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Sunday, May 31, 2015


Monday, May 18, 2015
San Diego Storage Company Agrees to Pay $170,000 to Settle Justice Department Allegations That it Unlawfully Sold Navy Service Members' Belongings

Across Town Movers, a San Diego-based storage company, and its owner, Daniel E. Homan, have agreed to pay nearly $170,000 to resolve allegations by the Department of Justice that it unlawfully sold U.S. Navy service members’ stored goods.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in March by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of California.  The lawsuit alleged that Across Town Movers had a practice of selling active-duty service members’ storage lots without obtaining necessary court orders.

The lawsuit was filed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects the rights of service members while on active duty by suspending or modifying certain civil obligations.  Under the SCRA, a storage lien may not be enforced against service members during, or 90 days subsequent to, their period of military service without a court order.

Among the aggrieved service members is Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas E. Ward, now retired, who will receive $150,000 as compensation for his auctioned personal property.  A long-time car enthusiast and 30-year veteran, Master Chief Ward placed his valuable car parts and many household items into storage when he was deployed overseas.  He entrusted Across Town Movers to keep his personal property safe until he returned to his home in San Diego.  Just before completing his final tour, Master Chief Ward learned that Across Town Movers had auctioned all of his stored personal property, including rare, vintage car parts, without providing any notice or obtaining a court order.  Moreover, Across Town Movers allegedly continued to collect payment of storage fees from the government after it sold Master Chief Ward’s goods.

“This settlement will not only provide relief to ten service members, but also will ensure that business practices change to better protect others,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery.  “I want to thank the United States Navy for referring this case to the Department of Justice.  I’m hopeful that through the department’s newly created Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, we will continue to build on our strong ties with federal partners and protect the rights of all the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.”

“We hope that this consent order will send a clear message to all storage companies that before they auction off anyone’s belongings, they should check the Defense Department’s military database and their own files to see if the customer is protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the rights of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces, and we will continue to devote time and resources to make sure that they are given the legal protections they deserve.”

“Federal law protects our military service members and their dependents from businesses taking certain adverse actions against them,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California.  “These protections permit service members to devote their full attention to defending the United States.  While Master Chief Ward was overseas focusing on defending our country, he understandably did not expect the very company paid to safeguard his valuable property to instead auction it off in his absence. Across Town Movers’ $150,000 payment provides Master Chief Ward the opportunity to repurchase his lost goods.”

Across Town Movers must also compensate other aggrieved service members for unlawfully auctioning their goods.

Furthermore, as part of the settlement, a consent order has been entered that requires Across Town Movers to make systemic changes to its business practices, including developing new policies and procedures consistent with  the SCRA and providing SCRA training to its employees.  Across Town Movers is enjoined from engaging in future SCRA violations.

A consent order incorporating the terms of this settlement was on Friday, May 14, 2015, in the Southern District of California.  This matter resulted from a referral to the Justice Department by the U.S. Navy.

Service members and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office.  Office locations may be found at  Additional information on the Justice Department’s enforcement of the SCRA and other laws protecting service members is available at

This matter is being handled by an attorney from the Civil Rights Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dylan M. Aste and Leslie M. Gardner of the Southern District of California.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Indiana Man Pleads Guilty to Perjury for Providing False Testimony

A Carmel, Indiana, resident pleaded guilty to perjury today in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio.

According to the indictment, court documents and statements made at the court proceeding, Alexander Krivozus committed perjury by testifying falsely during the course of a federal grand jury investigation of Cleveland resident, Edward Gurary, who ultimately pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of filing a false income tax return on which he wilfully failed to report his Swiss bank accounts.  As part of the investigation, bank records indicated that Gurary directed UBS AG to wire funds from his undeclared Swiss bank account, which was held in the name of a nominee Bahamian entity, and requested that confirmations of the transfers be sent to a U.S. fax number in the (317) area code.  The investigation established that the fax number was associated with Krivozus.  He was subpoenaed to testify before the federal grand jury and testified falsely.

Krivolus faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the perjury offense.  A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Dettelbach commended the special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorney Richard M. Rolwing of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Patton of the Northern District of Ohio, who are prosecuting the case.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Monday, May 18, 2015
Airport Baggage Handlers Charged in Wide-Ranging Conspiracy to Transport Drugs Across the Country

Fourteen persons have been charged in connection with an alleged wide-ranging criminal conspiracy to violate airport security requirements and transport drugs throughout the country announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) for the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  The case highlights the government’s determination to address security concerns in and around the nation’s airports.

In a criminal complaint partially unsealed today, the co-conspirators were described as a drug trafficking organization determined to use the special access some of them had been granted as baggage handlers at the Oakland International Airport to circumvent the security measures in place at the airport.  As alleged in the complaint, the baggage handlers entered the Air Operations Area (AOA) of the Oakland Airport while in possession of baggage containing marijuana.  The AOA is an area of the airport that is accessible to employees but not to passengers who have completed security screening through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.  The baggage handlers were not required to pass through a TSA security screening checkpoint to enter the AOA.  The baggage handlers then used their security badges to open a secure door that separates the AOA from the sterile passenger terminal where outbound passengers, who have already passed through the TSA security and screening checkpoint, wait to board their flights.  The baggage handlers then gave the baggage containing drugs to passengers who then transported the drugs in carry-on luggage on their outbound flights.  After arriving in a destination city, the drugs were distributed and sold.

According to the complaint, the conspiracy was operating as early as July 2012.  Baggage handlers Kenneth Wayne Fleming, 32, of San Leandro, California; Keith Ramon Mayfield, 34, of Oakland, California; and Michael Herb Videau, 28, of Oakland, California, are accused of using their security badges to cross security barriers while carrying unscreened baggage filled with packages of marijuana.  They would then hand off the baggage to co-conspirators, including Major Alexander Session III, 24, of Oakland, California; Clyde Barry Jamerson, 41, of Oakland, California; Kameron Kordero Eldridge Davis, 26, of Dublin, California; Ronnell Lamar Molton, 34, of Oakland, California; Francisco Manuel Carrasco, 29, of Hayward, California; Sophia Cherise West, 44, of Castro Valley, California; and others, who then would board outbound aircraft and bring the drugs to destinations throughout the country.  Proceeds from the sale of the marijuana eventually were deposited into accounts controlled by defendants Ahshatae Marie Millhouse, 27, of Oakland, California; Laticia Ann Morris, 40, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Donald Ray Holland II, 42, of Discovery Bay, California; and others.  Additionally, Mayfield used his privileges as an airline employee to ship drugs as cargo and have co-conspirators such as Brandon Jarred Davillier, 27, of Slidell, Louisiana, receive them for distribution.  The defendants have been charged in a complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846.

Nine defendants were taken into custody in arrests coordinated throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Arkansas.  Eight defendants made their initial appearances this morning before the Honorable U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore, in Oakland, California.  The defendants’ next appearances are scheduled as follows: defendants Holland, Fleming, Baker, Session, Davis and West are scheduled to appear tomorrow morning for a hearing at which they may be appointed counsel.  Defendants Mayfield and Videau are scheduled to appear on May 21, 2015, for detention hearings.  Defendant Morris made her initial appearance in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was released on bond.  Defendants Jamerson and Molton are currently serving state prison sentences in Arkansas and Louisiana, respectively, for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Defendants Davillier, Millhouse and Carrasco are presently fugitives.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana is 40 years imprisonment and $5 million.  The offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Additional periods of supervised release, fines and special assessments also could be imposed.  Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Hire is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Melissa Dorton, Michelle Alter, Kathleen Turner and Vanessa Vargas.  This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Charges Against Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives
Brooklyn, NYUnited States ~ Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Good morning and thank you all for being here.  Before we begin, I want to quickly comment on the situation regarding FISA.  As Attorney General, I am deeply committed to ensuring that this nation protects the civil liberties of every American while also keeping our country safe and secure.  Unfortunately, some of the vital and uncontroversial tools we use to combat terrorism and crime are scheduled to shut down on Sunday.  The House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill, called the USA Freedom Act, that would extend these tools while addressing important and valid concerns about other aspects of the government’s ability to protect data – but without action from the U.S. Senate, we will experience a serious lapse in our ability to protect the American people.  I join the President in urging the U.S. Senate to work through the current recess in order to make sure that we can continue to appropriately safeguard this country and protect its citizens.

I am joined today by Acting U.S. Attorney [Kelly] Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Director [James] Comey of the FBI and Chief of Investigation [Richard] Weber of the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division.  We are here to announce the unsealing of charges and the arrests of individuals as part of our long-running investigation into bribery and corruption in the world of organized soccer.

Many of the individuals and organizations we will describe today were entrusted with keeping soccer open and accessible to all.  They held important responsibilities at every level, from building soccer fields for children in developing countries to organizing the World Cup.  They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest, and protect the integrity of the game.  Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves.  This Department of Justice is determined to end these practices; to root out corruption; and to bring wrongdoers to justice.

The 14 defendants charged in the indictment we are unsealing today include high-ranking officials of FIFA, the international organization responsible for regulating and promoting soccer; leaders of regional and other governing bodies under the FIFA umbrella; and sports marketing executives who, according to the indictment, paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.  The 47-count indictment against these individuals includes charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies spanning two decades.

FIFA and the regional bodies under its umbrella make money, in part, by selling commercial rights to their soccer tournaments to sports marketing companies, often through multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments.  The sports marketing companies, in turn, sell those rights downstream to TV and radio broadcast networks, major corporate sponsors and other entities for significant sums of money.

Beginning in 1991, two generations of soccer officials, including the then-presidents of two regional soccer confederations under FIFA – the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, known as CONCACAF, which includes the United States, and the South American Football Confederation, or CONMEBOL, which represents organized soccer in South America – used their positions of trust within their respective organizations to solicit bribes from sports marketers in exchange for the commercial rights to their soccer tournaments.  They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament.

For instance, in 2016, the United States is scheduled to host the centennial edition of the Copa America – the first time that tournament will be held in cities outside South America.  Our investigation revealed that what should be an expression of international sportsmanship was used as a vehicle in a broader scheme to line executives’ pockets with bribes totaling $110 million – nearly a third of the legitimate costs of the rights to the tournaments involved.

The criminal activity we have identified did not solely involve sports marketing.  Around 2004, bidding began for the opportunity to host the 2010 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to South Africa – the first time the tournament would be held on the African continent.  But even for this historic event, FIFA executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision.  The indictment also alleges that corruption and bribery extended to the 2011 FIFA presidential election, and to agreements regarding sponsorship of the Brazilian national soccer team by a major U.S. sportswear company.

In short, these individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games; where the games would be held; and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide.  While at least one FIFA executive served as CONCACAF president without pay, there was little altruism involved, as he alone is alleged to have taken more than $10 million in bribes over a 19-year period and amassed a personal fortune from his ill-gotten gains.  In many instances, defendants and their co-conspirators planned aspects of their scheme during meetings held here in the United States; they used the banking and wire facilities of the United States to distribute bribe payments; and they planned to profit from their scheme in large part through promotional efforts directed at the growing U.S. market for soccer.

In addition to the indictment, we are also unsealing today the charging instruments of four individual and two corporate defendants who have already pleaded guilty to their involvement in racketeering activity and other criminal conduct.  Among these defendants are a U.S. sports marketing company, a Brazilian sports marketing executive, and a U.S. citizen who, in addition to being the former general secretary of CONCACAF and a member of the FIFA executive committee, was a beneficiary of the 2010 World Cup bribery scheme.  All told, these defendants have agreed to forfeit over $150 million in illegal profits they have made from these crimes.

Finally, we are also announcing that agents this morning have begun executing a search warrant at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami, Florida.  CONCACAF is plainly an organization in crisis, and we have already reached out to its representatives this morning to ensure that the people of integrity who work there know that we stand ready to work with them to reform their practices in the wake of the actions we are taking today.

Earlier today, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants charged in the indictment, including the current president of CONCACAF.  We are also seeking additional defendants.  All of these defendants abused the U.S. financial system and violated U.S. law, and we intend to hold them accountable.  Going forward, we welcome the opportunity to work with our partners around the world to bring additional co-conspirators and other corrupt individuals to justice.

Today’s action is a testament to the tireless efforts of federal prosecutors here in the Eastern District of New York, as well as the New York Field Office of the FBI and the Los Angeles Field Office of the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division.  I want to thank all of the agents, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and analysts who contributed their time and talents to this extensive investigation.  I want to recognize Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie for his leadership of this U.S. Attorney’s Office.  I want to express my appreciation for the cooperation and assistance we received from our international partners – particularly the Swiss authorities.  And I want to make clear that the defendants arrested in Zurich have the right to a fair and impartial extradition process, and they will receive a fair trial if they are extradited to this country.

At this time, I’d like to introduce Acting U.S. Attorney [Kelly] Currie, who will provide additional details on today’s announcement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Friday, May 15, 2015
Rabbi Sentenced to Six and a Half Years Prison Term for Voyeurism, Admitted Secretly Taking Video Recordings of Women

Bernard “Barry” Freundel, 63, of Washington D.C., a rabbi who had worked for a Jewish congregation in Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to a prison term of six years and six months on 52 counts of voyeurism stemming from a series of incidents between 2009 and 2014 in which he secretly took video recordings of women preparing for a Jewish ritual bath.

The sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr. of the District of Columbia and Chief Cathy L. Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Freundel pleaded guilty in February 2015 to the misdemeanor charges before the Honorable Senior Judge Geoffrey M. Alprin in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.  The sentencing came at the end of a three-hour hearing in which more than a dozen women told the court of the emotional impact they continue to endure because of Freundel’s abuse of his position of trust.  Judge Alprin sentenced Freundel to 45 days in prison for each of the 52 victims, calling his actions “a classic abuse of power and violation of trust.”

Freundel, who had been free on personal recognizance, was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.

“Today the court heard the heart-wrenching accounts of the victims of Barry Freundel’s exploitation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen.  “Their stories make clear the lasting scars that will be left by this outrageous abuse of power.  This prosecution was an effort to restore the dignity that Barry Freundel tried to steal from these women.  We hope that the scores of victims of his crimes will find some solace in the justice meted out by the court today.”

“It is my hope that the many victims in this case draw a small measure of relief from the sentencing action today,” said Chief Lanier.  “His actions wounded an entire religious community and showed a flagrant disregard for his position of trust within that community.  I am confident that today’s action by the courts will serve to continue the healing process for the many unwitting victims of this predator.”

According to a factual proffer submitted at the earlier plea hearing, between early 2009 and October 2014, Freundel was the sole rabbi of Kesher Israel congregation in Northwest Washington, D.C.  Kesher Israel is adjacent to the National Capital Mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath.  A mikvah is used primarily by Orthodox Jewish women for monthly spiritual purification and by other individuals as the final step in the Orthodox Jewish conversion process.

The National Capital Mikvah has two changing/showering rooms connected to the room with the ritual bath.  On numerous occasions between early 2009 and October 2014, the defendant installed and maintained electronic recording devices in the larger of the two changing/showering rooms.  Freundel did so for the sole purpose of secretly and surreptitiously recording women who were using the bathroom and shower; these women were totally and partially undressed before and/or after showering.  The women recorded did not know they were being recorded and did not consent to being recorded.

On Oct. 12, 2014, Freundel entered the larger changing/showering room with a clock radio that contained a hidden recording device.  He placed the clock radio on the countertop of the sink and positioned the recording element so that it faced the shower area.  He then left the changing area.  Shortly thereafter, the clock radio was taken by an individual associated with the Mikvah, who immediately turned it over to the MPD, leading to an investigation.

Freundel was arrested on Oct. 14, 2014.  Law enforcement executed search warrants to examine the contents of the clock radio and to seek evidence at Freundel’s home and office at Towson University.  Computer forensic examinations of all of the electronic devices and digital media storage devices seized from the defendant’s home and office revealed recordings made by the defendant of at least 52 women who were totally or partially undressed in the large showering/changing room of the Mikvah on a total of 25 different dates between March 4, 2012 and Sept. 19, 2014.  These are the women who are the subjects of the charges to which Freundel pleaded guilty in February 2015.  The charge of voyeurism has a three-year statute of limitations.

In addition to the 52 recordings that were the subject of the plea, computer forensic examinations revealed that Freundel secretly and surreptitiously recorded approximately 100 additional women totally or partially undressed before and/or after showering in the large bathroom at the National Capital Mikvah between 2009 and September 2014.  These women did not know that they were being recorded and did not consent to being recorded.

In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen and Chief Lanier commended the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department, including officers and detectives of the Second Police District.  They also recognized the assistance provided by the Towson University Police Department.  In addition, they acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia, including Chief Jelahn Stewart of the Victim/Witness Assistance Unit; and Deputy Chief Sharon Marcus-Kurn of the Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section.

Finally they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy H. Zubrensky and Rebekah Holman, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Texas Resident Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL

A criminal complaint has been unsealed in the Southern District of Texas following the arrest of a Spring, Texas, man on allegations he conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a foreign terrorist organization.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Division made the announcement.

Asher Abid Khan, 20, was taken into custody this morning without incident.  He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy of the Southern District of Texas today.

The criminal complaint alleges that Khan and a friend devised a plan to travel to Turkey and on to Syria for the purpose of joining and waging jihad on behalf of ISIL.  Khan had allegedly asked a Turkish-based foreign terrorist fighter facilitator that “I wana join ISIS can you help?”  He also told someone else that “I wana die as a Shaheed [martyr],” according to the allegations.

Khan’s friend allegedly made it to Syria and ISIL with the assistance of Khan and the foreign terrorist fighter facilitator.  Khan had been living in Australia with a relative and made it to Istanbul, Turkey, where he was to meet up with his friend in their quest to join ISIL, according to the complaint.  However, Khan’s family sent him false information regarding his mother’s health and he was deceived into returning home to Texas.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.  A conviction also carries a possible $250,000 fine.

A complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and Alamdar Hamdani of the Southern District of Texas, as well as Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Keith Parrella of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Former Alabama State Employee Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Identities Used to Request Over $7 Million in Tax Refunds

A Phenix City, Alabama, resident and former state employee was sentenced to serve more than seven years in prison for her role in a stolen identity tax refund fraud ring, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr. of the Middle District of Alabama.

Tamika Floyd was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge W. Keith Watkins to serve 87 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,092,885 in restitution.  Floyd pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to file false claims and one count of aggravated identity theft.  Floyd’s co-conspirators, including Keisha Lanier, Tracy Mitchell, Latasha Mitchell, Talarious Paige and others, pleaded guilty on April 1 and are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 7.

According to court documents, between 2006 and 2014, Tamika Floyd worked at two Alabama state agencies located in Opelika, Alabama: the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Resources.  In both positions, she had access to the personal identifying information of individuals.  Beginning in 2012, Floyd was approached by co-conspirator Lanier.  As part of the scheme, Floyd stole names and personal information from the state agencies and provided the information to Lanier to be used to file false federal income tax returns.  Most of the stolen identifying information consisted of names of teenagers.  Lanier then provided the stolen information to co-conspirators Tracy Mitchell, Latasha Mitchell, Paige and others to use to file false tax returns.  These co-conspirators filed more than 3,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns claiming more than $7.5 million in tax refunds using the stolen information provided by Floyd.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Beck Jr. commended special agents of Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Gregory P. Bailey of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd A. Brown of the Middle District of Alabama, who are prosecuting the case.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Former Security Company Operator Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay Employment Taxes

A Temple Hills, Maryland, resident who operated a company that provided security guards to private businesses and apartment complexes pleaded guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to failing to file employment tax returns and pay over approximately $600,000 in employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Jeffrey Norman Jackson operated Innovative Security Services LLC in Washington, D.C., between 2005 and 2009, according to court documents.  Jackson controlled the business’s finances and was responsible for filing the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Returns (IRS Forms 941) and paying over to the IRS the business’ federal income, social security and Medicare taxes (known as FICA taxes) that were withheld from the wages of Innovative’s employees.  For more than four years, Jackson willfully failed to comply with these legal obligations.  He used the stolen funds to pay personal expenses, such as rent and gym membership fees.

The plea agreement requires Jackson to pay $595,687.39 in restitution to the IRS for the taxes due and owing.  He faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on July 27.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Wszalek commended the special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case and Trial Attorney Melissa S. Siskind of the Tax Division, who is prosecuting the case.  Wszalek also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia for their assistance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Monday, May 11, 2015
Former CIA Officer Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Leaking Classified Information and Obstruction of Justice

Jeffrey A. Sterling, 47, of O’Fallon, Missouri, was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for disclosing national defense information and obstructing justice.  Sterling disclosed classified information about a clandestine operational program concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons program to a New York Times reporter in 2003.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew McCabe of the FBI’s Washington, D.C. Field Office made the announcement.

“For his own vindictive purposes, Jeffrey Sterling carelessly disclosed extremely valuable, highly classified information that he had taken an oath to keep secret,” said U.S. Attorney Boente.  “His attempt to leverage national security information for his own malicious reasons brought him to this sentence today.  I would like to thank the trial team and our partners at the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Central Intelligence Agency for their hard work and commitment to this case.”

“The sentence handed down by a federal judge is the culmination of a lengthy investigation, a protracted prosecution and a unanimous decision by a federal jury to convict Mr. Sterling for the unauthorized disclosure of national security information,” said Assistant Director in Charge McCabe.  “The time and effort dedicated to this case by FBI special agents, intelligence analysts and prosecutors working on this matter exemplify the extent the FBI will undertake in pursuit of justice.”

Sterling was found guilty by a federal jury on Jan. 26, 2015.  According to court records and evidence at trial, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002.  From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to undermine the Iranian nuclear weapons program.  He was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program, a person identified at trial as Merlin.  Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.

In connection with his employment, Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA, and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense.  These agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any “unlawful or improper” conduct that implicated classified information.  These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information.  The media was not an authorized party to receive such classified information.

In August 2000, Sterling pursued administrative and civil actions against the CIA.  Evidence at trial showed that Sterling, in retaliation for the CIA’s refusal to settle those actions on terms favorable to him, disclosed information concerning the classified operational program and the human asset to a New York Times reporter working on an unpublished article in early 2003 and a book the reporter published in January 2006.  Sterling’s civil and administrative claims were ultimately dismissed by the court.

Evidence demonstrated that in February and March 2003, Sterling made various telephone calls to the reporter’s residence and e-mailed a newspaper article about the weapons capabilities of a certain country that was within Sterling’s previous clandestine operational assignment.  While the possible newspaper article containing the classified information Sterling provided was ultimately not published in 2003, evidence showed that Sterling and the reporter remained in touch from December 2003 through November 2005 via telephone and e-mail.  In January 2006, the reporter published a book that contained classified information about the program and the human asset.

Evidence at trial showed that Sterling was aware of a grand jury investigation into the matter by June 2006 when he was served a grand jury subpoena for documents relating to the reporter’s book.  Nevertheless, between April and July 2006, Sterling deleted the e-mail containing the classified information he had sent from his account in an effort to obstruct the investigation.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance in the arrest from the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.  This case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Eric G. Olshan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Senior Litigation Counsel James L. Trump and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Four Women Wanted for Allegedly Beating Victim with Baseball Bat
Arrested by U.S. Marshals Task Force in Detroit

Lansing, MI – Four women wanted in connection with a brutal baseball attack in East Lansing in March were arrested today. The women are charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

Chinonye Sky Nwangwu, 18, Paris Jeanine-Renee Strickland, 19, Tierra Desree Hubbard, 19, and Brittani Shonta Barber-Gribble, 19, are accused of luring a female out of her East Lansing apartment in the early morning hours of March 6, then beating her by punching, kicking, and hitting her with a baseball bat. The victim was able to escape her attackers and get back into her apartment, but only after being severely beaten.

The female suspects also stole the victim’s cell phone during the attack, and then vandalized her vehicle and caused significant damage before leaving the apartment complex. At least one of the attackers was known to the victim, but the motive for the crime is unclear at this time. Michigan State University Police detectives investigated the case and identified all five suspects and obtained arrest warrants for them in early May.

Investigators from the joint Marshals/Michigan State Police Lansing Area Fugitive Task Force in Lansing adopted the case soon after the warrants were issued. The investigation led the task force to Detroit, where authorities determined the women were living. Deputy Marshals and officers from the U.S. Marshals Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (DFAT) in Detroit joined the investigation and developed further information on the women’s whereabouts.

On the morning of May 12, DFAT conducted simultaneous operations and arrested Nwangwu, Strickland, Hubbard, and Barber-Gribble in Detroit without incident. A fifth suspect, Madison Reed, 19, was arrested on May 11 in Detroit.

The women will be transported back to the Ingham County Jail in Mason today to await court appearances on the pending felony charges.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Former Owner of Empire Towers Pleads Guilty for Fraudulent $7 Million Bond Scheme and Filing False Tax Return
Misled More Than 50 Individual Investors Who Bought Bonds

A former Queenstown, Maryland, resident pleaded guilty today to securities fraud and filing a false tax return.

The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein of the District of Maryland, Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C., Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the FBI’s Baltimore Division.

In 1999, Wilfred T. Azar III, 53, became the president and majority owner of Empire Corporation and exercised complete control over the operations of Empire.  Empire Corporation owned Empire Towers Corporation.  Empire Towers Corporation’s primary asset was Empire Towers, a 10-story office building in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

According to Azar’s plea agreement, by January 2006, Empire Corporation could no longer pay its expenses and was effectively insolvent.  By 2007, Empire Towers Corporation had exhausted its lines of credit from lending institutions.

From January 2006 to April 2010, Azar caused Empire Corporation to sell bonds to more than 50 individual investors for more than $7 million.  While many of the bonds were titled “registered,” the bonds were not registered with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the state of Maryland.  In addition, Azar falsely told investors that Empire Corporation was in good financial health and that the company generated enough revenue to pay the promised 10 percent annual rate of return.  Azar falsely represented that the money invested would be used for a specific renovation project or other capital improvement at the Empire Towers office building.  Azar failed to inform investors that he used most of the money raised from previous bond sales for his own personal purposes.  Although the bonds were issued by Empire Corporation, Azar diverted millions of dollars of proceeds from the bond sales to his own bank account and to the bank accounts of other companies that he controlled.

During the period of the fraud, Azar misappropriated approximately $7,219,362 in investor proceeds raised through the sale of bonds.  Azar used the bond proceeds: to purchase a $100,000 Aston Martin luxury automobile; to pay the $3,000 monthly mortgage on his primary residence; to pay $51,000 to an Azar trust; to purchase Baltimore Ravens season tickets for $17,298; and to pay $25,389 in country club dues.  In addition, Azar charged more than $420,000 to a credit card paid by Empire Management Services, including daily living expenses, lavish vacations and university tuition for one of his children.  Azar also diverted more than $1.07 million in Empire funds to other unrelated businesses he controlled under the guise of “loans” which were never repaid.

During 2009, Azar embezzled approximately $1,959,250 in Empire funds, which he failed to report as income on his tax return.  This resulted in a tax loss to the government of $469,936.

Azar faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for securities fraud, and a maximum of three years in prison for filing a false tax return.  U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. has scheduled sentencing for Aug. 12 at 10:00 a.m.

The SEC has also filed a complaint against Azar and another individual in connection with the scheme, and that case is pending.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants, including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants.

U.S. Attorney Rosenstein praised the IRS-CI, FBI and SEC for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Bockin of the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney Kenneth Vert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Remarks at the Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination (JusTRAC) Symposium

Remarks at the Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination (JusTRAC) Symposium


Wednesday, May 6, 2015
French National Arrested on Charges of Alien Smuggling

Alain Rene Leichtnam, 71, a French national, was arrested April 30, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States in violation of law, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe of the District of the Virgin Islands.  Leichtnam made his initial appearance on May 1, 2015, and had his detention hearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller of the District of the Virgin Islands.  Judge Miller detained Leichtnam pending further proceedings and he was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to the complaint, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Air and Marine (OAM) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) intercepted a catamaran vessel, Mazurka, off of the coast of St. John, Virgin Islands, in the early morning hours of April 29, 2015.  The vessel was operated by Leichtnam and contained 38 Cuban nationals and one national of St. Lucia.  None of the individuals possessed the proper documents to lawfully enter the United States.  Encouraging and inducing aliens to enter the United States carries a sentence of not more than five years in prison and in the case of a violation in which the offense was done for the purpose of private financial gain, not more than 10 years’ imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Sharpe reminds the public that a complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The  case  is  being  investigated  by  the  CBP,  OAM,  the  USCG and  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland  Security Investigations.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim L. Chisholm of the District of the Virgin Islands.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Monday, May 4, 2015
Northern California Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions

A Northern California real estate investor has agreed to plead guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

Felony charges were filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland against Wayne Lippman of Walnut Creek, California.  To date, as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, 55 individuals have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty.

According to court documents, between August 2008 and January 2011, Lippman conspired with others not to bid against one another and instead to designate a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.  Lippman made and received payoffs for the agreements not to bid, diverting money that would have otherwise gone to mortgage holders and other beneficiaries.

“This plea is the latest step in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing efforts to hold investors accountable for colluding at foreclosure auctions and denying lenders and homeowners the fair market value of their property,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute collusion at real estate foreclosure auctions and to restore confidence in the housing market.”

“The negative impact resulting from bid rigging and fraud at public foreclosure auctions is far-reaching,” said Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.  “The FBI remains committed to identifying such violations and we are grateful for the unwavering dedication to justice shared by all of our law enforcement partners.”

Today’s charges are the latest filed by the department in its ongoing investigation into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, California.  These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office.  Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office at 415-934-5300, or call the FBI tip line at 415-553-7400.

The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Former District of Columbia Technology Executive Sentenced to Prison for Failing to Pay Over Nearly $1 Million in Payroll Taxes

A Washington, D.C., resident and businessman was sentenced to prison for failing to pay over nearly $1 million in employment taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek for the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Kevin Bertram, former CEO of the wireless technology firm Distributive Networks LLC, was sentenced to serve 30 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $897,921 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  On Feb. 10, Bertram pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to willfully failing to pay over more than $900,000 in employment taxes, including federal income taxes, as well as the social security and Medicare taxes of Distributive Networks’ employees.

According to court documents, Bertram operated Distributive Networks from 2004 through 2010.  Bertram’s company, which was named one of Washington, D.C.’s “Great Places to Work” by Washingtonian magazine in 2007, created technology that allowed cell phone users to participate in contests, download ringtones and receive content such as trivia and horoscopes.

According to court documents, Distributive Networks provided employee perks, such as free Starbucks coffee and gym memberships, and a 100 percent matching contribution to its employees’ 401(k) plans.  However, Bertram willfully failed to comply with Distributive Networks’ employment tax obligations.  For the quarterly tax periods in late 2007 through mid-2009, Bertram failed to file Distributive Networks’ required quarterly IRS Forms 941 (Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Returns) and failed to pay over $927,921.78 in employment taxes due to the IRS.  At the same time that Bertram was failing to pay the IRS income and other taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks, he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of company funds on sporting event tickets and personal luxury goods.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Wszalek commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind and Jeffrey A. McLellan of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Wszalek also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia for their substantial assistance.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


05/05/2015 02:17 PM EDT
Rewards for Justice - Reward Offers for Information on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Terrorists
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 5, 2015

The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering rewards for information on four key leaders of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $7 million for information on ‘Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli; up to $5 million each for information on Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili; and up to $3 million for information on Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi.

Established in 2004 as “al-Qaida in Iraq” and later known as the “Islamic State of Iraq,” ISIL has recruited thousands of followers from across the globe to fight in Iraq and Syria, where ISIL members continue to commit gross, systematic human rights abuses, including mass executions, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their identity, killing and maiming of children, rape, and numerous other atrocities.

In April 2013, ISIL’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a, publicly declared that the Islamic State of Iraq was operating under the moniker of ISIL. ISIL has since asserted publicly that it is the true inheritor of Usama bin Ladin’s legacy.

‘Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli is a senior ISIL official who rejoined ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012. He traveled to Syria where he has worked with an ISIL network. He originally joined al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) in 2004 and served as AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s deputy and as AQI emir of Mosul, Iraq. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Qaduli as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on May 14, 2014.

Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, whose birth name is Taha Sobhi Falaha, is a senior leader of and official spokesman for ISIL. He is the main conduit for the dissemination of ISIL messages, including its declaration of ISIL’s creation of an Islamic caliphate. In public statements, al-Adnani has repeatedly called for attacks against Westerners and has vowed “defeat” for the United States. The U.S. Department of State designated al-Adnani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on August 18, 2014.

Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili has served as a senior ISIL commander and Shura Council member. Batirashvili has overseen an ISIL prison facility in al-Tabqa where ISIL possibly held foreign hostages, has worked closely with ISIL’s financial section, and has managed ISIL operations in the Manbij area of Syria. In May 2013, he was appointed ISIL’s northern commander of operations in Syria’s Aleppo, al-Raqqah, Latakia, and northern Idlib provinces. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Batirashvili as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on September 24, 2014.

Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi was one of the first terrorists to join ISIL and has served as an ISIL official operating in Syria. He has helped to raise funds from Gulf-based donors for ISIL and has recruited and facilitated the travel of ISIL fighters. He was named ISIL’s leader for the border region between Syria and Turkey. As of late 2013, al-Harzi was chief of ISIL’s suicide bombers, overseeing ISIL’s suicide bomber facilitation pipeline. Al-Harzi also has procured and shipped weapons from Libya and Syria for ISIL operations in Iraq. On September 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Harzi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Alleged Heroin Distributor Arrested by U.S. Marshals and Durham Police Department

Durham, NC – The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force (JFTF) arrested a fugitive who was wanted by the Durham Police Department for a multitude of charges. The charges were issued via Indictment on January 20, 2015.

Hamadi Holloway, a 26 year old male, was arrested in Durham on April 29, 2015, at 8:40 AM when located by members of the JFTF and the Durham Police Department. Holloway was wanted on the following charges:

Trafficking in Heroin by Sale
Trafficking in Heroin by Delivery
Trafficking in Heroin by Transport
Trafficking in Heroin by Possession
Possession with intent to Sell or Deliver Schedule I (Heroin)
Sale of Schedule I (Heroin)
Delivery of Schedule I (Heroin)
The JFTF spent countless hours conducting surveillance and interviews attempting to locate Holloway.

Their efforts paid off when Investigators observed Holloway in a vehicle at the intersection of South Briggs Avenue Street & Angier Avenue in Durham. The JFTF and members of the Durham Police Department converged and surrounded the vehicle taking Holloway into custody without incident. Holloway is an alleged active United Blood Nation gang member, convicted felon, and a violent narcotics trafficker.

The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force for the Middle District of North Carolina is comprised of investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, Chapel Hill Police Department, Durham Police Department, Greensboro Police Department, High Point Police Department, Winston-Salem Police Department, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Community Corrections – Probation & Parole.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Indiana Woman Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

Today, the filing of an Information charging Alicia Keir, 24, of Demotte, Indiana, with involuntary manslaughter for the death of her newborn child by failing to summon medical attention, announced U.S. Attorney David Capp for the Northern District of Indiana.

On October 10, 2011, Keir was aboard a cruise ship on the high seas, gave birth alone and failed to obtain any medical attention.  The child died from exposure and lack of care.  Jurisdiction for acts occurring upon the high seas can be in the district where a defendant resides.  In conjunction with the information, Keir has filed a petition to enter a guilty plea to the involuntary manslaughter charge.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office emphasized that an information is merely an allegation and not proof of guilt.  All persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by the Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randall S. Stewart and Gary T. Bell.
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