Tuffek Mohammed Ali Saleh Charged in a Federal Criminal Complaint with Allegedly Making False Statements

June 28, 2013

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 28, 2013 released the following:

“Rochester man charged with making false statements

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A Yemeni citizen was arrested Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents on three counts of making false statements about his immigration status.

Tuffek Mohammed Ali Saleh, 41, was arrested in Rochester and charged by criminal complaint with making a false statement on an immigration document, making a false statement to an immigration official and making a false claim of United States citizenship. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to the complaint, in April 2012 the defendant applied for U.S. citizenship under the name Yehya Muthana Ali. During the processing of Saleh’s application, it was determined that the defendant had previously applied to enter the United States using a different identity. The complaint further alleges that during a subsequent interview with immigration officials, Saleh failed to disclose that he in fact previously went by other names.

In April 2013, Saleh walked into a New York State Lottery Claims Center in Rochester and presented a torn scratch off ticket claiming to have won $3,000,000. As a result, the defendant filled out a Claim Form Worksheet and indicated that he was a U.S. citizen. According to the New York State Lottery, citizenship is material to the awarding of any lottery winnings because citizens and non-citizens are taxed at different rates.

The New York State Police provided substantial support during HSI’s investigation of Saleh.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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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.


ICE: “Operation Easy Check nets 39 arrests for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft”

May 29, 2013

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 28, 2013 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As part of a criminal investigation into an alleged conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, with the assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Puerto Rico Police Department and Puerto Rico’s Department of Treasury, arrested 39 individuals in nine Puerto Rican municipalities Friday during an operation dubbed Easy Check.

“These arrests are a reflection of the success that comes when federal, state and local law enforcement agencies work together to target criminal organizations and individuals in Puerto Rico,” said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “At HSI, we follow the money trail to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most complicated financial schemes and seize criminal assets. We will continue to aggressively investigate fraudulent financial schemes that put in jeopardy the integrity of our financial system and are often a gateway to further criminal activity.”

According to the indictment, those arrested devised a scheme to defraud Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Banco Santander de Puerto Rico, First Bank, Scotiabank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Doral Bank, all financial institutions whose deposits were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Since 2010, the organization headed by an individual named Kelvin Garcia-Oquendo engaged in bank fraud causing losses to several financial institutions of $580,089. The organization intended for losses at those institutions to exceed $1.2 million.

Individuals, operating as part of the organization, performed different roles in furtherance of the conspiracy. They were leaders, organizers, recruiters and facilitators who would either open bank accounts or lend existing bank accounts for the deposit of false and fraudulent checks. Some individuals would use ATM cards to purchase MoneyGram and U.S. Postal Service money orders with the proceeds of the bank fraud scheme. Others would go to different post offices to cash the money orders.

Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Garcia-Oquendo, Luis Luzunariz-Cruz and Ramon Lopez-Garcia acted as leaders for the criminal organization. The leaders would create fraudulent checks and have their co-conspirators deposit them. Then, they would determine how much money would be withdrawn from the bank accounts in which the false checks had been deposited. The leaders also played roles such as recruiting individuals and purchasing and cashing money orders.
Those arrested are:

  • Kelvin Garcia-Oquendo
  • Ramon L. Lopez-Garcia
  • Alejandro Rodriguez-Arce
  • Georgie Garcia-Oquendo
  • Joel Bezares-Cruz
  • Oscar Diaz-Maldonado
  • David Mestre-Cuadrado
  • Ernesto J. Bravo-Rivera
  • Jonathan Sierra-Coto
  • Angel L. Crespo
  • Carlos Delgado-Gomez
  • Alvin Rivera-Martinez
  • Ruperto Rijos Perez
  • Marie Grillasca-Battistini
  • Edwin Murillo-Rivera
  • Raul Martes-Colon
  • Maylee Garcia-Oquendo
  • Beatriz Nieves-Garcia
  • Yinairy Mediana-Castro
  • Sonia Rivera-Velazquez
  • Idalia Santana-Alamo
  • Gabriel Ramos-Rios
  • Jose G. Sanchez-Diaz
  • Hector Barbosa-Vellon
  • Jorge M. Agosto
  • Misha Rodriguez-Lazu
  • Hector e. Rivera-Ortiz
  • Felix Delgado-Velez
  • Brenda I. Ortiz-Echevarria
  • Wilfredo Moran-Castro
  • Ahmed D. Reyes-Vega
  • William Agosto-Diaz
  • Melitza Naveira-Sanabria
  • Maria del Carmen Garcia-Diaz
  • Alfonso Capestany
  • Kenny Quinones-Vazquez
  • Luis Ramos-Pacheco
  • Edgardo Castro-Santana
  • Ramon Matos-Santiago

Garcia-Oquendo, Luzunaris-Cruz, Sanchez-Diaz, Garcia-Oquendo, Marte-Colon, Lopez-Garcia and Delgado-Gómez face eight counts of aggravated identity theft. These defendants, while aiding and abetting each other, knowingly transferred and used the name, bank account number and information, as well as the ATM personal identification number belonging to another person. The defendants did so with the sole purpose of retrieving bank account funds that were proceeds of the bank fraud scheme.

Those arrested face up to 30 years in prison and fines not to exceed $1 million. Those defendants charged with aggravated identity theft face mandatory minimum sentences of two years in prison to run consecutive with the sentences imposed for the bank fraud charges.”

Federal Bank Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. 1344

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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.


Liberty Reserve Accused of Laundering Billions Through Virtual Currencies

May 29, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

U.S. Says Firm Laundered Billions

Digital-Currency Group Is Accused of Moving Illicit Cash for Hackers, Drug Dealers and Others

By REED ALBERGOTTI And JEFFREY SPARSHOTT

The money was virtual, but prosecutors say the crime was real.

Officials brought charges against a group of men who allegedly manufactured an Internet-based currency to launder about $6 billion in ill-gotten gains, a sign of authorities’ rising concern with digital cash.

The charges, in an indictment unsealed Tuesday, describe a complex online system set up by a Costa Rica-based organization called Liberty Reserve. The system allegedly was designed to give criminals a way to move money earned from credit-card fraud, online Ponzi schemes, child pornography and other crimes without being detected by law enforcement.

Liberty Reserve, which was incorporated in 2006, was a “bank of choice for the criminal underworld,” according to the indictment, which said the operation allegedly laundered the money through 55 million transactions before it was shut down earlier this month. The company has about one million users world-wide, including about 200,000 people in the U.S., according to prosecutors. They called the plot one of the largest money-laundering operations ever uncovered.

A spokesman for Liberty Reserve couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Prosecutors said Tuesday that they arrested five of the seven men charged in the indictment Friday in Spain, Costa Rica and Brooklyn, N.Y., and charged them with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. The officials said they plan to seek extradition of those arrested abroad, and that the two remaining men are at large.

The indictment against Liberty Reserve comes amid a concerted effort by Washington to police the nascent world of virtual currencies and ensure operators comply with U.S. law.

On Tuesday, in the first use of the 2001 Patriot Act against a virtual currency, the Treasury Department invoked a section of the law to choke off Liberty Reserve from the U.S. financial system. The Treasury’s proposal would prohibit U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining accounts for foreign banks that process transactions for Liberty Reserve and require special steps to guard against any transactions involving it.

Virtual currencies, most notably bitcoin, still account for only a tiny fraction of global transactions, but they are being embraced by some Internet merchants and are used in a host of legitimate transactions—for example, Web services and online-dating sites.

Law-enforcement officials are concerned about criminals’ ability to move around money outside the regulated world of banks and traditional money-moving services such as Western Union. Officials recently warned that digital currency exchanges should follow traditional anti-money-laundering rules.

The rise of virtual currencies has been exemplified by bitcoin, which lets Internet users create new money by solving complex math problems. The currency, which launched in 2009 and has gone through some wild spikes in value this spring, has attracted the attention of established companies and venture capitalists alike.

Tuesday’s case doesn’t involve bitcoin, though the virtual-cash community was watching developments closely.

“I think it is just another giant, flashing warning light to bitcoin exchanges: If you’re not compliant, there are some serious risks, both at the federal and state levels,” said Patrick Murck, legal counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, a trade group that promotes bitcoin software and security standards.

Preet Bharara, the Manhattan U.S. attorney, said at a news conference Tuesday that he believed “virtually all” of Liberty Reserve’s customers used it for criminal purposes, though he said legitimate users can seek to recover funds.

Mr. Bharara didn’t give details on the alleged criminals but said the investigation was continuing. “There’s more to come,” he said Tuesday, adding that the case has so far involved seizing $25 million dollars in 45 bank accounts around the world.

Prosecutors allege Liberty Reserve facilitated a range of criminal activity by allowing alleged criminals to conduct transactions using its digital currency, “LR.” The system is opaque, and Liberty Reserve deliberately kept the users anonymous and untraceable, prosecutors said.

A transaction would start with one person opening a Liberty Reserve account using a false name and address, including what prosecutors said were blatant criminal monikers such as “Russia Hackers” or “Hacker Account.”

That person would wire real currency such as dollars to approved third-party currency exchangers in countries including Russia and Nigeria. The exchangers would convert the dollars into LRs and deposit them into the person’s Liberty Reserve account.

From there, a criminal could buy narcotics, stolen credit-card numbers or other goods by transferring the LRs to another person’s Liberty Reserve account. The recipient of the LRs could go to another unregulated currency exchanger and convert the LRs back into dollars.

Liberty Reserve charged a 1% fee for LR currency transfers and an additional “privacy fee” of 75 cents per transaction to hide Liberty Reserve account numbers, making the transfer virtually untraceable.

Liberty Reserve made an appearance in a criminal case earlier this month. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y., accused eight people of stealing about $45 million from automated-teller machines throughout New York City using stolen prepaid debit-card numbers. Prosecutors said at least one of the men used an account at the online-currency operator to transfer some of the allegedly stolen funds.

James T. Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of the New York field office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, said his agency became aware of possible wrongdoing at Liberty Reserve in 2010 and teamed up with the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the matter.

The indictment described how two of Liberty’s founders, Arthur Budovsky and Vladimir Kats, were convicted in 2006 in New York for operating Gold Age Inc. as an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

Lawyers for Mr. Budovsky and the other defendants named in the indictment couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A lawyer for Mr. Kats declined to comment.

The indictment said Liberty Reserve also caught the attention of Costa Rican regulators in 2009, forcing the company to allegedly set up a fake compliance system. In late 2011, the Treasury Department warned financial institutions about the risks of doing business with Liberty Reserve.

In an Internet chat-room exchange included in the indictment, one defendant allegedly said he knew the company’s activities were “illegal” and said “everyone,” including the U.S. Department of Justice, knows Liberty Reserve “is a money-laundering operation that hackers use.”

About two weeks after the Treasury’s warning note, Liberty Reserve “went underground,” the indictment says, and continued to operate in Costa Rica using a “stripped-down staff working out of an office space held in the name of shell companies.” The defendants also allegedly tried soon after to drain their bank 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

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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

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

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


“US seizes top Bitcoin exchange as crackdown begins”

May 16, 2013

RT on May 15, 2013 released the following:

“The US Department of Homeland Security seized a payment processing account Tuesday belonging to Mt. Gox, the largest international Bitcoin trader, claiming the monetary exchange service falsified financial documents.

The American government has previously made it clear that officials are watching Bitcoin, a decentralized economic currency that international regulators have not yet been able to control. Many of those who favor Bitcoin use Dwolla, an Iowa-based startup that allows customers to transfer their dollars into Bitcoins.

Unfortunately for those consumers, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warrant Tuesday effectively shutting down Dwolla’s ability to process Bitcoin payments, as reported by CNET. Whether because of the DHS’ charge of operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business,” the sudden timing of the allegations, or another reason, Dwolla and Mt. Gox officials have been reluctant to comment.

“In order not to compromise this ongoing investigation being conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore, we cannot comment beyond the information in warrant, which was filed in the District of Maryland [Tuesday],” said Nicole Navas, a representative for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The warrant claims Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles did not disclose he operated a financial transfer site when he opened a new bank account for the business. Money transmitting services, according to Gawker, are required to register with the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen). Mt. Gox, which is involved in roughly 63 per cent of all Bitcoin purchases, has not done so.

Despite the technicalities skeptics are wondering if Bitcoin’s friction with the Treasury department is the cause of this recent scrutiny. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said the anonymity afforded by the service provided an “online form of money laundering” and campaigned for its downfall.

“Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identity through a program that makes them virtually untraceable,” Schumer said during a 2011 news conference. “It’s a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. It’s more brazen than anything else by light years.”

Most notably, proponents have asserted that Bitcoin would be impermeable in instances where WikiLeaks, for example, saw its funding evaporate as the federal government pressured PayPal to cut off the whistleblower site’s support network. Bitcoin would be more resistant to a crackdown of that nature.

Jerry Brito, a scholar at the libertarian Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told the Washington Post Bitcoin could reduce the cost of financial services by pioneering new business formats.

“Bitcoin has the potential to be a boon to the economy and a boon to merchants,” he said, adding that it could “disrupt traditional payment networks that have not been innovative for a very long time.”

A blind governmental crackdown would only serve to push Bitcoin further underground, Brito argued.

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle,” he continued. “I hate to say it, but the Bitcoin community needs to start lobbying. It needs to start educating policymakers, lobbyists and influencers about the pros of Bitcoin and the impossibility or the difficulty in getting rid of all the bad uses.””

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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.


“Dominican national arrested at Houston airport for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting pellets”

May 15, 2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“HOUSTON — A citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested at the airport Saturday for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting 53 pellets of the drug, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The investigation leading to these charges was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Mikkail Antonio Nolasco Jimenez, 27, was arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) after it was determined he had allegedly ingested 53 pellets containing cocaine.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday alleges that on May 11 Jimenez arrived aboard a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago bound for New York. HSI special agents became suspicious when Jimenez provided inconsistent statements. Upon further investigation, they discovered anomalies in his body resembling pellets believed to contain a controlled substance. Jimenez was then transported and admitted to an area hospital.

Jimenez allegedly expelled a total of 53 pellets, containing a substance that field tested positive for cocaine, according to the complaint.

Jimenez made his initial appearance May 14 before U.S Magistrate Judge Stephen William Smith, at which time he was ordered into custody pending a May 16 detention hearing.

Upon conviction, Jimenez faces a mandatory minimum of five and up to 40 years in prison each for importing cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart A. Burns, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

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

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

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.


Bank Employee Indicted for Alleged Embezzlement and Structuring of Nearly $250,000

May 10, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 9, 2013 released the following:

Nine Others Indicted by Federal Grand Jury

CLARKSBURG, WV— United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that Deborah D. Radcliff, age 41, of Weston, West Virginia, was named in an eight-count Indictment charging her with one count of embezzlement by a bank employee and seven counts of structuring.

According to the indictment, while serving as the branch manager of the Weston branch bank of Huntington National Bank from July 1, 2011 to November 5, 2012, Radcliff embezzled and misapplied $247,249.88 from depositors’ accounts and engaged in acts of structuring to cause the bank to fail to file a currency transaction report for currency transactions of $10,000 or more. To execute the scheme, Radcliff utilized her position as branch manager to issue or direct to be issued cashier’s checks from funds withdrawn from depositors’ accounts issued in the name of the depositor. Radcliff would take possession of the cashier’s check, forge the name of the depositor, and cash the checks for her own personal benefit. The ages of the alleged victims ranged from 56 to 90 years, with all but one alleged victim 64 years or older.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of a money judgment of the $247,249.88. If convicted, Radcliff faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine on the embezzlement count and up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a $500,000 fine on each of the structuring counts. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Parr and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Other indictments returned by the grand jury include:

Duane McAtee, age 43, of Metz, West Virginia, was named in a one-count indictment charging him with contempt of court. The indictment alleges that on April 2, 2013, McAtee disobeyed a lawful process of a court by failing to appear as directed. If convicted, McAtee faces up to six months’ imprisonment. The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI.

Jose Deleon Hernandez was named in a one-count indictment charging him with iIllegal reentry after removal.” If convicted, Hernandez faces up to two years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI).

These two cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul T. Camilletti.

Brian Farley, age 30, of Oceana, West Virginia, was named in a 14-count indictment charging him with six counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and eight counts of making a material false statement. If convicted, Farley faces up to four years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the fraud charges and up to five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charges. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert H. McWilliams, Jr. and was investigated by the U.S. Deparmtent of Veterans’ Affairs/Office of Inspector General-Criminal Investigations Division.

Edward C. Crow, age 43, a former inmate at USP Hazelton, was indicted for multiple counts of possession of a prohibited object; assaulting, resisting, and impeding officers; and assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm. If convicted, Crow faces up to 40 years’ imprisonment. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brandon S. Flower and was investigated by the Special Investigative Services Staff at USP Hazelton.

Shane O. Brantley, age 36, of Sutton, West Virginia, was named in a one-count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm” on April 25, 2012, in Braxton County. If convicted, Brantley faces a maximum exposure of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

Ronald M. Starkey, age 27, of Morgantown, West Virginia, was named in a one-count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm” on May 24, 2011, in Morgantown. If convicted, Starkey faces a maximum exposure of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.

These two cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Christopher Weaver, age 36, of Morgantown, was named in a three-count indictment charging him with one count of distribution of crack cocaine and two counts of distribution of cocaine hydrochloride. If convicted, Weaver faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine on each count. This case was investigated by the West Virginia State Police-Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Welford Lee Harris, age 27 and Casey Smith, age 20, of Morgantown, were named in an eight-count indictment charging them with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute oxycodone and multiple counts of distribution of oxycodone, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride. If convicted, Harris and Smith face up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine on each count. This case was investigated by the Mon Valley Drug Task Force and the West Virginia State Police. The task force consists of officers from Morgantown Police Department, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

These four cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zelda E. Wesley.

All of the charges contained in the above-referenced indictments are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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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.


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.


“Thirty-Four Alleged Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Gang Members Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges”

November 9, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on November 9, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Thirty-four alleged members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang, including four of its most senior leaders, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Houston for allegedly conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Melvin D. King of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Houston Division; and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the Houston Field Office.

The 17-count superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on October 22, 2012, and unsealed today in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. Fourteen individuals were taken into custody today, and 15 defendants charged in the superseding indictment are already in custody. Five defendants remain at large.

“Today’s takedown represents a devastating blow to the leadership of ABT,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Four ABT generals, 13 additional alleged ABT leaders, and numerous other gang members and associates are named in the indictment. As charged, ABT uses extreme violence and threats of violence to maintain internal discipline and retaliate against those believed to be cooperating with law enforcement. Through violence and intimidation, ABT allegedly exerts control over prison populations and neighborhoods and instills fear in those who come in contact with its members. As today’s operations show, the Criminal Division, working closely with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, is determined to continue disrupting and dismantling ABT and other violent, criminal gangs.”

“This indictment is the culmination of a joint federal, state, and local law enforcement effort targeting a large-scale prison gang involved in violent organized crime,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson. “Only when we work in partnership utilizing all our resources can we attack a criminal organization and dismantle it entirely.”

“ATF is serious about fighting violent crime. We remain steadfast in our commitment to focus on those violent criminals who illegally use firearms to prey on their victims,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge King. “Through a collective effort with our law enforcement partners, this operation was a success today.”

“This multi-year investigation and indictment clearly targets the worst-of-the-worst among the ABT,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Morris. “This effort not only exemplifies the level of effort the FBI and our law enforcement partners will expend to prevent prison gang racism and criminal activity from poisoning our communities. It sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these criminal enterprises regardless of where they lay their heads.”

As charged, the defendants range from senior leaders to soldiers of the ABT, a “whites only,” prison-based gang with members operating inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and elsewhere in the United States since at least the early 1980s.

According to court documents, the ABT has a detailed and uniform organizational structure, with territory divided into five regions, each run by a “general.” The superseding indictment charges four generals: Terry Ross Blake, 55, aka “Big Terry”; Larry Max Bryan, 51, aka “Slick”; William David Maynard, 42, aka “Baby Huey”; and Charles Lee Roberts, 68, aka “Jive,” with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT, among other charges.

In total, the superseding indictment charges 34 alleged members of the ABT with conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities of the ABT. Alleged members of the ABT are also charged with involvement in three murders, multiple attempted murders, kidnappings, assaults, and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine.

According to the superseding indictment, the ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system. The gang modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s. According to court documents, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism. Over time, the ABT is alleged to have has expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.

Court documents allege that the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects, and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, assault, robbery, and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise. Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”

According to the superseding indictment, in order to be considered for membership, a person must be sponsored by another ABT member. Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.

Ten defendants have been charged with offenses that are eligible for the death penalty. The remaining 24 defendants face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the ATF; Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; the Montgomery County, Texas Sheriff’s Department; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Office of Inspector General; Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County, Texas Sheriff’s Office; Atascosa County, Texas Sheriff’s Office; Orange County, Texas Sheriff’s Office; Waller County, Texas Sheriff’s Office; Fort Worth, Texas Police Department; San Antonio Police Department; Baytown, Texas Police Department; Carrollton, Texas Police Department; Alvin, Texas Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; Atascosa County District Attorney’s Office; Harris County District Attorney’s Office; and the Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman of the Southern District of Texas.”

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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.


U.S. Customs officer arrested on alleged federal bribery charges in scheme to avoid taxes on imports coming from China

October 26, 2012

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on October 25, 2012 released the following:

“LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities arrested a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisory officer Thursday morning on charges of accepting bribes to allow others, including his ex-wife, to smuggle goods into the United States so they could avoid paying duties and taxes.

Sam Herbert Allen, 51, of Diamond Bar, was arrested after being indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making false statements to investigating agents with the Department of Homeland Security.

The probe was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs.

According to the five-count indictment, Allen served as a supervisory officer assigned to oversee the examination and release of cargo entering the United States. After he was transferred to other duties within CBP, Allen convinced his ex-wife to operate an import business that would avoid paying duties on shipments coming from the People’s Republic of China. The import business – technically a “foreign trade zone” – would falsely claim that the shipments from China were not imported, but were instead immediately sent to Mexico. The indictment alleges that Allen promised to make the shipments appear to CBP as if they had been exported to Mexico, this in exchange for bribe payments of $2,000 per shipment.

During the course the scheme, which operated from at least September 2009 until March 2010, Allen allegedly received more than $100,000 in bribe payments. The indictment alleges that the scheme caused the United States to suffer a loss of at least $781,000 in unpaid customs duties and taxes.

“When public servants break the law, it leaves behind an indelible stain,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The indictment alleges that Officer Allen violated the public trust by using his position in a government agency to line his pockets and deprive the United States of legitimate taxes owed in the normal course of business. The criminal charges reflect our commitment to rooting out and punishing corrupt officials.”

The indictment goes on to allege that Allen encouraged his ex-wife to lie – and that Allen himself lied – to federal law enforcement personnel investigating and prosecuting this scheme. Allen is also charged with lying to investigators when he denied discussing a separate scheme to smuggle cocaine into the United States from Mexico.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed crimes. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Allen is expected to be arraigned on the indictment Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

If he is convicted of the five counts in the indictment, Allen would face a statutory maximum penalty of 35 years in federal prison.

Allen’s ex-wife, Wei Lai, was charged with crimes related to her role in the smuggling scheme in July 2011. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to go to trial with another defendant Feb. 19, 2013.”

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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.


Notice to US citizens: Your actions abroad may have serious consequences

October 17, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on October 17, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON – American tourists, with twisted overseas travel plans to engage in child sex tourism, may think they are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. However, they should know that it is a priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to apprehend and prosecute U.S. citizens who engage in sexual acts with minors in foreign countries.

Millions of American citizens travel abroad on a regular basis. While the vast majority of them are law abiding, some commit sexual crimes against minors in foreign countries. Each year, over a million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Child sex tourism involves people who travel from their home country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. Child sex tourism is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of child abuse and violence. For the minors involved, these acts have devastating consequences, which may include long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism and possibly death.

Tourists engaging in child sex tourism often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak local law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust. Previous arrests for child sex tourism involving U.S. citizens have included: a pediatrician, a retired Army sergeant, a dentist, a Peace Corps volunteer and a university professor.

In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act (PROTECT Act) and the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act. These laws carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison for engaging in child sex tourism. In the nine years since these laws were strengthened, HSI special agents have arrested 93 suspects on child sex tourism charges.

“Our message is clear to all U.S. citizens: We take these crimes seriously,” said Peter Vincent, director of HSI’s Office of International Affairs. “If you dare abuse a child abroad, we will find you, send you back to the United States and prosecute you for your crimes. You might be out of the country, but you are not out of reach of U.S. law enforcement.”

HSI has 73 offices in 47 foreign countries around the world that serve as the agency’s liaison to counterparts in local government and law enforcement. HSI’s attachés abroad are critical in investigating these crimes.

Just last week, Jesse Osmun, 33, a former Peace Corps volunteer, was sentenced in Hartford, Conn., to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing four girls, all under the age of 6, while he was a volunteer in South Africa. He never expected that HSI special agents would arrest him for crimes he committed nearly 8,000 miles away from his Connecticut home. HSI’s office in Connecticut – working collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut – has had two other recent cases involving child sex tourism. Edgardo Sensi was sentenced in January to 85 years in prison for production of child pornography and sexual tourism offenses related to his sexual abuse of minor girls in the United States and Nicaragua. Douglas Perlitz was sentenced in December 2010 to nearly 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 16 minor victims over the course of a decade in Haiti.

“I am proud to partner with HSI in prosecuting U.S. citizens who abuse children abroad,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein, District of Connecticut. “I am hopeful that the cases we have successfully prosecuted in Connecticut will serve as a deterrent to others who would partake in these illegal acts. The Department of Justice will continue to devote resources to protecting children worldwide.”

HSI’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit investigates the trans-border, large-scale production and distribution of images of child abuse, as well as individuals who travel abroad to engage in sex with minors. The unit employs the latest technology to collect evidence and track the activities of individuals and organized groups who sexually exploit children through the use of websites, chat rooms, newsgroups and peer-to-peer trading. These investigative activities are organized under Operation Predator, a program managed by the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit.

“If you are molesting children, I advise you to turn yourself in and get help,” added Vincent. “The law will catch up to you no matter where you are. If you continue your crimes against children, you should always be looking over your shoulder because we will hunt you down to the ends of the earth in order to protect innocent children from being violated. There will be no refuge for child sexual predators who believe that they may victimize children outside the United States. No place is too distant or too remote to escape the attention of HSI.””

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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.