Rochester Man Jeffrey Wehs Sentenced For Possession Of Child Porngraphy

Rochester Man Sentenced For Possession Of Child Porngraphy

(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jeffrey Wehs, 24, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted of possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor, was sentenced to serve eight months home confinement and eight years supervised release by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.  The defendant will also have to register as a sex offender.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Rossi, who handled the case, stated that members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force executed a search warrant on September 18, 2019, at the defendant’s residence in Rochester following a cybertip from an online social media company.  The tip indicated that an account holder had uploaded an image of child pornography using the company’s messaging application.  Investigators ultimately traced the child pornography to Wehs’ Rochester apartment.  The defendant’s computer was seized and a preliminary review recovered multiple images and videos of child pornography.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.


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Two Felons Sergio Bautista and Eric Golden Indicted For Stealing Explosive Materials

Two Felons Sergio Bautista and Eric Golden Indicted For Stealing Explosive Materials From Mining Company

(STL.News) – Two Las Vegas residents made their initial court appearance on Friday, August 7, 2020, on charges for allegedly stealing explosive materials from a mining company in Las Vegas, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on July 29, 2020, charging Sergio Bautista, aka “Ismael Cuevas-Flores,” 34, and Eric Golden, 54, each with one count of conspiracy to steal explosive materials; one count of theft of explosive materials moved in interstate commerce; one count of theft of explosive materials from licensee or permittee; one count of felon in possession of explosives; and one count of possession of stolen explosives.  A jury trial has been scheduled before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan on September 28, 2020.

According to the indictment, from about May 12 to May 13, 2020, Bautista and Golden conspired to steal and did steal a 50 pound bag of ammonium nitrate fuel oil (an industrial explosive) and 18 one-kilogram sticks of ammonium nitrate from Hinton Mining LLC.

Both Bautista and Golden are convicted felons.  Bautista’s prior felony convictions include possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, identity theft, forgery, and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.  Golden’s prior felony convictions include trafficking in a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to commit grand larceny.

The statutory maximum sentence for each count of the indictment is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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Disbarred Beverly Hills Lawyer Alan F. Broidy Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge

Disbarred Beverly Hills Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge that He Embezzled His Client’s Money and Used It to Pay Off Debt

(STL.News) – A disbarred Beverly Hills lawyer pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge for scheming to steal more than $500,000 from a client he represented in bankruptcy proceedings and then use part of the money to pay off a $75,000 debt.

Alan F. Broidy, 65, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with interstate transportation of stolen property.

According to his plea agreement, Broidy was hired to represent GRL-Mesa Investments LLC, a Phoenix-based company that filed for Chapter 11 protection in United States Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles in December 2015.

In August 2016, the bankruptcy case was resolved and dismissed.  Broidy was directed by the court to hold $2,469,926 in a client trust account – funds derived from the sale of assets belonging to GRL-Mesa’s bankruptcy estate.  This money was supposed to be distributed to Mesa’s creditors.

Although he transferred a total of $1,937,400 of Mesa’s funds to its creditors, including $975 owed to the United States Trustee, Broidy did not return the remaining $512,526 that belonged to Mesa.  Instead, he stole it and used it to pay for personal expenses.

Broidy admitted that on August 16, 2016, without his client’s knowledge or consent, he deposited $100,000 of Mesa’s money into his personal bank account, and then transferred $75,000 of that money to the bank account in New York of one of Broidy’s own creditors. Through these unauthorized transfers that were hidden from Mesa, Broidy arranged to pay one of his own expenses with Mesa’s money.

In July 2019, the State Bar of California disbarred Broidy based on the facts involved in this case.

United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer scheduled a November 30 sentencing hearing, at which time Broidy will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

This matter was investigated by the FBI and the United States Trustee Program’s Los Angeles Division.


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Martinsburg man Anthony Jones sentenced for role in cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution operation

Martinsburg man Anthony Jones sentenced for role in cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution operation

(STL.News) – Anthony Jones, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was sentenced today to 30 months of incarceration for his role in a cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution operation, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Jones, also known as “Moosa,” age 43, pled guilty to one count of “Unlawful Use of Communication Facility” in December 2019.  Jones admitted to using a phone to arrange a heroin purchase in December 2018 in Berkeley County.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara K. Omps-Botteicher, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Lydia Lehman, also with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Assistant U.S Attorney Timothy D. Helman, prosecuted the case on behalf of the government.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation; the West Virginia State Police; the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative; the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Martinsburg Police Department, the Charles Town Police Department, and the Ranson Police Department investigated.

The investigation was funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF).  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and is the keystone of the Department of Justice’s drug reduction strategy.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.


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Member of Jersey City Gang Jalil Burns Charged with Gun Possession and Distribution of PCP

(STL.News) – A high-ranking member of a violent street gang operating in Jersey City, New Jersey, made his initial court appearance today on charges he possessed a weapon as a convicted felon, possessed Phencyclidine (more commonly known as PCP) with intent to distribute, and possessed a firearm in furtherance of his PCP distribution, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jalil Burns, a/k/a “Big Ben,” 33, of Jersey City, was charged by complaint on Aug. 4, 2020, with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, one count of possession with intent to distribute PCP, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Burns appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel and was detained.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Aug. 3, 2020, Burns was found in possession of a .40 caliber handgun, which was loaded with six rounds of ammunition, and a jar of Phencyclidine.  In 2009, Burns was convicted in federal court of unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

The charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The charge of possessing with intent to distribute Phencyclidine carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $1 million fine.  The charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of life imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director James Shea; the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, Newark Field Division; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.


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Weston Man Keenam “Kason” Park Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud in International Student Recruitment Scheme

(STL.News) – A Weston man pleaded guilty today in connection with a scheme to defraud private high schools and international students of millions of dollars in tuition and other fees.

Keenam “Kason” Park, 59, of Weston, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf, who scheduled sentencing for Nov. 2, 2020.  According to the terms of the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of 51 months in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine and restitution/forfeiture of at least $5,192,330.  Park was charged in November 2019.

Park caused EduBoston to collect tuition and other payments from students’ families for the 2019-2020 academic year but failed to remit tuition payments to partnering schools.  Instead, Park used the funds on unrelated expenses, including personal expenses.  Park also caused EduBoston to collect advance tuition and other payments for the 2020-2021 academic year, which Park failed to return to the students’ families after EduBoston went out of business around September 2019.  As a result, EduBoston owes over $5 million to partnering schools.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie A. Wright of Lelling’s Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.


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Pittsburgh Felon Reginald Milligan Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Gun Possession

(STL.News) – Reginald Milligan was sentenced to 37 months in prison for possessing a firearm after a prior felony conviction, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Milligan, age 28 of Pittsburgh, was sentenced by United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.  Judge Bissoon also sentenced Milligan to three years of supervised release upon the completion of his prison sentence.

Milligan unlawfully possessed a stolen and loaded 9mm pistol, and 10 heroin/fentanyl stamp bags, inside his car in Pittsburgh during the early morning of January 19, 2019.  B y that date, he had already been convicted of committing three felony crimes in prior state prosecutions between 2013 and 2015.  The felony crimes were possession with intent to deliver heroin, carrying a firearm without a license, and person not to possess a firearm.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig W. Haller prosecuted this case on behalf of the United States.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives conducted the investigation leading to the conviction and sentence in this case.  This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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Monroeville Man Makhan Singh Sentenced in Marriage Fraud Scheme

(STL.News) – A resident of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to three years of probation and a $5,000 fine on his conviction of conspiracy charges related to marriage fraud and visa fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Makhan Singh, 53.

According to information presented to the court, from in and around 2011 through in and around October of 2018, Makhan Singh conspired with his brother, Rajinder Singh, and United States citizen Dawn Haroulakis, to knowingly facilitate or enter into a marriage for the purpose of evading the immigration laws.  The court was further advised that Makhan Singh offered to pay Ms. Haroulakis if she would marry his brother so that Rajinder, a native and citizen of India, could obtain legal permanent residency in the United States.  Ms. Haroulakis agreed to the sham marriage, and Makhan Singh then made payments of more than $15,000 to Ms. Haroulakis in exchange for her marriage to Rajinder Singh.

Assistant United States Attorneys Christy C. Wiegand and Brendan McKenna prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Haroulakis, in connection with the Pittsburgh Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF).  The DBFTF is a multi-agency partnership established to focus on high-impact criminal investigations involving the use of fraudulent documents in furtherance of immigrations benefit applications and petitions, financial fraud, criminal work-site enforcement, and public benefits fraud.  The Pittsburgh DBFTF consists of the following agencies: Homeland Security Investigations, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, US Department of State-Diplomatic Security Service, US Department of Agriculture– Office of the Inspector General, US Department of Labor- Office of the Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.


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Rapid City Woman Jolenta Apodaca Sentenced for Making False Statements

Rapid City Woman Jolenta Apodaca Sentenced for Making False Statements to Receive Government Funds

(STL.News) – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, woman convicted of two counts of False Statements was sentenced on August 3, 2020, by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Judge.

Jolenta Apodaca, f/k/a Jolenta American Horse, age 44, was sentenced to 6 months’ custody, followed by 2 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $26,920 to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and $4,713 to the South Dakota Department of Social Services (SD DSS).  Apodaca was also ordered to pay $200 in special assessments to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Apodaca was indicted on January 22, 2020, for Theft of Government Funds, two counts of False Statements, and Misuse by a Representative Payee.

The Rapid City SSA Field Office was notified by a third party that she went to the SD DSS to apply for state benefits for Apodaca’s child, who had been living with the third party for several years.  SD DSS notified the third party that the child was a Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary.  The third party advised SSA she was unaware the child was a SSI beneficiary and reported that she received no funds from Apodaca or SSI for the care of the child.  The third party also reported that Apodaca’s child had not lived with Apodaca for several years.

The Sioux Falls Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit (CDIU) corroborated that Apodaca, as the child’s SSA approved Representative Payee (RP), had misused dedicated SSI funds (back payments) as well as monthly SSI payments, and had spent the funds on herself rather than her child.  Additionally, CDIU corroborated that Apodaca misused $4,713 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits payable to the child.


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Mexican National Jose Alfredo Carbajal-Espinosa Sentenced To More Than Two Years

Mexican National Jose Alfredo Carbajal-Espinosa Sentenced To More Than Two Years In Prison For Illegal Reentry

(STL.News) – U.S. District Judge John L. Badalamenti today sentenced Jose Alfredo Carbajal-Espinosa (34, Mexico) to 30 months in federal prison for illegal reentry into the United States after deportation.  Carbajal-Espinosa had pleaded guilty on May 26, 2020.

According to court documents, Carbajal-Espinosa was previously deported from the United States to Mexico on seven occasions.  On April 8, 2013, he was convicted of illegal reentry after deportation, a federal felony offense.  Following his conviction, Carbajal-Espinosa illegally reentered the United States.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO).  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Trent Reichling.


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