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Showing posts from May, 2010

Vice President of A&B Check Cashing Sentenced to Three Years in Prison in $12.4 Million Check Kiting Scheme

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg, Jr. sentenced Brian I. Satisky, age 56, of Pikesville, Maryland, today to three years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for bank fraud in connection with a check kiting scheme in which his check cashing service business withdrew money based upon inflated balances in its business accounts. Judge Legg also ordered Satisky to pay restitution totaling $12.4 million to the victim banks.

The sentence 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.

Jury Convicts Pakistani Citizen of Conspiring to Support the Taliban and Unlawful Possession of Firearms

HOUSTON—After a three-day trial, a federal jury has convicted Adnan Mirza, 33, of all nine counts in an indictment arising from his efforts to provide support and funds to the Taliban, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced. Mirza, a citizen of Pakistan, had entered the United States on a student visa and was attending a local community college in 2005 and 2006 when he committed the offenses for which he was convicted.

The jury returned its verdicts Thursday night, finding Mirza guilty of conspiracy to unlawfully possess firearms, conspiracy to provide funds to the Taliban and all seven counts of unlawful possession by an alien of firearms and ammunition. U.S.District Judge Ewing Werlein, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Sept. 10, 2010. Mirza faces a maximum of five years imprisonment for each of the two conspiracy convictions as well as fines of up to $250,000. Each of the five unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition by an alien carries a maximum fine of $…

ICE, CBP and DEA agents intercept methamphetamine precursor chemicals

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Buffalo today announced the seizure of a variety of precursor chemicals and cold medication used in the production of methamphetamine from a 29-year old Clymer, N.Y., man. The seizure resulted in the federal arrest of U.S. citizen, Thomas Oldani.

On May 27, 2010, CBP officers encountered Oldani as he applied for admission into the United States as the sole operator of his personal vehicle at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry, in Buffalo, New York. During the primary inspection of Oldani, CBP officers noticed that he was exhibiting signs of nervous and erratic behavior, and was physically shaking and avoiding eye contact when answering basic questions. CBP officers immediately took control of Oldani and continued with the vehicle inspection in a secure search area. The search of Oldani and his vehicle revealed a film canister with a white powdery subs…

Idaho Orthopedists Charged with Engaging in Group Boycotts and Denying Medical Care to Injured Workers

The Department of Justice reached a settlement today with the Idaho Orthopaedic Society, an orthopedic practice group and five orthopedists that will prohibit them from conspiring with competing physicians in the Boise, Idaho, area to deny medical care to injured workers and to engage in group boycotts to obtain higher fees. The department said that the defendants and other orthopedists conspired to gain more favorable fees and other contractual terms by agreeing to coordinate their actions, including denying medical care to injured workers and threatening to withdraw from healthcare plans offered by Blue Cross of Idaho. The department said that their conduct caused the state of Idaho and other healthcare consumers to pay higher fees for orthopedic services.

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, joined by the Idaho Attorney General’s office, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, against the Idaho Orthopaedic Society, Idaho Sports M…

Robert Cimino, 60, of Syracuse, N.Y., was sentenced to 18 months in prison for Criminal Copyright Infringement

Robert Cimino, 60, of Syracuse, N.Y., was sentenced to 18 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia for his sales of more than $250,000 worth of pirated software, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Cimino was also ordered to pay $272,655 in restitution to copyright owners and sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison term.

Corns v. Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center et al

Corns v. Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center et al
Plaintiff: Joanna Corns

Defendants: Pricella Adler, Charles Bowve, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Patricia Hogan, Patricia Kurz and Kathleen Lepore

Case Number: 2:2010cv02417
Filed: May 27, 2010

Court: New York Eastern District Court
Office: Central Islip Office

Nature of Suit: Civil Rights - Other Civil Rights
Cause: 29:0794 Job Discrimination (Handicap)
Jury Demanded By: None

U.S. Indicts Ohio Man and Two Foreign Residents in Alleged Ukraine-Based “Scareware” Fraud Scheme That Caused $100 Million in Losses to Internet Victims Worldwide

CHICAGO—An international cybercrime scheme caused Internet users in more than 60 countries to purchase more than one million bogus software products, causing victims to lose more than $100 million, according to a federal indictment returned here against a Cincinnati area man and two other men believed to be living abroad. The charges allege that the defendants, through fake advertisements placed on various legitimate companies’ websites, deceived Internet users into falsely believing that their computers were infected with “malware” or had other critical errors to induce them to purchase “scareware” software products that had limited or no ability to remedy the purported, but nonexistent, defects. The alleged scheme is widely regarded as one of the fastest-growing and most prevalent types of Internet fraud.

Two defendants, Bjorn Daniel Sundin, and Shaileshkumar P. Jain, with others owned and operated Innovative Marketing, Inc. (IM), a company registered in Belize that purported to sel…

Former North Providence Town Councilmen, Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano Have Been Indicted on Extortion and Bribery Charges

PROVIDENCE, RI—Three former North Providence town councilmen were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on extortion and bribery charges. U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the indictment of Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano. It is alleged the councilmen, while serving on the town council in February 2009, accepted a $25,000 bribe in return for favorable votes on a zoning change for a retail development project.

Burchfield, 42, Douglas, 42, and Zambarano, 47, all residents of North Providence, were arrested May 6 by FBI agents. The defendants made initial appearances in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge David L. Martin and were released on $50,000 unsecured bond. An arraignment date has not yet been scheduled.

US Department of Labor fines South Dakota Wheat Growers Association of Aberdeen, SD, more than $1.6 million for grain handling violations

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association of Aberdeen, S.D., more than $1.6 million following the Dec. 22, 2009, death of a worker at the company's McLaughlin, S.D., grain handling operation. The worker suffocated after being engulfed by grain in one of the facility's bins. OSHA's investigation found that five additional workers were also at risk of being engulfed when they were sent into the bin to dig the victim out.

"The South Dakota Wheat Growers Association ignored long-established standards addressing safety in grain handling operations," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "The company's intentional disregard for its safety and health responsibilities put its workers at risk, and more egregiously, led to an unnecessary loss of life. Worker safety must be a top priority."

Belvedere, Ill., crystal manufacturer fined $510,000

BELVEDERE, Ill. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited NDK Crystals Inc. in Belvedere with fines of $510,000 for alleged egregious willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following an explosion at the company’s crystal manufacturing building that took the life of a truck driver parked at a nearby service station. Workers at this facility were exposed to hazards that created a dangerous environment.

"The employer knowingly operated high pressure vessels even after being warned of the potential for a catastrophic failure due to material design and fabrication defects," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "This simply is unacceptable, and OSHA will use the full extent of the law to ensure the company is held accountable for its actions."

Daniel Earl Danforth, 31, of Minden, La., was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release in federal court in Shreveport, La., on federal hate crime

WASHINGTON – Daniel Earl Danforth, 31, of Minden, La., was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of supervised release in federal court in Shreveport, La., on federal hate crime and obstruction of justice charges in connection with a cross-burning he carried out with others near the home of an interracial couple in Athens, La., the Justice Department announced today.

Danforth was convicted on Jan. 21, 2010, following a jury trial. At trial, the evidence revealed that on Oct. 23 or 24, 2008, Danforth agreed with his two cousins to build, erect and burn a cross near the homes of a cousin and her African-American boyfriend (now husband), and other relatives who approved of their interracial relationship. Danforth and his co-conspirators built the cross using two pine trees, wire or cable and a large nail. One of Danforth’s cousins then went to get diesel fuel to use to burn the cross. Meanwhile, Danforth and his other cousin transported the cross to an area adjacent to the vi…

Helmer Toro, Owner of H & H Bagels, Pleads Guilty

District Attorney Cyrus R.Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of HELMER TORO to charges of Grand Larceny, Offering a False Instrument for Filing, and to a violation of Labor Law for unemployment insurance tax manipulation. TORO collected but failed to pay about more than $369,000 withheld from the payroll of the employees of his bagel business. This case is the first prosecution of unemployment insurance tax rate manipulation under the New York State Unemployment Tax Act, which became effective in January of 2006.

"Under no circumstances can employers gain in business by cheating their employees," said District Attorney Vance. "The City's businesses must adhere to ethical standards and contribute to the tax revenue of the City and State, as well as protect their employees' interests."

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Assistant to Top Disney Executive and Accomplice with Insider Trading Scheme

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and GEORGE VENIZELOS, the Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), announced today the arrest of BONNIE J. HOXIE, an assistant to a top executive at Walt Disney Company ("Disney"), and YONNI SEBBAG, a/k/a "Jonathan Cyrus," a friend of HOXIE, on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. The charges against both HOXIE and SEBBAG stem from their participation in an insider trading scheme in which HOXIE, in her capacity as a Disney employee, obtained confidential inside information, including about Disney's quarterly earnings, and passed that information to SEBBAG, who in turn attempted to sell the information to buyers seeking to trade on inside information.

According to the two-count Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

From March 2010 through May 25, 2010, HOXIE was employed as a secretary to Disney's…

ICE, CBP return pre-historic fossils to China

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection returned a collection of pre-historic fossils to the Government of China in a ceremony at the Embassy in the nation's capital. The approximately 100 small stone slabs containing impressions of pre-historic paleovertebrates were identified during the course of routine inspections by CBP in Chicago. ICE handled the investigation that led to the seizure of the Paleozoic Era fossils.

Authentication by experts at the Field Museum of Chicago determined that the fossils were approximately 525 million years old and had scientific value. The fossils came from the oldest fossil deposit of soft tissues of animals anywhere in the world.

Final U.S. Defendant to Face Charges Related to International Child Pornography Conspiracy Case

The final U.S. defendant arrested in connection with a series of superseding indictments charging 26 individuals for their participation in an online child pornography conspiracy will make his initial appearance today in federal court in Indianapolis, to face charges related to his alleged participation in the conspiracy, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison of the Southern District of Indiana, Deputy Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Edward Oedewaldt, 47, was arrested in Arcadia, La., on April 23, 2010, after an extensive search involving assistance from law enforcement in the United States and abroad. Oedewaldt is charged with one count of conspiracy to advertise child pornography, one count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography, 13 counts of advertising child porno…

Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. to Pay Total of $16.5 Million for Overcharging the United States

WASHINGTON – Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. has agreed to pay the United States an additional $3,718,770, bringing the total paid to resolve civil claims arising from the company’s cost charging practices on some of its contracts with the government to $16,570,018, the Justice Department announced today.

The Army and other government agencies contract with the Ft. Worth, Texas-based company to purchase helicopters and parts, modifications, customization, and related goods and services. In August 2004, Bell notified the Defense Department’s Inspector General that its billing of the costs of certain subcontracts, work transfers, and other transactions with its subsidiaries, divisions, and affiliated companies had resulted in overcharges to the government. The company submitted a report in 2006 describing its conduct and the financial impact on the government and paid the government $12,851,248.

The Bell Company Sued by EEOC for Sex Discrimination and Retaliation

BALTIMORE -- The Bell Company / The Bell Company, LLC, violated federal law when it fired a skilled female equipment operator and materials handler for complaining about discrimination because of her sex, female, the U.W. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

In its suit the EEOC charged The Bell Company, a privately held New York company and The Bell Company, LLC, a Delaware limited-liability company that provides construction services to the U.S Army at its Aberdeen, Md., location, fired Elaine Cusato after she complained about a hostile work environment because of her gender. The EEOC said that on a daily basis, Cusato was subjected to criticism by her supervisor, the plumbing crew foreman, about her work with vehemence, aggression and profanity that was not directed at male workers. These incidents, which were witnessed and known by her chain of command, included throwing a shovel at her, cursing at her in front of co-workers, subc…

Creative Networks Settles EEOC Retaliation Lawsuit for $110,000

PHOENIX – Creative Networks, LLC, a company which provides services to the disabled, has agreed to pay $110,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC charged that two coordinators at the company were unlawfully retaliated against on the same day for complaining about national origin and race discrimination and participating in an investigation about it.

According to the EEOC(s suit, Case No. 05-CV-03032-PHX-SMM, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, on May 16, 2003, Rhonda Encinas-Castro went to the EEOC to file a charge of discrimination based on national origin and race. About 14 days later, the EEOC said, Encinas-Castro was fired by the company’s executive director for filing the charge. Further, the agency charged, the executive director threatened to fire Kathryn Allen, who had never been disciplined for anything before, because she had been named as a witness in Encinas-Castr…

Defendants GEDREY THOMPSON, SEZZIE GOODLUCK, and DEAN LEWIS, were named in an indictment relating to GTF ENTERPRISES, INC

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of three individuals charged with operating a fraudulent investment company based out of lower Manhattan. Defendants GEDREY THOMPSON, SEZZIE GOODLUCK, and DEAN LEWIS, were named in the indictment relating to GTF ENTERPRISES, INC., a phony investment company created by Thompson.[1] According to documents filed in court, from 2003 through 2009 THOMPSON operated a fraudulent investment scheme through his "investment" company, GTF Enterprises, which in reality made no investments. THOMPSON, with the assistance of GOODLUCK and LEWIS, managed to recruit more than 20 investors through the use of misrepresentations and falsified documents. In total, over $800,000 was stolen from those who invested with GTF Enterprises.

"THOMPSON exploited and preyed upon people in his community who trusted him," said District Attorney Vance. "The defendant then disguised this fraud by sending victims phony…

Brown Denies San Francisco Sheriff's Request to Opt Out of Secure Communities Program

SAN FRANCISCO - In a letter sent today, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. declined San Francisco Sheriff Michael Hennessey's request to allow San Francisco to opt out of participating in Secure Communities, a national program that links the fingerprints of arrestees to a federal database maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that checks whether an arrestee is in this country illegally and has previously committed crimes.

"I think this program serves both public safety and the interests of justice," Brown said. "ICE's program advances an important law enforcement function by identifying those individuals who are in the country illegally and who have a history of serious crimes or who have previously been deported."

Morley Missouri Construction Company Settles Racial Harassment and Retaliation Suit with EEOC

ST. LOUIS – Dollins Construction Company of Morley, Mo., has settled a race harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on 05/24/2010. The EEOC’s suit, which was filed last September, charged that Dollins, an unincorporated business, violated federal law by racially harassing three African American construction workers and then taking reprisals against them when one complained.

In its lawsuit (Case No. 1:09-cv-00137), the EEOC alleged that three black construction workers were subjected to unlawful racial harassment at a work site in Corydon, Ind., in the fall of 2006, which included the use of racially charged comments and the display of a noose. The suit said that after one of the victims complained about the conduct to the owner of the business in Scott County, Mo., they were not sent out on any further jobs.

Seth M. Harris Has Been Charged in $3.7 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

CHICAGO—The owner of a Chicago-based residential property development company was charged yesterday with defrauding the State Bank of Countryside of approximately $3.7 million in connection with loans for the development of property in the West Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago. Seth M. Harris, 38, of Chicago, was charged in a single-count information filed in U.S. District Court, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago, announced.

Harris was the owner of SMH Development, LLC, of Chicago, a residential property development company which specialized in the construction of single-family homes, primarily in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Bulgarian National Extradited from Poland to the United States to Face Charges Related to Alleged Role in International Money Laundering Scheme

A Bulgarian man appeared in federal court in the District of Columbia today to face charges related to his alleged role in managing a money laundering network for a transnational criminal group based in Eastern Europe, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. According to court documents, in less than one year, the criminal conspiracy allegedly netted nearly $1 million from U.S. victims.

Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov, 49, of Svishtov, Bulgaria, was extradited from Poland to the United States on Friday, May 21, 2010. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay today ordered Pletnyov detained pending a hearing scheduled for May 28, 2010. Pletnyov is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

JOHN D. MAZZUTO, a corporate executive, and JAMES W. MARGULIES, an attorney, have been indicted

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment against JOHN D. MAZZUTO, a corporate executive, and JAMES W. MARGULIES, an attorney, for illegally issuing shares of stock to enrich themselves and others, and for engaging in fraudulent activity to inflate the stock’s value and deceive investors.[1] The defendants were charged with Grand Larceny, Scheme to Defraud, Conspiracy, Falsifying Business Records, and violations of the Martin Act (New York State’s securities fraud law). The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between 2004 and 2008 and relate to Industrial Enterprises of America, Inc. (“IEAM”), a public holding corporation located in Manhattan. The defendants illegally issued millions of shares of stock in IEAM to family, friends, and close associates, and engaged in myriad fraudulent activities in their scheme to steal more than $60 million. The defendants stole from the corporation and legitimate investors, and engaged in a variety of frau…

EEOC Obtains $50,000 from Texas Transportation Brokerage Companies for Retaliation

HOUSTON – Two Dallas/Fort Worth-area transportation brokerage companies will pay $50,000 and provide additional remedial relief to settle a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Joshua Male’s employer unlawfully retaliated against him by firing him because he had complained about workplace comments being made by two coworkers at the Sugar Land, Texas facility where they worked.

The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 4:09cv03142, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division) asserted that in July 2008, Male complained to the human resources manager about persistent inappropriate jokes about Mormons, as well as workplace comments allegedly disparaging a pregnant female co-worker, women in general, and an African American. The HR manager reported Male's complaints to the general manager of the facility, and Male was fired within less than 72 hours.

Ricks v. Long Island Health Network, Inc. et al

Ricks v. Long Island Health Network, Inc. et al

Plaintiff: Daisy Ricks

Defendants: Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Brian Currie, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, Terry Hargadon, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, Long Island Health Network, Inc., Kathleen Masiulis, Mercy Medical Center, New Island Hospital, South Nassau Communities Hospital, St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, St. Charles Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Winthrop-University Hospital

Case Number: 2:2010cv01326
Filed: March 24, 2010

Court: New York Eastern District Court
Office: Central Islip Office
Presiding Judge: Joseph F. Bianco
Presiding Judge: Judge Joseph F. Bianco
Referring Judge: Michael L. Orenstein
Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Michael L. Orenstein

Nature of Suit: Labor - Fair Labor Standards Act
Cause: 29:201 Fair Labor Standards Act
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

FBI Releases Preliminary Annual Crime Statistics for 2009

Preliminary 2009 statistics indicate that violent crime in the nation decreased 5.5 percent and property crime declined 4.9 percent when compared with data from 2008, according to the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, which was released today. Data in the report came from 13,237 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 months of data in both 2008 and 2009.

Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, aka Samuel Shamai Leibowitz, A Former FBI Contract Linguist Sentenced for Leaking Classified Information to Blogger

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams sentenced former FBI contract linguist, Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, aka Samuel Shamai Leibowitz, age 40, of Silver Spring, Md., today to 20 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for unlawfully providing classified documents to the host of an Internet blog who then published information from those documents on the blog.

The sentence was announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland; and Richard A. McFeely, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.

Kevin E. Transue And Daniel E. Rose Have Been Convicted

BINGHAMTON, NY (May 24, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a former city water filtration plant superintendent as well as a plant employee were convicted of illegally dumping sludge into the Susquehanna River. The river is the primary drinking water supply for Binghamton, Johnson City, and other downstream communities.

Daniel E. Rose, 31, of Port Crane, a former filtration plant employee, was found guilty by Broome County Court Judge Joseph F. Cawley after a non-jury trial on one count of knowingly discharging pollutants into state waters (class E felony). Kevin E. Transue, 55, who currently resides in Florida and is the former filtration plant superintendent was found guilty of three counts of violating a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permit that had been issued to the plant by failing to file a required annual report with the DEC (class A misdemeanor). Rose faces a prison term of up to 1 1/3-to-4 years and Transue faces up to two …

Patricia Morgen, Ponzi Scheme and Mortgage Fraud Mastermind Sentenced to 15 Years, Eight Months

SAN FRANCISCO—The founder and head of Chicago Development and Planning was sentenced yesterday to 15 years and eight months in prison, and ordered to pay more than $9 million in restitution for wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Patricia Morgen pleaded guilty on Dec. 16, 2009. According to the plea agreement, she admitted creating a scheme to solicit investors for a company called Chicago Development and Planning, with the promise of substantial guaranteed return profit payments. Morgen falsely promised investors that their funds would be used to purchase real property to be rented or resold for profit, and that their guaranteed returns would come from profits earned on the real estate investments. In fact, Morgen paid investors largely with money obtained from new investors, rather than from real estate-related profits. Morgen admitted that there were more than 400 victims of this Ponzi scheme.

USPTO Eliminates Patent Prosecution Highway Petition Fee

Washington—The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced it would eliminate the fee for the petition to participate in Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programs. The elimination of the PPH petition fee is expected to encourage greater PPH participation by patent applicants.

Since 2006, the USPTO has implemented Patent Prosecution Highway programs with a number of patent offices as part of work sharing arrangements to avoid duplication of work among patent offices, and for reducing its own pendency and backlog. Until now, the PPH notices have indicated that a request for participation in the PPH program required the payment of a $130 petition fee.

Former Guatemalan Special Forces Soldier Indicted for Making False Statements on Immigration Forms Regarding 1982 Massacre of Guatemalan Villagers

A former Guatemalan special forces soldier was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Palm Beach County, Fla., for lying on his naturalization application about his participation in a 1982 massacre at a Guatemalan village known as Dos Erres, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida and Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The one-count indictment charges Gilberto Jordan, 54, of Delray Beach, Fla., with unlawful procurement of U.S. citizenship. Jordan was previously charged via a criminal complaint on May 5, 2010. The indictment alleges that in approximately November 1982, a Guatemalan guerrilla group ambushed a military convoy near Dos Erres, Guatemala, killing soldiers and taking a number of rifles. In response, a patrol of approximately 20 Guatemalan special forces soldiers, known as "Kaibiles," including Jor…

What Did I Tell You About Sexual Harassment Child Molestation And Rape?

TROY, AL (WSFA) - The investigation into a Troy man police believe sexually harassed children all over town is getting bigger by the day. Police arrested Tripp Dennis Freeman on six sex crime charges going back to 2007 on May 11th.

Police charged him with four counts of sexual harassment, one count of sodomy, and one count of enticing a child. Then, they charged him with three additional counts of harassment related to incidents at the Pike County Jail. Bond has now risen to $202,000.
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Overland Park Restaurant Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment Of Teen Worker

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Cactus Grill, Inc., violated federal law when it allowed a manager to sexually harass an 18-year-old server at its restaurant in Leawood, Kan., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today in federal court.

According to the EEOC’s suit, an assistant manager at the restaurant asked the server for sex, touched her, and made unwelcome sexual advances toward her. The harassment was so intolerable that the server was forced to quit her job, amounting to an unlawful constructive discharge, the EEOC said.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination based upon gender, including sexual harassment. The EEOC filed this suit, Case No. ****, in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement. In addition to Cactus Grill, Inc., the suit names other related corporations as defendants.

Orkin Pest Control Sued By EEOC For Age And Religious Discrimination In Hiring And Advertising

PHOENIX – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing pest control company Orkin of discriminatory hiring practices in denying jobs to older workers and favoring Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) (Mormon) applicants, particularly returned missionaries. The EEOC also charged that Orkin retaliated against an applicant who complained to the company’s corporate headquarters about the alleged discrimination.

According to the EEOC’s suit against of Orkin L.L.C., and Orkin Inc., doing business as Orkin Pest Control, (Case No. ), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Orkin discriminated during the hiring process against Thomas Kokezas, as well as a class of individuals based on their age, over 40, or religion, non-Mormon. The EEOC’s complaint alleges that Orkin advertised on Craig’s List for a recruiter “to assist in hiring LDS missionaries for seasonal employ­…

Second Official Sentenced in Scheme to Funnel Money from Organization for Personal Use

NEW YORK, NY (May 20, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the sentencing of the former CEO of a not-for-profit corporation operating in Orange and Sullivan counties following his guilty plea for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to court papers, from 2002 until 2005, Joseph O’Connell, 63, of Middletown, New York, stole funds from Family Empowerment Council, Inc. (FEC), a provider of services to people with developmental disabilities and special needs, many of them children. Through his position as CEO, O’Connell directed 176 FEC checks to his family-owned printing business, Accu-Typeset and Design. The checks grossly overpaid for the work provided or paid for work that was never done. The Attorney General’s investigation shows that FEC funds deposited into the Accu-Typeset and Design account were used to fund vacations and extensive home and internet shopping.

Victims of Work-at-Home Medical Billing Fraud Being Reimbursed $95,000

This week, an administrator working on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission mailed checks to 3,500 consumers nationwide who were defrauded by a group of marketers accused of hawking phony business opportunities. Consumers who were victims of this scam will receive a total of $95,000 in redress. These are legitimate checks, and the FTC urges consumers to cash them.

The reimbursement stems from the February 2008 settlement of a case brought as part of Project Fal$e Hope$, a Commission-led law enforcement sweep that included more than 100 actions filed by the FTC, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other agencies in 11 states. In this case, known as EDI Healthclaims, the FTC alleged that scammers used mass mailings to consumers offering a “work-at-home” business opportunity to earn easy money electronically processing health-care providers’ medical claims for insurance reimbursement.

Todd Lanni, Owner of Factory Direct Spas Sentenced to Prison for Wire Fraud

HOUSTON—Todd Lanni, the owner of Factory Direct Spas, has been sentenced to prison for defrauding eBay customers who paid for hot tubs which were never built and never delivered, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Indicted in February 2008, Lanni pleaded guilty to wire fraud just before his jury trial was scheduled to commence in December 2009. This morning, United States District Judge Keith Ellison sentenced Lanni, 48, of Houston, to 30 months in federal prison without parole for the wire fraud conviction to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $191,734.49 to a total of 46 defrauded customers who ordered, but never received, a hot tub. The court has permitted Lanni to remain on bond pending the issuance of a court order to surrender himself to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

Khalid Ouazzani, Pleads Guilty to Supporting Terrorist Organization

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorist organization al Qaeda. He also pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.

“National security is the highest priority of the Department of Justice,” Phillips said. “I applaud the diligent work of our law enforcement partners from local, state and federal agencies that serve on the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force. These agencies have made significant investments of manpower and resources to the task force, and I appreciate their commitment to defeating terrorism. Much of their work is done behind the scenes, investigating and gathering information, but they play a crucial role in preventing terrorist activities.”

Salt Lake City-based Teleperformance USA pays almost $2 million in back overtime wages following US Department of Labor investigation

Settlement covers workers in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Teleperformance USA, a Salt Lake City-based call center, has paid $1,978,147 in back wages to 15,862 workers for overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The settlement followed a nationwide investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division in Salt Lake City.

"The Labor Department will not hesitate to enforce federal law to the fullest extent possible when employers do not pay their employees all of the wages to which they are entitled," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "These workers received the back wages they earned and deserved."

Mark Zaino Pleads Guilty for His Role in Bid-rigging and Fraud Conspiracies Involving Proceeds of Municipal Bonds

WASHINGTON — A former employee of a financial services company pleaded guilty today for his participation in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies related to contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other related municipal finance contracts, the Department of Justice announced.

According to charges filed today in the U.S. District Court in New York City, Mark Zaino engaged in separate bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies with companies that provide a type of contract, known as an investment agreement, to state, county and local governments and agencies throughout the United States. The public entities were seeking to invest money from a variety of sources, primarily the proceeds of municipal bonds that they had issued to raise money for, among other things, public projects. Zaino also pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. According to the plea agreement, Zaino has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

OSCAR SANDINO, A NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT DETECTIVE WAS ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

A criminal information was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging New York City Police Department Detective Oscar Sandino, a 13-year veteran of the NYPD who was assigned to the Queens North Narcotics Bureau from June 2006 until March 2008, with violating the civil rights of three women through sexual misconduct. Sandino was arrested earlier today and will make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The case was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New, George Venizelos, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

Kansas City, Missouri, to Spend $2.5 Billion to Eliminate Sewer Overflows

WASHINGTON – The city of Kansas City, Mo., has agreed to make extensive improvements to its sewer systems, at a cost estimated to exceed $2.5 billion over 25 years, to eliminate unauthorized overflows of untreated raw sewage and to reduce pollution levels in urban storm water, the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

The settlement, lodged today in federal court in Kansas City, requires the city to implement the overflow control plan, which is the result of more than four years of public input. The plan is designed to yield significant long-term benefits to public health and the environment, and provide a model for the incorporation of green infrastructure and technology toward solving overflow issues.

SmartBuy network sold items at grossly inflated prices with average effective interest rate of 244 percent

WATERTOWN, NY (May 18, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today filed a lawsuit against three nationwide lenders and their affiliated companies for preying on members of the military by selling them grossly overpriced electronics and then trapping them in illegal and open-ended credit plans. Attorney General Cuomo has also notified Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of the Army John McHugh of the findings of his investigation.

Cuomo’s suit is against Frisco Marketing of N.Y., LLC, doing business as SmartBuy and SmartBuy Computers and Electronics; Integrity Financial of North Carolina, Inc.; Britlee, Inc., doing business as MilitaryZone; GJS Management, Inc. and Rome Finance Company, Inc. and Rome Finance Co. LLC, all owned and/or operated by Fayetteville, N.C.-based John Paul Jordan, Stuart Jordan, and Rebecca Wirt, and Concord, California-based William Collins and Ronald Wilson.

Sharmon Wade pled guilty to grand larceny, securities fraud, scheme to defraud, and violation of tax law

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of SHARMON WADE, who is charged with luring inexperienced investors with false representations to contribute to no-risk, high-rate-of-return investments in commercial real estate properties. In reality the purported investments were fictitious, and the defendant stole more than $1 million from investors. Wade pled guilty to grand larceny, securities fraud, scheme to defraud, and violation of tax law.

“The defendant preyed on hard-working New Yorkers,” said District Attorney Vance. “This scheme was founded on brazen lies -- there was never an intention on the part of the defendant to fulfill his promises to investors. This Office is committed to putting an end to existing financial schemes and preventing future ones.”

Nine Hospitals in Seven States to Pay U.S. More Than $9.4 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Related to Kyphoplasty

Nine hospitals located in Alabama, Indiana, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, New York and Minnesota have agreed to pay the United States more than $9.4 million to settle allegations that the health care facilities submitted false claims to Medicare, the Justice Department announced today. The settlements resolve allegations that the hospitals overcharged Medicare between 2000 and 2008 when performing kyphoplasty, a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat certain spinal fractures that often are due to osteoporosis. In many cases, the procedure can be performed safely as a less costly out-patient procedure, but the government contends that the hospitals performed the procedure on an in-patient basis in order to increase their Medicare billings.

The settling facilities and the amount being paid by each to the United States are Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, Ind. ($1,995,431); Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Boynton Beach, Fla. ($356,079); Bloomington Hospital, Bloomington, Ind. ($1,443…

USPTO Opens Application Exchange Program to All Applicants to Reduce Patent Backlog

WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the expansion to all applicants of its “Project Exchange” program. Under the expanded Project Exchange, which will take effect with the publication of the Federal Register notice in the coming weeks, any applicant with more than one application, filed prior to the inception of the program, currently pending at the USPTO can receive expedited review of one application in exchange for withdrawing an unexamined application. The expanded Project Exchange will give all applicants with multiple filings greater control over the priority in which their applications are examined and enable priority applications to be examined on an expedited basis. By providing incentives for applicants to withdraw unexamined applications that may no longer be important to them, Project Exchange is expected to appreciably reduce the backlog of unexamined patent applications pending before the USPTO.

Th…

Nu-Way Crane Inc., Michael Pascalli, and Michal Sackaris Plead Guilty

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty pleas of MICHAEL SACKARIS and NU-WAY CRANE SERVICE INC. to charges of bribery, and of MICHAEL PASCALLI to a charge of offering a false instrument for filing, in connection with the bribing of the Acting Chief Inspector of Cranes and Derricks for the City’s Department of Buildings.

“Taking bribes in situations where safety is at risk is unacceptable, as is corruption at any level of government,” said District Attorney Vance. “This Office will continue to investigate public corruption cases, and fight to have the strongest tools available to prosecute those who violate the public trust.”

New London Man Charged with Operating Mortgage Fraud Scheme

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned an indictment charging SYED A. BABAR, also known as “Ali,” 28, of Ledyard Street, New London, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud. The charges stem from a mortgage fraud conspiracy that BABAR is alleged to have headed.

The indictment alleges that, between February 2007 and April 2010, BABAR, along with a mortgage broker, a real estate appraiser, two attorneys, and others, engaged in a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in residential real estate loans, including loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, through the use of sham sales contracts, false loan applications and fraudulent property appraisals.

ICE arrests 5 in Tucson for kidnapping a confidential informant

TUCSON, Ariz. - Five men are facing numerous federal charges after they allegedly kidnapped a confidential informant working for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during an attempted drug deal rip-off in Tucson.

A federal grand jury this week indicted Israel De La Rocha-Rivera, Angel Ochoa-Cazares, Guillermo Leon-Rivera, Oscar Contreras, and Pedro Cano Jr. with 11 felony counts, including hostage taking, conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

Assault rifles and drugs seized in Detroit following search warrant Three AK-47s and other rifles seized

DETROIT - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office announced Friday the seizure of nine weapons, 70 grams of cocaine and 145 grams of high-potency marijuana, including 150 marijuana plants as part of a suspected drug-growing operation.

The seizure occurred late Thursday as Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputies executed a local search warrant in southwest Detroit at the residence of a suspected Latin Count gang associate. ICE agents, Detroit Police officers and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents executed the search warrant. This operation was part of Operation Community Shield, an ICE initiative to target transnational gang members and their criminal operations.

JORGE ARBAJE-DIAZ, A FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO COMMIT ROBBERIES AND HEROIN TRAFFICKING

This afternoon, Jorge Arbaje-Diaz, a former member of the New York City Police department, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to robbery conspiracy and heroin trafficking charges filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and to a separate robbery conspiracy charge filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement, and subject to approval by the court, Abaje-Diaz faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and the possibility of a life sentence for the robbery conspiracy and heroin trafficking charges and the possibility of a 20-year sentence for the robbery conspiracy charge.

Additional Charges Filed Against MICHAEL JACQUES and THOMAS GLEASON for Springfield Church Arson Presidential Election Sparked Hate Crime

SPRINGFIELD, MA—Additional criminal charges were filed today against two Springfield men in relation to the burning of a Springfield church on November 5, 2008.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; Glenn N. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Division; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office; Massachusetts State Police Colonel Marian J. McGovern; Hampden County District Attorney William Bennett; and Springfield Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet, announced additional charges related to the burning of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a predominantly African-American church, on the morning after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.

Monique Mitchell and Sheldon Martin, Plead Guilty in Broward Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced that defendants Monique Mitchell, 29, of Pembroke Pines, and Sheldon Martin, 34, of Plantation, pled guilty this morning in West Palm Beach federal court to one count of making false statements on a HUD-1 Real Estate Settlement Form in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 21, 2010 before U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks.

According to records filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, defendant Monique Mitchell was employed by Attorneys Title Center, in Pembroke Pines. Defendant Sheldon Martin was a self-employed licensed mortgage broker in Plantation. At the plea, Mitc…

FORMER CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF MAYFAIR CAPITAL GROUP, LLC SENTENCED IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT TO 41 MONTHS IN PRISON

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that STEPHEN R. GREEN,
former Chairman and CEO of Mayfair Capital Group ("Mayfair
Group") was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for committing
securities fraud arising from his scheme to defraud investors of
over $5.75 million for his own use. The sentence was imposed in
Manhattan federal court by United States District Judge JOHN G.
KOELTL.

According to the criminal Information previously filed
against GREEN, other documents filed in this case, and statements
made during GREEN's plea proceeding:

Between 2005 and 2009, GREEN made false representations
to a number of investors (the "victim-investors") that he would
invest their funds in limited partnership vehicles and/or an
asset management company. Based on those false representations,
GREEN defrauded the victim-investors of approximately $5.75
million. For instance, in late 2005, GREEN falsely represented
to an ind…

VICTORIA A. WOFFORD, pleaded guilty to the top charge against her, Grand Larceny in the First Degree

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced on 05/12/2010, the arrest and guilty plea of a woman who perpetrated a fraudulent travel account scheme to steal more than $35 million. VICTORIA A. WOFFORD, 53, the founder, president and chief financial officer of Tri-Pen Management Corporation, pleaded guilty to the top charge against her, Grand Larceny in the First Degree, for making fraudulent charges on two defunct American Express business travel accounts. WOFFORD used the funds to develop software, purchase an apartment and invest in a restaurant chain.

“Corporate fraud victimizes an honest company by decreasing its bottom line, hurting its reputation and diminishing morale. Losses of any amount can have a ripple effect on the salaries and benefits of employees and those who do business with the company,” District Attorney Vance said. “This defendant committed multimillion-dollar fraud in a systematic fashion over a number of years. This Office remains committed to brin…

Perdue Farms Settles EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

LEWISTON, N.C. – Perdue Farms, Inc. will pay $25,500 to settle an age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on 05/12/2010. The EEOC had charged in its lawsuit that Perdue Farms violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by refusing to hire a woman for a position because of her age.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Perdue Farms, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:08-CV-38), Audrey Sheftall applied for a position in the deboning department at Perdue Farm’s Lewiston, N.C., facility when she was 66 years old. Although Sheftall was qualified for the position, the EEOC said, Perdue Farms refused to hire her. According to the EEOC, Perdue Farms subsequently hired approximately 74 substantially younger individuals within the month after Sheftall applied, including Sheftall’s granddaughter, who had applied on the same day as She…

ICE, CBP and El Salvador celebrate recovery of pre-Columbian artifacts in joint investigation into smuggling ring selling on E-Bay

WASHINGTON - The Embassy of El Salvador was the scene May 12 of the return of dozens of pre-Columbian and Mayan artifacts that were seized in the first joint concurrent investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National Civilian Police of El Salvador into an international smuggling ring that was selling these antiquities on the Internet.

ICE Deputy Assistant Secretary Alonzo Pena presented dozens of cultural items to appointed Ambassador Francisco Altschul in a ceremony that was streamed live in video to the Salvadoran Foreign Ministry in San Salvador, where other pieces seized in the Salvadoran investigation were on display. The items were all pre-Columbian, many of them Mayan, and are forbidden to export except with the express permission of the Secretariat of Culture.

Cuomo announced the arrest of Queens contractor Kostas “Gus” Andrikopoulos, of Hara Electric Corporation

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 12, 2010) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of Queens contractor Kostas “Gus” Andrikopoulos, of Hara Electric Corporation, who allegedly failed to pay more than $2 million in wages to employees who worked on numerous schools throughout New York City.

Beginning in June 2005, Hara Electric Corporation entered into a series of contracts with the New York City School Construction Authority to do electrical work on schools throughout the five boroughs. In all, Hara was awarded 9 contracts and was hired as a subcontractor on 32 projects.

Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, the former governor of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, was extradited from Mexico

NEW YORK—Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid, the former governor of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, was extradited from Mexico on charges that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes from the notorious Juarez Cartel, in exchange for assisting in the importation of over 200 tons of cocaine onto American streets. Villanueva Madrid was also extradited on a second indictment in which he is charged with laundering nearly $19 million in drug proceeds, through accounts at Lehman Brothers in New York and elsewhere, announced Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John P. Gilbride, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Villanueva Madrid was turned over by the Mexican Procuradoria General de la Republica (PGR), or Attorney General’s Office, to agents of the DEA and deputies of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). He was flown by DEA Air Wing jet to White Plains, N.Y., and arrived late Sunday. …

CUOMO SUES BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON UNIT FOR DECEIVING CLIENTS IN CONNECTION WITH MADOFF-RELATED INVESTMENTS

NEW YORK, NY (May 11, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today filed a lawsuit against Ivy Asset Management, LLC (“Ivy”), its former Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Simon, and its former Chief Investment Officer Howard Wohl, for deliberately misleading clients about investments tied to Bernard L. Madoff. The suit alleges that Ivy and the two principals kept their clients in the dark about damaging financial information about Madoff so Ivy could bring in millions in advisory fees.

Ivy is a New York-based investment adviser that is wholly owned by Bank of New York Mellon. Between 1998 and 2008, Ivy was paid over $40 million to give advice and conduct due diligence for clients with large Madoff investments. The lawsuit alleges that while conducting this due diligence, Ivy learned that Madoff was not investing funds as advertised. However, internal e-mails reveal that Ivy did not disclose this information to clients for fear of losing revenue from fees. As a result, Ivy’s clients l…

ICE arrests Phoenix teacher in child pornography investigation

PHOENIX - A fifth-grade Phoenix teacher has been arrested U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on federal criminal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.

Tyler A. Townley, 30, who teaches at Sun Canyon Elementary School, was taken into custody May 6 after ICE special agents performed a search warrant at his residence and found numerous images and video files of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct on his computer and additional flash drives. The search was based on information obtained in an ongoing investigation into Web sites advertising child pornography by the ICE Cyber Crimes Center Child Exploitation Section. The investigation led ICE agents to Townley's e-mail and IP address, and eventually to his home in Phoenix.

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Pep Boys Agrees to Pay $5 Million to Resolve Clean Air Act Violations Claims

WASHINGTON — The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack - have agreed to pay $5 million in civil penalties and take corrective measures to settle claims that it violated the Clean Air Act by importing and selling motorcycles, recreational vehicles and generators manufactured in China that do not comply with environmental requirements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced today. Baja Inc., which supplied the non-compliant vehicles to Pep Boys, is also settling with the U.S.

"Importers of foreign made vehicles and engines must comply with the same Clean Air Act requirements that apply to those selling domestic products, and this settlement demonstrates that we will take strong action to ensure that importers comply with their obligations," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Under this settlement Pep Boys and Baja will not only pay a civil penalty, but will o…

New Grant Program Helps Champlain Valley Farmers Improve Operations, Further Limit Discharge Into Lake Champlain

ALBANY, NY (May 10, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office is dedicating $500,000 to create a new grant program to help local farmers fight water pollution in Lake Champlain. The funds, from a settlement that Cuomo secured in a court-ordered settlement with American Electric Power, will assist farmers in the southern Champlain Valley to further improve operations and reduce stormwater discharges of nutrients from their land.

Reducing nutrient pollution, particularly phosphorous, is one of the highest priorities for protecting Lake Champlain. Areas of the Lake, especially its southern segments, suffer from impaired water quality due to excessive phosphorous. Area farmers have for years taken steps to reduce runoff, and Cuomo’s funding is designed to expand these important efforts.

Mal Suk Kim, Pleads Guilty to Harboring Illegal Aliens and Money Laundering

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations; Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID); John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), today announced that defendant Mal Suk Kim, 60, of Palm Beach County, pled guilty today to a criminal information, charging her with one count of harboring illegal aliens and one count of money laundering, in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Sections 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), 1324(a)(1)( B)(I), and Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(A)(I), respectively. Defendant Kim also agreed to forfeit $150,000 involved in the money laundering offense to which she pled guilty.

According to court documents …

ICE deports Iraqi national with ties to Al Qaeda operatives

SEATTLE - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced that an Iraqi citizen, who had ties to an Al Qaeda leader and was deemed a national security risk by a federal immigration judge, an administrative appeals court and a federal appeals court, was recently removed to his native country.

Sam Malkandi, 51, was living in Kirkland, Wash., in 1999 when he attempted to fraudulently obtain a U.S. visa for Tawfiq bin Attash to travel here and purportedly receive medical treatment. Bin Attash, also known as "Khallad," was a trusted lieutenant and former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, and is suspected of planning the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

Departments of Justice and Homeland Security Announce 30 Convictions, More Than $143 Million in Seizures from Initiative Targeting Traffickers in Counterfeit Network Hardware

WASHINGTON—Operation Network Raider, a domestic and international enforcement initiative targeting the illegal distribution of counterfeit network hardware manufactured in China, has resulted in 30 felony convictions and more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco network hardware and labels with an estimated retail value of more than $143 million.

The results of the operation were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Assistant Director Gordon Snow of the FBI’s Cyber Division, Assistant Secretary John Morton of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Commissioner Alan Bersin of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). In addition to the convictions and seizures, according to the CBP there has been a 75 percent decrease in seizures of counterfeit network hardware at U.S. borders from 2008 to 2009. In addition, nine individuals are facing trial and another eight defendants are awaiting sentencing.

Ricardo A. Nunez of Lindenhurst, N.Y., pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States

WASHINGTON - Ricardo A. Nunez of Lindenhurst, N.Y., pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and filing a false tax return, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.

According to court documents, Nunez owned and operated a tax preparation business called Monstruo Tax Service in Copiague, N.Y. Nunez prepared customers’ tax returns with fraudulent deductions, including fraudulent medical and dental expenses, personal property taxes, gifts to charity, and unreimbursed job expenses. The fraudulent tax returns generated inflated tax refunds for Nunez’s customers, which in turn attracted more customers and tax preparation fees. Additionally, according to court documents, Nunez failed to report $69,000 in income on his own tax return for 2005.

Cuomo’s office sued Williamsville-based attorney John P. Nicolia

BUFFALO, NY (May 6, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has sued a Western New York lawyer who sold debt collectors the use of his name, which the debt collectors then used to intimidate consumers by threatening bogus legal action. The action is the latest in Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing probe into unlawful debt collection practices.

Cuomo’s office sued Williamsville-based attorney John P. Nicolia after an investigation determined that he collected $141,000 in fees in return for allowing debt collectors to threaten consumers across the country by using his name and his law firm’s name. In reality, Nicolia never provided any actual legal services for the debt collection company, Eastern Asset Management.

Former Guatemalan special forces soldier arrested for masking role in 1982 massacre of Guatemalan villagers on Immigration forms

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested a former Guatemalan special forces soldier today in Palm Beach County, Fla., for lying on his naturalization application about his participation in a 1982 massacre at a Guatemalan village known as Las Dos Erres.

Gilberto Jordan, 54, of Delray Beach, Fla., was arrested by ICE special agents in West Palm Beach, based on a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which charges him with unlawful procurement of naturalized U.S. citizenship. The former Guatemalan soldier allegedly lied to U.S. immigration authorities in his naturalization application about his past foreign military service and criminal role in the Dos Erres massacre.

EEOC Collects on $471,000 Jury Award after Winning Appeal from Waterproofing Company In Sex Harassment Case

NEW YORK – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that Everdry Marketing and Management has paid $471,096 in damages, plus $86,581 in post-judgment interest, to 13 victims of sexual harassment. The payout satisfies a judgment obtained by EEOC against Everdry in October 2006 following a four-week trial in Rochester, N.Y. (case # 01-CV-6329). The individual payouts range from about $24,000 to $56,000, including the interest, which covers the time the women had to wait to receive their jury awards. Everdry was required to pay the substantial interest after the ultimate resolution of the case was delayed by an appeal Everdry filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit challenging various aspects of the jury’s verdict and other district court rulings. The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict and award of damages.

Cleveland-based Everdry provides basement waterproofing services through various franchises. The case concerned a prolonged perio…

Paybooks Owner Used Client Payments Intended for Taxes for Personal Expenses

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (May 5, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has obtained a court order and judgment for more than $2.2 million from a Rochester-based payroll company that defrauded hundreds of area businesses through an elaborate scheme where the owner kept money intended for taxes, using it instead for personal expenses.

Under a court order and judgment issued in State Supreme Court of Monroe County, Paybooks, Inc. and its president Jeffrey Sykes are permanently barred from the payroll business and must set aside $2 million for restitution for eligible consumers. They must also pay a civil penalty of $5,000 for each instance of a deceptive act (totaling $200,000) and $2,000 in costs. A court-appointed receiver is overseeing the liquidation of the companys assets as well as the distribution of restitution. Consumers have until August 31, 2010 to file a complaint with the Attorney Generals Office in order to be eligible for restitution.

Former Pharmacy Tech and Husband Charged with Embezzling 40,000 Vicodin Tablets from Local CVS to Sell on Street

HOLLISTER - Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that a former CVS pharmacy technician and her husband have been charged with 15 felony counts after the woman embezzled tens of thousands of highly addictive prescription pills worth $400,000 from her employer to supply to her drug-dealing husband.

Aimee and Alfred Riaski, both 41 and from Hollister, were arrested after an investigation by Brown's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement led to the recovery of more than 1,500 prescription tablets at the couple's residence. If convicted, Aimee Riaski faces a maximum of 13 years, 8 months in jail and Alfred Riaski faces a maximum of 8 years, 4 months in jail.

Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics to Pay More Than $72 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Concerning TOBI

WASHINGTON – Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation have agreed to pay $72.5 million to resolve civil False Claims Act allegations arising from the marketing of the cystic fibrosis drug TOBI, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves allegations that, between Jan. 1, 2001 and July 31, 2006, Novartis and its predecessor, Chiron Corporation, caused false claims to be submitted to federal health care programs for certain off-label uses of the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TOBI, an inhaled antibiotic, for the treatment of certain cystic fibrosis patients. The United States alleges that Chiron, and then Novartis, marketed TOBI for unapproved uses, such as diseases other than cystic fibrosis, and for cystic fibrosis patients who did not meet the parameters of the FDA-approved indication and for which TOBI was not a medically accepted use. The government alleges that this conduct caused the submission of…

11 arrested in Loveland, Colo., during ICE and Loveland PD gang operation

LOVELAND, Colo. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Loveland Police Department arrested 11 men during a five-day operation targeting individuals with ties to violent criminal street gangs. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members and gang associates.

The multi-agency operation, which ended April 30, targeted gang members and associates engaged in organized criminal activity. Those arrested during this operation are known gang members or associates from the Sureños or Bloods criminal street gangs. Of those arrested, seven are from Mexico, and four are U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizens arrested had outstanding criminal warrants and were booked into the Larimer County Jail. The others are in ICE custody and are charged with administrative immigration violations, and awaiting deportation. All those arrested during this operation have prior criminal histories including: cruelty toward a child, domestic vio…

$50,000 Reward Announced for Information Leading to the Whereabouts of Missing Teen

KANSAS CITY, MO—Chief James Person, Belton Police Department and FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian Truchon announced today a $50,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of missing teen Kara Kopetsky. The announcement of this reward is in addition to any other reward monies being offered.

Kara, who was 17 years old at the time of her disappearance, was last seen leaving Belton High School on May 4, 2007 at 9:20 a.m. “The passage of time can never diminish the loss of a child. We are hoping announcing this reward, in conjunction with the three year anniversary of her disappearance, may trigger someone’s memory and they will come forward with valuable information” said SAC Truchon.

LUIS NUNEZ, 42, has been indicted for Scheme to Defraud, Grand Larceny, and Falsifying Business Records

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of a property manager for stealing more than $879,000 from three corporations that own five rental apartment buildings near Columbia University. LUIS NUNEZ, 42, has been indicted for Scheme to Defraud, Grand Larceny, and Falsifying Business Records[1]. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between June 2005 and April 2009.

“Tenants suffer greatly when property managers steal money that is intended for maintenance, repairs, and other improvements. This type of crime can affect high end condominiums as well as low income rental buildings,” said District Attorney Vance. “We will aggressively investigate and prosecute these offenses, no matter how large or small.”

FBI New York’s JTTF Seeking Information in Attempted Times Square Bombing

The New York FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) seeks to identify a person who may be in a position to assist with the ongoing investigation of the attempted Times Square bombing on May 1, 2010. The FBI’s JTTF in New York, along with the NYPD, responded to Times Square in response to a suspicious vehicle and device. Numerous FBI offices have been tasked with leads to assist with the investigation and every lead will be followed. The FBI’s JTTF in New York is operating a fully staffed Joint Operations Center (JOC) 24 hours a day to address this situation.

“The investigation into this case continues. The JOC is operating 24/7 with agents, detectives, analysts, and SDNY attorneys. Evidence has been sent to the FBI Lab for analysis. Anyone who believes they may have additional information that could assist in this investigation, please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, submit a tip on www.fbi.gov or call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko.

Meridian, Mississippi Nursing Home to Pay $40,000 to Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Poplar Springs Nursing Center, LLC, a Meridian, Miss., nursing home, will pay $40,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age and race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Poplar Springs discriminated against Gloria Carey, a 53-year-old black female, by denying her a social worker position because of her age and her race. The EEOC alleged that despite Carey’s 27-plus years of experience as a social worker, Poplar Springs refused to consider her for the position. Instead, the EEOC said, a less qualified 34-year-old white female was the only candidate interviewed and then hired.