Gerardo Blasi, Former New Jersey Turnpike Authority Manager, Charged with Allegedly Stealing More Than $120,000

July 1, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 1, 2013 released the following:

“NEWARK, NJ—A former claims manager for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority was arrested today for allegedly stealing more than $120,000 from the authority, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Gerardo Blasi, 54, of Clifton, New Jersey, was arrested by special agents of the FBI and charged by complaint with mail fraud and defrauding a state agency that receives federal funds. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.

According to the complaint:

Blasi was a claims manager at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, responsible for negotiating and collecting payments from insurance companies whose insured drivers caused damage to the Turnpike. From April 2011 to June 2013, Blasi allegedly stole more than $120,000 from the authority in several ways, including instructing insurance companies to issue checks payable to fraudulent repair companies. When the checks were mailed to Blasi at the authority, he would arrange to have them cashed and keep a portion of the money for himself.

The fraud count with which Blasi is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The theft from a state agency count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the New Jersey Turnpike Authority for its cooperation in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Foster of the office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


“With the FBI On Her Trail, Michele Bachmann Raises Money For Non-Existent Reelection Bid”

June 12, 2013

San Francisco Sentinel on June 11, 2013 released the following:

“An FBI investigation into money laundering, wire fraud, and mail fraud has not stopped Rep. Michele Bachmann from continuing to raise money for a reelection campaign that she isn’t running.

According to the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog, Nearly two weeks after announcing she would not seek a 5th term from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Republican Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign website is still locked and loaded to take in money. The campaign’s donation page is still featured and functional.” The donation page is still claiming that, “Obama and the Democrats are targeting Michele for speaking out against their extreme liberal agenda. They will do, say and spend whatever it takes to defeat her.”

According to David Shuster, the FBI may be in the process of gathering evidence against Bachmann herself, “According to sources close to the criminal investigation of Bachmann’s presidential campaign, the FBI has now been given sworn testimony and documents alleging Bachmann approved secret payments to Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson in exchange for his help and support in that state’s 2012 Presidential caucuses. Ethics rules explicitly prohibit Iowa lawmakers from accepting payments from Presidential campaigns or PACs. Investigation sources tell Take Action News the FBI is examining money laundering allegations against Bachmann, as well as possible wire fraud and mail fraud.”

If this is the case, it is very clear why Bachmann high tailed it out of the House by announcing her “retirement.”

Usually, it wouldn’t be a big deal for a “retiring” member of Congress to continue to raise a small sum of money before they leave office. However, when the person raising the money is possibly facing mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering charges, it looks pretty bad to have a message up on your website soliciting donations for a reelection campaign that doesn’t exist.

It could be that Team Michele is distracted by other things, like the fact that members of her own presidential campaign team are possibly giving evidence against her to the FBI, or it could just be one of those things that Bachmann just hasn’t gotten around to yet.

When the FBI is investigating you for potential money laundering, it probably isn’t the best idea to be raising money by using a reelection campaign that no longer exists.

It is possible that Bachmann could change her mind and run for reelection, but after her “retirement” announcement the ethical thing to do would have been to change the language of the fundraising pitch on her website.

Then again, a lack of ethics is what got Michele Bachmann into this mess in the first place.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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 Agents Arrest Six People Across Alabama Charged with an Alleged State Inmate in Tax Refund Scheme

June 7, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 6, 2013 released the following:

“BIRMINGHAM—Federal agents today arrested six people in four cities across Alabama who are charged in connection with a five-year federal tax fraud conspiracy directed from inside an Alabama state prison, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein, Jr.

The man charged as the leader of the conspiracy, Shermaine “Shade” German, 56, now incarcerated in Bibb County Correctional Facility in Brent, was an inmate at Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer at the time of the conspiracy. He is charged with orchestrating the far-reaching tax fraud scheme from Donaldson, where he obtained the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of other people, often fellow inmates, including prisoners on death row and those serving sentences of life without parole. He used their information to create false income tax returns that contained fabricated amounts of tax withholdings, according to the indictment unsealed following the arrests.

German also created false power of attorney forms, which he mailed out of the prison along with the false income tax returns, according to the indictment. Various other members of the conspiracy notarized the power of attorney forms and used them to cash or deposit income tax refund checks received as part of the scheme, according to the indictment.

Six of seven people charged in the conspiracy with German were arrested today in Huntsville, Montgomery, Eufaula, and Mobile.

“Schemes such as this involve millions of dollars stolen from legitimate taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury,” Vance said. “Thanks to the diligent and cooperative efforts of law enforcement, we were able to shut down this long-term fraud.”

“Individuals who commit refund fraud and identity theft with this degree of trickery, dishonesty, and deceit deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Hyman-Pillot said. “We, along with the United States Attorney’s Office, continue to do our part in protecting the sanctity and integrity of the tax system.”

“This case, as others our office and our law enforcement partners have investigated, shows that a person’s identity and identification numbers have become a valuable commodity to today’s criminal and should be guarded diligently by their owners,” Schwein said.

The 20-count May indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges that German and his co-defendants conspired from January 2008 through May 2013 to obtain payment of false claims for refunds from the Internal Revenue Service by filing fraudulent federal income tax returns in other people’s names.

Charged along with German in the conspiracy are: Ronald Webster, 55; Brenda Joyce McDonald, 55; and Yvette Berry Pinckney, 48, all of Montgomery; Marlo Yvette Miller, 46; and Irene King Douglas, 58, both of Huntsville; Cynthia Dianne Ware, 49, of Eufaula; and Barbara Ann Grimes, 62, of Mobile.

McDonald is the one defendant not yet in custody.

Further details of the scheme, as outlined in count one of the indictment, are as follows:

Douglas sent blank tax return forms to German in prison. Douglas also received and cashed or deposited proceeds from tax refund checks using power of attorney forms she had someone else notarize.

German used two addresses in Montgomery and one in Mobile as return addresses where tax refunds should be delivered. One of the addresses was a Montgomery P.O. Box owned by Webster; one was the Montgomery apartment address of McDonald on Bonaparte Boulevard; and the third was a Mobile P.O. Box from which Grimes collected refund checks and power of attorney forms.

Webster collected IRS refund checks mailed to his P.O. Box and provided the checks and power of attorney forms to other co-conspirators, including Miller and Ware in Huntsville and Pinckney in Montgomery. Pinckney notarized power of attorney forms and, along with other co-conspirators, used the forms to cash or deposit fraudulent refund checks. Proceeds from the scheme were deposited into Pinckney’s Regions Bank account. Pinckney communicated with German on a contraband telephone he had in prison.

Miller cashed or deposited the fraudulent refund checks she received from Webster into Regions Bank or Redstone Federal Credit Union.

McDonald collected fraudulent refund checks mailed to her Montgomery apartment and provided them to Webster.

Grimes received fraudulent refund checks and power of attorney forms at the Mobile P.O. Box, had the power of attorney forms notarized, and then used them to cash or deposit the checks.

Counts two through nine of the indictment charge German and Webster with making false claims to the IRS.

Counts 10 through 15 charge German with mail fraud for causing or aiding others in causing the U.S. Postal Service to deliver fraudulent refund checks to the Montgomery and Mobile addresses.

Count 16 charges German, Webster, McDonald, and Grimes with conspiracy to commit mail fraud against the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Counts 17 through 20 are aggravated identity fraud charges against German and Webster for using other people’s identifying information to create and file false tax returns.

The conspiracy to defraud the government and false claims charges both carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud both carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity fraud carries a two-year minimum mandatory prison sentence that must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed in the crime.

The IRS and FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell E. Penfield is prosecuting the case.

The public is reminded that an indictment is only a charge. A defendant is presumed innocent, and it will be the government’s responsibility to prove guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt at trial.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


“Oregon Man Indicted for Alleged Role in $50 Million Securities Fraud Scheme”

May 16, 2013

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs on May 16, 2013 released the following:

“An Oregon man has been charged with allegedly orchestrating a $50 million securities fraud scheme, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California.

Bradley Holcom, 55, of Canby, Ore., was arrested Tuesday following his indictment in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The indictment, which was filed on May 9, 2013, and unsealed late yesterday, charges Holcom with eight counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

According to the indictment, Holcom made false statements to investors in connection with the sale of approximately $50 million worth of promissory notes that he sold to more than 150 investors located throughout the United States from at least 2004 through 2010. The indictment alleges that Holcom solicited investors to provide funds for the development of raw land for commercial and residential purposes through an investment program he operated called the Trust Deed Investment Program. Holcom allegedly falsely told investors who purchased notes through the Trust Deed Investment Program that they would receive a lien on a specific piece of property he was developing and that the lien would be in first position, which would allow investors to directly foreclose on the underlying development property if Holcom was unable to repay the principal due under the notes.

Despite his statements to investors, Holcom allegedly never provided investors with a lien on the property he was purportedly developing and instead conveyed to investors a lesser interest that did not allow investors to directly foreclose on the property to protect their investment. In addition, the indictment alleges that while Holcom promised investors that their purported lien would be in first position, Holcom solicited investments for properties that he knew were already encumbered by first position liens.

According to the indictment, Holcom also allegedly sold properties that were supposedly serving as the security for investors without informing investors that the property they had financed for development was gone.

The indictment alleges that by approximately 2008, Holcom’s financial condition had seriously deteriorated, but he continued to solicit investors for new funds by making misrepresentations about his true financial condition and the manner in which he was using investor money.

The maximum penalty for each wire fraud and mail fraud count is 20 years in prison. The count of securities fraud carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.StopFraud.gov .

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Phoenix Division – Yuma Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Henry P. Van Dyck and Deputy Chief Daniel Braun of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. The department recognizes the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Leon Benzer Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury of Tax Evasion By Alleging He Was Evading Federal Income and Employment Taxes

May 15, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“Former Construction Company Owner Indicted in Nevada for Income Tax Evasion

WASHINGTON—A federal grand jury in Nevada today returned an indictment against a former construction company owner for evading federal income and employment taxes, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Chief Richard Weber, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge William C. Woerner of the Las Vegas Field Office, and Sheriff Doug Gillespie of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Leon Benzer, 46, of Las Vegas, was charged in U.S. District Court in the District of Nevada with two counts of tax evasion.

In January 2013, Benzer was indicted in a related case on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. According to court documents, from approximately August 2003 through February 2009, Benzer orchestrated a scheme to direct construction defect litigation and repairs at condominium complexes to a conspiring law firm and Benzer’s construction company, Silver Lining Construction (SLC). As a result of this scheme, the indictment alleges that SLC was awarded a contract worth over $7 million for work at the Vistana Homeowner’s Association (Vistana HOA) in Las Vegas. The case is pending.

According to the indictment returned today, in August 2006, Benzer filed five years’ worth of personal tax forms and business tax returns without any payments accompanying those returns. As of April 2007, Benzer had allegedly failed to pay his personal tax liability of approximately $459,000 and SLC’s employment tax liability of approximately $687,000 and unemployment tax liability of approximately $18,000. In May 2007, the IRS issued a notice of intent to file a levy; Benzer subsequently appealed this process and indicated that he wanted to enter into an “offer-in-compromise” with the IRS to pay a portion of what was owed in full satisfaction of all his tax liabilities. According to the indictment, during this offer-in-compromise process, the IRS requested detailed financial information from Benzer.

Between March 2005 and January 2008, the indictment alleges that Benzer and SLC received over $7 million from the Vistana HOA contract, including a wire transfer of over $1 million on September 21, 2007, to a personal U.S. Bank account that Benzer opened in August 2007. The indictment alleges that when Benzer filed certain IRS forms related to the offer-in-compromise process on September 25, 2007, he failed to disclose this personal U.S. Bank account or the assets contained in it.

The maximum prison sentence for each count of tax evasion is five years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.

The charges and allegations against the indicted defendant are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Chief Kathleen McGovern, Deputy Chief Charles La Bella, and Trial Attorney Thomas B.W. Hall of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case is being investigated by IRS-CI, the FBI, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Criminal Intelligence Section.

Today’s charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions; and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Father and Son Allegedly Linked to Separate Federal Fraud Schemes Arrested at LAX as They Prepared to Leave U.S. with One-Way Plane Tickets to Russia

May 11, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 10, 2013 released the following:

“LOS ANGELES— A father and son were arrested yesterday afternoon as they were about to board a plane to Moscow on federal fraud charges that include allegations that the older man sent tens of thousands of bogus “invoices” to small business owners in California in a shakedown scheme that caused at least 5,000 victims to send $225 to a fake company that purported to be a state agency.

The men—Viktor Ryzhkin, 45, of the Little Armenia section of Los Angeles; and his son, Evgenii Ryzhkin, 22, who lived with his father—were arrested late yesterday afternoon at Los Angeles International Airport by federal agents as they prepared to board a Transaero Airlines flight to Russia. The Ryzhkins, both of whom are Russian nationals, and two other family members, all had one-way tickets to Moscow that had been purchased on Monday.

According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday afternoon in United States District Court, Viktor Ryzhkin targeted more than 170,000 California small business owners in a mail fraud scheme that would have brought in nearly $40 million had all of the potential victims complied with demands to send payments to “Corporate Business Filings,” a Beverly Hills company set up and controlled by Viktor Ryzhkin.

The small business owners targeted in this scheme received invoices that appeared to be from the state of California, notifying them that they each owed $225 to the state and directing them to fill out certain forms related to their businesses. The letters sent to the victims—all of which were sent over the course of several days at the end of March and beginning of April—each listed the correct, publicly available California Small Business Administration entity number assigned to the particular small business. The business owners were told in the letters that they would face $250 penalties if they did not remit payment by April 15, 2013, and did not fill out the forms as directed. The letters and invoices that appeared to be from the state of California were completely bogus.

Investigators believe that Viktor Ryzhkin became aware of the investigation into his scheme in late last month. Viktor and Evgenii Ryzhkin, accompanied by the two family members, were about to board a plane at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, when they were arrested by United States Postal Inspectors.

Evgenii Ryzhkin was charged in a separate criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court. Evgenii Ryzhkin is charged with participating in a conspiracy to take over home equity lines of credit in a scheme that caused at least $1.2 million in losses. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Eygenii Ryzhkin, he was caught on surveillance video depositing a stolen check linked to a hijacked HELOC account.

Both Ryzhkins are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court.

Viktor Ryzhkin is charged in a criminal complaint with mail fraud, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Evgenii Ryzhkin is charged in a separate criminal complaint with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

This two cases against the Ryzhkins are being investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted during yesterday’s arrests.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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 say Ernie Pitt should not get $90,000 back

October 17, 2012

Winston-Salem Journal on October 17, 2012 released the following:

“By: MICHAEL HEWLETT

Federal prosecutors have told Ernie Pitt, the former chairman of the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, that he should not get back the $90,000 he paid before his conviction on mail fraud charges was overturned in June.

Chris Clifton and Michael Grace, Pitt’s attorneys, filed a motion earlier this month in U.S. District Court asking that federal prosecutors return the $90,000 that Pitt paid in fines and restitutions related to his conviction on two counts of mail fraud in 2009. In June, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond overturned that conviction.

But in court papers filed last Thursday, federal prosecutors said Pitt is not entitled to that money because it has already gone to the victim in the case – the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem – and the Crime Victims Fund. At most, the federal government could return $6,000 of the $90,000 as well as a $200 assessment that Pitt also paid.

However, the $84,000 that was paid to the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem is out of the question, federal prosecutors said.

“Granting Defendant’s request for return of the $84,000 would require the expenditure of $84,000 from the United States Treasury and would result in a monetary judgment against the United States,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Chut Jr. said in response to Pitt’s motion.

Clifton declined to comment on the U.S. Attorney General’s response. He said that he and Grace will file a reply in U.S. District Court in about two weeks.

A federal judge will have the final say in the matter, but no hearing date has yet been set.

The dispute over the $90,000 comes as federal prosecutors seek to retry Pitt on the two mail fraud charges.

In their motion, Clifton and Grace argued that without the money, Pitt “is unable to retain counsel of his choice to represent him and that the government’s failure to return said funds is in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.”

Pitt, who is the publisher of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, was initially charged with one count of wire fraud, four counts of financial transactions in a criminally deprived property, and two counts of mail fraud. He was convicted of the mail fraud charges after the jury deadlocked on the other charges.

The charges were filed in connection with a land deal involving Pitt and two other men — Tom Trollinger and Reid Lawrence, the former executive director of the housing authority.

In 2003, Pitt and Trollinger were partners in East Pointe Developers. Federal prosecutors alleged that Pitt and Trollinger joined with Lawrence to arrange for East Pointe Developers to buy the Lansing Ridge development, off Carver School Road, at foreclosure for $285,100. The property was then sold to Forsyth Economic Ventures, the housing authority’s nonprofit wing, for $414,000.

Trollinger and Pitt wrote checks to help cover the purchase price of Lansing Ridge and later wrote each other checks for $84,000 with the proceeds from the sale to the housing authority, prosecutors alleged.

Federal prosecutors said Pitt broke the law when he failed to disclose a conflict of interest in the land deal.

Federal prosecutors have scheduled Pitt’s retrial to start Dec. 17, but a request to continue the trial is pending.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.