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Showing posts from March, 2011

Two New Orleans Police Officers Sentenced in Post-Katrina Shooting and Burning of Henry Glover

WASHINGTON—Former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Officer David Warren was sentenced today in connection with the post-Katrina shooting death of Henry Glover, and current NOPD Officer Greg McRae was sentenced for the subsequent burning of Glover's remains and obstruction of justice.

Former NOPD Officer Warren was sentenced to 25 years and nine months in prison for his involvement in the Sept. 2, 2005, shooting death of civilian Henry Glover. As part of the restitution order, Warren will also pay $7,642.32 to Glover's family for funeral expenses. Warren was found guilty by a federal jury of a civil rights violation resulting in death for shooting Glover, and for using a firearm to commit manslaughter.

Father and son cocaine traffickers sentenced to life in prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Silas Mobley, Jr., 56, and his son and co-defendant, Marvin Suntate Mobley, 32, both of York, S.C., were sentenced today in Charlotte to life in federal prison for cocaine trafficking-related offenses.

The sentences follow an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Clinton Township Painting Company Sued For Retaliation

DETROIT – A Clinton Township, Mich., industrial painting company illegally retaliated against a journeyman painter by terminating him for complaining about a supervisor’s use of the “N-word,” the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Case No. 2:11CV11296, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Atsalis Brothers Painting Company refused to call Rodney Trice back to work in retaliation for his complaints about a white supervisor’s repeated use of the racial slur. Trice said that the word was used repeatedly on the job site.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN SUES TO STOP USED CAR LOAN BROKER THAT DECEIVED NUMEROUS MOHAWK VALLEY CONSUMERS

UTICA - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office will file a lawsuit against One Source Networking, of Auburn, New York, for using deceptive business practices against hundreds of Mohawk Valley consumers. The company and its owner, Sara Fagan, are accused of repeatedly and persistently deceiving customers by requiring them to purchase an extended warranty in order to qualify for a vehicle loan. The lawsuit is seeking restitution and civil penalties.

"One Source Networking took advantage of desperate Mohawk Valley consumers who needed cars to get to and from work," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This company has taken customers for a ride, repeatedly deceiving them into paying more for loans than necessary. The message we are sending today is clear: If you're an unscrupulous business who preys on an unsuspecting public, this office will go after you."

CARY BUNIN HAS BEEN INDICTED IN $3.5 MILLION SECURITIES FRAUD SCHEME

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of CARY BUNIN, 69, for a securities fraud scheme that resulted in the theft of more than $3.5 million from at least 16 victims. BUNIN is the Chief Executive Officer of INTERNATIONAL BARCODE CORPORATION, which also operates under the name of BTI. BUNIN and his corporation are charged in the indictment with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and violations of the Martin Act, New York State's securities fraud statute. BUNIN, along with his wholly-owned financial consulting company, ANDOVER CONSULTING SERVICES, LTD, were also indicted on charges of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and violating the New York State Tax code.[1]

“CARY BUNIN and his corporation are charged with stealing millions of dollars from trusting investors, fueling the type of widespread mistrust that adversely affects our financial markets,” said District Attorney Vance.…

Sean W. Ragland, A Former TBW Financial Analyst Pleads Guilty in $1.5 Billion Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON—Sean W. Ragland, a former senior financial analyst at Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud for his role in a scheme that defrauded approximately $1.5 billion from financial investors in TBW's mortgage lending facility, Ocala Funding.

The guilty plea was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Acting Special Inspector General Christy Romero for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI's Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA OIG); and Victor F.O. Song, Chief of the Internal Reven…

"PLASTIC SURGEON" HECTOR CABRAL INDICTED FOR PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE

NEW YORK- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of Dominican-based "plastic surgeon" Hector Cabral, an unlicensed doctor in the state of New York, who allegedly performed cosmetic procedures on women and left many of them permanently disfigured. Arraigned in New York State Supreme Court before the Honorable Justice Laura Ward, Cabral was charged with 10 counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession (Medicine) and 2 additional counts with a Co-Defendant Alma Melo for Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree.

"Practicing medicine without a license is a very serious crime in New York, and we will a seek a punishment against anyone who preys on vulnerable communities to make a quick buck. Mr. Cabral lured unsuspecting patients with bargain prices for very complex medical procedures, putting his own greed before the health and safety of his victims," said Attorney General Schneiderman.

Florida Bill That Would Ease Physician/Nurse Practitioner Supervisory Requirements Would Benefit States’ Health Care Consumers

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has sent comments to Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell, at her request, regarding House Bill (H.B) 4103, which would remove some of the constraints on the supervisory arrangements between doctors and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) that are now required under Florida law. According to the comments, the proposed bill appears to represent a pro-competitive improvement in the law – one that is likely to benefit Florida health care consumers.

H.B. 4103 would rescind certain restrictive supervision requirements for ARNPs and physician assistants in Florida that were adopted in 2006, while retaining the general supervision requirements that predate the 2006 legislation. According to the FTC staff’s comments, the 2006 legislation imposed administrative costs and other restrictions on doctors who supervise ARNPs. By removing some of these restrictions, H.B. 4103 is likely to reduce the costs of basic health care services pro…

Arizona underground utility contractor agrees to pay $750,000 in overtime back wages following US Labor Department investigation

HESPERIA, Calif. — Arizona Pipeline Co. has agreed to pay $750,000 in back wages to 740 employees following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, which found that the company violated the overtime and record keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Arizona-incorporated company, which contracts with major utility companies to install underground utilities, has main offices in Hesperia and is licensed in eight states: Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Texas. It maintains construction yards in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Corona and Indio, Calif.; and Las Vegas and Carson City, Nev. The company specializes in gas distribution; long line pipeline; power distribution and transmission; fiber optics placement; engineering and design; and sewer, water and storm drains.

Federal judge upholds $761,000 in penalties assessed by MSHA against Stillhouse Mining in Kentucky

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld civil penalties assessed against Stillhouse Mining LLC for four flagrant violations of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The violations were found during a Dec. 3, 2006, inspection of the company's Mine No. 1 operation near Cumberland, Ky.

The initial inspection was prompted by an anonymous phone call from a miner to an MSHA field office supervisor about weak roof conditions at the mine. During the course of that inspection, enforcement personnel issued a citation for failing to follow mandated procedures after the shutoff of the mine fan. In addition, three orders were issued to the mine operator for intentionally changing the mine ventilation by shutting off and turning back on the mine fan, failing to follow roof control plans and failing to conduct an adequate pre-shift examination.

U.S. Government Offers up to $5 Million Reward for Information Regarding Shootings of Two ICE Agents

WASHINGTON—The Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security today jointly announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of individuals allegedly responsible for the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE HSI Special Agent Victor Avila.

The FBI, in conjunction with ICE, has established a 24-hour tip line based in the United States to process the information. Individuals in the United States with information are encouraged to call 1-866-859-9778. Individuals in Mexico can provide information by calling +001 800-225-5324. Spanish language speakers will be available using either number. Anyone wishing to e-mail information can do so by visiting: https://tips.fbi.gov. All information is considered confidential.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Two Men in a $10 Million Commercial Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE FEDARCYK, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and CHARLES PINE, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), announced the filing of charges against CHRISTOPHER CAVOUNIS and JAGDESH COOMA for orchestrating a scheme to defraud several banks of at least $10 million by obtaining commercial loans and lines of credit using false and fraudulent documents. As part of the scheme, CAVOUNIS and COOMA allegedly submitted applications for loans in the names of shell companies with no assets, and with straw owners, using fraudulent documents created to trick the banks into believing those entities were real. The defendants also paid bribes totaling over $135,000 to an employee of Citibank to obtain $2.45 million worth of loans.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: “The defendants engag…

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Mother and Daughter in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

BIRMINGHAM—A federal grand jury today indicted a mother and daughter from Shelby County for conspiring in a 2009 murder-for-hire plot against the daughter’s ex-husband, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court, charges KIMBERLY DAWN McGUFFIE, 43, of Calera, and BARBARA LOUISE PATTERSON, 63, of Columbiana, with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. It also charges McGuffie with the underlying offense of murder-for-hire. According to the indictment, McGuffie promised to pay a man $1,000 to kill her former spouse.

Carolyn Ann Vasquez Pleads Guilty to Participating in a Medicare Fraud Scheme Using Fraudulent Medical Clinics and Stolen Doctor Identities to Defraud Medicare of More Than $6.2 Million

WASHINGTON—A Los Angeles woman has pleaded guilty to using fraudulent medical clinics and the stolen identities of physicians to defraud Medicare of more than $6.2 million, the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Carolyn Ann Vasquez, 46, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. in the Central District of California. Vasquez admitted that from 2007 to 2008, she conspired with others to use a series of fraudulent Los Angeles-area medical clinics to defraud Medicare. Vasquez admitted that her co-conspirators used the identities and Medicare provider numbers of physicians who both worked and did not work at the clinics to submit false claims to Medicare for reimbursement for services the physicians did not perform and for power wheelchairs, medical equipment and diagnostic tests that the physicians did not order or prescribe. According to court documents, physician assistants recruited to work at the clinics by Vasquez and w…

FDA Chemist and Son Charged with Trading on Inside Information

WASHINGTON—A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chemist and his son were arrested in Maryland today in connection with an alleged $2.27 million insider trading scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Elton Malone, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations, Specials Investigations Branch.

A criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Maryland charges Cheng Yi Liang, 57, and his son, Andrew Liang, 25, both residents of Gaithersburg, Md., with conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, securities fraud, and wire fraud relating to their trading in the securities of five companies: Clinical Data Inc., Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc., Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., Middlebrook Pharmaceuticals In…

Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty to $220 Million Ponzi Fraud and Money Laundering Charges

ORLANDO, FL—United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that David A. Smith, (41, a Jamaican citizen) who was living in the Turks and Caicos Islands, today pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 18 counts of money laundering. The wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, a fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years. In addition, for each count of wire fraud the fine may be assessed at twice the amount of gross gain or loss.

Last year, Smith pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges filed in the Turks and Caicos Islands arising from his investment scam there, and he was sentenced to serve six-and-a-half years in prison.

Holiday Bandit Arrested by the FBI After Allegedly Robbing Ninth Bank

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The FBI, along with members of the NYPD, arrested Marat Mikhaylich for his alleged involvement in nine area bank robberies this morning. The arrest happened in Queens around 9:30 a.m. without incident.

The FBI was tipped off to his location this morning after a 2007 Gold Toyota Camry, which had been stolen by Mikhaylich yesterday, was found on 91st Avenue in Queens, New York. Mikhaylich had stolen the car after allegedly robbing a Cathay Bank in Edison, New Jersey on Monday, March 28.

International Profit Associates to Pay $8 Million for Sexual Harassment of Eighty-Two Women

CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that checks are now being distributed pursuant to an $8 million consent decree entered by federal district judge Joan Gottschall in what is believed to be one of the longest-running sexual harassment cases in EEOC history. Defendant International Profit Associates (IPA), the employer responsible for the sexual harassment of its female employees, is a telemarketer of small business consulting packages, located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

The decree provides for payment and distribution of the full $8 million in installments over three years. IPA made initial payments totaling $2.5 million into a professionally administered settlement fund on March 7, 2011, and checks are now being mailed to 82 women who were the victims of the harassment. The decree also provides for wide-ranging injunctive relief against IPA. The company’s compliance with the decree will be overseen by two court-appointed monitors.

EEOC Obtains $451,000 Jury Verdict Against Boh Brothers Construction Co. For Male-On-male Sexual Harassment

NEW ORLEANS – A federal jury has awarded a former employee of Boh Bros. Construction Co., L.L.C. $451,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Following a two-and-a-half-day trial, the jury awarded Kerry Woods damages for the sexual harassment claim against the major construction firm, including $250,000 in punitive damages and $200,000 for emotional distress.

Stanley's Marine Sued By EEOC For Sexual Harassment And Retaliation

NORFOLK , Va. – A Norfolk marine contractor violated federal law by subjecting six female employees to a sexually hostile work environment and then firing five of them for complaining, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, six female employees of Stanley’s Marine & Industrial Services LLC – Darlene Snead, Eva Winston, Cameron Gladden, Angela Ford, Elizabeth Taylor, and Krystal Adams – who worked primarily as insulators aboard the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush, were subjected to sexual harassment by two male supervisors. The suit alleges that the sexual harassment occurred between November 2007 and March 2009 and included graphic sexual comments, sexual advances and sexual touching. Six of the women who complained to Stanley’s Marine management about the harassment were discharged in retaliation for their complaints, the EEOC said. The discharges occurred between March 2008 and March 2009.

Texas-Based Fashion Accessory Company To Pay $95,000 To Settle EEOC Age Discrimination Suit

HOUSTON – A Dallas-based fashion accessory designer and manufacturer will pay $95,000 and furnish other relief to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, Tandy Brands Accessories, Inc., a Delaware corporation headquartered in Dallas, violated federal law by terminating Merta Withrow, a 62-year-old manager, because of her age, supposedly as part of a “reduction-in-force,” while retaining a lesser qualified and substantially younger manager. During the course of the EEOC’s investigation, the agency discovered that, within four months, Tandy Brands terminated another five supervisors, whose ages ranged from 75 to 58, at its Victoria, Texas facility.

"In Paula's Opinion" Coming Soon To New York Paralegal Blog

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FTC Charges Cancer “Cures” Marketers with Violating Commission Order

At the Federal Trade Commission’s request, the U.S. Department of Justice has asked a federal district court to impose civil penalties upon the herbal products company Daniel Chapter One (DCO) and its principal, James Feijo, for allegedly violating an FTC Order. The civil penalty action also seeks a preliminary injunction to stop DCO and Feijo from continuing to make deceptive claims on the company’s daily radio show and website about the supposed cancer-fighting properties of its supplements, and to require DCO and Feijo to send a notice to purchasers explaining the FTC’s findings that the advertisements were unsubstantiated, as required by the FTC Order.

The complaint against DCO and Feijo stems from a lawsuit that began in September 2008 as part of Operation False Cures, a law enforcement sweep aimed at peddlers of phony cancer remedies.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Extend Federally-Funded Unemployment Insurance Benefits Through 2011

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has signed into law a measure extending federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits through 2011. Without this new law, the state would not be able to continue to pay a total of 93 weeks of benefits and would have forfeited $620 million in federal payments to the unemployed, negatively impacting approximately 166,000 New Yorkers.

"This measure will ensure out-of-work New Yorkers will continue to have a federally-funded safety net to help them weather this prolonged economic downturn," Governor Cuomo said. "Re-entering the workforce can be daunting and time consuming. This law provides basic relief for the thousands of job-hunters across the state."

Amid New Fire Safety Concerns, Indian Point Seeks to Dodge Federal Regulations Developed to Keep Nuclear Power Plants Secure in Fire Emergencies

NEW YORK – Amid growing concerns that Indian Point has failed to meet federal safety requirements, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed a petition with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) urging it to take enforcement action against the plant for its failure to comply with fire safety regulations. Following his lawsuit last month pressing the NRC to study the safety impact of storing spent nuclear fuel on site, today’s action is the latest in a series the Attorney General has taken to promote comprehensive, transparent and vigilant reviews of the Buchanan plant before decisions are made on whether to extend its operating license for another 20 years.

In a petition filed today with the NRC, Schneiderman wrote that compliance with fire safety requirements was necessary to ensure that the facility would be able to safely shut down during and after an emergency. Indian Point is currently in violation of established fire safety regulations and in seeking more than…

Mexican National Receives 70-Month Prison Sentence for Narcotics Trafficking Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE—Earlier today in federal court in Albuquerque, Erik Alonzo-Martinez, 28, was sentenced to a 70-month term of imprisonment for his narcotics trafficking conviction. Alonzo-Martinez, a citizen of Mexico, will be deported after he completes his prison sentence.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Alonzo-Martinez and his two co-defendants, Jorge Lozoya, 26 and Alejandro Alvarado-Aleman, 27, were arrested as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New Mexico State Police (NMSP) during which an undercover NMSP officer purchased cocaine and cocaine base, also known as crack cocaine, from Alonzo-Martinez and his co-defendants.

Operators of Fraudulent Hedge Fund Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 87 Months in Prison

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that IGOR LEVIN and YEVGENY SHVARTSSHTEYN were each sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 87 months in prison for their leadership roles in a conspiracy to defraud investors of more than $7 million through a fraudulent hedge fund. LEVIN, 41, and SHVARTSSHTEYN, 40, were sentenced before U.S. District Judge SIDNEY H. STEIN on Friday, March 25.

According to court records in this case:

From 2005 through September 2006, LEVIN and SHVARTSSHTEYN were among the individuals who controlled and operated A.R. Capital, which was the general partner of A.R. Capital Global Fund, L.P. (the “ARC Global Fund”), a purported hedge fund that solicited investors with false promises and representations. These false and fraudulent representations included, among others, claims that: (i) the ARC Global Fund was a hedge fund that invested primarily in the equity of international real estate companies; and (ii) the ARC …

Southeast Telecom Settles EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Southeastern Telecom Inc. will pay $95,000 and provide other relief to settle a lawsuit for unlawful retaliation filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC’s suit had charged that Southeastern Telecom violated federal law when it discharged a sales account executive within one week of her complaint of sex discrimination, including unequal pay. The EEOC’s complaint specifically alleged that Southeastern Telecom disabled the account executive’s work computer, removed her e-mail access, restricted her access to the work site, and finally fired her in retaliation for her complaint of sex discrimination.

"In Paula's Opinion" Paula Talks About The Book Caught. Coming Soon To New York Paralegal Blog

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"In Paula's Opinion" Coming Soon To New York Paralegal Blog

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S & M With Rhianna Or Who Does The Best Imitation Of Madonna, Rhianna Or Lady Gaga?

By: Joel Irving

Rhianna is hot to say the least and she is a great performer but watching her perform, feels like deja vu. Didn't we spend the last two decades reveling in each and every portion of shock pop dished out by Madonna? Twenty years later we are once again bombarded with the same kind of kinky, sometimes sultry performances from not only Rhianna but from the new blond ambition Lady Gaga, who is expressing her self because she was born this way.


Governor Cuomo Announces DMV Investigation Leads to Arrests of 11 Bus Drivers Who Used Aliases to Obtain Drivers Licenses

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 11 arrests in and around New York City stemming from an ongoing state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigation into bus drivers fraudulently obtaining multiple driver licenses using aliases, including Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs). Among those arrested are commercial operators and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employees.

Yesterday, authorities arrested two bus drivers and a cab driver in New York City accused of obtaining driver licenses using aliases. Investigators with the DMV have been using facial recognition technology to identify individuals who have a valid CDL in one name and additional driver license documents in another. The DMV Division of Field Investigation coordinated today’s arrests with the New York City Police Department's Fraudulent Document Squad.

SEC Charges Houston Businessman and Talk Radio "Money Man" for Fraudulent Conduct at Advisory Firm

Washington, D.C., March 25, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Houston-area businessman Daniel Frishberg with fraudulent conduct in connection with promissory note offerings made to clients of his investment advisory firm.

The SEC alleges that Frishberg's firm Daniel Frishberg Financial Services (DFFS) advised clients to invest in notes issued by Business Radio Networks (BizRadio), a media company founded by Frishberg where he hosts his own show under the nickname "The MoneyMan." Frishberg failed to tell his clients about BizRadio's poor financial condition or his significant conflicts of interest with the note offerings that helped fund his salary at BizRadio.

Justice Department Sues Bakersfield, Calif., Landlord for Sexual Harassment

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed suit against Rawland Leon Sorensen, the owner and manager of more than 50 residential rental properties in Bakersfield, Calif., alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleges that Sorensen sexually harassed female tenants by making unwelcome sexual comments and advances; exposing his genitals to female tenants; touching tenants without their consent; granting and denying housing benefits based on sex; and taking adverse action against women who refused his sexual advances. Sorensen has operated his rental business for more than 30 years.

Two Russell County, Ala., Sheriff’s Detectives Indicted for Assaulting a Man in Custody

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today the arrest of Russell County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Kirby Dollar, 37, and Timothy Watford, 42. A federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned an indictment on March 22, 2011, charging Dollar and Watford with civil rights offenses related to their assault of a man in custody on Nov. 26, 2010.

If convicted, the defendants face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison on the civil rights charges. The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

FTC Finalizes Settlement with Data Broker Agency Charged Privacy Pledges Were Deceptive

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has accepted a final settlement with an online data broker that charged consumers $10 based on the false promise that it could “lock their records” so that others could not see or buy them. The FTC charged that its claims were deceptive and violated federal law. The settlement, first announced September 22, 2010, requires that the broker, US Search, refund the fees it charged to nearly 5,000 consumers, and it bars misrepresentations about the effectiveness of any service that claims to remove information about consumers from the broker’s website.

The Commission vote to accept the settlement as final was 5-0, with Commissioner Julie Brill issuing a separate concurring statement. In her concurring statement, Commissioner Brill said industry should consider providing consumers with meaningful notice about information brokers’ practices, a reasonable means to access and correct consumers’ information, and a reasonable mechani…

Gary John Mikulich Was Arrested on Charges in Connection with Explosive Components Found at Federal Building in Detroit

A 42-year old man from Kingsford, Michigan, located in the Upper Peninsula, was arrested this morning on charges relating to explosive components found at the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit on February 26, 2011, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Arrested was Gary John Mikulich. Mikulich will be making an appearance in federal court in Marquette tomorrow morning. Mikulich is an engineering graduate of Michigan Tech University who has long complained of the FBI generally, and FBI Detroit in particular. Specifically, Mikulich frequently complains to local law enforcement officers about the FBI's "card system." This "card system" is responsible, according to Mikulich's complaints to local law enforcement officers, for the murder of Mikulich's father and thousands of other people.

Barry Minkow Charged with Conspiracy to Manipulate Common Stock of Fortune 500 Company

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and William J. Maddalena, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the filing of a criminal Information charging Barry Minkow, 44, of San Diego, CA, with conspiracy to manipulate the stock price of Lennar Corporation (Lennar), a former Fortune 500 company doing business in Miami-Dade, by making false and misleading statements about Lennar's business operations and management. Minkow is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court next week.

According to the charging document, Minkow operated Fraud Discovery Institute, a for profit fraud investigation firm based in California. In this way, Minkow developed ties with federal law enforcement agencies as a purported fraud-finder. Today, Minkow was charged with making false and misleading statements alleging wide-spread improprieties in Lennar Corporation's financial reporting and bu…

Sex Trafficking Ring Leader Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

WASHINGTON – Amador Cortes-Meza, 36, of Tlaxcala, Mexico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story to serve 40 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on charges of sex trafficking of minors; sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion; transporting minors for the purpose of prostitution; smuggling aliens into the United States for purposes of prostitution; and conspiracy to do the same, announced the Department of Justice.

Cortes-Meza was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $292,000. The sentencing follows Cortes-Meza’s conviction on these charges on Nov. 21, 2010 after a trial.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT OF MICHAEL KENNY FOR MURDERING WIFE AT HAIR SALON

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of MICHAEL KENNY, 42, for the March 10, 2011, killing of his wife at the hair salon where she worked, near Herald Square. KENNY is charged with Murder in the Second Degree, Aggravated Criminal Contempt, and Petit Larceny.[1] The indictment alleges that KENNY intentionally murdered his victim.

“This defendant, now indicted for murder, is a violent predicate felon with a history of domestic violence incidents,” said District Attorney Vance. “Domestic violence is a criminal justice and public health crisis, and this case sadly underscores how quickly the relationship between abuser and victim can turn deadly. Prosecutors need better and stronger laws for dealing with domestic violence offenders, and victims need to know that there are ways to end the cycle of abuse and control. I would like to encourage all victims, especially those who are fearful of coming forward, to call our Office’s Domestic Violence Ho…

139 convicted criminal aliens and fugitives arrested in ICE enforcement surge

MANASSAS, Va. - Following an enforcement surge by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Virginia State Police, and U.S. Marshals Service along with 10 local law enforcement agencies, ICE arrested 130 foreign nationals with criminal records and eight fugitives in the Northern Virginia area.

During a three-day operation that concluded Tuesday, ICE ERO officers located and arrested 130 criminal aliens with prior convictions for a variety of crimes, including rape, assault, burglary and narcotics possession and eight fugitives and three re-entry cases.

The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs to Pay $85,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.V. – A historic inn and spa in Berkeley Springs will pay $85,000 and furnish significant remedial relief to settle a federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC charged that 5042 Holdings Limited, doing business as The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs, permitted Candace Bland, a housekeeper, and a class of female staff members employed in the kitchen/restaurant to be sexually harassed by male employees. Two of the victims were 18-year-old high school students at the time of the harassment. The EEOC alleged that the rampant sexual harassment included male employees engaging in offensive and unwelcome touching and groping of female employees, repeatedly requesting dates and using crude, sexually explicit language towards the female workers. One male employee even exposed himself to employees in the workplace, the EEOC said.

Kevin Underwood Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Charges

WASHINGTON - A resident of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to conspiring to conduct a racketeering enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Kevin Underwood, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy before Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond in Pittsburgh. According to the guilty plea, Underwood participated in an enterprise, the activities of which affected interstate and foreign commerce, through a pattern of racketeering activity. The enterprise’s activities included multiple acts involving robbery, attempted murder, distribution of controlled substances including cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine, and acts of obstruction of justice and intimidation. Underwood is one of 26 defendants charged in February 2010 with being members of, and conducting racketeering activity through, a crim…

Founder of A&O Entities Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – Christian M. Allmendinger, 39, of Houston, was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in a $100 million fraud scheme with more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada.

The conviction was announced today by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Immokalee Farming Operation Committed Sexual Harassment Against Women, EEOC Charges

MIAMI -- DiMare Ruskin, Inc., a large agricultural business with operations in California and Florida, violated federal law by subjecting female employees to sexual harassment by their supervisors and retaliating against them for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed late yesterday.

The EEOC’s lawsuit asserted that father-and-son supervisors at the DiMare tomato facility in Immokalee, Fla., subjected female employees to severe and pervasive sexual harassment. The abuse, the EEOC said, included physical harassment such as groping and forcibly attempting to kiss the female employees, as well as verbal harassment, which included a nearly daily barrage of vulgar and unwelcome sexual comments.

Seven Defendants Charged in Multi-Million-Dollar Lottery Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Plead Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty pleas of seven individuals, all residents of Israel, for their participation in a lottery telemarketing fraud scheme through which they stole approximately $2 million from elderly victims in the United States between 2007 and September 2008.

LIOR ORGAD, DAVID YAMIN, and MOR GALANTI pled guilty today before Magistrate Judge JAMES C. FRANCIS IV. GUY MAYO, ELAD MAYO, ASI ALMAKIAS, and YANIV KALBERS pled guilty before Magistrate Judge ANDREW J. PECK on March 15, 2011.

Second New Jersey Pipe Supply Company and Its Owner Plead Guilty to Fraud and Bribery Conspiracy in Power Generation Industry

WASHINGTON—A second New Jersey industrial pipe supply company and its owner pleaded guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud and pay bribes to a purchasing manager at Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Edison) in return for the manager's efforts to steer contracts to the company, the Department of Justice announced today. The owner also pleaded guilty to obstructing the department's investigation into fraudulent conduct in the power generation industry.

A two-count charge was filed today in U.S. District in Manhattan against Bernard Grobart of New York City and his company, Teneyck Inc., formerly known as Neill Supply Co. Inc. of Lyndhurst, N.J. Grobart and Teneyck pleaded guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to defraud Con Edison. Grobart also pleaded guilty to an obstruction count for instructing a subordinate employee at the company to delete a subpoenaed electronic document. Grobart and Teneyck are scheduled to be sentenced on June 24, 2011.

Former Bank President and Senior Loan Officer Indicted in Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud Conspiracy

ATLANTA—An indictment unsealed today charges two former top officers of FirstCity Bank of Stockbridge, Georgia—MARK A. CONNER, 44, formerly of Canton, Georgia, and CLAYTON A. COE, 44, of McDonough, Georgia—with a variety of offenses, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud in connection with misconduct at FirstCity Bank in the years before the bank’s seizure by state and federal authorities on March 20, 2009. In addition to the conspiracy and bank fraud charges, the indictment charges CONNER with conducting a continuing financial crimes enterprise at the bank between February 2006 and February 2008, during which CONNER’s and his co-conspirators’ crimes allegedly generated over $5 million in unlawful gross proceeds.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned the sealed indictment against CONNER and COE on March 16, 2011. CONNER was arrested on the charges and taken into custody by federal agents at Miami International Airport yesterday morning, the two-year anniversary o…

Former UBS Investment Banker Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 22 Months in Prison for Insider Trading Scheme

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that IGOR POTEROBA, a former investment banker in the Healthcare Group of UBS Securities LLC (“UBS”), was sentenced today to 22 months in prison for his participation in an insider trading scheme in which he passed material, non-public information regarding six mergers and acquisitions that certain UBS clients were contemplating to a co-conspirator, ALEXEI P. KOVAL, who then traded on this information, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit profits. POTEROBA, 37, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge PAUL A. CROTTY.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “The message of today’s sentence of Igor Poteroba should be crystal clear—this office, along with our law enforcement partners, will not abide corrupt insiders who use their privileged positions to steal their companies’ valuable secrets and cash in on them. Professionals who engage in insider tradi…

Government Attorney Sentenced to Nearly 18 Years in Prison for Taking Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Bribes From Immigrants Seeking Status in U.S.

LOS ANGELES—A senior attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was sentenced this morning to 212 months in federal prison for taking nearly one-half million dollars in bribes from immigrants who were promised immigration benefits that would allow them to remain in the United States.

ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Constantine Peter Kallas, 40, of Alta Loma, received the 17⅔-year sentence from United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hatter ordered Kallas to pay $296,865 in restitution after fraudulently receiving worker’s compensation benefits.

Justice Department Issues Letter Regarding Illegal Exclusion of Individuals with HIV/AIDS from Occupational Training and State Licensing

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has issued letters to the attorneys general of all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories to request their assistance in addressing the illegal exclusion of individuals with HIV/AIDS from occupational training and state licensing. Persons with HIV and persons with AIDS are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which gives federal civil rights protections to persons with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, and state and local government services.

The Justice Department has learned that public and private trade schools for barbering, cosmetology, massage therapy, home health care work and other occupations, as well as state licensing agencies, may be illegally denying individuals with HIV/AIDS admission to trade schools and/or occupational licenses because of their HIV status. However, because HIV cannot be transmitted by casual contact or by the circumstances present in these occupations, HIV-positive status is irre…

Wild Beaver Saloon Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

INDIANAPOLIS – WBS Broad Ripple, Inc., doing business as the Wild Beaver Saloon in Indianapolis, unlawfully fired a female bartender/server because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed March 16, 2011.

The suit, EEOC v. WBS Broad Ripple, Inc., d/b/a Wild Beaver Saloon, Civil Action No. 1:11-cv-00373-TWP-DML, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, charged that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, including pregnancy.

United Air Temp / Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. Sued By EEOC For Race Discrimination

ALEXANDRIA , Va. – United Air Temp / Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc., located in Lorton, Va., violated federal law by discriminating against non-Caucasian employees based on their race by paying them less than at least one Caucasian colleague, the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today. United Air Temp, which provides preventive maintenance for residential and commercial heating and air conditioning systems, has approximately 247 employees at 13 locations within Florida, Georgia, the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, from around Feb. 1, 2001, until around April 20, 2006, Patricia Burch, who is African-American, and other non-Caucasian telemarketers were paid less than a Caucasian telemarketer because of their race. The lawsuit alleges that Burch was one of ten telemarketers employed by United Air Temp in Lorton. According to the EEOC, a Caucasian telemarketer who performed the same job,…

Michael Bloomberg Needs to Shut The F*@k Up!

STATEMENT OF MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ON SENATE'S LAST IN FIRST OUT PROPOSAL

"The Senate compromise makes sense in both the short and long term - it will enable us to keep the best teachers this year and achieve our share d goal of quickly implementing a new teacher evaluation system that will eventually be used to guide any future layoff decisions."
There is no such thing as a good teacher or a bad teacher. There is only office politics, manipulation and who gets all the problem children. All of New York City's school teachers are well educated and qualified for the job that they have been hired to do. The question that the teacher's union and the public needs to ask is who is stacking the deck when it comes to assigning students to a particular teacher and classroom? Is Sally Super Teacher, doing a good job because she is teaching the same group of children that have historically performed well in class prior to Sally Super Teachers arrival or did Sally Super…

Federal Process to Determine Whether Indian Point Power Plant Should Be Relicensed & Kept Open is Currently Underway

NEW YORK – In the wake of the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today said that the federal government must incorporate an immediate, full and open assessment of all public health and safety risks posed by the Indian Point nuclear energy plant, including those posed by potential natural disasters such as seismic activity, into its relicensing process for the New York plant.

Schneiderman's call comes as the Indian Point power plant near New York City is being considered for relicensing, but without an open assessment of public health and safety risks posed to this facility -- just as a report by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission reveals that some US power plants are more vulnerable to increased seismic risks than previously believed.

Former Goldman Sachs Computer Programmer Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 97 Months in Prison for Stealing Firm’s Trade Secrets

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SERGEY ALEYNIKOV, a former computer programmer at Goldman Sachs & Co. (“Goldman Sachs”) was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 97 months in prison for stealing valuable, proprietary computer code of Goldman Sachs. A jury in Manhattan federal court previously found ALEYNIKOV guilty on December 10, 2010, of theft of trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen property charges. U.S. District Judge DENISE L. COTE imposed the sentence on ALEYNIKOV.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “Protecting the proprietary information of America’s companies is critically important. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that professionals like Sergey Aleynikov who abuse their positions of trust to steal confidential business information from their employers will be prosecuted and punished.”

Bernard von NotHaus, Has Been Convicted of Minting His Own Currency

STATESVILLE, NC—Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was convicted today by a federal jury of making, possessing, and selling his own coins, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Following an eight-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation, von NotHaus, the founder and monetary architect of a currency known as the Liberty Dollar, was found guilty by a jury in Statesville, North Carolina, of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the United States. The guilty verdict concluded an investigation which began in 2005 and involved the minting of Liberty Dollar coins with a current value of approximately $7 million. Joining the U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins in making today’s announcement are Edward J. Montooth, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Char…

Samsung SDI Agrees to Plead Guilty in Color Display Tube Price-Fixing Conspiracy

WASHINGTON – Samsung SDI Company Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $32 million criminal fine for its role in a global conspiracy to fix prices, reduce output and allocate market shares of color display tubes (CDTs), a type of cathode ray tube used in computer monitors and other specialized applications, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Republic of Korea-based Samsung SDI participated in a conspiracy from at least as early as January 1997, until at least as late as March 2006, to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing prices, reducing output and allocating market shares of CDTs to be sold in the United States and elsewhere. According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Samsung SDI has agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing cathode ray tube investigation.

Verdict For EEOC Against Autozone Affirmed

PHOENIX – A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco has affirmed a $65,000 jury verdict against AutoZone, Inc., the Memphis-based national auto parts retail giant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC had sued AutoZone (EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., CIV 06-926-PHX-SMM, U.S. Dist. Court for the Dist. of Ariz.) for creating a sexually hostile work environment for Stacy Wing, an employee at an AutoZone store in Mesa, Ariz. Wing reported the sexual harassment to AutoZone management, the EEOC said, but AutoZone failed to take immediate and appropriate action to stop it. The evidence at the resulting jury trial showed that Wing was subjected to egregious sexual harassment by AutoZone’s store manager, including repeatedly forcing Wing’s face down to his genitals and making crude sexual remarks to her. At least one such incident was captured and recorded on the store’s video camera system but AutoZone claimed…

Three Former Executives Charged in $200 Million Fraud Scheme Involving Fair Financial Company Investors

WASHINGTON—Three former executives of Fair Financial Company (Fair), an Ohio financial services business, were arrested today and charged in an indictment filed in the Southern District of Indiana for their roles in a scheme to defraud approximately 5,000 investors of more than $200 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; Timothy M. Morrison, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana; and Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Welch of the FBI in Indiana.

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury on March 15, 2011, and unsealed today, charges Timothy S. Durham, 48; James F. Cochran, 55; and Rick D. Snow, 47, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud. Durham was arrested in Los Angeles, and Cochran and Snow were arrested in Indianapolis.

Belk, Inc. To Pay $55,000 To Settle EEOC Religious Discrimination Suit

RALEIGH , N.C. – Belk, Inc. will pay $55,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimin­ation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged in its lawsuit that Belk violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and then fired her because of her religion.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, during the 2008 Christmas holiday season, Belk, Inc. required Myra Jones-Abid, who worked at Belk’s Crabtree Valley Mall store in Raleigh, to wear a Santa hat and apron. Jones-Abid’s religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses, prohibits her from recognizing holidays, and therefore she declined to wear the holiday garb. On November 27, 2008, Belk terminated Jones-Abid for refusing to wear the apparel.

Indictment Unsealed Charging Additional Member of al Qaeda Plot

A superseding indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court yesterday charging Ferid Imam, also known as "Yousef," with providing and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda, aiding and abetting the terrorist training of Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay, and Adis Medunjanin, and using a destructive device in furtherance of crimes of violence.1 The indictment was unsealed in coordination with Canadian authorities, who earlier today announced terrorism charges against Imam, who is a Canadian citizen. According to the Eastern District indictment, Imam aided and abetted Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin's receipt of military-type training from al Qaeda when the three men traveled to Pakistan in 2008. Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin subsequently returned to the United States to carry out a plot to detonate improvised explosive devices on behalf of al Qaeda. This plot was uncovered and disrupted by law enforcement authorities in September 2009. Zazi pleaded guilty t…

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT OF MAKSIM GELMAN FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of MAKSIM GELMAN, 23, in connection with his attack of a man in a subway train on February 12, 2011. GELMAN is charged with Attempted Murder in the Second Degree, Assault in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree.[1]

Today’s indictment accuses GELMAN of attempting to kill Joseph Lozito with a large knife on a northbound No. 3 subway train between West 34th and West 42nd Streets. According to documents filed in court, GELMAN allegedly said to Mr. Lozito “You’re going to die!” before slashing Mr. Lozito with the knife. The victim sustained serious physical injuries to the head, neck, and arm, which required medical treatment.

The Robert Half Legal 2011 Guide Is Here

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Former President of TBW Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – Raymond Bowman, the former president of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank, wire and securities fraud, and lying to federal agents about his role in a fraud scheme that contributed to the failures of TBW and Colonial Bank.

The guilty plea was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Michael P. Stephens, Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD OIG); Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC OIG); Steve A. Linick, Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA OIG); and Victor F. O. Song, Chief of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigati…

UBS Client Sentenced in San Diego for Hiding Assets in Secret Bahamian and Swiss Bank Accounts

WASHINGTON – Jeffrey Chatfield of San Diego was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Michael M. Anello to three years probation for hiding assets in secret offshore UBS bank accounts, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Chatfield was also ordered to pay more than $96,000 to resolve his civil liability with the IRS for failing to file the required Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Reports (FBARs) on Forms TD F 90-22.1.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Chatfield filed false tax returns for 2000 through 2008 in which he failed to report that he had an interest in or a signature authority over Bahamian and Swiss financial accounts at UBS and Credit Suisse. He also failed to report income earned on these Swiss bank accounts and never filed any FBARs disclosing his interest in any offshore financial accounts.

In the Wake of Japan's Massive Earthquake, FTC Warns Consumers About Potential Charity Scams

After the earthquake that rocked Japan’s northeast coast and triggered a widespread tsunami last week, the Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to be cautious of potential charity scams.

The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, warns consumers to carefully consider urgent appeals for aid that they receive in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites.

New Jersey Pipe Supply Company and Its Owner Plead Guilty to Fraud and Bribery Conspiracy in Power Generation Industry

WASHINGTON—A New Jersey industrial pipe supply company and its owner pleaded guilty today to participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud and pay bribes to a purchasing manager at Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Edison) in return for the manager’s efforts to steer contracts to the company, the Department of Justice announced today.

Andrew Martingano of Staten Island, N.Y., and his company, American Pipe Bending and Fabrication Co. Inc. of Edison, N.J., each pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to participating in a conspiracy to defraud Con Edison.

Joint State & Federal Investigation Uncovers Physician Illegally Distributed Vaccines; Defendant will Reimburse State for $179,000

ALBION - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the conviction of an Orleans County physician who fraudulently obtained vaccines from a state program that makes vaccines available free of charge for eligible patients and then sold the free vaccines to patients who were ineligible to receive them under the program.

Ghulam Mustafa, M.D., 48, was arraigned today in Orleans County Court on charges of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class “E” felony, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class “E” felony. He pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. Mustafa, who is employed by the Hassan Medical Group, P.L.L.C., doing business as “Extended Hours Medical Care” at 210 South Main Street in Albion and 1038 Gwinn Street in Medina, also agreed to pay New York State $179,000 for the fraudulently obtained vaccines.

Indiana Health Centers, Inc. To Pay $45,000 To Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Suit

INDIANAPOLIS – A statewide health care provider with a dental clinic in South Bend, Ind., will pay $45,000 to settle a sex/pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit (Case no.: 3:10-CV-412-PPS-CAN in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division) that Indiana Health Center, Inc. violated federal law when it terminated a female dental hygienist because of her sex/pregnancy and because she was scheduled to go on leave within days of her termination.

Blackberry Playbook

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Honeywell Pleads Guilty in Illinois to Illegal Storage of Hazardous Waste

WASHINGTON – Honeywell International Inc. pleaded guilty today in federal district court in Benton, Ill., to one felony offense for knowingly storing hazardous waste without a permit in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Honeywell was also sentenced today to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $11.8 million.

“Today, Honeywell must account for its knowing violation of a federal law that protects the public from exposure to hazardous waste containing radioactive material,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “All companies who generate hazardous waste must have a permit to store the waste and, when granted a permit under RCRA, must fully comply with its requirements or they will be prosecuted.”

Former Senior U.S. District Judge Sentenced to One Month in Prison for Misuse of Government Property and Drug Offenses

WASHINGTON – Former Senior U.S. District Court Judge Jack T. Camp Jr., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Atlanta to one month in prison for unlawful possession of controlled substances charges and unlawful conversion of government property, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin of the FBI’s Atlanta Office and Director Vernon Keenan of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Camp, 67, a former Senior U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Georgia, pleaded guilty in November 2010 to an information charging him with one count of unlawful possession of controlled substances, one count of aiding and abetting the unlawful possession of controlled substances by a previously convicted drug felon and one count of conversion of government property. Camp was sentenced today in the Northern District of Georgia by Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan for the District of Columbia. Judge Hoga…

ICE, ATF arrest police chief, mayor and trustee of New Mexico town 8 others were indicted in firearms trafficking case as part of a multi-agency investigation

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The police chief, mayor and a trustee of the village of Columbus, N.M., were among 10 people arrested March 10 for their roles in a firearms-trafficking ring, which was the focus of an investigation by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

A federal grand jury in New Mexico indicted 11 members of the trafficking ring on firearms and smuggling charges. The criminal enterprise was based in Columbus, a small border village across from Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico.

JOSIE ALMONTE Convicted of Scamming Victims Out of More Than $77,000

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the conviction of JOSIE ALMONTE, 33, for perpetrating a large-scale real estate fraud scheme that targeted sixteen victims. On March 9, 2011, a jury in New York State Supreme Court found the defendant guilty of 28 counts of Grand Larceny, Scheme to Defraud, and Criminal Impersonation.

“The defendant launched her scheme to defraud vulnerable, low-income families in the middle of a nationwide economic and housing crisis,” said District Attorney Vance. “JOSIE ALMONTE preyed upon individuals who obtained or were seeking federal housing assistance, gained their trust and then stole their money. I would like to commend the jury for recognizing the depth of her deception in pursuit of her personal financial gain.”

Court Enforces EEOC Investigative Subpoena And Imposes Sanctions Against Osceola Nursing Home

JONESBORO, Ark. – A federal judge has ordered an Osceola, Ark., nursing home company to comply with a subpoena issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the agency’s subpoena enforcement action against the company, the EEOC announced today. The judge also ordered sanctions against the company for failing to comply with the subpoena.

After an evidentiary hearing held March 9, U.S. District Judge D.P. Marshall ordered that Osceola Nursing Home, LLP, the former owner of nursing home facilities in eastern Arkansas, pay a sanction of $2,500 to the EEOC and make a good-faith effort to locate documents responsive to the subpoena by reviewing all files left at the nursing home facility, including those housed in an off-site storage facility. Judge Marshall ordered Osceola Nursing Home to certify compliance within 30 days. The judge ruled that Osceola Nursing Home’s unresponsive conduct warranted sanctions under “the Court’s inherent authority to protect and promote …

Thirteen Somalis and One Yemeni Indicted on Piracy, Kidnapping Charges

NORFOLK, VA—A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has indicted 13 Somalis and one Yemeni with pirating a yacht and taking hostage four U.S. citizens, who were ultimately killed before their release could be secured.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Federal Corruption Charges Against Two Members of the New York State Legislature

PREET BHARARA, 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 today the unsealing of a complaint charging New York State Senator CARL KRUGER and State Assemblyman WILLIAM BOYLAND, JR., with accepting bribes in exchange for official acts. KRUGER is charged with taking more than $1 million in bribes from, among others, lobbyist RICHARD LIPSKY, real estate developer AARON MALINSKY, and health care consultant SOLOMON KALISH, all of whom are also charged.

DAVID ROSEN, the CEO of the MediSys Health Network, is also charged with conspiring to bribe KRUGER, as well as with paying over $177,000 in bribes to New York State Assemblyman WILLIAM BOYLAND, JR., and $390,000 in bribes to former New York State Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, in exchange for their official acts.

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES LANDMARK $3.1 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH MAJOR PHARMACEUTICAL CO. FOR DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING OF DRUG SEROQUEL

NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a $3.1 million settlement with the major pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, following allegations that it improperly marketed and promoted the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The agreement is part of a record 37-state settlement totaling $68.5 million – the largest ever multi-state consumer protection-based pharmaceutical settlement.

These practices violate consumer protection laws established to protect patients and ensure that health care providers are fully briefed on the medications available, including all known potential benefits and side effects. Attorney General Schneiderman, who has marked National Consumer Protection Week by highlighting a series of consumer-related actions, reiterated that consumer safety is a responsibility companies must also share, especially those marketing medication.

Former New York Correctional Officer Convicted of Assaulting Inmate, Making False Statements to FBI

WASHINGTON – A former correctional officer from Cohoes, N.Y., was convicted following a jury trial in Albany, N.Y., of violating the civil rights of an inmate while working at the Rensselaer County Correctional Facility (RCCF), and making false statements to the FBI regarding the incident, the Department of Justice announced today.

Following trial before U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe, the jury found that in January 2009, Keith Ronald Hancock Jr., 37, while employed as a correctional officer at the RCCF in Troy, N.Y., assaulted an inmate and made a false statement to the FBI during the investigation of the incident. At trial, the jury heard evidence that Hancock struck an inmate on multiple occasions while the inmate was handcuffed behind the back and under the control of other correctional officers. After the incident, Hancock prepared an incident report in which he failed to report his uses of force or provide any justification for them. Thereafter, during the course of t…

Bexar County, Texas, Corrections Officer Charged with Civil Rights Violations

WASHINGTON – A Bexar County, Texas, corrections officer was charged today in a two-count federal indictment with violating the civil rights of two detainees, announced the Department of Justice. The charges stem from two incidents – one on Oct. 8, 2007; the other on May 31, 2009 – in which Raymond Quintero, 33, of San Antonio, allegedly assaulted inmates at the Bexar County Detention Center.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

US Labor Department sues Wisconsin-based Coin Builders LLC and president to recover more than $1.3 million for company’s profit-sharing plan

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. — The U.S. Department of Labor has sued Coin Builders LLC of Wisconsin Rapids and its president, Joseph Kreeger, to restore more than $1.3 million plus interest to the company's profit-sharing plan. The case resulted from an investigation by the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration into alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

"The Labor Department is committed to ensuring workers can keep what they earn. And we will hold companies and their executives accountable when they ignore their responsibilities as fiduciaries and put workers' hard-earned retirement income at risk," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

Attempted Bomber Arrested

SPOKANE, WA—Today, Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Kevin William Harpham, age 36, of Colville, Washington, has been arrested and charged in connection with the placement of the improvised explosive device alongside the planned Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March on January 17, 2011, in Spokane, Washington.

Kevin William Harpham was charged by complaint with the crimes of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. A conviction for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to five years of court supervision after release. A conviction for possession of an unregistered explosive device carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to thre years of court supervision after release. The investigation in this matter is continuing.

Ronald J. Pudder, Was Sentenced in Church Arson Case

WASHINGTON – An Ohio man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for setting fire to the First Azusa Apostolic Faith Church of God in Conneaut, Ohio , the Department of Justice announced today. Ronald J. Pudder, 23, of Conneaut, pleaded guilty last year to one count of intentionally damaging, destroying and attempting to destroy religious property because of the race, color, and ethnic characteristics of individuals associated with that property.

“In this nation, one of our most basic rights is the freedom to practice our faith in peace. We will not tolerate acts of violence that attempt to disrupt that right,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute acts of violence fueled by hate.”

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN SUES WESTERN NY WEDDING BUSINESS FOR CHEATING CUSTOMERS OUT OF PRECIOUS WEDDING DAY PHOTOS

BUFFALO - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against JMK Photography, in Lackawana, for failing to deliver the wedding photos to customers who had pre-paid in full. The lawsuit, one of several Schneiderman has filed against unscrupulous wedding photographers across the state as part of National Consumer Protection week, is seeking restitution, fines, and penalties.

"Newlyweds paid JMK Photography to document the most important day of their lives, but instead couples were left empty handed," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "As we approach what is typically the height of the wedding season, couples who are making plans should be armed with information that will help them recognize and avoid potential consumer fraud."

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES SENTENCING OF FREDERICK GIUNTA IN WEST VILLAGE HATE CRIME CASE

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the sentencing of FREDERICK GIUNTA to 3 1/2 years in state prison followed by five years of post-release supervision for committing an act of bias-related violence in the West Village. On February 15, 2011, GIUNTA pleaded guilty to all of the charges in his indictment, including Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree and Assault in the Third Degree as a Hate Crime.

“Today’s sentencing serves as a reminder that there is no tolerance for bias-related violence,” District Attorney Vance said. “Our Office’s Hate Crimes Unit, formed a few months prior to the crime that led to today’s sentencing, will continue to support the diverse communities of New York by aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate-motivated offenses.”

Governor Cuomo Delivers Budget Message in Rochester

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today presented his proposed 2011-2012 Executive Budget to hundreds of New Yorkers at Nazareth College in Rochester. The Governor's proposal transforms the state budget process to conform to fiscal realities and eliminates a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes or borrowing.

"New York is at a crossroads, and the decisions we make now will impact Rochester, Monroe County, and the entire state for years to come," Governor Cuomo said. "This budget is about changing the way government operates. Whether it is healthcare, education, or other state services, it is about spending resources wisely to get the greatest return on the taxpayers' investment."

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN SECURES $1.1 MILLION FOR NEW YORKERS DEFRAUDED BY “DEBT SETTLEMENT” COMPANY

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a major settlement that will refund money to more than 5,000 New Yorkers across the state who were defrauded by a deceptive and harmful debt settlement company. Freedom Debt Relief, one of the country’s largest debt settlement companies, misled debt-saddled consumers about the amount of money they would save and the services it would provide, while reaping large profits in up-front fees. As part of the settlement, Freedom Debt Relief will pay $1.1 million to refund former customers, offer current customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds if they withdraw from the program, and pay $100,000 in penalties to the state. The agreement is available here.

The announcement comes as National Consumer Protection Week begins, and the Attorney General reminded New Yorkers that taking legal action against misconduct is just one way to attack fraud and abuse (see below for tips for consumer faced with significant credit car…

Buffalo Health Care Worker Sentenced After Being Caught on Hidden Camera Neglecting & Endangering Patient

BUFFALO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the sentencing of a former employee of the Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst who pleaded guilty last December to falsifying records to conceal the neglect of a resident.

Deborah Groth, 61, of Buffalo, was sentenced today by Erie County Supreme Court Judge Penny M. Wolfgang to a three-year conditional discharge and 50 hours of community service. Groth, a former Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), had previously pleaded guilty on December 14, 2010 to three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, for falsifying a resident’s records to demonstrate that she had administered an injection of insulin, taken and recorded the resident’s vital signs, and applied skin treatment when footage from a hidden surveillance camera revealed that she did not perform these procedures at all. As a result of these court proceedings, Groth surrendered her LPN license. Groth was also required to give a…

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Jury Awards over $1.5 Million in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Case Against Mid-American Specialties

MEMPHIS, Tenn. A U.S. District Court jury brought in a verdict of over $1.5 million for sexual harassment and retaliation in the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) lawsuit against Mid-American Specialties (Mid- American), a Memphis-based company that distributes promotional products and office supplies, the agency announced today. The verdict came after a trial presided over by Chief Judge Jon P. McCalla. The actual jury award included more than $400,000 in compensatory damages and back pay to three women and $1.1 million in punitive damages.

“The jury verdict is an important vindication of the EEOC’s long-standing commitment to securing fair and equal treatment for all women in the work place,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “The EEOC will continue to be vigorous in its enforcement of the federal laws protecting workers from sexual harassment and retaliation.”

Former Campaign Treasurer for U.S. Congressman from New Jersey Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Campaign Funds

WASHINGTON – The former campaign treasurer for Representative Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $450,000 from the congressman’s election and re-election campaign accounts, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey and Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward of the FBI’s Newark, N.J. Field Office.

Andrew J. McCrosson Jr., 59, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., pleaded guilty today before Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden, N.J., to a two-count criminal information charging him with one count of wire fraud and one count of embezzling and converting funds contributed to a federal candidate.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES CONVICTION IN $7 MILLION INSURANCE FRAUD TRIAL

Defendants Staged Burglary of Diamond District Jewelry Office to Collect Insurance Payment

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the convictions of two jewelry wholesalers for staging a gunpoint robbery of their office in order to collect an insurance payment of $7 million. Following a bench trial before Justice Thomas Farber, ATUL SHAH, 49, and MAHAVEER KANKARIYA, 44, were found guilty of Insurance Fraud in the First Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree, and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.

"In a desperate gamble, the defendants devised an elaborate scheme involving disguises, a staged burglary and insurance fraud to escape their financial troubles," District Attorney Vance said. "Thanks to the quick work of our Office and the NYPD, it is clear that crime does not pay."

Channel 25 Settles EEOC Race And Sex Bias Suit

KOKH and Parent Company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Paid Black Female Reporter Less Than Coworkers, Federal Agency Charged

OKLAHOMA CITY – KOKH-TV (Fox 25) in Oklahoma City will pay $45,000 and additional consideration to a veteran African-American TV news reporter to settle a race and sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The settlement terms are set forth in a proposed Consent Decree, approval of which is pending before the Court.

The EEOC charged that Phyllis Williams’ employers, KOKH and its parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, paid her lower wages than comparable white female reporters and male reporters of all races, and subjected her to unequal terms and conditions of employment until August 2007, when she signed an employment contract for a higher salary. Sinclair and KOKH had routinely offered employment contracts to other reporters at Channel 25. Williams has reported for Fox 25 since 1996…

Kenneth Minor Guilty of Murder in the Second Degree

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the conviction of KENNETH MINOR in the murder of Jeffrey Locker, a motivational speaker from Long Island, New York. MINOR was convicted of one count of Murder in the Second Degree.

“This was murder for money, not a mercy killing, which is why we prosecuted the case as an intentional murder,” said District Attorney Vance. “We believe the jurors got it right with their verdict, and thank them for their service.”

Owner of Illinois Technology Company Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Defraud the Federal E-Rate Program

WASHINGTON - An owner of an Illinois-based technology company has pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the federal E-Rate program, the Department of Justice announced today. Barrett C. White was originally charged in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Nov. 18, 2010, for his role in the conspiracy to defraud the E-Rate program.

White pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in New Orleans to conspiring to defraud the E-Rate program by providing bribes and kickbacks to school officials in multiple states. The department said that White participated in the conspiracy beginning on or about February 2004 through August 2005. According to the court document, White offered and delivered bribes and kickbacks to school officials responsible for the procurement of Internet access services in return for E-Rate contracts to his co-conspirators’ companies.

BROOKLYN MAN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER AND FRAUD IN CONNECTION WITH TWO MISSING PERSONS AND A COLD CASE HOMICIDE

Following two weeks of trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn today returned a verdict convicting Dmitriy Yakovlev on all counts of a 15-count indictment charging him with stealing the identities of three Brooklyn residents – Michael Klein, Viktor Alekseyev, and Irina Malezhik – and murdering Viktor Alekseyev and Irina Malezhik in connection with the theft of their identities.

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

Two Men Charged in White Plains Federal Court with Operating a Marijuana Grow House

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”); and JAMES T. HAYES, JR., the Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (“ICE -HSI”), announced the arrest yesterday of LAWRENCE C. HERZ and MICHAEL J. SZTROPKALYI for operating a marijuana grow house.

U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated, “These alleged drug producers and distributors might have seemed ingenious, operating a ‘grow house’ with some 150 marijuana plants in an obscure, rural area. Fortunately, federal law enforcement officers and their local counterparts were smarter. I commend the cooperative efforts that shut down this operation and brought its alleged perpetrators to justice.”

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending Feb. 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 388,500, a decrease of 12,750 from the previous week's revised average of 401,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0 percent for the week ending Feb. 19, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's revised rate of 3.1 percent.

EFF Asks Justices to Focus on Privacy in Prescription History Data Mining Battle

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to focus on the privacy issues at stake in a battle over the sale and data mining of medical records, urging justices to reverse a ruling that could jeopardize patient privacy.

At issue is Vermont's Prescription Confidentially Law, which bans pharmacies from selling or using patients' prescription records for marketing purposes without the doctor's express consent. Companies that collect and sell these records challenged the law in court, arguing that they use "de-identified" information and that the law infringed their corporate free speech rights. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the companies. In an amicus brief filed Tuesday, EFF argued that the appeals court wrongly ignored patient privacy in its decision.

Forest Pharmaceuticals Sentenced to Pay $164 Million for Criminal Violations

WASHINGTON -- Drug manufacturer Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner to pay a criminal fine of $150 million and forfeit assets of $14 million following the company’s guilty plea in November 2010 to one felony count of obstructing justice, one misdemeanor count of distributing an unapproved new drug in interstate commerce and one misdemeanor count of distributing a misbranded drug in interstate commerce, the Justice Department announced. The company, a subsidiary of New York City-based Forest Laboratories Inc., pleaded guilty to charges related to obstruction of an FDA regulatory inspection, to the distribution of Levothroid, which at the time was an unapproved new drug, and to the illegal promotion of the anti-depressant drug Celexa for use in treating children and adolescents.

Today’s sentencing of Forest was the final component of a global resolution totaling more than $313 million to resolve criminal and civil allegations against Fore…

MAYOR BLOOMBERG KICKS OFF WEEK OF NEW YORK CITY ARTS EVENTS

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Armory Show Founder and Vice President Paul Morris and President of the Art Dealers Association of America Lucy Mitchell-Innes today kicked off a week of arts-related activities and events taking place in New York City from March 2 to March 7. Shows and art fairs throughout the five boroughs, including The Armory Show and The Art Show, are expected to draw more than 60,000 attendees and generate more than $40 million in economic activity in New York City. Other art shows and fairs taking place include: Volta NY, Pulse, Scope New York, Verge, Red Dot, Moving Image, Independent and Fountain. Last year, a record 48.7 million people visited New York City, and more than 20 million of them participated in a cultural activity during their stay. Joining the Mayor at the announcement, which took place at the opening of The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 in Manhattan, were Cultural Affairs Deputy Commissioner Margaret Morton, …

Catherine Kissick, Former Senior Vice President of Colonial Bank Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme