Defense Contractor Benjamin Pierce Bishop Charged in Federal Criminal Complaint with Allegedly Communicating Classified Information to Person Not Entitled to Receive Such Information

March 19, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 18, 2013 released the following:

“Defense Contractor Charged in Hawaii with Communicating Classified Information to Person Not Entitled to Receive Such Information

HONOLULU— Benjamin Pierce Bishop, 59, a former U.S. Army officer who works as a civilian employee of a defense contractor at U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) in Hawaii, has been arrested on charges of communicating classified national defense information to a person not entitled to receive such information.

The arrest and charges were announced by Florence T. Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii; John Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Vida G. Bottom, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Honolulu Division; Dwight Clayton, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Hawaii Field Office; and U.S. Navy Captain Patrick McCarthy of USPACOM.

Bishop, a resident of Hawaii, was arrested Friday without incident at his workspace at USPACOM in Hawaii and made his initial appearance on Monday in federal court in Honolulu. The criminal complaint filed in the District of Hawaii charges him with one count of willfully communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive such information and one count of unlawfully retaining documents related to the national defense. If convicted, he faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Bishop currently works as an employee of a defense contractor that has a contract with USPACOM, whose command is based in Oahu, Hawaii. Bishop has held a top secret security clearance since July 2002 and held access to Secure Compartmented Information from November 2002 to April 2012. As a person holding a top secret security clearance, Bishop has been subject to multiple security briefings on restrictions regarding the disclosure of classified national defense information, as well as the handling, marking, and storage of such information.

According to the affidavit, between May 2011 through December 2012, Bishop willfully communicated classified national defense information on multiple occasions to Person 1, an individual not entitled to receive such information. The affidavit alleges that Person 1 is a 27-year-old female citizen of the People’s Republic of China who is residing in the United States on a visa and who does not possess, nor has ever possessed, a U.S. security clearance, and thus is not entitled to receive U.S. classified information.

According to the affidavit, Bishop and Person 1 originally met in Hawaii during a conference regarding international military defense issues. Since June 2011, Bishop and Person 1 have allegedly been involved in a romantic relationship. Despite a Defense Department directive requiring personnel, like Bishop, who maintain a U.S. security clearance to report to the U.S. government any contacts with foreign persons, Bishop has affirmatively hidden his relationship with Person 1 from U.S. government officials, the affidavit alleges.

The affidavit alleges that Bishop communicated information classified at the secret level to Person 1 on several instances. According to the affidavit, the national defense information that Bishop passed to Person 1 included information relating to nuclear weapons; information on planned deployment of U.S. strategic nuclear systems; information on the ability of the United States to detect low- and medium-range ballistic missiles of foreign governments; and information on the deployment of U.S. early warning radar systems in the Pacific Rim.

The affidavit further alleges that a court-authorized search of Bishop’s residence in November 2012 revealed approximately 12 individual documents each with classification markings at the secret level. Bishop’s residence is not an authorized location for the storage of classified information, and Bishop was not authorized to remove and retain those documents.

This case is being investigated by the FBI Honolulu Division and the NCIS Hawaii Field Office in coordination with USPACOM and the U.S. Army. The prosecution is being handled by Kenneth Sorenson, Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii, and Robert E. Wallace, Jr., Senior Trial Attorney in the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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.


Mount Pleasant Man Charged with Allegedly Committing Federal Grant Fraud; Charged with His Wife in an Alleged Campaign Finance Fraud

September 20, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 19, 2011 released the following:

“United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that two indictments previously returned by a federal grand jury were unsealed today. A 36-count indictment charges that Mount Pleasant native Jian-Yun Dong and one of his companies, Vaxima, Inc., committed a number of offenses relating to the fraudulent use and conversion of funds received as federal grants. The indictment charges that the defendants submitted false claims for payment of federal grant monies and that they used grant funds received for scientific research for prohibited purposes. Specifically, this indictment charges that Dong, as the president and chief executive officer of GenPhar, Inc, (1) submitted false claims to federal agencies in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287; (2) converted grant funds to his own use in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 641 and 666; and (3) committed wire fraud, in that he used interstate communications to execute a scheme to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. The indictment also charges that Defendant Vaxima, Inc, a corporation owned solely by Dong, assisted in the execution of the scheme.

The second indictment charges Dong (54) and his estranged wife, Danher Wang (52) with violations of federal campaign laws. The seven-count indictment charges that Dong and Wang conspired to make illegal campaign contributions in the names of other persons using money from a foreign national, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The indictment further alleges in other counts that Dong and Wang made or caused others to make illegal contributions after they (Dong and Wang) exceeded their maximum contribution allowance, in violation of Title 2, United States Code, Sections 437(g)(1)(D)(I) and 441f. According to the indictment, contributions were made in a way to conceal their true origin from the FEC, campaigns and the public. Finally, the indictment alleges that Dong made false statements to law enforcement agents (in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001) and that Dong attempted to illegally influence the testimony of a witness in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512.

As to the grant fraud indictment, the maximum sentences Dong faces for wire fraud regarding the misuse of federal grant funds is 30 years’ imprisonment as to each count, with a maximum fine of $250,000 per count. Dong faces sentences of up to 10 years for the other charges contained in this indictment. Both Dong and Wang face maximum sentences of five years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each count of campaign finance fraud, and Dong faces an additional maximum sentence of 20 years as to the witness tampering charges in the first indictment.

These companion cases were investigated by agents of the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark C. Moore and Debbie Barbier of the Columbia office.

The United States Attorney stated that all charges in these Indictments are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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.

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Three Somalis Charged with Death-Eligible Counts in Murder of Four U.S. Citizens

July 10, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) New York Field Office on July 8, 2011 released the following:

“NORFOLK, VA—Three men from Somalia have been charged in a 26-count superseding indictment with the kidnapping, hostage-taking, and murder of four U.S. citizens during the alleged piracy against the S/V Quest. Twenty-two of the 26 counts are death-eligible offenses related to the murders of Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle on Feb. 22, 2011. To date, 11 of the 14 charged in connection with the attack on the Quest have pled guilty to mandatory life in prison.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the superseding indictment was returned. An arraignment has been scheduled for July 20, 2011.

“Today’s superseding indictment charges three men from Somalia with brutally murdering four American citizens held hostage for ransom,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “This past March, the grand jury returned an indictment against these defendants, and others, with piracy in the armed hijacking of an U.S.-flagged yacht. The superseding indictment accuses these three men of summarily executing the hostages—without provocation—while the military was attempting to negotiate their release. With the additional charges, the defendants now potentially face a death sentence if convicted of these horrendous crimes, and the superseding indictment constitutes another important step in bringing to justice those accused of being directly responsible for the killing of innocent Americans. Today’s charges underscore that we have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to attacks on our citizens.”

“The charges announced in today’s superseding indictment send a strong message to those who seek to harm Americans on the high seas: you will be subject to American justice,” said FBI ADIC Fedarcyk. “Modern-day pirates remain a very real danger; the FBI joins our international law enforcement partners in our mutual goal of maintaining the rule of law on the high seas.”

“NCIS is committed to—as in the Quest case—capturing and prosecuting alleged pirates through our participation in the FBI’s JTTF but also, to the extent possible, preventing piracy by being the primary law enforcement member of counter-piracy task force CTF-151 since its inception,” said NCIS SAC Russ. “NCIS is uniquely qualified for that mission because we operate daily in a maritime environment around the world to protect Naval personnel and assets.“

According to the superseding indictment, Ahmed Muse Salad, a/k/a “Afmagalo,” 25; Abukar Osman Beyle, 20; and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 29, and others—armed with firearms and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG)—boarded the Quest on Feb. 18, 2011, and allegedly gained control of the vessel and took the four American citizens as hostages. As the conspirators sailed toward Somalia, the three defendants and their co-conspirators took turns standing armed guard over the hostages.

Beginning on Feb. 20, 2011, the United States Navy and the FBI began negotiating with the pirates to secure the release of the hostages. The indictment alleges that after two co-conspirators were transferred to the Navy vessel on Feb. 21, 2011, to represent the conspirators onboard the Quest, Abrar fired a shot over the head of Scott Underwood Adam and instructed Adam to tell the Navy that if the military came any closer, the conspirators would kill the hostages.

After a co-conspirator fired an RPG in the vicinity of the Navy vessel, the USS Sterett, the indictment accuses Salad, Beyle, Abrar, and other co-conspirators of intentionally shooting and killing the four U.S. citizens on Feb. 22, 2011, without provocation before the hostages could be rescued by members of the military, who had been attempting to secure the release of the hostages through negotiation with the conspirators.

On March 8, 2011, the three men were among 14 defendants charged with piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and the use of a destructive device during a crime of violence. Today, Salad, Beyle, and Abrar were charged in a superseding indictment with the following alleged crimes:

  • Conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or mandatory life in · · Four counts of hostage taking resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or mandatory life in prison.
  • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
  • Four counts of kidnapping resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or mandatory life in prison.
  • Conspiracy to commit violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or a maximum of life in prison.
  • Four counts of violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or a maximum of life in prison.
  • Piracy under the law of nations, which carries a mandatory penalty of life in prison.
  • Two counts of use, carry, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory minimum of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison, consecutive to all other counts.
  • Four counts of use, brandish, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death, which carries a penalty of death or a maximum of life in prison.

The investigation of the case is being conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The prosecution in the Eastern District of Virginia is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla and Brian J. Samuels, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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

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

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

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