Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium Brings Together Educators, Parents, and Children to Provide Information on Staying Safe on the Internet

Law Enforcement Joins with Private Sector to Host Symposium That will Examine Cyber Bullying, ‘Sexting,’ Piracy, and Adult Predators on the Internet

LOS ANGELES—A coalition of law enforcement agencies, child advocacy groups, and private entities today are participating in the second annual Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium, a day-long seminar for more than 400 educators, parents, and middle-school students being held at the Los Angeles Police Academy.

The symposium will address a host of Internet-related security and safety issues, with panels conducting discussions on topics that include child exploitation, cyber bullying, “sexting,” and piracy. The keynote speaker at the symposium is Maryland State Police Investigator Eliott Cohen, a noted expert in online crimes against children.

A new public service announcement, "Think Before You Post," is being premiered at the Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium. “Think Before You Post,” which features actress Francia Raisa from “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” reminds young people to be careful about what they post online and to "think" before they put any photographs or information on the Internet.

“The Internet is an extraordinary tool that is transforming commerce and education, but is also subject to abuse. Cyberspace informs us, but it also provides a hiding place for dangerous criminals, including those who seek to prey on our children,” said United States Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. “The Justice Department has focused significant resources on identifying and prosecuting these predators, but the first line of defense to stop the continued growth of cyber crime aimed at our youth is educating teachers, parents and students to ensure that everyone can safely use the Internet.”

Organized under the aegis of the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (, law enforcement agencies participating in today’s conference include the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the California Department of Justice and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

"With more children and adults using the Internet more than ever, law enforcement is urging parents to educate themselves about the dangers posed by emerging technologies," said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. "Today's meeting of the minds among law, private sector and the community is an example of our collective commitment to educate children about the harmful consequences of risky behavior in cyberspace."

The Cyber Crime Prevention Symposium also features the participation of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and several private concerns, including Fox Entertainment Group, the Walt Disney Company, MySpace and Facebook.

"Law enforcement alone cannot make the world of cyber space safe for our children," said City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. "Prevention and outreach programs like this Symposium that train parents and educators are essential to keep our children safe. The committed partnership between government agencies and our community will continue to keep the dangerous and unpredictable cyber world safe for our children to learn and grow."

Symposium participants will hear remarks from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven Martinez and Chief Deputy City Attorney William W. Carter.

The event is being filmed by the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at California State University, Northridge. The video being shot today will be compiled and made available to schools for use in Internet safety training.

Thom Mrozek, United States Attorney’s Office, (213) 894-6947,
Laura Eimiller, FBI, (310) 996-3343,
Tracy Webb, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, M: (213) 507-3817,

$10,000 Reward Offered in South Suburban Credit Union Robberies

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that a reward of up to $10,000 was being offered for information leading to the identification and arrest of the individuals responsible for the August 18, 2010 armed robbery of the Sherwin-Williams Credit Union, located at 14700 South Myrtle Avenue in south suburban Harvey, Illinois.

The robbery took place just after , when a robber armed with a handgun forced his way in through an employee entrance. He used plastic zip ties to bind the hands of bank employees and a guard, threatening all with harm if his orders were not followed. He was then able to enter the vault area, where he placed a large amount of currency into a dark cloth duffle bag that he brought with him.

The robber then used a cell phone to call an accomplice, who was apparently waiting nearby. The accomplice arrived in the area, driving what witnesses described as a late model Chevrolet Impala or Malibu, silver in color, with no front license plate. The robber entered the front passenger seat and the vehicle departed the area.

The robber was described by witnesses only as black/male, 5’ 10” tall, thin build, wearing all black clothing and dark gloves. The driver of the get-away vehicle was described as a black/male, heavy build, with a fade haircut and a well-trimmed beard.

The Sherwin-Williams Credit Union was the victim of a similar take-over robbery in October of 2009. Although there are many similarities between the two incidents, it is unknown at this time if the same individuals are responsible for both thefts.

This matter is being investigated jointly by the FBI and Harvey Police Department. Anyone recognizing these individuals or having any information about this robbery is asked to call the FBI at (312) 421-6700 or the Harvey Police Department at (708) 331-3030.

Additional information about this case and other unsolved bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available on the Bandit Tracker website,

EDITOR’S NOTE: Additional copies of the flyer below are also available from the Chicago FBI press office at (312) 829-1199.

Two Perpetrators of Advance-Fee Scheme Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Lengthy Prison Terms

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ROBERT INGRAM and OLIVIA JEANNE BOWEN were sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 144 months and 63 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in a fraudulent advance-fee scheme involving an alleged $23 billion Federal Reserve "note" that spanned years and defrauded victims across the country of millions of dollars. INGRAM pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 8, 2010, and BOWEN pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 13, 2010. U.S. District Judge LEONARD B. SAND imposed the sentences on INGRAM and BOWEN.

According to the evidence presented at the sentencing hearing and other documents filed in the case, including statements by the victims at the sentencing hearing:

Beginning in at least 2005, INGRAM held himself out as the director of an investment program that would enable investors to share in the proceeds of an alleged $23 billion "note" underwritten by the Federal Reserve. INGRAM and BOWEN, who told victims that she was a "facilitator" for INGRAM’s investment program, induced victims to invest by promising them huge returns on their investments within a matter of weeks. Year after year, INGRAM, BOWEN, and their co-conspirators persuaded victims to give them money—from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars—by telling them that the money would be used to pay the final fees or expenses associated with gaining access to the proceeds of the alleged $23 billion note.

In reality, the note did not exist, and INGRAM and BOWEN used the victims’ money to spend lavishly on themselves and distributed the victims’ money to other co-conspirators. For example, INGRAM spent the victims’ money on cosmetic surgery, stays at luxury hotels, and extravagant purchases at retailers such as Christian Dior, among other things. As a result of the fraud committed by INGRAM, BOWEN, and their co-conspirators, some victims lost their life savings and their homes.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge SAND also sentenced the defendants each to a term of three years of supervised release. Judge SAND also entered Preliminary Orders of Forfeiture against BOWEN in the amount of $12 million, and against INGRAM in the amount of $7 million.

During the sentencing proceeding, Judge SAND stated that INGRAM and BOWEN committed a "vicious crime" that "was carefully thought out" and caused "absolute devastation" to "so many victims."

Mr. BHARARA praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its outstanding work on the case.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys HOWARD S. MASTER and NICOLE W. FRIEDLANDER are in charge of the prosecution.

Armed Bank Robber Sentenced to Over 32 Years in Prison for Two Bank Robberies

BALTIMORE, MD—U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., sentenced Patrick Leon Dixon, III, age 22, of Denton, Maryland, today to 390 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for armed bank robbery and using a gun during the commission of an armed bank robbery. Judge Quarles enhanced Dixon’s sentence upon finding that Dixon is a career offender based on three previous convictions for burglary, assault and reckless endangerment.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division Chief William Ryan of the Elkton Police Department; and Harford County Sheriff L. Jesse Bane.

According to Dixon’s guilty plea, on February 9, 2009, Dixon entered the Cecil Bank at
1609 Pulaski Highway
, Havre de Grace, Maryland and placed a note on the counter demanding money. As the teller was complying with the demand, Dixon displayed what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband and brandished a shotgun. Dixon grabbed $6,249 that the teller placed on the counter, and fled into a waiting pick-up truck driven by Keith Osterman. Dixon and Osterman were apprehended shortly thereafter, and money from the bank robbery was recovered from the truck. A search of the truck revealed a loaded 12 gauge shotgun under the passenger seat. Dixon claimed that he discarded the handgun after he ran from the bank.

Three days earlier, on February 6, Dixon and Osterman also robbed the Cecil Bank at
114 E. Pulaski Highway
in Elkton, Maryland, where they stole $2,258 in a similar manner.

Previously, Judge Quarles sentenced Keith Osterman, age 28, of Denton, Maryland to 126 months in prison for his participation in the robberies.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, ATF, the Elkton Police Department and the Harford Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys P. Michael Cunningham and Mushtaq Gunja, who prosecuted the case.

Twenty-Three Defendants Indicted on Federal Drug Trafficking and Weapons Charges

AUGUSTA, GA—A federal indictment, unsealed yesterday in federal court, has charged 23 defendants with a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine, crack cocaine, prescription pills, and ecstasy in the Thomson, Georgia area. Several of the defendants have also been charged with weapons charges.

The indictment follows a 12-month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into drug trafficking activities in Thomson and Atlanta. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conducted the joint investigation. During the investigation, agents seized drugs, money, vehicles, and guns.

United States Attorney Edward Tarver said, “This prosecution required the coordinated efforts of law enforcement on the state and federal levels to bring to justice those who profit from the scourge of illegal narcotics trafficking. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to partner with federal, state, and local agencies to prosecute drug dealers and remove their drugs and dangerous weapons from our communities.”

The 23 defendants indicted on federal charges include:

WILLIAM LEON WOODS III, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia
KEVIN ELLIOTT GAINES, 29, of Thomson, Georgia
ANTONIO DANTWAN GRISSON, 27, of Thomson, Georgia
EDDIE DEWAYNE GALISON, 27, of Thomson, Georgia
GREGORY VALENTINO IVEY, 24, of Thomson, Georgia
SOLOMON MANDRELL GRIER, 32, of Thomson, Georgia
DEVICCO TROY MOSS, 29, of Thomson, Georgia
CEDRIC FERLANDO JOHNSON, 30, of Thomson, Georgia
ROBERT LEE BELTON, JR, 32, of Thomson, Georgia
CHRIS ANTONIO MOSS, 33, of Thomson, Georgia
SANTIONO TYWAN CARTLEDGE, 29, of Thomson, Georgia
TITO NAVADA HATCHER, 37, of Sparta, Georgia
SANCHEZ VANQUIS JONES, 27, of Thomson, Georgia
ROBERT LEE WILLIAMS, 31, of Thomson, Georgia
ROBERT LEE NEAL, 49, of Thomson, Georgia
JAMES BOUTTRY, JR., 24, of Thomson, Georgia
JAMARIO QUILTON LEE, 26, Thomson, Georgia
MARIO DEANGELO CLEMONS, 28, of Thomson, Georgia
APRIL OLIVIA DAWSON, 37, of Thomson, Georgia, and
DEBRA GAINES, 48, of Thomson, Georgia.

Mr. Tarver stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia Green Rhodes is prosecuting the case for the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

USFA Releases Annual Report on Firefighter Fatalities in the United States

Emmitsburg, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) today released the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2009.  The report continues a series of annual studies by the USFA of onduty firefighter fatalities.  The USFA is the single public agency source of information for all onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States each year.

Ninety onduty firefighters from 33 states lost their lives as the result of incidents that occurred in 2009.  Pennsylvania experienced the highest number of fatalities (8).  In addition to Pennsylvania, only New York (7), North Carolina (6), Louisiana (5), and Texas (5), respectively, had five or more firefighter fatalities.  This compares favorably to 2008's firefighter losses where 9 states experienced 5 or more onduty fatalities.  The total number of fatalities in 2009 was one of the lowest totals in more than 30 years of record.

"Over the past ten years alone, the trend shows a 14 percent reduction in onduty firefighter fatalities but we must continue every effort to be sure that when it comes to firefighter health and safety, everyone goes home,” Acting United States Fire Administrator Glenn Gaines said.

The unique and specific objective of Firefighter Fatalities in the United States is to identify all onduty firefighter fatalities that occurred in the United States and its protectorates during the calendar year and to present in summary narrative form the circumstances surrounding each occurrence.

An overview of the 90 firefighters that died while on duty in 2009:

The total break down included 47 volunteer, 36 career, and 7 wildland agency firefighters.

There were 6 firefighter fatality incidents where 2 or more firefighters were killed, claiming a total of 13 firefighters' lives.

16 firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires, compared to 26 such fatalities in 2008.

Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 57 firefighters.

30 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.

15 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 13 emergency incidents in 2009.  This compares to 24 responding/returning fatalities in 2008.

10 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.

14 firefighters died after the conclusion of their onduty activity.

Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death with 39 firefighter deaths.

For 33 years, USFA has tracked the number of firefighter fatalities and conducted an annual analysis.  Through the collection of information on the causes of firefighter deaths, the USFA is able to focus on specific problems and direct efforts toward finding solutions to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities in the future.  This information is also used by many organizations to measure the effectiveness of their current efforts directed toward firefighter health and safety.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which worked closely with USFA on this report, also maintains a list of firefighters who die in the line-of-duty and are honored during the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend held each October in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Visit for more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and their assistance to the families of the firefighters lost in 2009 and beyond.

Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted on the USFA's website.

Philadelphia Resident Charged in Identity Theft Scheme

Shameerah Weaver was charged September 23, 2010, by indictment, with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.


Shameerah Weaver, Philadelphia, PA,  26 years old

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 35 years’ imprisonment, including a two-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a $3 million fine, a $1,200 special assessment, and full restitution.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy E. Potts.

An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Shaler Man Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Deal Cocaine

PITTSBURGH—A resident of Shaler, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 18 months in prison followed by four years supervised release for violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry imposed the sentence yesterday on Christopher Billings, 34.

According to information presented to the court, from in or around July 2008, to on or about March 4, 2009, Billings conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Billings.

Carlsbad Man Arrested for Attempting to Entice Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity

San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter announces the arrest of Maurice Cohn, age 50, of Carlsbad, California, on federal charges of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Cohn was arrested on Friday, September 24, 2010, at approximately 2:45 p.m. at the Sprinter Station at Oceanside Boulevard and Rancho Del Oro, Oceanside, California. Cohn was arrested by Oceanside police detectives and officers.

According to the complaint filed in this matter, beginning on or about September 15, 2010, the Oceanside Police Department initiated an investigation into Cohn, after he initiated contact with a confidential informant (CI) via a MySpace account. The profile on this account depicted a teenage female without an age listed. During the course of the investigation, specifically, the period between September 15, 2010 and September 24, 2010, Cohn solicited the CI to meet him for sex knowing that the CI indicated she was a 16-year-old female.

On the day of the arrest, Cohn arranged to meet the CI at the Sprinter Station at Oceanside Boulevard and Rancho Del Oro in Oceanside, California. Cohn arrived at this location driving a pickup truck. Cohn met with the CI briefly and proceeded to park his vehicle. As he pulled away to park, he observed a police vehicle and immediately attempted to flee in his vehicle until driving up onto the curb, causing his vehicle to stop. Cohn was subsequently arrested by Oceanside Police Detectives and transported to the Oceanside Police Station.

On Monday, 09/27/2010, Cohn was booked into the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). Cohn is expected to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

This investigation was conducted by the San Diego County Innocence Lost Task Force. The task force consists of the Oceanside Police Department, Escondido Police Department, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. There are 38 Innocent Lost Task Forces and working groups across the country.

The formation of these Task Forces stemmed from the Innocent Lost National Initiative which was implemented in 2003 by the FBI with support from the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (

Nationally, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has resulted in 571 convictions and the successful location and recovery of 1,038 children. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is handling the prosecution of Cohn.

An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendant committed crimes charged. The defendant is presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

COPS Office Announces $26.1 Million to Improve School Safety and Reduce Child Sexual Victimization

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has announced $26.1 million in grants intended to protect children.  The grants were awarded under the COPS Office’s Child Sexual Predator Program and their Secure Our Schools programs.

One hundred sixty seven local law enforcement agencies and municipalities in 40 states and Puerto Rico received $15.9 million in grants to fund up to 50 percent of the total cost of purchasing and installing metal detectors, locks, lighting, fencing, closed-circuit surveillance systems and other safety equipment in schools.  The Secure Our Schools program also funds things such as security assessments, security training, and other measures that will provide a significant improvement in school safety.

Additionally, $10.2 million in grants was awarded to fund partnerships between state or local government agencies and their U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshals Service offices that focus on locating, arresting, and prosecuting child sexual predators, as well as enforcing state sex offender registration laws.  The COPS Office awarded Child Sexual Predator Program grants to 24 government agencies in 18 states.

"Ensuring the safety of our youth is of critical importance, and this funding will have a meaningful impact in communities throughout the country”, said COPS Director Bernard K. Melekian.  "Communities that are receiving these grants have made a commitment to a collaborative partnership that will ultimately make a world of difference in reducing youth victimization."

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $11.3 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,600 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring of officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products, including community policing publications, training and technical assistance.

2 CBP officers and TSA supervisor sentenced to prison in connection with drug importation scheme

MIAMI - Cindy Moran-Sanchez, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the Miami International Airport, was sentenced to prison on charges of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and heroin into the United States from the Dominican Republic following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG).

On Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn sentenced Moran, 32, to 14 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $30,000 fine. Co-conspirators Elizabeth Moran-Toala, 39, a former CBP officer, and Jose Sanchez, 40, a former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) supervisor at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, have also been convicted and sentenced for their respective roles in the conspiracy. On June 25, 2009, Elizabeth Moran-Toala was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Jose Sanchez was sentenced on Oct. 1, 2009 to 11 years and three months in prison.

ICE Office of Professional Responsibility Special Agent in Charge David P. D'Amato stated, "Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility is dedicated to aggressively pursuing all allegations of corruption involving employees and civilians within our area of responsibility, especially in a border security environment. ICE OPR takes great pride in protecting the integrity of all ICE and CBP employees."

In May 2009, Cindy Moran-Sanchez, her husband Jose Sanchez, and her sister Elizabeth Moran-Toala, were charged in a superseding indictment for their participation in a conspiracy to import and distribute heroin and cocaine. Moran-Sanchez and Moran-Toala used their positions as CBP officers, and their access to government databases, to facilitate the entry of drug couriers traveling from the Dominican Republic to the United States carrying suitcases filled with either heroin or cocaine.

Jose Sanchez, in turn, used his position as a TSA supervisor to ensure that the couriers and their drug-laden suitcases, successfully made their way on board domestic flights bound from Fort Lauderdale to New York, where the drugs would be delivered to their ultimate purchasers.

In 2006, the defendants traveled to the Dominican Republic and formulated a plan with a prior drug associate of Moran-Sanchez to use their respective positions within DHS to facilitate the importation of cocaine and heroin into the United States, and thereafter, to points within the United States.

As part of this plan, the defendants agreed that the associate, who had previously been deported from the United States for a drug offense, would re-enter the United States using a false identity and that he would thereafter recruit couriers to travel to the Dominican Republic, retrieve the illegal narcotics and return with the narcotics to the United States.

Once the narcotics arrived in the United States, Elizabeth Moran-Toala and Jose Sanchez would use their positions and contacts at CBP to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the couriers and illegal narcotics passed through the customs enclosure at the Fort Lauderdale Airport without being detected by law enforcement agents and thereafter passed through TSA checkpoints to be placed on domestic commercial aircraft. The group agreed that the associate would pay the defendants a per kilogram fee for each kilogram of either cocaine or heroin which was imported successfully as part of this scheme.

In September 2006, the associate reentered the United States using a false identity. After reentering the United States, he and others recruited couriers, as planned, to travel to the Dominican Republic and return with narcotics. Through the assistance of the defendants, several couriers successfully entered the United States with cocaine and heroin, which was later flown on domestic flights to the New York-area. Five couriers were intercepted. These interdictions resulted in the seizure of approximately 30 kilograms of heroin and fifty kilograms of cocaine.

In January 2009, the defendants' drug associate was arrested. The defendants were arrested in February 2009 following an undercover investigation, during which they assisted an undercover officer in passing a suitcase filled with 10 kilograms of purported heroin through the TSA terminal checkpoint and loading that suitcase onto a US Airways flight. Federal agents arrested the defendants after they accepted $25,000 as a fee for their assistance.

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-- ICE --

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FBI Offers Reward of up to $50,000 for Information Leading to Arrest of Home Invasion and Bank Robbery Subjects

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individuals known to be involved in a related home invasion and bank robbery on Friday, September 24, 2010. The robbery took place at at the Bank of America located at
1500 South Dixie Highway, Coral Gables, Florida
. A bank employee was forced to wear an explosive device, enter the bank, and retrieve an undisclosed amount of money. The subjects waited in the bank parking lot for the employee to return with the money and then fled in the employee's red Ford Mustang, likely driving north on South Dixie Highway. Three of the subjects are described below:

Subject #1
Race: Black or Latin
Sex: Male
Age: Early 20’s
Height: 5’ 6”- 5’ 7”
Weight: 170-180 lbs.
Build: Medium, fit
Clothes: Black ski mask, black sweat shirt with hoodie, black sweat pants, black gloves
Gun: Handgun
Other: Spoke in English, but with an accent, possibly Haitian

Subject #2
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Age: Early 20's
Height: 6 '0"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Build: Muscular
Clothes: Black ski mask, black sweat shirt with hoodie, oversized black sweat pants, black gloves
Shoes: Very shiny, bright white tennis shoes, with black or blue stripes
Gun: Handgun

Subject #3
Race: Hispanic
Sex: Male
Build: Heavy

These individuals are considered armed and dangerous. If you have information regarding the identity and/or location of any persons involved in this crime, please call the FBI at (305) 944-9101 or Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS.

Former Ft. Campbell Soldier Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Property

PADUCAH, KY—Jonathon Morgan Harris, age 24, of Detroit, Michigan, pled guilty on September 27, 2010, to theft of government property, United States Attorney David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.

Harris admitted that at some time between about January 6, 2009 and January 11, 2009, the defendant entered on Ft. Campbell military base in Christian County, Kentucky in the Western District of Kentucky, and stole a 2002 white in color, four-door Chevrolet Blazer motor vehicle, VIN: 1GNCS13W32K204478, for his personal use. The vehicle was owned by a United States government agency, the General Services Administration, and had a value of about $8,300.

The maximum potential penalties are 10 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of three years.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Sparks, and it was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.

The plea was entered before Thomas B. Russell, Chief Judge, United States District Court, Paducah, Kentucky.

Harris is scheduled to be sentenced before Chief Judge Russell on January 11, 2011, at , in Paducah, Kentucky.

Mortgage Broker and Loan Officer Charged in Fraud Scheme

PHILADELPHIA—An indictment was filed today against Bernadette Nicholas, Kevin D. McAllister, and Wayne Rosen for engaging in schemes to defraud Wilmington Trust Federal Savings Bank and Malvern Federal Savings Bank involving properties valued at more than $35.5 million, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

According to the indictiment, Bernadette Nicholas, who was a mortgage broker, intentionally misrepresented material facts to Wilmington Trust about borrowers’ income and assets, the potential rental income and accurate appraisals of properties. It further alleges that Nicholas falsified borrowers’ tax returns and documents relating to the true source and amount of the down payments being made by borrowers, and forged borrowers’ signatures on loan documents. McAllister worked as a loan officer with Wilmington Trust and allegedly worked in conjunction with Nicholas to approve mortgage loans for borrowers who did not meet Wilmington Trust’s criteria for income, assets, and credit scores, in return for bribes and kickbacks from Nicholas. As a result, Nicholas and McAllister caused the approval of loans totaling more than $30 million.

Nicholas allegedly did not report the monies obtained from the Wilmington Trust fraud scheme to the Internal Revenue Service. McAllister also allegedly failed to report the illegally obtained monies that he received as bribes and kickbacks from his approval of the Wilmington Trust loans for Bernadette Nicholas’ clients.

Bernadette Nicholas and Wayne Rosen are charged with engaging in a scheme to defraud Malvern Federal. According to the indictment, Nicholas brokered the sale of an apartment building between Rosen and mortgage clients and sought a $1.6 million loan from Malvern Federal for her clients. Nicholas allegedly altered the borrowers’ income tax returns prior to submitting them to Malvern Federal and falsely represented the borrowers’ income, the amount of the borrowers’ down payment, and the details of a subordination agreement between Rosen and the borrowers on the borrowers’ loan application and supporting documents. Second, Nicholas and Rosen applied for a $3.5 million loan to refinance an existing loan that they had on a medical building. In order to influence Malvern Federal’s actions, it is alleged that Nicholas and Rosen prepared and caused to be prepared fraudulent leases which misrepresented the potential rental flow income of their medical building and caused these leases to be submitted to Malvern Federal.



Bernadette Nicholas, Newtown Square, PA, 61

Kevin D. McAllister, Drexel Hill, PA, 56

Wayne Rosen, Philadelphia, PA, 59

If convicted, the defendants face the following: Bernadette Nicholas faces a guideline sentencing range of 70 to 87 months in prison, a fine of up to $59.2 million, five years' supervised release, and a $6,100 special assessment; Kevin McAllister faces a guideline sentencing range of 70 to 87 months in prison, a fine of up to $56.3 million, five years' supervised release, and a $ 5,900 special assessment; and Wayne Rosen faces a guideine sentencing range of 46 to 57 months in prison, a fine of up to $3 million, five years' supervised release, and a $300 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve.

An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

4 men charged in failed drug and alien smuggling operation

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations arrested William R. Roberts, 50, Luckson Morin, 38, Guy Derilus, 54, and Alphonse Pierre, 32, for their participation in a failed drug and alien smuggling operation.

William R. Roberts, a Bahamian national, is charged with alien smuggling. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison followed by up to three years of supervised release.

Luckson Morin and Guy Derilus, both of Fort Lauderdale, are charged with attempting to transport illegal aliens. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison followed by up to three years of supervised release. In addition, Morin and Alphonse Pierre, a Haitian national, are individually charged with possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. If convicted, they face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of up to life in prison, followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release.

The defendants made their initial appearances in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Frank J. Lynch in Fort Pierce. All four defendants were temporarily detained as flight risks and dangers to the community, pending their detention hearing on Oct. 5. Their arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 8.

According to the criminal complaint, on Sept. 26, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) vessel encountered the motor vessel "WHO CARES," in the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. CBP Air and Marine officers boarded the vessel and found five persons claiming to be Haitian nationals. CBP officers also found four padlocked carry on-sized pieces of luggage, which contained 78 bricks of a white powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine. Each brick weighed approximately one kilogram.

According to the criminal complaint, Alphonse Pierre, one of the passengers on the boat and Morin's cousin, possessed the keys to open the luggage that contained the cocaine.

The complaint also alleges that boat captain William R. Roberts, who claimed to be a Bahamian national, was bringing the others to the United States for the purpose of financial gain, and had been coordinating the delivery of the five individuals with someone known to Roberts as "Nixon," later identified as Luckson Morin.

On Sept. 27, an undercover ICE special agent accompanied Roberts to a meeting with Morin at the Sailfish Marina in Stuart, Fla., to purportedly complete the delivery of the foreign nationals. Guy Derilus accompanied Morin at this meeting. During the meeting, Morin promised Roberts $3,000 per kilogram of cocaine for his unwitting transportation of the cocaine from the Bahamas. After the meeting, ICE special agents arrested Morin and Derilus.

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Murphy Oil USA to Spend More Than $142 Million Upgrading Pollution Controls at Refineries in Louisiana & Wisconsin

WASHINGTON - Murphy Oil USA has agreed to spend more than $142 million to install new and upgraded pollution reduction equipment at its two petroleum refineries in Wisconsin and Louisiana as part of a comprehensive Clean Air Act settlement, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.   The settlement also requires Murphy to pay a $1.25 million civil penalty and spend an additional $1.5 million on a supplemental environmental project.

The El Dorado, Ark.-based company’s refineries are located in Superior, Wis., and in Meraux, La.   The new air pollution control technologies and other measures to be implemented at both refineries will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by nearly 1,400 tons per year once all controls are installed.   The settlement will also reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and carbon monoxide.   These pollutants can cause serious respiratory problems and exacerbate cases of childhood asthma, among other adverse health effects.

In addition to the new pollution controls at both refineries, as a supplemental environmental project Murphy will install covers on two wastewater tanks at the Meraux refinery to control volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions, and which will also reduce odors from the tanks.   To address additional concerns of citizens living adjacent to the Meraux refinery, Murphy also will be installing and operating an ambient air monitoring station in the community, as well as implementing several other projects, including noise abatement and dust control measures.  

“The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing our nation’s environmental laws,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Environment and Natural Resource Division Assistant Attorney General. “Nationwide, many refineries are located in economically distressed or disadvantaged communities. Settlements like this one, that require the installation of pollution reduction equipment, result in cleaner, safer environments for affected communities.”

“EPA is committed to reducing toxic air pollution from sources that have an impact on the health of communities,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.   “This settlement, which is the result of cooperative efforts by State and Federal officials in both states, is good news for the residents of communities living near these refineries, who will be able to breathe easier knowing that the air in their communities will be cleaner.”

This settlement is the latest in a series of “global” multi-issue, multi-facility settlements being pursued by EPA in the refining sector.   In March of this year, similar settlements were reached with Shell refineries located in Alabama, Louisiana and Puerto Rico.   With today’s settlement, 104 refineries operating in 31 states and territories are now covered by global settlements, representing more than 90 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.   The first of EPA’s comprehensive refinery settlements was reached in 2000.          

Murphy had previously entered into a settlement addressing Clean Air Act violations at its Superior refinery in 2002, after a 10-day trial.   Today’s settlement will replace the 2002 settlement.   

“We’re pleased that this new consent decree will further reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from the Superior Refinery, which was largely the focus of the earlier contested proceedings,” said John W. Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.   “This agreement is a win-win for the citizens of Superior and the environment.”  

The states of Wisconsin and Louisiana actively participated in and are joining in the settlement with Murphy, which was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

More information on the settlement:

More information on EPA’s Petroleum Refinery Initiative:

Recidivist sex offender convicted in Delaware of child exploitation offenses

ICE joins Delaware State Police in international predator investigation

WILMINGTON, Del. - Paul Edward Pavulak, 66, of New Castle, Del., was convicted on September 27 by a federal jury in Wilmington of child exploitation offenses uncovered in an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Delaware State Police.

A federal grand jury indicted the defendant on these five counts on April 16, 2009. A federal jury found Pavulak guilty of violating five felony child exploitation crimes, including:

Attempted production of child pornography
Attempted enticement and coercion of a minor to engage in sexual activity
Failure to register and update a registration as a sex offender
Committing a felony offense involving a minor while being required to register as a sex offender
According to evidence presented at trial, from September 2008 to January 2009, Pavulak developed an online relationship with a young woman in the Philippines who had a two-year-old daughter.

In December 2008, Pavulak traveled to the Philippines and met the woman and her daughter. Pavulak produced a sexually explicit movie of himself and the woman, and described the movie as the two-year-old girl's “training video." In another video, Pavulak was recorded standing naked in a hotel room with the child and her mother. These videos were later recovered by ICE HSI agents from the woman in the Philippines.

Following his return to the United States in January 2009, Pavulak attempted to produce child pornography of the two-year-old girl via a web camera during an online instant chat message exchange with the woman.

"This case is a disturbing reminder that predators who have a sexual interest in children believe they can evade detection and prosecution by committing sex crimes overseas," said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia. "We want the public to know that ICE and the law enforcement community will work tirelessly to protect children."

On Jan. 19, 2009, the Delaware State Police executed a search warrant at a concrete company's office in New Castle, where Pavulak had been living and working. During the search, Delaware State Police seized digital media evidence, including computers, a camera and a mobile phone.

Upon review of the seized materials, investigators discovered thousands of images depicting the sexual abuse of minors on the computers.  These images included depictions of children ranging in age from infancy to mid-teens engaging in sexual acts with adult males.  On a mobile phone and a computer, the investigators also found sexually explicit communications between Pavulak and the woman regarding her daughter, in which they discussed having the woman prepare the child to engage in sexual activity with Pavulak when he returned to the Philippines.

Evidence at trial established that Pavulak was convicted in 1998 and 2005 of second degree unlawful sexual contact with minors in New Castle County Superior Court.  In each of those cases, Pavulak molested the daughters of women he was dating.  As a result of these convictions, federal and state law required Pavulak to register as a sex offender and to provide the registry with the address of his employer and his residence.  Between July 2008 and January 2009, Pavulak consistently reported to the Delaware State Police that he was unemployed and that he lived in a motel.  Evidence at trial showed that Pavulak worked for a concrete company owned by his children and also resided in a room at the company's office.

Following the return of the jury's verdict, U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss stated, "Sophisticated child sex offenders like Mr. Pavulak use the internet to exploit children in a variety of ways.  We will utilize all the tools available to state and federal law enforcement to see that individuals do not have the opportunity to victimize children - whether in person or online."

Delaware State Police Superintendent Colonel Robert M. Coupe stated, "We are pleased that Mr. Pavulak will not prey on any children in this state or another country.  The state police will remain diligent in protecting children from predators."
Due to his prior convictions and his commission of these offenses while being required to register as a sex offender, Pavulak faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 45 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The investigation that led to this case 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.

Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals through Operation Predator. 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

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. McAndrew of the District of Delaware, and Trial Attorneys Bonnie L. Kane and Andrew McCormack of CEOS.  The case was investigated by the Delaware State Police's Child Predator Task Force and High Technology Crimes Unit, and ICE-Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

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California Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Distribution

MUSKOGEE, OK—Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that ROBERT DAVID MEDINA, a/k/a, Pepe, age 31 of Winton, California, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

MEDINA was indicted in November, 2009. The indictment alleged that from 2004 through February, 2009, MEDINA and others agreed to purchase large quantities of methamphetamine in the state of California and transport the drugs to McCurtain County, Oklahoma for further sale. The meth was sold throughout southeastern Oklahoma by co-conspirators previously prosecuted in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The investigation began in 2004. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace led the complex inter-district, multi-state prosecution. Agents from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN), Drug Enforcement Administration, Choctaw and McCurtain County Sheriff’s Departments, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Lamar County Texas District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, McAlester Police Department, Krebs Police Department, the United States Marshal Service, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma National Guard, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and the Civil Air Patrol participated in the investigation. This investigation targeted the sale of diverted prescription drugs and illicit drugs in Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas. The investigation was coordinated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) of the Eastern District of Oklahoma. OCDETF is an initiative led in and coordinated by the Office of the United States Attorney.

The Honorable Steven P. Shreder, Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, accepted the defendant’s guilty plea and ordered the completion of a presentence report. Sentencing will be scheduled following its completion. MEDINA was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal Service pending sentencing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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

The FBI and San Diego Sheriff’s Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the unknown male responsible for robbing a Citibank in San Marcos last week.

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at approximately , a Hispanic male robbed the Citibank located at
740 South Rancho Santa Fe Road, San Marcos, California
. The robber entered the bank, approached the teller, and produced a note demanding cash.

The robber is described as follows:

Race: Hispanic
Age: Late 20’s to late 30’s
Height: Approximately 5’5” to 5’7”
Build: Stocky
Weight: 170 to 195 pounds
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Short, dark
Clothing: Dark baseball cap, white dress shirt or chef’s shirt, dark pants.

Anyone with information concerning this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at telephone number (858) 565-1255 or San Diego CrimeStoppers at (888) 580-8477.

Searching for Man Who Robbed National Bank of Tennessee Branch in Cocke County

The Knoxville Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - Johnson City Resident Agency and Sheriff Armando Fontes of the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect who robbed a Cocke County bank today.

At approximately 11:00 a.m., the suspect entered the National Bank of Tennessee located at 4406 Hooper Highway in Cosby, Tennessee, displayed a weapon, and demanded money. Witnesses described the suspect as a white male, approximately 5’6” to 5’9” tall, approximately 30 years old, weighing approximately 210 pounds. Suspect was wearing a blue and gray plaid coat with a gray hood and a baseball cap.

After obtaining an undetermined amount of money, the suspect left the scene in what witnesses described as an older model green Jeep Cherokee. A reward is being offered for any information which leads to the arrest of this individual. Anyone with information is asked to call the Johnson City Office of the FBI at 423-282-8090 or the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office at 423-623-6004. This matter is being investigated jointly by the FBI - Johnson City Resident Agency and the CCSO.

All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

3 Sacramento attorneys receive lengthy sentences in asylum fraud scheme investigated by ICE HSI

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Three attorneys for a northern California law firm and their contract interpreter were sentenced to lengthy prison terms Friday following their conviction on charges stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed they orchestrated a scheme to file hundreds of false asylum claims.

Jagprit Singh Sekhon, 39, of Westminster, Calif., formerly of Sacramento, was sentenced to 108 months in prison. His brother and former partner in the Sekhon & Sekhon law firm, Jagdip Singh Sekhon, 42, of Salida, Calif., was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Their former law firm associate, Manjit Kaur Rai, 33, of Discovery Bay, Calif., was sentenced to 30 months in prison. The sentencing hearing for interpreter Iosif Caza, 43, of Sacramento has not yet concluded. Interpreter Luciana Harmath, 29, of Glendale, Ariz., formerly of Sacramento, was sentenced to four months in prison last month.

Judge Damrell ordered Jagdip Sekhon and Jagprit Sekhon immediately remanded into custody to begin serving their sentences. Rai was given three weeks to surrender to the designated prison.

The defendants were convicted last year of orchestrating a long-running scheme to file hundreds of false asylum claims. In sentencing Jagdip Sekhon, Judge Damrell said that while there were flaws in the asylum system that "doesn't give license to lawyers to take advantage of it." One of the primary purposes of the sentences, the judge said was "to deter future criminal conduct by lawyers who take advantage of this flawed system."

"As these sentences make clear, immigration benefit fraud is a serious crime," said
Daniel Lane
, assistant special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Sacramento. "Benefit fraud schemes like this not only undermine our nation's legal immigration system, they also pose a potential security threat. Homeland Security Investigations will move aggressively to identify and investigate individuals who exploit and corrupt our immigration system solely to enrich themselves."

"Through the granting of asylum, this nation offers its protection to victims of ethnic, religious, and political persecution from across the world," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. "These defendants made a living out of cynically abusing and subverting the asylum process. That three of these defendants were licensed attorneys, officers of the court who are supposed to uphold the integrity of the process, is particularly offensive."

In addition to the prison sentences, the two Sekhons were also ordered to pay financial penalties. Jagprit Sekhon entered into stipulated money forfeiture judgments totaling $170,000. Following an extensive forfeiture trial, Judge Damrell ordered Jagdip Sekhon to forfeit $690,590 in ill-gotten gains. Beyond that, last year the California State Bar entered interim suspensions against the Sekhon brothers and Rai. In June, Jagdip Sekhon resolved his State Bar charges and agreed to a two-year suspension, which was stayed with an actual nine-month suspension from the practice of law. As part of his actual suspension, Jagdip Sekhon will be required to meet certain conditions before he may resume the practice of law.

The Sekhon brothers were partners in the law firm of Sekhon & Sekhon, which had offices in Sacramento and San Francisco and specialized in immigration cases.

According to evidence presented at the trial, beginning in the late 1990s and continuing through 2004, the defendants filed hundreds of asylum applications, primarily on behalf of Indian and Romanian nationals. In order to qualify for asylum in the United States, an applicant must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in his or her home country. Evidence at the trial showed the defendants filed numerous asylum applications containing fictitious stories of persecution, including false accounts of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and rape. Some of the accounts were reused in multiple asylum claims.

The applications were often supported by counterfeit or fraudulent doctor's letters, medical certificates and affidavits. The testimony also showed that many of Sekhon & Sekhon's Romanian clients traveled to Sacramento from other states, such as Washington, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and ICE HSI are currently reviewing hundreds of the asylum cases filed by Sekhon & Sekhon to determine if they will be reopened.

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