#AceNewsReport – May.01: “Islam Said prioritized the whims of his father, an alleged killer, over justice for his own sisters. Thanks to the dogged work of the FBI and its law enforcement partners, however, Mr. Said’s efforts were ultimately in vain,” U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said following Mr. Said’s guilty plea. “We are grateful to the many agents and officers who worked to apprehend Mr. Said, along with his father and uncle. Sarah and Amina deserve justice.”
Islam Said Sentenced to 10 Years for Concealing ‘10 Most Wanted’ Suspect from Arrest according to Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
Islam Yaser-Abdel Said, the 32-year-old son of FBI “10 Most Wanted” suspect Yaser Said, pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to conceal a person from arrest, one count of concealing a person from arrest, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. Mr. Said pleaded open to the charges against him, with no assurances from the government as to the sentence prosecutors would recommend to the judge. He was sentenced Tuesday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor in Fort Worth.
“Islam Said made it possible for his father, Yaser Said, to evade justice for the brutal murder of his daughters for more than a decade,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “Along with our partners, the FBI is thankful for the dedication and relentless pursuit that led to the capture of Amina and Sarah’s killer and those that provided him harbor.”
In plea papers, Islam Said admitted to sheltering his father from arrest in an attempt to subvert the administration of justice.
The elder Mr. Said had been a fugitive from justice since New Year’s Day 2008, when he allegedly murdered his teenage daughters, Amina and Sarah. According to law enforcement, he shot the girls to death inside his taxicab and abandoned their bodies. He was captured 12 years later by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, and is currently in state custody.
In pleading guilty, Islam Said admitted that evidence proved he committed the crimes charged in the superseding indictment filed in November 2020.
Mr. Said harbored his father, Yaser, inside an apartment in Bedford, Texas, where a maintenance worker spotted Yaser on Aug. 14, 2017. After the maintenance worker reported the sighting to the FBI, an agent was dispatched to interview Islam, but Islam refused to cooperate.
He later harbored his father inside a home in Justin, Texas that belonged to his cousin. On Aug. 25, 2020, FBI agents observed Mr. Said and his uncle deliver grocery bags to the residence, then followed the men to a shopping center 20 miles away, were they dumped trash retrieved from the home.
Islam’s uncle, Yassein Abdulfatah Said (Yaser’s 59-year-old brother), was convicted in February of conspiring with Islam to conceal Yaser from arrest, among other crimes. Yassein’s sentencing is set for June 4 at 9 a.m. in Fort Worth.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Division and the Irving Police Department conducted the investigation with the assistance of U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, the Dallas Police Department, the Garland Police department, the Grand Prairie Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tiffany H. Eggers and Errin Martin are prosecuting the case.Erin Dooley Public Affairs 214-659-8707 email@example.com
#AceNewsReport – Apr.30: According to court documents, Saed Ismail Amiri, 38, of Granite Bay, was at various times either the owner or senior consultant of Assist Consultants Incorporated (ACI), an Afghan company that had received over $250 million in U.S. funded contracts since 2013. In or around January 2015, USAID, in connection with the U.S. effort to assist Afghanistan and its people, authorized the national power utility of Afghanistan, Da’ Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), to solicit bids on a U.S. funded contract to construct five electric power substations to connect Afghanistan’s Northeastern and Southeastern electric grid systems. Bids were sought only from companies that had substantial experience building electric power substations. Specifically, the contract criteria required bidders, such as ACI, to have previously worked on two electric substations of 220 kilovolts or more:
A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a scheme to defraud the government of Afghanistan of over $100 million. These funds were provided to Afghanistan by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the purpose of constructing an electric grid in Afghanistan, in connection with the long-standing U.S. effort to strengthen that country’s basic infrastructure.
In 2015 and 2016, Amiri, ACI employees, and others engaged in a scheme to obtain the contract by submitting a false work history and fraudulent supporting documents in an effort to deceive DABS into believing that ACI met the required contract criteria. More specifically, in July 2015, ACI submitted a bid on the contract for $112,292,241.05, and ACI underbid its competitors by more than $20 million. In the bid, ACI stated that it had worked as a subcontractor to a prime contractor on two 220 kilovolt substations for a cement factory in Uganda and a textile company in Nigeria. In fact, the alleged prime contractor was a fictitious company that ACI had invented and controlled, ACI had never worked to build a substation in Africa, and neither the Ugandan cement factory nor the Nigerian textile company existed.
In February 2016, Amiri returned to his residence in the Los Angeles area, at which time DABS had contacted ACI and requested supporting documents to verify ACI’s work history. Amiri then sent emails to co-conspirators outside California, including emails in which he advised that some of them would need to go to Uganda and Nigeria to obtain false documents to respond to DABS. Amiri thereafter departed the United States and, in furtherance of the scheme, emailed DABS documents he knew were false and altered, including ACI’s purported subcontract to work on the Ugandan substation; coordinates of the substation; photographs; false bank records; and a false letter purporting to be from a Ugandan government official. After submitting the fake records to DABS, Amiri met with U.S. law enforcement at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. During that meeting, Amiri falsely stated, among other things, that he had learned the prior month that ACI had bid on the contract. Shortly thereafter, Amiri withdrew ACI’s bid. In a subsequent interview with law enforcement, Amiri also falsely stated that another ACI employee had submitted the false documents to DABS, when in truth and in fact, Amiri had emailed the false documents himself.
Amiri pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison of the Central District of California; Inspector General John F. Sopko of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR); and Acting Inspector General Thomas J. Ullom of the USAID Office of Inspector General (USAID-OIG) made the announcement.
SIGAR and USAID-OIG are investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Matt Kahn of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Mitchell of the Central District of California are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.28: According to court documents, Hall managed the town of Matewan’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), a facility designed to collect and remove domestic sewage sludge from wastewater and then properly treat the wastewater:
Kentucky Man Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crime: Christopher Hall, 43, of Pikeville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty today to violating the Clean Water Act.
Southern District of West Virginia:
After the water is treated and tested, the water can be safely discharged into the Tug Fork River. The removed sludge is to be dried and then properly disposed in a landfill designated to receive dried sewage sludge.
It is a requirement of the Clean Water Act that the sludge removal process and disposal must be reported every month to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to ensure proper operation of the treatment facility: As manager of the POTW, Hall was responsible for monitoring the sludge removal and accurately reporting its monthly removal to a landfill:
On August 20, 2018, Hall falsely reported in a sludge management report that five tons of sludge had been removed from the Matewan POTW, properly dried, and then disposed at a permitted landfill. In fact, no sludge had been removed from the facility. Hall admitted to submitting a total of ten false sludge management reports indicating that a total of 55 tons of sludge had been removed from the facility and disposed in the landfill from July 2017 to June 2018. Hall further admitted that he knew all ten reports were false and that no sludge was disposed of at a landfill when he submitted the false reports.
Hall pleaded guilty to making a false statement on a sludge management report and faces a maximum possible sentence of two years in prison, a $250,000 fine, one year of supervised release, and an order of restitution when he is sentenced on July 22, 2021.
Acting United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Criminal Investigations Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin presided over the hearing. EPA Attorney Perry McDaniel and Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia. Related court documents and information can be found on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-00048.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.28: Ramos-Corrales was named in a federal criminal complaint filed Friday that charges him with animal crushing, a federal crime of purposely subjecting certain types of animals to serious bodily injury not related to hunting or other lawful activity. The animal crushing statute carries a sentence of up to seven years in federal prison:
Riverside Man Arrested on Federal Charge of ‘Animal Crushing’ After Allegedly Slitting His Dog’s Throat and Posting Video on Snapchat: ‘Angel Ramos-Corrales, 19, was arrested without incident this morning by the FBI and the Riverside Police Department. Ramos-Corrales is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside’
According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, the Riverside Police Department received a complaint on February 13 soon after Ramos-Corrales allegedly posted a video on Snapchat depicting the small brown dog with a large laceration on its neck. On the video, a person believed to be Ramos-Corrales makes a series of statements, including “I’m cold-hearted,” and then callously kicks the still-alive dog, which he had named Canelo, the complaint alleges.
Riverside Police officers went to Ramos-Corrales’ residence, where they found him with fresh blood stains on his clothes, as well as freshly cut wounds on his hand, according to the affidavit. Inside his house, officers found the severely injured dog lying on a bed and observed blood spatters in both the bedroom and bathroom.
During the investigation, the police officers located a roommate who said he locked himself in his bedroom after observing blood spatter and the dog wrapped in a rug while Ramos-Corrales was in his room yelling, the affidavit states.
Animal control officers responded to the residence on February 13 and removed the barely alive dog, according to the affidavit, which notes a veterinarian had to euthanize the animal after determining Canelo also had fractured bones in his head and chest.
During interviews with FBI agents in early March that are outlined in the affidavit, Ramos-Corrales said he purchased Canelo as a small puppy from a Craigslist posting several months earlier, and he claimed not to recall the details of what he had done to the dog.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI, which received substantial assistance from the Riverside Police Department. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office received the initial referral from the Riverside Police Department, and, after reviewing the matter and conferring with the United States Attorney’s Office, a decision was made that federal prosecutors would file the case.
Assistant United States Attorney Julius J. Nam of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.Thom Mrozek Director of Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 894-6947
#AceNewsReport – Apr.27: According to trial evidence, in May 2018, Castillo traveled to his native country of Guatemala, and videorecorded himself sexually abusing a 13-year-old victim who was sleeping. Evidence from that video identified Castillo as the abuser. In addition to this videorecording, Castillo also possessed and transported additional images of child sexual abuse. Law enforcement agents discovered the child pornography evidence during an October 2019 search of a recreational vehicle that he was driving at the U.S. – Mexico border:
Project Safe Childhood: Colorado Man Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of Children in Guatemala: ‘Alvaro Castillo, 64, of Englewood, was convicted by a federal jury of three counts of production of child pornography; one count of attempted production of child pornography; one count of transportation of child pornography; and one count of possession of child pornography on Nov. 18, 2020’
“Alvaro Castillo recorded himself committing unspeakable crimes against a defenseless child in a foreign country,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The department is committed to identifying and prosecuting transnational offenders like Alvaro Castillo, and today’s sentence will protect children in Guatemala and the United States from such predatory behavior.”
“Child victimization is a crime that knows no borders and HSI, as a global investigative agency, is committed to working with its domestic and international partners to stop these criminals from exploiting innocent children anywhere in the world,” said Special Agent in Charge Erik P. Breitzke for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso. “We may not be able to undo the damage done, but sentences such as today’s serve to hold child predators accountable and, we hope, help the victims heal.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Castillo was ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and pay $33,586.89 in restitution.
HSI investigated the case with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Trial Attorney Trial Attorney Austin M. Berry of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cannizzaro of the Western District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individualswho exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.25: Redzepagic has admitted to travelling overseas to try to join and provide material support to ISIS and the al-Nusrah Front, two foreign terrorist organizations that were engaged in fighting in Syria,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The threat from these terrorist organizations has not ended, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of fighters and bring to justice those who provide material support to these groups.”
Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to Foreign Terrorist Organizations: ‘According to court documents, Elvis Redzepagic, 30, of Commack, New York, began communicating in early 2015 with an individual he believed to be both the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front, and made attempts to join that individual’s battalion to engage in violent jihad. In July 2015, Redzepagic traveled to Turkey and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Syria. Unable to enter Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic traveled to Jordan in August 2016, but was stopped and deported by Jordanian authorities’
Defendant Planned to Travel to Syria to Wage Violent Jihad: Redzepagic, a Long Island resident, admitted that he attempted to travel to Syria on several occasions to wage jihad on behalf of ISIS and other organizations dedicated to violence and mass destruction,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko for the Eastern District of New York. “This Office is committed to preventing the spread of terrorism by stopping individuals like the defendant in their tracks and prosecuting them before they are able to harm the United States and its allies.” Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies.
In Facebook messages from October 2015, Redzepagic explained that “jihad” is when “you fight for the sake of God” and “die for the sake of Allah.” Redzepagic stated that he traveled to Turkey to “perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.” He predicted, “there will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu Akbar.” In subsequent interviews with law enforcement, Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria, he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself:
Redzepagic pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s New York Field Office is investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Stephanie Sweeten of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saritha Komatireddy and Artie McConnell are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.25: According to admissions Nicole Poole Franklin, 42, made during the hearing, on the afternoon of Dec. 9, 2019, Poole Franklin was driving her Jeep Grand Cherokee on Creston Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, where the first child-victim was walking along the sidewalk with another young relative:
An Iowa woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to hate crime charges for attempting to kill two children because of their race and national origin: ‘Upon seeing the children and believing that the victim was of Middle Eastern or African descent, Poole Franklin drove her vehicle over the curb towards both children, striking one of them. Poole Franklin then drove away from the scene. The assault resulted in injury to the victim, including cuts, bruising, and swelling. Approximately 30 minutes later, Poole Franklin was driving her Jeep near Indian Hills Junior High School in Clive, Iowa, where the second child-victim was walking on the sidewalk. Poole Franklin, believing that the child was Mexican, drove her vehicle over the curb and struck the victim, causing serious injury, including a concussion, bruises, and cuts. Poole Franklin again drove away from the scene but was apprehended later that day’
Poole Franklin is also expected to plead guilty in state court later today to two counts of attempted murder.
“Nicole Poole Franklin attempted to kill two children because she thought they came from another country,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “All people in the United States, regardless where they come from, have the right to be free from fear of violence because of who they are. The Justice Department will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and prosecute hate crimes, as we have done in this case.”
“Our office will vigorously pursue civil rights prosecutions against individuals, such as Ms. Poole Franklin, for hate motivated attacks,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa. “Protecting the rights of the residents of our community, more importantly, the families and children who live here, is one of the most important functions of the United States Attorney’s Office. These young and courageous victims, whatever their race, color, religion, or national origin, should not have to fear for their safety by merely walking down the street. The message from today’s hearing should be crystal clear – this sort of hateful violence is unacceptable, and the Department of Justice will continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to hold accountable all who choose to violate another’s civil rights.”
“FBI Omaha agents worked diligently with our law enforcement partners to bring Nicole Poole Franklin to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel of the FBI Omaha Field Office. “It’s unimaginable that violence based on race, sexual identity or religious beliefs still exists in this day and age. The FBI will not tolerate someone committing such abhorrent violence against two children, just because of the color of their skin. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias, it will be investigated, and the perpetrators held responsible for their actions. We encourage everyone to report such crimes to the FBI.”
Poole Franklin’s federal sentencing date is set for Aug. 19. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the charged offenses.
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from Des Moines and Clive Police Departments. Acting U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa and Trial Attorneys Katherine DeVar and Andrew Manns of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.22: Yu Zhou sought to exploit U.S. taxpayer dollars intended to fund critical, life-saving research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital through the whole-sale theft of their trade secrets,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “
Hospital Researcher Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Steal Trade Secrets and Sell to China: Defendant Will Pay More Than $2.6 Million in Restitution:
‘Yu Zhou, 51, of Dublin, Ohio, pleaded guilty in December 2020 to stealing scientific trade secrets related to exosomes and exosome isolation from Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Research Institute for his own personal financial gain. Zhou also conspired to commit wire fraud’
“Zhou’s greed was encouraged and enabled by a series of Chinese Government programs which incentivize thievery in an attempt to supplement China’s own research and development goals on the back of American ingenuity and investment. This successful prosecution should serve as a warning to anyone who seeks to profit from pilfering hard-earned U.S. trade secrets.”
“Yu Zhou willingly took part in the Chinese Government’s long-term efforts to steal American intellectual property,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel for the Southern District of Ohio. “Zhou and his wife executed a scheme over the course of several years to set up businesses in China, steal American research, and profit from doing so. The couple deserves the time it received in federal prison.”
According to court documents, Zhou and his co-conspirator and wife, Li Chen, 48, worked in separate medical research labs at the Research Institute for 10 years each (Zhou from 2007 until 2017 and Chen from 2008 until 2018). They pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal at least five trade secrets related to exosome research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Chen was sentenced in February to 30 months in prison for her role in the scheme.
Exosomes play a key role in the research, identification and treatment of a range of medical conditions, including necrotizing enterocolitis (a condition found in premature babies), liver fibrosis and liver cancer.
Court documents detail that Zhou and Chen conspired to steal and then monetize one of the trade secrets by creating and selling exosome “isolation kits.” Zhou’s research at Nationwide Children’s included a novel isolation method in which exosomes could be isolated from samples as small as one drop of blood. This method was vital to the research being conducted in Zhou’s lab – because necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition found primarily in premature babies, only small amounts of fluid can safely be taken from them.
Zhou and Chen started a company in China to sell the kits.
The defendants received benefits from the Chinese government, including the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs and the National Natural Science Foundation of China. Zhou and Chen were also part of application processes related to multiple Chinese government programs, including talent plans, a method used by China to transfer foreign research and technology to the Chinese government.
As part of their convictions, the couple will forfeit approximately $1.45 million, 500,000 shares of common stock of Avalon GloboCare Corp. and 400 shares of common stock of GenExosome Technologies Inc. They were also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution.
Chen and Zhou were arrested in California in July 2019 and their case was unsealed in August 2019 when they appeared in federal court in Columbus.
Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel for the Southern District of Ohio; Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division; and Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Sarah D. Morrison.
National Security Division Trial Attorney Matthew J. McKenzie, Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Courter Shimeall, Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous are representing the United States in this case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: According to court documents, Sergio Pasini, 43, of Ferrera, Italy, and Gianluca Sabbioni, 55, of Sala Bolognese, Italy, two senior diesel managers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy S.p.A. (FCA Italy), a wholly owned subsidiary of Stellantis N.V. — along with a previously charged co-conspirator, Emanuele Palma, 42, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan — were responsible for developing and calibrating the 3.0-liter diesel engine used in certain FCA diesel vehicles.
‘An indictment was unsealed today in the Eastern District of Michigan charging two Italian nationals, along with a previously charged co-conspirator, for their alleged role in a conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and customers by making false and misleading statements about the emissions controls and fuel efficiency of more than 100,000 diesel vehicles sold in the United States by FCA US LLC: Their responsibilities included calibrating several software features in the vehicles’ emissions control systems to meet emissions standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), a family of poisonous gases that are formed when diesel fuels are burned at high temperatures, while also achieving best-in-class fuel efficiency targets set by FCA US LLC’
The superseding indictment alleges that Palma, Pasini, Sabbioni, and their co-conspirators, purposely calibrated the emissions control functions to produce lower NOx emissions under conditions when the subject vehicles would be undergoing testing on the federal test procedures or driving “cycles,” and higher NOx emissions under conditions when the subject vehicles would be driven in the real world. Palma, Pasini, Sabbioni, and their co-conspirators allegedly referred to the manner in which they manipulated one method of emissions control as “cycle beating.” As alleged, by calibrating the emissions control functions on the subject vehicles to produce lower NOx emissions while the vehicles were on the driving “cycle,” and higher NOx emissions when the vehicles were off the driving “cycle,” or “off cycle,” the three defendants purposely misled FCA’s regulators by making it appear that the subject vehicles were producing less NOx emissions than they were, i.e., in real world driving conditions. Palma, Pasini, and Sabbioni also allegedly made and caused others to make false and misleading representations to FCA’s regulators about the emissions control functions of the subject vehicles in order to ensure that FCA obtained regulatory approval to sell the subject vehicles in the United States.
The superseding indictment also alleges that Palma, Pasini, and Sabbioni employed “cycle beating” to achieve best-in-class fuel efficiency and make the subject vehicles more attractive to FCA’s potential customers, i.e., by increasing fuel economy and reducing the frequency of a required emissions control system service interval. The superseding indictment alleges that the co-conspirators understood their “cycle beating” calibration would harm consumers who purchased the vehicle, leading them to acknowledge that “there will always be the unlucky customer who will have the misfortune of using our loser cal[ibration].”
Pasini and Sabbioni are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Clean Air Act, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and six counts of violating the Clean Air Act. If convicted, Pasini and Sabbioni each face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count to defraud the United States and to violate the Clean Air Act, up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy count to commit wire fraud, and up to two years in prison for each count of violating the Clean Air Act. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Palma is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Clean Air Act, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, six counts of violating the Clean Air Act, and two counts of making false statements to representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID). If convicted, Palma faces up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count to defraud the United States and to violate the Clean Air Act, up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy count to commit wire fraud, up to two years in prison for each count of violating the Clean Air Act, and up to five years in prison for each count of making false statements. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kevin O. Driscoll of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin of the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan; Acting Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD); Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lance Ehrig of the EPA-CID’s West-Central Region made the announcement.
Principal Assistant Chief Henry P. Van Dyck and Trial Attorneys Kyle W. Maurer and Jason M. Covert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, ENRD Senior Trial Attorney Todd W. Gleason, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys John K. Neal and Timothy J. Wyse for the Eastern District of Michigan are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.15: Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The suit alleged that PSP violated Title VII beginning as early as May 14, 2003, by administering physical tests that assessed physical skills not required to perform the job and that disproportionately excluded female applicants:
Sex Discrimination Lawsuit: The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement, through a court-supervised settlement agreement, with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) resolving the United States’ claims that PSP’s use of physical tests as part of the entry-level hiring process for state troopers resulted in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against women, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’
“Employers cannot impose selection criteria that unfairly screen out qualified female applicants,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When the Pennsylvania State Police use a physical fitness test as part of the process for choosing state troopers, they must ensure that the test complies with federal law. This settlement agreement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s continued commitment to removing artificial barriers that prevent women from becoming law enforcement officers.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, subject to court approval, PSP will pay $2,200,000 million into a settlement fund that will be used to compensate those women who were harmed by the employment practices challenged by the United States. The agreement also requires PSP to offer priority hiring relief, with retroactive seniority, for up to 65 women for entry-level state trooper jobs. All priority hiring candidates must meet the employer’s lawful selection criteria, including the successful passing of any physical fitness test that meets the requirements of Title VII.
In a joint filing today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the parties moved for a court order provisionally approving the terms of the settlement agreement. The motion also asks the court to schedule a fairness hearing to provide an opportunity for individuals potentially affected by the proposed agreement to provide comments on the terms of the settlement. The proposed settlement, once approved by the District Court, will resolve the United States’ complaint filed on July 29, 2014.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.14: Antrim pleaded guilty in March 2019 to a five-count information charging him with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to deprive rights under color of law, deprivation of rights under color of law, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime:
FBI/ATF/LASD Investgation: ‘Ex-L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced to 7yrs in Federal Prison for Leading $2 Million Armed Robbery of Marijuana Warehouse: Marc Antrim, 43, of South El Monte, who formerly was assigned to the LASD station in Temple City, was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who said, “the seriousness of the crime could not be overstated.” The heist, which “sounded like a movie script,” was “tragic” for the victims and eroded “the public’s trust (in law enforcement),” the judge said’
During the early morning hours of October 29, 2018, Antrim and his co-conspirators dressed as armed LASD deputies and approached the warehouse in an LASD Ford Explorer. Upon arrival, Antrim flashed his LASD badge and a fake search warrant to the security guards to gain entry to the warehouse. To perpetuate the ruse that they were legitimate law enforcement officers, Antrim and two fake deputies sported LASD clothing, wore duty belts, and carried firearms. One fake deputy also visibly carried a long gun to further intimidate the guards into submission.
At the beginning of the two-hour robbery, Antrim and his co-conspirators detained the three warehouse security guards in the cage of the LASD Ford Explorer. Soon after the guards were detained, a fourth man arrived at the warehouse in a large rental truck, and all four men began loading marijuana into the truck.
When Los Angeles Police Department officers legitimately responded to a call for service at the warehouse during the robbery, Antrim falsely told the LAPD officers that he was an LASD narcotics deputy conducting a legitimate search. To facilitate the sham, Antrim handed his phone to one of the LAPD officers so that the police officer could speak to someone on the phone claiming to be Antrim’s LASD sergeant. The individual on the phone was not Antrim’s sergeant, and Antrim did not have a legitimate search warrant for the warehouse.
After LAPD officers left the warehouse, other co-conspirators arrived and the robbery continued, allowing the fake law enforcement crew to steal even more marijuana and two large safes containing over half a million dollars in cash.
At the time of the robbery, Antrim was a patrol deputy assigned to the Temple City station, but he was not on duty, was not assigned to the department’s narcotics unit, was not a detective, and would not have had a legitimate reason to search a marijuana distribution warehouse in the City of Los Angeles.
Prosecutors have secured six convictions in this case for the co-conspirators who took part in the raid alongside Antrim.
Christopher Myung Kim, 31, of Walnut, a disgruntled former warehouse employee, is serving a 14-year federal prison sentence after being found guilty by a jury for his role in planning the heist and making off with $1.5 million in stolen marijuana after the raid. Antrim testified at Kim’s trial, which the judge credited as a significant reason to reduce Antrim’s sentence.
Kevin McBride, 45, of Glendora, and Eric Rodriguez, 35, of Adelanto, are serving federal prison sentences of six and nine years, respectively, after pleading guilty to felony charges in this case. In a related case, Antrim’s other co-conspirators, Matthew James Perez, 44, of Ontario, Daniel Aguilera, 33, of Los Angeles, and Jay Colby Sanford, 43, of Pomona, are serving sentences of six years’ imprisonment, two years’ imprisonment, and five years’ probation, respectively.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau provided substantial assistance to the federal investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Assistant United States Attorney Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.Ciaran McEvoy Public Information Officer United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) email@example.com (213) 894-4465
#AceNewsReport – Apr.14: In a newly unsealed federal indictment, Byron Booker, 28, of Ludowici, Ga., and Jordan Brown, 21, of St. Marys, Ga., are charged in the death of Specialist Austin J. Hawke, 24, at Fort Stewart Military Reservation, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia:
Two men indicted in death of Fort Stewart soldier found stabbed to death in installation housing: Eight-count federal indictment returned in murder conspiracy
Southern District of Georgia:
Booker is charged with Premeditated Murder; and Murder of a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services. In addition, both Booker and Brown are charged with Felony Murder; Conspiracy to Commit Assault Upon a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services and to Commit Burglary; Assault Upon a Member of the U.S. Uniformed Services; Burglary; Conspiracy to Retaliate Against a Witness; and Retaliation Against a Witness. The statutory penalty for each of the murder charges upon conviction is death, or mandatory life in prison.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“It is a high priority for our office to pursue justice for members of the military who are victims of violent crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “We commend the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and other law enforcement partners for their tireless and detailed work on this case.”
The 21-page indictment alleges that Booker and Brown conspired to commit the offenses against Hawk in retaliation for Hawk reporting Booker to U.S. Army leadership for “poor leadership, poor military performance, and maltreatment of subordinates” prior to Booker’s discharge from the U.S. Army, and in retaliation for Hawk reporting Brown for drug use during his service.
The indictment further alleges that Booker and Brown discussed “silencing” Hawk, and discussed Brown providing Booker with a key to access Hawk’s room. The indictment alleges that Booker drove from his home on or about June 17, 2020, to Fort Stewart, and entered the installation on foot before walking approximately one mile to Hawk’s barracks. The indictment then alleges that Booker killed Hawk by “stabbing, cutting, and slashing” him with an edged weapon, and that afterward Booker disposed of the clothing and shoes he was wearing at the time.
Booker has been in custody since June 18, 2020; Brown was taken into custody after a U.S. District Court grand jury returned the indictment during its April 2021 term. Both defendants await further legal proceedings.
Criminal indictments contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI are investigating the case, which is being prosecuted for the United States by Southern District of Georgia Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer G. Solari and Frank Pennington, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.08: Khan allegedly led a global human smuggling operation that used fraudulent documents and international travel routes to facilitate the entry of unauthorized individuals into the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We are committed to holding accountable those who seek personal monetary gain by compromising and undermining the integrity of the immigration process.”
Pakistani National Indicted & Sanctioned for Human Smuggling Conspiracy: ‘ According to court documents, between January 2015 and December 2020, Abid Ali Khan, 40, allegedly organized, led, and worked, with others in his Pakistan-based smuggling network to facilitate the travel of undocumented individuals to the United States.
Khan allegedly disregarded the fact that the individuals did not have prior authorization to enter the United States and that their entry into the United States would be illegal. Khan also allegedly encouraged, induced, and brought undocumented individuals to the United States for commercial advantage and financial gain’
“Abid Ali Khan is alleged to have organized and led an international organization that, in exchange for monetary payment, facilitated the illegal smuggling of individuals through various countries to the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “As this case demonstrates, the department continues to identify and prosecute those who seek to profit from conduct that undermines our system of legal immigration and imperils the lives of those being smuggled, often under dangerous conditions.”
Treasury Sanctions Pakistan-based Transnational Human Smuggling Organization Involved in Smuggling Migrants to the United States
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan and the Abid Ali Khan Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, “Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations,” as amended. The Abid Ali Khan TCO is a human smuggling organization based in Nowshera, Pakistan, that has facilitated the unlawful smuggling of foreign nationals, including foreign nationals who may pose a national security risk to the United States or its interests, into the United States using various travel routes through Latin America since at least 2015. Additionally, OFAC designated three individuals and one entity associated with the Abid Ali Khan TCO.
“Treasury’s designation of this human smuggling organization as a significant Transnational Criminal Organization is an important step, taken alongside our partners, towards disrupting Abid Ali Khan operations based in Pakistan and around the world,” said Andrea Gacki, Director of the Office of the Foreign Assets Control. “The Abid Ali Khan TCO should not be allowed to prey on the vulnerable and take advantage of the U.S. financial system.”
Today’s action was conducted in close coordination with Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Miami Field Office, the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the HSI Human Smuggling Unit, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center, under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force program, along with the U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Southern Command, and other U.S. government partners.
“Abid Ali Kahn allegedly organized and leads a widespread smuggling organization that facilitates the illegal smuggling of individuals through various countries and to the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This case is another example of the department’s continued work to prosecute those who seek to profit from thwarting our system of legal immigration, jeopardizing our national security, and imperiling the lives of the persons being smuggled under dangerous conditions.”
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami is committed to prosecuting individuals who pose a threat to national security and our critical infrastructure, including exploiting our global financial systems through their smuggling networks,” said HSI Miami Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury. “A recent HSI-led investigation revealed the Pakistani-based Abid Khan human smuggling network, operating in the Middle East and South America, is exploiting systemic vulnerabilities in order to move people with nefarious motivations into the United States and elsewhere.”
Human smuggling is a profitable business. Based on migrants’ accounts of how much they paid smugglers, media reports have estimated Latin American smuggling networks generate at least $150 million and as much as $350 million a year — not counting payments to corrupt officials, local agents, or others on the U.S.–Mexico border who exploit the desperation of migrants. For the individuals who engage in this business, the safety and security of their clients matter far less than the profit they can make, and an untold number of migrants make the dangerous decision to embark on an irregular migration journey based on smugglers’ misrepresentations about U.S. border policy.
Pakistani national Abid Ali Khan (Khan) is the leader of the Abid Ali Khan TCO, a prolific human smuggling organization based in Nowshera, Pakistan. Khan and members of his TCO operate a global network of human smugglers that are responsible for the international smuggling of migrants into the United States. Khan and members of his TCO coordinate the smuggling of foreign nationals to the United States for an average cost of approximately the equivalent of $20,000 USD per individual; this sum includes, but is not limited to, fees to procure fraudulent or counterfeit documents, make payoffs to corrupt officials, secure lodging along smuggling route, and provide payments to facilitators in various countries. Abid Ali Khan TCO often provides travelers with fraudulently obtained passports from different countries to facilitate his clients’ global movement and smuggling to the United States. The Abid Ali Khan TCO frequently utilizes a common route of travel that begins in Pakistan or Afghanistan, transiting through certain South and Central American countries before arriving at the southern border of the United States.
OFAC is also designating three Khan associates for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, or for having acted or having purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Abid Ali Khan TCO. Afghan national Redi Hussein Khal Gul serves as Khan’s secretary, performing functions that include, but are not limited to, initial contact with clients, travel facilitation, and obtaining fraudulent documents for the migrants. Pakistani national Shakeel Karim is an employee of Khan and uses Friends Travel Inn PVT LTD to coordinate travel for migrants. Pakistani national Mohammed Choudry Ikram Waraich serves as Khan’s contact in the Middle East and facilitates travel into the United States. All three individuals are linked to the procurement or use of fraudulent documents for travel or asylum applications, which can significantly impair appropriate immigration vetting processes.
In addition to the national security concerns, the practice of smuggling-for-profit and the facilitation of fraudulent documentation undermines the credibility of the U.S. asylum system, damaging public confidence in the vetting process, and jeopardizing access to protection for vulnerable persons fleeing conflict, famine, and persecution.
As a result of today’s action, all assets of Abid Ali Khan the Abid Ali Khan TCO, and the three individuals named above, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of Abid Ali Khan, the Abid Ali Khan TCO, or any other blocked or designated persons.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami is committed to prosecuting individuals who pose a threat to national security and our critical infrastructure, including exploiting our global financial systems through their smuggling networks,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of HSI Miami. “A recent HSI-led investigation revealed the Pakistani-based Abid Khan human smuggling network, operating in the Middle East and southwest Asia, is allegedly exploiting systemic vulnerabilities in order to move people into the United States and elsewhere.”
“This outcome is a result of the outstanding dedication and commitment by case agents and the effective partnership between HSI and the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, including significant contributions made by CBP’s Counter Networks Division, members of the HSI Human Smuggling Unit and other partners,” said Chief Ramon Romo of the HSI Human Smuggling Unit. “Their collaborative efforts make our country a safer place.”
Khan allegedly accepted payment in exchange for planning and coordinating the international travel for foreign nationals to travel from Pakistan through multiple countries, to include Brazil and the United States, allegedly offered or provided false documents for foreign nationals to use for travel through multiple countries, and allegedly instructed foreign nationals that his co-conspirators would facilitate various parts of the travel between Pakistan and the United States.
In addition to the criminal charges filed against Khan, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced today that it has designated Khan, the Khan Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), and several other members of his smuggling network in connection with their involvement in a global network of human smugglers and the smuggling of undocumented noncitizens to the United States. The Treasury Department’s sanctions require the blocking and reporting of all assets held by Khan, his associates, and the Khan TCO in the U.S., or in the possession and control of U.S. persons. The sanctions also prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons, or persons within (or transiting) the United States, that involve any property or interests of Khan, his associates or the Khan TCO.
The Department of Justice recognizes OFAC’s efforts to help stop Khan and his network from allegedly continuing to smuggle persons to the United States.
The case is being investigated by HSI Miami, with assistance from the HSI Human Smuggling Unit; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Department of Homeland Security Homeland Identities, Targeting, and Exploitation Center (HITEC); HSI Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program; HSI Attaché Panama; and HSI Attaché Brasilia.
The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence, and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Jay A. Bauer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walutes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.07: Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Michael Rose participated in a years-long scheme to violate our sanctions by surreptitiously exporting cosmetics to Iran via front company intermediaries in the Middle East. Today’s charges underscore that those who violate our sanctions on Iran will be investigated and prosecuted.”
‘Michael Rose Allegedly Sold More Than $350,000 in Goods to an Iranian Importer in Violation of U.S. Sanctions and Allegedly Committed Related Money Laundering and Bank Fraud Crimes’
Southern District of New York:
According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
MICHAEL ROSE is the president of a Long Island-based cosmetics manufacturer and supplier (“Company-1”). In that role, ROSE manages, among other things, Company-1’s operations and its international sales business. Between 2015 and 2018, ROSE participated in a conspiracy to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran by causing Company-1 to export from the United States more than $350,000 worth of cosmetics to an importer in Iran (“Importer-1”). In or about June 2015, ROSE signed a contract with Importer-1 establishing that Importer-1’s Iran-based company would be the exclusive distributor for Company-1’s products in Iran. Importer-1 then used front companies based outside Iran to make payments to Company-1 in New York and to arrange for the transshipment of Company-1’s goods to Iran via the United Arab Emirates. In addition to shipping goods and accepting payments in violation of U.S. sanctions, ROSE also filed false and misleading information on United States Department of Commerce Shipper’s Export Declaration forms in connection with the illegal shipments. The forms falsely represented that the “ultimate consignee” for the goods was in the United Arab Emirates, not Iran, and also falsely lowered the purchase price for the goods purchased by Importer-1 in order to evade customs payments.
ROSE, 50, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is charged in the Indictment with (1) conspiring to violate IEEPA, in violation of 50 U.S.C. § 1705, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; (2) conspiring to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and (3) conspiring to commit bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The statutory penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) for their assistance.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Adelsberg is in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Scott Claffee of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Jonathan Carson, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement (“DOC-OEE”), announced today the unsealing of charges against MICHAEL ROSE for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), and participating in bank fraud and money laundering conspiracies. ROSE was arrested by the FBI and OEE today, and he will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Whatever his motivation – greed or something more sinister – we allege Mr. Rose intentionally disguised his products’ ultimate destination and lied about those products’ prices to limit his customs liability. It’s a federal crime to violate sanctions the United States put in place to protect our national interests from Iran and other designated nation states. Mr. Rose may have thought the rules didn’t apply to him, but, if he did, today’s action demonstrates otherwise.”
DOC-OEE Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson said: “The Office of Export Enforcement will vigorously enforce sanctions violations involving Iran, including actions by exporters to undermine the integrity of our export control system through the submission of false or misleading information. The Office of Export Enforcement will continue applying the investigative resources and authorities necessary to protect and promote U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests.”
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.02: According to court documents, James Bradley, 20, of the Bronx, New York, and Arwa Muthana, 29, of Hoover, Alabama, are ISIS supporters who attempted to travel to the Middle East to join and fight for ISIS. As alleged in the complaint, Bradley has expressed his support for ISIS and his desire to join the group overseas or commit a terrorist attack in the United States. Bradley and his wife, who has also expressed her support for ISIS, were arrested while attempting to travel together by cargo ship to the Middle East to join and fight for ISIS. Bradley and Muthana were presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in Manhattan federal court today.
Man and Woman Charged with Attempting and Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS: ‘James Bradley, aka Abdullah, and His Wife, Arwa Muthana, Were Arrested at a Seaport in New Jersey While Allegedly Attempting to Travel Overseas to Join and Fight for #IslamicState’
Note: A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
“As alleged, the defendants planned to travel overseas to join and support ISIS,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The threat of terrorism at home and abroad remains, and the National Security Division is committed to holding accountable those who would provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”
“James Bradley allegedly pledged devout allegiance to ISIS, expressing his desire to ‘fight among the rank[s] for the Islamic State.’ Suspecting he may be unable to travel, Bradley instead allegedly discussed conducting terrorist attacks along with his wife, Arwa Muthana, also an ISIS supporter, against the US Military Academy at West Point or another area university where Bradley knew military recruits to be training,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “But in an alleged attempt to evade the watchful eye of law enforcement, the two ultimately planned to travel to Yemen by cargo ship to fulfil their wish to fight with the terrorist organization. As Bradley suspected, he and his wife were indeed on law enforcement’s radar – he was confiding in and planning their journey for terror with an undercover officer – and their plans to wage attacks against the United States have been thwarted.”
“Today’s announcement underscores the commitment of the FBI and its JTTF partners that anyone who chooses to turn their backs on the United States of America in support of ISIS and its violent agenda will be held accountable,” said Assistant Director Jill Sanborn of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “The charges alleged that both defendants were attempting to travel overseas to join and fight for ISIS and one even expressed desire to commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. In doing so, both are accused of betraying this country and will now face the consequences of these actions in the U.S. justice system.”
“Like others who followed a similar path before them, Mr. Bradley and his wife Mrs. Muthana have now learned their alleged attempts to fight on behalf of ISIS, inside the U.S. or overseas, instead begin with two pairs of FBI JTTF handcuffs and court appearances in lower Manhattan,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. for the FBI New York Field Office. “Our goal is to interdict violence before it occurs, and once again I commend the work of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force personnel who work 24/7 to keep their fellow citizens safe.”
“James Bradley and his wife Arwa Muthana’s alleged determination to join ISIS and carry out terrorism against Americans overseas or here in New York is well documented in this multi-year investigation. It is yet another example of the effectiveness of the undercover operatives, detectives and analysts of the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau working in seamless coordination with our partners at the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force,” said Commissioner Dermot Shea of the New York Police Department.
Bradley and Muthana are charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Since at least 2019, Bradley has expressed violent extremist views, including his desire to support ISIS by traveling overseas to join the group or committing a terrorist attack in the United States. In May 2020, Bradley stated to an undercover law enforcement officer (UC-1) that he believed that ISIS may be good for Muslims because ISIS was establishing a caliphate. Bradley further expressed his desire to conduct a terrorist attack in the United States and discussed potentially seeking to attack the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Bradley explained that if he could not leave the United States because he might be on a terrorism watch list, he would do “something” in the United States instead, referring to carrying out an attack.
In June 2020, Bradley stated to UC-1 that his plan to attack a military base was something he really wanted to do and that it would be his contribution to the cause of jihad. In January 2021, Bradley mentioned to UC-1 another university in New York State where he frequently saw Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets training. Bradley stated that he could use his truck in an attack, and that he along with Muthana could take all of the ROTC cadets “out.”
In late January 2021, Bradley married Muthana in an Islamic marriage ceremony. Beginning before and continuing after their marriage, Bradley and Muthana discussed, planned, and ultimately attempted to travel to the Middle East together in order to join and fight with ISIS. In or about early March 2021, Bradley traveled from New York to Alabama to visit Muthana. Bradley and Muthana subsequently traveled together to New York in order to begin their journey to join ISIS. Thereafter, Bradley raised the possibility of UC-1 helping Bradley and Muthana get on a cargo ship to travel to Asia or Africa for the purpose of ultimately joining and fighting for ISIS. UC-1 subsequently put Bradley in contact with a purported associate who could assist Bradley in making arrangements for Bradley and Muthana to travel to the Middle East via cargo ship. In reality, the purported facilitator was a law enforcement officer acting in an undercover capacity (UC-2).
Later in March 2021, Bradley met with UC-2 and expressed his desire to travel via cargo ship and to “fight among the rank[s] of the Islamic State.” In a subsequent meeting with UC-2, Bradley provided UC-2 $1,000 in cash as travel costs for Bradley and Muthana to take a cargo ship to Yemen. Bradley told UC-2 that he and Muthana both planned to be “fighting” after arriving in the Middle East. Bradley also told UC-2 that he had a dream that he had given “bay’ah,” an Arabic term meaning the oath of allegiance, to Abu Ibrahim al-hashimi al-Qurashi, the current leader of ISIS.
On March 25, 2021, UC-2 told Bradley that the cargo ship would be leaving on Wednesday, March 31, from a seaport in Newark, New Jersey. Bradley praised Allah and confirmed he and Muthana planned to travel on the ship.
On March 31, 2021, Bradley and Muthana met with UC-2 en route to the seaport. During the course of this meeting, Muthana confirmed to UC-2 that she was traveling to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. Bradley and Muthana were arrested as they walked on a gangplank to board the cargo ship. After Muthana was arrested, she waived her Miranda rights and stated during an interview that she was willing to fight and kill Americans if it was for Allah. Also on March 31, 2021, in connection with a court-authorized search, the FBI seized from a bedroom previously used by Bradley what appears to be a hand-drawn image of a jihadi flag commonly used by ISIS and a hand-drawn map of the Pakistan region.
U.S. Attorney Strauss praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, HIS, the NYPD and over 50 other federal, state and local agencies; the NYPD’s Intelligence Division; and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol New York Field Office Director of Field Operations (DFO) Marty C. Raybon. Ms. Strauss also thanked the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, as well as the FBI’s Birmingham, Alabama Field Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew J. DeFilippis and Jason A. Richman of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Trial Attorneys Jennifer Burke and Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.02: Noe Garza, 46, from Edinburg, Texas, was sentenced March 24 in U.S. district court to 63 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Garza pleaded guilty Nov. 2, 2020:
HSI Laredo probe results in more than 5-year sentence of convicted felon for harboring noncitizens, possessing firearm: ‘Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case in coordination with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Edinburg Police Department’
At the hearing, the court heard additional information related to his criminal record to include prior convictions for aggravated assault and aggravated robbery. The judge noted Garza had been breaking the law since he was 17. She added that she was particularly troubled Garza committed these crimes while having a pending human smuggling case from 2016 for which he failed to appear for sentencing.
“HSI works closely with its law enforcement partners in pursuit of identifying, arresting and bringing to justice individuals culpable of human smuggling,” said Timothy Tubbs, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Laredo. “We will continue to utilize our broad authorities to target those believed to engage in such crimes and who place personal profit ahead of public safety.”
According to court documents, on Feb. 28, 2020, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on Garza, but he fled the scene. Authorities soon apprehended him, at which time he admitted to being the caretaker of a stash house in Edinburg and helping coordinate transportation of illegal aliens farther north. A search of the residence revealed five noncitizens and two firearms. Law enforcement also found an additional firearm in the area of the traffic stop. Garza took ownership of all three firearms.
As a previously convicted felon, federal law prohibits Garza from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Garza will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility at a later date.
Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexis Garcia, with the Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.02: The acting U.S. attorney for the middle district of Tennessee made the announcement March 31 in Nashville:
Multi-year investigation by HSI results in federal indictments for 27 individuals: ‘In total, 37 individuals have been charged in the large-scale conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine that began as early as 2018 and was orchestrated from within the Tennessee state prison system………….Other charges resulting from the investigation include kidnapping, money laundering, making threats by electronic communication, and firearms violations’
“HSI agents worked in collaboration with the numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies involved in this multi-year OCDETF investigation, to bring federal charges against individuals alleged to have ties to MS-13, Sur-13 and other street gangs,” said Jerry C Templet, Jr. special agent in charge, HSI Nashville. “This conspiracy, which was orchestrated by an inmate within the state of Tennessee prison system, involved the large-scale distribution of heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine, all dangerous drugs that threaten the safety of our communities. The organization was also alleged to have participated in numerous other violent crimes.”
This ongoing multi-year Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation is the outcome of a previous request by the Tennessee Department of Correction for federal law enforcement assistance to address criminal activity occurring within their system. The numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies involved include: Homeland Security Investigations; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; IRS Criminal Investigations; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; FBI; TDOC-Office of Investigations & Compliance; and others.
The alleged leader of the organization, Humberto Morales, aka Pelon, 29, of Columbia, Tennessee, has been incarcerated since 2014. Morales routinely obtained contraband cell phones smuggled into the prison facilities where he was housed, which he used, along with encrypted communication services such as WhatsApp, to orchestrate activities of the drug distribution network, order acts of violence against individuals, and direct the flow of cash from drug sales between middle Tennessee and Mexico. Drug proceeds were also used to pay co-conspirators, pay drug shipment expenses, bail and legal services, and purchase firearms.
The resulting indictments and other court documents allege that the organization had ties to MS-13, Sur-13, and other street gangs and distributed tens of thousands of fentanyl-laced pills; multiple kilograms of fentanyl and heroin; over 50 pounds of methamphetamine, which was often 95-99 percent pure (commonly referred to as “ice”); as well as smaller quantities of cocaine and marijuana. It also alleges that this well-orchestrated conspiracy is linked to at least one murder, horrific assaults, and multiple other crimes of violence.
Notable acts of violence associated with the conspiracy include the severing of a woman’s hand in November 2019 as punishment for losing drug proceeds. During this incident, the woman was kidnapped, driven around Nashville, and then a hatchet was used to chop off one of her hands, before leaving her lying on the street. This incident was recorded on video and sent via encrypted communication on a cell phone. Another incident involved a hitman for the organization who, at the direction of Morales, cut off part of his own pinky finger to prove his continued loyalty to the organization after he lost or stole a small quantity of drugs.
The indictment also charges Morales and Kim Birdsong, 49, of Nashville, with using facilities of interstate commerce (cellular telephones and encrypted messaging services) in an effort to murder a person known as “Pancho”/”Mekaniko,” and that cash, drugs, and the cancellation of a pre-existing drug-related debt were to be provided as payment for that murder. In April 2019, that person was shot multiple times in Nashville, but survived.
Many of the defendants were charged by criminal complaint as the investigation progressed and have been in custody awaiting indictment. Others were arrested Friday and are currently in federal custody. Two others are fugitives, including Morales’ girlfriend, Erika Vasquez, 32, aka Chula, of Memphis and Columbia, Tenn., and Magdiel Pina Ramirez, aka Big Show, 28, of Mexico. Ramirez is the person described above who served as a hitman in Mexico and cut off part of his own finger. Both are currently believed to be in Mexico.
In addition to those previously mentioned, others charged in this investigation include Tennessee residents: Jose Juan Alvarado, 44, of Nashville; Oscar Avelar Anguiano, aka Chucky, 33, of Nashville; Grecia Barrios, 33, of Nashville; Kim Lamont Birdsong, aka Bird, 49, of Nashville; Jennifer Cano, 33, of Nashville; Ricardo Davalos-Martinez, 28, of Nashville; Mario Garcia Flores, aka Christhian Colmenares-Ruiz, 33, of Nashville; Jonhy Fernando Jimenez, 38, of Nashville; Antonio Sanchez-Lopez, 23, of Nashville; Jennifer Montejo, 33, of Nashville; Korrine Parker, 43, of Nashville, Tenn; Luis Ramirez Escudero, 27, of Nashville; Phillip Christopher Smith, aka Felipe, 41, of Nashville; Sinquan D. Smith, 27, of Nashville; Avigael Cruz, aka Traviesio, 29, of Smyrna; Billy Cruz, aka Pee Wee 26, of Smyrna; Kevin Oliva-Hernandez, 31, of Smyrna; Jairo Rostran, aka Poffi, 28, of Smyrna; Rico Gross, 38, of Goodlettesville; Armando Lopez, aka Mando, 40, of Goodlettesville; Jesse Sanchez, aka Papi, aka Bori, 31, of Goodlettsville; Jacob Lee, aka Grenas, 25, of Manchester; Justin Blake Lee, aka Chino, 26, of Manchester; Jasmine Tayor, 26, of Manchester; Kevin Tidwell, aka Miklo, 27, of Ashland City; Melinda Tidwell, of Ashland City; Terrance Marquette Bobo, 28, of Memphis; Pearline Neal, 31, of Gallatin; Austin Dodd, 25, aka Chucky, of Chapmansboro; Tiffany Messick, 27, of Shelbyville; and Stacy Owens, 31, of Decaturville. Arizona resident Zenaida Cano, 42, of Phoenix; California resident David Ku, 45, of Inglewood; and Gerson Jimenez-Garcia, 38, of Honduras were also charged.
Jennifer Montejo, who was charged in the conspiracy in December 2019 and pleaded guilty in November 2020, was sentenced on Friday to 25 years in prison. She was arrested at a Nashville bus station as she returned from traveling to Los Angeles days earlier. At the time of her arrest, four kilograms of fentanyl and a kilogram of heroin were found in her luggage.
Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart praised the tremendous efforts of the law enforcement agencies involved in this extensive investigation and noted the unparalleled cooperation between the agencies and the significant resources contributed by TDOC and its desire to reduce criminal activity by its inmates.
If convicted, most defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison and many face up to life in prison.
All defendants not previously convicted are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.29: To secure investor capital, Boice inflated Trustify’s monthly and annual revenues in detailed fraudulent financial statements and investor presentations, and he fabricated large corporate business relationships to support his false statements about Trustify’s growth. In addition, Boice created a fake email account to pose as a prominent potential investor, and he then used the account to send a fraudulent email to successfully convince an investment firm to invest nearly $2 million in Trustify:
Former CEO and Founder of Technology Company Sentenced for his Role in Investment-Fraud Scheme: ‘Daniel Boice, 41, of Alexandria, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud on Dec. 3, 2020. According to court documents, beginning in 2015, Boice fraudulently solicited investments in Trustify, an Arlington-based company that Boice promoted as the “Uber” of private investigator services. Boice raised more than $18 million from over 250 individual and corporate investors by, among other things, falsely overstating Trustify’s financial performance’
Additionally, Boice was ordered to pay $18,131,742.21 in restitution and forfeit $3.7 million.
Boice also made false statements to investors about the amount of investor funds that he would personally receive, while diverting a substantial amount of the investor money to his own benefit: Boice personally derived at least $3.7 million in proceeds from the fraud, including several million dollars in transfers from Trustify to bank accounts under his control and in personal charges on credit cards paid with Trustify funds:
Boice diverted Trustify funds, for example, to secure the down payment on a $1.6 million house in Alexandria and a $1 million beach house in New Jersey, as well as to pay for a chauffeur, house manager, and various luxury items: Boice also used Trustify funds to pay for family vacations, private jet trips, and over $100,000 for premium seats at sporting events:
In 2019: Faced with declining revenues and the consequences of Boice’s diversion of company assets for his personal expenditures, Trustify was placed into corporate receivership by the Delaware Chancery Court. The company’s collapse led to over $18 million in losses to investors and over $250,000 in unpaid wages and associated costs for Trustify’s employees:
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh of the Eastern District of Virginia; and Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division made the announcement.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case with assistance from the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Trial Attorney Blake Goebel of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell L. Carlberg of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.
Today, Nienadov and Nikolaienko were sentenced to respective terms of 71 and 33 months in federal prison. Each defendant is expected to face removal proceedings following his term in prison.
“The defendants sought to profit off the illnesses of others, selling false hope – including fake drugs with no active ingredient – and risking the health of vulnerable patients,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This prosecution makes clear that we will hold accountable those who disregard the risks to patients by smuggling counterfeit drugs into the United States.”
“Those that traffic counterfeit drugs pose harm to our country’s most vulnerable citizens and will face consequences,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery of the Southern District of Texas. “Defenseless people need their medications for life-threatening illnesses. Schemes like these put patients at risk of not receiving the actual drugs required for treatment. This prosecution demonstrates the tremendous work by all our partners and our collaborative commitment to protecting our community and combatting counterfeit drug trafficking into the United States.”
“Selling illegal prescription drugs in the U.S. marketplace puts consumers’ health at risk, but it is especially reprehensible when the drugs are intended for use with especially vulnerable populations, such as cancer patients,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who sell illegal prescription drugs, knowing that they can jeopardize patients’ health.”
“We work tirelessly, alongside our federal partners and private sector stakeholders, to prevent counterfeit pharmaceuticals from infiltrating the American marketplace,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Houston. “Today’s sentencing is another example of our relentless efforts to ensure consumers are receiving the life-saving pharmaceuticals that they need to treat their afflictions.”
Nienadov and Nikolaienko were arrested in April 2019 after they arrived in the United States from Ukraine to discuss sales of future unlawful shipments of drugs. They have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined.
HSI and FDA-OCI conducted the investigation.
Senior Trial Attorney Jeff Pearlman of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sebastian Edwards of the Southern District of Texas prosecuted the case. Former CCIPS Senior Trial Attorney Kebharu Smith assisted in the prosecution.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine provided substantial assistance.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.27: A Minnesota woman pleaded guilty today to one count of delivering national defense information to aid a foreign government:
‘According to court documents, Mariam Taha Thompson, 63, formerly of Rochester, Minnesota, worked as a contract linguist at an overseas U.S. military facility where she was entrusted with a top secret government security clearance. Thompson pleaded guilty to transmitting highly sensitive classified national defense information to a foreign national who she believed would provide the information to Lebanese Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization’
“Thompson jeopardized the lives of members of the U.S. military as well as other individuals supporting the United States in a combat zone when she passed classified information to a person she knew was connected to Lebanese Hizballah, a foreign terrorist organization which intended to use the information to hurt this country,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “To describe this conduct is to condemn it. She will now be held to account for this disgraceful personal and professional betrayal of country and colleagues.”
“The United States entrusted the defendant with highly-sensitive classified information regarding one of its most critical tools — human intelligence in an active combat zone,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia. “The defendant’s complete betrayal of that trust placed the lives of American men and women on the battlefield, and their allies, in grave danger. Thompson’s arrest and prosecution demonstrate that those who intentionally compromise classified information that is entrusted to them will face swift and dire consequences.”
“It’s astounding that an American working for the U.S. military overseas would abandon her country in favor of terrorists,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler Jr. for the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI and its partners placed a high priority on this case because the defendant provided classified defense information to a foreign terrorist organization, information that put members of the U.S. military in harm’s way.”
“Today’s plea is an example of the FBI’s work and commitment to protecting the United States and our national defense information,” said Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono for the FBI Washington Field Office. “Holding a top secret government security clearance bears a responsibility and commitment to our nation, and betrayal of that trust will not be tolerated. The FBI is charged with safeguarding our nation’s information and will work diligently, along with our partners, to protect intelligence and national security information and relentlessly pursue those who choose to betray their country.”
During today’s plea hearing, Thompson admitted that, beginning in 2017, she started communicating with her unindicted co-conspirator using a video-chat feature on a secure text and voice messaging application. Over time, Thompson developed a romantic interest in her co-conspirator. Thompson learned that the unindicted co-conspirator had a family member who was in the Lebanese Ministry of the Interior, and that the unindicted co-conspirator claimed to have received a ring from Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanese Hizballah.
In December 2019, while Thompson was assigned to a special operations task force facility in Iraq, the United States launched a series of airstrikes in Iraq targeting Kata’ib Hizballah, an Iranian-backed foreign terrorist organization. These airstrikes culminated in a Jan. 3, 2020, strike that resulted in the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani, as well as the founder of Kata’ib Hizballah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Following Suleimani’s death, the unindicted co-conspirator started asking Thompson to provide “them” with information about the human assets who had helped the United States to target Suleimani. Thompson admitted that she understood “them” to be Lebanese Hizballah, including an unnamed high-ranking military commander.
After receiving this request for information in early January 2020, Thompson began accessing dozens of files concerning human intelligence sources, including true names, personal identification data, background information and photographs of the human assets, as well as operational cables detailing information the assets provided to the U.S. government. Thompson used several techniques to pass this information on to the unindicted co-conspirator, who told her that his contacts were pleased with the information, and that the Lebanese Hizballah military commander wanted to meet Thompson when she came to Lebanon.
When she was arrested by the FBI on Feb. 27, 2020, Thompson had used her access to classified national defense information to provide her co-conspirator with the identities of at least 10 clandestine human assets; at least 20 U.S. targets; and multiple tactics, techniques and procedures. Thompson intended and had reason to believe that this classified national defense information would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of Lebanese Hizballah.
Thompson faces a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only. The sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Today’s guilty plea was the result of the significant cooperation between law enforcement, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community in the successful resolution of this investigation led by the FBI Washington Field Office.
National Security Division Trial Attorneys Jennifer Kennedy Gellie of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Jennifer Levy of the Counterterrorism Section, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia John Cummings are prosecuting the case.