US News

Fritch Man Sentenced for Transporting Approximately 2,300 Images of Child Pornography

AMARILLO, Texas — Kelly Neil Black, 24, of Fritch, Texas, appeared today in federal court before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison and 15 years supervised release on one count of transportation of child pornography, announced John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Black has been in custody since the time of indictment in March 2017.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer and Two Others Sentenced for Roles in Marihuana Distribution Conspiracy

AMARILLO, Texas — Today, Russell Tim Shen, 69, Andre Jorge Hernandez, 39, and Ernesto Esteve, 50, all from Miami, Florida, appeared before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and were sentenced for their roles in a marihuana distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Shen, Hernandez, and Esteve were sentenced to 21 months’ custody, 15 months’ custody, and 3 years’ probation, respectively. 

Father-and-Son Executives of Tutoring Companies Sentenced to Federal Prison in Connection with $11 Million Fraud Scheme

CHICAGO — The father-and-son executives of two suburban Chicago tutoring companies have been sentenced to federal prison for orchestrating an $11 million fraud scheme that bilked more than 100 school districts around the country, including Illinois.

From 2008 to 2012, JOWHAR SOULTANALI and his son, KABIR KASSAM, fraudulently obtained funds from the school districts by misrepresenting the nature of their companies’ tutoring services and falsely inflating invoices for tutoring work that was never performed.  Soultanali and Kassam also paid bribes to school officials and teachers to make sure the fraud was not detected.  The bribes included a Caribbean cruise for an assistant principal in Texas and an outing to a gentleman’s club for a state education official in New Mexico.

Soultanali, 62, of Morton Grove, Ill., and Kassam, 38, of Wheeling, Ill., each pleaded guilty last year to one count of mail fraud.  U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve on Friday sentenced Soultanali to six years in prison, and Kassam to five years and ten months in prison.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke Discusses Shared Efforts to Combat Terrorism with Foreign Leaders

G7 Interior Ministers in Ischia, Italy
G7 Interior Ministers in Ischia, Italy. From left: Jurgen Stock, Secretary General, INTERPOL; Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, European Union; Thomas De Maziere, Minister of the Interior, Germany; Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security; Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety, Canada; Marco Minitti, Minister of the Interior, Italy; Gerard Collomb, Minister of the Interior, France;  Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, U.K; Hachiro Okonogi, Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, Japan; Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, European Union pose for a photo at the beginning of the G7 Interior Ministers meeting in Ischia, Italy Oct. 19, 2017. The G7 Ministerial presents an important opportunity to advance DHS’s counterterrorism, aviation security, law enforcement, and border management priorities. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke meets with U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke meets with U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti sign the Secure Real Time Platform (SRTP) Implementing Arrangement
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti sign the Secure Real Time Platform (SRTP) Implementing Arrangement. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

ISCHIA, ITALY – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke this week traveled to meet with foreign leaders to advance efforts to combat terrorism. The Acting Secretary traveled first to the United Kingdom for high-level bilateral meetings and then to Italy for a gathering of senior officials from G7 nations. She reached agreements with key partners to step up the fight against terrorists online, to improve information sharing, and to raise the baseline of global aviation security.

In London, Acting Secretary Duke met with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd and top officials from the UK Home Office to discuss persistent and emerging threats. Acting Secretary Duke and Home Secretary Rudd agreed to enhance transatlantic cooperation in a number of actionable ways. The two leaders vowed to pursue sustained, constructive engagement with technology companies on the frontlines of the digital fight against terrorists, and they agreed to conduct joint threat assessments and briefings to help non-governmental partners better counter terrorist trends and tactics, especially online.

Acting Secretary Duke and UK Home Secretary Rudd also agreed to collaborate on raising the baseline of aviation security worldwide.  In July, DHS announced new “seen” and “unseen” security enhancements to protect U.S.-bound flights as part of a wider Global Aviation Security Plan. DHS and the Home Office pledged to work together on additional measures to detect concealed explosive threats, defend against insider attacks, identify known or suspected terrorist travel, and enhance cargo security.

Acting Secretary Duke then traveled to Ischia, Italy, for a G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting. There, she participated in plenary sessions with her counterparts, focused on information sharing, confronting the challenge of foreign fighters, and stopping terrorist recruitment and radicalization online. Ministers were joined by representatives from leading technology companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter. Acting Secretary Duke and her counterparts conferred with the companies on their recently established Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The Acting Secretary applauded the progress companies are making in removing terrorist content, urged more forward-leaning action, and welcomed new commitments by the companies that will help make their platforms more hostile to nefarious actors.

In a press conference with the G7 ministers, Acting Secretary Duke said: “We live in a networked world. And this year it has really become clear how much terrorists are exploiting those networks…But I can assure you that we are not standing on the sidelines while dangers gather. Today we discussed concrete efforts to fight back.”

She added: “Our enemies are moving at the speed of a tweet, so we have to counter them just as quickly…While there is no doubt [they] are adapting, terrorist groups should know this:  they are no match for the alliances you see here today. We will destroy their safe havens. We will break their networks. And we will expose their hateful ideology for what it really is.”

Acting Secretary Duke also had the opportunity to participate in several bilateral meetings:

 Acting Secretary Duke and Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti signed the Secure Real Time Platform (SRTP) Implementing Arrangement, which enhances the ability of both countries to identify known or suspected terrorists, irregular migrants, and other persons of interest through the exchange of fingerprints. Acting Secretary Duke and Minister Minniti discussed raising global aviation security standards, continued cooperation between the United States and Italy on counterterrorism and migration management, initiating bilateral preclearance negotiations, and the importance of maintaining the flow of passenger screening data between the European Union and the United States in observance of existing international agreements.

Acting Secretary Duke met with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to discuss the U.S.-Canadian relationship in combatting terrorism, as well as their interests in increased information sharing with European partners. They also addressed joint steps to take to address illegal migration across their shared border. Canada is scheduled to host a G7 meeting in 2018.

Acting Secretary Duke met with French Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb and discussed ways to deepen the already close partnership between DHS and the French Ministry of Interior, including the importance of maintaining the flow of passenger screening data between the European Union and the United States in observance of existing international agreements, and working together to raise global aviation security standards.

At the end of the Summit, Acting Secretary Duke met with European Union Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and European Union Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King at the meeting of the G7 Interior Ministers. They discussed the value of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement between the United States and the European Union as an essential law enforcement and counterterrorism tool that must be preserved by all parties.

FEMA Approves More Than $500 Million in Assistance to Puerto Rico

Members of the Armor Unit Combat Aviation Division from Ft. Bliss, Texas deliver emergency water supplies to an isolated village

Members of the Armor Unit Combat Aviation Division from Ft. Bliss, Texas deliver emergency water supplies to an isolated village.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $500 million for survivor assistance, emergency work, and debris removal following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

More than $114 million has been distributed to individuals for housing assistance and critical needs. Over 800,000 survivors have registered for various types of disaster assistance throughout Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities. The Small Business Administration has approved more than $2.3 million in disaster assistance loans.

In addition, more than $384.2 million in public assistance has been awarded for funding to state and local organizations to perform emergency protective measures such as use of temporary generators, flood control, conducting safety inspections, and debris removal.

Assistance includes more than $215 million to the Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA), and $70 million to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) to perform repairs to aid in the restoration of power and water services to Puerto Rico’s estimated 3.5 million residents. The remaining $99.2 million in public assistance funding was awarded to multiple public and qualifying non-profit organizations.

Private non-profit hospitals, schools, and utility providers, and non-critical organizations such as community centers, day cares, and shelters may be eligible for public assistance, and are encouraged to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) to the government of Puerto Rico.

Individuals and households in Puerto Rico can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. FEMA teams are also on the ground meeting face-to-face with disaster survivors and helping with registrations.

Improved Security Procedures for Refugees Entering the United States

New measures announced by the White House will raise the bar for national security, plug potential security gaps

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the implementation of improved security procedures for refugees entering the United States. These new measures are part of the administration’s effort to raise national security standards for all persons traveling to the United States, and they are designed to intensify screening in order to keep nefarious and fraudulent actors from exploiting the refugee process to enter the United States.  The measures come at the end of a 120-day “pause” on refugee resettlement, while the United States government conducted a thorough review of the existing program.

“The security of the American people is this administration’s highest priority, and these improved vetting measures are essential for American security,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke. “These new, standardized screening measures provide an opportunity for the United States to welcome those in need into our country, while ensuring a safer, more secure homeland.”

In accordance with section 6(a) of Executive Order 13780, the United States government, including the Departments of State (State) and Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), conducted a review of the United States Refugee Admissions Program application and adjudication process. The goal of this review was to determine what additional procedures should be used to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.

As a result of this review, the United States government is implementing program enhancements to raise the bar for vetting and screening procedures, including but not limited to:  increased data collection to more thoroughly investigate applicants, better information sharing between agencies to identify threat actors, and new training procedures to strengthen screener ability to detect fraud and deception.

These measures are an additional layer of security for the American people and are based in part on evaluated intelligence and identified gaps in screening and vetting operations. Following the implementation of these improved measures, the administration will recommence refugee resettlement processing.

While DHS, State, and ODNI have jointly determined that the new measures are adequate to resume refugee admissions, they have also concluded that additional in-depth review is needed with respect to refugees from 11 countries previously identified as posing a higher risk to the United States. Consequently, admissions for applicants from those 11 high-risk countries will move forward on a case-by-case basis during an additional 90-day review period, consistent with our national security interests. As DHS, State and DNI complete individual country reviews, they may resume a standard admissions process for applicants from those countries.

The United States government will continue to work closely with law enforcement and the intelligence community, and these enhancements will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine whether any further measures are needed to safeguard our homeland.

City of Carson Culminates Filipino-American History Month Celebration with a Special Tribute to Union Leader Larry Itliong and a Youth Event on October 21

On October 21, the City of Carson and various organizations will join the entire community in honoring the life’s work and legacy of Larry Itliong – a Filipino-American labor leader and organizer.

A tribute march will start at 9 a.m. around the vicinity of Veterans Park located at 22400 Moneta Avenue in Carson followed by a labor awards ceremony. This year’s Larry Itliong Labor Awardees are Luisa Blue, elected Executive Vice President of SEIU International, and AFSCME Local 809, a City of Carson employees’ union. The event is free and open to the public.

“The City of Carson is the first city to recognize the contributions of labor union leader Larry Itliong. We are proud to have this annual event and proud to have been instrumental in the movement to get AB 7 passed in Sacramento to have October 25 recognized as Larry Itliong Day throughout California,” said City of Carson Mayor Albert Robles.

In 1965, Larry Itliong led the successful “Great Delano Grape Strike” to protest the low wages and miserable working conditions. In 1966, he led the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and merged with the National Farm Workers Association led by Cesar Chavez to form the United Farm Workers union.

In 1970, Larry Itliong founded and became the president of the Filipino American Political Association (FAPA), the first national political Filipino American organization and a crucial alliance between Filipino professionals with 30 active chapters throughout the United States.

In the afternoon of October 21, partnering agency, TFC (The Filipino Channel), through its student outreach TFC University or TFCU, will host a free youth symposium and networking event called TFCU Talks ‘Rise Up’ at 3 p.m. at Cal State Dominguez Hills University Theatre. TFCU Talks is an opportunity for students and young professionals to connect with successful industry leaders who share their stories and experiences in order to empower the next generation.

“The ‘Rise Up’ theme was inspired by Larry Itliong’s leadership with the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. What he did to start the farm labor movement in this country is a great example of standing up for what’s right, using your voice, and owning your power to create positive change. We want to remind those who attend TFCU Talks Carson that they, too, have the power and ability to do the same with their talents, gifts, and passions,” said Program Manager of TFCU, Romeo Marquez, Jr.

For more information about Filipino American History Month Celebration, please call (310) 952-1743.

Mexican Citizen Sentenced to 27 Years in Federal Prison for His Role in a Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy

DALLAS — Jose Apolinar Arreola Avalos, aka “J. Apolinar Arreola Avalos, 43, a citizen of Mexico and in the United States illegally, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey for his role in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Avalos was sentenced to 324 months in federal prison following his guilty plea in June 2017 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute a schedule II controlled substance. He was in the United States illegally at the time of the offense and will be deported after serving his sentence. Avalos has been in custody since his arrest in March 2016.

Avalos was charged along with twenty-one others with various offenses related to a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. Of the twenty-one charged, eighteen have pleaded guilty, five have been sentenced and three are awaiting trial.

FBI Seeks Information on Missing Washington, D.C. Juvenile

Dajana Houston Missing Since October 14, 2017

The FBI Washington Field Office and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Dajana Houston, 11, of Washington, D.C.

Dajana Houston was last seen on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Dajana is a black female and has brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5’4” tall and weighs 110 pounds. She was last known to be wearing a purple shirt, black pants, and black shoes.

Anyone with information regarding this individual is asked to contact the FBI Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000 or tips.fbi.gov, or call MPD’s tip line at 202-727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the police department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

Chelsea Bomber Ahmad Khan Rahimi Convicted for Executing September 2016 Bombing in New York City

A jury returned a guilty verdict today against Ahmad Khan Rahimi, aka, “Ahmad Rahami,” 29, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in Manhattan federal court on all eight counts of the Indictment, which charged him with offenses related to his execution and attempted execution of bombings in New York City on Sept. 17, 2016. Rahimi, who faces mandatory sentence of life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2018.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente, Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim for the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Office and Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman presided over the two-week trial.

Acting Secretary Duke meets with residents affected by Hurricane Maria in Ponce, Puerto Rico. (DHS Official Photo/Jetta Disco)

WASHINGTON - Acting Secretary Elaine Duke today made her third visit to Puerto Rico to meet with local officials and assess the status of ongoing response efforts. She met with the mayors of Ponce, Guayanilla and Santa Isabelto discuss how the federal government can best support the immediate needs of the people of Puerto Rico. Acting Secretary Duke also spoke by phone with Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

During a media availability Acting Secretary Duke remarked on the importance of what she learned during her visit, "I will leave today more dedicated than even before to ensure we continue with the recovery of Puerto Rico."

Acting Secretary Duke and Ponce Mayor Meléndez also delivered food and water to residents of a Ponce neighborhood.

In San Juan, Acting Secretary Duke met with Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne and U.S. military leadership on the island.

DHS, FEMA and its federal and Commonwealth partners remain focused on live-saving and life-sustaining actions, from distribution of food and water to addressing health care needs to power and communication system restoration.

New Orleans Woman Convicted of Conspiracy, Identity Theft and False Statement Charges for Role in $2.1 Million Medicare Kickback Scheme

On Tuesday, a federal jury found a New Orleans woman guilty of conspiracy, identity theft and false statements charges for her role in an approximately $2.1 million Medicare kickback scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the Office of Inspector General – Health and Human Services Dallas Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Jeff Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office made the announcement.

After a two-day trial, Kim Ricard, age 51, of New Orleans, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks in connection with Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, Ricard was convicted of three counts of accepting kickbacks, along with three counts of identity theft and one count of making false statements to federal agents. Sentencing has been scheduled for December 7, before U.S. District Judge Jane Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana, who presided over the trial.

California Man Convicted for Role in the Illegal Sale of Black Rhinoceros Horns

Edward N. Levine was convicted yesterday for conspiracy to violate the Lacey and Endangered Species Acts and to a violation of the Lacey Act by knowingly selling black rhinoceros horns to an undercover agent from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), announced the Justice Department. Sentencing has been set for December 15. Levine’s co-defendant, Lumsden Quan, was sentenced in December 2015.

Levine was arrested in March 2014 for his role in a conspiracy to knowingly sell black rhinoceros horns across state lines. Levine worked with Quan to transport two horns from California to Nevada, where the men sold them to an undercover agent from Colorado for a sum of $55,000.
This case is part of “Operation Crash,” a nationwide crackdown by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against those who engage in illegal trafficking of rhinoceros horns. A “crash” is the term for a herd of rhinoceros. Operation Crash is an ongoing effort to detect, deter and prosecute those engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns. As of November 2015, Operation Crash has resulted in the prosecution and sentencing of nearly 32 subjects and recovery of approximately $5.6 million through forfeiture and restitution.

Man Charged with Hate Crime for Using Stun Cane During Racially-Motivated Assault of Neighbor in Utah

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City, Utah returned an indictment charging Mark Porter with violating 42 U.S.C. § 3631 by using force and the threat of force to injure, intimidate, and interfere with an African-American man because of his race after moving in nearby, announced John Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; John W. Huber, United States Attorney for the District of Utah; and Eric Barnhart, Special Agent in Charge for the Salt Lake City Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The indictment alleges that Mark Porter shouted racial slurs at the victim and his seven-year-old son, and then struck the victim with a stun cane. The indictment further alleges that the stun cane is a dangerous weapon, and that the victim suffered bodily injury.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted on the civil rights charge, Porter faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Former Utah CEO Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion Used Nominee to Hide Income and Concealed Information from his Return Preparer

A former CEO of a Salt Lake City, Utah company pleaded guilty yesterday to tax evasion, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah.

According to documents filed with the court, Peter Nordberg, 61, of Alameda, California, was the Chief Executive Officer of Max International, a company that produces and markets nutritional supplements directly and through independent associates and distributors. As an employee of Max International, Nordberg earned a salary and commissions equal to a percentage of sales. Nordberg caused Max International to pay his bonus income to a nominee entity he established, and used a bank account in the name of the nominee entity to pay personal expenses. Nordberg concealed the bonus income and nominee entity from his return preparer and filed false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that underreported his income. He admitted to causing a tax loss of approximately $275,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30 before U.S. District Court Judge Benson. Nordberg faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

HHS Secretary Price declares public health emergency in Louisiana due to Hurricane Harvey

Following the lead of President Trump's disaster declaration for Louisiana, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., today declared a public health emergency in Louisiana in response to Hurricane Harvey. In addition, he has taken action that gives HHS’ Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) beneficiaries and their health care providers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.

“As Louisiana and Texas contend with the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, HHS is committed to doing all that we can to ensure that those affected by this storm receive the vital assistance and support they need,” said Secretary Price. “The people of Louisiana who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP for their healthcare needs can be confident that this declaration will allow their care to continue despite the toll this disaster has taken in their communities.”

Many CMS beneficiaries have evacuated to neighboring communities where receiving hospitals and nursing homes may have no health care records, information on current health status or even verification of the person’s status as a Medicare beneficiary. Due to the emergency declaration and other actions taken by HHS, CMS is able to waive certain documentation requirements to help ensure facilities can deliver care.

In addition to increasing the flexibility in providing assistance for CMS beneficiaries, HHS has deployed approximately 550 personnel to affected areas to help state and local authorities respond to communities’ medical needs, and additional staff is on standby to assist.

Today’s declaration of a public health emergency for Louisiana follows a similar emergency declaration for Texas that Secretary Price signed on Saturday to help residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. Secretary Price acted under his authority in the Public Health Service Act and Social Security Act.

These actions and flexibilities are effective retroactively to August 27, 2017.

Public health and safety information for Hurricane Harvey can be found at: https://www.hhs.gov/hurricane-harvey 

Third Conference on World War II in the Philippines

Bataan Legacy Historical Society, Memorare Manila 1945 and the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program of the University of San Francisco will present the Third Conference on WWII in the Philippines on Saturday, September 9, 2017 from 10AM to 4PM, at the University of San Francisco's McLaren Conference Center at 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA. Doors will open at 9:30AM. Topics for this year's panels include:

The WWII in the Philippines lesson plans to help implement California's U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11 (approved July 14, 2016)
The Role of the Guerrillas during the Liberation of the Philippines
Hell Ships
War Crimes in the Philippines

Experts and survivors from the Philippines, Canada and the United States will participate in these panels. Panel members include Col. John Haramalis, an expert on war crimes who led a NATO Multinational Task Force against the last six internationally indicted fugitive war criminals in Bosnia, James Erickson, the leading expert on the Hell Ships, and Bernard Karganilla, a professor from the University of the Philippines, who has done extensive research on the guerrillas for the last 35 years. Also included in the program are Maj. General (Ret.) Antonio Taguba, who will speak about the Congressional Medal of Honor for the WWII Filipino veterans, and Maj. General (Ret.) Eldon Regua, a member of Governor Brown's military council.

The conference is open to the public and admission is free. However, pre-registration is strongly recommended through Eventbrite.

Bataan Legacy Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) organization. It worked successfully with the California Department of Education to include WWII in the Philippines in the U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11 in California. It is now working with Bay Area high school teachers to create the WWII in the Philippines lesson plans in order to help with the implementation. For more information go to www.bataanlegacy.org.

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Ambassadors of the ASEAN Committee in Washington, D.C. (ACW), together tendered a diplomatic reception at the Philippine Embassy on 13 September 2017 to celebrate the 50th Founding Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Speaking on behalf of the ASEAN Ambassadors, Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto in his remarks said ASEAN’s establishment had much to do with realization that, “sustained peace and stability as well as meaningful socio-economic development must also be sought through regional cooperation and solidarity.”

Minister Chuasoto also highlighted ASEAN’s steady progress in the past 50 years – greater integration efforts, increased political and economic cohesiveness, widespread engagements and strategic partnerships – while underscoring the principle of ASEAN centrality as an effective enabler for regional cooperation.

“Strategic diversity thus should not be regarded as something that threatens to overwhelm the Community and its efforts towards greater integration. We know this because the past 50 years have already validated ASEAN’s economic and strategic logic. Through perseverance and resolve, ASEAN now sits as a respected and important member of the global community,” he further said.

He also emphasized ASEAN’s strategic partnership with the United States strengthened by mutual trust and confidence and reinforced by people-to-people exchanges. “YSEALI is an outstanding example of how today’s millennials will drive ASEAN-US relations and develop ASEAN’s next generation of leaders”, Minister Chuasoto said.

In her remarks, Guest of Honor Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), who is also the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, further emphasized the dynamic partnership between ASEAN and the United States in the past 40 years.

“Our Caucus believes that ASEAN should be the United States’ go-to partner for trade and investment,” said Congresswoman Wagner. With the help of people here tonight, our Caucus promises to build the next generation of leaders who will sustain and grow our cherished relationship,” she concluded.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton, another Guest of Honor, also spoke on the 40 years of rich relations between ASEAN and the United States. She called the relationship a compelling and strategic partnership on important issues.
Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton also expressed optimism at the Philippines’ successful chairmanship of ASEAN 2017, to be capped off by the upcoming Leaders’ meetings in November 2017.

“Since the first ASEAN-US Dialogue in Manila in 1977, we have partnered to improve the lives of citizens on both sides of the Pacific. Now we have a robust, strategic partnership through which we will also cooperate with ASEAN and its member states on security, rule of law, human rights, and people to people engagement,” she said.

US-ASEAN Business Council President and CEO Alex Feldman talked about the ASEAN Economic Community and its progress, and the importance of ASEAN to the United States.

“We are the very first organization outside of ASEAN to adopt the ASEAN name. We are the first and only American organization to be formally recognized in the ASEAN Charter and our purpose then as is our purpose today is to help American business grow in ASEAN, and grow it has,” Mr. Feldman said.

“American business has clearly bet on ASEAN today and on its future,” he further emphasized. Following the official reception program, guests partook of a sumptuous buffet of different cuisines from each of the ten ASEAN countries.

Members of the Northern Virginia Rondalla provided the pre-program entertainment.

1926 Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States Now Digitized and Accessible on Library Website

1926 Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States Now Digitized and Accessible on Library Website
Title Page, "Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States," 1926
In 1926, America celebrated the 150th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence. To mark the occasion, citizens of Poland – more than 5.5 million of them – signed a unique birthday card, The Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship. Now, all 111 volumes containing more than 30,000 pages – many beautifully illustrated or accompanied by photographs – are digitized and accessible on the Library of Congress website.

The Class of 1926 digitization project, initiated by the Polish Library in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the Library of Congress and with support from the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, has brought this historic collection to researchers all over the world and is accessible at loc.gov/collections/ polish-declarations/about-this-collection/.

Richly illustrated with original works by prominent Polish graphic artists, the volumes contain signatures of nearly one-sixth of Poland’s population in 1926, including the signatures of national and local government officials, representatives of religious, social, business, academic and military institutions, and millions of school children. The collection was presented at the White House to President Calvin Coolidge, who requested that the volumes be transferred to the Library for preservation.

“I am so pleased and humbled to announce that these extraordinary volumes are now available for all to see,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “This is truly one of the unexpected treasures here at America’s library – a story from the past of goodwill and heartfelt friendship between nations. I am grateful to the Polish Library and the Polish Embassy for their support of this digitization project, which I have no doubt will be of unique significance to many historians and genealogists, but also of interest to all Americans.”

“These declarations are one of the earliest examples of public diplomacy undertaken by the reborn Polish Republic and they embody the deep appreciation Poles held for America’s friendship and generous aid,” said Piotr Wilczek, Poland’s Ambassador to the United States. “I greatly appreciate the Library of Congress’ efforts in safekeeping this priceless collection for many decades and for now facilitating its access to the entire world. Our Embassy is proud to have supported the Class of 1926 project to digitize the Polish Declarations.”

President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, who toured the Polish Declarations in person, described the collection as “an extraordinary work and an important testament for Poles and Polish-Americans. It will be thrilling for many individuals to soon be able to find the signatures of their forefathers in these Declarations.”

In addition to being a unique gift from a grateful nation, the Polish Declarations are also a priceless treasure trove for genealogists, historians and researchers. World War II erupted 13 years after these signatures were gathered. Poland was jointly invaded by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and suffered immense losses. Close to six million Polish citizens, including three million Polish Jews, were killed.
Samuel Ponczak, who spearheaded the Class of 1926 digitization project, noted, “for those who did not survive the war, in many instances their signature in this declaration is the only evidence that such a person existed.” Ponczak, who himself is a Polish survivor of the Holocaust, added, “Through our digitization effort, we are reclaiming their lost history.”

The Polish Library in Washington, D.C., is a volunteer organization which has been promoting Polish culture, literature and history in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since 1991.

Detroit Area Medical Biller Sentenced to 50 Months in Prison for Her Role in a $7.3 Million Dollar Healthcare Fraud Scheme

A Detroit-area medical biller was sentenced today to 50 months in prison for her role in a $7.3 million Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme involving medical services that were billed to Medicare and Medicaid but not rendered as billed.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of
the Eastern District of Michigan, Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division, and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office, made the announcement.

Dawn Bentley, 56, of Oakland County, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sean F. Cox of the Eastern District of Michigan, who also
ordered Bentley to pay $3,253,107 in restitution jointly and severally with her co-defendants. After a one-week jury trial in January 2017, Bentley was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud, as well as one count of mail fraud. Bentley was sentenced to 50 months in prison on each of the two counts, to run concurrently, followed by one year of supervised release.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from June 2014 through June 2015, Bentley knowingly submitted fraudulent bills on behalf of a co-conspirator physician for services she knew could not have been rendered, and for services she knew had not been rendered as billed. In exchange, Bentley was paid 6% of the total billings paid to the physician from Medicare, the evidence showed. Bentley’s largest client was Waseem Alam, who pleaded guilty to a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme in March 2016. Bentley billed $1.9 million of this fraud from June 2014 to June 2015, and was paid 6% of Alam’s receipts for the fraudulent billings, the evidence showed. Bentley’s company received over $100,000 from Alam’s practices between June 2014 and June 2015, the evidence showed.

The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys Tom Tynan and Jessica Collins prosecuted the case.

The 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 3,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $11 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.

Eleven Alleged Members of Gangster Disciples Indicted in Racketeering and Drug Conspiracy

Alleged Racketeering Acts Include Multiple Murders and Drug Trafficking

A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tenn., yesterday returned a 40-count indictment charging 11 members of the Gangster Disciples gang with
conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that included multiple murders, including the murder of a witness; a drug distribution
conspiracy; and multiple other crimes of violence in aid of racketeering as well as firearms and drug crimes. Earlier today, federal, state and local
law enforcement officers orchestrated a coordinated takedown resulting in numerous arrests in Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida. Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the Justice Department; Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee; Special Agent in Charge Steve Gerido of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and Director Mark Gwyn of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) made the announcement.

“The Gangster Disciples have been a menace to law-abiding Americans for more than 40 years and remain a threat in 35 states today,” said Attorney General Sessions. “This gang sells dangerous drugs and has taken innocent lives. The Department of Justice is making combating violent gangs like this one a high priority, and today we take another major step toward taking them off our streets for good. I want to thank the dedicated federal prosecutors who brought this case, and I especially want to thank the 10 law enforcement agencies from the state, local, and federal levels who took part in this investigation.”

“The charges in this case encompass conduct dating back over a decade,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Smith. “In bringing these charges, we have sought to hold accountable those who have played a central role in gang violence and whose criminal activity has too often disrupted the peace and harmony of our communities. Our work is not done and this prosecution is the next step in what will be a sustained effort to dismantle the Gangster Disciples organization in Middle Tennessee.”

“ATF’s priority of reducing firearms violence is evident with the recent enforcement operation,” said Special Agent in Charge Gerido. “The collective resources of our law enforcement partners, combined with support from the community, results in a safer environment for the public.”
“Having the support and cooperation of our partner local, state and federal agencies is critical to ensuring that we work together to protect Tennesseans from violent individuals such as these,” said Director Gwyn.
“Gang members who commit such violent acts, as alleged here, have no place in our communities, and we will continue to work together to bring such bad actors to justice.”

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to participate in the affairs of the Gangster Disciples, a violent criminal gang founded in
Chicago and now active in numerous states across the U.S., including Tennessee. The indictment alleges that the Gangster Disciples are highly
organized, operating under the national leadership of a corporate board- style group, who is responsible for decisions for the gang at a national
level, and the state and regional leadership of “governors” and other subordinate gang members, who are responsible for the gang’s activities in
specific geographic regions. As set forth in the indictment, in middle Tennessee, the Gangster Disciples generally recruited members from a local
neighborhood or from within jail or prison. According to the allegations, the defendants conspired to enrich, promote and enhance the gang; to preserve and protect its power, territory, and operations through acts and threats of violence, including murder, assault, intimidation of witnesses and victims; and to provide support to gang members charged with, or incarcerated for, gang-related or other criminal activities. For example, among other crimes, the indictment alleges that on Jan. 6, 2012, Gangster Disciples member Brandon Durell Hardison, 31, of Madison,
Tenn., murdered a Gangster Disciples associate. That same date, Hardison also murdered the associate’s girlfriend, who was a witness to the murder, then enlisted other Gangster Disciples members to dispose of the murder weapon, according to the allegations. The indictment alleges that Hardison committed these murders for the purpose of maintaining and increasing his position in the Gangster Disciples.

Gangster Disciples members were also responsible for attacks on rival gangs, according to the allegations. For example, the indictment alleges that on Nov. 3, 2012, Hardison; Maurice Duncan Burks, 31, of Hopkinsville, Tenn.; Marcus Termaine Darden, 38, of Guthrie, Ky.; and Xavier Raphael Jenkins, 29, of Clarksville, Tenn., plotted to assault members of the Bloods gang. Thereafter, according to the allegations, Hardison and Jenkins assaulted, and Burks shot and killed, a member of the Bloods gang inside a nightclub in Clarksville, Tenn. Additionally, the indictment alleges that in August 2014, Lamar Andre Warfield, 28, of Guthrie, Ky.; Derrick Lamar Kilgore, 32, of Clarksville, Tenn.; and Lawrence Mitchell, 33, of Clarksville, Tenn. conspired to murder members of the rival Vice Lords gang, resulting in the shooting of four individuals in Clarksville, Tenn. The indictment also alleges that in a separate crime in December 2014, DeCarlos Titington, 41, of Clarksville, Tenn., shot at and attempted to murder two Vice Lords gang members. Both Vice Lords shootings were for the purpose of maintaining and increasing the defendants’ position in the Gangster Disciples, according to the allegations.

The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations. According to the allegations, the government seeks to forfeit any proceeds and property,
including but not limited to a money judgment, representing all or part of the gross proceeds obtained as a result of the alleged crimes.
The indictment names the following defendants in the RICO conspiracy: Darden; Burks, Hardison; Warfield; Kilgore; Titington; Mitchell; Elance
Justin Lucas, 27, of Guthrie, Ky.; and Lorenzo Cortez Brown, 31, of Murfreesboro, Tenn. The indictment also names Darden, Burks, Warfield, Kilgore, Lucas, Titington, Mitchell, Brown, as well as Rex Andrew Whitlock, 32, of Clarksville, Tenn., in the drug distribution conspiracy.
In addition to the RICO and drug distribution conspiracies, the indictment charges Hardison with two counts of murder in aid of racketeering, related firearms crimes, and witness tampering, and Burks with murder in aid of racketeering and related firearms crimes. Warfield, Kilgore, Mitchell and Titington are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault in aid of racketeering, and related firearms charges, which stem from shootings of rival gang members. Darden, Kilgore, Brown and Titington are also charged with drug distribution offenses. The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This investigation was conducted by the ATF; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the TBI; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office; the Clarksville Police Department; the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office; the Murfreesboro Police Department; the Gallatin Police Department; the Kentucky State Police; the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force; and the Hopkinsville, Kentucky Police Department. Trial Attorney Ivana Nizich of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Schrader are prosecuting the case.

Former EMT And Volunteer Firefighter Charged With Production Of Child Pornography

NEWARK, N.J. – An Iselin, New Jersey, man who worked as an emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter was charged today with soliciting a child to take nude pictures of himself and send them online, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Zachary Motta, 22, is charged by complaint with one count of sexual exploitation of children. He appeared in Newark federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion and was detained.

According to the complaint:
Beginning in October 2016, Motta engaged in sexually explicit communications with a boy who told Motta that he was 12-years old. Over the course of their correspondence, Motta sent the minor victim images of himself in his EMT and firefighter uniforms and asked the boy to send him nude pictures. Motta warned the boy, “Just don’t get caught.” In response to Motta’s requests, the boy sent Motta nude images of his genitals on two occasions.

The charge of sexual exploitation of a child carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Andrew C. Carey, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Alfonzo Walsman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and Motta is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Carol Gillen.

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, along with Governor Rick Scott and Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, tour a Red Cross shelter at Marathon High School

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, along with Governor Rick Scott and Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, tour a Red Cross shelter at Marathon High School.

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke traveled to Marathon and Miami, Florida to observe Hurricane Irma response and recovery efforts.

In Marathon, the Acting Secretary, along with Governor Scott and Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, toured a Red Cross shelter at Marathon High School. They met with first responders, Red Cross employees and volunteers, and distributed food, water and ice to survivors of Hurricane Irma.

Acting Secretary Duke and Gov. Scott then traveled to the Monroe County Marathon Government Center where they discussed hurricane recovery challenges with Monroe County mayors and county executives. The Acting Secretary toured the Emergency Operations Center and spoke with FEMA employees, including surge capacity force members.

Acting Secretary Duke took an aerial tour of the Lower Keys in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter to assess the damages and saw firsthand the damage Hurricane Irma caused to homes and vital infrastructure in the Lower Keys. Shannon Weiner, Acting Incident Commander, Monroe County Emergency Management led the aerial tour.

Acting Secretary Duke then traveled to Miami where she met with Carlos Gimenez, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County. They discussed ongoing response and recovery efforts due to the devastation from Hurricane Irma.

Thousands of federal workers are supporting preparedness, response, and recovery, including more than 3,200 FEMA staff, and more than 13,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen from 22 states, in conducting rescue, evacuation, security and support operations.

The federal government continues to support Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts underway in Texas and Louisiana along with those impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Department of Homeland Security’s top priority is to protect the American people from harm – this includes from natural disasters. Registering online, at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, is the quickest way for those affected to register for federal aid.

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, along with Governor Rick Scott and Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, tour a Red Cross shelter at Marathon High School.

Almost 320 Lbs of Marijuana Found on Tour Bus

Almost 320 Lbs of Marijuana

TUCSON, Ariz. – Willcox Station Border Patrol agents at the Highway 80 immigration checkpoint near Tombstone arrested two drivers of a Mexican tour bus Wednesday night after finding close to 320 pounds of marijuana in a hidden, aftermarket compartment.
Agents referred the bus for an immigration inspection of the occupants, all identified as Mexican nationals.
During the inspection, a Border Patrol canine alerted to an odor it was trained to detect emitting from the rear of the bus. When agents searched the area, they found a hidden compartment behind a cabinet next to the toilet with 264 bricks of marijuana inside.
Agents arrested both male drivers, ages 26 and 32, for drug smuggling. The marijuana, worth in excess of $159,000, and bus were seized. The passengers were driven to a nearby business to await alternative transportation.

Tour Bus

Sister Maria Socorro Pilar Evidente, DC "A Living Saint" Receives the INMN Hall of Fame - Lifetime Achievement Award

With complete humility, Sister Maria Socorro Pilar Evidente, DC, Administrator of the Hospicio de San Jose accepted the prestigious INMN Hall of Fame - Lifetime Achievement Award from Awee Abayari, President of International News Media Network of Washington, DC who said Sister Corrie was chosen and recognized “for offering her entire life to serve, for her undying concern and care for the orphans, the abandoned, the hungry, the poorest of the poor, not wanting any recognition but all for the love of God and His people.”

The Awarding Ceremony coincided with the 400th anniversary of the Charism of St. Vincent de Paul, which is service on behalf of the poor.  This made Recognition of Sister Corrie’s lifetime service a most memorable gift from the Divine.

After 47 years of service without recognition, as a consecrated person, Sister Corrie in her acceptance speech proclaimed her service to God by serving others. “To God be the Glory,” she said as she continued to thank her family, who for the first time  all came from Maryland, New Jersey, Florida , Seattle and California  just to witness  the celebration of service by someone who is not only a family member but a representative of God.

Basking in the Glory of God, Sister Corrie thanked Father Peter Kenny,  (after the Prayer during the Opening Ceremonies) a dear friend who she worked with for many years serving in Olongapo; Edna Dorda for sharing her financial resources; her dear classmate Jazmin Johnson who came all the way from Virginia; and many other dear friends and colleagues.

With complete humility and acceptance, Sister Corrie in her speech that said that she “was a humble servant and will cherish the joyous event to hold on to when life becomes difficult and challenging.” Through prayers, she admitted that she is “happy to accept the Award with humility after discernment and prayer”, that God is giving this Award  “as a consolation and gift to rest her weary heart, it is a manifestation of
God’ s deep pleasure”.

Currently  the Administrator of Hospicio de San Jose, Sister Corrie was born on July 30, 1952 in Iloilo City to parents Atty. Roque Esmero Evidente and Dolores Estrella Garin.  Sister Corrie is the 5th child of 12 children.  She has 3 brothers and 8 sisters.

Sister Corrie, who had dedicated her life to the religious service, entered the Daughters of Charity in April 1970 at the age of 17 while she was in her second year college at the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus where she was taking Bachelor of Science in Social Work.  Three years later, she resumed her college studies at the Sacred Heart College in Lucena City, Quezon, where she graduated in 1976 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education, with English as major field of study and music as her minor.  In 1981 she earned her Bachelor of Music degree, Major in Voice from the University of the East, School of Music & Arts.

She had her Masteral Studies in Theological Studies at the Ateneo de Manila University, where she also earned her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry, Major in Family Ministry and Counseling; and Master’s in Social Work from the University of the Philippines’ Open University (UPOU).

In the United States, Sister Corrie had undergone hands-on training on Therapy for Sexually Abused Women and Children at the Children’s Institute International in Los Angeles; Marital and Family Therapy at the Denver Family Institute in Denver, Colorado; and training on Prevention of Domestic Violence in Seattle, Washington.

Sister Corrie, who graduated Magna Cum Laude, was named “Outstanding Alumna” of the Sacred Heart College on the occasion of the school’s Centennial Anniversary.  She was a recipient of the “Outstanding “St. Louise de Marillac Award” in 1970 for her Outstanding Service to the Poor.  In 2010, she was “Outstanding Woman Leader of Manila (Human Rights Category)” by former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.

For the past 46 years that Sister Maria Socorro has been a Daughter of Charity, but most especially when she became Administrator/Superior of Hospicio de San Jose in 2005,  she spent every moment of her life totally given to God for the service of persons in poverty situations: abandoned/neglected children and youth, persons with special needs, older persons and persons in crisis situations.

The  very successful “Time to Shine“ Leadership event was organized by the International News Media Network  of Washington, DC to recognize Outstanding Community and Business Leaders , City and government officials who have served with distinction and honor. Very special was the attendance of the Daughters of Charity  from Los Altos , California who “actively brings the mission of Jesus Christ to Life by serving the sick, and brothers and sisters who are poor“.

About INMN
The International News Media Network is a Washington, DC-based organization which deals with global news, undertakes leadership training for professionals from around the world, tackles International Relations focused on humanitarian concerns and organizes community service projects.

New Jersey Man Indicted for Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme

A federal grand jury sitting in Camden, New Jersey has returned an indictment, which was unsealed today, charging an Atlantic City man with conspiring to defraud the United States by promoting a tax refund scheme, filing false claims, and obstructing the internal revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to the indictment, Kenneth Crawford, Jr., and his co-conspirators, between 2015 and 2016, promoted and executed a “mortgage recovery” tax fraud scheme by assisting client taxpayers in obtaining the payment of false claims for tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The alleged scheme was premised on a false claim that clients could recover, through tax refunds, mortgage debt they owed and paid to financial institutions. To promote the scheme, Crawford allegedly recruited and convinced clients, many of whom were behind on mortgage payments and faced foreclosure, to file false tax returns seeking tax refunds. Crawford and his co-conspirators then allegedly caused false tax forms to be filed with the IRS to make it appear that clients were eligible for refunds by falsely claiming that substantial amounts of taxes had been withheld and paid to the IRS.

The indictment further alleges that when the IRS discovered the fraud and attempted to recover the refunds issued, Crawford supplied clients with false documents to send to the IRS in response to IRS demands and warning letters. Crawford allegedly instructed clients on how to deceive the IRS by, among other things, concealing his role in causing the false returns to be filed.

The indictment charges that Crawford’s scheme resulted in over $2.3 million in fraudulent refund claims being submitted to the IRS, of which the IRS paid out more than $1.3 million. Crawford allegedly charged his clients a fee for his services of approximately 25 percent of the refund obtained.

If convicted, Crawford faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, five years in prison for each false claim count, and three years in prison for obstructing the internal revenue laws. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant Chief John Kane and Trial Attorney Sean Green of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Over 20 MS-13 Gang Members Arrested in California for Assault and Drug Trafficking, Murder, Kidnapping, and Assault Indictments against MS-13 Members also Unsealed. 

Seven Firearms, More Than 60 Machetes and Knives, and 270 Rounds of Ammo Seized
As part of a multi-agency operation, more than 20 individuals associated with Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) were arrested in Mendota and Los Angeles, California on federal and state charges in connection with their gang activities, including assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Additionally, two federal indictments were unsealed today: one charging two MS-13 members with kidnapping and murder in aid of racketeering and another charging three MS-13 gang members with conspiracy and assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering.

The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott for the Eastern District of California, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, and Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for northern California and northern Nevada.

The investigation leading to yesterday’s arrests began following reports that MS-13 had established a presence in Fresno County, California. The investigation centered in and around the City of Mendota, a Central Valley town 35 miles west of Fresno. Investigators found evidence of broad criminal activity, including murder, assault, firearms possession and drug trafficking activity.

“MS-13 is a brutal transnational criminal organization that has wreaked havoc in communities across the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The gang engages in indiscriminate and senseless acts of violence, as demonstrated by the charges announced today, which allege murder, attempted murder, and drug trafficking in the State of California. Dismantling MS-13 and other violent gangs that terrorize our streets will remain a top priority of the Department of Justice. Today’s announcement is the result of comprehensive and coordinated federal, state, and local law enforcement action, and I commend the Eastern District of California and all of our partners for their hard work on this case. It is precisely this kind of coordinated effort that allows us to most effectively protect our communities and hold MS-13 members accountable for their heinous crimes.”

“The operation leading to today’s arrests reflects the incredible teamwork between our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and our shared commitment to keeping our communities safe from violent criminal gangs like MS-13, said U.S. Attorney Scott. “This investigation had a strong impact not only in Fresno County, but across the state and country as we were able to provide information and leads to law enforcement in Los Angeles, Nevada, Texas, New York, and elsewhere to help prevent and solve serious crimes, including murder. Criminal enterprises like MS-13 will not be tolerated in any of our towns, no matter how small.”

“Global criminal organizations like the MS-13 strike fear into our local communities here in the United States by committing violent and often brutal crimes in our backyards; but by all levels of law enforcement working together, their vicious and dangerous acts will not go unpunished,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Spradlin. “While transnational gangs may have tentacles that reach globally, Homeland Security Investigations does as well and is well equipped to intercept these threats to our national security.”

“The FBI is committed to aggressively investigating and disrupting gang activity,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Ragan. “Through the Safe Streets Task Force and the Transnational Anti-Gang Initiative, the FBI leverages resources to target MS-13--the first and only street gang to be designated by the U.S. government as a transnational criminal organization--by focusing on the gang’s structure and leadership. To ensure success, the FBI it committed to working in close cooperation with federal, state, local and foreign law enforcements partners to coordinate operations and share information.”

European Union Selects 5 US Cities for International Urban Cooperation Program

The Delegation of the European Union to the United States is pleased to announce that 5 cities from the United States have been selected to participate in a competitive European Union initiative, pairing cities in the United States with cities in the EU to facilitate cooperation on sustainable urban development.

The EU's International Urban Cooperation (IUC) program has identified the following pairings based on the sizes, challenges, and interests of the cities:

New York, New York    +     Barcelona, Spain
Boston, Massachusetts    +    Lyon, France
Baltimore, Maryland    +     Turin, Italy
Santa Monica, California    +     Varna, Bulgaria
Fort Collins, Colorado    +     Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal 

These partnerships will support an exchange of best practices, discussion and collaboration as the cities tackle similar problems. They join an existing pairing between Austin, Texas and Bologna, Italy which launched in December 2017.

The EU's IUC program facilitates cooperation between six European and six American cities that face similar challenges on their path to achieving sustainable urban development. As cities across the globe face rising challenges of migration, social inclusion, quality of life, climate change, and globalization, the program supports the city pairs to build cooperation, share experiences, and exchange knowledge as they cooperate over a period of 18 months. At the same time, they are also part of a larger international community of peers and stakeholders engaging on sustainable urban development. The IUC contributes to the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, the Sendai framework, and the Paris Agreement, enhancing quality of life in urban areas.

"Cities today are the laboratories where many innovative solutions are emerging to address the biggest economic, social and environmental challenges facing our societies today," said David O'Sullivan, the European Union's Ambassador to the United States. "The European Union is proud to support the IUC program so that cities from the EU and U.S. can work together on sustainable urban development initiatives that will benefit citizens on both sides of the Atlantic."

Graham Welcomes First Flight Of New Boeing 787-10

Xi Jinping Arrives in Florida of the US to Hold China-US President's Meeting with Donald Trump

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces New Initiatives to Advance Forensic Science and Help Counter the Rise in Violent Crime


Rep. Royce Supports 21st Century Cures

Senators Lead Bipartisan Resolution Supporting Sea Grant Program

Senators McCain and Gillibrand Introduce Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction & Abuse

Two Illinois Men Charged With Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS

Two Suburban Chicago Men Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support to the Islamic State

Agency demonstrates winning formula as catalyst for energy innovation

The 240 MWe Facility is the Largest Post-Combustion Carbon Capture Project in the World

CBP AMO intercepts vessel with 1320 pounds of cocaine in Puerto Rico; 2 aliens arrested

Minister Carr Meets With U.S. Energy Secretary Perry in Washington, D.C.

International Leaders Visit Washington, DC, The Nation's Capital

Artists selected for nationwide women Veterans art exhibit

Former State Representative Indicted On Fraud Charges

American Citizen Charged with Conspiring to Murder U.S. Nationals

California Man Arrested for Making False Statements in a Terrorism Investigation

California Man Indicted for Terrorism Offense


Irish National Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison for Rhinoceros Horn Trafficking

DHS Announces The 2016 Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative

Maryland Man Indicted for Ties to ISIL

Texas Man Charged with Attempting to
Provide Material Support to ISIL

Two Members of Al

Two Virginia Men Charged with Terrorism Offenses Related to Attempted Travel to Syria to Join ISIL

Universal Aryan Brotherhood Associate Sentenced for Violence Committed in Aid of Racketeering

US Citizen Indicted for Receiving Military Training from Al-Shabaab

Eleventh Twin Cities Man Charged with Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL

What Is a Partner

MGM National Harbor to Open December 8

MGM National Harbor will Offer Elegant Meeting Spaces and Customized Experiences within new Integrated Resort

Former Scott Credit Union Commercial Loan Officer Sentenced to Prison on Convictions for Fraud, Misapplication, Money Laundering and False Report

Florida Registered Broker Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud for Participating in a $131 Million Market Manipulation Scheme

Interpol Washington Collaborates with Indonesian Partners

Forgotten Soldiers Press Kit