Drug crime sends first-time offender grandmom to prison for life

May 10, 2012

Houston Chronicle on May 10, 2012 released the following:

“Houstonian, who has no secrets to trade, is doing more time than drug lords
By Dane Schiller

FORT WORTH – The U.S. government didn’t offer a reward for the capture of Houston grandmother Elisa Castillo, nor did it accuse her of touching drugs, ordering killings, or getting rich off crime.

But three years after a jury convicted her in a conspiracy to smuggle at least a ton of cocaine on tour buses from Mexico to Houston, the 56-year-old first-time offender is locked up for life – without parole.

“It is ridiculous,” said Castillo, who is a generation older than her cell mates, and is known as “grandma” at the prison here. “I am no one.”

Convicted of being a manager in the conspiracy, she is serving a longer sentence than some of the hemisphere’s most notorious crime bosses – men who had multimillion-dollar prices on their heads before their capture.

The drug capos had something to trade: the secrets of criminal organizations. The biggest drug lords have pleaded guilty in exchange for more lenient sentences.

Castillo said she has nothing to offer in a system rife with inconsistencies and behind-the-scenes scrambling that amounts to a judicial game of Let’s Make A Deal.

“Our criminal justice system is broke; it needs to be completely revamped,” declared Terry Nelson, who was a federal agent for over 30 years and is on the executive board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “They have the power, and if you don’t play the game, they’ll throw the book at you.”

Castillo maintains her innocence, saying she was tricked into unknowingly helping transport drugs and money for a big trafficker in Mexico. But she refused to plead guilty and went to trial.

In 2010, of 1,766 defendants prosecuted for federal drug offenses in the Southern District of Texas – a region that reaches from Houston to the border – 93.2 percent pleaded guilty rather than face trial, according to the U.S. government. Just 10 defendants were acquitted at trial, and 82 saw their cases dismissed.

The statistics are similar nationwide.

The latest case in point came this week with the negotiated surrender of a Colombian drug boss Javier Calle Serna, whom the United States accuses of shipping at least 30 tons of cocaine.

While how much time Calle will face is not known publicly, he likely studied other former players, including former Gulf Cartel lord Osiel Cardenas Guillen.

Cardenas once led one of Mexico’s most powerful syndicates and created the Zetas gang. He pleaded guilty in Houston and is to be released by 2025. He’ll be 57.

As the federal prison system has no parole, Castillo has no prospect of ever going home.

“Any reasonable person would look at this and say, ‘God, are you kidding?’ ” said attorney David Bires, who represented Castillo on an unsuccessful appeal. “It is not right.”

Castillo’s elderly mother in Mexico has not been told she’s serving life, and her toddler grandson thinks she’s in the hospital when he comes to visit her in prison.

Castillo is adamant about her innocence.

“Put yourself in my shoes. When you are innocent, you are innocent,” she said. “I don’t say I am perfect. I am not … but I can guarantee you 100 percent that I am innocent of this.”

At the urging of her boyfriend, Martin Ovalle, Castillo became partners with a smooth-talking Mexican resident who said he wanted to set up a Houston-based bus company.

But the buses were light on passengers and shuttled thousands of pounds of cocaine into the United States and millions of dollars back to Mexico. Her lawyers argued she was naive.

Castillo claims she didn’t know about the drug operation, but agents said she should have known something was wrong when quantities of money and drugs were repeatedly found on the coaches.

“After hearing all the evidence as presented from both the government and defense in this case, the jury found her guilty … ,” said Kenneth Magidson, chief prosecutor here.

Former federal prosecutor Mark W. White III said if Castillo had something to share, she might have benefited from a sentence reduction for cooperating.

“Information is a cooperating defendant’s stock in trade,” White said, “and if you don’t have any, … the chances are you won’t get a good deal.”

Castillo has faith that she’ll somehow, some day, go free. Her daily routine doesn’t vary: when she eats breakfast, when she works, when she exercises, and when she brushes her hair, which has gone from red-blond to black and gray. The gray gets respect in prison.

“I will leave here one day with my head held high,” she said. “I don’t feel like a bug or a cockroach. I am a human being, with my feet firmly on the ground.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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


Jerald Bland Plead Guilty in Houston Federal Court to One Count of Transportation

January 4, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 3, 2012 released the following:

“Houston Man Enters Guilty Plea to Transporting a Woman for Commercial Sex

HOUSTON— Jerald Bland aka “Moe Betta,” 30, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to one count of transportation, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Bland admitted to transporting a woman to Louisiana intending that she engage in prostitution. An investigation by the Houston FBI Innocence Lost Task Force, which includes the Houston Police Department, developed this case using on line advertisements for the victim’s services and hotel records from several hotels in Louisiana.

On March 8, 2010, Houston Police Department officers conducted an undercover operation which resulted in the apprehension of Bland and the identification of the female victim. At that time, a silver Sony HDX Camera was discovered along with pictures of females in sexually provocative poses and photos of Bland flashing money. According to the factual basis in support of the guilty plea today, between May 26 and June 7, 2010, Bland transported the female victim to Beaumont, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La. While out of town, ads were posted for sexual services on the Internet which were discovered by investigating officers and corresponded to the dates of the hotel reservations where they stayed.

Several employees from the hotels involved recognized Bland and the victim as being at the hotels. At one location, the business center was used to post Internet ads for prostitution which was discovered by an employee.

Bland kept all the money the woman earned in relation to the sexual services performed.

U.S. Judge Nancy F. Atlas, who accepted the guilty plea today, set sentencing for March 20, 2012, at which time Bland faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Bland also faces a maximum lifetime term of supervised release. He will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack.”

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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 Crimes Watch Daily.

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

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


Jeremy Gene Dobbins and Bobby Dean Roberts Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Defrauding Their Employer MI-SWACO, a Division of Schlumberger

July 20, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on July 19, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Jeremy Gene Dobbins, 35, and Bobby Dean Roberts, 51, have been indicted for defrauding their employer MI-SWACO, a division of Schlumberger, of more the $3 million, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The 10-count indictment was returned by a Houston grand jury on Thursday, July 14, 2011. Dobbins was taken into federal custody following his surrender to United States Postal inspectors yesterday while Roberts surrendered today. After appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy today, both have been ordered released on bond pending trial.

The indictment accuses the two men of conspiring to commit wire fraud between February 2008 and June 2010, committing wire fraud and money laundering. According to allegations in the indictment, Dobbins worked for MI-SWACO as a facilities manager and Roberts worked for MI-SWACO as a supervisor of building operations. The two men allegedly formed four vendor entities to do business with MI-SWACO and caused these entities to submit false and fraudulent invoices, which they then approved for payment. All told, the indictment alleges that the defendants caused MI-SWACO to pay out more than $3.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 upon conviction. The remaining counts each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by inspectors with the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Andino Reynal is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”

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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Seven Charged in Interstate Theft and Fencing Ring of Over-the-Counter Drugs

July 20, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on July 19, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – A sealed indictment charging several Houston area residents for their alleged involvement in an interstate over-the-counter (OTC) drug theft and fencing ring as well as structuring and money laundering was unsealed today following the arrest of the seven charged, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) acting Special Agent in ChargeJohn Connolly.

The 29-count indictment, returned on July 13, 2011, charges seven defendants with conspiracy to transport stolen merchandise in interstate commerce, structuring monetary transactions to evade reporting requirements, money laundering and substantive counts of transporting stolen goods and structuring as well as seeks to forfeit the interest of the defendants in the illicitly obtained proceeds. Those charged include the alleged “fence,” Mohammad Zainaldin, the owner of Quick Gas and Lube on Westheimer Road in Houston, his girlfriend, Innessa Stafeyeva, who allegedly worked at the warehouse where the stolen OTC merchandise was stored along with two allegedly high level and three additional “boosters” – persons who steal the goods ultimately delivered to the fence for re-sale. Zainladin, 33, was born in the Palestinian territory and his girlfriend, Stafeyeva, 23, is a citizen of Kazakhstan. Carlos Reyes Roque 40, and Marcos Ascencio Perdomo, 35, both alleged high level “boosters,” and Irma Hernandez, 34, Ana Ramos, 30, and Claudia Flores, 35, are all citizens of Honduras.

The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Zainladin, Stafeyeva, Ramos and Flores. Zainladin and Flores were arrested at their respective residences, while Stafeyeva and Ramos were taken into custody at Zainladin’s warehouse on Westpark Drive and HSI offices in Houston, respectively. These four are expected to make their initial appearance tomorrow before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at which time the government expects to request the defendants remain in federal custody without bond pending trial. Reyes-Roque and Perdomo are presently in federal custody on unrelated criminal charges and are expected to appear in federal court for initial appearances on these charges in the near future. Hernandez is today being transferred from Department of Homeland Security administrative custody into federal custody to face these charges and may make her initial appearance in federal court as early as tomorrow.

The indictment accuses all seven defendants of conspiring together to steal OTC medicine from retail pharmacies and other stores both in Texas and in other states. The indictment alleges that thieves referred to as “boosters,” allegedly used aluminum foil lined bags to steal the OTC from pharmacies and retail stores. The “boosters” would ship the OTC to Zainladin during out of state trips via FedEx or UPS to avoid detection by law enforcement during routine traffic stops. According to allegations in the indictment, Zainladin was the “fence” for the stolen merchandise and the leader of the organization. Once Zainladin received the stolen OTC he would pay the boosters cash payments at his gas station. Zainladin would use bank accounts to mask his illegal activity and would withdraw $10,000 and below, allegedly avoiding bank reporting requirements, to pay his boosters.

Conspiracy to transport stolen merchandise in interstate commerce and to structure carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Conspiracy to launder proceeds of greater than $10,000 from the alleged interstate transportation of stolen property carries a maximum punishment of 10 years and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Structuring financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements carries a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Each count of transporting stolen goods and structuring carries a maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction.

The charges are the result of an 12-month investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations and the Houston Police Department – Major Offenders Unit with the substantial assistance and cooperation of CVS and Walgreens loss prevention divisions.”

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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Houston’s Dieter David Palmer, Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, Arrested in Houston on Child Pornography Charges Based on a Federal Indictment by a Federal Grand Jury Sitting in Houston

July 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 14, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – Dieter David Palmer, 42, a retired Navy chief petty officer, has been indicted on charges of distribution, receipt, attempted receipt, transportation and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Palmer, of Houston, was arrested on July 12, 2011, following the return of a five-count indictment on June 22, 2011. In custody since his arrest, Palmer was ordered released on a $50,000 bond today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Wm. Smith following a hearing. Judge Smith imposed a number of special conditions including prohibiting him from personal use of an electronic device which could access the Internet and from contact with children. He will also be subject to GPS monitoring and cannot travel outside of Harris County among other things. Palmer has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and is set for trial before U.S. District Judge Ellison on Aug. 29, 2011, at 9:00 a.m.

Testimony presented during today’s detention hearing alleged Palmer subscribed and purchased membership to websites offering child pornography over the Internet and that Palmer distributed and received images of child pornography utilizing his e-mail accounts. Palmer had two computers at his residence when contacted by law enforcement in March 2011, which, upon examination, were found to contain more than 1800 digital images and at least 36 videos of child pornography including images depicting children in bondage. Additionally, according to the testimony, these images included children under 12 being sexually violated by adults and photographed in positions which caused their genitalia to be displayed in a lewd/lascivious manner.

At the time of the investigation and when contacted by law enforcement, Palmer held a security clearance due to his employment with a navy contractor.

Palmer faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment if convicted of the distribution, receipt, attempted receipt or transportation of child pornography charges and a maximum fine of $250,000. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 upon conviction. Each offense also carries a maximum of a life term of supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children. Additionally, if convicted, registration as a sex offender is mandatory.

The investigation leading to the indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations as part of Operation Predator. The prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www. projectsafechildhood.gov.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Demetrius Bivins is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law.”

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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Six More Charged in Houston Federal Criminal Court with a Series of Houston Area Armed Bank Robberies

July 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 14, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON – A sealed superseding indictment charging six more Houston area residents for their alleged involvement in a series of Houston area bank robberies including the New Year’s Eve robbery of a Pearland bank was unsealed today, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with FBI-Houston acting Special Agent in Charge Russell D. Robinson and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge J. Dewey Webb announced today.

With the arrest of these additional six defendants, a total of 13 defendants are now charged with conspiring to and committing a series of armed bank robberies of Houston area banks including the robbery of the Pearland Chase branch bank on Dec. 31, 2010. The 16-count superseding indictment was returned under seal on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, and completely unsealed today following the appearance of the last of the newly charged defendants before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith in Houston. The six now charged in the superseding indictment include John Berley Scott aka Fresh, 30, Derrick Lashon Paley aka Crybaby, 33, Michael Maurice Wilson Jr. aka Blue/Mikey Poo, 25, Roderick Marshall Beagle, 39, Michael Dushon Duncan aka Mikey, 19, and Kelvin Dewayne Thomas aka Little Kevin, 21, all of Houston.

One or more new defendants have been added to several of the already existing counts in the original indictment and also charged with new counts. Scott is charged with committing an armed bank robbery on Sept. 15, 2010, of the Amegy Bank located on the 300 block of N. Sam Houston Parkway in Houston; Scott along with Paley is also charged with committing an armed bank robbery on Oct. 12, 2010, of the Comerica Bank located on the 14600 block of Memorial Drive in Houston; Raymond Tierra Johnson aka T, 30, and Samuel Glen Bonner aka Glen, 39, are charged with Hostage Taking for their role in the New Year’s Eve robbery in Pearland.

Three defendants were arrested in the Houston area this week. Paley was arrested on July 12, 2011, while Beagle was arrested the following day. Thomas was arrested today. Paley has made his initial appearances before Judge Smith and been ordered to remain in custody pending a hearing on the government’s motion to detain him without bond pending trial set for tomorrow, July 15, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Smith. Beagle’s initial appearance is set for today at 2:00 pm before Judge Smith. Thomas is also expected to make his initial appearance before Judge Smith this afternoon with a setting for his detention hearing to be scheduled at that time.

The fourth newly charged defendant, Duncan, was originally charged by criminal complaint for his role in the New Year’s Eve bank robbery in Pearland. He remains in federal custody without bond by order of the court and is expected to make his initial appearance to answer the charges in the superseding indictment in the near future. The remaining two newly charged defendants, Wilson Jr. and Scott are both presently in state custody on unrelated charges. Both are expected to be transferred into federal custody in the near future to answer the new charges.

The seven others previously charged for their alleged involvement in this bank robbery spree and also named in the superseding indictment are Johnson and Bonner, along with Gregory Wayne Ferguson, 18, Larry Smith, 34, Arlington Davis Wilkes aka AD, 20, Carl Ray Turner Jr. aka CT, 24, and Edward Johnson, 26.

The superseding indictment accuses all 13 defendants of conspiring together to rob several Houston area banks through force and intimidation including Wells Fargo branch banks on Grant Road on Aug. 23, 2010, Memorial Drive and Kimberly Lane on Oct. 7, 2010, the Coamerica Bank branch banks on the NW Freeway and the 14600 block of Memorial Drive, the Citibank Branch on Cypresswood on Sept. 14, the Amegy Bank on N. Sam Houston Parkway on Sept. 15, the Chase Bank branch on the NW Freeway in Cypress, Texas, on Oct. 27 and the Chase branch bank on North Main in Pearland, Texas, on Dec. 31, 2010. Each of these robberies is alleged as an individual substantive count against two or more of the various defendants. The seven other defendants previously charged by indictment for their alleged involvement in the robbery spree are presently in federal custody without bond pending trial.

The conspiracy, according to allegations in the indictment, involved “casing” banks for robberies and the selection of banks that did not have security guards or bullet resistant bandit barriers. The conspirators allegedly used lookouts during robberies and used stolen or “hot” cars as get-a-way vehicles to commit the offenses. According to the indictment, the co-conspirators recruited others to assist them to rob the banks in exchange for a share of the proceeds taken. Bank robberies were effected through the use of demand notes allegedly written by Smith and through the brandishing and firing of firearms during the course of the robbery to ensure compliance with their demands.

Conspiracy to commit a bank robbery carries a maximum punishment of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction. Each count of bank robbery carries a maximum punishment upon conviction of 20 years incarceration or 25 years if a firearms displayed and/or a $250,000 fine. Brandishing or discharging a firearm during and in furtherance of a bank robbery carries a mandatory punishments of seven and 10 years, respectively, which must be served consecutive to any sentences imposed for the underlying bank robbery conviction. hostage taking carries a maximum punishment of up to life in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

The charges against these defendants are the result of a federal investigation conducted by the FBI and the ATF with the substantial assistance and cooperation of the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Crimestoppers, Friendswood Police Department, Pearland Police Department and the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office. The United States Attorney wishes to recognizes each of these investigative agencies as well as the security departments of Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase for their outstanding efforts.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Elmilady and Kebharu Smith are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law.”

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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