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Showing posts from April, 2010

Tennessee Man Convicted of Illegally Accessing Sarah Palin’s E-mail Account and Obstruction of Justice

David C. Kernell, 22, was convicted by a federal jury in Knoxville, Tenn., today for intentionally accessing without authorization the e-mail account of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and obstruction of justice, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James R. Dedrick for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced.

After a week-long trial, a jury found Kernell guilty of one count of misdemeanor unauthorized access to obtain information from a computer and one count of obstruction of justice. The jury found Kernell not guilty of wire fraud. The jury could not reach a verdict on the identity theft charge and the judge declared a mistrial as to that charge.

596 criminal aliens arrested in targeted ICE operation throughout the southeastern U.S.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its law enforcement partners arrested 596 foreign nationals with criminal records during a three-day enforcement surge throughout the southeastern United States, making it the biggest operation targeting at-large criminal aliens ever carried out by ICE in the region.

During the operation, which concluded late last night, ICE officers and agents worked in teams with the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and local law enforcement agencies in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.

Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton cited the operation – which involved nearly 400 federal and local law enforcement officers and agents – as another example of ICE's focus on indentifying and removing criminal aliens from the United States.

USPTO to Hold Public Roundtables on Patent Quality and Patent Quality Metrics

Washington – The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in conjunction with the USPTO-Patent Public Advisory Committee joint task force on quality, is conducting two roundtables to obtain input from organizations and individuals on actions that can improve patent quality and the metrics to be used to measure quality. The roundtables, which will be held in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 10 and Alexandria, Va., on May 18, are open to the public.

“Quality patents are critical to the proper functioning of the patent system, and issuing high quality patents is a top priority for the USPTO,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “Quality issuances provide certainty in the market and allow businesses and innovators to make informed and timely decisions on product and service development.”

Could Convicted Felons Be Looking At Your Financial Information?

Laredo Police Officer Indicted for Cocaine Conspiracy

LAREDO, TX—Orlando Jesus Hale, 27, of Laredo, has been arrested as a result of the return of a sealed indictment which charges him with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and the use, carrying and possession of a firearm during and in relation to or in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The sealed indictment returned on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, by a Laredo federal grand jury was unsealed today following Hale’s arrest. According to the indictment, Hale is alleged to have engaged in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine between Oct. 15, 2008, to Nov. 30, 2008, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possessing the firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime between Nov. 7 to Nov. 25, 2008.

Two Johnson & Johnson Subsidiaries to Pay Over $81 Million to Resolve Allegations of Off-Label Promotion of Topamax

WASHINGTON – American pharmaceutical manufacturers Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical LLC and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., both subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to pay more than $81 million to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of the epilepsy drug Topamax, the Justice Department announced today.

According to the agreement reached with the government, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical LLC has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a $6.14 million criminal fine for the misbranding of Topamax in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Topamax as an anti-epileptic drug, for the treatment of partial onset seizures, but not for any psychiatric use. Once a pharmaceutical is approved by the FDA, a manufacturer may not market or promote it for any use not specified in its new drug application. The unauthorized uses are also known as "unapproved" or "off-label u…

Osama El-Atari Pleads Guilty to $53 Million Bank Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Osama El-Atari, 31, of Ashburn, Va., pleaded guilty today to operating a fraud scheme that stole more than $53 million from banks throughout the United States.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office; C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office; and C. André Martin, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.

CBP at Newark Discovers Bottles of Liquid Cocaine Disguised as Rum

Newark, N.J. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Newark Liberty International Airport apprehended a woman trying to smuggle liquid cocaine concealed in three bottles of rum.

On April 24, CBP officers selected passenger Claudia Paulina Gregory, a citizen of Antigua, for a random examination. Ms. Gregory, who arrived on a flight from Antigua, stated she was here vacationing and intended on visiting friends and family in the Bronx. During an examination Ms. Gregory’s checked luggage CBP officers discovered several bottles of alcohol with unusual consistency and smell. The liquid was tested; and resulted in a positive test for cocaine. A total of nearly 12 pounds of cocaine was seized.

USPTO Expands Trademark Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program

Washington -- The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will open the current Trademark Law School Clinic Certification Program to admit 20 additional schools into the pilot for the upcoming academic year beginning in fall 2010 through summer 2011. The pilot program allows law students to practice trademark law before the agency under the strict guidance of a law school clinical faculty supervisor. Applications from law schools will be accepted now through Friday, August 6, 2010. Only the first 20 law school clinics demonstrating through their petitions and applications that they meet the qualifications will be accepted into the trademark pilot program.

Students in the trademark program can expect to draft and file a trademark application, respond to an office action, or draft and file a brief or reply brief in an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board from final refusals. Each law school clinical program must meet and maintain the requir…

Barbara Kogan Pleads Guilty to Planning Murder of Her Husband

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of BARBARA KOGAN for arranging the 1990 contract killing of her husband, George Kogan. KOGAN pleaded guilty to felony charges of Manslaughter in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the First Degree.

“The defendant’s guilty plea brings to a close a difficult, nearly 20-year-old murder case,” said District Attorney Vance. “The group of current and former NYPD detectives and individuals within Manhattan District Attorney’s Office responsible for today’s announcement showed extraordinary perseverance in their dogged investigation of this case, which led them from New York to Puerto Rico and finally to court today. Since 1990, Assistant District Attorney Joel Seidemann has tenaciously pursued justice in this case, which this plea delivers today.”

Robert Pagini A Former State Employee Was Charged With Using Taxpayer Money To Help Finance Ebay Business

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 29, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of a former state worker for using the Department of Health's postage meter to send items he had auctioned on eBay, and other personal mail, costing taxpayers in excess of $16,000.

According to the complaint, from 1997 until January 2010, Robert Pagini, 57, of Delmar, worked for the Department of Health as a Senior Mail & Supply Clerk. For most of that time, he was the Supervisor-in-Charge of the Department of Health mailroom located in the Hedley Building in Troy. This mailroom receives, sorts, and distributes incoming Department of Health mail, and prepares outgoing mail for pick-up and delivery.

Changes in Business Bankruptcies

Much attention has been paid by the media and others to the recent rapid rise in consumer bankruptcis. But less attention has been paid to the even faster rise in business bankruptcies. Recently, John Golmant, a statistician in the Statistics Division of the Administrative Office, examined the numbers behind the increase.

In 2009, a total of 1,402,816 bankruptcy petitions were filed in the federal courts, an increase of 35 percent from the 1,042,806 filed in 2008. The 2009 total marks the greatest number of bankruptcy filings since 2005, the year the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) was passed and implemented.

PHILIP J. PORTELLI, and PAUL M. AZZOPARDI, were indicted for conspiracy and other crimes related to their theft of more than $105,000 from the New York City Department of Education in a “no-show job” scheme

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced two indictments of public employees — a Department of Education school custodian and a Department of Finance clerk — who are charged with abusing their positions to defraud the City and enrich themselves. A third man has also been charged in the scheme to defraud the Department of Education.

“Public employees must be held to the highest standards of honesty and integrity,” said District Attorney Vance. “These defendants brazenly defrauded the City, taking desperately needed public funds. It is a top priority of the Office to investigate and prosecute those who violate the public’s trust. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Investigation and other agencies to root out corruption and theft in government.”

3 plead guilty to smuggling cocaine on commercial airlines

NEWARK, N.J. - Mervin Francis, 34, of St. Lucia, West Indies, Genard Howard, 35, and Tajara Barnes, 34, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., plead guilty April 27, before U. S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to separate, superseding information charging them with conspiracy to import and export cocaine aboard commercial airlines. Guilty pleas were announce by U. S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Court documentation states that Francis admitted he was part of an organization that transported narcotics from Jamaica and St. Lucia, through the United States to Great Britain, around February and September 2008.

Espadas Created a Sham Job Training Program to Cheat Workers, Maximize Profits, and Shortchange Taxpayers

NEW YORK, NY (April 28, 2010) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today filed a lawsuit against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son, Pedro G. Espada, for violating labor laws by creating a sham job training program that cheated workers and shortchanged State coffers.

The lawsuit alleges that Senator Espada created a personally owned, for-profit management company, Espada Management, as a vehicle to siphon money from Comprehensive Community Development Corporation (“Soundview”), the Bronx-based not-for-profit where Espada is founder and CEO. The money flowed from Soundview to Espada Management, run by Pedro G. Espada, by means of a contractual arrangement that called for Espada Management to supply janitors for the Soundview medical clinics.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT IN TIMES SQUARE SHOOTING

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of RAYVON GUICE in New York State Supreme Court on charges relating to a shooting in Times Square earlier this month. GUICE is charged with Attempted Murder, Assault in the first and third degrees, and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon[1].

“The first job of the District Attorney is to ensure safety in our streets,” said District Attorney Vance. “Intentionally firing a gun into a crowd was a dangerous and deplorable act, with potentially fatal consequences. Although the overall crime rate in the city remains low, any outburst of violence will be handled seriously.”

Federal Court Enforces EEOC Investigative Subpoena Against Bolingbrook Meat Processor

CHICAGO – Federal District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly has ordered that Bolingbrook, Ill.-based Quantum Foods, LLC must provide information and documents regarding its hiring and recruiting practices and procedures at its suburban Chicago facility in response to a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) administrative subpoena, the agency announced today.

The subpoena was issued in connection with an EEOC investigation stemming from a charge of discrimination filed by a Hispanic employee contending that he had been fired because of his national origin. The court rejected Quantum’s contention that the EEOC could not obtain hiring data because the terminated employee had not alleged “that he was discriminated against in the hiring process.” (EEOC v. Quantum Foods, LLC, N.D. Illinois No. 09 C 7741, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 4/26/2010, M. Kennelly, D.J.)

Two Men Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, GEORGE VENIZELOS, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced that RICHARD R. DUGAN and THEODORE A. PUCKETT were found guilty yesterday, following a one-day bench trial before United States District Judge ROBERT W. SWEET in Manhattan federal court, of unlawfully obstructing the entrances to a Planned Parenthood clinic, thereby interfering with clinic staff and patients, in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

According to the Information and evidence presented at the bench trial before Judge SWEET:

On December 12, 2009, DUGAN and PUCKETT obstructed the entrances to a Planned Parenthood clinic in lower Manhattan. Specifically, both DUGAN and PUCKETT positioned themselves in front of the clinic entrances and prevented ingress to or egress from th…

Hazard complaints result in surprise inspections at 3 Massey-owned mines

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that MSHA inspectors responded to three separate anonymous complaints about hazardous conditions at three coal mines owned by Massey Energy Co. Following each investigation, MSHA ordered the withdrawal of miners from designated areas of those mines and issued multiple citations for serious violations at Spartan Mining Co.’s Road Fork #51 Mine in Wyoming County, W.Va.; Inman Energy’s Randolph Mine in Boone County, W.Va.; and Independence Coal Co.’s Cook Mine in Boone County, W.Va. In an effort to make sure the conditions found during the surprise inspections were not tampered with, MSHA inspectors assumed control of company phone lines at two of the three mines to prevent mine employees from alerting their colleagues underground that MSHA inspectors were on site.

“Each one of these inspections resulting from anonymous complaints reflects a serious disregard for the safety and health …

Pharmaceutical Giant AstraZeneca to Pay $520 Million for Off-label Drug Marketing

AstraZeneca LP and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP will pay $520 million to resolve allegations that AstraZeneca illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services’ Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) announced today. Such unapproved uses are also known as "off-label" uses because they are not included in the drug’s FDA approved product label.

The Wilmington, Del.-based company signed a civil settlement to resolve allegations that by marketing Seroquel for unapproved uses, the company caused false claims for payment to be submitted to federal insurance programs including Medicaid, Medicare and TRICARE programs, and to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and the Bureau of Prisons.

WELFARE CHEATS STOLE $1 MILLION IN BENEFITS

Brooklyn, NY - April 27, 2010 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today announced the indictment of 32 people – including business owners, landlords, and real estate developers – charged in separate cases with stealing close to $933,500 in welfare benefits from the city of New York.

“The city’s Human Resources Administration is not there for the personal enrichment of financially secure families who would rather not pay for their own health insurance or groceries, and it is certainly not designed to help drug dealers obtain cheap narcotics,” said District Attorney Hynes. “All these scams and schemes significantly reduce the available funds for those who actually need public assistance. I would like to thank Commissioner Gill Hearn and Commissioner Doar for their help and hard work in investigating these cases.”

MCEA To Pay $80,000 To Settle EEOC Retaliation Suit

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA) union will pay $80,000 to settle a retaliation discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that MCEA fired employee Gail Tate-Buntin in 2007 for her perceived involvement in an EEOC investigation of her employer’s alleged unlawful employ­ment practices, her opposition to practices she believed to be discriminatory, and her association with Michele Handy, another MCEA employee who had filed a discrimination charge. The EEOC also charged that MCEA denied a promotion to Handy and subjected her to discriminatory terms and conditions of employment because she filed a discrimin­ation charge with the EEOC against MCEA.

Brown Wins U.S. Supreme Court Review of California's Ban on the Sale of Violent Video Games to Minors

OAKLAND - Following nearly five years of court battles, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to grant the request of California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to review a state law prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games to children.

Brown petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case last year after California's ban was struck down in federal court. The case is expected to be heard by the high court later this year.

"It is time to allow California's common-sense law to go into effect and help parents protect their children from violent video games," Brown said.

Doctors Arun and Kiran Sharma Plead Guilty

HOUSTON—Dr. Arun Sharma, 56, and Dr. Kiran Sharma, 54, both of Kemah, Texas, have been convicted of conspiring to commit health care fraud over a 10-year-period in the Southern District of Texas, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The doctors were set to begin trial today when they each instead opted to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of health care fraud.

In entering their pleas today before United States District Judge David Hittner, Arun Sharma (Dr. A) and Kiran Sharma (Dr. K) admitted that from Jan. 1, 1998, through June 10, 2009, they fraudulently billed Medicare, Medicaid and various private health care providers for medical procedures that were not performed. Specifically, during the time period of the conspiracy, the defendants owned and operated multiple medical clinics operating under the name Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis Pain Center, with two principle locations in Baytown and Webster, Texas, (the clinics). While some of patients a…

Alleged Bomb Maker Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot

TAMPA, FL—On Friday, April 23, 2010, the Tampa FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which consists of numerous representatives from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, arrested JOHN NICHOLAS COORS, age 20, without incident. COORS was arrested in Tampa, Florida, after meeting with an undercover law enforcement asset (UCA) and attempting to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED). COORS resides at 702 East 51st Street, apartment 916A, Bradenton, Florida.

According to the federal complaint, the JTTF initially learned about COORS during November 2009. The JTTF received information that COORS was trained in “special forces” type military tactics, considered himself a mercenary, was proficient in building explosive devices, and had made pipe bombs in the past. He was allegedly in possession of precursor chemicals that could be used to make explosives as well as bomb making books, including the “Anarchist Cookbook”, which where stored in Bradenton, Florida. Result…

IPR Center marks World IP Day by seizing $263 million in counterfeit goods Federal, state and local law enforcement team up in anti-counterfeiting sweeps around the U.S.

WASHINGTON - The federal partners of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) announced April 26 that more than $263 million worth of counterfeit merchandise was seized by law enforcement around the country this month. John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), revealed these results at an observance of World Intellectual Property Day at the IPR Center in Arlington, Va.

More than $44 million was seized in "Operation Spring Cleaning," a massive nationwide joint enforcement operation involving federal, state and local partners of the IPR Center. An additional $219 million was seized this month as part of a long-term ICE investigation worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of counterfeit products manufactured in Asia and smuggled through the Port of Baltimore.

Ernest Theodore Solo, Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Over $2.7 Million

GREENBELT, MD—Ernest Theodore Solo, age 60, of Boyds, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle more than $2.7 million from the company where he worked.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Solo’s plea, from at least 2000 through 2008, Solo, who was the Chief Financial Officer at a local petroleum company, embezzled money from the company by authorizing and signing company checks made payable to himself or to a bank to which Solo owed money. Solo embezzled a total of $2,447,000 in this manner.

U.S. MARSHALS CAPTURE HARRISBURG MURDER SUSPECT IN YORK

HARRISBURG, PA. – U.S. Marshal Michael R. Regan announced today that the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) arrested Freddie Jones in York, Pennsylvania. Jones was being sought on an arrest warrant, dated April 1, 2010, and signed by Magisterial District Judge Lavon A. Postelle in Harrisburg.

During the evening hours of March 29, 2010, a shooting occurred in the area of Kittatinny and Hummel Streets in Harrisburg. The incident stemmed from an argument between two Philadelphia men, who had been visiting friends in Steelton, and the alleged shooter. The Harrisburg Bureau of Police responded to the crime scene. One of the victims, Vito Eskridge, 23 years old, was found dead at the scene. The second victim, 19 year old Kevin Aikens, was found with a gunshot wound to the head and suffering from a large amount of blood loss. Aikens was transported to the Hershey Medical Center, where he was hospitalized in critical condition. As a result of the police investigation, an arrest warrant was …

CBP Scientist Featured for Forensic Work

Washington – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection scientist will be featured in the Investigation Discovery channel series "Solved: Extreme Forensics" for his role in aiding the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in solving the murder of a Virginia man. The show airs tonight at 9 p.m., check your local listings for details.

Captain Jay Cornett of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office contacted Dr. Erich Junger after recalling a presentation the doctor gave to the Virginia Homicide Investigator’s Association. The detective asked Dr. Junger to examine soils from the suspect’s vehicle. The two coordinated the collection and analysis of the soil samples to aid in the investigation of the case.

US Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau to host 2nd teleconference in series of 7 on women’s entrepreneurship in ‘green’ industries on Thursday, April 29

WB News Release: [04/26/2010]
Contact Name: Jennifer Kaplan or Treci Johnson
Phone Number: (202)693-5052 or 4658
Release Number: 10-0553-NAT

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau will host a teleconference focusing on opportunities and resources available to help women succeed in green entrepreneurship. This program, which is open to the public and press, will be the second in a series of teleconferences designed to provide workforce practitioners an exchange of ideas on how to better connect women with green jobs training and employment.

WHO: Speakers are as follows:

* Sara Manzano-Díaz, director, Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

* Christine Koronides, program analyst, Office of Capital Access, U.S. S.B.A.

* Julie Abrams, executive director, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment

* Colleen Graber, project manager, Public Policy Associates Inc.

* Rebecca Lundberg, chief executive officer, Powerfully Green

* Laura Culin, president/chief executive officer, A…

New Rochelle’s JM Hyundai and Lynbrook’s Legacy Infiniti sold former rental cars without informing customers of prior use

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 26, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office is distributing more than $100,000 in restitution to customers of two auto dealerships in the Hudson Valley and Long Island that misrepresented used cars for sale. The dealerships, without telling customers, sold cars that had been used principally as rental vehicles.

Additionally, Cuomo’s office reached an agreement with a now-closed Centereach dealership that failed to refund thousands of dollars in deposits for vehicles that were never ultimately sold.

In the first case, an agreement with Attorney General Cuomo’s Office calls for JM Hyundai in New Rochelle and Legacy Infiniti of Lynbrook to refund 10 percent of the purchase price to 75 customers who unknowingly purchased cars that had previously been used as rental vehicles, which is a violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. JM Hyundai paid $90,246.40 and Legacy Infiniti paid $19,254.30 in restitution. The checks were sen…

Locating a Paralegal Internship (or the Search for Hidden Treasure)

By: Lynne DeVenny

Paralegal programs that provide internships for their students offer an invaluable service, although there are many positives to locating an internship on your own. Seeking a paralegal internship gives students an early start on the development of their resumes, as well as hones their job search skills and expands their professional networks. The search itself may be challenging, but really earning that first internship will feel as exciting as finding buried treasure.

The search for an internship would be simple if law firms advertised for interns, but very few firms do. "Cold-calling" law firms does not give you much of an opportunity to sell yourself, as you will rarely get further than the front desk person who answers the phone. Serious applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to law firm partners and/or office managers, together with at least one letter of reference from an instructor. If you have excellent letters of reference from prior e…

$729,000 Worth of Marijuana Discovered In Mattress

Naco, Arizona — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped a smuggling attempt when they seized $729,000 of marijuana concealed in a mattress at the Naco, Ariz., Port of Entry. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 330 pounds of marijuana in a mattress. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 330 pounds of marijuana in a mattress at the Naco, Ariz., Port of Entry on Saturday. The marijuana had a street value of $729,000.

CBP officers screening traffic coming from Mexico on Saturday selected a Chevrolet pickup truck full of furniture for further inspection. The truck was being driven by a 30-year-old man from Naco, Sonora, Mexico. With the assistance of a special K-9 team, the officers discovered that a mattress was stuffed with packages of marijuana weighing nearly 330 pounds. The marijuana had an estimated street value of $729,000.

Selden Fire District To Pay $263,360 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

NEW YORK – The Selden Fire District Selden in Suffolk County, Long Island, will pay $263,360 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 23 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 55 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 55, 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. 08-3974, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation sett…

Zarein Ahmedzay Pleads Guilty to Terror Violations in Connection with Al-Qaeda New York Subway Plot

The Justice Department announced that Zarein Ahmedzay, a U.S. citizen and resident of Queens, N.Y., pleaded guilty today in the Eastern District of New York to terrorism violations stemming from, among other activities, his role in an al-Qaeda plot to conduct coordinated suicide bombings on New York’s subway system in September 2009.

At a hearing this afternoon before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold, Ahmedzay, 25, pleaded guilty to the following violations: conspiracy to use a weapon of mass of destruction (explosive bombs) against persons or property in the United States; conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country; and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely al-Qaeda. Ahmedzay faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

James G. Litz, Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

The Department of Justice announced today that James G. Litz, 54, of the city of Tonawanda, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara, to a felony charge of deprivation of civil rights under the color of law. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Litz admitted in an executed plea agreement to assaulting and choking a victim on June 21, 2003, while the victim was in the rear of a city of Tonawanda Police vehicle. The plea agreement further detailed that the government had evidence of other incidents involving different victims occurring in 2009, consisting of the defendant poking one victim in the chest, twisting the defendant’s arm and causing pain, and grabbing and choking for a lengthy period of time another victim who happened to be at the scene of an arrest of a different individual. In both of the 2009 incidents, the plea agreement states that after assaulting the victims in the manner described, th…

Jack Barouh, Former UBS Client Sentenced for Hiding $10 Million in Offshore Bank Accounts

Jack Barouh of Golden Beach, Fla., was sentenced today to 10 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan in Miami, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. He was ordered to surrender to the custody of U.S. Marshals by June 25, 2010. Barouh pleaded guilty in February 2010 to filing a false tax return.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Barouh admitted to filing a false tax return for 2007 in which he failed to report that he had an interest in or a signature authority over financial accounts at UBS AG, one of Switzerland’s largest bank. He also failed to report income earned on his UBS Swiss bank accounts. The UBS accounts were opened in the names of Domilou S.A., a nominee Panamanian corporation, and Similen Investments Limited, a nominee British Virgin Island corporation. For years 2002 through 2007, the tax loss associated with the Domilou and Similen accounts at UBS is approximately $736,269.

Luis Bonilla, aka Chofre, 23, the leader of a MS-13 street gang in Jamaica, N.Y. was sentenced to life

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Luis Bonilla, aka Chofre, 23, the leader of a MS-13 street gang in Jamaica, N.Y. was sentenced to life imprisonment by U. S. District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn today. The sentencing was announced by Benton J. Campbell, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Bonilla plead guilty to racketeering and predicate acts of murder and attempted murder. He participated in the murder of 15 year old boy from Queens, N.Y. on Christmas Eve in 2006.

Court documents filed by the government indicate that Bonilla had engaged in a series of violent crimes, including conspiracy to murder and assault members of rival gangs, such as the Crips, the Bloods and the Latin Kings. At his guilty plea proceeding, Bonilla admitted to acting upon a request from another gang leader, he provided the murder weapon and instructed two MS-13 soldiers to locate and kill rival gang members.

Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Hosts Fair Lending Forum in Chicago

Representatives of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) met in Chicago today with community stakeholders to discuss national, state and local elements of the banking and housing crisis. The meeting was the first of a series of Fair Lending Forums, and task force representatives in attendance included members from the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Reserve Board and the state of Illinois.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; FFETF Executive Director Robb Adkins; HUD Deputy General Counsel Michelle Aronowitz; and Timothy R. Burniston from the Federal Reserve Board were hosted by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

ANTHONY DIGATI, Was Indicted in Manhattan Federal Court for Cyber-Extortion of New York Life Insurance Company

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the indictment late yesterday of ANTHONY DIGATI on charges of attempting to extort approximately $200,000 or more from New York Life Insurance Company ("New York Life"). DIGATI allegedly threatened in e-mails and on a website he created to make false public statements and transmit millions of spam e-mails in an effort to damage the reputation of New York Life and cost the company millions of dollars in revenue.

According to the Indictment returned late yesterday by a grand jury and other documents filed in court following DIGATI's arrest on March 6, 2010:

Beginning in January 2010, DIGATI sought the return of his insurance premiums from New York Life after he purchased variable universal life insurance and became dissatisfied with the performance of that insurance. New York Life advised DIGATI that those premiums would not be returned. Thereafter, on February 22, 2010, DIGATI sent …

EEOC Obtains $122,500 from Houston Construction Company for Religious, Race and National Origin Discrimination

HOUSTON – A Houston-area construction company will pay $122,500 and provide additional remedial relief to resolve a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Pace Services, L.P. discriminated against Mohammad Kaleemuddin because he is of the Islamic faith and of East Indian descent, and against 13 other employees because they are black or Hispanic.

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:08cv2886, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division) asserted that a Pace supervisor referred to Kaleemuddin as “terrorist,” “Taliban,” “Osama” and “Al-Qaeda.” According to the EEOC, despite Kaleemuddin’s complaints, Pace never took action to stop the harassment, which continued up to the day when the supervisor fired him. The EEOC further claimed that the same supervisor, as well as others in Pace management, regularly referred to African Americans as “n----s” and to H…

QUEENS NURSE ACCUSED OF KNOCKING RESIDENT OUT OF WHEELCHAIR AND STEALING MEDICATION

NEW YORK, NY (April 22, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of a licensed practical nurse accused of abusing, neglecting, and mistreating a resident in her care and stealing the medication from another.

According to the complaint, Jessie Joiner, 56, of 88-20 Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, was employed as a licensed practical nurse at the William O. Benenson Rehabilitation Pavilion when on March 20, 2010, she knocked a resident out of her wheelchair, resulting in a broken hip that required surgery to repair. Instead of properly reporting the incident and seeking medical attention for the resident, Joiner ignored the resident as she lay on the floor in the hallway, and left her there to be found by another employee. The true cause of the fractured hip was revealed after the nursing home administration reviewed the video from a hallway surveillance camera.

Records, Including Hiring Documents and Time Sheets, Sought on Senate Employees Who Were Also Affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada’s Comprehensive Community Development Corporation

ALBANY, NY (April 22, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today served the New York State Senate with a subpoena calling for the production of records related to ten Senate employees who also served on the board or were employed or retained by the Comprehensive Community Development Corporation (“Soundview”), or its affiliated companies.

The subpoena is part of Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing investigation into abusive practices at the Soundview not-for-profit in the Bronx and specifically seeks records pertaining to application and hiring, time and attendance, as well as travel and expenses for the following Senate personnel (titles based on Senate payroll records): John Feliciano, Former Special Assistant to Senator Pedro Espada; Marzetta Harris, Senator Espada’s Director of Outreach; Monica Harris-Coleman; Richard St. Paul, Counsel to Senator Espada; Jeanette Torres, Senator Espada’s Office Research Manager and Charity Outreach Coordinator; Andrew Yong, NYC Director of Commun…

ABDUL J. MAZUMDER, the owner of Subway franchises located throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx pleaded guilty today to felony charges of Grand Larceny

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of the owner of Subway franchises for stealing sales tax; evading personal income tax and fraudulently receiving Medicaid benefits. In addition to jail time, the defendant’s sentence will include nearly $1.5 million in restitution, interest and penalties.

“This case illustrates how City and State revenues are lost through this type of pervasive fraud,” said District Attorney Vance. “The honest taxpayers of New York were thrice victimized -- once by theft of sales tax paid by customers, then by shouldering the tax burden while the defendant evaded payment and finally by providing free health insurance to the defendant, who did not qualify.”

Attorney General Announces Landmark Insurance Case Victory: Court Declares Insurance Broker Should Have Disclosed Hidden Fees To Consumers

Connecticut - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced today a first-in-the-nation court victory declaring that Wells Fargo’s insurance arm broke the law when it failed to tell consumers about hidden kickbacks the company was paid in exchange for favoring a group of “preferred” insurers. The court ruled that insurance broker Acordia, Inc., now owned by Wells Fargo, had a fiduciary duty to be open and honest with its clients -- and that it violated that trust.

Blumenthal said this decision will have a significant impact on law enforcement cases involving such practices -- and is a profound victory for insurance consumers, particularly businesses throughout Connecticut. Several business representatives testified at trial that they would have wanted to know about the hidden commissions because the costs were eventually paid by their businesses.

Ray Scott Chase, Pleaded Guilty to Accepting $1.4 Million in Illegal Gratuities Related to Military Dining Contracts in Kuwait

A U.S. Army sergeant pleaded guilty today to accepting approximately $1.4 million in illegal gratuities from private contractors during his deployment to Kuwait in 2002 and 2003, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Lang of the Central District of Illinois.

Ray Scott Chase, 42, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman in the Central District of Illinois to a criminal information charging him with accepting illegal gratuities, structuring monetary transactions and making false statements.

Department of Commerce Sends Letter to Congress Expressing Administration’s Views on Pending Patent Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON – Late yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke submitted a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing the administration’s view that the draft Manager’s Amendment to existing Senate patent reform legislation will make the reforms more effective upon implementation. Reforming the patent system will accelerate economic growth and job creation, and expand America’s ability to innovate.

In the letter, Locke expressed the administration’s position that the draft Manager’s Amendment to S.515, the “Patent Reform Act of 2010,” saying that it “improves the reported bill and incorporates critical elements of patent reform.” At the same time, the administration is supportive of ongoing discussions to resolve differences between the House and the Senate on patent reform. The letter restates the administration’s commitment to work with both houses of Congress to arrive at a final bill for passage this session.

Michael S. Sherfick, Former Deputy Constable in Indiana Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery; Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison

Michael S. Sherfick, a former local law enforcement official, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. Sherfick was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Lawrence to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release following the prison term. Sherfick was also ordered to pay a $35,750 fine.

According to court documents, Sherfick, 37, of Noblesville, Ind., was an employee of the Perry Township Constable’s Office (PTCO), a local law enforcement department in Marion County, Ind. Sherfick held the positions and ranks of honorary deputy constable, deputy constable, executive assistant, captain and major during the relevant period. According to court documents, Perry Township received federal assistance of more than $10,000 under a …

Three South Carolina Men Sentenced for Committing Civil Rights Offenses and Carjacking

WASHINGTON – U.S. District Court Judge R. Bryan Harwell has sentenced three men in Florence, S.C., for their role in terrorizing an African-American man and two Caucasian men and for carjacking, the Justice Department announced today. Judge Harwell sentenced Thomas Howard Blue Sr., 49, to 156 months in prison, while Thomas Howard Blue Jr., 29, received 36 months in prison. A third co-conspirator, Judson Hartley Talbert was sentenced to 108 months in prison.

In December 2009, the three defendants pleaded guilty to conspiring to deprive, and actually depriving the African-American victim of his right to engage in a federally-protected activity, and conspiring to carjack and actually carjacking the victim’s car. Thomas Howard Blue Sr. also pleaded guilty to depriving two other victims of their right to engage in federally-protected activity and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence against those victims.

University Of Louisiana At Monroe To Pay $450,000 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination And Retaliation Suit

HOUSTON — The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), which operates under the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, will pay $450,000 to settle an age discrimination and retaliation suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Oppor­tunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The settlement resolves the charge of a former professor and dean of the College of Business Administration (CBA), Dr. Van McGraw, who claimed that the university rejected him for employ­ment repeatedly because of his age, and because he had filed an earlier age discrimination suit against the university.

US Department of Labor secures nearly $4 million in back wages for gas station employees in Central and Southern NJ

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a judgment against Raceway Petroleum and Nicholas Kambitsis to pay $3.9 million in unpaid overtime wages and liquidated damages to more than 700 of their former and current employees, predominantly gas attendants. Raceway Petroleum Inc., a Piscataway company with gas stations located throughout Central and Southern N.J., along with its owner Nicholas Kambitsis, will also pay $100,000 in civil money penalties.

"This action underscores the department's commitment to pursue all available legal means to ensure that workers receive their proper wages," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "It should send the message that the Labor Department will not tolerate employers that do not comply with the law in violation of worker rights."

Kenneth Marsh, the president and owner of Gryphon Holdings Inc., and four Gryphon employees were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud

Earlier today, Kenneth Marsh, the president and owner of Gryphon Holdings Inc., a purported financial advisory firm located in Staten Island, and four Gryphon employees, Baldwin Anderson, Robert Anthony Budion, Jeanne Lada, and James T. Levier, were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud.1 The defendants’ initial appearances are scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges and arrests were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Ronald J. Verrochio, Inspector-in-Charge, New York Division, United States Postal Inspection Service.

CUOMO CHARGES PEDRO ESPADA JR. AND 19 EXECUTIVES WITH LOOTING HIS BRONX NOT-FOR-PROFIT

NEW YORK, NY (April 20, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has filed suit against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. for looting the Bronx based not-for-profit where Espada serves as President and CEO. Nineteen current and former officers and directors of the Comprehensive Community Development Corporation (“Soundview”) are also named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Espada diverted Soundview’s charitable assets and used the money for himself, his family, his friends, and his political operation. In the past five years, Espada has siphoned more than $14 million out of Soundview, including an unconditionally guaranteed severance package worth an estimated $9 million which was put into a contract signed in 2005. The Chief Financial Officer and the Soundview Board, which is packed with Espada’s family, friends, and Senate employees, approved the transactions.

Joseph Ehrenreich of Pendleton, owner of Destination Management Group of Buffalo, was sentenced to one year in jail

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April 19, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a Western New York travel company owner has been sentenced to one year in jail for engaging in a scheme to sell cruise packages to non-profits and other organizations without ever booking their trips.

Joseph Ehrenreich of Pendleton, owner of Destination Management Group of Buffalo, was sentenced to one year in jail by Niagara County Judge Matthew Murphy. Ehrenreich pleaded guilty February 1 to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree (class A misdemeanor) and paid $130,000 in restitution to those he defrauded.

Ehrenreich’s scam defrauded volunteers, employees, and supporters of area non-profits, including the Hospice, Palliative Care Group of Niagara County, the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York and the Beechwood/Blocher Foundation.

U.S. Seeks Permanent Injunction Against Florida-Based Drug Compounding Lab

The United States has filed a civil suit on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida, against Franck’s Compounding Lab Inc., dba Franck’s Lab, a compounding pharmacy located in Ocala, Fla. The government alleges that Franck’s has been introducing adulterated, misbranded and unsafe drugs into interstate commerce as part of the company’s veterinary pharmaceutical compounding business, and has asked the court for a permanent injunction that would prohibit Franck’s and its CEO, Paul Franck, from using bulk pharmaceutical ingredients in its compounds. According to the government’s complaint, Franck’s compounded a drug mixture last year that killed 21 polo horses belonging to a Venezuelan team that was in Florida to compete for the United States Polo Championships.

Franck’s is in the business of drug compounding, which is the mixing, combining or altering of drugs to accommodate the particular needs of specific patients. Compo…

Brown Accuses Moody's of Refusing To Explain Its Role in Financial Crisis

LOS ANGELES - Accusing giant bond-rating firm Moody's Investors Service of withholding evidence documenting its role in the housing and Wall Street meltdown, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced court action to force Moody's to explain why it gave its highest ratings to "risky and toxic" mortgage-backed securities that ultimately cost investors and taxpayers billions of dollars.

Brown's action comes seven months after the Attorney General subpoenaed Moody's, but the firm has refused to comply with the subpoena. "The need for court action to enforce a state subpoena is highly unusual," Brown said, "because companies almost always comply without such a drastic step being necessary." But he said Moody's, which played a central role in the run-up to the collapse of housing prices, has refused to explain its ratings practices to the state. Moody's said responding to the state subpoena would be a "waste of time."…

Hans Lobato pleaded guilty today to engaging in a fraudulent medical testing scheme

Miami resident Hans Lobato pleaded guilty today to engaging in a fraudulent medical testing scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Lobato, 25, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge Alan S. Gold in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. As a result of his participation in the scheme, Lobato submitted or caused to be submitted $7.425 million in false or fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. Medicare paid approximately $5.336 million of those claims.

Five Blackwater Employees Indicted

RALEIGH—U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that today a federal grand jury returned a 15-count indictment charging five employees from Blackwater World-Wide. Included in the indictment are Gary Jackson, 52, former president; William Wheeler Mathews, Jr., 44, an attorney and former executive vice president and vice president of operations; Andrew Howell, 44, general counsel; Ana Bundy, 45, former vice president of logistics and procurement; and Ronald Slezak, 65, a former armorer.

The charges include conspiring to violate a series of federal statutes resulting in the acquisitions and dispositions of firearms, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 371; filing false ATF Forms 4473, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 924(a)(1)(A); unlawful possession of automatic firearms, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 922(o)(1); possession of unregistered firearms, in violation of Title 26, U.S. Code, Section 5861(d); and obstruction of justice in violation of Tit…

Counterfeiters put on ICE following a seizure of more than $1.4 million

MIAMI - More than $1.4 million in counterfeit goods being sold at W.K. International Corporation located at 4760 NW 165th Street in Miami was seized Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents.

Among the items seized were 14,750 counterfeit professional adidas soccer team jerseys with an estimated MSRP of more than $1 million. ICE agents also seized 8,250 counterfeit pieces of wearing apparel that included trademarks belonging to Ed Hardy, Dolce & Gabbana and others. The wearing apparel has an estimated MSRP of more than $400,000.

SEVENTEEN MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES OF THE MS-13 STREET GANG ARRAIGNED IN FEDERAL COURT ON RACKETEERING, WITNESS TAMPERING, AND FIREARMS CHARGES

Earlier today, 12 alleged members and associates of La Mara Salvatrucha, or the “MS-13” street gang, were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle, at the United States Courthouse in Central Islip, New York, on federal criminal charges, including murder, assault with dangerous weapons, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, witness tampering, firearms offenses, and conspiracy. Five additional defendants named in the indictment were arraigned earlier this week, also before United States Magistrate Judge Boyle.1 The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

The arraignments were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Lawrence W. Mulvey, Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department.

Federal Officials Close the Investigation into the Death of Martin Lee Anderson

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against the eight Bay County, Fla., Boot Camp staff members involved in the incident that resulted in the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, the department announced today.

Officials from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida, Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, the Community Relations Service and the FBI met today with Anderson’s parents and their representatives to inform them of this determination. The department’s decision is based on the facts developed during a comprehensive independent investigation.

New Study of Targeted Violence Affecting U.S. Institutions of Higher Education Released

U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Collaborate on Joint Effort

On Friday, April 16, 2010, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will release a study of targeted violence incidents on U.S. campuses of higher learning.

The June 2007 Report to the President on Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy included a recommendation that the Secret Service, Department of Education, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation explore the issue of violence at institutions of higher education. This collaborative effort examines the scope of the problem of targeted violence at U.S. institutions.

Arkansas Private Banking System Barred from Operating by Federal Court

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Fayetteville, Ark., has barred Wayne Hicks and his company, My Icis Inc., from operating a private banking system that allegedly helped customers avoid taxes by shielding their identities and other financial transactions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department announced today. Hicks and My Icis agreed to the injunction order. Hicks is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

According to the government complaint in the civil injunction case, Hicks owned and operated My Icis, Inc., a Berryville, Ark., company that helped customers set up purportedly anonymous bank accounts to hide their identities, income and other financial transactions, including deposits, wire transfers and bill payments. According to the complaint, Hicks admitted in his criminal case that My Icis helped customers "get out of the traditional banking system and successfully shield their financial …

Athens Sonic Owner to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Suit

ATLANTA – SDI Athens East, LLC, doing business as Sonic and Tomco Management, LLC, will pay $70,000 to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The federal agency had charged that a the store manager of a Sonic drive-in restaurant located in the eastern part of Athens, Ga., subjected a female carhop to a barrage of sexually charged comments and repeated sexual overtures. The EEOC further asserted that the manager subjected the carhop to unwelcome touching that became increasingly menacing and ultimately forced her to resign. The EEOC first filed the suit on July 2, 2008 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Three Arrested in Sophisticated Medi-Cal Fraud And ‘Doctor Shopping' Ring

SAN DIEGO-Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the arrests of a doctor and two employees operating a "complex, multi-level scheme" that bilked more than $200,000 from low-income patients and government agencies by overcharging and prescribed pain medication to individuals who had no medical need for it.

Beginning in 2007, the three individuals arrested Wednesday perpetrated their scheme to defraud state and federal health insurance programs and patients in the San Diego area.

Quadrangle, Global Strategy Group, Kevin McCabe, GKM, and Platinum Advisors Will Pay Nearly $12 Million to New York State and Comply with the Attorney General’s Code of Conduct

NEW YORK, NY (April 15, 2010) – The New York Attorney General’s Office today announced agreements with two investment firms and three unlicensed brokers in the Office’s ongoing public pension fund investigation. Good government groups Common Cause and NYPIRG also joined the Attorney General in calling for reforms to the sole trustee pension system in New York. Cuomo made today’s announcement as millions of Americans filed their tax returns.

Cuomo has authored a sweeping pension reform bill – “Taxpayers Reform for Upholding Security and Transparency” (“T.R.U.S.T.”) – that would replace the sole trustee at the New York State Common Retirement Fund with a board of trustees and eliminate pay-to-play in state public pension funds.

Terrance Kynn Mcguire, Was Sentenced to 500 Months in Prison for Kidnapping 10-Year-Old Girl

OKLAHOMA CITY—Late yesterday, TERRANCE LYNN MCGUIRE, 27, of Canyon, Texas, was sentenced to 500 months in federal prison for kidnapping a 10-year-old girl and transporting her from Oklahoma to Texas to New Mexico, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

“The protection of our children is, and will remain, a top priority of the United States Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice as a whole," said U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats. "These tragic and complicated cases require the cooperative effort of federal, state and local law enforcement. That was certainly true with this case, and I commend the diligent work of all law enforcement involved in bringing Mr. McGuire to justice. As a result of this fine work, Mr. McGuire will not victimize another child for more than 41 years.”

William A. “Bill” White, A Neo-Nazi Was Sentenced Today for Threats, Witness Intimidation

WASHINGTON—William A. “Bill” White, the self-proclaimed commander of the neo-Nazi group the American National Socialist Workers Party, was sentenced today in federal court for threatening two individuals and for attempting to intimidate litigants in a federal housing discrimination lawsuit, the Justice Department announced.

White was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Turk to 30 months in federal prison. White was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, during which he is prohibited from maintaining a website and using the Internet for employment or for a hobby.

Brown Seeks $500,000 for Southern California Drywall Workers Denied Fair Pay

LOS ANGELES--Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today filed a lawsuit against MDP California, Inc. for "dodging fair wage and labor laws" by denying workers overtime pay, worker's compensation and pay for all hours worked. He is seeking $500,000 in restitution for cheated workers.

MDP California, a Nevada Corporation doing drywall installation throughout Southern California, also failed to pay state-mandated unemployment insurance, state disability fund payments, and state and federal taxes.

John Joseph Kovach, Jr., A Former teacher and coach sentenced to 5 years for receipt of child pornography

BALTIMORE - U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced John Joseph Kovach, Jr., 53, of Reisterstown, Md., today to five years in prison, followed by supervised release for life, for receipt of child pornography.

The sentence was announced by U. S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department, Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely of the FBI and Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

Ramon Bazan, A Former ATF Agent Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements

Ramon Bazan, a former Special Agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia to a one-count criminal information charging him with making false statements in connection with a series of fraudulent visa referrals, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

According to court documents, Bazan, 57, served as the ATF Assistant Country Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico, from 2003 to 2008. During this time, the embassy maintained a visa referral program that helped expedite the processing of non-immigrant visa applications for Mexican nationals and other foreign citizens, whose travel to the United States would advance the national interests of the United States or U.S. diplomacy efforts in Mexico. As the ATF Assistant Country Attaché, Bazan had the authority to make visa referrals through this program.

CUOMO TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST SMARTBUY AND ITS AFFILIATED COMPANIES FOR PREYING ON MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY WITH FRAUDULENT AND DECEPTIVE PRACTICES

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (April 14, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has initiated legal action against SmartBuy and its affiliated companies for targeting soldiers with fraudulent and deceptive business practices.

An investigation by Cuomo’s office determined that the company and its affiliated lenders targeted soldiers with so-called “financing” offers of monthly payments that were actually open-ended loan agreements, costing the soldiers thousands of dollars extra for consumer electronics.

Wheeler County Settles EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

PORTLAND, Ore. – Wheeler County, Ore., has agreed to settle an age discrimination suit on behalf of a longtime county resident for $25,000 and other relief, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The settlement resolves the EEOC’s lawsuit, which charged that the county selected a younger, less qualified candidate over Patricia Hyatt because of age. Hyatt was 67 in the fall of 2006 when she applied to work as a part-time office assistant for the county assessor. She had over 40 years of office experience at the time and had the skills listed in the job announcement. The EEOC’s investigation showed that despite her background and experience, Hyatt was not invited to interview and ultimately was passed over for the job.

Steven Byers, The Former CEO of WexTrust Capital Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Conspiracy and Securities Fraud

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEVEN BYERS, the former president and chief executive officer of private equity firm WexTrust Capital, LLC ("WexTrust Capital"), pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to two felony counts arising out of his employment at WexTrust Capital. BYERS pleaded guilty before United States District Judge DENNY CHIN to conspiracy and securities fraud. According to the indictment and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court.

WexTrust Capital is a globally diversified private equity company specializing in investments in real estate and specialty finance opportunities. WexTrust Capital is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and has offices in New York, New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Boca Raton, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Ramat Gan, Israel; and Johannesburg, South Africa. WexTrust Capital was founded in 2003 and is affiliated with several companies of a sim…

Court Grants Relief for Flagrant Violations of Federal Desegregation Order

WASHINGTON – A federal court has ordered the Walthall County, Miss., School District to eliminate policies that have resulted in significant racial segregation among students in the school district, the Justice Department today announced.

The United States filed a motion on Dec. 21, 2009, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi arguing that the Walthall School District is in flagrant violation of a prior court order from 1970, the Equal Protection Clause and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

6 Illinois counties to benefit from ICE strategy to enhance the identification, removal of criminal aliens Now the criminal and immigration records of all local arrestees to be checked

ILLINOIS - On Tuesday, law enforcement agencies in six Illinois counties - Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair, Will and Winnebago - began employing a new information-sharing capability made available by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) as part of the Secure Communities strategy. Secure Communities is ICE's comprehensive strategy to improve and modernize the identification and removal of criminal aliens from the United States.

Previously, local arrestees' fingerprints were taken and checked for criminal history information against the Department of Justice's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) maintained by the FBI. Now, as part of the Secure Communities strategy, fingerprint information submitted by state and local law enforcement agencies will now be simultaneously checked against both the FBI criminal history records in IAFIS and the biometrics-based immigration records in the Department of Homeland Security's Automated B…

NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION DEPUTY CHIEF FREDERICK GRIMALDI, PLEADS GUILTY TO FELONY BRIBERY CHARGES

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 13, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty pleas of New York City Department of Sanitation Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi on bribery charges related to a bid rigging scheme, and William “Billy” Cosidente, Jr. on extortion charges for his role as the “muscle” for a financially lucrative sports betting operation closely controlled by organized crime operating in Richmond County and elsewhere in New York City.

Grimaldi, 44, of Marlboro, New Jersey and Cosidente, 45, of Staten Island, New York, pleaded guilty today before Richmond County Supreme Court Justice Leonard Rienzi. They were indicted in November on charges resulting from a long-term joint investigation dubbed "Operation Pure Luck" by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force and the New York City Police Department's Vice Enforcement Bureau.

Court Rules That Amerimod and Salvatore Pane, Jr., Fraudulently Charged Homeowners Illegal Fees for Loan Modifications It Never Delivered

NEW YORK, NY (April 13, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a favorable decision in a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General against American Modification Agency, Inc. (“Amerimod”), formerly one of the largest foreclosure rescue companies in the country, and its owner and president Salvatore Pane, Jr. New York Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman found that Amerimod and Pane engaged in fraudulent, deceptive, and illegal business practices that violated New York’s consumer protection and real property laws.

“Amerimod shamelessly victimized vulnerable homeowners, and we are pleased the court recognized this,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “With the Court’s decision, Amerimod and its owner will no longer be able to prey on consumers in New York and across the country. My office will continue to pursue relief for those victimized by this company's practices.”

Connecticut Businessman Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Running $2 Million Financial Fraud Scheme

Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH SORRENTINO, 65, of Stratford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for engaging in a scheme to steal advance fees from individuals who sought financing from him and his company, Kenlin Capital, Inc. On November 19, 2009, SORRENTINO pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud.

According to court documents and statements made in court, for more than four years, SORRENTINO defrauded individuals who sought financing from SORRENTINO and/or his corporate entities Kenlin Capital; Kenlin Capital, Inc; Kenlin Capital, LLC or Kenlin International, Inc. SORRENTINO represented to the individuals that he controlled a large family trust that had the ability to make multi-million-dollar loans. However, SORRENTINO did not control a large family…

Randy Lee (aka Jimmy Lee) Was Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Odometer Tampering Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – Randy Lee (aka Jimmy Lee) was sentenced today in connection with an odometer tampering scheme that defrauded scores of victims in and around Colorado, the Justice Department announced. U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson in Cheyenne, Wyo., sentenced Lee to a term of 37 months in prison and a term of 3 years of supervised release during which he cannot be involved in the sale of motor vehicles. The court will determine the amount of restitution Lee owes within 90 days.

On Jan. 21, 2010, after a two-week trial, a federal jury in Cheyenne convicted Lee on eleven of fourteen felony counts with which he was charged. The jury convicted Lee of one count of conspiracy, five counts of odometer tampering, and five counts of securities fraud related to fraudulent motor vehicle titles. The jury acquitted Lee of two counts of providing false odometer certifications and one count of mail fraud. According to the charges and the evidence presented at trial, from as early as 2002 an…

Justice Department to Monitor Election in Walnut, California

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it will monitor the municipal election on April 13, 2010, in the city of Walnut, Calif., to ensure compliance with the minority language requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voting Rights Act requires certain jurisdictions with substantial language minority citizen populations to provide all voting materials and assistance in certain minority languages, as well as in English. In April 2007, the Justice Department brought a lawsuit against the city of Walnut alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act involving Korean-speaking and Chinese-speaking voters. The parties subsequently settled the lawsuit, and a federal court entered an order in the case in November 2007.

Richard Lynn Barnaby Sentenced for Selling Fake Stock

MINNEAPOLIS—B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, announced that a 59-year-old Vadnais Heights man was sentenced in federal court earlier today for bilking an investor out of more than $168,000 by selling him fictitious stock. U.S. District Court Judge James M. Rosenbaum specifically sentenced Richard Lynn Barnaby to 27 months in prison on one count of investment fraud through interstate wire. Barnaby, who was charged on October 13, 2009, and pled guilty on November 17, 2009, was also ordered to pay $222,639.26 in restitution to seven victims.

In his plea agreement, Barnaby admitted that between 2003 and May of 2005, he operated a scheme through which he sold nonexisting stock in Teledigital, Inc., an actual company that marketed pre-paid cell phone software services and equipment. To carry out the scheme, Barnaby, who served as the company’s president from July of 2002 through September of 2004, told a potential investor he was the agent for some people…

Federal Court Rules For EEOC In Age Bias Suit Against Minnesota Department Of Corrections

MINNEAPOLIS – A federal judge in Minneapolis has ruled that the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) violated federal age discrimination law by maintaining an early retirement incentive plan (ERIP) that reduced benefits for persons over age 55, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

Under the ERIP, an employee who retired at age 55 would get employer contributions for health and dental insurance until age 65, but an employee who retired after age 55 would get no such employer contributions towards health and dental coverage.

St. Louis Tax Lawyer Allegedly Helped Clients Evade Income Taxes and Illegally Circumvent Roth IRA Contribution Limits

WASHINGTON – The United States has asked a federal court to permanently bar Philip A. Kaiser, a St. Louis tax lawyer, from promoting several allegedly fraudulent tax schemes, the Justice Department announced today. According to the civil injunction suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Kaiser has sold schemes that help wealthy clients:

* Use sham transactions to claim massive charitable contribution deductions, with little or no money actually going to any legitimate charity;
* Evade income tax on business earnings by using sham transactions with sham corporations to reduce customers’ reported federal income tax liabilities;
* Legally circumvent the contribution limits for Roth IRAs; and
* Evade federal income tax on gains from stock sales by using the Derivium tax scheme to disguise the sales as "loans."

UBS Client Pleads Guilty to Failing to Report Over $1 Million in Swiss Bank Accounts

WASHINGTON - Harry Abrahamsen, a resident of Oradell, N.J., pleaded guilty today to failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank or Financial Accounts (FBAR), the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. In his plea, Abrahamsen admitted that he concealed over $1 million in Swiss bank accounts.

Abrahamsen made his first appearance in federal court and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to a one-count Information which charges him with willful failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES MEDICAID FRAUD UNIT SETS RECORD WITH 148 CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS IN 2009

NEW YORK, NY (April 12, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) obtained a record 148 criminal convictions across New York and recovered over $283 million in 2009. The information is detailed in his office’s Annual Report submitted today to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The entire report can be found at www.ag.ny.gov/media_center/2010/apr/mfcu_2009.pdf.

In Cuomo’s first three years as Attorney General, MFCU has recovered over $660 million in taxpayer funds. As the largest unit within Attorney General Cuomo’s division of criminal justice, MFCU investigates and prosecutes Medicaid fraud as well as patient abuse and neglect, and served as the federal model for the creation of the national Medicaid fraud control unit program.

Joseph P. Boldiga Has Been Charged with Fraud

BOSTON—A Maine man was charged today in federal court with defrauding his former employer out of more than $1 million by diverting collected accounts receivables to himself.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office, announced today that JOSEPH P. BOLDIGA, 68, of Eliot, Maine, was charged in an information with three counts of mail fraud.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES THE GUILTY PLEA OF HENRY VARGAS

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of HENRY VARGAS, 36, who attempted to sell a commercial building he did not own to the New York Road Runners, a Manhattan not-for-profit running organization that offers year-round races, including the ING New York City Marathon. VARGAS pled guilty to Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Forgery in the Second Degree. VARGAS is expected to receive a sentence of 5 to 10 years in state prison pursuant to today’s plea.

“As this plea reflects, white collar crime must be treated as seriously as street crime,” said District Attorney Vance. “Today’s plea and promised sentence is appropriate for a seasoned fraudster who has repeatedly used deceit to advance his criminal schemes.”

Brown Prosecution Sends Phony Foreclosure Consultants To Jail And Recovers Stolen Funds

SANTA ANA - In a clear "warning shot" to unscrupulous loan-modification consultants, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that two women have each been sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to repay dozens of homeowners who were charged thousands of dollars in up-front fees for non-existent foreclosure-relief services.

Marianne Curtis, 69, of Costa Mesa and Mary Alice Yraceburu, 46, of Riverdale, who operated Fresno and Orange County-based Foreclosure Freedom, pleaded guilty last month to 71 criminal counts, including grand theft, conspiracy and unlawful foreclosure consulting. Both will serve one year in Orange County jail and an additional four years of probation.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO FINDS COLLEGE STUDENTS NATIONWIDE MAY BE AT RISK DUE TO INFERIOR HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 8, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today revealed troubling practices uncovered in his investigation of the school-sponsored student health insurance industry. Cuomo’s office has subpoenaed ten of the largest insurers of students and five insurance brokers, agents, and consultants as part of the investigation.

In a letter sent to more than 300 colleges, universities, professional schools, and trade schools, Cuomo cautioned schools to review their sponsored student health insurance plans and alter potential problems that add gratuitous expenses and put students at risk. The Attorney General’s letter was sent to schools across New York and to certain out-of-state institutions attended by New York residents.

Professional Building Systems Of North Carolina To Pay $118,000 To Settle Race Harassment Case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Professional Building Systems of North Carolina, LLC, of Mt. Gilead, N.C., will pay $118,000to six African American employees who filed charges of racial harassment with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and six more African Americans who were also subjected to racial harassment, the agency announced today. Additionally, the company agreed to significant non-monetary relief to settle the lawsuit brought by the EEOC.

The EEOC brought the lawsuit against Professional Building Systems after it had identified at least 12 black employees who had been subjected to racial harassment there. According to the EEOC’s complaint, at various times between mid-2005 and 2008, black employees were subjected to racial harassment that involved the creation and display of nooses; references to black employees as “boy” and by the "N-word”; and racially offensive pictures such as a picture that depicted the Ku Klux Klan looking down a well at a bl…

Former Department of Labor Chief of Staff Pleads Guilty for Failing to Report Gifts from Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

WASHINGTON—The former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Standards Administration pleaded guilty today to falsely certifying his Fiscal Year 2003 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. Horace M. Cooper, 44, of Lorton, Va., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle in the District of Columbia to a criminal information charging him with making and using a false certificate or writing.

According to court documents, Cooper was the chief of staff for the DOL’s Employment Standards Administration from December 2002 through August 2005. In that position, Cooper was required by federal regulations to complete annual Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports. Cooper admitted that in 2003 he solicited and accepted gifts from Jack A. Abramoff and Neil G. Volz, former Washington lobbyists who had a client with business before th…

CUOMO SHUTS DOWN WNY PROCESS SERVER COMPANY FOR LYING ON AFFIDAVITS OF SERVICE

BUFFALO, NY (April 7, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has shut down a Brockport-based process server company that repeatedly claimed in legal affidavits that its employees had made proper service of legal documents to thousands of consumers when in fact it had not. We Serve It For You served summonses, complaints and other legal documents on individuals on behalf of law firms.

Attorney General Cuomo’s Office entered into a settlement requiring Brockport-based We Serve It For You Process Serving Agency, LLC, operated by Joanne Marie Coy, John Coy, Theresa Buehler, and Wesley Converse, to immediately cease operations and cooperate with ongoing investigations. The business and its owners must also pay fees, costs, and penalties totaling $10,000 and John Coy must surrender his notary public commission. Cuomo’s office began investigating We Serve It For You in 2009 as part of an ongoing probe into debt collection lawsuits.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCED THE PLEA IN 2007 MURDER OF BOITUMELO MCCALLUM

District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of MICHAEL CORDERO to Manslaughter in the First Degree. He will be sentenced to 25 years in prison on April 28, 2010.

MICHAEL CORDERO, 26, admitted in court today to strangling his girlfriend, Boitumelo McCallum, in her apartment at 4 Washington Square Village in Greenwich Village. CORDERO hit Ms. McCallum, who was 20 years old, strangled her, and then wrapped a towel around her head and face and knotted it, according to court documents. CORDERO then left Ms. McCallum’s body on the floor in her bedroom. CORDERO stole Ms. McCallum’s camera, laptop, cell phone, and knapsack.

USPTO LAUNCHES OMBUDSMAN PILOT PROGRAM

Washington – The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today launched a new “Ombudsman Program” designed to provide patent applicants with more assistance in handling application-processing problems if the normal channels have not been successful. This one-year pilot program is intended to provide applicants with additional resources to ensure application-processing problems are handled in a more efficient way, thereby saving applicants and the Agency both time and resources and improving patent quality.

Under this new program, applicants, attorneys or agents who have application-processing concerns, and haven’t been able to get the assistance they need through normal channels in the Technology Center (TC), can contact the ombudsman representative for the TC through the USPTO Web site (www.uspto.gov). The applicant will receive a phone call within one business day for a discussion of the specifics of the issue. From there, the ombudsman represe…

THREE ATTORNEYS, TWO REAL ESTATE BROKERS, AND FIVE OTHERS INDICTED IN $10 MILLION MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

Earlier today at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, an indictment was unsealed charging ten defendants, including three attorneys and two licensed real estate brokers, with conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud arising out of their mortgage fraud scheme. The indictment alleges that the defendants fraudulently obtained over $10 million in loans from American Home Mortgage, Fremont Bank, BNC Mortgage (a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers), and WMC Mortgage (a subsidiary of GE Money Bank).

The indictment was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The defendants’ initial appearances and arraignments are scheduled later today before United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann, at the U. S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New…

Final defendants plead guilty in marriage fraud scheme

COLUMBUS - The final two defendants pleaded guilty Monday to charges in a Columbus-based marriage fraud scheme. Hasan Salohutdinov, 28, of Dublin, Ohio, and a citizen of Uzbekistan, pleaded guilty in U. S. District Court here today to one count of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud and present false statements to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for his role in a scheme to arrange sham marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, primarily Eastern Europeans, in order to evade immigration laws. Elbek Saidjanov of Philadelphia, also a citizen of Uzbekistan, entered a plea of guilty today for having traveled to Columbus in order to enter into a sham marriage in February 2009.

Salohutdinov and Saidjanov are the last of eleven people indicted and arrested in December 2009 to enter guilty pleas. Carter M. Stewart, U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge, ICE Office of Investigations in Ohio and Michigan, …

Mobil Oil Companies to Pay U.S. $32.2 Million to Resolve Allegations of Underpayment of Royalties from American Indian and Federal Lands

WASHINGTON – Mobil Natural Gas Inc., Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. and their affiliates have agreed to pay the United States $32.2 million to resolve claims that they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly underpaying royalties owed on natural gas produced from federal and American Indian leases, the Justice Department announced today. The Mobil companies are alleged to have systematically under reported the value of natural gas taken from the leases from March 1, 1988, to Nov. 30, 1999, and, consequently, paid less royalties than owed to the United States and various American Indian tribes.

The settlement with the Mobil companies arises from a lawsuit filed by Harold Wright on behalf of the United States. The qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act allow private citizens to file actions on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Because Mr. Wright is deceased, his heirs will receive a $975,000 share of the settlement.

Gilroy Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Armed Bank Robbery Robbed Nearly $400,000 from 11 Banks in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties

SAN JOSE, CA—A Gilroy man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay $360,418 in restitution for multiple armed bank robberies, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Peter Franklin Klein, 50, of Gilroy, Calif., pleading guilty on Jan. 11, 2010, to 11 counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113. Klein admitted that between December, 2007, and March, 2009, he robbed by force nearly $400,000 from banks in California’s Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Counties.

Man Charged with Impersonating an Attorney in Fraudulent Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Michael Anthony Nelson yesterday on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud, and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced. The indictment charges Nelson with carrying out a fraudulent scheme in which he impersonated a licensed attorney who is also named Michael Nelson.

According to the indictment, Michael Anthony Nelson, 39, of Orlando, Fla., is alleged to have created a fraudulent law firm, “Nelson & Associates,” with offices in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The defendant, who was not an attorney, gave himself the title of managing partner and hired office personnel and attorneys to work for him.

USPTO Proposes Change That Would Effectively Allow a 12-Month Extension to the Provisional Patent Application Period

Washington – The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking public comment on a proposed change that would effectively provide a 12‑month extension to the existing 12-month provisional application period. This change would be implemented through the missing parts practice in nonprovisional applications.

The proposal would benefit applicants by giving them additional time to determine if patent protection should be sought – enabling them to defer additional fees and enabling applicants to focus efforts on commercialization during this expanded provisional period. The proposal would benefit the USPTO and the public by adding publications to the body of prior art, and by removing from the USPTO’s workload those nonprovisional applications for which the applicants have decided not to pursue examination.