Baltimore ex-mayor enters guilty pleas in fraud case

The disgraced former mayor of Baltimore pleaded guilty Thursday to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges involving sales of her self-published children’s books, a case that exposed anew the depths of corruption in Maryland’s largest city.

Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the government and two counts of tax evasion. She pleaded not guilty to seven counts of wire fraud that were included in the indictment unsealed a day earlier.

The case centered on sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” books to nonprofits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her run for mayor. Pugh, a veteran Democratic politician who was elected mayor in 2016, resigned under pressure in May. Read More

Ex-FEMA Official Arrested for Allegedly Taking Bribes During Hurricane Maria Recovery

A former FEMA administrator was arrested after an investigation found that she took bribes from the president of a company that obtained $1.8 billion in federal contracts to fix Puerto Rico’s electric grid after Hurricane Maria, The New York Times reports. Ahsha Tribble, the agency’s ex-deputy administrator for an area that includes Puerto Rico, and Cobra Acquisitions’ former president Keith Ellison were both arrested for allegedly conspiring to defraud the government, among other charges. U.S. Attorney for Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez, said Tribble and Ellison had a “close personal relationship,” with Ellison giving Tribble gifts—including a helicopter tour over Puerto Rico, plane tickets, hotel stays, and an apartment in New York. Tribble is accused of using her official capacity to act in Cobra Acquisitions’ interests in exchange for the gifts, including insisting that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority hire the company to make repairs or risk not getting FEMA reimbursement.

FEMA’s ex-deputy chief of staff in Puerto Rico, Jovanda Patterson, was also arrested in the scheme. She was later hired by Cobra Acquisitions. Source

Fmr Army colonel sentenced to federal prison for Fort Gordon fraud, kickback scheme

A former active-duty U.S. Army colonel has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for accepting bribes to help steer military contracts to a business fraudulently claiming status as a small business.

Anthony R. Williams, 59, of Vienna, Va., was sentenced Aug. 30, 2019 to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Dudley H. Bowen after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and felony conflict of interest, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Williams previously agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in proceeds derived from the scheme. After completion of his sentence, he will serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

According to information provided in court documents and proceedings, Williams, while serving as a colonel in the U.S. Army, accepted bribes to steer federal procurement contracts to the CREC Group, a company owned by Calvin Devear Lawyer, 60, a retired U.S. Army colonel. The CREC Group had received Small Business Administration (SBA) status as a small, disadvantaged business based on false representations from Lawyer and from Dwayne Oswald Fulton, 58, then an employee of a defense contractor.

Lawyer previously pled guilty in the case and is serving a 60-month prison sentence, while co-conspirator, Anthony Roper, 57, a former active duty U.S. Army colonel at Fort Gordon, also pled guilty and is serving a 60-month sentence.

The cases were investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

“Williams’ sentence wraps up an investigation that shed light on a cynical and disheartening scheme to steal taxpayer funds intended for our nation’s military,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “These men disgraced their oaths to serve their country, and accordingly are being held accountable for their despicable thefts.”

“Today’s sentencing is another clear example that no matter how hard one may try to get away with fraud, you will be caught,” said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “This defendant used the trust placed in him by the government to line his pockets. This sentence is well-deserved.”

“SBA OIG is committed to bringing to justice those engaged in conspiracy to commit fraud against SBA and its programs,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kupperbusch. “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those responsible will be held accountable.  I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners for their support and dedication to pursuing justice in this case.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Lyons prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. Source

Information from Department of Justice.

US government to give DNA tests at border to check for fraud

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin voluntary DNA testing in cases where officials suspect that adults are fraudulently claiming to be parents of children as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The decision comes as Homeland Security officials are increasingly concerned about instances of child trafficking as a growing number of Central American families cross the border, straining resources to the breaking point. Border authorities also recently started to increase the biometric data they take from children 13 and younger, including fingerprints, despite privacy concerns and government policy that restricts what can be collected.

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t say where the DNA pilot program would begin, but they did say it would start as early as next week and would be very limited.

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Marine veteran running scam charity targeting Marine Corps families pleads guilty to wire fraud

A Marine veteran running a scam charity called Marines and Mickey pleaded guilty to wire fraud, according to the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina.

John Shannon Simpson faces 20 years in prison or and/or a fine of $250,000, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Sherri A. Lydon, District of South Carolina.

Feds say the 43 year-old founder of the charity bilked people into donating money to help send Marines and families to Disney resorts and to cover the cost of attending boot camp graduation.

Victims of the scam included active-duty Marines, and Cathy Wells, whose son, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, was killed in the 2015 attack on the military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to a report from the Charlotte Observer.

According to court documents, Wells gave nearly $135,000 dollars to the charity, some from her son’s death benefits.

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New Jersey man charged with insurance fraud over ‘fake fall’

A New Jersey man has some explaining to do.

He said he injured himself when he slipped on some ice at work, but the video tells a different story.

The video from last year shows 57-year-old Alexander Goldinsky throwing ice on the floor of a break room at a business in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. 

Moments later, Goldinsky stands on the ice before essentially just laying down on the floor. 

Prosecutors say he remained on the floor before being discovered.

He eventually filed an insurance claim to cover hospital and ambulance bills, saying he was injured when he slipped and fell on ice at work. 

Goldinsky was arrested on January 15 and faces insurance fraud charges. 

He’s also facing a charge of theft by deception.


Former Bankrate CFO Sentenced to 10 Years for Accounting Fraud

The former chief financial officer of Bankrate Inc., the financial services and marketing company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities and accounting fraud that resulted in $25 million in shareholder losses, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

Edward DiMaria, 53 years old, was also ordered to pay restitution of $21.2 million to Bankrate’s shareholders. Mr. DiMaria pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the company’s accountants, falsify the company’s books, records and accounts, and commit securities fraud, as well as one count of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The significant sentence handed down today underscores the serious nature of corporate fraud and the damage it causes to shareholders and to the public’s trust in our financial markets,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement.

Mr. DiMaria’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. DiMaria admitted to conspiring and directing a scheme to artificially inflate Bankrate’s earnings through “cookie jar” or “cushion” accounting, a practice in which a company keeps a large quantity of reserves from an economically successful year on its books to boost its earnings results, while incurring them against losses during weaker quarters.

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Washington, D.C. 8-8-2018


An investigation of the U.S. Government intelligence community reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) in league with other Federal agencies are bypassing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance or FISA Court to conduct intelligence gathering operations against U.S. citizens.

The FISA Act strictly prohibits the NSA, FBI and other Federal agencies from targeting ordinary American citizens residing in the U.S. to gather intelligence. “The actions of the intelligence community violate the Constitutional principles upon which our nation was founded. No matter what your political persuasion, these reports are extremely troubling,” said John Hnatio. Hnatio is the Executive Director of the Institute for Complexity Management, or ICM, that provides pro bono help to small businesses that become the victims of unfair U.S. Government competition.

ICM is investigating reports that various U.S. intelligence agencies have been conducting so-called “black” programs to misappropriate advanced technologies from small companies for secret use in highly classified military and intelligence programs. “The U.S. intelligence apparatus is wantonly violating the very Constitutional principles upon which our nation was built by stealing from America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs,” Hnatio declared.

Hnatio ought to know. For thirty years he worked for the secretive National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) conducting security and nuclear proliferation investigations, doing intelligence work and identifying and working with small businesses to commercialize their advanced technologies. He was even a loaned executive from the Department of Energy (DOE) working for Senator Pete Domenici. Hnatio helped to draft technology transfer legislation and the rules the ten DOE national labs are supposed to be using as they work with industry.

Hnatio and ICM have been conducting a multi-year investigation into the matter of a small New Jersey-based company called Demodulation. Demodulation developed highly advanced products that use microwire radio-frequency (MWRF) integrated technology. MWRF products are thinner than a human hair and give off a burst of energy every time they are moved in the earth’s magnetic field. They need no batteries to operate and their signals can be detected at both near and far distances—even by satellites in space. These characteristics make the Demodulation technology ideal for military, intelligence and counterterrorism uses.

“We have found incontrovertible evidence of three unconstitutional intelligence operations mounted by the U.S. Government specifically targeting Demodulation all in a misplaced effort to steal their technology,” Hnatio reported.  ICM reports that Demodulation was the victim of the U.S. Navy as part of a massive “pay-to-play” grant fraud scheme being orchestrated by Federal and State of New York officials.

The Federal and New York State Governments invest nearly a billion dollars of taxpayer funds every year to bring small business entrepreneurs together with large industry at economic development centers across New York State. The purpose of these programs is to spur economic development to produce high paying jobs for workers in New York. But the results of a recent study published by New York’s Empire Development Corporation show that after investing tens of millions of dollars over the last two years only 408 jobs have been created.

“Way back in 2014, we reported that New York State’s economic development programs are riddled with corruption to the FBI—we gave Preet Bharra and the FBI the irrefutable proof but they did nothing because they succumbed to the politicization of the justice system. It wasn’t until years later that the indictments, prosecutions and guilty verdicts we see rolling out of Albany lately started happening,” Hnatio told us.

The ICM investigation also reveals that the NSA and the U.S. Army stole military munitions off the Picatinny Arsenal to test Demodulation’s MWRF products as part of a so-called “black” intelligence operation for testing by the NSA and the Navy at the Patuxent Naval Air Station. The FBI refused to investigate the theft. Finally, the intelligence community “baited” Demodulation into a cooperative research contract with promises to help the small company commercialize their MWRF technology. The DOE at its Y-12 National Security Complex then broke their contract by stealing Demodulation’s MWRF technology and secretly reverse engineering their MWRF products to use them in nuclear weapons. The DOE is an important member of the intelligence community. “Again, the FBI did nothing when we reported what was going on to them,” Hnatio said.

“All of our reports to congressional oversight committees were either ignored and any opportunities for investigation were intentionally shut down by the politicians.  When we tried to report that Federal Judges and the lawyers involved with the Demodulation case were intentionally scuttling Demodulation’s legal cases and obstructing justice as the result of improper Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI influence, DOJ, another member of the intelligence community, covered everything up. Our investigation provides the irrefutable proof of what really happened—all you have to do is read the facts,” Hnatio concluded.

Revelations that intelligence agencies are bypassing the FISA Court to conduct espionage against U.S. citizens take on special significance with respect to the FBI’s recent use of a bogus “dossier” that they knew was not factual to improperly convince the FISA Court to grant the U.S. Government’s request to surveil U.S. citizens.

ICM recently sent a letter to President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, leaders of Congress and the Supreme Court sharing the results of ICM’s investigative findings. We will keep you informed of developments in this breaking story.

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Teens are recruited to work for international fraud rings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Young teens are being recruited by international criminals to get cash from ATMs using fraudulent cards, according to Nashville law enforcement officials.

Three teens were charged in Mt. Juliet for allegedly using encoded cards at two ATMs. Some of the cards were sewn into the females’ clothing.

According to local law enforcement, the teens were likely recruited.

“The criminals are looking for people in desperate circumstances,” said Matthew Preston, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service. “They’ll say ‘Hey, here’s an easy way for you to make a little cash.’ They’re taking advantage of them.”

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7 indicted for massive $8.5 million food stamp fraud scheme in Massillon

CLEVELAND – Seven people have been indicted in connection with a large-scale food stamp scheme in which they allegedly defrauded millions from the SNAP program.

Authorities said the seven people had a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Some face other charges of wire fraud and more.

The indictment handed down in U.S. District Court names Kaitlin Koher, owner of Ohio Direct Distributors, which used to be housed on Lincoln Way in Massillon.

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Investigating Complex Issues