Former U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Sentenced To Prison For Bribery Conspiracy With Foreign Defense Contractor Involving 50+ Individuals – October 30, 2020
Brooks Parks, a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, is that latest to be sentenced in the wide-ranging corruption and fraud investigation involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).
Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting that he presided over a massive, decade-long conspiracy involving scores of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes – from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel accommodations to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.
So far, 34 defendants have been charged and 23 have pleaded guilty as part of this investigation, many admitting they accepted luxury travel and accommodations, meals or services of prostitutes from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by millions of dollars.
From December 2005 to February 2009 Parks served as the Logistics Lead Petty Officer on the USS Blue Ridge, the command ship for the Seventh Fleet. Parks was actively involved in managing the Seventh Fleet’s logistics support budget, signing and processing invoices, and performing other supervisory logistics functions for the Seventh Fleet.
Parks admitted that from March 2006 through March 2010, Francis paid for lavish hotel accommodations for Parks and his friends throughout Asia, as the USS Blue Ridge came into port. Parks had expensive taste and wasn’t restrained in demanding ever more luxuriant accommodations from GDMA. In one instance, Parks demanded the $4,800 per night Ritz Carlton Suite in Singapore, though he was ultimately provided
In return for these bribes, Parks approved and expedited GDMA invoices and payment requests, provided substantial bidding and pricing information to GDMA as part of GDMA’s effort to crush its competitor in the Philippines, and provided limited ship port visit scheduling information.
39 Individuals (Government & Business) Involved In Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud And Theft Of Government Funds – October 30, 2020
This scheme involved former federal, state, and local officials and prominent business people.
Federal prosecutors are close to finishing their work in bringing to justice dozens of current and former federal, state, and local officials and prominent business people all connected in a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In November 2019, a federal grand jury returned a far-reaching indictment charging a County Executive Director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency with orchestrating a broad-based conspiracy to steal government drought assistance funds and hide the actions through identify theft, tax evasion, and other federal crimes. As a result of this crackdown by U.S. Attorney Keefe’s, 29 individuals were indicted; alleged to have defrauded the federal government, and taxpayers, of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Duane Crawson led the conspiracy that included a former Holmes County Clerk of Court and numerous other individuals who had served in positions of public trust. Between May and December of 2017, while employed as a County Executive Director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency for Bay, Holmes, and Washington counties, Crawson devised a kickback scheme in which he and his co-conspirators unlawfully obtained approximately $400,534 in taxpayer funds by submitting fraudulent drought assistance claims.
Former Uber Exec Accused Of Stealing Trade Secrets For Startup Company – October 29, 2020
In another high-profile case of Silicon Valley corporate espionage, a former Uber executive was accused of stealing trade secrets from a California logistics company to launch Beacon, a British logistics startup that raised money from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Fraser Robinson, who was in charge of Uber’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 2014 to 2018, allegedly stole confidential information from California-based Vanguard Logistics Services, according to the lawsuit.
Vanguard is owned by the Mansour family, whose investment firm is helmed by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour.
The lawsuit alleges Robinson schemed his way onto Vanguard’s board for the sole purpose of stealing trade secrets to launch his own company with another former Uber employee, Dmitri Izmailov.
Beacon, a digital freight forwarding platform, raised a $15 million Series A round in June from billionaire Bezos and venture capital firm 8VC, as well as an earlier seed round from former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Schmidt.
Former Century 21 Employee Charged With Computer Sabotage, Tampering, Trespass – October 24, 2020
Hector Navarro was a former Human Resources systems administrator at Century 21’s Manhattan department store. He is charged with breaching the company’s network to steal and alter data.
According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, beginning in 2012, Navarro worked as a systems administrator and manager in Century 21’s Human Resources Systems and Administration, where he had access to the company’s data management and timekeeping system. In October 2019, Navarro resigned from the company. Prior to his last day, he stole employee data from the company and created an unauthorized “superuser” account on the company’s network – which allowed him access to the network after his resignation.
After leaving the company, Navarro accessed the “superuser” account from his apartment in Brooklyn and tampered with other user accounts, including deleting data related to consultants hired to replace him so that they could not access Century 21’s networks. Navarro also made changes to the company’s holiday payroll policy, which, if undiscovered, would have paid certain employees for holidays whether they worked on those dates or not. When the consultants hired to replace Navarro were unable to access the network, Century 21 discovered the breach and spent thousands of dollars to correct the changes and deletions.
Bank Employee Arrested, Three Other Individuals Admit Guilt, In $8 Million Bank Fraud And Bribery Scheme – October 29, 2020
Kurt Phelps was charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of bank bribery.
Three co-defendants pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the scheme: Douglas Arbolino and Gary Swenson each pleaded guilty to informations charging them with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of bribery of a bank official; and John Scott Brink pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
From 2013 through 2019, Phelps, Arbolino, Swenson, and Brink, conspired to defraud Victim Bank-1, Phelps’s employer. The defendants obtained millions of dollars of credit from Victim Bank-1 for Starnet Business Solutions Inc. (Starnet), a now-defunct New Jersey-based printing company where Arbolino, Swenson, and Brink worked. Arbolino, Swenson, and Brink paid Phelps large cash bribes in connection with the fraud scheme
In 2013, Starnet provided materially false financial information to Victim Bank-1 and received a line of credit. Brink sent Victim Bank-1 inflated accounts receivable information, and Arbolino and Swenson provided other materially false financial information, such as semi-annual financial reports. Victim Bank-1 not only allowed Starnet to maintain the line of credit, it increased the credit available at various times. By 2018, the line of credit available to Starnet was worth approximately $8 million, and Starnet has not repaid it.
Phelps was aware that financial information Starnet provided to Victim Bank-1 was materially false. Phelps coached Starnet on how to defraud Victim Bank-1. Phelps would review draft financial information for Starnet and provide feedback on how his conspirators should falsify the information before submitting it. Phelps also worked to ensure that Victim Bank-1 did not detect the fraud scheme by helping Starnet avoid audits and other quality control measures employed by Victim Bank-1.
Former Bank Manager Sentenced To Prison For $102,000 Of Bank Fraud – October 29, 2020
Karen Ramm was a Branch Manager and Loan Officer of Commerce Bank (Now Known As First National Bank Of Pennsylvania, Successor To Metro Bank) between 2003 and 2010. Ramm pled guilty to defrauding Commerce Bank by falsely causing a business loan to be extended based on the representation that the borrower, with whom Ramm was in a personal relationship, needed an extension for a business project, when Ramm knew that was not the case. The total net loss was $102,500.
Ramm to pay $102,500 in restitution ($21,668.31 to Commerce Bank and $80,831.69 paid to an insurance company).
Former Bank Employee Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling $80,000+ From Bank – October 29, 2020
Between February 2016 and June 2017, Morgan Herrera was employed as a personal banker at an S&T Bank location in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she stole over $80,000 while opening multiple accounts for certificates of deposit.
Herrera was sentenced to six months imprisonment followed by two years of supervised release (Which Includes 6 Months Of Home Detention). She was also ordered to pay $80,011 in restitution.
Former Employee Charged With Embezzling $750,000+ – October 28, 2020
Denham Springs Woman Indicted for Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
A federal grand jury recently returned a three-count indictment charging Brittany Monroe Knapp, age 34, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, with wire fraud and identity theft. Knapp appeared for her arraignment today and pled not guilty to the pending charges.
According to the indictment, from 2014 to 2019, Brittany Knapp worked for Oceans Behavioral, LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oceans Healthcare. Between October 2017 and December 2019, Knapp engaged in a scheme to defraud Oceans Healthcare, wherein she created and controlled multiple PayPal online merchant accounts, and used the Oceans Healthcare corporate credit cards of two employees to send funds electronically to the PayPal online merchant accounts she controlled. Once funds were credited to PayPal accounts, she transferred these funds into her personal bank accounts.
Further, Knapp allegedly forged an employee’s signature on “capital expense request” approval forms, falsely representing that she was authorized to incur the aforementioned fraudulent expenses, then created false and fraudulent invoices in the names of real businesses, falsely representing that said companies had provided the goods and services to Oceans Behavioral. Using these false and fraudulent invoices, Knapp submitted “expense reports” to Oceans Healthcare electronically that falsely represented that real businesses had provided the purchased goods and services to Oceans Behavioral. These expense reports caused Oceans Healthcare to pay for the fraudulent credit card charges.
Throughout the course of the fraudulent scheme, Knapp, without authority, embezzled over $750,000 of Oceans Healthcare funds to which she was not entitled.
Former Office Manager Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling $1.4 Million Over 9 Years – October 27, 2020
Shelia Bowden was the office manager for Micro Technology Consultants, Inc. (MTC), a computer services business in Warner Robins. Beginning about March 26, 2009, and continuing through about January 18, 2018, Bowden used her position to embezzle $1,393,869.74 from MTC. She prepared unauthorized checks drawn on MTC’s business account, forging the signature of MTC’s owner on the checks, and making the checks payable to “Petty Cash – Office.” She would then cash two checks at a time payable to “Petty Cash – Office” at a bank branch in Warner Robins. She always came to the bank alone when cashing the checks and would usually receive $50 and $100 bills. She would then use the cash for her own purposes. During the scheme, Bowden forged a total of 419 checks amounting to nearly $1.4 million.
Registered Nurse Who Stole Fentanyl And 600 Vials Of Morphine And Demerol Sentenced To Prison – October 27, 2020
According to information presented in court, Clifford Harris, who was a registered nurse at the time, broke into the secure drug storage area at Healthcare Express in Texarkana, Texas, and tampered with vials of fentanyl stored there. Specifically, Harris extracted the fentanyl from the vials and refilled the vials with another liquid. Harris then returned the vials to the drug stock where they were available for administration to patients. Because the vials were labeled as fentanyl but did not contain fentanyl, Harris placed patients in danger of death or bodily injury. Harris admitted that he had acted with reckless disregard of the danger to patients and that his actions manifested an extreme indifference to that risk. In the five months leading to his fentanyl theft, Harris stole 600 vials of morphine and Demerol from Healthcare Express where he was entrusted with the receipt and storage of those controlled substances.
Former Office Manager Sentenced To Prison For Embezzlement Of $838.000+ – October 26, 2020
According to a sentencing memo before the Court, Candi Fluhr personally engaged in a nearly two-year scheme to steal over $630,000 from Meyer Plumbing and its employees’ 401(k) plan.
Between May 2016 and January 2018, Fluhr stole from Meyer Plumbing by forging signatures, including the signature of C.J., on company checks, creating fake checks with the company’s bank account information, making unauthorized cash withdrawals via company debit and ATM cards, and making unauthorized debit card and eTransactions using company funds for her personal benefit, including paying Court ordered restitution stemming from a prior state conviction.
Fluhr also caused fraudulent payments to be made from Meyer Plumbing to Anthem Insurance company in order to obtain and maintain health care coverage for herself and her family, without actually paying any of the required employee premiums (to the tune of over $15,000 in loss to the company). By means of the fraudulent scheme, Fluhr attempted to obtain and obtained funds and services to which she knew she was not entitled totaling approximately $756,703. After her fraud was discovered, Fluhr repaid certain funds to Meyer Plumbing in 2017, in an amount of approximately $26,800, and some charges were reversed by the bank.
In addition to the straight embezzlements from the company, Fluhr also stole funds intended for Meyer Plumbing’s 401(k) Plan, an employee pension benefit plan covered by ERISA, by doctoring company bank account statements to make it appear that funds were withdrawn from the company account and moved to an American Fund account for deposits into the Plan on behalf of employees when, in fact, she left those funds in the company bank account in order to embezzle them for her own benefit. Through this method, Fluhr stole $31,882 of Plan assets intended for employees and submitted false and fraudulent documents to conceal her theft.
After her embezzlement was discovered and she was fired from Meyer Plumbing, Fluhr was hired at JLM Services (“JLM”) in mid-2019. As office manager at JLM, Fluhr had access to the company’s financial information. Using that access, Fluhr quickly began to steal again in much the same manner as she did at Meyer Plumbing. Among other methods, Fluhr embezzled funds from JLM by using the access she had to JLM’s Quickbook account to schedule payroll payments to former and fictitious employees and then rerouting the funds to a Green Dot prepaid debit card she accessed. Fluhr also stole from the company by making personal purchases on a JLM checking account and credit card and the credit card of the owner of JLM without authorization. In total, Fluhr stole $39,749 from JLM through these means before her scheme was detected.
During her time between work at Meyer Plumbing and JLM, Fluhr created and presented multiple fraudulent checks to PLS Check Cashing (“PLS”). Only one of those checks, presented in April 2018, ultimately resulted in a loss to PLS. Fluhr presented check numbered 706190201 to the customer service representative at PLS and negotiated the check for $7,741.84. The check was subsequently found to be fraudulently created by Fluhr and resulted in a loss of $7,741.84 to PLS Check Cashing.
U.S. Navy Service Members Sentenced To Prison For Corruption And Insurance Fraud Scheme – October 23, 2020
The charges arise from a scheme led by co-defendant Christopher Toups, who according to plea agreements and an indictment, recruited Ronald Olmsted, Anthony Coco, and a number of other fellow service members he met through his work in the Navy. Toups helped these coworkers to create and file fraudulent claims to obtain unearned benefits from Traumatic Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Program, or TSGLI, an insurance program that compensates service members who suffer serious and debilitating injuries while on active duty. He had help from U.S. Navy Commander Dr. Michael Villarroel, the medical doctor for the unit where Toups worked, and from Kelene Meyer, a former nurse in the U.S. Navy who was married to Toups during the scheme.
According to the superseding indictment and other court records, including Olmsted’s and Coco’s plea agreements, the co-defendants were part of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit One (“EOD ESU One”), based in Coronado, California. Christopher Toups, a former Chief Petty Officer Construction Mechanic, filed his own fraudulent claims, and collected kickbacks from the participants he recruited once their fraudulent TSGLI benefits were paid. Dr. Villarroel knowingly signed off on false and fraudulent TSGLI applications on behalf of multiple service members that were part of or connected to EOD ESU One. To support their applications, each defendant submitted fabricated applications that included forged signatures and altered hospital records, which Meyer helped to create.
Former Office Manager Hockey Team Sentenced To Prison For Stealing $700,000 – October 23, 2020
Between February 2010 and June 2019, Jennifer Durham, while employed as the office manager for Rapid City Professional Hockey, LLC (RCPH), stole $700,000.00 from RCPH. As part of her duties, Durham was responsible for the business accounting records and recording and depositing cash receipts on behalf of RCPH.
As part of her scheme to defraud, Durham caused fraudulent payments to herself in excess of her salary agreement, made unauthorized wire transfers from RCPH’s bank account to pay her personal credit card, made unauthorized wire transfers from RCPH’s bank account to her personal account, and fraudulently diverted cash proceeds for her own personal use. In order to cover up her theft, Durham made false entries into the RCPH accounting records to give the illusion the money she was stealing was spent on legitimate business expenses.
Former Accountant Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $604,000+ From Two Different Employers – October 22, 2020
According to the plea agreement, in approximately May 2017, Kavita Harack was hired to work as an accountant in the Orlando office of a display services company. Between April 2018 and May 2019, Harack directed 74 fraudulent payments from the display services company to four bank accounts held in her or her husband’s name. Harack disguised the transfers to these personal accounts as vendor payments.
After Harack was terminated by the display services company in May 2019, she was hired to work in the accounting department of a project design company in Orlando. Between July 2019 and December 2019, Harack directed four fraudulent payments from the project design company into two of her personal accounts, again disguising the transactions as vendor payments.
In total, between 2018 and 2019, Harack fraudulently paid herself $604,637.25 from accounts belonging to her employers.
Harack used the funds to purchase a home, as well as home improvement projects, travel, retail purchases, restaurants, and beauty expenses.
Goldman Sachs (GS) Employees Charged In Foreign Bribery Case – GS Agrees To Pay Over $2.9 Billion Criminal Penalty – October 22, 2020
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., a global financial institution headquartered in New York, New York, and Goldman Sachs (Malaysia), its Malaysian subsidiary, have admitted to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in connection with a scheme to pay over $1 billion in bribes to Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials to obtain lucrative business for Goldman Sachs.,
Previously, Tim Leissner, the former Southeast Asia Chairman and participating managing director of Goldman Sachs, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violate the FCPA. Ng Chong Hwa, also known as “Roger Ng,” former managing director of Goldman and head of investment banking for GS Malaysia, has been charged with conspiring to launder money and to violate the FCPA. Ng was extradited from Malaysia to face these charges and is scheduled to stand trial in March 2021.
“Over a period of five years, Goldman Sachs participated in a sweeping international corruption scheme, conspiring to avail itself of more than $1.6 billion in bribes to multiple high-level government officials across several countries so that the company could reap hundreds of millions of dollars in fees, all to the detriment of the people of Malaysia and the reputation of American financial institutions operating abroad.
Abbott Laboratories Files Lawsuit Against Former Employee For Using Trademarks To Sell COVID-19 Tests – October 20, 2020
Abbott Laboratories filed a new lawsuit Tuesday asking an Illinois federal judge to stop a former employee from using its name, trademarks and private information to sell COVID-19 diagnostic tests that were made by other companies.
Abbott says former employee Justin Brown was fired in April for falsifying expense records but has continued to use his work equipment and a deceptive email address to falsely associate himself with the company.
Former Tesla Employee Sabotaged Factory Computer System – October 6, 2020
The Tesla auto plant in Fremont, California, stated that an employee allegedly maliciously sabotaged part of a factory last month and was fired after an internal investigation..
The electric-car manufacturer responded to the incident rapidly, and operations at the facility were disrupted for only a short period, according to an email sent Monday by Al Prescott, Tesla’s vice president of legal and acting general counsel.
The employee, who was not named, allegedly sought to cover up his tracks, blame a co-worker and destroy a company computer, the email said. Ultimately, after being shown the irrefutable evidence, the employee confessed. As a result, we terminated employment.
Data Backup Provider Accuses Ex-Employee Of Trade Secrets Theft – October 19, 2020
A company providing data backup and protection services sued an ex-employee in a Florida federal court for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets and disclosing them to a competitor.
Datto Inc. and Data Europe Ltd. accused Daniel Moore of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and several trade secrets laws in a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Moore used USB storage devices to copy proprietary work information after his employment had ended, Datto alleged. He accessed hundreds of confidential files on his work laptops before he returned the computers, it alleged.