#AceNewsReport – Jan.18: He was stopped by officers from BTP’s dedicated County Lines Taskforce: On 7 January 2022, a judge sentenced him to four years imprisonment and ordered him to pay a £190 victim surcharge.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Gary Morrison, 24, and of Brixton Hill, London, appeared at Inner London Crown Court on 21 December 2021 where he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply drugs of Class A status.
COURT CASE NOTES:
At just after midday on Monday 22 March 2021, Morrison was spotted by officers wandering around Euston railway station looking confused before dashing to a platform to board a train.
His behaviour led to him being stopped by officers who subsequently searched him under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Morrison promptly pulled a small amount of cannabis from his underwear and a short while later pulled a golf ball sized wrap of heroin from the same location. Officers also found £390 in cash on his person.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and being in possession of Class B drugs and taken to police custody. As he was being escorted to custody, he remarked, “I was carrying it for someone else”.
Analysis of the 22-gram ball of drugs found in Morrison’s underwear revealed it was heroin, with an estimated street value of £3,000.
Detective Inspector Graham Moss said:
” Morrison’s shifty behaviour came to the attention of our eagle-eyed officers in plain clothes who followed their instincts and stopped him before he embarked on his journey
“Their work has resulted in a harmful Class A drugs out of circulation and a drug runner behind bars rethinking his criminal activity.
“Our County Lines Taskforce is devoted to making the railway a hostile environment for criminals to move drugs. We’re continually developing our intelligence picture to tackle this crime type, deploying across the network at a moment’s notice to pursue offenders.”
#AceNewsReport – Jan.15: The FBI’s Miami Field Office and HHS-OIG are investigating the case: Trial Attorneys Jamie de Boer and Dermot Lynch of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: A Florida man pleaded guilty today in the Southern District of Florida to a $6.9 million conspiracy to defraud Medicare by paying kickbacks and bribes to obtain doctors’ orders for medically unnecessary lab tests that were then billed to Medicare. The defendant exploited the #COVID19#pandemic by bundling #COVID19 testing with other forms of testing that patients did not need, including genetic testing and tests for rare respiratory pathogens.
According to court documents, Christopher Licata, 45, of Delray Beach, admitted that, as owner of Boca Toxicology LLC (dba Lab Dynamics), he bribed patient brokers who would refer Medicare beneficiaries and doctors’ orders authorizing medically unnecessary genetic testing to Licata’s laboratory.
Licata and these patient brokers entered into sham agreements to disguise the true purpose of these payments. Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, Licata exploited patients’ fears of COVID-19 by bundling COVID-19 tests with more expensive, medically unnecessary testing, including respiratory pathogen panel testing and, at times, genetic testing for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia. In total, Licata caused his laboratory to submit over $6.9 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for these medically unnecessary tests.
Licata pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the department in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
The Fraud Section leads the Health Care Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,600 defendants who have collectively billed federal health care programs and private insurers for approximately $23 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.10: According to court documents filed in Knoxville, Tennessee, Morris Sutton, Emmanuel Hourizadeh and Raymond Nouvahian were charged with conspiring with others to fix prices of DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs sold through the Amazon Marketplace. The price-fixing conspiracy each engaged in was ongoing from at least as early as November 2017 and continued until at least Oct. 29, 2019. Sutton, Hourizadeh and Nouvahian are the second, third and fourth individuals to be charged and to plead guilty in the ongoing investigation.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Three Amazon Marketplace Sellers Plead Guilty to Price Fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs in Ongoing Investigation
” As American consumers increasingly turn to e-commerce, it is critically important to deter, detect and prosecute crimes that prevent fair and open competition in online marketplaces,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “These charges demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s continued commitment to prosecuting anticompetitive conduct wherever it may occur.”
According to a one-count information charging Sutton, and another one-count information charging Hourizadeh and Nouvahian, each of the charged individuals and his co-conspirators agreed to raise and maintain the prices of DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs sold in their Amazon Marketplace storefronts. The Amazon Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that enables third-party vendors to sell new or used products alongside Amazon’s own offerings. The Amazon Marketplace is owned and operated by Amazon.com Inc.
“Price-fixing schemes chip away at the benefits afforded to us by a fair market system,” said Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “Artificially inflating prices to avoid giving consumers a choice, for the sole purpose of benefitting those involved in the fraudulent scheme, is a violation of federal law. These guilty pleas should serve as a warning to other like-minded criminals.”
“We are gratified to have contributed to this investigation and applaud the exceptional work by the investigative team for both protecting the individual consumer and the deterrence of activities in violation of the Sherman Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Ken Cleevely of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG). “Along with our law enforcement partners, the USPS OIG will continue to aggressively investigate those who would engage in this type of harmful conduct.”
A criminal violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office is prosecuting the case, which was investigated with the assistance of the FBI’s New York Field Office and USPS OIG’s Contract Fraud Investigations Division.
Anyone with information concerning price fixing or other anticompetitive conduct related to the sale of DVDs, Blu-Ray Discs, or other products sold through Amazon Marketplace should contact the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office at 312-984-7200, Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258 or www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or FBI’s New York Field Office at 212-384-1000.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.10: His twin brother Bradley Allison of Moreton Close, Hackney, was sentenced to five years and seven months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the same offence.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Steven Allison, 19 (28.11.02) of Moreton Close, Hackney, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm: They both pleaded guilty in February 2021 at the Old Bailey and were sentenced at the same court on Friday, 7 January.
COURT CASE NOTES:
Ti-Reece Taylor, 19 (31.12.02) of Daubeney Road, Hackney was also sentenced on 7 January to four years and six months’ imprisonment. He had pleaded guilty in January 2021 at the Old Bailey to wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
The Old Bailey heard the facts of the incident that took place at around 18:30hrs on Monday, 6 April 2020.
Witnesses described seeing men running with knives around the Woodberry Down area, near Finsbury Park, wearing dark coloured tracksuits. Another witness later described walking along the canal path and seeing the victim’s friends panicked and distressed after the 16-year-old boy had been stabbed.
The suspects fled the scene and the victim was found on the ground after he had been stabbed six times and had suffered serious abdominal injuries. Police officers administered initial first aid along with three off-duty doctors who happened to be nearby. The victim was then airlifted to an east London hospital and was treated for his injuries.
At the scene officers found a knife broken in half. During a later search of an address in Hackney, the other half of the knife was recovered. They were later forensically examined and found to be one and the same weapon.
During the search officers also found clothes belonging to the defendants which they were wearing during the incident.
Detective Constable Luke Martinez from the Central East Gangs Taskforce North said:
During the investigation officers studied related drill music videos and managed to identify from them that this was a revenge attack linked to gangs. On Bradley Allison’s phone, police found song lyrics that referenced a broken weapon and mentioned two of the suspects by name.
” In a matter of minutes the victim was stabbed multiple times and left critically injured on the street. This attack could have easily resulted in murder and the victim was extremely lucky to survive.
“The sentences received today should send out a clear message; if you choose to participate in the gang lifestyle and aggressively attack others, you should expect a lengthy prison. These young men are now paying the price for the choices they have made.”
Hard calls save lives. Are you close to someone on the fringes of knife crime? Do the right thing, please give information, 100 per cent anonymously, through the independent charity Crimestoppers.
No piece of information about knife crime is insignificant or too small. Any information you give to Crimestoppers can make a difference in reducing knife crime and the harm it causes to families.
Crimestoppers never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Fill in their quick online form or call 0800 555 111. It could save a life.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.07: The Pakistan-born politician was a teenager himself at the time of the offenses, Sheffield Crown Court heard. The prosecutor said that, while Ahmed had claimed all along that the allegations were a “malicious fiction,” a phone recording of a conversation between his two victims back in 2016 proved beyond reasonable doubt that the story had not been “made up or concocted.”
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Ex-peer sexually assaulted boy and attempted to rape girl a woman who was party to that conversation recounted before the jury how Ahmed had attempted to rape her in the early 1970s according to RT News
The head of the Special Crime Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Rosemary Ainslie, praised the guilty verdict as proof that “where there is sufficient evidence, even in challenging cases, the CPS will bring a prosecution, put evidence before a jury and see rightful convictions,” even, as in this case, the defendant had held a “position of power, influence and responsibility for some time in the House of Lords.”
Ahmed’s two brothers, Mohammed Farouq and Mohammed Tariq, were charged with the indecent assault of the same boy whom Ahmed had also abused, but deemed unfit to stand trial. The politician was bailed pending a sentencing hearing to be held on February 4.
Ahmed is no stranger to allegations of sexual misconduct. He was forced to resign from the House of Lords in November 2020, following a conduct committee report that accused him of sexually and emotionally exploiting a vulnerable woman who had sought his assistance.
Ahmed has the dubious distinction of being the first peer recommended for expulsion. He stepped down of his own accord, however, before his colleagues could remove him from his post. The scandal that led to his downfall at the time was brought to public attention by an investigation carried out by the BBC program ‘Newsnight’.You can share this story on social media:
#AceNewsReport – Dec.23: Bettison was remanded in custody to appear at the same court for sentencing on a date to be set in January.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Keith Bettison, 73 (20.11.48) of Ranyard Close, Chessington appeared on trial at the Old Bailey for the murder of Ildiko Bettison on Monday, 13 December: On Tuesday, 21 December, the jury unanimously found him guilty.
COURT CASE NOTES:
Bettison, called police at 01:18hrs on 31 October 2020 claiming to have killed his wife at their home on Raynards Close in Chessington.
Officers and the London Ambulance Service attended, and found 48-year-old Ildiko Bettison in the bedroom of the property, unresponsive. She had suffered facial injuries.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, Hungarian born Ildiko was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bettison, then aged 71, was arrested at the scene and was charged later that same day with his wife’s murder.
On the night of the murder the couple had been drinking heavily and had been heard by neighbours to be arguing loudly inside their home.
Despite later pleading not guilty to the offence, when officers questioned him at the address, Bettison said: “I killed the b****, what more do you want to know.”
A friend of Ildiko told the court how the couple’s relationship had deteriorated after Bettison resigned from his job, becoming unemployed in June 2020 and that the arguments and alcohol abuse had escalated in the months leading up to the murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall, of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said:
This was a needless act of extreme violence fuelled by uncontrolled anger and alcohol.
“No amount of remorse on the part of Keith Bettison will bring Ildiko back to her family. Due to his actions their extended family has lost them both and our thoughts are with them today.”
#AceNewsReport – Dec.22: Hilda was seriously injured after being robbed by Young as she approached the front door of her home at Langport House, Overton Road, SW9 on 30 April 2001.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Junior Young, 39 (19.10.82), of no fixed address, was jailed for killing pensioner Hilda Lockert in Brixton in 2001. He was also sentenced to five years for robbery, to be served concurrently.
21 December 2021 13:42
COURT CASE NOTES:
The incident left her with a fractured knee which required an operation. While in hospital she developed a blood clot and died on 15 May 2001, on her 86th birthday.
At the time of the attack, there was no CCTV, no witnesses and forensic analysis did not provide a strong evidential match.
As part of a review in 2015, DNA samples from Hilda’s shopping bag were re-examined, using an extremely sensitive method and specialised software. The scientist carrying out the examination concluded that the DNA sample was 1 billion times more likely to have come from Young, Hilda and another unrelated person than Hilda and two other unrelated people.
In an impact statement read at court, Hilda’s nephew Brian Bullock, said:
” We were devastated when my aunt was killed.
“I can’t tell you what it was like walking into that hospital ward and seeing what they had done to her. My aunt was a proud lady and refused to show me the bruises. I remember her asking me why her, why did they do this to her. I didn’t know what to say to her. What do you say, how do you explain that she was probably attacked as she was too old to defend herself.
“We miss her terribly, even after all this time, she had many years left to live.”
Medical experts concluded there was a “clear medical and real causal relationship” between the fracture to Hilda’s knee and her death.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard, from Specialist Crime, said:
” We are very pleased that Young will finally face the consequences of his actions and that Hilda’s family have now seen justice served.
“Hilda’s life was cruelly taken away for the sake of a few pounds and the impact of her sudden death has had a significant impact on those who knew and loved her. She has never been forgotten.
“We hope this case demonstrates that we will never give up trying to identify those responsible for heinous crimes of this nature. We will continue to do all we can so that more families like Hilda’s get justice for their loved ones, no matter how much time has passed.”
#AceNewsReport – Dec20: Monsanto admitted in a plea agreement filed today that it committed 30 misdemeanor crimes related to the use of a glufosinate ammonium-based product sold under the brand name Forfeit 280. After using the product in 2020 on corn fields on Oahu, Monsanto allowed workers to enter the fields during a six-day “restricted-entry interval” (REI) after the product was applied.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Company also Agrees to Plead Guilty to Felony Offenses Related to Banned Pesticide Alleged in $10 Million Deferred Prosecution Agreement Filed in 2019
LOS ANGELES – In court documents filed today in Hawaii, Monsanto Company agreed to plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes related to the use of a pesticide on corn fields in Hawaii, and the company further agreed to plead guilty to two other charges related to the storage of a banned pesticide that were the subject of a 2019 Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
The plea agreement calls for Monsanto to serve three years of probation, pay a total of $12 million and continue for another three years a comprehensive environmental compliance program that includes third-party auditor.
As a result of the conduct in which Monsanto allowed workers on 30 occasions to enter fields sprayed with Forfeit 280 during the REI, the company violated a 2019 DPA related to the storage of a banned pesticide. According to the documents filed today, Monsanto will plead guilty to two felony charges filed in 2019 that the government would have dismissed if the company had complied with federal law. In conjunction with the DPA related to the two felony charges of illegally storing an acute hazardous waste, Monsanto pleaded guilty in early 2020 to a misdemeanor offense of unlawfully spraying a banned pesticide – specifically methyl parathion, the active ingredient in Penncap-M – on research crops at one of its facilities on Maui.
“Monsanto is a serial violator of federal environmental laws,” said United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “The company repeatedly violated laws related to highly regulated chemicals, exposing people to pesticides that can cause serious health problems.”
“The defendant in this case failed to follow regulations governing the storage of hazardous wastes and the application of pesticides, putting people and the environment at risk,” said Scot Adair, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement program in Hawaii. “Today’s plea agreement shows that EPA will hold responsible those who violate laws designed to protect communities from exposure to hazardous chemicals.”
In the new case filed today, Monsanto admitted that “due to a lack of oversight and supervision by Monsanto,” its workers violated a change to the REI period after the spraying of Forfeit 280 “by entering the fields 30 times to perform field-corn scouting within six days of spraying.” (“Corn scouting” consists of checking the corn for things such as weeds, insects and disease.) The REI change for Forfeit 280 – which was extended from 12 hours to six days – was part of an industry-wide change for products containing glufosinate ammonium prompted by an EPA decision in late 2016.
Monsanto admitted that it violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the registration, sale, distribution and use of pesticides, by failing to comply with Forfeit 280’s labeling. The label for Forfeit 280 stated: “It is a violation of Federal law to use Forfeit 280 in a manner inconsistent with its label.” Monsanto illegally used Forfeit 280 on Oahu facilities known as Lower Kunia and Haleiwa.
In the 2019 case related to Penncap-M, Monsanto pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of unlawfully spraying the banned pesticide on corn seed and research crops at its Valley Farm facility on Maui in 2014. Monsanto admitted using Penncap-M in violation of FIFRA, even though the company knew its use was prohibited after 2013 pursuant to a “cancellation order” issued by the EPA. The company further admitted that, after the 2014 spraying, it told employees to re-enter the sprayed fields seven days later – even though Monsanto knew that workers should have been prohibited from entering the area for 31 days.
The felony offenses covered by the DPA – the two charges to which Monsanto will plead guilty – are the unlawful storage of an acute hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Penncap-M was a “restricted use pesticide” that could not be purchased or used by the public, and it could only be used by a certified applicator because of the possible adverse effects to the environment and injury to applicators or bystanders that could result.
From March 2013 through August 2014, even though the pesticide was on the company’s lists of chemicals that needed disposal, Monsanto stored 160 pounds of Penncap-M hazardous waste at a facility on Molokai, which made Monsanto a “Large Quantity Generator” of hazardous waste under RCRA. “Monsanto knew that Penncap-M had the substantial potential to be harmful to others and to the environment,” it admitted in the documents filed today.
In addition to spraying the banned pesticide at one of its three facilities on Maui, Monsanto also stored a total of 111 gallons of Penncap-M at Valley Farm and two other sites known as Maalaea and Piilani. Just like on Molokai, the storage of Penncap-M at the three Maui sites made Monsanto a “Large Quantity Generator” of acute hazardous waste at the three locations, according to court documents.
Furthermore, when it transported Penncap-M to its Valley Farm site in 2014, the company violated federal law when it failed to use a proper shipping manifest to identify the hazardous material and when it failed to obtain a permit to accept hazardous waste at that site.
In relation to the DPA and the prior guilty plea, Monsanto paid $10.2 million – a $6 million criminal fine under the DPA, a $200,000 fine for the FIFRA offense, and $4 million in community service payments to Hawaiian government entities.
In the plea agreement filed today, Monsanto agreed to pay another $6 million criminal fine, as well as an addition $6 million in community service payments. Four Hawaiian agencies will receive $1.5 million payments:
The Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Use Revolving Fund – Pesticide Disposal Program/Pesticide Safety Training;
the Department of the Attorney General, Criminal Justice/Investigations Division;
the Department of Health, Environmental Management Division, to support environmental-health programs; and
the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources.
As a result of the two actions taken by the Justice Department, Monsanto has agreed to pay a total of $22.2 million for the two RCRA felonies and the 31 FIFRA misdemeanor offenses.
Monsanto has agreed to have representatives appear in United States District Court in the near future to enter guilty pleas to a total of 32 offenses.
The sentence detailed in the court documents today are subject to the approval of United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Erik M. Silber and Dennis Mitchell of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section and Mark A. Williams, Chief of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section. In this case, these prosecutors are acting as special attorneys appointed by the Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 515. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii was recused from this investigation.Thom Mrozek Director of Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 894-6947
#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: Savannah Brockhill inflicted “catastrophic” injuries on Star Hobson, whose mother was also convicted of causing or allowing her death: Star suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital in West Yorkshire on 22 September 2020: Her mother Frankie Smith and Brockhill will be sentenced on Wednesday.
#AceDailyNews says according to a BBC UK News Report: Star Hobson Case: Savannah Brockhill guilty of murder after 7-week trial …she will be sentenced on Wednesday …..
Star’s great-grandfather, David Fawcett, said the toddler’s death had “torn the family apart” and they would “never, ever, get over losing Star”.
“You just can’t believe we’re never going to see her again,” he said.
“It’s the facts of what happened to her as well, that’s killing us. To lose a child, it’s a horrible feeling. But it’s the way we lost Star that’s just horrendous.”
David Fawcett doted on great-granddaughter Star and said her death had “torn the family apart”
Mr Fawcett said the family felt let down by Bradford social services and Star’s death “could have been prevented if they acted sooner”.
Five referrals were made by family members and friends to Bradford City Council between January and September 2020, including a final alert from Smith’s grandfather, Frank, weeks before Star’s death.
‘Warning signs not seen’
Smith’s friend, Hollie Jones, who used to babysit Star, said she felt “really angry” and that “social services need to step up more”.
“I’m just really gutted because I think changes really need to be made…because if they took my referral seriously, potentially Star wouldn’t be gone.”
In a joint statement, Bradford Council, along with the city’s safeguarding agencies, said they “deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen”.
“We are very aware as partners that there is much that we need to learn from this case.
“We have already put in place actions that will improve our practice so we learn those lessons. But we need to fully understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed.”
David Fawcett: The toddler’s family say Star’s death “could have been prevented” if social services acted sooner when referrals were made to them
Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Social workers in our district support a great many children and young people and carry out work in circumstances that are often very challenging.
“It is essential, therefore, that lessons are learned from Star’s terrible death so we can better protect our children.”
The authority’s Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review into Star’s death is due to be published in January 2022.
The Department for Education said findings from the report would “feed into the national review of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ death” which was commissioned earlier this month by the Secretary of State.
However, Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley, has called for the resignation of Susan Hinchcliffe and the council’s chief executive Kersten England in the light of the Star Hobson case.
Bradford Council bosses should hang their heads in shame.
I have no confidence children’s services will ever be fit for purpose under its current leadership.
I am afraid it is my view that Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe and Chief Executive Kersten England must resign.— Robbie Moore MP (@_RobbieMoore) December 14, 2021
Frankie Smith was cleared by the jury at Bradford Crown Court of an alternative count of manslaughter.
More generally, during a decade of squeezed budgets, children’s services have increasingly concentrated efforts on clearly high-risk cases. Research shows between 2010 and 2020, spending on early intervention halved.
This lower-level family support can head-off later problems and certainly Star’s mother was said to have struggled as a parent for some time.
It is impossible to know whether more family services, embedded in local communities, would have made any difference in these cases, but we do know they provide an important safety net.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: The court heard that during the evening of Saturday, 17 April, emergency services were called to Summerwood Road following reports of a stabbing.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: James Martin Burton, 35 (21.02.86) of Summerwood Road, TW7 was found guilty on Monday, 13 December of section 18 GBH with intent at Isleworth Crown Court – he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
COURT CASE NOTES:
They found a male victim who had suffered a head injury after being attacked by Burton with a knife. He told police the attack had happened following an earlier disagreement with Burton over money.
Burton was arrested just over 24 hours later following an extensive search operation by police. He was taken into police custody and charged the following day.
During a search of his home address, a heavily blood stained hooded top was found and a forensic examination matched the victim’s DNA profile on the outside lower right sleeve. Other blood spots matched Burton’s DNA.
During the evening of Friday, 23 April, a black handled knife was recovered from the roof area close to where the assault occurred.
A forensic examination revealed that blood found on the blade and handle matched the victim’s DNA profile and furthermore a swab taken from the knife’s handle revealed that majority of the DNA sample belonged to Burton and the victim.
Detective Constable Mitesh Mulji from the West Area Command Unit, who led the investigation, said:
” Tackling knife crime remains a priority for the police and I am delighted that the jury carefully considered the evidence in front of them and were able to see through Burton’s lies.
“This was a particularly nasty and violent crime for which I am very pleased that we have been able to bring Burton to justice. A dangerous man will now spend a considerable amount of time in prison”.
“I would like to commend the victim for showing incredible courage and strength in supporting this prosecution. I hope this conviction and sentence brings comfort to him and his family.
“I would also like to thank the other agencies who assisted with this investigation including Hounslow Council and the forensic services, along with the many officers whose dedication has seen Burton jailed.”
#AceNewsReport – Dec.14: A Georgia woman pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud the United States by promoting a nationwide tax fraud scheme and preparing false tax returns for the scheme’s participants.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: According to court documents, Yomarie Febres, 47, of Covington, prepared 77 false income tax returns that collectively sought more than $23.8 million in tax refunds from the IRS. Between 2014 and 2016
Febres’s co-conspirators held seminars throughout the country where they promoted the scheme and recruited clients to file false tax returns with the IRS by convincing them that their mortgages and other debts entitled them to tax refunds. Information was then collected from clients and provided to Febres for use in the preparation of false tax returns.
The tax returns Febres prepared falsely claimed that banks and other financial institutions had withheld large amounts of income taxes from the clients, which entitled the clients to refunds. In reality, the financial institutions had not paid any income to or withheld any taxes from the clients. The false tax returns Febres prepared caused the IRS to pay out more than $15 million in fraudulent refunds to scheme participants. Febres concealed her role in the scheme by falsely reporting that all of the returns were “self-prepared,” when, in fact, she had created them.
As part of her plea, Febres admitted that her co-conspirators charged clients approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in fees to participate in the scheme. A portion of the fee – typically $500 per client – was paid to Febres for each tax return she prepared. Febres further admitted that she did not report on her 2014 and 2015 income tax returns the income she received for preparing these false returns. She also admitted to claiming false business losses on her personal tax returns.
Febres is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. She faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States and three years in prison for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. Febres also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Several of Febres’s co-conspirators are scheduled to go to trial in January 2022.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann for the Middle District of Florida made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind, Kavitha Bondada and Isaiah Boyd III of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chauncey A. Bratt of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.12: She stated that after arriving home from birthday celebrations, Awil attacked her in the house, forcing her into a room. He banned her from eating or drinking and repeatedly assaulted her, leaving her unconscious.
#AceDailyNews Court Report: Abdul Awil, 29 (18.04.92) of Rainville Road, W6 was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Friday, 10 December to a total of 22 years’ imprisonment for GBH with intent, false imprisonment and two counts of rape. He was also issued with a Restraining Order for life: Awil was found guilty at the same court on Friday, 23 August.
COURT CASE NOTES:
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) to an address in Kensington on Friday, 2 October.
The victim disclosed that her partner, Awil, had beaten and raped her for a period of four days between approximately 28 September and 1 October 2020.
The victim sought refuge at a family member’s house after the four days, when her cousin then called an ambulance.
Detective Constable Gemma Harkin, who led the investigation, said:
” Awil has, at every turn, denied responsibility for his actions. He took advantage of a vulnerable female who trusted him, and subjected her to such violence that no human being should ever have to endure.
“The victim has displayed immense courage in coming forward and we hope that she finds some comfort in the sentence which has been handed down.
“I would urge any victims to please talk to us. We have specially trained officers who work closely with partner organisations to provide the right support. Please do not suffer in silence – we are here to help and will do all we can to pursue prosecutions and achieve justice.”
#AceNewsReport – Dec.08: Today (7 December) he was sentenced to 12 years for rape and nine years for sexual assault by penetration to be served concurrently…..
#AceDailyNews Crown Court Report: Ernesto Lusadisu (DOB 01/05/1986), of Sawley Road, Miles Platting, was found guilty at a trial in November to one count of rape and sexual assault by penetration.
COURT CASE NOTES:
The court heard how, in the early hours of the morning on 21 January 2018, Lusadisu approached the victim on Church Street in Manchester City Centre and told her he was a taxi driver.
The victim had become separated from her friends after a night out and was heading towards Manchester Piccadilly station to get a taxi home.
The woman was intoxicated and unsteady on her feet, the court heard.
Lusadisu walked her to his car and agreed to drive her home.
The victim urged Lusadisu to stop driving upon realising that he was heading in the wrong direction. Instead, he told her that he was taking her to his home address.
The court heard how, once outside his address on Sawley Street, he dragged the victim to his flat where he raped her.
The victim managed to get away and alerted a resident in a nearby flat who alerted the police.
” The victim trusted this man to safely drive her home.
Detective Sergeant Kirsty Wroe, of GMP Trafford CID, said:
“Instead, he lied and took advantage of her by abusing her in one of the worst ways possible. It is only right that Lusadisu remains behind bars for 12 years.
“I would like to thank the victim for her cooperation through what must have been an incredibly gruelling and tough investigation.
“While she may never be able to fully move on from this awful incident, I hope that today’s sentence will bring some form of closure to an incredibly tough period in her life.”
Anyone affected by this case should contact police online, if able, via www.gmp.police.uk , or call 101. Details can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of support services available to victims.
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available:
Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email email@example.com
Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to boys and men in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182
#AceNewsReport – Dec.08: According to court documents, Josmell and Carlos Espinoza co-owned and operated the JFC Peru call center in Peru. In addition, Josmell Espinoza owned and operated the Camino Al Progreso and Latin Shop call centers, and Carlos Espinoza separately owned and operated the Latinos en Accion and Latin Force call centers in Peru.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Two Peruvian nationals responsible for operating a series of call centers in Peru that defrauded Spanish-speaking U.S. residents by falsely threatening them with arrest, deportation and other legal consequences pleaded guilty to federal charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Josmell Espinoza Huerta (Josmell Espinoza), 32, and his brother Carlos Alberto Espinoza Huerta (Carlos Espinoza), 40, both from Lima, Peru, pleaded guilty for their roles in conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through several call centers in Peru that they owned and operated.
From April 2011 until July 2019, the Espinoza brothers and their co-conspirators in Peru called victims — many of whom were recent immigrants from Central America, Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries — and fraudulently threatened them with legal consequences if they did not make payments for purportedly delivered products and settlement fees for English-language classes. The defendants and their co-conspirators used false statements and threats to obtain money from victims across the United States by falsely telling the victims that they were required to accept and pay for English-language courses and other educational products and that failure to do so placed them in legal jeopardy. The defendants and their co-conspirators then falsely threatened to have their victims arrested and deported in order to collect payments from many vulnerable victims in southern Florida and across the United States.
In pleading guilty, both defendants admitted that they and their employees falsely claimed to be lawyers, court officials, federal agents and representatives of a so-called “minor crimes court,” which does not exist. The callers falsely threatened victims with court proceedings, negative marks on their credit reports, imprisonment and immigration consequences if they did not immediately pay for the purportedly delivered products and settlement fees. Carlos Espinoza caused victims to lose over $1.3 million, and Josmell Espinoza caused victims to lose over $700,000.
“The Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch will steadfastly pursue and prosecute transnational criminals who defraud vulnerable U.S. consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Those who impersonate U.S. government officials and use threats to prey on our immigrant communities will be brought to justice and held accountable in U.S. courts.”
“This case demonstrates that the long arm of justice has no limits when it comes to reaching fraudsters who prey on our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida. “We will continue to bring American justice to transnational criminals who use fear tactics and intimidation to steal money from immigrants, seniors and others who live in this country.”
“For many years, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and their law enforcement partners have investigated and prosecuted international criminal rings targeting U.S. consumers to steal their hard-earned money,” said Inspector in Charge Joseph Cronin of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Miami Division. “We will continue to aggressively pursue these criminals to ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Carlos Espinoza and Josmell Espinoza evaded arrest at the time of their co-defendants’ arrests and were subsequently located in Peru and extradited to the United States on June 25. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. will sentence Josmell Espinoza in Miami on Feb. 9, 2022, and will sentence Carlos Espinoza on Feb. 14, 2022.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch investigated the case. Senior Trial Attorney Phil Toomajian and Trial Attorney Max Goldman of the Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case. The Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Peruvian National Police provided critical assistance.
Information about the Department of Justice’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice. Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its elder fraud enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).
#AceNewsReport – Dec.07: Ms Suu Kyi faces 11 charges in total, which have been widely condemned as unjust. She has denied all charges: She has been in detention since a military coup in February which toppled her elected civilian government: It is not clear when or if Ms Suu Kyi will be placed in prison. She is being held at an undisclosed location.
#AceDailyNews Aung San Suu Kyi Court Report: Myanmar court sentences ousted leader to four years jail after she was found guilty on charges of inciting dissent and breaking #COVID19 rules under a natural disasters law according to BBC World News Report:
Co-defendant Win Myint, the former president and Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party ally, was also jailed on Monday for four years under the same charges.
UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned the “sham trial” and said it would only “deepen rejection of the coup”.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called on Myanmar to release all political prisoners and allow a return to democracy.
“The arbitrary detention of elected politicians only risks further unrest,” she said.
And rights group Amnesty called the charges “bogus”, saying it was the “latest example of the military’s determination to eliminate all opposition and suffocate freedoms in Myanmar”.
Ms Suu Kyi is next due in court on 14 December, when she will face charges of possessing illegal walkie-talkies.
Suu Kyi ‘struggling’
The 76-year-old has been slapped with an array of charges, including several counts of corruption and violating the official secrets act.
In one case, Ms Suu Kyi was convicted of violating Covid restrictions for campaigning during last year’s election – she had waved to supporters while wearing a mask and face shield.
In the other she was found guilty of inciting unrest for a statement calling for public opposition to the coup, put out by her party after she had already been taken into custody.
Ms Suu Kyi’s lawyers, who had been the sole source of information on the legal proceedings, have also been served with gag orders forbidding them from releasing information.
Little has been seen or heard of her apart from her brief court appearances:
A spokesman for the newly formed National Unity Government, a group made up of pro-democracy figures and opponents of the coup, had earlier told the BBC Ms Suu Kyi was struggling.
“She is not OK… military generals are preparing for 104 years of sentences for her in prison. They want her to die in prison,” Dr Sasa said.
The military had seized power alleging voter fraud in general elections held last year in which the NLD won by a landslide.
However, independent election observers have said the elections were largely free and fair.
The coup triggered widespread demonstrations and Myanmar’s military has cracked down on pro-democracy protesters, activists and journalists.
Ms Suu Kyi is one of more than 10,600 people to have been arrested by the junta since February, and at least 1,303 others killed in the demonstrations, according to the monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
An icon who fell from grace
Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years in detention at the hands of the military between 1989 and 2010, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar.
Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in 2015, but she was prevented from becoming president herself by rules excluding those with foreign national children from holding that office. She was widely regarded as the de facto ruler of the country.
However her reputation abroad was severely damaged by the way she handled the Rohingya crisis, which started in 2017.
In 2019 Ms Suu Kyi appeared at the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) to defend her country against accusations of genocide.
How did this peace icon end up at a genocide trial?
#AceNewsReport – Dec.03: Arthur’s death on 17 June last year, came after a campaign of cruelty inflicted by both Tustin and Hughes during which Arthur was forced to stand for hours on end and suffered repeated assaults.Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, aged six..
#AceDailyNews Crown Court Full Report: The stepmother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years for starving, poisoning and then murdering the six-year-old boy….
COURT CASE NOTES:
Stepmother Emma Tustin has today (Wednesday 2 December) been convicted of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was just six years old when he died from a severe blow to his head.
His father Thomas Hughes has been convicted of his manslaughter.
On 16 June 2020, officers were called to Tustin’s home in Cranmore Road, Shirley, where Arthur was unconscious on the floor. Paramedics tended to him having arrived to find a neighbour performing CPR on the six-year-old.
Arthur had bruising to his head and body, appeared under-weight and his gums were bleeding. He was taken to hospital but sadly despite the best efforts of medical staff he died at 1am the following morning.
The accounts given by Hughes and his partner Tustin, differed but revolved around Arthur’s behaviour being poor and him banging his own head off the floor.
But due to the nature of Arthur’s injuries and the accounts given by Tustin and Hughes, they were arrested on suspicion of murder.
We were able to painstakingly piece together what had happened with investigators trawling through hours of CCTV from inside the home in Cranmore Road.
We also studied hundreds of videos, audio files and photos found on Tustin’s and Hughes’ mobile phones, and analysed thousands of messages they sent each other.
And the compelling evidence they revealed clearly illustrated the systematic cruelty inflicted on Arthur by both Tustin and Hughes.
We worked painstakingly with medical experts from various areas of clinical medicine and pathology to show that the six-year-old’s death had been caused by a head trauma inflicted on him by an adult.
And that the most likely way that happened was by him being vigorously shaken and his head banged repeatedly against a hard surface.Emma Tustin
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, said:
This has been a truly heartbreaking case and has deeply affected everyone who has been involved in it.
“An innocent boy was subjected to a campaign of cruelty by the very people who were meant to be loving and protecting him.
“Despite the lies they told, we carefully built a case against the two of them. We were able to seize their phones and found the messages they exchanged which showed their anger towards Arthur.
“As part of our investigations we were able to access their home where we found a CCTV camera set up in their living room. And the footage from that helped us build up a picture of the grim reality of Arthur’s life inside that house.”
Campaign of cruelty
The court was shown footage of Arthur spending hours at a time forcibly standing in isolation and he would be punished for unauthorised movement including attempts to sit down, to ease his discomfort.
And they heard many examples of audio recordings, where Arthur is being sworn at, insulted, and subjected to numerous threats of violence.
Sadly we found no evidence of a space in the house in Cranmore Road that Arthur could have called his own. Officers found his duvet shoved in a cupboard under the stairs, because he was made to sleep on the floor in the living room each night.
Tustin alone had more than 200 audio recordings of Arthur on her phone. In many he can be heard asking to go and see other members of his family. In others he can be heard begging for help; saying that he’s not being fed and he needs food and a drink.
After Arthur’s death a neighbour told us that she’d heard Tustin shouting ‘face the wall’. On another occasion Hughes told her that if she heard someone saying ‘don’t kill me’ she should ignore it, assuring her that he wasn’t hurting Arthur.
We took evidence from another witness who commented that when she’d seen Arthur in February he’d seemed healthy, but by June he appeared physically weak, struggling to stand and he had difficulty in climbing stairs.
Another described the child as ‘broken’.
We also found a string of furious text messages between Tustin and Hughes on the day before Arthur was fatally injured. Then evidence of a short phone call, before another text from Hughes to Tustin’s saying: “Just end him”.Thomas Hughes
Det Insp Harrison said: “It’s not clear why Tustin and Hughes started to make Arthur’s place in his family home so truly awful and why they caused him such harm and suffering – but that harm and suffering was sustained and escalated over time.
“Nor is it clear why the couple installed a CCTV camera in their own living room, but sadly that footage has proved invaluable in demonstrating some of the hardships, emotional abuse and physical violence Arthur endured behind closed doors.”
On the day Arthur was fatally injured Hughes had left the house at just after 1pm, leaving his son alone with Tustin. So it is only she who will ever know exactly how Arthur suffered the blow that killed him.
But we used CCTV, as well as the calls and messages the couple exchanged, to provide the court with a compelling case that she had inflicted that injury and then failed to call an ambulance for 12 minutes.
During those 12 minutes, Tustin is seen to carry Arthur into the living room, into the kitchen and back into the living room, before propping him up on the sofa
Hughes then arrives back home, and the pair try to give Arthur a drink and some children’s paracetamol medicine, before 999 is finally called.
Det Insp Harrison said: “We believe that both Tustin and then Hughes, understood how seriously Arthur was injured. Only the pair of them can explain why it took so long for an ambulance to be called, but we’d suggest it was the final act of cruelty they inflicted on Arthur.”
Hospital tests revealed Arthur had abnormally high salt-levels and he was seen to have bruising in many areas uncommon for accidental bruising in a child.
A post mortem later revealed that Arthur had over 100 marks and bruises on his head, body and limbs including bruising of different ages.
A number of medical experts told the court that they did not believe the injuries Arthur had could have been self-inflicted; that a child of six simply could not have generated enough force to have caused the fatal injury to his own head.
A specialist kidney consultant, said that for Arthur to have had such high levels of salt in his system could only be explained by one of two situations.
Either Arthur had ingested at least six and half tablespoons of salt on the day he was fatally injured; and the expert couldn’t see how a child would have done this, other than if he was deliberately force-fed a mix of salt and water by an adult.
Or that Arthur had repeatedly been poisoned with heavily contaminated food and/or water over a longer period of time.
The jury at Coventry Crown Court today found Emma Tustin, aged 32, of Cranmore Road, Solihull guilty of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Thomas Hughes aged 29, of Stroud Road, Solihull, guilty of manslaughter.
The couple also faced four charges of cruelty to a child.
On the opening day of the trial on 5 October Tustin pleaded guilty to one of those charges – wilfully ill-treating Arthur on multiple occasions by forced standing, isolation and intimidation.
In the final days of the trial Tustin admitted a second charge of child cruelty, namely assaulting Arthur on multiple occasions.
Today she was convicted of two further charges of cruelty by withholding food and drink and by administering salt.
Hughes was also convicted on two counts of cruelty, by forced standing, isolation and intimidation, and also by assaulting Arthur. Hughes was cleared of murder, cruelty by withholding food and drink and by administering salt.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.03: Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico, and Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: Contractor Arrested for Paying Bribes: A mayor pleaded guilty yesterday in Puerto Rico to engaging in a bribery scheme in which he received cash payments in exchange for awarding municipal contracts to a particular company (Company A). Relatedly, a Puerto Rico contractor was arrested today for allegedly paying bribes and kickbacks to the mayor.
Felix Delgado-Montalvo, 40, was the mayor of and highest-ranking government official in the municipality of Cataño. Delgado-Montalvo resigned his position as mayor on Tuesday. According to court documents, Delgado-Montalvo unjustly enriched himself by accepting bribes, including cash payments from a particular person, whose business, Company A, would then benefit by being rewarded municipal contracts, including a contract worth nearly $50,000. As part of his plea agreement, Delgado-Montalvo agreed to forfeit $105,820 as proceeds of his illegal conduct.
Relatedly, Mario Villegas-Vargas, 42, of Gurabo, who owned an asphalt and paving company in Puerto Rico, was indicted for allegedly paying kickbacks and bribes to Delgado-Montalvo in exchange for valuable municipal contracts. According to the indictment, beginning in or around June 2017, Villegas-Vargas paid kickbacks and bribes in exchange for Delgado-Montalvo exerting his influence on municipal officials in Cataño, resulting in Villegas-Vargas’s business receiving over $9.9 million in municipal contracts.
Delgado-Montalvo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Chief Judge Raúl M. Arias-Marxuach for the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Villegas-Vargas is charged with conspiracy to pay bribes, bribery, and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering. If convicted of all counts, Villegas-Vargas faces a maximum total 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.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.
The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Ryan R. Crosswell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott H. Anderson and Nicholas W. Cannon of U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and Villegas-Vargas is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.03: The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Madison (South Dakota) Police Department.
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: South Dakota man indicted for child pornography following HSI investigation: Jordan Charles Opdahl, 29, was indicted Nov. 9. He pleaded not guilty Nov. 24 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy.
The indictment alleges that on or about Oct. 20, 2020, Opdahl knowingly received and distributed, and attempted to receive and distribute, child pornography.
The maximum penalty upon conviction is up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, a lifetime of supervised release, and $100 fine to be paid to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charge is merely an accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper is prosecuting the case.
Opdahl was released on bond pending trial. A trial date has not yet been set.
HSI is a directorate of 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 – Dec.01: Operation Venetic & EncroChat Covert operation has by National Crime Agency has uncovered a drug smuggling operation leading to the jailing for combined 40yrs of three smugglers
#AceDailyNews NCA Operation Venetic/EncroChat Report: After conducting a covert investigation into the activities of Mark Youell, 64, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, conspired along with Alfred Rumbold, aged 65, from Orpington, Kent, and removal driver Brian Wright, 73, from Folkestone, Kent, throughout spring and summer 2020, tracing their movements and recording their conversations three men were jailed for total of 40yrs…
NCA CASE NOTES:
Officers watched as the trio had a series of clandestine meetings as the planned to import class A drugs utilising Rolls Royce-driving Wright’s legitimate removals company.
Covert listening devices deployed by the NCA picked up a conversation at a meeting at a café in Kent in July 2020 where they were heard discussing border controls. Youell told Rumbold and Wright: “We’re gonna hit the jackpot” and that they were going to make “f***ing mega dough”.
Wright carried out a ‘dummy run’, taking his lorry out to The Netherlands. He made a series of notes around border checks and security on his phone as he returned.
The following week Wright made the run for real, collecting the drugs, which had been sealed inside fish tanks.
However, as part of a joint operation involving the NCA and Dutch law enforcement, the truck was raided just outside Utrecht. Wright, who was sleeping inside, was arrested.
Dutch police recovering 20.5 kilos of heroin, 32 kilos of cocaine and three kilos of MDMA, which combined would have had a UK street value of around £4.5 million.
At the same time the NCA arrested Youell and Rumbold at their home addresses, seizing a number of phones including Encrochat and Sky ECC encrypted devices.
Encrochat messages attributed to Rumbold by the NCA as part of Operation Venetic – the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of the platform – showed that he was discussing with numerous criminals the potential to move drugs across Europe using Wright’s firm.
COURT CASE NOTES:
At trial, both Youell and Rumbold denied drug importation charges, claiming they had only been seeking to smuggle alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco and cannabis.
Meanwhile Wright, who was extradited back to the UK from the Netherlands, denied any knowledge of the drugs, claiming he was just transporting furniture.
However a jury at Isleworth Crown Court didn’t believe them, and found all three men guilty of conspiring to import class A drugs.
A judge at the same court today (26 November) sentenced Youell and Rumbold to 14 years each in jail, while Wright was given a 12 year sentence.
NCA Regional Head of Investigations Peter Stevens said:
” The sentences handed out today demonstrate just how seriously UK courts take drug trafficking offences and I welcome them.
“The class A drugs seized in this investigation would all have ended up in the hands of UK criminal gangs involved in violence and exploitation, and provided a big payday for Youell, Rumbold and Wright. By their own admission, they thought they had ‘hit the jackpot’.
“But they weren’t counting on the tenacity and expertise of the NCA officers who, supported by our Dutch partners, watched their every move – even during the height of the UK’s Covid lockdown.
“I hope others involved in this type of activity take notice – we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised criminal networks involved in international drugs supply.”
#AceNewsReport – Nov.26: Since August 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments and other clinical and public health partners have been investigating a 2019 to 2020 national outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) that involved more than 1,000 reports of lung injuries — including some resulting in deaths — following the use of vaping products. As the public health investigation has continued, authorities have warned that the injuries may be linked to the use of vaping products containing Vitamin E acetate, as well as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
#AceDailyNews DOJ Court Report: A Texas vape shop owner pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge relating to the importation of counterfeit vaping products, the Department of Justice announced. Muhammad Uzair Khalid (Uzair), 36, of Garland, Texas, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2320(a)(1).
Uzair admitted that, from October 2017 to November 2019, he intentionally and unlawfully imported counterfeit vaping-related items from China, including counterfeit vaping atomizers, labels, boxes and bags for vaping-related products.
During a November 2019 search of a Texas vape shop owned by Uzair, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents seized counterfeit vaping-related items, as well as a machine used to fill vape cartridges, several items that tested positive for THC and an injector mechanism with an amber substance containing Vitamin E acetate.
In pleading guilty, Uzair admitted that he regularly communicated with Chinese manufacturers about the production and sale of counterfeit vaping products. In particular, Uzair consulted with Chinese manufacturers on methods to imitate the branding and logos of well-known American vape companies and imported and sold imitation vaping devices, labels and packaging. Uzair further admitted that he adopted and used those counterfeit marks to boost his sales. Uzair also sold numerous other counterfeit goods at his vape shop.
“The Department of Justice takes counterfeiting seriously,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to take these products off the market.”
“Our investigation made clear that we needed to take swift action against counterfeit vaping-related items,” said U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “The Justice Department will not tolerate the importation of black-market goods.”
“HSI is committed to enforcing the nation’s intellectual property rights laws to help safeguard American consumers said Acting Special Agent in Charge Christopher Miller of HSI Dallas. “We strive to protect legitimate U.S. businesses from financial harm caused by criminal organizations that profit from trafficking in counterfeit goods, including counterfeit vaping products.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver took the defendant’s guilty plea in federal court in Dallas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Phelesa M. Guy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and Trial Attorneys Speare Hodges and Patrick Runkle of the Department of Justice Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case. This matter was primarily investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.