Criminal Justice News

Friday, August 31, 2018

California Man Charged with Making Violent Threats Against Boston Globe Employees


BOSTON – A California man was arrested today and charged with making violent threats against Boston Globe employees in retaliation for the newspaper’s editorial response to political attacks on the media.

Robert D. Chain, 68, of Encino, California, is charged with one count of making threatening communications in interstate commerce. Chain will appear in federal court in Los Angeles this afternoon and be transferred to Boston at a later date.

“In the past few months, this office has charged people with threatening to bomb a minority commencement ceremony at Harvard, threatening to shoot people at a Second Amendment rally, offering money to anyone who kills a federal agent, and mailing white powder and threatening notes to certain public figures,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. “Anyone – regardless of political affiliation – who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office. In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”

“Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Today’s arrest of Robert Chain should serve a warning to others, that making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime. All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions. Whether potentially hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground. These investigations are expensive and are costly to the taxpayers, can put innocent people at risk, divert law enforcement from responding to actual emergencies, and cause undue stress to victims. I commend the great work of the Boston and Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Forces for their diligence and professionalism, and continue to seek the public’s support to immediately report threats or suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

On Aug. 10, 2018, the Boston Globe announced that it was requesting that other newspaper publications around the country publish a coordinated editorial response to political attacks on the media. The coordinated editorial response was to be published on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

According to court documents, immediately following the announcement, Chain began making threatening calls to the Boston Globe’s newsroom. In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” and threatened to kill newspaper employees. In total, it is alleged that Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and 22, 2018.

It is further alleged that on Aug. 16, 2018, the day the coordinated editorial response was published in the Boston Globe, Chain called the Globe newsroom and threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head “later today, at 4 o’clock.” As a result of that call, local law enforcement responded to the Globe’s offices and maintained a presence outside the building to ensure the safety of the employees.

The charge of making threatening communications in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of no greater than five years, 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.

U.S. Attorney Lelling and FBI SAC Shaw made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Los Angeles Field Division; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Los Angeles Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Los Angeles Division; the California Highway Patrol; and the Los Angeles PoliceDepartment. Assistant U.S. Attorney George P. Varghese of Lelling’s National Security Unit is prosecuting the case.

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

Federal Jury Convicts Man of Sex Trafficking Two Minor Girls


ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Woodbridge man today for sex trafficking two minor girls, ages 14 and 16.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Steve Nowell, 64, was a frequent commercial sex customer of a prostitution ring led by Michael Gunn, who trafficked the two minor girls over the course of two years in the DMV area. Nowell was identified by the minor victims, and by two co-conspirators of Michael Gunn, as a regular commercial sex customer who paid one or both minors for sex on at least 23 occasions. After a search warrant was executed at Nowell’s home, law enforcement found hidden cameras that secretly recorded at least one of the minors and other females in various stages of undress while at his residence for prostitution. Law enforcement also found numerous photographs of one of the minors posing nude in his bathtub and throughout his house, including in his kitchen, on a bear rug, and on exercise equipment. In a recorded interview, Nowell admitted to paying for sex with one of the minors. He claimed he did not know her real age.

Michael Gunn was convicted by a federal jury in September 2017, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in January 2018. Angel Gunn and Vanessa Dominguez, who assisted Michael Gunn in sex trafficking the minors, each pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 140 months and 120 months in prison, respectively.

Nowell faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on November 30. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Barry M. Barnard, Chief of Prince William County Police, and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County Chief of Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the verdict. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maureen C. Cain and Kimberly R. Pedersen are prosecuting the case.

New York Man Is Indicted For Scamming North Carolina Victims In Investment Fraud Scheme While He Was Being Prosecuted For Similar Scam In Another State


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced today that Rudolph Carryl, 67, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.  The federal indictment was filed under seal on August 22, 2018, and was unsealed yesterday after Carryl’s initial appearance in federal court in New York, following his arrest at a halfway house in Brooklyn, N.Y.

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Office joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to allegations contained in the indictment, Carryl, who held himself out as an investment advisor, operated Carryl Capital Management (CCM), an investment management firm with offices in New York City.  CCM maintained a website that purported the firm adhered to rigorous risk control measures, and was dedicated to achieving the investment goals for its clients.

In or about February 2015, the indictment alleges that Carryl solicited victim M.G. to give Carryl money to invest in stock on M.G.’s behalf. M.G., a retired nurse who resided in North Carolina, was also Carryl’s childhood friend. Over the next couple of months, M.G. wired approximately $64,000 to an account controlled by Carryl, based on Carryl’s misrepresentations that M.G.’s money would be used to purchase stocks on M.G.’s behalf. The indictment alleges that rather than purchasing any stock as promised, Carryl used much of the victim’s money on personal and other unrelated expenses, and withdrew a substantial amount of it in cash. M.G. invested additional amounts with Carryl throughout 2015 and 2016.

The indictment further alleges that in or about May 2015, Carryl solicited victims W.B., a retired United States Air Force veteran, and his wife A.B.,  who resided in North Carolina, to invest approximately $350,000 in a purported investment fund being managed by Carryl (the Fund). To induce the retired couple to part with their money, Carryl claimed that he was a successful investment adviser who managed investments for the country of Saudi Arabia and that he was friends with wealthy celebrities. Carryl also lied by falsely promising that the victims’ money would be invested in safe investments and that they would not lose any principal.  Carryl also told the retired couple that he was going to invest his own money in the Fund, which was not true. Furthermore, Carryl falsely claimed that if W.B. and A.B. sustained any investment losses, those would come out of Carryl’s investment first, which offered further “protection” to them.

After W.B. and A.B. wired their funds to Carryl, he sent an email to the couple that purported to identify the various stocks within their portfolio, which included well-known companies.  The the indictment alleges that, contrary to his representations, Carryl did not buy all of the stocks as promised.  Instead, he used much of W.B. and A.B.’s funds on personal and other unrelated expenses and to make substantial cash withdrawals.

In the months that followed, despite repeated requests by certain victims for statements reflecting the status of their investments, Carryl never provided any statements, and instead made numerous false claims that their investments were doing well and making money.

Carryl also never disclosed to his victims that he had been the target of a federal criminal investigation, nor that he later pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to a separate investment scheme in another state.  In fact, the indictment alleges that, while Carryl was falsely telling W.B. of his intention to liquidate the victim’s investment so that Carryl could retire and travel the world, Carryl was awaiting sentencing in federal court.

Carryl was sentenced in New York on or about August 9, 2017, to 12 months and one day in prison.  After his sentencing but before he reported to the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to carry out his sentence, Carryl continued to be in contact with W.B., assuring W.B. that his investments were doing well, all the while failing to disclose any information about his conviction or his impending report date to BOP.  

The details contained in this indictment are allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The securities fraud charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $5 million fine.  Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.  And, each count of transactional money laundering carries a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanks the FBI for its investigation leading to today’s charges.

All charges contained in the indictment are allegations.  The defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Ryan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is in charge of the prosecution.