Illegal Possession of Firearm, Ammunition Sends Browning Man to Prison

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Illegal possession of firearm, ammunition sends Browning man to prison

GREAT FALLS — A Browning man who admitted to illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation was sentenced on Monday to 27 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said today.

Wesley Allen Cross Guns, Jr., 32, pleaded guilty April 6 to prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that on Oct. 8, 2020, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services had been looking for Cross Guns, Jr., in relation to recent criminal activity including two police chases. Officers arrested Cross Guns, Jr., after he was seen walking with two juveniles. In a search of Cross Guns, Jr., officers found methamphetamine and bullets for a .22-caliber firearm. One of the companions, who was detained, told officers he had a firearm and asked them to get it. Officers pulled a .22-caliber rifle with a broken off stock from under the individual’s clothing. The name, Cross Guns, was on the rifle, and the individual said it was for the defendant. The individual told officers he had bought the rifle and shared it with Cross Guns, Jr.  The defendant was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because of previous felony convictions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalah A. Paisley prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.

Conspirator in Scheme to Defraud a Maryland Company of More Than $2 Million Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison

Source: United States Attorneys General 7

Chief U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar today sentenced Chonnathason Has, a/k/a Bora Has, age 54, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy and wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to defraud a Maryland company of more than $2 million. Chief Judge Bredar also ordered Has to pay restitution in the amount of $2,478,069.16.

Georgia psychotherapy services provider to pay $2 million to resolve false claims allegations

Source: United States Attorneys General 6

Carenow Services, LLC, a Roswell-based psychotherapy services provider, as well as its CEO Leena Karun (collectively “Carenow”), have agreed to pay $2 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by billing Medicare and Medicaid for psychotherapy sessions at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities that were medically unnecessary, improperly documented, or billed at higher intensity levels than justified (a practice known as upcoding).

Collin County Man Sentenced for Distributing Child Pornography

Source: FBI
Monday, August 23, 2021

Collin County Man Sentenced for Distributing Child Pornography

PLANO, Texas – A Plano man has been sentenced to federal prison for child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.

Edgar Raymond Miller, 38, pleaded guilty on Feb. 5, 2021 to two counts of distribution of child pornography and was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Sean D. Jordan.

“The incredible work of our federal and local law enforcement partners revealed a man focused on the violent sexual abuse of children living in our midst,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “Law enforcement relies on tips from the public to help them identify and disrupt those engaged in the traffic of child pornography.  I urge members of the public to report any interactions on social media applications that they find concerning or suspicious. Ultimately, your tip could prevent a child from being abused or exploited.”

“The FBI and our partners in the North Texas Child Exploitation Task Force work tirelessly to apprehend individuals who distribute or attempt to distribute child pornography. This collaboration resulted in an arrest and a positive outcome with today’s sentencing,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “We will continue to prioritize the safety of children in the communities we serve.”

According to information presented in court, in April 2020, a detective with the Plano Police Department received an investigative lead pertaining to a user on an Internet-based chat application who was uploading child pornography.  The user was traced to the residence in Plano where Edgar Miller lived.  In June 2020, the Plano PD, FBI, and an investigator with the Collin County District Attorney’s Office served a search warrant at Miller’s residence, where they seized numerous digital devices containing child pornography.  Forensic analysis revealed that Miller had collected more than 47,000 images and videos of child pornography across multiple social media platforms.  Evidence also revealed chats in which Miller discussed the graphic and extreme abuse of children.  A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Miller with child pornography violations on July 8, 2020.

As part of his plea, Miller admitted to communicating with other individuals on the instant messaging mobile application about child pornography and the sexual abuse of children.  Miller distributed images depicting male children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  The children depicted were prepubescent (or under the age of 12 years old) and some of the images included depictions of sadistic or masochistic abuse.  Miller admitted that he distributed and possessed more than 600 images of child pornography.  He further admitted to distributing child pornography to others on the application in exchange for child pornography from them.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

This case was investigated by the Plano Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Collin County District Attorney’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller.

San Benito Man Sent to Prison for Robbing Bank Via Threatening Message

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

San Benito man sent to prison for robbing bank via threatening message

McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old local man has been ordered to federal prison for bank robbery, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Gustavo Guadalupe Guevara pleaded guilty May 20.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. ordered him to serve a 42-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard from the victim and noted the seriousness and nature of the offense.

On the morning of Nov. 3, 2020, Guevarra approached a teller at a Lone Star National Bank in Harlingen and handed her a piece of paper with a threatening message. In it, Guevarra also demanded money. The teller feared for her safety and complied. Guevarra then fled the bank.

The investigation led to Guevarra. Law enforcement ultimately found a large amount of U.S. currency at his residence.

Guevara will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The FBI and Harlingen Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Coronado prosecuted the case.

East Chicago Woman Charged with Wire Fraud

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

East Chicago Woman Charged Wire Fraud

Related To COVID Cares Act Economic Injury Disaster Loan

HAMMOND- Natasha Weeks, age 29, of East Chicago, Indiana, has been charged by way of an Indictment with wire fraud, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tina L. Nommay.

According to documents in this case, it is alleged that Ms. Weeks fraudulently obtained disaster-related benefits in the form of a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (SBI-EIDL) by falsely claiming to be an Illinois business owner of a hair salon allegedly located in Chicago Heights, Illinois.  It is alleged the business was called Weeks Hair Braiding/Weeks Hair Shop while no such business was found to have existed at the address identified on her application.  The loan was applied for from an IP address in East Chicago, Indiana.  It is alleged the application contained false statements and misrepresentations that the hair salon existed since 2017 and that Ms. Weeks owned the business since May 2020, employed 20 people and that her cost of goods sold was $150,000.  On July 7, 2020, Ms. Weeks received a $10,000 SBA EIDL loan because of her application.  Ms. Weeks is also charged with fraudulently seeking Arizona unemployment benefits despite never having lived or worked in that State.

The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an indictment is merely an allegation, and that all persons are presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the Judge after a consideration of federal statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

 

Memphis Medical Sales Rep Admits Misleading FBI

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Memphis Medical Sales Rep Admits Misleading FBI

Attempted to Conceal Illicit Payments to Doctor’s Wife

      LITTLE ROCK—A Florida man pleaded guilty to misleading federal agents investigating his promotion of expensive compounded prescription drugs. Steve Hill, 57, of Port Orange, Florida (formerly of Memphis), entered his plea to making false statements to the FBI today before United States District Judge Brian S. Miller.

A veteran of the medical sales industry based in Memphis, in 2014 Hill began to promote compounded prescription drugs covered by TRICARE. His compensation equaled a fixed percentage of sales generated. When a healthcare provider to whom Hill marketed the drugs went on to prescribe them, Hill earned a share of whatever the insurer reimbursed for the drugs.

Among the healthcare providers Hill solicited was Doctor 1. Unbeknownst to TRICARE, Hill shared his commission on Doctor 1’s prescriptions with Doctor 1’s wife, Spouse 1. Specifically, of the more than $500,000 in commission he earned from Doctor 1’s prescriptions, Hill paid $147,325.25 to Spouse 1 and kept the remaining $345,727.15 for himself.

Around 2016, federal agents began to investigate Hill’s promotion of compounded drugs as well as his financial relationship with Spouse 1. In August 2017, a Special Agent of the FBI travelled to Hill’s Tennessee home to speak with him directly. During that interview, Hill denied having paid Spouse 1, which he knew to be false.

Under the terms of his guilty plea, Hill agreed to forfeit $345,727.15 in illicit proceeds. He will be sentenced at a later date. Making a false statement to the FBI is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, and Miranda Bennett, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the guilty plea.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI and HHS-OIG. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander D. Morgan.

FBI Media Alert: Man with Handgun Robs Albuquerque Bank

Source: FBI
August 24, 2021

FBI Media Alert: Man with Handgun Robs Albuquerque Bank

The FBI and Albuquerque Police Department are looking for an unidentified man who displayed a handgun in his waistband as he robbed a bank inside a Walmart Supercenter on Tuesday afternoon, August 24, 2021.

The robbery occurred at First Convenience Bank, 2266 Wyoming Boulevard NE, shortly before 6 p.m.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 30s to 40s, approximately 6’0″ to 6’2” tall, and weighing about 180 to 200 pounds.

He wore a dark face mask, light-colored baseball cap with a Zia symbol, gray sweatshirt with the Champion logo, blue jeans, and white sneakers.

The suspect approached tellers, showed them a handgun in his waistband, and demanded money.

A teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money to the suspect, who left the bank.

Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at (505) 889-1300, or Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at (505) 843-STOP.

Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.

Information about other bank robbers wanted by the FBI can be found at bankrobbers.fbi.gov.

Bank robbery carries a possible prison term of up to 20 years. The use of a gun, other dangerous weapon, toy gun, or hoax bomb device during the commission of a bank robbery can be punishable by a prison term of up to 25 years.

New York Life Insurance Broker Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Securities Fraud Scheme

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

New York Life Insurance Broker Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison for Securities Fraud Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A New York Life insurance broker was sentenced today to 27 months in prison for his role in a scheme to fraudulently use his association with the company to solicit investor money, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Ivan Ramos, 39, of Hillside, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Court Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of securities fraud. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence by videoconference.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Ramos, who worked at New York Life selling life insurance, sought out inexperienced investors seeking low-risk investments. The victims met Ramos after purchasing life insurance through him, or through New York Life marketing events, or through mutual acquaintances. Ramos led his victims to believe, through misrepresentations and omissions, that two entities that he controlled, Invexperts LLC and Wealth Seeds Capital LLC, were associated with New York Life when they were not. The victims believed that the money they entrusted to Ramos would be placed in investments through New York Life, and accordingly multiple victims referenced New York Life on the memo line of their investment checks. One victim, for example, attended a New York Life seminar, then subsequently met with Ramos at his office in Edison, and ultimately invested in Invexperts believing it was associated with New York Life.

Ramos falsely told victims that their investments in Invexperts and Wealth Seeds were no-risk with fixed annual returns. Instead of investing their money as he promised he would, Ramos used the funds for purposes not disclosed to the victims, including, among other things, to pay for personal expenses for Ramos and others, to develop a restaurant called “Frisky Bull Barbeque” in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and to repay other investors.

Ramos obtained over $1 million in investor money through the fraudulent scheme.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi sentenced Ramos to three years of supervised release.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a civil complaint against Ramos based on the allegations underlying the securities fraud charge.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Rodney M. Hopkins in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Kozar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

Federal Grand Jury Expands RICO Indictment Against MS-13 by Adding Defendants and Four Previously Unsolved Murders

Source: FBI
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Federal Grand Jury Expands RICO Indictment Against MS-13 by Adding Defendants and 4 Previously Unsolved Murders

          LOS ANGELES – Nine new defendants and a series of previously uncharged murders are included in a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today that significantly expands a wide-ranging racketeering indictment targeting an arm of the MS-13 transnational street gang.

The 18-count Third Superseding Indictment, which was unsealed following the arrests of four defendants this week, alleges that members and associates of MS-13 murdered 11 people, five of whom were hacked to death with machetes or knives in the Angeles National Forest. The indictment, which was filed on August 5, adds nine defendants to the previous version of the indictment and nearly doubles the number of charged murders.

Mara Salvatrucha was formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, and the street gang is now comprised of tens of thousands of individuals in at least 10 states and several Central American countries, notably El Salvador. In the mid-1990s, Mara Salvatrucha became associated with the Mexican Mafia and added the number 13 to its name (“M” is the 13th letter of the alphabet). To become a new member of a Mexican Mafia-affiliated gang, an individual underwent a 13-second beating by other members of the gang.

This case focuses on MS-13 Los Angeles’ Fulton clique, a particularly violent subset of MS-13 that operates in the San Fernando Valley and has been bolstered by an influx of young immigrants from Central America.

“In 2016, the Fulton clique decided to break from MS-13’s traditional program in Los Angeles in favor of a traditional Salvadoran Mara Salvatrucha program,” according to the new indictment. “The key difference between MS-13’s traditional Los Angeles program and MS-13’s Salvadoran program was that the Salvadoran program required a prospective member to have committed at least one homicide before becoming a homeboy,” or full-fledged member.

In addition to murders previously charged in this case – including one in which the victim was dismembered – the new indictment charges the January 2019 murder of a man who was fatally shot in a remote area near Santa Clarita and whose remains were not recovered until the Tick Fire burned the area 10 months later.

Of the 11 murders alleged in the indictment, five victims allegedly were killed with machetes or knives, while six allegedly were shot to death. All 11 murders are alleged to have been committed “for the purpose of gaining entry to and maintaining and increasing position in MS-13 Los Angeles.”

The 111-page Third Superseding Indictment names 31 defendants, 21 of whom are charged with conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The RICO charge alleges nearly 300 “overt acts,” including acts involving murder, drug trafficking and extortion.

The new indictment was unsealed just before scheduled arraignments for three new defendants who were taken into custody in the Los Angeles area. The fourth new defendant was arrested in Colorado. Two new defendants were already in federal custody, and three new defendants were already in state custody.

The RICO case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joanna Curtis, Chief of the Violent and Organized Crime Section, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Eric W. Siddall, a Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.