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Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

"MIAMI – Two corrections officers were sentenced to prison today for civil rights and obstruction charges stemming from prisoner abuse that took place at the South Florida Reception Center (SFRC), a state prison in Doral, Fla., the Justice Department announced.  Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) Sergeant Alexander McQueen, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga to serve one year in prison, followed by one year of supervised release.   Judge Altonaga also sentenced FDOC Officer Steven Dawkins, 31, to serve one month in prison, followed by six months of supervised release.   

On Oct. 17, 2011, following a jury trial, McQueen was found guilty of conspiracy against civil rights and obstruction of justice for his involvement in, and attempts to cover up, prisoner abuse at SFRC.   The same jury convicted Dawkins of obstruction of justice.   A second jury was unable to reach a verdict with regard to co-defendant Guruba Griffin, 31, and acquitted co-defendant Scott Butler, 32.

According to evidence presented at trial, on Feb. 25, 2009, SFRC corrections officers physically abused inmates by choking, punching and striking them with wooden broom handles.   The officers further forced the inmates to fight one another. Additionally, McQueen and Dawkins falsified reports relating to these incidents.  
“Conduct by corrections officers who abuse their power and violate the civil rights of those in their custody will not be tolerated,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal violence and obstruction.”

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting civil rights violators, especially when they seek to hide behind color of law or official position.” 

“We are pleased with the sentence for McQueen and Dawkins because their actions affected more than those they physically abused, they undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement,” said Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI Miami Division.  "Even though they participated in and attempted to cover up prisoner abuse at the Florida Department of Corrections’ South Florida Reception Center, they failed.  The FBI will continue to work with our partners to remove those corrections officers who cross the line to engage in criminal misconduct.”

Co-defendant Griffin entered a guilty plea to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law on Dec. 13, 2011, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22, 2012.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Inspector General’s Office, Florida Department of Corrections, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Rhee Osborne of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and Senior Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division."


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

“WASHINGTON — A Virginia contractor was sentenced today to serve 37 months in prison for participating in a scheme to steer contracts to him for repair, maintenance and renovation work at healthcare and nursing home facilities owned by Medical Facilities of America Inc. (MFA), the Department of Justice announced.

Edward T. Fodrey, a resident of Norfolk, Va., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Norfolk by Judge Mark S. Davis and was ordered to pay $326,799 in restitution. Fodrey pleaded guilty on April 4, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with his participation in a kickback scheme and one count of failing to file a tax return.

According to the charge filed on March 30, 2011, from about May 2006 until at least December 2006, Fodrey conspired with an MFA employee who oversaw the bidding process for repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at MFA facilities in North Carolina and Virginia. The MFA employee steered contracts to Fodrey in return for kickbacks by creating fictitious competitor bids that were higher than the quotes submitted by Fodrey and other co-conspirator venders in order to create the appearance of competition. The MFA employee directed subordinates to solicit quotes only from Fodrey or other conspiring vendors and specified the amount Fodrey should quote to MFA as well as the amount of the kickback on each of the contracts.

Fodrey paid more than $160,000 in kickbacks to the MFA employee and received contracts and subcontracts totaling more than $750,000. The court document states that as a result of the kickback scheme, MFA was deprived of competitive pricing to its financial detriment. Fodrey was also charged with failing to file a tax return for 2006, which is the year in which Fodrey received payment on the MFA contracts.

Fodrey is the first to be sentenced of the four individuals charged to date in connection with the department's ongoing fraud investigation into the award of repair, maintenance and renovation contracts at facilities owned by MFA. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division's Philadelphia Field Office, the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Virginia, the FBI in Roanoke, Va., and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Roanoke.”


The following excerpt is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

January 26, 2012
WASHINGTON – The owner and an employee of a Miami health care agency pleaded guilty for their participation in a $22 million home health Medicare fraud scheme, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today.
Marietha Morales, 38, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Seitz to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and Eduardo Saborit-Dominguez, 48, pleaded guilty today before Judge Seitz to one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for May 23, 2012.  The charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

According to the court documents, Morales was the president and Saborit-Dominguez was an employee of Prime Home Health Services Inc., a Florida home health agency that purported to provide home health care and physical therapy services to eligible Medicare beneficiaries.

According to plea documents, Morales conspired with patient recruiters for the purpose of billing the Medicare program for unnecessary home health care and therapy services. Morales and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters in return for these recruiters providing patients to Prime Home Health, as well as prescriptions, plans of care and certifications for medically unnecessary therapy and home health services for Medicare beneficiaries. Saborit-Dominguez distributed the kickbacks and bribes to co-conspirator patient recruiters and knew that the payment of kickbacks and bribes was in violation of federal criminal laws. Morales used these prescriptions, plans of care and medical certifications to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services, which Morales knew was in violation of federal criminal laws.

According to plea documents, at Prime Home Health, nurses and office staff falsified patient files for Medicare beneficiaries to make it appear that such beneficiaries qualified for home health care and therapy services from Prime Home Health. Morales admitted that she knew the beneficiaries did not actually qualify for and did not receive such services. Morales knew that these files were falsified so that the Medicare program could be billed for medically unnecessary therapy and home health related services.
From approximately February 2005 through April 2011, Morales and her co-conspirators submitted approximately $22 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicare paid approximately $14 million on those claims.

The plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Miami.

Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.”

Monday, January 30, 2012


Thursday, January 26, 2012
The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

“WASHINGTON – Paul Solofa, the director of the school lunch program for the government of the U.S. Territory of American Samoa, was convicted today in relation to his efforts to obstruct a federal grand jury and law enforcement investigation into a bribery scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

After a four-day trial, a federal jury in the District of Columbia found Solofa, 50, guilty of one count of witness tampering and one count of obstruction of justice.

According to evidence presented at trial, in approximately early 2008, federal authorities began conducting an investigation into allegations of cash bribes and kickbacks paid by vendors to officials of the American Samoa government in connection with the government’s purchase of school bus parts and services.

According to the trial evidence, Solofa met on April 3, 2009, with a school bus parts vendor who told Solofa that the FBI was interested in interviewing the vendor regarding the bus parts investigation. Solofa, in a recorded meeting, allegedly told the vendor, “They cannot do anything with cash. Nothing. They cannot do anything with cash. They cannot track down you on cash. Because even if you say you gave me cash I'll tell them ‘no.’ They cannot take your word on cash. Because that’s hearsay. So you know, but the best thing for you to do is ‘nope, I never give them any cash, I never’ – because that will open up the whole operation . . . You get what I am saying. All you do is just tell them ‘no, yes, no, yes,’ period.”

In addition, according to the evidence presented at trial, Solofa met on April 14, 2009, with the same bus parts vendor, who told Solofa that a grand jury subpoena requiring production of specific documents and records, some of which related to Solofa and to the bus parts kickback scheme, would be issued shortly. After discussing how to respond, Solofa told the vendor that, as for documents he did not want to produce, “ [t]he only way to do it with those copies is burn it. That way, they won’t see it, and you won’t worry that they might see it, you know. . . .  Just burn it, and nobody has a copy.”

Solofa faces a maximum penatly of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the witness tampering charge and 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction of justice charge. Sentencing is scheduled for April 27, 2012.

This case is being prosecuted by Principal Deputy Chief Raymond N. Hulser and Trial Attorney Daniel A. Petalas of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI in Hawaii; the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education; and the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Interior.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

Friday, January 27, 2012
“WASHINGTON – Bradley Branscum, 23, and Tony Branscum, 26, who are first cousins, of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee, 19, of Batesville, Ark., were sentenced for charges relating to their roles in burning a cross in the yard of an African-American resident on Aug. 28, 2010.  Tony Branscum was sentenced on Jan. 20, 2012, to 18 months in prison.   Bradley Branscum and Curtis Coffee were sentenced today.   Bradley Branscum was sentenced to seven months in prison and Curtis Coffee was sentenced today to 18 months in prison.

On Aug. 28, 2010, the three men and a juvenile constructed a cross, placed it in the yard of an African-American resident of Salado and lit it on fire.   The defendants then drove away.   The resident did not suffer injury, and his home was not damaged.   All three men had previously pleaded guilty in this case to interfering with the housing rights of another.

“The defendants acted to instill fear because of the victim’s race,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “The Department of Justice remains committed to protecting our communities from such violence and will continue to aggressively prosecute these acts.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by AUSA John Ray White, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Cindy Chung of the Civil Rights Division.”


The following excerpt  is from the Department of Justice website:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
"WASHINGTON – A former executive of Miami-based Ocean Bank pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Miami to participating in a scheme to accept bribes and to failing to report the income on federal income tax returns, the Department of Justice announced.

Danilo P. Perez, a former vice president of Ocean Bank, pleaded guilty today to felony charges filed on Jan. 18, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Miami. The charges against Perez stem from his accepting nearly $500,000 in cash and other items from unnamed co-conspirators in connection with his supervision of certain unnamed customer business with the bank.

According to court documents, as vice president, Perez generally oversaw Ocean Bank’s lending relationships with corporate customers of the bank.   The department said that beginning in or about February 2001 and continuing thereafter through on or about April 25, 2007, Perez accepted bribes, including payments for expensive watches, Super Bowl Tickets and other items for his personal use, as well as substantial amounts of cash. Perez accepted the payments intending to be rewarded and influenced in connection with his role in approving Ocean Bank’s issuance of letters of credit, loans and overdraft privileges to his co-conspirators. The court documents also show that he failed to report income from the bribes for the tax years 2005, 2006 and 2007, resulting in lost tax revenue of approximately $91,000 to the federal government.

Perez was charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit or demand money and other things of value to influence an employee of a financial institution and three counts of tax offenses. The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 criminal fine. The tax charges each carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison and $250,000 fine. The maximum fine for each count may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine."

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The following excerpt is from a Department of Defense American Forces Services e-mail:

"Special Operations Forces Rescue Hostages in Somalia

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2012 - Special operations forces rescued an American woman and Danish man who had been held captive in Somalia for three months, President Barack Obama announced early this morning.

Both are well and are in a secure location, and there were no American casualties in the operation.
Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted were working as part of a Danish demining group when Somali criminals kidnapped them near Galcayo, Somalia, on Oct. 25, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. Galcayo is near the border with Ethiopia. There was no word where the two were held.

"This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others," Panetta said in the statement. "I applaud their efforts, and I am pleased that Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were not harmed during the operation."

The president said he had spoken with Buchanan's father and told him that all Americans are thankful that his daughter is safe and will soon be home.

"The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice," Obama said in his statement. "This is yet another message to the world that the United States of America will stand strongly against any threats to our people."
Panetta stressed the rescue was a team effort and required close coordination between the Defense Department and the FBI. "They are heroes and continue to inspire all of us by their bravery and service to our nation," Panetta wrote.

The Danish Demining Group trains local people to defuse and render safe landmines and other ordnance left in the wake of war. In addition to Somalia, the group is working in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Liberia, South Sudan and Uganda.

At the beginning of the president's State of the Union address last night, TV cameras caught Obama shaking Panetta's hand and saying "Good job." No one knew then what he was talking about.
During his address, Obama lauded service members' commitment and ability to work together. The rescue operation is another example of that.

"As commander in chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission, and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts," the president said in his statement."

Friday, January 27, 2012


The following excerpt is from the U.S. Department of Justice website:

“Monday, January 23, 2012State of Alabama Employee Indicted for Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Allegedly Used Stolen Information to Defraud the IRS of Tax Refunds

Natacia Webster was arrested today as part of a federal crackdown on identity theft and tax refund fraud. A federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned an indictment on Jan. 19, 2012, charging Webster, an employee of the state of Alabama, with several charges arising out of her theft of identity information from government databases, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The 15-count indictment charges Webster with conspiracy to defraud the government, wire fraud, computer fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment, in 2011, Webster obtained identity information during her employment with the state of Alabama and provided that information to co-conspirator Melinda Clayton, who used the stolen identities to file false tax returns fraudulently claiming tax refunds.  The refunds were directed to bank accounts and debit cards controlled by the conspirators.  Clayton and several others were indicted in April 2011. Clayton has since pleaded guilty and is currently awaiting sentencing.

“My office will continue to work with the IRS to vigorously prosecute those people who steal an innocent person identity, just to file a false tax return and steal the tax refunds,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George L. Beck. “These criminals need to be punished for the harm they cause to the person whose identity is stolen and the harm they cause to U.S. taxpayer.”

“The Justice Department is committed to working with the IRS to investigate, prosecute, and punish those who commit identity theft to obtain tax refunds illegally,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General John A. DiCicco of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

“The IRS is aggressively pursuing those who steal others’ identities in order to file false returns,” said Steven Miller, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. “Our cooperative work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Tax Division will help protect taxpayers in Alabama from being victimized by identity theft. The IRS is taking additional steps this tax season to further prevent, detect and resolve identity theft cases as soon as possible.”
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Webster faces a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy count, 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, 5 years in prison for each computer fraud count and a mandatory two-year sentence for each aggravated identity theft count. She is also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.    
The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS - Criminal Investigation. Tax Division trial attorneys Jason H. Poole and Michael Boteler and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Brown are prosecuting the case.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, was charged today with repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities, Justice Department officials announced.

The charges result from an investigation that was triggered by a classified defense filing in January 2009, which contained classified information the defense had not been given through official government channels, and, in part, by the discovery in the spring of 2009 of photographs of certain government employees and contractors in the materials of high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The investigation revealed that on multiple occasions, one of the journalists to whom Kiriakou is alleged to have illegally disclosed classified information, in turn, disclosed that information to a defense team investigator, and that this information was reflected in the classified defense filing and enabled the defense team to take or obtain surveillance photographs of government personnel. There are no allegations of criminal activity by any members of the defense team for the detainees.

Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, Va., was a CIA intelligence officer between 1990 and 2004, serving at headquarters and in various classified overseas assignments. He is scheduled to appear at 2 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson in federal court in Alexandria.

Kiriakou was charged with one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for allegedly illegally disclosing the identity of a covert officer and two counts of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly illegally disclosing national defense information to individuals not authorized to receive it. Kiriakou was also charged with one count of making false statements for allegedly lying to the Publications Review Board of the CIA in an unsuccessful attempt to trick the CIA into allowing him to include classified information in a book he was seeking to publish.

The four-count criminal complaint, which was filed today in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that Kiriakou made illegal disclosures about two CIA employees and their involvement in classified operations to two journalists on multiple occasions between 2007 and 2009. In one case, revealing the employee’s name as a CIA officer disclosed classified information as the employee was and remains covert (identified in the complaint as “Covert Officer A”).   In the second case, Kiriakou allegedly disclosed the name and contact information of an employee, identified in the complaint as “Officer B,” whose participation in an operation to capture and question terrorism subject Abu Zubaydah in 2002 was then classified. Kiriakou’s alleged disclosures occurred prior to a June 2008 front-page story in The New York Times disclosing Officer B’s alleged role in the Abu Zubaydah operation.

“Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security,”   said Attorney General Eric Holder.   “Today’s charges reinforce the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who would violate the solemn duty not to disclose such sensitive information.”

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who was appointed Special Attorney in 2010 to supervise the investigation, said, “I want to thank the Washington Field Office of the FBI and the team of attorneys assigned to this matter for their hard work and dedication to tracing the sources of the leaks of classified information.”   Mr. Fitzgerald announced the charges with James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the FBI, and they thanked the CIA for its very substantial assistance in the investigation, as well as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations for its significant assistance.

“Protecting the identities of America’s covert operatives is one of the most important responsibilities of those who are entrusted with roles in our nation’s intelligence community. The FBI and our intelligence community partners work diligently to hold accountable those who violate that special trust,” said Mr. McJunkin.

The CIA filed a crimes report with the Justice Department on March 19, 2009, prior to the discovery of the photographs and after reviewing the Jan. 19, 2009, classified filing by defense counsel for certain detainees with the military commission then responsible for adjudicating charges. The defense filing contained information relating to the identities and activities of covert government personnel, but prior to Jan. 19, 2009, there had been no authorized disclosure to defense counsel of the classified information. The Justice Department’s National Security Division, working with the FBI, began the investigation. To avoid the risk of encountering a conflict of interest because of the pending prosecutions of some of the high-value detainees, Mr. Fitzgerald was assigned to supervise the investigation conducted by a team of attorneys from the Southern District of New York, the Northern District of Illinois and the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division who were not involved in pending prosecutions of the detainees.

According to the complaint affidavit, the investigation determined that no laws were broken by the defense team as no law prohibited defense counsel from filing a classified document under seal outlining for a court classified information they had learned during the course of their investigation. Regarding the 32 pages of photographs that were taken or obtained by the defense team and provided to the detainees, the investigation found no evidence the defense attorneys transmitting the photographs were aware of, much less disclosed, the identities of the persons depicted in particular photographs and no evidence that the defense team disclosed other classified matters associated with certain of those individuals to the detainees. The defense team did not take photographs of persons known or believed to be current covert officers. Rather, defense counsel, using a technique known as a double-blind photo lineup, provided photograph spreads of unidentified individuals to their clients to determine whether they recognized anyone who may have participated in questioning them. No law or military commission order expressly prohibited defense counsel from providing their clients with these photo spreads.

Further investigation, based in part on emails recovered from judicially-authorized search warrants served on two email accounts associated with Kiriakou, allegedly revealed that:
Kiriakou disclosed to Journalist A the name of Covert Officer A and the fact that Covert Officer A was involved in a particular classified operation. The journalist then provided the defense investigator with the full name of the covert CIA employee;
Kiriakou disclosed or confirmed to Journalists A, B and C the then-classified information that Officer B participated in the Abu Zubaydah   operation and provided two of those journalists with contact information for Officer B, including a personal email address. One of the journalists subsequently provided the defense investigator with Officer B’s home telephone number, which the investigator used to identify and photograph Officer B; and
Kiriakou lied to the CIA regarding the existence and use of a classified technique, referred to as a “magic box,” in an unsuccessful effort to trick the CIA into allowing him to publish information about the classified technique in a book.
Upon joining the CIA in 1990 and on multiple occasions in following years, Kiriakou signed secrecy and non-disclosure agreements not to disclose classified information to unauthorized individuals.

Regarding Covert Officer A, the affidavit details a series of email communications between Kiriakou and Journalist A in July and August 2008. In an exchange of emails on July 11, 2008, Kiriakou allegedly illegally confirmed for Journalist A that Covert Officer A, whose first name only was exchanged at that point, was “the team leader on [specific operation].” On Aug. 18, 2008, Journalist A sent Kiriakou an email asking if Kiriakou could pick out Covert Officer A’s last name from a list of names Journalist A provided in the email. On Aug. 19, 2008, Kiriakou allegedly passed the last name of Covert Officer A to Journalist A by email, stating “It came to me last night.” Covert Officer A’s last name had not been on the list provided by Journalist A. Later that same day, approximately two hours later, Journalist A sent an email to the defense investigator that contained Covert Officer A’s full name. Neither Journalist A, nor any other journalist to the government’s knowledge, has published the name of Covert Officer A.

At the time of Kiriakou’s allegedly unauthorized disclosures to Journalist A, the identification of Covert Officer A as “the team leader on [specific operation]” was classified at the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) level because it revealed both Covert Officer A’s identity and his association with the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) Program relating to the capture, detention and questioning of terrorism subjects. The defense investigator was able to identify Covert Officer A only after receiving the email from Journalist A, and both Covert Officer A’s name and association with the RDI Program were included in the January 2009 classified defense filing. The defense investigator told the government that he understood from the circumstances that Covert Officer A was a covert employee and, accordingly, did not take his photograph. No photograph of Covert Officer A was recovered from the detainees at Guantanamo.

In a recorded interview last Thursday, FBI agents told Kiriakou that Covert Officer A’s name was included in the classified defense filing. The affidavit states Kiriakou said, among other things, “How the heck did they get him? . . . [First name of Covert Officer A] was always undercover. His entire career was undercover.”   Kiriakou further stated that he never provided Covert Officer A’s name or any other information about Covert Officer A to any journalist and stated “Once they get the names, I mean this is scary.”

Regarding Officer B, the affidavit states that he worked overseas with Kiriakou on an operation to locate and capture Abu Zubaydah, and Officer B’s association with the RDI Program and the Abu Zubaydah operation in particular were classified until that information was recently declassified to allow the prosecution of Kiriakou to proceed.

In June 2008, The New York Times published an article by Journalist B entitled “Inside the Interrogation of a 9/11 Mastermind,” which publicly identified Officer B and reported his alleged role in the capture and questioning of Abu Zubaydah – facts which were then classified. The article attributed other information to Kiriakou as a source, but did not identify the source(s) who disclosed or confirmed Officer B’s identity. The charges allege that at various times prior to publication of the article, Kiriakou provided Journalist B with personal information regarding Officer B, knowing that Journalist B was seeking to identify and locate Officer B. In doing so, Kiriakou allegedly confirmed classified information that Officer B was involved in the Abu Zubaydah operation. For example, Kiriakou allegedly emailed Officer B’s phone number and personal email address to Journalist B, who attempted to contact Officer B via his personal email in April and May 2008. Officer B had provided his personal email address to Kiriakou, but not to Journalist B or any other journalist. Subsequently, Kiriakou allegedly revealed classified information by confirming for Journalist B additional information that an individual with Officer B’s name, who was associated with particular contact information that Journalist B had found on a website, was located in Pakistan in March 2002, which was where and when the Abu Zubaydah operation took place.

After The New York Times article was published, Kiriakou sent several emails denying that he was the source for information regarding Officer B, while, at the same time, allegedly lying about the number and nature of his contacts with Journalist B. For example, in an email dated June 30, 2008, Kiriakou told Officer B that Kiriakou had spoken to the newspaper’s ombudsman after the article was published and said that the use of Officer B’s name was “despicable and unnecessary” and could put Officer B in danger. Kiriakou also denied that he had cooperated with the article and claimed that he had declined to talk to Journalist B, except to say that he believed the article absolutely should not mention Officer B’s name. “[W]hile it might not be illegal to name you, it would certainly be immoral,” Kiriakou wrote to Officer B, according to the affidavit.

From at least November 2007 through November 2008, Kiriakou allegedly provided Journalist A with Officer B’s personal contact information and disclosed to Journalist A classified information revealing Officer B’s association with the RDI Program. Just as Journalist A had disclosed to the defense investigator classified information that Kiriakou allegedly imparted about Covert Officer A, Journalist A, in turn, provided the defense investigator information that Kiriakou had disclosed about Officer B. For example, in an email dated April 10, 2008, Journalist A provided the defense investigator with Officer B’s home phone number, which, in light of Officer B’s common surname, allowed the investigator to quickly and accurately identify Officer B and photograph him. Both Officer B’s name and his association with the RDI Program were included in the January 2009 classified defense filing, and four photographs of Officer B were among the photos recovered at Guantanamo.

In the same recorded interview with FBI agents last week, Kiriakou said he “absolutely” considered Officer B’s association with the Abu Zubaydah operation classified, the affidavit states. Kiriakou also denied providing any contact information for Officer B or Officer B’s association with the Abu Zubaydah operation to Journalists A and B prior to publication of the June 2008 New York Times article. When specifically asked whether he had anything to do with providing Officer B’s name or other information about Officer B to Journalist B prior to the article, Kiriakou stated “Heavens no.”

As background, the affidavit states that sometime prior to May 22, 2007, Kiriakou disclosed to Journalist C classified information regarding Officer B’s association with Abu Zubaydah operation, apparently while collaborating on a preliminary book proposal. A footnote states that Journalist C is not the coauthor of the book Kiriakou eventually published.

Prior to publication of his book, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, Kiriakou submitted a draft manuscript in July 2008 to the CIA’s Publication Review Board (PRB). In an attempt to trick the CIA into allowing him to publish information regarding a classified investigative technique, Kiriakou allegedly lied to the PRB by falsely claiming that the technique was fictional and that he had never heard of it before. In fact, according to a transcript of a recorded interview conducted in August 2007 to assist Kiriakou’s coauthor in drafting the book, Kiriakou described the technique, which he referred to as the “magic box,” and told his coauthor that the CIA had used the technique in the Abu Zubaydah   operation. The technique was also disclosed in the June 2008 New York Times article and referred to as a “magic box.”

In his submission letter to the PRB, Kiriakou flagged the reference to a device called a “magic box,” stating he had read about it in the newspaper article but added that the information was “clearly fabricated,” as he was unaware of and had used no such device. The affidavit contains the contents of an August 2008 email that Kiriakou sent his coauthor admitting that he lied to the PRB in an attempt to include classified information in the book. The PRB subsequently informed Kiriakou that the draft manuscript contained classified information that he could not use, and information regarding the technique that Kiriakou included in the manuscript remained classified until it was recently declassified to allow Kiriakou’s prosecution to proceed.
Upon conviction, the count charging illegal disclosure of Covert Officer A’s identity to a person not authorized to receive classified information carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, which must be imposed consecutively to any other prison term; the two counts charging violations of the Espionage Act each carry a maximum term of 10 years in prison; and making false statements carries a maximum prison term of five years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

A complaint contains only allegations and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The government is being represented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Iris Lan (Southern District of New York) and Mark E. Schneider (Northern District of Illinois), and Justice Department trial attorney Ryan Fayhee of the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Owings (Eastern District of Virginia) will assist in the matter under local court rules.”


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

 January 25, 2012
“WASHINGTON – The lead administrator and the web host of an online child pornography bulletin board were sentenced today to 120 and 97 months in prison, respectively, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Baltimore; and Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) – Washington Division.

George Sell, 70, of Cumberland, Md., and Terry Lee Nolley, 47, of Silver Spring, Md., were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. in Greenbelt, Md. Sell and Nolley also were each ordered to serve lifetime terms of supervised release.

Sell and Nolley previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport child pornography. Nolley also pleaded guilty to destruction of records in a federal investigation.

According to court documents, from December 2006 through August 2008, Sell, Nolley and others conspired to operate “Country Lounge,” a secure web-based bulletin board dedicated to trading images of child pornography. Members could join this group only upon invitation and after approval by the group’s administrators, including Sell. To obtain access to “Country Lounge,” a member was required to have a username and password. Members were instructed by a specific set of rules and guidelines on how to post images via “Country Lounge” to avoid detection from law enforcement. As of August 2008, 142 members belonged to the bulletin board, which was hosted on computer servers in Virginia and Texas. In October 2008, “Country Lounge” was seized by law enforcement authorities.

From December 2006 through July 2008, Sell was the “root administrator” and day-to-day manager of Country Lounge, while Nolley agreed to host the bulletin board on computer servers maintained by him in Silver Spring.

According to court documents, Sell conspired with other individuals to take control of “Country Lounge” from its former owner and administrator, directed the creation and operation of a new “Country Lounge,” and received technical advice and assistance from co-conspirators to obtain his goal of creating and operating the new “Country Lounge.” Sell directed the daily management of “Country Lounge,” including direction over its layout and content, membership and the “rules” of the board. In addition to hosting the board, Nolley assisted Sell with the creation and maintenance of “Country Lounge.” After July 2008, Nolley transferred his web-hosting responsibilities to other co-conspirators, but continued as a “Country Lounge” member.

In November 2009, federal agents from ICE-HSI executed a search warrant on Sell’s residence and removed two computer hard drives. A forensic review of these items found them to contain multiple images of child pornography, many of which were obtained from “Country Lounge.”

In November 2009, federal agents interviewed Nolley and instructed him not to remove anything from his residence. Later that day, agents executed a search warrant at Nolley’s home and recovered several electronic devices. Nolley admitted that between the interview and the execution of the search warrant, he disposed of four additional hard drives believed to contain child pornography. Specifically, Nolley admitted that he left his home with the four hard drives, took steps to evade law enforcement and threw the hard drives into woods at the side of the road in an effort to impede the federal investigation.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

Monday, January 23, 2012
Six Co-Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty
"WASHINGTON – A Philadelphia man has been convicted for his participation in a conspiracy to commit violent home invasion robberies of successful Asian business owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and George Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.

After a four-day trial, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found Tahn Le, 44, guilty on Jan. 20, 2012, of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce through multiple home invasion robberies and related firearms violations. To date, six co-defendants have pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy: Teo Van Bui, Buu Huu Truong, Thach Van Nguyen, Den Van Nguyen, Denise Novelli and Sidney Biggs.  

According to evidence presented at trial, Le and his co-defendants targeted successful Asian business owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia for home invasion robberies because they believed that the business owners stored significant amounts of business proceeds in their homes. In carrying out the robberies, the defendants brandished handguns, tied up and in some instances beat their victims, and stole business proceeds as well as expensive jewelry.  

Le faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing hearings for him and his co-defendants are scheduled for April 2012.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John S. Han and Robert Livermore of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.
The case was investigated by the FBI; the Poconos Township, Penn., Police Department; the Freehold Borough, N.J., Police Department; the Monroe Township, N.J., Police Department; and the Fairfax County, Va., Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


The following is from the Department of Justice website:

“WASHINGTON – Rudolf L. Cheung, 57, a resident of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty today in federal court in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act in connection with the unlawful export of 55 military antennae from the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong.

The plea was announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; John Morton, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Mark Giuliano, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch; and Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for Industry and Security at the Commerce Department.

Cheung serves as the head of the Research & Development Department at a private company that manufactures antennae. Over the past 17 years, he has designed or supervised the development of a full library of antennae made by the firm, many of which have military applications and are used by defense contractors.   Some of Cheung’s inventions are used in the U.S. space program.

According to court documents filed in the case, in June 2006, a company in Singapore sent an inquiry to the firm that employs Cheung seeking a quotation for two types of antennae that are classified by the U.S. government as defense articles and may not be exported without a license or approval from the State Department. After receiving the query, the export compliance officer at Cheung’s firm advised the firm in Singapore that neither antenna could be exported unless they filled out a U.S. government form attesting that the goods would not be transferred.   The firm in Singapore refused, and the order was stopped.  

After learning that the export compliance officer at his company had blocked the export, Cheung admitted that he discussed with an individual outside his company (co-conspirator C) a plan to bypass the export controls at his company and arrange for the antennae to be exported to Singapore through co-conspirator C. Under the plan, co-conspirator C, who operated his own company in Massachusetts, would purchase these goods from Cheung’s company and then export them on his own to the firm in Singapore, with Cheung’s knowledge.

Subsequently, co-conspirator C contacted the firm in Singapore and offered to broker the deal with Cheung’s company. Co-conspirator C then negotiated the purchase of the antennae with employees of the firm in Singapore and, later, with another company called Corezing International in Singapore. Between July and September 2007, co-conspirator C purchased 55 military antennae from Cheung’s company, which he then exported to Corezing addresses in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

According to court documents, Cheung was aware that the purchases by Co-conspirator C were intended for export from the United States and that these exports had previously been blocked by his export compliance manager. Yet Cheung took no action to stop the sale of these antennae from his company or their subsequent export from the United States, even though he knew a license was required for such exports. Cheung neither sought nor obtained any license from the State Department to export these items outside the United States.

At sentencing, Cheung faces a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a 3-year term of supervised release.

Corezing, based in Singapore, has been charged in a separate indictment in the District of Columbia in connection with the export of these particular military antennae to Singapore and Hong Kong. Corezing and its principals have also been charged, and the United States is seeking their extradition, in connection with the export of 6,000 radio frequency modules from the United States to Iran via Singapore, some of which were later found in improvised explosive devices in Iraq.

This investigation was jointly conducted by ICE agents in Boston and Los Angeles; FBI agents in Minneapolis; and Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security agents in Chicago and Boston. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Asuncion and John W. Borchert of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; and Trial Attorneys Jonathan C. Poling and Richard S. Scott of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.”

Monday, January 23, 2012


“WASHINGTON – A former sergeant and a sergeant major in the U.S. Army, who were deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, were sentenced to 51 months and 31 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in a bribery scheme involving the award of a Department of Defense (DOD) trucking contract, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.

Former Sergeant Charles O. Finch, 45, of Milalani, Hawaii, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi in the District of Hawaii to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution to the DOD. Sergeant Major Gary Canteen, 42, of Delaware, was sentenced today by Judge Kobayashi in the District of Hawaii to 31 months in prison and three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Defense.

In August 2011, on the day they were scheduled to begin trial, Finch and Canteen pleaded guilty for their roles in conspiring to receive a $50,000 bribe from a military contractor in return for the award of a DOD trucking contract. Finch pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of bribery and Canteen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

According to court documents, Finch and Canteen were deployed to Bagram Airfield from January 2004 until January 2005. Both served on the Army’s 725th Logistical Task Force. Finch was responsible for coordinating trucking or “line haul” services to ensure the distribution of all goods destined for U.S. and coalition soldiers throughout Afghanistan. Finch served under Canteen’s command. Finch also participated in evaluating, recommending and facilitating the award of line haul contracts to various military contractors.

According to court documents, in advance of the award of line haul contracts in October 2004, Canteen and Finch agreed to accept a $50,000 bribe from military contractors John and Tahir Ramin and their company, AZ Corporation, in return for Finch’s recommendation and facilitation of the award of a line haul contract to AZ.

On Sept. 27, 2004, $50,000 was sent by designees of the Ramins via wire transfer into a bank account in the name of Da Spot Inc., a t-shirt and souvenir shop in Pearl City, Hawaii, owned by Canteen. Upon receipt of the money, on Oct. 12, 2004, Finch authored a memorandum recommending that AZ receive a line haul contract and the contract was awarded to AZ on Oct. 15, 2004. According to contract documents, the Ramins and AZ ultimately were paid nearly $20 million for services invoiced under this contract.

After the money was received into the Da Spot account, Canteen withdrew his portion in cash and transferred the remainder via bank check to Finch.

As part of his plea agreement, Finch admitted that in addition to the $50,000 bribe from the Ramins and AZ, he also accepted at least $150,000 in additional bribe money from the Ramins and other line haul contractors at Bagram Airfield.

Canteen was the 12th defendant sentenced in this investigation. Major Christopher West, who was in charge of base operations at Bagram during the time that Finch and Canteen were deployed there, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for receiving bribes from military contractors. West’s co-defendants, Robert Moore and Patrick Boyd, were sentenced to 15 months and 40 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the bribery scheme. Sergeant Sheryl Ayeni was also sentenced to one year in prison for the receipt of $30,000 in return for her official acts as a vendor pay agent at Bagram during this time. Also arising from this investigation, John Mihalczo was sentenced to 15 months in prison for accepting approximately $115,000 in bribes at Bagram between 2003 and 2004.

These cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The cases were investigated by the Department of the Army, Criminal Investigations Division; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; and the Department of the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations. Assistance was provided by the Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

“WASHINGTON – The owner and president of Evans Real Estate Group LLC and a property manager and organizer of real estate investment funds pleaded guilty today for his role in defrauding investors in real estate investment funds that invested in the acquisition, renovation and continued operation of existing apartment complexes in Texas, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Thomas B. Evans, 47, of Centennial, Colo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Christine M. Arguello in Denver to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Evans was charged in a criminal information filed on Nov. 18, 2011.

According to plea documents, from at least April 2005 until April 2007, Evans and his co-conspirator engaged in a scheme to defraud investors in the Garden Stone Apartments LP; Ventana Apartments LP; and Aspen Chase Investments LP real estate investment funds, which were established to acquire, renovate and operate existing apartment complexes in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. Upon completion of the renovation of the complexes, they were to be sold for a profit.

According to court documents, Evans and his co-conspirator misappropriated project funds; prepared monthly false financial statements for the projects that were sent to investors and banks and other lending institutions; prepared quarterly letters to investors misrepresenting the progress of apartment renovations and occupancy rates; and prepared falsified rent rolls to banks and lending institutions. When a receiver assumed operation of the properties in April 2007, Evans and his co-conspirator provided access to their electronic accounting system, including falsified financial statements, without informing the receiver of the falsity of the information therein. According to the plea agreement, the government asserts that the fraud perpetrated by Evans and his co-conspirator caused investors to lose approximately $9.7 million.

At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 14, 2012, Evans faces a maximum prison term of 30 years. In addition, the criminal information seeks forfeiture.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Nicole H. Sprinzen of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

January 19, 2012
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in Houston has indicted Charles Cannon, 26; Michael McLaughlin, 40; Brian Kerstetter, 32; and Joseph Staggs, 49, on federal hate crime charges related to a racially motivated assault of a 29-year-old African-American man.

Cannon, McLaughlin, Kerstetter and Staggs have been charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was enacted in October 2009. The indictment alleges that on Aug.13, 2011, the defendants approached and attacked the victim, an African-American male, while he was waiting at a bus stop in downtown Houston. It is alleged that at least one of the defendants used racial slurs and all four defendants surrounded and attacked the victim by punching and kicking him about the face, head and body. Three defendants had tattoos known to reflect an affiliation with white supremacist gangs. All four subjects were arrested at the scene after a 911 call.     
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

This case is being investigated by the Houston Division of the FBI in cooperation with the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Saeed Mody and Special Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Assistance was also provided by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice Website:

January 17, 2012
“WASHINGTON — A New Jersey industrial pipe supply company and its owner were sentenced today for participating in a conspiracy to commit fraud and pay bribes to a purchasing manager at Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Ed) in return for the manager’s efforts to steer contracts to the company, the Department of Justice announced.
Bernard Grobart of New York City was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Paul G. Gardephe to serve 60 months in prison and to pay a $125,000 criminal fine. Teneyck Inc., formerly known as Neill Supply Co. Inc. of Lyndhurst, N.J., was sentenced to pay a $550,000 criminal fine. Grobart and Teneyck were also sentenced to pay $297,000 in restitution, jointly and severally with their co-conspirators, to the victim, Con Ed. The company and its owner pleaded guilty on March 23, 2011, to participating in a conspiracy to defraud Con Ed from approximately November 2003 through approximately August 2008. Grobart also pleaded guilty to an obstruction count for instructing a subordinate employee at the company to delete an electronic document that was subpoenaed by the government.

According to court documents, Grobart and Robert D. Rosenberg, a former sales broker for Neill Supply, paid approximately $297,000 in cash bribes to James M. Woodason, a department manager of the purchasing department at Con Ed. In return, Woodason steered Con Ed industrial pipe supply contracts to Neill Supply by secretly providing Neill Supply with confidential competitor bid information, thereby causing Con Ed to pay higher, non-competitive prices for materials. According to court documents, Grobart also directed an employee of Neill Supply to destroy an electronic document that tallied the bribe payments in order to prevent the production of the document to a federal grand jury.
Con Ed is a regulated utility headquartered in Manhattan. It provides electric service to approximately 3.2 million customers and gas service to approximately 1.1 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. Con Ed received more than $10,000 in federal funding each year between 2003 through 2010. Con Ed cooperated with the department’s investigation.

Including Grobart and Neill Supply, a total of four individuals and two companies have been charged as part of this investigation. On Dec. 9, 2011, Woodason was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Denise L. Cote to serve 70 months in prison, to pay a $12,500 criminal fine and to pay approximately $528,000 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators, to Con Ed. The remaining defendants are awaiting sentencing.

The charges arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of bid rigging, bribery, fraud and tax-related offenses in the power generation industry. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.”


The following excerpt is from the Department of Defense American Forces Press Service website:

Surviving Families, Victims of Cole Attack Seek Justice

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2012 – Family members who lost loved ones during the USS Cole attack and two survivors urged yesterday that justice be served in the quest to ensure a fair trial for the accused mastermind of the attack.
The family members and survivors appeared grim-faced, and some choked with emotion as they spoke to reporters at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following the second day of a pretrial hearing for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Nashiri is charged with several crimes, including a role in the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the Cole as it was refueling in Aden Harbor, Yemen. Suicide bombers detonated an explosives-laden boat directly against the ship’s port side, killing 17 sailors and wounding 37 others.
Among the survivors was James Parlier, the ship’s command master chief petty officer, who worked directly for the Cole’s captain and traveled to Guantanamo Bay to watch the pretrial proceedings.
Parlier admitted yesterday that seeing Nashiri during his first visit to Guantanamo Bay since Joint Task Force Guantanamo was stood up “brings up a lot of raw emotion.”
“This is a long process, and it has been tough for all of us,” he said, noting that the attack affected not only the sailors killed and their families, but also their shipmates, who continue to suffer from physical injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Every person on that ship lost something,” agreed Ronald Francis, a retired sailor whose 19-year-old daughter, Seaman Lakeina Francis, died aboard the Cole. “Everyone is now affected by the outcome of the USS Cole bombing.”
Olivia Rux said her life hasn’t been the same since her husband, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Rux, an electronic warfare specialist, “was murdered” during the attack. She shared with reporters the emptiness she feels and her personal struggle as one of the family members left behind “to figure out where I belong in this society that has been overlooked.”
Rux dismissed defense arguments during the pre-trial hearing that the military commission process is being rushed, denying Nashiri the opportunity to receive a fair trial.
She recalled the painful wait for news after the attack, not yet knowing if loved ones and shipmates were alive or dead, and the agony of having to bury their loved ones. “Where is the justice in that?” she asked.
Francis questioned, after hearing members of the defense team challenge the fairness of the military commission system, who’s thinking about those whose lives were cut short, or were left behind. “When the defense talks about justice, where is the justice [for the] sailors aboard that ship?” he said.
He said he wanted to “see the process and justice done – not only for my daughter, but for all the shipmates that were on that ship.”
Eleven years after the attack, Master Chief Petty Officer Paul Abney, who was sitting in the ship’s mess when the explosion occurred, said he traveled to Guantanamo Bay to seek closure. “I am here to witness justice and to see this process to take place,” he said.
He disputed the defense team’s arguments that military commissions aren’t legitimate court proceedings and insisted that alleged terrorists don’t deserve the right to be tried in the United States.
Abney also scoffed at the notion that Nashiri, as a defendant, is likely to have access to national secrets that even he isn’t entitled to because he has no need to know. “It doesn’t feel fair,” he said, “but that’s the process and the rules.”
He commended the efforts those conducting the commission are making to ensure that Nashiri receives a fair trial. “They are doing their job to be as fair and honest as possible, and we need to let the process go as it was set up at this place, in this time,” he said.
Parlier agreed that the legal process has been “more than fair, I believe, with Nashiri.” But he made no secret of what he hopes the outcome will be.
“I pray to God that we do prove that he worked with [deceased al-Qaida leader Osama] bin Laden and his cell, creating the nightmare for us that he did,” Parlier said. “And I pray that one day, as an older man, that I see him receive the justice that he deserves.”
Jesse Neito, whose son, Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Neito, was killed in the attack, lamented that justice has been “slow, very slow.” He expressed hope that he “will be able to see and be alive when the outcome resolves itself.”
Rux was more direct. “I have nothing but time to wait until that detainee draws his last breath,” she said.


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that Tracey Fergerson pleaded guilty today before Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody in Montgomery, Ala., to conspiring to defraud the United States government. Fergerson and a co-defendant were charged by a grand jury in a 22-count indictment that was unsealed on March 30, 2011.

According to the plea agreement, Fergerson participated in a tax fraud scheme that was perpetrated through a tax return preparation business called Fast Tax Cash in Montgomery. From 2005 through 2008, Fergerson recruited customers for Fast Tax Cash and coached them to provide false information in order to fraudulently increase their tax refund amounts. Fergerson also admitted that she improperly obtained personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, and used that personal information to have false tax returns prepared at Fast Tax Cash. Fergerson admitted that she would receive payment for the false refunds that were obtained.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. Fergerson faces a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by trial attorneys Michael Boteler, Charles M. Edgar Jr. and Michelle M. Petersen of the Justice Department's Tax Division."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

January 18, 2012
"The United States has sued Larry Carnell Dixon Sr., seeking to bar him and his business, Dixon’s Tax Service, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleges that Dixon, of Zachary, La., prepares federal income tax returns for customers claiming fabricated and inflated business expense deductions for existing or fictitious businesses. The lawsuit alleges that Dixon fraudulently uses these fabricated business expenses to decrease his customers’ tax liabilities or increase their refunds, including refunds arising from the earned income tax credit.

According to the complaint, an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation revealed that 194 of the 198 income tax returns prepared by Dixon’s Tax Service and audited by the IRS resulted in tax deficiencies. The lawsuit alleges that the tax harm caused by Dixon’s misconduct could be as much as $39 million.

The complaint also asks the court to require Dixon to provide the government with a list of all customers for whom Dixon’s Tax Service prepared returns after Jan. 1, 2006.

In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop the promotion of tax-fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns. "


The following excerpt is from the Department of Justice website:

January 17, 2012
“WASHINGTON — A Rockford, Ill., grand jury today indicted a former residential sales manager and two former contractors of a Florida property management company in connection with housing repair contracts for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Justice announced.

The 10-count indictment filed today in U.S. District Court in Rockford charged Ryan J. Piana, Ronald B. Hurst and Bryant A. Carbonell with conspiring to commit bribery and wire fraud from beginning at least as early as January 2006 continuing until as late as September 2007. Piana, Hurst and Carbonell are also charged with bribery and wire fraud.

Piana is a former residential sales manager at West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, and Hurst and Carbonell are former contractors for Ocwen. According to court documents, Ocwen managed foreclosed properties under contract with the VA, which guaranteed qualifying residential mortgages for veterans. Under the contract between the VA and Ocwen, if a veteran defaulted, Ocwen completed necessary repairs and re-sold the property.

Proceeds from the re-sale of VA-acquired properties directly benefit the VA by reducing the cost of guaranteeing residential mortgages to veterans.

According to the charges, Hurst and Carbonell paid Piana to steer housing repair work to companies affiliated with Hurst and Carbonell. Piana recruited other Ocwen employees into the scheme and paid them on behalf of himself and the other conspirators. The department said in order to execute the scheme, the conspirators sent, or caused to be sent, various transmissions via wire communication.

This is the second case involving properties managed by Ocwen under contract with the VA. On Dec. 3, 2010, Benjamin K. Graves, also a former Ocwen employee, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla., to wire fraud in connection with the VA contract.

The wire fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; the bribery charges carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; and the conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The maximum fine for each charge is $250,000. For wire fraud and conspiracy, the maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. For bribery, the maximum fine may be increased to three times the value of the bribes, if that amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine.”

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