Federal Prosecutors, Defense Attorney Agree to Extend Deadline for Federal Indictment of Arlington Strip Club Owner

May 10, 2012

Star-Telgram on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Prosecutors, defense attorney agree to extend deadline for indictment of Arlington strip club owner

BY PATRICK M. WALKER

FORT WORTH — Federal prosecutors and the attorney for the owner of an Arlington strip club who is accused of targeting Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck in a murder-for-hire plot have agreed to push back the deadline for an indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolfe and J. Warren St. John, who represents Flashdancer Cabaret owner Ryan Walker Grant, agreed to extend the deadline by 71 days to July 19, according to court filings. The filings say the two sides are conducting discovery as well as negotiations that could lead to a plea bargain.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, federal indictments must be filed within 30 days of the arrest. Federal agents detained Grant on April 9, meaning Wednesday would have been the deadline.

St. John declined to comment through his office. Wolfe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Daniel, a Fort Worth attorney not related to the case, said the deadline extension isn’t surprising, given that a public official was involved and federal agents moved quickly to make an arrest.

“Due to the complexity and the seriousness of the case, it’s not entirely unexpected,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t know the details behind the move.

Hit-man accusation

Grant is accused of trying to hire hit men from Mexico through an intermediary to kill Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt, who represents Arlington in cases involving sexually oriented businesses.

The intermediary was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Wilkins testified at a detention hearing April 20 that several days after Grant contacted the informant and expressed interest in having Cluck and Brandt killed, he gave a final green light April 9 to proceed with the slaying of Cluck.

“Let’s do the mayor. Let’s hit him tomorrow,” Wilkins testified that Grant told the informant.

After receiving Grant’s instructions, the informant left Grant’s home in Kennedale, and Grant never contacted him again, Wilkins said. FBI agents arrested Grant a few hours later.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that Grant poses a flight risk and a threat to the community and ordered him held without bail.

When agents arrested Grant, they seized 22 guns, two bulletproof vests and nearly $150,000 in cash, Wilkins testified.

Club closed a year

Flashdancer, at Randol Mill Road and Texas 360 in north Arlington, has closed for a year under a settlement with the Texas attorney general’s office and the city in a nuisance lawsuit. In labeling the club a nuisance, city and state authorities cited the prevalence of drugs, prostitution and assaults.

Police Chief Theron Bowman has revoked the club’s sexually oriented business license on the grounds that Flashdancer filed a misleading application with the city and allowed rampant sexual contact between employees and customers. Grant wanted Cluck and Brandt killed because he felt they stood in the way of the reopening, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.”

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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 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.


Prosecutors display weaponry seized after militiamen arrests

May 10, 2012

Anchorage Daily News on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Jurors get a look at arsenal seized from homes, trailer.
By RICHARD MAUER

The weapons and conspiracy trial of three Fairbanks militia members continued into its third day Wednesday with the introduction of seized guns, ammunition and documents, some brought into the federal courthouse, others as pictures projected on a big screen.

Federal prosecutors are taking the early days of the trial to set the groundwork for the weeks ahead. They’re systematically — and somewhat tediously — working with witnesses from the FBI and Alaska State Troopers to show the jury what their search warrants uncovered in the homes and a trailer belonging to the three defendants, Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon.

On Wednesday morning, FBI Agent Jolene Goeden showed photographs of thousands of rounds of ammunition seized in March 2011 from a large white trailer owned by Barney that was found parked at a Fairbanks ice park after the three men were arrested.

FBI agents had thought the trailer would be at the home of one of the suspects. When it wasn’t there when the men were arrested March 10, 2011, it set off a frantic search that included the use of aircraft. Officials knew from an informant that the trailer was filled with weapons and were concerned on two fronts — that other militia members, upset with the arrests of their leadership, might stage an attack using the ordnance, or that it could pose an explosion hazard to innocent bystanders if something inside ignited accidently.

Barney eventually told a U.S. Marshal where it was.

In addition to the ammo, the trailer also held a sniper rifle, a tripod-mounted semi automatic rifle, an M-16 assault rifle and grenade launchers, as well as supplies and equipment for Barney’s contracting business, Mammoth Electric.

Goeden also showed another copy of the 17 “Acts of War” that was found in the trailer. Unlike the one found in Cox’s house and entered as evidence Tuesday, this one had checkmarks next to the acts that presumably had already taken place, including firearms restrictions, confiscation of “any property,” federalization of law enforcement and the surrendering of power to a corporation or foreign government.

Only three acts remained unchecked: “mandatory medical anything,” elimination of gold, cash or barter, and the use of chips or marks to track, control or monitor.

Cox, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and an ideological force in the Alaska “sovereign citizen” movement, once rescinded a guilty plea to a 2010 reckless endangerment charge by filing a notice to the recorder’s office in Fairbanks. A copy of the notice and other filings in his case were among the documents seized in the search of the home of co-defendant Barney, 37, a major in the militia.

The jury saw a copy of the seized set of documents — the standard court order dated March 10, 2010, accepting his plea deal, providing for no jail time and two years probation, and the surreal documents Cox used to abrogate the plea, including the paperwork for his now-famous “trial” in a Denny’s restaurant before a jury of his pals in which he was acquitted. Among the papers was the document filed in the recorder’s office — a repository mainly for land transactions — in which Cox captioned his case, “State of Alaska, a fiction, plaintiff, v Schaeffer Cox, a natural Man, victim and witness, waiving no rights, EVER.”

Interspersed with written ramblings were displays of the arsenals the men had amassed: Kalashnikov- and M-16-style assault rifles, numerous pistols and long rifles, hundreds of ammo clips, launchers for firing pepper-spray and tear-gas type canisters along with dozens of those rounds, powder and explosives. Troopers and FBI seized numerous body armor vests, handcuffs, a lock-pick kit, police duty belts and a “go bag” with 10 hand-held radios, batteries, pistols, an assault rifle, loaded magazines and a roll of duct tape.

Alaska State Trooper Joshua Rallo said he counted 20,000 rounds of ammunition in a storage pantry on the first floor of Barney’s home in North Pole adjacent to his office.

At each break in the proceedings, one of the prosecutors and an FBI agent would wheel out the evidence already presented to the jury and return with a cart filled with more stuff, some of it quite heavy. And there are still days to go in this phase of the trial.

The defense attorneys have not been saying much, but on one occasion, Barney’s attorney, Tim Dooley, asked Rallo whether everything he seized “was legal for a citizen to own?”

“Provided they’re not a felon, I guess,” Rallo replied.

There’s been almost no evidence about how the defendants amassed their armaments, or managed to pay for them. Prosecutors introduced a credit card receipt from Cox for $583 to Far North Tactical, a Fairbanks arms and police-supply merchant, and the phone number for the shop showed up on other seized paperwork.

They also introduced a mail-order box for a 37mm grenade launcher from a company called American Ammo from Ohio, and the stern instructions that came with it, warning that using the product for anything other than as a low-powered “wildlife control banger” could get the user in serious trouble with the federal government.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Louisiana Man Charged With Mail Fraud

June 28, 2010

Ray Aguillard of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been charged via a Bill of Information with mail fraud. If convicted, Aguillard faces up to twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of not more than than $250,000.

According to the the bill of information, Aguillard is accused of doing business as BRC Group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and allegedly using this company to solicit and obtain nearly $5.6 million from forty (40) victims. The information goes on to allege that Aguillard made false representations that the solicited funds would be used for the operation of a number of loan finance companies and that the investments would earn fifteen (15) percent annual interest. Moreover, the information alleges that the victims were promised one hundred (100) percent access to the interest at all times. The bill of information further accuses Aguillard of making false representations regarding his personal financial status in order to convice the victims to give their money to him and to solicit additional money from the victims.

According to the bill of information, no money was ever invested or used to operate any business in a manner that had been represented by Aguillard. Furthermore, it is alleged that Aguillard did not have an ownership interest in any loan finance companies.

18 U.S.C. 1341, makes it a federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud. A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved: that the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises; and that the person used the United States Postal Service by mailing, or by causing to be mailed, some matter or thing for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud.

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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Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

May 27, 2010

A Louisiana man, Michael B. Smuck, has pled guilty in federal court to mail fraud.

According to court documents, Smuck was the owner and operator of MBS Realty Investors, LTD and MBS Management Services, Inc. both located in Metairie, LA. One of the real estate investment partnerships operated by Smuck was MBS-Briar Meadows, LTD which owned an apartment community in Houston, TX. According to authorities, between May 30, 2007 and September 29, 2007, Smuck devised a scheme to defraud parties in an effort to obtain $3,477,980.00 in investor property. This money was to pay off company debts unrelated to the Briar Meadows partnership.

The Briar Meadows property was sold by Smuck, who then misappropriated the proceeds to pay debts rather than disburse those funds derived in the sale to the investors of Briar Meadows. In addition, Smuck sent documentation to investors in Briar Meadows which provided the appearance that the investment property was still active.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Smuck faces a term of imprisonment of 30 months and a $250,000.00 fine. As part of the restitution, Smuck has agreed to pay a minimum of $3,299,480 to investors in both Briar Meadows and Yellowstone Ranch; both of which are apartment communities in Houston, TX.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has acknowledged that the stipulated sentence in the plea agreement was the result of careful and lengthy consideration by prosecutors. In reaching the stipulation, prosecutors must consider the recommended sentencing guidelines range, in addition to the securing of restitution for the victims.

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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Nigerian Woman Sentenced on Health Care Fraud Charge in Texas

May 20, 2010

A Nigerian woman, Obele Ife Chidi, has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison following her entering of a guilty plea in February to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Chidi was also ordered to pay $744,576 restitution to the Medicare program.

Chidi and her husband, Iheanyi David Nzekwe, owned a durable medical equipment supply business in Richardson, Texas: Specialty Medical Supply & Health Management, Inc. According to documents introduced to the court Chidi and Nzekwe unlawfully used the information of two physicians to submit over $991,000 in false claims to Medicare. These claims sought reimbursement for power wheelchairs. The claims falsely stated that the physicians examined certain patients and issued prescriptions for wheelchairs for such patients, despite the fact that the patients and the physicians never met.

According to authorities, over 200 fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare through Chidi’s scheme. This resulted in Medicare payments of $744,576. Moreover, Chidi assumed various aliases and wrote checks payable to her husband and herself. The checks were issued from the Specialty Medical bank account into which the fraudulently-obtained Medicare payments had been deposited.

Chidi and Nzekwe fled the U.S. while under investigation in 2003. Chidi was apprehended at a Houston airport last December attempting to re-enter the country. The case against her husband remains pending.

The crime of money laundering is codified at 18 U.S.C. 1956. It is a very broad statute which makes it a crime to engage in a financial transaction with proceeds that the individual knows are derived from some unlawful activity.

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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Arkansas Men Plea Guilty to Illegal Gambling Business; Money Laundering

May 18, 2010

Three individuals in Arkansas have entered pleas of guilty to felony Informations. The individuals, Dana Kuykendall, Tony Milner, and Gene Baker, all of Little Rock, pleaded guilty due to their involvement in an illegal gambling business.

According to the Information, Kuykendall was charged with one count of aiding and abetting in the operation of an illegal gambling business and one count of money laundering based on a transaction involving proceeds from the illegal gambling business. Kuykendall admitted to aiding and abetting others, including George Wylie Thompson, in the operation of an illegal gambling business which was in continuous operation for a month and violated the laws of the State of Arkansas. In addition, Kuykendall admitted to laundering proceeds from the operation by writing a check for $23,500 to Mandalay Bay Casino. As part of the plea agreement, Kuykendall agreed to file accurate and truthful amended federal tax returns for the past six years and to forfeit just over $490,000, which had previously been seized from Kuykendall’s residence and safe deposit boxes. In addition, Kuykendall has agreed to pay $498,000 into the registry of the Court, for payment of Kuykendall’s federal taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, including penalties and interest. Finally, Kuykendall also agreed to pay a $100,000 criminal fine. The maximum statutory penalty for money laundering is not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and not more than a $250,000 fine, or both.

Milner’s Information, charged him with one count of knowingly transferring a firearm to a felon and one count of aiding and abetting in the operation of an illegal gambling organization. Milner has admitted to acting as a straw-purchaser of a firearm on behalf of a known convicted felon. Milner has also admitted to acting as an agent in an illegal gambling organization alongside Thompson and Kuykendall. Milner stated that he working for Thompson by reconciling bets and managing parlay cards for Thompson. The maximum statutory penalty for knowingly transferring a firearm to a felon is not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and not more than a $250,000 fine, or both.

Finally, Baker’s Information charged him with one count of operating an illegal gambling business. Baker admitted to aiding and abetting others in the operation of an illegal gambling business alongside Thompson, Kuykendall, and Milner. Moreover, he admitted to laying off bets with Kuykendall and Thompson. For example, Baker accepted a $300 bet on the New York Yankees and then immediately placed a bet on the New York Yankees for $150 with Kuykendall. This allowed Baker to reduce his own risk on the original $300 bet. The maximum statutory penalty for operating an illegal gambling business is not more than five years imprisonment and not more than a $250,000 fine, or both.

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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Missouri Man Sentenced in Bank Fraud Case

April 15, 2010

The former owner of a car dealership in Missouri, Gregg Dean Woods, has been sentenced for his participation in a $1.7 million bank fraud scheme. Woods was sentenced to two years and three months in federal prison without parole. In addition to imprisonment, Woods was ordered to pay $1,340,631 in restitution. Woods, who was the owner of Woods Auto Gallery, Inc., primarily dealing in pre-owned, luxury vehicles, pleaded guilty to the bank fraud charges in October 2009.

Woods admitted to participating in a scheme to defraud Bank Star One, a financial institution headquartered in Missouri. Woods had a $1.9 million line of credit with Bank Star One. Under the terms of their agreement, Woods was required to use the line of credit for the purchase of vehicles to be used as inventory. He would then provide Bank Star One with payment for amounts financed if and when the vehicles were sold.

There were several instances were Woods sold vehicles on consignment. Contrary to the agreement with Bank Star One, he was advanced money against his existing line of credit for those vehicles. In doing so,  Woods purposefully made false representations to Bank Star One in an effort to have funds advanced inappropriately.

In one instance, Woods received $254,500 against his line of credit for a Bentley, a Mercedes, a BMW, and a Hummer. Each of these vehicles was sold on consignment. As a result Woods did not incur any costs for the vehicles; hence there was no need for an advance. Had Woods revealed his activities, the bank would not have advanced the money. In addition, upon sale of the BMW and Hummer, Woods failed to notify Bank Star One of the transactions and failed to pay proceeds from the sales to the bank.

In sum, Woods misrepresented to the bank his inventory and the status of Woods Auto Gallery’s collateral by falsely stating the quantity of vehicles in inventory, the status of the vehicles, the outstanding liens on the vehicles, and other existing financing. Woods admitted to selling vehicles and failing to report the sales and transfer of the proceeds to Bank Star One. In addition, Woods sold consignment vehicles to new customers without paying off outstanding liens or obtaining clear titles to the vehicles. Moreover, on certain circumstances, Woods sold the vehicles and failed to pay the original owners the sales proceeds that were agreed to.

Bank fraud is criminalized under 18 U.S.C. 1344. That statute makes it a crime to knowingly execute or attempt to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution to obtain, amongst other things, money, funds, or assets under the control of a financial institution by making false representations. Those convicted under this statute can be imprisoned for a period of not more than 30 years or fined not more than $1,000,000, or both.

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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