Indictment Charges Congressional Campaign Worker with Alleged Conspiring to Conceal Origin of Contributions

July 12, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 11, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven today returned a three-count indictment that charges Robert Braddock, Jr., 33, of Meriden, with participating in a conspiracy to conceal the source of contributions to the campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives on which he worked.

The indictment alleges that Braddock, while employed as the Finance Director for the campaign of a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, conspired to accept conduit campaign contributions, which are contributions made by one person in the name of another person. The purpose of the conduit contributions was to conceal the fact that the individuals who were actually financing the payments had an interest in legislation that was expected to be introduced, and eventually was introduced, before the Connecticut General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session. The candidate is also a current member of the Connecticut General Assembly.

“This indictment details an extensive conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI continue to investigate not only this matter, but all illegal behavior that corrupts our system of government.”

According to the indictment, Roll Your Own (“RYO”) smoke shops are retail businesses that sell loose smoking tobacco and cigarette-rolling materials and offer customers the option of paying a “rental” fee to insert the loose tobacco and the rolling materials into a RYO machine, which is capable of rapidly rolling large quantities of cigarettes. Customers do not pay a tax on the RYO cigarettes when rolled by the RYO machines, in contrast to cigarettes purchased over-the-counter. In August 2011, the state of Connecticut applied for an order permanently enjoining the RYO smoke shops from operating RYO machines, which the state argued were tobacco manufacturing devices under Connecticut law.

The indictment alleges that, in 2011, certain RYO smoke shop owners and others began to discuss the possibility that the Connecticut General Assembly would enact legislation harmful to RYO smoke shop owners’ business interests during the 2012 legislative session. In November 2011, the RYO shop owners arranged to meet with the member of the General Assembly to discuss their concerns. Also in November 2011, the RYO shop owners and others began to deliver to Braddock and the campaign checks in the amount of $2,500, which were, in fact, conduit contributions. Typically, the contributors were reimbursed with cash from one or more of the RYO shop owners. In November and December 2011, Braddock accepted a total of four $2,500 conduit campaign contributions.

The indictment further alleges that, on April 3, 2012, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue, and Bonding voted in favor of Senate Bill 357, legislation that would deem RYO smoke shop owners to be tobacco manufacturers under Connecticut law, a designation that would have subjected RYO smoke shop owners to a substantial licensing fee and tax increase. Approximately one week later, Braddock accepted an additional four $2,500 checks in the names of conduit contributors.

On May 9, 2012, the legislative session ended, and the legislation had not been called for a vote by either chamber of the General Assembly.

The indictment alleges that, on May 14, 2012, a co-conspirator who helped to arrange the previous eight conduit contributions delivered $10,000 to the campaign in the form of three $2,500 conduit contributions made payable to the campaign and one $2,500 conduit contribution made payable to a political party. After Braddock was informed by the co-conspirator the next day that one of the contributions was in the form of a bank check provided by one of the Roll-Your-Own shop owners, Braddock arranged for the check not to be deposited into the campaign’s bank account. On May 16, 2012, the co-conspirator and another co-conspirator, who was an aide to the campaign, met at a restaurant in Southington. At that meeting, the co-conspirator provided the campaign aide with a replacement $2,500 check in the name of a different conduit contributor who was not affiliated with any Roll-Your-Own shops.

The investigation of this matter has included numerous recorded conversations, as well as an FBI special agents acting in an undercover capacity.

The indictment charges Braddock with one count of conspiracy to conceal federal campaign contributions, a charge that carries a maximum term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. Braddock also is charged with one count of accepting federal campaign contributions made by persons in the names of others, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of two years and a fine of up to $250,000. Finally, Braddock is charged with one count of causing false reports to be filed with the Federal Election Commission, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Eric J. Glover.”

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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 BP Engineer, Kurt Mix, Trying to Clear His Name

June 13, 2012

Forbes on June 12, 2012 released the following:

Walter Pavlo, Contributor

“Kurt Mix, former drilling engineer who was arrested on April 24th, is trying to gain access to information that could clear his name. Mix is accused by federal prosecutors of deleting two (2) text messages from his iPhone that were related to the flow rate of oil from BP‘s Macondo well (Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill). The charge is obstruction of justice.

In a motion filed yesterday, Mix is asking for access to BP’s confidential (attorney client privileged information) files which he says will prove that he was not obstructing justice when he “may” have deleted those two messages. Where the government says that Mix “corruptly” destroyed two text messages, Mix’s attorney, Joan McPhee, states in her motion that at the time Mix was supposedly deleting the offending text messages, he was simultaneously “affirmatively cooperating” with the government’s investigation and disclosing the very same information (flow rate of oil into the Gulf of Mexico) that he is accused of deleting (texts). However, the information Mix needs is in the hands of his former employer, BP, and its lawyers. In other words, it is protected attorney-client information that BP is using to defend itself against fines it faces in federal court. Whereas BP’s fight to keep the information confidential is about money, Mix’s fight is to keep his freedom.

This case is more about the money than Kurt Mix deleting a few text messages. Mix’s ordeal is in the middle of the larger fight between BP and the US government on how much oil spilled. While no one will ever know the real figure, BP is seeking to minimize the amount spilled, and thus the subsequent fine under the Clean Water Act. BP is hoping for “only” a $15 billion penalty, while the U.S. is looking to get as much as $17.6 billion. Kurt Mix finds his case in this $2.6 billion difference.

Yesterday, BP lost a request to get e-mails from the White-House (Executive Branch) related to the oil spill. The government won its right to keep the e-mails confidential. BP’s lawyer Robert Gasaway said that keeping the documents private was “fundamentally unfair” because they address how much oil was being spilled and BP’s role in capping the well. So the U.S. government is allowed to withhold data from BP that discusses how much oil spilled, while Kurt Mix is accused of withholding (deleting) text messages associated with the same spill? In fact, there are no missing text messages, all the parties know the contents of the information that was deleted. The allegation is whether Mix deleted the messages with the intent of obstructing justice (illegal) ….or did he just delete the messages for the hell of it (not illegal). A jury might have to decide. I would put this case right there with other wasted prosecutions of John Edwards, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans has scheduled a trial for January 14, 2013 to determine blame of the spill. Perhaps the government should call off the dogs, drop the prosecution, on Kurt Mix and ask him to be a witness at that trial …. but BP might have a problem with that. How can the guy win?”

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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

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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.


Indictment Charges Alleged Dental Clinic Operator Involved in $20 Million Medicaid Fraud Scheme

June 12, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 11, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned a nine-count indictment charging Gary F. Anusavice, also known as “Gary Andrews,” “Gary Andrus,” and “Gary Francis,” 59, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, with various offenses related to his involvement in a $20 million Medicaid fraud scheme. The indictment was returned on June 7, 2012. Anusavice has been detained since his arrest on May 24, 2012.

“By surreptitiously operating dental clinics in Connecticut, this defendant allegedly defrauded the Medicaid program of more than $20 million over a two-year period,” said U.S. Attorney Fein. “We are committed to protecting American taxpayers from health care fraud, which can increase costs and jeopardize the integrity of our health care system. I want to commend HHS-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the FBI for their investigative efforts and thank the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, which provided invaluable assistance during the course of this investigation.”

According to the indictment, the Medicaid program is a joint federal-state program that provides funds for medical services to lower-income individuals who qualify for benefits. The program is jointly administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and supervised by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In Connecticut, the Medicaid program is administered by the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS).

The indictment alleges that Anusavice was previously a registered dentist in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In July 1997, Anusavice sustained a felony conviction in Massachusetts for submitting false health care claims and was subject to disciplinary proceedings in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Based on Anusavice’s Massachusetts disciplinary proceedings, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Anusavice in April 1998 that he was being excluded from participation in Medicare and state health care programs, including Medicaid. As part of that notice, Anusavice was informed that, as an excluded individual, he may not “submit claims or cause claims to be submitted” for payment from the federal Medicaid program. Further, Anusavice was advised that Medicaid reimbursement payments are prohibited to any entity in which he serves as an “employee, administrator, operator, or in any other capacity.”

In November 2005, Anusavice surrendered his right to practice dentistry in Rhode Island for 18 months, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry permanently revoked Anusavice’s license to practice dentistry in Massachusetts in 2006.

The indictment alleges that, from 2009 to April 2011, Anusavice owned and operated several dental clinics in Connecticut but used a licensed dentist, who is referred to in the indictment as “Co-Conspirator 1,” to act as the nominal head of the dental clinics. The clinics included Landmark Dental in West Haven, Dental Group of Connecticut in Trumbull, and Dental Group of Stamford. After Co-Conspirator 1 provided false Medicaid Provider Enrollment Applications to DSS, which failed to disclose Anusavice’s ownership or control interest in the dental clinics and Anusavice’s disciplinary history, the dental practices received nearly $21 million in Medicaid reimbursements from the Connecticut Medicaid program, which payments were prohibited given Anusavice’s exclusion from the Medicaid program. Anusavice, in turn, received more than $3 million in payments from the clinics through nominee entities that he controlled.

As alleged in a previously filed criminal complaint, at the dental clinics, Anusavice was involved in reviewing patient charts, suggesting dental procedures to be performed, reviewing billing records, reviewing income reports, interviewing and hiring dentists, and providing overall management direction to the offices.

The indictment charges Anusavice with conspiring with others to fraudulently obtain money from the Connecticut Medicaid program by submitting Medicaid claims and concealing and misrepresenting Anusavice’s prior disciplinary and criminal history, his ownership interest in the dental clinics, and his exclusion from the Medicaid program. This charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

The indictment also charges Anusavice with one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and two counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, on each count. Anusavice also is charged with four counts of making false statements involving the Medicaid Program, and one count of concealment and failure to disclose an event affecting the Medicaid Program. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of Anusavice’s Rhode Island home, his 2008 Mercedes automobile, and $91,700 in cash that was seized at the time of his arrest.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office provided assistance and cooperation throughout the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Wines and Richard Molot and Special Assistant United States Attorney Sean Beaty. U.S. Attorney Fein encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.”

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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 Gunnison County Man Charged in Alleged Scheme to Defraud Investors in NASCAR Business

June 6, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 5, 2012 released the following:

“DENVER— Michael Patrick Corrigan, age 57, formerly of Gunnison County, Colorado, was arrested early this morning without incident in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for mail and wire fraud offenses related to his fraudulent actions involving the sale of investment opportunities in a NASCAR memorabilia company, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced today. Corrigan appeared in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was advised of the charged pending against him and the penalties related to those charges. A detention hearing is scheduled to take place later this week in Birmingham. He will eventually come to Colorado so that he can face the charges here, where he was indicted.

According to the indictment, Racezing Mania Corporation (RZM) was incorporated in Colorado in April 2006. Michael Patrick Corrigan was the registered agent. The purpose of RZM was to be a distributor of NASCAR memorabilia, specifically, die-cast cars and apparel. The business was registered to an address in Crested Butte. There was also a P.O. box in Clarksville, Indiana. NascarMania LLC was the parent company of RZM. NascarMania was incorporated under the laws of the Nevada in 2005. This company was also controlled by Corrigan. In addition, Markettron Holdings LLC was also controlled by Corrigan. From the companies’ inceptions, until the latter part of 2007, Corrigan was president of NascarMania and treasurer of RZM. Corrigan maintained his position as treasurer of RZM, and he and his wife had sole control of RZM finances of RZM.

The stated purpose of RZM was to specialize in racecar team sponsorships, custom-die cast car sales, and Internet marketing sales. RZM also offered “investment opportunity and value to both current and potential investors.” Between 2005 and 2008, Corrigan, using material misrepresentations and omissions, fraudulently solicited investors into his NASCAR memorabilia business. To create an appearance of credibility, the defendant created a RZM board of directors, which included several investors of RZM.

Corrigan solicited and interacted with investors through e-mail, telephone calls, mailings, and Internet websites. He also initiated a “club concept” in which investors contributed $500 for a membership position. Corrigan promised every investor a percentage of the sales of the NASCAR-related merchandise. He also sold membership to “affiliate sites,” or websites available for purchase by investors, for $1,250. The purpose of these sites was to sell NASCAR memorabilia through “spam” e-mails sent by RZM, which directed potential customers to the affiliate’s website. Corrigan guaranteed investors would receive a minimum of $100 weekly net profit, as well as 10,000 leads per week a $250 commissions for every affiliate site sale. An “E-Commerce” club offered membership positions for $5,000. Investors involved in this club were promised a percentage of the company’s returns from the Internet sales of NASCAR-related merchandise.

During the course of the scheme, Corrigan claimed to have the ability to generate income and profits through his three business units. He claimed to be expecting first-year sales totaling $38,500,000, netting $15,409.688 in profit. By 2011, Corrigan projected sales totaling $308,336,426, netting $135,852,298 in profit. Corrigan also informed investors and potential investors that RZM stock would be publicly traded, and, as a result, depending on the amount of the initial investment with RZM, several investors would become millionaires. The defendant was never authorized to use investor funds for his or his family’s personal use. Between 2005 and 2008, he obtained approximately $950,000.

“Combating investment fraud is one of this office’s top priorities: scamming investors out of their hard-earned dollars has criminal consequences, including potential prison time,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The FBI does not take white-collar crime lightly and will aggressively pursue those that take advantage of hard working Americans,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “The FBI will continue to protect the financial wealth of individuals enabling our economy to continue to grow safely and securely.”

Corrigan faces four counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces not more than 20 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine, per count. He could also be ordered to pay restitution.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Corrigan is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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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.


5 Are Charged in Alleged Schemes at Agency on Housing

June 6, 2012

The New York Times on June 5, 2012 released the following:

“By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN

By the time Wendell B. Walters, a former top official at a New York City agency that builds affordable housing, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in March, he was known to be cooperating with the F.B.I. and federal prosecutors.

On Tuesday, details of what Mr. Walters has so far told the authorities began to emerge, as federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged five more people in bribery and kickback schemes involving the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where Mr. Walters was an assistant commissioner until last year.

The charges provide further details about the $2.5 million in bribes and other benefits Mr. Walters has pleaded guilty to accepting, and also assert that he was not the only corrupt official with oversight of the city’s affordable housing program.

A criminal complaint charged one Brooklyn contractor, Panayiotis Papanicolaou, who had received contracts for several Department of Housing Preservation and Development projects, with paying $12,390 to send Mr. Walters on a honeymoon trip to Greece. A real estate developer, William B. Clarke, subsidized $50,000 worth of renovations to Mr. Walters’s home, according to a second criminal complaint, which charges that Mr. Walters promised to help Mr. Clarke’s company secure subsidies for an affordable housing project in the Bronx in return.

Prosecutors also charged a current department official, Michael Provenzano, 49, with receiving a $10,000 annual retainer between 2004 to 2009 from a contractor who wanted inside information from the agency. Mr. Provenzano supervised the inspectors who visit work sites and began providing the contractor with paperwork from the agency’s site inspections, prosecutors said.

This allowed the contractor to tailor his payrolls to match what the housing agency had observed at the job sites, prosecutors said. In fact, prosecutors said, laborers at the contractor’s job sites were routinely paid less than the required prevailing wage, and the remaining money was used to hire illegal immigrants.

Prosecutors also charged a housing official who left the agency earlier this year, Luis Adorno, 48, with participating in a kickback scheme.

The five criminal complaints unsealed against the various defendants on Tuesday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn do not mention Mr. Walters by name. But several of the complaints mention a cooperating witness who appears to be Mr. Walters; the witness is described as someone who began working at the housing agency in 1998 and rose to the level of assistant commissioner before pleading guilty this year.

“Instead of fulfilling their charge to create affordable housing for deserving New Yorkers, these defendants looked for ways to line their own pockets,” the United States attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta E. Lynch, said in a statement. The five defendants were in court on Tuesday afternoon and entered pleas of not guilty, Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office, said.”

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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.


Federal bank fraud cases up in north Alabama

May 14, 2012

Blog.al.com on May 13, 2012 released the following:

By Kent Faulk

“BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Eight men and women have stood before federal judges in Birmingham the past few weeks on bank fraud charges.

Among them:

• A Mountain Brook man sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling nearly $1.2 million from his former employer by writing checks to himself on the company’s bank account.
• A former Union State Bank branch employee in Trussville sentenced to a month in prison for theft of about $25,000 from the teller drawer and bank vault in 2007 and 2008.
• A former Regions Bank telebanking representative who pleaded guilty to taking $190,000 from a customer’s account during a two-year period, and directing money from the account to pay her bills after she had left her job.

The number of cases being prosecuted for bank fraud by the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Alabama has steadily increased in recent years. In 2011 federal prosecutors charged bank fraud in 22 cases, up from 16 cases in 2010, 15 cases in 2009 and 11 cases in 2008. So far, eight cases have been charged this year through May 4.

Some cases include more than one defendant and other charges are also included in some cases.

“I guess it’s a sign of the times,” said James Kendrick, a Birmingham attorney who has represented clients charged with bank fraud.

Rod Pittman, director of corporate security for BBVA Compass, stated in a written response to questions from The Birmingham News that recently they have “seen a significant increase in fraud attempts, the majority of which can be attributed to the economy and technology.”

“In this economy many people are unemployed and more likely to be in a desperate financial situation. This sometimes results in attempted fraud,” Pittman wrote.

Some of those charged with bank fraud in the past year have been bank employees working alone or with help from outside the bank.

Bank employees may be thinking they will pay it back, Kendrick said. “Before you know it, you’ve got more than you can pay,” he said.

Bank fraud isn’t always an inside job.

“The crime of bank fraud is broader than a bank employee stealing money from the bank,” said Peggy Sanford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorneys Office in Birmingham.

“The statute allows that if someone makes misrepresentations to a bank in order to get other people’s money held in that bank, then bank fraud has occurred.”

Some attorneys and bank security officials attribute the increase in people being charged by federal prosecutors to a more aggressive stance by the Justice Department on financial fraud.

In many cases the dollar amount is the difference between whether federal prosecutors or state prosecutors will handle a case, said Larry Meredith, director of corporate security for Birmingham-based Cadence Bank.

The U.S. Attorneys Office has been active when it comes to presentations to the banks on various issues, including the importance of the timely sharing of information on possible criminal activity, said Bill Burch, director of corporate security for Regions Bank. “The communication between prosecutors, federal law enforcement offices (and banks) has been enhanced dramatically,” he said.

Sanford said the push by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance’s office in north Alabama is consistent with the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts to make financial fraud a top priority and President Barack Obama’s creation of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Banks don’t generally share how much they lose to fraud schemes, but as an industry it’s in the billions of dollars each year, according to some estimates.

But it’s a lot more than the old fashioned way of illegally taking money from a bank.

“The losses are greater than if you had just walked in an robbed the bank with a note,” Meredith said.

While the money lost in a bank robbery may only be a few thousand dollars, the losses from both internal and external fraud is often tens of thousands of dollars and taken over a period of months and years.

The punishment for bank fraud varies. The range of sentences was one month to four years for those charged and sentenced so far in the 2011 cases on just the bank fraud charges. A few had longer sentences because they also had other charges besides bank fraud.

One person also was acquitted and couple had their bank fraud charge dismissed as part of plea deals at sentencing.

Wellington Monroe Phillips II was sentenced to four years in prison for bank fraud for embezzling nearly $1.2 million from a Birmingham-based natural gas supplier.

Twice a month Phillips issued himself an unauthorized check from the corporate bank account held at First Commercial Bank. He would forge the name of the company’s owner on each check and submit them for payment.

Bank corporate security officers say banks have increased security as new fraud schemes surface to tap into bank accounts.

Dan Bailey, chief executive of the Alabama Bankers Association, said that bank customers should take it upon themselves to help secure their accounts, including checking their accounts daily. “Catch it before it goes too far,” he said.”

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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.


Three Defendants Indicted in Alleged $750,000 Mortgage Fraud Scheme Involving Three Residences in Chicago

May 11, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 10, 2012 released the following:

“CHICAGO— A Chicago area real estate investor, the president of a Colorado real estate financing company, and a licensed appraiser were indicted for allegedly participating in a scheme to fraudulently attempt to obtain mortgage loans totaling more than $750,000 by selling three residential properties in Chicago to nominee buyers, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The charges result from Operation Madhouse, an undercover investigation in which a cooperating individual posed as someone who could assist in structuring fraudulent loan transactions through a bank contact who would approve bogus loan applications on behalf of nominee buyers.

Defendant Paul Demos, 66, of Chicago, the licensed appraiser, was arrested this morning and was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty at his arraignment before U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve in Federal Court. Co-defendants Michael Fort, 42, of Hazel Crest, an investor who owned multiple properties in Chicago; and Jeffrey Olson, 43, of Lakewood, Colorado, who was president of 1st Funding Source LLC, which engaged in real estate financing, were not arrested and will be arraigned at a later date.

Fort was charged with three counts of bank fraud, and Demos and Olson were each charged with two counts of bank fraud in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Tuesday and unsealed today following Demos’ arrest. The arrest and charges were announced 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; Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General in Chicago; and Alvin Patton, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.

According to the indictment, the fraud scheme involved a “double-closing” on a residence located at 5517 South Paulina St. and the sale of residences located at 6845 South Morgan St. and 1241 North Monitor Ave., all in Chicago, between June and September 2010. The defendants and others allegedly fraudulently attempted to obtain loans by preparing and submitting to an unnamed bank applications in the names of nominee buyers that contained false information about the borrower’s employment, income, assets, down payment, intention to occupy the residence, and the value of the property.

Regarding the Paulina “double-closing,” the defendants and the undercover cooperating individual allegedly agreed that Fort would “short sell” the residence to a nominee intermediate party, who would immediately resell the property to a nominee buyer, with the second sale financed by a fraudulently-obtained $295,850 loan. Fort allegedly hid information from the short sale lender, including that Fort had arranged for an immediate resale to a nominee buyer at a price significantly higher than the short sale price and based on an inflated appraisal and that he would profit from the resale.

The Morgan Street property was to be sold to a nominee buyer financed by a fraudulently-obtained $300,600 loanand the Monitor Avenue sale by Fort to a nominee buyer financed by a fraudulently-obtained $203,700 loan, the indictment alleges. As part of the scheme, Fort would pay a fee to the nominee buyers of the Paulina and Monitor properties, it adds. In exchange, the nominee buyers would obtain the loans and sign the documents at closings but would not occupy the residences or make payments on the loans. Fort allegedly intended to keep the proceeds of the fraudulently-obtained mortgages.

Demos allegedly provided the bank with false appraisals that inflated the value of the Paulina and Morgan properties. Olson allegedly provided the down payment funds for the nominee buyer of the Morgan property, and agreed to provide the down payment and short sale funds for the Paulina property. In September 2010, Fort and others appeared at the closings for the sale of Paulina and Morgan properties, allegedly intending to receive approximately $596,450 in fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds. Together with the Monitor property, the defendants allegedly intended to fraudulently obtain mortgages totaling more than $750,000.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tyler Murray and Christopher Stetler.

Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million 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, approximately 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:

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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.