Former Oil Executive Admits Role In $40,000+ False Payroll Scheme – May 28, 2020
Mohamad Sylla admitted he conspired with Jose Briseno, Tynan and David Contreras to get a Houston oil production company to issue paychecks for work Contreras never completed and while he was not even employed there.
From Jan. 1 to Sept. 11, 2015, Briseno and Sylla were employed at the company as the service coordinator and South Texas region manager. The two men conspired to approve timesheets for Contreras even though he was no longer employed there. Briseno and Sylla ensured the timesheets were approved and payments issued. Once Contreras received the funds, he would split the paycheck with Briseno and Sylla. As a result, Contreras, Briseno and Sylla falsely obtained funds totaling approximately $40,383.91.
Briseno and Contreras have also pleaded for their roles in the scheme.
Scientist Sentenced To Prison For $1 Billion Theft of Trade Secrets – May 27, 2020
When scientist Hongjin Tan resigned from the petroleum company he had worked at for 18 months, he told his superiors that he planned to return to China to care for his aging parents. He also reported that he hadn’t arranged his next job, so the company agreed to let him to stay in his role until his departure date in December 2018.
But Tan told a colleague a different story over dinner. He revealed to his colleague that he actually did have a job waiting for him in China. Tan’s dinner companion reported the conversation to his supervisor. That conversation prompted Tan’s employer to ask him to leave the firm immediately, and his employer made a call to the FBI tip line to report a possible crime.
Tan called his supervisor to tell them he had a thumb drive with company documents on it. The company told him to return the thumb drive. When he brought back the thumb drive, the company looked at the slack space on the drive and found several files had been erased. The deleted files were the files the company was most concerned about.
Hotel Employee Arrested For Stealing 200 Hotel Guests’ Credit Card Information – May 27, 2020
Matthew Prieto and his co-conspirators used the stolen credit card information to commit over $76,000 in fraudulent purchases and online.
In addition to purchasing goods in other people’s names, Prieto and his associates took trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas. During most of these frauds Prieto provided the stolen credit card data over the phone, then went to the businesses to pick up purchased items.
Prieto was on probation for an unrelated fraud case at the time of his arrest May 21.
Former Department Of Energy Contractor Sentenced To 3 Years Probation For Accessing Government Computer System Without Authorization And Causing Over $23,000 Worth Of Damage – May 20, 2020
Gary Simon resigned from his contracting agency, in about August 2018, he was no longer authorized to access the DOE computer systems. On October 21, 2018, Simon intentionally accessed the DOE cloud-based system remotely without authorization, using another employees account. He altered and deleted various files. As a result other computer operators were unable to access the computer system. The computer system remained offline for 2-3 hours. Simon’s actions resulted in loss to the DOE, in the form of costs associated with responding to the offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring data, program, system, and information to its pre-offense condition..
Department Of Energy Subcontractor Sentenced To Prison For Stealing $250,000 – May 27, 2020
Robert Lazur of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania was employed at BWXT Technical Services Group, Inc., which was working on a subcontract at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, PA. The contract was funded by Department of Energy. From approximately January 2016 until December 2017, Lazur used company credit cards and open purchase orders to make hundreds of fraudulent purchases, which were disguised as legitimate contract expenses. He sold most of the fraudulently obtained items on eBay, so he could convert them to cash. Other items, however, he kept for himself or gave to friends. The total loss was approximately $250,000.
Former County Commissioner At Dept. Of Public Works (DPW) Indicted For Extortion – May 27, 2020
From 1994 to 2016 Anthony Marrocco directed his employees and others at DPW to pressure builders and contractors in Macomb County to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets to Marrocco’s twice-yearly fundraisers. Marrocco kept lists of those who purchased these expensive tickets and those who did not. Marrocco would inflict economic punishment on those who did not purchase tickets by holding up permits for builders, delaying payments owed to DPW vendors, and refusing to award DPW contracts to engineering firms, among other punishments. The builders and contractors bought the tickets because they feared that Marrocco would economically punish them. Marrocco used some of the money he extorted from to pay for personal expenses, including air travel, car rentals, dinners at high-end restaurants, condo association charges, spa visits, wedding and holiday gifts, and yacht club charges.
Kentucky Board of Education Employee Pleads Guilty To Over $1.6 Million Money Laundering Scheme – May 26, 2020
Lesley Wade was a long time employee of the Franklin County Board of Education (FCBOE), most recently serving as the FCBOE’s Financial Director. She admitted that between
February 2011 and June 2019, she wrote unauthorized checks of FCBOE money to herself, then falsified the necessary FCBOE records and invoices to cover up her crimes.
Wade also served as Treasurer of Leestown Gospel Church in Frankfort, where she essentially had control over its financial management, with little oversight or internal controls. Wade also admitted to periodically using her control over the Church’s finances to launder money she had stolen from the FCBOE, using the Church’s account before writing checks to herself, attempting to avoid detection and making the checks appear legitimate.
Safety Manager For Bus Company Sentenced For Bribing Federal Safety Inspector – May 26, 2020
Yat Kuen Chan worked for L&W Travel, which was a passenger bus charter company. Chan acted as the safety manager and Le Wen Wu was the owner, president, treasurer, secretary, vice president and director of L&W. In January 2018, L&W applied to register as a charter bus company with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which establishes and enforces safe operating requirements for motor carriers, including mandatory safety audits within the first year of operation.
On multiple occasions in July and August 2018, during a safety audit of L&W, Chan and Wu gave a total of $2,800 in cash to an FMCSA safety investigator to influence the investigator’s compliance review and safety audit of L&W. On August 1, 2018 Chan gave the investigator $600 so that the investigator would not place an L&W bus immediately out of service based on two significant safety violations – inadequate brakes and a defective emergency exit door – but rather, would allow L&W to fix the brakes in Massachusetts and drive the bus to New Jersey for repair of the door.
U.S. Postal Service Employee Carrier Charged With Attempted Election Fraud – May 26, 2020
Thomas Cooper of West Virginia, is charged with “Attempt to Defraud the Residents of West Virginia of a Fair Election.” Cooper held a U.S. Postal Service contract to deliver mail. In April 2020, the Clerk of Pendleton County received “2020 Primary Election COVID-19 Mail-In Absentee Request” forms from eight voters on which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered from Democrat to Republican.
Cooper was responsible for the mail delivery of the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed: Onego, Riverton, and Franklin, West Virginia. According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests, saying it was a joke.
Employee Charged With Lying To Employer About Having COVID-19 Costing Company More than $100,000 – May 21, 2020
Santwon Davis is charged with defrauding his employer. Davis said he’d tested positive, his employer had to shut down its plant for sanitizing and put several other employees on paid leave while they quarantined, causing the company a loss of more than $100,000.
Pennsylvania Man Sentenced To Prison For $3 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme – May 21, 2020
Branden Coluccio has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The investigation exposed an array of health care fraud schemes committed by individuals associated with Liberation Way, including an over-billing scheme connected with the facility’s medical director, as well as an elaborate kick-back scheme involving thousands of medically-unnecessary urine tests which were sent to Florida-based laboratories for analysis.
Coluccio, a co-founder of Liberation Way, participated in yet another scheme by fraudulently purchasing premium insurance policies for prospective patients on their behalf, which then allowed Liberation Way to bill insurance companies for expensive “treatment” purportedly provided to these patients. Liberation Way represented that the patients were buying and paying for these policies, when in reality Liberation Way was paying the premiums, which is illegal.
Former Chairman And CEO Of Movie Production Company Arrested On Fraud Charges For Embezzling $14 Million – May 21, 2020
William Sadler is the former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aviron Pictures, LLC, a movie production and distribution company based in Los Angeles, California.
Sadleir orchestrated a massive fraud, embezzling approximately $14 million of investor funds from his film company to pay for a Beverly Hills estate, among other fraudulent acts.
California City Officials Charged With Accepting Bribes – May 21, 2020
A California councilman and mayor pro tem, along with a commissioner on the city’s Economic Development and Financial Advisory Commission, were charged in federal court today with accepting cash bribes in exchange for promises of official action by the city.
David Romero, and Bruno Soto, both of Calexico, California, accepted $35,000 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent who they believed represented investors seeking to open a cannabis dispensary in Calexico. In return, Romero and Soto “guaranteed” the rapid issuance of a city permit for the dispensary, and to revoke or hinder other applicants if necessary to ensure that the bribe payer’s application was successful. Moreover, both men admitted they had taken bribes from others in the past, according to the charging document.
Businessman Charged With Embezzling From Employee Health Plan – May 21, 2020
John Medas was indicted on 25 counts of failing to pay over taxes from employees and one count of embezzling from his employees’ health plan.
Medas owned and operated various manufacturing businesses and served as President of Guarantee Product Specialties, Inc., Fulton Manufacturing Industries, LLC, and FMI Products, LLC.
According to the indictment, Medas withheld payroll tax from employees but failed to pay these taxes to the IRS. Medas failed to pay over $760,725 from April 30, 2014, to January 31, 2019. Medas also withheld $3,807 in pre-tax health contributions and embezzled the funds between July 29, 2016, and September 16, 2016.
Former Medical Practice Office Manager Pleads Guilty To Stealing Controlled Substances – May 21, 2020
Between 2015 and March 28, 2018, Kristy Brucz was an employee and office manager for a physician. Brucz was given access to the physician’s prescription pad and a New York State issued controlled substance electronic prescribing hard token and its related passwords, which allowed the defendant to issue prescriptions, and submit them to pharmacies, on the physician’s behalf.
Brucz, without the physician’s authorization, issued, or caused to be issued, 166 fraudulent prescriptions using the physician’s name, the physician’s prescription pad, and prescribing token. The prescriptions were issued in either Brucz’s name, the names of associates, or fictitious individuals. The defendant then filled the prescriptions, totaling approximately 11,885 dosage units, from various local pharmacies, and diverted them for her personal use. The controlled substances included hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The defendant’s scheme was discovered in March of 2018, as Brucz attempted to fill a prescription at Rite Aid Pharmacy.
U.S. Attorney Announces Charges And Guilty Plea Of Former Philadelphia Judge of Elections Who Committed Election Fraud / Bribery – May 21, 2020
Domenick DeMuro of Philadelphia, PA, a former Judge of Elections in South Philadelphia, has been charged and has pled guilty to fraudulently stuffing the ballot boxes for specific Democratic candidates in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections. DeMuro fraudulently stuffed the ballot box by literally standing in a voting booth and voting over and over, as fast as he could, while he thought the coast was clear.
DeMuro admitted that an unnamed political consultant gave DeMuro directions and paid him money to illegally add votes for certain Democratic candidates. These candidates were individuals running for judicial office whose campaigns had hired the consultant, as well as other candidates for various federal, state, and local elective offices who were preferred by this consultant for a variety of reasons.
Former Director Of Memory Loss Clinic Charged With Fraud – May 21, 2020
Sherry-Ann Jenkins was the former director of a memory-loss clinic. She is accused by dozens of patients of falsely diagnosing them with Alzheimer’s disease. She was not trained or licensed to provide any medical care, but presented herself as a doctor and billed patients for unneeded treatments.
More than 60 people filed lawsuits beginning in 2017 that said Jenkins lied and told them they had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The patients said they spent months undergoing treatment while planning out their final years, thinking they would die soon. Some quit their jobs or took one last special trip. One killed himself; others said they considered suicide.
Her husband, a licensed doctor and a former partner in the clinic, signed off on the tests and was listed as the referring physician on billing even though he was rarely at the clinic and never saw the patients.
Former Department Of Energy Contractor Sentenced To 3 Years Probation For Accessing Government Computer System Without Authorization And Causing Over $23,000 Worth Of Damage – May 20, 2020
Gary Simon resigned from his contracting agency, in about August 2018, he was no longer authorized to access the DOE SPRO computer systems. Nevertheless, on about October 21, 2018, Simon intentionally accessed the DOE SPRO cloud-based system remotely without authorization. After SIMON accessed the system, he altered and deleted various files. As a result of the intrusion and subsequent manipulation of protected data, operators were unable to access their log views on the computer system, and they could not annotate work they completed electronically. The computer system remained compromised for approximately 2-3 hours after the discovery of the unauthorized access. Thereafter, Simon used the account of a current SPRO employee without that employee’s authorization, to make changes to log views and to attempt to delete audit log files. Simon’s actions resulted in loss to the DOE, in the form of costs associated with responding to the offense, conducting a damage assessment, and restoring data, program, system, and information to its pre-offense condition..
Candy Bar Maker Mars Sues Coffee Chain Pret Panera For Using Stolen Corporate Files – May 20, 2020
Mars, Inc. sued sandwich and coffee chain Pret Panera Holding and its owner JAB Holding Co. for allegedly gaining illegal access to thousands of valuable corporate documents that the candy maker claims were stolen by a former executive.
Longtime Mars employee Jacek Szarzynski stole detailed global financial projections, secret documents on acquisition opportunities and results for individual products before joining JAB last year as a Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for its newly formed Pret Panera unit, which owns Panera Bread restaurants.
JAB owns chains including Krispy Kreme, Panera, Caribou Coffee, Au Bon Pain, and Pret A Manger, as well as Keurig Dr. Pepper and bottled-water brand Core.
Former Employee At Medical Marijuana Clinic Get 4 Years In Prision For Selling Stolen Patient Information – May 19, 2020
Stacey Hendricks, a former biller at a medical marijuana clinic was charged after a U.S. Secret Service undercover operation in Orange County in 2019. An informant told agents Hendricks took pictures of patients’ information with her cellphone and sold each image for $100.
During three separate transactions in 2019, Hendricks sold 20 images to an undercover agent in Orange County. Agents later found an additional 113 sets of patient information after searching her home and car.
Hendricks also admitted she had used patient information to buy cars from Carvana. Her attorney said Hendricks suffered a breakdown in 2010 when her 22-year-old daughter died sometime after giving birth. Then her marriage fell apart.
Employee E-Mails Protected Health Information To Personal E-Mail Account – May 18, 2020
Michigan based company PsyGenics, Inc. provides holistic mental health services to individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
On March 25, 2020 it was discovered that an employee had emailed files to her personal email account on March 24. The excel spreadsheet contained patients protected health information: name, diagnosis code, appointment time, and provider name.
Federal Prosecutors Charge Former San Francisco (SF) Building Commissioner With Bank Fraud Of More Than $478,000 – May 12, 2020
Rodrigo Santos a former SF building commissioner has been charged with bank fraud for allegedly pocketing funds meant to be paid to city agencies.
Santos, the co-founder of a structural engineering company, is accused of depositing more than $478,000 into his personal bank account in checks that were intended for others.
Santos, 61, was first appointed to the Building Inspection Commission by then-Mayor Willie Brown in 2000 and later as the president of the commission by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was mayor of San Francisco at the time in 2004.
An FBI investigation allegedly revealed that Santos fraudulently deposited 261 checks into his account between January 2016 and March 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The news comes after City Attorney Dennis Herrera first accused Santos and his firm of allegedly stealing more than $420,000 from his clients through check fraud.