Roger Clemens’ Federal Criminal Case Update

August 20, 2011
Roger Clemens

Main Justice on August 19, 2011 released the following:

Prosecutors Say Clemens Trying To Gain From Unintended Mistakes

Barring a retrial for Roger Clemens would hand the former baseball star “an unwarranted windfall” from inadvertent mistakes made during the first case against him, federal prosecutors argued in a brief filed Friday.

The brief came in response to a motion filed by Clemens’ attorneys seeking to prevent a retrial by arguing the government intentionally violated rules imposed by District Judge Reggie Walton, who declared a mistrial July 14 after prosecutors played a video that contained evidence Walton had previously ruled inadmissible.

That evidence included testimony from the wife of former pitcher Andy Pettitte, which suggested that Clemens had talked with Pettitte about using steroids. The video shown by prosecutors – a recording of Clemens’ 2008 testimony before Congress – showed Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) making a reference to the conversation.

The video was strike two for the prosecution, which had also alluded to the conversation during opening statements.

But in their motion, Justice Department attorneys said the video had already been prepared when Walton made his ruling on admissibility, and that they hadn’t looked to see whether a reference might be buried in a question from the congressman.

“The government’s error was a mistake, not misconduct, and certainly not misconduct intended to provoke a mistrial,” prosecutors wrote. “As government counsel informed this court when the video clip mistake occurred: ‘There was no intention to run afoul of any court ruling.'”

A motion hearing on the issue is scheduled for Sept. 2.”

Attached is Roger Clemens’ filing on 7/29/2011 with its exhibits:

Attached is the government’s response on 8/19/2011:

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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Former Staff Member Convicted on Corruption Charges

February 10, 2011

A federal jury in the District of Columbia today convicted a former staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives on corruption charges relating to his acceptance of an all-expenses paid trip to Game One of the 2003 World Series.

Fraser C. Verrusio, 41, was convicted after a 10-day trial on one count of conspiring to accept an illegal gratuity, one count of accepting an illegal gratuity and one count of making a false statement in failing to report his receipt of gifts from a lobbyist and the lobbyist’s client on his 2003 financial disclosure statement.

Verrusio worked as the policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The committee had responsibility for, among other things, the Federal Highway Bill in the House of Representatives.

According to evidence and testimony presented at trial, Verrusio and Trevor Blackann, a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, accepted an all-expenses-paid trip to Game One of the 2003 World Series from a lobbyist working for an equipment rental company interested in inserting three amendments into the Federal Highway Bill. The trip was funded by the equipment rental company and the lobbyist’s firm. Evidence also established that one of the lobbyists who helped arrange for the trip worked with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and that the equipment rental company was a client at Abramoff’s firm.

At sentencing, scheduled for May 6, 2011, Verrusio faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge. He faces a maximum of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the illegal gratuity charge, and a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charge.

Blackann previously pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme. To date, 20 individuals, including lobbyists and public officials, have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial in connection with the activities of Abramoff and his associates. Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, honest services fraud and tax evasion. He was sentenced in September 2008 to 48 months in prison.

Those who have pleaded guilty most certainly agreed to cooperate with the government for a reduced sentence. As part of the substantial assistance, testifying against others is typically a requirement, which most likely occurred in Verrusio’s trial.

For a complete reading of the DOJ press release, please click here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

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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41 Alleged Gang Members Charged in Five Judicial Districts

February 10, 2011

Forty-one members of various street gangs have been charged in indictments or criminal complaints unsealed today in five judicial districts, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.

The federal indictments and complaints unsealed today charge members and associates of a variety of street gangs, including: seven members of the Click Clack gang in Kansas City, Missouri; twelve Colonias Chiques gang members in Los Angeles; two members and associates of the Sureno 13 and San Chucos gangs in Las Vegas: seven MS-13 members in Washington; thirteen Tri-City Bomber members and associates in the McAllen, Texas, area.

The charges in these separate cases relate to a wide range of alleged illegal activity, including racketeering conspiracy, murder, murder conspiracy, narcotics trafficking, robbery, and gun trafficking. The individuals will make initial court appearances in the respective districts in which they are charged. Teams of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have arrested 29 of these individuals, with additional arrests expected.

In the Washington indictment of MS-13 members (U.S. v. Carlos Silva, et al) the seven individuals added in the superseding indictment are charged with RICO conspiracy and other offenses including two murders, armed robbery, sexual abuse while armed, kidnapping, and obstructing justice. The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, MS-13 members sent money to gang leaders in El Salvador, as well as participated in the stabbing of rival gang members and kidnapping, among other crimes.

The Houston indictment (U.S. v. Jeffrey Juarez, et al) of the Tri-City Bombers charges 13 individuals with conspiring to sell cocaine and ecstasy and with firearm-related offenses.

The DOJ is making very clear their efforts to address gangs and gang-related violence as one of their top priorities. This month alone, a total of 112 individuals have been arrested, charged, pleaded guilty, or been sentenced.

To view the DOJ press release in its entirety, please click here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

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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Former Wealth Manager Pleads Guilty to Causing False Statements During Clinton’s 2008 Campaign

January 4, 2011

A former principal of a wealth management firm pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to causing the Hillary Clinton for President Committee unwittingly to submit false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Evan Snapper, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., was charged in a one-count criminal information filed on December 3, 2010, which alleged that he knowingly and willfully caused the committee unwittingly to file materially false reports with the FEC. The information charged that those reports falsely showed that 21 individuals known to Snapper had contributed $2,300 each to the committee when, as Snapper admitted, the contributions had actually been made by one individual.

After an individual agrees to a plead guilty, a hearing takes place in which the individual faces the judge and must admit wrongdoing for all of the charges against him. Unfortunately, the individual is not allowed to contest any charge nor argue his case. If an individual pleads guilty, the benefit of doing so is typically reflected by a reduced sentence. Yet regardless of the plea agreement, the sentencing judge retains the power to determine what they feel is an appropriate sentence.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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Ten Charged in Superseding Indictment for Alleged Racketeering and Narcotics Activity

September 14, 2010

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a superseding indictment today charging 10 individuals with narcotics and firearms offenses, federal racketeering conspiracy, and three murders in aid of racketeering activity, in connection with an ongoing investigation into a drug organization that operated in Barry Farm and other neighborhoods within the District of Columbia and the larger metropolitan area. The charges were announced today by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Salvatore R. Lauro, Chief of the U.S. Park Police (USPP), and Roberto L. Hylton, Chief of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

The individuals initially were charged in a six-count federal indictment on March 10, 2010, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP), heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, within the District of Columbia and Maryland, and related drug charges. The original indictment covered criminal activities from August 2009 through March 2010.

The superseding indictment returned today stems from a continuing investigation of the individuals’ alleged drug organization and several acts of violence supposedly attributable to them. It covers crimes dating to 2006 and broadens the case to include newly filed racketeering and murder charges.

The government may be obtaining new information either from those already charged that have entered into cooperation agreements in hopes of a lesser sentence, or from other sources. It is also important to remember that an indictment does not require any evidence, nor is an indictment evidence of guilt itself.

As set forth in the superseding indictment, the drug organization began operating as early as 2006 with Mark Pray allegedly in charge. The superseding indictment alleges that Mark Pray, 29, enlisted family members, friends, and individuals known to him from Barry Farm and elsewhere to distribute controlled substances. The indictment alleges that members of the Pray Drug Organization regularly carried firearms to promote and protect the drug enterprise and its interests; that members of the enterprise committed, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence, including murder and robbery, to protect and expand the enterprise’s criminal operations; and further alleges that members of the enterprise promoted a climate of fear through violence and threats of violence.

The superseding indictment specifically charges Mark Pray and two co-defendants, Alonzo Marlow, 30, and Kenneth Benbow, 30, for their respective roles in three separate murders committed in aid of the charged racketeering activity, in the District of Columbia and Maryland, between 2008 and 2010. One killing was of a government witness, Crystal Washington, 44, who was shot to death April 10, 2009 in the District of Columbia. She was slain one business day before the start of a D.C. Superior Court trial at which Washington was to testify for the government against Mark Pray and three other individuals.

The indictment charges Mark Pray and Alonzo Marlow, who functioned as an “enforcer” for the Pray Drug Organization, with Washington’s death. Pray and Marlow also are charged with the January 13, 2010, murder of Jheryl Hodge 20, in the District of Columbia. According to the indictment, Marlow shot Hodge several times, in broad daylight, in the middle of the Barry Farm neighborhood. Pray and Kenneth Benbow are charged with the murder of Van Johnson Jr., 28, which took place September 24, 2008, in Prince George’s County.

In addition to Pray, Marlow and Benbow, the others indicted include: Randolph Danson, 25, Robert McMillan, 25, Timothy Moon, 23, Robert Smith, 31, Charles Wade, 25, Herman Williams, 19, and Larry Williams, 29.

All of the named individuals will be arraigned on the superseding indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on a date to be determined by the Court. All of the individuals face sentences from 10 years to life in prison if convicted.

The federal Murder in Aid of Racketeering charges against Mark Pray, Alonzo Marlow, and Kenneth Benbow are punishable by life imprisonment.

Because these individuals will be tried in a federal court, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will apply if convicted.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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Several Indicted for Alleged Participation in $50 Million Aircraft Scheme

September 9, 2010

The owner of an aircraft leasing company, who was indicted earlier this year on commercial bribery charges, his corporation, and five new individual defendants are facing an expanded federal indictment alleging that they engaged in a fraudulent financing scheme that raised more than $50 million. Several defendants, including one additional defendant not charged in the fraud scheme, were charged with obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit against the leasing company and its owner based on the allegedly fraudulent aircraft investment deals.

In all, seven individuals and a corporation were charged in a 21-count superseding indictment returned today by a federal grand jury. An eighth man, who is cooperating with the government, pleaded guilty last month to fraud and tax evasion, admitting that he accepted more than $400,000 in bribes as part of the scheme.

Typically, when someone is cooperating with government officials, that individual is providing information to the government in regards to the alleged scheme in order to get a plea arrangement or reduced sentence. Under this cooperation, the individual usually must provide all the information he knows regarding the alleged scheme. This usually results in the investigation and indictment of others based on the individuals’ information about the alleged scheme and those involved.

Brian Hollnagel, 37, of Chicago, the owner, president and chief executive officer of the defendant corporation, BCI Aircraft Leasing, Inc., was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud, two counts each of tax fraud and obstruction of the SEC lawsuit, and one count of bribery. Hollnagel has remained free on a $1.7 million secured bond since he was arrested last March on one count of wire fraud in connection with the commercial bribery scheme alone.

BCI Aircraft Leasing, Inc., which buys, sells and leases commercial airplanes and operated first in Naperville and later Chicago, was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of obstructing the SEC lawsuit, and one count of bribery.

A corporation may be indicted for alleged illegal behavior, even though technically it is not a “person.” The law is clear that a corporation may be held accountable for alleged illegal acts, in addition to those individuals running the company.

Several others were indicted as well, including: Craig Papayanis, 49, of Moorpark, Calif., who held various positions at BCI, including managing director and chief financial officer, who was charged with six counts of wire fraud; Jason R. Hyatt, 37, of Winfield, Ill., an owner of Hyatt Johnson Capital, LLC., an investment company that offered and sold to its customers investments totaling more than $20 million in BCI aircraft financing deals; two counts of wire fraud and one count of obstructing the SEC lawsuit; William Hatamyar, 55, of Edmond, Okla., president of AirBanker, a division of Chicago-based Bridgeview Bank Group, where he acted as the loan officer on bank loans and a credit line to BCI totaling more than $30 million; two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of false statements to a financial institution and bribery; Jeffrey Meyer, 52, formerly of suburban Lake Zurich, who was BCI’s controller from 2003 to 2006; two counts of wire fraud; Martin Collier, 64, of Chicago and Woodland Hills, Calif., who was the chief financial officer, among other positions, at BCI; two counts of wire fraud and one count each of obstructing the SEC lawsuit and perjury; and Robert Carlsson, 41, of Chicago, a licensed securities broker who raised money for BCI from outside investors; At various times, he was a managing director for BCI, was chief executive officer of BCI Capital Management, and owned 21 Capital Group, Inc., a registered securities broker-dealer; two counts of obstructing two separate SEC examinations of him and his company, 21 Capital Group.

According to the indictment, beginning no later than early 2000 and continuing through at least early 2009, Hollnagel, BCI, Papayanis, Hyatt, Hatamyar, Meyer, Collier, and others allegedly fraudulently obtained and retained financing and other funds for BCI and enriched themselves to the detriment of investors, lenders and others. It is also alleged that the individuals concealed the scheme by providing false testimony and information in connection with the SEC’s lawsuit, misleading and attempting to mislead BCI’s investors and independent auditors, and creating phony accounting records.

If these individuals proceed with a trial, the government does not have to prove every crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Legally, as the long as the government can convince a jury of one of the crimes, the individual(s) will be found guilty. Unfortunately at sentencing, the judge will be able to consider every bad act, which includes the alleged crimes that the individual was not found guilty of, when determining the length of the sentence. Meaning, even though the individual was not found guilty of those alleged crimes in a court of law, the judge may still consider those when determining the sentence. Such practice is extremely unfair to the individual, since they were not found guilty by a jury, however, it is legal and it occurs every day in federal sentencing.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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