“Sentencing Commission in sweeping review of prison terms for drug dealers”

August 16, 2013

The Guardian on August 15, 2013 released the following:

By: Dan Roberts in Washington

“The US Sentencing Commission has voted unanimously to begin a sweeping review of federal sentences for drug dealers in a move that could herald long-awaited reductions in America’s prison population.

Just days after attorney general Eric Holder called for a new approach to the so-called “war on drugs”, the commission met in Washington to agree a new policy priority that potentially goes far further than the Department of Justice can in lowering sentences.

As anticipated, the independent government agency, which issues sentencing guidelines to federal judges, will now spend the next few weeks reviewing its “drug quantity table” – the grid that determines prison lengths for dozens of different categories of offence – before publishing new recommendations in January.

A reduction in sentencing guidelines could still be blocked by Congress, but Holder’s speech on Monday has coincided with a new mood of reform in Washington that reverses decades of political pressure to increase penalties for drug dealers. His comments were welcomed by Senate judiciary committee chair Patrick Leahy and leading Republicans such as senator Rand Paul.

Currently the guidelines in the commission’s drug quantity table can result in first-time offenders facing sentences of 19 to 24 years, with no parole, for possession of the maximum quantities of heroin, crack or methamphetamine. Even dealers caught with 100g of cocaine can face between 27 and 33 months, according to the table.

A number of specific offences are also subject to mandatory minimum sentences prescribed by Congress, although Holder instructed US prosecutors on Monday to begin circumventing such automatic terms by changing the way they bring charges.

The seven commissioners who voted on the sentencing panel, including five senior judges, are now thought likely to go much further than this by formulating across-the-board changes to the recommended sentences.

Speaking afterwards, Dabney Friedrich, a former associate counsel in the Bush White House who sits on the commission, told the Guardian she thought that pressure in Congress to control the cost of the US prison system would be a key factor in ensuring political support for such a move.

The Department of Justice also issued a supportive statement on Thursday, which welcomed the commission’s progress.

“As the attorney general expressed earlier this week, we think there is much to be done to improve federal sentencing and corrections,” said DOJ official Jonathan Wroblewski. “Moreover, we think the US Sentencing Commission has a very big role to play in shaping that reform.”

In a statement issued after its meeting, the commission noted that drug offenders account for nearly half of all federal inmates, and that “an adjustment to the drug quantity tables in the sentencing guidelines could have a significant impact on sentence lengths and prison populations.”

“With a growing crisis in federal prison populations and budgets, it is timely and important for us to examine mandatory minimum penalties and drug sentences, which contribute significantly to the federal prison population,” added Judge Patti Saris, chair of the commission.

“The Commission is looking forward to a serious and thoughtful reconsideration of some of the sentencing guidelines which most strongly impact the federal criminal justice system,” she said. “I am glad that members of Congress from both parties and the Attorney General are
engaged in similar efforts.”

The Commission also pledged to work with Congress to reduce the “severity and scope of mandatory minimum penalties and consider expanding the ‘safety valve’ statute which exempts certain low-level non-violent
offenders from mandatory minimum penalties”. It will pass its final amendments to Congress in May.

Political reaction to the recent sentencing developments has been broadly positive. Senator Leahy said was pleased at Holder’s call for a review of mandatory minimum sentences.

Although he believes long sentences are appropriate in some cases, but the veteran Democrat said it believes judges should be given more flexibility rather than relying on mandatory requirements.

Others have expressed concern however at the new mood sweeping Washington.

William Otis, a former federal prosecutor at Georgetown University, said stiffer sentences in recent decades had contributed to lower crime rates.

“Two generations ago, in the 1960s and 1970s, our country had the wholly discretionary sentencing system Holder admires. For our trouble, we got a national crime wave,” he wrote in a USA Today op-ed.

“We have every right to instruct judges that some offenses are just too awful to allow an overly sympathetic jurist to burst through a congressionally established floor.””

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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 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.


Four Jefferson County Men Indicted on Federal Criminal Charges Alleging Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

March 29, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 27, 2013 released the following:

“BEAUMONT, TX— Four Port Arthur, Texas men have been indicted and arrested in connection with a mail fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

An indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on March 6, 2013, charging Christopher Thomas, 41; Lawrence Thomas, 42; Haleem Collins, 35; and Quarmi Garlington, 25, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

The indictment, which was unsealed today, alleges that from November 6, 2006 to March 8, 2012, the defendants conspired with each other to defraud numerous auto insurance companies by submitting fraudulent insurance claims for personal injury and economic loss through the U.S. Postal Service. According to the indictment, the defendants repeatedly staged automobile collisions in Port Arthur after having purchased policies on the vehicles involved. Once the defendants either actually crashed the vehicles or staged a collision, they would contact police and assume the roles of drivers and passengers for emergency personnel. The indictment also alleges that the defendants would use aggressive driving tactics to induce automobile accidents with other unsuspecting drivers. Following these collisions, the defendants would falsely claim to be injured and submit, by means of the mail, fraudulent accident claims.

The defendants were taken into custody and made initial appearances this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn.

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants each face up to 20 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Port Arthur Police Department; and the National Insurance Crime Bureau and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

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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.


Indictment Charges Madison Business Owner with Alleged Fraudulent Art Sales

August 9, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 8, 2012 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven returned a 12-count indictment today charging David Crespo, 58, of Guilford with mail fraud and wire fraud offenses stemming from his alleged sale of fraudulent artwork.

The indictment alleges that, from approximately 2005 to February 2011, Crespo, an art dealer who conducted business under the name Brandon Gallery in Madison, defrauded his customers by representing that artwork he sold were original pieces by Pablo Picasso and original signed lithographs by Marc Chagall. Crespo also created documents that falsely supported the provenance of the artwork, which he then provided to customers.

The indictment charges Crespo with nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of mail fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count.

Crespo has been released on a $50,000 bond since his arrest on April 3, 2012.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony E. Kaplan.”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

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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.


US prosecutors: Ex-Mexican governor’s Texas properties bought with bribes from drug cartels

May 23, 2012

The Washington Post on May 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

McALLEN, Texas — Federal prosecutors allege the former governor of a Mexican state bordering Texas accepted millions of dollars in bribes from drug cartels and invested the money in Texas real estate.

The allegations were levied in two property forfeiture cases filed Tuesday against Tomas Yarrington, who served as governor of Tamaulipas state from 1999 to 2004. No criminal charges have been filed.

Yarrington’s attorney says he’s reviewing the documents.

Yarrington was named earlier this year in the federal indictment of a man charged with money laundering in San Antonio. That indictment alleged leaders of the Gulf and Zetas cartels paid millions to Institutional Revolutionary Party members, including Yarrington.

In the forfeiture cases, U.S. authorities are trying to confiscate a condominium in South Padre Island and a 46-acre property in San Antonio.”

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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

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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.


Father and son plead guilty in multimillion-dollar federal bribery scheme

May 18, 2012

The Washington Post on May 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Clarence Williams

A former program manager for the Army Corps of Engineers and his son pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges in a scheme that paid out more than $30 million worth of bribes and kickbacks as payments for steering multimillion dollar government contracts, federal prosecutors said.

Kerry F. Khan, 54, of Alexandria, pleaded before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court in the District to charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering, officials said in a statement.

“Today, the ringleader of the largest bribery and bid-steering scheme in the history of federal contracting accepted responsibility for his crimes,” U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald Machen said in the statement. “For his shocking abuse of his position of power, Kerry Khan faces more than two decades in prison.”

Kahn’s son, Lee A. Kahn, 31, of Fairfax also pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The elder Khan worked for the Army Corps of Engineers from 1994 until he was arrested by federal authorities in October 2011. His position gave him authority to place orders for products and services through federal contracts, and he also certified that work orders were completed, officials said.

The father and son were among four men arrested in October on charges of conspiring to commit bribery and wire fraud. Authorities accused the men of inflating invoices during a four-year period and then collecting tens of millions of dollars for themselves and co-conspirators.

Prosecutors said Kerry Khan signed a statement of offense that said that in or around 2006, he and colleagues agreed to work together to obtain government contracts for corrupt contractors who would reward them with bribes. Authorities said their investigation continues, but they have found eight people to have have been part of this scheme.

Among others, Kerry Khan and Michael A. Alexander, also an Army Corps of Engineers program manager, worked with Harold F. Babb, a contractor, on their plot to use a company called EyakTek as a vehicle for channeling contracts awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers. EyakTek then hired subcontractors that submitted fraudulently inflated estimates or prices for equipment and services, authorities said.

The subcontractors kicked back a significant portion of the excess funds to Kerry Khan and Alexander as bribes for keeping the money flowing their way, officials said.

Prosecutors said Khan and his son admitted to establishing multiple corporations and shell companies to hide the money and purchase real estate, including several houses and condos. Lee Khan managed the portfolio of properties and automobiles purchased using the bribe money, by leasing the homes to tenants or selling vehicles, officials said.

A sentencing date has not been set for either man. Kerry Khan faces a maximum 15-year sentence for the bribery charge and up to 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge. Babb and Alexander pleaded guilty to federal charges earlier this year.

The men will remain held through the sentencing, officials 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 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.


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
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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

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

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