Former U.S. Naval Attaché and Military Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador in the Philippines Sentenced for Taking Bribes

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Retired U.S. Navy Captain was sentenced in federal court today to 41 months in prison for his role in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and his firm, Singapore-based, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson Southern District of California, Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and Director Andrew Traver of the NCIS made the announcement.

In addition to the 41-month prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino ordered Michael Brooks, 59, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, to pay a $41,000 fine and $31,000 in restitution to the U.S. Navy.  Brooks pleaded guilty in November 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Brooks, who served as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, from 2006 to 2008, has admitted accepting bribes of travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes. In return, Brooks admitted that he used his power and influence to benefit GDMA and Francis, including by securing quarterly clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic imprimatur of the U.S. Embassy. Neither GDMA nor any other defense contractor has ever been granted such unfettered clearances.

Brooks admitted that he also allowed Francis to ghostwrite official U.S. Navy documents and correspondence, which Brooks submitted as his own. For example, Brooks admitted allowing GDMA to complete its own contractor performance evaluations. A November 2007 evaluation, drafted by GDMA and submitted by Brooks, described the company’s performance as “phenomenal,” “unsurpassed,” “exceptional” and “world class.” Brooks also admitted providing Francis with sensitive, internal U.S. Navy information, including U.S. Navy ship schedules and billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor, at times using a private Yahoo! e-mail account to mask his illicit acts.

Twenty-one current and former Navy officials have been charged so far in the fraud and bribery investigation; 10 have pleaded guilty and 10 cases are pending. In addition, five GDMA executives and GDMA the corporation have pleaded guilty.

NCIS, DCIS and DCAA are conducting the ongoing investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Patrick Hovakimian of the Southern District of California and Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Anyone with information relating to fraud, corruption or waste in government contracting should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at www.ncis.navy.mil or the DOD Hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline, or call (800) 424-9098.

Owner of Afghanistan Marble Mining Company Indicted for Defrauding U.S. Agency and Defaulting on a $15.8 M Loan

Friday, June 16, 2017

The former owner of a now-defunct marble mining company in Afghanistan was charged in an indictment unsealed today with allegedly defrauding the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. government agency, and defaulting on a $15.8 million loan.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

Azam Doost, aka Adam Doost, Mohammad Azam Doost and Mohammad Azim (Doost), 39, most recently of Union City, California, was charged in an indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with three counts of major fraud against the United States, eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of false statements on loan applications or extensions and eight counts of money laundering. The indictment also has a forfeiture notice.

The indictment alleges that in February 2010, while working at his company, Equity Capital Mining LLC, Doost, along with his brother, obtained a $15.8 million loan from OPIC for the development, maintenance and operation of a marble mine in western Afghanistan. The loan proceeds were paid directly from OPIC to the alleged vendors who provided equipment for the mine, as reported to OPIC by Doost or his consultant. Doost was required to deal with these companies in arms-length transactions or, to the extent any transactions were other than at arms-length, he was required to report any affiliation he had with a vendor. Doost informed OPIC that he had no affiliation with any of the alleged vendors with whom he dealt, when in fact he allegedly had financial relationships with several of them. The indictment alleges that Doost’s business partner was listed with the bank for a number of these alleged vendors and, upon receipt of money from OPIC into the respective accounts, significant amounts of this money were then transferred from that respective account to companies and individuals with whom Doost was associated, or to pay debts Doost owed. Doost’s consultant allegedly received a commission of $444,000 for his alleged consulting services with the first of three disbursements from OPIC, and shortly after $40,000 was transferred from his account to a Doost company in California

The indictment further alleges that when the time came for Equity Capital Mining LLC to repay the loan to OPIC, Doost provided purported reasons to OPIC why it was not able to make those repayments at a time when Doost had control of sufficient funds to make those repayments. Doost and his brother failed to repay any of the principal on the OPIC loan, and only a limited amount of interest, and ultimately defaulted on the loan, the indictment alleges.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

SIGAR, with assistance from the FBI, investigated the case. Trial Attorney Daniel Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

Guilty Plea in Bribery Scheme Involving $800 Million Vietnamese Real Estate Deal

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Defendant Double-Crossed His Clients and Stole a $500,000 Bribe Intended to Influence a South Korean Company’s Sale of the Landmark 72 Building in Hanoi, Vietnam

The middleman in a foreign bribery scheme pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering charges for his role in a scheme to bribe a foreign official in the Middle East to land a real estate deal, and to defrauding his co-schemers.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim for the Southern District of New York, and Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office made the announcement.

Malcolm Harris pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges arising from his role as a middleman in a corrupt scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to a foreign official (“Foreign Official-1”) of a country in the Middle East (“Country-1”). The bribes were intended to facilitate the sale by South Korean construction company Keangnam Enterprises Co., Ltd. (“Keangnam”) of a 72-story commercial building known as Landmark 72 in Hanoi, Vietnam, to Country-1’s sovereign wealth fund (the “Fund”) for $800 million. Instead of paying an initial $500,000 bribe to Foreign Official-1 as he had promised, Harris simply pocketed the money and spent it on himself. Harris pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos who is scheduled to sentence Harris on September 27.

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment to which Harris pleaded guilty, and statements made during the plea and other court proceedings:

From in or about March 2013 through in or about May 2015, Harris co-defendants Joo Hyun Bahn, a/k/a “Dennis Bahn” (“Bahn”) and his father Ban Ki Sang (“Ban”) engaged in an international conspiracy to bribe Foreign Official-1 in connection with the attempted $800 million sale of a building complex in Hanoi, Vietnam, known as Landmark 72.

During this time, Ban was a senior executive at Keangnam, a South Korean construction company that built and owned Landmark 72. Ban convinced Keangnam to hire his son Bahn, who worked as a broker at a commercial real estate firm in Manhattan, to secure an investor for Landmark 72.

Instead of obtaining financing through legitimate channels, Bahn and Ban engaged in a corrupt scheme to pay bribes to Foreign Official-1, through Harris, who held himself out as an agent of Foreign Official-1, to induce Foreign Official-1 to use his influence to convince the Fund to acquire Landmark 72 for approximately $800 million. In furtherance of the scheme, Harris sent Bahn numerous emails purportedly sent by Foreign Official-1 and bearing Foreign Official-1’s name. In or about April 2014, following communications with Harris, Bahn and Ban agreed to pay, through Harris, a $500,000 upfront bribe and a $2,000,000 bribe upon the close of the sale of Landmark 72 to Foreign Official-1 on behalf of Keangnam.

Unbeknownst to Bahn or Ban, however, Harris did not have the claimed relationship with Foreign Official-1 and did not intend to pay the bribe money to Foreign Official-1. Instead, Harris simply stole the $500,000 upfront bribe arranged by Bahn and Ban, which Harris then spent on lavish personal expenses, including rent for a luxury penthouse apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

*                *                *

Harris, 53, of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of conducting monetary transactions in illicit funds, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

The case against Bahn is pending before Judge Ramos, and Ban is a fugitive believed to be residing in South Korea. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI’s International Corruption Squad in New York City investigated the case. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Trial Attorney Dennis R. Kihm of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel S. Noble of the Southern District of New York are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance in this matter.

The Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all FCPA matters. Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/foreign-corrupt-practices-act.

Co-Owners of Miami Home Health Agencies Sentenced to Over 10 Years in Prison for $20 Million Fraud Scheme

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A mother and daughter who secretly co-owned and operated seven home health care agencies in the Miami, Florida area were each sentenced to over 10 years in prison today for their roles in a $20 million Medicare fraud conspiracy that involved paying illegal health care kickbacks to patient recruiters and medical professionals.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Brian Swain of the U.S. Secret Service’s Miami Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.

Mildrey Gonzalez, 61, and her daughter, Milka Alfaro, 39, both of Miami, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez of the Southern District of Florida to 135 and 151 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme. The defendants were further ordered to pay approximately $22,900,000 in joint and several restitution. Gonzalez and Alfaro each pleaded guilty on March 2, having been charged in a July 2016 superseding indictment. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of health care fraud, while Alfaro pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud.

Alfaro and Gonzalez previously admitted that they secretly co-owned and operated seven home health agencies in the Miami area, yet failed to disclose their ownership interests in any of these agencies to Medicare, as required by relevant rules and regulations. In addition, Alfaro and Gonzalez admitted to paying illegal health care kickbacks to a network of patient recruiters in order to bring Medicare beneficiaries into the scheme, to paying bribes and kickbacks to medical professionals in return for providing home health referrals, and to directing co-conspirators to open shell corporations, into which millions of dollars’ worth of fraud proceeds were funneled. Furthermore, Alfaro and Gonzalez each admitted to perjuring themselves at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman of the Southern District of Florida, to attempting to influence the testimony of potential trial witnesses, and to submitting false affidavits concerning their assets to the court.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and HHS-OIG. Former Fraud Section Trial Attorney and current Southern District of Florida Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa H. Miller and Fraud Section Trial Attorney L. Rush Atkinson prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evelyn B. Sheehan and Alison W. Lehr also provided assistance regarding asset forfeiture issues in this case.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Birmingham CPA Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison, Must Repay $11 Million Embezzled

Friday, June 16, 2017

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham man to eight years in prison and ordered him to repay $10.9 million he embezzled from the Shelby County scrap metal brokerage where he was chief financial officer, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger Stanton.

U.S. District Court Judge Abdul K. Kallon sentenced THOMAS L HINSON JR., 70, on five counts of wire fraud for depositing checks stolen from Strickland Trading Inc. into the account of Strickland Trading Company, LLC, a company Hinson formed to carry out his embezzlement. Hinson pleaded guilty to the charges in March. He must report to prison July 31.

Along with the millions in restitution that Hinson must pay, he also must forfeit his interest in properties in Huntsville, Birmingham, Virginia Beach, Va., Lutz, Fla., and Sevierville, Tenn.

Hinson “abused his position as Chief Financial Officer of Strickland Trading, Inc., and violated his long-running friendships with Strickland Trading’s principals, to perpetuate a nine years long scheme to defraud,” the government states in its sentencing memorandum.

The company’s principals and employees suffered substantial financial hardship because of Hinson’s long-term crime, the memorandum says.

The five wire fraud counts Hinson pleaded guilty to represent five of the more than 225 checks totaling more than $11.2 million that were intended for Strickland Trading Inc., but which Hinson deposited into his Strickland Trading Company, LLC, account, between April 2007 and April 2016. He used the money he embezzled over the years to pay expenses and purchase real estate, automobiles, and other assets for himself, his family, and friends.

According to the court documents, Hinson conducted his scheme as follows:

Hinson was a certified public accountant in private practice who worked for Strickland Trading Inc. from 1991 to April 2016. In 2000, he began working as Strickland Trading Inc.’s CFO. In April 2007, Hinson filed documents with the State of Alabama creating Strickland Trading Company, LLC, and provided the name and address of a friend in Madison County as its organizer so he could conceal his own association with the new company.

Using the similarity in the names of the two companies, Hinson took checks mailed to Strickland Trading Inc. by its customers and deposited the checks into his Strickland Trading Company, LLC, account for his personal use. He made false entries in the financial records of Strickland Trading Inc., prepared false financial statements and made other false representations to Strickland Trading Inc. corporate officers to conceal his embezzlement.

The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney George Martin prosecuted.

US Seeks Approximately $540 Million From Conspiracy Involving Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund

Thursday, June 15, 2017

LOS ANGELES – The Justice Department today filed civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $540 million in assets associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Combined with civil forfeiture complaints filed in July 2016 that seek more than $1 billion, and civil forfeiture complaints filed last week that seek approximately $100 million in assets, this case represents the largest action brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Assets now subject to forfeiture in this case total almost $1.7 billion.

The complaints filed today seek the forfeiture of Red Granite Pictures’ interest in the movies “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Daddy’s Home,” a condominium in New York City worth nearly $5 million, diamond jewelry, artworks by Picasso and Basquiat, and a $260 million megayacht called The Equanimity.

According to the complaints, from 2009 through 2015, more than $4.5 billion in funds belonging to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of 1MDB and their associates. 1MDB was created by the government of Malaysia to promote economic development in Malaysia through global partnerships and foreign direct investment, and its funds were intended to be used for improving the well-being of the Malaysian people.

“These cases involve billions of dollars that should have been used to help the people of Malaysia, but instead was used by a small number of individuals to fuel their astonishing greed,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “The misappropriation of 1MDB funds was accomplished with an extravagant web of lies and bogus transactions that were brought to light by the dedicated attorneys and law enforcement agents who continue to work on this matter. We simply will not allow the United States to be a place where corrupt individuals can expect to hide assets and lavishly spend money that should be used for the benefit of citizens of other nations.”

“The Criminal Division is steadfast in our efforts to protect the security, safety, and integrity of the American financial system from all manner of abuse, including by kleptocrats seeking to hide their ill-gotten or stolen wealth,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco. “Today’s complaints reveal another chapter of this multi-year, multi-billion-dollar fraud scheme, bringing the total identified stolen proceeds to $4.5 billion. This money financed the lavish lifestyles of the alleged co-conspirators at the expense and detriment of the Malaysian people. We are unwavering in our commitment to ensure the United States is not a safe haven for corrupt individuals and kleptocrats to hide their ill-gotten wealth or money, and that recovered assets be returned to the victims from which they were taken.”

As alleged in the complaints, the members of the conspiracy – which included officials at 1MDB, their relatives and other associates – diverted more than $4.5 billion in 1MDB funds. Using fraudulent documents and representations, the co-conspirators allegedly laundered the funds through a series of complex transactions and shell companies with bank accounts located in the United States and abroad. These transactions allegedly served to conceal the origin, source and ownership of the funds, and ultimately passed through U.S. financial institutions to then be used to acquire and invest in assets located in the United States and overseas.

The complaints filed today allege that in 2014, the co-conspirators misappropriated approximately $850 million in 1MDB funds under the guise of repurchasing certain options that had been given in connection with a guarantee of 2012 bonds. As the complaints allege, 1MDB had borrowed a total of $1.225 billion from a syndicate of banks to fund the buy-back of the options. The complaints allege that approximately $850 million was instead diverted to several offshore shell entities. From there, the complaints allege, the funds stolen in 2014, in addition to money stolen in prior years, were used, among other things, to purchase the 300-foot luxury yacht valued at over $260 million, certain movie rights, high-end properties, tens of millions of dollars of jewelry and artwork. A portion of the diverted loan proceeds were also allegedly used in an elaborate, Ponzi-like scheme to create the false appearance that an earlier 1MDB investment had been profitable.

“Today’s filing serves as a reminder of the important role that the FBI plays in rooting out international corruption. When corrupt foreign officials launder funds through the United States in furtherance of their criminal activity, the FBI works tirelessly to help hold those officials accountable, and recover the misappropriated funds,” said Assistant Director Stephen E. Richardson of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “I applaud all my colleagues and our international partners who have worked to help recover an immense amount of funds taken from the Malaysian people, who are the victims of this abhorrent case of kleptocracy.”

“Today’s announcement is the result of untangling a global labyrinth of multi-layered financial transactions allegedly used to divert billions of dollars from the people of Malaysia and fund the co-conspirators’ lavish lifestyles,” said Deputy Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation. “The IRS is proud to partner with other law enforcement agencies and share its world-renowned financial investigative expertise in this complex financial investigation. It’s important for the world to see, that when people use the American financial system for corruption, the IRS will take notice.”

As alleged in the earlier complaints, in 2009, 1MDB officials and their associates embezzled approximately $1 billion that was supposed to be invested to exploit energy concessions purportedly owned by a foreign partner. Instead, the funds allegedly were transferred through shell companies and were used to acquire a number of assets. The complaints also allege that the co-conspirators misappropriated close to $1.4 billion in funds raised through the bond offerings in 2012, and more than $1.2 billion following another bond offering in 2013.

The FBI’s International Corruption Squads in New York City and Los Angeles, and IRS Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.

Assistant United States Attorneys John Kucera and Christen Sproule of the Asset Forfeiture Section, along with Deputy Chief Woo S. Lee and Trial Attorneys Kyle R. Freeny and Jonathan Baum of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs is providing substantial assistance.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered asset to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail) or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime. These allegations are not proven until a court awards judgment in favor of the United States.

Illinois Real Estate Developer Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud Scheme

Thursday, May 25, 2017

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – A Rock Island, Ill., businessman, Todd B. Raufeisen, waived indictment and pled guilty to an information that charged him with defrauding investors in his land development and management projects of approximately $1.7 million. Raufeisen, 56, entered his guilty pleas to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering today before U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow. Sentencing is scheduled on Sept. 14, 2017.

In court documents and statements, Raufeisen admitted that from 2010 to August 2016, he engaged in a scheme that defrauded approximately 22 investors in his development projects and resulted in a loss of approximately $1.7 million. Raufeisen engaged in business under various business names, including RDC Hotel Solutions.

As part of the scheme, Raufeisen promised prospective investors a higher rate of interest than conventional, insured investments and short turnarounds on return of the principle and interest. In exchange for the money invested, Raufeisen promised certain investors that the money would be placed in escrow until needed, would only be used for specific development or management projects, and, if unused, the money would be returned to the investor. In fact, Raufeisen used the investors’ money for personal expenses and to pay previous investors to whom he was indebted.

Further, Raufeisen provided certain investors with promissory notes that promised repayment of invested principle and interest. The notes were purportedly signed and guaranteed by persons who knew nothing of the promissory notes and had not guaranteed repayment to the investors. In fact, Raufeisen admitted that he forged the signatures on the promissory notes.

The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and, the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Allegro is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

The maximum statutory penalties for the offenses – 20 years in prison for wire fraud; 10 years for money laundering – are provided here for informational purposes, as final sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court may also order the defendant to pay restitution to victims of the offenses.

12 Debarred Over Role in Syria Humanitarian Aid Fraud Scheme

May 26, 2017

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of
Inspector General (OIG) announced the debarment of 12 companies and individuals over their participation in a fraud scheme affecting humanitarian aid in Syria. USAID officials made the decision in April barring Orhan Senkardes, the Senkardes Company, and certain related individuals and companies from future business with the
U.S. Government for 5 years.

USAID OIG, which has been investigating corruption in cross-border humanitarian aid programs in Syria since 2015, provided information that led to USAID’s debarment action. “OIG’s pursuit of corrupt actors in Syria and the surrounding region remains as critical as ever as we work to protect life-saving aid programs from fraud, waste, and abuse,” said Ann Calvaresi Barr, USAID Inspector General. “I commend our special agents for their tenacity, insight, and continued dedication to our investigative efforts and recognize USAID’s willingness to take decisive action to protect taxpayer resources based on OIG’s work.” The OIG’s investigation is open and ongoing.

USAID’s debarment of the 12 companies and individuals applies across the U.S. Government. OIG’s investigative work contributed to the decision, establishing that Orhan Senkardes, the Senkardes Company, and Mr. Senkardes’ affiliated companies or personnel participated in a procurement fraud scheme with corrupt nongovernmental organization staff, including Luan Meraku, who implemented USAID-funded programs. Further, investigative results revealed that although the Senkardes Company, Selkas, Forvet, and Yigit Motorlu companies were all under Mr. Senkardes’ control, they bid against each other for U.S.-funded procurements under the appearance of fair and open competition. The debarred companies and affiliated individuals are:

  • Senkardes Gida San ve Tic Ltd.
  • Selcuk Benli
  • Forvet
  • Ismet Kalin
  • Selkas
  • Hecran Kalin
  • Yigit Motorlu
  • Zerrin Nalbanoglu
  • Orhan Senkardes
  • Erol Senkardes
  • Luan Meraku
  • Erdal Senkardes

The U.S. Government’s System for Award Management (SAM), www.sam.gov, provides further information on each of the debarred entities and individuals, which are currently excluded from transactions with U.S. Government departments, agencies, and contractors.

To date, OIG’s investigations in Syria and the surrounding region have identified a
network of commercial vendors and nongovernmental organizations employees who
colluded to engage in bid-rigging and multiple kickback schemes related to Syrian
humanitarian aid awards. The investigations to date have led to $239 million in
suspended program funds; 35 agency suspension or debarment decisions; 19 personnel resignations, terminations, or suspensions; and $19.6 million in savings for USAID.

Throughout the course of investigations, OIG coordinates closely with USAID’s Bureau
for Management, Office of Management Policy, Budget, and Performance, Compliance
Division. The division is responsible for making recommendations on potential
suspension and debarment actions to the agency.

Protecting humanitarian operations from organized crime is a top priority for USAID
OIG’s Office of Investigations. In addition to aggressively investigating allegations,
USAID OIG has also published a fraud awareness handbook and is actively engaged in providing fraud awareness training within the industry. The handbook, Compliance and Fraud Prevention: A Pocket Guide for the Middle East Crisis Humanitarian Response, can be found on OIG’s web site.

Anyone with information about suspected fraud, waste, or abuse in USAID programs in Syria and around the world is urged to contact USAID OIG directly.
Telephone
+1 (800) 230-6539 or +1 (202) 712-1023
Email
Syria Investigations Team: syriaoiginv@usaid.gov

General: ig.hotline@usaid.gov

Online, via OIG’s public web site
https://oig.usaid.gov/content/oig-hotline
Information reported to OIG is treated in confidence and OIG protects the identity of
each person providing information to the maximum extent provided by law.
###

Canadian Man Sentenced to 97 months in Prison for Investment Scheme

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

FORT WORTH — Ryan Steve Magee, a citizen of Canada, was sentenced this morning by Senior U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means to 97 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2,372,573 in restitution, following his guilty plea in February 2017 to one count of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Magee, 34, was indicted in July 2016 on five counts of wire fraud. Magee was arrested in December 2016, and has remained in custody since his arrest.

According to plea documents filed in his case, Magee was a business man and an active day trader in the U.S. stock market. Beginning in 2011, and continuing until the end of 2013, Magee devised and operated a scheme to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent material pretense and representations. Magee solicited and obtained money from victim investors by making false representations about how their money would be invested, how much of their money would be invested, how much their investment was earning, how much money they had in their account, and by making other false statements.

Specifically, J.C. and D.C. decided to invest some of their savings with him. At Magee’s direction, D.C. wired $35,000 to Magee’s account on August 12, 2011. After Magee received the money from D.C., he immediately diverted $25,000 for his own personal expenditures. Magee then deposited the remaining $10,000 into his day-trading account located at Interactive Brokers (IB). Magee sent weekly emails to J.C. and D.C. entitled “Trading Update,” which falsely showed the beginning account principal of $35,000 and the daily gains, even though Magee had diverted $25,000 of the investors’ money to his own personal use.

In November 2011, J.C. and D.C. cashed in J.C.’s 401(k) and wired $240,000 to Magee’s account. After Magee received the $240,000, he immediately diverted approximately $160,000 to his personal accounts, transferring only $80,000 into his IB trading account. Magee again sent weekly “Trading Update” emails claiming to have deposited the entire $240,000 in the IB account. Though he lost approximately $75,000 by the end of the month and his trades for November 2011, were a negative 70 percent, Magee listed 200 percent gains in the weekly “Trading Update” emails he sent to J.C. and D.C, between November 16 2011, and November 30, 2011.

On April 10, 2013, in the final “Trading Updates” email Magee sent to J.C. and D.C., Magee claimed their account balance was over $1.3 million. However, Magee’s IB account statement for the time period ending March 31, 2013, showed that Magee’s IB account had a negative cash balance of $9,578. J.C. and D.C. suffered a total loss of approximately $275,000. Between May 2010 and September 2013, other victims of the fraudulent scheme in the United States and Canada suffered a total loss of approximately $2,097,573.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Larson prosecuted.

Southern CA Resident Sentenced 34 Months in Prison For Bank Fraud Conspiracy

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael Inman was sentenced to 34 months in prison for his role in a bank fraud conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The sentence was handed down June 7, 2017, by the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge, following a guilty plea in which Inman admitted he participated in a scheme to steal checks, open fraudulent bank accounts, write fraudulent checks, and deposit stolen and fraudulent checks as part of a bank fraud scheme.

Inman, 55, of Los Angeles, Calif., pleaded guilty on February 8, 2017, to participating in the bank fraud conspiracy. According to the plea agreement, Inman admitted that beginning in January of 2013, he agreed with at least one other person to commit bank fraud. The plea agreement describes a number of transactions in which Inman stole high value cashier’s checks from the victim and he and his co-conspirators used the stolen identity of the victim to write and deposit fraudulent checks. For example, in January of 2013, members of Inman’s conspiracy opened a bank account in the name of the victim and, in February of 2013, a co-conspirator deposited into the account a stolen $99,000 cashier’s check that had been made out to the victim. Similarly, Inman admitted that in June of 2013, co-conspirators opened another two fraudulent accounts and deposited a $99,000 check. Further, Inman admitted participating in a scheme in which people were provided checks drawn on the fraudulent bank accounts.

A grand jury indicted Inman on February 11, 2016, charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Inman pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer sentenced Inman to pay $198,000 in restitution to the victim and to forfeit $198,000. Judge Breyer ordered the defendant to begin serving his sentence on or before August 2, 2017.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marc Price Wolf and Claudia A. Quiroz are prosecuting the case with assistance from Kevin Costello, Yanira Osorio, and Lance Libatique. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.