“Nearly $1 million from charters went to firms named in FBI probe”

August 18, 2014

Chicago Sun-Times on August 18, 2014 released the following:

By: DAN MIHALOPOULOS

“Contractors facing scrutiny in an ongoing federal investigation of Concept Schools have been paid nearly $1 million over the past three years for work at three Chicago Public Schools-funded campuses run by the Des Plaines-based charter operator, records show.

In June, the FBI raided 19 Concept Schools locations in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, including the group’s Des Plaines headquarters. Search warrants showed they were seeking records concerning Concept’s use of the federal “E-rate” program and companies hired under that program, which helps pay for high-tech upgrades.

The agents also were looking for records regarding top Concept officials, the Chicago Sun-Times reported last month.

No one has been charged. The FBI has said only that the investigation is a “white-collar criminal matter.”

The CPS-funded work done by the contractors named in the FBI search warrants has ranged from selling Concept computers and uniform polo shirts to organizing professional-development seminars.

Concept operates three schools in Chicago. All rely almost entirely on public funding.

Concept’s Chicago Math and Science Academy in Rogers Park — one of the schools the FBI raided June 4 — was approved by CPS officials 10 years ago.

The charter operator’s Horizon Science Academy McKinley Park at 2845 W. Pershing Rd. and Horizon Science Academy Belmont at 5035 W. North Ave. have been open for a year after being initially rejected by CPS because of questions regarding student performance at CMSA.

Concept appealed to the Illinois State Charter School Commission, which overrode CPS, ordering them to finance the two schools with tax dollars.

The three Chicago Concept schools have paid more than $283,000 since the start of 2011 to Advanced Solutions in Education of Schaumburg, records show. The company and its founder and former chief executive, Ozgur Balsoy, were named in FBI search warrants served at

Concept’s headquarters and at its schools in Rogers Park and Peoria.

ASE was a consultant for Concept on its applications for federal E-rate funding. The company also was hired to do other work for Concept, including organizing seminars for school administrators and teachers.

Balsoy previously was an administrator at a Concept school in Columbus, Ohio. He formed ASE in Ohio in 2009, expanding to Illinois in 2011. ASE listed him as “sole owner” until 2012. He’s now listed as vice president.

ASE’s president, Erdal Aycicek, formerly served was treasurer of the Niagara Foundation, based in downtown Chicago. Like Concept and many of its contractors, the foundation was founded and continues to be led by Turkish immigrants, many of them with ties to the global Gulenist movement led by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania.

Two other ASE executives — Huseyin Alper Akyurek and Esat Albulut — also previously worked for Concept as administrators at schools in Ohio.

ASE executives did not return calls seeking comment.

Another company listed in the search warrants, Core Group Inc. of Mount Prospect, has been a major contractor for Concept’s schools in Chicago. The three schools have paid more than $550,000 to two Core subsidiaries for goods including computers and polo shirts with school logos on them.

Core’s president, Ertugrul Gurbuz, who was named in the search warrants, also founded Quality Builders of Midwest Inc., a Concept construction contractor whose work included building a gym addition at CMSA at 7212 N. Clark St.

Gurbuz referred questions to attorney Patrick Cotter, who said Friday the company is “in the process of complying” with a grand-jury subpoena it got as part of the FBI probe. Cotter declined to say what Core was asked to turn over.

A Core subsidiary was cited in a 2012 audit, done for Fulton County, Georgia, school officials, that questioned why a Gulen-affiliated charter school in that state bought polo shirts from Core Design & Production when “there were cheaper prices to be obtained.” The principal of the Georgia school told auditors he looked online for a polo shirt vendor and found Core — though the auditors said they found no mention of polo shirts on the company’s website.

Core was started in 2005 by Guclu Koseli, who was a founding board member for Concept in Illinois.

Another contractor named in the FBI search warrants — Signature Maker Inc. of Hoffman Estates — has been paid more than $112,000 by Concept’s Chicago schools, Concept records show.

Signature Maker owner Ergun Koyuncu, who was also named in the search warrants, would not comment.

Concept’s vice president, Salim Ucan, also declined to comment, citing the ongoing FBI investigation.

The federal E-rate program requires competitive bidding in hiring contractors in an effort to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. There’s no such requirement, though, imposed on charter schools by either CPS or the state charter commission, even though the privately run schools depend almost entirely on tax dollars and CPS requires competitive bidding for its own schools.

Nor do they require charter operators to report to officials who their vendors are or how much they are paid.

None of the deals that Concept’s Chicago schools made with Core or ASE was awarded via competitive bidding.”

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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.


“Federal prosecutors seek hugely reduced sentence for Mark Dain, oversaw massive fraud”

October 3, 2013

The Washington Post on October 3, 2013 released the following:

By: Tom Jackman

“Mark Dain admits that he headed up a massive real estate fraud scheme, of the “no money down” variety, which scammed hundreds of Northern Virginia residents and cost banks millions of dollars. He sold vacant lots in North and South Carolina in 2006 and 2007, with the promise that they could be quickly flipped for easy profits, and it all collapsed with the real estate market. It’s been called the biggest real estate scam in North Carolina’s history.

Dain pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in July. His sentencing is Friday. The probation office calculates that Dain should face a sentence of 87 to 108 months in prison. But on Monday, federal prosecutors recommended that Dain be sentenced to just 26 months in prison. Then, on Tuesday, prosecutors amended their recommendation: Dain, the ringleader of the operation, should serve 18 months in prison. That would be less than the sentences imposed on three of Dain’s employees in his Woodbridge-based company, Total Realty Management, which prosecutors finally identified by name for the first time in their sentencing memos this week.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria did not return requests for comment or explain why it dropped its recommendation from 26 months to 18 months. Dain apparently has been cooperating with a federal investigation of his scam for three-and-a-half years, and prosecutors filed a separate memo under seal explaining why he should serve less time than the people he oversaw.

Dain’s scam began with recruiting pitches around Northern Virginia, many using his former Chantilly High School football coach, the widely respected Danny Meier. Dozens of teachers and school administrators signed up to buy a piece of land, with no payments due for two years because TRM was already collecting huge profits from the sale of the land and making the monthly interest-only. A fellow speculator, Michael McCracken, told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in 2011 that the bank loan officers were well aware of the scheme, which involved falsifying loan applications and assets of the teachers and other investors. About 500 lots were sold, for prices ranging from $300,000 to $400,000, in three planned developments, including two near Topsail and Emerald islands in North Carolina.

Land values collapsed in 2007, and the lots became worth $10,000 to $15,000. The Northern Virginia buyers were stuck. Civil suits were launched in Virginia and North and South Carolina, eventually yielding settlements for many of the buyers that extricated them from the mortgages. But Dain and his main partner, Mark Jalajel, were never charged with a crime. Jalajel remains uncharged to this day.

But former employees were charged, including Aaron V. Hernandez, a former TRM employee who started his own company and used the same scheme. In May 2010, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to five years in prison. In July 2010, TRM employee Cari Deuterman pleaded guilty and received 24 months. Christopher Tonkinson, another TRM employee, also received 24 months. McCracken was sentenced to 40 months.

Also in 2010, according to his sentencing memorandum, Dain “became a born-again Christian and now lives his everyday life by the teachings of Jesus.” Before 2010, the memo by attorney Michael T. Pritchard states, “Mr. Dain admits he lived an immoral life, both personally and professionally. He made many mistakes. He broke the law. His actions hurt people.” So after the high-flying period in 2006 and 2007 when Dain was imploring bank officials to help him acquire great wealth by approving fraudulent loans, he spent another three years with the profits from the scam before realizing “he made many mistakes.”
Pritchard did not return a request for comment.

Dain turned himself in after his guilty plea in July. Pritchard’s memo asks Judge Ellis to sentence Dain only to time already served, or three months or, alternatively, less than 12 months with all time to be served in home or community confinement. Couldn’t hurt to ask. When Dain finishes his sentence, Pritchard wrote, “he plans to pursue a career in the ministry to share his story with hopes of inspiring others to live a virtuous life.”

Dain has been assisting the government for three-and-a-half years, Pritchard’s memo states. “He would drop everything if the government called and be there at a moment’s notice,” Pritchard wrote. “He sacrificed his time to assist the government because it was the right thing to do.” At the time of McCracken’s arrest in 2010, investigators revealed that ”the majority owner of TRM” was a cooperating witness and wore a wire to capture a conversation at McCracken’s home.

But what will the three-and-a-half years of cooperation by Dain lead to? He and Jalajel were disciples of Ron LeGrand, founder of the “No Money Down” movement, who has been linked to TRM in another failed South Carolina project with the same characteristics. Bank of America was particularly active with TRM in North Carolina and was a defendant in lawsuits claiming it was involved in Dain’s scams, although it is also listed as a victim in Dain’s case, along with BB&T, Carolina First and SunTrust Bank. Is the government targeting any of these folks, six years after it all went belly up?

Judge Ellis may well ask Dain about this, and more, at the sentencing hearing. It is set for Friday morning at 9 a.m.”

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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 – Appeal

————————————————————–

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 Supreme Court to consider Florida couple’s fight to use frozen assets for criminal defense”

July 1, 2013

The Washington Post on June 30, 2013 released the following:

“By Associated Press, Published: June 30

MIAMI — When Kerri and Brian Kaley came under federal investigation for allegedly stealing medical devices, they took out a $500,000 line of credit on their New York house to hire lawyers. Yet after their indictment in 2007, prosecutors sought to prevent the Kaleys from using the money because the government intended to seize the house.

The Kaleys insisted they were legally reselling the medical items. At the very least, they wanted a hearing to determine whether the government’s case was strong enough to justify freezing most of their assets and denying them the right to hire the attorney of their choice.

It’s an issue federal courts around the country are deeply divided over. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to settle the matter after agreeing earlier this year to hear the Kaleys’ appeal.

The case involves both the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause and the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, and could potentially affect thousands of cases each year in which the Justice Department seeks to seize defendants’ property. Such cases typically range from alleged drug dealers and Mafia figures to Ponzi schemers and Medicare fraudsters, but also could ensnare people who are wrongly accused.

To property rights advocates, the Kaleys’ case is an opportunity for the court to tip the scales of justice slightly more in the favor of defendants who are routinely deprived of their assets without being convicted. The ruling would not directly impact state courts, which operate under their own forfeiture laws, but lawyers could cite the Supreme Court decision to help a client.

“People who are indicted on criminal charges in the United States are presumed innocent,” said Larry Salzman, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, an Alexandria, Va.-based nonprofit law firm involved in forfeiture and property seizure cases nationwide. “Seizing their assets on the basis of an indictment alone turns the presumption of innocence on its head. It follows the rule of punishment first, evidence later.”

Prosecutors, however, say a grand jury’s decision to bring criminal charges shows the case has enough merit to enable them to freeze assets that may have been obtained through illegal activity.

In fiscal 2012, more than $4.2 billion was deposited in the Justice Department’s asset forfeiture fund. That compares with about $1.6 billion in each of the two previous years.

Prosecutors say adding a hearing to allow a defendant to attack the validity of the grand jury’s indictment would force prosecutors to prematurely lay out their case and might even endanger witnesses.

“No reason exists to think that an extra layer of procedure on that score — one that could be undertaken only at significant cost — would be beneficial, much less that it is constitutionally mandated,” the U.S. solicitor general’s office wrote in Supreme Court papers.

The office, which represents the administration of President Barack Obama before the Supreme Court, also asked the justices to settle the question nationally so there would be a single standard in federal courts.

The Kaleys, who live in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., have been battling the government for more than six years. They declined an interview request through their Miami-based attorneys, Howard Srebnick and Richard Strafer.

It all started when the Food and Drug Administration began an investigation in 2005 into what appeared to be a highly lucrative but unregulated market of resale of various medical devices, from hardware to sutures. The probe led investigators to a Delray Beach middleman in South Florida who was buying the devices from the Kaleys and others and then selling them to other medical providers. He did some $10 million in business in one year.

At the time, Kerri Kaley was a sales representative for Ethicon Endosurgery, a subsidiary of medical supplies giant Johnson & Johnson. She and her lawyers insist that she was legally allowed to resell the medical items she was given because Johnson & Johnson would not accept them as returns after a certain date and because hospitals wanted to clear out space for newer products. Hospitals also traded the older items for newer, free devices from the sales force.

Another sales representative, Jennifer Gruenstrass, was charged along with the Kaleys but went to trial separately. She was acquitted in November 2007. Gruenstrass’s assets were not frozen before the trial.

“There is a vibrant trading culture that exists between reps and between hospitals,” Gruenstrass’ attorney Robert Casale said. “Nobody is reporting a theft at any of the hospitals. Nobody at Ethicon is saying, ‘We were missing stuff.’ No theft.”

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Watts-Fitzgerald, said there was evidence the Kaleys and Gruenstrass knew what they were doing was illegal. For example, he said, Brian Kaley set up two shell construction businesses that actually acted as only conduits for the checks his wife was getting through the device sales. And, he said, the Kaleys hastily cleaned out their garage of the devices when they were first contacted by the FDA.

“Those were stolen devices,” Watts-Fitzgerald said. “She had no right, title and interest in any of the equipment they were selling.”

Still, the acquittal of Gruenstrass could indicate the Kaleys have a point in questioning the strength of the federal case. What they want from the Supreme Court is a chance to show that weakness to a federal judge so they can win access to the money they need to pay the lawyers they choose.

The $500,000 line of credit the Kaleys took out on their house was based on their lawyers’ estimate of their fees and expenses to take the case all the way through trial.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which handles cases from South Florida, said the Kaleys were only entitled to a hearing on whether their frozen assets were connected to the alleged crimes. Three other circuits have similar standards, while five others do require prosecutors to show at least some evidence of guilt.

The Kaleys face an eight-count indictment on conspiracy, transportation of stolen property, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges that carry maximum combined penalties of 85 years in prison. If convicted, they would likely lose their New York house and the $500,000 line of credit.

“With so much at stake in a criminal case, we believe due process requires a pretrial hearing to determine the propriety of the restraint of assets needed to retain counsel of choice at trial,” said Srebnick, one of the Kaley attorneys.

The criminal prosecution is on hold in federal court in West Palm Beach until the Supreme Court makes its decision. Oral arguments are not expected until October, with a ruling likely in late 2013 or early 2014.”

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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 – Appeal

————————————————————–

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.


“Fox News and James Rosen: How much notice did they give the government?”

June 6, 2013

The Washington Post on June 6, 2013 released the following:

By Erik Wemple

“Judging from federal court documents, June 11, 2009, was a busy day for Fox News reporter James Rosen. Phone records suggest that he was hounding Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department security adviser. The two appeared to have had a face-to-face meeting around noon, according to the documents. And a few hours later, Rosen published on FoxNews.com a story on North Korea, featuring confidential information to which Kim had access.

Rosen’s activities that day have come to light in a federal investigation focused on the alleged leak by Kim of top-secret information. News of the probe came right after revelations about the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of phone records for the Associated Press, raising questions about the appropriateness of the federal government’s snooping on the media, as well as the fitness of Attorney General Eric Holder to continue in his post.

The timeline detailed in the court documents, though, raises another question: Did Fox News apprise the government of its findings on a sensitive national-security matter before putting them on the Internet?

June 2009 was a heady time for news related to North Korea. Two journalists for Current TV were on trial for crossing into North Korean territory without a visa. North Korea had conducted a nuclear test in May, and the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on June 12 condemning the regime of Kim Jong Il and instituting sanctions against it.

Rosen was hustling to get ahead of the U.N.-North Korea developments. His story, which appears to have triggered the investigation of Kim, addressed how North Korea would react to the Security Council’s action. The scoop in Rosen’s story? That the regime would in all likelihood stage another nuclear test, along with taking other defiant steps to boost the country’s nuclear-weapons capabilities.

The revelations in Rosen’s story rested on intelligence that “the Central Intelligence Agency has learned, through sources inside North Korea.” It gives little information about how its information is sourced, indicating that “FOX News has learned” the information. Furthermore, the piece states that “FOX News is withholding some details about the sources and methods by which American intelligence agencies learned of the North’s plans so as to avoid compromising sensitive overseas operations in a country — North Korea — U.S. spymasters regard as one of the world’s most difficult to penetrate.”

An unnamed White House source consulted by Rosen declined to comment for the story.

The text of the piece, however, leaves unclear just how much detail Fox News disclosed to the White House or any other government agency prior to publishing its account. The passage about withholding information, for example, doesn’t specify whether Fox News took this step in deference to a government agency, one of its sources or its own sense of propriety. Nor does it reference any negotiations whatsoever with government officials, as sensitive national-security stories often do.

On this front, media organizations and their government counterparts have developed something of a protocol over the years. After a reporter secures confidential information that could possibly compromise national security or overseas intelligence assets, the protocol calls upon the media organization to present its findings.

Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times, cites a “basic rule” among news organizations: “Obviously we don’t tell the government how we know what we know, but we try to lay out in as much detail as we can about what we’re going to report,” says Keller. The practice aligns with the best traditions of journalism: “We could be wrong,” says Keller, “and we’re giving them the opportunity to correct possible misinformation. Second, if they want to argue that, unbeknownst to us, something we’re about to report could get somebody hurt, we want to hear that out.”

It’s possible that Fox News did just that. Neither the network’s public affairs office nor Rosen, however, responded to requests for comment. The CIA, likewise, declined to comment on the matter. P.J. Crowley, who served as the State Department’s assistant secretary for public affairs at the time, says, “I’ve been involved in a lot of conversations over the years where reporters in possession of intelligence information enabled us to comment or express concerns about compromising intelligence sources. I don’t remember any such conversation prior to James Rosen’s story.”

That the government launched an intrusive leak investigation following the Rosen story suggests that if it had had the opportunity, it may well have voiced objections to the contours of Rosen’s North Korea scoop. “What they’re freaked out about is that we’re tipping off the North Koreans to some valuable source,” says Keller, riffing on the possible unease over the story. “If it wasn’t important to Rosen’s story to say that this came from some high-level North Korean source, the government might well have asked them to leave that detail out.”

Fox News may have felt it didn’t have enough time to negotiate with the government over the story, which debuted on the eve of the U.N. resolution. If published on a later date, its revelations would have had less resonance.

Though the CIA declined to comment regarding the North Korea story, it wasn’t so tight-lipped last October, when Fox News published a bombshell story offering an insider’s account of the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks of Sept. 11, 2012. The agency doesn’t appear to have had a chance to comment on the story prior to its publication, and it issued a rare on-the-record refutation hours after it surfaced. Many of the allegations in the story have since been challenged by official reports and media accounts.”

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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.


“1 bank robbery suspect killed, 2 others arrested, FBI says”

May 11, 2013

Chicago Tribune on May 11, 2013 released the following:

“FBI agents shot one bank robbery suspect dead and arrested two others at a bank in the small town of Richmond on Friday, investigators said.

Federal investigators had been tailing the three men on I-90 and to the bank because they were suspected of previous bank robberies and were thought to be planning another, a source close to the investigation said.

FBI spokeswoman Joan Hyde said the men “had been the subject of an investigation,” but declined to elaborate.

The shooting occurred at about 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Associated Bank at 10910 N. Main St. in Richmond, on Route 12 just west of the Chain O’ Lakes near Wisconsin. Hyde did not know what precipitated the shooting, but said the suspects never entered the bank.

Photos from the scene showed the car had driven off the pavement of the parking lot and appeared to hit a pole and slightly smashed its front end. No bystanders or investigators were injured, Hyde said.

The scene remained blocked off Friday evening, and Route 12 was closed in the area. An FBI evidence response team was on the scene and investigators questioned witnesses.

Though the investigation was out of the FBI’s Chicago office, the two suspects were taken to Winnebago County Jail in Rockford, where the agency has a satellite office, Hyde said

Associated Bank released the following statement: “Our customers and colleagues at our Richmond branch are safe and secure. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement to help resolve the situation.”

A woman who works in the business next door said workers were terrified by the shooting.

Geri Rubel, an accountant at a firm in an adjoining part of the bank building, said she heard two bursts of rapid, automatic gunfire outside, one short and one long. She and her co-workers looked out the front window of her office and saw men with guns running through the parking lot toward the bank.

“That scared the (expletive) out of us,” she said. “We locked the door, went to a corner of the room and cried because we didn’t know what was going on. I thought of my kids, and called the high school (to alert them).”

They peeked out the window occasionally, until she said a police officer came to tell them that investigators had been staking out the bank, believing a robbery was planned. The FBI would not comment on whether a robbery had been thwarted.

Rubel said the dead man was in the parking lot, and another man was taken away in handcuffs in a black SUV. The men she saw with the guns turned out to be law enforcement agents.

“This kind of thing doesn’t happen ever here,” Rubel said. “I hear about it in the city (of Chicago). This is a small town. It’s not something you expect to see here.”

The police response was so quick that it seemed obvious they expected the robbery, she said. “To have all of them within 30 seconds, I’m thinking they must have known something,” Rubel said.

McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said his office was called to help the FBI and Richmond and Spring Grove police. “They had been involved in an incident out in front of the bank where a shooting had taken place,” he said.

“There is no threat or danger to the Richmond community at this point,” Zinke 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.


ICE Leads A Federal Investigation and Arrests 9 in an Alleged Drug Trafficking Ring

May 2, 2013

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 1, 2013 released the following:

“9 defendants indicted in far-reaching cocaine and meth distribution scheme

LOS ANGELES — A federal investigation into a drug-trafficking organization led by two brothers who oversaw the distribution of cocaine to Italy and across the United States as well as methamphetamine being trafficked across the U.S. – has led to the indictment of nine defendants, three of whom were arrested Wednesday.

Operation “Family Guy” targeted the Urena family drug-trafficking organization through the use of undercover operatives and wiretaps that led to the interception of telephone calls, text messages, and communications sent through BlackBerry Messenger. The probe was conducted by the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, including the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and IRS – Criminal Investigation. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Whittier Police Department also assisted with the case.

The investigation, which culminated with the issuance of a seven-count grand jury indictment April 24, resulted in the seizure of approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine being smuggled into Italy from the Dominican Republic and Mexico. That cocaine was being transported by female drug couriers allegedly recruited by the two Urena brothers, with assistance from their uncle Francisco Javier Vargas-Oseguera and others. The investigation also uncovered a conspiracy to distribute significant quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine throughout the United States using vehicles with hidden compartments.

The indictment also alleges members of the narcotics-trafficking operation laundered drug proceeds from the Dominican Republic through the use of Western Union wire transfers sent to Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga.

Those named in the indictment unsealed Wednesday are:

  • Milton Urena, 29, of the Dominican Republic, who is currently being sought by authorities;
  • Rafael Urena, 27, of Rancho Cucamonga, Milton Urena’s brother, who was arrested Wednesday;
  • Daniel Alejandro Agredano Vazquez, 22, of the Dominican Republic, who allegedly oversaw the distribution of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Italy and conspired to launder drug proceeds. He is currently being sought by authorities;
  • Francisco Javier Vargas-Oseguera, 51, an uncle of the Urena brothers, previously of Seattle and recently of Fontana. He is currently in federal custody in Seattle after being charged in federal court there for allegedly possessing eight pounds of methamphetamine in a case unrelated to Operation Family Guy;
  • Leonel Urena-Partida, 49, of Guadalajara, Mexico, another uncle of the Urena brothers, who allegedly conspired to transport cocaine to Italy. He is being sought by authorities;
  • Carmen Garcia, 35, of San Bernardino, allegedly supplied methamphetamine and assisted with the recruitment of drug couriers, who was arrested Wednesday;
  • Eliseo Carrillo Duarte, 45, of Montebello, who is currently in federal custody in Indianapolis after being arrested there in March on unrelated drug-trafficking charges stemming from the seizure of approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine;
  • Jenna Michelle Martin (also known as Jenna Michelle Smith), 25, of Upland, an alleged drug courier who was arrested Wednesday; and
  • Beth Rene Ford (also known as Beth Rene Florance), 26, formerly of Ontario and now living in the Denver area, a second alleged drug courier, who is expected to self-surrender soon to authorities.

The defendants arrested Wednesday morning are expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

The indictment specifically charges eight defendants (not Duarte) with conspiracy to distribute cocaine to Italy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Six of the defendants (not Agredano Vasquez, Martin or Ford) are charged in another conspiracy involving the domestic distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, a charge that also carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Various defendants are also named in a charge that alleges the distribution of approximately one pound of methamphetamine, three counts of use of a communication facility in committing a felony drug offense, and conspiracy to launder money.”

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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.


Feds charge Cherryville cops with allegedly aiding ‘crooks’

October 19, 2012
FBI
“Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News
FBI agents seize computers and other materials from the Cherryville Police Department on Wednesday.”

Lincoln Times-News on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

An undercover federal investigation is shaking up the Cherryville Police Department this week, amid claims that some police officers were operating on the wrong side of the law.

Four law enforcement officers and two other men who are accused of conspiring earlier this year to safeguard stolen property and proceeds from their sale, are set to make their second appearance in a Charlotte courtroom today, following an FBI raid on Wednesday.

The officers have also been accused of securing monetary bribes for their legal authority in the operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the state’s Western District said.

According to federal authorities, the men made a serious blunder – their partners in the conspiracy, whom they believed to be criminals, were actually undercover FBI agents.

As a result of the arrests, the city of Cherryville has also suspended its police chief and captain.

Federal officials are not saying who else might be a target of the ongoing investigation.

Two federal indictments were unsealed earlier Wednesday in the case.

One indictment from Tuesday charged Cherryville Police officer Frankie Dellinger, 40, Gaston County Sheriff’s reserve officer Wesley Clayton Golden, 39, and Cherryville resident Mark Ray Hoyle, 39.

Each man faces one count each of conspiracy to extort under color of official right, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property, four counts each of transportation of stolen property, money laundering and aiding and abetting and three counts of possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, according to a press release.

Federal authorities also charged Dellinger with with an extra count of extortion.

The three men are accused of protecting the men they believed were co-conspirators by allowing them to safely transport tractor trailers filled with stolen property through the area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Hoyle, Dellinger and Golden also protected the transportation of more than $400,000, proceeds from the merchandises’ sale, the release said.

Goods included televisions and generators worth nearly $160,000.

A second indictment from Aug. 21 charged Cherryville patrol officers Casey Justin Crawford, 32, and David Paul Mauney III, 23, along with Cherryville resident John Ashley Hendricks, 47, with one count each of conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property and conspiracy to extort under color of official right.

Crawford additionally faces one count of program fraud bribery.

Since May, Crawford, Mauney and Hendricks similarly worked with undercover agents they thought were criminals in protecting the transport of more than $300,000 in stolen merchandise along with more than $300,000 in proceeds from the items’ sale, the release said.

Hoyle’s role in the conspiracy included “representing himself as a law enforcement officer,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. On the other hand, Hendricks, Crawford and Mauney used counter-surveillance to ensure other officers wouldn’t discover the illegal operation, the release said.

FBI officials launched the investigation following allegations last year that Dellinger had been involved in illegal activity, an indictment said.

The phony criminals requested assistance from law enforcement officers who would be willing to provide protection for stolen items in exchange for cash bribes.

Dellinger accepted the offer and soon “recruited” Hoyle and Golden, according to the indictment.

The three men received $17,000 in the scheme in exchange for keeping the stolen goods away from thieves and the detection of other law enforcement agencies and even agreed to use violence, if necessary, to carry out such duties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

All six men appeared in a Charlotte courtroom today on the charges.

They each face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, if convicted, the release said.

Interim City Manager and Cherryville Fire Chief Jeff Cash released a separate statement late Wednesday announcing that Police Chief Woody Burgess and Capt. Mike Allred, a Lincoln County resident, have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, though neither has been charged to this point.

“As interim city manager, I will be naming myself interim police chief with the day-to-day operational activities to be supervised by Sgt. Cam Jenks,” Cash wrote.

Cash said safety of the citizens would not be compromised by the investigation into the police department and other law enforcement agencies were assisting as needed.

Individuals with emergencies can call 911 or police dispatch at (704) 435-1717.

The Gaston County District Attorney’s Office was quoted by other area news media saying they may drop pending criminal cases relying on any of charged officers’ testimonies, though the Times-News was unable to independently confirm this. Just how many cases that would include is also unclear.

Five of the six suspects remain without bond behind Mecklenburg County bars. The location of John Hendricks is currently unknown. He was not listed as a current Mecklenburg County inmate and does not even have a record in the county, an employee with CharMeck Citizen Services told the Times-News Thursday afternoon.

The State Bureau of Investigation has also been looking into the city of Cherryville since last year for misuse of town funds.”

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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.