Homebuilder Indicted in an Alleged $14.7 Million Construction Investment Scheme

March 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 1, 2012 released the following:

“BALTIMORE—A federal grand jury indicted Patrick J. Belzner, a/k/a “Patrick McCloskey,” age 42, of Glen Arm, Maryland, yesterday for conspiring to commit wire fraud arising from an investment fraud scheme. The indictment was unsealed today upon the arrest of the defendant.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric C. Hylton of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

According to the indictment, from at least August 2009 to August 2011, Belzner, a homebuilder, and a co-conspirator also in the home building business, targeted individuals seeking investment opportunities or commercial real estate development lending. Belzner, who falsely presented himself as “Patrick McCloskey” with certain investors, instructed the victims that in order to obtain loans for commercial real estate projects, the purported lenders required that large sums of money be deposited in an escrow bank account to show “liquidity.”

The indictment alleges that in order to gain their victims’ confidence, Belzner and his co-conspirators caused victim investors and borrowers to enter into escrow agreements which stated that no person other than the victims had the ability to remove the escrowed funds without the victims’ permission. Belzner told the victims that a co-conspirator had to be the attorney assigned as the escrow agent.

The indictment alleges that Belzner and his co-conspirator fraudulently withdrew approximately $14,730,780 from the escrow accounts and used these stolen funds to satisfy their business and personal debts. To conceal their scheme, Belzner and his co-conspirators allegedly e-mailed fabricated bank statements to victims that misrepresented the escrow account balance and the date by when the investors’ money would be returned. Belzner and his co-conspirators also used funds fraudulently obtained from some victim investors to repay money owed to previous victim investors, or to other individuals to whom the conspirators owed debts.

The indictment seeks forfeiture at least $14,730,780, the amount of money stolen from victim investors.

Belzner faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of the gain or loss. Belzner had his initial appearance today in federal court in Baltimore.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The 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.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the FBI and IRS-CI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean O’Connell and Sujit Raman, who are prosecuting the case.”

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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.


Bernard Joseph Tully, a Former Massachusetts State Senator, Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

September 1, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 31, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Bernard Joseph Tully, a former Massachusetts state senator, has pleaded guilty for devising a scheme to defraud a Boston-area businessman out of approximately $18,000 by falsely representing that Tully and his co-conspirator were using the funds to bribe public officials. Unbeknownst to Tully, the businessman reported Tully’s overtures to the FBI.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.

Tully, 84, of Dracut, Mass., pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, Tully formerly served as the city manager for Lowell, Mass., from approximately 1979 to 1987. Prior to serving as city manager, Tully was a state senator representing Lowell and other areas.

According to information presented at the plea hearing and in court documents, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) determined in early 2009 that it needed to discontinue its lease for the Lowell RMV, due to lack of funds. According to court documents, Tully became aware of the possible closure of the Lowell RMV and contacted the Boston-area businessman who owned the space where the Lowell RMV was housed. Tully told the businessman that if he paid Tully, Tully would ensure a state senator would find money in order to keep the RMV in the space owned by the businessman. Later, according to court documents, Tully again contacted the businessman and told him that he need to pay Tully so that Tully could pay the public official, otherwise the RMV would have to move out of the space.

On July 3, 2009, the RMV announced it was closing the Lowell office as well as other RMV offices on July 23, 2009. Tully and a co-conspirator subsequently visited the businessman and told him that he would need to pay $20,000 to keep the RMV in Lowell. The businessman agreed that he wanted the RMV to stay, and Tully said he would start making telephone calls while his co-conspirator said he would talk to the public official.

On July 15, 2009, the businessman gave the co-conspirator a $5,000 check, which the co-conspirator cashed and gave a portion of the funds to Tully. On July 17, 2009, the businessman received a 90-day extension on the lease from the RMV to Oct. 31, 2009.

Thereafter, according to court documents, the businessman had a series of meetings and telephone conversations with Tully and his co-conspirator about securing another lease extension from the RMV. During these conversations, Tully and his co-conspirator falsely represented to the businessman that they needed additional money to make payments to various public officials in exchange for their official acts to secure the RMV’s continued presence in the businessman’s building. Between November 2009 and March 2010, the businessman, while cooperating with the FBI, paid Tully and the co-conspirator approximately $18,000 as bribe payments designed to secure the official assistance of various public officials.

In fact, Tully and his co-conspirator never paid any money to any public officials. According to court documents, Tully admitted in a May 2010 interview with FBI agents that he received approximately $12,000 in cash and checks from the businessman, and that he split the money with his co-conspirator. Tully also admitted that he had heard about the RMV’s plan to move the Lowell office out of the businessman’s office building from people who worked in the office, and that the businessman had contacted him for assistance. Tully admitted that he spoke with friends of friends of the Lowell legislative delegation about obtaining a lease extension and preventing the move of the Lowell RMV.

Tully admitted that he told the businessman that he was “throwing money around” at elected officials, but in actuality he did not. He admitted that he did this to give the businessman the impression that he, Tully, was influencing the legislative delegation.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. According to the plea agreement, the government has agreed not to seek punishment beyond home confinement, 36 months of supervised release, a fine to be calculated under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and restitution of $18,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office and the Lowell Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel William M. Welch II and Kevin Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Corruption Unit.”

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 extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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

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Terrance Clark a Pittsburgh Crips Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Charges

June 21, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 21, 2011 released the following press release:

“WASHINGTON – A Pittsburgh man has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise related to his membership in a Pittsburgh Crips gang, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Terrance Clark, 22, aka “Doo Wop,” pleaded guilty yesterday before Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond to one count of conspiracy to engage in a racketeering enterprise.

According to the guilty plea, Clark and others participated in a pattern of racketeering activity that included multiple acts involving robberies at gun point; attempted murders; distribution of controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine; and obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.

According to court documents, Clark was a member of the Northview Heights/ Fineview Crips, a criminal street gang operating out of the Northview Heights public housing facility in the Northside neighborhood, and in the nearby Fineview neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The gang had been operating in the Northside since 2002; in 2003, it formed an alliance with the Brighton Place Crips to expand the gang’s drug trafficking territory and increase the gang’s capability for violence.

The Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains exclusive control over drug trafficking in these neighborhoods through continuous violence and intimidation of rivals and witnesses. Members of the gang support each other through payment of attorneys’ fees and bonds, as well as payments to jail commissary accounts and support payments to incarcerated members’ families.

In addition, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang maintains an ongoing feud with the Manchester Original Gangsters, a criminal street gang located in the Manchester area of the Northside Section of Pittsburgh. Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang members identify themselves by wearing blue, using Crips gang hand signals, and using phrases such as “Cuz,” “C-Safe,” “Loc” and “G.K.” According to court documents, members and associates of the gang gain greater authority and prestige within the gang based upon their reputation for violence and their ability to obtain and sell a steady supply of illegal drugs.

According to court documents, Clark acted as a “hustler” or distributor of controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, for the gang. He also acted as a “soldier/ gorilla” or enforcer for the gang, providing protection for the enterprise through the commission of violent crimes. According to information presented in court, Clark and a co-conspirator were responsible for at least two armed robberies, one of which involved a carjacking. Clark was also involved in at least two instances relating to the obstruction of criminal investigations, including a homicide prosecution. In addition, in December 2007, Clark pointed a firearm at several Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents and task force officers as they drove an unmarked car through the Brighton Place neighborhood seeking to serve a subpoena on a government witness. Subsequent recorded telephone conversations from jail between Clark and his co-conspirators showed that Clark initially believed the occupants of the vehicle were members of a rival gang attempting to shoot at him and his fellow Crips members.

Clark is one of 26 defendants charged in February 2010 with being members of, and conducting racketeering activity through, the Brighton Place/Northview Heights Crips gang. This prosecution resulted from a Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force investigation that began in 2005. To date, 16 members of the Brighton Place/ Northview Heights Crips who were charged in this indictment have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.

Clark faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $250,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20, 2011.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles A. Eberle and Troy Rivetti of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Kevin Rosenberg of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The case was investigated by the ATF; the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; the Allegheny County, Penn., Police Department; and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.”

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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