Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

U.S. v. Viktor Bout, Case No. 1:08-cr-00365-SAS

Order Granting Viktor Bout’s Request for a Transfer to General Population

As stated in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York’s Docket Sheet:

“OPINION AND ORDER as to Viktor Bout. After fifteen months in solitary confinement with extremely minimal human contact and mobility, Viktor Bout requests that he be transferred to general population. The Supreme Court has noted that “[p]rison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution” and that “‘[w]hen a prison… practice offends a fundamental constitutional guarantee, federal courts will discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights. Because I “cannot simply defer to the Warden and abandon my duty to uphold the constitution,” I must grant Bout’s request…. CONCLUSION: For the aforementioned reasons, Bout’s request for a transfer to general population is granted. The BOP is directed to transfer Bout forthwith. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on 2/24/2012)(ja) (Entered: 02/24/2012)”

Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

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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.


Viktor Bout Wants Better Prison Conditions

February 9, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on February 9, 2012 released the following:

“By Chad Bray

A suspected Russian arms dealer convicted last year of conspiring to sell surface-to-air missiles and other weapons after getting caught in a sting operation in Thailand wants to be held under less restrictive conditions while he’s awaiting sentencing.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet air force officer who inspired the character played by Nicolas Cage in the movie “Lord of War,” no longer wants to be held in the special housing unit, or SHU, at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. He has been held there since he was extradited from Thailand in 2010 after two years of legal wrangling.

His lawyer, Albert Dayan, said in a letter to the court that Mr. Bout, 45 years old, is essentially held in solitary confinement with no human contact, no fresh air and no access to the prison commissary to supplement his diet. Mr. Dayan said the prison diet is inadequate for Mr. Bout’s needs as a vegetarian.

Mr. Bout was arrested by Thai authorities and U.S. narcotics agents in a sting in March 2008. A Thai court initially freed Mr. Bout in August 2009, but the U.S. appealed the ruling and he remained in custody. After diplomatic pressure, an appeals court in the Southeast Asian nation ruled to extradite the suspect to face his charges in the U.S., overturning an earlier ruling.

Mr. Dayan asked that Mr. Bout be moved to the prison’s general population, noting that Monzer al-Kassar, an alleged Syrian arms trafficker, was allowed to be in general population while at the MCC.

Kassar, 66, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2009 after he was convicted of conspiring to sell weapons and murder U.S. citizens following a similar sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“[Bout] doesn’t know when the sun rise or sets,” Mr. Dayan said in the letter, which was read during a court hearing on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin seemed to agree with Mr. Dayan’s arguments.

“It seems harsh. It seems brutal,” she said. “It seems unnecessary. It seems like something should be done about it.”

Still, the judge upheld the November verdict finding him guilty of four conspiracy charges that he sold weapons to South American terrorists with the understanding that they would be used to shoot down U.S. helicopter pilots, the Associated Press reported. The judge said the reasons submitted by the defense were the same ones offered before the trial and the verdict, AP said.

The judge set a hearing for Friday to discuss the issue of his confinement further. Prosecutors on Wednesday said they need time to consult with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before responding.

Mr. Dayan said that he wants to resolve the issue before Mr. Bout is sentenced, otherwise the special designation may follow him to the prison where he ultimately serves his time.

Mr. Bout faces up to life in prison on the charges. Sentencing is set for March 12.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

January 26, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 25, 2012 released the following:

“Two Mexican Mafia Members and 117 San Diego County, California Street Gang Members and Associates with Ties to the Mexican Mafia Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking Violations, and Firearms Offenses

119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

SAN DIEGO—A federal grand jury in San Diego has handed up 17 indictments and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California has filed eight criminal complaints charging a total of 119 defendants with federal racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking violations, and federal firearm offenses, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy.

U.S. Attorney Duffy said, “The cases unsealed today make communities stronger and safer. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to an anti-gang, anti-violence strategy built on close coordination between federal, state and local officials. This coordination provides better intelligence about street gangs and violent crime within our communities. And better intelligence means better law enforcement and prosecutions.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “Today’s arrests mark one of the largest single takedowns in San Diego FBI history. The FBI and our law enforcement partners stand unified in our efforts to protect this county from the violence, drug trafficking and extortion schemes employed by the Mexican Mafia and its affiliates. San Diego is inherently safer today because of the cooperation between our agencies working together to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activities of these dangerous individuals.”

“This is a traditional case of dishonor amongst thieves,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Gangs were made to pay ‘taxes’ in order to facilitate their trafficking and violent behavior. We answered with a one-two punch: a strong and experienced multi-agency investigation, armed with the RICO statute. The results speak for themselves.”

The charges stem from three investigations entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” “Operation Carnalismo,” and “Operation 12-Step.”

“Operation Notorious County”

The indictments are the result of an 18-month-long investigation entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” led by the North County Regional Gang Task force. Eight indictments charging 51 individuals, including one charging 40 defendants with participating in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy were unsealed today. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 19, 2012. The RICO conspiracy alleged in the indictment involves the commission of both state and federal crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, money laundering, and drug trafficking violations. As set forth in the indictment, the defendants are members, associates and facilitators of violent street gangs operating primarily in north San Diego County under the auspices of the Mexican Mafia or “La Eme.” The gangs named in the indictment include the Diablos and West Side gangs, based in Escondido, Calif., as well as the Varrio San Marcos and the Varrio Fallbrook Locos. The individuals named in the indictment were involved in a long-standing criminal enterprise used to extort money by threat or violence. The money was then sent on to high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia, including defendant Rudy Espudo. The indictment alleges that Espudo is a validated member of the Mexican Mafia who oversees their activities throughout much of northern San Diego County.

“Operation Carnalismo”

In “Operation Carnalismo,” led by the Violent Crime Task Force-Gang Group, a group of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents led by the FBI, five indictments charging 36 individuals were unsealed today. Eight defendants are charged in one indictment with a conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO), violent crime in aid of racketeering (VCAR), distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin and criminal forfeiture. Four additional indictments, charging 28 defendants were also unsealed. These related indictments charge distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and criminal forfeiture. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 24, 2012, and unsealed today. The RICO indictment charges the criminal enterprise was run by Mexican Mafia member Salvador Colabella. Colabella and his associates conspired to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, extorted and robbed others, and laundered drug-trafficking proceeds. Colabella and his associates collected the extortion payments through the threat of violence and the commission of violence. According to the indictment, the Mexican Mafia has about 200 members, but its reach extends to thousands of Hispanic street-gang members in Southern California. A Mexican Mafia member is the highest level one can attain in the Mexican Mafia. A member, also called “Brother” or “Carnal” or “Tio,” controls, exploits and profits from the criminal activity conducted by street-gang members and others. This control over the criminal activity is enforced through acts of violence or the threat of violence.

“Operation 12-Step”

This year-long investigation, known as “Operation 12-Step,” was led by the East County Regional Gang Task Force, a group of federal and state law enforcement led by the FBI and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Operation 12-Step focused on gang-related methamphetamine distribution activities in San Diego County. Today four indictments and eight complaints were unsealed charging 32 individuals with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to court records, individuals charged in this investigation belong to nine different criminal street gangs including Varrio Chula Vista, East Side Piru, Old Town National City, Shelltown, National City Locos, Imperial Beach Imperials, Paradise Hills, Varrio Encanto Locos and National City Block Boys. Between Feb. 22, 2011, and Dec. 13, 2011, law enforcement made more than 20 methamphetamine and heroin seizures in connection with this investigation. In addition, search warrants were executed at eight residences in San Diego; Spring Valley, Calif.; National City, Calif.; Imperial Beach, Calif.; and Chula Vista, Calif..

U.S. Attorney Duffy praised the coordinated effort of the law enforcement agencies of the Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, the East County and North County Regional Gang Task Forces under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort culminating in the charges filed in these cases. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against major drug trafficking.

The cases are being investigated by the FBI, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the National City, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego Police Department; the Escondido, Calif., Police Department; the Carlsbad, Calif., Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the La Mesa, Calif., Police Department; the El Cajon, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Bureau of Prisons; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the San Diego County Probation Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; and Customs and Border Protection-United States Border Patrol.

The cases are being prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Mazza, Jaime Parks, Fred Sheppard and Tara McGrath.

An indictment or a complaint are 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.”

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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 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.


Attorney General Holder Announces New Federal Bureau of Prisons Director

December 21, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice on December 21, 2011 released the following:

“Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the appointment of Charles E. Samuels Jr. as the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

“I am pleased that Charles will continue to build upon 23 years of distinguished service at the department,” said Attorney General Holder. “I am confident that Charles will provide the kind of effective and innovative leadership that will increase efficiency, further expand prisoner development and reentry programs, and allow for transparency and accountability at the Federal Bureau of Prisons – while remaining true to the BOP’s core mission of protecting public safety.”

“I am very honored to be appointed by Attorney General Holder to serve as the director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and will continue to work with the great staff at every level of the BOP to meet our mission to protect society and provide meaningful life skills and reentry programs for our inmate population,” said Samuels. “I also look forward to working with the leadership and others in the Department of Justice, throughout the federal government and in states and local communities to further the department’s goals and objectives.”

In his current position as assistant director of the Correctional Programs Division for the BOP, which he has held since January 2011, Samuels oversees all inmate management and program functions, including intelligence and counterterrorism initiatives; security and emergency planning; inmate transportation; case management; mental health and religious services; private prisons; and community corrections. Samuels is also responsible for inmate skills development and reentry initiatives, and shares the attorney general’s commitment to reduce recidivism by preparing incarcerated people to return to their communities and become productive members of society.

Samuels began his career with the BOP as a correctional officer in 1988. He was promoted to a number of positions within the BOP including correctional programs administrator and executive assistant for the Northeast Regional Office. Samuels has served as associate warden at the Federal Correctional Institutions at Otisville, N.Y. and Beckley, W.Va.; ombudsman in the BOP’s Central Office; warden at the Federal Correctional Institutions at Manchester, Ky. and Fort Dix, N.J.; and senior deputy assistant director of the Correctional Programs Division.

Samuels is a native of Birmingham, Ala. He received his Bachelor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Samuels is a graduate of the Harvard University Executive Education Program.

The mission of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient and appropriately secure, while providing work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.”

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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.


Judge recommends Colorado low-security prison for Blagojevich

December 13, 2011

Chicago Tribune on December 13, 2011 released the following:

“By Cynthia Dizikes
Tribune reporter

A federal judge today agreed to recommend that Rod Blagojevich serve his 14-year prison sentence at a low-security federal prison in Littleton, Colo.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel also agreed to extend Blagojevich’s surrender date to March 15 unless the former governor is able to sell his Ravenswood Manor residence before then. Last week, the judge had ordered Blagojevich to report to prison on Feb. 16.

Although Blagojevich would rather have been sent to a minimum-security prison camp, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will not usually consider that option for defendants sentenced to 10 or more years in prison, said Blagojevich’s attorney, Sheldon Sorosky.

“It’s kind of like applying to school,” Sorosky said of deciding to request a low-security facility instead of a camp. “If the kid who’s got all C’s asks to go to Harvard, he’s probably not going to get in.”

Prison camps are the lowest security in the federal prison system and generally feature unsecured perimeters and dormitory-style living. The nearest prison camp to Chicago is in Oxford, Wis.

Low-security facilities, meanwhile, have secured perimeters, but instead of prison cells, they usually have dormitory living facilities, according to the Bureau of Prisons. The low-security facility in Littleton – officially known as the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood — is located 15 miles southwest of Denver, according to the Bureau of Prisons web site.

In sentencing Blagojevich last week, Zagel agreed to recommend that Blagojevich serve his time at a low-security prison and asked his attorneys to suggest a location.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will make any final decision on where Blagojevich will be incarcerated.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


Raj Rajaratnam Checked into Devens Federal Medical Center (FMC Devens)

December 6, 2011
Devens Federal Medical Center
Photo By Elise Amendola
Devens Federal Medical Center

Business Insider on December 6, 2011 released the following:

“Raj Rajaratnam’s New Neighbors In Prison Are A Bunch Of High-Level Sex Offenders

By: Julia La Roche

Disgraced Galleon chief Raj Rajaratnam vacated his luxury Sutton Place apartment in Manhattan yesterday and checked into federal prison that houses high-level sex offenders.

Rajaratnam’s new abode at the Devens Federal Medical Center houses nearly 1,000 inmates. A significant portion of those inmates are sex offenders who require intensive, therapeutic treatment, while others suffer from severe substance abuse, according to Bureau of Prison’s website[].

The hedge fund manager, who was convicted of orchestrating the largest insider trading scheme in history, will at least begin his 11 year prison sentence at Devens.

That’s because Rajaratnam, a diabetic who requires dialysis, will need a facility to suit his health needs. Devens has its own dialysis treatment center on site.

According to Ed Bales, a managing director for Federal Prison Consultants, Rajaratnam probably won’t have to do any manual labor right away because of his health and he may never have to work during his sentence.

“He’s going to be reviewed because of his medical conditions,” Bale told Business Insider. “They won’t put him to work right away. He’s going to be sitting around loafing.”

For entertainment at Devens, there are recreational rooms, but no individual televisions in the cells, Bale said. There are gym facilities the inmates can use, but they are limited with equipment choices because they aren’t suppose to bulk up, he added.

“It’s a very mundane lifestyle — not too much excitement.””

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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.


Houston Doctor Sentenced in Federal Court to 11+ Years in Health Care Fraud Scheme

October 31, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on October 28, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Houston doctor Christina Joy Clardy, 61, has been sentenced to 135 months in federal prison for her role in a massive health care fraud conspiracy that billed the federal Medicare and Texas Medicaid programs for $45,039,230 over a 2 ½-year-period, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Clardy was sentenced just a short while ago in federal court in Houston.

Clardy is the third defendant to be sentenced in this matter. Last week Umawa Oke Imo, the owner of City Nursing Services of Texas, Inc., was sentenced to 327 months for his role in the conspiracy and health care fraud. Clardy, who was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 14 counts of health care fraud and three counts of mail fraud on May 27, 2011, after an 18-day trial in front of U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon, was also ordered to pay $15,626,084.01 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid. In arriving at Clardy’s sentence today, Judge Harmon considered the pivotal role Clardy played in abusing the trust of the Medicare and Medicaid programs by allowing the fraudulent billing under her provider numbers.

City Nursing billed more than $25 million worth of physical therapy services under Clardy’s physician provider numbers between January 2007 and August 2008. The United States introduced a letter at trial, sent by Clardy to Imo in July of 2007 – a year before she left the clinic, showing her knowledge of the fraudulent activities at the clinic, ordering Imo to immediately cease billing Medicare under her provider number, to notify Medicare of the prior fraudulent billing and threatening to notify Medicare of the fraud if he did not. Clardy testified at trial that after Imo received her letter they had a private meeting at her house and after that she never contacted Medicare about the fraud and never asked Imo if he contacted Medicare or stopped the fraudulent billing. Other evidence introduced by the United States showed that beginning in August 2007, a few weeks after Clardy’s letter, Imo began making large cash payments to Clardy and continued to bill approximately $21 million worth of false and fraudulent physical therapy services.

City Nursing employee Joann Michelle White, who played a minor role in the health care fraud conspiracy, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in February 2010 and testified for the United States during the trial. She was sentenced to 46 months on Oct. 14, 2011. The last convicted defendant, Kenneth Anokam, will be sentenced later next month.

The investigation into City Nursing was the result of the joint efforts by special agents of the FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General and the Texas Attorney General’s Office-Medicare Fraud Control Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Julie Redlinger and Mark Donnelly prosecuted the case. Assistant United States Attorney Kristine Rollinson assisted with forfeiture and restitution.”

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

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.