jump to navigation

Commercial Drivers License Mail Fraud Indictment Sustained May 9, 2012

Posted by jefhenninger in News.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Brazen Fraud Scheme To Defraud The DOL

Defendants: Aleskander Djordjevic, Elvedin Bilanovic, Muhamed Kovacais, Tony Lamb,Ismail Hot and Brano Milovanovic have been charged with alleged conspiracy in devising a plan to defraud the State of Washington’s Department of Licensing (DOL).

Read More Here:

Seaside Heights Attorney

Former Energy Superintendent Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy March 29, 2012

Posted by jefhenninger in News.
add a comment

A former energy superintendent of the Massey Energy Co. has plead guilty to charges of conspiracy. The conspiracy charges are related to inspections and falsifying records.

Read More Here

Divorce Attorney

Two Former Executives of Video Relay Services Company Plead Guilty to Defrauding FCC Program February 18, 2010

Posted by jefhenninger in News.
add a comment

Irma Azrelyant and Joshua Finkle, the former co-owners of New York and New Jersey-based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services Inc. (DHIS), pleaded guilty today to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program of more than $7 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Today, Azrelyant, 47, and Finkle, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton, N.J., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Azrelyant and Finkle were indicted on Oct. 29, 2009, along with DHIS assistant bookkeeper and video interpreter coordinator Oksana Strusa, as well as video interpreters Natan Zfati, Alfia Iskandarova and Hennadii Holovkin.

In pleading guilty, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that beginning in approximately October 2007 and continuing through approximately July 2009, they conspired with others to pay individuals to make fraudulent VRS phone calls that were processed through DHIS, and that were billed to the FCC through VRS provider Viable Communications Inc. (Viable). According to the guilty pleas, Azrelyant and Finkle made VRS calls to prerecorded messages and other numbers for the sole purpose of generating VRS minutes and also coordinated with others to generate illegitimate VRS minutes that would be billed to the FCC. Azrelyant and Finkle also admitted to processing illegitimate VRS calls that were routed to DHIS by Viable.

According to the indictment, VRS is an online video translation service that allows people with hearing disabilities to communicate with hearing individuals through the use of interpreters and web cameras. A person with a hearing disability who wants to communicate with a hearing person can do so by contacting a VRS provider through an audio and video Internet connection. The VRS provider, in turn, employs a video interpreter to view and interpret the hearing disabled person’s signed conversation and relay the signed conversation orally to a hearing person. VRS is funded by fees assessed by telecommunications providers to telephone customers, and is provided at no cost to the VRS user.

According to information contained in the plea documents, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that their role in defrauding the FCC’s VRS program led to a total of between $7 million and $20 million in fraudulent billing to the program. At sentencing, Azrelyant and Finkle each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, as well as mandatory restitution and forfeiture. Sentencing is set for June 29, 2010 at 10 a.m.

Co-defendants Strusa, Zfati, Iskandarova and Holovkin are scheduled to stand trial on May 24, 2010, on the charges in the indictment. An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to the indictment charging Azrelyant, Finkle, Strusa, Zfati, Iskandarova and Holovkin, five indictments were unsealed on Nov. 19, 2009, charging an additional 20 people with engaging in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from the FCC’s VRS program. In all, the indictments charge owners and employees of the following six companies with engaging in a scheme to defraud the FCC’s VRS program:

  • Viable Communications Inc., of Rockville, Md.;
  • Master Communications LLC, of Las Vegas;
  • KL Communications LLC, of Phoenix;
  • Mascom LLC of Austin, Texas;
  • Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf Corp. (ICSD), of Miami Lakes, Fla.; and
  • Deaf Studio 29 of Huntington Beach, Calif.

Missouri State Senator & State Representative Plead Guilty to Federal Obstruction Charges August 25, 2009

Posted by tsclaw2209 in News.
Tags: ,
add a comment

This case shows another good reason to hire an attorney at the first sign of trouble.  An attorney that knows what he or she is doing can assess the situation and decide whether or not you should say anything.  If you are going to talk, the attorney needs to make sure that it is the truth (see Martha Stewart).  As so many of us know, the lie is sometimes worse than the underlying issue itself. 

This case wasn’t that serious but the attempted cover up really put these people in hot water.  Elections are serious business and anyone contacted by Federal or State election officials should call an attorney before saying or doing anything!

ST. LOUIS, MO—Smith, Brown, and Adams all have pleaded guilty to federal obstruction charges involving their conspiracy and attempt to obstruct a Federal Election Commission proceeding from July 2004 through December 2007, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today. In addition, Smith and Adams pled guilty to federal obstruction charges involving their conspiracy and attempt to obstruct a Federal Grand Jury proceeding from June 1, 2009 through July 15, 2009.

During August 2004, a primary election was held to nominate candidates for the 3rd District of Missouri United States Congressional seat vacated by Richard Gephardt. Along with eight others, Russ Carnahan and Jeff Smith were Democratic candidates in that primary. Russ Carnahan won that primary election, with Jeff Smith placing second in the balloting among Democratic candidates. Russ Carnahan went on to win the general election for United States Congress during November 2004.

Jeff Smith’s campaign committee during the 2004 primary election was known as “Friends of Jeff Smith”. Steve Brown was a close and personal friend of Jeff Smith. During 2004 Brown, on leave as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Missouri, served as campaign manager for Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon during his successful campaign for Missouri Attorney General. Steve Brown also provided substantial support, advice, and assistance to Jeff Smith and the Friends of Jeff Smith committee during Smith’s 2004 campaign for the Democratic nomination for United States Congress.

According to the documents filed with the court at the time of the pleas, during July 2004, an individual, referred to as “John Doe,” approached individual members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee, including the committee’s Treasurer, Nicholas Adams, the committee’s Communications/Press Director, Artie Harris and the committee’s Campaign Manager, Clay Haynes, and offered to assist Smith’s campaign by producing and distributing negative campaign advertisements aimed at Russ Carnahan. John Doe was affiliated with an organization known as Voters for Truth.

Smith and members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee discussed and agreed with John Doe’s plan to produce and distribute the negative campaign advertisements aimed at Russ Carnahan. Steve Brown was introduced to John Doe by members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee, and at Smith’s request, Brown agreed to solicit funds from Smith’s donors for John Doe and Voters for Truth, for the production and distribution of the negative campaign advertisements. Steve Brown did, in fact, solicit and obtain substantial funds for John Doe and Voters for Truth from several of Smith’s donors, and he also provided John Doe with $5,000 cash of his own personal funds.

Members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee, including Nick Adams,

Using the funds provided by Brown, and information provided by Adams, Artie Harris, and Clay Haynes, John Doe and Voters for Truth contracted with a direct mail company in Cleveland, Ohio for the production and mail distribution of a postcard containing negative information about Russ Carnahan, sometimes referred to as the “Miss More Work” mailing. On July 23, 2004, approximately 25,000 of the negative advertisement postcards were mailed to Missouri’s 3rd District resident voters. The postcards did not accurately identify the individuals or organizations involved in their production and distribution, and did not make any mention of Voters for Truth, John Doe, Jeff Smith, or the Friends of Jeff Smith committee.

Thereafter, the Russ Carnahan for Congress committee, acting upon information it had obtained, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the Friends of Jeff Smith committee had violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and Commission regulations relative to the printing and distribution of the negative advertisement postcards. The Federal Election Commission opened an investigation.

On September 8, 2004, Jeff Smith submitted a false sworn affidavit to the Federal Election Commission, falsely representing he had no knowledge of who was responsible for the postcard, nor who paid for the mailing.

During November 2006, John Doe received a subpoena to testify before the Federal Election Commission. John Doe’s testimony was scheduled for November 16, 2006. On November 14, 2006, with Jeff Smith’s knowledge, Steve Brown met with John Doe at a health and social club in St. Louis in an effort to convince John Doe not to testify about Brown and Smith’s knowledge and involvement in the anti-Carnahan postcards. Shortly after that meeting, Brown and Smith discussed their ongoing concerns that John Doe was going to disclose their conduct to the Federal Election Commission, and agreed they should offer John Doe the opportunity to work on Smith’s political committee if John Doe kept them out of the Federal Election Commission investigation. Steve Brown had a second meeting with John Doe where they discussed the possibility of John Doe getting future work from Brown and Smith if he kept them out of the FEC investigation. Two days later, Doe appeared before the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C., and gave sworn testimony concerning the allegations raised by the Carnahan committee. Consistent with his discussions with Brown, John Doe made numerous false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and failed to identify Brown, any members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee, Adams, or Jeff Smith as being involved in the funding, production, and/or distribution of the anti Carnahan postcards. John Doe falsely testified that he had been retained by an anonymous individual who provided John Doe with the print copy, artwork, and mailing addresses for the anti Carnahan postcard, and that he was paid in cash by this anonymous individual for his work in producing and distributing the postcards. John Doe falsely testified that Voters for Truth was not his organization, that he had simply been retained by Voters for Truth to do polling work, and that Voters for Truth was not involved in the anti- Carnahan postcards.

Following John Doe’s testimony before the FEC, Brown, Smith and Adams had numerous telephone conversations amongst themselves and with other members of the Friends of Jeff Smith Committee, including Artie Harris, about what they should say if interviewed by the Federal Election Commission. During these conversations it was agreed that everyone would deny involvement in the production, funding, and distribution of the anti Carnahan postcards, and deny knowledge of John Doe’s conduct in that regard.

On March 1, 2007, Artie Harris was interviewed by the Federal Election Commission and falsely denied his involvement. Harris told the Federal Election Commission that both he and Adams were leery of John Doe’s true agenda. Harris acknowledged that he had provided John Doe with a copy of some publicly available information the campaign had already compiled on Russ Carnahan, but that he did not recall any further conversations with John Doe. Shortly following his interview by the Federal Election Commission, Artie Harris died. On March 15, 2007, Nick Adams was interviewed by the Federal Election Commission and also falsely denied any involvement in the production, funding, and distribution of those postcards.

On December 10, 2007, the General Counsel for the Federal Election Commission issued its final report recommending that the investigation into the Carnahan committee allegations concerning the 2004 postcards be closed, and that no action be taken against the Friends of Jeff Smith committee or any individuals. The report noted that John Doe’s testimony had been vague, contradictory and lacking in credibility. The report noted that Jeff Smith and members of the Friends of Jeff Smith committee, including Adams and Artie Harris, denied any firsthand knowledge of Voters for Truth or involvement in the distribution of the postcard, and went on to state that the circumstances suggest that John Doe paid for the postcards with his own personal funds and created Voters for Truth to conceal his involvement on the negative attack on Carnahan.

Following the issuance of the December 10, 2007 final report, Bown and Smith met to review and discuss the report’s findings, and agreed that they “got lucky” that the Federal Election Commission had not been able to uncover their involvement in the anti-Carnahan postcards.

Additionally, as admitted to by Smith and Adams relative to Count II of the Information; during January 2009, the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI, acting upon newly discovered information, opened a federal criminal investigation into the original allegations raised by the Carnahan Campaign Committee and investigated by the FEC, as well as to determine whether any individuals had attempted to obstruct that Federal Election Commission proceeding. As charged in the Information, the object of the conspiracy was to obstruct a Federal Grand Jury proceeding by preventing the flow of information to federal law enforcement authorities through false statements and false representations.

On June 1, 2009, Jeff Smith and Steve Brown had a telephone conversation to discuss the possibility that John Doe was cooperating with federal law enforcement and providing federal law enforcement with information regarding the 2004 postcard mailing and subsequent investigation by the FEC. Smith discussed how they should respond if interviewed by federal law enforcement. Regarding the postcard, Smith acknowledged that Nick Adams and Artie Harris, both officials of his 2004 U.S. Congressional campaign committee, had handled the coordination between his committee and John Doe. Smith further discussed what potential evidence John Doe might have against him, and what he could say about it to federal law enforcement. During the telephone conversation, Smith also acknowledged that he knew Brown and some of his donors had given John Doe money to produce the anti-Carnahan postcard. Smith urged Brown how to respond if interviewed by law enforcement.

On June 17, 2009, Smith, Adams and Brown met at Smith’s residence to further discuss the possibility that John Doe was cooperating with federal law enforcement. During the meeting Smith acknowledged that he knew that Adams and Artie Harris were working with John Doe on the postcard, and that Clay Haynes had given John Doe the campaign committee’s mailing address list. Adams again acknowledged that he had lied to the FEC during March 2007 when asked about John Doe. Smith told them that John Doe would not be believed by federal law enforcement, saying that “Doe against the three of us is not even a contest.”

On June 30, 2009, Smith was interviewed by FBI Agents. During the interview, Smith made numerous false statements and false representations. The same day Adams was also interviewed and made numerous false statements and false representations as well. After the FBI interviews that morning Smith, Adams, and Brown met to discuss the interviews, and to discuss what Brown should say if he were to be interviewed by the FBI. Smith and Adams urged Brown to tell the FBI that Artie Harris, deceased, was the only one who had any contact with John Doe.

Finally, in order to conceal their future discussions from the FBI, and in furtherance of the conspiracy, Smith and Adams agreed to purchase and communicate only through “pay as you go” cellular telephones.

“The fact that Senator Jeff Smith, Rep. Steve Brown and Nicholas Adams all pled guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice is further evidence that the FBI has zero tolerance for public corruption,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “Politicians are supposed to serve the people who elected them, not their own self-interests. What Senator Smith, Rep. Brown and Adams did is nothing more than old fashioned corruption.”

Jeff Smith, 35, St. Louis City, and Nicholas Adams, 29, University City, MO, pleaded guilty to two felony counts fo conspiracy to obstruct justice. Mark Steven Brown, 42, Clayton, MO, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. All three defendants appeared before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson, in federal District Court, in St. Louis.

Each count of conspiracy to obstruct justice carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Sentencings have been set for November 10, 2009.

Carlstadt Mayor William Roseman and his ex-wife charged with conspiracy, theft by deception and official misconduct May 29, 2009

Posted by tsclaw2209 in News.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Carlstadt Mayor William Roseman and his ex-wife, Lori Lewin were divorced in July of 2000.  Prosecutors allege that Roseman failed to notify the town’s benefits administrator that the couple divorced in July 2000.  Ok, but is that really a crime?  Prosecutors  believe so as they have been indicted on  charges of conspiracy, theft by deception and official misconduct.

Since they charged the two with conspiracy, that means that there has to have been some type of agreement that this occur instead of this being an accident. Prosecutors also allege that Lewin obtained prescription benefits in excess of $7,000 through January 2008 and received medical benefits through 2003.  That is more of  a problem for her as she should have known that she was not entitled to benefits.  But how does Roseman benefit from this?  As a defense attorney, it sounds like there are some great issues here for trial unless the State has some damaging evidence.

Story is here.

45 people in fake check ring busted May 18, 2009

Posted by tsclaw2209 in News.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

The Hudson County Prosecutor working with Federal law enforcement have charged over 45 people in a fake check ring that stole over $140,000. Authorities allege that Ronald Peterson of Jersey City is the leader of the group. He has been charged with conspiracy, theft by deception, and as a leader of organized crime. Quadel Roberson, Rashawn Ford, Cory Lee, and Samuel Daniel, Jr., all of Jersey City, allegedly worked with Peterson to oversee and carry out the operation. They are charged with theft by deception, and conspiracy.

Others allegedly involved as runners include: Miriam Jones, Kevin McDonald, Mark White, Bryant Agurto, Tyonia Stone, Bertha Spencer, Josue Concepcion, Elias Montero Abrue, Talisha Vasquez, Barbara Porter, Cherron Wade, Miguel Agurto, Travis Lewis, Stephen Reeves, Shahibe Paula, Jayson Santiago, Darius Ford, Gabriel Ramos, Tiona Dawkins, Tiffany Johnson, Ashley Gibson, Jamilah Jenkins, Stanley Berry, Ibn S. Aziz, Markell Spivey, Kiara Loreca, Tyquana Scott, Tynaira Armstrong, Denaya Jamison, Evelyn Amparo, Eric A. King, Elijah Cayetano, Bianca Consuegra, Jamila R. Brown, Britiney M. Vance, Priscilla R. Alvarez, Hasson A. Tate, Kimneisha Battle, Joseph Daniel, Shanik D. Bowens, Ashley Wiltshire and Tyrus B. Dailey.

Authorities allege that ringleaders paid employees working for the companies to allow them to scan images of their paychecks and would then produce fake checks that would be cashed by runners. Handlers drove runners to the targeted banks to cash the checks and paid the runners a percentage of the proceeds.

Obviously, the runners will get great deals to flip on the main players. Knowing that, attorneys for the main defendants need to get the discovery right away and decide if this case is going to plea out or go to trial. If it will plea out, it will be much better deal to do it early than wait for when everyone else has flipped on you.

Story is here.