Laurie Schneider Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Operating Ponzi Schemes

February 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 1, 2012 released the following:

“Oceanside Woman Indicted for Operating Ponzi Schemes

Defendant Allegedly Defrauded Investors of More Than $4 Million

Laurie Schneider, of Oceanside, New York, has been indicted for operating Ponzi schemes that defrauded investors of more than $4 million.[1] The defendant was arraigned earlier today before United States Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson at the United States Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.

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

As alleged in the indictment, Schneider began accepting money in September 2006 from individuals seeking a return on their investment. In one scheme, operating a shell company incorporated as Janitorial Close-Out City Corp., Schneider falsely informed potential investors that Janitorial Close-Out invested in industrial equipment and machinery manufactured by companies in China. To induce investments, Schneider, among other things, (1) personally guaranteed specified positive rates of return as high as 60 percent, (2) represented that she had a business contact who had strong relationships with companies in China, and (3) represented that she would be able to buy the industrial equipment and machinery at wholesale prices which Janitorial Close-Out would resell in the United States at a 15 to 60 percent profit over a nine to 18-month period. In fact, the indictment charges that Schneider actually was running a Ponzi scheme, paying returns to Janitorial Close-Out investors not from any profits earned on the purchase and resale of industrial equipment and machinery, but rather from existing investors’ deposits or money paid by new investors. Schneider never produced or earned the rates of return that she promised. Rather, the positive rates of return were simply pre-determined rates made up by Schneider based upon fictitious profits.

The government estimates that Schneider defrauded over 25 investors in Janitorial Close-Out of more than $4 million, and more than $5 million through related schemes.

“In these difficult economic times, it’s all the more troubling that, as alleged in the indictment, someone would take advantage of the trust of investors for personal financial gain,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “As alleged, this defendant falsely represented herself as having international business connections that would benefit her investors, when in reality she was engaged in purely homegrown fraud and deception. This indictment serves as a warning that we will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who, by deceit and false promises, would steal from those who believed they were investing in a legitimate enterprise.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk stated, “Ponzi schemes have been around for so long because, unfortunately, they are such an effective means of swindling people out of their hard-earned money. Investors need to be wary of ‘investment opportunities’ that ‘guarantee’ inordinately high rates of return, and should perform due diligence. But it is the perpetrators of these fraudulent schemes, not their victims, who are to blame. The FBI remains committed to protecting the investing public from them.”

If convicted, Schneider faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of three counts of wire fraud count.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard T. Lunger and Lara Treinis Gatz.

The Defendant:

LAURIE SCHNEIDER Age: 37

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

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


Statement Regarding United States vs. Trey Scott Atwater

January 8, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 6, 2012 released the following:

“United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced today that in the case against Sgt. Trey Atwater, the United States advised during a hearing before United States Magistrate Judge David Counts in Midland, Texas, that the government is not seeking to continue to detain Sgt. Atwater in custody. In light of the recommendation of Pretrial Services that a bond be set, the government agreed that appropriate conditions could be fashioned that will adequately address the statutory considerations, which are risk of flight and danger to the community. In light of the information obtained during its investigation, the government does not believe that Sgt. Atwater will pose a risk of flight if released on conditions. Pursuant to those conditions, two members of the United States Army were in Midland to escort him back to Fort Bragg upon his release. His first-line supervisor at Fort Bragg agreed to serve as a third party custodian of Sgt. Atwater and will report any bond violations by Sgt. Atwater to the Court immediately.

Assistant United States Attorney John Klassen advised Magistrate Judge Counts that the government considers the incident at the Midland Airport on December 31, 2011 to be very serious. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Midland Police Department have conducted a thorough investigation of what occurred, and of Sgt. Atwater, and that investigation continues. Based on the information developed thus far, the government has uncovered no information that would suggest that Sgt. Atwater intended harm to any aircraft, or to the flying public. The government believes that with close supervision by the court and by the United States Army under the conditions recommended by Pretrial Services and imposed by the Court, Sgt. Atwater will not pose a danger to the community.

Pending resolution of this litigation, United States Magistrate Judge David Counts this afternoon ordered that Sgt. Atwater be released on a $50,000 unsecured bond and into the third party custody of his first-line supervisor at Fort Bragg along with the following conditions: possess no firearms, weapons, or explosives of any kind; consume no alcohol; surrender his military passport and refrain from obtaining a new passport; report to Pretrial Services as directed; restrict his travel to North Carolina and Texas absent permission from the court; and submit to a mental health evaluation.

Sgt. Atwater, who has remained in federal custody since his arrest at the Midland International Airport on December 31, 2011, is charged by federal criminal complaint with one count of attempting to board an aircraft while in possession of C-4 explosives. No further court dates have been scheduled at this time.

A criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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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

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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.


Dale Brannan Indicted on Federal Charges of Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud, and Making a False Declaration in a Bankruptcy Filing

September 16, 2011

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

“Fayetteville Man Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Defrauding Colleges and Universities

ATLANTA— DALE BRANNAN, 65, of Fayetteville, Georgia, has been indicted on federal charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and one count of making a false declaration in a bankruptcy filing, in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud colleges and universities in planning overseas trips for collegiate sports teams. He was arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy, who ordered BRANNAN to be detained pending final bond conditions to be set tomorrow morning in court.

United States Attorney Sally Yates said, “This defendant is charged with taking advantage of collegiate student-athletes, their parents and fans, and the universities they attend, all of which had paid and prepared for overseas trips, and allegedly cheating them of not only their money but also the opportunity to compete abroad.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, said, “This case is significant to the FBI not merely because of the loss amounts but also because of the many victims left in the wake of this scheme who had trusted the defendant with handling their collegiate travels abroad.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: BRANNAN was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 13, 2011. According to the indictment, BRANNAN operated a company called “Transports Athletics,” in Fayetteville, Georgia and Savannah, Georgia, beginning in 2001. The company allegedly arranged travel overseas for university sports teams. From September 2006 through July 2008, BRANNAN contracted with the University of New Mexico, Kansas State University, Oakland University, Stonehill College and Minnesota State University – Mankato to arrange airfare and hotel reservations for the schools’ sports teams to travel to China, Finland, Italy, and Brazil. The indictment charges that BRANNAN actually used the funds provided by these universities, parents of student-athletes and fans to pay the costs of trips for other schools who had earlier contracts with Transports Athletics, and to pay BRANNAN’s personal expenses. Shortly before the sports teams of the victim universities were scheduled to depart for their trips, BRANNAN notified them that Transports Athletics would be filing for bankruptcy and that their trips were cancelled.

The indictment alleges BRANNAN then founded a new company, “Sports Tours and Tournament Specialists, Inc.” (“STATS”), and began arranging all-new trips for other universities. Transports Athletics subsequently filed for bankruptcy, and according to the indictment, BRANNAN failed to disclose certain transfers and creditors in the bankruptcy filing. By filing bankruptcy, BRANNAN was discharged of his debts to the victim universities, whose student-athletes were not able to travel abroad on the trips for which they had paid.

The indictment alleges that estimated loss from BRANNAN’s fraud was over $400,000. The mail fraud and conspiracy charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The bankruptcy fraud charge and the false declaration charge each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Shanya J. Dingle is prosecuting 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 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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Department of Defense (DoD) Employee Desi Deandre Wade Charged in a Federal Criminal Complaint For Allegedly Taking a $95,000 Bribe

August 25, 2011

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

“Department of Defense Employee Arrested for Taking $95,000 Bribe in Atlanta Relating to Military Contract in Afghanistan

ATLANTA— DESI DEANDRE WADE, 39, of Climax, Georgia, was arrested yesterday by FBI agents and has now been charged in a criminal complaint with bribery. WADE is expected to make an appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge 3:00 p.m. today.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This Department of Defense employee is charged with selling his position of public trust for cash. While he was supposed to be working to support our troops, he was lining his pockets. The FBI and our partner defense agencies are to be commended for rooting out and stopping this corruption.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, said, “When the integrity of the contracting process is compromised, the taxpayers bear the brunt of this monetarily and the mission overseas can be adversely impacted to say the least. The FBI aggressively seeks out those individuals who attempt to personally profit from the contracting and funding process of these many and varied critical government missions overseas.”

Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service said, “DCIS continues to place the highest priority on ferreting out public corruption involving Department of Defense contracting in Southwest Asia military operations. These joint investigations with our partner agencies, spanning across the globe, have been highly effective in bringing wrongdoers to justice, and deterring others who would consider betraying the public trust.”

Steven Trent, Acting Deputy Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said, “SIGAR agents are proud to have participated in this investigation, which underscores the cooperation among U.S. law enforcement agencies operating in a conflict zone.”

According to United States Attorney Yates and the criminal complaint just filed in this case: WADE is currently a U.S. Department of Defense employee assigned to Kabul, Afghanistan as the chief of Fire and Emergency Services. On July 16, 2011, Defense Criminal Investigative Services (DCIS) and FBI in Kabul, Afghanistan, received information that WADE was utilizing his position as a contracting official to improperly direct Department of Defense (“DoD”) contracts to certain bidders in return for personal gain. Specifically, WADE influenced an Afghan-based contractor to make bribe payments to him in return for guarantees of continued work by way of future contracts in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, WADE allegedly solicited and received a $4,000 bribe in exchange for the awarding of a repair/maintenance contract modification submitted by the Afghan-based contractor.

WADE then allegedly proposed steering a subsequent, much larger contract to the company in exchange for a certain percentage of the value of the contract. The bribe, as calculated by WADE, would amount to over $100,000. WADE promised to obtain the quotes from other bidders and provide them to the company to insure that the company would be the low bidder and ultimately get the contract.

Several weeks later, WADE traveled to Atlanta to attend the August 22-26 Fire Rescue International Conference. While in Atlanta, WADE allegedly reiterated that he wanted $110,000 for the awarding of the new contract to the company. WADE confirmed that he would disclose the competing companies’ bids.

On August 24, 2011, at approximately 5:45 p.m., WADE accepted $95,000 in cash in exchange for his promise to direct the contract to the company. WADE counted the bundles of money before he put them in his backpack. WADE was subsequently arrested by federal agents and his backpack was found to contain $95,000 in cash.

This case is part of an ongoing effort by the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), as well as the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit to investigate and bring forward for prosecution those individuals engaging in the very costly endeavor of corruption and fraud involving U.S. government funds intended for critical military and other efforts around the world.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), with support from the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert McBurney is prosecuting 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 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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Anthony Vázquez-Arroyo Charged in a Criminal Complaint for Attempting to Carjack a Law Enforcement Official

August 19, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 18, 2011 released the following:

“Individual Arrested for Attempting to Carjack a Law Enforcement Official

SAN JUAN, PR— Today, a criminal complaint was authorized by United States Magistrate Judge Marcos E. López against Anthony Vázquez-Arroyo for attempting to take a motor vehicle that was transported, shipped, and received in interstate or foreign commerce from the person and presence of another by force, violence, and intimidation, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily harm, announced today Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD).

Yesterday morning a female police officer (hereinafter referred to as “the victim”) with the Puerto Rico Special Investigations Bureau (Negociado de Investigaciones Especiales—NIE), was driving her own personal vehicle when a gold-colored Ford Explorer immediately in front of her vehicle, began riding backwards, hitting the victim’s vehicle. She turned off the engine, placed the keys on her pocket and exited her vehicle.

The victim observed a male, later identified as Anthony Vázquez-Arroyo, leaving the Explorer. Vázquez-Arroyo began walking towards the victim, and when he was at arm’s length distance from the victim, he pulled a handgun from behind his waist and pointed the gun at the victim. The defendant announced it was a robbery and that he was taking the victim with him.

Once in the vehicle, the victim feared that the defendant intended to cause her serious harm or death, and feared that he would have additional reasons to kill her once he realized she was a law enforcement officer. Therefore, the victim resisted by pushing the defendant back. The victim observed that Vázquez-Arroyo was confused or distracted because he could not find the keys to the vehicle, which were in the victim’s pocket. At that point, the victim took advantage of Vázquez-Arroyo’s distraction and began kicking the defendant and was able to grab his gun. Vázquez-Arroyo hit the victim several times in an attempt to obtain the gun back, but the victim was able to maintain control of the weapon. At that point, Vázquez-Arroyo attempted to take the victim’s purse, but the victim struggled to retain it, because it contained her official police weapon. The victim was then able to open the passenger door and exit the vehicle with both her purse and Vázquez-Arroyo’s gun.

A fellow NIE officer who was driving behind the victim’s vehicle noticed the situation and saw the victim exit out the passenger side door of her car. The victim yelled to the NIE officer that “she was being robbed.” The NIE officer immediately drew his weapon and yelled at Vázquez-Arroyo to stop but he continued running and entered the Explorer. The NIE officer then saw Vázquez-Arroyo turning to his right side toward the back of the vehicle with his right arm stretched, as if pointing a gun towards the NIE officer. The NIE officer thought that Vázquez-Arroyo was going to shoot at him, so he decided to open fire again against Vázquez-Arroyo, who fled the scene but was arrested soon thereafter.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela Mateo. If convicted, the defendant could face up to 15 years in prison. Criminal complaints contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The investigation continues.”

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.

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Gregory Viola Arrested on a Federal Criminal Complaint Charging Him with Mail Fraud

August 12, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“ORANGE RESIDENT CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING INVESTORS

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that GREGORY VIOLA, 59, of Orange, was arrested today on a criminal complaint charging him with mail fraud. The charge stems from an alleged scheme to defraud investors of at least hundreds of thousands of dollars via a Ponzi scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, VIOLA operated an investment business in Orange. It is alleged that since as early as 2007, VIOLA engaged in a scheme to defraud multiple investors by not investing funds as he had represented. As part of the scheme, it is alleged that VIOLA promised his investors that their funds would be invested, and that they would receive a specified rate of return on the investments as well as the potential for the investment to appreciate. Rather than invest funds provided by investors, it is alleged that VIOLA engaged in a Ponzi scheme in which he used new investor funds to make payments to earlier investors. It is also alleged that VIOLA mailed investors fraudulent statements that falsely represented the amount of funds that the investors had on account.

The criminal complaint specifically alleges that VIOLA provided one investor with a purported E-Trade account statement representing that the investor had in excess of $300,000 on account with VIOLA. Subsequent investigation by law enforcement has revealed that this statement is false, and E-Trade has no record of an account in the investor’s name.

VIOLA voluntarily surrendered himself this afternoon and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport. He was released on a $100,000 bond, which is secured by two properties.

U.S. Attorney Fein and FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz noted that the investigation into this alleged scheme is ongoing, and asked individuals who believe they may be a victim of this scheme, or anyone with information related to this scheme, to contact FBI Special Agent Wendy Bowersox at (203) 777-6311.

If convicted, of mail fraud, VIOLA faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to have this matter presented to a grand jury and, in the event an indictment is returned, he is entitled to a trial at which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Stamford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.

In December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and several law enforcement and regulatory partners announced the formation of the Connecticut Securities, Commodities and Investor Fraud Task Force, which is investigating matters relating to insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, investor fraud, financial statement fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and embezzlement. The Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section and Antitrust Division; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; State of Connecticut Department of Banking; Greenwich Police Department and Stamford Police Department.”

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 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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Danny Harris Jr. and Raymond Thomas Jr. Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in San Francisco Federal Court

July 22, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California on July 21, 2011 released the following:

“FORMER RICHMOND POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY TO TAMPER WITH WITNESSES

One Officer Also Charged With Making False Statements In Order To Purchase Firearms For Other Individuals, Including Two Minors

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Danny Harris Jr. of Pinole, Calif., on July 21, 2011, with making false statements in order to purchase three semiautomatic pistols from a San Jose, Calif., firearms dealer. Both Harris and Raymond Thomas Jr. of Fairfield, Calif., were charged with conspiring to tamper with witnesses and obstruct a federal investigation and court proceedings, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

According to the indictment, both defendants were police officers with the Richmond Police Department when the offenses took place. Harris is alleged to have made false statements to a federal firearms dealer in San Jose in connection with the purchase of three semiautomatic handguns. According to the indictment, Harris falsely stated that he was the true buyer of the guns, when he knew that the true buyers were other individuals. In the case of two of the weapons, the true purchasers were individuals under twenty-one years of age. Under federal law, it would have been illegal for the dealer to knowingly sell the handguns to someone under twenty-one.

The indictment also charges that after Harris made the false statements in connection with the gun purchases, he and defendant Thomas conspired to knowingly use intimidation, threats and corrupt persuasion in order to prevent or hinder witnesses from reporting information to federal law enforcement officers. The defendants are charged with conspiring to obstruct, influence and impede a federal grand jury investigation and proceedings in federal court.

The indictment describes a series of acts undertaken by Harris and Thomas to intimidate the two minors for whom Harris purchased the firearms in order to prevent them from reporting possible federal crimes to federal law enforcement and to influence and obstruct a federal investigation. The acts included pressuring one of the minors to change the registration of one of the guns so that it no longer showed up in Harris’ name; using intimidation tactics, including threats of legal action and the filing of a civil suit, in order to get possession of one of the guns from the minor; and hiring a private investigator in Concord, Calif., to conduct a sting operation targeting the two minors for whom Harris purchased firearms. The alleged goal of the sting operation was to have the minors arrested for drunk driving and illegal possession of the guns. The indictment alleges that Thomas paid more than $1,800 to the private investigator in order to conduct the sting operation. The indictment alleges that Harris and Thomas approved of the plan whereby a female employee of the private investigator would meet one of the minors and make overtures in order to engage in future social engagements. The plan was for the woman to encourage the minor to bring his gun to one of those meetings. According to the indictment, the woman did meet the minor and they exchanged cell phone numbers. Through text messages, they set up a social engagement and the woman asked the minor to bring his gun to the engagement.

The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court in Oakland on Aug. 9, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of making a false statement in the acquisition of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(a)(6), as alleged in counts one through three of the indictment, is 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The maximum statutory penalty for making a false statement in the record of a licensed firearms dealer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(a)(1)(A), as alleged in count four of the indictment, is five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to prevent communication to a law enforcement officer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1512(k), as alleged in count five, and for conspiracy to impede an official proceeding, also in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1512(k), as alleged in count six, is 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. §3553.

Susan Badger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rania Ghawi and Cristhian Escobar. The prosecution is the result of an eleven-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richmond Police Department, and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Harris and Mr. Thomas must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 11-0497 CW”

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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