DOJ – North NY

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
  • Jamesville Man Sentenced to 24 Months for Attempt To Possess Ecstasy
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Matthew Lagoe, 34, of Jamesville, New York, was sentenced today to serve 24 months in prison, to be flowed by a three-year term of supervised release for attempting to possess with intent to distribute the drug MDMA, also known by its street name ecstasy, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). As part of his guilty plea in federal court, Lagoe admitted that in March 2017 he went to a U.S. Post Office in Syracuse, New York, attempting to retrieve a package that contained approximately 1000 MDMA tablets that he previously ordered from Germany, intending to distribute them.  Unknown to the defendant, the actual pills had been previously seized by law enforcement and replaced with a sham substance. Lagoe was then arrested and charged in federal court.  This case was investigated by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sahar Amandolare and Michael D. Gadarian. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-23
    2 days ago
  • Amsterdam Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm Charge
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Mark P. Messare, age 42, of Amsterdam, New York, pled guilty today to possessing an unregistered, short-barreled rifle. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and John B. Devito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Messare admitted that on September 8, 2018, he possessed a Glock 9 millimeter handgun that was inserted into a Micro Roni Pistol Carbine Conversion Kit, creating a short-barreled rifle with a barrel length of approximately 4 inches.   Messare also admitted that he knew that the Micro Roni Pistol Carbine Conversion Kit was designed to convert a handgun into a short-barreled rifle, as the Conversion Kit included a folding shoulder stock that allows a handgun to be fired from the shoulder.  Messare never registered this firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by federal law.  Messare, who is in custody, faces up to 10 years in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release, when he is sentenced on August 14, 2019 by Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. This case was investigated by the ATF and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-23
    2 days ago
  • Troy Man Charged with Possessing a Firearm as a Felon
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Dyshawn Fisher, age 24, of Troy, New York, was arraigned Monday on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm as a felon. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The indictment alleges that on June 26, 2018, Fisher, a felon, was in possession of a .38 caliber revolver. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. On Monday, Fisher appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, who ordered him detained pending further proceedings. If convicted, Fisher faces up to 10 years in prison, a term of post-release supervision of up to 3 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. This case is being investigated by the FBI and its Capital District Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Troy Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashlyn Miranda and Alicia Suarez. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-23
    2 days ago
  • Onondaga County Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Charles H. Riel, age 60, of Clay, New York, pled guilty today to mail fraud and money laundering charges for his role in a fraudulent investment scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, James Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Division. In his plea agreement, Riel admitted that he was the founder, principal member, and officer of REinvest, LLC, a New York limited liability company based in Clay.  From June 2010, through May 2014, Riel provided false, fraudulent, and misleading information about REinvest, LLC, including historical rates of return on supposed REinvest LLC investments and fictitious testimonials touting the financial successes of non-existent REinvest, LLC investors. As part of his guilty plea, Riel further admitted that he collected approximately $285,000 from a total of five investors, all of whom had received false and fraudulent information regarding the nature of Riel’s business and how their funds would be utilized.  Riel used a substantial portion of the funds received from investors to pay for his own personal living expenses rather than investing the funds in ways that could result in a legitimate return on the investments.  He also used money from subsequent investors to pay back a portion of the investment of an earlier investor. As part of his plea agreement, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-23
    2 days ago
  • Albany Man Sentenced to 120 Months in Connection with Fatal Overdose
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Daniel J. Fillerup, age 33, of Albany, was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for selling fentanyl that caused a woman’s death. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As part of his guilty plea on December 20, 2018, Fillerup admitted that on September 29, 2016, he arranged with Kate Centofanti, via text message and phone call, to supply her with two bags of heroin.  Fillerup met with Centofanti in Schenectady, New York, where Centofanti gave Fillerup $36.  He acquired bags of what he believed to contain heroin, and gave Centofanti two of the bags.  Centofanti ingested the substance Fillerup gave her, which was fentanyl.  The ingestion of the fentanyl caused Centofanti’s death due to fentanyl intoxication. Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn also imposed a 3-year term of supervised release, which will start after Fillerup is released from prison. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Capital District Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including investigators from the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Collyer. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-23
    2 days ago
  • Former GE Engineer and Chinese Businessman Charged with Economic Espionage and Theft of GE’s Trade Secrets
    WASHINGTON – An indictment unsealed today charges Xiaoqing Zheng, age 56, of Niskayuna, New York, and Zhaoxi Zhang, age 47, of Liaoning Province, China, with economic espionage and conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE’s) trade secrets surrounding turbine technologies, knowing and intending that those stolen trade secrets would be used to benefit the People’s Republic of China.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, FBI Assistant Director John Brown of the Counterintelligence Division, and Special Agent in Charge James N. Hendricks of the FBI’s Albany Field Office made the announcement. According to the 14-count indictment (copy attached), Zheng, while employed at GE Power & Water in Schenectady, New York, as an engineer specializing in sealing technology, exploited his access to GE’s files by stealing multiple electronic files, including proprietary files involving design models, engineering drawings, configuration files, and material specifications having to do with various components and testing systems associated with GE gas and steam turbines.  Zheng e-mailed and transferred many of the stolen GE files to his business partner, Chinese businessman Zhaoxi Zhang, who was located in China.  Zheng and Zhang used the stolen GE trade secrets to advance their own business interests in two Chinese companies, Liaoning Tianyi Aviation Technology Co., Ltd. (LTAT) and Nanjing Tianyi Avi Tech Co. Ltd. (NTAT), companies that research, develop, and manufacture parts for turbines. The indictment also alleges that Zheng and Zhang conspired to commit economic espionage, as the thefts of GE’s trade secrets surrounding ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-22
    3 days ago
  • Liverpool Man Sentenced to 20 Years on Second Child Pornography Conviction
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – John Dauenhauer, 58, of Liverpool, New York, was sentenced today to serve 20 years in prison for transporting and possessing child pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). As part of his guilty plea in federal court, Dauenhauer admitted that in November of 2017 he used a computer connected to the internet to upload to an IMGBox account nine graphic image files depicting one or more minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  Dauenhauer further admitted that in addition to the child pornography files he uploaded to the internet in November of 2017, that in June of 2018 he knowingly possessed on a Sandisk thumb drive approximately 80 videos that depict child pornography.  Senior United States District Judge Hon. Thomas J. McAvoy also imposed a lifetime term of supervised release, which will start after Dauenhauer is released from prison, ordered the defendant to pay $21,000 in restitution to victims, as well as a $200 special assessment. As a result of his conviction, Dauenhauer will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. Dauenhauer was previously convicted of a child pornography charge in Onondaga County (New York) Court on March 26, 2010, when he pled guilty to Possessing A Sexual Performance By A Child Less Than 16 Years of Age, a Class E Felony, and was sentenced to a 10-year term of probation. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-22
    3 days ago
  • Amsterdam Man Pleads Guilty to Passport Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
    ALBANY, NEW YORK - Marvin Danilo Aquino a/k/a Marvin Padilla, age 23, of Amsterdam, New York, pled guilty on April 19 to making a false statement in a passport application and aggravated identity theft. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Timothy Dumas, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. As part of his plea, Aquino admitted that in October 2017, he visited a U.S. Post Office in Gloversville, New York, and filled out an application for a U.S. passport, which he then submitted with a picture of himself.  On his application, however, Aquino listed the name, social security number, birthdate, and other identifying information of another person who had not authorized Aquino to file the application.  In support of the application, Aquino also submitted numerous documents containing the same third party’s identifying information.     Aquino faces at least 2 years and up to 12 years in prison, a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years, and a fine of up to $250,000, when United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino sentences him on August 12.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.  This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service with assistance from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.  It is being ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-21
    4 days ago
  • Former Student Pleads Guilty to Destroying Computers at The College of St. Rose
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Vishwanath Akuthota, age 27, of Albany, pled guilty today to causing damage to computers owned by The College of St. Rose. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Chief Eric Hawkins of the Albany Police Department (APD). Akuthota admitted that on February 14, 2019, he inserted a “USB Killer” device into 66 computers, as well as numerous computer monitors and computer-enhanced podiums, owned by the college in Albany.  The “USB Killer” device, when inserted into a computer’s USB port, sends a command causing the computer’s on-board capacitors to rapidly charge and then discharge repeatedly, thereby overloading and physically destroying the computer’s USB port and electrical system. Akuthota admitted that he intentionally destroyed the computers, and recorded himself doing so using his iPhone, including making statements such as “I’m going to kill this guy” before inserting the USB Killer into a computer’s USB port.  Akuthota also admitted that his actions caused $58,471 in damage, and has agreed to pay restitution in that amount to the College. Akuthota is a citizen of India, residing in the United States on a student visa.  He has been in custody since he was arrested in North Carolina on February 22, 2019. When he is sentenced on August 12, 2019 by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino, Akuthota faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-15
    1 week ago
  • Federal Authorities to Seek the Death Penalty Against William Wood
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and John Devito, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced today that United States Attorney General William Barr has authorized and directed the United States Attorney’s Office in Syracuse to pursue the death penalty against William D. Wood, Jr. Wood, 33, of Syracuse, New York, was indicted by a federal grand jury February 14, 2019 for crimes resulting from the September 15, 2018 armed robbery of Chili’s Bar and Grill in Dewitt, and the murders of two employees committed during the course of that robbery.  While charges contained in that indictment carry a maximum sentence of death, the death penalty may only be pursued if authorized by the Attorney General.  Following Attorney General Barr’s authorization today, a Notice of Intent to Pursue the Death Penalty was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office.    The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The case against Wood is being investigated by United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Town of Dewitt Police Department, the New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Fletcher. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-11
    2 weeks ago
  • New York City Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Crack Cocaine and Fentanyl in Plattsburgh
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Stephen Jacques-Scott, age 33, of New York City, pled guilty yesterday to trafficking crack cocaine and fentanyl from New York City to Plattsburgh. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division, and Plattsburgh City Police Chief Levi J. Ritter. Jacques-Scott pled guilty to two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute a controlled substance. Jacques-Scott admitted that on May 11, 2017, he distributed approximately 33.5 grams of crack cocaine, and that on May 15, 2017, he distributed approximately 27.9 grams of crack cocaine and approximately 14.5 grams of fentanyl ,in Plattsburgh.  On May 18, 2017, Jacques-Scott was pulled over while travelling to Plattsburgh and police found approximately 27.9 grams of crack cocaine hidden on him that he intended to distribute in Plattsburgh.  Jacques-Scott has been in custody since his arrest on May 18, 2017. As a result of his conviction, Jacques-Scott faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison, when he is sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. on August 14, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. This case was investigated by the DEA and the Plattsburgh City Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-11
    2 weeks ago
  • Schenectady Man Sentenced to 60 Months for Crack Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Lance Green, age 37, of Schenectady, New York, was sentenced today to 60 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.  The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As part of his plea on November 5, 2018, Green admitted that between December 2015 and May 2016, he was a member of a drug trafficking organization that conspired to distribute at least 28 grams of crack cocaine in Schenectady.  Green has been in custody since his arrest in May 2016.  A co-conspirator, Ray A. Perkins, age 31, of Schenectady, pled guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in prison on July 11, 2017. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Capital District Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Schenectady Police Department and Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan Kistler and Michael Barnett. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-10
    2 weeks ago
  • Two Cortland County Residents Arrested on Child Exploitation Charges
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Christopher M. Perry, age 35, and Sarah R. Gates, age 38, of Cortland, New York, were charged today with sexual exploitation of a child, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). A federal criminal complaint filed today charges that beginning in 2017, Perry and Gates engaged in sexually explicit conduct with a child who was born in 2014, for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct.  The charge filed against Perry and Gates carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, and registration as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  The defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter in Syracuse, New York, who ordered that they be detained in federal custody pending resolution of their cases.  The investigation is ongoing, and the City of Cortland Police Department requests anyone who may have information to call 607-758-8303. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the City of Cortland Police ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-10
    2 weeks ago
  • Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Check Cashing Scheme
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Alphonso L. Howard, Jr., age 28, of Decatur, Georgia, pled guilty today to creating counterfeit checks and then cashing them at banks in Saratoga and Warren Counties. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett. Howard pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.  Howard admitted that he and co-conspirators defrauded financial institutions by intercepting and stealing checks sent through the U.S. Mail; using information from these legitimate checks to create counterfeit checks drawn on the same financial accounts as the stolen, legitimate checks; and then cashing and attempting to cash the counterfeit checks at financial institutions in Saratoga and Warren Counties. Howard, who has been in custody since September 26, 2018, will be sentenced on August 12, 2019 by Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe.  He faces at least 2 years and up to 30 years in prison, a maximum $1 million fine, and up to 5 years of post-release supervision.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.  Howard has also agreed to forfeit $16,660 in cash he possessed at the time of his arrest, and to entry of a money judgment ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Plattsburgh Man Convicted of Role in Drug Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Sean R. Fabian, age 41, of Plattsburgh, New York, was convicted on Friday, following a 4-day jury trial, of conspiring to distribute cocaine. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; and Plattsburgh City Police Chief Levi J. Ritter. The trial evidence showed that on February 11, 2018, Fabian conspired with Hannah Dyer to traffic 300 grams of cocaine from New York City to Plattsburgh for distribution.  On February 13, 2018, the pair met in Albany where Fabian provided the 300 grams of cocaine to Dyer, who was to take the cocaine to Plattsburgh.  The New York State Police stopped Dyer’s vehicle in Clinton County and found the drugs in a container, submerged in a fish stew. As a result of his conviction, Fabian faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000,000, when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Mae A. D ’Agostino on July 31, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.   Fabian has been in custody since his arrest on June 21, 2018. This case was investigated by the DEA and the Plattsburgh City Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Collyer and Troy Anderson. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-07
    3 weeks ago
  • Mass. Men Sentenced for Transporting Illegal Alien
    UTICA, NEW YORK – Mohan S. Saini, age 63, of Arlington, Massachusetts, and Melvin Claudio, age 22, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, were sentenced yesterday for transporting an illegal alien within the United States.  Saini was sentenced to time served (3 days in jail), followed by 3 years of supervised release, with 100 hours of community service, and a fine of $50,000.  Claudio was sentenced to time served (4 days in jail), followed by 3 years of supervised release, and 50 hours of community service.   The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Robert N. Garcia, Chief Patrol Agent, United States Border Patrol, Swanton Sector. In February 2018, Saini hired Claudio to help him pick up an illegal alien near the border and transport him to Massachusetts.  On February 18, 2018, Saini and Claudio drove in separate cars to the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation near Hogansburg, New York.  While there, Claudio waited in a public parking lot and Saini drove to a remote location where he picked up Anil Singh, an illegal alien from India who had just crossed the border.  Saini transported Singh to where Claudio was waiting, and Singh transferred to Claudio’s car.  After Singh was successfully transferred to Claudio’s car, they all left the reservation driving east toward Massachusetts.  A Border Patrol Agent had observed the transfer of Singh between the cars on the reservation.  After Saini and Claudio had left the reservation, they were each stopped and arrested by Border Patrol.      Anil Singh, age ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-04
    3 weeks ago
  • Mexican Citizen Enters Guilty Plea for Immigration Fraud
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ricardo Garcia De Jesus, age 29, and a citizen of Mexico, pled guilty today to immigration fraud. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Thomas E. Feeley, Director of the Buffalo Field Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). As part of his guilty plea, Garcia De Jesus admitted that he possessed a counterfeit alien registration receipt card (green card) in Saratoga Springs, New York.  Garcia De Jesus also admitted that he was a citizen of Mexico, and that he was in the United States unlawfully.     As a result of his conviction, Garcia De Jesus faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn on August 1, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. This case was investigated by ICE-ERO and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward P. Grogan. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-02
    3 weeks ago
  • Mexican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Illegal Re-entry into United States
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Fernando Hernandez-Cruz, age 36, and a citizen of Mexico, pled guilty today to illegal re-entry into the United States. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Robert N. Garcia, Chief Patrol Agent, United States Border Patrol, Swanton Sector. As part of his guilty plea, Hernandez-Cruz admitted that he is an alien from Mexico, and that he was removed from the United States to Mexico at Hidalgo, Texas, on March 11, 2016.  On February 24, 2019, Hernandez Cruz was encountered as part of a group of five individuals arrested by a Border Patrol Agent just south of the international border between the United States and Canada, after they entered the United States without inspection approximately four miles east of the Fort Covington Port of Entry.  A fingerprint check of Hernandez Cruz resulted in the discovery of the 2016 removal.  Hernandez Cruz admitted that he returned to the United States without permission.    As a result of his conviction, Hernandez-Cruz faces up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby on May 6, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.       This case was investigated by Border Patrol and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward P. Grogan. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-02
    3 weeks ago
  • Seven Indicted on Schenectady Drug Charges
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Six men were arrested and appeared in court today on charges of distributing drugs in the city of Schenectady, New York.  A seventh person was already in custody and will be arraigned at a later date.  The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The following defendants were charged by indictment in unrelated cases: Name Age Residence Charge(s) Robert Atkins Rhamel Pate 36 37 Schenectady Schenectady Conspiracy to distribute, and distribution of, crack cocaine Lasun Blount 28 Albany Distribution of crack cocaine Darryl Carr 39 Schenectady Distribution of crack cocaine; Possession of a firearm by a felon Raymel Diaz 24 Schenectady Distribution of crack cocaine Darryl Flannagan 29 Schenectady Distribution of heroin Additionally, a seventh person, Trevon Brunson, age 21, of Schenectady, is in state custody and will be arraigned at a later date on charges of distributing heroin.  The charges in the indictments are merely accusations.  Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty Six defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart, and are scheduled for detention hearings ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-04-01
    3 weeks ago
  • Liberian Man Convicted of Making False Statements
    ALBANY, NEW YORK –Alvin Cole, age 43, a Liberian citizen residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was convicted on March 28, following a 4-day jury trial, of making a false statement and making a false claim of United States citizenship. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Steven Bronson, Area Port Director, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Trial evidence showed that on October 16, 2018, Cole was denied admission into Canada at the Saint-Bernard-de-LaColle, Quebec Port of Entry.  Due to the Canadian refusal, Cole was required to report to the Champlain Port of Entry in New York.  During immigration inspection at the Champlain Port of Entry, Cole stated that he was a United States citizen born in Philadelphia.  But Cole is a citizen of Liberia, born in Liberia, who entered the United States in 1991 on a tourist visa and never left.  Cole has resided in the United States since 1991 and he is the subject of an unexecuted removal order from June 2013. As a result of his conviction, Cole faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Mae A. D ’Agostino on July 25, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.   Cole has been in custody since his arrest on October 16, 2018.       This case was investigated ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-31
    4 weeks ago
  • Liverpool Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Jayesh Patel, age 49, of Liverpool, New York, pled guilty to engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property, and to maintaining a drug-involved premises, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent in Charge Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), New York Field Office.  Patel, co-owner of the Munchies convenience store in Solvay, New York, and the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, located near the Syracuse airport, admitted that he sold crack cocaine on a nearly daily basis to drug customers inside Munchies and the Econo Lodge. Patel further admitted to laundering drug proceeds through his business account at Solvay Bank.  Law enforcement officers executed search warrants at Munchies, the Econo Lodge, and Patel’s residence and vehicle, seizing funds held in bank accounts and in U.S. currency.  In all, these seizures totaled over $1 million, most of which were the proceeds from drug trafficking.    Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2019, at which time Patel faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Syracuse Police Department-Special Investigation Division, the United States Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, and the Onondaga ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-27
    4 weeks ago
  • Ithaca-Area Accountant Pleads Guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Money Laundering
    BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK - Andrew N. LaVigne, age 66, of Lansing, New York, pled guilty today in federal court in Binghamton to bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, James Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), New York Field Division. LaVigne, a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) who practiced in the Ithaca, New York, area for more than 30 years, filed for personal bankruptcy in 2004.  At the time, he owed approximately $7.6 million to over 80 unsecured creditors following a failed scheme to use their money to purchase sports and entertainment memorabilia and resell it for a profit.  During the course of LaVigne’s own years‑long bankruptcy, he claimed his home as his only asset, and he did not pay back his 80 investors.  In pleading guilty today, LaVigne admitted that during his bankruptcy he used his CPA practice’s bank accounts to conceal between $3.5 and $9.5 million in assets from the United States Bankruptcy Court and the Office of the United States Trustee.  LaVigne laundered money by depositing funds unrelated to his CPA practice into his business accounts and then used that money for his own benefit and that of his family. In doing so, LaVigne used this money to purchase sports memorabilia, and wrote checks to himself that he never disclosed in his bankruptcy proceeding ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-26
    4 weeks ago
  • Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly Albany Couple
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Kevin R. Palmer, age 37, a Jamaican citizen residing in Suwanee, Georgia, pled guilty today to stealing more than $320,000 from an elderly Albany couple in a mail-based prize scam. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Joseph Cronin, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division. Palmer pled guilty to 1 count of mail fraud conspiracy and 12 counts of mail fraud.  He admitted that in 2017, R.H. and D.H., an elderly couple residing in Albany County, were contacted through the mail and by telephone, and were told that they needed to send money in order to obtain an inheritance and tax refund, and claim lottery and sweepstakes prize money. As instructed, R.H. and D.H. mailed bank checks to addresses in Georgia, including Palmer’s address.  They mailed a total of 12 checks; 10 of these checks were payable to Palmer, and all 12 were deposited into bank accounts for which Palmer was a signatory.  Palmer admitted that his role in the fraudulent scheme was to receive checks sent by R.H. and D.H., deposit them, and distribute the proceeds (totaling $321,342) among the participants to the scheme. Palmer, who is in custody, faces up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, when United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino sentences him on July 25, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-26
    4 weeks ago
  • Binghamton Woman Sentenced for Social Security Fraud
    BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Patricia L. Williams, age 63, of Binghamton, was sentenced today to 5 years of probation for stealing Social Security benefits deposited into her deceased husband’s bank account and for concealing her receipt of those benefits.   The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and John F. Grasso, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division.   A jury voted to convict Williams following a 4-day trial in October 2018.  The evidence demonstrated that the defendant’s husband passed away in 1990, but SSA was never notified of his death.  SSA, believing the defendant’s husband was alive, continued to pay monthly benefits until 2013, which Williams withdrew and spent, knowing she was not entitled to the money.  From 2008 to 2015, the defendant applied for and received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), concealing that she was taking her deceased husband’s benefits.  SSI is a needs-based program, available to elderly, blind, and disabled individuals, that provides money to pay for living expenses.   Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy also ordered Williams to pay restitution to the SSA in the amount of $32,581.00.   This case was investigated by the SSA Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division, and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-26
    4 weeks ago
  • Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in New York Church Religious Land Use Case
    WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a Statement of Interest in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York supporting a church’s claim that the Village of Canton, New York, violated its rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) by barring it from locating its church in the Village’s commercial zoning district. “Federal law protects the ability of religious groups of all faiths to locate and grow their worship sites in communities across the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “It includes a requirement that religious assemblies be treated equally with nonreligious assemblies. The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing this and other federal protections for religious freedom.” “The right to the free exercise of religion includes the freedom to assemble in a house of worship,” said Grant C. Jaquith, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York. “When faith communities face discrimination through zoning or land use regulation, we will use the full force of federal law to ensure that this fundamental right is not unlawfully infringed.”  The case, Christian Fellowship Centers of New York, Inc. v. Village of Canton, involves a congregation that purchased property in the Village’s commercial zoning district to use for worship. After the Village denied zoning approval, the church filed a lawsuit alleging that the Village violated RLUIPA because the Village permits other assemblies in the commercial district, including theaters, fraternal organizations and social clubs. The church ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-25
    1 month ago
  • Former GE Engineers Charged with Conspiring to Steal Trade Secrets
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – An indictment unsealed today charges Jean Patrice Delia, age 43, of Montreal, Canada, and Miguel Sernas, age 40, of Mexico City, Mexico, of conspiring to steal trade secrets belonging to the General Electric Company (GE). The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The indictment alleges that Delia, while employed by GE Energy in Schenectady, New York, stole thousands of electronic files belonging to GE, including proprietary tools GE developed to calibrate GE-manufactured turbines used in power plants around the world.  Delia and Sernas, operating as ThermoGen Power Services, used the stolen materials to compete against GE. Sernas had also previously worked for GE.  The charge in the indictment is merely an accusation.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Delia was arraigned today in Albany, New York, before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel.  Sernas was arraigned in January.  The charge filed against Delia and Sernas carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. This case is being investigated by the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-21
    1 month ago
  • Jury Convicts Syracuse Man For Threatening to Kill Former President Barack Obama and U.S. Representative Maxine Waters
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – A jury today convicted Stephen J. Taubert, age 61, of Syracuse,  of making death threats toward former President of the United States Barack Obama and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The verdict was announced by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, Chief Matthew R. Verderosa, United States Capitol Police, and Special Agent in Charge Lewis Robinson, United States Secret Service, Buffalo, New York Field Office. The verdict followed a three-day trial in federal court in Syracuse,. Taubert was convicted of threatening to kill a former President of the United States, transmitting a threat via interstate commerce, and threatening to murder a member of Congress with intent to impede, interfere with, or retaliate against a member of Congress during and because of her performance of official duties. The evidence at trial demonstrated that on June 2, 2017, Taubert made multiple phone calls to the Washington D.C. office of then-Minnesota Senator Al Franken. In two of those calls, Taubert stated that he was planning to go to Washington D.C. the next day to “hang” former President Obama at his home and to kill him. In making these threats, Taubert repeatedly used vile racial slurs directed toward former President Obama. The evidence at trial also demonstrated that on July 20, 2018, Taubert called the Los Angeles, California district office of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and stated that he would be at every event the Congresswoman attended and that he would kill her and every member of her staff. In making these threats, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-19
    1 month ago
  • Albany Man Charged with Distributing and Receiving Child Pornography
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Michael J. Kurtz, age 55, of Albany, was arrested on Monday on charges that he distributed and received child pornography over the internet. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to a criminal complaint, between September 29, 2018 and December 1, 2018, Kurtz received and distributed images of child pornography through a peer-to-peer file sharing program on his home computer.  An initial forensic review of his computer revealed that it contained numerous files depicting child pornography.  The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Yesterday, Kurtz appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart, who ordered him detained pending further proceedings. If convicted, Kurtz faces at least 5 years and up to 20 years in prison, a term of post-release supervision of at least 5 years and up to life, and a fine of up to $250,000. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashlyn Miranda. This case is prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-19
    1 month ago
  • Seven Indicted for Distributing Drugs in Ulster County
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Four Ellenville, New York, residents were arrested this morning for selling large amounts of crack cocaine in the Ellenville area as charged in an indictment returned last week by a federal grand jury.  Three additional defendants charged in the indictment were arrested in December 2018 and January 2019.  In coordination with today’s federal arrests, the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting an additional 15 people who were arrested for selling drugs in Ellenville. The arrests were announced by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa, whose office leads the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT); Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright; New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett; and Village of Ellenville Police Chief Philip Mattracion. United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith stated: “Our efforts to protect our communities from drug dealers who peddle poison rely on teamwork.  Thanks to federal, state, and local law enforcement cooperation, a group that sold deadly drugs in the Ellenville area will now be held accountable in the courts.” “Naveo and his crew monopolized the drug game in the town of Ellenville and sold deadly fentanyl-laced drugs, showing little regard for the life of users,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “Relying on his criminal reputation, he intimidated any would-be competitors to remain the only game in town. Today’s arrests rid Ellenville ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-19
    1 month ago
  • Schenectady Man Sentenced to 46 Months for Cocaine and Crack Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Yusef Boothman, aka “Rocket,” age 39, of Schenectady, New York, was sentenced today to 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine with the leader of a drug ring that operated in Schenectady and Albany. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Between August 2016 and May 2017, Boothman redistributed cocaine and crack cocaine received from Darren Clay Robinson, aka “Mountain.” The following defendants have pled guilty in connection with the conspiracy and been sentenced as follows by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.  Corey White, aka “Stacks,” pled guilty to conspiring with Robinson to distribute heroin. Name Residence Sentence Darren Clay Robinson, aka “Mountain” Schenectady and Teaneck,New Jersey 135 months in prison 8 years of supervision Corey White, aka “Stacks” Schenectady 125 months in prison 6 years of supervision Jose Gilberto Harris Manhattan 87 months in prison 4 years of supervision Shenika D. Boyd, aka “Misses” Albany 46 months in prison 6 years of supervision Marty Humphrey Schenectady 15 months in prison 3 years of supervision Lashaunda Tarver, aka “Shaunda” ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-18
    1 month ago
  • Amsterdam Felon Pleads Guilty to Firearms Offenses
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Nelson Rodriguez, age 39, of Amsterdam, New York, pled guilty today to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm by a felon.   The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory J. Culick; and John B. Devito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Rodriguez, who was convicted of attempted murder in 2009, admitted to selling cocaine base (crack) in Amsterdam and to possessing a .25 caliber handgun to protect his drugs and drug proceeds.  The handgun was discovered under Rodriguez’s mattress during the execution of a search warrant on his Amsterdam apartment in August 2017.  Along with the handgun, law enforcement seized 6 grams of crack, 40 individually-wrapped packages of crack, and $2,000 in cash.  Rodriguez faces at least 5 years and up to life in prison, and a term of post-release supervision of up to 5 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. This case was investigated by the Amsterdam Police Department and ATF, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyrus P.W. Rieck. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-17
    1 month ago
  • Albany County Man Sentenced to 108 Months for Distributing Child Pornography Over Encrypted Messaging Application
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Derek Boprey, age 32, of Ravena, New York, was sentenced today to 108 months in prison, to be followed by 30 years of supervised release, for distributing child pornography via an encrypted messaging application on his phone. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As part of his guilty plea, Boprey admitted that on March 23, 2018, he used the Wickr Me messaging application to distribute child pornography over the internet to Benjamin Varieur.  Boprey, using the name “durb30,” sent dozens of images of child pornography, including images depicting the sexual abuse of children as young as 2 years old.  Boprey also pled guilty to possessing child pornography on 2 electronic devices. Varieur, age 34, of Saratoga Springs, New York, and formerly of the Town of Brunswick, New York, was also sentenced, on January 23, 2019, to 108 months in prison, to be followed by 30 years of supervised release.  United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino sentenced both defendants.  These cases were investigated by the FBI and its Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Colonie Police Department.  These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Barnett. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-14
    1 month ago
  • Illegal Alien Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Anildar Valdimir Roblero-Gomez, age 25, a citizen of Mexico who had been living in Ellisburg, New York, was charged in United States District Court with transportation and possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith Corlett, and Resident Agent in Charge Jake Healey, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Syracuse, New York. Roblero-Gomez, made his initial appearance in federal court today before United States Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks, who ordered that he be detained pending resolution of the charges.  Roblero-Gomez is also being held on an immigration detainer as he is unlawfully present in the United States.  The criminal complaint filed against Roblero-Gomez alleges that in September 2018, he transported child pornography by uploading several images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct to Facebook.  Further, Roblero-Gomez possessed a number of graphic images and videos constituting child pornography on two cellular telephones in his possession at the time of his arrest.  The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Roblero-Gomez faces a mandatory minimum term of 5 years and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000.00 and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life, as well as mandatory registration as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Sanjay Burton a/k/a Michael Peart, age 34, and a citizen of Jamaica, pled guilty today to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, from September 2011 to May 2014. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Boston Division, Joseph Cronin; and Acting New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett. In pleading guilty, Burton admitted that he conspired with others to place phone calls from Jamaica to individuals located within the United States, and particularly, to senior citizens residing in the United States. During these calls, Burton would advise the victims that they had won large sums of money in a sweepstakes, lottery, or other event.  Burton would then advise the victims that they must first pay taxes or fees in order to collect the winnings.  Burton made false promises to the victims that once they paid these taxes or fees, the winnings would be delivered to them.  Burton admitted that in August 2012, he contacted a victim located in Oneida County, New York, and advised her that she had won a $250,000 prize, but that to collect the prize, she would need to pay the associated taxes and fees.  This particular victim then wired money to a third party in New York City, who in turn, wired a portion of that money along to Burton in Jamaica.  Over the course of the next year, Burton admitted that he caused the victim to send, via ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Amsterdam Man Sentenced to 120 Months for Role in Gun Store Burglary
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Onic Martinez, age 34, of Amsterdam, New York, was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for transporting, storing, and possessing firearms stolen from Target Sports, Inc., a federally licensed firearms dealer in Schenectady County. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and John B. Devito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue also sentenced Martinez to 3 years of supervised release and ordered that he pay restitution in the amount of $48,775. Martinez, who has two prior felony convictions for robbery, pled guilty on August 30, 2018.  As part of his plea, Martinez admitted that he retrieved dozens of stolen firearms from a storage locker in Schenectady, New York, where Christian Roman and Jose Fontanez hid them shortly after the burglary on October 22, 2017.  In exchange for his assistance, Martinez received several of the stolen firearms.  Martinez was prohibited from possessing firearms because of his criminal record. Jose Fontanez, age 36, of Schenectady, pled guilty in 2018 to stealing the firearms from Target Sports, and other, related charges.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 22, 2019. Christian Roman, age 24, of Schenectady, pled guilty in 2018 to stealing the firearms from Target Sports.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 10, 2019. Dalmary Morales, age 37, of Schenectady; and Juan Saez, age 35, of Rochester, New ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-12
    1 month ago
  • Utica Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Transporting and Possessing Child Pornography
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Shawn Bunnell, age 35, of Utica, New York, was sentenced yesterday to serve a term of 600 months in prison after being convicted of ten counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also sentenced Bunnell to a lifetime term of supervised release, to begin following his term of imprisonment.  Bunnell will remain a registered sex offender upon his release from prison.  A cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to the New York State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Utica led to the defendant, who was identified as the person who had used a cell phone to produce images depicting the molestation of a two year old girl.  As part of his guilty plea, Bunnell admitted that from on or about May 30, 2017 through on or about August 15, 2017, he transported numerous image files depicting one or more minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct through servers maintained by Google, Inc. and Dropbox, Inc.  Further, the defendant admitted to possessing a number of graphic video files depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct on a Samsung cellular telephone in his possession.   The defendant acknowledged that he has a prior conviction relating to sexual abuse or abusive sexual conduct involving ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-12
    1 month ago
  • Schoharie County Man Arrested for Distribution of Child Pornography
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Angel M. Gomez, age 26, of Richmondville, New York, was arrested yesterday on charges of distributing child pornography. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Gomez initially appeared yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart.  Today, Gomez waived his right to a detention hearing, subject to renewal of that right upon further notice. If convicted, Gomez faces at least 5 years and up to 20 years in prison, and a term of post-release supervision of at least 5 years and up to life.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.  Additionally, if convicted, Gomez would be required to register as a sex offender. This case is being investigated by HSI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily C. Powers. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-12
    1 month ago
  • Former Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced to 87 Months for Possessing Child Pornography
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Peter Farnum, age 42, of Clifton Park, New York, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, to be followed by a 20-year term of supervised release, for possessing child pornography. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The sentence follows Farnum’s June 5, 2018 conviction, after a two-week jury trial, for possession of child pornography.  The evidence at trial established that Farnum, a former sergeant with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, possessed more than 1,000 image and video files on his family computer that contained child pornography.  These included, among many others, image files that Farnum imported through the computer’s RealPlayer application while he conducted online research related to his position with the Sheriff’s Office and while his wife was in the hospital. Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue presided over the trial and imposed today's sentence. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Child Exploitation Task Force, with assistance from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers.  Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. Giovannetti prosecuted the case to trial. This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood.  Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, Project Safe Childhood is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-10
    2 months ago
  • Manhattan Man Sentenced to 87 Months for Capital Region Drug Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jose Gilberto Harris, age 59, of Manhattan, New York, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute cocaine to the leader of a drug ring that operated in Schenectady and Albany. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Between August 2016 and May 2017, Harris supplied Darren Clay Robinson, aka “Mountain,” with large quantities of cocaine that Robinson and others then sold in Schenectady and Albany.  Harris began selling drugs shortly after serving nearly 40 years for a murder he committed in 1976. As a result of this drug offense, Harris also received a 22-month, consecutive sentence for violating the terms of his state parole. The following defendants have pled guilty in connection with the conspiracy and been sentenced as follows.  Corey White, aka “Stacks,” pled guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin with Robinson. Name Residence Sentence Darren Clay Robinson, aka “Mountain” Schenectady and Teaneck,New Jersey 135 months in prison 8 years of supervision Corey White, aka “Stacks” Schenectady 125 months in prison 6 years of supervision Yusef Boothman, aka “Rocket” Schenectady Sentencing Pending Shenika D. Boyd, aka “Misses” Albany 46 ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-10
    2 months ago
  • Nine Charged in Schenectady Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Nine people have been charged with operating a heroin distribution ring in Schenectady, New York. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Kevin M. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and New York State Police Acting Superintendent Keith M. Corlett.  The defendants arrested to date, all of whom are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin, are: Jean Carlos Rivera-Perez, aka “Tego,” age 44, of Bronx, New York; Esteban Ressy, aka “The Boss,” age 43, of Schenectady and Puerto Rico; Leamzy Soto Calderon, aka “Lee,” aka “Gordo,” age 28, of Schenectady; Linette Marie Soto, age 24, of Schenectady; Kristen Jansen, age 27, of Schenectady; Jose Cortes-Cruz, aka “Bimbo,” age 28, of Schenectady; Gregory Insogna, age 45, of Amsterdam, New York; Patrick McNamara, age 47, of Amsterdam.  The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Ressy, who was arrested in Puerto Rico on January 8, 2019, faces at least 15 years and up to life in prison, and a maximum fine of $20 million.  Rivera-Perez, Calderon, and Soto each face at least 10 years and up to life in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million.  Jansen and Insogna each face at least 5 years and up to 40 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $5 million.  Cortes-Cruz and McNamara each face up to ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-10
    2 months ago
  • Johnstown Man Arrested on Heroin and Fentanyl Charge
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Victor M. Diaz, age 29, of Johnstown, New York, was arrested yesterday for possessing and intending to distribute a controlled substance. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; and City of Amsterdam Police Chief Gregory J. Culick. The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement executing a search warrant yesterday found Diaz in possession of approximately 1,500 small bags of heroin and/or fentanyl.  Diaz appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, who ordered Diaz detained pending further proceedings.  If convicted, Diaz faces up to 20 years in prison, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least 3 years and up to life.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. This case is being investigated by the DEA and the Amsterdam Police Department, with assistance from the New York State Police and the Gloversville Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-07
    2 months ago
  • Lewis County Man Indicted on Heroin and Fentanyl Charge
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Derek Damuth, age 25, of Lowville, New York, was charged today by a federal grand jury with possessing with the intent to distribute in excess of 40 grams of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, along with possessing additional amounts of cocaine and marihuana, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, Lewis County District Attorney Leanne K. Moser, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA) Raymond P. Donovan, and Acting New York State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett. The charges in the indictment carry a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of up to forty years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000,000, along with a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of at least four years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The defendant is currently incarcerated on state offenses, and will make his initial appearance on today’s charges on March 12, 2019, before United States Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks. This case is being investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the New York State Police, with assistance from the Lewis County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine A. King. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-06
    2 months ago
  • Cohoes Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Steal Political Campaign Contributions
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ralph V. Signoracci, IV, age 44, of Cohoes, New York, pled guilty today to conspiring with Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse to defraud Morse’s supporters by stealing campaign contributions for Morse’s personal benefit.  The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Signoracci, while a member of the City of Cohoes Common Council and then an Albany County Legislator, served as treasurer of a political committee called “Friends of Shawn Morse,” from approximately November 2013 through January 2019.  He also served as treasurer of the political action committee “The Chairman’s PAC.”  In pleading guilty, Signoracci admitted that he and Morse solicited and received contributions to the committees.  Signoracci, at Morse’s direction, withdrew funds from the committees’ bank accounts so that Morse could use the funds to pay for his personal expenses, including vacations, entertaining, dining, and home repairs.  Signoracci also admitted to illegally using contributions made to The Chairman’s PAC to directly benefit Morse’s 2015 mayoral campaign.  Signoracci admitted that on behalf of Morse, he concealed the nature of these expenditures by falsely reporting the purpose of the expenditures or by not reporting or disclosing them on campaign disclosure reports, as was required of local candidates for public office.  Signoracci pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison, a term of post-release supervision of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-06
    2 months ago
  • Syracuse Felon Sentenced for Possessing a Loaded Handgun; Pointed Gun at Police Officer
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Nahshon Nance, age 21, of Syracuse, was sentenced today to serve 46 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, in connection with his plea of guilty to possessing a .45 caliber revolver as a convicted felon, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner. On May 21, 2018 at 11:33 pm, Syracuse Police responded to an Onondaga County 911 dispatch for a physical domestic dispute involving a firearm at an apartment complex located at 111 Smith Lane, Syracuse.  Upon arrival, Police Officer Thomas Miller interviewed the female victim who advised her boyfriend, Nahshon Nance, had threatened her with a pistol, punched her in the face, and stolen her cell phone, before departing her apartment. Syracuse Police began searching the area for Nance. A short time later, the victim saw Nahshon Nance in a nearby part of the apartment complex and pointed him out to police. Officer Miller began a foot pursuit of Nahshon Nance inside this building. As Officer Miller looked around the corner in a hallway, he saw Nance pointing a large framed, silver colored Smith and Wesson .45 caliber revolver at him. Officer Miller yelled for the defendant to drop the firearm. Nance turned and fled down the hallway with Officer Miller in pursuit, at which time the defendant ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-05
    2 months ago
  • Albany Man Sentenced to 63 Months for Intending to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
    ALBANY, NEW YORK –Dwayne G. Perkins, age 38, of Albany, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release, for possessing and intending to distribute heroin, cocaine and more than 28 grams of crack cocaine. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Perkins was convicted following a 3-day jury trial in September 2018 presided over by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.   The trial evidence established that the FBI and other law enforcement executed a search warrant on Perkins’s Albany apartment on April 4, 2017.  An FBI Agent searched Perkins and found him to be hiding, in bags attached to his underwear, what turned out to be approximately 42 grams of crack cocaine, 36 grams of cocaine, and 7.5 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl.  Agents also seized, from the apartment, two digital scales and $1,746 in cash. This case was investigated by the FBI and its Capital District Safe Streets Gang Task Force, which includes FBI Special Agents and members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the New York State Police, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and the Albany Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-05
    2 months ago
  • Jury Convicts Mali Man of Transporting Illegal Alien
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Moaze Ibrahim, age 33, a citizen of Mali residing in Irvington, New Jersey, was convicted today after a 3-day trial of transporting an illegal alien within the United States. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Robert N. Garcia, Chief Patrol Agent, United States Border Patrol, Swanton Sector. Trial evidence showed that on December 29, 2017, Ibrahim drove to an area in Champlain, New York, where he picked up Hachim Rachid just south of the border.  Rachid, age 30, and a citizen of Mali residing in Canada, had just crossed the border on foot and was illegally present in the United States when he was picked up by Ibrahim.  Ibrahim then drove south and east away from the border.  Rachid triggered a remote sensor as he crossed the border, alerting Border Patrol. Agents responded to the scene and encountered Ibrahim driving Rachid.  Ibrahim was ordered to jail following the jury’s verdict.  As a result of his conviction, he faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino on July 11, 2019.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.     Rachid was convicted on January 16, 2018 of the misdemeanor offense of entry without inspection, and sentenced to 30 days in jail.     This case was investigated by ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-05
    2 months ago
  • Final Defendant Sentenced for Membership in Plattsburgh Heroin Distribution Conspiracy
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Danielle Conners, age 33, of Plattsburgh, New York, was sentenced today to time served (7 days in jail), 3 years of supervised release, including 50 hours of community service, and a $1,000 fine, for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Special Agent in Charge Raymond P. Donovan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division; and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro. Conners was convicted following a trial in November 2018.  She was charged along with nine other people in two related indictments related to a heroin-distribution ring that transported heroin from Schenectady and Annapolis, Maryland, and sold it in the Plattsburgh area.  The nine other defendants, all of whom pled guilty, were sentenced as follows:  Defendant Sentence Jimolo Coates, a.k.a. “Lo,” Marlo,” “Brodie,” age 25, of Annapolis, Maryland 188 months in prison, to be followed by 8 years of supervised release Kyle Touchstone, age 31, of Plattsburgh 84 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release Melissa Kusalonis, age 37, of Plattsburgh 41 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release Anthony DeFilippo, a.k.a. “Flip,” age 37, of Schenectady 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release Tynaejah Thompson, a.k.a. “Naee,” age 20, of Annapolis ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-04
    2 months ago
  • Man Charged in Albany for Threatening to Kill Employees and Residents of a Veterans Nonprofit
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Fred Hood, age 56, appeared today in court on a charge that he threatened to kill employees and residents of a Massachusetts veterans services program. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Chief Thomas Gibbons of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police in Albany. According to the complaint, Hood sent multiple electronic messages from a VA facility in Albany to employees and residents of Soldier On, a nonprofit veterans services organization, threatening to commit a shooting attack at a Soldier On residence on the campus of the Northampton VA Medical Center in Leeds, Massachusetts.  The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The charge in the complaint filed against Hood carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 3 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. Hood appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart, who ordered Hood detained pending further proceedings.  This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua R. Rosenthal. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-03-03
    2 months ago
  • Syracuse Man Arrested for Threating to Kill Employees at the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Hospital
    SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Mark W. Sweeney, age 60, of Syracuse, appeared today in U.S. District Court on charges that he threated to kill employees of the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Hospital, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Chief Thomas Martin, Department of Veterans Affairs Police, Syracuse. The charge in the complaint filed against Sweeney carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors. According to the Complaint, Sweeney called into a Veterans Crisis Line and made several threatening statements directed toward VA hospital staff, including that he intended to kill multiple people, and had a plan and the means to do so.  The charges in the complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. This case is being investigated by the Veterans Affairs Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Gadarian. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-02-28
    2 months ago
  • Cohoes Mayor Indicted for Using Campaign Contributions for his Personal Benefit
    ALBANY, NEW YORK – Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse, age 51, was arrested today on an indictment charging him with defrauding his mayoral campaign and supporters by stealing campaign contributions for his personal benefit.  The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Morse is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.  The charges in the indictment are merely accusations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  According to the indictment, from approximately 2013 through 2018, Morse and his campaign treasurer, Ralph Signoracci, solicited and received contributions to his campaign committee, Friends of Shawn Morse, and his political action committee, The Chairman’s PAC, from area businesses and businesspeople.  Instead of using the funds for legitimate purposes, at times, Morse directed Signoracci to withdraw funds from the committees’ bank accounts so that Morse could use the funds to pay for his personal expenses. The indictment further alleges that Morse and Signoracci concealed the nature of these expenditures by falsely reporting the purpose of the expenditures or by not reporting or disclosing them on campaign disclosure reports, as was required of local candidates for public office.  The indictment also alleges that on September 24, 2018, Morse provided false information to the FBI when asked about the scheme. If convicted, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – North NYPublished on 2019-02-27
    2 months ago