Fifteen Individuals Indicted in an Alleged Large-Scale Federal Drug Conspiracy Case

January 11, 2012

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

“Fifteen individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on federal charges, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso, Drug Enforcement Administration; Special Agent in Charge David McCain, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Indicted were Orlando Ricardo Gordon, 32, of Franklin; Vince Jerome Shivers, 42, of Southfield; Derrick Arnold Terry, 51, of Detroit; Danta Shamu-Parker Johnson, 34, of Detroit; Darren Davon Terry, 35, of Detroit; Trenton Jordan Obamwonyi, 27, of Detroit; Tamiko Mel-Lang Hodo, 36, of Detroit; Anthony Wayne Hall, 46, of Detroit; Anton Jamaill Harris, 32, of Detroit; Ervin Kenneth Vincent, 24, of Inkster; Darnell Darryl Easterling, 48, of Detroit; Courtney Deon Shafi Strickland, 36, of Detroit; Benjamin Isaac Carter, 39, of Detroit; Erik Lee Ross, 34, of Sterling Heights; and Allen Corey Terry, 47, of Farmington Hills.

As alleged in the indictment, the conspiracy lasted for years, dating back to 2008, and involved in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, five kilograms of cocaine, and 280 grams of crack cocaine. Some of the defendants are also charged with being felons illegally possessing firearms. The narcotics trafficking conspiracy carries possible sentences of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine, and the felon in possession charges carry possible sentences of up to 10 years of prison.

The investigation involved multiple federal agencies, including DEA, ATF, FBI, and IRS. The investigation included seizures of large sums of U.S. currency, including a seizure of more than $500,000 from a residence in Franklin, Michigan, large quantities of drugs, including a seizure of over 1,000 kilograms/2,200 pounds of marijuana, and multiple firearms.

United States Attorney McQuade stated that, “Large-scale drug trafficking and accompanying gun crimes create danger and fear in our neighborhoods. The coordinated efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies helped to dismantle this conspiracy.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge David McCain said, “Narcotics trafficking along with violent firearm activity destroys the families and neighborhoods in our communities. ATF along with its state, local, and federal partners will continue to aggressively pursue those violent individuals and organizations that cripple our communities with crime.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso said, “Today’s arrests are significant. These individuals directed a major marijuana and cocaine trafficking ring that operated throughout southeast Michigan. The dismantling of this organization has halted the flow of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs into metropolitan Detroit. This investigation exemplifies the strong collaborative effort that exists between DEA and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and is a positive step towards making our community safer for everyone.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena said, “Narcotics trafficking continues to plague this region and directly contributes to violence on our streets. The FBI will continue to partner with federal, state, and local law enforcement to address these issues.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez said, “This indictment illustrates the seriousness behind prosecuting drug trafficking crimes. The role of IRS-CI is to take the profit out of these illegal organizations. Drug dealers pollute our neighborhoods with no regret as their actions are only fueled by greed. The seizure of their illegal proceeds, drugs, and weapons brings us one step closer to justice.”

The Detroit Police Department, the Franklin Police Department, the Troy Police Department, the Novi Police Department, the Warren Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the U.S. Marshals Service also assisted in the investigation of the case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove 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

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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.


Edward Schlacht Charged for Allegedly Hiring Illegal Aliens

November 29, 2011

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on November 29, 2011 released the following:

“DETROIT — A manager at a specialty pallet and box manufacturing company in northwest Detroit was arrested Tuesday by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) on criminal charges of knowingly accepting false documentation in the course of hiring undocumented workers.

Edward Schlacht, 48, a supervisor at Grigg Box Company in Detroit, was taken into custody Tuesday morning without incident by ICE HSI special agents.

“Employers who evade the law not only fuel the demand that is responsible for much of the country’s illegal immigration, but their actions also hurt lawful workers who are seeking jobs in this challenging economy,” said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Detroit. “Criminal prosecutions are just one of many tools HSI is using to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.”

As part of the enforcement action, agents also executed a federal search warrant at the business seeking evidence in this ongoing investigation into the company’s hiring practices. Schlacht is charged in a criminal complaint with continuing to employ unauthorized aliens. The arrest is the culmination of an investigation that began in February when an ICE HSI audit of the company’s hiring records identified 35 employees who used suspected counterfeit documents to obtain their jobs.

According to the court documents, after ICE HSI notified the company about the suspicious documents, Grigg Box Company sent a written reply advising the employees in question had been terminated. Subsequently, investigators conducting surveillance of the premises, observed several of the “terminated” employees continuing to work at the company. Additionally, through the use confidential informants, ICE HSI special agents recorded Schlacht in the process of hiring two individuals who admitted their documents were counterfeit and had been purchased. This individual was later paid by Schlacht in the form of an official payroll check from the company.

Schlacht is expected to make an initial appearance in federal court Tuesday afternoon. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual’s identity and employment eligibility documents and determine whether the documents reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual. Additionally, an employer must ensure that the employee provides certain information regarding his or her eligibility to work on the Form I-9.

Nationally in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, ICE:

  • Conducted 2,496 I-9 audits, up from 503 in FY 2008;
  • Initiated 3,291 worksite enforcement cases, up from 1,191 in FY 2008;
  • Criminally arrested 221 employers, up from 135 in FY 2008;
  • Issued 385 Final Orders for $10,463,987 in fines, up from 18 Final Orders for $675,209 in fines in FY 2008; and
  • Debarred 115 individuals and 97 businesses, compared to 0 individuals and 0 businesses in FY 2008.”
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    Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
    Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

    Federal Crimes – Be Careful

    Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

    Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

    Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

    ————————————————————–

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

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

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


Four Detroit Residents Charged with Alleged Health Care Fraud Scheme

December 8, 2010

Four Detroit-area residents were arrested today by federal agents from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation into a $14.5 million home health care fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and HHS.

In a two-count second superseding indictment returned on December 2, 2010, and unsealed yesterday, four additional individuals are alleged to have participated in a Medicare fraud scheme operated out of Patient Choice Home Healthcare (Patient Choice) and All American Home Care (All American), two Oakland County, Michigan, home health agencies that purported to provide in-home health services. Maira Suleman, 30; John Thomas, 32; Sherry Prescott, 50; and Myra Jones, 50, were each charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Pramod Raval, M.D., 57, who was previously charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, was also charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in the indictment unsealed today.

Twenty-one individuals, including the four arrested today, have now been charged for their alleged roles in this health care fraud scheme. The original indictment was returned on January 12, 2010, with the first superseding indictment returned on July 13, 2010. To date, 10 individuals have pleaded guilty for their roles.

Superseding indictments occur when the government discovers addition information they did not have prior to issuing the original indictment. Typically, individuals included in an original indictment will attempt to work out a plea agreement with the government in exchange for names of others that may have been involved in the scheme. However, the trustworthiness of such claims is questionable, yet the government is permitted to use the information to indict others that are allegedly involved.

The indictment alleges that Medicare paid Patient Choice and All American more than $14.5 million for services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided between August 2007 and September 2009. The charge of health care fraud conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $25,000.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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