Nathanal Pace, a 27-year-old Detroit resident, was arrested in December 2019, after local police received tips that someone in his residence had been trading child pornography online using a cloud-based storage service and a social media application. HSI Detroit special agents determined the individual to be Pace, and executed a search warrant at his residence. During the search, Pace admitted to sexually assaulting multiple children, and creating child pornography.
Robert Allen Yost, 61, of Phoenix, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sex traffic children and production of child pornography, as well as conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit. Upon release from prison, Yost will be placed on lifetime supervised release with sex offender conditions and will be required to register as a sex offender.
According to court documents, Matthew Alan McNair, 41, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was in Indiana in the summer of 2017 when he utilized an electronic device to take sexually explicit photographs of an 18-month-old infant. McNair took multiple sexually explicit photos of the infant on at least three different dates that summer.
|Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
MLB has a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting program, including official MLB holograms affixed to all officially licensed MLB products to protect fans looking to purchase genuine MLB merchandise. Counterfeiters target major events, such as the World Series, where fans are eager to take home memorable keepsakes.
Ashley Yen Nguyen, 58, was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $334,605 in fines. Nguyen pleaded guilty to the charges Nov. 5, 2020. As part of her plea, she admitted to conspiring to engage in marriage fraud, mail fraud, immigration fraud, money laundering and making false statements in a tax return.
Richard Blake Howard, a 28-year-old resident of Dickinson, Texas, was sentenced in the Southern District of Texas to 174 and 120 months for the receipt and possession of child pornography convictions, respectively. The two sentences will run concurrently for a total of 174 months in prison.
On Jan. 8, 2020, Hector Diaz Perez and Abel Perez Valdivia were traveling east on Interstate 80 in Buffalo County when they were stopped by a Nebraska State Patrol trooper for driving onto the shoulder of the road twice. The two gave conflicting stories about their travel.
HSI conducted a large-scale enforcement action in Guatemala that led to the execution of 20 arrest warrants and 54 search warrants in Guatemala City, Huehuetenango, and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Oct. 24-25. HSI Guatemala executed the operation in conjunction with the HSI Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU) and Guatemalan authorities.
Jeffery Dean Biddle, 41, pleaded guilty Oct. 26, to production and attempted production of child pornography, receipt and attempted receipt of child pornography, and enticement and attempted enticement of a minor.
In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney imposed a 20-year period of supervised release to follow the incarceration of 41-year-old Chad Kraft, from Galesburg, Michigan.
Billy Edward Frederick, 52, of Redondo Beach, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer, who after sentencing Frederick to life, said that “to say his conduct is despicable is an understatement.”
The results of a multi-agency undercover operation supported by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and led by the Phoenix Police Department Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEaT) Unit, was announced Oct. 24.
HSI and the United States Attorney’s Office recently announced the creation of, and first case brought by, the newly formed Fentanyl Abatement and Suppression Team (FAST) in partnership with the District Attorney’s Office, CBP, the DEA, and the FBI. FAST’s mission is to identify and disrupt distribution networks in San Diego County that are responsible for fatal and non-fatal overdoses.
According to the investigation, from at least Dec. 11, 2018 through April 8, 2019, Chad Michael Lehofer, 37, of Fredericksburg, repeatedly engaged in sexually explicit discussions with a minor online – including enticing and coercing the minor to produce sexually explicit pictures and videos.
The Attorney General’s Award for Fraud Prevention recognizes exceptional dedication and effort to prevent, investigate, and prosecute fraud, white collar crimes, and official corruption. For their skill, professional and dedication, an HSI Tampa benefit fraud mission task force was awarded for their efforts to safeguard the integrity of the nation’s immigration system by disrupting and preventing fraud to obtain unlawful immigration benefits.
Special Agent in Charge of HSI Kansas City Katherine Greer and Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Luis Alberto Castro-Santos, 35, of Pomona, California, and Tomas De La Cruz-Perez, 37, of Fremont, Nebraska, were sentenced Oct. 21, in federal court in Omaha for Conspiracy to Produce and Transfer Fraudulent Documents.
Dubbed “Operation Secure Streets,” the fugitive operations initiative took place in the San Francisco area from Aug. 22 through Sept. 28 and targeted unlawfully present noncitizens who have previously been convicted of DUIs with certain aggravating factors or criminal histories, to include assault, cruelty toward children, weapons violations, domestic violence, fraud, homicide by vehicle, hit-and-run and larceny.
|Partnership and Engagement, Cyber Crimes, Financial Crimes
The briefing covered trends in cryptocurrency, cyber-enabled crimes, bulk cash smuggling, and money laundering. Briefers also discussed the role that intelligence and technology play in combatting these crimes and how these crimes permeate the breadth of HSI’s investigative mission set.