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Showing posts from November, 2009

US Labor Department releases updated Employment Law Guide

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of an updated version of its popular Employment Law Guide, an online publication that describes the major employment laws administered by the department. The Guide helps the public — workers and employers — understand many of the laws affecting the workplace. For instance, it helps small businesses develop wage, benefit, safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies. It also benefits employees and employee representatives who need information about worker rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.

"Fair and safe practices in the workplace are a top priority for the Department of Labor, and we want to make it simple for both employers and workers to understand the federal policies that protect them," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Our new Employment Law Guide provides updated and user-friendly information and guidance. We encourage everyone to use it."

Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Stericycle Inc.’s Acquisition of MedServe Inc.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Stericycle Inc. to divest certain infectious waste collection and treatment services assets in order to proceed with its acquisition of MedServe Inc. The department said the transaction, as originally proposed, would substantially lessen competition in infectious waste collection and treatment services to hospitals and other critical healthcare facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, resulting in higher prices and reduced service.

The department’s Antitrust Division, along with the attorneys general of the states of Missouri and Nebraska, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block the proposed transaction. At the same time, the department and the two attorneys general filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive concerns alleged in the lawsuit.

Justice Department to Monitor Election in Georgia

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor polling place activities for compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 during the Dec. 1, 2009, municipal run-off election in Union Point, Ga.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race. It also allows voters who have difficulty reading or who have a disability to receive assistance from persons of their choice, with the exception of their employers or union officials. Attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

UHO Duped the Public into Making Donations for Homeless Services while Principals and Workers Pocketed Donations for Personal Expenses

NEW YORK, NY (November 24, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against the not-for-profit group United Homeless Organization, Inc. (“UHO”), its founder and president Stephen Riley, and its director Myra Walker, alleging that Riley and Walker used the organization to dupe the public into donating cash to fund services for the homeless, when the money was instead used for personal expenses.

According to the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, New York County, Riley and Walker had UHO workers set up tables across the city with plastic jugs to collect cash donations, telling sympathetic passersby that donated funds would be used for services for the homeless. However, Cuomo’s investigation revealed that all the money collected went directly to Riley and Walker, or was kept by the people working for UHO, instead of funding charitable programs or services. The lawsuit charges Riley, Walker, and UHO with engaging in a scheme to def…

Terror Charges Unsealed in Minnesota Against Eight Defendants, Justice Department Announces

The Justice Department announced that terrorism charges have been unsealed today in the District of Minnesota against eight defendants. According to the charging documents, the offenses include providing financial support to those who traveled to Somalia to fight on behalf of al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization; attending terrorist training camps operated by al-Shabaab; and fighting on behalf of al-Shabaab.

Thus far, 14 defendants have been charged in the District of Minnesota in indictments or criminal complaints that have been unsealed and brought in connection with an ongoing investigation into the recruitment of persons from U.S. communities to train with or fight on behalf of extremist groups in Somalia. Four of these defendants have previously pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Former Employee of Art Collector Charged in Manhattan Federal Court with Scheme to Sell Stolen Andy Warhol Artwork

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PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), and JANET DiFIORE, the District Attorney for Westchester County, announced today that JAMES S. BIEAR, surrendered today and was charged with mail and wire fraud in Manhattan federal court, in connection with a joint investigation conducted by the FBI and the Westchester County Police Department into BIEAR's possession of numerous pieces of notable artwork believed to have been stolen from his former employer. The federal charges relate to BIEAR's sale of one of those pieces of artwork, a Heinz 57 box created by the artist Andy Warhol, to an unwitting collector in New York City.

According to the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

In July 2008, BIEAR sold a Andy Warhol silkscreen on a wooden crate mimicking a Heinz 57 case of ketchup (the &q…

Tennessee Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Burning Islamic Center

WASHINGTON—Senior Judge Robert L. Echols of the Middle District of Tennessee today sentenced Michael Corey Golden to 14 years and three months in prison and three years of supervised released for vandalizing and burning down the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn., the Justice Department announced. Golden pleaded guilty on Nov. 3, 2008, to destruction of religious property and to using fire to commit a felony.

Golden, 24, previously admitted to the court that he constructed Molotov cocktail explosive devices, ignited them and used them to destroy the mosque on Feb. 9, 2008. He further admitted that while he burned down the mosque, a co-defendant painted swastikas and the phrase “White Power” on the building’s walls. The other two defendants, Jonathan Edward Stone and Eric Ian Baker, previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Detroit Spammer and Three Co-Conspirators Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar E-Mail Stock Fraud Scheme

Four individuals were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Marianne O. Battani in federal court in Detroit for their roles in a wide-ranging international stock fraud scheme involving the illegal use of bulk commercial e-mails, or "spamming."

Alan M. Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Scott Bradley, 48, also of West Bloomfield, were sentenced to 51 months and 40 months in prison, respectively, for conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and to violate the CAN-SPAM Act, and also for committing wire fraud, engaging in money laundering and violating the CAN-SPAM Act. Ralsky and Bradley were also each sentenced to 5 years of supervised release following their respective prison terms, and were each ordered to forfeit $250,000 that the United States seized in December 2007.

10 indicted in Chicago sham marriage conspiracy

CHICAGO - An immigration attorney and five current and former Cook County Traffic Court employees were among those charged on Monday for allegedly arranging sham marriages to evade U.S. immigration laws. The charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment last week that was unsealed Nov. 23 after ICE agents arrested five of the defendants. Among the 10 individuals charged are a Chicago immigration attorney and five current or former Cook County Traffic Court employees. However, the charges do not allege that their employment played any role in the alleged fraud scheme.

Arrests made in case involving a conspiracy to procure weapons including anti-aircraft missiles

PHILADELPHIA - David S. Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice, and United States Attorney Michael L. Levy, together with Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Janice K. Fedarcyk, Special Agent-in-Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement John P. Kelleghan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Don Fort, and Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, announced arrests in a case involving a conspiracy to procure weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles.

A criminal complaint charged Dani Nemr Tarraf with conspiring to acquire anti-aircraft missiles (FIM-92 Stingers) and conspiring to possess machine guns (approximately 10,000 Colt M4 Carbines). In addition, Tarraf and other defendants - including Douri Nemr Tarraf, Hassan Mohamad Komeiha, and Hussein Ali Asfour - were charged with conspiring to transport stolen goods. Dani Nemr Tarraf and Ali Fadel Yahfoufi were charged wi…

CUOMO’S OFFICE SUES SMITHTOWN NISSAN FOR DECEIVING CUSTOMERS ABOUT SALE PRICES

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (November 23, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has filed suit against Smithtown Nissan for surreptitiously altering contract prices after agreeing to a different price and terms with the consumer.

The Attorney General’s office received dozens of complaints about Smithtown Nissan alleging deceptive practices, such as secretly adding unwanted and costly options to sales contracts or simply charging more for the car than what had been agreed to by consumers. The complaints alleged that the dealership, located at 535 Middle County Road in St. James and owned by Joseph O. Rubio, led them to believe they were paying one price for a vehicle, but ended up charging them much more.

Thirteen Defendants Charged in $19 Million Bank Fraud Cases Relate to the Collapse of Desert Sun Development in Bend, Oregon

EUGENE, OR—A federal grand jury sitting in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday returned indictments against 13 individuals on a variety of mortgage and loan fraud charges arising out of the collapse of Desert Sun Development (DSD), a company previously headquartered in Bend, Oregon. From 2004 through 2008, DSD built commercial buildings and residential housing throughout Central Oregon. According to the indictments, DSD principals and other defendants caused financial institutions to lose more than $19 million. In total, five separate indictments were returned. Arraignments of all defendants are scheduled for December 16, 2009, before the Honorable Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin in Eugene.

“These indictments represent a significant step in the government’s efforts to detect and prosecute mortgage fraud,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kent S. Robinson. “The conduct alleged in these indictments is typical of what has caused so much havoc in the mortgage and financial sectors. We will continue to seek …

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Murder Charge for the Death of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr.

SAN DIEGO, CA—United States Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced the filing of an information and the guilty plea today of an individual involved in the death of Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Agent Robert W. Rosas, Jr. Agent Rosas was shot and killed on July 23, 2009, while he was on a routine patrol near San Diego, Calif. The information charges the defendant with the murder of a federal officer committed in perpetration of a robbery.

According to the plea agreement, Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, age 17, admitted that during the evening of July 23, 2009, he illegally entered the United States for the purpose of robbing a Border Patrol agent of government property. While Agent Rosas was engaged in the performance of his duties, Castro-Alvarez and his co-conspirators lured Agent Rosas out of his vehicle for the purpose of robbing him. During the course of the robbery, Agent Rosas and the defendant struggled over a firearm and Agent Rosas was shot multiple times by the de…

Historic Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Takes Effect

EEOC Assumes New Area of Jurisdiction to Protect Confidentiality of Genetic Information

WASHINGTON -- In the first legislative expansion of its jurisdiction since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Saturday will assume responsibility for enforcing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

GINA, signed into law in May 2008, prohibits discrimination by health insurers and employers based on individuals’ genetic information. Genetic information includes the results of genetic tests to determine whether someone is at increased risk of acquiring a condition (such as some forms of breast cancer) in the future, as well as an individual’s family medical history.“

Former State Department Official and Wife Plead Guilty in 30-Year Espionage Conspiracy

WASHINGTON – A former State Department official and his wife have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from their roles in a 30-year conspiracy to provide classified U.S. national defense information to the Republic of Cuba.

The guilty pleas, which occurred today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Ambassador Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.

Former Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Depriving Motorist of Civil Rights by Kidnapping

The Justice Department announced that U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson sentenced former Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Franklin Joseph Ryle Jr. to 15 years in prison today for depriving a man of his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures by kidnapping the man and for using his firearm in relation to the crime.

Ryle had pleaded guilty to the crimes and admitted that while working on duty as a Highway Patrol trooper on the night of Jan. 8, 2009, he stopped a Wal-Mart truck with the intent to murder the driver and stage an accident with the truck that would either injure him or kill Ryle’s wife. As part of the scheme, Ryle intended to seek a monetary settlement from Wal-Mart.

National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center partners take part in international week of action on illegal pharmaceuticals

WASHINGTON - An international week of action targeting the Internet sale of counterfeit and illicit medicines and its threat to public health has resulted in many arrests and the seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medical products across five continents.

In the United States, the partners of the Virginia-based National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) conducted operations from Nov. 16-20 at mail facilities throughout the United States, targeting counterfeit, substandard or tainted drugs coming into the United States.

Former Real Estate Investment Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Laundering Proceeds of Mortgage Fraud

ALBANY, NY—Andrew T. Baxter, United States Attorney, Patricia J. Haynes, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (New York Field Office), John F. Pikus, Special Agent in Charge, Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announce that KEVIN M. O’CONNELL, age 35, of Albany, pled guilty in United States District Court in Albany before the Honorable Norman A. Mordue today, to a one-count information charging him with the felony offense of laundering of monetary instruments in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), in connection with his role in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded financial institutions and other mortgage lenders of over $5.3 million in loans.

In court today, O'CONNELL admitted his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that occurred from at least July 2003 through December 2007, in connec…

Twenty-Six Charged in Nationwide Scheme to Defraud the FCC’s Video Relay Service Program

WASHINGTON—Indictments were unsealed today against 26 people charged with engaging in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Joseph Persichini Jr., Deputy Chief Postal Inspector Zane Hill, and FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus.

Arrests were made today by FBI agents and Postal Inspectors in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Maryland and were the result of a joint FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and FCC Office of Inspector General (FCC-OIG) investigation into a nationwide scheme to defraud the FCC’s VRS program.

FTC Settlements Bar Deceptive Online Marketing of "Free" Internet Auction Kits

An online marketer of purportedly “free” Internet auction kits, which automatically charged unwitting consumers $59.95 a month for enrollment in an “online supplier” program for Internet auctions, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that its actions violated federal law. The separate proposed court settlements with the company and two of its former executives bar them from similar deceptive conduct in the future, and require them to make specific disclosures to ensure consumers are aware of any recurring-fee plans (also known as “continuity plans” or “negative option plans”) for which they are signing up or being charged. The proposed court settlements also require the settling defendants to pay a total of what could be more than $1 million.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Commerce Planet operated a Web site offering consumers a free “online auction kit” that included information about how to start a business selling products on online auction sites such as eBay. Co…

ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton announces 1,000 new workplace audits to hold employers accountable for their hiring practices

WASHINGTON-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Secretary John Morton today announced the issuance of Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 1,000 employers across the country associated with critical infrastructure-alerting business owners that ICE will audit their hiring records to determine compliance with employment eligibility verification laws.

"ICE is focused on finding and penalizing employers who believe they can unfairly get ahead by cultivating illegal workplaces," said Assistant Secretary Morton. "We are increasing criminal and civil enforcement of immigration-related employment laws and imposing smart, tough employer sanctions to even the playing field for employers who play by the rules."

Consumer Alert: Amerimod

NEW YORK, NY (November 19, 2009) -- On August 13, 2009, the New York State Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Amerimod, Inc., The American Modification Agency, Inc. (“Amerimod”) and its owner Salvatore Pane, Jr. alleging a wide variety of illegal and deceptive business practices and false advertising related to Amerimod’s home mortgage modification business. It has recently come to the Attorney General’s attention that Amerimod has vacated its former headquarters in Uniondale, NY and is not currently operating its loan modification business.

If you were an Amerimod customer and have not received a mortgage modification, you should contact your lender immediately and explore other available resources to assist you with obtaining a modification and avoiding foreclosure, including consulting an attorney or a government-approved housing counselor. A list of not-for-profit housing counselors is available on the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s website at www…

St. John Health System Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

TULSA, Okla. -- St. John Health System, Inc. of Tulsa will pay $100,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that the company violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to reasonably accommodate a hearing-impaired operating room scrub technician.

According to the EEOC’s suit, LaQuita Reherman had been employed by St. John for approximately six years when she was removed from her scrub technician position in March 2006 after several physicians complained about her being hard of hearing. Reherman wears hearing aids in both ears, the EEOC said, but would have been able to hear doctors’ instructions adequately if it were not for their practice of playing loud music in the operating room. These disturbances, coupled with her hearing impairment, caused the problems, the EEOC said.

ICE initiative uses biometrics to enhance identification and removal of criminal aliens in Southeastern Michigan

DETROIT - Law enforcement agencies in southeastern Michigan will benefit from a new initiative developed by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Homeland Security (DHS) that modernizes the process used to accurately identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens from the community.

The initiative, Secure Communities, is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Secure Communities enables ICE to determine whether an individual arrested by a participating state or local law enforcement agency is a dangerous criminal alien and take the appropriate action to remove that individual from the community.

Investigation Part of AG Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative

BUFFALO, N.Y. (November 17, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced narcotics trafficking and other charges have been filed against 28 individuals accused of taking part in a drug distribution network which was funneling cocaine through the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico to Buffalo for sale in Erie and Niagara Counties. In addition, it is alleged that the network was also selling illegal prescription medications.

According to court records, an investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police dubbed, “Operation Mechanics,” led to the seizure of cocaine, cash, and two vehicles - a 2002 BMW and a 2002 Chevy Suburban.

Company Received over $8.5 Billion for Food Supply Contracts; Now Indicted for Conspiracy and Major Fraud

ATLANTA—Public Warehousing Company, K.S.C., (PWC) a logistics company organized under the laws of the Nation of Kuwait has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, committing major fraud against the United States, making false statements, submitting false claims and wire fraud. All of the charges concern multi-billion dollar contracts issued by the Department of Defense for feeding American troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. PWC is scheduled for an initial appearance and arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King in Atlanta at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, 2009. A related civil action has also been filed against PWC.

Criminal Chief F. Gentry Shelnutt, who is currently serving as the Acting U.S. Attorney on this case, said, “This indictment is the result of a multi-year probe into abuses in vendor contracts in the Middle East involving the illegal inflation of prices in contracts to feed our troops. The indictment alleges …

Australian Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Solicit Kickbacks in Connection with Government Contract in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - An Australian man pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to solicit kickbacks in connection with the award of a private security services subcontract to protect U.S. government personnel and contractors in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General Christine A. Varney of the Antitrust Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Scott Anthony Walker, 36, of Australia, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of conspiracy to solicit a kickback. Walker was arrested in the United States on Nov. 11, 2009.

ICE to share Yakuza seized assets with the Nevada Gaming Control Board

LAS VEGAS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will share more than $60,000 in assets seized from a high-ranking Japanese organized crime figure with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The money is part of nearly $600,000 in funds seized by ICE and forfeited to the federal government from U.S. accounts belonging to high-ranking Japanese organized crime figure Susumu Kajiyama. In addition to the $62,400 in funds being dispersed to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, ICE will also be sharing $381,608 of the seized assets with the Japan Ministry of Justice. This marks the first time U.S. law enforcement has shared seized assets with Japan.

President of Metropolitan Money Store Sentenced to Over 12 Years in Prison for $37 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced the president of the Metropolitan Money Store, Joy Jackson, age 41, of Fort Washington, Maryland, today to 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that falsely promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure keep their homes and repair their damaged credit, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Titus also entered a judgement ordering Jackson to pay restitution of $16,880,884.86 and to forfeit three residential properties in Oxon Hill, Capitol Heights and Laurel, Maryland and three vehicles.

“Joy Jackson presided over a ‘money store’ that was in the business of ripping off homeowners and mortgage lenders by submitting fraudulent paperwork to support over $37 million of loans that were never intended to be repaid,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Instead of helpin…

CUOMO CHARGES ROCHESTER NURSING HOME AIDE WITH STEALING 90-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT’S CREDIT CARD AND FORGING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS APPLICATION

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (November 13, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has filed charges against a former Rochester-area nursing home aide who allegedly stole a patient’s credit card to purchase personal items, pay bills and make multiple ATM withdrawals. After she was fired from the nursing home, she then allegedly filed a forged and false application with the Monroe County Department of Human Services in order to obtain public benefits.

Certified nurse aide Latoya Harding, 28, of Grafton St. in Rochester, formerly employed at the Blossom South Nursing Home, allegedly took a credit card from a 90 year-old patient suffering from dementia to pay her cable, cell phone and utility bills. She also allegedly purchased items from Wal-Mart and made several cash withdrawals. The felony complaint alleges that between June and August 2009, Harding stole a total of $2,434.57 from the resident.

Former Congressman William J. Jefferson Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Bribery and Other Charges

Former U.S. Congressman William J. Jefferson, 62, of New Orleans, La., was sentenced today to 13 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for using his office to corruptly solicit bribes. Jefferson was also ordered to forfeit more than $470,000.

"The court’s sentence today reaffirms the principle that all people – no matter what their title or position – are equal before the law," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman. "In a stunning betrayal of the public’s trust, former Congressman Jefferson repeatedly used his public office for private gain. The lengthy prison sentence imposed on Mr. Jefferson today is a stark reminder to all public officials that the consequences of accepting bribes can and will be severe."

Two Former Computer Programmers for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC with Conspiracy and Falsifying Books and Records

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), ALAN D. LEBOWITZ, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration ("DOL-EBSA"), and PATRICIA J. HAYNES, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), announced that JEROME O'HARA and GEORGE PEREZ—former computer programmers for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC ("BLMIS")—were arrested this morning at their residences by agents of the FBI. O'HARA and PEREZ are charged in a criminal Complaint with conspiracy, falsifying books and records of a broker-dealer, and falsifying books and records of an investment adviser.

Former Evangelist Receives 175-Year Sentence for Sexual Exploitation Offenses

TEXARKANA, AR—Bernie Hoffman, aka Tony Alamo, founder and leader of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, age 75, was sentenced to 175 years' imprisonment today by U.S. District Court Judge Harry F. Barnes in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, announced U.S. Attorney Deborah Groom. Alamo was convicted this summer of charges that he transported minor girls across state lines with the intent to engage in sexual activity. On July 24, 2009, after six days of testimony, the jury found Alamo guilty on all 10 counts of the federal indictment. During the trial, the women testified Alamo had sexual relations with them while they were underage and that they traveled across state lines with Alamo, or at his request, for the purpose of his having sexual relations with them. The sentence included a fine in the amount of $250,000, and special assessments in the amount of $850.00. The sentence represents the maximum sentence on each of the 10 counts which will be served con…

USPTO, the European Patent Office and the Japan Patent Office to Expand Patent Prosecution Highway Work Share Program

WASHINGTON - The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office, and the Japan Patent Office -- collectively referred to as the Trilateral Offices -- today entered into a series of bilateral agreements to expand the existing Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) work share program. These new PPH agreements between the Trilateral Offices will use international search reports, written opinions, and international preliminary examination reports developed within the framework of the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) will greatly expand the availability of the PPH program.

PPH agreements streamline the patent system and promote expeditious and high-quality patent examination among participating offices by allowing patent examiners to avail themselves of work product from other patent offices. Under existing PPH agreements, an applicant receiving an allowable determination from one patent office on at least one claim in an appl…

Bellco Credit Union Agrees To Pay $57,250 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Lawsuit

DENVER – Bellco Credit Union has agreed to pay $57,250 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, EEOC v. Bellco Credit Union, 06-cv-01883 CMA-MEH, a then 61-year-old teller in Bellco’s Harlan Branch in Westminster, Colo., was fired in October 2003 because of her age.

Former Owner of the Now-Defunct People’s Choice Surgical Supplies Sentenced to 3-9 Years in Prison

MINEOLA, NY (November 13, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the sentencing of the mastermind behind a massive Medicaid fraud scheme on Long Island. David Williams, an owner of a now-defunct Long Island medical supply company, was sentenced to three to nine years in prison for stealing over $1 million from Medicaid. In addition to incarceration, David Williams is also responsible for paying restitution of over $1.1 million to reimburse the Medicaid program.

David Williams and his wife Cynthia Williams owned People’s Choice Surgical Supplies, Inc., (“People’s Choice”), which was the largest medical supply company on Long Island based on its quantity of Medicaid billing. From 2003 to 2006, People’s Choice, David and Cynthia Williams, and two employees falsely billed Medicaid for over $1 million dollars for medical equipment that was not ordered by physicians. Additionally, People’s Choice billed Medicaid for over $50,000 of medical equipment that was never provided …

Former Missouri Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing a Teenage Girl While She Was Detained

WASHINGTON – Steven W. Burgess, a former Jackson County, Mo., sheriff’s deputy, pleaded guilty in federal court today to violating the civil rights of a teenage girl whom he sexually assaulted in his patrol car, the Justice Department announced.

Burgess, 35, of Independence, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith to the charge contained in an April 7, 2009, federal indictment. As part of his plea, Burgess admitted that while he was a deputy sheriff with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, he deprived a 15-year-old girl of her Constitutional rights by sexually assaulting her while she was in his custody.

Grandville, Mich., restaurant operators ordered to pay more than $2 million in back wages and damages

GRANDVILLE, Mich. — Li Jin Yang and Dong Lin, a wife and husband operating five Oriental Forest restaurants, headquartered in Grandville with locations across the western part of Michigan, have been ordered by a federal court judge to pay $2,030,430 in minimum wage and overtime pay and damages owed to 129 workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division.

"For those employers who take advantage of the most vulnerable workers in this country, the department will not hesitate to enforce federal law to the fullest extent possible," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "We are pleased that workers in this case will receive the back wages they have earned and deserve."

Mexican murder suspect handed over to Mexican authorities

NOGALES, Ariz. - A Mexican national wanted for vehicular homicide in his native country was turned over to representatives from the Mexican Attorney General's Office (PGR) at the border crossing in Nogales, Ariz., this morning by officers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Pablo Cruz-Rojas, 28, is suspected of causing a fatal traffic accident while driving under the influence in the state of Nayarit, Mexico, in July 2008. Cruz, who allegedly killed two people and severely injured a third, posted bail and fled to the United States in August 2008.

Former Willbros International Consultant Pleads Guilty to $6 Million Foreign Bribery Scheme

WASHINGTON—A former consultant for Willbros International Inc. (WII), a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc. (Willbros), pleaded guilty today to engaging in a conspiracy to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and officials from a Nigerian political party, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Assistant Director Joseph Persichini Jr., of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Paul G. Novak, 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Simeon T. Lake III in Houston to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one substantive count of violating the FCPA. Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 19, 2010.

CUOMO SECURES GUILTY PLEAS IN “MAN CAVE” CASE

ALBANY, NY (November 12, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that two Office of General Services (OGS) employees have pled guilty to using a storage area in Albany’s East Parking Garage for several months as a “man cave,” where they were charged with using and dealing marijuana and cocaine, sleeping, and watching television instead of performing their duties.

“These state employees shirked their duties to the state while partying on the public dollar. With these guilty pleas, their party is officially over,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This office will continue to fight corruption and abuse at the taxpayers’ expense in all of its forms.”

Connecticut Investor Frederic Bourke Sentenced to Prison for Scheme to Bribe Government Officials in Azerbaijan

Frederic A. Bourke Jr., of Greenwich, Conn., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to one year and one day in prison.

Following a six-week trial, Bourke, 63, was found guilty on July 10, 2009, of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and related prohibitions, and of making false statements to the FBI. The FCPA makes it a crime to pay or offer to pay foreign government officials in order to obtain or retain business. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ordered Bourke to pay a $1 million fine and serve three years of supervised release following the prison term.

Investigation Continues Into Fort Hood Shooting

The FBI continues to work closely with the Department of the Army in the joint, ongoing investigation into the tragic events that occurred last Thursday at Fort Hood. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.

With respect to the investigation—the Army Criminal Investigative Division is leading a coordinated criminal investigation with the support of the FBI and other components of the Department of Justice and the Texas Rangers. The investigation is in its early stages, and the information we can provide now is limited.

Commerce Under Secretary and USPTO Director Kappos Launches Blog

WASHINGTON – Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos today launched a blog to foster a direct dialogue with the USPTO’s stakeholders and the general public.

“It’s important for me to be able to hear directly from the IP community, and that is why we are establishing this open channel for sustained dialogue and the exchange of ideas,” said Kappos. “I hope that the public will find this blog to be a useful vehicle for providing input to me directly and giving us the feedback we need to be able to better serve our constituents and the American people. I am looking forward to hearing from all segments of the IP community and encourage you to share your ideas and concerns with me on an ongoing basis.”

Korean Businessman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in $206 Million Contract Fraud Scheme

A South Korean businessman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to five years in prison for his role in a bribery conspiracy involving a $206 million telecommunications contract and employees of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade also ordered Gi-Hwan Jeong to pay a $50,000 fine. Jeong pleaded guilty on June 11, 2009, to a five-count indictment, charging him with one count of conspiracy, two counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery.

FTC Files Contempt Charges Against Attorney for Ponzi Scheme Operators

Attorney Failed to Turn Over Proceeds from Defendants’ Business Opportunity Involving Sale of Internet Kiosks to Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission has filed civil contempt charges against an attorney who represented the marketers of an “Internet kiosk” business opportunity that turned out to be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.

In its contempt action, the Commission charged that the attorney representing defendants in the case flouted a March 2009 federal court order that required him to turn over $238,300 to the FTC. The court had previously had determined that money given to the attorney as a retainer for his work on the case derived from the defendants’ proceeds from their illegal scheme. The court found that the FTC was entitled to that money, so that it could be used to reimburse victims of the scam.

Cheesecake Factory Settles EEOC Suit in Case of Severe Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Restaurant Chain Will Pay $345,000 to Six Male Employees Who Agency Alleged Were Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted

PHOENIX – Cheesecake Factory, Inc., a nationwide restaurant chain that touts itself as a place to create “lasting memories with family and friends,” will pay $345,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that six male employees were subjected to repeated sexual harassment at the company’s Chandler Mall location.

In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Cheesecake Factory, Inc., CV 08-1207-PHX-NVW), the EEOC charged that Cheesecake knew about and tolerated repeated sexual assaults against six male employees by a group of male kitchen staffers. The company denied the allegations. However, according to the agency, the evidence overwhelmingly showed that the men suffered sexually abusive behavior, including abusers directly touching victims’ genitals, making sex…

Accomplice of Former UBS Investment Banker Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Insider Trading

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MICHAEL KOULOUROUDIS, an accomplice of a former UBS investment banker, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge PAUL G. GARDEPHE on charges of conspiracy and securities fraud as a result of trading based on inside information stolen from UBS.

According to the Complaint and Superseding Indictment previously filed in this case, and statements made during KOULOUROUDIS's guilty plea:

U.S. Energy to change name of company and uniform color scheme to stop misleading homeowners into believing company is affiliated with local regulated

BUFFALO, N.Y. (November 10, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that his office reached an agreement with a Western New York gas provider after consumers complained about the company using deceiving tactics.

New York Energy Savings Corporation, d/b/a U.S. Energy Savings, has agreed to change both the name of the company and the color scheme of uniforms so that consumers will not think that the company is affiliated with the local regulated utility. The new agreement also implements a $50 cap on cancellation fees for consumers who cancel contracts after 30 days. Previously, the energy service company (ESCO) was found to be charging some consumers more than $600 in such fees.

CUOMO ANNOUNCES COURT DECISION REQUIRING BOGUS ANTIQUE ARTIFACT OPERATION TO PAY PENALTIES AND RESTITUTION

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (November 10, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has won a lawsuit requiring a Newburgh resident who ran an online fraudulent antique artifact operation to pay restitution to those he defrauded.

As a result of a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Cuomo, Dutchess County Acting Supreme Court Justice Hon. Thomas J. Dolan issued a decision and order requiring restitution for any consumers he defrauded, plus penalties of up to $5,000 per violation and costs to the state. The order also permanently bars Veleanu from selling jade artifacts unless they can be verified as authentic.

Cheesecake Factory Settles EEOC Suit in Case of Severe Same-Sex Sexual Harassment

Restaurant Chain Will Pay $345,000 to Six Male Employees Who Agency Alleged Were Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted

PHOENIX – Cheesecake Factory, Inc., a nationwide restaurant chain that touts itself as a place to create “lasting memories with family and friends,” will pay $345,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that six male employees were subjected to repeated sexual harassment at the company’s Chandler Mall location.

In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Cheesecake Factory, Inc., CV 08-1207-PHX-NVW), the EEOC charged that Cheesecake knew about and tolerated repeated sexual assaults against six male employees by a group of male kitchen staffers. The company denied the allegations. However, according to the agency, the evidence overwhelmingly showed that the men suffered sexually abusive behavior, including abusers directly touching victims’ genitals, making s…

CUOMO REACHES $875,000 SETTLEMENT WITH CVS OVER THE SALE OF EXPIRED PRODUCTS ACROSS NEW YORK STATE

Settlement Comes after Cuomo’s Undercover Investigation Revealed CVS Stores across the State Sold Expired Milk, Eggs, Medicines, and Baby Formula

NEW YORK, NY (November 10, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has reached an $875,000 settlement with the national retail pharmacy chain CVS to end its sale of expired products - including over-the-counter drugs, baby formula, milk, and eggs - at stores across New York State.

The settlement concludes the lawsuit previously filed by the Attorney General in New York Supreme Court against CVS Pharmacy, Inc. for its pervasive sales of expired products and its breach of a prior settlement with the Attorney General in which it agreed to take measures to end such sales.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH TAGGED.COM OVER DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES

NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 9, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has stopped the social networking site Tagged.com from misappropriating the contacts lists and identities of its members and from sending out millions of deceptive and unsolicited promotional emails.

Through an agreement with Cuomo’s office, the company must pay $500,000 in penalties and costs to the state and adopt industry-leading measures regarding the access and use of its members’ personal information.

CUOMO ANNOUNCES SENTENCING OF THREE MEN FOR ROLES IN SCHEME TO INTENTIONALLY INSTALL FAULTY SEPTIC TANKS

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (November 9, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that three men have been sentenced after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a scheme to intentionally install faulty septic systems in a Town of Granby housing development.

Gary A. Royce, Jr., 42, of Fulton, a manufactured home lot developer, and his employee, Leslie A. Baker, 30, of Mexico, pleaded guilty in April in Oswego County Court to Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (class E felony). Former Town of Granby code enforcement officer Harold Babcock, 71, of Fulton, pleaded guilty to Issuing a False Certificate (class E felony) in August.

Antitrust Division Issues Statement on the European Commission’s Decision Regarding the Proposed Transaction Between Oracle and Sun

WASHINGTON – Deputy Assistant Attorney General Molly Boast of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division issued the following statement today after the European Commission (EC) issued a statement of objections regarding Oracle Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc.:

"After conducting a careful investigation of the proposed transaction between Oracle and Sun, the Department’s Antitrust Division concluded that the merger is unlikely to be anticompetitive. This conclusion was based on the particular facts of the transaction and the Division’s prior investigations in the relevant industries. The investigation included gathering statements from a variety of industry participants and a review of the parties’ internal business documents. At this point in its process, it appears that the EC holds a different view. We remain hopeful that the parties and the EC will reach a speedy resolution that benefits consumers in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Arbonne International to Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

INDIANAPOLIS – A large skin care products company with a distribution center in Greenwood, Ind., will pay $30,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit (Case no. 1:09-CV-0354-LJM-TAB in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division) that Arbonne International LLC violated federal law by refusing to hire Lisa Wilson due to her disability (deafness).

ICE returns 16th century Hebrew Bible looted by Nazis The 2-volume manuscript was stolen from Vienna, Austria, in 1938

NEW YORK - A 16th century two-volume Bomberg/Pratensis Rabbinic Bible is back in the hands of its rightful owners 71 years after it was stolen by the Nazis. Today, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York returned the Bible to Vienna's Jewish community, known as Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG). This repatriation marks the third time this year that ICE and the U.S. Attorney's Office have repatriated artwork or property stolen during the Holocaust.

During the annexation of Austria in 1938, Nazi soldiers confiscated the rare Bible from the IKG library. On Nov. 9, 1938, known to history as "Kristallnacht," or "Crystal Night," the Gestapo seized and sealed the IKG library. Custody of the IKG library was transferred to the "Reichssicherheitshauptamt" (RSHA) in Berlin between 1939 and 1941. When Berl…

Seventeen Pee Dee Drug Suppliers Plead Guilty in Federal Court

COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney W. Walter Walkins announced today that 17 drug suppliers from the Pee Dee region of South Carolina pled guilty to their involvement in a drug conspiracy spanning the past decade and involving more than one hundred of kilograms of powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The group began entering guilty pleas last month, and the last plea was entered late last week.

Based upon their guilty pleas, the following men face mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years' imprisonment with a maximum possible penalty of life:

Duo Charged with Stealing Nearly $13,000,000 in Embezzlement Scheme

NEW ORLEANS, LA—DONNA WHITE, age 46, a resident of Avondale, Louisiana, and DANIEL KINNEY, age 44, a resident of Whitesville, Kentucky, were charged in a one-count bill of information with mail fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to court documents, DONNA WHITE was employed by John W. Stone Oil Distributor, L.L.C., a midstream and dock fueling business in the Port of New Orleans, from 1995 until October 29, 2007. WHITE’s duties including reviewing payments received by customers, including the companies Vastar, Apex, Harper, and Kiesel, and to match them with invoices for work performed. WHITE also was tasked to reconcile overpayments by these customers. DANIEL KINNEY is the long time boyfriend of WHITE’S sister.

Former Georgia Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Ponzi Scheme

ATLANTA, GA—STEVEN H. BALLARD, 53, of McDonough, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. to serve over five years in federal prison on a wire fraud charge involving a real estate investment scam that lasted over five years and defrauded a dozen victims in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said, “I am gratified that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was able to present the losses of so many victims to the Court, and thereby obtain justice for those who relied on this former attorney and his ‘legal’ papers. In Clayton County alone, our victims lost over $200,000, but there were more victims spread well beyond our county limits which were included in this federal prosecution.”

Daniel J. Bealko, Former General Motors Executive Returns to U.S.; Pleads Guilty to Metals Fraud and $6.5 Million Kickback Scheme

CHICAGO—A former General Motors Corp. executive who was a fugitive abroad for more than a year returned to the United States yesterday and pleaded guilty today to federal charges relating to a kickback and fraud scheme involving GM’s sale of bulk aluminum to third parties. The defendant, Daniel J. Bealko, GM’s former global commodity manager for lightweight metals, also pleaded guilty to federal income tax evasion, admitting that he concealed from the IRS approximately $6.5 million in kickbacks he received from his co-defendant, a Chicago area businessman who was engaged in metal brokerage and commodity trading businesses and who previously pleaded guilty in the case.

Bealko, 62, formerly of Clarkston, Mich., was believed to be living in the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis when he was indicted in March 2008, together with Anthony Demetrius Brown, who owned businesses in Illinois and Nevada related to metal sales, sports and entertainment. Bealko was arrested last year in Liech…

Fourteen Wall Street professionals charged with $20M in insider trading.

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), today announced charges against 14 additional Wall Street professionals and attorneys arising out of their ongoing investigation of insider trading at hedge funds and stock trading firms. The charged defendants include hedge fund managers and trading firm executives, lawyers, and corporate insiders. Five of the charged defendants previously pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in Manhattan federal court. The defendants collectively are charged with allegedly participating in insider trading schemes that generated more than $20 million in illegal profits.

On October 16, 2009, six individuals were arrested for their alleged involvement in the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history. The criminal investigation, which was led by the United States Attorney&#…

EATON'S NECK FIRE DISTRICT SETTLES EEOC AGE DISCRIMINATION SUIT

NEW YORK – The Eaton’s Neck Fire District on Long Island will pay $213,840 to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The damages will be made in retroactive payments to a group of 15 fire­fighters who had been discriminated against based on their age and provide increased monthly pension amounts going forward to several firefighters.

The EEOC’s suit had alleged that the Fire District refused to let volunteer firefighters over age 65 accrue credit toward a “length of service award” (LOSAP), the equivalent of a retirement pension, because of their age. As a result, senior firefighters lost pension amounts after they turned 65, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a federal law that protects workers age 40 and older from age discrimination. The EEOC filed suit, Civ. No. 08-5089, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement.

Commerce Under Secretary Kappos to Speak to Independent Inventors

WASHINGTON – Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos will deliver the keynote address today at this year’s Annual Independent Inventors Conference. The conference, co-sponsored by the USPTO and the National Inventors Hall of Fame® Foundation, will be held in Alexandria, Va., at the USPTO campus on November 5-6. Conference attendees will receive practical tips and information on marketing and licensing, patent application preparation, patent and trademark searching, local resources, and lessons learned from successes and failures. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network one-on-one with experts and to provide feedback on how the USPTO can better serve them.

"Independent inventors have always been drivers of innovation in America," notes Under Secretary Kappos. "I am committed to dialoguing with them as often as possible and to making sure their concerns are heard…

Tyson Foods found in violation of Fair Labor Standards Act

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Tyson Foods Inc., one of the nation's largest poultry producers, has been found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at its Blountsville, Ala., facility. The jury's verdict in federal court in Birmingham resulted from a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor against the company.

"We are very pleased that the jury in Birmingham has vindicated our position that employers must pay their workers for the time that they are required to work," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "This is a victory for workers, and the result of years of dedicated efforts to protecting the rights of working Americans on the part of attorneys, investigators and others within the Labor Department."

DIRECTOR OF SINGAPORE FIRM SENTENCED FOR ILLEGALLY EXPORTING CONTROLLED AIRCRAFT COMPONENTS TO IRAN

BROOKLYN, NY – Laura Wang-Woodford, a U.S. citizen who served as a director of Monarch Aviation Pte, Ltd. (“Monarch”), a Singapore company that imported and exported military and commercial aircraft components for more than 20 years, was sentenced today in federal court in Brooklyn to 46 months’ incarceration for conspiring to violate the U.S. trade embargo by exporting controlled aircraft components to Iran. Wang-Woodford was also ordered to forfeit $500,000 to the United States Treasury Department.

The sentencing was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Kevin Delli-Colli, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement; and John T. Morton, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

THE UNITED STATES AND TUTOR PERINI CORPORATION SETTLE CIVIL FRAUD CLAIMS FOR $9.75 MILLION

Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the settlement of claims that Tutor Perini Corporation, formerly Perini Corporation (“Perini”), a publicly-traded construction services corporation, falsely and fraudulently reported that certain minority and disadvantaged business enterprises (“DBEs”) were performing subcontracted work on federally funded public works contracts with the City and State of New York, when in fact non-DBE subcontractors were performing the work. Pursuant to the settlement, Perini has paid the United States $9,750,000. The settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by Perini.

In approximately 1980, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued regulations in connection with a program to increase the participation of DBEs in federally-funded public construction contracts relating to transportation. Pursuant to those regulations, recipients of USDOT construction grants, specifically,…

MARK ANDREW MOORE, has been indicted on charges of grand larceny, securities fraud, scheme to defraud, and tax fraud

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a man who defrauded more than 50 individuals in at least six states including Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, California, Nevada, and Georgia by falsely holding himself out as the CEO of an online fitness magazine and soliciting investments in his fictitious company.

MARK ANDREW MOORE, 40, has been indicted on charges of grand larceny, securities fraud, scheme to defraud, and tax fraud. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between March 2007 and April 2009.

LAWRENCE W. REICH TO PAY MORE THAN $240K TO SETTLE PENSION ABUSE CASE

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 5, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Long Island attorney Lawrence W. Reich will pay more than $240,000 for his nearly 30 years of abusing the state’s public pension system.

Reich will pay to the State of New York and the state pension system a total of $240,565.74 to end Attorney General Cuomo’s investigation into his nearly 30 years of improper employment arrangements with six Long Island school districts where he was on the payrolls from 1978 through 2006, at times simultaneously. For the entire period, Reich worked as outside retained counsel and was not entitled to benefits reserved for public-sector employees. The settlement includes reimbursing the state pension system all pension funds he received as a result of his improper employment arrangements with the districts, totaling $180,565.74, plus an additional payment of $60,000.00 to the State.

Mortgage Fraud Surge Investigation Nets More Than 100 Individuals Throughout Middle District of Florida

TAMPA—United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton today announced the results of a nine-month-long Mortgage Fraud Surge investigation that has resulted in charges against more than 100 defendants and involves allegations concerning more than $400 million in loans procured by fraud and more than 700 properties. U.S. Attorney Albritton is holding events throughout the district this week to highlight the announcement.

There are currently mortgage fraud-related charges pending against approximately 500 defendants in federal mortgage fraud cases around the nation. The cases concern both mortgage schemes designed to defraud mortgage lenders and “foreclosure rescue schemes” which prey on distressed homeowners.

6 South Florida residents indicted for immigration benefit fraud

MIAMI - Six South Florida residents were indicted on charges of conspiracy to induce and encourage aliens to remain in the United States and making false statements in applications for immigration benefits following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The filing of false applications to obtain immigration benefits for individuals that are not authorized to be present in the United States puts the security of our communities at risk," said Anthony Mangione, ICE special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Miami. "Immigration benefits like these could be exploited by dangerous criminals to obscure their identities and cover their tracks. ICE will continue to aggressively pursue and criminally charge individuals who would exploit immigrant communities for their own self interests."

RUBY TUESDAY WILL PAY $255,000 TO SETTLE EEOC SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT INVOLVING TEENS

PHILADELPHIA -- Ruby Tuesday, Inc. will pay $255,000 and furnish important equitable relief to settle a federal sexual harassment lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on 11/02/2009.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit against Ruby Tuesday, Inc., a general manager subjected Michelle Gydosh, of Stroudsburg, Pa., and other female employees to sexual harassment at its Stroudsburg restaurant. The manager’s unwelcome harassment included making crude sexual propositions to women, frequently making sexually explicit and graphic remarks to them about their appearance, and making lewd comments in their presence about other women. The EEOC said that some of these women affected by this unlawful harassment were teenagers.

CUOMO FILES ANTITRUST LAWSUIT AGAINST INTEL CORPORATION, THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAKER OF MICROPROCESSORS

NEW YORK, NY (November 4, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), the world’s largest maker of computer microprocessors. The suit charges that Intel violated state and federal anti-monopoly laws by engaging in a worldwide, systematic campaign of illegal conduct - revealed in e-mails - in order to maintain its monopoly power and prices in the market for microprocessors.

Over the last several years, Intel has extracted exclusive agreements from large computer makers in which they agreed to use Intel’s microprocessors in exchange for payments totaling billions of dollars. Intel also threatened to and did in fact punish computer makers that they perceived to be working too closely with Intel’s competitors. Retaliatory threats included cutting off payments the computer maker was receiving from Intel, directly funding a computer maker’s competitors, and ending joint development ventures.

Ameal Parker, aka Ameal Varnado, was Sentenced to 30 Years for the Murder of a Federal Agent

NEW ORLEANS—Ameal Parker, aka Ameal Varnado, age 47, of New Orleans, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt to 30 years in prison for the murder of DEA Supervisory Special Agent Thomas J. Byrne while Agent Byrne was engaged in and on account of the performance of his official duties, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and DEA Special Agent in Charge Jimmy S. Fox, III.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Engelhardt sentenced Parker to five years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment during which time the defendant will be under federal supervision and risks an additional term of imprisonment should he violate any terms of his supervised release.

Former Professional Football Player Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Bankruptcy Fraud

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), PATRICIA J. HAYNES, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Inspection Division ("IRS-CID"), and RONALD J. VERROCHIO, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS"), announced that CLYDE "PETER" HALL, 70, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty this morning to charges arising out of a scheme in which HALL conspired to file serial, fraudulent bankruptcy petitions to evade eviction and remain in a Manhattan apartment rent-free. HALL pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge RICHARD J. SULLIVAN to one count of conspiring to commit bankruptcy fraud. HALL's wife, ANNE TORSELIUS HALL, 45, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge …

FTC Charges 'Credit Card' Companies with Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint in federal court alleging that a catalog credit card operation deceptively marketed its card, failed to honor its refund policy, and charged up-front fees for a guaranteed line of credit. The defendants, who charged consumers hundreds of dollars in fees for the card, voluntarily agreed to an order that prohibits the practices alleged in the complaint pending trial. The FTC seeks to permanently stop the unlawful practices and make the defendants provide refunds to consumers.

According to the FTC’s complaint, in mailers sent to consumers with credit problems, the defendants stated that consumers could “build” their credit by using a “Pre-Approved” “Platinum-level” credit card with a “GUARANTEED” $7,500 credit line and a cash advance benefit. Although the card appeared to be a regular credit card, it could be used only to purchase products from the defendants’ catalog, and only for part of the product purchase price. The defendants debite…

Nation’s Largest Nursing Home Pharmacy and Drug Manufacturer to Pay $112 Million to Settle False Claims Act Cases

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest nursing home pharmacy, Omnicare Inc. of Covington, Kentucky, will pay $98 million, and drug manufacturer, IVAX Pharmaceuticals of Weston, Florida, will pay $14 million to resolve allegations that Omnicare engaged in kickback schemes with several parties, including IVAX, the Justice Department announced today. Approximately $68.5 million of the settlement proceeds will go to the United States, while $43.5 million has been allocated to cover Medicaid program claims by participating states.

At the same time, the United States announced that it has intervened and filed a complaint against two large nursing home chains, Mariner Health Care Inc. and SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services LLC, both of Atlanta, and their principals, Leonard Grunstein, Murray Forman, and Rubin Schron, for accepting a kickback from Omnicare in return for pharmacy services contracts.

Justice Department Obtains Record $2.725 Million Settlement of Housing Discrimination Lawsuit

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today the largest monetary payment ever obtained by the department in the settlement of a case alleging housing discrimination in the rental of apartments. Los Angeles apartment owner Donald T. Sterling has agreed to pay $2.725 million to settle allegations that he discriminated against African-Americans, Hispanics and families with children at apartment buildings he controls in Los Angeles. The settlement must be approved by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

"Housing is a basic human need, and yet decades after passage of the Fair Housing Act, far too many still encounter barriers like discrimination. Particularly in times of economic distress and rising foreclosures, we must remain vigilant to ensure all individuals have equal access to housing," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The magnitude of this settlement should send a message to all landlords that we will vigorously …

ADMINISTAFF AND CABLE TV PROVIDER CONN-X SUED BY EEOC

BALTIMORE – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced on 11/02/2009 a lawsuit against staffing giant Administaff, Inc. and Conn-X, LLC, which provides cable service in the Baltimore metropolitan area, for engaging in religious discrimination against employees.

In its suit, the EEOC charges that joint employers Conn-X, LLC, a Florida corporation with an office in Edgewood, Md., and Administaff, Inc., a Texas corporation, subjected Scott Jacobson and Joey Jacobson to physical and verbal harassment because of their religion, Judaism. The EEOC asserts that beginning in September 2005 and continuing throughout their employment, both Jacobsons, who are brothers, were called “dirty Jew,” “dumb Jew,” and other anti-Semitic slurs by managers and coworkers.

LAWRY'S RESTAURANTS, INC. TO PAY $1 MILLION FOR SEX BIAS AGAINST MEN IN HIRING

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a sex discrimination class action lawsuit for $1,025,000 and far reaching injunctive relief against Lawry's Restaurants, Inc., doing business as Lawry’s the Prime Rib, Five Crowns, and Tam O'Shanter Inn (Lawry’s), for allegedly failing to hire men into food server positions for decades. Lawry’s is a California-based corporation operating restaurants in Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Corona del Mar, Calif.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged Lawry’s with maintaining a longstanding companywide policy of hiring only women for server positions in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination. The EEOC’s involvement was initiated by a charge of discrimination filed in March 2003 by a male applicant in Las Vegas.

Caribbean International News Corp. has been ordered by a federal court to restore more than $1.2 million

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Caribbean International News Corp. has been ordered by a federal court to restore more than $1.2 million to the El Vocero de Puerto Rico Union Employees Savings and Investment Plan, a retirement plan established for the benefit of the company's unionized employees. The corporation does business as El Vocero de Puerto Rico, a newspaper based in San Juan.

A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor simultaneously with the judgment alleges that El Vocero violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to deposit into the plan contributions withheld from employees' wages and to collect matching employer contributions during the period from 2003 to 2006. The suit also alleges that the company owed $1,432,233 to the plan.

Justice Department to Monitor Elections

WASHINGTON- On Nov. 3, 2009, the Justice Department will monitor elections in the following jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights statutes: the cities of Lowell and Springfield, Mass.; the city of Hamtramck, Mich.; Middlesex County and the borough of Penns Grove, N.J.; Orange County and Queens, N.Y., and the city of Philadelphia.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to send federal observers to areas that are certified by the Attorney General or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities by court order in Springfield and Penns Grove. Both cities are required to provide Spanish-language assistance at the polls to voters according to the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in these citi…

Mexico Extradites 11 Fugitives to the United States

The Mexican government has extradited 11 defendants to face trial in the United States. The defendants are accused of various crimes, including murder, sex offenses, drug trafficking and moneylaundering in Texas, Washington, Florida, Indiana, California and Maryland.

With the arrival of these 11 individuals, Mexico has now extradited 100 defendants to the United States in 2009, the highest yearly number of extraditions from Mexico to date. The extradition of 95 defendants in 2008 was the previous record number of extraditions for one year from Mexico.

FTC Charges Marketers with Making Baseless Weight-Loss

The U.S. Justice Department, at the Federal Trade Commission’s request, has filed suit in federal court in a case affecting consumers nationwide. The government has charged three companies and two individuals with making advertising claims for their fat and weight-loss pills, Relacore and Akävar 20/50, that violate a 2006 FTC order barring them from making health or weight-loss claims without a reasonable basis. The defendants made claims such as “eat all you want and still lose weight” and, “And we couldn’t say it in print if it wasn’t true!” on product packaging, on the Internet, and in widely read magazines such as Redbook, Star, and Family Circle. The Commission seeks to stop the defendants from making such claims and make them pay civil penalties.

“The Federal Trade Commission ordered the defendants to stop making baseless and bogus advertising claims,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We wouldn’t put our orders in writing if we weren’t goi…

ICE gives voice to victims of human trafficking in the United States

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a media initiative to inform the public about the horrors and the prevalence of human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery.

As part of ICE's continued efforts, the agency has unveiled an outdoor public service announcement campaign, "Hidden in Plain Sight," to draw the American public's attention to the plight of human-trafficking victims in the United States. The campaign message explains that human trafficking includes those who are sexually exploited or forced to work against their will.

Michigan Attorney and Client Sentenced for Tax Crimes

WASHINGTON - John A. Campbell, a resident of Portage, Mich., was sentenced to 60 months in prison today by the Honorable Janet T. Neff of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Michigan for conspiring to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. In April 2008, Campbell, who is a former partner in and resident director of the Kalamazoo, Mich., office of the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone P.L.C., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States.

Campbell’s client, Oskar René Poch, a resident of Hickory Corners, Mich., was sentenced today to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $217,830.44 and a fine of $100,000. Poch, who owned and operated Trillium Staffing, an employee-leasing company in Kalamazoo, pleaded guilty to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue laws in April 2008 and cooperated with the government’s investigation.

ICE probe leads to indictment of local police officer for illegally exporting guns

LOS ANGELES - A Los Angeles police officer who owns a private security firm in Belize surrendered to authorities here Monday following his indictment for attempting to illegally export guns to that Central American nation.

Johnny Augustus Baltazar, 50, who was placed on administrative leave by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) last year, is named in an indictment handed down by a federal grand jury Oct. 23. Baltazar is charged with one count of unlawful interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition. He is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court Monday afternoon.

“No-Display” Bylaw Used to Discriminate Against Jewish Residents

NEW YORK, NY (November 2, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Stone Ridge Estates at Dix Hills Home Owners Association, which oversees seventy-six condominium units located in Dix Hills, New York, has entered into an agreement with his office to guarantee that its bylaws do not discriminate against residents because of their religion. Under the terms of the agreement, the Association must draft and institute new policies that permit residents to display religious objects on their properties, without the Association’s prior permission. The Association is also required to pay $10,000 to resolve the investigation.

“This country guarantees every individual the right to express his or her religious beliefs,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “And New York State, with our fair housing laws, guarantees that no resident will be discriminated against based on that expression. The practices employed by the Dix Hills Homeowners Association went against the fundamental …