Former Bank Employee Charged With Issuing Debit Cards In Names Of Bank Customers, Then Used The Cards For Personal Use – November 9, 2020
Natasha Seetaram formerly worked at the Virgin Islands St. Thomas branch of a bank. She is accused of using her position at the bank to issue debit cards in the names of bank customers without such customers’ knowledge or consent.
Seetaram then used the cards for her own personal benefit, making ATM withdrawals and purchases first in St. Thomas and later in Jacksonville, FL when she relocated her residence there.
Cincinnati City Council Member And Business Partner Charged With Accepting $55,000 In Bribes – November 10, 2020
Jeffrey Pastor allegedly solicited and received $55,000 in bribes between August 2018 and February 2019 in exchange for promised official action related to projects before the City of Cincinnati. Pastor’s business partner, Tyran Marshall allegedly acted as a middleman in receiving bribes payments.
Pastor and Marshall flew to Miami, Fla. on a private plane to meet with investors regarding a real estate development project. Pastor never paid for or disclosed the trip. During the trip, Pastor allegedly explained he would ensure favorable action on behalf of the city for the project and could receive money through Marshall’s non-profit entity Ummah Strength, LLC. Pastor discussed compensation and agreed to accept $15,000 for helping with the project. He said the purpose of Marshall’s entity was to sanitize the money. Pastor accepted $15,000 in cash about a week later.
Pastor and Marshall allegedly solicited and received another $20,000 in October and November 2018. They allegedly received two $10,000 payments in exchange for Pastor’s official city action benefitting a second project. From January 2019 through early March 2019, Pastor allegedly continued to attempt to secure more bribe money for help on a city project.
Former Microsoft Employee Sentenced To Prison For $10 Million Embezzlement Scheme – November 9, 2020
A former employee (Software Engineer) of Microsoft (Volodymyr Kvashuk – A Ukrainian Citizen) was convicted for stealing $10 million dollars in digital currency from the Microsoft. Kvashuk was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s online retail sales platform and used that testing access to steal currency stored value such as digital gift cards.
The employee simply resold the value on the internet for bitcoins, and used that money to buy a lakefront house of $1.6 Million dollars, and a Tesla Model X for $160,000.
In June 2018, after seeing the dramatic positive increase in his lifestyle, Microsoft simply decided to fire the employee.
Former Office Manager Charged With Embezzling $234,000 From Employer – November 9, 2020
Arlene Tranchina was employed as the office manager for a company located in Reserve, Louisiana. From 2017 to October of 2019, she embezzled approximately $234,000 from her employer by making over ninety (90) checks for company expenses payable to herself or cash.
New York City Police Officer And 4 Others Arrested For Conspiracy To Import And Distribute Cocaine – November 9, 2020
Officer Amaury Abreu Allegedly Advised Drug Trafficking Organization about Law Enforcement Procedures and Provided Information from NYPD Database.
An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Amaury Abreu, an NYPD Police Officer, and two co-defendants, Julio Bautista and Gustavo Valerio, with conspiring to import and distribute cocaine. Between at least January 2016 and October 2020, Abreu, Bautista and Valerio were allegedly members of a multinational drug trafficking organization (DTO) with distributors in the New York-metropolitan area and the Dominican Republic. The indictment also charges Bautista and a fourth defendant, Cesar Diaz-Bautista, with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. A fifth defendant, Junior Ortiz, is charged in a complaint with cocaine importation conspiracy.
Former Honda Employee Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling $750,000+ – November 9, 2020
Charles Stratton served as the Facilities Manager for Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. in Marysville, Ohio, from 2008 until March 2015. In his role, he oversaw various vendor contracts, including those for security services, janitorial services, food service and uniform/laundry on behalf of Honda.
Acrux Investigation Agency, located in Lakeview, provided physical and personal security services for Honda. Surmount, also located in Lakeview, was a subsidiary of Acrux and provided monitoring services to Honda.
Stratton executed a scheme to defraud Honda using Acrux and Surmount by creating multiple purchase orders for payments in amounts just under $100,000, a threshold in which additional oversight and approval is required.
Using these purchase orders, as well as the main labor contract, Stratton caused Acrux and Surmount to submit false invoices to Honda and instructed them to keep the money in a “future fund.” Money allocated to the future fund was then used, in part, to pay Stratton directly or through his organization, SAFE. Springfield Area Fastball Elites, Inc. (SAFE) was an Ohio non-profit created by Stratton to support local baseball teams.
Former Employee Of Abbott Laboratories Stole Trade Secrets Related To COVID-19 Products – November 3, 2020
Abbott Laboratories has obtained a temporary restraining order against a former marketing executive Jerome Clavel. The company alleges the former employee stole trade secrets, including details of upcoming COVID-19 products, before accepting a role at a competitor.
The judge agreed Clavel had access to trade secrets regarding “diagnostic and sensitive projects involving COVID-19 testing products.” The order will prevent Clavel from beginning to work for Bio-Rad Laboratories, a life sciences manufacturer involved in drug discovery and manufacturing. Clavel’s last day at Abbott was Oct. 30.
The order also permits expedited discovery for Abbott to determine which information was allegedly stolen.
Abbott claims Clavel downloaded company materials onto at least five USB hard drives. It also alleges that he forwarded confidential information and market predictions to a personal email address. The emails reportedly included information about an Abbott COVID-19 test. https://www.drugdiscoverytrends.com/abbott-alleges-former-employee-took-trade-secrets-related-to-covid-19-products
Former Chairman Of Federal Law Enforcement Union Charged With Embezzling $380,000 For Personal Use – November 6, 2020
Arthur Penn served from 1999 through 2015 as the Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Defense Protective Service Labor Committee Pentagon, a local union that represented officers of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
During his tenure, Penn allegedly routinely embezzled funds from the Union for his personal benefit, and spent the stolen funds on gambling, to pay for a personal trip to the Dominican Republic, and for his day-to-day living expenses. Penn sought to conceal and prevent the detection of his embezzlement by failing to make regular reports to Union members, by violating his obligation to file regular financial reports with the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, and by siphoning off most of the embezzled funds through cash transactions, thereby avoiding the creation of financial records that would have revealed the fraud.
Former Missouri State Representative Pleads Guilty To Using Campaign Funds For Personal Use – November 6, 2020
Courtney Curtis served as Representative of Missouri District 73 from 2013 until 2019. Most recently, Curtis served as an assistant to St. Louis County Councilwoman Rita Heard Days.
Beginning on or about January 1, 2016 and continuing through on or about December 31, 2017, Curtis devised, intended to devise, and knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money from donors to the “Curtis for MO” campaign committee by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises. Curtis misled donors by falsely representing, and causing to be falsely represented, that money contributions to the “Curtis for MO” campaign committee would be used for campaign and reelection purposes, when, in fact, he used a substantial portion of the money contributed by donors to the “Curtis for MO” campaign committee for his own personal use and expenses.
Curtis knowingly used the money in the account to pay for his apartment rental and utility bills; paying for hotel, airfare and travel expenses; paying for restaurant and bar bills; withdrawing funds from the account through substantial cash withdrawals; and, using money in the account to purchase retail items for his personal use.
Former Bank President Sentenced To Prison For Bank Fraud Conspiracy, Receiving a Bribe – November 6, 2020
From 2012 to 2013, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cecil Bank in Maryland, Mary Halsey. conspired with Daniel Whitehurst, an employee of a real estate development company that did business in Maryland, to defraud Cecil Bank and another bank to purchase a home through false pretenses, representations and promises.
On March 28, 2012, Halsey and Whitehurst met at a restaurant in Cecil County. Whitehurst asked Halsey if she could help him and a business partner get a $500,000 line of credit from Cecil Bank. Halsey agreed to help Whitehurst to obtain a line of credit from Cecil Bank, in exchange for Whitehurst agreeing to serve as the straw purchaser of 127 Ebenezer on behalf of Halsey. Halsey suggested that she increase the line of credit for Whitehurst to $650,000 to include the funds needed to buy the house. Whitehurst agreed to Halsey’s request to secretly buy 127 Ebenezer on Halsey’s behalf. On May 9, 2012, Halsey participated in a loan committee meeting at Cecil Bank that considered and approved a $650,000 line for credit for Whitehurst and a $500,000 line of credit for his business partner.
Former Corrections Officer Sentenced For Smuggling Contraband Into Prison – November 5, 2020
On January 8, 2019, Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) investigators received information that Melissa Crawford, a corrections officer at Valdosta State Prison, would be smuggling contraband into the prison the following day. On January 9, Crawford and another corrections officer chosen at random were informed that their vehicles were to be searched. Crawford attempted to leave the premises in her car, nearly hitting another officer, but was stopped. Crawford admitted she attempted to leave because there were narcotics in her car. A search of the car revealed 27.53 grams of methamphetamine, a quantity of marijuana and four cell phones packaged in Ziplock bags. Crawford admitted to DEA agents that she smuggled in contraband on at least four prior occasions and was paid via Green Dot cards for her deliveries of contraband to an inmate.
U.S. Postal Worker Charged With Failing To Deliver Over 800 Pieces Of Mail Including Absentee Ballots – November 5, 2020
Border agents allegedly found 800 pieces of undelivered mail, including 106 political mailings, 220 first-class mailings and 484 standard mailings, in the trunk of Brandon Wilson’s car.
Wilson has been employed by the postal service since 2019, was charged with delaying or destroying mail.
He was caught after a wrong turn led him to the Peace Bridge at a border crossing with Canada.
He is accused of lying, saying the mail belonged to him and his mother, according to the complaint filed by a special agent for the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
Relative Of Amazon Finance Department Employee Pleads Guilty To $1.4 Million+ Insider Trading – November 5, 2020
The relative of Viky Bohra worked in the Amazon Finance Department and had access to confidential information regarding Amazon revenue and expenses. Because of that work, the relative was subject to blackout periods during which no stock could be traded by the employee or her immediate relatives. The employee also was advised of insider trading policies making it clear the responsibility to safeguard confidential financial information. Despite those warnings, Bohra obtained confidential information from the relative and traded in Amazon stock in accounts tied to him and his father. Bohra profited from the insider information, making a profit of $1,428,264.
Former Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To $1.3 Million+ Of Embezzlement Charges From 2 Previous Employers – November 5, 2020
Jessica Greenan acknowledged embezzling company funds from a Hyannis company for which she handled bookkeeping and payroll services. From October 2014 until she was terminated in March 2018, Greenan embezzled $1,135,460, including 536 occasions when she wired funds from the store’s operating bank account to pay her credit card bills. Greenan doctored the company bank statements and internal records to make the payments to her credit cards appear to be legitimate expenses, and also failed to report any of her illegal income to the IRS over the five year duration of the embezzlement scheme, thereby evading more than $325,000 in federal taxes.
After Greenan was fired by the first employer, she obtained employment as the bookkeeper for a Cape Cod construction company in August 2018 and immediately began stealing company funds. Until her new scheme was discovered, Greenan embezzled more than $287,000 by wiring payments from a company bank account to pay her credit cards, made more than $5,300 in unauthorized charges to a company credit card, and converted more than $11,000 of company funds to pay auto loans. Greenan forged the company owner’s signature to transfer company funds, and then fraudulently obtained more than $6,300 in unauthorized payroll after her employment had been terminated.
Former CEO Of Medical Device Startup Company Sentenced To Prison For $2.6 Million+ Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme – November 5, 2020
Evidence at the trial showed that Lawrence Gerrans was the president and chief executive officer of San Rafael-based medical device company Sanovas. From January 12, 2015, through March 16, 2015, Gerrans employed a number of fraudulent methods to siphon funds out of Sanovas. For example, Gerrans systematically transferred more than $2.6 million from Sanovas to himself and two shell companies he controlled, Halo Management Group and Hartford Legend Capital Enterprises.
Gerrans then used the money to make an all-cash purchase of a luxury home in San Anselmo. The home was purchased for more than $2.5, at least $2.3 million of which was laundered through Hartford Legend before being paid to the escrow account for the purchase.
Gerrans also made false statements to a newly-created board of directors to seek their approval for a lucrative compensation plan and for reimbursement of retirement account funds that Gerrans had liquidated in 2013 and 2014.
Gerrans used the retirement account funds for personal expenditures, including a Maserati, a diamond ring, and rent on his personal residence, but he told the board of directors he had used the retirement account funds to benefit Sanovas. In another part of the scheme to defraud, evidence also showed that in 2017 Gerrans used a Sanovas corporate credit card for lavish personal expenditures, including a $44,000 vacation timeshare, $12,500 for high-end carpets for his home, and $32,000 to pay the property taxes on his personal residence.
Former Police Chief Sentenced To Prison For Stealing $80,000 In Seized Cash – November 2, 2020
Evidence presented to the court showed that, as Chief of Police, Gary Shaffer had unfettered access to the Manning Police Department’s facilities and evidence rooms. On September 12, 2015, following a traffic stop in which drugs and nearly $80,000 in cash were seized, the drugs and money were placed in the Manning Police Department Evidence Room. Beginning a week later, Shaffer began making large cash deposits, ranging between $500 and $5,000, in a series of separate transactions. Between September 19, 2015, and November 10, 2015, Shaffer deposited $78,514 in cash into his personal banking account. All of this money was stolen from the evidence room.
Two Former Jacksonville City Council Members Sentenced To Prison For $3.2 Million Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme – November 2, 2020
In late 2013, Katrina Brown was the primary principal for two businesses (Basic Products, LLC and CoWealth, LLC), which in 2011 obtained a loan in the amount of $2,652,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA), and both a loan of $380,000 and a grant of approximately $260,000 from the City of Jacksonville (COJ), to fund a small business that specialized in manufacturing, bottling, and selling barbecue sauce. As a member of the Jacksonville City Council, Reginald Brown voted in favor of City Ordinance 2011-290-E, which authorized the COJ loan and grant – proceeds of which he and Katrina Brown would later obtain by fraud.
Katrina Brown’s family had been in the barbecue business in Jacksonville for many years. The $3.2 million in financing was intended to fund an expansion of Basic Products and help create permanent manufacturing jobs in Northwest Jacksonville.
Oregon National Guard Employee Sentenced To Prison For Role In $6 Million Government Contracting Fraud Scheme – November 2, 2020
From approximately 2009 through 2014, Dominic served as the Program Manager of the Power Division of the Oregon National Guard’s OSMS at Camp Withycombe, an Oregon Military Department installation in Clackamas County. OSMS supports readiness and training of the U.S. Military by refurbishing out-of-service electronic equipment owned by the U.S. Department of Defense. In the event of an emergency or declaration of war, OSMS deploys refurbished equipment to other military bases or installations. During the time alleged in the Indictment and until 2015, OSMS was the only maintenance site in the United States capable of repairing and rebuilding certain models of electric generators and other small engines and parts in support of the federal military supply system.
In Fiscal Year 2014, Caputo billed the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) more than $675,000 for the repair and rebuilding of John Deere Diesel Engines despite the work having not been performed. More than 60 of the engines had already been repaired and billed to CECOM in prior fiscal years. For those engines, Caputo directed Power Division employees to remove and replace original serial numbers and identifying engine plates from the engines to conceal the duplicate billing.
In June 2014, Caputo willingly and knowingly prepared a work order and run test data indicating that the falsified repair work on an engine had been performed. Caputo submitted this false information to CECOM. Caputo’s employment with OSMS was terminated in November 2014 when his fraud was revealed. Despite the magnitude of the monetary losses, there was no evidence that Caputo engaged in the fraudulent conduct for his own financial enrichment. The fraud perpetuated an inefficient operation, and covered for defendant’s own ineffective management.
Caputo billed for $6 million in repairs that were never done,
2 South Florida Police Officers Charged Drug Trafficking Crime – November 2, 2020
On September 16, 2020, Officers Flowers and Edwards provided protection for the transport of what they believed to be 10 kilograms of cocaine connected to a Mexican drug cartel from its pick-up point in Homestead, Florida to its drop-off point in Aventura, Florida. Officers Flowers and Edwards, each in his own car, escorted a third vehicle containing the purported cocaine: Flowers drove immediately in front of the loaded vehicle and Edwards drove immediately behind it on the Palmetto, 836, and I-95 highways. The affidavit alleges that the officers also escorted the purported cocaine and its handlers on foot, as they went into and out of buildings to pick up and drop off the load. In exchange for the protection service, Flowers and Edwards each made $5,000 in cash, according to the complaint. Unknown to Flowers and Edwards at the time, the cocaine was fake and the Mexican cartel dealers were actually law enforcement confidential sources and undercover agents.
U.S. Marine Reserve Official Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Bribery For Facilitating $1.9 Million+ In Defense Contracts – November 2, 2020
In 2019 Erik Martin was a civilian employee of the United States Marines Corps Marine Forces Reserve Distribution Management Office, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. The co-conspirator was a Senior National Account Manager at a bus company in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin is charged with accepting $250,000 in bribes in exchange for directing at least $1.9 Million+ of transportation contracts to the bus company.
3 Walmart Employees / 1 Man Arrested / 3 Suspects Sought For $1 Million Money Laundering Scheme – October 27, 2020
Detectives began an investigation in August after receiving a complaint about suspicious transactions at the Money Center. They were able to identify multiple suspects and connect the crime with other criminal acts in at least two other states.
The scheme used online payment services, green dot cards, and money orders to conceal the origin of money that was illegally obtained. Detectives have identified approximately one million dollars in transactions.
3 former Walmart employees helped four others launder illicit funds in exchange for cash payments. Three other suspects remain at large.
10 Individuals Charged In $50 Million Russian Smuggling Scheme / Including Current – Former Airlines Employees – October 19, 2020
10 defendants were charged with transportation of stolen property, failure to file export information, illegal exportation of electronic devices and conspiracy to commit these offenses. The defendants allegedly participated in the illegal smuggling of electronic devices, particularly Apple products, from the United States to Russia using couriers, many of whom were current and former employees of Aeroflot Airlines.
The defendants were members of an international smuggling ring that used a network of operators here and in Russia to circumvent U.S. export laws and regulations.
The defendants allegedly engaged in a scheme to export over $50 million worth of electronic devices, including Apple iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches, from the United States to Russia. The defendants allegedly carried out this scheme by smuggling cash and merchandise via airline passengers, including current and former Aeroflot Airlines employees. Upon receiving instructions from defendant Daibagya, a resident of Russia, Aeroflot Airlines crew members and others travelled to the United States to pick up the electronic devices.
During the investigation, searches of luggage belonging to various Aeroflot crew members and other couriers revealed millions of dollars of electronic devices.
Former Police Officer Turned Meth Distributor Sentenced To Prison – November 2, 2020
In mid-August 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO), began investigating Brian Russell Schell, Brian Paul Davis, and Leslie Ericka Lewis for distributing methamphetamine in Nassau and Duval counties. Throughout the course of the investigation, an officer, acting in an undercover capacity, made controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Schell, Davis, and Lewis.
Agents learned that Davis’s source of supply was JasonRegister and, on October 2, 2018, the agents conducted two controlled phone calls to Register placing an order for 3 ounces of methamphetamine. Register indicated that he was on his way, but that he only had two ounces. NCSO deputies stopped Register for a traffic violation, and he had a firearm in his waistband. A K-9 was deployed around the vehicle, gave a positive alert to the presence of illegal drugs, and a subsequent search revealed a marijuana grinder, scales, marijuana, fentanyl patches, hypodermic needles, and approximately 70 grams of methamphetamine. Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Register was accountable for distributing approximately 250 grams of methamphetamine.
Former DEA Public Affairs Officer Sentenced To Prison For $4 Million Fraud Scheme – Scamming Victims By Posing As A Covert CIA Officer – October 28, 2020
Garrison Courtney (Drug Enforcement Administration Public Affairs Officer) falsely claimed to be a covert officer of the CIA involved in a highly-classified program or task force involving various components of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. The false story told by Courtney, was that a supposed classified program sought to enhance the intelligence gathering capabilities of the U.S. government. In truth, Courtney had never been employed by the CIA, and the task force that he described did not exist
By claiming to be a covert CIA officer involved in a bogus classified ‘task force,’ Courtney defrauded his victims out of over $4.4 million.
Former Employee Charged With Cyber Hacking Multiple Co-Workers – October 28, 2020
Ameer Elashmawy was an Information Systems Security Support Coordinator at Trillium Health in Rochester, and was responsible for the company’s information system security design and oversight. Elashmawy also assisted employees with their various IT needs as they arose.
Elashmawy had administrative rights and could log onto other employee work accounts, however, he was not allowed to access personal accounts of employees or former employees. On January 6, 2020, after an employee noticed unusual activity on the Trillium Health network and traced the activity to a device located at Elashmawy’s work area, Trillium Health contacted law enforcement and an investigation began into the defendant’s cyber intrusion into co-worker’s accounts. The investigation included a review of three USB thumb drives, an HP laptop computer, two work Dell PCs a hard drive, and two Apple I-phones, and the suspect device. A preliminarily review of the items identified that at least 14 identified victims, all employees from Trillium Health, had their personal accounts (social media, I-cloud, etc.) compromised by Elashmawy. The data reviewed included personal explicit photos and videos of the victims as well as numerous photos of the victim’s driver’s licenses, credit cards, social security cards, and other personal data. During the course of the investigation and continued analysis of computer devices, it was learned that additional employees or former employees of Trillium Health had been victimized by the defendant.
Delta Pilot Arrested Before Flight For Intoxication Sentenced To Prison – October 27, 2020
On July 30 at about 10:30 a.m., airport police detectives and the TSA assistant federal security director to law enforcement were conducting a random joint insider threat screening detail in Terminal 1 Known Crew Member (KCM) entrance. During the detail, a detective observed a Delta Air Lines pilot, later identified as Gabriel Schroeder, approach the screening area before he stopped abruptly and appeared ‘surprised. A TSA supervisor approached Schroeder and informed him they were conducting additional screening. He asked Schroeder to place his bag on the table for screening and Schroeder reportedly told the TSA supervisor that he was ‘not ready’ to be screened and left the area. The TSA supervisor reported the pilot’s suspicious activity to TSA police due to concern that Schroeder may have had a prohibited item in his bag.
After two detectives were unsuccessful in locating the pilot, they placed a request with dispatch to have Schroeder tracked by the KCM.
When the detectives returned to the screening area, they found the pilot getting screened. A federal air marshal asked him where he had gone, and Schroeder stated he had gone to the Delta crew room to retrieve his iPad that he had allegedly forgotten. The federal air marshal said Schroeder appeared very ‘nervous and deceptive.’
Dispatch informed one of the detectives that Schroeder had gone to the restrooms located on the tram level for approximately 27 seconds and that he, in fact, did not enter the Delta crew room. The detective and the federal air marshal entered the restroom and located an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Phillips Vodka in the lone trash container.
Detectives then made contact with the pilot in the cockpit of Airbus A321 at Gate G-3. The complaint states they witnessed the pilot in question seated in the First Officer’s chair and operating a console of the aircraft while conversing with the Captain of the aircraft who was seated to Schroeder’s left. Detectives noted there were already two passengers on board. After asking the pilot to speak with them, one of the detectives noticed Schroeder ‘started sweating and shaking.’ When asked, the pilot said he had last consumed alcohol three days prior. A detective reported he smelled the light odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage emanating from Schroeder’s breath.
Schroeder’s blood sample determined he had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .027 in his system.