US Attorney’s Office, Maryland – News

Carmen Johnson Convicted On Charges Related To Two Separate Residential Mortgage Fraud Schemes that occurred almost 10 years ago.

Chief Engineer Of Car-Carrier Vessel Sentenced To Prison For Obstruction Of Justice In Marine Oil Pollution Case (at least this conduct occurred within the last few years…)

Conspirator Indicted In $3.9 Million Fraud Scheme

Baltimore Woman Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison In Credit Card Fraud Scheme

Randallstown Man Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison In Counterfeit Check Cashing And Credit Card Skimming Schemes (Real time for fake cash)

Texas Man Sentenced For Illegal Export Of Night Vision Devices (I’m guessing he didn’t see that coming).

International Criminal Law

UN

February 20, 2015

Here at Levin & Curlett, we keep an eye on the global tumult that may lead to international criminal proceedings in The Hague, whether before the International Criminal Court of one of the ad hoc Tribunals.

Of late, our attention, as well as the world at large, has been focused on the Islamic State (or ISIL, or ISIS, or Da’esh, depending on whom you ask).  This week the United Nations Security Counsel expressly condemned the murder of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.  “The members of the Council further emphasized that such ‘continued acts of barbarism perpetrated’ by ISIL do not intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve that there has to be a common effort amongst Governments and institutions, including those in the region most affected, ‘to counter ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia entities…and all other…entities associated with Al-Qaida,’ as the Council resolved in its resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2199 (2015), adopted just last week.” Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the actions.

Whether through military engagement or the mechanism of international criminal justice, or both, the threat must be checked.

Litigation

image

February 17, 2015

Lance Armstrong loses $10 million arbitration ruling.

The New York Times reports that an arbitration panel has ordered the cyclist to pay $10 million in a fraud dispute with SCA Promotions citing an “unparalleled pageant of perjury, fraud and conspiracy” related to the cover-up of Armstrong’s use of performance enhancing drugs.  Armstrong’s lawyer stated that the ruling is “contrary to Texas law” and predicted it would be overturned in court.  Such confidence is, in all likelihood, misplaced.  Courts routinely uphold awards even when the law is misapplied by arbitrators.  The standard to throw out an arbitration award requires the panel to have acted “in manifest disregard of the law.”  That standard is rarely met.  If I were a betting man, I’d wager Armstrong eventually writes the check.

Public Corruption

February 16, 2015

la-ed-prosecutorial-misconduct-20150215-001

Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has spoken of an “epidemic” of prosecutorial misconduct in California.

Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have published editorials since yesterday calling for legal reform that will allow prosecutors to be held accountable for misconduct.

Further illustrating the widespread and pervasive nature of corruption in the criminal justice system, on Saturday the Baltimore Sun’s Mark Puente published an article examining how a criminal case can fall apart when the police are, shall we say, less than truthful in their affidavits submitted to courts in support of search warrants.

Baltimore drug probe crumbles after court challenge

News that Fits

February 13, 2015

Brooklyn, New York

Grand Jury Indicts Officer for Death of Man in Hallway

Two months after a Staten Island grand jury refused to indict an officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, which was recorded on video, a Brooklyn grand jury charged an officer with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other offenses for the single shot fired in a pitch-dark hallway that killed Akai Gurley.

USAO-Maryland News

February 9, 2015
Texas Man Sentenced For Illegal Export Of Night Vision Devices

BGF Leader Tavon White Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison In Baltimore Jail Racketeering Conspiracy

Maryland Hunting Guides Sentenced For Violating Maryland Black Bear Hunting Regulations

Former Executives Sentenced To Prison For Defrauding Employer Of $1 Million Through Fraudulent Expense Claims

Go “D!”

Adnan Syed, subject of “Serial,” granted appeal.

It is difficult to tell from the podcast whether Adnan is innocent, but reasonable doubt should not have been out of reach. Congratulations to our friend C. Justin Brown on this excellent result.

USAO-Maryland News

Russian National and Three Others Charged In Kickback Scheme.

Laurel Woman Admits to Stealing Almost $300K in Social Security Benefit Checks.

Former Chief of Baltimore City Division of Transit And Marine Services Indicted for Bribery Scheme.

Maryland Woman Admits To Treating Patients While Fraudulently Posing As A Physician’s Assistant.

US Attorney’s Office, DC–Press Releases

Former Executive Director of Public Charter School Pleads Guilty to Stealing $29,000 in Funds -Defendant Wrote Series of Checks for Personal Benefit -

Former United Medical Center Employee Sentenced To a Year in Prison For Embezzling Over $335,000 in Overtime Pay -Defendant Manipulated Electronic Time-Keeping System -

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Weapons Offenses Stemming From July 4th Incident at Freedom Plaza -Defendant Brandished Shotgun in Video Filmed at the Site -

U.S. Consulate Official Pleads Guilty to Receiving More Than $3 Million in Bribes in Exchange for Visas -Scheme Allegedly Generated More Than $9 Million in Bribes -

Former Background Investigator for Federal Government Sentenced to Six Months in Prison For Making a False Statement

Specialty Hospitals of America to Pay United States -$4.2 Million to Resolve False Claims Allegations-

In The News . . .

The common theme in this morning’s news is alleged misconduct by prosecutors and police:

In a high profile murder case, it appears that prosecutors “forgot” to disclose some Brady material.

In this lawsuit, brought by Chad Curlett of Levin & Curlett LLC, it is alleged that police officers lied in an arrest warrant (shocking!), leading to the arrest of the WRONG MAN.

Rumor Has It . . .

Some exciting news rumors coming out of the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland:

AUSA Stuart Berman, the Greenbelt Branch Chief, is retiring after many successful years of government service.  It is expected that Stuart will be joining a small law firm in the mid-Atlantic region.

AUSA Peter Nothstein has been detailed to the Senate Judiciary Committee for six months.  Peter just recently received an annual award for excellence in prosecuting violent crime.  See below.

AUSA Mark Crooks doesn’t just prosecute alleged criminals; he chases them too.

And let’s not forget these AUSAs, following the break: Continue reading “Rumor Has It . . .”

On This Day . . .

Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence.  That request came from his wife.

Happy Felix Unger Day from your friends at Levin & Curlett LLC, who vigorously defend those who are also asked to remove themselves from their homes (often by the feds).

Department of Justice News

Earlier today, an Indictment was unsealed and “wanted” posters were issued for fugitives charged with multimillion dollar international cyber fraud scheme.

The posters looked nothing like this:

 

PSZ_PPAPVP1036_main

Welcome to Miami:  Two men from Miami have pleaded guilty to laundering millions of dollars obtained through a $10.5 million Medicare fraud scheme using shell companies they controlled.

DOJ News

US Attorney (Maryland) News

Former State Social Service Supervisor Sentenced To 33 Months In Prison In Bank Fraud Scheme

Baltimore Car Dealer Owner Sentenced To 30 Months For Structuring Deposits Of Over $2 Million To Evade Bank Reporting Requirements

Four Conspirators Charged With Using Medical Patients’ Identities To Steal Over $750,000 Of Merchandise

Title Company Manager Pleads Guilty In $4.8 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Armed Robber Exiled To 25 Years In Prison

Steve’s Fresh Perspective

The Proffer Letter:

The First Landmine in Federal Criminal Defense Practice

 

Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) often take the position that a proffer letter, or a “Queen for a Day” agreement, is intended to protect a defendant who ultimately chooses not to cooperate with the government.   Stated another way, as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did in United States v. Threw, 861 F.2d 1046 (7th Cir. 1988), “the purpose of [a proffer letter], according to the government, is to ensure that in the event a cooperating defendant decides not to plead guilty, any information he may have ‘proffered’ to the government cannot later be used against him at trial” or sentencing, with some exceptions.  It is those exceptions that call into question a proffer letter’s true purpose.  In my view, the purpose of a proffer letter, from the government’s perspective, is to ensure that a defendant pleads guilty, because if he goes to trial after proffering, he is going to sentencing as well.

A typical two-page proffer letter in the District of Maryland contains the following language (liberally summarized): Continue reading “Steve’s Fresh Perspective”

USAO-MD News

A Note From the Doctor Won’t Help This Government Employee, Sentenced for Scheme to Defraud Federal Voluntary Leave Transfer Program She Administered–she created false doctor notes to take paid time off donated by other employees

You’ve got to love the alliteration of this press release:  Four-Time Fraudster Sentenced to 44 Months. 

What is it that they say about the family that schemes together?  Here’s what the US Attorney’s Office has to say:  Frederick Couple PLEAD GUILTY to Fraudently Obtaining Over $700,000 in Advanced Fees. 

So much for the security in the Social Security Administration: SSA RETIREE PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLING OVER $400,000 AND TO TAX EVASION.

Whistle While You Work

SEC Receives More Than 3,000 Whistleblower Tips in FY2012

Listen to the soothing voice of CNN’s Libby Lewis here as she reports on “Blowing the Whistle on Wall Street:”   http://cnnradio.cnn.com/2012/11/15/blowing-the-whistle-on-wall-street/

And read the SEC’s press release here:

Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 2012 — Over the past year, the Securities and Exchange Commission received more than 3,000 whistleblower tips from all 50 states and from 49 countries, according to the agency’s 2012 Annual Report on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program released today. Continue reading “Whistle While You Work”

Go “D”!

Judge Motz is willing to do the right thing,  to include correcting an error made at trial.  In this post-verdict Order, Judge Motz granted in part a motion for acquittal based on drug weight:

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA                   *

*

*

v.                                                                           *              Criminal No. – JFM-11-003

*

WAYNE LAMPKIN, JR.                               *

*

******

MEMORANDUM

Defendant has filed a motion for new trial or judgment of acquittal. The motion will be granted in part and denied in part. Continue reading “Go “D”!”

Press Releases

USAO-MD:  Morgan State University Professor Indicted in Scheme to Defraud the National Science Foundation.  

 USAO-MD:  Labor Union PAC Fund Manager Indicted for Embezzling  not $500,000, but $502,586.

USAO-MD:  Ringleader and Girlfriend Plead Guilty in Identity Theft  Fraud  Scheme Involving Not 254 Individual Victims, but Over 250.  

USAO-EDVA:  Mental Health Service Provider Sentenced to 48 Months for Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud.

DoJ News

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has issued this new report on pretrial release in the federal system.  

Here is the accompanying press release:

From 2008 to 2010, federal district courts released more than a third (36 percent) of defendants prior to case disposition, according to a study released today by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of released defendants were released at their initial appearance hearing, while the rest were released at subsequent events including detention or bond hearings. Continue reading “DoJ News”

On This Day . . .

David Petraeus take note:  On November 13th, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence.  That request came from his wife.

Happy Felix Unger Day from your friends at Levin & Curlett LLC.

Steve’s Fresh Perspective

A Victory for Discretion

In 2004, the then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland famously wrote in a leaked email that he wanted three front-page indictments by November of that year. Though open to interpretation, the impression left by the poorly-drafted missive is that prosecutors should seek headlines rather than justice. Let’s give credit to the prosecutors involved in the Petraeus/ Broadwell affair, er, matter for their exercise of sound discretion. Continue reading “Steve’s Fresh Perspective”

USAO-MD News

News from the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland:

BARRY LANDAU CONSPIRATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON IN SCHEME
TO STEAL VALUABLE HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS:  Original Documents of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Adams, Stephanie Gallagher, Franklin Roosevelt, and Others Stolen from Historical Societies and Museums.

SILVER SPRING MAN SENTENCED TO OVER 6 YEARS IN PRISON IN CREDIT CARD FRAUD SCHEME.

DOJ News

News from the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia:

Couple Indicted For Wire Fraud and Other Charges In Scheme to Steal Grant Funds Intended for Charitable Youth Boxing Program
-Defendants Allegedly Used Money for Gambling, Other Personal Expenses-

Maryland Woman Sentenced to 75 Months in Prison For Defrauding D.C. Medicaid Program By Submitting Over $7 Million in Phony Claims
Defendant Billed Some Patients For More Than 24 Hours of Therapy In A Single Day

USAO-MD News

News from the US Attorney’s Office in the District of Maryland:

Convicted Fraudster Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Buy Merchandise Using Stolen Identifying Information of Others to Open Instant Credit Accounts.

Title Agent Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison for Stealing Over $694,000 from Mortgage Escrows.

Whistle While You Work

United States Sues Virginia-based Contractor for False Claims Under Contract for Security in Iraq, alleging that it had billed the US for security guards who did not meet contract requirement.
 
Listen here for CNN’s Libby Lewis’ radio report regarding a whistleblower’s war against fraud. 
 
Taxpayers Against Fraud has named Allen Jones the 2012 Whistleblower of the Year.  Keen readers will note that Mr. Jones was represented by Waters and Kraus, a firm which recently partnered with Levin & Curlett LLC (nee Levin & Gallagher LLC) in the recent Novo Nordisk whistleblower case.

SEC News

2012-217 Oct. 26, 2012 SEC Charges Denver-Based Insurance Executive with Insider Trading
2012-216 Oct. 26, 2012 SEC Charges Silicon Valley Executive for Role in Galleon Insider Trading Scheme
2012-215 Oct. 22, 2012 SEC Adopts Standards for Risk Management and Operations of Clearing Agencies
2012-214 Oct. 19, 2012 More Than 1,500 Private Fund Advisers Registered With the SEC Since Passage of the Financial Reform Law
2012-213 Oct. 18, 2012 SEC Charges Trio in “.44 Magnum” Investment Scheme
2012-212 Oct. 18, 2012 Hong Kong Firm to Pay $14 Million to Settle Insider Trading Charges
2012-211 Oct. 17, 2012 Andrew Calamari Named Director of New York Regional Office
2012-210 Oct. 17, 2012 SEC Proposes Rules for Security-Based Swap Dealers and Major Security-Based Swap Participants
2012-209 Oct. 17, 2012 SEC Charges Hedge Fund Adviser and Two Executives With Fraud in Continuing Probe of Suspicious Fund Performance

USAO-MD News

 10/25/12 Conspirator in Bank Fraud Scheme Sentenced to Over 3 Years in Prison
10/25/12 Bank Vice President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling over $600,000
10/25/12 Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Pay $95 Million to Resolve Off-label Promotion and Kickback Allegations
10/25/12 Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography for Secretly Recording Boys in Maryland Restrooms
10/25/12 Bladensburg Armed Career Criminal Exiled to 15 Years in Prison for Possessing a Gun
10/24/12 Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Non-profit Organization and up to 72 of its Disabled Clients
10/23/12 Former Employee of Federal Court Contractor Indicted for Bribery, Witness Tampering and Perjury in Federal Grand Jury
10/19/12 Silver Spring Man Sentenced to 10 Months in Prison for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
10/18/12 New York Drug Dealer Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison