Federal Drug Charges Dropped Because of Too Much Evidence

August 16, 2012

CBS News on August 15, 2012 released the following:

“IOWA CITY, Iowa — A fugitive doctor charged in the nation’s largest prosecution of Internet pharmacies is getting off in part because there’s just too much evidence in his case: more than 400,000 documents and two terabytes of electronic data that federal authorities say is expensive to maintain.

Armando Angulo was indicted in 2007 in a multimillion dollar scheme that involved selling prescription drugs to patients who were never examined or even interviewed by a physician. A federal judge in Iowa dismissed the charge last week at the request of prosecutors, who want to throw out the many records collected over their nine-year investigation to free up more space.

The Miami doctor fled to his native Panama after coming under investigation in 2004, and Panamanian authorities say they do not extradite their own citizens. Given the unlikelihood of capturing Angulo and the inconvenience of maintaining so much evidence, prosecutors gave up the long pursuit.

“Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive,” wrote Stephanie Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa. She called the task “an economic and practical hardship” for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case started in 2003 with a raid of a small Iowa drugstore and eventually secured the conviction of 26 defendants, including 19 doctors. The investigation dismantled two Internet pharmacies that illegally sold 30 million pills to customers. Investigators also recovered $7 million, most of which went to Iowa police agencies that helped with the case.

When a major drug suspect flees the country, federal authorities often leave the charges pending in case the fugitive tries to sneak back into the U.S. or a country with a friendly extradition process. But in Angulo’s case, the volume of evidence posed a bigger burden.

The evidence took up 5 percent of the DEA’s worldwide electronic storage. Agents had also kept several hundred boxes of paper containing 440,000 documents, plus dozens of computers, servers and other bulky items.

Two terabytes is enough to store the text of 2 million novels, or roughly 625,000 copies of “War and Peace.”

Two-terabyte memory drives are widely available for $100, but the DEA’s data server must be relatively small and may need replacement, a costly and risky proposition for an agency that must maintain the integrity of documents, said University of Iowa computer scientist Douglas Jones.

“A responsible organization doesn’t upgrade every time new technology is available. That’s all they would be doing,” Jones said. “But the result is you end up in situations like this where the capacity they have is not quite up to the incredible volume of data involved.”

Randy Stock, who runs the website whatsabyte.com, which explains electronic storage, said he doubted that storing the data would have been that problematic for the government.

“I’m thinking that excuse is just their easy way out,” he wrote in an e-mail.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Angulo, 59, was accused of improperly authorizing thousands of prescriptions for pain pills, diet medication and other drugs while working for Pharmacom International Corp., a Florida-based Internet company that operated from 2003 to 2004.

The company’s doctors approved prescriptions without examining patients, communicating with them or verifying their identities, prosecutors said. Three Pharmacom officials and a person who recruited doctors were sentenced to prison. Eight physicians pleaded guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances and launder the proceeds.

The investigation began after agents raided the Union Family Pharmacy in Dubuque and found evidence that it had illegally dispensed medication over a six-month period for Pharmacom and another Internet company, Medical Web Services, which pleaded guilty. Eleven of its physicians were also prosecuted.

Angulo fled to Panama around the time Florida regulators suspended his medical license for prescribing controlled substances to Medicaid patients “in excessive quantities and without medical justification.” An audit found his prescriptions cost Medicaid $6.5 million over six years and caused addiction and dangerous health risks.

Investigators know Angulo’s whereabouts in Panama, which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. to return fugitives. But a spokeswoman for the Panamanian Embassy in Washington said the country never received a formal extradition petition for Angulo and that the country’s constitution bars the extradition of Panamanian citizens.

The dismissal of the charges does not mean Angulo is free to return to the U.S. He is still listed as one of Florida’s most wanted criminals and is being sought for separate Medicaid fraud and narcotics charges in that state.”

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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.


Jamie Askew, St. Louis Community Credit Union Employee, Indicted for Alleged Embezzlement

August 10, 2012

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

“ST. LOUIS, MO— Jamie Askew was indicted for allegedly embezzling approximately $104,755 from the St. Louis Community Credit Union between July 2009 and May 2012.

Jamie Askew, Troy, Illinois, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of embezzlement from a credit union.

If convicted, this charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. First Assistant United States Attorney Michael W. Reap is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until 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

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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.


Bruno trial ready for February

May 30, 2012

TimesUnion.com on May 30, 2012 released the following:

“Jury selection for second trial of ex-Senate majority leader set to begin Feb. 4 in Albany

By Brendan J. Lyons

ALBANY — The second criminal trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno is scheduled to begin in February.

A federal judge on Tuesday met with federal prosecutors and Bruno’s defense attorneys for the first time since Bruno was indicted May 3 on two felony mail fraud charges. The attorneys discussed the scheduling of pre-trial motions, and the judge set a Feb. 4 trial date.

Bruno is charged with depriving the state of his honest services by allegedly using his political leverage to benefit a business associate and friend, Jared E. Abbruzzese of Loudonville.

Bruno’s dealings with Abbruzzese led to a conviction on two counts of honest services fraud at Bruno’s first trial, which ended in December 2009. The law used to convict Bruno was later retooled by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared honest services convictions must include allegations of a bribe or kickback, and Bruno’s conviction was vacated last fall.

A mid-level appeals court in Manhattan rejected Bruno’s arguments that he not face a second trial. The panel ruled there was enough evidence to support a new indictment, and the court ruled federal prosecutors could seek new charges on a theory that Bruno had received kickbacks.

Bruno, 83, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting in the chambers of U.S. District Senior Judge Gary L. Sharpe, according to court minutes.

In May 2010, Sharpe sentenced Bruno to two years in prison for his conviction on two of the eight counts of honest services fraud contained in the earlier indictment. The sentence was vacated after Bruno’s 2009 conviction was overturned.

The new indictment alleges Bruno received $440,000 in payments from Abbruzzese that were “disguised as ‘consulting’ payments and $80,000 in payments for a virtually worthless horse.”

The investigation of Bruno, called Operation Green Pastures, began in late 2005 when FBI agents started examining his use of private jet aircraft supplied by Abbruzzese, his horse-breeding partner. Abbruzzese flew Bruno to Kentucky horse country, New York City and exclusive Florida golf resorts — including trips that were largely bankrolled by Abbruzzese.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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

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

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


Federal prosecutors seek secrecy veil for material to be given to indicted Arizona legislator

May 25, 2012

The Republic on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX — Federal prosecutors say pretrial material they plan to give an indicted Arizona legislator contains confidential and sensitive information related to other investigations.

Prosecutors make that disclosure in a motion asking a federal judge to order that state Rep. Ben Arredondo and his defense team be ordered to keep the information secret.

The motion says the other investigations are both active and closed and that some of the information concerns witnesses.

Arredondo was indicted last week on bribery and other charges. The charges accuse the Tempe Democrat of soliciting and accepting sports tickets from undercover FBI agents and of disclosing confidential city information to the agents.

The indictment said the agents posed as representatives of a business trying to acquire city-owned property.

Arredondo’s attorney has said Arredondo will plead not 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

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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.


Former Loan Officer Sergio Martinez Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury with Bank Fraud, False Statement to Influence a Financial Institution, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in an Alleged Mortgage Fraud Scheme

May 8, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 7, 2012 released the following:

“Former Loan Officer and Resident of Tucson Indicted for Mortgage Fraud Scheme

TUCSON— Last week, a five-count indictment was unsealed. The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on March 29, 2012, charges former loan officer Sergio Martinez, 35, of Tucson, with bank fraud, false statement to influence a financial institution, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Martinez was arrested on the indictment last month in Buffalo, New York.

The indictment alleges that Martinez participated in a scheme to defraud a financial institution in order to obtain financing. Although Martinez was not the listed loan applicant, he allegedly caused to be submitted a loan application that contained material false statements including: (1) a false representation that the loan applicant was self-employed; (2) a falsely inflated income; and (3) a false representation that no part of the down payment was borrowed. The indictment further alleges that another document submitted to the lender falsely represented that the borrower would provide $359,982.38 in cash to close the deal when, in fact, the borrower and Martinez received a separate loan that was used to provide most of that cash. These documents were allegedly provided to obtain $1.4 million in loans to purchase a $1.75 million home. After the financing was used to purchase the property, the home went into foreclosure due to lack of payments. The foreclosure resulted in a significant loss to the lender.

An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A conviction for bank fraud, false statement to influence a financial institution, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud each carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, or both. In determining the actual sentence, Judge Collins will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. Judge Collins, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Internal Revenue Servic-Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson.”

US v Sergio Martinez – Federal Criminal Indictment

18 U.S.C. § 1014

18 U.S.C. § 1343

18 U.S.C. § 1344

18 U.S.C. § 1349

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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.


Dimitry Vishnevetsky Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Bank Fraud in an Alleged Fraud Scheme

May 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 2, 2012 released the following:

“Chicago Investment Advisor Indicted for Allegedly Causing Clients to Lose $1.5 Million in Fraud Scheme

CHICAGO— A Chicago investment advisor allegedly engaged in an investment fraud scheme that swindled clients, causing them to lose approximately $1.5 million, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, Dimitry Vishnevetsky, was charged with eight counts of mail or wire fraud and one count of bank fraud in a nine-count indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury. Vishnevetsky allegedly raised approximately $1.7 million from investors and misappropriated at least $1.5 million for his own purposes, including to pay for such business and personal expenses as mortgage and car payments, travel and vacations, restaurant bills, athletic club dues, and to make trades for his own benefit, while using additional investor funds to make Ponzi-type payments to clients.

Vishnevetsky, 33, of Chicago, will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court. The charges were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also yesterday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a civil enforcement lawsuit against Vishnevetsky and his companies in federal court in Chicago.

According to the indictment, Vishnevetsky offered and sold investments, including commodities and promissory notes, primarily through Hodges Trading, LLC, and Oxford Capital, LLC, which purported to be in the business of providing brokerage/management services to investors and of managing commodities funds, including the Oxford Global Macro Fund, the Oxford Global Arbitrage Fund, and the Quantum Global Fund, which existed in name only. He also offered and sold promissory notes, described as London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) adjusted notes, through Hodges Trading, which also existed in name only.

The indictment alleges that between September 2006 and March 2012, Vishnevetsky schemed to defraud investors and potential investors by making false representations about the profitability of his prior and current trading, the use of the invested funds, the risks involved, the expected and actual returns on investments and trading, and false representations about Hodges Trading, Oxford Capital and the commodities funds. For example, Vishnevetsky created and provided some investors fraudulent trading results showing profits as high as 36 percent per year, the indictment alleges. “In fact, to the extent that Vishnevetsky engaged in trading, the trading consistently resulted in net losses, not profits,” the indictment states.

The bank fraud count alleges that between 2007 and 2010, Vishnevetsky made false statements to Merrill Lynch Bank & Trust concerning his income and assets to cause the bank to issue, and later modify, two loans totaling approximately $519,500 to purchase a condominium in Chicago. Vishnevetsky subsequently stopped making payments on the loans, the charges allege.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Stern.

Each count of mail or wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory. The court may also impose a fine totaling twice the loss to any victim or twice the gain to the defendant, whichever is greater. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The investigation falls under the umbrella of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: http://www.StopFraud.gov.

An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

US v. Dimitry Vishnevetsky – Federal Criminal Indictment

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

Federal Wire Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1343

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.


Federal Prosecutors: Clemens wove a ‘tangled web of lies’

April 24, 2012

Houston Chronicle on April 23, 2012 released the following:

“By Stewart M. Powell and Regina Garcia Cano

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors on Monday portrayed Roger Clemens as a man who tainted his legendary baseball success story with lies, deceit and betrayal, ending with a grand finale of dishonesty when he lied to the nation and Congress.

In a 65-minute opening statement to the jury of 10 women and six men, prosecutor Steve Durham said the retired multimillionaire pitcher wove a “tangled web of lies” to cover up his use of performance-enhancing drugs during a distinguished career.

And as much as Clemens angled to stay one step ahead of legal scrutiny over a 10-year-period, prosecutors contend, he was nevertheless indicted on six felony counts of lying to Congress in 2008.

Clemens had a choice between coming to Washington, D.C., and telling the truth to Congress “and admitting some mistakes along the way – or to lie,” Durham declared. “He made that choice to become entrapped in a web of his own making. He couldn’t get out of it, and that’s why we’re here.”

Clemens’ first trial on the charges ended in a mistrial last year, after prosecutors introduced banned evidence.

His lead defense lawyer, Rusty Hardin, elected to deliver his opening statement Tuesday. Defense lawyers have insisted the high-profile congressional hearing in 2008 was little more than a “show trial” designed to pit Clemens’ account against contradictory testimony by former strength coach Brian McNamee to set the stage for perjury charges against Clemens.

Maintains innocence

Clemens insists he never used steroids, never lied to Congress and did not impede any aspect of the congressional inquiry into Major League Baseball’s so-called “steroid era.”

His lawyers contend Congress had no legitimate legislative purpose for convening the high-profile inquiry launched by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., then chairman of the panel.

The prosecutor’s opening argument Monday afternoon followed rival lawyers’ jockeying over the scope of testimony by a variety of prospective witnesses, including pitcher Andy Pettitte and congressional staffer Philip Barnett.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton handed a victory to the defense team by excluding potential “guilt by association” testimony by Pettitte that he obtained human growth hormone from McNamee, the same strength coach who claims to have injected Clemens.

On the other hand, Walton ruled congressional staffer Phil Barnett, former chief of staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, could testify about Congress’ purpose for convening the wide-ranging inquiry that ensnared Clemens.

Durham told jurors that Barnett would help establish that Congress was looking into the “role model effect” of professional athletes using anabolic steroids and not targeting Clemens.

Of the 16 jurors drawn from the District of Columbia during a four-day screening process, 10 are African-American and six are white. When questioned during jury screening, many said they hadn’t heard of Clemens.

Jury’s Houston ties

Two members of the panel have ties to Houston. A former Houston elementary schoolteacher who graduated from Texas Southern University with the late Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Houston, subsequently moved to Washington for a career in management. Another juror was a 1986 Rice University graduate who went on to attend Yale School of Management before serving as a senior U.S. Treasury official on risk assessment for institutions, exchanges and insurers.

Clemens’ wife, Debbie, sat in on the morning session but was ordered from the courtroom by Walton during opening arguments because she is expected to be a witness in the trial.”

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

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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.