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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Texas man who was part of father & son team of pirated software sellers sentenced to 18 months in prison

WASHINGTON - A man from Wichita Falls, Texas, was sentenced on Friday to18 months in prison and ordered to pay $599,771 in restitution for selling pirated computer software through the Internet.  The case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Todd Alan Cook, 24, pleaded guilty on March 11 to criminal copyright infringement in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.  Cook was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

According to court documents, from July 2006 through May 2008, Cook and his father, Robert D. Cook, and another individual operated several websites that sold large volumes of counterfeit software with a combined retail value of about $1 million.  Cook admitted that he and his co-conspirators used these websites to sell downloadable counterfeit software without authorization from the copyright owners.  The father, Robert Cook, also pleaded guilty on March 11 to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement.  He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3.

This case was investigated by the ICE National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, with substantial assistance provided by the ICE HSI office in Dallas.  The Wichita Falls Police Department also assisted in the investigation.

The ICE National Intellectual Property Rights Investigation Center (IPR Center) is one of the U.S. Government's key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting.  The IPR Center offers one-stop shopping for both law enforcement and the private sector to address the growing transnational threat of counterfeit merchandise.  The IPR Center coordinates outreach to U.S. rights holders and conducts domestic and international law enforcement training to stem the growing counterfeiting threat as well as coordinating and directing anti-counterfeiting investigations. To learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.ice.gov.

The public is encouraged to report information on counterfeiting and trademark violations by calling (866) IPR-2060.

"Operation Safe Treats" Conducted During the Halloween Season

U.S. Marshals Join Forces with State, County and Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Ensure the Safety of Children 

Harrisburg, PA – The United States Marshals Service, working with the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law Unit and communities throughout the Middle District of Pennsylvania (M/PA), conducted Operation SAFE TREATS. The operation was developed to help ensure the safety of children as they “trick-or-treat” for Halloween. The communities that joined with the U.S. Marshals Service are:

CarlisleCumberland County
Dillsburg – York County
DoverYork County
DunmoreLackawanna County
South WilliamsportLycoming County
Steelton – Dauphin County
WaynesboroFranklin County
York Springs – Adams County

During the week leading up to Halloween, the United States Marshals Service took the following actions:

Worked with local police officers to conduct 138 compliance checks of registered sex offenders living within those communities, in an effort to confirm their listed addresses
Provided funds to local police agencies to ensure extra officers patrolling during “trick-or-treat” supplemented those patrol officers by assigning Deputy U.S. Marshals to each community during “trick-or-treat” released a list of Most Wanted sex offenders, encouraging the general public to report tips regarding the location of these offenders.  As a result of the compliance checks, six (6) possible violators were discovered. In the coming days, U.S. Marshals and local police will be investigating the violations, and prosecuting the offenders as appropriate. In addition, two (2) individuals were arrested on pre-existing Megan’s Law warrants.

United States Marshal Michael R. Regan commented, “It’s rewarding for us to work with communities and our local law enforcement partners with the common goal of protecting children and keeping those who aim to harm them at bay.”

The individuals identified on the Operation SAFE TREATS’ Most Wanted List are listed below.

Joseph William Chapman (age-27) – In 2002, Chapman was convicted of Statutory Rape in Cameron County. In August 2007, while serving a prison sentence in the McKean County Prison on an unrelated case, Chapman learned that he was under investigation for molesting an 8-year old girl in Emporium, Cameron County. Shortly thereafter, Chapman escaped while on a work-release detail. The Emporium Police Department has since obtained an arrest warrant charging Chapman with Sexual Assault of a Child.

Alex Crofoot (age-71) – In 1991, Crofoot was convicted in Florida on charges of Lewd/Lascivious Acts in the Presence of a Child. Since then, Crofoot moved to Pennsylvania. He was listed on the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law website as living in Spring Grove, York County. In 2008, Crofoot failed to update his Megan’s Law registration information, and an arrest warrant was issued.

James Isbell (age-51) – In 1996, Isbell was convicted in Texas on charges of Indecency with a Child. Prior to 2008, Isbell was listed on the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law website as living in Pine Grove, Schuylkill County. Based upon Isbell’s failure to update his Megan’s Law registration information, an arrest warrant was issued in 2008.

Robert Lee Sviben (age-49) – In 2002, Sviben was convicted in Pennsylvania on charges of Incest. He had been listed on the Megan’s Law website as living in Steelton, Dauphin County. On October 1, 2010, an arrest warrant was issued due to Sviben’s failure to update his Megan’s Law registration information.

Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of these offenders is asked to call the following toll-free number – 1-866-437-9847. Callers can remain anonymous.

U.S. Marshals were assisted by many agencies during Operation SAFE TREATS. This included the Carlisle Police Department, Carroll Township Police Department, Franklin County Sheriffs Office, Lackawanna County Sheriffs Office, Latimore Township Police Department, Lycoming County Sheriffs Office, Northern York County Regional Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police – Megan’s Law Unit, South Williamsport Police Department, Steelton Police Department, and Waynesboro Police Department.

To search for sex offenders in Pennsylvania, review safety tips, and learn more about Megan’s Law, please visit www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us. By clicking on the tab indicated as “National Sex Offender Registry”, searches can be done for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Indian Country.

The U.S. Marshals Service is the lead law enforcement agency responsible for investigating sex offender registration violations and related offenses in connection with violations of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Enacted on July 27, 2006, this Act directed the United States Marshals Service to assist state, local, tribal and territorial authorities in the location and apprehension of non-compliant and fugitive sex offenders. Offenders who are found residing out of state can be charged federally and, often times, those charges carry more severe penalties. To ensure the safety of children across the country, the U.S. Marshals Service implemented an aggressive enforcement strategy. Since the law was enacted, the United States Marshals Service has arrested more than 37,200 fugitives for Sex Offenses, Failure to Register and Failure to Comply with Sex Offenders Registration Requirements. This resulted in the closure of more than 45,900 warrants. To learn more, please visit: www.usmarshals.gov.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Member of the Krazy Locos Criminal Street Gang Sentenced to Life Imprisonment Following Convictions for Two Homicides, Robbery, and Firearms Charges

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, Miami Field Office, and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announced today the sentencing of Manuel DeJesus Medina, a member of the Krazy Locos criminal street gang of Lake Worth, Florida. Medina, 19, was sentenced to life imprisonment, followed by a consecutive term of 420 months’ imprisonment, on charges related to two homicides committed in Palm Beach County during January and February 2009. The charges against Medina and other gang members arose from a joint federal-state investigation into the Krazy Locos gang, which was operating throughout Palm Beach County.

As set forth in the charging documents and documents filed with the court, Medina was a member of the “Krazy Locos,” also known as the “KL” gang, operating primarily in Palm Beach County. The Krazy Locos has been affiliated at times with another gang, the “Making Life Krazy” or “MLK” gang, which also operates in Palm Beach County. From 2007 through 2009, there were approximately forty Krazy Locos gang members and associates. According to documents filed with the court, the Krazy Locos organization made money through the sale of controlled substances, primarily oxycodone, Xanax, methadone, cocaine, crack, and marijuana. With respect to the prescription medications (oxycodone, Xanax, and methadone), a Krazy Locos member would “sponsor” a patient, that is, pay for the patient’s medical visit and prescription, in exchange for a portion of the prescription medication. The gang would then re-sell the prescription medication. Members of the gang also were required to pay “taxes” to the gang on a weekly basis and often resorted to criminal activity to secure the money to pay their “taxes.”

Medina was also charged for his involvement in two homicides. Counts 1 through 4 of the Second Superseding Information charged Medina with a number of offenses related to his involvement in the homicide of a person known as “R.F.” on January 9, 2009. The Second Superseding Information charged that the Krazy Locos is a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence, including attempted murder, obstruction of justice, extortion and distribution of controlled substances, and which operated principally in Palm Beach County. Counts 5 through 10 of the Second Superseding Information relate to an attempted Hobbs Act robbery in Palm Beach County that resulted in the death of a Palm Beach County man, “D.R.,” and the serious injury of another, “A.R,” on February 22, 2009.

On August 6, 2010, Medina pled guilty to all charges contained in the Second Superseding Information. Medina admitted that he was the person who shot and killed both R.F. and D.R. Medina agreed to be sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, to be followed by thirty-five years imprisonment. Medina also agreed to cooperate against the leaders of the gang and provided information regarding their involvement in the two homicides.

On Friday, October 22, 2010, United States District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced Medina to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, followed by a consecutive term of 420 months’ imprisonment. Medina was further ordered to pay $34,396.27 in restitution.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, ATF, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marie Villafaña and Mark Dispoto.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/.

Owner of Fairfax Bar Convicted of Setting Fire to His Business

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal jury today convicted Ajmal A. Aman, 29, of Herndon, Va., of setting fire to Bridges Billiards & Grill in Fairfax, Va.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Edgar A. Domenech, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, and David Rohr, Fire Chief for the City of Fairfax, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III. Aman will face a mandatory minimum period of five years imprisonment and faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment when he is sentenced on Jan. 14, 2011.

According to court records and evidence adduced at trial, Aman is one six owners of Bridges Billiards and Grill and served as the company’s treasurer. Aman was the manager on duty Halloween night in 2009 when the bar held a party until the following morning. Later that morning, the property caught on fire, and investigators determined that it was arson. Evidence at trial showed that ignitable liquids, including gasoline and charcoal lighter fluid were found in numerous locations throughout the restaurant. Gasoline was specifically found in high concentrations at the fire’s primary area of origin, a small office at the back of the business where the business’s financial documents and accounting records were kept. In the office, investigators found a full book of matches and the bottom half of a water bottle that contained gasoline.

The court records and evidence at trial demonstrated that Aman was the last person on scene the night of the fire, and that gasoline was found on the clothes he wore that night. Aman was suspected of abusing his position as treasurer by misappropriating money from the business for personal travel and repayment of debts. The evidence at trial showed that this, along with competition from rival bars may have been the motives behind the arson.

This case was investigated by the ATF, Fairfax City Fire Department, Fairfax City Police Department, the Fairfax County Fire Marshal’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys G. Zachary Terwilliger and Timothy D. Belevetz prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov/.

Louisiana Man Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court for Violating Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"); and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced that RICHARD R. DUGAN was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to three months in prison by U.S. District Judge ROBERT W. SWEET. DUGAN and his co-defendant THEODORE A. PUCKETT were found guilty in April, following a one-day bench trial before Judge SWEET, for unlawfully obstructing an entrance to a Planned Parenthood clinic, thereby interfering with clinic staff and patients, in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances ("FACE") Act.

According to the Information previously filed in Manhattan federal court and evidence presented at the bench trial:

On December 12, 2009, DUGAN and PUCKETT obstructed the entrances to a Planned Parenthood clinic in lower Manhattan. Specifically, both DUGAN and PUCKETT positioned themselves in front of the clinic entrances, preventing anyone from entering or exiting the clinic by physically blocking the entrances. DUGAN and PUCKETT also interfered with clinic staff and patients who attempted to enter the clinic. DUGAN and PUCKETT continued their obstruction of the clinic entrances even after New York City police officers arrived and asked them to move away from the clinic. In addition, DUGAN and PUCKETT made clear that they acted in order to prevent clinic staff from providing, and clinic patients from obtaining, reproductive health services.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge SWEET imposed a one-year term of supervised release, during which DUGAN will be prohibited from knowingly going within 1,000 feet of a reproductive health facility.

PUCKETT was sentenced on October 12, 2010, to one month in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, during which time he also will be prohibited from knowingly going within 1,000 feet of a reproductive health facility.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD in this case. He also thanked Planned Parenthood for their cooperation and assistance in this matter.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys ALVIN BRAGG and ROSS E. MORRISON are in charge of the prosecution.

Over 63,000 South Carolina Students Pledge Against Gun Violence

COLUMBIA—United States Attorney Bill Nettles said that by close of business Friday of this week, members of the U.S. Attorney's Office and their law enforcement partners will have met with 63,000 students from 131 schools across the state as part of the ninth annual Student Pledge Against Gun Violence. Middle and high school students are signing a voluntary pledge promising that they will never take a gun to school, will never resolve a dispute with a gun, and will use their influence to prevent friends from using guns to resolve disputes. Elementary school children are making a simpler commitment, pledging that if they see a gun they will not touch it, they will assume that any gun they see might be loaded, and they will tell a teacher or a trusted adult.

The effort is part of South Carolina’s Project Cease Fire and the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, both federal programs aimed at reducing gun violence. The Student Pledge Against Gun Violence is a national program honoring the role that young people, through their own decisions, can play in reducing gun violence. This campaign against youth gun violence culminated on Wednesday, October 27, 2010, in a Day of National Concern About Young People and Gun Violence. The program provides a means for beginning the conversation with young people about gun violence. Students from around the country join together in pledging to do their part to end gun violence.

“The response to the pledge campaign this year has been tremendous, perhaps in part due to the renewed awareness of the threat of school violence after a high school student in Conway shot at a Student Resource Officer just last month,” said Mr. Nettles. “Over 63,000 students from 131 schools across the state agreed to take part in this year’s pledge.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to make the pledges available to the schools. In addition to providing the pledges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office coordinated with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to provide speakers to go out to schools across South Carolina and talk to students about what they could do to reduce gun violence.

The following South Carolina schools and law enforcement agencies participated in this year’s pledge. For additional information concerning the national pledge, visit the National Student Pledge website at www.pledge.org.

Participating Law Enforcement Agencies

Anderson County Sheriff's Office
Anderson Police Department
Barnwell County Sheriff's Office
Beaufort County Police Department
Beaufort County Sheriff's Department
Bennettsville Police Department
Blacksburg Police Department
Bluffton Police Department
Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department
Charleston County/North Charleston
Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office
Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
Chester County Sheriff’s Department
Columbia Police Department
Conway City Police
Coward Police Department
Darlington County Sheriff’s Office
Darlington Police Department
Denmark-Olar Police Department
Dorchester County Sheriff's Department
Easley Police Department
Fairfield County Sheriff Department
Gaffney Police Department
Great Falls Police Department
Greenville County Sheriff's Office
Greenwood Police Department
Greer Police Department
Hampton County Sheriff Department
Hartsville Police Department
Hemingway Police Department
Lake City Police Department
Laurens City Police Department
Laurens County Sheriff’s Department
Lee County Sheriff's Department
Lexington County Sheriff's Department
Marion Police Department
Marion Sheriff’s Office
Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office
Mount Pleasant Police Department
Mullins Police Department
Myrtle Beach Police Department
Newberry Sheriff’s Office
North Charleston Police Department
Oconee County Sheriff’s Office
Pagland Police Department
Pickens Police Department
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Ridgeville Police Department
Society Hill Police Department
South Carolina State University Police Department
Spartanburg Public Safety Department
Summerville Police Department
Sumter County Sheriff's Office
Sumter Police Department
Union Department of Public Safety
Williamsburg County Sheriff
Woodruff Police Department
York County Sheriff's Department

Participating Schools

A.R. Lewis Elementary School, Pickens
Alcorn Middle School, Columbia
Alice Drive Middle School, Sumter
Anderson Cunty Alternative School, Anderson
Andrews Elementary School, Andrews
Annie Burnside Elementary, Columbia
Arden Elementary School, Columbia
B.D. Lee Elementary School, Gaffney
Barnwell Primary School, Barnwell
Batesburg-Leesville Elementary, Batesburg-Leesville
Batesburg-Leesville High School, Batesburg-Leesville
Beech Hill Elementary, Summerville
Bell Street Middle School, Clinton
Bennettsville Middle School, Bennettsville
Blacksburg Middle School, Blacksburg
Bluffton Elementary School, Bluffton
Bluffton High School, Bluffton
Bluffton Middle School, Bluffton
Bridge Creek Elementary, Elgin
Britton’s Neck Elementary School, Gresham
Brookland-Cayce High School
Burgess Elementary School
Burke Middle School
Burnside Elementary School
C.A. Johnson High School, Columbia
Calhun County High School, St. Matthews
Carver Junior High, Spartanburg
Castle Heights Middle School, Rock Hill
Caughman Road
Elementary, Columbia
Chapman Elementary School, Spartanburg
Chester Park Elementary Center of Literacy Through Technology, Chester
Clay Hill Middle School, Ridgeville
Cleveland Elementary, Spartanburg
Clover Middle School, Clover
Darlington High School , Darlington
Davis Elementary School for Technology, Cayce
Denmark-Olar Elementary, Denmark
Donaldson Career Center, Greenville
Dreher High School, Columbia
East Clarendon High School, Turbeville
East Cooper Montessori Charter School, Mt. Pleasant
East Elementary School, Dillion
Eau Claire High School, Columbia
Edith L. Frierson Elementary, Wadmalaw Island
Estill High School, Estill
Ewing Middle School, Gaffney
Felton Labortory School, Orangeburg
Flowertown Elementary, Summerville
Forest Heights Elementary, Columbia
Forest Park Elementary, Union
Geiger Elementary, Ridgeway
Gibbes Middle School, Columbia
Great Falls Elementary, Shironda Brown
Greendale Elementary, New Ellenton
Greer Middle School, Greer
Grove Elementary, Greenville
H.B. Rhame, Jr. Elementary School, Columbia
H.E. McCracken Middle School, Bluffton
Hand Middle School, Columbia
Hemingway High School, Hemingway
Honea Path Middle School, Honea Path
Hopkins Middle School, Hopkins
Horry CountyEarly College High School, Conway
Hyatt Park Elementary School, Columbia
J. C. Lynch Elementary School, Coward
John E. Ewing Middle School, Gaffney
Johnakin Middle School, Marion
Kelly Miller Elementary School, Winnsboro
Ladson Elementary School, Ladson
Lady’s Island Middle School, Beauford
Lakewood High School, Sumter
Laurens High School, Laurens
Laurens Middle School, Laurens
Lewisville Middle School, Richburg
Limestone Central Elementary School, Gaffney
Logan Elementary School, Columbia
Lower Lee Elementary School, Mayesville
Luther Vaughan Elementary School, Gaffney
M.C. Riley Elementary, Bluffton
Macedonia Elementary, Blackville
Macedonia Middle, Moncks Corner
Malcolm C. Hursey Elementary School, North Charleston
Manchester Elementary School, Pinewood
Mary Ford Elementary, North Charleston
Mary H. Wright Elementary, Spartanburg
Mathews Elementary School, Greenwood
McCants Middle, Anderson
McKissick Elementary School, Easley
Mitchell Elementary School, Charleston
Mullins High School, Mullins
Myrtle Beach High School, Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach Middle, Myrtle Beach
Newberry Elementary School, Newberry
Newington Elementary, Summerville
North Aiken Elementary, Aiken
North Myrtle Beach Primary School, N. Myrtle Beach
Northside Elementary School, Seneca
Northwest Elementary School, Gaffney
Oakwood-Windsor Elementary, Aiken
Park Hills Elementary, Spartanburg
Pate Elementary School, Darlington
Petersburg Primary School, Pageland
Pine Ridge Elementary, W. Columbia
Piney Grove Elementary, Columbia
Plainview Elementary School, Patrick
Pocalla Springs Elementary School, Sumter
Pritchardville Elementary, Bluffton
Red Cedar Elementary, Bluffton
Riverside Middle School, Pendleton
Robert Smalls Middle School, Burton
Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School, Society
Sandel Elementary, Columbia
Scranton Elementary School, Scranton
Southside Middle School, Florence
Southwood Middle, Anderson
Spartanburg Charter School, Spartanburg
Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg
St. Mark Elementary School, Kingstree
Tamassee-Salem High School, Salem
Tamassee-Salem Middle/High School, Salem
V.V. Reid School, Columbia
W.A. Perry Middle School, Columbia
Walker-Gamble Elementary School, New Zion
West-Oak High School
Westwood Elementary, Abbeville
White Knoll Middle School, Columbia
Whittemore Park Middle School, Conway
Wilder Elementary School, Sumter
Williams Middle, Florence
Woodruff Elementary School
York Middle School

ER doctor sentenced to 5 years following child pornography charges

DETROIT - A traveling emergency room doctor, whose last listed address was in Michigan, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

David Thorson, 38, was arrested by HSI special agents in February at Detroit Metro Airport after a secondary inspection revealed hundreds of images and videos of suspected child pornography in his possession. According to the investigation, Thorson consented to a search of his laptop which confirmed the content for HSI agents.
Thorson was sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by five supervised release.

"The possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Detroit. "The sentence in this case is reflective of the harm that is inflicted on the most vulnerable members of our society, our children. Hopefully, it will get the attention of and serve as a deterrent to anyone else considering engaging in such activity."

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

Moskowitz acknowledged the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for their role in the case.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

Greenfield man indicted for possessing child pornography

BOSTON - A Greenfield, Mass., man was charged today in federal court with possessing computer equipment containing child pornography following an investigation led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Boston and David Guilbault, chief of the Greenfield Police Department, announced today that Louis Kevin Wieprecht, 56, of Greenfield, was charged in an indictment with one count of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor.

The indictment alleges that on Oct. 5, 2010, Wieprecht possessed a computer and computer equipment that contained various digital files that contained depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

If convicted on these charges, Wieprecht faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by ICE HSI in Boston and the Greenfield Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com/.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Connecticut man involved in conspiracy to defraud IRS and US National Guard is sentenced

HARTFORD, Conn. - David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Jay Green, 67, of Guilford, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to two years of probation for his involvement in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United States National Guard. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted in the investigation.

Judge Droney also ordered Green to pay a fine in the amount of $5000. Green pleaded guilty to the offense on Dec. 18, 2008.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Green was employed by Class Act Cleaning Services (Class Act) of Berlin, Conn., which provided cleaning services throughout the State of Connecticut, including to federal, state and local agencies. Green has admitted that, between 2001 and April 2006, he and the owner of Class Act instructed customers to pay cash, or to make checks payable to Class Act's owner, for cleaning services performed by the business. Class Act's owner paid Green his commissions for cash jobs in cash, which Green did not report on his individual federal income tax returns.

One of Class Act's customers was the U.S. National Guard. Green has admitted that he notarized certain contracts and payroll documents for federal work performed by Class Act, as required by the U.S. National Guard Bureau, using a notary stamp in the name of an individual who was a former employee of the cleaning business. Green also forged the former employee's name on these documents.

As part of his sentence, Green was ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $65,345 to the IRS and $4,402.03 to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Class Act's owner is deceased and was not charged.

This matter was investigated by the IRS - Criminal Investigation; the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and ICE HSI, with assistance from the Social Security Administration.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey M. Stone.

“Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit” Wanted

PHOENIX—Phoenix FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan Gray announced the FBI‘s Bank Robbery Task Force and the Scottsdale Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the “Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit.”

The “Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit” confronts bank employees prior to opening, demands money, restrains them, and flees in an unknown direction. He is described as a white male, 5’8”-5’10” tall, 170-180 pounds, 28-40 years old, and carries a firearm.

Today, he robbed the Johnson Bank located at
32621 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona
. He used the same modus operandi and wore black and camouflage clothing along with a pair of goggles. In addition, he entered the bank through the roof of the bank. The bank is located in the Summit Ridge Shopping area. The FBI and the Scottsdale Police Department are interested in any information pertaining to suspicious persons or vehicles in the area prior to the bank robbery.

04/27/10: National Bank of Arizona, 7202 East Carefree Drive, Carefree, AZ.
12/11/09: Chase Bank,
4819 N. 83rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ.
03/24/09: Chase Bank,
8978 W. Union Hills Drive, Peoria, AZ.

Any information regarding the “Thou Shalt Not Steal Bandit” should be reported to Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS, the FBI at 602-279-5511, or go to www.BanditTrackerArizona.com.

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is comprised of the Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mesa Police Department.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tallahassee man arrested for possession of child pornography

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Brandon Joseph Hagan, 18, of Tallahassee, was arrested today for possession of child pornography, following the execution of a search warrant by the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which consists of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriffs Office and the Tallahassee Police Department.

The Tallahassee Police Department began the investigation and with the assistance of the North Florida ICAC Task Force developed probable cause to arrest Hagan for possession of child pornography. The pornography was found on Hagan's personal computer during the execution of the search warrant.

"Through partnerships with state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies, ICE will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Tampa, Fla.

The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com/.

Firefighter Fatality

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality:

Name: Bruce Bachinsky
Rank: Lieutenant
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Status: Career
Years of Service: 12
Date of Incident: 10/26/2010
Time of Incident: 1630hrs
Date of Death: 10/26/2010
Fire Department: Waterbury Fire Department
Address:
236 Grand Street
, 4th floor, Waterbury, CT 06702
Fire Department Chief: Michael A. Maglione
Fire Department Website: http://www.waterburyct.org/content/458/4000/567/default.aspx

Incident Description: Lieutenant Bachinsky passed away from an apparent heart attack several hours after completing his duty shift during which he responded to several emergencies.

Incident Location: Pending

Funeral Arrangements: Pending. Updates will be posted at: http://www.waterburyfire.org/
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending. Updates will be posted at: http://www.waterburyfire.org/
Tribute is being paid to Lieutenant Bruce Bachinsky at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/

To date, 70 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2010; 68 from incidents that occurred in 2010 and 2 from previous year incidents.  Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online @ http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/statistics/ff_stats.shtm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Armed Robbery of a Washington Savings Bank Branch in Philadelphia

The FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify and locate the subject responsible for the armed robbery of the Washington Savings Bank branch located at
2548 East Lehigh Avenue
earlier today.

At approximately , the subject entered the bank and threatened a teller with a knife. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, which the subject placed into a bag or satchel that he was carrying, the subject fled the area of the bank on foot and was last seen on Lehigh heading towards
Richmond Street
.

The subject is described as a white male in his 20’s, 6’2” tall, medium build, clean shaven, wearing a black baseball cap, a black jacket, and black gloves.

Two pictures from the bank’s security cameras are below.

This subject is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 215-418-4000 or the Philadelphia Police Department. There may be a reward for information leading to this subject’s capture, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Former Bank Vice President Sentenced to 55 Months in Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $1 Million

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ROBERT A. NIXON, 48, of Maynard Road, East Haven, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 55 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $1 million from the former Castle Bank and Trust, now Naugatuck Savings Bank. On August 6, 2010, NIXON pleaded guilty to one count of theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by a bank officer or employee, and one count of income tax evasion.

According to court documents and statements made in court, NIXON was employed as the vice president of Operations of Castle Bank and Trust (“Castle”) in Middletown. Between 2000 and 2008, NIXON made or caused other bank personnel to make computer entries that transferred funds from Castle’s general account into a friend’s personal savings and checking accounts at the bank. NIXON then withdrew cash from his friend’s account and directed his friend to withdraw cash from his friend’s account and provide that cash to the defendant. NIXON also directed his friend to transfer funds by check from the Castle account to accounts that his friend held at other banks, and then directed his friend to withdraw cash from the accounts (by either checks made payable to “cash” or ATM withdrawals) and provide the cash to NIXON.

The total amount of money embezzled through this scheme was $1,039,227.34.

In order to hide his theft, NIXON used his position to cause false entries to be made in Castle’s general account and “reprocess” official Castle bank checks that had already been cashed by the respective payees and debited by Castle, which caused an additional debit to appear in the general account.

NIXON used the proceeds of his theft to make mortgage payments, personal credit card payments, car payments, home improvements, and also to gamble.

The fraud was discovered after NIXON left the employment of the bank in August 2009, and after the parent company of Naugatuck Savings Bank had acquired Castle.

NIXON also failed to pay federal taxes on the funds that he embezzled. For the 2002 through 2008 tax years, this resulted in an underpayment of $268,784 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Today, Judge Arterton ordered NIXON to pay a total of approximately $1.2 million in restitution to Naugatuck Savings Bank and its insurer, which includes costs the bank incurred while investigating the fraud. NIXON also must pay full restitution to the IRS, plus applicable interest and penalties.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Novick and Michael J. Gustafson.

FBI and San Diego Sheriff’s Department Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify Encinitas Bank Robber

The FBI and San Diego Sheriff’s Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the unknown male responsible for robbing the Wells Fargo Bank, at 276-A North El Camino Real, Encinitas, California.

On Monday, October 25, 2010, at approximately , the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 276-A North El Camino Real, Encinitas, California, was robbed by a man armed with a handgun. The robber entered the bank via the main doors on the north side of the bank. The robber approached the tellers and made a verbal demand for cash while pointing the handgun at the victim tellers. After receiving a sum of money from the tellers, the robber exited the bank.

Witnesses describe the robber as follows:

Sex: Male
Race: White
Age: Approximately 20 - 40 years old
Height: Approximately 5’6” to 5’7”
Build: Medium
Hair/Coloring: Brown hair
Clothing: White painters’ mask with yellow elastic straps, baseball cap, sunglasses, large baggy jacket, blue jeans, and gloves
Anyone with information concerning this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at telephone number (858) 565-1255 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You may remain anonymous by calling the FBI or Crime Stoppers.

Third Defendant in $20 Million Scam That Sold Fake Art Nationwide Via TV Auctions Sentenced to Federal Prison

LOS ANGELES—A Woodland Hills man who sold fake art—including works purported to be by Picasso, Dali, and Chagall—through a rigged televised art auction has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

James Mobley, 63, was sentenced yesterday afternoon to 60 months in prison by United States District Judge Gary A. Feess.

Mobley, who was an on-air auctioneer for sales conducted through Fine Art Treasures Gallery, previously pleaded guilty to two felony counts—conspiracy (to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property) and willful failure to file a tax return.

Fine Art Treasures Gallery operated an art auction television show, which aired on Friday and Saturday nights on DirecTV and The Dish Network. The company sold art to more than 10,000 customers around the United States, bringing in more than $20 million.

Earlier this year, the husband-and-wife team at the center of the Fine Art Treasures Gallery scam were sentenced to prison. Gerald Sullivan, 54, of La Cañada Flintridge, who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property, was sentenced by Judge Feess to four years in prison. Sullivan’s wife, Kristine Eubanks, 52, also of La Cañada Flintridge, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy (to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property) and filing a false income tax return, was sentenced to 84 months in prison. When he sentenced Eubanks, Judge Feess said that the fraud scheme was “audacious in its scope” and “blatantly illegal.” Eubanks and Sullivan ran the scheme from 2002 through 2006. Mobley participated in the scheme from 2002 through 2005.

Fine Art Treasures Gallery and its representatives, including Mobley, falsely told customers that art sold on the company’s television show had been found at “estate liquidations all over the world.” In reality, Fine Art Treasures Gallery sold fake and forged art that had been purchased from suppliers, as well as forgeries Eubanks and others themselves had printed and signed on behalf of the artists. Eubanks admitted that she obtained fake art from various suppliers, printed other art works in her own printing shop, and sold that bogus art on the auction as genuine. Eubanks and others forged signatures on some of the works, including purported lithographs from Picasso, Chagall, and Dali. To support the scam, Eubanks also forged Certificates of Authenticity for certain pieces and provided falsified appraisals for some of the jewelry that was sold to customers. Eubanks and Mobley also rigged the bidding for the auction process by arranging for fake bids to be announced on the program to falsely drive up prices for the art they sold to the public.

As part of the investigation into Fine Arts, federal authorities seized approximately $3.8 million from bank accounts controlled by Eubanks and Sullivan. Those funds have been forfeited to the government, which is in the process of notifying thousands of potential victims that they may have purchased bogus artworks.

This case was investigated by the national Art Crime Team at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS - Criminal Investigation, and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail.

Forged Wyeth and Mesopotamian Antiquities Seized

Assistant U.S. Attorney to Receive National Award

David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced today the seizure of a fraudulent Andrew Wyeth painting from a New York auction house, and the seizure of Mesopotamian antiquities from a California antiquities dealer. The seizures resulted from two separate investigations.

Forged Andrew Wyeth Painting Seized

In July of this year, the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI Wilmington Resident Agency, and the FBI Art Crime Team seized a forgery of Andrew Wyeth’s “Snow Birds.” The fraudulent painting is shown below.

The fraudulent painting had been placed for sale at a major auction house in New York. Initial estimates placed its value at between $300,000 and $500,000. Before any auction began, questions arose as to its authenticity. Using meticulous records of the original painting kept by the Andrew Wyeth office at the Brandywine River Museum, Mary Landa of that office was able to identify discrepancies showing that the painting was a skillfully executed forgery. Landa notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the painting was seized. The party selling the fraudulent painting denies any wrongdoing, and has agreed to forfeit his interest in the painting to the United States government. The fraudulent painting is being forfeited to remove it from the stream of commerce.

The actual “Snow Birds” painting was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1970. Mr. Wyeth died in January 2009.

United States Attorney David C. Weiss said, “This investigation demonstrates our commitment to addressing the problem of the illicit sale of fraudulent art, a multi-million-dollar criminal enterprise. Recovery of such fraudulent art is a major objective of our law enforcement partner, the FBI Art Crime Team and the FBI’s Wilmington office, whose investigative efforts I applaud. This is the second fraudulent Andrew Wyeth painting we have been able to remove from commerce. We hope this action will help protect the legacy of an important American cultural figure. I commend Mary Landa and the Andrew Wyeth office at the Brandywine River Museum for bringing this matter to the attention of the FBI Art Crime Team. Our office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute art crime in the future.”

Iraqi Artifacts Seized

In July of this year, the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI Wilmington Resident Agency, and the FBI Art Crime Team seized a multitude of ancient artifacts originating in Mesopotamia, in present day southern Iraq. The artifacts are pictured below.

Most of the seized items are cuneiform tablets which were used in Mesopotamia for record keeping. The tablets were made by using a reed stylus to write in the cuneiform script on softened clay, which was then hardened.

Three of the seized artifacts are inscribed foundation cones that were embedded in temple walls to dedicate the building to a divinity.

The artifacts were looted from present day Iraq by persons unknown and smuggled into the United States unlawfully. The government of Iraq asserts ownership over them. The U.S. Attorney’s Office learned that these artifacts were held by an antiquities dealer in California, who was offering them for sale, and the artifacts were seized. The California dealer has surrendered any right he had in the artifacts, which have been forfeited to the United States government to be removed from the stream of commerce.

United States Attorney David C. Weiss said, “This investigation is the result of the joint efforts of this office, the FBI Art Crime Team, and the FBI’s Wilmington office. Along with the FBI, we are committed to addressing the problem of looting and smuggling of cultural property. Artifacts like these represent the history not only of the source country, in this case Iraq, but the history of all mankind. When artifacts are looted, archeologists lose context, which is critical in piecing together the puzzle of the past. We hope that this seizure will help repair at least some of this damage. Our office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute cultural property crimes in the future.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney to Receive Award

Assistant United States Attorney David L. Hall has been selected to receive one of four of the nation’s 2010 Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE) Beacon Awards.

The SAFE Beacon Award recognizes “outstanding achievement in raising public awareness about our endangered cultural heritage and the devastating consequences of the illicit antiquities trade, which fuels the looting of ancient sites and destroys our ultimate non-renewable resource: the intact evidence of our undiscovered past.” This year’s Beacon Award winners are described as “unsung heroes” who have “collectively rescued millions of dollars worth of stolen or smuggled art and cultural property.”

AUSA Hall is being honored for his work as the Special Prosecutor of the FBI’s Art Crime Team in protecting cultural heritage by combating the illicit trade in antiquities and art. Hall is cited by SAFE for his work “valiantly prosecuting international art crimes cases”.

SAFE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that creates educational programs and media campaigns to raise public awareness regarding the importance of preserving cultural heritage worldwide. SAFE is a coalition of professionals in communications, media, and advertising working alongside experts in the academic, legal and law enforcement communities. SAFE has no political affiliations.

The cases are being prosecuted by David L. Hall, Assistant United States Attorney. For further information, contact United States Attorney David C. Weiss or Assistant United States Attorney David L. Hall at (302) 573-6277.