Criminal Justice News

Friday, July 20, 2018

Maryland Man Sentenced to Jail Term for Fraudulent Billing Scheme Targeting D.C. Public Schools


Vendor Falsely Claimed to be Aiding Students With Special Needs

            WASHINGTON – Charles E. Scott, Jr., a vendor who claimed to be providing tutoring and mentoring services for students with special needs, was sentenced today to 26 weekends in jail, to be followed by 180 days of home confinement, for a scheme in which he collected more than $75,000 from the District of Columbia Public Schools for work that never was performed.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and District of Columbia Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas.

            Scott, 38, of Baltimore, Md., pled guilty in April 2018 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to mail fraud and identity theft. He was sentenced by the Honorable Rudolph Contreras. The judge sentenced him to five years of probation, during which he must serve the jail term and complete the home confinement, as well as perform 100 hours of community service. He also is required to pay $75,398 in restitution to the District of Columbia Public Schools and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment.

            According to a statement of offense filed as part of the plea, the scheme took place from approximately February 2013 through December 2013. During that time, Scott submitted invoices, timesheets and other documents to the Office of Special Education, a component of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). The Office of Special Education manages the school system’s Compensatory Education Program.

            The Compensatory Education Program awards services to eligible students to assist with their educational needs and development. Students awarded compensatory education services have learning, mental, and/or behavioral disabilities that create an educational barrier that prevents them from reaping the full benefits of education. Services consist of tutoring, individualized education, monitoring, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral and psychological analysis. Once DCPS approves specific services, parents or guardians receive letters specifying the services that can be provided and it is up to the parent or guardian to identify an independent provider to perform the authorized services.

            Scott’s invoices included the names and dates of birth for 10 minor children for whom he claimed to have performed services. The accompanying timesheets included what purported to be the signatures of the parents or guardians whose children had purportedly received the services as well as the signatures of the tutors who supposedly did the work. Nearly all of what purported to be signatures of the parents and guardians were forged. Tutors’ signatures also were forged.

            Scott did not have permission to use the names and dates of the children listed on his invoices and did not have approval from parents or guardians to sign their names.

            All told, Scott obtained a total of $75,398 for services that were never performed. In addition, the District of Columbia disputed and never paid him for $20,314 worth of invoices and timesheets that he submitted for services that never were performed.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Director in Charge McNamara, and Inspector General Lucas commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas, who is handling forfeiture issues, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrienne Dedjinou, and Paralegal Specialists Joshua Fein, Aisha Keys, and Kristy Penny. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter C. Lallas, who is prosecuting the case.

Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Federal Offenses Stemming From Attack of 15-Year-Old


Defendant Also Demanded Child Send Him Photos of Her Genitalia

            WASHINGTON – Charles Morgan, 57, a registered sex offender who is formerly of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 40 years in prison on child exploitation charges and other offenses stemming from his sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl he picked up at a bus stop.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Morgan was found guilty by a jury on May 2, 2018, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was found guilty that day of two federal charges, including one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of attempted production of child pornography.  On May 5, 2018, the Court found him guilty of two additional federal counts of commission of a crime of violence against a minor while being required to register as a sex offender.

            Morgan was sentenced by the Honorable Senior Judge Ellen S. Huvelle. Following completion of his prison term, he is to be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

            According to the government’s evidence, the defendant, a convicted rapist, sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl on May 23, 2016. The victim had left home after dark without telling her family and was trying to catch a bus to a friend’s house.  Morgan, who was in a car, pulled over near the bus stop at Minnesota Avenue and Randall Circle SE and offered the victim a ride.  Given that it was nearly midnight, there was no bus in sight, and the victim’s cellular phone was dead, she reluctantly accepted because Morgan showed her a business card and an identification badge to reassure her of his identity.  Instead of taking the victim to her friend’s home, Morgan drove the victim to his basement apartment in Capitol Heights, Maryland, and anally sodomized her.  Morgan told the victim to wash off in the bathroom, gave her a pair of his underwear to put on, then drove her back into the District of Columbia and dropped her off along the street near where he had picked her up.  Morgan told the victim that he was going to pick her up again the following weekend so that he and his roommate could engage in sexual acts with her.

             The victim immediately reported the rape.  An undercover officer assumed the victim’s identity and engaged in a text conversation with Morgan in which the defendant insisted that he was going to pick up the victim the following weekend to assault her again. Morgan also demanded that the victim take naked photos of genitals and send them to him. He was arrested shortly thereafter and charged in the District of Columbia on the charges for which he stands convicted.  Morgan has also been charged in Maryland with rape charges stemming from the sexual assault of the victim that occurred in his residence there.

            Morgan was already registering as a sex offender as a result of an armed rape of a woman that he committed in 1989. He was released from prison in that case in 2009.

            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.  In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov

             In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Assistant Director in Charge McNamara, and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service.

            They acknowledged those who assisted with the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Suttenberg, of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section; Elizabeth Trosman, Chief of the Appellate Division; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Bates and Nicholas Coleman, of the Appellate Division, and Michael Ambrosino, Special Counsel for DNA and Forensic Evidence Litigation. They also acknowledged the assistance provided by Criminal Investigator John Marsh; Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant; Witness Security Specialist Debra Cannon; Forensic Operation/Program Specialist Benjamin Kagan-Guthrie; Paralegal Supervisor Michelle Wicker; Paralegal Specialist Tiffany Jones; former Paralegal Specialist Donhue Troy Griffith; Litigation Technology Specialist Anisha Bhatia, and former Litigation Technology Specialist Joshua Ellen.

            Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea L. Hertzfeld and Jason Park, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Former Pharmacy Buyer Charged with Making False Statements Regarding Payments Received from New England Compounding Center and Ameridose


BOSTON – A former pharmacy buyer at a Boston hospital was charged today in federal court in Boston for making false statements to federal agents in connection with receiving $355,000 from the now defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC) and Ameridose.

Claudio T. Pontoriero, 40, of Everett, was charged in an information with one count of making false statements.

As alleged in court documents, from at least December 2006 to October 2012, Pontoriero was a pharmacy technician at a Boston hospital and was responsible for purchasing drugs from suppliers for use on hospital patients. During that period, Pontoriero received $5,000 per month from NECC and Ameridose, a drug repackager formerly located in Westboro. In October 2015, during an interview with federal agents as part of the criminal investigation into NECC and Ameridose, Pontoriero falsely claimed that the $5,000 monthly payments were for consulting services, and not in exchange for Pontoriero’s influence in selecting NECC and Ameridose drugs for purchase by the hospital.

In 2014, 14 individuals were indicted in connection with the 2012 nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis that was traced back to contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by NECC. Thus far, Barry Cadden, the owner and head pharmacist of NECC; Glenn Chin, the supervisory pharmacist; Carla Conigliaro, the majority shareholder of NECC; Doug Conigliaro, her husband and a former Ameridose executive; and Robert Ronzio, the national sales director, have all been convicted. The remaining nine defendants are scheduled to stand trial in October 2018.

The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Derek Roy, Resident Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, Metro Washington Field Office; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Sean J. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Field Office; Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office; and Delany De Leon-Colon, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda P.M. Strachan and George P. Varghese of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.