. This is the first prosecution in Massachusetts for foreign economic espionage and only the eighth in the nation.

Elliot Doxer, 43, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of foreign economic espionage for providing trade secrets over an 18-month period to an undercover federal agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Foreign espionage poses serious risk to our nation’s security and to corporate America. I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors in this case, and thank Akamai Technologies, Inc. for their cooperation and assistance. Thanks to the outstanding cooperation between law enforcement and Akamai Technologies, Inc., the government was able to thwart a potential breach in our national and corporate security.”

“Mr. Doxer’s criminal actions were an affront to the dedicated workers in the thriving technology industry. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of him should not go unnoticed by those who seek to steal trade secrets and confidential business information,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Boston. “Preventing, deterring, and detecting those intent on stealing trade secrets and American technology from local industry leaders is a high priority for the FBI. Because the Boston area is a worldwide leader of innovative technology and research, the FBI has a vigorous program to educate companies on the enormous threat posed by economic espionage and teaches companies how to detect and deter it. I also want to recognize the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Service, which provided the FBI with substantial assistance during the investigation.”

On June 22, 2006, Doxer sent an e-mail to the Israeli consulate in Boston stating that he worked in the finance department of Akamai Technologies, Inc., and was willing to provide any information that might help Israel. In later communications, Doxer said that his chief desire “was to help our homeland and our war against our enemies.” He also asked for payment in light of the risks he was taking.

In Sept. 2007, a federal agent posing as an undercover Israeli intelligence officer spoke to Doxer and established a “dead drop” where the agent and Doxer could exchange written communications. From Oct. 2007 through March 2009, Doxer visited the dead drop at least 62 times to leave information, retrieve communications, and check for new communications.

Included in the trade secret information that Doxer provided the undercover agent were an extensive list of Akamai’s customers; contracts between the company and various customers revealing contact, services, pricing, and termination date information; and a comprehensive list of the company’s employees that revealed their positions and full contact information. Doxer also broadly described the company’s physical and computer security systems and stated that he could travel to the foreign country and could support special and sensitive operations in his local area if needed. Because Akamai’s information was disclosed only to an undercover agent from the beginning, the information was never in danger of actual exposure outside the company.

We acknowledge the Government of Israel for their cooperation in this investigation, and underscore that the Information does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case. We would also like to acknowledge and thank Akamai Technologies, Inc., for its assistance throughout all stages of the investigation and prosecution.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz; SAC DesLauriers of the FBI; and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Weinreb and Scott L. Garland, respectively in Ortiz’s Antiterrorism and National Security Unit and Cybercrimes Unit, and by Trial Attorneys Kathleen Kedian and David Recker of the Department of Justices’s Counter-espionage Section.

Franklin Bank Robbery

On December 20, 2011, at approximately 1:45 p.m., a bank robbery occurred at Franklin Bank located at 1527 East Lake Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The robber, who was described as a white male, entered the bank and approached the teller counter with a handgun. The robber demanded and received cash from the victim teller. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the robber fled from the bank.

The robber was described as a white male in his mid 30s. He stood approximately 6’0” in height and had a medium build. He wore a black mask, a khaki jacket, a grey cap, black gloves, and blue jeans. The robber also brandished a small handgun during the robbery. The FBI believes the serial robber nicknamed “the man in black” to be responsible for this robbery.

If anyone has any information regarding this robbery, they are requested to contact the FBI at (612) 376-3200 or the Minneapolis Police Department. There is a $25,000.00 reward for information leading to both the arrest and conviction of this individual.

Hamden Woman Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling More Than $150,000 from Stamford Business

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that RENEE BRAGG, 43, of Hamden, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $150,000 from her employer. Judge Eginton also ordered BRAGG to serve the first six months of her supervised release in home confinement.

According to court documents and statements made in court, BRAGG was employed as a payroll specialist at Omega Engineering, Inc. (“Omega”) in Stamford. The employees at Omega submitted weekly written time sheets to payroll specialists, including BRAGG, who assembled a spreadsheet of that information and e-mailed it to an out-of-state payroll company for processing. For several years, BRAGG engaged in a scheme to defraud Omega by entering false hourly information in the payroll spreadsheet that inflated her own hours worked, which resulted in additional pay to her of between $500 and $3,313 per week. In order to conceal the falsified payroll spreadsheets, BRAGG manipulated the composite report of Omega’s total payroll so that it would reflect BRAGG’s normal pay amounts and not include the additional pay.

Between August 2006 and July 2010, BRAGG falsified the payroll spreadsheet for 88 different weeks. During that time, she overpaid herself approximately $150,689 in salary. Omega also paid $11,528 in additional Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Today, Judge Eginton ordered BRAGG to pay restitution in the amount of $162,216.

On June 30, 2011, BRAGG pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud stemming from this scheme.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.

New York Man Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison for Illegally Uploading Copy of X-Men ‘Wolverine’ Movie to Internet Site

LOS ANGELES—A New York man who admitted illegally uploading to the Internet a pirated, nearly final “workprint” copy of the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was sentenced this afternoon to one year in federal prison.

Gilberto Sanchez, 49, who resides in The Bronx and who used screen names that were variations on “skillz,” was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, who described the offense as “extremely serious.” In addition to the prison term, Judge Morrow imposed one year of supervised release and numerous computer restrictions.

“The federal prison sentence handed down in this case sends a strong message of deterrence to would-be Internet pirates,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The Justice Department will pursue and prosecute persons who seek to steal the intellectual property of this nation.”

Sanchez “uploaded the workprint more than one month before theatrical release, he has a prior conviction for a similar offense, he had been regularly uploading pirated movies for four or five years, and did not appear remorseful after charges were brought,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution. When he pleaded guilty, Sanchez admitted that he uploaded a “workprint” copy of the copyrighted “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” to www.Megaupload.com in March 2009, about one month before the motion picture was released in theaters. After uploading the Wolverine movie, Sanchez publicized the upload by posting links on two publicly available websites, so that anyone who clicked on the links would have access to the movie and be able to download it. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation owns the copyright to the movie.

“Although Fox was able to get defendant’s Wolverine Workprint removed from his Megaupload account within approximately one day, by then, the damage was done and the film had proliferated like wildfire throughout the Internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements,” prosecutors said in court documents.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Lisa E. Feldman
Computer and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
(213) 894-0633