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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,484

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Fugitive Who Allegedly Obtained $9 Million in Fraudulent Real Estate Loans Surrenders to Fed Agents

LOS ANGELES – A long-time international fugitive who is charged with nine felonies for allegedly participating in a $9 million bank fraud scheme against Wells Fargo has been taken into federal custody in Los Angeles.

41, formerly of Reseda, lived in South America as a fugitive since approximately 2011 and was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2017. He self-surrendered to federal law enforcement yesterday and his initial appearance on the criminal charges is scheduled for today in United States District Court.

Olarte is the third and final defendant charged in the mortgage fraud scheme. Olarte’s two co-conspirators – Juan Jose Calle and Nancy Karina Coleman – previously pleaded guilty to charges in the scheme and have served prison sentences in the case. Olarte fled to Venezuela when federal agents began investigating the case, and he had been living in Venezuela for much of his time as a fugitive. He relocated with his family to Uruguay in approximately November 2018. Shortly before to his move to Uruguay, federal agents established communication with Olarte and, after numerous conversations between Olarte and federal agents between October 2018 and March 2019, Olarte agreed to self-surrender. Olarte was arrested yesterday as he entered the United States at Miami International Airport. Agents then transported Olarte to Los Angeles to face the criminal charges alleged in the indictment.

According to court documents, Coleman worked as a mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo while Olarte and Calle ran Fast Escrow, a rogue brokerage and escrow company in Northridge. Between August 2008 and January 2009, Coleman accepted bribes and other favors in exchange for approving $9 million in fraudulent loans for Olarte and Calle, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in the case. Olarte allegedly submitted fraudulent loan applications to Wells Fargo that contained false information for borrowers’ income, assets and employment. On some of the Wells Fargo-financed loans, Olarte allegedly failed to pay off existing loan holders and failed to record liens in favor of the bank, leaving Wells Fargo with no collateral when the loans defaulted.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/fugitive-who-allegedly-obtained-9-million-fraudulent-real-estate-loans-surrenders

Michigan man charged with fraudulently obtaining nearly $12 million in VA construction contracts

Michigan man charged with fraudulently obtaining nearly $12 million in VA construction contracts in Cleveland and Michigan by falsely claiming the company receiving the contracts was owned by a disabled veteran

A Michigan man was charged with fraudulently obtaining nearly $12 million in government construction contracts in Cleveland and Michigan by falsely claiming the company receiving the contracts was owned by a disabled veteran.

William Kozerski, 62, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, was charged via criminal information with one count of wire fraud.

According to the information filed in federal court in Cleveland:

Congress established the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program to help service-disabled veterans by setting aside certain contracts for small businesses majority owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans

CA Services was a construction company based in Michigan. Kozerski and CA Services held out that a service-disabled veteran was the owner and primary manager of CA Services when, in fact, the disabled veteran was not.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh/pr/michigan-man-charged-fraudulently-obtaining-nearly-12-million-va-construction-contracts

Chicago Home Health Company Owner Convicted for Role in $3 Million Kickback Scheme

A federal jury found the owner of a now-defunct Chicago, Illinois home health company guilty today for her role in a scheme involving over $3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for home health services that were procured through the payment of kickbacks.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. of the Northern District of Illinois, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office 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.

After a seven-day trial, Jacqueline Tuanqui, 56, of Bartlet, Illinois, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, seven counts of payment for specific kickbacks and one count of visa fraud. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 1, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood of the Northern District of Illinois, who presided over the trial.

According to evidence presented at trial, from 2008 to 2015, Tunaqui paid kickbacks in return for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries to Hexagram Home Health Care (Hexagram), a home health company that operated in the Chicago metropolitan area between 2008 and 2016. The evidence established that Tuanqui and her co-conspirators billed Medicare $12 million, at least $3 million of which was fraudulent. Trial evidence included the testimony of four individuals who were charged and pleaded guilty, including Hexagram’s former general manager, director of nursing and two patient recruiters. The government’s witnesses also included four other former employees who admitted to facilitating kickback payments and forging patient files to advance the conspiracies.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chicago-home-health-company-owner-convicted-role-3-million-kickback-scheme

Philadelphia Business Owner Indicted for Multi-Million Dollar Fraudulent Loan Scheme

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Gary Frank, age 48, of Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, was charged today by indictment with wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and money laundering, stemming from a massive fraudulent loan scheme.

According to the indictment, for over a decade, the defendant executed a complex and sophisticated scheme to defraud numerous victims. The defendant owned and operated a Bala Cynwyd business named the Legal Coverage Group, Ltd., which contracted with employers desiring to offer a legal plan to their employees as part of their employee benefits plans. It is alleged that the defendant tricked his victims into believing that the Legal Coverage Group was a rapidly growing leader in the legal plan industry, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue and employing hundreds of individuals. In reality, however, the Legal Coverage Group experienced virtually no growth from approximately 2006 through 2017, generating only several thousand dollars of annual revenue. Through this fraud, the defendant allegedly obtained over $30 million in loans, which he used to live an extravagant lifestyle.

According to the indictment, the defendant’s largest victims were banks and financial institutions, which loaned the Legal Coverage Group millions of dollars based upon the defendant’s fraudulent misrepresentations and false documents that he created. The defendant also allegedly deceived many individuals and other entities, including several of his close friends, his company’s staff members, its advisors, customers, vendors, and local charities.

“This Office takes allegations of financial fraud and loan fraud very seriously,’ said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “As alleged, the defendant obtained millions of dollars from lenders and friends, only to spend it on his lavish personal lifestyle. My Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect innocent individuals and businesses from being victimized by fraud.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/philadelphia-business-owner-indicted-multi-million-dollar-fraudulent-loan-scheme

Long-Time Redmond, Washington Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Investors of more than

A long-time investment advisor in Redmond, Washington pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to defrauding some 15 investors of more than $3 million, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. DENNIS GIBB, 72, the President and owner of Sweetwater Investments Inc., pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsification of records with the intent to obstruct a matter within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Simultaneously, GIBB and Sweetwater investment entered into a consent decree with the SEC liquidating the Sweetwater Income Flood LP Fund and barring GIBB from further investment activity. Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez scheduled sentencing in the criminal case for June 28, 2019.

“Sadly, this defendant sold his investors a dream of a safe retirement, representing that he would use a sophisticated investment strategy, including investing in government bonds, to produce stable returns. Instead, Dennis Gibb used investor funds to pay business expenses for Sweetwater Investments, as well as mortgage and car payments and other living expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “He told investors there was $7.8 million in the fund – the reality was there was less than $2 million. The investors no longer have the safe retirement income they were promised.”

According to the criminal case filings and the SEC consent decree, GIBB created Sweetwater Income Flood Limited Partnership, a private fund Gibb managed, in 2008. As early as 2007, he began soliciting investors for the fund targeting those who wanted steady retirement income in the near future. According to the SEC between 2007 and 2018, about 20 investors put about $7.3 million into the fund. GIBB secretly transferred more than $3.1 million from the fund for his own expenses. To hide his theft, GIBB sent investors falsified quarterly account statements. When the SEC began an examination of the Sweetwater Investments in May 2018, GIBB provided false records to examiners indicating the fund had been liquidated.

In his plea agreement GIBB agrees to forfeit a money judgment in the amount of $3,197,401. Gibb will also owe full restitution for the amount he stole. The government will recommend that any money collected on the money judgment go toward the defendant’s restitution obligation. The SEC is ordering GIBB to liquidate the approximately $1.8 million remaining in the Income Flood Fund and provide it to the SEC for disbursement to victims.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwa/pr/long-time-redmond-washington-investment-advisor-pleads-guilty-defrauding-investors-more

State releases 443,000 pages of records related to EB-5 fraud

The state of Vermont released Thursday 443,000 documents in the Jay Peak Resort fraud case.

The documents were made available on the Department of Financial Regulation’s website. It is unknown at this juncture just what has been released as each of the 21 batches of zip folders on the website is so large that downloads take an hour or more. None of the folders are labeled and no index is provided. The records in batch 1D3, for example, consist of bills and reports from DEW Construction for the Stateside Hotel and other projects, images of plumbing fixtures and architectural specifications.

The Department of Financial Regulation, which regulates securities, took over the oversight of Jay Peak and other EB-5 projects in January 2015.

The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center, part of the state commerce agency, was originally responsible for administering, managing and overseeing the Jay Peak projects from 2006 to 2014. The former director of the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center, Brent Raymond, has said in a deposition that state officials were aware in 2012 of financial improprieties, but did nothing to stop the fraud.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2019/03/28/state-releases-443000-pages-records-related-eb-5-fraud/

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.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndny/pr/liverpool-business-owner-pleads-guilty-money-laundering-and-maintaining-drug-involved

Latest Audit: Agency 'Arbitrary,' 'Inconsistent' In Reviewing Rail Costs

The latest state audit on Honolulu’s troubled rail project, released Thursday, takes aim not at the rail agency itself but rather at a separate agency that’s supposed to keep watch over the project’s spending.

That agency, the Department of Accounting and General Services, started reviewing rail’s construction-related receipts in 2018 before releasing those dollars to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

DAGS was enlisted to ensure those receipts from HART were strictly construction-related, and that they didn’t include any administrative costs. Those duties fell under the state’s second, $2.4 billion bailout in 2017 aimed at finishing the 20-mile, 21-station project.

However, the state auditor’s latest review “found that DAGS fundamentally misunderstands its responsibilities” under the state deal for rail, “performing unnecessary busy work that not only wastes time and money but also increases the risk of improper payment.”

Read more: https://www.civilbeat.org/2019/03/latest-audit-agency-arbitrary-inconsistent-in-reviewing-rail-costs/

Nome woman arrested after confronting Gov. Dunleavy at airport

During Governor Mike Dunleavy’s visit to Nome yesterday, which was one of his scheduled “roadshow” stops around the state, he was greeted at the airport by Brenda Evak, who was ultimately taken away in handcuffs for alleged disorderly conduct.

According to witness accounts, Evak was loudly speaking to the governor upon his arrival into the terminal. She shouted the words, “what do we do when our lands are threatened? We stand our ground.”

After this point, two Nome Police officers escorted Evak outside and arrested her for disorderly conduct. Witnesses say violence was not used by either party, nor did they threaten each other with physical harm.

According to a statement from the Nome Police Department (NPD), Evak was closing the distance between herself and Governor Dunleavy, while pointing at him and balling her fist. NPD says Evak was asked to leave the airport but refused, so the officers had to escort her outside.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/03/28/nome-woman-arrested-after-confronting-dunleavy-at-airport/

Interior secretary nominee faces jabs over prior lobbying work

The nominee to be President Trump’s second Interior secretary, David Bernhardt, has a lot of experience at the Interior Department. He has also represented the oil industry as a lawyer and lobbyist, and that drew a masked troll to his confirmation hearing Thursday.

“Members of the committee, Good morning. I am humbled to appear here today as the president’s nominee for the position of secretary of the Interior,” Bernhardt told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In the audience, a few rows behind Bernhardt, a woman listened while wearing a green rubber or latex mask that covered her whole head. Space alien? No, this mask had gills: Swamp creature.

Bernhardt is now the acting secretary, and he was the No 2 at the department under President Trump’s prior Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke. Bernhardt also worked in the upper echelons of Interior during the George W. Bush administration. In between, he worked as a lawyer and lobbyist for oil companies and a petroleum industry trade association.

Read more: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2019/03/28/interior-secretary-nominee-faces-jabs-over-prior-lobbying-work/
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