FBI: “Former Sandia Corporation Scientist Pleads Guilty to Taking Government Property to China”

August 26, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 25, 2014 released the following:

“ALBUQUERQUE— Jianyu Huang, a scientist formerly employed by Sandia Corporation (Sandia) at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), pleaded guilty this afternoon to making a false statement and unlawfully transporting converted government property in interstate and foreign commerce. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.

Huang, 46, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the People’s Republic of China who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., was arrested in June 2012, on a six-count indictment charging him with misusing U.S. government resources and equipment to conduct research for Chinese research institutions and with falsely stating that he did not intend to take U.S. government equipment with him on a trip to China. The indictment subsequently was superseded to add an interstate transportation of converted property charge and a theft of government property charge. Huang was employed by Sandia until his employment was terminated in late April 2012.

SNL is a government-owned research facility operated by Sandia Corporation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that is responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation’s nuclear stockpile; enhancing the security of energy and other critical resources; reducing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; addressing threats to national security; and protecting the nation against terrorism. The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CiNT) is a DOE user facility and science research center devoted to establishing scientific principles that govern the design, performance, and integration of materials on the atomic and molecular scale, located at SNL.

In light of the sensitivity of SNL’s work, all Sandia employees are required to report to the Sandia Office of Counterintelligence (SOC) any substantive relationship with foreign nationals, including associations that involve meeting and sharing work-related information. Sandia employees also are required to submit to interviews with SOC before international travel on official business, and are prohibited from bringing government-owned equipment on international travel without prior approval.

Huang was employed by Sandia at CiNT, where he worked in an unclassified open science facility without access to classified national security information. As a Sandia employee, Huang was prohibited from bringing government-owned equipment on international travel without prior approval.

Counts 1 through 5 of the second superseding indictment charged Huang with federal program fraud and alleged that between Jan. 2009 and Jan. 2012, Huang unlawfully and without authority used DOE equipment, materials and property to conduct research for businesses and universities in the People’s Republic of China. Count 6 charged Huang with making a false statement charge to a federal officer and alleged that, in June 2011, Huang falsely represented to a counterintelligence officer that he would not take any U.S. government electronic equipment with him on an upcoming trip to the People’s Republic of China. The statement was false because Huang knew that he intended to take a U.S. government computer and hard-drive to the People’s Republic of China on that trip, and did in fact take that equipment with him. Count 7 charged Huang with the interstate transportation of converted property charge and alleged that between June 30, 2011 and July 18, 2011, Huang unlawfully transported a DOE-owned laptop computer and computer-related media in interstate and foreign commerce. Count 8 charged Huang with an embezzlement charge and alleged that between April 25, 2012 and June 2, 2012, Huang embezzled electronic files and documents, including research proposals, belonging to DOE that came into his possession by virtue of his employment with SNL.

During his plea hearing this afternoon, Huang pled guilty to Counts 6 and 7 of the second superseding indictment. In his plea agreement, Huang admitted taking a trip to China in July 2011, for the purpose of attending and making a presentation at a research conference. Huang acknowledged that in seeking and obtaining Sandia’s permission to participate in the conference, he represented that he would not take any DOE-owned equipment with him. Huang also admitted deliberately lying to a counterintelligence office when he made the representation because he intended to take his DOE-owned laptop on the trip.

Huang admitted taking a DOE-owned laptop computer with him when he traveled to China on June 30 and July 1, 2011, even though he knew that he did not have permission to do so. In so doing, Huang unlawfully converted the laptop computer to his own use. According to Huang’s plea agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized the DOE-owned laptop from Huang’s baggage when he returned to the United States on July 18, 2011, after Huang admitted that he did not have permission to take the laptop computer out of the country.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Huang will be sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Huang’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathon M. Gerson.”

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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.


Husband and Wife, Aaron Michael Hymas and Tiffany Kim Hymas, Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud

October 19, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2012 released the following:

Part of Ongoing Crestwood Mortgage Fraud

BOISE— Aaron Michael Hymas, 38, and Tiffany Kim Hymas, 37, former Treasure Valley residents now living in Bountiful, Utah, pled guilty today in United States District Court in Boise to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreements, the defendants admitted that on March 28, 2007, they schemed to defraud a lender by having Tiffany Hymas submit a residential loan application for $295,600, wherein she misrepresented that she was employed by OPM Enterprises with 2.6 years on the job; that she had income and commissions of $72,500 per month; and that she had gross rental income of $14,600 per month from four properties located in Meridian, Nampa, and Boise. Based on these misrepresentations, the loan was funded by Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker Mortgage Corporation. The defendants admitted that Tiffany Hymas’ statements were false and material to the loan application and that they knew the statements were false at the time she made them.

The defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for January 14, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

“False statements to banks and lenders in order to obtain home loans have undermined the integrity of our nation’s housing financing system,” said Olson. “These pleas move us closer to the conclusion of the long term investigation into the mortgage activities of those associated with Crestwood Homes. Federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the District of Idaho are committed to working together to ensure that those who fraudulently obtain home loans for personal gain are punished.”

In a related case, sentencing is set for October 25-26, 2012, for Travis Richard Hymas, 29, of Cedar Hills, Utah, formerly of Meridian, Idaho. A federal jury convicted Hymas on June 22 on five counts of wire fraud related to mortgage fraud. During the eight-day trial, the jury heard evidence that between November 2006 and March 2007, Hymas defrauded five lenders on nine residential loans valued at approximately $1.7 million. According to court documents, Travis and his wife Season filed a bankruptcy petition on July 17, 2008, in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. On March 19, 2009, a substantial amount of the debt they owed on the fraudulent loans was discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding. Season Hymas is set for trial in Boise on November 13.

The cases are part of an investigation of mortgage fraud activity related to Crestwood, which involved multiple defendants who bought and sold real estate in order to “flip” it, or gain profits from the sales. The financial institutions and mortgage lenders incurred substantial losses on the loan transactions.

To date, nine people have been sentenced in related cases, including Michael J. Hymas, Shauntee K. Ferguson, Christopher R. Georgeson, Stanley J. Ferguson, Brent Bethers, Shane Merlin Hymas, Laurie Krechelle Hymas, Melody C. Redondo, and Paul Redondo.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with assistance provided by the Office of the United States Trustee and the Idaho Department of Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”

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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.


Ex-EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo García’s victims can tell court of harm

August 29, 2012

El Paso Times on August 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Hayley Kappes \ El Paso Times

Victims of a scheme to fraudulently inflate standardized test scores at the El Paso Independent School District have until Sept. 21 to inform a federal court of the harm they suffered.

Students or employees of the school district between 2006 and 2011 who suffered damages from a plan devised by former Superintendent Lorenzo García can fill out a “declaration of victim losses” through the U.S. Probation Office.

Those who were directly harmed include students classified as “limited English proficient” or special education students whom the district targeted to prevent from taking the 10th-grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exams, according to a letter dated Aug. 17 from the probation office to district students, parents and employees.

District faculty and staff members were indirectly harmed by the scheme, according to the letter.

Former state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, who in 2010 alleged the district was removing students improperly, and members of Kids First! Reform EPISD!, a general-purpose political action committee, are urging victims of García’s crimes to detail their losses to the U.S. Probation Office.

Shapleigh argued that García’s restitution should include the cost of educating each student who was denied an education and the bonuses he earned by fraudulent means.

Under the plea agreement, García faces a prison sentence of just less than four years and is ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution to the school district for his role in the cheating scheme and for steering a $450,000 contract to his mistress.

The restitution money should go toward creating a fund at the district to help students who were improperly pushed out as a result of the scheme, Shapleigh said.

“We’re asking that the return of the money be made to the students for their education, that the students have a fund at EPISD, to go find them, to restore them and get them a high-school degree,” Shapleigh said. “They are the real victims.”

District officials have not identified all the students whose education was impeded because of the scheme, district spokeswoman Renee de Santos wrote in an email.

“The district is continuing its efforts, on its own and as part of its cooperation with federal investigators to identify students who may have been affected by the criminal conduct described in the information filed against Dr. Lorenzo García,” de Santos wrote.

Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said that because there are so many direct and indirect victims, it would have been difficult to assign a restitution amount.

García’s attorneys worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine the restitution amount, said Jim Darnell, one of the former superintendent’s attorneys.

Darnell disagreed that the restitution should reflect the district’s per student expenditures for students who were pushed out of school and said Shapleigh is not a criminal lawyer.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he couldn’t comment on how the restitution amount was reached.

The judge has the authority not to accept the plea agreement and can factor the victims’ statements to determine García’s punishment, said Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law. McNabb has been a federal criminal defense lawyer for 30 years.

For each charge García pleaded guilty to, the punishment range is a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones in June said he would review the sentencing guidelines to determine whether the punishment should be more or less than the recommended sentence.

García is free on bond and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

“The court could say based upon the stated harm from the victims, ‘I’m going to give the defendant the high end of the guideline range,'” McNabb said. “By allowing the victim to set out a dollar amount in the statement would help perhaps the probation officer in terms of apportioning the amount of the plea-agreed-upon restitution, assuming that the defendant can pay it. Most of them can’t.””

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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.


Douglas J. Fitzgerald Sentenced by a Chief U.S. Federal Judge for Tax Evasion

July 17, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Idaho on July 15, 2011 released the following:

“Former Eagle Businessman Sentenced To 51 Months For Tax Evasion

BOISE – Douglas J. Fitzgerald, 69, formerly of Eagle, Idaho, was sentenced yesterday to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for attempting to evade income tax, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill also ordered Fitzgerald to pay $308,912 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and perform 100 hours of community service. Fitzgerald pleaded guilty to the charge in February 2011.

According to the plea agreement, Fitzgerald filed false tax returns that omitted the income from the sale of his business’ assets and from the sale of real property. In the plea agreement, Fitzgerald admitted that he failed to report over $1 million in income and evaded payment of taxes totaling $308,912, for tax years 1999 through 2003 and 2005. Fitzgerald used nominee entities to conceal this income. Specifically, he titled the stock in his business and titled his real estate in two entities formed as Nevada corporations sole, which are state entities designed for use by church officials. Fitzgerald called one corporation sole “the Office of the First presiding Patriarch (Overseer), a corporation sole, over/for The Fellowship Society (an unincorporated religious Scriptural society, in the nature of Ecclesia).” He formed a second similarly named corporation sole over “Paradise Flats Society.” Fitzgerald used the Fellowship Society and Paradise Flats Society, as purported religious or charitable institutions, to conceal his income from the sale of his business and from the sale of real property. Fitzgerald claimed that the income went to these purported religious entities, despite the fact that he directed the transactions maintained control of the income, and benefitted personally from it.

Fitzgerald also admitted that in one instance, he directed the proceeds of a real estate sale to another company, Moscow Combined Investments, and used the proceeds to purchase a house for his daughter. Fitzgerald also directed several hundred thousand dollars to a bank account in his wife’s name in the Philippines. He eventually moved to the Philippines but was returned to the United States after he was indicted.

In 1998 Fitzgerald was convicted of filing false claims for tax refunds and mail fraud, after which he served 30 months in prison.

“Paying taxes is a solemn obligation of citizenship,” said Olson. “Those who hide income and evade taxes undermine our democracy. Mr. Fitzgerald has now twice been convicted of tax crimes. This significant sentence is appropriate. I commend the IRS enforcement agents and federal prosecutors who patiently pursued justice in this case.”

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.”

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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Claymon Trammell, Jeannettea Williams, and Michelle Trammell Plead Guilty in Houston Federal Court to Mortgage Fraud Scam

July 7, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 6, 2011 released the following:

“Mother, Daughter, Father Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud Scam

HOUSTON – Claymon “Butch” Trammell along with his wife, Jeannettea Williams, and daughter, Michelle Trammell, have all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their roles in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The three residents of Houston entered their pleas yesterday in federal court before United States District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore.

From 2003 until the end of 2006, Claymon Trammell, 61, conspired with his wife, 56, and daughter, 39, to defraud mortgage lenders. Claymon Trammell and Williams recruited and paid individuals to act as straw borrowers on applications for residential mortgage loans, even though the borrowers had no intention of making payments on the mortgage loans or, in the case of homes supposedly purchased as “primary residences,” of residing in the homes. Some borrowers were used multiple times, including one borrower whose name and credit was used to “purchase” approximately 17 homes. Claymon Trammell pitched the scheme as an investment where the straw borrowers would not need any money down, would not be responsible for the monthly payments and would get money for the use of their name and credit.

At times during the scheme, Michelle Trammell and Williams were licensed mortgage loan officers. Michelle Trammell acted as a loan officer in the transactions and filled out loan applications in the names of borrowers and knowingly provided lenders with false information and documents about the borrower’s employment, income, assets and intent to occupy the purchased property. Michelle Trammell and Williams provided lenders with various documents she knew to be false, including false verifications of deposit, false verifications of rent and false earnest money contracts. There were more than 70 homes involved in the scheme, all of which went into payment default and most into foreclosure. The three defendants caused lenders to fund loans to purchase more than 70 homes in the Houston area and personally benefitted by funneling some of the loan proceeds to themselves via businesses they controlled and/or owned via bogus repair invoices and realtor and loan officer commissions.

For their conviction of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 371, the defendants face a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine as well as up to a three-year-term of supervised release at their sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 5, 2011. As part of their plea agreements, the defendants also agreed to pay restitution if ordered to do so by the court.

The investigation leading to the charges was the result of an investigation conducted by agents of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Belinda Beek, Jimmy Sledge and Kebharu Smith prosecuted the case with assistance from paralegal specialist Brenda Williams.”

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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