FBI: Two Men Charged with Allegedly Defrauding Charter Flight Company, Other Luxury Brands of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

August 5, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 5, 2013 released the following:

“NEWARK, NJ—Two men were arrested by federal agents early this morning in Akron, Ohio for conspiracy to defraud an aviation company out of charter flights and other businesses out of services and luxury goods, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Dante G. Dixon, 45, of Miami, Florida, and Christopher L. Henderson, 32, of Akron, Ohio, were charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They made their initial court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Burke in Akron federal court and were ordered held until they can be transported to New Jersey.

According to the complaint:

From May 2013 through June 2013, Dixon and Henderson and others allegedly conspired to fraudulently obtain at least four private charter flights from Jet Aviation, an international business aviation service with its United States’ headquarters in Teterboro, New Jersey. Dixon, Henderson, and others also conspired to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in other luxury goods and services, all via sham lines of credit issued to a well-known financial institution for the defendants and others’ use, by misrepresenting that they and others were employees at the financial institution.

On May 5, 2013, an individual using the name Josh Stevens called Jet Aviation’s offices in Chicago, Illinois and Van Nuys, California to inquire about its private charter flight services. That individual identified himself as being employed as a senior vice president at a well-known financial institution and provided an e-mail address purporting to be affiliated with the financial institution. It was later determined that this e-mail address was not, in fact, affiliated with the financial institution. A Jet Aviation employee sent an e-mail to the provided e-mail address. The e-mail from Jet Aviation contained a draft charter services agreement, which was signed by Josh Stevens and returned to Jet Aviation on May 9, 2013. The agreement falsely listed Josh Stevens as a senior vice president, Dixon as a vice president, and Henderson as a vice president of international affairs at the well-known financial institution.

On May 21, 2013, based on the false information provided by Josh Stevens, a Jet Aviation employee created an account and a $350,000 line of credit for the defendants and others. The line of credit was in the name of the financial institution on behalf and for the use of the defendants and others. Dixon and Henderson and others used the sham line of credit to take at least four private charter flights.

On June 7, 2013, a Jet Aviation employee at Teterboro met Dixon and Henderson before they boarded their charter flight to Miami, Florida. During the meeting, the defendants identified themselves as being employees at the financial institution. The Jet Aviation employee then contacted the financial institution and was informed that Dixon and Henderson and others were not, and had never been, employees at the financial institution.

As a result of their misrepresentations to Jet Aviation, Dixon and Henderson and others fraudulently obtained private high-end charter flights and limousine car services with a total value of $175,790. Jet Aviation never received payment from the defendants and others, or from the financial institution’s line of credit, for any of the services provided to the defendants and others, including the approximately $164,911 in charter flights and the approximately $10,879 in limousine services.

Dixon and Henderson and others made similar misrepresentations about their purported employment at the financial institution to other luxury service providers, including to a Tiffany & Co. store in Bal Harbour, Florida, and to The W South Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida. These misrepresentations resulted in the defendants and others fraudulently obtaining, via sham lines of credit with Tiffany and The W, approximately $19,991 in watches, sunglasses, sterling silver and leather business card holders, and men’s cologne from Tiffany, and approximately $25,466 in overnight hotel stays at The W.

The investigation has revealed that the financial institution was not aware that Dixon and Henderson and others were using its corporate identity. As a result of their scheme, Dixon and Henderson and others fraudulently obtained more than $220,000 in luxury goods and services.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss resulting from the defendants’ crimes.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Mendelsohn of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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 nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”;

Federal Wire Fraud

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Insurance Agents and Attorneys Charged in an alleged $50 Million Insurance Fraud Scheme

August 2, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 1, 2013 released the following:

“SAN DIEGO, CA—United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today that insurance brokers Byron Frisch and Kristian Giordano and attorneys Kasra Sadr and Brenda Barrera Merriles were arraigned today on a variety of charges related to their fraudulently causing life insurance companies to issue more than $50 million worth of policies to unqualified applicants who had no intention of paying the policy premiums. In return, the defendants obtained more than $1.6 million and the ability to sell the fraudulently obtained life insurance policies to investors.

According to the indictment, the defendants employed multiple means to deceive the insurance companies. Initially, the defendants recruited elderly individuals to apply for “free” life insurance policies with million-dollar death benefits. They then submitted fraudulent applications to the life insurance companies by intentionally omitting or falsifying the applicant’s net worth, income, or source of premium payments. In addition, the conspirators concealed that they were paying all or part of the policy premiums and intended to sell the policies on the secondary market for large profits.

Frisch and Giordano were licensed insurance agents who conducted business from their La Jolla, California offices. Sadr and Brenda were San Diego attorneys who secretly funded the policy premiums, acted as trustees for policy applicants, and controlled sales of the policies on the secondary market.

The defendants will next appear before United States District Judge Janis L. Sammartino for a motion hearing on September 6, 2013, at 1:30 p.m.

Defendants

Byron Arthur Frisch, 36, Carlsbad, California
Kristian Marcus Giordano, 36, Temecula, California
Kasra Sadr, 43, San Diego, California
Brenda N. Barrera Merriles, 43, San Diego, California

Summary of Charges in Criminal Case No. 13cr2774-JLS

Count one: Title 18, United States Code, Section 371—conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud—all defendants
Maximum penalties: five years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine; $100 special assessment; three years of supervised release

Counts two to nine: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341—mail fraud—all defendants
Maximum penalties per count: 20 years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment; three years of supervised release

Counts 10-23: Title 18 United States Code, Section 1343—wire fraud—all defendants
Maximum penalties per count: 20 years of imprisonment; $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment; three years of supervised release

Investigating Agencies

Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

18 U.S.C. 1341

18 U.S.C. 1343

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former CEO and Former CFO of ArthroCare Corp. Charged with Allegedly Orchestrating a $400 Million Securities Fraud Scheme

July 17, 2013

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs on July 17, 2013 released the following:

“The former chief executive officer and former chief financial officer of ArthroCare Corp., a publicly traded medical device company based in Austin, Texas, were charged for their alleged leading roles in a $400 million scheme to defraud the company’s shareholders and members of the investing public by falsely inflating ArthroCare’s earnings by tens of millions of dollars, announced Acting Assistant Attorney Mythili Raman of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas.

A 17-count indictment was unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against Michael Baker, the former chief executive officer and director of ArthroCare, and Michael Gluk, the former chief financial officer of ArthroCare. Both defendants surrendered to authorities this morning.

The indictment, which was returned on July 16, 2013, charges Baker and Gluk with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of securities fraud; it charges Baker alone with three counts of false statements. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of assets held by Baker and Gluk.

“Truthful corporate earnings reports are critical to the soundness of our financial system,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “Today’s indictment alleges that those at the top of ArthroCare deceived investors and regulators by manipulating the company’s reports to inflate its stock, ultimately causing hundreds of millions in losses in shareholder value. The Criminal Division will continue to aggressively pursue corporate executives who undermine our financial markets for personal gain.”

According to the indictment, from at least December 2005 through December 2008, Baker, Gluk and other senior executives and employees of ArthroCare allegedly falsely inflated ArthroCare’s sales and revenue through a series of end-of-quarter transactions involving several of ArthroCare’s distributors. According to court documents, Baker, Gluk and other ArthroCare employees determined the type and amount of product to be shipped to distributors based on ArthroCare’s need to meet Wall Street analyst forecasts, rather than distributors’ actual orders. Baker, Gluk and others then allegedly caused ArthroCare to “park” millions of dollars worth of ArthroCare’s medical devices at its distributors at the end of each relevant quarter. ArthroCare would then report these shipments as sales in its quarterly and annual filings at the time of the shipment, enabling the company to meet or exceed internal and external earnings forecasts.

The indictment alleges that ArthroCare’s distributors agreed to accept shipment of millions of dollars of product in exchange for substantial, upfront cash commissions, extended payment terms and the ability to return product, as well as other special conditions, allowing ArthroCare to falsely inflate its revenue by tens of millions of dollars.

Baker, Gluk and others allegedly used DiscoCare, a privately owned Delaware corporation, as one of the distributors to cover shortfalls in ArthroCare’s revenue. According to the indictment, at Baker and Gluk’s direction, ArthroCare shipped product to DiscoCare that far exceeded DiscoCare’s needs.

In addition, Baker, Gluk and others allegedly lied to investors and analysts about ArthroCare’s relationships with its distributors, including its largest distributor, DiscoCare. According to the indictment, Baker and Gluk caused ArthroCare to acquire DiscoCare specifically to conceal from the investing public the nature and financial significance of ArthroCare’s relationship with DiscoCare.

The indictment further alleges that when Baker was deposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about the DiscoCare relationship in November 2009, he lied again on multiple occasions.

According to court documents, between December 2005 and December 2008, ArthroCare’s shareholders held more than 25 million shares of ArthroCare stock. On July 21, 2008, after ArthroCare announced publicly that it would be restating its previously reported financial results from the third quarter 2006 through the first quarter 2008 to reflect the results of an internal investigation, the price of ArthroCare shares dropped from $40.03 to $23.21 per share. The drop in ArthroCare’s share price caused an immediate loss in shareholder value of more than $400 million.

If convicted, Baker and Gluk would face a maximum prison sentence of 25 years for the conspiracy charge, 20 years for each count of wire fraud, and 25 years for each securities fraud count. Baker faces five years for each count of false statements.

An indictment is merely a charge, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Austin office. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys Henry P. Van Dyck and William Chang of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The Department recognizes the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Tennessee Couple Indicted for Alleged Role in Warzone Contracting Scheme

July 17, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 16, 2013 released the following:

Alleged to Have Steered $6.9 Million in Proceeds from Defense Subcontracts in Afghanistan

ALEXANDRIA, VA— Keith Johnson, 46, and Angela Johnson, 44, both of Maryville, Tennessee, were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and substantive wire fraud for their alleged role in a scheme to steer $6.9 million from Department of Defense (DOD) subcontracts in Afghanistan to shell entities through kickbacks and the use of assumed names.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Robert E. Craig, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Special Agent in Charge of Mid-Atlantic Field Office; John Sopko, Inspector General for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), made the announcement following the grand jury’s return of the indictment.

Keith and Angela Johnson face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy and up to 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud if convicted.

According to the indictment, between July 2007 and June 2010, Keith and Angela Johnson engaged in a scheme to defraud Company #1, a DOD contractor, relating to two contracts worth more than $269 million. The contracts at issue were to provide vehicle-fleet maintenance for the Afghan National Army (ANA). Keith Johnson worked for Company #1 in Kabul, Afghanistan, as its project manager and procurement manager for the ANA contracts. Johnson fielded requests for vehicle parts from Company #2, a Company #1 subcontractor. Company #1 would then issue purchase orders for those parts to subcontractors after receiving multiple bids. In September 2007, Keith and Angela Johnson formed Company #4 as a Tennessee corporation, but they listed Angela Johnson’s mother and daughter on its corporate documents. Thereafter, Keith Johnson used his position in Company #1 to steer parts-supply purchase orders and other business on the ANA contracts to Company #4. To conceal Keith Johnson’s relationship to Company #4, Angela Johnson used her maiden name when interacting with Company #1 on Company #4’s behalf.

According to the indictment, the Johnsons also agreed with two other individuals at Company #2 to further the scheme. The two Company #2 employees helped steer Company #1 business to the Johnsons through Company #4, and Keith Johnson helped steer Company #1 business to Company #3, an entity operated by the two Company #2 employees using a fictional name. The Company #2 employees allegedly paid kickbacks to the Johnsons through a shell company. As part of the scheme, the Johnsons also allegedly participated in a bid-rigging practice of coordinating inflated bids on behalf of Company #3 or Company #4 to ensure that the other company would receive particular contracts. The conspirators also caused Company #1 to order excess parts that were not yet needed on Company #1’s contracts, and Company #4 did not ultimately supply all parts in compliance with Company #1’s requirements.

According to the indictment, the conspirators obtained $6,933,179.31 in proceeds from the scheme, which they used in part to purchase, among other items, several luxury vehicles and more than $191,000 in jewelry.

This case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Faulconer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, who is also a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1343

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former Corporate Officers of China North East Petroleum Holdings Limited (CNEP) Charged with Alleged Fraud and False Statements

May 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“WASHINGTON—The former president and CEO and the former vice president of corporate finance of China North East Petroleum Holdings Limited (CNEP), an oil and gas company whose stock is traded in the United States, have been charged with defrauding investors in connection with public offerings of stock.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos of the FBI’s New York Field Office; and Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Wang Hongjun, 41, and Chao Jiang, 32, both Chinese citizens residing in California and New York, respectively, were indicted on May 23, 2013, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud and four counts of securities fraud, which each carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Jiang is also charged with two counts of false statements to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during sworn testimony, which each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The indictment was made public today.

According to the indictment, Hongjun served as the president and CEO of CNEP from 2009 to 2010 and as the chairman of the Board of Directors beginning in 2010. Jiang served as the vice president of corporate finance and corporate secretary of CNEP from 2008 until approximately 2011. The charges allege that in June of 2009, CNEP registered a shelf offering with the SEC proposing to sell up to $40 million of CNEP common stock in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange. In September and December 2009, CNEP made two separate offerings pursuant to the June registration. In documents filed with the SEC related to the offerings, and in other public statements to investors, Hongjun and Jiang informed investors that CNEP intended to use the funds raised from the securities offerings for general corporate purposes and to repay a prior corporate debt.

The indictment alleges that, instead of using the offering proceeds as represented to CNEP’s investors, Hongjun and Jiang misappropriated approximately $1,265,000 of the proceeds by wiring the money to bank accounts in the name of their family members—approximately $965,000 to Jiang’s father and approximately $300,000 to Hongjun’s wife—which was used, in part, to purchase a home in California, jewelry, and a Mercedes-Benz.

In addition, the indictment alleges that Jiang testified falsely under oath to the SEC in Washington, D.C., about these transactions. In that testimony, Jiang stated that none of his family members had received anything of value over $500 from CNEP, despite having wired $965,000 from CNEP’s bank account to the account of his father. Jiang also testified falsely regarding the use of proceeds from the securities offerings.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

In a related action, the SEC had previously filed a civil enforcement action against Hongjun, Jiang, and others in the Southern District of New York.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office and IRS-CI. The Department wishes to thank the SEC for its significant assistance in this case. The investigation is continuing.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Daniel Kahn and Kevin Muhlendorf of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson for the District of Columbia.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Leon Benzer Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury of Tax Evasion By Alleging He Was Evading Federal Income and Employment Taxes

May 15, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“Former Construction Company Owner Indicted in Nevada for Income Tax Evasion

WASHINGTON—A federal grand jury in Nevada today returned an indictment against a former construction company owner for evading federal income and employment taxes, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Chief Richard Weber, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge William C. Woerner of the Las Vegas Field Office, and Sheriff Doug Gillespie of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Leon Benzer, 46, of Las Vegas, was charged in U.S. District Court in the District of Nevada with two counts of tax evasion.

In January 2013, Benzer was indicted in a related case on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. According to court documents, from approximately August 2003 through February 2009, Benzer orchestrated a scheme to direct construction defect litigation and repairs at condominium complexes to a conspiring law firm and Benzer’s construction company, Silver Lining Construction (SLC). As a result of this scheme, the indictment alleges that SLC was awarded a contract worth over $7 million for work at the Vistana Homeowner’s Association (Vistana HOA) in Las Vegas. The case is pending.

According to the indictment returned today, in August 2006, Benzer filed five years’ worth of personal tax forms and business tax returns without any payments accompanying those returns. As of April 2007, Benzer had allegedly failed to pay his personal tax liability of approximately $459,000 and SLC’s employment tax liability of approximately $687,000 and unemployment tax liability of approximately $18,000. In May 2007, the IRS issued a notice of intent to file a levy; Benzer subsequently appealed this process and indicated that he wanted to enter into an “offer-in-compromise” with the IRS to pay a portion of what was owed in full satisfaction of all his tax liabilities. According to the indictment, during this offer-in-compromise process, the IRS requested detailed financial information from Benzer.

Between March 2005 and January 2008, the indictment alleges that Benzer and SLC received over $7 million from the Vistana HOA contract, including a wire transfer of over $1 million on September 21, 2007, to a personal U.S. Bank account that Benzer opened in August 2007. The indictment alleges that when Benzer filed certain IRS forms related to the offer-in-compromise process on September 25, 2007, he failed to disclose this personal U.S. Bank account or the assets contained in it.

The maximum prison sentence for each count of tax evasion is five years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.

The charges and allegations against the indicted defendant are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Chief Kathleen McGovern, Deputy Chief Charles La Bella, and Trial Attorney Thomas B.W. Hall of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case is being investigated by IRS-CI, the FBI, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Criminal Intelligence Section.

Today’s charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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 is 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 nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”;

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


“International fugitive Richard Chichakli requests extradition to US to face charges linking him to Russian arms dealer”

April 4, 2013

Herald Sun on April 4, 2013 released the following:

Emily Portelli From: Herald Sun

“INTERNATIONAL fugitive Richard Chichakli, arrested in Melbourne after applying to become a protective services officer, has asked to be sent back to the US to face charges linking him to a Russian arms dealer.

“I consent to the extradition and ask the court to kindly send me home to the United States as soon as possible,” the Syrian-born US citizen said today via video link at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

“I thank Australia for its hospitality, I just need to go home.”

The alleged associate of war criminal Viktor Bout arrived in Australia in June 2010 on a false Syrian passport and left and returned to Australia six times before his arrest in January.

The 53-year-old was living in Melbourne’s north and was arrested after his fingerprints were matched to an Interpol alert when he applied for a job as a PSO.

He had already passed Victoria Police psychological and fitness screening.

The US sought to extradite Mr Chichakli to New York to face charges relating to his alleged conspiracy with Bout to purchase planes to transport arms to international conflict zones.

Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg told Mr Chichakli he was facing charges of conspiracy to violate the International Economic Emergency Powers Act, conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six wire fraud offences.

“Of course I deny all of them but that is for a United States court to try,” Mr Chichakli said.

“I am ready for extradition, sir.”

Mr Rozencwajg told him he would send a letter this afternoon to the Attorney-General, who would then likely order his surrender to the US.

Bout, who is currently serving 25 years on US terror charges, inspired the character played by Nicholas Cage in 2005 war film Lord of War.

It is alleged the pair provided arms to former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was last year sentenced to 50 years’ jail for war crimes.

Mr Chichakli had been on the run from American authorities since 2005.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Bay E. Ingram Charged in a Bill of Information Alleging a Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill

November 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 1, 2012 released the following:

“Covington Businessman Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in Aftermath of BP Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS— Bay E. Ingram, age 50, a resident of Covington, Louisiana, was charged today in a bill of information with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to court documents, the defendant Ingram was a businessman who owned and operated Southeast Recovery Group (SRG), a company which provided disaster relief services in the aftermath of the oil spill due to the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

In 2010, according to the bill of information, Ingram, through his company SRG, provided a helicopter that was supposed to be used for oil spill response by representatives of the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and also assisted in the construction of helipads at the the Hopedale, Louisiana facility of British Petroleum p.l.c. (BP). In the case of both the helicopter and the helipads, Ingram, through his company SRG, acted as a “middleman” between the supplier of the helicopter and the companies responsible for the construction of the helipads, on the one hand; and BP, who was billed for cost of providing the goods and services, on the other hand.

The bill of information charges that Ingram arranged for the helicopter to be stationed at Hopedale from June through November 2010 but never had an agreement with BP to supply the helicopter after June 15, 2010. In an effort to get paid by BP, and to justify the amount of his unpaid invoices to BP totalling approximately $1.4 million, the bill of information charges that Ingram falsified and forged documents, including a contract between his company and his subcontractor company, which provided, equipped, and crewed the helicopter, as well as flight logs and flight manifests for the helicopter.

The bill of information also charges that Ingram caused the construction of five helipads at Hopedale at a cost of approximately $110,000. He then falsely represented to BP that his actual costs had been over $250,000, and he billed BP for, and was paid, $303,000.

It is further charged that throughout the period June 2010 and April 2011, Ingram’s suppliers repeatedly contacted Ingram in an effort to seek payment. Trying to dissuade his suppliers from contacting BP directly, Ingram created false and fictitious e-mails, some in the names of real persons and others in the name of a non-existent or fictitious person. For example, it is charged that Ingram sent e-mails purporting to have been sent by a fictitious person, “Jerry Aldini,” with a Yahoo e-mail address to various persons during the course of the scheme.

If he is convicted of the conspiracy charged against him, Ingram faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.

U.S. Attorney Letten reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Chester and Eileen Gleason.”

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. 1343

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


A Rosebud couple and their son have been indicted by a federal grand jury for alleged fraud

October 19, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2012 released the following:

“Family Members Indicted for Fraud

U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Rosebud couple and their son have been indicted by a federal grand jury for fraud.

Shannon Running, age 53; Norman Running, Sr., age 54; and Norman Running, Jr., age 34, all of Rosebud, were indicted by a federal grand jury on October 10, 2012, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Shannon Running was also charged with six counts of wire fraud, and Norman Running, Jr. was also charged with structuring currency transactions.

All three appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on October 17, 2012, at Pierre and pled not guilty to the indictment.

The conspiracy count and each wire fraud count carry a maximum penalty upon conviction of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, plus restitution. The structuring currency transactions count carries a maximum penalty upon conviction of five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. If the structuring currency transactions count is found to be part of a pattern of illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in a 12-month period, upon conviction the maximum penalty of imprisonment and fine will double to 10 years and $500,000, respectively. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hendrickson is prosecuting the case. All three defendants were released pending trial. A trial date has been set for December 18, 2012.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Three Coachella Valley Residents Arrested for Alleged Detroit-Area Ponzi Scheme After Successful Joint Operations with Cathedral City and Palm Springs Police

September 15, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 14, 2012 released the following:

“Three individuals wanted on federal fraud charges alleging they victimized hundreds while operating an alleged $25 million investment scheme were arrested in the Coachella Valley, announced Timothy Delaney, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Mr. Delaney made the announcement on behalf of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, the Cathedral City Police Department, and the Palms Springs Police Department.

An indictment filed in March 2012 in the Eastern District of Michigan charged five defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their alleged roles in an investment scheme where hundreds of victims were allegedly defrauded of millions of dollars. Three of the defendants are Coachella Valley residents. Agents with the FBI’s Palm Springs Resident Agency, part of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, assisted the FBI’s Detroit Field Office in locating the three Coachella Valley-based defendants following the indictment. Agents in Palm Springs requested assistance from the Cathedral City (California) and Palm Springs (California) Police Departments in locating and apprehending the fugitives.

Ronald Lee Brito, 61, and Bonnie Brito, 66, both of Rancho Mirage, California, were taken into custody on August 10, 2010, by officers with the Cathedral City Police Department after a safely executed vehicle-stop in Cathedral City.

Thomas Winston Moore, 68, of Palm Springs, California, was arrested at his residence on September 8 by officers with the Palm Springs Police Department.

The 64-count indictment alleges defendants participated in the Ponzi scheme between 2005 and 2012 and outlines an investment scheme where victims were promised lucrative returns on their investments in, among other things, valuable minerals extracted from a gold mine in Arizona. The indictment alleges the defendants used various corporate names, including Infinity Trading, LLC; GetMoni.com; and PJM

Kingman Mine to lure approximately 500 investors. The government has stated that the scheme brought in investments totaling more than $25 million.

Ronald and Bonnie Brito had an initial appearance in California and in the Eastern District of Michigan once they were returned to Detroit. Ronald Brito was remanded to federal custody and Bonnie Brito was released on bond.

Thomas Moore had an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Riverside on Monday, September 10, and was remanded to federal custody pending removal to Detroit.

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan.

The fugitive investigation involving defendants Ronald Brito, Bonnie Brito, and Thomas Winston Moore was conducted by officers with the Cathedral City Police Department; Palm Springs Police Department; and agents with the FBI in Palm Springs and Detroit. The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles (Central District of California) provided considerable assistance during the California portion of this investigation.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


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