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Garcia Pleads Guilty to Damaging Marijuana Cultivation Operation

Mexican National, Eleno Fernandez-Garcia Pleads Guilty to Damaging Marijuana Cultivation Operation in Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County FRESNO, CA (STL.News) Eleno Fernandez-Garcia, 37, a citizen of Mexico, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.  He also agreed to pay $45,688 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for the damage that the cultivation operation had on public land. According to court documents, the cultivation operation contained 9,654 marijuana plants and 200 pounds of processed marijuana and was located in the Basin Creek drainage in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County.  Fernandez was found at the grow site in possession of

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Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Tax Return Preparer

Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down San Diego Return Preparer Preparer Allegedly Prepares Tax Returns Containing False Claims (STL.News) The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeking to bar a San Diego tax return preparer from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing federal income tax returns for others. The civil complaint was filed against Archibald W. Smith Jr., also known as Archie Smith, and alleges that he operated a tax preparation business in San Diego, California, under his own name and the names “Ablizzia Bookkeeping and Production” and “ABPC Inc.” According to the complaint, Smith prepared and filed tax returns that falsely understated his customers’ federal income tax liabilities

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Ronald Geesner Admits to Providing False Information to IRS

Accountant, Ronald R. Geesner admits to providing false information to IRS CINCINNATI, OH (STL.News) Ronald R. Geesner, 66, of Cincinnati, Ohio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to providing a false statement to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to court documents, since March 2017 Geesner has served as the in-house accountant/bookkeeper at two Cincinnati businesses.  When questioned about his role as the internal accountant/bookkeeper of the businesses, Geesner lied to IRS agents to conceal his true earnings.  As a result of his concealment the Social Security Administration (SSA) had paid Geesner $31,525 in SSA benefits to which he was not entitled. False Statement or Representation to an Agency of the United States carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $25

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Raleigh: Tauheed Rochelle Sentenced for Firearm Offense

Raleigh Man, Tauheed Rochelle Sentenced for Firearm Offense After Reoffending on State Probation NEW BERN, N.C (STL.News) Tauheed Rochelle of Raleigh was sentenced today to 58 months in prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On December 21, 2020, Rochelle pled guilty to the charge.  At the time of his arrest, Rochelle was on state probation for two felony drug offenses. According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 5, 2019, Raleigh Police Department officers responded to a suspicious vehicle call on Tamarino Drive in Raleigh—a location where multiple recent breaking and entering crimes had been reported.  As the officers approached, they recognized the car as a Dodge Charger belonging to Rochelle, who they were familiar with from prior encounters.  A

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Essex County: Tashon Ragan Admits Conspiring to Steal Mail

Essex County Man, Tashon Ragan Admits Conspiring to Steal Mail and Commit Bank Fraud NEWARK, N.J (STL.News) An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a conspiracy to steal check books and credit cards from the postal system, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced. Tashon Ragan, 21, of Hillside, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: From February 2019 to May 2020, Ragan conspired to fraudulently obtain money from victim financial institutions by depositing counterfeit checks and checks stolen from the mail into accounts at victim financial institutions and with

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Illinois: $1 Billion Grants Distributed for Local Infrastructure Projects

Gov. Pritzker Announces $1 Billion in Rebuild Illinois Grants Distributed for Local Infrastructure Projects Illinois Department of Transportation Announces Fourth Round of $250 Million Grant Installment CHAMPAIGN, IL (STL.News) As summer construction season ramps up, Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today announced the fourth round of $250 million in Rebuild Illinois funded grants is available to advance municipal, township, and county projects across the state.  With the latest round of grants, $1 billion in funding has now been distributed to address local transportation needs.  The funding ensures that local governments can continue to invest in projects that sustain good-paying jobs and enhance quality of life for Illinois residents. “In a sign that

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Indiana Governor: Restoration of Weekly Work Search Requirement

Gov. Holcomb Announces Restoration of Weekly Work Search Requirement for Unemployment Benefits INDIANAPOLIS, IN (STL.News) Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed Executive Order 21-13 requiring Hoosiers requesting unemployment benefits from the state to be actively seeking full-time work starting on June 1. The federal government authorized states to waive work search requirements during the height of the pandemic. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will once again require a weekly work search report from Hoosiers requesting unemployment benefits.  Work search activities include applying for a job, attending a job fair, participating in a WorkOne orientation, or completing an online workshop. DWD will notify affected Hoosiers about these changes to allow time to prepare for the ren

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U.S. Attorney’s Office Recognizes National Police Week

U.S. Attorney’s Office Recognizes National Police Week, May 9-15, 2021 PORTLAND, OR (STL.News) In honor of National Police Week, Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement.  This year, the week is observed Sunday, May 9 through Saturday, May 15, 2021. “This week is a time to honor our law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said Attorney General Garland.  “I am constantly inspired by the extraordinary courage and dedication with which members of law enforcement act each day, putting their lives on the line to make our communities safer.  To members of law enforcement and your families: we know that not a single day, nor a single week, is enough to recogniz

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Child Sexual Predators Sentenced for Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Predators Sentenced for Sexual Abuse and Online Exploitation INDIANAPOLIS (STL.News) An Indianapolis man and woman were each sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting a child, including producing child pornography with the minor victim, and for distributing and receiving child pornography.  A federal grand jury previously indicted them and two others in September 2019. Bennie W. Schuck II, 46, and Amber Talley, 36, were both in a position of trust with the minor victim, who was less than 12 years of age.  Both Schuck and Talley sexually abused the minor female victim, who reported that the abuse had been on-going for at least a year.  Schuck and Talley created images of the abuse, which they sent to each other, depending on who took the images.  According

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Officers Charged with Towing Company Bribery Scheme

Three Current and Former NYPD Police Officers Charged with Towing Company Bribery Scheme Retired Officer also Charged with Drug Trafficking and Firearm Offenses (STL.News) A nine-count indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Heather Busch, Robert Hassett, and Robert Smith with five counts of using interstate facilities to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act.  Smith is also charged with attempting to transport at least one kilogram of heroin and possessing a firearm during the commission of that crime.  During the relevant period, Smith, Busch, and Hassett were New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) police officers assigned to the 105th Precinct in Queens.  Smith retired from the NYPD in March 2020. The defendants were arrested

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Indianola: Cordel Moton Sentenced On Federal Firearms Violations

Indianola Man, Jermany Cordel Moton Sentenced to Prison for 10 years On Federal Firearms Violations Greenville, MI (STL.News) An Indianola man has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for burglary of a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and an unrelated charge of possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. According to court documents, Jermany Cordel Moton aka “Mookie”, 30, stole 31 firearms from the Mississippi Police Supply Co., Inc., in Ruleville, Mississippi, on August 16, 2018.  In a separate incident on July 22, 2019, Moton, who had previously been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, possessed ammunition, which was used to fire a round through a wall of Moton’s house during an argument with another family member. On Wednesday, May 6, 2021, United States District J

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Alexander C. Van Hook Recognizes National Police Week

Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook Recognizes National Police Week SHREVEPORT/LAFAYETTE/ALEXANDRIA/LAKE CHARLES/MONROE, LA (STL.News) In honor of National Police Week, Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook recognizes the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement.  This year, the week is observed Sunday, May 9 through Saturday, May 15, 2021. “Police Week is an opportunity for us to honor our law enforcement officers in Louisiana and across the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.  “The men and women who serve as law enforcement officers are the unsung heroes in our communities today.  They work long hours for little pay and put their lives on the line every single day when they put on their uniform to go out

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Fentanyl Dealers Charged With Distributing Narcotics

Fentanyl Dealers Charged With Distributing Narcotics Resulting In Death Tampa, FL (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Karin Hoppmann announces the return of a superseding indictment charging Marvin “MJ” Mitchell (36, St. Peterburg) and Christopher Hughes (43, Pinellas Park) with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, and fentanyl, which caused an individual’s death, as well as possession with the intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, and fentanyl. If convicted on all counts, Mitchell and Hughes each face a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years, and up to life, in federal prison. According to the indictment, Mitchell and his co-conspirators, including Hughes, sold heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl.  In June 2019, members of this conspiracy distrib

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Couple Sentenced for Producing Fake Prescription Drugs

Bessemer Couple Sentenced for Producing Fake Prescription Drugs BIRMINGHAM, AL (STL.News) A Bessemer couple was sentenced today for possessing pill presses used to make fake prescription drugs, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations, Miami Field Office Special Agent in Charge Justin C. Fielder. U.S. District Court Judge Annemarie Axon sentenced Earnest Lee Coleman, 44, and Tashana Lynn Sims, 38, husband and wife.  Coleman was sentenced to 78 months in prison and Sims was sentenced to 36 months’ probation for their roles in the offenses.  Coleman pleaded guilty to possessing punches, dies, and plates with the intent to defraud or mislead, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing controlled substances

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Mathew Palmer Sentenced for Child Pornography Distribution

Former Maryland State Government Official, Mathew Palmer Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for the Distribution of Child Pornography Possessed More Than 1,000 Images and Videos of Child Pornography Baltimore, MD (STL.News) U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher today sentenced Mathew Palmer, age 44, of Severna Park, Maryland, to eight years in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, for distribution of child pornography.  Judge Gallagher also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Palmer must register as a sex offender where he resides, is an employee, and is a student pursuant to the sex offender registration and nonfiction act (SORNA).  At the time of the conduct, Palmer held positions with the Maryland state government, including as Deputy Legislati

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