Accused Military Tech Exporter Pleads Not Guilty in N.Y.

October 22, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Christie Smythe

Alexander Fishenko, owner of Houston-based Arc Electronics Inc., pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn, New York, federal court to illegally exporting microelectronics to Russian military and intelligence agencies.

Fishenko, a U.S. citizen formerly of Kazakhstan, appeared today before U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson. He’s accused in a 25-count indictment of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Arms Export Control Act, obstructing justice and operating as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

Arc shipped at least $50 million worth of technology goods to Russia without an export license, the government alleged. Ten other individuals, most of whom were employees of either Arc or a Moscow-based procurement firm Apex System LLC, were charged in the indictment, which was unsealed on Oct. 3.

The computer chips supplied by Arc appear similar to those used in missiles and fighter jets, the government said in court papers. One of the end users of the electronics was the Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB spy agency, according to the filings.

A lawyer for Fishenko, Richard Rosenberg, who was appointed by the court today, said in a phone interview after the hearing that he wasn’t sure whether his client will seek bail. He declined to comment further.

The case is U.S. v. Fishenko, 1:12-cr-626, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).”

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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.


Microsoft Raids Tackle Internet Crime

March 26, 2012

The New York Times on March 26, 2012 released the following:

“By NICK WINGFIELD and NICOLE PERLROTH

SEATTLE — Microsoft employees, accompanied by United States marshals, raided two nondescript office buildings in Pennsylvania and Illinois on Friday, aiming to disrupt one of the most pernicious forms of online crime today — botnets, or groups of computers that help harvest bank account passwords and other personal information from millions of other computers.

With a warrant in hand from a federal judge authorizing the sweep, the Microsoft lawyers and technical personnel gathered evidence and deactivated Web servers ostensibly used by criminals in a scheme to infect computers and steal personal data. At the same time, Microsoft seized control of hundreds of Web addresses that it says were used as part of the same scheme.

The sweep was part of a civil suit brought by Microsoft in its increasingly aggressive campaign to take the lead in combating such crimes, rather than waiting for law enforcement agencies to act. The company’s targets were equipment used to control the botnets, which criminals, known as bot-herders, use for ill intent.

Microsoft has a big interest in making the Internet a safer place. Despite inroads made by Apple and others in some parts of the technology business, Microsoft’s Windows operating system still runs the vast majority of the computers connected to the Internet. The prevalence of its software has made Windows the most appealing target for online criminals, and the security holes they discover in the software are a persistent nuisance for Windows users.

Microsoft’s involvement in what had been considered largely a law enforcement function — fighting computer crime — is the brainchild of Richard Boscovich, a former federal prosecutor who is a senior lawyer in Microsoft’s digital crimes unit. That group watches over fraud that could affect the company’s products and reputation.

Mr. Boscovich, who handled drug, computer and financial crime cases in Miami in his former job, devised a novel legal strategy to underpin the growing number of Microsoft’s civil suits against bot-herders. Among other things, he argued that the culprits behind botnets were violating Microsoft’s trademarks through fake e-mails they used to spread their malicious software.

Mr. Boscovich said the Friday sweep was meant to send a message to the criminals behind the scheme, whose identities are unknown. “We’re letting them know we’re looking at them,” said Mr. Boscovich after participating in the Pennsylvania raid, in Scranton.

Before Friday’s sweep, Microsoft attacked three botnets in the last couple of years through civil suits. In each case, Microsoft obtained court orders that permitted it to seize Web addresses and computers associated with the botnets without first notifying the owners of the property. The secrecy was necessary, Microsoft argued, to prevent criminals from re-establishing new communications links to their infected computers.

Some security experts said Microsoft’s tactics had been effective, even if they had not eradicated the scourge of botnets.

“Taking the disruption into the courthouse was a brilliant idea and is helping the rest of the industry to reconsider what actions are possible, and that action is needed and can succeed,” said Richard Perlotto, director at the Shadowserver Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks data about tools used for online fraud and forms of computer crime.

Mr. Perlotto and Microsoft said they did not see civil legal action against people who commit online crime as a replacement for law enforcement action, which can result in much stiffer criminal penalties. “We equate this to a neighborhood watch,” Mr. Boscovich said.

Jose Nazario, a senior security researcher at Arbor Networks, an Internet security firm, said that Microsoft’s record against botnets had been a “mixed bag” and that some of its gains were only temporary. After an earlier action against a botnet known as Waledac, for example, the software behind it was modified slightly to create a new botnet.

“You can take out a botnet, but unless you take down the coders and put the clients behind bars, they’re just going to go ahead and do this again,” Mr. Nazario said.

The computers that make up a botnet are usually conscripted without the knowledge of their owners, who unwittingly infect their machines after clicking on links in legitimate-looking e-mails for things like security updates from Microsoft and notices of tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. Clicking those links takes users to Web sites that exploit security holes in their browsers or other programs on their computers.

Criminals use the holes to install malicious programs that siphon personal information from the infected computers, like online bank account passwords and credit card numbers. They can also harness the infected machines to send millions of e-mail messages to other users on the Internet, including scam messages that help propagate the botnet. Sometimes botnets are rented to clients to send spam messages advertising products like counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

On Friday, Microsoft was attacking its most complex target yet, known as the Zeus botnets. The creators of Zeus offer their botnet code for sale to others and, depending on the level of customer support and customization of the code that clients require, charge them $700 to $15,000 for the software, Microsoft said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn on March 19.

That, in turn, has resulted in many variants of Zeus botnets, making them harder to combat. Most of them are aimed at perpetrating various financial scams against online victims. Mr. Boscovich of Microsoft said he had a “high degree of confidence” that the unnamed culprits behind Zeus were in Eastern Europe.

To carry out the scams, they have hired people known as money mules to travel to different countries, including the United States, to set up bank accounts so they can receive transfers of stolen money from victims’ accounts, Microsoft said in its complaint. Microsoft said that the Zeus botnets had enabled the theft of more than $100 million from victims since 2007 and that 13 million computers were infected with some form of software associated with it.

Because of the financial fraud involved, Microsoft rallied support from two financial industry associations — the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center and the National Automated Clearing House Association — both of which filed court declarations endorsing Microsoft’s sweep on Friday.

Microsoft does not believe the operators of the facilities it raided on Friday, which rent space to clients on computers connected to the Internet, are in league with the people behind the botnets. And those operators said they had no idea that equipment inside their facilities was being used to issue commands to Zeus.

“It’s very difficult, unless they draw attention to themselves, to pick up on it,” said Joe Marr, chief technology officer of BurstNet Technologies, the facility in Scranton that Microsoft entered Friday.

Mr. Boscovich said he did not think the Friday sweep would be as big a blow to Zeus as Microsoft’s previous actions against botnets, but he said it was just the beginning of actions aimed at raising the cost of doing business for the botnet’s masterminds. “The plan is to disrupt, disrupt, disrupt,” 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

————————————————————–

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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Seven Members, Associates, and Leaders of Folk Nation Gang Indicted for Alleged Racketeering and Murder

February 1, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 31, 2012 released the following:

Additional Charges Include Robbery, Assault, Illegal Use of Firearms, and Related Crimes

A superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging seven members, associates, and leaders of the violent Brooklyn street gang “Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation,” also known as the “Folk Nation.” The 16-count indictment charges the defendants with violent crimes including racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and illegal use of firearms.[1] Two defendants will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendants face sentences up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department. As detailed in the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that since 2008, a violent set of the Folk Nation gang committed numerous crimes of violence including four murders, three attempted murders, two assaults, and six robberies. The gang was based in the Ebbets Field Houses, a New York City public housing community, although its criminal activities extended into the Tri-State area.

The gang is alleged to have used extreme and indiscriminate violence to further its objectives. The defendants’ victims include a 10-year-old girl, who was severely injured when she was shot in the neck by gang members while they were attempting to murder a rival. The gang is alleged to have committed four murders, in an effort to assert its power over the neighborhoods in which it operated. On at least two occasions, gang members missed their intended targets and hit innocent bystanders—after one murder at a teenager’s birthday party in an Ebbets Field apartment, gang members acknowledged that they had killed the wrong person.

In order to fund its illegal activities, members of the gang allegedly committed violent robberies of individuals and commercial establishments. Members of the gang are alleged to have robbed the Lee Perla jewelry store at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury watches. According to the indictment, the gang also targeted individual robbery victims, whom they lured to secluded areas in Brooklyn, via Internet advertisements on Craigslist, and then robbed at gunpoint. According to a detention memorandum filed by the government, the charged murders and other acts of violence took place on public streets, in front of personal residences, and even on a playground, in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The charges announced today are the latest in a series of federal indictments in this district charging members of violent street gangs with racketeering crimes.

“Motivated by greed, the Folk Nation employed indiscriminate violence to destroy the lives of their perceived enemies. But their violence spread beyond the gang world into the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn, and innocent bystanders, including a child, were caught in the crossfire. Terrorizing a community, this gang claimed its turf by force and robbed from businesses and individuals alike leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are steadfast in our commitment to dismantling street gangs that put at risk the members of our community, and the seriousness of today’s charges reflect that commitment.”

“The reason the FBI places such a high priority on gang investigations is the extreme violence gangs so often commit. Here, as charged in the indictment, the defendants’ ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness. They allegedly showed no apparent concern for bystanders, and bystanders were seriously hurt as a consequence,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Through a variety of partnerships, including clergy, the Brooklyn District Attorney, and in this case United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, the police department is suppressing crime in Brooklyn to the point where last year for the first time since 1963 murder in the Borough fell below 200. As charged in the indictment, members of the Folk Nation have been responsible for multiple murders and shootings, and their apprehension and prosecution should have a continued salutary effect for the residents in and around the Ebbets Field Houses.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Seth DuCharme.

The Defendants:

YASSA ASHBURN, also known as “Indio,” “Swirls,” and “Swerve”
Age: 28

HAILE CUMMINGS, also known as “Ruger” and “Rugah”
Age: 20

GERALDO ELAINOR, also known as “Gunny” and “Geraldo Casimir”
Age: 21

DANIEL HARRISON, also known as “Bones,”
Age: 24

RICKY HOLLENQUEST, also known as “Dancer”
Age: 20

JAMAL LAURENT, also known as “Tails” and “Gunner”
Age: 22

TREVELLE MERRITT, also known as “Tiger”
Age: 19

[1] The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed 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

————————————————————–

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.


US indictment accuses Canadian man of conspiring with suicide bombers in Iraq

December 11, 2011

The Washington Post on December 9, 2011 released the following:

“By Associated Press

NEW YORK — A man in custody in Canada was indicted on Friday on U.S. charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian jihadists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex.

Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, a 38-year-old Canadian citizen and Iraqi national, was arrested in January on a U.S. warrant after an investigation by authorities in New York, Canada and Tunisia. Muhammad ‘Isa is being held in Edmonton, Alberta, where he’s fighting extradition to federal court in Brooklyn to face charges of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists.

Muhammad ‘Isa never left Canada as part of the alleged conspiracy, and his attorney said Friday that the United States has no jurisdiction.

“All the evidence was gathered here,” said the Edmonton lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, said in a phone interview. “There’s just no tie. … This should be done for a legal reason and not a political reason.”

An extradition request made public Friday offered fresh details on wiretap evidence and an interview of Muhammad ‘Isa that U.S. authorities claim link him to the terror network. Authorities say the group used a suicide bomber to detonate an explosives-laden truck outside the gate of the U.S. base in Mosul, Iraq, on April 10, 2009, killing the five soldiers, and it also staged a suicide bombing on the Iraqi police station on March 31, 2009.

The evidence shows that “the goal of the attacks was to compel the United States government to remove its armed forces from Iraq,” the extradition request says.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigator interviewed Muhammad ‘Isa on Jan. 19 with an FBI agent and a Royal Canadian Mounted Police corporal present, the request says. The interview “was conducted in compliance with United States law,” with Muhammad ‘Isa signing a waiver before voluntarily answering questions, it says.

During the interview, Muhammad ‘Isa admitted he corresponded by email from Canada with two of the terrorists while they were in Syria, and knew that they were on a mission to kill Americans, the paperwork says. The documents allege he corresponded with “facilitators” who were trying to get the attackers into Iraq, and wired one of them $700.

On wiretaps, Muhammad ‘Isa was overheard last year discussing with someone in Iraq how he used code words when discussing the Iraq operation, the papers say.

“For example, when I want to name the brothers, I say the farmers — because they plant metal and harvest metal and flesh,” the papers quote him as saying. He also explained that he used the term “married” to mean “in the afterlife.”

U.S. authorities alleged that the day after the attack that killed the five soldiers, Muhammad ‘Isa asked in an electronic communication, “Did you hear about the huge incident yesterday? Is it known?” He also identified the bomber as “one of the Tunisian brothers,” to which a facilitator responded, “Praise God.”

Muhammad ‘Isa told investigators in the interview that by “huge incident” he meant an explosion, the papers say.

The papers add: “When asked if he believed that it was a religious duty for Muslims to travel to Iraq and fight Americans, (Muhammad ‘Isa) stated that he believed it was the duty for every Muslim who lived in Iraq to fight American ‘invaders.’”

The indictment comes at a time when Congress, over Obama administration objections, is pushing policies to ramp up the military’s role in the handling of captured terrorism suspects. A House-passed bill would require military tribunals to try suspected terrorists. A Senate-passed bill would mandate military custody for those captured, even in the United States, and linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates.

Members of the House and Senate are negotiating a final version of the bill that could include those provisions. They hope to complete their work by early next week.

If convicted in a civilian court, Muhammad ‘Isa faces life in prison.”

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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

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.


Former Stock Broker Arrested on Alleged Wire Fraud Charges

November 17, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 16, 2011 released the following:

“Earlier today, Daniel Gallagher, a former stockbroker at Vision Securities Inc., was arrested in Boca Raton, Florida, on wire fraud charges contained in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn for his participation in an investment fraud scheme.[1] The defendant’s initial appearance is scheduled before United States Magistrate Judge Linnea R. Johnson, at the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, at 10:00 a.m., on Friday, November 18.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

According to the government’s complaint, the defendant was formerly a part owner and registered representative of Vision Securities Inc., a broker-dealer with its principal place of business in Port Washington, New York. Between September 2009 and September 2011, the defendant solicited investments in Nano Acquisition Group, LLC (NAG). NAG was formed by the defendant in September 2009 for the stated purpose of acquiring certain assets of Nanodynamics, Inc., a fuel cell technology company that had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in approximately July 2009. The defendant represented in NAG’s offering materials that no fees or salaries would be paid to NAG’s managing members or any NAG employee until at least $1 million was raised and that if the acquisition of Nanodynamics’ assets was unsuccessful, NAG would return the bulk of the investors’ money. However, NAG did not raise $1 million, did not acquire any of Nanodynamics assets, and did not return any of the investors’ money as promised. Instead, the defendant allegedly took for his own personal use more than 90 percent of the money invested by 13 investors. The scheme resulted in approximately $485,000 in losses to the investors.

According to the complaint, Gallagher and Vision Securities were the subject of an earlier and unrelated civil enforcement action by the Securities & Exchange Commission. In approximately August 2009, the SEC obtained a civil judgment in federal court against Gallagher and Vision Securities in which these defendants were ordered to jointly pay a $179,718 judgment. Shortly after this judgment was entered, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent regulator of securities firms, ordered Vision Securities to cease all securities business because Vision Securities was net capital deficient.

“We are committed to preserving the integrity of the capital markets by aggressively investigating and prosecuting those who defraud investors,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch thanked the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission for its assistance and cooperation in the case.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “As alleged, this is a clear case of investment fraud. Gallagher solicited a significant sum for a specified purpose, did not apply it as promised, and failed to return the money. In simple terms, he stole his investors’ money.”

If convicted of wire fraud, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shannon C. Jones.

The Defendant:

DANIEL GALLAGHER Age: 46

1 The charges contained in the government’s complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed 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

————————————————————–

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.


Agron Hasbajrami Indicted for Allegedly Providing Material Support to Terrorists

September 9, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 9, 2011 released the following:

“New York City Resident Indicted for Providing Material Support to Terrorists
Albanian National Arrested at JFK Airport en Route to Fight Jihad

An indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging Agron Hasbajrami, a legal U.S. resident and Albanian citizen residing in New York City, with providing material support to terrorists.[1] Hasbajrami is scheduled to be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge John Gleeson.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

According to the indictment and a detention motion filed by the government, Hasbajrami devised a plan to travel to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (the “FATA”) for the purpose of joining a radical jihadist fighting group in Pakistan. In pursuing this goal, Hasbajrami exchanged e-mail messages with a contact in Pakistan who advised Hasbajrami that the contact’s fighting group was engaged in violent military operations and had killed American troops. Hasbajrami told his contact that he wished to travel abroad to “marry with the girls in paradise,” using jihadist rhetoric to describe his desire to die as a martyr.

According to the government’s court filings, Hasbajrami sent over $1,000 to Pakistan to support his contact’s terrorist efforts. When asked to collect money from fellow Muslims for the terrorist cause, Hasbajrami reported that fundraising was difficult in New York because his fellow Muslims became apprehensive “when they hear it is for jihad.”

In August 2011, Hasbajrami purchased an airline ticket to travel to Turkey en route to Pakistan, but cancelled it. Hasbajrami then purchased another airline ticket to travel to Turkey on September 6, 2011. He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, when he arrived to board his flight to Turkey carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear. A search of Hasbajrami’s residence revealed, among other items, a note reading “Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time.”

“The vigilance of law enforcement has resulted in the capture of another alleged aspiring terrorist bent on traveling overseas for violent jihad,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will spare no effort in stopping terrorists before they strike.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the FBI and NYPD for their extraordinary work in leading the government’s investigation.

If convicted of providing material support to terrorists, Hasbajrami faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew S. Amatruda and Seth D. DuCharme with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Courtney Sullivan of the DOJ Counterterrorism Section.

The Defendant:
AGRON HASBAJRAMI
Age: 27

[1]The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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.

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37 Alleged Members and Associates of an International Ethnic-Albanian Organized Crime Syndicate Arrested

July 13, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York on July 13, 2011 released the following press release:

Defendants Charged with Trafficking Cocaine, Marijuana, MDMA and Prescription Drugs, and Laundering Tens of Millions of Dollars in Narcotics Proceeds

An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 37 members and associates of an international drug trafficking syndicate led by ethnic Albanians located in the United States, Canada and Europe (the “syndicate”).[1] According to the indictment and a detention letter filed today by the government, the syndicate comprises several inter-related ethnic Albanian family clans (also known as “fis”) with hundreds of associated members, workers and customers spanning three continents. In operation for more than a decade, the syndicate is allegedly responsible for organizing the importation and distribution of tens of thousands of kilograms of hydroponic marijuana from Canada and Mexico, substantial quantities of MDMA from the Netherlands and Canada, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, and large quantities of diverted prescription pills, such as oxycodone. The drugs were distributed in various locations in the United States, including New York, California, Georgia, Colorado and Florida, as well as in Canada and Europe.

Most of the defendants were arrested earlier today in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Albany, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida. Federal agents also executed search warrants this morning on seven different syndicate-controlled stash houses and residences, recovering 18 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Two defendants were arrested last month following a drug-related shooting, and several others are already in custody for previously charged crimes. One of the alleged ringleaders was arrested by law enforcement agents in Albania, and the United States has requested his extradition. Those defendants arrested today in the New York City metropolitan area will be arraigned later this afternoon before United States Magistrate Andrew L. Carter at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, in Brooklyn.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Gilbride, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York (DEA); James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD); Charles R. Pine, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS); and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP). The investigation into Albanian organized crime groups operating throughout the world was led by the New York Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Strike Force,[2] Homeland Security Investigations and the New York State Police, in coordination with the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Committee (AGOCC), International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC2), as well as DEA’s Special Operations Division.

According to the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, the four-year investigation revealed that most of the marijuana smuggled from Canada and Mexico was concealed in tractor trailers, typically in hundred pound quantities, with some shipments weighing as much as 1,200 pounds. The marijuana shipments were stored in warehouses and stash locations throughout Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, before distribution. Kilogram quantities of cocaine were obtained from sources in the United States and exported to Albania and other locations in Europe concealed in hidden compartments inside luxury automobiles – ostensibly under the auspices of legitimate car dealerships which were actually controlled by syndicate members. At the time of the arrests today, the syndicate was allegedly involved in negotiations to obtain hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from sources in South America for transport through the United States to Canada and Europe, including (1) a shipment of 100 kilograms of cocaine from Colombia to New York, which the defendants planned to break down into smaller shipments and smuggle into Canada in exchange for high-grade hydroponic marijuana; (2) a 100 kilogram shipment of cocaine from South America to Albania; (3) regular shipments of cocaine from Florida to New York; and (4) ongoing efforts to establish a pipeline to supply 40 kilograms of cocaine per month for distribution in Spain. According to the government’s pleadings and other court filings, the syndicate was also involved in obtaining large shipments of oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription medicine used to treat severe pain, and during the past year distributed thousands of oxycodone pills in New York which had been diverted from pain clinics in Florida.

The government’s investigation further revealed that the syndicate employed the services of a Canadian-based money laundering organization, which was allegedly responsible for laundering more than $15 million of the syndicate’s narcotics proceeds in a single year. Typically, the launderers picked up drug money in New York and transported it to Canadian and Mexican drug suppliers. The syndicate also sent millions of dollars in marijuana sale proceeds to co-conspirators on the West Coast of the United States to purchase cocaine from Mexican drug cartels. The cocaine was then allegedly transported across the border into Canada for distribution, with the proceeds to be used to fund subsequent marijuana purchases.

According to the government’s detention memorandum, several defendants are believed to have committed drug and organized-crime-related violence, including kidnaping and attempted murder. For example, on June 4, 2011, an escalating dispute between syndicate members over the payment of a drug debt led to a shooting outside a Bronx restaurant-bar, and a potential drug-related shooting was narrowly averted in October 2010, when law enforcement agents intercepted a syndicate member with a loaded firearm en route to rob a drug customer who owed him money from a prior drug deal.

As part of the government’s investigation of the syndicate, in separate incidents law enforcement seized:

943 pounds of marijuana imported from Mexico,

$209,000 in drug proceeds being transported to Mexico,

$140,000 in drug proceeds intended to be used as a down payment for a 200-kilogram cocaine deal,

20 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in Dutchess County,

290 pounds of marijuana from a Brooklyn warehouse operated by syndicate associates,

$1,271,394 in drug proceeds in Manhattan,

24 kilograms of liquid cocaine in Lima, Peru,

20 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in New Jersey,

a loaded handgun and $29,000 in drug proceeds from a residence in the Bronx,

$180,000 in drug proceeds in Manhattan,

a loaded firearm from a syndicate member in Yonkers, New York,

more than 150 marijuana plants from grow houses in Georgia and Florida operated by syndicate associates,

$1,041,990 in drug proceeds in Boston,

$155,000 in drug proceeds from a syndicate member in the Bronx, New York,

$497,955 in drug proceeds in California,

160 pounds of marijuana from a Brooklyn warehouse operated by syndicate associates,

$672,755 in drug proceeds in Los Angeles,

$210,280 in drug proceeds, 1 kilogram of cocaine and numerous firearms from a stash house in California operated by syndicate associates,

70 pounds of marijuana from a tractor trailer being driven from Toronto, Canada,

30 pounds of marijuana during a car stop in New Jersey,

$300,000 in drug proceeds on Long Island, and

70 pounds of marijuana from a tractor trailer being driven from Vancouver, Canada.

“As charged in the indictment, this syndicate spread its tentacles across continents, sending its ruinous product worldwide and reaping enormous profits. Its ten-year run has now come to an end,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We and our partners in law enforcement are committed to investigating and prosecuting international drug traffickers and seizing the proceeds of their crimes. We remain relentless in this pursuit.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the DEA Special Operations Division, DEA Newark Division, DEA Denver Division, DEA Miami Division, DEA Albany District Office, DEA Rome Country Office, the HSI attache in Vienna, HSI attache in Toronto, HSI Albany Office, HSI Denver Office, HSI Newark Office, HSI Miami Office, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Monmouth County (New Jersey) Prosecutor’s Office, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office and the New York Attorney General’s Office for their assistance.
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Gilbride stated, “This alleged organized crime syndicate oversaw a drug distribution organization that operated across the globe. With a reach from Albania to Canada to New York and numerous cities throughout, law enforcement identified this criminal conspiracy as well as the violent acts committed in order to continue its drug distribution network. DEA’s Strike Force and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners were successful in dismantling the Thaqi organization and making an impact on the illicit drug trafficking across the nation.”

ICE/HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Hayes stated, “This alleged international drug ring was intent on filling the streets of America with poison. The arrests here and overseas serve as an example of the reach of the long arm of the law. HSI, working with its attaches and international and federal law enforcement partners, has contributed to the disruption of a crime syndicate that has allegedly lined its pockets with drug smuggling money for more than a decade.”

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “The long reach of this criminal syndicate injected illegal drugs, including highly addictive oxycodone painkillers, into thousands of lives and subjected neighborhoods to violence ranging from kidnapings to attempted murder. With these arrests, we say good riddance.”

IRS Special Agent-in-Charge Pine stated, “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to fighting the war on illegal drugs with our federal, state and local partners on the New York Organized Crime Strike Force. We are proud to lend our financial expertise to help disrupt drug trafficking organizations.”

NYSP Superintendent D’Amico stated, “I am proud of the dedicated investigative efforts of our agency personnel and law enforcement partners which have culminated in the indictment of these individuals, sizeable seizures of drugs and currency, and have effectively ended this syndicate’s operations.”

If convicted, the three alleged leaders of the syndicate, Gjavit Thaqi, Arif Kurti and Gjevelin Berisha, charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise and using firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking crimes, face a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment; the defendants charged in Counts Two through Seven, Ten and Eleven face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years (Counts Two through Seven), 15 years (Count Ten) and 20 years (Count Eleven); and the defendants charged in Counts Eight and Nine face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Tiscione, Richard Tucker, Gina Parlovecchio, Michael Yaeger and Claire Kedeshian.

The Defendants:

GJAVIT THAQI
Age: 40

ARIF KURTI
Age: 41

GJEVALIN BERISHA
Age: 31

CARLOS ALVAREZ
Age: 28

SHKELQIM BAKRAQI
Age: 25

ROBERT BONURA
Age: 32

JOHN CEKAJ
Age: 41

MARTINO CEKAJ
Age: 33

GIOVANNI DIFUCCIA
Age: 38

BRIAN DUBLYNN
Age: 34

ARVY EBRAHIME
Age: 29

HECTOR FLORES
Age: 39

ANGELO GERMANO
Age: 37

JETON GJIDIJA
Age: 33

LEE KARAQI
Age: 36

ROBERT KARAQI
Age: 39

HASAN KURTI
Age: 40

IBRAHIM KURTI
Age: 38

BAJRAM LAJQI
Age: 36

SELMAN LAJQI
Age: 39

ALESSANDRO LATINO
Age: 35

LAURETTA LOKAJ
Age: 40

NIKOLA LUKAJ
Age: 39

NICHOLAS MASI
Age: 49

DAVID MCLEAN
Age: 45

FATMIR MEHMETI
Age: 33

FAIK MEHMETI
Age: 36

NEFAIL MEHOVIC
Age: 27

VALTER MEMIA
Age: 28

ALBERTO MERCADO
Age: 41

MAGDALENA NIKOLLAJ
Age: 38

MAL REXHA
Age: 49

ROBERT RUDAJ
Age: 37

LANCE SCHONER
Age: 27

LESTER ZABORSKI
Age: 38

AGRON ZENELAJ
Age: 32

DARIUS RIVERA
Age: 38

_____________________________
1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

2 The Strike Force comprises agents and officers of the DEA, NYPD, ICE/HSI, NYSP, IRS, United States Marshals Service and the United States Attorney’s Office. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative.”

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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