Showing posts from October, 2009

United States Transfers Six Uighur Detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Palau

Six detainees who are Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity have been transferred from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the control of the Republic of Palau.

Ahmad Tourson, Abdul Ghappar Abdul Rahman, Edham Mamet, Anwar Hassan, Dawut Abdurehim and Adel Noori were resettled in Palau earlier today.

MS-13 Gunman Sentenced 80 Years for Attempted Murder

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Dennis L. Gil Bernardez, 33, of Landover, Md., the gunman in an MS-13 shooting, was sentenced to 80 years in prison today for attempting to murder rival gang members on Oct. 6, 2008, at a park near homes in Reston, Va. His accomplice, Jose M. Aguilar Orantes, 18, of Reston, Va., who provided the firearm, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for his role in the attempted murders.

A third member, Carlos B. Guzman Cruz, 25, of Richmond, Va., was sentenced to 144 months in prison for getting rid of the firearm used in the shooting.

Neal D. Saferstein, 36, of Mount Laurel, NJ, pleaded guilty today to four counts of an indictment

PHILADELPHIA—Neal D. Saferstein, 36, of Mount Laurel, NJ, pleaded guilty today to four counts of an indictment stemming from a multi-million dollar telemarketing scam that defrauded as many as 400,000 small businesses out of as much as $75 million, announced U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. Saferstein was the President and Chief Executive Officer of, Inc. (“GoInternet”), which did business at 20 N. Third Street, and 6 Strawberry Street, in Philadelphia. GoInternet allegedly derived more than $75 million in gross revenues from a fraudulent telemarketing scheme that lasted from 2001 to 2004. Co-defendant Tyrone L. Barr, 35, of Philadelphia, was Vice President of Customer Service and Regulatory Affairs. Co-defendant Billy D. Light, 41, of Voorhees, NJ, was Chief Information Officer. Saferstein pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and two counts of filing false tax returns. Sentencing is scheduled for February 2010.

According to the indict…

Optimal Agrees to Pay Over $19 Million for Processing Transactions for Internet Gambling Websites

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that Optimal Group, Inc ("Optimal")—a company based in Canada and publicly traded on the NASDAQ—agreed to forfeit approximately $19.2 million in criminal proceeds derived from processing payments for illegal Internet gambling websites as part of a non-prosecution agreement ("NPA"). From 2004 until October 2006, Optimal, operating an electronic wallet called Firepay, processed more than $2 billion worth of illegal gambling transactions for United States customers.

According to the NPA and a corresponding Statement of Facts:

South Dakota Man Found Guilty for Smuggling a Leopard Hide into U.S.

WASHINGTON —A federal jury in Aberdeen, S.D., has found a South Dakota man guilty for smuggling the hide of a leopard into the United States in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), an international treaty that regulates international shipments of listed species, to which the United States and 172 other countries are members. The leopard allegedly was hunted and killed in South Africa illegally. Wayne D. Breitag of Aberdeen, S.D., was also found guilty for violations of the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife statute.

Leopards (Panthera pardus) are listed on Appendix I of CITES. CITES requires that prior to the transport of any part of an Appendix I species from one country to another, an export permit from the country of origin (or a re-export certificate), and an import permit from the country to which the specimen will be shipped, must be obtained and accompany the shipment. The CITES authorities in South Africa set a yearly quota on the numbe…

Texas Hospital Group Pays U.S. $27.5 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

WASHINGTON – A hospital group based in McAllen, Texas, has agreed to pay the United States $27.5 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Statute between 1999 and 2006, by paying illegal compensation to doctors in order to induce them to refer patients to hospitals within the group, the Justice Department announced today. McAllen Hospitals L.P., d/b/a/ South Texas Health System, is a subsidiary of Universal Health Services Inc., a company based in Pennsylvania that owns hospitals and other health care centers around the country.

The settlement announced today involved allegations that the defendants had entered into financial relationships with several doctors in McAllen in order to induce them to refer patients to the defendants’ hospitals. The government alleged that these payments were disguised through a series of sham contracts, including medical directorships and lease agreements. Under the Stark Statute, Medicare pro…

Manuel Barraza-Garcia, a U.S. permanent resident, became deportable after he was convicted of indecency with a child

PECOS, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on Wednesday arrested a west Texas man who was convicted of a child sex crime.

Manuel Barraza-Garcia, a U.S. permanent resident, became deportable after he was convicted of indecency with a child, which is a second-degree felony. Agents assigned to the ICE Office in Pecos arrested the 52-year-old at his home in Monahans, Texas.

Commission Extends Time for Whole Foods to Divest Wild Oats Stores Through March 2010

At the request of the divestiture trustee, the FTC has extended the time Whole Foods Markets, Inc., via the trustee, will have to divest certain Wild Oats stores and the Wild Oats intellectual property, as required under a Commission order dated May 29, 2009. Under the Order, Whole Foods is required to divest 32 stores, including 13 operating and 19 closed Wild Oats locations and the Wild Oats brand. The Order required the Commission-appointed divestiture trustee to sell the stores to FTC-approved buyers by September 8, 2009 – six months after the Order became final.

The Order also provides that the Commission may extend the time another six months for any store (and the intellectual property) if the trustee has received bona fide offers for that store (or intellectual property) before September 8. On that day, the trustee filed a request seeking a six-month extension of the divestiture deadline. The FTC has now approved that request, and has extended the time period until March 8, 201…


NEW YORK, NY (October 30, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York and 14 other states are filing a lawsuit against Biotech giant Amgen following an investigation spearheaded by his office into a nationwide kickback scheme to boost drug sales.

In a lawsuit filed today in federal court the states charge drug manufacturer Amgen, International Nephrology Network (INN), a specialty group purchasing organization, and ASD Healthcare, a wholesaler, with offering kickbacks to medical providers to increase sales of Amgen’s anemia drug, Aranesp.

Federal jury convicts Los Angeles woman who sold Human Growth Hormone over the Internet Evidence also showed she illegally imported fake Botox

LOS ANGELES - A federal jury has convicted a Los Angeles-area woman for smuggling Human Growth Hormone (HGH) into the United States, then selling it over the Internet to doctors and spas across the country.

Rana J. Hunter, 61, of Marina Del Rey, Calif., was convicted Thursday on eight criminal counts, including two counts of smuggling goods into the United States and two counts of knowingly distributing HGH for a use unauthorized by law. Investigators determined some of Hunter's customers were located as far away as Arkansas.

Klemchuk Kubasta LLP Expands Its Virtual IP Counsel Practice

(openPR) - Innovative and unique program provides Intellectual Property guidance and counseling to new and growing companies

Dallas, Texas, October 27, 2009 – Klemchuk Kubasta LLP ( is pleased to announce the offering of a new service. The Virtual IP Counselsm program, launching
November 1st will provide companies with an experienced intellectual property (IP) lawyer to serve as outside general counsel. Founding Partners Darin M. Klemchuk and Kelly J. Kubasta will direct the program and will enlist the support of the firm’s diverse resources.

Rubin/Chambers, Dunhill Insurance Services Inc., also known as CDR Financial Products Inc. (CDR); David Rubin, Indicted

WASHINGTON — A Beverly Hills, Calif.-based financial products and services firm, two of its executives and one former executive were indicted today for their participation in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies related to contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other related municipal finance contracts, the Department of Justice announced. Today’s charges are the first to be filed in the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation into the municipal bonds industry.

The nine-count indictment was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. The indictment charges Rubin/Chambers, Dunhill Insurance Services Inc., also known as CDR Financial Products Inc. (CDR); David Rubin, the owner and president of CDR; Zevi Wolmark, also known as Stewart Wolmark, CDR’s former chief financial officer and managing director; and Evan Andrew Zarefsky, CDR’s vice president, with engaging in separate bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies with comp…

FTC Order Restores Competition Lost Through Schering-Plough’s Acquisition of Merck

Merck & Co., Inc. must sell its interest in Merial Limited, an animal health joint venture with Sanofi-Aventis S.A., and Schering-Plough must sell its assets related to significant drugs for nausea and vomiting in humans, in order for Schering-Plough to complete its proposed $41.1 billion acquisition of Merck, the Federal Trade Commission announced today. The consent order detailing the requirements resolves the Commission’s concerns regarding the proposed transaction’s potential anticompetitive effects, and the FTC will allow the acquisition to proceed if the assets are sold as required by the order.

“The consent order announced today addresses the competitive concerns related to Schering-Plough’s proposed acquisition of Merck,” said Richard Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “The Commission analyzed the likely impact of this proposed transaction and is confident that its order will ensure continued competition in the relevant human and animal health care mark…

International agencies partner to crackdown on northern border crime

DETROIT - As part of its ongoing effort to combat cross-border crime, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) partners on Thursday highlighted their commitment to security on the northern border.

"The BEST's mission is clear - to collaboratively identify and disrupt transnational criminal organizations exploiting our shared border," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Michigan and Ohio. "The Detroit BEST brings together the people and organizations with the collective experience, authority, and shared determination to make the Michigan-Ontario border, and the communities around them, safer and more secure."

Matthew Scott, was Charged with Defrauding 60 Investors of $28 Million in Alleged “Ponzi” Scheme

CHICAGO—A west suburban man is facing federal fraud charges for allegedly luring at least 60 victims to invest approximately $28 million in a business that he falsely represented purchased used high-speed commercial printers that were re-sold for a substantial profit and using the money instead to make “Ponzi-type” payments to earlier investors. The defendant, Matthew Scott, was charged with mail fraud in a criminal information filed today, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Scott, 50, of Elmhurst, was president and sole owner of a printer repair company known as Gelsco, Inc., located in Northlake. Between early 2000 and March 2009, he allegedly fraudulently obtained at least $28 million from at least 60 investors, and caused a loss of at least $4.5 million, according to the charges.

Khalid Shaikh, a former CEO of YouSendIt Inc., was indicted by a federal grand jury

SAN JOSE, CA—Khalid Shaikh, a former CEO of YouSendIt Inc., was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday with four counts of mail fraud, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

The indictment states that between December 2008 and June 2009 Shaikh used the ApacheBench software program to launch four denial of service (DOS) attacks against YouSendIt’s servers. Each DOS attack temporarily rendered the servers incapable of handling legitimate network traffic and deprived YouSendIt’s customers use of the company’s services.

Operation Seaway’ Leads to Seizure of Cocaine and Marijuana valued in Excess of $515,000 and $200,000 Cash

WATERTOWN, NY (October 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that narcotics trafficking charges have been filed in St. Lawrence County against 18 individuals who are alleged to be leading figures in two drug distribution networks that were selling large amounts of cocaine and marijuana in and near St. Lawrence County.

During ‘Operation Seaway,’ law enforcement seized more than 250 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value in excess of $500,000, almost three-quarters of a pound of cocaine worth approximately $17,000, and more than $200,000 in cash.


DETROIT – Arkansas-based P.A.M. Transport, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. (PTSI), has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for disability discrimination, the agency announced today. The agency charged the company with unlawfully discharging an employee, who is a Kalamazoo, Mich., resident, after learning he was HIV-positive.

The EEOC’s lawsuit (EEOC v. P.A.M. Transport Inc., Case No. 2:09CV13851) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, charged that P.A.M. Transport refused to allow the driver to return to work once he notified the company he was HIV-positive. P.A.M. requires all drivers to notify the company whenever any treatment is received from a medical professional. Because of this policy, the employee informed P.A.M. he had a routine appointment to monitor his HIV-positive status. The EEOC said that when the information was disclosed to the company, it required the driver to pr…


NEW YORK – Long Island-based car dealer Thomas Dodge Subaru, now doing business as Thomas Subaru, will pay $132,250 to settle a sex harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In the lawsuit (EEOC v. Thomas Dodge Corp. of New York d/b/a Thomas Dodge Subaru, and Thomas Motor Sports, Inc., No. 07-CV-988, E.D.N.Y.), the EEOC had charged that Thomas Dodge Subaru subjected female employees to offensive touching, degrading and sexually explicit comments, and pornographic images. The EEOC also charged that two female employees were forced to resign because of the severity of the harassment and another woman was retaliated against by being fired after complaining about the harassment.


SALT LAKE CITY — Tim Dahle Imports, doing business as Tim Dahle Nissan of Sandy, Utah, will pay $455,000 and furnish substantial remedial relief to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit (Case No. 08-cv-00397-BSJ in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah) that five female employees of Tim Dahle Nissan were subjected to unwelcome sexual comments and conduct, including repeated requests for sexual favors and sexually explicit language in the workplace. Multiple salesmen and sales managers took part in the harassment over a period of several years, the EEOC said, although none of the harassers are currently employed by the dealership. The EEOC also maintained that Tim Dahle Nissan retaliated against one woman by firing her because she complained about the unlawful comments and conduct.

Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of 19 individuals for fraudulently collecting Medicaid benefits

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of 19 individuals for fraudulently collecting Medicaid benefits totaling more than $350,000.

The defendants have been indicted on varying charges including welfare fraud, grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, and making a punishable false written statement. The crimes charged in the indictments occurred between September 2003 and October 2009.

Hollyrock principal used ID reader to validate proof of age upon entry, later used stored address information to send marketing materials

UTICA, N.Y. (October 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has stopped an area bar manager from using an identification verification scanner to retrieve addresses and personal information for the purpose of sending out unsolicited marketing materials.

Through an agreement with Attorney General Cuomo’s Office, Matthew S. Demar, managing employee of the Hollyrock bar, located on Varick St. in Utica, must stop using the scanner in such a manner, destroy the personal information he wrongfully obtained and pay a $5,000 penalty to the state.

ADENIYI ADEYEMI, has been indicted on charges of grand larceny, identity theft, money laundering, scheme to defraud

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today a 149-count indictment of a computer technician for stealing the identities of more than 150 employees of the Bank of New York Mellon and using these identities to orchestrate more than $1.1 million in thefts against charities and non-profits, among other institutions.

The defendant ADENIYI ADEYEMI, 27, of Brooklyn, has been indicted on charges of grand larceny, identity theft, money laundering, scheme to defraud, computer tampering, and unlawful possession of personal identification information. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between November 1, 2001 and April 30, 2009.

Bobbie Cyana Ryan, Pleads Guilty in $3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

A Highland Falls, N.Y., woman pleaded guilty today for her role in a scheme to defraud and embezzle funds from the U.S. government by authorizing nearly $3 million in payments from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., to a bogus corporation she controlled.

Bobbie Cyana Ryan, 51, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to a three-count information charging her with devising a scheme to defraud, and transmitting funds in interstate commerce for the purpose of executing the scheme; embezzlement and conversion by Ryan of government funds; and executing a financial transaction with criminally derived funds.

James E. Haas Jr., Pleads Guilty to Indictment Involving Conspiracy at New Jersey Superfund Site

WASHINGTON — A former New Jersey subcontractor representative pleaded guilty today to charges contained in an indictment involving his role in kickback and fraud conspiracy at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in New Jersey, announced the Department of Justice.

James E. Haas Jr., a former representative of a subcontractor that provides common backfill, a type of soil material used to refill an excavation, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, to charges that he engaged in a kickback and fraud conspiracy at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, N.J. Haas admitted to paying kickbacks to former employees of a prime contractor at Federal Creosote in exchange for the award of a subcontract. He also admitted to inflating prices for the subcontract to include the amount of the kickbacks paid to his co-conspirators. Haas also pleaded guilty to committing fraud against the United States. The indictment was filed on Aug. 31, 2009. Sentencin…

Bill Allen and Richard Smith, Former Officers of Veco Corporation, Sentenced for Roles in Alaska Public Corruption Scheme

WASHINGTON—Bill J. Allen and Richard L. Smith were each sentenced in separate hearings today for their participation in a corruption scheme in which they provided approximately $395,000 in corrupt payments to public officials from the state of Alaska, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. Allen and Smith were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska by U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick.

Allen, 72, the former chief executive officer of VECO Corporation, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, a $750,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Smith, 64, the former vice president of community and government affairs for VECO Corporation, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, a $10,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Eleven Members/Associates of Ummah Charged with Federal Violations One Subject Fatally Shot During Arrest

United States Attorney Terrence Berg, Eastern District of Michigan, Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI), Detroit, Michigan, and Police Chief Warren Evans, Detroit Police Department (DPD), Detroit, Michigan announced a federal complaint was unsealed today charging Luqman Ameen Abdullah, a.k.a.Christopher Thomas, and 10 others with conspiracy to commit several federal crimes, including theft from interstate shipments, mail fraud to obtain the proceeds of arson, illegal possession and sale of firearms, and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers. The eleven defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years, and known to be armed.

In light of the information that the charged individuals were believed to be armed and dangerous, special safeguards were employed by law enforcement to secure the arrests without confrontation. During the arrests today, the suspects were…


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte retirement home will pay $20,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had sued Lawyers Glen Retirement Living Center, LLC on behalf of a former employee who was discriminated against when she became pregnant.

In its lawsuit (EEOC v. Lawyers Glen Retirement Living Center, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:08-cv-00447) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, the EEOC charged that Ashley Wilhelm, a certified nursing aide, had her hours reduced when she informed Lawyers Glen management that she was pregnant. Lawyers Glen, in accordance with its written “maternity policy,” continued to reduce Wilhelm’s hours during the course of her pregnancy, even though Wilhelm was fully capable of performing her job duties and was cleared for full-time work by her physician, the EEOC said.

Government Files Seven Lawsuits Nationwide to Block Alleged Scheme Involving Fraudulent Tax-Refund Claims

WASHINGTON - The United States this week has filed civil injunction lawsuits across the country against seven individuals, the Justice Department announced today. The federal suits – filed in Los Angeles; Panama City, Fla.; Salt Lake City; Nashville, Tenn.; and Pocatello, Idaho – allege that the defendants promote a tax fraud scheme designed to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury through fraudulent tax refund claims.

Papers filed in the cases say the defendants prepared tax returns requesting a total of $562.4 million in bogus refunds. One defendant – Dick Jenkins, of Heber City, Utah – allegedly holds himself out as a CPA and requested a $210 million fraudulent refund for one customer. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) catches the vast majority of the bogus tax returns and blocks the claimed refunds.

D.C. Lobbyist Indicted for Conspiring to Violate Sudanese Sanctions and to Act as Illegal Agent of Sudan

WASHINGTON—Robert J. Cabelly, 61, of Washington, D.C., has been indicted in the District of Columbia in an eight-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to violate the Sudanese sanctions regulations and to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign power, four counts of violating the Sudanese sanctions regulations, as well as one count apiece of money laundering, passport fraud and making false statements.

The unsealing of the indictment against Cabelly was announced today by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Mexican authorities prosecuting marijuana smuggler following new agreement between US Department of Homeland Security, Mexico

NOGALES, Ariz. - A Mexican man, who was arrested by U.S. federal law enforcement officers for attempting to smuggle marijuana into the United States, will now be prosecuted under Mexican law; this is the first such prosecution of its kind under a new agreement aimed at reducing narcotics smuggling along Arizona's border with Mexico.

Eleazar Gonzalez-Sanchez, 27, of Santa Ana, Sonora, Mexico, was turned over to the Attorney General's Office of the Republic of Mexico (PGR) on Saturday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Controlled Substance Project, an agreement involving PGR, ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that enables PGR to prosecute, under Mexican law, drug smuggling cases.

2 convicted child sex traffickers sentenced to federal prison

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Two local residents were sentenced to federal prison for running an escort service with underage sex-trafficking victims in South Florida, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

David Pierre, 34, was sentenced in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 22 before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release as a sex offender. Additionally, Jenna Linden, 24, was sentenced in federal court on Sept. 23 before Judge Dimitrouleas to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release as a sex offender. Linden and Pierre pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a minor on July 15 and Aug.13, respectively.


CLEVELAND – A Medina, Ohio manufacturer of fasteners and fastening will pay $245,000 and furnish other relief to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division (Case No. 1:08-cv-02271), two Hispanic machinists at SFS Intec were denied training opportunities that were regularly made available to non-Hispanic employees. The EEOC’s investigation revealed that the two machinists were subjected to condescending and offensive comments with respect to their national origin, Puerto Rican. The Hispanic machinists were also the only two employees who lost their jobs when SFS Intec implemented a reduction in force at its Medina facility in July, 2007.


DETROIT – Bridgewater Interiors, LLC has agreed to resolve a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced on 10/22/09. Bridgewater Interiors, a joint venture between Johnson Controls and Epsilon LLC of Detroit, produces seating and interior systems for major automakers in North America.

According to the EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 2:08-CV-12343 filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), Bridgewater subjected Michael Christopher, an African American who worked on the line of the auto parts supplier, to discrimination by failing to promote him to a maintenance position because of his race.

Queens Man and Accomplice Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to Hizballah

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, announced the filing of an indictment yesterday charging Patrick Nayyar and Conrad Stanisclaus Mulholland with attempting to provide material support to Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization. The indictment also charges Nayyar with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

On Sept. 24, 2009, Nayyar, a 46-year-old citizen of India who had been residing illegally in the United States, was arrested at his residence in Queens, N.Y., based on a criminal complaint charging him with possessing a firearm and ammunition as an illegal alien. Later that day, Nayyar was presented in Brooklyn federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan Azrack.

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Race Discrimination Against the City of Marion, Arkansas

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with the city of Marion, Ark., that, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, will resolve the department’s lawsuit against the city alleging race discrimination in employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion.

The department’s complaint, filed in May 2009, alleges that the city discriminated against Stacy D. Allen, an African-American and a former part-time patrol officer in the city’s police department, when it did not appoint him as a full-time patrol officer. The complaint alleges that the police department had a history of appointing the most senior part-time patrol officer as a full-time officer when a full-time position became available. However, when Allen, who was the city’s only African-American patrol officer, became …

Two Chicago Men Charged in Connection with Alleged Roles in Foreign Terror Plot That Focused on Targets in Denmark

Two Chicago men have been arrested on federal charges for their alleged roles in conspiracies to provide material support and/or to commit terrorist acts against overseas targets, including facilities and employees of a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, federal law enforcement officials announced today. There was no imminent danger in the Chicago area, officials said, adding that the charges are unrelated to recent terror plot arrests in Boston, New York, Colorado, Texas and central Illinois.

The defendants charged in separate criminal complaints unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago are David Coleman Headley, 49, and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, also known as Tahawar Rana, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI. The complaints remained under seal temporarily after the defendants’ arrests, with court approval, so a…


MINNEAPOLIS – The EEOC announced today that Chief Judge Michael J. Davis has approved and directed the clerk of court to enter a consent decree resolving an EEOC lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) against Hob-Lob, Limited Partnership, which does business as Hobby Lobby. In the lawsuit, the EEOC contended that Hobby Lobby refused to allow an employee with mobility limitations to perform her job while in a wheelchair.

The EEOC charged that Hobby Lobby prohibited Julie Tufts, an employee in its Rochester, Minn.-based store, to use her wheelchair when performing her job and failed to accommodate her inability to climb ladders. Therefore, Tufts was unable to continue to work at Hobby Lobby due to the alleged discrimination and was discharged because she could not come back to work without use of the wheelchair.

Former Federal Corrections Officer Sentenced to Life in Prison on Civil Rights Charges Related to Fatal Assault

WASHINGTON – Erin Sharma, a former corrections officer with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, was sentenced today in federal court in Orlando, Fla., on federal civil rights charges related to the fatal assault of an inmate, announced Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton of the Middle District of Florida. Sharma was sentenced to serve a term of life in prison, three years of post-release supervision and 75 hours of community service.

On July 29, 2009, a federal jury in Orlando found Sharma guilty of two felony federal civil rights charges related to the fatal assault of federal inmate Richard Delano in March 2005. The evidence at trial showed that on Feb. 28, 2005, Sharma and a co-conspirator agreed to move Delano into the cell of another inmate at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Fla. The evidence also showed that Sharma and the co-conspirator knew that the other inmate was likely to assault Delano…

Utah-Based Tax Shelter Operators Plead Guilty in $200 Million Dollar Tax Fraud

WASHINGTON – David Plummer, Spencer Plummer and Terry Green, operators of a fraudulent tax shelter that offered tax benefits in connection with the leasing of thoroughbred mares, pleaded guilty today to a criminal information charging them with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.

According to the criminal information and statements made in court, the defendants called their fraudulent tax product the Mare Lease Program and marketed it through a company called ClassicStar LLC. David Plummer created the Mare Lease Program and oversaw the program at ClassicStar. Spencer Plummer assisted David Plummer in the operation of the Mare Lease Program. Terry Green was a Certified Public Accountant and assisted investors in the Mare Lease Program in preparing and filing income tax returns on which they reported fraudulent deductions. Green also assisted customers in their IRS audits by creating false and back…

Cuban Citizen Extradited from Latvia and Arraigned for Allegedly Trafficking Counterfeit Slot Machines and Computer Programs

Rodolfo Rodriguez Cabrera, 43, a Cuban national, was arraigned today in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on charges of producing and selling counterfeit International Game Technology (IGT) video gaming machines, commonly known as slot machines, and counterfeit IGT computer programs.

Cabrera and Henry Mantilla, 35, of Cape Coral, Fla., were indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas on April 22, 2009, with one count of conspiracy, two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, two counts of trafficking in counterfeit labels and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. According to the indictment, Cabrera and Mantilla conspired between August 2007 and April 15, 2009, to make and sell unauthorized copies of computer programs designed for IGT video slot machines and counterfeit IGT video slot machines bearing IGT’s registered trademarks, all without the permission of IGT. The indictment also contains 13 forfeiture allegations seeking forfeiture of any and all counte…

Little Rock Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Sex Trafficking

WASHINGTON – Tommy Handy, aka "Tom Tom," waived indictment and pleaded guilty in federal court in Little Rock, Ark., to a federal charge of sex trafficking of an underage female, announced Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Jane W. Duke, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Thomas J. Browne, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the FBI.

Handy, 45, admitted during the hearing that he knew an underage female with the initials of "DB" was between the ages of 14 and 18 when she was caused to engage in commercial sex acts and that Handy benefitted from her engaging in the commercial sex acts. According to the plea agreement, the pending indictment was dismissed upon the court’s acceptance of Handy’s plea to the sex trafficking charge. As a result of his plea, Handy could be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled by the court. Hand…

Justice Department Moves to Intervene in Adult Homes Case Against the State of New York

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a motion to intervene in Disability Advocates Inc. v. David A. Paterson, et al. in federal court in the Eastern District of New York. The United States alleges that the state of New York has failed to house thousands of individuals with mental illness who currently reside in large, institutional "adult homes" in the most integrated setting, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. An integrated setting is a setting that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with nondisabled persons to the fullest extent possible.

On Sep. 8, 2009, the district court ruled that the state discriminated against individuals with mental illness residing in adult homes, in violation of the integration mandate of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. The case has entered a stage where the court will determine a remedy for the violations. The United States now seeks to part…

CARMEN HUERTAS,has been indicted on charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of CARMEN HUERTAS in connection with a drunk-driving motor vehicle incident that killed an 11-year-old girl and injured six other girls between the ages of 11- and 14-years-old.

HUERTAS, 31, of the Bronx, has been indicted on charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and assault. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred on October 11, 2009.

Kevin O’Shea, 50, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for mail fraud

PHILADELPHIA—Kevin O’Shea, 50, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for mail fraud, theft from a federally funded program, and filing a false tax return. At the time of the crimes, O’Shea was working for and defrauding the Philadelphia Academy Charter School (“PACS”), announced United States Attorney Michael L. Levy.

In July 2009, O’Shea entered a guilty plea admitting that he stole between $400,000 and $1 million from PACS by: (1) using approximately $710,000 in PACS’ funds to purchase a building in the name of his purported non-profit business; (2) demanding kickbacks from PACS vendors; (3) submitting for reimbursement at least $40,000 in fraudulent invoices for personal meals, entertainment, home improvements, and gas and telephone bills; (4) having approximately $50,000 worth of home repairs improperly billed to PACS; (5) collecting approximately $34,000 in rent from entities using PACS facilities; and (6) hiring a computer firm in an attempt to destroy compu…

Forty-One Defendants Federally Indicted in Racine Gang Case

United States Attorney Michelle L. Jacobs announced today that two indictments were unsealed in federal court charging 41 defendants with various drug-trafficking offenses. The defendants, many of whom are alleged to be members of the Vice Lords and North Side Gangster Disciples street gangs, are charged with, among other things, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A) and 846.

The defendants are identified as: Starsius T. Barnes, a.k.a. “Star” (32), Brian T. Blair, a.k.a. “K.B.” (27), Tyreese D. Burton, a.k.a. “T-streets” (20), Elliot L. Campbell, a.k.a. “Vice Lord Elliot” (29), Shavelle S. Campbell, a.k.a. “Snowman” (19), Maceo T. Collins, a.k.a. “Boss Hog” (25), Brandon C. Evans, a.k.a. “B-cool” (22), Charles C. Famous, a.k.a. “Charley Wolly” (20), Jarren D. Gardner, a.k.a. “Smizz”or “J.B.” (22), Mark A. Geater, a.k.a. “Poke” (21), Darrell D. Grandberry, a.k.a. “Nacho” (19), Andre E. Hampton, a.k.…

Maker of Rayon Clothes Barred from Deceptive "Bamboo" Claims

Just because bamboo is green does not mean that companies who purport to make clothing and other textiles from processed bamboo can make unsupported “green” claims. The Federal Trade Commission today announced a settlement with a company that allegedly falsely claimed its rayon products are made of bamboo fiber, retain bamboo’s antimicrobial properties, and are biodegradable.

Under the settlement, the company has agreed that it will not make any future bamboo claims unless they are true and backed by reliable evidence, and that it will no longer claim that the clothing and bath products it sells are made of bamboo fiber – when they actually are made of rayon processed from bamboo plants.

More Than 300 Alleged La Familia Cartel Members and Associates Arrested in Two-Day Nationwide Takedown

WASHINGTON – Today Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of nearly 1,200 individuals on narcotics-related charges and the seizure of more than 11.7 tons of narcotics as part of a 44-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as "Project Coronado." The Attorney General was joined in announcing the current results of Project Coronado by DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson.

Over the past two days, 303 individuals in 19 states were arrested as part of Project Coronado, which targeted the distribution network of a major Mexican drug trafficking organization known as La Familia, through coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement. More than 3,000 agents and officers operated across the United States to make the arrests during the two-day takedown. During the two-day operation alone, $3.4 million in U.S. currency, 729 pounds of methamphetamine, 62 kilogram…

Three Sentenced for Conspiring to Commit Terrorist Acts Against Americans Overseas

WASHINGTON -- Three Ohio residents, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 29, Marwan Othman El-Hindi, 46, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 28, have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from more than 8 years to 20 years for conspiring to commit terrorist acts against Americans overseas, including U.S. military personnel in Iraq, and other terrorism-related violations.

The sentences, which were handed down yesterday by U.S. District Court Chief Judge James G. Carr in the Northern District of Ohio, were announced by David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Stephen M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; and C. Frank Figliuzzi, Special Agent in Charge, Cleveland Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

VINCENT HEYWARD has been indicted on multiple charges of predatory sexual assault, rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, burglary and robbery

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a 21-year-old man in connection with a series of sexual assaults and robberies in Hamilton Heights and Chinatown earlier this summer.

VINCENT HEYWARD has been indicted on multiple charges of predatory sexual assault, rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, burglary and robbery. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between August 1, 2009 and September 7, 2009.

NYPD Police Sergeant JOSEPH SPIEKERMAN, has been ndicted on felony charges of assault and vehicular assault

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a New York City police officer in connection with a motor vehicle incident that left an elderly man seriously injured.

The defendant is Police Sergeant JOSEPH SPIEKERMAN, 43. He joined the New York City Police Department in 1994 and is currently suspended from his regular duties at the Housing Bureau Public Service Area 4 in the Bronx. He was indicted on felony charges of assault and vehicular assault.

22-count indictment against OGS employees Gary Pivoda and Louis Marciano

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 22, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that two Office of General Services (OGS) employees have been indicted for allegedly using a storage area in Albany’s East Parking Garage for several months as a “man cave,” where they allegedly used and dealt marijuana and cocaine, slept and watched television instead of performing their duties.

“Instead of working, these state employees allegedly used public property and taxpayer-funded time to nap and party in a den of illicit activities,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “New Yorkers expect state employees to obey the law, act in a professional manner and carry out their assigned duties. This office will not tolerate abuses of trust and will continue to root out the corruption to restore faith in government.”


SAN FRANCISCO – California Psychiatric Transitions, Inc. (CPT), a Central Valley mental health rehabilitation center, has agreed to provide $145,000 and take significant remedial measures to settle a federal lawsuit charging that a male supervisor subjected a group of female employees to a pervasive sexually hostile work environment for several years, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.

The EEOC said in the case that the supervisor subjected nine women, who no longer work at CPT, to a constant barrage of crude sexual comments and unwelcome physical touching. Examples of the alleged harassment included boasts about the supervisor’s sexual prowess and activities, frequent remarks about women’s breasts, and derogatory sex-based epithets. The women held various jobs at CPT, including kitchen workers, mental health workers, housekeepers, nurses and activities workers.

Philadelphia man sentenced for immigration fraud and other federal crimes

PHILADELPHIA - A man from Willistown Township, Pa., was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Oct. 21 after pleading guilty to three counts of immigration fraud, one count of illegally possessing a firearm silencer without a serial number, and one count of conspiracy to commit tax fraud. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sean O'Neill, 49, pleaded guilty to the charges on April 16. During the proceeding, O'Neill admitted he fraudulently obtained U.S. permanent residence status by lying about his criminal record, his marriage and his membership in a prohibited organization. In his application for U.S. permanent residence, O'Neill denied having any prior arrests or criminal convictions when, in fact, he had four prior convictions in the United Kingdom. One of his arrests occurred when he was a member in the Fianna na h'Eireann, an organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of British rule in Northern Ireland.

Twenty charged in connection with $26 million Medicare fraud schemes

Twenty defendants, most of them residing in the Los Angeles area, have been charged in seven cases for allegedly participating in Medicare fraud schemes that resulted in more than $26 million in fraudulent bills to the Medicare program.

Federal and state agents arrested seven of the defendants this morning, and seven others were taken into custody last week, as the result of an investigation by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force that targeted fraudulent durable medical equipment (DME) providers. The seven defendants arrested today are scheduled to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles beginning this afternoon.

Ship Operator Pleads Guilty for Concealing Pollution from Oil Tanker

A Panamanian company that operated a 40,000-ton oil tanker ship that regularly made calls in multiple ports in Texas pleaded guilty today in federal court in Houston for deliberately concealing pollution discharges from the ship directly into the sea.

Styga Compania Naviera S.A., the operator of the M/T Georgios M, pleaded guilty to three felony violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to properly maintain an oil record book as required by federal and international law.

Oklahoma man pleads guilty to enticing minor for sex When he was arrested, he possessed a pistol, duct tape and handcuffs in his car

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - An Oklahoma man, who traveled to Missouri and tried to entice a 13-year-old girl to have sex with him, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday. This guilty plea resulted from an investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff's Department, the Oklahoma Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the police departments of Tulsa and Stillwater, Okla.

Robert Dean Graef, 29, of Tulsa, pleaded guilty Oct. 21 before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr, Western District of Missouri, to attempting to entice a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl to engage in illicit sex, and to traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor.

Norte Valle Cartel Kingpin and Former FBI Top Ten Fugitive Diego Montoya Sanchez Sentenced to 45 Years for Cocaine Trafficking, Murder, and Racketeeri

Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Division, announced that one-time Norte Valle Cartel kingpin and former FBI Top Ten fugitive Diego Montoya Sanchez, a/k/a “Don Diego,” was sentenced today to a 45-year term of imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. Today’s sentencing follows Montoya Sanchez’s guilty plea on August 11, 2009, to conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 963; and obstruction of justice by murder, in violation of Title 18,United States Code, Sections 1503 and 1111.

At the time of his August guilty plea, Montoya Sanchez also entered a guilty plea before Judge Altonaga in a separate case from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that was transferred to Miami for a consolidated guilty plea. In that case, which was jointly investigated an…

Tarek Mehanna, Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorists

BOSTON—A Sudbury, Mass., man was charged today in federal court with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael K. Loucks and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Boston Field Division, announced today that Tarek Mehanna, 27, of 6 Fairhaven Circle, Sudbury, Mass., was charged in a complaint with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Mort’s Concrete and Owner, to Enforce Employment Rights of Wisconsin Army National Guardsman

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Mort’s Concrete Inc. and its owner, Kevin Mortimer, for allegedly violating the rights of Wisconsin Army National Guardsman Rocco Sylvester Jr. by failing to properly re-employ him when he returned from active military duty in Iraq. The lawsuit alleges that Mort’s Concrete and Mortimer violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which, subject to certain limitations, requires that individuals who leave their civilian jobs to serve in the military be promptly re-employed by their civilian employers in the same positions, or in positions comparable to the positions they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service.

According to the department’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wis., Mort’s Concrete and Mortimer violated USERRA by not reemploying Sylvester in his previous position as a full-time construction foreman upon his…

Former Fumo Associate Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Senate of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA—S. Michael Palermo, 69, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with former State Senator Vincent Fumo to receive a contract from the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee (“SDAC”), under which Palermo received $287,000 in state funds between 1999 and 2004 for providing little or no actual work to the SDAC. Palermo was a friend of Fumo's who worked as an aide to the former senator in the early 1970s, when Fumo was director of a Pennsylvania agency, and, again, as chief of staff in Fumo's legislative district office in Philadelphia. The contract with defendant Palermo, which became effective in 1999, provided payments of $150 per hour to Palermo's firm, M.P. Consulting, Inc., for consulting services to the SDAC regarding the fiscal and operational analysis of intrastate transportation issues.

Palermo admitted that, beginning in or about July 1999, he submitted an invoice each month to the SDAC which fraudulently represented that h…

U.S. Army Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Money Laundering Conspiracy Related to Department of Defense Contracts in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Army Sergeant deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, pleaded guilty today to bribery and a money laundering conspiracy arising out of her work administering transportation services, the Department of Justice announced today. The Army Sergeant has agreed to pay $90,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and to cooperate with the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation.

According to the charges, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Ana C. Chavez accepted $90,000 in cash and wire transfers as a bribe from a DOD contractor in return for Chavez exercising her influence at the Transportation Operations Support Office in the award of DOD contracts and work orders to that contractor’s company. Chavez gave a portion of the bribe proceeds to another DOD contractor working at Bagram Airfield, with whom she conspired to launder the money through various bank accounts held by Chavez’s associates in the United States.…


PHILADELPHIA – Top officials of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights (DOJ), will jointly hold a town hall listening session to draw public input on new federal regulations and procedures to promote the hiring of people with disabilities. The forum, the second of four in major cities nationwide, will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, at Liberty Resources, 714 Market Street, Suite 100, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106.

The EEOC-DOJ listening sessions are part of a series of national initiatives by the Obama Administration to ensure fair and equal access to employment for all Americans, particularly the 54 million people in this country living with disabilities. The sessions provide direct input from the business/employer communities as well as the disability and disability advocacy community on proposed regulations in the recently enacted Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act.

Iconix Brand Group Settles Charges Its Apparel Web Sites Violated Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

Iconix Brand Group, Inc. will pay a $250,000 civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the FTC’s COPPA Rule by knowingly collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children online without first obtaining their parents’ permission.

Iconix owns, licenses, and markets – both offline and online – several popular apparel brands that appeal to children and teens, including Mudd, Candie’s, Bongo, and OP. Iconix required consumers on many of its brand-specific Web sites to provide personal information, such as full name, e-mail address, zip code, and in some cases mailing address, gender, and phone number – as well as date of birth – in order to receive brand updates, enter sweepstakes contests, and participate in interactive brand-awareness campaigns and other Web site features. Since 2006, Iconix knowingly collected and stored personal information from approximately 1,000 children without…

MoneyGram to Pay $18 Million to Settle FTC Charges That it Allowed its Money Transfer System To Be Used for Fraud

MoneyGram International, Inc., the second-largest money transfer service in the United States, will pay $18 million in consumer redress to settle FTC charges that the company allowed its money transfer system to be used by fraudulent telemarketers to bilk U.S. consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. MoneyGram also will be required to implement a comprehensive anti-fraud and agent-monitoring program.

The FTC charged that between 2004 and 2008, MoneyGram agents helped fraudulent telemarketers and other con artists who tricked U.S. consumers into wiring more than $84 million within the United States and to Canada – after these consumers were falsely told they had won a lottery, were hired for a secret shopper program, or were guaranteed loans. The $84 million in losses is based on consumer complaints to MoneyGram – actual consumer losses likely are much higher.

Jury Convicts Tax Shelter Promoters of Conspiracy, Tax Crimes

WASHINGTON - Three tax shelter promoters, Peter J. Peggs of Prides Crossing, Mass., Robert D. Larsen of Winter Park, Colo., and Craig M. Stone, formerly of Fort Pierce, Fla., were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States by a federal jury in Grand Rapids, Mich., today following a four-week trial, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. In addition, the jury found Peggs and Larsen guilty of tax evasion.

In October 2007, Peggs, Larsen and Stone were indicted for a scheme to promote, market, sell and administer a fraudulent tax shelter. In March 2008, a superseding indictment was returned charging Anthony Merlo of New Hampshire, a business consultant and partner of Peggs and Larsen; John A. Campbell, a former partner in the Kalamazoo, Mich., office of the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone P.L.C.; and Campbell’s client, Oskar René Poch of Hickory Corners, Mich., for their roles in the scheme. In April 2008, Campbell, who marketed the…

Two Colorado Residents Indicted for Illegally Killing and Selling Bobcats

WASHINGTON—A federal grand jury in Denver returned a 15-count felony indictment yesterday charging two individuals with conspiracy, wildlife trafficking and firearms violations stemming from the illegal trapping, killing and selling of bobcats and their pelts, the Justice Department announced.

The indictment charges both Jeffrey M. Bodnar and Veronica Anderson-Bodnar with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, two substantive violations of the Lacey Act and two violations of the Lacey Act for false records. Bodnar was also charged with seven firearms violations for possession of a firearm by a felon. Anderson-Bodnar was charged with two violations for transferring firearms to a felon.


NEW YORK, NY (October 20, 2009)- New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, and New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram today announced their offices’ intent to sue FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (“FedEx Ground”) for violations of state labor laws. Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of actions taken by the Attorneys General to protect their states’ workforces and enforce labor laws.

According to the letter sent today to FedEx Ground, the company unlawfully misclassifies its drivers as independent contractors. As such, drivers do not receive Workers’ Compensation coverage through FedEx Ground. Moreover, independent contractors are not protected by anti-discrimination laws, labor relations laws, and other important laws that protect New York, Montana and New Jersey workers. At the same time, drivers are required to spend thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for their trucks, repairs, fuel and uniforms while being held to strict FedEx …

Indiana Home Health Agency Pays Nearly $2 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

WASHINGTON – Omni Home Care, a home health care agency in Evansville, Ind., and its parent corporation, Omni Home Health, have agreed to pay the United States $1.97 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act between 2006 and 2008, by failing to obtain certain required physician approvals before submitting bills for home health services to Medicare, the Justice Department announced today.

Under the Medicare program, a physician must sign plan of care forms for the initial home care, and must re-certify the plan at least every 60 days. In August 2008, Omni submitted a disclosure to the Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, in which Omni stated that the required physician signatures were not timely obtained for certain services provided at its Evansville, Ind., facility. The settlement announced today resulted from the company’s disclosure.


A civil complaint was filed today in federal court in Central Islip against Ideal Mortgage Bankers, Ltd. d/b/a/ Lend America, a mortgage lender located in Melville, Long Island, seeking a court-ordered injunction to prevent the company from making loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”). The complaint also seeks relief against Lend America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Business Strategist, Michael Ashley. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco.

The complaint was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Kenneth Donohue, Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and Assistant Secretary David H. Stevens, Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration.

Former State Attorney Investigator convicted of possessing child pornography

ORLANDO, Fla. - A former investigator for the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office, Sean Peters, was found guilty of possession of child pornography after a four-day jury trial in the Middle Judicial District of Florida before U.S. District Judge John Antoon following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation

Following the Oct. 16 conviction, Judge Antoon ordered Peters to be remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshalls until his sentencing hearing on Jan. 15, 2010.

Detroit-Area Physical Therapist Pleads Guilty in Medicare Fraud Scheme

Solomon Nathaniel of Sterling Heights, Mich., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Detroit to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program.

In his guilty plea today, Nathaniel, 51, a licensed physical therapist, admitted that he worked as a contract therapist for Suresh Chand, a co-conspirator who pleaded guilty to similar charges on Sept. 29, 2009. Chand owned and controlled several companies operating in the Detroit area that purported to provide physical and occupational therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Nathaniel admitted that he, Chand and others created fictitious therapy files appearing to document physical and occupational therapy services provided to Medicare beneficiaries, when in fact no such services had been provided. According to court documents, the fictitious services reflected in the files were billed to Medicare through sham Medicare providers controlled by Chand and other co-conspirators.

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 37 Months for Illegally Sending Money to Pakistan’s Swat Region

PHILADELPHIA—Habib Khan, 49, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for crimes relating to his operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, announced United States Attorney Michael L. Levy. Khan, a citizen of Pakistan, pleaded guilty last April, admitting that he operated a business, from at least November 2001 through February 2009, in which he charged a fee to wire or transport at least $2.1 million to beneficiaries in the Swat region of Pakistan. Khan never obtained a license to operate such a business and never registered this business with the federal government, as required by law. Additionally, in an effort to hide the activities of his illegal business, Khan structured financial transactions with a local bank in order to prevent the bank from filing currency transaction reports with the federal government. Khan was convicted on one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, one count of operating an unlicensed mone…

Former Accounting Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $3.6 Million from Employer

HOUSTON—A former accounting supervisor for a Houston area chemicals company has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $3.6 million from her employer, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Diana Simon, 49, of Sugar Land, Texas, appeared before United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt today and pleaded guilty to wire fraud arising from a scheme she devised to steal more than $3.6 million from her employer, Kaneka Texas. Kaneka Texas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaneka Japan, a Japanese chemicals company. Kaneka Texas is located in Pasadena, Texas.

Stewart David Nozette, Has Been Charged with Attempted Espionage

A Maryland scientist who once worked in varying capacities for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been arrested for attempted espionage, David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced today.

A criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia charges Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, with attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States to an individual that Nozette believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.

Justice Department Reaches ADA Settlement with Fort Wayne, Indiana, Day Care Center Regarding Children with Diabetes

WASHINGTON – Pine Hills Kiddie Garden of Fort Wayne, Ind., will take necessary steps to ensure that a child’s diabetes care is integrated into the usual routine of its day care center and programs as part of a settlement to resolve allegations that it discriminated on the basis of disability, the Justice Department announced today.

The settlement resolves a complaint filed by a parent of a six-year-old girl with Type I diabetes, alleging that Pine Hills refused in 2007 to permit the girl to participate in field trips as part of the summer program unless she was accompanied by a parent or a medically trained person hired by the parent. The complaint was filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

BASF Corporation Agrees to Clean Air Act Upgrades to Protect Stratospheric Ozone

WASHINGTON— BASF Corporation has agreed, under a Clean Air Act settlement filed today in federal court in Beaumont, Texas, to reduce the use of refrigerant chemicals that destroy the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

The company will spend more than an estimated $250,000 to retrofit one refrigeration unit that currently uses such chemicals, replacing them with environmentally-friendly alternatives, and will either retrofit or retire two other units. BASF will also pay a civil penalty of $384,200 to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations.

Attorney General Announces Formal Medical Marijuana Guidelines

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The guidelines make clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws, while underscoring that the Department will continue to prosecute people whose claims of compliance with state and local law conceal operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws.

"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Holder said. "This balanced policy formalizes a sensible approach that the Department has been following since January: effectively focu…

$124 million settlement reached with Mylan Pharmaceuticals, UDL Laboratories, AstraZeneca and Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals

NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 19, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that New York state has joined with other states and the federal government and reached an agreement with four pharmaceutical companies that will pay a total of $124 million to resolve claims that they violated the False Claims Act by failing to pay appropriate rebates for drugs that were paid for by Medicaid.

The portion of the settlement going to New York state is $18,364,742.69.

“Companies that do not properly honor their repayment obligations to our Medicaid programs are violating the law and end up increasing the burden on taxpayers,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This settlement brings money that was underpaid by these companies back to New York state. I applaud our multi-state partners and the federal government with whom we worked together to make sure the Medicaid program is accurately reimbursed.”

Consumer Data Broker ChoicePoint Failed to Protect Consumers' Personal Data

ChoicePoint, Inc., one of the nation’s largest data brokers, has agreed to strengthened data security requirements to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company failed to implement a comprehensive information security program protecting consumers’ sensitive information, as required by a previous court order. This failure left the door open to a data breach in 2008 that compromised the personal information of 13,750 people and put them at risk of identify theft. ChoicePoint has now agreed to a modified court order that expands its data security assessment and reporting duties and requires the company to pay a $275,000 penalty.

In April 2008, ChoicePoint (now a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier, Inc.) turned off a key electronic security tool used to monitor access to one of its databases, and for four months failed to detect that the security tool was off, according to the FTC. During that period, an unknown person conducted thousands of unauthorized searches of a ChoicePoint da…

Sean Snowden's Sports Review - Game 2

By: Sean Snowden

Game 2 is in the books and it was a good one, for the average baseball fan it had everything you could have asked for. The Yankees pitching was very impressive in the way they handled the tough situations. Many fans are most likely looking for the real identity of the impostor that is dawning the #13 jersey as it has been synonymous with the word clutch all postseason long. Rodriguez can bask in the spotlight New York has shined on hm since the moment he put on the pinstripes, As far as what I've seen from him in the playoffs he might as well be the white knight coming to rescue whenever trouble befalls the kingdom.

It was a long game that kept you on the edge of your seat as Ic an imagine every fan was sitting on each pitch made. I, like every Yankee fan in the world showed absolute elation as Hairston scored the winning run to secure another important victory. Now it's time to take the series to the west coast where Andy Pettite will take the mound hoping to m…

Sean Snowden's Sports Review - Game 1

By: Sean Snowden

Game 1 is in the books and it went as well as you could have possibly hoped for the Yankees. I'll admit they were helped out by some uncharacteristic mistakes by the Angels, but they got the hits when they counted therefore capitalizing on those miscues. Outside of that there is one solitary reason for why the first game was a win for the Bombers....C.C. Sabathia. He pitched as great as you would expect an ace to do, and I must say that I was rather impressed with the command of the plate he had the entire game especially the usage of that changeup he was throwing.

Good pitching can suppress scrappy teams like the Angels and that is the precedent the Yankees have to enforce upon the entire pitching staff so the other starters will follow Sabathia's lead. As much as it is great to get the first game, it is only game 1 and there is still much to do and every New Yorker knows the Yankees are not out of the woods yet with the team from Anaheim. The Bombers can celeb…

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against TK Properties LLC for Violating the Fair Housing Act

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced this week that it has filed a lawsuit against TK Properties L.L.C., its officer, Scott Terveen, and two employees, Ann Wagner and Corey Anderson, for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating on the basis of race. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota, charges that the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by creating a hostile housing environment for one African- American family and two white families who were tenants at Lakeport Village Apartments in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"All Americans are guaranteed the right to live in their homes without fear of discrimination because of their race, and housing providers should know that the Department of Justice is committed to protecting that right," said the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Thomas E. Perez. "We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who stand in the way of achieving the Fair Housing Act’…


WASHINGTON-Assistant Secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton today announced standardized Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with 67 state and local law enforcement agencies to participate in 287(g) partnerships-improving public safety by prioritizing criminal aliens who are a threat to local communities, ensuring consistent and uniform policies and providing a force multiplier for ICE's immigration enforcement efforts across the country.

"Coordinating with our state and local partners is important to smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "These new agreements promote public safety by prioritizing the identification and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and ensure consistency and stronger federal oversight of state and local immigration law enforcement efforts across the nation. The rules set forth in these agreements will enhance our efforts to work …

Joseph Vieson III, Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of Children

BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Joseph Vieson III, age 43, of Annapolis, Maryland, today to 45 years in prison, followed by supervised release for life, for conspiracy to produce child pornography, sexually exploiting a minor to produce child pornography and assisting another to engage in sexually explicit conduct with a child, and transportation, distribution and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Motz also ordered Vieson to pay restitution of $30,403.66.

“The international law enforcement effort that saved two little girls in Maryland from ongoing sexual abuse is awe-inspiring, and it has become a source of admiration and inspiration at national seminars focused on combating child exploitation,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “First, a Canadian police officer found new images of child pornography on the internet and notified U.S. authorities that a beer can in the…

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Hedge Fund Managers, Fortune 500 Executives, and Management Consulting Director in $20 Million Insider Trading Case

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH DEMAREST, JR., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), today announced charges against six individuals arising out of their alleged involvement in the largest hedge fund insider trading case in history. The defendants include: RAJ RAJARATNAM, the Managing Member of Galleon Management, LLC ("Galleon"), and a portfolio manager for Galleon Technology Offshore, Ltd.; DANIELLE CHIESI, an employee of New Castle Funds, LLC ("New Castle"), formerly the equity hedge fund group of Bear Stearns Asset Management, Inc.; MARK KURLAND, a top executive at New Castle; RAJIV GOEL, a Director in Strategic Investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corporation ("Intel"); ANIL KUMAR, a Director at McKinsey & Company, Inc. ("McKinsey"), a global management consulting firm; and ROBERT MOFF…

Federal Court Permanently Bars Utah Man from Promoting “Asset Protection” Scheme

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in St. George, Utah, has permanently enjoined Kent Bickmore, the founder of a so-called asset-protection business, from helping customers file fraudulent liens and create hidden nominee bank accounts, the Justice Department announced today. Bickmore agreed to the injunction without admitting the government’s allegations.

The government’s complaint alleged that Bickmore of St. George, Utah, operated the now-defunct Asset Protection Plus Inc., which helped customers place sham liens on their property to deceive creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service. Bickmore and Asset Protection also allegedly helped customers hide their income and assets by holding their money in bank accounts under nominee names.

Federal Court Rules That Virginia Violated Voting Rights of Military and Overseas Citizens

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced that a federal district court in Richmond, Va., ruled yesterday that Virginia violated the voting rights of American military personnel and other overseas citizens by failing to mail absentee ballots in sufficient time for them to be counted in the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.

Ruling in a 2008 lawsuit by the Justice Department, U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Williams declared that Virginia’s failure to mail more than 2,000 absentee ballots at least 30 days prior to the election violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), a federal law that guarantees military personnel and other citizens living abroad the right to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

3 sentenced for recruiting Chinese women for prostitution

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The ring leader and two others who ran a massage parlor scheme that recruited women from China to work as prostitutes in the U.S. were sentenced in federal court this week. These sentences resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the FBI, the Overland Park (Kansas) Police Department, the Independence (Missouri) Police Department, and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Ling Xu, aka "Cherry," 48, was sentenced Oct. 14 by U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Western District of Missouri, to eight years and two months in federal prison without parole. Xu was sentenced for leading and organizing a criminal scheme to coerce her employees, whom she recruited from China, to engage in prostitution. Her co-conspirators Zhong Yan Liu, aka "Lucky," 37, and Cheng Tang, aka "Tom," 23, were each sentenced Oct. 13 by Judge Gaitan to five years in federal prison without p…

David H. Safavian was sentenced today to one year in prison

Former General Services Administration (GSA) Chief of Staff David H. Safavian was sentenced today to one year in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with the investigation into the activities of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In addition to the prison term, Safavian was sentenced today to two years of supervised release by U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman of the District of Columbia.

LA-area attorney, 2 business associates charged with work visa fraud

LOS ANGELES - A local immigration attorney and two of his business associates were arrested Thursday on federal criminal charges for allegedly orchestrating a decade-long employment visa fraud scheme, and using the profits to purchase several hundred thousand dollars worth of vacant cemetery plots.

Kelly Einstein Darwin Giles, 46, the owner of a West Covina, Calif., law practice formerly known as the East West Law Group, was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. He was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport as he returned from an out-of-town trip. His two business associates, Joseph Wai-man Wu, 50, and Wu's wife, May Yin-man Wu, 43, were arrested Oct. 15.


BALTIMORE – A Charlotte, N.C.-based equipment rental company will pay $64,641 to settle a religious harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just days before the case was scheduled for a jury trial, the agency announced today. The EEOC had sued Sunbelt Rentals, Inc., the nationwide commercial rental company, on behalf of a Muslim worker who was allegedly discriminated against because of his Islamic faith at a company facility in Gaithersburg, Md.

In its suit (EEOC v. Sunbelt Rentals, Inc., Civil Action No. PJM 04-cv-2978) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the EEOC charged that Clinton Ingram was subjected to derogatory comments and slurs based on his religion, Islam. The comments, according to the EEOC, included suggestions that Ingram might be a terrorist because he is Muslim. The suit alleged that various other hostile incidents were also directed at Ingram because of his religion, such as subjecting him to an anti-Musli…

Chinese National Charged with Stealing Ford Trade Secrets

DETROIT—A federal indictment was unsealed late yesterday in Detroit charging Xiang Dong Yu, aka Mike Yu, 47, of Beijing, China, with theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer, announced Terrence Berg, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Yu was arrested on Oct. 14, 2009 at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport upon entering the United States from China. Berg was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.

According to the indictment, Yu was a Product Engineer for the Ford Motor Company from 1997 to 2007 and had access to Ford trade secrets, including Ford design documents. In December 2006, Yu accepted a job at the China branch of a U.S. company. The indictment alleges that on the eve of his departure from Ford and before he told Ford of his new job, Yu copied some 4,000 Ford documents onto an external hard drive, including sensitive Ford design documents. Included in…


Melhado, Flynn & Associates (“MFA”), a broker-dealer and investment advisor registered with the former National Association of Securities Dealers, pled guilty this afternoon to conducting a long-running securities fraud before United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt. George Motz, MFA’s co-defendant, CEO, and Chairman of the Executive Committee pled guilty to the same crime late Tuesday evening. The defendants were scheduled for trial on October 20, 2009.

MFA admitted that Motz conducted a fraudulent trade allocation scheme, known as “cherry-picking,” to benefit the firm from approximately November 2000 through June 2005. The scheme generated approximately $2.2 million in risk-free profits for MFA’s proprietary trading account and two hedge fund trading accounts Motz controlled at the expense of MFA discretionary clients.

Ship Captain Sentenced to 10 Months Confinement

WASHINGTON – Panagiotis Lekkas, the captain of the cargo ship, M/V Theotokos, was sentenced today in federal court in New Orleans to 10 months confinement, the Justice Department announced. Lekkas pleaded guilty on July 15, 2009, to one count of obstruction of justice, one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and two counts of violating the Ports and Waterways Safety Act.

According to the sentence, Lekkas will serve the 10-month confinement as follows: six months in prison, followed by four months in a community confinement facility in Louisiana. Lekkas must also pay a fine of $4,000.

Steroid Manufacturing Ring Busted Investigation Leads to Three Arrests and Underground Steroid Lab

OCT 15-- SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor, El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves, and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, announced today the conclusion of a ten-month undercover investigation into an illegal anabolic steroid manufacturing ring that led to three arrests and the service of three state search warrants in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties. As a result of this investigation, agents seized a large anabolic steroid lab in Elverta, CA, over 500 vials and 1,850 capsules of anabolic steroid pills, and arrested Jason Glavin, 37, of El Dorado Hills, CA, Erin O’Neil, 40, and his wife Amy O’Neil, 32, both of Fair Oaks, CA.

“In terms of underground steroid labs, this was a huge seizure for this area,” stated Gordon Taylor, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge. Taylor added, “The illegal use of anabolic steroids can be a dangerous practice, especially for young people. This danger is only compounded …

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 41 Defendants in Coordinated Mortgage Fraud Takedown Across New York State

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), RICHARD H. NEIMAN, the Superintendent of Banks for New York State, RENE FEBLES, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General ("HUD-OIG"), BRIAN G. PARR, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service ("USSS"), RONALD J. VERROCHIO, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS"), and JON T. RYMER, the Inspector General for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General ("FDIC-OIG"), announced today the unsealing of charges against 41 defendants, in eight separate cases, for allegedly engaging in various mor…

Cuomo’s suit against Nationwide Asset Services results in nearly $200,000 penalty for fraud and deceptive advertising

BUFFALO, N.Y. (October 15, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has won a lawsuit against a national debt settlement company, barring the company from doing business in New York state unless it posts a $500,000 performance bond to protect consumers. The decision also levies nearly $200,000 in penalties against the company for defrauding thousands of New Yorkers who looked to the company to negotiate reductions in their personal debt.

As a result of the lawsuit filed in May, the Hon. Patrick H. NeMoyer in Erie County Supreme Court issued a decision that bars Nationwide Asset Services, Inc. (NAS), based in Phoenix, Arizona, along with its affiliates, from doing business in New York state unless it files a $500,000 performance bond to protect consumers. Additionally, Cuomo’s office obtained a civil penalty of $198,100 after the court determined that nearly 1,981 consumers were defrauded.


POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (October 15, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office is suing to stop a Newburgh resident’s fraudulent antique artifact operation where he sold fake items for thousands of dollars over the Internet.

Mircea Veleanu sold artifacts online claiming that they contained high quality and expensive jade, when they actually were made of quartz or glass. He then refused to provide refunds or acknowledge that the pieces were fake. The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks to permanently bar Veleanu from selling jade artifacts unless they can be verified as authentic and obtain restitution for consumers he defrauded, plus penalties and costs to the state.


MILWAUKEE – Federal Magistrate Judge Aaron E. Goodstein today issued a decision denying the motion of Universal Brixius to dismiss a sex discrimination lawsuit against it by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The company’s motion was based upon the decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal (129 Sup. Ct. 1937), decided earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Iqbal case the Supreme Court said that complaints in federal lawsuits must state more than “accusations” and “must contain sufficient factual matter [if true] to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”The magistrate judge’s “Order Denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss” found that the EEOC’s complaint in the case met the applicable standard.

ICE arrests more than 1,780 during the largest-ever nationwide gang surge

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Thursday the arrests of 1,785 gang members and associates, criminals and immigration violators, and the seizure of more than 100 firearms as part of a six-month intensive ICE-led law enforcement operation executed in 89 cities across the country, which ended Sept. 30.

Through Operation Community Shield, ICE agents worked side by side with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in a six-month coordinated, national public safety surge against transnational criminal street gangs in the United States. Transnational street gangs have significant numbers of foreign-born members and are frequently involved in human smuggling and trafficking, narcotics smuggling and distribution, identity theft and benefit fraud, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, weapons smuggling and arms trafficking, cyber crimes, export violations, and other crimes with a nexus to the border.

Federal Trade Commission to Announce Multi-Million-Dollar Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission will host a press event on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 11 am EDT to announce a multi-million-dollar settlement with a major U.S. company for facilitating cross-border telemarketing fraud between the United States and Canada.

Six Major NYC Construction Companies Sued for Shortchanging Employees and Discriminating Against Minority Workers

NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court against a group of six construction and contracting companies for failing to pay its employees over $4 million in wages and overtime pay, as well as for discriminating against African-American, Brazilian, and Latino employees in many terms and conditions of employment. The companies, which are all controlled by Michael Mahoney, 42, of Pearl River, include: EMC of New York, Inc; FSC Construction, LLC; FSC General Construction, LLC; BMC Construction Contractors Corporation; Eastlake Industries, Inc; and Rigid Concrete Construction. All six companies provide carpentry and concrete services at construction sites throughout New York City.

“New York is supported by the hundreds of thousands of construction workers who labor tirelessly to build and maintain this City,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “To deny workers the wages guaranteed by this State, or to discrimi…

Georgia man indicted on charges of scheme to defraud

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a Georgia man for defrauding individuals by falsely holding himself out as an attorney and purporting to provide immigration legal services.

The defendant, WILMER RIVERA MELENDEZ, 61, has been indicted on charges of scheme to defraud, grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, and practicing or appearing as an attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between November 2008 and October 2009. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today in State Supreme Court, Part 1.

Financial Fraudster Sentenced to 90 Months in Prison

PHILADELPHIA—Jason Bloom, 39, of Mt. Laurel, NJ, was sentenced today to 90 months in prison for wire fraud stemming from a scheme to defraud homeowners, lenders, title insurance companies, and the City of Philadelphia of approximately $1,730,874. Bloom engaged in this scheme from at least March 2004 through January 2008, acting as a settlement agent and title insurance agent for real estate sales and refinancings. He kept for himself: (1) money received in connection with settlements which was supposed to be used to pay off existing mortgages; (2) tax payments intended for the City of Philadelphia; and (3) refunds due to homeowners as a result of overpayments at closings. Bloom also sent checks to financial institutions knowing that they were written on insufficient funds. Bloom pleaded guilty on July 13, 2009.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Curtis J. Joyner ordered Bloom to pay restitution in the amount of $1,730,874.

Commerce Under Secretary Awards 600,000th Design Patent

WASHINGTON – Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos was joined by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today to award design patent number 600,000 to Goal Zero, a subsidiary of Provo Craft and Novelty, and a small business located in Spanish Fork, Utah. The patent was granted for the design of a battery system, which works in conjunction with a solar briefcase that recharges the system using sunlight. This patent exemplifies the blending of green technology and appealing design.

"Today, small- and medium-sized businesses play a vital role in driving innovation and the growth of our economy," said Under Secretary Kappos. "Design patent protection can be a smart business strategy in a company’s intellectual property portfolio. They are an efficient and cost effective way to give an owner the right to prevent others from making, using, or selling a product that closely resembles th…