“Inmate Charged in Murder-for-Hire Plot Against Federal Judge”

May 16, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 15, 2013 released the following:

“FORT WORTH, TX— Phillip Monroe Ballard, 71, has been charged with murder for hire, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas announced today.

The indictment, returned just a short time ago, alleges Ballard solicited the murder for hire of a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas.

Ballard, currently in federal custody on unrelated charges in the Northern District of Texas, will remain in custody pending further criminal proceedings in this case. He is expected to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Fort Worth in the near future.

If convicted, Ballard faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark McIntyre and Craig Feazel are prosecuting the case.

An indictment 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

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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 appeals court hears murder-for-hire case

May 18, 2012

Richmond Times-Dispatch on May 18, 2012 released the following:

“By: REED WILLIAMS

RICHMOND, Va. —
Attorneys on Thursday argued before a federal appeals panel in Richmond the question of whether a death sentence should be reinstated against Justin Wolfe in a murder-for-hire in Northern Virginia.

Wolfe, 31, was convicted in 2002 of hiring Owen Barber IV to kill Daniel Petrole Jr., Wolfe’s marijuana supplier, in Prince William County. Wolfe was sentenced to death.

Barber, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, testified as the star witness against Wolfe, but he later recanted that testimony in an affidavit stating that Wolfe did not hire him for the shooting.

Barber later recanted the affidavit. Wolfe has maintained his innocence.

Wolfe’s attorneys argue that no jury would have convicted Wolfe without Barber’s testimony against him, but the Virginia Attorney General’s Office contends that enough other evidence existed to convince a jury of Wolfe’s guilt.

In July, U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson overturned Wolfe’s convictions and sentences, criticizing evidence in the case and finding prosecutorial misconduct. Jackson found that prosecutors failed to provide exculpatory information to Wolfe’s attorneys and allowed Barber to give false testimony.

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office appealed Jackson’s ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Katherine Baldwin Burnett, a senior assistant attorney general, argued Thursday before a three-judge panel at the appeals court that the defense had been given full discovery and that the evidence of Wolfe’s guilt was overwhelming at his trial.

Burnett said Jackson was wrong in concluding that Barber’s testimony was the only direct evidence of Wolfe’s guilt. She said Wolfe’s own testimony corroborated the prosecution’s case against him.

Ashley C. Parrish, an attorney for Wolfe, said that Jackson observed Barber “eye to eye and face to face” at an evidentiary hearing before concluding that he found Barber’s recantation credible.

The defense has argued that the prosecution should have turned over to the defense a police report detailing a conversation between Barber and an investigator.

According to the report, the detective named Wolfe as a suspect and said Barber would not get the death penalty if he told the truth.

Burnett argued that prosecutors were not obligated to disclose the report to the defense. “This is not material,” Burnett said.

Parrish argued, however, that the report would have been important because it showed that Barber was told he should name Wolfe “or you’re going to get the chair.”

Parrish also said that Barber testified at the trial that he didn’t know Petrole and that police knew that wasn’t true. “This trial was so tainted,” he said.

Wolfe is still in prison. His mother, Terri Steinberg, attended Thursday’s arguments.

“Now that we’re a little closer to the door, it’s like the time clock moves a little slower,” Steinberg said. “Hopefully this nightmare can be over for our family and we can finally start to heal.”

She added that the proceedings also are hard on Petrole’s family.

The appeals court panel will rule on the case at a later date.

According to authorities, on March 5, 2001, Barber fatally shot Petrole after he pulled up to his town house in Bristow after returning from a meeting at which he had given Wolfe between 10 and 15 pounds of high-grade marijuana.”

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

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, Defense Attorney Agree to Extend Deadline for Federal Indictment of Arlington Strip Club Owner

May 10, 2012

Star-Telgram on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Prosecutors, defense attorney agree to extend deadline for indictment of Arlington strip club owner

BY PATRICK M. WALKER

FORT WORTH — Federal prosecutors and the attorney for the owner of an Arlington strip club who is accused of targeting Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck in a murder-for-hire plot have agreed to push back the deadline for an indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolfe and J. Warren St. John, who represents Flashdancer Cabaret owner Ryan Walker Grant, agreed to extend the deadline by 71 days to July 19, according to court filings. The filings say the two sides are conducting discovery as well as negotiations that could lead to a plea bargain.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, federal indictments must be filed within 30 days of the arrest. Federal agents detained Grant on April 9, meaning Wednesday would have been the deadline.

St. John declined to comment through his office. Wolfe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Daniel, a Fort Worth attorney not related to the case, said the deadline extension isn’t surprising, given that a public official was involved and federal agents moved quickly to make an arrest.

“Due to the complexity and the seriousness of the case, it’s not entirely unexpected,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t know the details behind the move.

Hit-man accusation

Grant is accused of trying to hire hit men from Mexico through an intermediary to kill Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt, who represents Arlington in cases involving sexually oriented businesses.

The intermediary was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Wilkins testified at a detention hearing April 20 that several days after Grant contacted the informant and expressed interest in having Cluck and Brandt killed, he gave a final green light April 9 to proceed with the slaying of Cluck.

“Let’s do the mayor. Let’s hit him tomorrow,” Wilkins testified that Grant told the informant.

After receiving Grant’s instructions, the informant left Grant’s home in Kennedale, and Grant never contacted him again, Wilkins said. FBI agents arrested Grant a few hours later.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that Grant poses a flight risk and a threat to the community and ordered him held without bail.

When agents arrested Grant, they seized 22 guns, two bulletproof vests and nearly $150,000 in cash, Wilkins testified.

Club closed a year

Flashdancer, at Randol Mill Road and Texas 360 in north Arlington, has closed for a year under a settlement with the Texas attorney general’s office and the city in a nuisance lawsuit. In labeling the club a nuisance, city and state authorities cited the prevalence of drugs, prostitution and assaults.

Police Chief Theron Bowman has revoked the club’s sexually oriented business license on the grounds that Flashdancer filed a misleading application with the city and allowed rampant sexual contact between employees and customers. Grant wanted Cluck and Brandt killed because he felt they stood in the way of the reopening, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.”

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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.


FBI Says Hysen Sherif, Accused Terrorist Plotter, Wanted To Kill Witnesses

January 25, 2012

Huffington Post on January 24, 2012 released the following:

“Hysen Sherif, Accused Terrorist Plotter, Wanted To Kill Witnesses: FBI

By MICHAEL BIESECKER

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man sentenced to prison recently as part of a homegrown terrorist ring has been accused in a federal court document of plotting to kill witnesses who testified against him at trial.

An affidavit unsealed in federal court Monday accuses Hysen Sherifi of plotting against the witnesses from his jail cell. Authorities say an FBI informant posing as a hit man met with Sherifi’s brother and a female friend and accepted $5,000 and a photo of an intended victim.

FBI agents have arrested the brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, and Nevine Aly Elshiekh, a school teacher. Now in federal custody at the New Hanover County Jail, each is charged with a felony count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced to 45 years in prison earlier this month in what prosecutors described as a conspiracy to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets abroad. Five others, including construction contractor Daniel Patrick Boyd, have been sentenced to federal prison terms for terrorism charges related to raising money, stockpiling weapons and training in preparation for jihadist attacks.

No charges have been filed at this time against Hysen Sherifi related to the new plot, according to a search of a federal court database.

Shkumbin Sherifi and Elshiekh await a scheduled first appearance Friday in federal court in Wilmington. The two have applied for court appointed lawyers, who have not yet been assigned.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh has released no information about those arrested.

In a 10-page affidavit filed under seal Friday, FBI Special Agent James Langtry writes that he developed a source as a confidential informant inside the New Hanover County Jail near Wilmington, where Hysen Sherifi was sent after a jury convicted him in October.

The informant soon befriended Sherifi, who requested help in hiring someone to kill three people who had testified against him at his trial, according to the affidavit. Sherifi specified that he wanted the witnesses beheaded and that he would be provided photos of the severed heads as confirmation of the deaths, according to the document.

FBI agents said in the document that they arranged for a second informant to pose as a hit man and monitored Sherifi during a series of jailhouse visits with Elshiekh.

Following a Dec. 21 visit at the jail, Elshiekh left a voicemail on the fake hit man’s cell phone, identifying herself as “Hysen Sherifi’s friend,” according to the affidavit. It added that the FBI observed and recorded subsequent meetings between Elshiekh and the fake hit man, during which she provided names, addresses and photos of those targeted and $750 in cash toward the first murder.

Agents also observed Elshiekh meeting with Shkumbin Sherifi, who met with the FBI’s fake hitman on Jan. 8, the court document said. According to the affidavit, the brother traveled from Raleigh to Wilmington to provide the hit man another $4,250 in cash.

The affidavit provides no information about the nature of the relationship between Hysen Sherifi and Elshiekh, but a woman with that same name was quoted in media reports from last year’s terrorism trial in New Bern. The names of the witnesses allegedly targeted were redacted from the affidavit.

Nevine Elshiekh is listed as a special education teacher on the website for Sterling Montessori Academy, a charter school in Mooresville. Bill Zajic, the school’s executive director, did not return a message from the Associated Press on Tuesday.

No one answered the phone at Elshiekh’s Raleigh home Tuesday.

The Sherifi brothers and other family members emigrated from Kosovo following the wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A call to the Sherifi family home in Raleigh on Tuesday was not returned.

Hysen Sherifi and others arrested in the terrorism conspiracy were members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the largest Muslim congregation in the Triangle. Several members of the mosque also routinely made the 4-hour round trip for the trial in New Bern to support the accused, who they described as innocent men being railroaded by overzealous federal authorities.

Messages to the media contact listed for the mosque were not returned.”

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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 Crimes Watch Daily.

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

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


Feds Get 17 Days to Decide Whether to Charge Sex Defendant With Trying to Kill a Prosecutor

December 2, 2011

Courthouse News Service on December 2, 2011 released the following:

“By JOE HARRIS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – Federal prosecutors have until Dec. 19 to decide whether to proceed with murder-for-hire charges against a man accused of sex trafficking by force. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Larsen ruled that if prosecutors want to present evidence at trial against Bradley Cook for a murder-for-hire plot against federal prosecutor Cynthia Cordes, then Cordes must be disqualified from the case.

“The danger is simply too great that the jury in this case would sympathize with the government to the detriment of the defendant because government counsel was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot engineered by the defendant,” Larsen wrote.

Cook, 33, of Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, is one of a group of men accused of brutally abusing a woman kept as a sex slave near Lebanon, Mo.

Prosecutors claim Cook tried to hire a hit man to kill Cordes, an assistant U.S. attorney who was prosecuting the case. Prosecutors used the claim in a motion to keep Cook in prison and be moved to a different jail, which Larsen approved.

Cook’s attorney argued that there’s no proof to support the murder-for-hire allegations. Cook’s attorney has accused prosecutors of using deceptive jailhouse informants, playing up the accusations against Cook and hiding exculpatory information.

Judge Larsen “ORDERED that by December 19, 2011, the government file a written election indicating whether it intends to proceed with AUSA Cordes at the helm or whether she will withdraw in favor of the government’s offering evidence of the alleged attempt to hire someone to murder her.””

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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

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

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

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


Brooks Kellogg Sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello to Serve 72 months (6 years) in Federal Prison for a Murder for Hire Scheme

September 4, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Colorado on September 1, 2011 released the following:

“BROOKS KELLOG SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR MURDER FOR HIRE SCHEME

DENVER – Brooks Kellogg, age 72, and a resident of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello to serve 72 months (6 years) in federal prison, followed by 2 years on supervised release, for traveling in interstate commerce in commission of murder-for-hire, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. Judge Arguello also ordered Kellogg to pay a $100,000 fine. Kellogg, who appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, was then remanded.

Brooks Kellogg was arrested based on a Criminal Complaint on October 20, 2010. He was then charged by Information on November 1, 2010, which was followed by an indicted returned by a federal grand jury on November 3, 2010. Kellogg was later charged by superseding indictment on February 8, 2011. On April 28, 2011, Kellogg pled guilty before Judge Arguello. He was sentenced today, September 1, 2011.

According to court documents, on October 19, 2010, after flying from Minneapolis, Minnesota and arriving at Denver International Airport, Kellogg met at the airport with an FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity. Kellogg paid the undercover agent $2,000 in cash to murder a Florida man with whom he was involved in a real estate transaction that resulted in civil court litigation. Kellogg had already paid an additional $6,000 for the hit. The Florida man had sued Kellogg, obtaining a multi-million judgment.

“As today’s sentence reveals, anyone attempting to hire a contract killer will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“This case demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to aggressively investigate all levels of violent crimes,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “Mr. Kellogg’s criminal activity was thwarted through a quick and decisive investigation.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the Denver Police Department assisting with the arrest.

Kellogg was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Brown.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

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

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

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Roy Christopher West Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts on Murder-for-Hire

August 27, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 26, 2011 released the following:

“Akron Man Sentenced to Life for Ordering Murder-for-Hire

Roy Christopher West, 36, of Akron, Ohio, was sentenced late yesterday on charges of Conspiracy to Use Interstate Commerce Facilities in the Commission of Murder-for-Hire, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.

U.S. Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

West was sentenced by United States District Judge Victoria A. Roberts to life in prison without parole. West was found guilty on April 15, 2011, by a federal jury in Detroit, Michigan following a 10-day trial.

The jury found that West conspired to murder Leonard Jermone Day in retaliation for stealing approximately $100,000 in cash and $250,000 worth of jewelry from Roy West.

During the trial, the jury listened to wiretaps which revealed that, after the theft, West began calling his family and associates, saying that he would give money to anyone who found Day. On December 20, 2005, Detroit Police found Day sitting in his truck after being ambushed by gunfire.

A separate jury found co-defendant Marcus Freeman guilty for his participation in the conspiracy. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 20, 2011. Michael Bracey pled guilty to the murder conspiracy on October 25, 2010, and Alvino Cornelius pled guilty to a superseding information that charged him with drug trafficking on October 21, 2010. Bracey and Cornelius are awaiting sentencing. One remaining defendant, Christopher Scott, is scheduled to begin trial on October 17, 2011.

United States Attorney McQuade thanked the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Detroit Police Department, the Greater Akron Area HIDTA Initiative, which is a task force led by the Akron offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency for their efforts that lead to this successful prosecution.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth A. Stafford and Michael C. Leibson.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

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

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

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