Federal Charge of Bank Robbery Filed Against Kenneth M. Matlock in the Alleged Plainfield Bank Robbery

August 18, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 18, 2014 released the following:

“A man suspected of robbing a Plainfield bank last Friday was arrested a short time after the robbery and charged today in U.S. District Court in Chicago in connection with the heist. The arrest was announced today by Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, and Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Kenneth M. Matlock, age 35, who was last known to reside in Woodridge, Illinois, appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox and was formally charged with one count of bank robbery, a felony offense. Matlock was ordered held pending his next court appearance on August 21, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

According to the complaint, the robber entered the BMO Harris Bank branch located at 15901 South Route 59 in Plainfield on Friday at around 2:20 p.m. and, after telling a bank teller he would like to make a withdrawal, presented a note to the teller demanding money and indicating that he was armed with a gun. A witness in the parking lot of the bank, alerted to the robbery by a bank employee, noticed a Dodge Durango leaving from an area where the alleged robber had been seen heading after the robbery. The witness followed the Durango and provided information that led law enforcement officers to the Durango. Approximately 15 minutes after the robbery occurred, officers from the Plainfield Police Department and other state law enforcement officers stopped the Durango and arrested the sole occupant of the vehicle, later identified as Matlock, without incident.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Matlock faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


“Taiwanese Father and Son Arrested for Allegedly Violating U.S. Laws to Prevent Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”

May 7, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 6, 2013 released the following:

“CHICAGO— A resident of Taiwan whom the U.S. government has linked to the supply of weapons machinery to North Korea, and his son, who resides in suburban Chicago, are facing federal charges here for allegedly conspiring to violate U.S. laws designed to thwart the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

Hsien Tai Tsai, also known as “Alex Tsai,” who is believed to reside in Taiwan, was arrested last Wednesday in Tallinn, Estonia, while his son, Yueh-Hsun Tsai, also known as “Gary Tsai,” who is from Taiwan and is a legal permanent resident in the United States, was arrested the same day at his home in Glenview, Illinios.

Gary Tsai, 36, was ordered held in custody pending a detention hearing at 1:30 p.m. today before Magistrate Judge Susan Cox in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Alex Tsai, 67, remains in custody in Estonia pending proceedings to extradite him to the United States.

Both men were charged in federal court in Chicago with three identical offenses in separate complaints that were filed previously and unsealed following their arrests. Each was charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States in its enforcement of laws and regulations prohibiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by conspiring to evade the restrictions imposed on Alex Tsai and two of his companies by the U.S. Treasury Department, and one count of money laundering.

The arrests and charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI; Gary Hartwig, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago; and Ronald B. Orzel, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, Chicago Field Office. The Justice Department’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs assisted with the investigation. U.S. officials thanked the Estonian Internal Security Service and the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office for their cooperation.

According to both complaint affidavits, agents have been investigating Alex and Gary Tsai, as well as Individual A (a Taiwanese associate of Alex Tsai) and a network of companies engaged in the export of U.S. origin goods and machinery that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. The investigation has revealed that Alex and Gary Tsai and Individual A are associated with at least three companies based in Taiwan—Global Interface Company Inc., Trans Merits Co. Ltd., and Trans Multi Mechanics Co. Ltd.—that have purchased and then exported, and attempted to purchase and then export, from the United States machinery used to fabricate metals and other materials with a high degree of precision.

On January 16, 2009, under Executive Order 13382, which sanctions proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Alex Tsai, Global Interface, and Trans Merits as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems and prohibiting any person or company in the United States from knowingly engaging in any transaction or dealing with Alex Tsai and the two Taiwanese companies.

In announcing the January 2009 OFAC order, the Treasury Department said that Alex Tsai was designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which was designated as a proliferator by President George W. Bush in June 2005. The Treasury Department asserted that Alex Tsai “has been supplying goods with weapons production capabilities to KOMID and its subordinates since the late 1990s, and he has been involved in shipping items to North Korea that could be used to support North Korea’s advanced weapons program.” The Treasury Department further said that Global Interface was designated “for being owned or controlled by Tsai,” who is a shareholder of the company and acts as its president. Tsai is also the general manager of Trans Merits Co. Ltd., which was designated for being a subsidiary owned or controlled by Global Interface Company Inc.

After the OFAC designations, Alex and Gary Tsai and Individual A allegedly continued to conduct business together but attempted to hide Alex Tsai’s and Trans Merit’s involvement in those transactions by conducting business under different company names, including Trans Multi Mechanics. For example, by August 2009—approximately eight months after the OFAC designations—Alex and Gary Tsai, Individual A, and others allegedly began using Trans Multi Mechanics to purchase and export machinery on behalf of Trans Merits and Alex Tsai. Specifically, the charges allege that in September 2009, they purchased a Bryant center hole grinder from a U.S. company based in suburban Chicago and exported it to Taiwan using the company Trans Multi Mechanics. A Bryant center hole grinder is a machine tool used to grind a center hole, with precisely smooth sides, through the length of a material.

The charges further allege that by at least September 2009, Gary Tsai had formed a machine tool company named Factory Direct Machine Tools in Glenview, Illinois, which was in the business of importing and exporting machine tools, parts, and other items to and from the United States. However, the charges allege that Alex Tsai and Trans Merits were active partners in Factory Direct Machine Tools, in some instances procuring the goods for import to the United States for Factory Direct Machine Tool customers.

Violating IEEPA carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine; money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine; and conspiracy to defraud the United States carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Pope and Brian Hayes.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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.


Attorney Among Four Defendants Indicted in Alleged $16.2 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme Involving at Least 35 Residential Loans

June 5, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 4, 2012 released the following:

“CHICAGO— Four defendants—an attorney, a loan originator, a mortgage broker, and a loan processor—were indicted for allegedly participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain at least 35 mortgage loans totaling more than $16.2 million from various lenders, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The indictment alleges that the mortgages were obtained to finance the purchase of properties throughout Chicago and in suburban Country Club Hills by buyers who were fraudulently qualified for loans, while the defendants allegedly profited from fees they were paid and undisclosed payments they obtained.

All four defendants were charged with various counts of mail fraud and bank fraud in a nine-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury last Thursday. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $16,218,050. The charges were announced today by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.

Hakeem Rashid—39, of Miami and formerly of the Chicago area, a licensed loan originator who was employed by two mortgage brokerage companies, including 1st Regent Mortgage Funding Inc.—was charged with four counts of mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud. Kareem Broughton, 39, of Chicago, a mortgage broker and the owner of 1st Regent, was charged with two counts of mail fraud and three counts of bank fraud. Marguerite Elise Dixon-Roper, also known as “Elise Dixon,” 46, of Darien, an attorney, was charged with one count of mail fraud and two counts of bank fraud; and Jada Elaine Lucas, aka “Sophia Youssef,” 52, of Chicago, a loan processor at 1st Regent and another brokerage, was charged with three counts of mail fraud and one count of bank fraud.

An arrest warrant was issued for Rashid. The other three defendants are scheduled to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Thursday before Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown in U.S. District Court.

Between 2005 and May 2008, all four defendants and others allegedly schemed to obtain the fraudulent mortgages by making false representations in loan applications, supporting documents, and HUD-1 settlement statements concerning the buyers’ income, employment, financial condition, source of down payments, and intention to occupy the property.

As part of the scheme, Rashid, Broughton, and Dixon-Roper allegedly recruited buyers to purchase properties and facilitated the buyers’ purchase of properties, knowing that they would be fraudulently qualified for mortgage loans. Rashid and Broughton allegedly paid buyers for purchasing properties, while concealing the payments from lenders. In addition, the defendants also allegedly either purchased properties, which were mostly scattered throughout the city, and/or refinanced existing mortgages in their own names, knowing that they were fraudulently qualified for the loans.

According to the indictment, Broughton received payment through 1st Regent in the form of brokerage fees on loans for buyers whom he knew were qualified based on false information submitted to lenders; Rashid received payment through 1st Regent and another company for originating mortgage loans for buyers whom he knew were not qualified; Dixon-Roper received payment for representing buyers and sellers at real estate closings, knowing that the buyers were not legitimately qualified borrowers; and Youssef received payment for processing loans through 1st Regent, knowing that she submitted false information to qualify buyers for the loans.

In addition, Rashid, Broughton, and Dixon-Roper allegedly obtained undisclosed payments through entities they controlled, including The Broughton Group, R&B Management, Hamaya Banco, and Dixon-Roper’s law firm. Rashid and Dixon also allegedly submitted false statements to lenders indicating that escrow money was being held by Dixon-Roper or her law firm. Instead, knowing that no escrow money was being held, Dixon directed the payment of money purportedly held in escrow to herself and Rashid, while concealing the true nature of the payments from lenders, the charges allege.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Zimdahl and Erika Csicsila.

Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and each count of mail fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the court may impose an alternate fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. The court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The charges are part of a continuing effort to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud in northern Illinois and nationwide under the umbrella of the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

Since 2008, close to 200 defendants have been charged in federal court in Chicago and Rockford with engaging in various mortgage fraud schemes involving more than 1,000 properties and more than $280 million in potential losses, signifying the high priority that federal law enforcement officials give mortgage fraud in an effort to deter others from engaging in crimes relating to residential and commercial real estate.

The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, 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.


McKenzie J. Carson is Charged in a Federal Criminal Complaint in the U.S. District Court in Chicago

January 4, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 3, 2012 released the following:

“Bolingbrook Man Arrested for Sex Trafficking of Minor

A 39-year-old Bolingbrook man was arrested earlier today on charges he recruited and forced a minor female to engage in prostitution. The arrest was announced by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

MCKENZIE J. CARSON, also known as “Casino,” whose last known address was 200 Campbell Drive in the western suburb, was arrested early this morning at his residence by FBI special agents and local police, without incident. CARSON was charged in a criminal complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of sexual trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, CARSON has been actively recruiting young females, including minors under the age of 18, to work for him as prostitutes in and around the Chicago area since at least 2010. CARSON advertised their services over the Internet and used cellular telephones to schedule and book “dates” for the girls. CARSON is believed to have employed others to assist him with running his prostitution operation, driving the girls to motels, hotels, and other locations to meet with customers.

It is also alleged that CARSON used violence and threats of violence, including sexual assault, to force the women and young girls to work for him. One of the victims, a then-17-year-old female, was allegedly raped by CARSON and forced to perform oral sex the first time they met. Afterwards, CARSON then sent the victim out that same night to engage in prostitution.

A second victim, who was 20 years old at the time, claimed that she was beaten and raped by CARSON on numerous occasions, including once when she told CARSON that she no longer wanted to work for him.

CARSON appeared before Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim this afternoon, at which time he was formally charged. CARSON was ordered held without bond pending his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Friday at 1:30 p.m.. Until then, CARSON will be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charge filed against him, CARSON faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ incarceration to a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case was investigated by a multi-agency task force, led by the Chicago FBI, and assisted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group, and the Bolingbrook, Channahon, Downers Grove, Joliet, Marseilles, Naperville, Oswego, Romeoville, Shorewood, and Westmont Police Departments.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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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 Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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


West Suburban Investment Adviser Charged with Allegedly Causing 10 Clients to Lose More Than $4.26 Million in Fraud Scheme

December 30, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 29, 2011 released the following:

“CHICAGO—A west suburban investment adviser allegedly engaged in an investment fraud scheme that swindled the retirement savings of some elderly clients and, overall, caused about 10 clients to lose more than $4.26 million, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Steven W. Salutric, was charged with one count of wire fraud in a criminal information filed today in U.S. District Court. Salutric allegedly diverted some of his clients’ funds to his personal business associates and to entities in which he had a financial interest, including restaurants, a movie production company, car dealerships, and real estate development projects, while using additional customer funds to make Ponzi-type payments to other clients.

Salutric, 53, of Carol Stream, was a founding principal of the former Results One Financial, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm located in Elmhurst, which had more than 1,000 clients and approximately $160 million in assets under management. Salutric managed the funds of approximately 100 clients, mostly individuals and small businesses. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court. The charges were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission also assisted with the investigation.

According to the charges, Salutric schemed to defraud clients of Results One between December 2002 and January 2010 by fraudulently obtaining their funds that were held in customer accounts at Charles Schwab & Co, Inc., which served as the custodian of client assets. Salutric had discretionary authority to trade in the clients’ accounts, typically involving the relatively low-risk purchase and sale of mutual fund shares. Instead, Salutric fraudulently withdrew clients’ funds without their knowledge or permission, and he fraudulently placed clients’ money in high-risk alternative investments without their knowledge or permission, the charges allege.

Salutric allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $3 million from clients by preparing, forging clients’ signatures on, and faxing documents that falsely represented to Schwab that the clients wished to transfer funds from their Schwab accounts to bank accounts held by Salutric’s personal business associates and entities in which he had a financial interest. Salutric allegedly used at least a portion of the clients’ funds to make Ponzi-type deposits to other clients’ accounts to conceal and prolong the scheme.

In one instance, Salutric allegedly fraudulently transferred approximately $1 million from a single client to himself and various entities, including restaurants, a movie production company, car dealerships, and real estate development projects, in which he had a financial interest. In other instances, Salutric allegedly lulled his clients by making false assurances, including telling one victim that his funds were invested in a union pension plan yielding a 15 percent return, telling another that his funds were invested in AT&T bonds providing an eight percent return, and telling yet another that his funds were placed in a certificate of deposit, when he knew that he had diverted funds from each victim for his personal benefit. As a result of the scheme, about 10 clients suffered losses totaling at least $4,261,818, the charges allege.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Murray.

Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. The court may also impose a fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The investigation falls under the umbrella of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: http://www.StopFraud.gov.

An information contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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 Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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


Maurice Leon Wiggins Indicted by a Chicago Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Making a Bomb Threat Targeting Southern Illinois University in Carbondale

September 13, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 12, 2011 released the following:

“Chicago Man Indicted for Making Bomb Threat Targeting Southern Illinois University in Carbondale

A Chicago resident is charged with willfully making a bomb threat to the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton announced today. Maurice Leon Wiggins, 23, was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 8, 2011. The grand jury returned an indictment charging Wiggins with willfully making a bomb threat. The indictment alleged that on August 29, 2011, Wiggins accessed the Internet from his cellular phone and submitted a message to the Southern Illinois University campus crime watch webpage for the Carbondale campus. His message stated that he planned to kill 4,000 students and staff by bombing three dormitories and a student center between September and November 2011.

Note: An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

“With the somber remembrance of 9.11 in our hearts, and the school tragedy at Northern Illinois University always on our minds, my office does not take terroristic threats against our citizens, our schools, or our children lightly,” said United States Attorney Wigginton.

The indictment charges the offense of willfully making a threat, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both, and three years’ supervised release. Today, Wiggins was arrested and had his initial appearance before the federal district court in Chicago.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern Illinois University Police Department. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Liam Coonan.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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

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Four Chicago-Area Defendants Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown; Three Others Charged with Defrauding Private Health Insurers

September 8, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 7, 2011 released the following:

Total of 91 Defendants Charged Nationwide for Submitting More Than $295 Million in False Billing to Medicare

CHICAGO— An area vascular surgeon, three chiropractors, a psychologist, and a nursing home admissions director are among seven defendants charged this week with participating in four separate, unrelated health care fraud schemes to defraud the Medicare program or private health insurers of millions of dollars, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

Three of the Chicago cases charging four defendants are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations, announced today by the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, that led to charges against 91 defendants for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $295 million in fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. This coordinated takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.

In Chicago, four defendants were charged in a criminal information and two indictments filed today and three defendants were indicted last week in U.S. District Court. The defendants were charged with various crimes, including health care fraud for allegedly defrauding the Medicare program, and violating the anti-kickback statute, which makes it illegal to offer or solicit kickbacks in exchange for referrals of Medicare patients. The charges involve various medical treatments and services such as surgery, nursing home care, chiropractic, and psychotherapy services.

“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare—jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive—or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud,” he said.

“Today’s action further demonstrates the commitment we announced earlier this year to ensure that dishonest medical providers do not profit from cheating Medicare and private insurers,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Details of the Chicago cases follow:

United States v. John Natale

Dr. John Natale, a vascular surgeon who had privileges at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, was charged in a five-count indictment returned today with defrauding Medicare by submitting false claims and by intentionally preparing fictitious medical reports that detailed medical procedures that he knew did not occur or were more complex than those he actually performed.

Natale, 62, of South Barrington, was charged with two counts of health care fraud, two counts of making false statements involving a health care benefit program and one count of mail fraud. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court.

Between August 2002 and October 2004, Natale allegedly falsely sought Medicare reimbursement for aneurysm repairs that he never performed, and falsely claimed to have performed more complicated repair of certain aneurysms, or weakened blood vessels, knowing that the surgeries he had performed involved less complicated procedures. Natale allegedly used the proceeds of the fraudulently obtained Medicare payments for his own personal benefit.

According to the indictment, surgical insertion of a graft above or in the immediate vicinity of the kidneys to repair a supra-renal or juxta-renal aneurysm is generally more complex than the surgical insertion of a graft below the kidneys to repair an infra-renal aneurysm. For at least five patients, Natale also allegedly prepared false medical reports that, among other things, contained extensive details about aneurysm repairs that he never performed, and falsely described the surgeries he did perform as being more complex and elaborate than they actually were.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG.)

United States v. Keenan Ferrell and Bryce Woods

Keenan R. Ferrell, a licensed psychologist in Illinois and at least a half-dozen other states, and Bryce Woods, who was not a medical professional in any field, owned and operated Take Action, Inc., and Inner Arts, Inc., which claimed to provide psychotherapy services to Medicare beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing homes in the Chicago area and elsewhere. Between September 2003 and July 2011, Ferrell and Woods allegedly submitted false claims totaling more than $4.4 million to Medicare for psychotherapy services, and fraudulently obtained approximately $1,863,415 million.

Ferrell, 51, and Woods, 34, both of Chicago, were each charged with nine counts of health care fraud in an indictment returned today. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of more than $1.8 million in alleged illegal proceeds. They will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, Ferrell and Woods submitted false claims to Medicare on behalf of patients living in skilled nursing homes under a Medicare provider number belonging to Ferrell claiming that he had provided 45-50 minutes of one-on-one psychotherapy to patients, when in fact, the treatment sessions were done by Woods, psychology graduate students recruited by Ferrell, or others with limited or no physician supervision.

Knowing that psychotherapy services were reimbursable by Medicare only when performed by an enrolled provider or when “incident to” the services of an enrolled provider, Ferrell and Woods allegedly arranged for Ferrell, who was an enrolled Medicare provider and licensed medical doctor, to authorize Inner Arts and Take Action to accept assignment of his claims to Medicare. Ferrell and Woods allegedly arranged with psychology graduate students and others to see patients at various skilled nursing facilities.

Ferrell, knowing that he needed to be present at nursing homes whenever a therapist conducted a session for Ferrell to be entitled to bill Medicare for services “incident to” his care, did not attend or otherwise participate in therapy sessions in the nursing homes, according to the indictment. As a result, Ferrell was not physically present and immediately available when Take Action and Inner Arts therapists purportedly were in nursing homes to render psychotherapy services, it adds.

As part of the scheme, Ferrell and Woods allegedly billed Medicare for more psychotherapy sessions than had actually been performed, regardless of the reimbursement code that was used. The indictment also alleges that they billed for services provided to deceased individuals.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Tzur. The case was investigated by the FBI and the HHS-OIG.

United States v. Bradley Mattson, Steven Paul, and Neelesh Patel

Three chiropractors, Bradley Mattson, Steven Paul, and Neelesh Patel, who owned suburban clinics that provided chiropractic, medical, and physical therapy services, were charged in a 23-count indictment with defrauding three private health insurance companies for more than a decade beginning in 1999. Mattson, Paul, and Patel owned and operated Hawthorn Physical medicine in Vernon Hills, Woodfield Physical Medicine in Schaumburg, Stratford Physical Medicine in Bloomingdale, and Algonquin Physical Medicine in Lake-in-The-Hills, while Mattson and Paul also owned and operated Northshore Physical Medicine in Niles and Cumberland Physical Medicine in Norridge.

Mattson, 49, of Lake Forest, was charged with 19 counts of health care fraud; Paul, 40, of Northbrook, was charged with four counts of health care fraud; and Patel, 36, of Glenview, was charged with 15 counts of health care fraud. Mattson is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday and Paul and Patel are scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

According to the indictment, the defendants submitted false insurance claims to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Aetna and Humana for services that either were not medically necessary or that they did not provide to patients, including x-rays, MRIs, neurological diagnostic testing, and physical therapy services. Between 1999 and 2008, the defendants billed Blue Cross alone more than $18 million. The indictment does not specify the amount of the allegedly fraudulent claims or the amount that was fraudulently obtained from any of the three insurance carriers.

The defendants allegedly marketed the clinics through their company, ARC Health, at malls and employee health fairs that targeted individuals insured by certain health care benefit programs. They instructed ARC Health marketing employees to offer potential patients coupons that falsely advertised a free x-ray exam and a discounted office visit, which they actually later billed to the patients’ insurance companies, the indictment alleges. As part of the fraud scheme, the defendants allegedly instructed their clinics’ chiropractors to order neurological diagnostic testing and MRIs for patients, regardless of medical necessity, and then to falsify the patients’ diagnoses so their health plans would cover additional visits for treatment.

Mattson alone allegedly received kickbacks from unnamed Individual A, who owned an unnamed MRI facility, in exchange for Mattson sending patients from the six clinics to Individual A’s facility for MRI exams.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Renai Rodney. The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

United States v. Jay Canastra

Jay Canastra, the director of admissions at The Wealshire, a nursing home in northwest suburban Lincolnshire, was charged with accepting a $1,600 kickback in exchange for referring nursing home Medicare patients to a home health care agency in West Dundee.

Canastra, 38, of Vernon Hills, was charged with one count of violating the anti-kickback statute in a criminal information filed today in U.S. District Court. He will be arraigned at a later date.

According to the charge, on Dec. 4, 2009, Canastra received the $1,600 cash kickback from unnamed Individual A, who was a representative of unnamed Agency A, which was authorized by Medicare to provide home heath services. Canastra allegedly accepted the payment in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries at his nursing home to Agency A, in violation of the federal law that makes it illegal to exchange kickbacks in return for Medicare referrals. There is no allegation that the nursing home or any other official there were aware of the alleged kickback.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dylan Smith. The case was investigated by the FBI and the HHS-OIG.

The charges in these cases carry the following maximum penalties on each count: health care fraud—10 years in prison, and mail fraud—20 years in prison, and both carry a $250,000 maximum fine, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater; and making false statements regarding a health care matter, and violating the anti-kickback statute—five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations, which expanded to Chicago in February 2011, are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS-OIG. Mr. Fitzgerald announced the Chicago charges together with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the HHS-OIG, James Vanderberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Labor Department Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector in Charge of the Chicago Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The public is reminded that indictments and informations contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch 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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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

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