Showing posts from July, 2008

USCIS in Los Angeles Reaches Out to Its Customers Affected by Earthquake and Aftershocks

LOS ANGELES – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Los Angeles is taking several proactive measures to reach customers and employees affected by the earthquake and aftershocks. The safety of our customers and employees comes first and foremost. All applicants who missed appointments due to the earthquake will receive priority rescheduling for a new appointment. USCIS will call applicants to reschedule an appointment at a convenient time. As of this afternoon (July 29, 2008) at 1 p.m. (PDT) USCIS offices remain open. USCIS will closely monitor the effects of the earthquake and aftershocks and the impact on our employees and customers. See, USCIS .

U.S. Senator Indicted on False Statement Charges

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Theodore F. Stevens of Alaska was charged today in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia with seven counts of making false statements related to Stevens’ financial disclosure forms, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced. The seven-count indictment charges Sen. Stevens, the former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, with engaging in a nearly eight-year scheme to conceal his receipt of more than $250,000 in things of value from VECO Corporation, formerly a multi-national oil services company based in Alaska, and Bill J. Allen, the Chief Executive Officer of VECO at the time. According to the indictment, Stevens concealed these things of value from his publicly filed United States Senate financial disclosure forms. The things of value that Stevens allegedly received included: substantial home improvements to property Stevens owns in Girdwood, Alaska;


BUFFALO, N.Y. (July 28, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty plea of a North Collins manufacturing company that neglectfully released nearly 250 gallons of a dangerous, corrosive material into the local environment. As part of the plea, Attorney General Cuomo’s Office has required Crescent Manufacturing, located at 10285 Eagle Dr. in North Collins, to fund equipment and training for the Town of North Collins Volunteer Fire Department’s use in addressing releases of hazardous materials. The company pleaded guilty to endangering public health, safety or the environment in the fourth degree before Town of North Collins Judge John M. Stevens. See, NYAG .

Significant Multi-Agency Effort Culminates in Numerous Arrests Suspects Involved in Wide Array of Felonies

Los Angeles - A multi-agency operation in a four-year robbery/murder investigation has lead to the arrest of multiple suspects. On July 25, 2008, in the early morning hours, a series of 20 search warrants, 12 arrest warrants, and 1 parole search were served at various locations. Warrants for an additional five suspects were issued, but at this time these suspects have not been located. The warrants stemmed from an on-going investigation of a robbery/murder case in March 1, 2004. On March 1, 2004, at about 10:50 a.m., eight suspects armed with assault-type weapons attacked armored car guard Evelio Suarez as he unloaded money bags from the truck. Suarez, 61, was shot multiple times and later died at a local hospital. The suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of cash in a white van with an unknown type logo on the side. See, LAPD .

Justice Department Announces Agreement Protecting Puerto Rican and Spanish-Speaking Voters in Penns Grove, New Jersey

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today the settlement of a lawsuit against Salem County and the borough of Penns Grove, N.J., alleging violations of the rights of Puerto Rican voters under the Voting Rights Act. The settlement agreement requires the county and borough to ensure that elections are equally open to Latino voters, that Spanish language assistance and materials be available at the polls, and that Spanish-speaking voters be allowed to select the assistor of their choice. One of the concerns that led to the Civil Rights Division’s investigation was that the borough and county were violating the rights of voters who had been educated in Spanish in American-flag schools in Puerto Rico. The settlement agreement was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey contemporaneously with the complaint and an accompanying proposed order allowing federal observers to monitor election day activities in its polling place. The order still must be appro

Students Given Opportunity to Practice Intellectual Property Law Before the USPTO

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) will begin a two-year pilot Law School Clinical Certification Program this Fall semester allowing law students to practice intellectual property law before the agency under the strict guidance of a law school clinical faculty supervisor. Six law schools have been selected to participate in the pilot, including American University, Washington College of Law; University of Connecticut School of Law; The John Marshall Law School; University of Maine School of Law; Vanderbilt Law School; and William Mitchell College of Law. "Congratulations to each of the selected schools," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. "We look forward to providing a real-world experience for the students so they will be well prepared to tackle the complexities of intellectual property law that are so important in today’s economy." See, USP


By: Joel Irving Today's show has been canceled due to technical difficulties and will return next week at its regualally schedualed time. Anthony J. Lynch filed a civil lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase & Company in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, (2:08-cv-13059-DML-SDP) on July 15, 2008. In the civil complaint Anthony J, Lynch alleges (among other things) that his direct supervisor Tim Dolan (Acting on behalf of Chase) hired prostitutes (From “Craig’s List”) to service a group of male employees, who work for Chase’s mortgage division. Join me this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. as we talk about workplace sexual harassment and this federal lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase & Company. Click on the link to get to the show:


By: Joel Irving Anthony J. Lynch filed a civil lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase & Company in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, (2:08-cv-13059-DML-SDP) on July 15, 2008. In the civil complaint Anthony J, Lynch alleges (among other things) that his direct supervisor Tim Dolan (Acting on behalf of Chase) hired prostitutes (From “Craig’s List”) to service a group of male employees, who work for Chase’s mortgage division. Join me this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. as we talk about workplace sexual harassment and this federal lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase & Company. Click on the link to get to the show:


By: Joel Irving I have two exclusive news stories coming up so please keep reading New York Paralegal Blog! I also have some interesting people coming to The Joel Irving Show.


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a new Compliance Manual Section regarding workplace discrimination on the basis of religion . The Section includes a comprehensive review of the relevant provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EEOC’s policies regarding religious discrimination, harassment and accommodation. The EEOC also issued a companion question-and-answer fact sheet and best practices booklet . All three documents are available on the agency’s web site at . “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 seeks to ensure that applicants and employees enjoy the freedom to compete, advance and succeed in the workplace, irrespective of their religious beliefs,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “This Compliance Manual Section serves as a valuable resource for employers, employees, practitioners and EEOC staff seeking information on Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination.” The Section ad

Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Employee Pleads Guilty to Disclosing Sensitive Procurement Information

WASHINGTON – A former employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pleaded guilty to providing sensitive contract information to a bidder seeking to win a multi-billion dollar government contract, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced today. David M. Honbo, 60, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of violating the Procurement Integrity Act. Honbo admitted he provided bid evaluation information to a consultant employed by a multinational consortium trying to obtain the lucrative contract to relocate the U.S. Army base in Yongsan, South Korea. Honbo’s plea was accepted by the Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, and sentencing was set for Oct. 30, 2008. Honbo faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 at sentencing. As part of his plea, Honbo admitted that while stationed in South Korea as a civilian employee of the Army Corp


By: Joel Irving Join me and my special guest Chamein Canton, author, bridal consultant, and stylist; today on “The Joel Irving Show.”(Show starts at 10:00 am) Chamein and I will be talking about her book ‘Down That Aisle In Style.” We will also be talking about the so-called mortgage crisis. Click on the following link to get to my show: Additionally, you can download completely free Chamein Canton's bridal secrets for hairstyle, makeup, skin care, and healthy living by clicking on the following link:

ICE Probe of Nevada McDonald’s Franchisee Results in Guilty Pleas by Local Corporation and Current and Former Executives on Immigration Charges

WASHINGTON — (July 16, 2008)One current and one former top executive for a franchisee that owns 11 McDonald’s restaurants in and around Reno, Nev., and the corporation itself pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Vegas today to federal felony immigration offenses for encouraging illegal aliens to reside in the United States. These charges stem from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into allegations the company knowingly hired illegal alien workers. U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Gregory A. Brower and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE Julie L. Myers announced the plea agreements, which are the latest developments in an ICE probe that began in March 2007 after the agency received a tip about a possible incidence of identity theft from the sheriff’s office in Lyon County, Nev. In a hearing this morning in Las Vegas before U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan, attorneys for Mack Associates Inc., which owns the Reno-ar

Independent Inventors Conference Set for August 8-9

The 13th annual Independent Inventors Conference will be held on the campus of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia August 8-9. A pre-conference workshop, for anyone interested in learning about the basics of patents and the importance of intellectual property protection, will be held on August 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. The workshop is for beginners and is a good foundation for the conference It is included in the $100 registration fee. Top officials of the USPTO, including Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce Margaret Peterlin and Commissioner for Patents John Doll will be presenters at the conference. Also appearing this year will be Louis Foreman, creator and executive producer of the Emmy award winning PBS series, Everyday Edisons. The registration fee includes all sessions and presentations, morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch both days and a networking reception on Friday night. For additional information about the conference call 571-272-

Attorney General Sues Man Who Posed As Pastor To Hijack Church Property

WESTHAVEN,CT - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced a lawsuit against a man who fraudulently posed as pastor of a Hamden church, transferred the church property title to his own church and then took out a $1.15 million mortgage on the property that ultimately defaulted. Blumenthal's lawsuit names Willie E. McKay of West Haven, Love Temple Church of Christ in Prayer, Inc. of West Haven, and Foundation Capital Resources, Inc. of Georgia. While not accused of wrongdoing, Foundation Capital is named because of their legal interest in the property as mortgage holder. "This imposter pastor has literally attempted a church hijacking," Blumenthal said. "With unconscionable and unprecedented gall, Willie McKay posed as pastor of Macedonia church and fraudulently transferred ownership of the church's property to his own church's name, enabling him to borrow more than a million dollars for his own purposes. "My office will fight vigorously in cour

Justice Department to Monitor Elections in Georgia

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, it will monitor elections in the Georgia counties of Coffee, Dougherty and Long to ensure compliance with federal voting rights statutes. In 2006, the Justice Department and Long County settled a lawsuit regarding violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, charged the county with abridging the rights of Hispanic voters. The county allegedly required numerous challenged Hispanic voters to prove their eligibility, even though the county was aware that the challenges were not supported by any evidence. The complaint further alleged that the county imposed separate and distinct procedures for challenged Hispanic voters than for challenged non-Hispanic voters. The consent decree, which was approved by the federal court in 2006, requires the county to adopt practices that will ensure future compliance with and remed

Brown Sues Cement Plant For Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

RIVERSIDE- (July 3, 2008)California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and District Attorney Rod Pacheco today sued TXI International, a Riverside cement plant, for exposing people to the potent carcinogen hexavalent chromium without providing warnings to the community as required by law. “Dust, which contained elevated levels of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, escaped into the air in violation of state law,” Attorney General Brown said. “California is suing the company to get them to stop their practices which cause chromium exposure.” In late 2007, the South Coast Air Quality Management District discovered that ambient quantities of hexavalent chromium, a potent carcinogen, were up to 50 times the level that would trigger a mandatory public warning under Proposition 65, the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Investigators traced the source of the chromium to dust piles on a four acre plot at a cement factory operated by TXI International. Since 2006 the comp

Virginia Woman Indicted in $132 Million Scheme to Defraud Clients of Funds Allegedly Held in Trust

WASHINGTON - Lara Coleman, 40, of Richmond, Va., was charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Chuck Rosenberg announced. The superseding indictment stems from a scheme to defraud and obtain millions of dollars in client funds held by The 1031 Tax Group LLP (1031TG), a qualified intermediary company owned by Edward H. Okun, a co-defendant. On July 10, 2008, a federal grand jury in Richmond, Va., returned a 27 count superseding indictment charging Okun, 57, of Miami, and Coleman with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, 13 counts of wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, seven counts of money laundering, one count of bulk cash smuggling and forfeiture. Okun is also charged with one count of making false statements. The original indictment, returned on March 17, 200

USCIS Extends Validity Period of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for Refugees

WASHINGTON—In an effort to provide better customer service to refugees, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would extend the validity of initial work authorization documents for refugees to two years after arrival in the United States. Previous policy required renewal of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) after one year. The new policy will reduce the financial burden on refugees by eliminating the need for many refugees to apply for renewal of work documents before they are able to adjust status to permanent residency. While there is no fee for the initial application for a refugee EAD, applicants incur a $340 fee for renewals. USCIS estimated that a refugee would request, at minimum, one EAD renewal prior to adjustment of status if the EAD validity period was not extended to two years. By extending the work authorization validity period, USCIS can increase Agency efficiency by reallocating resources from adjudication of refuge

Former Defense Department Official Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Espionage Violation

WASHINGTON— Gregg William Bergersen, age 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of Virginia to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to disclose national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it, in violation of 18 U.S.C., Sections 793(d) and (g). Bergersen pleaded guilty to this offense on March 31, 2008, after being arrested by federal authorities on February 11, 2008. Patrick Rowan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Arthur M. Cummings, II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema imposed the sentence. "Mr. Bergersen betrayed his oath to serve and protect our nation when he used his government position to access and pass national defense information to a person he knew was not entitled to receive it. Today, he


By: Joel Irving Realizing the value and importance of paralegals in government, community legal services, and the public sector Governor David A. Peterson has proclaimed July 20, 2008 Paralegal Day. Paralegals who work in government maintain reference files, analyze material for internal use and they prepare informational guides on law. Whereas, paralegals who are involved in community legal services help the disadvantaged obtain legal advice and aid. Additionally, paralegals who work in the public sector handle a wide variety of legal task in a multitude of diverse legal specializations. (See,Proclamation)

Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi and His Two Bodyguards Indicted on Civil Rights Charges

Washington – A federal grand jury in Jackson, Miss., returned a three-count indictment against Frank E. Melton, the mayor of Jackson, Miss., and his two bodyguards, Jackson police officers Michael Recio and Marcus Wright. The three men were charged in connection with a conspiracy to tear down a private home in Jackson and thereby violate the civil rights of the owner and resident of that home, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The indictment alleges that on Aug. 26, 2006, the defendants invited several young men onto the city’s mobile command unit. The group allegedly drove to a home on Ridgeway Street, where Officer Wright ordered the occupants outside at gunpoint. Thereafter, Mayor Melton allegedly knocked out several windows of the home with a large stick and ordered the young men accompanying him to destroy the home using sledgehammers while Wright and Recio stood guard. According to the indictment, t


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (July 9, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced his office has obtained a settlement that shuts down a Rochester woman’s unlicensed law practice. The settlement follows an investigation that found that Kathleen Johnson, of Broderick Drive in Rochester, operated a business out of her residence and repeatedly gave erroneous and conflicting legal bankruptcy and financial advice to consumers and received compensation for these activities, which can only be performed by a licensed attorney. Johnson also gave specific advice to consumers dealing with Bankruptcy Court proceedings despite having been previously prohibited to do so by the Office of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York. Johnson has also been the subject of several small claims judgments obtained by consumers. “This woman victimized Monroe County residents by representing herself as a licensed attorney and a legitimate financial advisor,” said Attorney General Cuomo.


By: Joel Irving My name is Joel Irving and I would like to thank all of you for your support by reading the New York Paralegal Blog. New York Paralegal Blog is a Blog that brings legal news to paralegals and anyone who is interested in hard- hitting, outspoken, legal news! Over the next few weeks I will be bringing you even more hard- hitting news and original stories from myself about: paralegals, legal document prepares, and freelance paralegals. Additionally, I will be reporting on recently filed civil and criminal cases giving you commentary on each case from beginning to end.


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (July 8, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that M & M Medical Transport, Inc., and its owner, Murtada S. Ebrahim, pleaded guilty to stealing $971,267 from Medicaid, and have agreed to pay full restitution to the state. From January 1, 2003 to December 6, 2007, Ebrahim and his company, which offered taxi and ambulette services to Medicaid recipients from Monroe and Wayne counties, defrauded Medicaid by filing claims to Medicaid for reimbursement for services provided by unqualified drivers. Ebrahim, 45, of Sedgefield Court in Irondequoit, also filed a false report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which covered up an accident involving one of M & M’s ambulette drivers who abandoned an elderly, wheelchair-bound patient at the scene. See, NY State Attorney General


On June 30, 1994, six-year-old Crystal Ann Tymich was playing near her residence in South Los Angeles with her three older brothers. She was last seen picking peaches from a neighbor's tree, before disappearing sometime between 2 and 5 p.m. She was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt, shorts with a floral print, and tennis shoes with a picture of a mermaid. Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate .


NEW YORK - A major Silicon Valley manufacturer of semiconductor production equipment will pay $168,000 to settle a racial harassment and retaliation lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged Novellus Systems, Inc. with subjecting an African American worker to racial harassment. According to the EEOC�s suit, Michael Cooke had to listen on a regular basis to a 27-year-old Vietnamese American co-worker playing and rapping aloud to music lyrics that included anti-black racial epithets such as the �N-word.� Although Cooke complained several times to his supervisors and made it clear that the language was offensive to him, the co-worker continued to use slang involving racial slurs and to sing along to these kinds of lyrics within Cooke�s earshot. The EEOC�s lawsuit charged that delaying effective corrective action by more than half a year constitutes unlawful harassment, and that Cooke was fired in retaliatio


By: Joel Irving JP Morgan Chase (through a mortgage company it owns) allegedly victimized a Nigerian couple by unlawfully breaking and entering into the couple's home and stealing everything they owned. They removed family heirlooms, furniture and even food. The egregious actions of EMC Mortgage Corp., and its parent company, JP Morgan Chase are being attributed to a so-called mix-up on a foreclosure action against the previous owners of the house. EMC Mortgage Corp., and its parent company JP Morgan Chase have apologized to Bobo and Joy Dickson, however the Dicksons are suing Field Asset Services Inc., (who were hired by EMC to do the breaking and entering) for failure to return their property and compensatory damages. (See, Austin American-Statesman )


NEW YORK - ( PR URGENT ) The American Center for Conflict Resolution Institute announces big plans for their 10th Anniversary Celebrations on October 22, 2008. In the short span of a single decade ACCRI has evolved from a local training and mediation company to a thriving distance learning career college with an international scope, offering comprehensive distance learning mediation and paralegal programs. Founded in October of 1998 by Tanya L. Dominick-Haggins, ACCRI initially offered mediation services and local classroom training to consumers. Soon enough, the focus was shifted to learning and the for profit company converted into a not for profit organization where the sole mission was to provide quality, affordable education. With the proliferation of consumer Internet access, the Company launched a distance learning program to capture an increasing number of interested prospective students worldwide. ACCRI then developed their new paralegal training program which shares the sam

Fact Sheet: Protecting Voting Rights and Preventing Election Fraud

One of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) highest priorities is to protect voting rights and enforce specific federal laws that help to ensure that all qualified voters have an opportunity to cast their ballots and have them counted. The Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative was established in October 2002 to spearhead the Department’s expanded efforts to address election crimes and voting rights violations. The initiative has two overarching goals: to ensure fair voting access and to protect the integrity of the election process. As part of the initiative, on July 1-2, DOJ is holding its 7th annual Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Symposium at the Department’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. The symposium provides for training of Department personnel in preparation for federal elections including the Nov. 4, 2008 general election. With the participation of attorneys from 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the symposium strengthens the nationwide span of ex

$75,000 Reward Offered in Double Homicide

LOS ANGELES - On April 27, 2008, at about 10:45 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a "shots fired" radio call at 48th Street and Wall Street. When the officers arrived at the location they found three female victims suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. Officers were directed to a car parked at the curb a short distance away. There they discovered two additional gunshot victims inside. Los Angeles City Fire Department paramedics pronounced Brenda Aguilera, 21-years of age, dead at scene. Jonathan Plascencia, 20-years-old, was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later. Detectives believe that the shooter walked up to the car that Aguilera and Plascencia were seated in and shot both of them. As the suspect was running from the scene he began firing rounds at the three victims sitting nearby. Witnesses told police that the suspect, described only as a male Hispanic, left the area in a green van. A $75,000 Rew

Visa Inc. Rescinds Debit Card Rule as a Result of Department of Justice Antitrust Investigation

WASHINGTON — As the result of a Department of Justice antitrust investigation, Visa Inc. has rescinded a rule that required merchants to treat Visa-branded debit cards differently when used as a PIN-debit card (and processed via non-Visa networks) from the same cards when used as signature debit cards and processed on the Visa network. The Department said that it had been investigating whether the rule adversely affected competition in the debit card industry by restricting certain PIN debit transactions, particularly small-value and Internet transactions, and by potentially interfering with the introduction of new types of PIN debit services. The Department’s Antitrust Division will close its investigation now that Visa has rescinded its operating regulation and adopted new regulations that should eliminate any potential for competitive harm. See, USDOJ.