“JPMorgan discloses federal criminal investigation over sale of mortgage-backed securities”

August 9, 2013

The Washington Post on August 8, 2013 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

NEW YORK — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating JPMorgan Chase over mortgage-backed investments the bank sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The New York-based bank said in a regulatory filing that it is responding to investigations by the civil and criminal divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California. In May, the civil division informed JPMorgan that it had “preliminarily concluded” that the bank had violated federal securities laws in connection with certain mortgage-backed investments it sold from 2005 to 2007.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment.

The disclosure is just the latest in a swirl of mortgage-related lawsuits and investigations that have hammered big U.S. banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The banks have been accused of improperly foreclosing on homeowners, discriminating against others and knowingly making loans to people who couldn’t afford them. Other probes, including the one disclosed by JPMorgan, have focused on mortgage-backed securities, where the banks bundled together their mortgages and sold them in slivers to investors.

JPMorgan didn’t give details on what the Justice Department is investigating. But previous lawsuits and investigations, against both JPMorgan and other big banks, have said that the banks misled investors about the quality of the loans they were buying. When the real estate bubble burst, many of the mortgage-backed securities soured and the investors who bought them lost billions.

If the investigations result in criminal or civil action by the Justice Department against JPMorgan, it would be the most high-profile government move against the bank to date. JPMorgan, which came through the financial crisis stronger than most of its competitors and was lauded for wise risk-management practices, has lately faced a slew of sanctions by federal regulators.

In January, regulators ordered the bank to take steps to correct poor risk management that led to a surprise trading loss last year of more than $6 billion. The Federal Reserve and the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency also cited JPMorgan for lapses in oversight that could allow the bank to be used for money laundering. Last month, the bank agreed to pay $410 million to settle allegations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it manipulated electricity prices in California and the Midwest.

An investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of the trading loss is nearing final stages with civil charges possible, according to news reports Thursday. The SEC is seeking an admission of wrongdoing from JPMorgan in a settlement, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the case.

That would be a departure from the SEC’s traditional policy of allowing most companies and individuals agreeing to settlements to neither admit nor deny wrongdoing. It would be a major application of a new policy announced recently by SEC Chairman Mary Jo White that calls for requiring admissions of wrongful conduct in some significant cases.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined comment on the reports.

The newly disclosed Justice Department investigations are not JPMorgan’s first legal headaches over mortgage-backed securities. It has settled charges from the SEC over mortgage-backed investments it made in the run-up to the financial crisis. It’s also facing lawsuits from the New York Attorney General’s Office and the National Credit Union Administration over the securities.

JPMorgan is fighting the attorney general’s lawsuit, which focused on investments sold by Bear Stearns in 2006 and 2007. JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns in 2008.

JPMorgan made the disclosure about the Justice Department investigations in a quarterly regulatory filing late Wednesday. It came a day after the U.S. government accused Bank of America of civil fraud, saying the company failed to disclose risks and misled investors in its sale of $850 million of mortgage bonds during 2008. The government says that the bank failed to tell investors that more than 70 percent of the mortgages backing the investment were written by mortgage brokers outside the banks’ network.

Bank of America has disputed those allegations, saying the investors who bought the securities had “ample access” to data about the mortgages.

“We are not responsible for the housing market collapse that caused mortgage loans to default at unprecedented rates and these securities to lose value as a result,” the bank said in a statement this week.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. slipped 47 cents, to close Thursday trading at $54.83. The stock has traded between $36.40 and $56.93 in the past 52 weeks, and remains up 25 percent since the start of the year.”

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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

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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.


“Feds crack down on foreclosure auction scams”

June 3, 2013

The Associated Press on June 1, 2013 released the following:

By PAUL ELIAS
Associated Press

“SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — At the height of the financial crisis, bargain hunters would gather each week on county courthouse steps to bid on foreclosed properties throughout Northern and Central California. The inventory lists were long, especially in hard-hit areas such as Sacramento and Stockton. But the auctions were generally short affairs – often because real estate speculators were illegally fixing the bidding process.

In the past three years, federal prosecutors have charged 54 people and two companies in three states for bid-rigging during courthouse auctions of foreclosed properties. Most cases originated in California, the state with the highest foreclosure rate during the financial crisis. Nearly identical rings were also broken up in Raleigh, N.C., and Mobile, Ala.

Working in concert, the would-be buyers would appoint just one person to bid on each property on the auction block, thus securing the “winning” bid. Minutes after the official proceeding was over, they would then conduct an auction among themselves, often on the same courthouse steps.

That’s when a property’s true price would emerge. The conspirators would then divvy up the difference paid at the official auction and the private one.

Federal prosecutors say such schemes have operated for decades, once earning a few thousand dollars per property. But the explosion of foreclosures amid the country’s financial meltdown a few years ago upped illicit gains to millions of dollars. The scammers took money that otherwise would have gone to banks selling the foreclosed properties or beleaguered homeowners who should have been compensated.

The bidding investigations are being driven by a special task force established at the U.S. Justice Department in the wake of the financial crisis to combat mortgage fraud. The probes aim to “stop those who engage in illegal conduct that thwarts the competitive process, and take advantage of American consumers when they are most vulnerable,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, head of DOJ’s antitrust division in Washington, D.C.

Prosecutors say the circle of conspirators gradually widened at each courthouse: First-time buyers would be brought into the conspiracy as an increasing number of speculators attended the auctions. Those not in on the schemes were often pressured not to return by verbal harassment and, in some cases, physical jostling.

In the last two years, more than 30 people have pleaded guilty to participating in a series of courthouse bid-rigging conspiracies in Northern California counties. Another 11 have been busted in Central California. Similar prosecutions have been carried out in Alabama, where eight people have pleaded guilty in Mobile in the last two years. Five others have pleaded guilty in North Carolina since 2010 to operating a bidding conspiracy around Raleigh.

For many now going to prison, this is their first brush with the law.

Father and son Robert and Jason Brannon were each sentenced to 20 months in prison this month in Mobile, Ala., after pleading guilty to participating in 17 rigged bids. The two opened a real estate investment company in 2003, after Robert Brannon sold a portion of the family farm. When they began attending auctions to acquire rental properties, they discovered that some speculators were rigging the bids and joined in the conspiracy, according to court documents.

In addition to the jail time, the Brannons were ordered to pay restitution of almost $22,000 each, their cut from the rigged auctions.

In April, real estate investor Mohammed Rezaian pleaded guilty to participating in similar scams in Northern California. He has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of other perpetrators and pay a fine of $213,000. He also faces a little less than two years in prison when sentenced sometime next year. Neither he nor his lawyers returned phone calls.

Federal officials say they expect to charge a few more people in the coming months but that cases are expected to soon drop off now that the heated foreclosure market of late 2008 and 2009 has cooled.

Madeline Schnapp, an economist with PropertyRadar, a company that tracks foreclosures, said sales at auctions have fallen from a height of about 30,000 a month to about 5,000 a month in California as government programs and new laws have made it more difficult for banks to begin foreclosure proceedings.

“There’s not much of a supply now,” she said.

Paul Pfingst, a lawyer who represents another investor charged in participating in a Central California ring, says illegal temptation got the better of many speculators who couldn’t resist victimizing seemingly unsympathetic banks. His client, Andrew Katakis, is accused of participating along with four others in a $2.5 million conspiracy to rig bids in the Stockton area, which has led the nation in foreclosures.

“The amount of money and properties that were changing hands was staggering,” said Pfingst, who maintains his client’s innocence. “It caused many people to cross from legality to illegality.””

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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

————————————————————–

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.


2 Ky. men acquitted of hate crimes in 1st prosecution under US law expanded to protect gays

October 25, 2012

The Washington Post on October 24, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

LONDON, Ky. — The first U.S. prosecution under a new federal law against anti-gay violence ended with a Kentucky jury acquitting two cousins of hate-crime charges while finding them guilty of kidnapping in a 2011 attack on a gay man.

Prosecutors had argued that Anthony Ray Jenkins and his cousin David Jason Jenkins attacked 29-year-old Kevin Pennington at a rural state park because of Pennington’s sexual orientation, violating a hate crime law that was expanded in 2009 to cover assaults motivated by bias against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

It was not clear why jurors late Wednesday rejected that argument. They were whisked away immediately after delivering the verdicts and did not make any comments.

Anthony Jenkins’ attorney, Willis Coffey, said after the trial that jurors didn’t find Pennington’s account of the events credible.

“You’d like to have an acquittal on all counts, but he’s happy he was found not guilty of a hate crime,” Coffey said of his client. “So am I.”

Prosecutors said they would issue a statement later.

Government attorneys have said this is the first U.S. prosecution charging a violation of the sexual orientation section of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed in 2009.

Pennington held hands with family members and let out an audible sigh when the not-guilty verdicts on the hate-crimes charges were announced. He left the courtroom without talking to news reporters.

Jimmy Jenkins, an uncle who raised Anthony Jenkins, dropped his head into his hands and cried when the cousins were found guilty on the charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to a kidnapping. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 21.

Throughout the trial, the defense argued that any dispute between the Jenkinses and Pennington was over a drug deal gone sour.

Andrew Stephens, the attorney for David Jason Jenkins, argued that his client had at least 21 beers on the day of the assault and was too drunk to have formulated a plan for such an attack.

“These people who were stoned and drunk were going to form a plan? When this event took place, they were all about drugs,” Stephens said.

Coffee argued that Anthony Jenkins has an IQ of roughly 75 and was merely a follower who does not hate gay people. He called the allegations “the nearest thing to nothing I have ever seen.”

Coffey said Pennington pushed the idea that he was attacked for being gay to serve his own political agenda. Coffey invoked the name of President Barack Obama, who is unpopular in Kentucky and lost badly in the state four years ago.

“If the government and President Obama want to bow to the special-interest groups, that’s their business, but they picked the wrong case,” Coffey said.

U.S. Justice Department civil rights attorney AeJean Cha told jurors that the Jenkins cousins and two women planned to kidnap, beat and kill Pennington because of his sexual orientation.

“This is not about drugs, this is about the fact that Kevin is gay,” Cha said.

Hawkins also played a tape of Pennington’s 911 call after the attack. On the tape, Pennington’s voice can be heard cracking as he tries to describe the attack and relay information about the Jenkinses.

“They’re trying to kill me,” Pennington told the 911 operator on April 4, 2011. “I didn’t know what they were going to do. I think it’s because I’m gay.””

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Dozens of ‘innocent’ prisoners could be freed

August 14, 2012

USA Today on August 13, 2012 released the following:

“By Brad Heath

Dozens of federal prisoners who are locked up even though prosecutors concede they are “legally innocent” could soon be released under new orders from the U.S. Justice Department.

The department confirmed Monday that it had instructed its lawyers to abandon legal objections that could have blocked — or at least delayed — the inmates from being set free. In a court filing , the department said it had “reconsidered its position,” and that it would drop its legal arguments “in the interests of justice.”

The shift follows a USA TODAY investigation in June that identified more than 60 people who were imprisoned for something an appeals court later determined was not a federal crime. The investigation found that the Justice Department had done almost nothing to identify those prisoners — many of whom did not know they were innocent — and had argued in court that the men were innocent but should remain imprisoned anyway.

Neither Justice Department lawyers nor defense attorneys would speculate Monday how many innocent prisoners eventually might be released. Some who were convicted of other crimes might receive shorter sentences; others might be tried for different offenses.

Chris Brook, the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, called the move “an encouraging first step,” but said “much more has to be done for these wrongly incarcerated individuals.” He said the department still had not offered to identify prisoners who were sent to prison for something that turned out not to be a federal crime.

Federal law bans people from having a gun if they have previously been convicted of a crime that could have put them in prison for more than a year. In North Carolina, however, state law set the maximum punishment for a crime based in part on the criminal record of whoever committed it, meaning some people who committed crimes such as possessing cocaine faced sentences of more than a year, while those with shorter records face only a few months.

For years, federal courts there said that didn’t matter. If someone with a long record could have gone to prison for more than a year, then all who had committed that crime are felons and cannot legally have a gun, the courts maintained. But last year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said judges had been getting the law wrong: Only people who could have faced more than a year in prison for their crimes qualify as felons. Its decision meant thousands of low-level offenders are not committing a federal crime by having a gun.

In many cases, prosecutors did not dispute that prisoners convicted of gun possession before that decision were innocent, but argued that they should remain locked up because of strict laws that limit when and how inmates can challenge their convictions. The department’s new instructions directed prosecutors to drop those arguments.

Justice spokeswoman Adora Andy said the department had “decided to take a litigating position designed to accelerate relief for defendants in these cases who, by virtue of a subsequent court decision, are no longer guilty of a federal crime.” She declined to elaborate on the details of the department’s instruction. In at least one case on Monday, the government asked a court to set aside a defendant’s gun possession conviction.

The shift was met with cautious praise Monday from defense lawyers scrambling to file challenges based on the court’s ruling. Eric Placke, an assistant federal public defender in Greensboro, N.C., said it was “an appropriate response, a fair response, by allowing things to be handled on the merits rather than based just on procedural defenses.”

One of those prisoners, Travis Bowman, said in an e-mail that he was hoping for “another chance at life” if his gun possession conviction is overturned. Bowman was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm; he was arrested after a high-speed police chase through rural Murphy, N.C. Under the appeals court’s ruling, his prior convictions weren’t serious enough to make having a gun a crime.

Bowman said he didn’t know he was innocent until USA TODAY contacted him earlier this year. He later asked a federal judge in North Carolina to release him. “If that happens, I got so much stuff I wanna do with my life,” he said.

Many of the practical effects of the Justice Department’s new instructions remained unclear on Monday.

The legal issue underlying the gun possession cases could also have implications for many other federal inmates. That’s because a person’s felony record plays a key role in deciding how long a prison sentence he will receive when he’s convicted of a federal crime. Hundreds of inmates have already gone to court arguing their prison sentences are too long because at least one of their prior convictions no longer qualifies as a felony under the appeals court’s decision.

The ACLU, which last week asked Justice officials to do more to help the inmates, estimated last week that as many as 3,000 people could be eligible to either be released or have their sentences reduced. because of the 4th Circuit’s decision. The department did not say on Monday whether it would also drop its legal objections in those cases.”

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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 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 drop case against John Edwards

June 13, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“(06-13) 13:20 PDT Greensboro, N.C. (AP) —

Federal prosecutors have filed an order dismissing the remaining criminal charges against John Edwards.

A jury in North Carolina acquitted the former presidential candidate last month on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions. It deadlocked on five other felony counts, resulting in a mistrial on those charges.

A statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said prosecutors will not seek to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts.

Edwards was accused of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.”

US v. John Edwards – Order for Dismissal

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Omega Police Chief Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges

March 20, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in Macon, Georgia returned a one-count indictment against Walter Young, 54, police chief of the Omega Police Department, for physically abusing a man in his custody.

The indictment alleges that, on March 24, 2011, Young, while acting in his capacity as the chief of police, assaulted “A.M.,” a pretrial detainee, thereby violating the civil rights of the detainee. The indictment further charges that A.M. suffered bodily injury as a result of Young’s use of excessive force.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian; Trial Attorney Tona Boyd, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McCullers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.”

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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 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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Arrests Jamshid Muhtorov on Alleged Charges of Supporting a Terrorist Organization

January 23, 2012

The Washington Post on January 23, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

AURORA, Colo. — The FBI arrested a refugee from Uzbekistan at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on charges that he planned to travel overseas to fight for a terrorist group and give up his life if necessary, an official said Monday.

However, there was no evidence that suspect Jamshid Muhtorov was plotting attacks inside the United States, authorities said.

Muhtorov, 35, of Aurora, Colo., was arrested Saturday by members of the FBI’s Denver and Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Forces.

Muhtorov, who goes by several other names, was indicted for providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Prosecutors allege he planned to fight for the Islamic Jihad Union, which has been blamed for suicide attacks in Uzbekistan and claimed responsibility for numerous attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Muhtorov was arrested without incident before he could board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.

Muhtorov made a brief court appearance Monday morning in Chicago and waived his rights to further hearings in the northern Illinois district. Judge Morton Denlow then ordered Muhtorov to be transferred to Denver but it wasn’t immediately clear how soon that would happen.

No one answered the door Monday at an apartment where the FBI said Muhtorov lived.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for Muhtorov’s apartment for a laptop computer, a Blackberry cellphone, and permission to search two email accounts they said were used by Muhtorov, according to the indictment.

The FBI said Muhtorov communicated with a contact with the terror organization by email using code words, asking to be invited to the “wedding.” He also told the contact that he was “ready for any task, even with the risk of dying.” the FBI said.

Neighbors said Muhtorov worked as a truck driver and lived with three children and a woman.

Cody Bank, 29, said a white, unmarked 18-wheeler truck was often parked outside the building. He said he saw Muhtorov and his family out barbecuing once a week, but he didn’t talk to him.

Neighbor Kevin Inman, 29, said people he assumed were in law enforcement were in and out of Muhtorov’s apartment much of the day on Saturday.

If convicted, Muhtorov could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

It wasn’t the first terrorism case with ties to the Denver suburb of Aurora.

Najibullah Zazi, a Denver airport shuttle driver who pleaded guilty to planning to bomb the New York City subway, also was from Aurora.

Zazi, an Afghan immigrant, bought beauty supplies in Aurora to make peroxide-based bombs. He tried to mix explosives in a hotel room in the city then drove to New York to carry out an attack just before the 2009 anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

After becoming suspicious he was being watched by law enforcement, he abandoned the plan and returned to Colorado.

Prosecutors allege Zazi and two associates went to Afghanistan in 2008 to join the Taliban and fight U.S. soldiers. They instead were recruited by al-Qaida operatives, who gave them weapons training in their Pakistan camp and asked them to become suicide bombers, authorities say.

Zazi’s father, Mohammed Zazi, also of Aurora, was convicted in July of destroying evidence and lying to investigators to cover up his son’s plot.”

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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 investigating possible fraud at GE’s former subprime unit

January 20, 2012
GE
“General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, right, waits for the start of the company’s annual shareholders meeting. Tony Dejak/AP file”

iWatch News on January 20, 2012 released the following:

“By Michael Hudson and E. Scott Reckard

Federal authorities are investigating possible fraud at General Electric Co.’s former subprime mortgage arm amid increased public pressure to hold Wall Street accountable for its role in the financial crisis.

The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department are looking into potentially criminal business practices at Burbank, Calif.-based WMC Mortgage Corp. during the home-loan boom, according to four people with knowledge of the investigation. They declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

The government is asking whether WMC used falsified paperwork, overstated borrowers’ income and other tactics to push through questionable loans, two of the people said. They said the probe appears to be focusing on whether senior managers condoned improper practices that enabled fraudulent loans to be sold to investors.

“It’s mostly about: Did they knowingly sell mortgages into the secondary market that they knew were fraudulent?” said one person with direct knowledge of the investigation.

A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment, and the Justice Department did not return telephone calls.

Russell Wilkerson, a spokesman for GE, said the company “as a matter of practice” cooperates with law enforcement on inquiries but does not comment on specific investigations. However, he said any allegation that WMC sold large numbers of fraudulent loans to investors was false.

GE acquired WMC near the height of the mortgage boom in 2004, giving it a major presence in the growing subprime lending market. But by 2007 the California lender was hemorrhaging money and slicing into the conglomerate’s earnings.

The unit was shut down as the housing market buckled. Since then, investors have launched a string of civil lawsuits, and federal authorities began a criminal inquiry.

The FBI’s San Francisco office indicated that it has been looking into WMC’s business practices for nearly two years, according to one of the people who has knowledge of the investigation. The bureau has examined individual WMC loan files and has begun contacting former employees about how the lender handled the sale of mortgages to investors, this person said.

WMC recorded the second-highest number of foreclosures on higher-risk mortgages in America’s 10 hardest-hit real estate zones, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The company was second only to now-defunct subprime lender New Century Financial Corp. of Irvine, Calif.

For instance, the Treasury report said WMC’s foreclosure rate topped 40 percent in hard-hit California areas such as Merced, Modesto and Stockton.

The FBI and Justice Department had little success in prosecuting mortgage executives after launching investigations in 2008. But there has been increasing pressure, from groups including labor unions and Occupy Wall Street, to find culprits for the devastating housing crash that triggered the financial crisis.

Subprime lenders have long been in the cross hairs.

They issued hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages to people with shaky credit, then bundled the loans for sale to investors as highly rated securities. When the borrowers couldn’t pay their mortgages, the investments collapsed — leaving investors and lenders saddled with toxic debt.

Lawsuits in state and federal courts have charged that WMC and GE misled investors and other parties in the sale of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

An investor lawsuit in federal court, for example, said that a $550-million pool of mortgages originated by WMC and another subprime lender, EquiFirst Corp., included numerous examples of fraud. The lawsuit said a review found inflated borrower incomes and other “material breaches” in 75 percent of the loan files sampled.

GE said it would “vigorously defend” itself, adding that the complaint is “based upon a flawed statistical sampling of a small number of loans.”

“WMC had in place processes to detect and report fraudulent activity,” Wilkerson, the GE spokesman, said. “When any allegations of misconduct at WMC were raised to GE, they were investigated and given an appropriate response by WMC, including the termination of employees.”

WMC was a wholesale lender that issued loans through a network of independent mortgage brokers, making it a less-familiar name than giant retailers such as Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and Countrywide Financial Corp. Still, in 3½ years under GE’s ownership, WMC issued roughly $110 billion in risky home loans.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have said they investigated three prominent high-risk home lenders in Southern California that melted down — Countrywide, New Century and IndyMac Bancorp — without finding clear evidence that top executives intended to defraud anyone. No criminal charges were filed.

Some settlements have been reached. Countrywide co-founder Angelo R. Mozilo paid $67.5 million — much of it covered by insurance — to resolve an SEC case.

Other executives are contesting the suits. Former IndyMac Chairman Michael W. Perry has even created a blog, nottoobigtofail.org, on which he argues he has been scapegoated with false accusations.

The Justice Department has been successful in only two major criminal investigations into the mortgage crisis. Both ended in guilty pleas to egregious fraud. One, at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. in Florida, included the creation of fictitious loans. The other, at U.S. Mortgage Co. in New Jersey, involved selling the same loans twice — once to credit unions and then to home finance giant Fannie Mae.

Some former WMC employees say sales staffers at the lender used fraudulent practices to push through loans borrowers couldn’t afford.

Eight former employees told iWatch News that WMC managers ignored them when they flagged loans supported by misrepresentations such as fake bank statements and pay stubs.

“They didn’t want to hear what you found,” Gail Roman, who worked as a loan auditor at a WMC office in New York, said. “Even if you had enough documentation to show that there was fraud or questionable activity.”

Some ex-employees claim GE officials did too little to root out fraud at WMC, despite warnings from whistleblowers who worked inside the lender. GE disputes those allegations.

White-collar crime experts say the WMC criminal probe is unusual at this late date — more than four years after subprime lenders began to collapse.

“In that area I haven’t heard boo these days,” said Orange County defense attorney David Wiechert, a former federal prosecutor.

This story was the result of a reporting partnership between iWatch News and the Los Angeles Times. Michael Hudson is a staff writer with iWatch News and E. Scott Reckard is staff writer with the Times.”

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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 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.


Jamie Allan Greene, Sr. Indicted for the Alleged Domestic Assault of a Woman While on the Red Lake Indian Reservation

September 16, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 14, 2011 released the following:

“Red Lake Man Indicted for Assaulting a Woman

MINNEAPOLIS— Yesterday in federal court, a 38-year-old Red Lake man was indicted for the domestic assault of a woman while on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The indictment charges Jamie Allan Greene, Sr., with one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

The indictment alleges that on August 2, 2011, Greene committed the assault against another Indian. A law enforcement affidavit filed in the case states that because of the assault, the victim’s face was swollen, particularly around her eye, at the time she reported the incident to authorities. She also allegedly stated that Greene grabbed her by the hair and threw her against the wall and then stomped on her face while she lay on the ground.

If convicted, Greene faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the Red Lake Tribal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad.

Because the Red Lake Indian Reservation is a federal jurisdiction reservation, some of the crimes that occur there are investigated by the FBI in conjunction with the Red Lake Tribal Police Department. Those cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The U.S. Justice Department is taking steps to increase engagement, coordination, and action relative to public safety in tribal communities, including the creation of the Violence Against Women Federal and Tribal Prosecution Task Force. This task force will explore current issues raised by professionals in the field and recommend “best practices” in prosecution strategies involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Violence against American Indian women occurs at epidemic rates. In 2005, Congress found that one in three American Indian women is raped during her lifetime, and American Indian women are nearly three times more likely to be battered in during their lives than Caucasian women.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.”

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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