Eric Elegado, Charmagne Elegado, Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto Indicted for Allegedly Committing the Following Federal Crimes: Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Criminal Forfeiture

February 23, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 21, 2012 released the following:

“Local Real Estate Agent and Eight Other Industry Professionals Charged in Massive Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Caused at Least $15 Million in Losses

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced the unsealing of an indictment today charging a local real estate agent, Eric Elegado, and eight other mortgage industry professionals—Charmagne Elegado, Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto, with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture. According to court proceedings, these defendants engaged in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that targeted vulnerable, low-income immigrants in San Diego. All of the defendants were arraigned today in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr.

According to the indictment, Eric Elegado owned and operated real estate and mortgage brokerage businesses in San Diego and employed Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto. These defendants conspired together and with others to obtain mortgage loans for unqualified buyers by falsifying and assisting others in falsifying the employment and salary information on the loan documents. According to the indictment, Eric Elegado directed the mortgage loans to be processed through his wife, Charmagne Elegado, who was working at the subprime mortgage lender. In order to further the fraudulent scheme, the defendants allegedly created and caused others to create false financial records for the purpose of verifying income listed on the false loan applications, such as W-2s, bank statements, rental income statements, ownership records, and bank deposit documents. According to court proceedings, the defendants caused these fraudulent loan documents to be submitted to mortgage lenders in order to induce the lenders to loan more than $50 million in mortgage loans. As a result of their scheme to defraud, defendants and others caused the mortgage companies, lending institutions, and financial institutions to lose more than $15 million.

This case is being investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During today’s court proceedings, the government moved to detain Minh Nguyen without bail. A detention hearing is set for February 24, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., before Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $75,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendant Charmagne Elegado. A bond in the amount of $100,000, secured by real property, was set for defendant Eric Elegado. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $50,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendants Alexander V. Garcia and Ramin Lotfi. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $35,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendants Roman Macabulos and Regidor Pacal. A bond in the amount of $50,000, secured by a corporate surety, was set for defendant Theodore Cohen.

The defendants are next scheduled to be in court before United States District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia for a motion hearing on March 28, 2012, at 2:00 p.m.

Criminal Case No. 12CR0404-AJB

DEFENDANTS

Charmagne Elegado Age: 47 Escondido, CA
Eric Elegado Age: 47 Escondido, CA
Theodore Cohen Age: 54 San Diego, CA
Minh Nguyen Age: 28 San Marcos, CA
Regidor Pacal Age: 51 San Diego, CA
Alexander V. Garcia Age: 38 San Diego, CA
Roman Macabulos Age: 38 San Diego, CA
Ramin Lotfi Age: 36 San Diego, CA
Roderick Huerto Age: 34 San Diego, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Count 1: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349—Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud
Maximum penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Counts 2-7: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343—Wire Fraud
Maximum penalties per count: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Count 8: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h)—Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
Maximum penalties: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Counts 9-12: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957—Money Laundering
Maximum penalties per count: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

INVESTIGATING AGENCY
Federal Bureau of Investigation

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

————————————————————–

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 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.


Agron Hasbajrami Indicted for Allegedly Providing Material Support to Terrorists

September 9, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on September 9, 2011 released the following:

“New York City Resident Indicted for Providing Material Support to Terrorists
Albanian National Arrested at JFK Airport en Route to Fight Jihad

An indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging Agron Hasbajrami, a legal U.S. resident and Albanian citizen residing in New York City, with providing material support to terrorists.[1] Hasbajrami is scheduled to be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge John Gleeson.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

According to the indictment and a detention motion filed by the government, Hasbajrami devised a plan to travel to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (the “FATA”) for the purpose of joining a radical jihadist fighting group in Pakistan. In pursuing this goal, Hasbajrami exchanged e-mail messages with a contact in Pakistan who advised Hasbajrami that the contact’s fighting group was engaged in violent military operations and had killed American troops. Hasbajrami told his contact that he wished to travel abroad to “marry with the girls in paradise,” using jihadist rhetoric to describe his desire to die as a martyr.

According to the government’s court filings, Hasbajrami sent over $1,000 to Pakistan to support his contact’s terrorist efforts. When asked to collect money from fellow Muslims for the terrorist cause, Hasbajrami reported that fundraising was difficult in New York because his fellow Muslims became apprehensive “when they hear it is for jihad.”

In August 2011, Hasbajrami purchased an airline ticket to travel to Turkey en route to Pakistan, but cancelled it. Hasbajrami then purchased another airline ticket to travel to Turkey on September 6, 2011. He was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, when he arrived to board his flight to Turkey carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear. A search of Hasbajrami’s residence revealed, among other items, a note reading “Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time.”

“The vigilance of law enforcement has resulted in the capture of another alleged aspiring terrorist bent on traveling overseas for violent jihad,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will spare no effort in stopping terrorists before they strike.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the FBI and NYPD for their extraordinary work in leading the government’s investigation.

If convicted of providing material support to terrorists, Hasbajrami faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew S. Amatruda and Seth D. DuCharme with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Courtney Sullivan of the DOJ Counterterrorism Section.

The Defendant:
AGRON HASBAJRAMI
Age: 27

[1]The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until 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.

Bookmark and Share


Andrea Mims and Lea Ann Battles Convicted on Mail Fraud Arising From A Scheme to Defraud the Unemployment Insurance Program

September 7, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on September 7, 2011 released the following:

“Cuervo Women Plead Guilty in Unemployment Insurance Fraud Ring

VICTORIA, Texas – Andrea Mims, 48, and Lea Ann Battles, 44, both of Cuero, Texas, have been convicted of mail fraud arising from a scheme to defraud the Unemployment Insurance Program, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing before Senior United States District Judge John D. Rainey, Mims and Battles admitted to filing numerous fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. All of the claims named fictitious employers and were filed using the names and Social Security numbers of other individuals. As a result of these fraudulent claims, debit cards were sent through the United States Mail to addresses controlled by Mims and Battles. Between October 2009 and June 2011, approximately $96,222 in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Mims and Battles as a result of the fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Additional fraudulent claims filed by Mims in her own name resulted in another $14,178 in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefit payments to Mims.

Mims’ husband, Frederick Mims, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a related unemployment insurance fraud scheme on Aug. 1, 2011, and is in custody awaiting sentencing.

Both Andrea Mims and Battles face up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release at their sentencing hearing, set for Dec. 5, 2011. As part of their plea agreements both will be required to pay full restitution.

Andrea Mims and Battles will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending their sentencing hearings.

The case was investigated by agents from the United States Department of Labor, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Texas Workforce Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. ”

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.

Bookmark and Share


Superseding Indictment Returned Against Pharmacist and Six Co-Conspirators for Alleged Distribution of Oxycodone; False Tax Returns

August 30, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 29, 2011 released the following:

“NEWARK, NJ—A 26-count superseding indictment was filed today against pharmacist Vincent Hsia, the proprietor of Lincoln Pharmacy Network, located in Edison, New Jersey, and six additional individuals, relating to the distribution of oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The superseding indictment charges the following individuals with possessing with intent to distribute and conspiring to distribute oxycodone:

  • Vincent Hsia, 51, Flemington, New Jersey;
  • Ryan Otskey, 36, Lyndhurst, New Jersey;
  • Ivan Lugo, 34, Elizabeth, New Jersey;
  • Cheryle Sutter, 31, Carteret, New Jersey;
  • Keith Thompson, 33, Newark, New Jersey;
  • Gary Cross, 27, Roseland, New Jersey; and
  • Angelo Cifelli, 33, Nutley, New Jersey.

The superseding indictment further charges that Hsia filed false individual and corporate 2008 and 2009 tax returns. Specifically, the superseding indictment alleges that Hsia intentionally failed to report approximately $275,000 in income on his personal income tax returns for the tax years 2008 and 2009. In addition, Hsia allegedly misstated Lincoln Pharmacy’s corporate tax returns by intentionally failing to include more than $1.2 million in gross receipts earned by the pharmacy during the 2008 and 2009 tax years.

The superseding indictment was preceded by the filing of a criminal complaint, which was unsealed on April 6, 2010, charging Hsia and seven additional individuals with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Except for Hsia and Thompson, the original defendants have all pleaded guilty before the Honorable Susan D. Wigenton, United States District Judge, as follows:

  • Pasquale Pugliese, 35, Kenilworth, New Jersey (plea July 14, 2010);
  • Marc Calabria, 33, Nutley, New Jersey (plea September 15, 2010);
  • Michael Caviness, 50, Newark, New Jersey (plea October 7, 2010);
  • Thomas Giaimo, 29, Nutley, New Jersey (plea October 7, 2010);
  • Jason Caracappa, 31, Manalapan, New Jersey (plea October 12, 2010); and
  • John Dechiara, 20, Iselin, New Jersey (plea October 18, 2010);.

Finally, Edwin Martinez, 26, of Fords, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute oxycodone before Judge Wigenton on April 27, 2011.

In addition, criminal complaints previously were filed in federal court against Otskey, Lugo, Sutter, Cross and Cifelli. Specifically, the complaint filed against Otskey, Mag. No. 10-3213 (PS), alleged that he obtained blank prescriptions from the High Mountain Health clinic in North Haledon, New Jersey, that were filled by Hsia for in excess of 61,000 oxycodone pills, which pills were subsequently redistributed. Similarly, the criminal complaint filed against Cross, Mag. No. 11-8055 (MCA), alleged that Cross obtained blank prescriptions from Town Medical Associates in Verona, New Jersey, which he and his co-conspirators used to purchase approximately 14,000 oxycodone pills from Hsia at Lincoln Pharmacy. The criminal complaint filed against Sutter and Lugo, Mag. No. 10-3203 (PS), also alleged that they obtained oxycodone pills from Hsia at Lincoln Pharmacy using prescriptions completed in the names of fictitious patients, and utilized a number of co-conspirators, including Pugliese and Martinez, to fill those fraudulent prescriptions. Finally, the criminal complaint filed against Cifelli, Mag. No. 10-4206 (CCC), alleged that he furthered the conspiracy by driving co-conspirators to Lincoln Pharmacy and otherwise assisting with the distribution of oxycodone.

Judge Wigenton previously set a trial date of October 4, 2011, in this matter.

The oxycodone distribution and conspiracy charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years of imprisonment and a $1 million fine. The tax charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of three years of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited Special Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell; Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; Special Agents with the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; the Newark, Elizabeth, and Nutley, New Jersey police departments; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s Offices for the investigation leading to today’s superseding indictment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony J. Mahajan of the Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.”

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.

Bookmark and Share


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

August 27, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share


John A. Ortiz Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison for Structuring More Than $943,000 in Cash Transactions

August 26, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 25, 2011 released the following:

“David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN A. ORTIZ, 54, of Stratford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for illegally structuring more than $943,000 in cash transactions. Judge Hall also ordered ORTIZ to forfeit approximately $388,540 to the government, and to pay a fine in the amount of $75,000.

Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a CTR, individuals will often structure their currency transactions so that no single transaction exceeds $10,000. Structuring involves the repeated depositing or withdrawal of amounts of cash less than the $10,000 limit, or the splitting of a cash transaction that exceeds $10,000 into smaller cash transactions in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements. Even if the deposited funds are derived from a legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner are still in violation of federal criminal law.

According to court documents and statements made in court, ORTIZ maintained a money market savings account at a credit union, and also had a personal line of credit at a bank. Between May 2006 and October 2009, ORTIZ made more than 70 large cash deposits into his savings account and more than 30 large cash payments to his personal line of credit account. The vast majority of the cash transactions were in the amount of $9000, and none exceeded $10,000. In total, ORTIZ structured approximately $943,000 in cash deposits and line of credit payments.

ORTIZ used the deposited funds to purchase, or to obtain credit in order to purchase, properties in Connecticut and Florida. ORTIZ also used more than $270,000 of the structured funds to settle a business dispute with his former partner.

ORTIZ owns and operates towing and auto repair businesses in Bridgeport and Stratford.

On May 25, 2011, ORTIZ waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of structuring cash transactions.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.”

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share


Solomon Hobbs, Jr. Pleaded Guilty in Austin Federal Court to Wire Fraud, Student Assistance Program Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft

August 25, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas on August 24, 2011 released the following:

“DALLAS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PROGRAM

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in Austin this morning, 47-year-old Solomon Hobbs, Jr., (a.k.a. Virgil Clinton Powell) of Dallas, Texas, pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $37,000 in student loans.

In all, Hobbs pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud, three counts of student assistance program fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. By pleading guilty, Hobbs admitted that since 2004, he developed a scheme to fraudulently obtain $37,395.05 in federal student financial aid, including $6,573.50 by using another individual’s name and identifying information, from five universities in Texas including: University of Texas at Tyler, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Texas at Arlington, Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls) and Texas State University. Hobbs further admitted that he had no intent of using the financial aid for educational expenses after repeatedly obtaining funds, then failing out of the institutions due to his lack of attendance.

Hobbs faces up to 30 years imprisonment per wire fraud charge; up to five years imprisonment per student assistance program fraud charge; and, a mandatory two years in federal prison on the aggravated identity theft charge.

Hobbs remains on bond pending sentencing before United States District Judge Lee Yeakel. No sentencing date has been scheduled.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Freel is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.”

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

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

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

Bookmark and Share