SEC Charges Former Georgia State Legislator, Clarence Dean Alford


SEC Charges Former Georgia State Legislator, Clarence Dean Alford With Defrauding Investors in Ponzi Scheme

Washington DC (STL.News) The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged former Georgia state legislator and former member of the Georgia Board of Regents Clarence Dean Alford with defrauding at least 100 investors in his now-bankrupt energy development company, Allied Energy Services LLC.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from 2017 to 2019, Alford fraudulently raised at least $23 million by selling promissory notes to investors – primarily Indian-American professionals – that he guaranteed would provide high annual rates of return.  According to the complaint, Alford presented Allied as a successful business when in fact it was struggling, and claimed that investors’ funds would finance energy projects while using most of the funds to make interest payments to earlier investors and for personal expenses, including building a multi-million-dollar home.  In 2019, Alford’s alleged scheme collapsed when he failed to make promised interest payments to several investors and then failed to repay the investors’ principal.

“As alleged in our complaint, Alford was a prominent member of the community who misled retail investors for personal gain,” said Justin Jeffries, Associate Regional Director for the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office.  “Investors should be wary whenever they are promised guaranteed, lucrative investment opportunities.”

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Alford consented to entry of a judgment finding that he violated the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws and ordering permanent and conduct-based injunctions.  Alford also agreed that the amounts of civil penalties, disgorgement, and prejudgment interest would be determined by the court at a later date upon motion by the SEC.  The proposed judgment is subject to court approval.

Staff in the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office conducted the investigation and will lead the litigation. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Georgia Secretary of State’s Securities Division.

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has issued investor alerts on the red flags of investment fraud.  Additional information is available on Investor.gov.



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Portland Police Identified Stabbing Victim as Aja Rhone-Spears


Portland, OR (STL.News)  Homicide Detectives are seeking witness accounts of an incident that turned deadly on Tuesday night.

A group of people met for a vigil near the 15800 block of Southeast Division related to a recent shooting resulting in Tyrell Penney’s death. Some members of the group returned to a residence in the 100 block of Northeast 92nd Place to continue the vigil.

Approximately 20-30 people were in the residence when a large disturbance occurred involving multiple participants.  During the disturbance, two subjects were stabbed.  Officers and medical personnel attempted life saving measures, but one subject was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Homicide Detectives were summoned to assist.

Officers and Detectives encountered hostility and a lack of cooperation during their attempts to conduct this investigation.  There are believed to be multiple witnesses and investigators are hoping to learn more about what transpired.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause and manner of death to be homicide by stabbing.  The deceased has been identified as Aja Rhone-Spears, born 03/09/86.
Family of the deceased has been notified

If anyone has information about this incident and has not been contacted by investigators, they are encouraged to contact Detective Brad Clifton at 503.823.0696, [email protected] or Detective Mike Greenlee at 503.823.0871, [email protected]

This is the 15th homicide since July 1st, which is the most in one month in over 30 years.  This was the second homicide in one night and there were also demonstrations, multiple shootings, and other calls for service occurring throughout the City.

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Montgomery Police Investigate Armed Robbery in Downtown Silver Spring


Montgomery County, Maryland (STL.News) Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – 3rd District Investigative Section continue to investigate the July 20 armed robbery of an adult male that was committed by two male suspects and occurred in the downtown area of Silver Spring.  Today, investigators are releasing cell phone video of one of the male suspects and are asking for the public’s help in identifying him.

On Monday, July 20 at approximately 5:17 p.m., 3rd District officers responded to 1200 block of East West Highway for the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred.  The victim stated to officers that he was outside walking when the two suspects approached him.  One suspect assaulted the victim with a screwdriver and the second suspect stole property from the victim.  Both suspects fled the area on foot. The victim was not injured during the armed robbery.  Officers later located the screwdriver in a nearby trash can.

A witness who was in the area at the time of the armed robbery used his/her cellphone to video record the armed suspect assaulting the victim.  This witness then called 9-1-1 after the suspects fled.

Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding the suspects or this armed robbery to call the 3rd District Investigative Section at 240-773-6870.  Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

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Nashville Police Detectives Working to Identify Robbery Suspect


Nashville, TN (STL.News)  East and North Precinct detectives are working to identify the man involved in at least two robberies, Wednesday at Family Dollar, 2734 Whites Creek Pike, and last Saturday at Mapco, 3053 Dickerson Pike.

The suspect entered both businesses and threatened the cashiers before taking cash from the register.  He was armed with a knife during the Family Dollar hold-up.  He fled from the Mapco robbery in a black four door sedan with a broken tail light.

The suspect is a black man who appears to be in his 30s or early 40s.  He is approximately 6’1” tall and weighs approximately 285 pounds.  He wore a black face covering and black skull cap during both robberies.

Anyone who recognizes the man is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.

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Miami-Dade Police investigating a drive-by shooting at NW 51 Street


Miami-Dade County, FL (STL.NewsMiami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau detectives are investigating a drive-by shooting that killed a seven year-old girl, injured a one year-old boy and two adults.

According to investigators, the four victims stopped their vehicle in front of a residence, located in the 2900 block of NW 51 Street.  As they exited their vehicle, a four door vehicle approached them and began firing in their direction, striking the victims.  Miami-Dade Fire Rescue transported the victims to Ryder Trauma Center where they were treated.  Three of the victims remain in stable condition; however, the seven year-old girl succumbed to her injuries.

The subject vehicle fled the scene eastbound on NW 51 Street.  Detectives are seeking the assistance of the community to identify and/or locate the vehicle and individual(s) involved in this shooting.

The investigation continues.

UPDATE#1: CrimeStoppers reward increased up to $55,000. The tipster may be eligible if the information leads to the arrest of the subject(s).  Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact CrimeStoppers
(305)471-TIPS (8477) or (866) 471-8477.

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Chicago Police Preliminary Statement on Police-Involved Shooting in Grand Ave.


ChicagoIL (STL.News) On Thursday, July 30, 2020 at approximately 9:40 A.M. in the 5500 block of W. Grand Ave. at the 25th (Grand Central) District police station, district officers attempted to take an offender wanted in a vehicular hijacking into custody.  During the arrest process, the offender fired multiple shots at the arresting officers.
Three officers were struck by gunfire during this incident.  One officer sustained a gunshot wound to the chin and his protective vest was also struck by gunfire.  He was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment. A second officer sustained a gunshot wound to the hip and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment. A third officer was struck by gunfire in his protective vest and also
taken to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment.
One additional officer was taken to Loyola University Medical Center with chest pains.  Another officer was transported by a CPD member to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for chest pains.  The offender was struck by gunfire and transported to Stroger Hospital.
Currently, the specifics of this incident, including the comprehensive use of force investigation, are being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability with the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department.  The Officer(s) involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for a period of 30 days.
The matter remains under investigation and all further inquiries can be directed to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability at (312) 746-3609.

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Stop for gas brings $200,000 prize for Onslow County hospital worker Thomas Jordan


Raleigh,  NC (STL.News) A stop for gas on Tuesday turned Thomas Jordan of Jacksonville into a Super 7s $200,000 top prize winner.

Jordan, who works delivering medical supplies to the ER, made a stop for gas at the Circle K on Piney Green Road in Midway Park on his lunch break and decided to grab two $5 Super 7s tickets.

“I saw that the Super 7s were there,” recalled Jordan.  “I have the lottery app on my phone that tells me which tickets still have outstanding prizes.  So, I said, ‘Let me go ahead and get a couple tickets.’”

He took his two tickets and headed back to work.

“When I scratched it off on my lunch break and I saw it, I just couldn’t believe it,” said Jordan.  “I had to talk to one of my coworkers to say, ‘Man, can you look at this ticket and tell me if it’s real?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you just won $200,000.’  And I almost cried, tears coming down and everything. I was in disbelief.”

That night, he shared the news of his good fortune with his family.  “We’re just sitting there, talking, you bought a $5 ticket and it turned into $200,000,” said Jordan. “It’s just crazy.”

Jordan claimed his prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh.  After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $141,501.

“This is gonna do a whole lot for my family because I have so many house renovations that I need to get done,” said Jordan of his prize money.  “It’s gonna basically be used for family and then you know house things. I’ll try to take a little bit to save for the future.”

Super 7s launched this month with five top prizes of $200,000. Three top prizes remain to be won.

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Wayne County Man Wins $1 Million Playing the Michigan Lottery


Michigan (STL.News) A Wayne County man is on the fast-track to retirement after winning $1 million playing the Michigan Lottery’s $1,000,000 Lucky 7’s instant game.

The lucky player, who chose to remain anonymous, bought his winning ticket at the Marathon gas station, located at 31401 West 8 Mile Road in Livonia.

“I love play the ‘7’ games, and I buy a few every week,” said the player.  “I scratched this one in the car and was so excited I ran back in the store to tell the owner.  We were both jumping up and down we were so excited.”

The 66-year-old player visited Lottery headquarters to claim the big prize.  He chose to receive his prize as a one-time lump sum payment of about $634,000, rather than annuity payments for the full amount. He plans to use his winnings to retire.

“I’ve always felt blessed, but now I know I am the luckiest person there is,” the player said.

Players have won more than $34 million playing $1,000,000 Lucky 7’s, which launched in January.  Each $10 ticket offers players a chance to win prizes ranging from $10 up to $1 million. More than $14 million in prizes remain, including one $1 million top prize, 14 $10,000 prizes, and 72 $2,000 prizes.

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Cartel Recruiter Delia Marie Salinez Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Meth Trafficking Conspiracy


(STL.News) – A North Carolina woman was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for her role in a large heroin and meth trafficking conspiracy that originated in Sinaloa, Mexico.

According to court documents, Delia Marie Salinez, 31, of Greensboro, was a recruiter and drug courier operating out of the conspiracy’s North Carolina distribution point.  In March 2019, Salinez and two of her recruits packaged and drove roughly a kilogram of heroin and a kilogram of pure methamphetamine to Virginia Beach, where they thought they were going to sell the drugs.  Instead, they were arrested during a SWAT takedown operation and the drugs were seized.

The other two couriers, Maricella Williamson and Kenya Godinez-Camacho, were sentenced to 65 and 60 months in prison, respectively.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).  The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; and Anthony F. Zucaro, Jr., Interim Chief of Virginia Beach Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar.  Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-131.

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Disaster and pandemic scams target Texas residents


(STL.News) – Authorities are warning Texans of potential fraud following the landfall of Hurricane Hanna while continuing to remind the public of coronavirus-related scams, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

As residents continue to deal with the issues surrounding COVID-19, some have the added burden of surviving in the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna which made landfall in South Texas along the Coastal Bend area over the weekend.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office works with a multitude of federal, state and local agencies to address the varied threats resulting from natural disasters such as Hurricane Hanna as well as scams related to national crises.  These disasters often bring out the best in human compassion and spirit, but can also lead to unscrupulous individuals and organizations taking advantage of those in need of and/or providing government services.  Examples of typical illegal activity include:

  • Impersonation of federal law enforcement officials
  • Identity theft
  • Fraudulent claims to insurance companies and federal government
  • Fraudulent activity related to donations and charitable giving
  • Price gouging
  • Theft, looting and other violent crime

“Along the Gulf Coast we are well practiced in disaster fraud,” said Patrick.  “Anyone who lies, cheats or steals to receive federal benefits they would not otherwise get, will be prosecuted by my office.”

The added issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic compounds the possible instances of fraud and other types of illegal activity. In addition to the economic payment scams previously reported, several other fraudulent schemes involve masks, personal protection equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 related items.  The public is reminded to exercise increased due diligence and caution when dealing with new suppliers or vendors, especially when using a third-party broker.

As demand for PPE increases, scammers may advertise equipment they do not actually have in attempts to make a quick profit.  These PPE products may be counterfeit and mislabeled, and some may not exist at all.  Some fraudsters reach out directly to consumers and government entities through email or social media to push their products.  Red flags that a seller may be engaging in a scam include:

  • Unusual payment terms
  • Last-minute price changes
  • Last-minute excuses for delay in shipment
  • Unexplained source of a large quantity of material
  • Evidence of re-packaging or mislabeling

Members of the public are encouraged to contact The National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) to report all types of disaster and COVID-19 fraud.  The Disaster Fraud Hotline is 1-866-720-5721 and is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Members of the public can also see additional resources and information HERE, where they can also submit complaints of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement related to any man-made or natural disaster and criminal activity related to COVID-19.

In addition, Texans can contact the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online if they have encountered scams or price gouging.  There are ongoing federal and state prohibitions on charging exorbitant prices for PPE during this time of national emergency.

The NCDF is the result of a partnership between the Department of Justice and various law enforcement and regulatory agencies to form a national coordinating agency within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to improve and further the detection, prevention, investigation, and prosecution of fraud related to natural and man-made disasters, and to advocate for the victims of such fraud.

It was established in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when billions of dollars in federal disaster relief poured into the Gulf Coast region.  It is the national coordinating agency for all man-made and natural disasters with Gulf Coast headquarters located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Since 2005, the NCDF has received over 100,000 complaints.

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