Criminal Justice News

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Simple Lesson: Veteran Cop Shares His Wisdom


On December 15th, 1989, I graduated from the New York City Police Academy. As a member of the now-defunct New York City Housing Authority Police Department, I was assigned to Police Service Area #6 (P.S.A. 6) in the confines of the 32nd precinct in Harlem. My field training officer was a man named Joe Brown. Joe was a twenty-year veteran and a long-time field training officer who took his duties seriously. We were gathered in a classroom in the community center of the Drew Hamilton Houses on 143rd Street near the PSA for in service training. Joe was the first of the field training officers to address us. He stood in the front of the room and eyed all of us young rookies with a serious stare.

“Let me start by saying that the only people who are impressed that you’re a cop are your parents,” he said. “The way you’re going to get respect and earn the trust of the people in the community is by treating the folks you meet the way you’d want another cop to treat your mother. If a cop pulled over your mom and talked to her rudely, you’d chew his head off.” Joe paused and observed us. “If someone stops you on the street, talk to them. Help an old woman with her packages. Hold the door for the person behind you. Be nice and don’t act like you’re someone special. You need to give respect to get respect, and if you run around thinking you’re Dirty Harry, you’re going to get killed.”

After our lesson in the community room, we went on patrol. I was stationed on a foot post at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 125th Street. Being from Long Island, I was unused to the hustle and bustle of the city, yet I had an appreciation for the neighborhood I was assigned to protect. A gentleman in his forties approached me and asked me if I was new. The grin on his face indicated that he knew the answer. I told him I was in field training, and he said that he could tell because I was a “new jacket.” The man referred to my brand new duty jacket with the clean patches and my shiny, new shield pinned to my chest.

We spoke for several minutes. After exchanging pleasantries, he said goodbye and walked away. Days later, I was given the same post. I noticed a limousine parked at the curb not too far ahead of me. The limo driver opened the rear door and a man in a tuxedo stepped out. He paused, turned around, and took the hand of a beautiful woman wearing a fur coat. The man in the tuxedo saw me and called out, “Hello Officer, remember me?” I approached him and tried to play it off as though I knew exactly who he was.

“You don’t remember me do you? That’s okay, I wasn’t wearing this.” The man pointed to his attire and smiled wide. It dawned on me that he was the gentleman I spoke to a few nights before. We shook hands and he introduced me to his wife and then turned his attention back to me.

“I’m glad you’re here in this neighborhood, officer. We need young cops like you who are polite and willing to do the job. I’m a doctor. I grew up in this building here, and tonight, I took my lovely wife to a Broadway show. I feel safer knowing that you’re around when I come home each night.”

When we parted ways, I was impressed that a man of his stature appreciated the presence of motivated police officers in his neighborhood. If I had been aloof or dismissive during our first encounter, I not only would have missed out on meeting a remarkable person, but I would have lessened his confidence in the police. 

Throughout my career, I treated citizens with dignity and respect. I was impatient with officers who would no adhere to the basic rule of “do unto others,” and I passed on this insight to rookies who came on the job after me. Joe Brown’s wisdom was proof that courtesy and respect are crucial for police to win the public trust.

After field training, the officers in my unit and our instructors gathered at a local watering hole. Joe was uncharacteristically bright and cheery. He hugged each of us and wished us all long and healthy careers. It was on that night Joe announced his retirement. We were the last class of rookies he would ever train. The job would soon be in his past, and it would be our duty to carry on where he left off. Six months later, the sad news came. Officer Joe Brown had died. Each day on patrol, I recalled Joe and his simple, yet valuable lesson. I’d like to think I made him proud.

About the Author: Michael J. Kannengieser is the author of the police thriller, The Daddy Rock. He is a retired New York City police officer who lives on Long Island with his wife and two children. Michael worked as the Managing Editor for Fiction at The View from Here magazine, a U.K. based literary publication. Currently, he is employed at a performing arts college as an Instructional Technology Administrator. He has been published at The View from Here, and in Newsday, a Long Island newspaper. Michael speaks as a guest lecturer on campus. Click Here to buy a copy of Michael J. Kannengieser's new novel "The Daddy Rock."


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DEA Publishes Proposed Regulations for Disposing of Controlled Substance Prescription Drugs



DEC 26 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Disposal of Controlled Substances in the Federal Register Dec. 21.  The proposed regulations seek to implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.

According to the 2011 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than six million Americans abuse prescription drugs.  That same study revealed more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives, a statistic that includes raiding the family medicine cabinet. Medicines that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high—more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined. 

This rule proposes requirements to govern the secure disposal of controlled substance medications by both DEA registrants and what the Controlled Substances Act refers to as “ultimate users” of these medications (patients and animals).  The proposed regulations seek to expand the options available to collect these medications from ultimate users for the purpose of disposal, to include take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection box locations.  The proposed regulations contain specific provisions that:

           Continue to allow law enforcement agencies to voluntarily conduct take-back events, administer mail-back programs, and maintain collection boxes;
           Allow authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, and retail pharmacies to voluntarily administer mail-back programs and maintain collection boxes;
           Allow authorized retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection boxes at long term care facilities.

The public can review an electronic copy of this document at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-21/pdf/2012-30699.pdf and has 60 days to submit comments, until February 19, 2013.  DEA encourages interested parties to comment on this important proposed rule. 

DEA’s sixth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 27.  DEA’s first five Take-Back events resulted in the removal from circulation of more than 2 million pounds (over a thousand tons) of prescription drugs. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Justice Department Enters into Agreement to Reform the Puerto Rico Police Department

The Justice Department (DOJ) today entered into a sweeping agreement with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Governor Luis Fortuño to resolve its civil investigation of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).    The complaint and the agreement were filed today in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico, along with a joint motion requesting a temporary stay of the proceedings until April 15, 2013 to provide the incoming administration of Governor-elect Alejandro García Padilla sufficient time to review the agreement.   
 
The comprehensive agreement addresses wide-ranging and ongoing constitutional violations by PRPD that were documented in a lengthy DOJ report issued in September 2011.    The department found reasonable cause to believe that PRPD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, use of unreasonable force designed to suppress protected speech, and unconstitutional searches and seizures.   The agreement also addresses allegations that PRPD fails to investigate sex crimes and domestic violence, and engages in discriminatory policing.
 
  “We appreciate the hard work of Governor Fortuño, Superintendent Hector Pesquera, and their staff.   Together, and with great input from the public, we have designed a comprehensive blueprint for reform that provides a solid foundation that will professionalize and support the hardworking men and women of PRPD as they protect the people of Puerto Rico,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “We have also met with Governor-elect Garcia-Padilla, who recognizes that constitutional policing and effective policing go hand in hand.   We look forward to working with Governor-elect García Padilla and his incoming administration to finalize the agreement and begin the critical work of rebuilding PRPD.   Ensuring effective, constitutional policing is not a partisan issue, and we appreciate the commitment of Governor Fortuño and Governor-elect García Padilla to the reforms embodied in the agreement. The successful implementation of the reforms contained in this agreement will help to reduce crime, ensure respect for the Constitution and restore public confidence in PRPD.”
 
Today’s agreement was reached after extensive negotiations with commonwealth officials and their police consultants.    The agreement provides a comprehensive blueprint for meaningful, sustainable reform and reflects the input of many community stakeholders from throughout the Commonwealth, including police affinity groups, members of the Puerto Rico business community, students, representatives of the Dominican community, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender communities.
 
The agreement addresses the policies, procedures, training, internal and external oversight, disciplinary systems and information and data integrity mechanisms that caused or contributed to the pattern or practice of misconduct.   It also details necessary changes intended to ensure that police services are delivered to the people of Puerto Rico in a manner that is effective, complies with the Constitution, and promotes the community’s trust in PRPD.   For instance, the agreement contains provisions that are designed to increase transparency and promote PRPD’s responsiveness to the community, including measures that require regular meetings with community representatives to facilitate cooperation and communication; collection and dissemination of accurate and up-to-date crime statistics; community outreach programs in each PRPD region; and independent and periodic compliance assessments that are available to the public.  
 
The purpose of the joint motion requesting a temporary stay of the proceedings is to provide the incoming administration with a meaningful opportunity to review the agreement.   The department and representatives of Governor Fortuño have met independently with Governor-elect García Padilla and his transition team to brief them on the investigation’s findings and the agreement.   The stay, requested until April 15, 2013, will provide Governor-elect García Padilla and his incoming administration with a meaningful opportunity to review the agreement, and either accept it or negotiate necessary changes, before the department and Commonwealth request approval and entry of the agreement as an order.   During this period, the department will continue its ongoing outreach into communities across Puerto Rico to seek input and feedback.    Once approved and entered by the district court, the agreement will resolve the department’s civil action, and the implementation phase will immediately begin.  
 
A copy of the complaint, the agreement, the joint motion to stay the proceedings, and September 2011 letter of findings can be found at www.justice.gov/crt .

David Lawless Sentenced to Prison for Use Of A Destructive Device During A Crime Of Violence At A Bookstore At Colorado Mills Shopping Mall



DENVER – Denver resident, David Joseph Lawless, age 32, of Denver, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel to serve 240 months (20 years) in federal prison for use of a destructive device during a crime of violence, United States Attorney John Walsh, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver and Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. The Lakewood Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff‘s Office, and the Colorado State Patrol played a critical role in the investigation and apprehension of Lawless as well. Following his prison sentence, Lawless was ordered to serve 5 years on supervised release. The amount of restitution Lawless owes will be determined at a later date. Lawless appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded at the conclusion.

Lawless was charged by Criminal Complaint on June 27, 2011. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 12, 2011. The government obtained a superseding indictment on February 6, 2012. Lawless pled guilty before Chief Judge Daniel on October 4, 2012. He was sentenced today, December 20, 2012

According to court documents, including the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the indictments, and the stipulated facts in the plea agreement, on June 25, 2011, at approximately 12:38 am, an alarm was activated at the Borders bookstore located in the Colorado Mills Shopping Center. The Lakewood Police Department was dispatched to the store, and upon arrival discovered that the entrance/exit door of the Borders bookstore was shattered and cleared to facilitate entry into the business from the outside. While securing the store, Lakewood officers discovered two suspected explosive devices inside. The Jefferson County Bomb Squad was called, and subsequently responded to the scene. The bomb squad located three suspected explosive devices. The first was located outside the mall near the entrance to Borders. Two others were found inside the store.

The device located outside the mall entrance was discovered in one of the garbage containers. That device partially functioned. Another similar device was located within the Borders store. That device also partially functioned. The third suspected device was placed on a table within the store. No initiation occurred in relation to that suspected device. The bomb squad determined the devices were safe. No render safe procedures were conducted relative to any of the devices

The FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT) and the ATF processed the scene, collecting evidence which was then transported to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. While processing the scene, investigators found what appeared to be blood at the bookstore. A review of security camera footage showed a person who appears to be a white male breaking into the glass public entrance door. It appears the person injured his hand while breaking into the store.

On the same date, June 25, 2011, at 8:05 am the FBI was notified by the Lakewood Police Department that several of the front windows of a Best Buy store located approximately a ½ mile away from the bookstore were smashed open from the outside. At 12:52 am outdoor video surveillance showed a white male driving a green Toyota Tacoma go in and out of camera view. No evidence of arson or a destructive device was recovered from the scene at Best Buy.

At approximately 2:54 am, the Jefferson County Sheriff responded to assist the West Metro Fire and Rescue Department regarding an explosion and fire incident reported by guests at a Marriott Hotel located approximately a ½ mile from the Best Buy, and approximately a mile from the bookstore. Deputies at the hotel scene recovered what appeared to be a crude device. That evidence was also sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. During the investigation agents and task force officers found outdoor surveillance cameras near the mall which showed a dark colored Toyota Tacoma.

At approximately 6:37 pm the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) responded to a one car crash on Colorado 103 at mile post ten (10) in Clear Creek County. Two off-duty Arapahoe County Sheriff‘s Deputies were at the scene of the crash attempting to render aid. The driver in the crash was later identified as Lawless. Lawless, who appeared to be intoxicated, attempted to stab the deputies with scissors while they were detaining him. He was arrested by the Colorado State Patrol for DUI and felony menacing. Lawless had an injury to his hand, which was consistent with the injury to the person who broke into the Borders bookstore. He was also driving a green Toyota Tacoma, which was consistent with what agents and officers observed on surveillance video near the scene of the incidents.

Later investigators learned that there was another device in the defendant‘s truck, as well as components for the devices at his residence. Lastly, it was determined that Lawless researched how to make the devices on the internet from a computer also at his residence.

"With this lengthy prison sentence, the Court has ended the Defendant's days of building and planting dangerous destructive devices," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "The investigation into the actions of David Lawless demonstrate the collective power and determination of local, state and federal law enforcement working together to identify and arrest someone capable of violent acts."

"ATF will continue to utilize its specialized explosives expertise, resources and partnerships with Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate explosives and bombing incidents," said Special Agent in Charge Andrew Traver. "This investigation illustrates our commitment to protecting the public and bringing the perpetrator of such a violent act to justice."

"This sentencing reflects the seriousness of these criminal acts in the risk posed to innocent citizens and property by the use of explosives," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. "The resolution of this case was a result of the outstanding collaborative effort between the FBI, ATF, Lakewood Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, and the Colorado State Patrol to promptly respond, investigate, and bring Lawless to justice."

"This case is an excellent example of how we can work with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to bring to justice those individuals who threaten the safety of our citizens," said Lake Police Chief Kevin Paletta.

"This case illustrates the value of information sharing and the benefit of strong working relationships at all levels of law enforcement," said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "These partnerships greatly enhance the public safety of all Coloradoans."

This case was investigated by the FBI‘s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Lakewood Police Department, with assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff‘s Office, the Jefferson County Bomb Squad, the West Metro Fire and Rescue Department, and the Colorado State Patrol.

The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Holloway.

Navy Boat Team Practices Counter-drug Mission


By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., Dec. 21, 2012 – As waves tossed the two small assault boats around the sailors aboard were on watch for movement on the water as their vessels made their way to the insertion point.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Sailors with a special boat team extract from simulated enemy territory during a training exercise in the Cherry Point, N.C., area Dec. 12, 2012. The sailors inserted to investigate and recover a simulated hidden weapons cache. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Cold water splashed over the boats’ gunnels but the sailors didn’t deviate from their course. They stood ready to deploy into the wet marshlands, where intelligence informed them of the location of a small weapons cache.

Their mission was to quietly insert, recover the cache and get out undetected. Navy Riverine Squadron 2, Detachment 22 accomplished its mission. The ground team recovered three rifles buried under some dead shrubs and sticks and they moved back to the boats for extraction.

Although this was just a training scenario, this is a situation these sailors might face while conducting anti-drug operations in South America, said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dwayne Brown, an operations specialist with the team.

The boat team recently conducted several training exercises on the waterways surrounding Marine Corps Outlying Field Atlantic and Cherry Point during their trip here from Little Creek, Va.

“The land and waterways around this area are similar to what we will be seeing on deployment,” Brown said. “That is the reason for choosing this location. We can give these sailors real-life training with real-world similarities to the locations we will see in South America.”

MCOLF Atlantic provides the sailors with a quiet, austere location for their training. They constructed shelters and tents, and there is very little to no cell phone reception, putting the sailors in a state of seclusion.
“We want them to get used to this type of place,” Brown said. “That way it will not be a shock to them while on deployment.”

During the training, the sailors found themselves dealing with different weather patterns including freezing winds and sharp, stinging rain.

“A lot of the weather patterns we deal with make the waters rough and choppy,” said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Oyler, an engineer and gunner for the squadron. “We have to be prepared for any type of scenario. We have to be on alert for enemy contact, weather, and even water depth.”

The team fought the cold water and high winds and successfully concluded their training.

“Anytime we can come out and get some great training on the water is a great step towards mission accomplishment,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dave Cearley, the executive officer of Riverine Squadron 2.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Justice Department Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against the Alamance County, N.C., Sheriff’s Office

Complaint Alleges Pattern or Practice of Discriminatory Policing Against Latinos
 
The Justice Department today filed a civil rights lawsuit against Terry S. Johnson, in his official capacity as head of the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) in North Carolina.   The complaint alleges that ACSO routinely discriminates against and targets Latinos for enforcement action, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and Section 14141 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
 
The lawsuit follows a comprehensive investigation of ACSO’s police practices.   The department’s investigation included interviews with over 125 individuals, a review of ACSO policies, procedures, training materials and analysis of data on traffic stops, arrests, citations, vehicle checkpoints, and other documentary evidence.   On Sept. 18, 2012, the department issued a formal findings letter detailing ACSO’s discriminatory policing practices and inviting ACSO to negotiate a court-enforceable agreement to remedy the violations found.   ACSO declined to enter into meaningful settlement negotiations.        
 
The complaint alleges that ACSO engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing against Latinos in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.   The complaint alleges that ACSO’s discriminatory policing activities include:
 
·          ACSO deputies unlawfully target Latino drivers for traffic stops:
 
o    A study of ACSO’s traffic stops on three major county roadways found that deputies were between four and 10 times more likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers;
 
o    ACSO deputies arrest Latinos for minor traffic violations while issuing citations or warnings to non-Latinos for comparable violations;
 
o    ACSO deputies use vehicle checkpoints in a discriminatory manner to target Latinos.
 
 
·          ACSO uses jail booking and detention practices, including practices related to immigration status checks, that discriminate against Latinos.
 
The complaint further alleges that these discriminatory practices are deeply rooted in a culture that begins with Sheriff Johnson and permeates the entire agency.   For example:
 
·          The sheriff and ACSO’s leadership explicitly instruct deputies to target Latinos with discriminatory traffic stops and other enforcement activities;
 
·          The sheriff and ACSO leadership foster a culture of bias by using anti-Latino epithets; and
 
·          ACSO engages in substandard reporting and monitoring practices that mask its discriminatory conduct.
 
Taken together, these practices violate the constitutional and federal rights of Latinos in Alamance County and undermine ACSO’s ability to serve and protect Alamance County’s Latino residents and the community at large.
 
“This is an abuse of power case involving a sheriff who misuses his position of authority to unlawfully target Latinos in Alamance County,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “Sheriff Johnson’s directives and leadership have caused ACSO to violate the constitutional rights of Latinos in Alamance County and eroded public trust in ACSO.”   
 
In this lawsuit, the Justice Department seeks a court enforceable, comprehensive, written agreement that will ensure long term structural, cultural and institutional change at ACSO.   In particular, ACSO must develop and implement new policies, procedures and training in effective and constitutional policing.   Any reform efforts must also include systems of accountability to ensure that ACSO has eliminated unlawful bias from its decision making at all levels.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nomination Period for Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Opens


The Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Act, introduced in 2008, honors federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty. The nomination period for the 2013 awards runs from Dec. 14, 2012, through Feb. 15, 2013; potential recipients must have performed an exceptional act of bravery between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012. Agency heads may nominate officers who sustained a physical injury during implementation of duties, or performed an act characterized as bravery that put the individual at personal risk of injury or death. Nominations may be made at www.bja.gov/CBOB.

Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Her Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – A Las Vegas real estate agent was sentenced today to serve 70 months in prison for her participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that netted more than $10 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada, and Special Agent in Charge Kevin Favreau of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office.

Linda Marie Kot, 58, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson in the District of Nevada.  In addition to her prison term, Kot was sentenced to serve five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,891,811 in forfeiture.

In May 2012, after a five-day trial, a federal jury in Las Vegas found Kot guilty of three counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Kot participated in a scheme with members of an investment group to submit fraudulent loan documents to lenders that involved “straw buyers,” individuals with good credit scores whose names were put on the properties but who were not intended to be responsible for the payment of the mortgages or other expenses of the properties.  The scheme took place in 2006 and involved 13 new home purchases, three existing home sales and several loan applications that were not approved.

According to the evidence at trial and court documents, Kot and her co-conspirators caused material misstatements to be placed on loan applications, including information about the true owners and controllers of the properties; whether the properties would be primary residences; and the level of assets and income of the straw buyers.  In some cases, Kot put straw buyers on her bank account to make it appear that the straw buyers had assets that they did not have, in order to help them qualify for mortgage loans for which they otherwise would not have been eligible.  Kot made over $276,000 in commissions on the fraudulent sales, the evidence at trial showed.

One of the counts of conviction involved a similar scheme that Kot engaged in with members of her family from 2005 to 2006.  The evidence at trial showed that Kot and members of her family used straw buyers and fraudulent loan applications to buy properties.  Kot and members of her family paid the straw buyers fees, and any profits on sale of the houses were split among family members.

While Kot and her family members were able to sell most of the properties they bought with straw buyers before the market downturn, the investment group that Kot conspired with was not able to do so, according to evidence presented at trial.  As a result, most of the mortgages for the houses that the investment group bought in 2006, where Kot acted as the realtor, ended up in default and foreclosure, with many of the straw buyers ending up in bankruptcy.

Three co-conspirators, Hugo Coutelin, Jeff Thomas and Michael Perry, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme.  In September 2012, Coutelin and Perry were each sentenced to 15 months in prison and Thomas was sentenced to time served.

This case was investigated by the FBI.  Trial Attorneys Nicholas S. Acker and Fred Medick of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.  Fraud Section Trial Attorney Brian Young and former Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Matt Klecka and Joseph Capone also assisted with the investigation.

Today’s sentencing was a result of efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.