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Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • Former Mayor of Adelanto Arrested on Wire Fraud and Bribery Charges Alleging Illicit Payments for Support of Commercial Marijuana Activity

                                                                                  Press Release                                                                      Friday, August 13, 2021RIVERSIDE, California – The former mayor of Adelanto was arrested today by special agents of the FBI on a federal grand jury indictment alleging he accepted more than $57,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for approving ordinances authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activity within the city, and ensuring his co-schemers obtained city licenses or permits authorizing certain commercial marijuana activities.

              Richard Allen Kerr, 64, of Adelanto, was taken into federal custody without incident this morning. He is charged with seven counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery.

              Kerr, who served as Adelanto’s mayor from 2014 to 2018, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside.

              According to the indictment returned on August 11, as part of his official duties, Kerr voted on ordinances governing zoning regulations in the city and served on Adelanto’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee, which determined the number of dispensary permits that would be issued and which applicants would receive them.

              As mayor, Kerr supported marijuana legalization, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing marijuana cultivation in the city, voted in favor of an ordinance authorizing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, and voted to authorize the distribution, transportation, and testing of medical marijuana, among other commercial marijuana activities. At the same time, Kerr secretly used his official position to enrich himself and his co-schemers bypassing these same ordinances, according to the indictment.

              Kerr allegedly also drafted zones for commercial marijuana activities to include locations used by his co-schemers, and he ensured they obtained the licenses and permits they sought – in exchange for bribes, kickbacks, and gifts.

              Kerr’s alleged co-schemers were a lawyer who specialized in plaintiffs’ tort litigation – identified in the indictment as “Person A” – and two individuals – labeled “Person C and “Person D” – who had business interests in the city, including those involving marijuana cultivation.

              The bribes and kickbacks were disguised by Kerr and his co-schemers as gifts, donations to a charitable fund, donations to Kerr’s election campaign, or advance payments for the proceeds of planned litigation associated with a motorcycle accident.

              In exchange for the bribes and kickbacks, Kerr provided favorable official action on behalf of the city to Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers with business interests in the city by authorizing various types of commercial marijuana activities, ensuring his supporters obtained the licenses or permits they sought and interfering with enforcement activities by city officials.

              For example, on November 29, 2016, the Adelanto City Council held a public discussion related to an ordinance, including a discussion of “overlay zones” within which medical marijuana dispensaries would be located. The initial proposal included two zones, neither of which included a former restaurant – purchased two months earlier by Person A and his spouse.

              During the discussion, Kerr requested a change in the boundaries of the second overlay zone, which expanded the zone to include Person A’s business. The plans for the business initially called for the building to be an attorney’s office, although they included items such as “elongated sales counters,” a “dispensing room,” “cashier,” and “security room,” the indictment alleges.

              On December 5, 2016, Kerr deposited a $5,000 check – dated November 29, 2016 – from Person A’s real estate trust account into his bank account, and the check’s memorandum line read, “ADV XMAS FUND.”

              In May 2017, Kerr voted twice in favor of a city ordinance that included Person A’s business in the marijuana dispensary overlay zone. In February, June, and August of 2017, Kerr deposited three $10,000 checks from Person A’s law firm, with the memorandum lines of each check stating, “ADVANCE.”

              In total, Kerr accepted at least $57,500 in bribes and kickbacks from Person A, Person C, and other co-schemers.

              An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

              If convicted of all charges, Kerr would face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.

              The FBI investigated this matter.

              Assistant United States Attorney Sean D. Peterson of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case

    Source: FBI

  • Illinois Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Sending Threatening Communication Through Social Media

                                                                            Press Release

     

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – An Illinois man was sentenced today to 10 months in federal prison for sending a threatening message through social media to a West Virginia law enforcement officer.

    According to court documents and statements made in court, Rodney Hanson, 37, sent a threatening Facebook message on January 8, 2019, to a law enforcement officer in Putnam County after a police involved shooting. Hanson pleaded guilty in May 2021 to transmitting an interstate threatening communication.

    Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentenced.  Assistant United States Attorney Ryan A. Keefe handled the prosecution.

    A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:20-cr-00169.

    Source : FBI

  • Former Political Staffer Admits Role in Scheme to Defraud Campaigns and Political Action Committees

    NEWARK, N.J. – A Union County man who previously served as a staff member in the New Jersey Senate today admitted his role in a conspiracy to falsely inflate the invoices that a political consultant submitted to various campaigns, political action committees, and IRS 501(c)(4) organizations, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.  

    Antonio Teixeira, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. 

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

    From 2014 to 2018, Teixeira conspired with Sean Caddle, and Caddle’s political consulting firms, to defraud various campaigns, political action committees, and 501(c)(4) organizations of $107,800. Teixeira then failed to report this illicit income on tax forms that he filed with the IRS during those same years. 

    Caddle was hired by a former New Jersey state senator to create the PACs and 501(c)(4)s so that they could raise and spend money to advocate on a variety of issues, including supporting particular candidates in local races around New Jersey. Teixeira served as the senator’s chief of staff and wielded influence over the consultants that the campaigns and organizations hired and the budgets that each of these organizations would receive. 

    Teixeira and Caddle conspired to falsely inflate the invoices that Caddle’s consulting firms submitted to the campaigns, PACs and 501(c)(4)s with phony campaign-related expenditures. Caddle and Teixeira were fraudulently padding the invoices because they agreed to split the difference between Caddle’s actual campaign expenditures and the overage charged to the organizations. Caddle paid a portion of Teixeira’s share to him in cash and funneled the remainder to Teixeira via checks made to out to Teixeira’s relatives in order to conceal that campaign money was being kicked back to Teixeira. In total, Teixeira received more than $100,000. Although Teixeira pocketed these fraudulent proceeds and used the money for personal expenses, he never reported the money on the tax forms that he filed with the IRS during the course of the scheme.

    The wire fraud conspiracy charge carries a statutory maximum prison sentence of 20 years, while the tax evasion charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison. Both charges are also punishable by a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for March 27, 2023.

    U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy L. Tomlins, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

    The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit, and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr.

    Source-FBI

  • Chinese Estate Developer's Coy Docked for Corruption

    Chinese Real Estate Developer’s L.A.-Based Company Found Guilty of Paying Over $1 Million in Bribes to L.A. Politician José Huizar

    LOS ANGELES – Based on the actions of its agents, including its billionaire Chinese real estate developer owner, a downtown Los Angeles-based company was found guilty today of paying more than $1 million in bribes – including luxury trip expenses, casino gambling chips and a sham loan – to then-Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar to obtain city approval to build a 77-story skyscraper.

              After the jury deliberated for less than three hours, Shen Zhen New World I LLC was found guilty of all eight counts it faced: three counts of honest service wire fraud, four counts of interstate and foreign travel in aid of bribery, and one count of bribery.

              The owner of Shen Zhen – Wei Huang, 57, a resident of Shenzhen, China, who also maintains a residence in San Marino – is also charged in this case, but he has yet to make a court appearance in this matter. He is a fugitive believed to be in China.

              According to evidence presented at trial, in 2010, Shen Zhen – on behalf of its owner – purchased the L.A. Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The property was located in the 14th City Council District, whose representative at that time was José Huizar. As part of his roles on the Los Angeles City Council, Huizar was the chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, commonly referred to as the PLUM Committee, which oversaw major commercial and residential development projects in the city.

              In June 2018, Shen Zhen filed an application with the Los Angeles City Planning Department to redevelop the L.A. Grand Hotel into a skyscraper featuring a mix of residential and commercial uses.

              From February 2013 to November 2018, Shen Zhen, acting through Huang, provided Huizar and his aide George Esparza with cash, casino gambling chips, flights on private jets and commercial airlines, stays at luxury Las Vegas hotels and casinos, expensive meals, spa services, prostitution services, political contributions, and a $600,000 collateral for Huizar to confidentially settle a pending sexual harassment lawsuit against Huizar by a former staffer that threatened his career.

              At the time Shen Zhen provided these items, it did so intending to influence Huizar to take official acts to benefit the L.A. Grand Hotel redevelopment project, a project that would have transformed Shen Zhen’s hotel into a 77-floor mixed use skyscraper that would have been the tallest such structure west of the Mississippi River.

              Specifically, Shen Zhen intended that Huizar benefit the project by presenting motions and resolutions in various city committees; voting on the project in the PLUM Committee and City Council; taking action in the PLUM Committee to expedite the approval process of the project; exerting pressure on other city officials to influence the approval process of the project; and introducing and voting on city resolutions to enhance the professional reputation and marketability of Wei Huang.

              United States District Judge John F. Walter scheduled a January 23, 2023 sentencing hearing, at which time the company is expected to face a multi-million dollar fine.

              Huizar and former Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, which include racketeering conspiracy and multiple bribery counts, and are scheduled to go to trial on February 21, 2023. Esparza pleaded guilty in July 2020 to one count of racketeering conspiracy, and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 5, 2023.

              Federal prosecutors have now convicted a total of nine defendants along with receiving over $3 million in criminal penalties to resolve their investigation into two other major real estate development companies, as a result of Operation “Casino Loyale,” the ongoing corruption investigation into Los Angeles City Hall being conducted by the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office.

              Salvador Huizar, José Huizar’s brother who testified as a witness for the prosecution in the Shen Zhen trial and is expected to testify at his brother’s trial, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15, 2023 after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making false statements to federal investigators.

              In the first Huizar-related trial in this case, a federal jury on June 27 found real estate developer Dae Yong Lee, a.k.a. David Lee, 57, of Bel Air, and 940 Hill LLC, a Lee-controlled company, guilty of felony charges, including fraud and bribery, for providing $500,000 in cash to Huizar and his special assistant in exchange for their help in resolving a labor organization’s appeal of their downtown Los Angeles development project. Their sentencing hearings are scheduled for January 30, 2023.

              Assistant United States Attorney Mack E. Jenkins, Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, Assistant United States Attorneys Susan S. Har and J. Jamari Buxton, also of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Castañeda of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section, are prosecuting this case.

              Any member of the public who has information related to this or any other public corruption matter in the City of Los Angeles is encouraged to send information to the FBI’s email tip line at pctips-losangeles@fbi.gov or to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.
    Source-FBI

  • Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS

     Defendant Plotted a Terrorist Attack Targeting a Pittsburgh Church

    A Pennsylvania man was sentenced yesterday to 208 months, more than 17 years, in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

    Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 24, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in the Western District of Pennsylvania on Sept. 16, 2021 to one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS in connection with his plan to attack a church in Pittsburgh.

    “Alowemer admitted to planning a deadly bombing of a Pittsburgh church in the name of ISIS,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The National Security Division was created to protect the nation from terrorist threats and we remain vigilant against those who would plot violent attacks on U.S. soil in furtherance of an extreme ideology.”

    “The defendant’s plan to bomb a Pittsburgh church and risk death or injury to residents in the area in the name of ISIS was thwarted by the extraordinary work of the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said U.S. Attorney Cindy K. Chung for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Our office will continue to hold accountable individuals who threaten the safety of our communities.”

    “I want to commend the great work of our Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that of their partners and sources, in successfully thwarting a planned terrorist attack in the name of ISIS,” said Assistant Director Robert R. Wells of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “Alowemer’s plan to conduct an attack at a church in Pittsburgh and inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States was unsuccessful thanks to the efforts of law enforcement officials at both the federal and state level. This sentencing demonstrates the commitment we share with our partners to pursuing justice against those who violate our laws and seek to harm innocents in our communities.”

    According to court documents, Alowemer plotted to bomb a church located on the north side of Pittsburgh using an explosive device. His stated motivation to conduct such an attack was to support the cause of ISIS and to inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States to join together and commit similar acts in the name of ISIS. Alowemer also targeted the church, which he described as a “Nigerian Christian” church, to “take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.” Alowemer was aware that numerous people in the proximity of the church could be killed by the explosion.

    In furtherance of the plot to bomb the church, in May 2019, Alowemer distributed multiple instructional documents related to the construction and use of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to an individual Alowemer believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter, but who was in fact an FBI employee. Alowemer distributed these documents with the intent that the information be used in the assembly of a destructive device and in furtherance of conducting an attack in support of ISIS. In or around June 2019, Alowemer purchased several items, including nails and acetone (nail polish remover), with the belief that they were necessary to assemble a destructive device and with the intention they be used to construct the explosives that would be detonated in the vicinity of the church.

    Between April 16 and June 11, Alowemer met four times in person with an FBI Undercover Employee (UCE) and/or an FBI Confidential Human Source (CHS). At the June 11 meeting with the UCE and CHS, Alowemer provided additional details about the bomb plot and provided the materials, including boxes of nails, he had purchased for construction of the device. Alowemer provided printed copies of detailed Google satellite maps, which included hand-written markings identifying the church and routes of arrival and escape. Alowemer also wrote and provided a 10-point handwritten plan outlining details related to his plot to personally deliver explosives in a backpack. Alowemer expressed a desire to meet one more time to conduct planning and coordination prior to carrying out the attempted bombing in July 2019. That meeting was later scheduled for June 19 in the Pittsburgh area, at which time Alowemer was arrested.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorneys Brenda Sue Thornton and S. Elisa Poteat of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

    The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force members who were directly involved in this investigation include: FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), IRS – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Pennsylvania State Police, Allegheny County Police Department, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Allegheny County Port Authority Police, Allegheny County Probation, University of Pittsburgh Police Department and UPMC Police Security.

    Source-FBI

  • U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez releases information ahead of November 2022 General Election

    BLACK FRIDAY

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – United States Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez announced today that Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Jeremy Peña will lead the efforts of his office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election. AUSA Peña has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of New Mexico, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of election day complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

    “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election,” said United States Attorney Uballez. “Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence.  The Department of Justice will always work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”

    The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations.

    Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.  It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice. The Voting Rights Act protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or inability to read or write in English).

    United States Attorney Uballez stated that: “The franchise is the cornerstone of American democracy. We all must ensure that those who are entitled to the franchise can exercise it if they choose, and that those who seek to corrupt it are brought to justice.  In order to respond to complaints of voting rights concerns and election fraud during the upcoming election, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, AUSA/DEO Peña will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone numbers: (505) 224-1451 and (505) 269-2038.”

    In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day. The FBI Albuquerque Field Office can be reached by the public at 1-800-CALL-FBI or (505) 889-1300.

    Complaints about possible violations of the federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division in Washington, DC, by phone at 800-253-3931 or by complaint form at https://civilrights.justice.gov/ .

    “Ensuring free and fair elections depends in large part on the assistance of the American electorate,” said United States Attorney Uballez. “It is important that those who have specific information about voting rights concerns or election fraud make that information available to the Department of Justice.”

    Please note, however, in the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, please call 911 immediately and before contacting federal authorities. State and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places, and almost always have faster reaction capacity in an emergency.

    Source-FBI

  • FBI Cautions About Threats to Election Workers Ahead of the November 2022 Midterm Elections

    Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy. Individuals who oversee and participate in the administration of elections to include poll workers, volunteers, and election officers, help safeguard the integrity of the democratic process. The FBI continues to prioritize identifying, mitigating, and investigating threats targeting election workers and provides the following information to assist the public in reporting threats of violence against election workers.

    Threats to Election Workers

    Threats to election workers not only threaten the safety of the individuals concerned, but also jeopardize the stability of the US electoral process. The FBI defines “election workers” broadly as individuals who have responsibility over one or more aspects of election administration in the U.S., including elected officials, appointed officials, staff, volunteers, contractors, vendors and liaisons. Specific examples of election workers include, but are not limited to:

    A Secretary of State or someone in their staff

    An employee of a state or county’s board of elections

    An individual volunteering at polling stations

    Clerks handling and counting casted ballots

    There are various means in which threats can be communicated to election workers, such as telephone communications, social media posts, e-mail communications, as well as in-person. Regardless of the manner in which the threat or harassment is conveyed, the FBI takes all threats of violence targeting election workers seriously.

    What the FBI is doing

    In June 2021, the Department of Justice, in close partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, established the Threats to Election Workers Task Force (Task Force) to identify, mitigate, and investigate reports of threats targeting election workers. The Task Force receives and assesses reports of threats targeting election workers to determine next steps, in consultation with the Department of Justice.  

    Victim Reporting and Additional Information

    The FBI encourages the public to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office. For additional election-related assistance and resources, please visit the following FBI webpages:

    Election Crimes and Security

    Protected Voices

    Consistent with past practice, the FBI is providing this information to ensure that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots and have their votes counted free of discrimination, intimidation and suppression in the upcoming Nov. 8, 2022, general election.

    Source-FBI

  • U.S. Attorney Announces Federal Charges Against 47 Defendants in $250 Million Feeding Our Future Fraud Scheme

    Nonprofit Feeding Our Future and 200+ Meal Sites in Minnesota Perpetrated the Largest COVID-19 Fraud Scheme in the Nation

    The Department of Justice announced today federal criminal charges against 47 defendants for their alleged roles in a $250 million fraud scheme that exploited a federally-funded child nutrition program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “These indictments, alleging the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme charged to date, underscore the Department of Justice’s sustained commitment to combating pandemic fraud and holding accountable those who perpetrate it,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “In partnership with agencies across government, the Justice Department will continue to bring to justice those who have exploited the pandemic for personal gain and stolen from American taxpayers.”

    “Today’s indictments describe an egregious plot to steal public funds meant to care for children in need in what amounts to the largest pandemic relief fraud scheme yet,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The defendants went to great lengths to exploit a program designed to feed underserved children in Minnesota amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudulently diverting millions of dollars designated for the program for their own personal gain. These charges send the message that the FBI and our law enforcement partners remain vigilant and will vigorously pursue those who attempt to enrich themselves through fraudulent means.”

    “This was a brazen scheme of staggering proportions,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger for the District of Minnesota. “These defendants exploited a program designed to provide nutritious food to needy children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they prioritized their own greed, stealing more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal funds to purchase luxury cars, houses, jewelry, and coastal resort property abroad. I commend the work of the skilled investigators and prosecutors who unraveled the lies, deception, and mountains of false documentation to bring this complex case to light.”

    The 47 defendants are charged across six separate indictments and three criminal informations with charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery.

    As outlined in the charging documents, the defendants devised and carried out a massive scheme to defraud the Federal Child Nutrition Program. The defendants obtained, misappropriated, and laundered millions of dollars in program funds that were intended as reimbursements for the cost of serving meals to children. The defendants exploited changes in the program intended to ensure underserved children received adequate nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than feed children, the defendants enriched themselves by fraudulently misappropriating millions of dollars in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    The Federal Child Nutrition Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a federally-funded program designed to provide free meals to children in need. The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers the program throughout the nation by distributing federal funds to state governments. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) administers and oversees the Federal Child Nutrition Program. Meals funded by the Federal Child Nutrition Program are served by “sites.” Each site participating in the program must be sponsored by an authorized sponsoring organization. Sponsors must submit an application to MDE for each site. Sponsors are also responsible for monitoring each of their sites and preparing reimbursement claims for their sites. The USDA then provides MDE federal reimbursement funds on a per-meal basis. MDE provides those funds to the sponsoring agency who, in turn, pays the reimbursements to the sites under its sponsorship. The sponsoring agency retains 10 to 15 percent of the funds as an administrative fee.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA waived some of the standard requirements for participation in the Federal Child Nutrition Program. Among other things, the USDA allowed for-profit restaurants to participate in the program, as well as allowed for off-site food distribution to children outside of educational programs.

    Aimee Bock was the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future, a nonprofit organization that was a sponsor participating in the Federal Child Nutrition Program. The indictments charge Bock with overseeing a massive fraud scheme carried out by sites under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship. Feeding Our Future went from receiving and disbursing approximately $3.4 million in federal funds in 2019 to nearly $200 million in 2021.

    As part of the charged scheme, Feeding Our Future employees recruited individuals and entities to open Federal Child Nutrition Program sites throughout the state of Minnesota. These sites, created and operated by the defendants and others, fraudulently claimed to be serving meals to thousands of children a day within just days or weeks of being formed. The defendants created dozens of shell companies to enroll in the program as Federal Child Nutrition Program sites. The defendants also created shell companies to receive and launder the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme.

    To carry out the scheme, the defendants also created and submitted false documentation. They submitted fraudulent meal count sheets purporting to document the number of children and meals served at each site. The defendants submitted false invoices purporting to document the purchase of food to be served to children at the sites. The defendants also submitted fake attendance rosters purporting to list the names and ages of the children receiving meals at the sites each day. These rosters were fabricated and created using fake names. For example, one roster was created using names from a website called “www.listofrandomnames.com.” Because the program only reimbursed for meals served to children, other defendants used an Excel formula to insert a random age between seven and 17 into the age column of the rosters.

    Despite knowing the claims were fraudulent, Feeding Our Future submitted the fraudulent claims to MDE and then disbursed the fraudulently obtained Federal Child Nutrition Program funds to the individuals and entities involved in the scheme.

    In exchange for sponsoring these sites’ fraudulent participation in the program, Feeding Our Future received more than $18 million in administrative fees to which it was not entitled. In addition to the administrative fees, Feeding Our Future employees solicited and received bribes and kickbacks from individuals and companies sponsored by Feeding Our Future. Many of these kickbacks were paid in cash or disguised as “consulting fees” paid to shell companies created by Feeding Our Future employees to make them appear legitimate.

    When MDE attempted to perform necessary oversight regarding the number of sites and amount of claims being submitted, Bock and Feeding Our Future gave false assurances that they were monitoring the sites under its sponsorship and that the sites were serving the meals as claimed. When MDE employees pressed Bock for clarification, Bock accused MDE of discrimination and unfairly scrutinizing Feeding Our Future’s sites. When MDE denied Feeding Our Future site applications, Bock and Feeding Our Future filed a lawsuit accusing MDE of denying the site applications due to discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

    In total, Feeding Our Future opened more than 250 sites throughout the state of Minnesota and fraudulently obtained and disbursed more than $240 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds. The defendants used the proceeds of their fraudulent scheme to purchase luxury vehicles, residential and commercial real estate in Minnesota as well as property in Ohio and Kentucky, real estate in Kenya and Turkey, and to fund international travel.

    “Exploiting a government program intended to feed children at the time of a national crisis is the epitome of greed,” said Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. “As alleged, the defendants charged in this case chose to enrich themselves at the expense of children. Instead of feeding the future, they chose to steal from the future. IRS – Criminal Investigation is pleased to join our law enforcement partners to hold these defendants accountable.”

    United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al., 22-CR-223 (NEB/TNL), charges 14 defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In April 2020, Safari Restaurant enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owners of Safari Restaurant and their co-conspirators opened additional sites throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as dozens of shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $32 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and travel.

    United States v. Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, et al., 22-CR-124 (NEB/TNL), charges eight defendants with conspiracy, wire fraud, federal programs bribery, and money laundering for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In April 2020, Empire Cuisine and Market LLC enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future and Sponsor A. The owners of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC and their co-conspirators opened additional sites throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as dozens of shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $40 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, travel, real estate, and property in Kenya.

    United States v. Qamar Ahmed Hassan, et al., 22-CR-224 (NEB/TNL), charges eight defendants with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering for their roles the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In August 2020, S & S Catering Inc. enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owner of S & S Catering and other co-conspirators opened sites across the Twin Cities and claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $18 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles and real estate.

    United States v. Haji Osman Salad, et al., 22-CR-226 (NEB/TNL), charges five defendants with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. The owner of Haji’s Kitchen LLC and other co-conspirators enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future and Sponsor A. The co-conspirators opened sites across the state of Minnesota, as well as multiple shell companies. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served millions of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $25 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and travel.

    United States v. Liban Yasin Alishire, et al., 22-CR-222 (NEB/TML), charges three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs, federal programs bribery, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. The owner of Community Enhancement Services Inc. and other co-conspirators opened multiple sites and shell companies in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis. Over the course of the fraud scheme, the defendants claimed to have served hundreds of thousands of meals. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received more than $1.6 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and beach property in Kenya.

    United States v. Sharmake Jama, et al., 22-CR-225 (NEB/TNL), charges six defendants with wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles in the Federal Child Nutrition Program fraud scheme. In September 2020, Brava Restaurant & Café LLC, a site located in Rochester, Minnesota, enrolled in the Federal Child Nutrition Program under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. The owners of Brava Restaurant & Café and other co-conspirators claimed to have served millions of meals from Brava Restaurant & Café and falsely claimed to have a contract with Rochester Public Schools. Based on their fraudulent claims, the defendants received approximately $4.3 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds, which they misappropriated for their own personal benefit, including expenditures such as vehicles, real estate, and property on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

    **************

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Aimee Marie Bock, et al. indictment:

    Aimee Marie Bock, 41, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery. Bock was the founder and executive director of Feeding Our Future. Bock oversaw the $240 million fraud scheme carried out by sites under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship.

    Abdikerm Abdelahi Eidleh, 39, of Burnsville, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Eidleh was an employee of Feeding Our Future who solicited and received bribes and kickbacks from individuals and sites under the sponsorship of Feeding Our Future. Eidleh also created his own fraudulent sites.

    Salim Ahmed Said, 33, of Plymouth, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Said was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdulkadir Nur Salah, 36, of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdulkadir Salah was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Ahmed Sharif Omar-Hashim, 39, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Omar-Hashim created a company called Olive Management Inc., a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdi Nur Salah, 34, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdi Salah registered Stigma-Free International, a non-profit entity used to carry out the scheme with sites throughout Minnesota, including in Willmar, Mankato, St. Cloud, Waite Park, and St. Paul.

    Abdihakim Ali Ahmed, 36, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdihakim Ahmed created ASA Limited LLC, a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Ahmed Mohamed Artan, 37, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Artan registered Stigma-Free International, a non-profit entity used to carry out the scheme with sites throughout Minnesota, including in Willmar, Mankato, St. Cloud, Waite Park, and St. Paul.

    Abdikadir Ainanshe Mohamud, 30, of Fridley, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud ran the Stigma-Free Willmar site. This site claimed to have served approximately 1.6 million meals and received more than $4 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdinasir Mahamed Abshir, 30, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdinasir Abshir ran the Stigma-Free Mankato site. This site claimed to have served more than 1.6 million meals and received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Asad Mohamed Abshir, 32, of Mankato, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Asad Abshir ran the Stigma-Free Mankato site. This site claimed to have served more than 1.6 million meals and received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Hamdi Hussein Omar, 26, of St. Paul, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Omar ran the Stigma-Free Waite Park site. This site claimed to have served more than 500,000 meals and received more than $1 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Ahmed Abdullahi Ghedi, 32, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ghedi created ASA Limited LLC, a site that received approximately $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdirahman Mohamud Ahmed, 54, of Columbus, Ohio, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Abdirahman Ahmed was an owner and operator of Safari Restaurant, a site that received more than $16 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, et al. indictment:

    Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, 33, of Savage, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and false statements in a passport application. Abdiaziz Farah was an owner and operator of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC, a for-profit restaurant that participated in the scheme as a site, as a vendor for other sites, and as an entity to launder fraudulent proceeds. Empire Cuisine and Market and other affiliated sites received more than $28 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Mohamed Jama Ismail, 49, of Savage, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ismail was an owner and operator of Empire Cuisine and Market LLC, a for-profit restaurant that participated in the scheme as a site, as a vendor for other sites, and as an entity to launder fraudulent proceeds. Empire Cuisine and Market and other affiliated sites received more than $28 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Mahad Ibrahim, 46, of Lewis Center, Ohio, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ibrahim was the president and owner of ThinkTechAct Foundation, a Minnesota non-profit organization that also operated under the name Mind Foundry Learning Foundation. ThinkTechAct and Mind Foundry created dozens of sites throughout Minnesota, including in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Burnsville, Faribault, Owatonna, Shakopee, Circle Pines, and Willmar. ThinkTechAct received more than $18 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, 21, of Shakopee, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Abdimajid Nur created Nur Consulting LLC to receive and launder Federal Child Nutrition Program funds from Empire Cuisine and Market, ThinkTechAct, and other entities involved in the scheme.

    Said Shafii Farah, 40, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Said Farah, the brother of Abdiaziz Farah, was an owner of Bushra Wholesalers LLC, a shell company used to launder fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Abdiwahab Maalim Aftin, 32, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Aftin was an owner of Bushra Wholesalers LLC, a shell company used to launder fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Mukhtar Mohamed Shariff, 31, of Bloomington, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Shariff was the chief executive officer of Afrique Hospitality Group, a shell company used to fraudulent obtain and launder Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Hayat Mohamed Nur, 25, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Hayat Nur, the sister of Abdimajid Nur, participated in the scheme by creating and submitting fraudulent meal count sheets, attendance rosters, and invoices.

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Qamar Ahmed Hassan, et al. indictment:

    Qamar Ahmed Hassan, 53, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Hassan was the owner and operator of S & S Catering Inc., a for-profit restaurant and catering business that participated in the scheme as a distribution site and as a vendor for other sites. S & S Catering received more than $18 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Sahra Mohamed Nur, 61, of Saint Anthony, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Nur ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.

    Abdiwahab Ahmed Mohamud, 32, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.

    Filsan Mumin Hassan, 28, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Hassan ran a site called Youth Higher Educational Achievement that falsely claimed to serve up to 4,300 meals a day.

    Guhaad Hashi Said, 46, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Hashi ran a site under the name Advance Youth Athletic Development that falsely claimed to serve up to 5,000 meals a day.

    Abdullahe Nur Jesow, 62, of Columbia Heights, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Jesow ran a site called Academy For Youth Excellence that used S & S Catering as a vendor.

    Abdul Abubakar Ali, 40, of St. Paul, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Abdul Ali ran a site called Youth Inventors Lab that falsely claimed to have served a total of approximately 1.5 million meals in a seven-month period.

    Yusuf Bashir Ali, 40, of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Yusuf Ali ran a site called Youth Inventors Lab that falsely claimed to have served a total of approximately 1.5 million meals in a seven-month period.

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Haji Osman Salad, et al. indictment:

    Haji Osman Salad, 32, of St. Anthony, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Salad was the principal of Haji’s Kitchen and received approximately $11.6 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Fahad Nur, 38, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Nur was the principal of The Produce LLC, a vendor and purported food supplier who received more than $5 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Anab Artan Awad, 52, of Plymouth, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Awad was the president of Multiple Community Services, MCA. Awad claimed more than $11 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Sharmarke Issa, 40, of Edina, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Issa created a company called Minnesota’s Somali Community and was the manager of Wacan Restaurant LLC. Issa fraudulently caused MDE to pay out more than $7.4 million in Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Farhiya Mohamud, 63, of Bloomington, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Mohamud was the principal and CEO of Dua Supplies and Distribution Inc., a shell company that laundered millions of dollars of fraudulently obtained Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Liban Yasin Alishire, et al. indictment:

    Liban Yasin Alishire, 42, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, and money laundering. Alishire was the president and owner of Community Enhancement Services Inc., a company located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis. Community Enhancement Services was a cultural mall owned and operated by Alishire and co-defendant Khadar Jigre Adan. Community Enhancement Services received more than $1.6 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Ahmed Yasin Ali, 57, of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Ali created a second program site, run by Lake Street Kitchen, and located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis.

    Khadar Jigre Adan, 59, of Lakeville, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Adan was the CEO of Lake Street Kitchen, which was a program site located in the JigJiga Business Center in Minneapolis.

    The following defendants are named in the United States v. Sharmake Jama, et al. indictment:

    Sharmake Jama, 34, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, federal programs bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Sharmake Jama was a principal of Brava Restaurant and Café LLC. Brava Restaurant received approximately $4.3 million in fraudulent Federal Child Nutrition Program funds.

    Ayan Jama, 43, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering. Ayan Jama was a principal of Brava Restaurant and Café LLC. Ayan Jama also created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

    Asha Jama, 39, of Lakeville, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Asha Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

    Fartun Jama, 35, of Rosemount, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Fartun Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

    Mustafa Jama, 45, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Mustafa Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

    Zamzam Jama, 48, of Rochester, Minnesota, is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Zamzam Jama worked for Brava Restaurant and created shell companies to launder fraudulent proceeds.

    Criminal informations:

    Bekam Addissu Merdassa, 39, of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

    Hadith Yusuf Ahmed, 34, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

    Hanna Marekegn, 40, of Edina, Minnesota, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

    United States Attorney Andrew Luger thanked the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their collaboration and skilled investigative work in bringing these indictments.

    Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, Chelsea A. Walcker, Matthew S. Ebert, and Joseph S. Teirab for the District of Minnesota are prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Baune is handling the seizure and forfeiture of assets.

    An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    Source-FBI

  • Justice Department Launches Nationwide Initiative to Combat Unlawful Acts of Hate

    Sixteen Districts, Including Western Washington, Will Roll Out Programs this Fall WASHINGTON – Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced today during the White House United We Stand Summit that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) will host a new nationwide initiative to combat unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program is convening local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate. “The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing federal hate crime laws,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That is why the Justice Department has launched its new United Against Hate program. This initiative brings together community groups, community leaders, and law enforcement at every level to build trust and strengthen coordination to combat unlawful acts of hate.” The first cohort of 16 USAOs rolling out United Against Hate programs this fall includes the following districts: Arizona, Central District of California, Eastern District of California, Connecticut, Idaho, Middle District of Louisiana, Southern District of New York, Western District of New York, Southern District of Ohio, Middle District of Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Virginia, Vermont, Western District of Washington, and Western District of Wisconsin. The Department will expand the United Against Hate program to all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices next year. “It is my hope that this program will help connect our office and federal partners to cities and communities throughout Western Washington, where we can increase awareness and reporting of bias crimes and race-based threats,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “We all have a role to play in reporting acts of hate or hate speech that may be an early indicator of the troubling violence we are seeing too often in our communities.” “U.S. Attorneys are critical partners in the Justice Department’s efforts to respond to hate crimes in communities across our country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The stronger the ties between communities and law enforcement, the more faith that communities will have that their allegations will be investigated and taken seriously. This moment requires an all-hands-on-deck strategy to fully confront unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program brings together the vast network of civil rights, government, faith, and community-based leaders needed to improve reporting, promote prevention strategies and build the resilience needed to confront hate crimes and incidents.” “To effectively reduce hate crimes at the local level, it’s important to garner community buy-in,” said Director Monty Wilkinson of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA). “That means building relationships with community leaders and residents, listening to their description of their community’s needs and priorities, and then effectively communicating how USAOs and other Justice Department efforts can address those issues and help to increase public safety. This program will build bridges among community members and law enforcement, helping them to work together to combat unlawful acts of hate.” Through using hypothetical scenarios and video clips depicting real-life hate crime cases and stories, United Against Hate promotes robust interaction between community members and law enforcement participants. Program topics include: defining hate crimes versus hate incidents; the importance of reporting unlawful acts of hate; providing options for responding to hate incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime; and distinguishing unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activity, including identifying protected speech versus speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes. The launch follows a successful pilot of the program last spring by three USAOs — New Jersey, Massachusetts, and the Eastern District of Washington. Attorney General Garland announced the conclusion of the pilot for the United Against Hate program at a Justice Department event in May commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Attorney General’s memorandum on improving the Department’s efforts to combat unlawful acts of hate and the enactment of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes and Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Acts. Development of the United Against Hate program was led by the Civil Rights Division. EOUSA and other components in the Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative, including the Community Relations Service, the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, the FBI, and the Office of Justice Programs, provided critical assistance in developing the program.

    Source-FBI

  • Consultant Pleads Guilty to Providing Bribes to Public Officials to Benefit Clients

    CHICAGO — A consultant pleaded guilty in federal court today to offering and providing bribes to public officials in an effort to benefit his clients. ROBERTO CALDERO, 69, of Chicago, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. The conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Steven C. Seeger set sentencing for Dec. 15, 2022. The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Ashley T. Johnson, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Inspector General participated in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kramer. Caldero admitted in a plea agreement that in 2016 he offered and arranged for bribes to be provided to a City of Chicago alderman and a Chicago Public Schools employee in exchange for them taking official actions to benefit Caldero’s clients, who were seeking a custodial services contract at CPS, an honorary street name designation in Chicago, and the renaming of a parcel of property believed to be a Chicago Park District park. The benefits Caldero offered the CPS employee included the prospect of future employment, champagne, discounted event space for a family event, and admission to an annual benefit for a museum. To influence the alderman, Caldero arranged for campaign contributions to be made to political organizations affiliated with the alderman or his ward. Unbeknownst to Caldero, the alderman was cooperating with the FBI.

    Source-FBI

  • Statement of U.S. Attorney Nick Brown regarding voter intimidation or threats

    Seattle – U.S. Attorney Nick Brown today issued the following statement as Western Washington voters mark their primary ballots and prepare to use ballot drop boxes throughout the Western District of Washington.

    “Voter intimidation is a federal crime and any attempt to harass or discourage citizens from voting at our state’s secure election drop boxes will be investigated and prosecuted in federal court, said U.S. Attorney Brown.  “We recognize and revere the First Amendment right to free speech and political debate.  But there is a time when protected speech turns into acts of intimidation or threats of violence.  We will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate threats of violence, hate crimes, and any effort to intimidate voters or those tasked with ensuring free and fair elections in our state.”

    Under federal law, it is a felony to intimidate or threaten other persons to discourage them from voting or for assisting others in voting.  This crime is punishable by up to five years in prison.  Federal law also prohibits bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input.  It also contains special protections for the rights of voters and provides that they can vote free from acts that intimidate or harass them.  Further, federal law protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or illiteracy).

    Through the primary and general election periods, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will have District Election Officer Seth Wilkinson working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to investigate and respond to any reports of voter intimidation or threats. Assistant United States Attorney Wilkinson can be reached at (206) 553-7970 and ask to leave a message with the Civil Rights complaint hotline.  The local FBI field office can be reached by the public at (206) 622-0460. 

  • FBI Deputy Director Meets With Five Eyes Partners on Shared Crime and Security Threats

    FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate traveled to Sydney, Australia, this past week for meetings with the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG). The international gathering brought together law enforcement leaders from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The partners discussed mutual challenges in countering global crime and national security threats.

    Raymond P. Duda, assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division, also participated in the FELEG discussions.

    Throughout the meetings, Deputy Director Abbate emphasized the commitment of the law enforcement partners to share information and expertise and the importance of maintaining and further developing these essential relationships to better protect citizens in all five nations and around the world.

    Source-FBI

    Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Three Indicted for Kidnapping FBI Employee

    Trio from South Dakota and Colorado Federally Indicted for Kidnapping, Carjacking, and Firearm Offense Against FBI Employee

    United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that three individuals, one who resides in South Dakota and two who reside in Colorado, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for Kidnapping, Carjacking, and Using, Carrying, and Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

    Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

    Juan Francisco Alvarez-Soto, age 23 and originally from El Salvador; Deyvin Morales, age 27 and originally from Guatemala; and Lourdes Alondra Bonilla, age 23 and originally from Colorado, were indicted on May 19, 2022.  The defendants appeared before a magistrate judge in the District of Colorado, and each defendant pleaded not guilty to the Indictment.  The three defendants will be transported to the District of South Dakota for further court proceedings.

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

    The maximum term of imprisonment upon conviction for each count is as follows: up to life for Kidnapping; up to fifteen (15) years for Carjacking; and a mandatory minimum of seven (7) years up to life for Using, Carrying, and Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.  Each count also has a maximum fine of $250,000. 

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

    According to the indictment, on or about May 6, 2022, near Red Shirt, in the District of South Dakota, the defendants, Juan Francisco Alvarez-Sorto, a/k/a Juan Francisco Alvarez, a/k/a “Juanito R.,” a/k/a “Juan Jr.,”  Deyvin Morales, a/k/a Deyvin Eliabid Escriba Morales, a/k/a Deybi Eleabit Escriba Morales, a/k/a “Guate,” a/k/a “Watay,” a/k/a “Chapine,” and Lourdes Alondra Bonilla, a/k/a “Bhabie Doze,” a/k/a “Princess_Doze,” did willfully and knowingly kidnap and abduct a victim.  At the time, the victim was engaged in the performance of their official duties as a professional support employee with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The defendants also took the victim’s vehicle, with force, violence, and intimidation, and brandished a rifle during the commission of the charged criminal conduct.  It is alleged that the defendants aided and abetted each other in committing the charges set forth in the indictment.

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

    The charges are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

    The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri is prosecuting the case.   

    The defendants were all detained pending further court proceedings in South Dakota.  A trial date has not been set.

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • National Labor Organization Employee Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling More Than $270,000 from Union

                                                                                Press Release

    WASHINGTON – Donnell Owens, a former employee of the American Federation of Government Employees, was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for an embezzlement scheme in which he stole more than $270,000 from the labor union.

                The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Mark Wheeler, Director of the Washington District Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.

    Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

                Owens, 34, of District Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty in October 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of embezzlement and theft of labor union assets. He was sentenced by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. Following his prison term, Owens will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $273,745 in restitution and an equal amount in a forfeiture money judgment.

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

                According to the statement of offense submitted to the Court and admitted by Owens, from October 2014 through June 2018, Owens worked as a Secretary to the Director of Communications at the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a labor organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. which represents workers in various functions of the private sector and the government affecting commerce throughout the United States and overseas.  During this period, Owens embezzled more than $270,000 in AFGE funds for his use and the use of others. 

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

                As detailed in court documents, throughout the scheme Owens abused and misused his position and employment at AFGE in order to seek and obtain illegal monetary gains at the expense of the labor organization.  For example, Owens submitted false and fraudulent check requests for payments related to services, such as photography and videography, that were purportedly provided by alleged vendors.  As a result of these submissions, AFGE funds were subsequently disbursed.  These check requests listed fictitious dollar amounts for fake work assignments supposedly performed by vendors, who were not actually hired by AFGE.  In fact, the purported vendors who allegedly performed the fake work assignments were really friends and associates of Owens, who he recruited as part of his illegal scheme. 

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

                As Secretary to the Director of Communications, Owens also had access to an Amazon account and a union credit card linked to it. During the scheme, Owens also used this account and linked credit card to embezzle items and make dozens of unauthorized personal purchases, including clothing, shoes, jewelry, and party supplies.  Additionally, Owens used union credit cards to purchase items from other online retailers for personal use, including T-shirts for his online business, microphones, and flowers. 

                To avoid detection and cover up the fraud, Owens provided falsified signatures, fraudulent expense vouchers, and altered receipts for these items.  However, the investigation revealed photos of Owens, his family members, and associates wearing the clothing purchased on Amazon with the union credit card on social media accounts belonging to the defendant. 

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

                This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne P. McNamara of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Assistance was provided by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A. Miller and Paralegal Specialists Amanda Rohde and Mariela Andrade.

    Source-FBI

  • FBI Releases the Internet Crime Complaint Center 2021 Internet Crime Report

    The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has released its annual report.

    The 2021 Internet Crime Report (pdf) includes information from 847,376 complaints of suspected internet crime—a 7% increase from 2020—and reported losses exceeding $6.9 billion. State-specific statistics have also been released and can be found within the 2021 Internet Crime Report and in the accompanying 2021 State Reports
     Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt
    The top three cyber crimes reported by victims in 2021 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and personal data breach. Victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, investment fraud, and romance and confidence schemes.  

    High

    In addition to statistics, the IC3’s 2021 Internet Crime Report  contains information about the most prevalent internet scams affecting the public and offers guidance for prevention and protection. It also highlights the FBI’s work combatting internet crime, including recent case examples. Finally, the 2021 Internet Crime Report  explains the IC3, its mission, and functions.

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

    The IC3 gives the public a reliable and convenient mechanism to report suspected internet crime to the FBI. The FBI analyzes and shares information from submitted complaints for investigative and intelligence purposes, for law enforcement, and for public awareness. 

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

    With the release of the 2021 Internet Crime Report, the FBI wants to remind the public to immediately report suspected criminal internet activity to the IC3 at ic3.gov. By reporting internet crime, victims are not only alerting law enforcement to the activity but aiding in the overall fight against cybercrime. 

    To report an online crime or view IC3’s annual reports and public service announcements, visit ic3.gov.  

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Repression

    Man Charged with Transnational Repression Campaign While Acting as an Illegal Agent of the Chinese Government in the United States

    A Chinese national is charged in a criminal complaint, which was unsealed today in the Southern District of New York, with conspiring to act in the United States as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

    According to court documents, Sun Hoi Ying, aka Sun Haiying, 45, of the PRC, from at least February 2017 through February 2022, acted in the United States as an agent of the PRC government, without notifying the U.S. Attorney General as required by law.

    Read-Helplessness in the Face of Dirt

    “This case demonstrates, once again, the PRC’s disdain for the rule of law and its efforts to coerce and intimidate those it targets on our shores as part of its Operation Fox Hunt,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen. “The defendant allegedly traveled to the United States and enlisted others, including a sworn law enforcement officer, to spy on and blackmail his victims. Such conduct is both criminal and reprehensible.”

    -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

    “The PRC government launched a campaign dubbed ‘Operation Fox Hunt,’ a global plot to repress dissent and to forcibly repatriate so-called ‘fugitives’ – including citizens living legally in the United States – through the use of unsanctioned, unilateral and illegal practices,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “We allege Mr. Sun, as part of that campaign, attempted to threaten and coerce a victim into bending to the PRC’s will, even using a co-conspirator who is a member of U.S. law enforcement to reinforce that the victim had no choice but to comply with the PRC government’s demands. Today’s charges reflect this office’s continued commitment, working hand in hand with our partners at the FBI, to combat transnational repression and bringing to justice those who perpetrate it.”

    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

    “The Chinese government takes advantage of our freedoms — freedoms they deny their own citizens — to advance their authoritarian regime, and calls uncomfortable truths about their behavior rumors and lies,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “There’s nothing false about seeing example after example of the Chinese government’s underhanded and illegal behavior here in the United States. I urge anyone to contact the FBI if you feel you’re a victim of the Chinese government’s illegal Fox Hunt activities.”

    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

    “As alleged, Sun Hoi Ying, acting at the direction of the PRC government, engaged in a range of activities designed to pressure individuals in the United States to return to the PRC to face charges brought by the Chinese government,” said Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “Our commitment to protecting the freedoms enjoyed by all United States residents is steadfast. Today's action is the latest example of our unwavering determination to combat transnational repression in all its forms.”

    According to court documents, the FBI has been involved in an investigation of individuals who, working at the direction of the PRC government, have engaged in an international campaign, known alternatively as “Operation Fox Hunt” and “Operation Skynet,” to pressure individuals located in the United States and elsewhere to return to the PRC to face charges or to otherwise reach financial settlements with the PRC government.

    As alleged, from approximately October 2016 through May 2017, Sun conducted operations in the United States on behalf of the PRC government to pressure, threaten and collect personal information regarding victims of Operation Fox Hunt. Among other things, as part of his operations and at the direction of the PRC government, Sun hired private investigators in the United States to gather personal information on Operation Fox Hunt targets, labeled as “fugitives” by the PRC government and provided some of that information to the PRC government.

    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

    According to the complaint, Sun provided 35 names to a private investigator (P.I.-1) working at a U.S. company (Firm-1) of individuals described as PRC fugitives, including Victim-1, who is a U.S. citizen that previously lived in the PRC, worked at a PRC-owned company, and was subsequently accused by the PRC government of embezzlement. As alleged, P.I.-1 conducted surveillance at Victim-1’s home and provided a report to Firm-1 and Sun. By June 2018, the PRC government had publicly disseminated personal identifying information of Victim-1 – including case details, a photograph and home address – on PRC-based news media websites.

    While Sun was collecting information about Victim-1 for the PRC government, Victim-1’s daughter (Victim-2), who is a U.S. citizen and was pregnant at the time, was held against her will in the PRC for approximately eight months. In or about October 2016, Victim-2, her spouse and her minor child attempted to leave the PRC to return to the United States. However, Victim-2 was told by PRC customs officials and a PRC prosecutor (Prosecutor-1) that she could not leave and was subject to an “exit ban.” While Victim-2’s spouse and minor child were able to return to the United States, Victim-2 was told that, since Victim-1 had committed a crime, the “exit ban” on Victim-2 was a consequence of Victim-1’s fugitive status. The PRC prosecutor further told Victim-2: (1) that she would not be permitted to leave the PRC until she helped cause Victim-1 to return to the PRC to resolve Victim-1’s criminal case; (2) that Victim-2 was not to discuss the “exit ban” with the U.S. government; and (3) that the U.S. Embassy was helpless to address Victim-2’s status in the PRC. When Victim-2 explained to Prosecutor-1 that she was pregnant and wished to deliver her baby in the United States, Prosecutor-1 told Victim-2 she would deliver her baby in the PRC if the conditions were not yet met for the “exit ban” to be lifted.

    According to the complaint, on or about Dec. 1, 2019, Sun also sought out, located and met with an Operation Fox Hunt target (Victim-3), in New York City, in coordination with a co-conspirator who is a local U.S. law enforcement officer. During the meeting, Sun threatened and pressured the victim, including by threatening that the PRC government would take certain adverse and retaliatory actions if the victim did not comply with the demands of the PRC government.

    Sun is charged with one count of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

    Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J.C. Hellman and Kyle A. Wirshba for the Southern District of New York are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by Trial Attorney Scott Claffee of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

    The FBI’s New York Field Office is investigating the case.

    A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    Source-FBI

  • FBI Tech Tuesday: Beware of Romance Scams

                                                                             Press Release

    PHOENIX, AZ—Falling in love or falling victim? They could be one and the same. FBI Phoenix wants to educate the public on romance scams, also known as confidence fraud.

    Romance scams occur when an individual believes they are in a relationship (family, friendly, or romantic) and are tricked into sending money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the fraudster. This includes the Grandparent’s Scheme and any scheme in which the perpetrator preys on the victim’s “heartstrings”.

    According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), 651 Arizona victims reported losses of more than $20.9 million in connection with confidence fraud/romance scams in 2021. That’s about a 65% increase from the more than $12 million Arizona residents reported losing in 2020.

    The FBI suggests these tips if you develop a relationship with someone online:

    Research the person’s photo and profile using online searches to see if the material has been used elsewhere.

    Never provide your financial information or loan money to someone online. Do not allow your bank accounts to be used for transfers of funds. Never send money to anyone you don’t know personally.

    If you are traveling to a foreign country to meet someone check the State Department’s Travel Advisories beforehand Travel, provide your itinerary to family and friends, and do not travel alone if possible.

    Beware if the individual seems too perfect or quickly asks you to leave a dating service or Facebook to go “offline.”

    Beware if the individual attempts to isolate you from friends and family or requests inappropriate photos or financial information that could later be used to extort you.

    Beware if the individual promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse as to why he or she can’t. If you haven’t met the person after a few months, you have good reason to be suspicious.

    If you are planning to meet someone in person you have met online, meet in a public place, and let someone know where you will be and what time you should return home.

    Victims may be hesitant to report being taken advantage of due to embarrassment, shame, or humiliation. It’s important to remember, romance scams can happen to anyone at any time.

    If you suspect your online relationship is a scam, cease all contact immediately. If you are a victim who has already sent money, immediately report the incident to your financial institution. Then inform your local law enforcement agency or FBI Phoenix at (623) 466-1999. Victims are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI at ic3.gov.

    For more information on romance scams, visitClick

    Source-FBI

    Read -Legalizing Crime and Criminality

              -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

              -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

              -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Former West Hazleton Police Chief Sentenced To Two Months’ Imprisonment For Civil Rights Violation

                                                                                                  Press Release

    WILKES-BARRE- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Buglio, age 46, of Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by United States Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr., to two months of imprisonment and a one-year term of supervised release that includes four months of home confinement.

    According to Acting United States Bruce D. Brandler, Buglio, the former Chief of Police for the West Hazleton Police Department, pleaded guilty to a deprivation of civil rights, after he threatened a private citizen with felony criminal charges, in retaliation for social media posts created by the private citizen that were critical of Buglio and of the West Hazleton Police Department.

    In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Saporito deemed Buglio’s actions an “abuse of power” when he threatened to use the criminal justice system to further his own personal interests.  In addition to the term of imprisonment and supervised release, Judge Saporito also ordered Buglio to pay a $5,000 fine.

    The case was investigated by the Scranton Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Public Corruption Task Force, which consists of members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and federal agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo prosecuted the case.

    Source : FBI

    Also read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality

                     -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

                     -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach

                      -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate

  • Drug Dealer Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison

    PITTSBURGH, PA – Bobby Askew was sentenced to 27 months in prison for distributing fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine, including within 1,000 feet of a school in Butler, Pennsylvania, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

    Askew, age 39, formerlyof Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by United States District Judge Robert J. Colville. Judge Colville ordered that Askew serve six years of supervised release following his prison term.

    In 2009, Askew was convicted of crack cocaine trafficking in Philadelphia. He was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in state prison. After being paroled from state prison, he relocated to Butler in Butler County and trafficked fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine as part of a Butler-based drug trafficking crew. Askew dealt these drugs on a regular basis between 2017 and 2020, including within 1,000 feet of multiple schools in Butler.

    Assistant United States Attorneys Yvonne M. Saadi and Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

    The Pennsylvania State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Butler County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force led the investigation leading to the conviction and sentence in this case.

    Source-FBI

    Also read-Legalizing Crime and Criminality

                    -Landlords and Tenants Associations, Crime and Criminality

                    -Law Enforcement: The Reactionary Approach  

                    -Government Workers-A Subject of Debate