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Showing posts from December, 2010

ICE takes custody of 3 individuals suspected of smuggling $48 million in cocaine

MIAMI - Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) took custody of three suspected maritime drug smugglers in Miami on Wednesday and helped U.S. Coast Guard crewmembers offload 62 bales of cocaine weighing 3,400 pounds and worth an estimated wholesale value of $48 million.

ICE HSI special agents offload bales of cocaine On Dec. 17, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis intercepted a go-fast boat 160 nautical miles off the coast of Colon, Panama. The cutter Thetis launched a small boat crew and was assisted by aircraft from the Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Air and Marine Branch, to stop the go-fast vessel.

Detroit Medical Center Pays U.S. $30 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Allegedly Engaged in Improper Financial Relationship with Referring Physicians

WASHINGTON – Detroit Medical Center, a non-profit company that owns and operates hospitals and outpatient facilities in Detroit, has agreed to pay the United States $30 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Statute, by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the Justice Department announced today.

The Stark Statute and the Anti-Kickback Statute restrict the financial relationships that hospitals may have with doctors who refer patients to them. Most of the relationships at issue in this matter involved office lease agreements and independent contractor relationships that were either inconsistent with fair market value or not memorialized in writing.

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH STEVEN RATTNER FORMER FOUNDING PRINCIPAL OF QUADRANGLE IN PUBLIC PENSION FUND INVESTIGATION

NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 30, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement with Steven Rattner, former founding principal of private equity firm Quadrangle Group, LLC (“Quadrangle”) in the Attorney General’s public pension fund investigation.

Mr. Rattner will pay $10,000,000 in restitution to the State of New York and be banned from appearing in any capacity before any public pension fund within the State of New York for five years. The agreement today will end the two lawsuits previously filed against Mr. Rattner by the Attorney General’s Office in New York State Supreme Court relating to the circumstances surrounding $150 million in investments in Quadrangle from the New York State Common Retirement Fund (“CRF”).

FTC Puts Conditions on Keystone's $245 Million Purchase of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s Advanced Ceramics Business

Order Protects Competition in Market for Alumina Wear Tile Used to Line Industrial Equipment

The Federal Trade Commission moved to preserve competition in the North American market for alumina wear tile by imposing conditions on Keystone Holdings, LLC and Compagnie de Saint-Gobain in a settlement involving Keystone’s planned acquisition of Saint-Gobain’s Advanced Ceramics Business.

Alumina wear tile protects industrial equipment from abrasive wear. Equipment protected by the tiles includes chutes, hoppers, and pipes used to carry coal and ash in coal-fired power plants; silos and equipment used in the cement and asphalt industry; and mineral processing equipment. There are two types of alumina wear tile: standard and pre-engineered. Standard alumina wear tile comes in a variety of predetermined sizes and shapes, while pre-engineered tile is made-to-order to fit complex shapes that standard tile cannot fit.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES RECOVERY OF MORE THAN $1.3 MILLION IN TAX REVENUES FROM BROOKLYN SPORTS BAR OWNER

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Defrauding City and State Over a Five-Year Period

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the guilty plea of the principal owner of The Kettle Black, a popular sports bar and restaurant in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, for stealing more than $1.3 million in City and State sales taxes between June 1, 2005, and August 31, 2010. THOMAS CASATELLI, 40, pleaded guilty to one count each of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.

“By failing to pay his taxes, the defendant stole from the pockets of honest taxpayers,” said District Attorney Vance. “Our Office will continue its effort to protect hardworking New Yorkers by launching proactive investigations, such as this one, to ferret out systematic tax cheating.”

Justice Department Settles Allegations of Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices in Oregon and North Carolina

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Collins Management Corporation, a forestry products company in Oregon, to resolve allegations that it unlawfully fired and later refused to rehire a lawful permanent resident in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

According to the department’s findings, Collins insisted that a lawful permanent resident present an unexpired permanent resident card (also known as a "green card") for Form I-9 purposes, even though the individual had already presented his driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security card to the employer. The department further found that the company fired the individual when he was unable to present an unexpired green card and refused to consider him for re-hire two months later because the company believed he did not possess proper documentation.

ICE teams with CBP, USPIS to intercept counterfeit NHL Winter Classic sportswear

Pittsburgh operation nets $100,000 in fake trademarked NHL, NFL items in international mail

PITTSBURGH - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the results thus far of a month-long enforcement initiative specifically targeting counterfeit NHL Winter Classic-related sportswear coming into the Pittsburgh area. Working with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), ICE agents have seized 792 items of counterfeit National Hockey League sportswear, National Football League jerseys and other counterfeit merchandise, estimated to be worth $100,000 as Pittsburgh prepares to host the NHL Winter Classic.

Fake trademarked NHL, NFL items intercepted in international mail by U.S. ICE, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) The jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other souvenirs were confiscated by agents in the last month as they came into Pittsburgh through …

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Consultant of Expert-Networking Firm with Insider Trading

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that WINIFRED JIAU, a/k/a “Wini,” was arrested yesterday afternoon on charges relating to her involvement in an insider trading scheme. JIAU has been charged with conspiring to commit securities fraud, and engaging in securities fraud, by selling material, nonpublic information (“Inside Information”) about publicly traded companies to multiple hedge funds for the purpose of executing profitable securities transactions.

According to the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

Between 2006 and December 2008, JIAU obtained Inside Information, including detailed financial earnings, about multiple publicly traded companies, including NVIDIA Corporation (“NVIDIA”) and Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. (“Marvell”). JIAU sold that information to portfolio managers at …

Wilmington Subway Operator to Pay $55,000 to Resolve Sexual Harassment Complaint

EEOC says Male Assistant Manager Sexually Harassed Female Employees

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- SKMATCH, Inc., the operator of a Subway restaurant in Wilmington, N.C., will pay $55,000 and furnish other relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that two female employees were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment at one of SKMATCH’s Subway restaurants in Wilmington.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, from around December 2008 through May 7, 2009, the male assistant manager at the Subway store where Helena Miller worked, subjected her to repeated sexual comments, sexual propositions and name calling and sexual touching. At the time of the sexual harassment, Miller was only 18 years old, and the assistant manager who harassed her was ten years older than her. Miller complained to other managers about the sexual harassment, the EEOC said, but no action was taken in resp…

Porcelain masterpiece to be returned to heirs of former German prime minister

NEW YORK - Following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigation, the United States has entered into a settlement agreement with the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio that provides for the return to a royal family in Germany of the "Nereid Sweetmeat Stand," a famed Swan Service collection's centerpiece.

During the World War II, while on loan to the Dresden Museum from the family of the former prime minister of Saxony, the "Nereid Sweetmeat Stand" was stolen from a castle where it was hidden. The porcelain piece, valued at more than $1 million, was recently located at the Toledo Museum of Art, which has agreed to return it to the heirs of the former prime minister.

Beacon, New York, Police Department Enters into Agreement with the United States to Reform Its Policies and Practices

NEW YORK – The Justice Department announced today an agreement with the Beacon, N.Y., Police Department (BPD) to resolve the department’s investigation of the BPD, in accordance with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. That law authorizes the attorney general to file suit to reform police departments that may be engaging in a pattern or practice of violating citizens’ federal rights.

"Communities must be able to trust their police departments to protect and promote public safety," said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez. "This agreement will ensure that residents of Beacon can feel confident that their police department will always act in their best interest and will improve the department’s operations that will protect the community."

Former Bell, California Police Officer Sentenced to Nine Years on Federal Civil Rights Charge for Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON—A judge sentenced Feliciano Sanchez, a former officer with the Bell, California Police Department, to nine years in federal prison and three years of supervised release for sexually assaulting a female motorist and violating her civil rights, the Justice Department announced.

Sanchez, 35, of Pico Rivera, Calif., pleaded guilty last year to violating the female victim’s civil rights when he forced her to perform oral sex after stopping her for a traffic violation. Sanchez admitted in court that on May 16, 2007, he took the victim in his patrol car to an isolated parking lot away from the traffic stop. During the assault, Sanchez placed his hand on his duty weapon and forced the victim to perform the sex act.

JOSEPH CILIBRASI, WAS INDICTED FOR DEFRAUDING CLIENTS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of JOSEPH CILIBRASI, 50, and CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES, INC. ("CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES"), for the theft of approximately $1.48 million from two clients. As the owner and president of CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES, CILIBRASI, a non-CPA accountant, provided tax accounting and business management services primarily to individuals and entities in the entertainment industry. The defendant and his business have been charged with one count each of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. CILIBRASI is also charged with one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree.[1] The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between January 2, 2002, and September 23, 2010.

"This defendant ingratiated himself to his victims and gained their trust ov…

Pharmacy Giant Omnicare Will Pay $195,000 Under Consent Decree Ending EEOC Sex Harassment Case

Women at La Crosse Pharmacy Endured Physical and Verbal Abuse, Agency Charged

MADISON, Wis. – Pharmacy giant Omnicare, Inc. will pay $195,000 to a class of five female sex discrimination victims under a consent decree entered by Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker on December 21, 2010 in federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin. The damages had been sought in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC had charged that a class of women was subjected to sexual harassment at Omnicare’s Pinnacle Pharmacy in La Crosse, Wis.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a pharmacy manager engaged in repeated, egregious acts of sexual harassment toward female employees, such as unwelcome touching that included approaching female employees from behind and grinding his crotch on them, and making sexually explicit and demeaning comments to female employees. According to the EEOC, women complained about the manager’s behavior repeatedly, but no …

EEOC Files Nationwide Hiring Discrimination Lawsuit Against Kaplan Higher Education Corp

Company’s Use of Job Applicants’ Credit History Discriminates Because of Race, Federal Agency Charges

CLEVELAND – Kaplan Higher Education Corporation, a nationwide provider of postsecondary education, engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination by refusing to hire a class of black job applicants nationwide, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

Since at least 2008, Kaplan Higher Education has rejected job applicants based on their credit history. This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity, the EEOC charged in its lawsuit.

Patton Archery Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Owner Fostered Sexually Hostile Work Environment, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT -- Patton Archery Manufacturing, Inc., a former manufacturer of archery components in Vulcan, Mich., has agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $21,000 and other relief, the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, Case No. 2:09:CV-205 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, charged that the owner of Patton Archery subjected three female bow sanders, Brenda Maynard, Julie Roberts and Leslie Querio, to a sexually hostile work environment. The misconduct ranged from telling and disseminating detailed sexual jokes to bold and unwanted physical touching, the EEOC said.

Former Paint Manufacturing Chemist Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Stealing Trade Secrets Valued up to $20 Million

CHICAGO—A former chemist for a northwest suburban paint manufacturing company was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison for stealing trade secrets involving numerous formulas and other proprietary information valued up to $20 million as he prepared to go to work for an overseas competitor. David Yen Lee, formerly a technical director in Valspar Corp.’s architectural coatings group since 2006, pleaded guilty in September to using his access to Valspar’s secure internal computer network to download approximately 160 original batch tickets, or secret formulas for paints and coatings. He also obtained raw materials information, chemical formulas and calculations, sales and cost data, and other internal memoranda, product research, marketing data, and other materials from Valspar’s offices in Wheeling.

Lee, 54, formerly of Arlington Heights and currently of Jersey City, N.J., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman, who also ordered mandatory restitution of $30,975 t…

EPA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Reach Agreement with Logan Aluminum Inc. to Resolve Allegations of Clean Air Act Violations

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, have filed a complaint and entered into a consent decree with Logan Aluminum Inc. to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Secondary Aluminum Production occurring at Logan Aluminum’s Russellville, Ky., secondary aluminum facility.

The proposed consent decree resolves claims of the United States and the commonwealth under the Clean Air Act and related provisions of the laws of the commonwealth. Under the terms of the decree, Logan Aluminum will pay a civil penalty of $285,000 and install a pollution control device called a baghouse for one of its furnace’s capture/collection systems. The civil penalty is the second highest to be negotiated in dealing with a single facility for violations of the Clean Air Act’s secondary aluminum production regulations.

Fleming’s Pays $248,750 To Three Men In EEOC Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Upscale Chain Settles After Litigation Revealed Head Chef Fondled Male Employees

PHOENIX —Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., will pay nearly a quarter million dollars and furnish other relief to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit (CV-07683-PHX-SMM), which was brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix, charged that male employees who worked at Fleming’s in Scottsdale, a fine dining steak house, were sexually abused by the head chef, Tod Rawson. The evidence gathered during the EEOC’s investigation revealed that, among other things, Rawson frequently pinched or squeezed his subordinates’ private parts, flicked their genitals with his bare hands, and groped them from behind. Rawson even used kitchen utensils from the restaurant to touch his victims’ genitals through their clothing, the EEOC said. Evidenc…

Captain’s Galley Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

Male Employee at Huntersville Restaurant Subjected Male Co-Workers to Sexual Touching and Obscene Displays, Federal Agency Charges

UPDATE: Restaurant to Pay $86,000 to Former Male Employees Who Were Subjected to Abuse by Male Co-Worker

CHARLOTTE , N.C. – Huntersville Seafood, Inc. doing business as Captain’s Galley restaurant, violated federal law by subjecting male employees to a sexually hostile work environment and by firing one of its male employees for complaining, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. Captain’s Galley is located off Interstate 77 in Huntersville, N.C.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, in 2007 and 2008 Peter Economos was subjected to sexual harassment by a male co-worker. The EEOC contends that on a daily or almost daily basis, the co-worker would touch, poke, or slap Economos on the buttocks, and occasionally would grab his private parts. The co-worker’s conduct also included explicit, obscene sexual gestures. T…

Fleming’s Pays $248,750 To Three Men In EEOC Same-Sex Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Upscale Chain Settles After Litigation Revealed Head Chef Fondled Male Employees

PHOENIX —Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., will pay nearly a quarter million dollars and furnish other relief to settle a same-sex sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit (CV-07683-PHX-SMM), which was brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Phoenix, charged that male employees who worked at Fleming’s in Scottsdale, a fine dining steak house, were sexually abused by the head chef, Tod Rawson. The evidence gathered during the EEOC’s investigation revealed that, among other things, Rawson frequently pinched or squeezed his subordinates’ private parts, flicked their genitals with his bare hands, and groped them from behind. Rawson even used kitchen utensils from the restaurant to touch his victims’ genitals through their clothing, the EEOC said. Evidenc…

California Man Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to al Shabaab

SAN DIEGO—An indictment was unsealed today in the Southern District of California charging Anaheim resident Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, 35, with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced.

Mohamud appeared today in federal court in San Diego, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan M. Adler arraigned him on the indictment and ordered him held without bail pending a detention hearing on Dec. 7, 2010, at 2:00 p.m.

FTC Testifies on Antitrust Enforcement in the Health Care Industry

Agency Focuses on Practices That Could Increase Costs, Reduce Quality of Service

The Federal Trade Commission testified today before Congress on how it protects and promotes competition in the health care industry to help make sure U.S. consumers get high-quality care at competitive prices. Continuing effective antitrust enforcement is a critical part of any plan to improve the health care system, according to the testimony. The testimony also describes the FTC’s efforts, along with other agencies, to provide guidance on how health care professionals can form collaborations envisioned under the Affordable Care Act consistent with the antitrust laws.

Before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein said antitrust enforcement improves health care by preventing or stopping anticompetitive agreements to raise prices, and fostering competition that spurs innovation, improves quality, and ex…

Border Enforcement Security Task Force cracks down on crime at Miami Seaport

MIAMI - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton hosted a press conference in Miami Wednesday to announce enforcement efforts by the Miami Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) in protecting U.S. maritime borders, including the latest indictments and arrests related to a narcotics trafficking conspiracy through the Port of Miami.

Border Enforcement Security Task Force cracks down on crime at Miami Seaport BEST was established in Miami in November 2008 and at other major seaports because U.S. ports and maritime borders are subject to significant threats to national security. The local Miami BEST has three teams covering the Miami Seaport, Miami River, Port Everglades Seaport and all maritime smuggling activities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Former NOPD Officer Sentenced in Connection with Shootings on Danziger Bridge

WASHINGTON – A former officer with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), was sentenced today to eight years in prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice and for misprision of a felony (for concealing a known crime), in connection with a federal investigation of two police-involved shootings that left two civilians dead and four others seriously wounded in the area of the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Michael Hunter was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and serve three years supervised release. On April 7, 2010, Hunter, 33, entered a guilty plea in federal court in New Orleans before U.S. District Court Judge Sarah S. Vance.

According to court documents, Hunter drove to the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, in a large Budget rental truck carrying officers in response to a radio call that said officers on the nearby I-10 bridge had come under fire. Hunter has admitted that officers on the east side of the Danziger Bridge fired at civilians even though …

Akal Security Pays $1.62 Million To Settle EEOC Class Pregnancy Discrimination Claims

Federal Security Contractor Forced Pregnant Women From Their Jobs, Agency Charged

KANSAS CITY – Akal Security, Inc., the largest provider of contract security services to the federal government, will pay $1.62 million to a class of 26 female security guards, settling a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC, in 2004 New Mexico-based Akal began a nationwide pattern and practice of forcing its pregnant employees, working as contract security guards on U.S. Army bases, to take leave and discharging them because of pregnancy. The women worked at Fort Riley, Hood, Stewart, Campbell, Lewis, Anniston, Sunny Point and Blue Grass Army Depot. Akal also subjected the women to less favorable terms and conditions of employment because of pregnancy, including preventing them from completing their annual physical agility and firearms tests or forcing them to take such tests before th…