Chicago Man Accused of Mailing Threatening Letters Containing False Information About Bombing Targets Across the U.S.

January 7, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 6, 2012 released the following:

“CHICAGO—A Chicago man was indicted on federal charges for allegedly mailing threatening letters containing false information about bombing public and private properties around the country, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Timothy P. O’Donnell, was charged with nine counts of falsely threatening use of explosives in an indictment returned late yesterday by a federal grand jury.

O’Donnell, 51, of Chicago, never posed any actual danger of carrying through with the alleged threats contained in dozens of identical letters mailed in March 2011, 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, said in announcing the charges.

“While there was never any real danger in Chicago or elsewhere, these charges demonstrate that the FBI and the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force will aggressively investigate all threats and there are serious consequences for those who allegedly make false threats,” Mr. Grant said.

O’Donnell will be arraigned on a date yet to be scheduled in U.S. District Court.

The charges stem from an investigation of identically worded letters that were mailed from Chicago to dozens of recipients in approximately 16 states in March 2011. The letters purported to be from “Osama Bin Laden” and, among other things, claimed that “Al-Qaeda” had planted 160 remotely-controlled nuclear bombs throughout the country in schools, churches, hospitals, financial institutions, and government buildings.

Each of the nine counts in the indictment alleges the mailing of a threatening letter between March 18 and 22, 2011, from Chicago to two businesses in Chicago, as well as recipients in Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Stetler and Nancy DePodesta.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only allegations 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
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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.


Federal Judge Sets $450,000 Bond for Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich

July 17, 2011

Chicago Tribune on July 15, 2011 released the following:

“By Jeff Coen | Tribune reporter

Judge sets $450,000 bail for Blagojevich, lower than feds sought

A federal judge today set bond at $450,000 for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and ordered him to post his North Side house and Washington condo as collateral despite the defense declaring that the Chicago residence is up for sale.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel then called Blagojevich and his wife Patti before him to issue the standard warning that they could lose both properties if the former governor violated bond conditions.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List 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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Chunlai Yang Charged in Chicago by a Criminal Complaint with Theft of Trade Secrets

July 5, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Chicago on July 2, 2011 released the following:

“A 49-year-old Libertyville resident, who was employed as a senior software engineer with the Chicago based CME Group, was arrested yesterday after being charged with theft of trade secrets. The arrest was announced today by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

CHUNLAI YANG, who is a naturalized United States citizen, was taken into custody yesterday morning at his CME office, located at 550 West Washington Street in Chicago, without incident, by FBI special agents. YANG was charged in a criminal complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago with one count of theft of trade secrets, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, YANG has been employed at the CME since 2000, and is responsible for writing computer code. Beginning in May of this year, CME security personnel began monitoring YANG’s computer activity. They discovered that thousands of files had been downloaded to his computer, and some were then copied to removable storage devices, such as thumb drives. Many of the downloaded files were critical to the operation of the CME group and are considered proprietary in nature and contain protected source code.

Subsequent investigation by the FBI determined that YANG had also been in e-mail contact with the assistant director of the Logistics and Trade Bureau for the Zhangiagang Free Trade Zone. One of the e-mails sent by YANG contained an attachment, which was a CME document containing protected source code and proprietary information.

It was also determined that YANG had booked travel to China on a commercial airline flight, scheduled to depart from O’Hare International Airport on July 7th.

YANG appeared before Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason in Chicago, late yesterday, at which time he was formally charged. YANG was ordered held without bond, pending his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Wednesday, July 6th. Until then, YANG will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. If convicted of the charge pending against him, YANG faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years’ incarceration, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

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.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List 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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Operation of Two Home Health Care Businesses Indicted in Alleged $20 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

June 30, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois on June 29, 2011 released the following press release:

“CHICAGO — A Chicago man who operated two home health care businesses, one of which was among the state’s largest recipients of Medicare payments, was indicted on federal fraud charges for allegedly swindling Medicare of at least $20 million over five years, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Jacinto “John” Gabriel, Jr., allegedly schemed with others to submit millions of dollars in false claims for reimbursement of home healthcare services purportedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries, which allegedly were never provided, were not medically necessary, or were inflated in price so that he and others could profit from the fraudulently-obtained funds. Gabriel and his co-schemers allegedly used the proceeds for various purposes, including: using more than $5.5 million in cash to maintain lavish lifestyles, including gambling at casinos in the Chicago area and Las Vegas, and to buy automobiles, jewelry and real estate in the United States and the Philippines; to perpetuate the businesses by paying his employees and providing them with gifts, and to bribe physicians and pay kickbacks to others in exchange for patient referrals.

Gabriel, 43, who had no formal medical training, medical degrees, nor licenses to practice as a health care professional, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, two counts of health care fraud and 11 counts of money laundering in a 15-count indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $20 million. He has remained free on bond since he was arrested on preliminary charges in February and he will be arraigned on a date still be determined in U.S. District Court.

“The fraud alleged in this indictment illustrates complete disregard of the needs and interests of Medicare patients,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “The OIG is determined to aggressively investigate Medicare fraud and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who perpetrate these types of crimes are held accountable.”

Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Pugh announced the charges together with Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Alvin Patton, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. The Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General also participated in the investigation, which is continuing. The investigation is being conducted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which expanded to Chicago earlier this year, and is part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative between the Justice Department and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce anti-fraud laws around the country.

According to the indictment, Gabriel did not identify himself as an owner, but in fact exercised ownership and control over Perpetual Home Health, Inc., based in Oak Forest, and Legacy Home Healthcare Services, which was located on the city’s north side. Both firms have ceased operating and no longer receive Medicare payments. Between May 2006 and January 2011, Perpetual submitted more than 14,000 Medicare claims seeking reimbursement for services allegedly provided to beneficiaries. As a result of those claims, Perpetual received more than $38 million in Medicare payments, making it one of the largest, if not the largest, recipients of Medicare payments for home health services in Illinois. Between 2008 and January 2011, Legacy submitted more than 2,000 claims for Medicare reimbursement and received more than $5 million.

As part of the fraud scheme, Gabriel and his co-schemers allegedly obtained personal information of Medicare beneficiaries to bill Medicare without the beneficiaries’ knowledge or consent; created false patient files to support fraudulent Medicare claims and submitted false claims based on those records; used Medicare proceeds to pay himself, co-schemers, employees, and others who assisted him in carrying out the scheme; and concealed the fraud proceeds by directing Perpetual and Legacy to issue checks payable to fictitious entities, his friends and associates.

Among other details, the indictment alleges that Gabriel authorized Perpetual and Legacy to pay various amounts, ranging between $200 and $800, to employees and others for each patient they referred and enrolled in home healthcare services. He and others also cold-called Medicare beneficiaries to try to persuade them to enroll with Perpetual and Legacy.

As part of allegedly falsifying patient records, Gabriel directed Perpetual and Legacy personnel to systematically complete standard forms by listing the same false diagnoses, including arthropathy (joint disease) and hypertension, which enabled them to claim a higher level of Medicare reimbursement, according to the charges.

In addition to the fraud counts, the money laundering charges allege that between last October and December, Gabriel cashed 11 checks in amounts under $10,000 — usually $9,000 and all involving fraud proceeds — to avoid federal currency transaction reporting requirements.

Each count of wire fraud and money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while each count of health care fraud carries a maximum 10-year prison term. Each wire fraud and healthcare fraud count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, or an alternate fine totaling twice the loss or twice the gain, whichever is greater. Each money laundering count carries a maximum fine of $500,000. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that charges are 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.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List 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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Eugene Klein, Former Federal Prison Chaplain, Indicted on Federal Criminal Charges for Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 371) and Destruction or Removal of Property to Prevent Seizure (18 U.S.C. 2232(a))

June 10, 2011

Northern District of Illinois, Chicago Divison, U.S. Attorney’s Office on June 9, 2011 released the following press release:

Eugene Klein

“CHICAGO — A former federal prison chaplain who ministered to convicted killer Frank Calabrese, Sr., was indicted for allegedly illegally passing messages from Calabrese and plotting with him and others to recover a hidden violin from a residence Calabrese once owned in Williams Bay, Wis., federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Eugene Klein, was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of attempting to transfer Calabrese’s personal property to prevent its seizure by the government in a two-count indictment returned late yesterday by a federal grand jury. Klein allegedly obstructed enforcement of Special Administrative Measures (“SAMs”), first imposed on Calabrese in November 2008, to prevent him from further participating in illegal activities while incarcerated by restricting Calabrese’s contacts with others. Klein also allegedly attempted to transfer property, which Calabrese told Klein was a valuable Stradivarius violin, from the Wisconsin residence in an effort to prevent the government from seizing the instrument and applying the proceeds toward a $4.4 million restitution judgment that Calabrese owes to his victims, including the families of those he killed.

Klein, 62, of Springfield, Mo., a Roman Catholic priest, was employed as a chaplain at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., where Calabrese is serving a life sentence. As chaplain, Klein was permitted to meet with Calabrese on a regular basis to provide religious ministry, such as the sacrament of Holy Communion. Because of the position of trust he occupied, Klein was able to have close and frequent communication with Calabrese, the indictment alleges.

Klein will be ordered to appear for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The indictment was 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; and John F. Oleskowicz, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.

According to the indictment, Klein knew that prison rules prohibited him from taking letters and messages into and out of the prison. He was also informed of the SAMs and understood they prohibited the passing of any information or messages to or from Calabrese. The SAMs, which have been renewed annually and remain in effect, restrict Calabrese’s privileges in prison, including his access to the mail, media, telephone and visitors. Under the SAMs, Calabrese is prohibited from having contact with anyone outside the prison, except his attorney and certain immediate family members. Except for communications with his attorney, all oral and written communications with immediate family members, including mail and visits, are subject to review and/or observation to ensure that Calabrese does not pass any messages to anyone that could be used to further criminal activity.

In March of this year, Calabrese told Klein that he had hidden a Stradivarius violin, which Calabrese claimed was worth millions of dollars, within the Wisconsin residence, the indictment alleges. However, paperwork found in March 2010 during a search of Calabrese’s residence in west suburban Oak Brook included a certificate for a violin made in 1764 by Giuseppe Antonio Artalli, not Antonius Stradivarius, the indictment further alleges.

On March 6, Klein allegedly spoke by phone with unnamed Individual A and asked about Calabrese’s Wisconsin residence, as well as three questions that Calabrese had given to Klein to ask Individual A. The next day, Klein met with Calabrese and allegedly took possession of a handwritten note that Calabrese secretly passed to Klein through the food slot in his prison cell. The note contained additional questions Klein was to ask Individual A for Calabrese, and also disclosed the location of a violin hidden within the Wisconsin residence. On March 26, Klein again met with Calabrese and allegedly took possession of a document that Calabrese secretly passed through the food slot of his cell.

As part of the conspiracy, the indictment alleges that Klein and Calabrese agreed that Klein would travel from Missouri to Illinois to meet with Individual A. Klein was to advise Individual A of certain questions Calabrese wished to ask Individual A; advise Individual A of the information Calabrese had told Klein about the violin; and formulate a plan with Individual A to remove the violin from the Wisconsin residence. On April 3, Klein drove to Illinois and met with Individual A at a restaurant in Barrington, where Klein allegedly divulged the contents of a handwritten note that Calabrese had secretly passed to him. During the meeting, Individual A told Klein that the government had seized the Wisconsin residence and was attempting to sell it through a realtor. On April 5 and 6, Klein met with Individuals A and B and, together, they allegedly devised a plan to 3 prevent the government from locating and seizing the violin by posing as potential buyers of the home. On April 7, Klein called the realtor handling the Wisconsin home to arrange a time for the trio to enter the home and search for the violin. Once inside, Klein and Individuals A and B agreed that Individual B would distract the realtor while Klein and Individual A searched for the violin using the directions that Calabrese had provided to Klein, according to the indictment.

The government conducted a subsequent search of the Wisconsin residence but the violin has not been recovered.

After Calabrese was held responsible for 13 murders by a judge and jury and sentenced on Jan. 28, 2009, to life imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution totaling $4,422,572, law enforcement authorities began efforts to locate and seize Calabrese’s assets to satisfy the judgment he owed to the families of his murder victims. In March 2010, agents searched Calabrese’s Oak Brook residence, as well as his home in Williams Bay. At the Oak Brook home, agents seized cash, jewelry and other valuables hidden in a secret compartment in the basement. The total value of the seized items was estimated to exceed $1 million.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the Court must determine a reasonable sentence to impose under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment 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.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List 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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Tahawwur Hussain Rana Found Guilty Following a Federal Criminal Trial in Chicago Federal District Court

June 9, 2011

Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 9, 2011 released the following press release:

Tahawwur Rana Guilty of Providing Material Support to Terror Group and Playing Supporting Role in Denmark Terror Conspiracy

CHICAGO — A Pakistani native who operated a Chicago-based immigration business was convicted today of participating in a conspiracy involving a terrorism plot against a Danish newspaper and providing material support to a terrorist organization based in Pakistan. The defendant, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, was found guilty by a federal jury that deliberated two days following a trial that began May 16, 2011, in U.S. District Court. The jury acquitted Rana of conspiracy to provide material support to the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed more than 160 people, including six Americans.

Rana, 50, a Canadian citizen, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorism plot in Denmark and one count of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, Lashkar e Tayyiba (Lashkar.) He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on the two counts combined and remains in federal custody without bond. U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ordered the defense to file post-trial motions by Aug. 15. 2011. No sentencing date was set.

“Today’s verdict demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable not only terrorist operatives, but also those who facilitate their activities. As established at trial, Tahawwur Rana provided valuable cover and support to David Headley, knowing that Headley and others were plotting terror attacks overseas,” said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “We will not rest in our efforts to identify and bring to justice those who provide support to terrorists.”

“The message should be clear to all those who help terrorists — we will bring to justice all those who seek to facilitate violence,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“The effort to combat terrorism and bring justice to the victims is a global effort, requiring the cooperation and collaboration of many countries and many people. We are grateful for our role and that of the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force in bringing some measure of justice,” said Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI.

Rana is the second defendant to be convicted among a total of eight co-defendants who have been indicted in this case since late 2009. Co-defendant David Coleman Headley, 50, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to all 12 counts against him, including aiding and abetting the murders of the six American victims. Headley, who is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison, has cooperated with the government since he was arrested in October 2009, and testified as a government witness at Rana’s trial.

The six remaining defendants are all believed to be in Pakistan.

Headley testified that he attended training camps in Pakistan operated by Lashkar, a designated foreign terrorist organization, on five separate occasions between 2002 and 2005. In late 2005, Headley received instructions from members of Lashkar to travel to India to conduct surveillance, which he did five times leading up to the Mumbai attacks three years later that killed more than 160 people and wounded hundreds more.

In the early summer of 2006, Headley and two Lashkar members discussed opening an immigration office in Mumbai as a cover for his surveillance activities. Headley testified that he traveled to Chicago and advised Rana, his long-time friend since the time they attended high school together in Pakistan, of his assignment to scout potential targets in India. Headley obtained approval from Rana, who owned First World Immigration Services in Chicago and elsewhere, to open a First World office in Mumbai as cover for his activities. Rana directed an individual associated with First World to prepare documents supporting Headley’s cover story of opening a First World office in Mumbai, and advised Headley how to obtain a visa for travel to India, according to Headley’s testimony, as well as emails and other documents that corroborated his account.

Starting Nov. 26, 2008, and continuing through Nov. 28, 2008, 10 attackers trained by Lashkar carried out multiple assaults with firearms, grenades and improvised explosive devices against multiple targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the Leopold Café, the Chabad House and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, each of which Headley had scouted in advance. The six Americans killed during the three-day siege were Ben Zion Chroman, Gavriel Holtzberg, Sandeep Jeswani, Alan Scherr, his daughter Naomi Scherr and Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum.

Regarding the Denmark terror plot, Headley admitted that in early November 2008, he met with a Lashkar member in Karachi, Pakistan, and was instructed to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, offices of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in preparation for an attack in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

In late 2008 and early 2009, after reviewing with Rana how he had performed surveillance of the targets attacked in Mumbai, Headley testified that he advised Rana of the planned attack on the Danish newspaper and his intended travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance of its facilities. Headley obtained Rana’s approval and assistance to identify himself as a representative of First World and gain access to the newspaper’s offices by falsely expressing interest in placing advertising for First World in the newspaper. Before departing Chicago, Headley and Rana caused business cards to be made that identified Headley as a representative of the Immigration Law Center, the business name of First World, according to the evidence at trial.

The government’s evidence also included transcripts of recorded conversations, including those in September 2009, when Headley and Rana spoke about reports that co-defendant Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged Pakistani terrorist leader, had been killed in a drone attack and the implications of his possible death for the plan to attack the newspaper. In other conversations, Rana told Headley that the attackers involved in the Mumbai attacks should receive Pakistan’s highest posthumous military honors. In the late summer of 2009, Rana and Headley agreed that funds that had been provided to Rana could be used to fund Headley’s work in Denmark, and the trial evidence showed that Rana, pretended to be Headley in sending an email to the Danish newspaper.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Collins, Victoria J. Peters and Sarah Streicker, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are working jointly with their counterparts in Chicago on the broader investigation into the Mumbai attacks. The investigation has been conducted by the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Chicago Office of the FBI, with assistance from the FBI offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List 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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