ICEgate? High ranking intel officials linked to Palestinian money laundering

May 15, 2012

Examiner.com on May 7, 2012 released the following:

By Jim Kouri

“What at first appeared to be government officials involved in embezzlement to the tune of more than a half-billion dollars now appears to be also connected to a Palestinian money-laundering operation, according to several Law Enforcement Examiner sources.

A top U.S. intelligence chief pleaded guilty last week as a result of a far-reaching federal fraud investigation that nabbed a total of five members of the Department of Homeland Security and may be connected to funnel money to a Palestinian ring, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Examiner.

James M. Woosley, the acting director of intelligence for DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of more than $180,000 in a scheme involving fraudulent travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims, according to court documents.

The 48-year old former resident of Tucson, Arizona, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of conversion of government money, according to the Department of Justice.

Four other suspects pleaded guilty to charges related to the Woosley case: Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, an ICE supervisory intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in October 2011; William J. Korn, 53, an ICE intelligence research specialist, pleaded guilty in December 2011; Stephen E. Henderson, 61, a former contractor doing work for ICE, pleaded guilty in January 2012; and Lateisha M. Rollerson, 38, an assistant to Woosley, pleaded guilty in March 2012. Abdallat pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas, and the others pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia.

Between February 2009 and September 2010, ICE Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist Ahmed Adil Abdallat also traveled from El Paso, Texas to Washington, D.C. more than ten times, according to records submitted to DHS. Abdallat did so at the recommendation of the ICE Supervisor, and Abdallat submitted fraudulent travel vouchers for expenses that he did not incur, so that he could kick back money to the ICE Supervisor, according to former U.S. Congressman Tom Trancredo, who remains active in monitoring U.S. immigration policy and agencies in the United States.

As a result of the fraudulent travel vouchers, ICE reimbursed Abdallat a total of approximately $116,392.84. Abdallat kept some of the money, but kicked back approximately $58,550 to the ICE Supervisor, Rollerson and another individual, according to court records.

Ahmed Adil Abdallat was sentenced to a mere 12 months in prison for illegal use of a diplomatic passport and submitting fake travel receipts to ICE. According to federal sentencing guidelines, he should have received up to 10 years in federal prison for his unlawful use of a diplomatic passport.

All told, the actions of the various defendants cost taxpayers upwards of $600,000.

“[On May 2] James Woosley became the fifth – and highest-ranking – individual to plead guilty as part of a series of fraud schemes among rogue employees and contractors at ICE,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., District of Columbia.

“He abused his sensitive position of trust to fleece the government by submitting phony paperwork for and taking kickbacks from subordinates who were also on the take. This ongoing investigation demonstrates our dedication to protecting the taxpayer from corrupt government employees and contractors,” Machen added.

According to the government’s evidence, with which Woosley agreed, between May 2008 and January 2011, Woosley participated in fraudulent activity involving travel vouchers, and time and attendance claims. In addition, from June 2008 until February 2011, Woosley was aware of or willfully overlooked fraudulent activity of ICE employees or contract employees under his supervision, such as Palestinian Ahmed Adil Abdallat, a supervisory intelligence specialist.

The other employees included Rollerson, who he met in or about 2007, while he was deputy director for ICE’s Office of Intelligence. Woosley and Rollerson developed a close, personal relationship. In or about May 2008, Rollerson was hired as an intelligence reports writer for a company that did contract work for ICE. Later that year, she was hired by ICE as an intelligence research specialist.

This placed her first in the chain of command under Woosley, and she later became Woosley’s personal assistant. Rollerson’s official duty station was in Washington, D.C., and she lived in Virginia, with Woosley.

Rollerson helped Woosley and the other participants with the paperwork to support the fraudulent payments they later received.

A Palestinian Connection?

According to investigative journalist and radio commentator Debbie Schlussel, suspect Ahmed Adil Abdallat, a Palestinian, served as an intelligence analyst for ICE. And his boss Woosley, the ICE Intelligence chief, could not say anything about it because he is a co-conspirator with Abdallat in submitting phony expense documents to ICE for reimbursement.

“The money, stolen from American taxpayers who paid it to fund this country’s national security, is probably going to fund Islamic terrorism and is definitely going to a multi-million dollar Palestinian money-laundering ring and its bank accounts in Jordan. The Muslim ICE official [had] a US-government-issued diplomatic passport, which he misuse[d] for eight personal trips to Jordan to see Muslim brothers” wrote Schlussel.

“Homeland Security and the Justice Department are minimizing these parts of the story and are succeeding. But the truth is that this is a major national security breach and a gargantuan example of the failure of political correctness and pan-Muslim affirmative action in federal law enforcement agencies” Schlussel stated.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, appointed to the court in 2011 by President Barack Obama, scheduled sentencing of Woosley for July 13, 2012. Under federal guidelines, Woosley faces a likely sentence of 18 to 27 months in prison as well as a potential fine.

In addition, as part of his plea agreement, he agreed to forfeiture of the money he wrongfully obtained. This case was investigated by the DHS Office of Inspector General, the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

“The fact that the investigation was handled by the Homeland Security Department and its components instead of by the FBI or other federal investigators is highly suspicious to me. These were high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials who were stealing larges sums of money without the slightest hesitation. Could not these same officials compromise national security or worse?” asks former military intelligence officer and police detective Sid Franes.

“Are Americans getting the whole story? Or are we once again facing yet another political agenda?” he asks.”

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


Barry A. Thomas Pleaded Guilty in Federal Court to Wire Fraud in Connection to a $1.2 Million Embezzlement Scheme

September 22, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 21, 2011 released the following:

“Former Central Leasing Corporation Executive Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

BIRMINGHAM—A former equipment leasing company executive pleaded guilty today in federal court to wire fraud in connection to a $1.2 million embezzlement scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley, and Vestavia Hills Police Chief Dan Rary.

BARRY A. THOMAS, 48, former chief financial officer for Central Leasing Corporation, entered his plea before U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor to one count of wire fraud for embezzling from the Birmingham-based company from July 2003 until his employment was terminated in August 2010. Prosecutors charged Thomas in July. His sentencing date has not been set.

“Companies and the communities in which they operate are harmed when corporate officials choose to defraud and steal from their employers,” Vance said. “These are serious crimes that put the health of the company at risk and, therefore, also put the livelihood of the company’s employees at risk,” she said.

According to the court documents, Thomas carried out his embezzlement as follows:

Part of his responsibilities as CFO was to handle payroll and payment of salaries for Central Leasing employees. In order to do that, he would send electronic communications, via the Internet, from his Birmingham office to the payroll and bookkeeping firm, QuickBooks/Intuit, in San Diego. The electronic file would set out the exact amount of money that was to be directly deposited into the personal accounts of Central Leasing employees. In many of these electronic communications, Thomas would direct the release of money to his personal account that exceeded what he should have received for his salary. The total amount Thomas obtained as a result of his embezzlement was about $1,226,277.

The maximum sentence for the wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The notice of forfeiture specifies a forfeiture amount of $1,126,277. Thomas has already made restitution of about $100,000.

The FBI and the Vestavia Hills Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney is prosecuting it.

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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Bernard Joseph Tully, a Former Massachusetts State Senator, Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

September 1, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 31, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Bernard Joseph Tully, a former Massachusetts state senator, has pleaded guilty for devising a scheme to defraud a Boston-area businessman out of approximately $18,000 by falsely representing that Tully and his co-conspirator were using the funds to bribe public officials. Unbeknownst to Tully, the businessman reported Tully’s overtures to the FBI.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.

Tully, 84, of Dracut, Mass., pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, Tully formerly served as the city manager for Lowell, Mass., from approximately 1979 to 1987. Prior to serving as city manager, Tully was a state senator representing Lowell and other areas.

According to information presented at the plea hearing and in court documents, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) determined in early 2009 that it needed to discontinue its lease for the Lowell RMV, due to lack of funds. According to court documents, Tully became aware of the possible closure of the Lowell RMV and contacted the Boston-area businessman who owned the space where the Lowell RMV was housed. Tully told the businessman that if he paid Tully, Tully would ensure a state senator would find money in order to keep the RMV in the space owned by the businessman. Later, according to court documents, Tully again contacted the businessman and told him that he need to pay Tully so that Tully could pay the public official, otherwise the RMV would have to move out of the space.

On July 3, 2009, the RMV announced it was closing the Lowell office as well as other RMV offices on July 23, 2009. Tully and a co-conspirator subsequently visited the businessman and told him that he would need to pay $20,000 to keep the RMV in Lowell. The businessman agreed that he wanted the RMV to stay, and Tully said he would start making telephone calls while his co-conspirator said he would talk to the public official.

On July 15, 2009, the businessman gave the co-conspirator a $5,000 check, which the co-conspirator cashed and gave a portion of the funds to Tully. On July 17, 2009, the businessman received a 90-day extension on the lease from the RMV to Oct. 31, 2009.

Thereafter, according to court documents, the businessman had a series of meetings and telephone conversations with Tully and his co-conspirator about securing another lease extension from the RMV. During these conversations, Tully and his co-conspirator falsely represented to the businessman that they needed additional money to make payments to various public officials in exchange for their official acts to secure the RMV’s continued presence in the businessman’s building. Between November 2009 and March 2010, the businessman, while cooperating with the FBI, paid Tully and the co-conspirator approximately $18,000 as bribe payments designed to secure the official assistance of various public officials.

In fact, Tully and his co-conspirator never paid any money to any public officials. According to court documents, Tully admitted in a May 2010 interview with FBI agents that he received approximately $12,000 in cash and checks from the businessman, and that he split the money with his co-conspirator. Tully also admitted that he had heard about the RMV’s plan to move the Lowell office out of the businessman’s office building from people who worked in the office, and that the businessman had contacted him for assistance. Tully admitted that he spoke with friends of friends of the Lowell legislative delegation about obtaining a lease extension and preventing the move of the Lowell RMV.

Tully admitted that he told the businessman that he was “throwing money around” at elected officials, but in actuality he did not. He admitted that he did this to give the businessman the impression that he, Tully, was influencing the legislative delegation.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. According to the plea agreement, the government has agreed not to seek punishment beyond home confinement, 36 months of supervised release, a fine to be calculated under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and restitution of $18,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office and the Lowell Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel William M. Welch II and Kevin Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Corruption Unit.”

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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Texas Syndicate Gang Members and Associates Sentenced to Prison

August 31, 2011

U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on August 30, 2011 released the following:

“McALLEN, Texas – Six Texas Syndicate members and associates have been sentenced to prison for racketeering, violent crimes in aid of racketeering, kidnapping and possession with intent distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa sentenced the chairman of the Texas Syndicate in the Rio Grande Valley, Jose Ismael Salas, 40 of Edinburg, Texas, to 20 years in federal prison without parole for drug trafficking offenses in violation of the racketeering statute. Salas pleaded guilty on April 2, 2009, admitting to committing two acts of racketeering, namely two separate acts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance – six kilograms of cocaine on Aug. 12, 2004, and 39 kilograms of marijuana on March 28, 2003, intending to further the goals of the gang.

Five other members or associates of the gang were also sentenced yesterday by Judge Hinojosa including Fidel Valle, 45 of Donna, Texas – the source of drug supply to the gang who employed gang members to assist in his drug distribution business. He received 126 months imprisonment for possession with intent to distribute six kilograms of cocaine. On July 28, 2009,Valle pleaded guilty to the federal felony drug charge acknowledging that on Aug. 12, 2004, upon being contacted by Salas, Valle agreed to sell approximately six kilograms (approximately 13 pounds) of cocaine to Salas’s associates. That drug load was found and seized by law enforcement officers during a traffic stop of a Ford pickup seen leaving Valle’s residence in Donna on Aug. 12, 2004.

Romeo Rosales, 41 of Raymondville, Texas – an admitted Texas Syndicate gang member who was convicted of kidnapping Amancio Pinales-Garcia – was sentenced to 151 months imprisonment. Reyes, son-in-law of the kidnapping victim, sought a monetary reward to turn over Pinales-Garcia to unknown subjects in Mexico. Pinales-Garcia was shot several times in the low torso during the struggle and subsequently died in Mexico. Rosales pleaded guilty to kidnapping Pinales-Garcia on March 3, 2009.

Noel De Los Santos, 33, of Donna, Texas was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment for violent crimes in aid of racketeering, that is, for the murder of Crisantos Moran on March 20, 2003. According to trial testimony, Moran had been ordered by the Texas Syndicate to kill a rival gang member who lived near Penitas, Texas. De Los Santos and Jose Armando Garcia, both Texas Syndicate gang members, agreed to accompany Moran to commit the murder. However, Moran failed to carry out the order as given. Instead, De Los Santos and Garcia shot and killed Moran for failing to carry out the order. On Aug. 10, 2010, Garcia was convicted of racketeering and violent crimes in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 5, 2011.

Cristobal Hernandez, 31, and Arturo Rodriguez, 28, both of Brownsville, Texas, were sentenced to 120 and 240 months imprisonment, respectively, for violent crimes in aid of racketeering arising from the murder of Marcelino Rodriguez in June 2007. After members of the Texas Syndicate obtained a copy of a sealed court document from an employee of a McAllen area law firm which represented Marcelino Rodriguez in a federal case, the murder of Marcelino Rodriguez was approved by the leadership of the Texas Syndicate. Hernandez and Arturo Rodriguez were recruited by Raul Galindo to commit the murder. Galindo shot Marcelino Rodriguez in the back of the head while Arturo Rodriguez set the vehicle on fire with gasoline. On Aug. 10, 2010, Galindo was convicted of violent crimes in aid of racketeering and tampering with a witness, victim or an informant. On Jan. 5, 2011, Galindo was sentenced to life imprisonment.

All six of the defendants sentenced yesterday are in federal custody and will remain in custody pending transfer to Bureau of Prisons facilities to be designated in the near future.

All 13 charged in this case have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Juan Pablo Hinojosa, who was convicted by a federal jury of racketeering and violent crimes in aid of racketeering, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Jan. 5, 2011. On Jan. 28, 2010, Benjamin Piedra pleaded guilty to violent crimes in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 120 months confinement and three years of supervised release on Feb. 22, 2011. Adan Roberto Ruiz pleaded guilty to criminal information charging him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, while Jorge Puga pleaded to a criminal information charging him with possession with intent to distribute 39 kilograms of marijuana. Ruiz and Puga received 52 and 37 months, respectively. Joel Carcano Jr. pleaded guilty providing false statements – admitting he lied to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents when he falsely stated he did not provide a copy of downward departure motion to Texas Syndicate members. This document was used as the basis to order the murder of the government’s informant. On Feb. 22, 2011, Carcano was sentenced to 52 months custody and a three-year-term of supervised release.

The investigation leading to the federal charges and subsequent conviction of these admitted Texas Syndicate gang members was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Wells, Jr. prosecuted the case.”

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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Armando Pena Pleads Guilty to a One Count Federal Indictment Charging Him with Aiding and Abetting Honest Services Wire Fraud in Violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343 and 1346

July 27, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 26, 2011 released the following:

“Probationer Allowed by Judge Limas to Report by Mail After Bribe Paid, Pleads Guilty

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The probationer who left the state without authorization but was permitted to report by mail after a bribe was paid to former State District Judge Abel Limas has been convicted of aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Armando Pena, 30, of Corpus Christi, Texas, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan to a one-count criminal indictment charging him with aiding and abetting honest services wire fraud by former state judge Abel Corral Limas, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343, 1346, and 2. At today’s hearing, Pena admitted to his role in arranging a $1,500 payment to Limas in April 2008, allegedly through middleman Jose Manuel “Meme” Longoria, in exchange for Limas’s order allowing him to report to the state probation by mail rather than in person. Pena, who had left Texas without authorization to reside in Arkansas, was subject to arrest and revocation of his deferred adjudication probationary term for violating a condition of his eight-year probationary term imposed for aggravated robbery in March 2006.

Per the pleadings filed in court today, Karina Pena, Armando’s wife, contacted Longoria on April 22, 2008, seeking his assistance to arrange for her husband to be permitted to report by mail. Two days later, according to court documents, Karina Pena was told that Limas wanted $1500, Longoria sought $300 for himself for arranging the deal and Limas had already been paid $1,000. On April 24, 2008, Armando Pena finalized the arrangements with Longoria and wire transferred $1800 to Harlingen, Texas.

FBI agents later reviewed the Armando Pena state court case file and located a progress report written by Pena’s probation officer indicating that, “On April 23, 2008, the Honorable Court (Limas) contacted our office in reference to allowing the defendant to report by mail.” Furthermore, on May 13, 2008, Judge Limas signed an order allowing Pena to report by mail.

Pena faces a maximum prison term of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years. Sentencing is set before U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen on Oct. 31, 2011. Pena was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Pena’s wife, Karina Pena, pleaded guilty to the same offense on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, and has been permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.

The charges against the Penas are the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Brownsville Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Wynne and Oscar Ponce are prosecuting the cases.”

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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