Former FBI Agent and Others Face Federal Criminal Charges Alleging Conspiracy, Honest Services Wire Fraud, Obstruction of Justice, and Obstructing an Agency Proceeding

October 22, 2012

Deseret News on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“Former FBI agent charged in military contract bribery case

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A former FBI agent faces federal charges for allegedly trying to derail a Utah-initiated investigation of a business partner with whom he was pursuing lucrative government security and energy contracts.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City returned an 11-count indictment against Robert G. Lustyik Jr., 50, of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; Michael L. Taylor, 51, of Harvard, Mass.; and Johannes W. Thaler, 49, of New Fairfield, Conn. Each is charged with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of honest services wire fraud, one count of obstructing justice and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding.

Lustyik used his position in an attempt to stave off a criminal investigation into Taylor, owner of Boston-based American International Security Corp., according to the indictment. Authorities say the former agent used Thaler, a childhood friend, as a go-between.

The indictment charges that Taylor, a former Green Beret, offered Lustyik $200,000 in cash, money purportedly for the medical expenses of Lustyik’s minor child, and a share in the proceeds of several anticipated contracts worth millions of dollars.

In hearing in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City last month, a federal prosecutor quoted Taylor telling Lustyik in a message, “If they don’t put me in jail, I’ll make you filthy, stinkin’ rich.”

According to the indictment, Lustyik, a 20-year FBI veteran, was assigned to counterintelligence work in White Plains, N.Y., until September 2012. The indictment states that from at least June 2011, the three men had a business relationship pursuing contracts for security services, electric power and energy development in the Middle East and Africa.

In September 2011, Taylor learned of a Utah-based federal criminal investigation into whether Taylor, his business and others bribed an Army officer to obtain a $54 million military training contract in Afghanistan.

Taylor and Christopher Harris, of St. George, were charged in a 72-count indictment in August with bribing a public official, accepting of a bribe by public official, money laundering and wire fraud. Taylor remains in jail in Utah pending trail.

Court records say it was Harris’ banking habits in St. George that opened the case for federal investigators three years ago.

Harris, who worked for Taylor as a manager in Afghanistan, was paid about $17.4 million by American International, according to court records. He tried to hide the money by structuring his transactions at America First Credit Union in St. George so he wouldn’t be detected by the bank’s warning mechanisms, the indictment states.

Lustyik impeded the investigation by designating Taylor as an FBI confidential source and texting and calling the Utah investigators and prosecutors to dissuade them from charging Taylor, according to the indictment. He also interviewed witnesses and potential targets in the Utah investigation, authorities say.”

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

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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.


FBI: Man tried to open exit door after Delta flight from Boston landed in Salt Lake City

October 17, 2012

The Washington Post on October 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI has arrested a man accused of disrupting a Delta Air Lines flight and damaging the airplane by running up the aisle shortly after landing and attempting to open an emergency exit.

Anatoliy N. Baranovich was accused of interfering with a flight from Boston to Salt Lake City on Monday night, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Federal authorities say Baranovich woke up during the plane’s descent and started yelling in Russian. Baranovich told agents he thought the aircraft’s wing was on fire and was trying to warn others.

Officials say they do not believe he posed a terrorist threat.

Baranovich was carrying a Ukrainian passport and U.S. visa. His age or place of residence were not immediately available.

After the plane touched down, Baranovich got up from his seat and ran to the back of the aircraft, according to the complaint. He then tried to open the emergency exit door as a flight attendant ordered him to stop.

The door jammed and caused an emergency inflatable slide to malfunction, which caused “extensive damage” to the plane’s fuselage, the FBI said.

Several passengers tried to wrestle Baranovich to the ground while he attempted to open another emergency exit door. One passenger forced him to the ground and held him until the plane taxied to a gate, where law enforcement and medical personnel had been called.

Baranovich told agents that he had been visiting family in Ukraine and was headed to Portland, Ore., after a stop in Salt Lake City, according to the FBI. He also told agents he had consumed alcohol while traveling but did not specify when or how much.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said Baranovich was scheduled to appear in court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.”

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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.


Florida Couple and Utah Man Indicted for Alleged Roles in Procurement Fraud Scheme Involving Foreign Military Materials

October 13, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on October 12, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON — Three individuals were charged in an indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in Utah for their alleged roles in a bribery and fraud scheme involving federal procurement contracts, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David B. Barlow for the District of Utah.

The four-count indictment returned today in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City charges Sylvester Zugrav, 68, and Maria Zugrav, 66, both of Sarasota, Fla., and Jose Mendez, 49, of Farr West, Utah, with conspiracy to commit bribery and procurement fraud. The Zugravs and Mendez also are each charged with bribery. In addition, Mendez is charged with procurement fraud.

According to the indictment, Mendez worked as a program manager for the U.S. Air Force Foreign Materials Acquisition Support Office (FMASO). The mission of FMASO is to purchase foreign military materials on behalf of their customers, which are various U.S. military divisions. The materials are acquired outside of the United States by third party companies, or vendors, and then purchased by FMASO on behalf of its customers. There are a limited number of vendors permitted to contract for the sale of foreign materials to FMASO, one of which is Atlas International Trading Corporation (Atlas). According to the indictment, Sylvester and Maria Zugrav were the principals of Atlas.

According to the indictment, the Zugravs and Mendez conspired to enrich one another by exchanging money and other things of value for non-public information and favorable treatment in the procurement process. The Zugravs allegedly offered Mendez approximately $1,240,500 in payments and other things of value throughout the course of the conspiracy. The Zugravs allegedly made bribe payments to Mendez in three different ways: cash payments via FedEx to Mendez’s home address; in-person payments of cash and other things of value; and electronic wire transfers to a bank account in Mexico opened by and in the name of Mendez’s cousin. According to the indictment, from approximately 2008 to August 2011, the Zugravs gave Mendez and a person close to him more than $185,000 in payments and other things of value, with promises of additional bribe payments if Atlas were to receive future contracts for the sale of foreign materials to FMASO customers.

In return for the bribes offered and paid, Mendez allegedly gave Atlas and the Zugravs favorable treatment during the FMASO procurement process, including disclosing government budget and competitor bid information, which helped Atlas and the Zugravs in winning FMASO contracts.

According to the indictment, Mendez and Sylvester Zugrav allegedly communicated offers and requests for bribes in person and through email, and took steps to conceal their activity, using covert email addresses, password-protected computer documents, code words and false names. Within the encrypted documents, Mendez adopted the name “Chuco” and Sylvester Zugrav used the name “Jugo,” and they referred to cash as “literature.”

The Zugravs and Mendez each are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and procurement fraud, and one count of bribery. Mendez is also charged with one count of procurement fraud for disclosing non-public information to a separate FMASO vendor other than Atlas.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for procurement fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the maximum penalty for bribery is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater. The indictment also seeks forfeiture from all three defendants, if convicted.

An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Office of Special Projects. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Marquest J. Meeks and Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos A. Esqueda for the District of Utah.”

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.