News Releases and Statements
News Releases and Statements
On Jan. 30, the grand jury indicted Randy Steven Kaas on 14 counts, including fraudulent schemes and artifices, forgery and theft in Maricopa County Superior Court. The charges are related to $3,715,276.50 in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.
Gladstone Njokem, 36, pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on Feb. 3, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $1.3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act unemployment insurance benefits.
A federal jury convicted Abdul Fatani, 57, of Richmond, Texas, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of unlawful monetary transactions (money laundering).
Phoenix man sentenced for importing counterfeit N95 masks from Asia following HSI Phoenix investigation
Mark Forrest Cohn, 68, of Chandler, Arizona, was sentenced on Dec. 21, 2022, by United States District Judge David G. Campbell; Cohn pleaded guilty to one felony count of Entry of Goods by Means of False Statements.
Pastors of defunct church plead guilty to COVID-19, car loan fraud following HSI Houston, federal partner investigation
William “Bill” Dexter Lucas, 60, and Deborah Jean Lucas, 64, both of Bryan, Texas, pleaded guilty Dec. 8. Brian Corpian, 45, of Houston, entered his plea Dec. 2.
On Dec. 1, Integral Hygienic Solutions, Inc., a La Mesa-based sanitation company doing business as TruClean, pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding customers by falsely claiming that its antimicrobial cleaning product was tested and approved by the EPA.
As early as July and August 2020, Darris Cotton submitted at least 16 fraudulent applications for unemployment using other people’s names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.
Facility status and interventions for COVID-19 management are based on determinations by, and in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance on Prevention and Management of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Correctional and Detention Facilities.
ICE issues notice of proposed rulemaking, seeks public comment on employment eligibility verification options
ICE is proposing creating a framework under which the Secretary of Homeland Security could authorize alternative options for document examination procedures associated with the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The notice of proposed rulemaking is seeking input from the public regarding making permanent some of the current COVID-19 pandemic-related flexibilities to examine employees’ identity and employment authorization documents for the Form I-9.
The lead defendant is 37-year-old Natalie Le Demola. She is currently serving a life prison sentence after she was convicted in 2005 of first-degree murder. 32-year-old Carleisha Neosha Plummer of Los Angeles is also charged. She was a close associate of Demola in prison until she was paroled in July 2020.
James Theodore Polzin, 48, of Gilbert, Arizona, pleaded guilty in October 2021.
HSI Baltimore-led investigation leads to the seizure of domain name purporting to be the website of the US Department of Labor
The seized website was purporting to be a resource for responding to COVID-19 from the Department of Labor. It also listed several fraudulent commercial contracts that individuals could bid on in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fraudulent domain purported to allow users to sign in with their business email and password in an attempt to steal business credentials that could have been utilized to illegally/surreptitiously access protected data.
ICE HSI investigation leads to 3 Vietnamese residents permanently enjoined from operating pandemic-related fraud scheme
In a complaint filed in August 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the government alleged that Thu Phan Dinh, Tran Khanh and Nguyen Duy Toan engaged in a wire fraud scheme designed to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendants operated more than 300 websites that fraudulently purported to sell products in the United States that became scarce during the pandemic, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
Jason Coleman, 40, and Kimberly Coleman, 38, of Mesa, Arizona, made their initial appearance in federal court recently on a 62-count indictment charging them with Conspiracy, Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Transactional Money Laundering. A federal grand jury previously indicted the Colemans and seven other individuals in connection with a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $23 million in PPP loans.
Hamza Abbas, 29, Khalid Abbas, 55, Abdul Fatani, 55, all of Richmond; and Syed Ali, 53, of Sugar Land, are set to make their initial appearances Dec. 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew M. Edison.
This extension will continue to apply the guidance previously issued for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, and work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions.
Los Angeles-area man sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for scheming to fraudulently obtain $1.8 million in COVID-relief funds
Hassan Kanyike, 30, of Santa Clarita, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who also ordered him to pay a $20,000 fine and $1,302,550 in restitution to the SBA and four victim lenders. Kanyike pleaded guilty on March 29 to one count of wire fraud.
Odunayo “Baba” Oluwalade, age 25, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, pleaded guilty Oct. 29 to a federal wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a scheme purporting to sell COVID-19 vaccines by fraudulently replicating the website of a biotech company that has an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
Los Angeles-area man sentenced to nearly 3½ years in federal prison for scheming to fraudulently obtain $650,600 COVID relief loan
Andranik Amiryan, 42, was sentenced late Thursday afternoon by U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who also ordered him to pay $650,600 in restitution. Amiryan pleaded guilty on April 28 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
HSI and Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office seize 2 domain names attempting to impersonate Walmart website and purporting to sell COVID-19 treatment or prevention drugs
The fraudulent websites allegedly offer a number of drugs for sale for the experimental and unapproved treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Instead, the domains were allegedly used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites in order to use their information for nefarious purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks and/or deployment of malware.
Orange County man arrested on charges alleging he fraudulently obtained $5 million in COVID-relief PPP loans
Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine, was named in a federal grand jury indictment returned Wednesday charging him with four counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and six counts of money laundering.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the seizure, the HSI Intellectual Property Rights Center (“IPRC”) and the HSI Cyber Crimes Center (“C3”) discovered an apparent fraudulent website, named “freevaccinecovax.org.” A domain analysis conducted by HSI indicated the domain name was created on April 27, 2021, using an IP address located in Strasbourg. The registrant country was listed as Russia.
Ahmad Kanan, 49, Madison, Wisconsin was sentenced 42 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $147,060. Kanan committed the CARES Act Fraud while under indictment and awaiting trial in the access device fraud case. He pleaded guilty in both cases on October 2, 2020.
ICE HSI marks the anniversary of Operation Stolen Promise with $48M in COVID-19 fraud proceeds, 21.2M fake respirator masks seized
ICE HSI marks the one-year anniversary of the announcement of Operation Stolen Promise, the ongoing operation protecting the United States from COVID-19 related crime.
HSI investigation results in seizure of 3 domain names purporting to be biotechnology company websites with COVID-19 treatments
According to the affidavits filed in support of these seizures, these investigations began in March 2021. Homeland Security Investigations and the National Intellectual Property Rights Center received notification of two fraudulent websites, “genobioscience.com” and “healthbridgescience.com.” The third site, “global-pandemic-vaccines.com,” was discovered by Homeland Security Investigations’ Cyber Crimes Center (C3) during ongoing investigations for malicious websites. The cases were referred to HSI Baltimore for investigation.
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