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News Releases
Nigerian Leader of Nationwide Identity Theft and IRS Tax Fraud Scheme Sentenced to Federal Prison - 06/21/18

False federal tax returns filed using the personal identifying information of thousands of Oregon and Washington taxpayers

EUGENE, Ore. – On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Emmanuel Oluwatosin Kazeem, 35, of Bowie, Maryland and Nigeria, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for leading a vast conspiracy to steal identities and file fraudulent tax returns. He was ordered to pay more than $12 million in restitution and will be subject to deportation when released from prison.

“Emmanuel Kazeem orchestrated one of the largest tax fraud schemes in our nation’s history. The complexity of this case and the incredible effort by law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice cannot be understated,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I want to remind everyone that this case began when vigilant Oregonians notified the IRS when fraudulently tax returns were filed in their names. It only takes one tip to make a difference and bring down a complex criminal organization.”

“IRS-CI vigorously investigates criminals who band together to take advantage of our tax system. Today’s sentencing of Emmanuel Kazeem sends a strong message to those who seek to rob U.S. citizens of their hard earned tax dollars,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge, Brian Payne.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in May 2013, a victim in Medford, Oregon notified the IRS that false federal and Oregon state tax returns were filed electronically using her and her husband’s personal identifying information (PII) including social security numbers and dates of birth.

An IRS investigation led to search warrants of residences in Illinois, Maryland, and Georgia and to numerous email and instant messenger accounts used by Kazeem and other co-conspirators. At a Chicago residence, agents seized approximately 150 prepaid debit cards and $50,000 in money orders. In Maryland and Georgia, agents seized more than 50 electronic devices, 40 money orders in amounts exceeding $29,000, $14,000 in cash and numerous prepaid debit cards containing over $12,000 in fraudulent tax refunds. The search warrants helped agents identify Kazeem as the leader and mastermind of the scheme.

The scheme resulted in the conspirators possessing stolen PII of more than 259,000 victims. Kazeem purchased more than 91,000 identities from a Vietnamese hacker that originated from an Oregon company’s private database. The company provided pre-employment and volunteer background checks for thousands of clients. Kazeem divided the identities into batches and shared them with other co-conspirators. They were in turn used to file fraudulent tax returns between 2012 and 2015.

In carrying out the scheme, Kazeem trained and directed his co-conspirators including his younger brother, Michael Oluwasegun Kazeem, to use stolen PII to obtain thousands of electronic filing PINs to bypass IRS authentication procedures. They acquired over 19,500 E-File PINS during the course of the conspiracy. Kazeem also used taxpayers’ PII to gain unauthorized access into many taxpayers’ IRS transcripts, which contain sensitive personal financial information. Conspirators also used pre-paid debit cards with the victims’ stolen identities to receive direct electronic tax refund deposits from the IRS.

In total, Kazeem was linked to 10,139 fraudulent federal tax returns attempting to get over $91 million dollars in refunds and successfully receiving over $11.6 million dollars. Refunds were withdrawn from the debit cards and at least 2,000 wire transfers totaling over $2.1 million dollars were sent to Nigeria. Over 700 of those wire transfers, totaling more than $690,000, were directly linked to Kazeem.

Kazeem used the conspiracy windfall to place a nearly $200,000 down payment on a newly constructed house and to purchase a $175,000 townhouse, both in Maryland. His average monthly credit card payment during 2012 to 2015 was over $8,300. Kazeem also attempted to use his ill-gotten funds to develop a $6 million dollar, 4-star hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.

In May 2015, Kazeem transferred the townhouse to his sister in Nigeria for $10 and included her on the deed to his Maryland residence, also for $10. He was arrested one day later.

IRS agents determined Kazeem had no verifiable sources of income between 2012 and 2015. In order to disguise the source of the fraudulent refunds, he listed sources of income from bogus employers in reports to both the IRS and immigration authorities. After entering the United States on a student visa from Nigeria, Kazeem engaged in marriage fraud to evade immigration laws. In April 2014, while leading the tax fraud scheme, he filed for naturalization under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Based on the false information provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he was approved. The same year he personally participated in filing over 1,445 fraudulent federal tax returns and received over $3,385,000 from returns paid out by the IRS.

Kazeem was convicted by a federal jury on 19 counts, including mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, in Medford on August 4, 2017. Five other co-conspirators, Oluwaseunara Osanyinbi, Oluwatobi Dehinbo, Lateef Animawun, Oluwamuyiwa Olawoye and Michael Kazeem, previously received federal prison sentences for their roles in the same conspiracy.

This case results from a joint investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations with support provided by the Department of Treasury, Inspector General for Tax Administration, the U.S. State Department, and the Oregon Department of Revenue Policy and Systems Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Byron Chatfield and Gavin Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Kazeem-Final.pdf
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Portland Couple Accused of Interstate Distribution of Marijuana and Firearms Crimes (Photo) - 06/20/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Isaiah Lee Holt, 30, and Marjorie Livingston, 37, residents of Portland, were charged today in a five-count indictment alleging the couple engaged in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and illegally purchased and possessed firearms.

Holt is charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and felon in possession of a firearm.

Holt made an initial appearance today in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak. He will appear at an arraignment and detention hearing on June 21, 2018.

Livingston is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and one count of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm. She is expected to make her first appearance before a federal magistrate judge on or before June 22, 2018.

According to court documents, in February 2018, Livingston is alleged to have illegally purchased a firearm for Holt, a convicted felon, at a licensed federal firearms dealer located in Portland.

ATF agents obtained a search warrant on Holt and Livingston’s NE Portland residence. On April 4, 2018, while surveilling Holt and the residence, agents contacted Holt and conducted a search of his person. Holt possessed two cell phones, two bundles of cash, two sets of keys, and seven small baggies of cocaine weighing approximately 11.5 grams.

Later the same day, agents conducted a search of the residence where they found materials consistent with drug trafficking including digital scales, small baggies, and Inositol, an agent commonly used for “cutting” cocaine.  Subsequent searches of the residence revealed a locked safe containing $46,100 in cash, two large plastic totes containing approximately 14 pounds of marijuana, U.S. Postal Service mailing labels, a heat sealer and food saver bags. Agents also found a Ruger AR-556 rifle, a Taurus 9mm pistol and a loaded M&P Shield .40 caliber firearm with an attached Crimson Trace laser.

Searches conducted of Holt and Livingston’s phones revealed numerous text and picture messages referencing marijuana and bank deposits. Messages were exchanged with phone numbers in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Florida. These messages included photos of bulk marijuana, shipping receipts, and bank deposit receipts.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Seattle Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy Involving Former Oregon Department of Energy Employee - 06/20/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Martin J. Shain, 61, of Seattle, Washington, pleaded guilty today to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tax evasion.

According to court documents, between June 2012 and March 2015, Shain and Joseph Colello, a former employee of the Oregon Department of Energy’s (ODOE) Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) program, maintained a secret business relationship whereby the two would personally profit from the sale and purchase of Oregon BETCs.

Shain and Colello devised a plan whereby Colello would give Shain the names of BETC sellers and interested buyers—information he had access to as an ODOE employee. Colello would then contact the sellers and buyers to negotiate credit transfers, but made it appear as though the Shain had brokered the deals. Shain created a company in the name of his relative in order to receive commission payments from the sellers of the tax credits and to conceal their earned income from the IRS. Shain charged sellers a 1-2% fee, undercutting brokers who typically charged a 10% fee for facilitating similar transfers. Colello would receive a portion of this fee as a kickback.

Between 2012 and 2015, Shain deposited over $1.3 million in income from the commissions charged to sellers of BETC credits. He would transfer a portion of these funds into a personal account from which he would purchase and issue biweekly cashier’s checks payable to Colello. Over the course of the conspiracy, Shain purchased and issued approximately 58 cashier’s checks to Colello or Colello’s girlfriend. In total, Colello received more than $300,000 in bribe payments for his role in the scheme. Shain failed to report more than $1.34 million in income received brokering tax credit sales on four income tax returns between 2012 and 2015.

Colello pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of filing a false income tax return on March 15, 2018. On April 3, 2018, he was sentenced to 60 months in prison and was ordered to pay more than $81,000 in restitution.

Shain faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on each charge. He will be sentenced on September 20, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Jones.

The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI and prosecuted by Claire M. Fay and Scott E. Bradford, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: CHANGE_OF_PLEA-Shain-Final.pdf
Former Oregon State University Student Charged for Threatening Campus Shooting - 06/20/18

EUGENE. Ore. – Christopher Adam Strahan, 22, a resident of Corvallis, Oregon, was indicted today for threatening a campus shooting at Oregon State University (OSU).

The indictment alleges Strahan threatened to shoot classmates at OSU in a series of tweets on February 27, 2018. He is charged with a single count of making threatening communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875.

Strahan was previously detained as a flight risk and danger to the community when he made his initial appearance in federal court on a criminal complaint on March 27, 2018. Strahan will be arraigned on the indictment on June 27, 2018 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Anyone who witnesses imminent threats of violence in any form made via internet or another means should call 9-1-1 immediately. Non-emergency tips can be submitted by contacting the FBI’s Portland Field Office at (503) 224-4181 or visiting the SafeOregon website at www.safeoregon.com.

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Award Ceremony Photo
Award Ceremony Photo
Deputy Attorney General Recognizes Oregon Appellate Chief (Photo) - 06/15/18

WASHINGTON – Kelly Zusman, Appellate Unit Chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Oregon, was one of 162 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Executive Office for U.S. Attorney’s (EOUSA) Director James Crowell, IV at the 34th Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington, D.C.

The District of Oregon was one of 35 districts represented at the ceremony held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In addressing the award recipients and guests, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, “Today’s honorees earned the esteem of their colleagues.  But most importantly, they earned the gratitude of our fellow citizens — the people whose communities you made safer, whose lives you improved, and whose trust you rewarded. Today, we pause to honor and recognize a small portion of your work.”

Ms. Zusman was recognized for her outstanding performance in representing the U.S. before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in U.S. v. Mohamud.

On November 26, 2010, Mohamed Mohamud flipped a switch believing it would detonate a bomb planted at the holiday tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon. Fortunately, there was no bomb as Mohamud was the subject of an FBI sting. A jury convicted Mohamud of attempting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction. Litigation was extensive and several novel and complex issues were raised on appeal.

Most significantly, the defendant challenged the constitutionality of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act (FAA). The government’s briefing involved over 300 pages of classified and unclassified submissions and a 30,000 page record. After extensive preparation, including moots before the Criminal Division and the National Security Division, Ms. Zusman argued the case in July 2016. The conviction and sentence were later affirmed and the FAA found to be constitutional. The ruling was a significant victory for national security.

“Kelly’s dedicated service to the District of Oregon and the United States is beyond reproach. She’s nationally recognized for her appellate expertise and locally cherished for her leadership, unwavering support of coworkers, and persistent can-do attitude,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao.

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Attached Media Files: Press Release , Award Ceremony Photo
U.S. Attorney Statement On Joint Dismissal of Springfield Veterans Affairs Case - 06/15/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that a joint stipulation of dismissal has been reached with Springfield, Oregon veteran Michael Williamson.

Mr. Williamson is a U.S. Air Force Veteran with a 100% disability rating due to his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”). The VA has contracted for Mr. Williamson’s in-home care for 19 years. Unfortunately, late last year his contracted provider abruptly submitted a 90-day notice to discontinue his care, citing safety concerns. After Mr. Williamson filed suit, the VA in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office worked collaboratively with Mr. Williamson and his attorneys from Disability Rights Oregon, to find additional options for in-home providers that could meet the high level of care needed in this case.

“We are pleased to announce that the VA and Mr. Williamson have reached a joint agreement to dismiss this case,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “The parties have worked hard to reach consensus on this matter. He is an honored veteran and deserving of thoughtful and attentive care.”

“I’m pleased we were able to achieve a successful outcome that honored our veteran and his family’s wishes while also providing a safe environment for his care,” said David Whitmer, Interim Medical Center Director, Roseburg VA Healthcare System. “Because of the complex care needed by an ALS patient, this took some time to negotiate and ensure a home based solution that could meet all of the requirements.”

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Oregon Woman Pleads Guilty for Role in Forced Labor and Visa Fraud Scheme Involving Thai Restaurant Workers - 06/14/18

Defendant financially benefited from co-defendant’s use of debts, fraud, threats of financial and reputational harm, and other means to compel victims to work at restaurants

WASHINGTON – Tanya Jumroon, also known as Thunyarax Phatanakit Jumroon, 59, of Beaverton, Oregon, and a naturalized citizen originally from Thailand, pleaded guilty today in a U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, to financially benefitting from forced labor, visa fraud conspiracy, and filing a false federal income tax return, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams of the District of Oregon, Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon of the FBI in Oregon, and Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation’s Seattle Field Office. Jumroon waived indictment by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty to an information filed by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division.

According to the defendant’s plea agreement, admissions in court, and other court documents, between 2011 and 2014, the defendant, her then-husband, Paul Jumroon, and other associates fraudulently obtained E-2 visas to bring Thai nationals into the United States to provide cheap labor at two restaurants located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Ridgefield, Washington. The restaurants were owned and operated by the defendant and Jumroon at the time, but have since been sold and are under new ownership.

Paul Jumroon used the fraudulently obtained E-2 visas to entice four forced labor victims to come to the United States from Thailand. After the victims arrived, Jumroon used inflated travel expenses, debt manipulation, threats of deportation, serious financial and reputational harm, verbal abuse, and control over identification documents, among other means, to compel them to work 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week, for minimal pay at the restaurants he co-owned and operated with the defendant. The defendant witnessed Paul Jumroon’s mistreatment of two of the victims, and she benefitted financially from the victims’ forced labor at the restaurants. As part of the defendant’s guilty plea, she agreed to pay the four victims a combined $131,391.95 in restitution for their unpaid labor in connection with the forced labor scheme.

The defendant further admitted to filing multiple false tax returns with the IRS by failing to report cash income earned from the restaurants between 2012 and 2015. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant agreed to pay tax due and owing in the amount of $120,384 to the IRS.

“The Justice Department remains committed to combatting human trafficking, holding those who choose to exploit vulnerable individuals accountable, punishing those who profit from these crimes, and securing restitution for exploited victims” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “Today’s guilty plea exemplifies the hard work of the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to honor that commitment.”

“Human trafficking schemes are seldom carried out by a single person. Tanya Jumroon profited off of her then-husband’s actions while turning a blind eye,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “In too many of these cases, we later learn that someone close by could have taken action to stop the abuse and intimidation of others and did not. I implore all Oregonians to remain vigilant and watch for the signs of human trafficking in their communities. Your attention and perceptiveness could help a victim in need.”

"These victims believed the Jumroons were offering them a chance at a better life. When they arrived in the U.S., however, they faced false promises, forced labor and abuse. Victims such as these often live in the shadows and find it difficult to get the help they need. We are grateful for the community members who were able to bring this case to our attention so we could work together to bring an end to the physical, psychological and financial exploitation," said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

“Forced labor schemes, such as the one employed by the Jumroons, are deplorable crimes that have no place in today’s society,” said Darrell Waldon, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation’s Seattle Field Office. “Falsely reporting income and expenses associated with such schemes will continue to be vigorously investigated by IRS-CI Special Agents.”

The defendant faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for financially benefitting from forced labor, five years in prison for visa fraud conspiracy, and three years in prison for filing a false tax return. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 24 before United States District Judge Anna J. Brown. 

Co-defendant Paul Jumroon previously pleaded guilty on Feb. 14 to forced labor, visa fraud conspiracy, and filing a false federal income tax return. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18, also before Judge Brown.

Attorney General Sessions issued a proclamation on January 31 commemorating January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The District of Oregon is one of six districts designated through a competitive, nationwide selection process as a Phase II Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam), through the interagency ACTeam Initiative of the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor. ACTeams focus on developing high-impact human trafficking investigations and prosecutions involving forced labor, international sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion through interagency collaboration among federal prosecutors and federal investigative agencies.

This prosecution is the result of the joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, with assistance from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and Portland Police Bureau. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hannah Horsley and Scott Bradford of the District of Oregon, and Lindsey Roberson of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. 

Bank of Oswego Executives Sentenced to Federal Prison After Jury Conviction for Fraud - 06/13/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today in federal court, Dan Heine and Diana Yates were sentenced to 24 and 18 months in prison, respectively, for bank fraud and falsifying bank entries, reports, and transactions.

A jury convicted Heine and Yates, former executives at the Bank of Oswego in Lake Oswego, Oregon, of one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and twelve counts each of falsifying bank entries, reports, and transactions in a trial ending in November 2017.

“Dan Heine and Diane Yates orchestrated one of the largest and most complex bank fraud schemes in Oregon’s history. Their selfish acts of greed are deplorable,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “While we urged the court to impose longer sentences, these sentences still serve as a warning to bank executives and others entrusted with fiduciary responsibilities. We will continue to work with federal investigators to protect investors and ensure the trustworthiness of our financial institutions.”

“For centuries, the American banking system has served as the bedrock of the U.S. economy. Honest bankers are critical to our financial system. By addressing lies and conspiracies at the Bank of Oswego, the FBI and Department of Justice have helped re-establish the integrity of the financial system we all rely on,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

Dan Heine, a co-founder of the bank, was president, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and member of the board of directors from September 2004 through September 2014. Diana Yates was executive vice president, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and secretary of the board of directors from 2004 through March 2012. During the conspiracy Heine and Yates concealed the true financial condition of the bank to regulators and the board of directors by falsely reporting that the bank had title to a property in a straw buyer transaction, falsely reporting that delinquent loans were paid, and falsely reporting the sale of bank owned property.

A forfeiture and restitution hearing has been scheduled for August 7, 2018. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) and prosecuted by Claire Fay, Quinn Harrington, and Michelle Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Man Sentenced to 78 Months in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking and Illegal Firearm Possession - 06/13/18

EUGENE, Ore. – Anthony Ballard Jones, 36, was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison for the interstate transport of individuals for prostitution and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jones will serve a five year term of supervised release upon the conclusion of his prison sentence.

According to court documents, Jones transported two adult female victims from Idaho to Oregon so they could engage in commercial sex acts. His first victim had been with Jones for approximately eight months prior to Jones’ arrest, and Jones met his second victim in Boise, Idaho, in March 2015. She was homeless at the time, and Jones offered her drugs and convinced her that prostitution could make her rich. After originally telling Jones that she did not want to engage in prostitution, she later agreed to do so.

Jones would talk menacingly about “regulating” his victims and keeping them “in check” in order to intimidate them. On March 7, 2015, at a motel in Eugene, a planned commercial sex act fell apart when the second victim decided not to participate. The John became upset, started tearing at the second victim’s clothing, and threatened to return with a gun. After this incident, Jones threatened to leave the second victim stranded in Oregon if she did not continue to engage in prostitution. The police investigated the disturbance at the motel and subsequently contacted Jones. Jones, a convicted felon, was found in possession of a pistol and was arrested.

Jones previously pleaded guilty to one count each of interstate transport for prostitution and felon in possession of a firearm on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

This case was investigated by the FBI and Eugene Police Department, and prosecuted by Jeffrey S. Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Jones-Final.pdf
Nine Corvallis-Area Residents Charged with Perpetrating Credit Card Fraud Funding Marijuana Business - 06/12/18

EUGENE, Ore. – Nine defendants residing in and around Corvallis, Oregon face conspiracy charges related to a credit card “bust-out” fraud scheme and an interstate marijuana distribution operation funded by the fraud.

A credit card “bust-out” is a fraud scheme that begins with perpetrators obtaining credit cards and accumulating large balances. Payments are then made from co-conspirator bank accounts, reducing the credit card balances and allowing for additional purchases. After numerous purchases and payments are made, a co-conspirator would report the payments as unauthorized to their banks. Banks then seek and obtain reimbursement from the credit card companies and deposit those funds back into the co-conspirator’s bank accounts. No further payments are made on the credit cards, resulting in losses to those institutions that often exceed a card’s spending limit.

As alleged in the complaint, conspirators opened numerous credit cards, defrauding financial institutions of over $1 million. Proceeds from the fraud were allegedly used to establish and operate illegal marijuana grows and fund a state-licensed marijuana retail business, the Corvallis Cannabis Club located in Corvallis. Some of the marijuana grown in Corvallis is alleged to have been transported and sold outside of Oregon.

Three defendants were arrested today and will make their first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo in Eugene on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

A criminal charge is only an accusation of a crime; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of Oregon State Police and the Corvallis and Philomath Police Departments. It is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: INFORMATION-Jason-Final.pdf
Final Defendant Sentenced for Armed Takeover of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge - 06/12/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Blaine Cooper aka Stanley Blaine Hicks, 38, of Humboldt, Arizona, was sentenced today to time served in prison for his role in the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge beginning in January 2016.

Cooper is the eighteenth and final defendant sentenced for crimes associated with the occupation. Eleven defendants pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. Four other defendants were convicted of felonies by a federal jury in a trial ending in March 2017. Three additional defendants pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing. Seven defendants, including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were acquitted of all charges in a trial ending in November 2016.

“I firmly believe that our communities and state are stronger because of our shared experience responding to and litigating the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I want to sincerely thank the countless federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials that played a role in bringing these eighteen defendants to justice. Our message is clear,” continued Williams, “taking up arms because you don’t like how things are done will never be accepted as a lawful way to protest here in Oregon or elsewhere.”

“The U.S. Constitution granted Americans both rights and responsibilities. With state, local and tribal partners, the FBI responded to this armed takeover by defending the rule of law and protecting the people of Harney County. We stand with Oregonians committed to finding peaceful solutions and will always work to protect our communities from violent conflict,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

Beginning on January 2, 2016, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, and several dozen followers, seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon in Harney County. For forty-one days, the armed occupiers prevented federal officials from performing their official duties at the refuge by force, threats, and intimidation. The Bundys and several other occupiers, were arrested on January 26, 2016 on U.S. Highway 395 near Burns en route to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon. The occupation officially ended on February 11, 2016 when the last four occupiers turned themselves in to federal authorities.          

Summary of sentences imposed:

Dylan Anderson, 37, of Provo, Utah, was sentenced to one year of probation and $1,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor trespassing.

Sandra Anderson, 50, of Riggins, Idaho, was sentenced to one year of probation and $1,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor trespassing.

Sean Anderson, 50, of Riggins, Idaho, was sentenced to one year of probation and $1,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor trespassing.

Jason Blomgren, 44, of North Carolina, was sentenced to two years’ probation and $3,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Brian Cavalier, 47, of Bunkerville, Nevada, was sentenced to time served in prison, two years’ supervised release, and $7,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Blaine Cooper, 38, of Humboldt, Arizona was sentenced to time served in prison and $7,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S.

Travis Cox, 23, of Bend, Oregon, was sentenced to two years’ probation and $3,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Duane Ehmer, 47, of Irrigon, Oregon, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, three years’ supervised release, and $10,000 restitution after being found guilty on one count of depredation of government property and one count each of misdemeanor trespassing and tampering with vehicles and equipment.

Eric Flores, 24, of Tulalip, Washington, was sentenced to two years’ probation with home detention after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S.

Wesley Kjar, 34, of Manti, Utah, was sentenced to 250 hours of community service, two years’ probation, and $3,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Corey Lequieu, 47, of Fallon, Utah, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S.

Joseph O’Shaughnessy, 46, of Cottonwood, Arizona, was sentenced to time served in prison, two years’ supervised release, and $7,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S.

Jason Patrick, 46, of Bonaire, Georgia, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years’ supervised release, and $10,000 restitution after being found guilty on one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and one count each of misdemeanor trespassing, tampering with vehicles and equipment, and destruction and removal of property.

Ryan Payne, 34, of Anaconda, Montana, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years’ supervised release, and $10,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

John Ritzheimer, 34, of Peoria, Arizona, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, one year in a residential reentry center, three years’ supervised release, and $10,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.

Jake Ryan, 29, of Plains, Montana, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, three years’ supervised release, and $10,000 restitution after being found guilty on one count of depredation of government property and one count each of misdemeanor trespassing and tampering with vehicles and equipment.

Geoffrey Stanek, 28, of Lafayette, Oregon, was sentenced to two years’ probation after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S.

Darryl Thorn, 33, of Monument, Oregon, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and $5,000 restitution after being found guilty of one count each of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. and possession of a firearm in a federal facility and one count each of misdemeanor trespassing, tampering with vehicles and equipment, and destruction and removal of property.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Geoffrey Barrow, Ethan Knight, and Craig Gabriel, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Cooper-Final.pdf
Oregon Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Federal Prison for Assault and Firearms Charges - 06/11/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nicholas James Cantrell, 28, was sentenced today to 151 months in federal prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm and assaulting a Multnomah County Sheriff deputy while being held on a federal detainer at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC).

According to court documents, Cantrell was arrested and booked into MCDC after fleeing Gresham Police and abandoning a bag containing a firearm and a digital scale. While in custody for the federal firearm charge, Cantrell assaulted a jail deputy by repeatedly punching, choking, and slamming the deputy’s head against the floor until the deputy lost consciousness.

Cantrell previously pleaded guilty to one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and assault on certain officers or employees on February 13, 2018.  

The case was jointly investigated by the United States Marshals Service, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Gresham Police Department, and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Jane Shoemaker and John C. Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Cantrell-Final.pdf
Dyno-Nobel, Inc. Ordered to Pay $250,000 for Failing to Notify Federal Authorities of Anhydrous Ammonia Discharges - 06/04/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today in federal court, U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon ordered Dyno Nobel, Inc., the owner of a urea plant near St. Helens, Oregon, to pay $250,000 for violating section 103(b) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), following a series of large-scale ammonia discharges in July and August 2015. Dyno Nobel will also serve a two-year term of probation for the class-E felony.

According to Dyno Nobel’s plea agreement with the government, the company’s St. Helens plant discharged more than six tons of anhydrous ammonia vapor—a hazardous substance—into the air over the course of a three-day period starting on July 30, 2015. A subsequent investigation revealed that several failed attempts to restart the urea plant had caused a series of massive discharges from the facility, triggering numerous complaints of foul odors, eye irritation, and difficulty breathing from citizens of nearby Columbia City, Oregon.

Although Dyno Nobel personnel knew that excessive ammonia emissions were occurring, no effort was made to alert the authorities at the National Response Center until August 7, 2015—more than a week after the first discharge. Federal law requires such reports to be made “immediately.”

Dyno Nobel, Inc. is a Delaware corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of IPL Group.  The company previously pleaded guilty to the violation on February 23, 2018.

This case was investigated by EPA Criminal Investigations; it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan W. Bounds and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla Gebel Perrin.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Dyno_Nobel-Final.pdf
Attorney General Sessions Announces 311 New Assistant United States Attorney Positions - 06/04/18

Prosecutors to Focus on Violent Crime, Affirmative Civil Enforcement, and Immigration Crimes

PORTLAND, Ore. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced that the Department of Justice is taking a dramatic step to increase resources to combat violent crime, enforce our immigration laws, and help roll back the devastating opioid crisis.

In the largest increase in decades, the Department of Justice is allocating 311 new Assistant United States Attorneys to assist in priority areas. Those allocations are as follows: 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 additional immigration prosecutors. The District of Oregon will receive one prosecutor in each of the three targeted areas. Many of the civil enforcement AUSA’s will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.

“Under President Trump's strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis—and today we are sending in reinforcements,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We have a saying in my office that a new federal prosecutor is 'the coin of the realm.' When we can eliminate wasteful spending, one of my first questions to my staff is if we can deploy more prosecutors to where they are needed. I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership. This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades.”

“The mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is to pursue justice and ensure public safety. Adding three new prosecutors to our staff will help us extend the reach of our mission across the state,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “Reducing violent crime, enforcing immigration law, and attacking health care fraud that fuels the opioid epidemic are central to achieving our mission. Expanding our staff in each of these priority areas will have an immediate, positive impact on the lives of Oregonians.”

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Warm Springs Woman Sentenced to 13 Years in Federal Prison for Assault with Intent to Commit Murder - 05/29/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Rhyan Leigh Smith, 26, of Warm Springs, Oregon, was sentenced today to 13 years in federal prison for assault with intent to commit murder of two family members and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

“The defendant’s violent conduct towards family members is inexplicable and indefensible,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “This kind of violence is an attack on the victims and the members of the Warm Springs community. Let us hope that the sentence imposed brings some measure of solace and closure to the victims of these crimes, and healing to the community.”

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of March 16, 2016, Smith returned to a house she had periodically resided in with five of her family members. At approximately 8:00 a.m., Smith retrieved a pistol she had taken from the owner without permission. Smith conversed briefly with a family member in doorway of the family member’s bedroom before shooting him five times. A second family member heard the gunshots and tried to stop Smith, but Smith shot her multiple times. Both victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

            The Warm Springs Police Department and the FBI responded to the house and found Smith hiding in sagebrush near the house with an AR-15 rifle. Investigators later found a camouflage rifle bag with multiple AR-15 magazines, loose ammunition and a 9mm pistol in a vehicle at the house.

Smith previously pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with the intent to commit murder and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Warm Springs Police Department and prosecuted by William Narus and Craig Gabriel, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

On March 3, 1994, the FBI initiated “Operation Safe Trails” with the Navajo Department of Law Enforcement in Flagstaff, Arizona. The operation, which would later evolve into the Safe Trails Task Force (STTF) Program, unites FBI and other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in a collaborative effort to combat the growth of crime in Indian Country. STTFs allow participating agencies to combine limited resources and increase investigative coordination in Indian Country to target violent crime, drugs, gangs, and gaming violations.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Smith_Rhyan-Final.pdf
Southern California Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 17 Years in Federal Prison - 05/29/18

PORTLAND, Ore. – Francisco Nuno-Urenda, 41, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced today to 17 years in federal prison for his role in a drug trafficking scheme that brought distribution quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin into Oregon. Nuno-Urenda was also ordered to pay $75,000 and will be on supervised release for five years at the conclusion of his prison sentenced.

According to court documents, Nuno-Urenda was a drug trafficker based in California who sourced drugs from Mexico and shipped them throughout the U.S. He supplied numerous drug trafficking organizations including a network that operated in the Portland metropolitan area. Nuno-Urenda was indicted along with 15 other codefendants, most of whom were lower level conspirators. Investigators determined that Nuno-Urenda maintained contact with approximately 15 suppliers in Mexico who were connected to two or three different Mexican drug cartels.

Nuno-Urenda previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

This case was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Kemp L. Strickland, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Nuno-Urenda-Final.pdf