Tuesday, April 30, 2013

John "Big Man" Venizelos Scheduled to Plead Guilty to Narcotics Trafficking, #BonannoCrimeFamily #HellsAngels

A Bonanno crime family associate charged with joining a Canadian drug lord to become one of New York City's largest marijuana suppliers is scheduled to plea guilty to narcotics trafficking charges.

John "Big Man" Venizelos, 33, is believed to have secured a plea deal from Brooklyn federal prosecutors that will significantly reduce his time in prison - averting the life sentence he faced if convicted at trial, sources said. But because Venizelos honored the mob's omerta code of silence and refused to hand over information to the feds, sources said, he's expected to face approximately 10-14 years in prison when sentenced eventually by Brooklyn federal Judge Raymond Dearie.

Venizelos - who sports horn-rimmed glasses and wears Ralph Lauren Polo ensembles - held a "straight job" before his arrest managing "Jaguars 3", a Brooklyn nightspot run by Vincent "Vinny Green" Faraci, a Bonanno crime family soldier. The nightclub, located in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, attracts patrons that have included several cast members of "The Sopranos” — including Tony Sirico, who portrayed the fictional mob family's “Paulie Walnuts”.

It was his sideline as an alleged drug trafficker, however, that attracted attention to Venizelos. He was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents earlier this year and charged with being one of the biggest New York customers of French Canadian drug kingpin Jimmy “Cosmo” Cournoyer.

Cournoyer - who is awaiting trial in Brooklyn federal court - allegedly lies at the center of $1 billion narcotics ring and operated through alliances he created between the Hells Angels, the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel, the Bonanno crime family, and the Montreal Mafia, The Post first reported.

Only weeks after Venizelos' arrest, federal prosecutors accused him of trying to intimidate witnesses who might testify against him.

Prosecutors say Venizelos sent encrypted BlackBerry messages to a colleague explaining that Cournoyer had bankrolled a special "murder fund" to underwrite hits against informants in the high-profile international narcotics case.

Prosecutors also say they seized letters written by an unnamed colleague of Venizelos that discussed the Bonanno associate’s ties to organized crime - including references to sit-downs with captains in various New York La Cosa Nostra families The DEA also utilized informants to secretly record tapes of Venizelos discussing drug deals, officials said, and then seized a number of unlicensed handguns when they searched Venizelos' residence.

John Meringolo, a New York Law School professor who represents Venizelos, initially insisted that the $100,000-plus seized by feds at Venizelos' residence wasn't drug money - it was simply cash for tipping exotic dancers at the "Jaguars 3" club.

Meringolo told the judge today that he had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and the judge adjorned the hearing until Wednesday on procdural grounds.

Cournoyer's attorney, Gerald McMahon, says he plans to vigorously fight the case against the French Canadian at an upcoming trial this summer.

Thanks to Mitchell Maddux.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at Federal Prison Hospital That Was Past Home for Several Mobsters

When Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered the federal prison hospital at Devens, he became the latest high-crime prisoner name to take up temporary residence at the former Army base.

The Federal Medical Center Devens, which opened in 1996, serves as a federal Bureau of Prisons hospital for inmates needing specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. The facility is on the site of the former Cutler Army Hospital.

Inmates treated there have been mobsters, corrupt politicians and people convicted of financial crimes.

Among the mobsters to spend time in the hospital was Sicilian crime boss Gaetano Badalamenti, who died of heart failure in 2004. He was convicted as ringleader of the $1.65 billion drug smuggling operation known as The Pizza Connection.

Other mafiosi at the hospital have included John Franzese, an underboss of the Colombo crime family convicted of racketeering; and John Riggi, former boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, released in November after 22 years at various prisons. He was convicted of conspiracy in the murder of acting mob boss John D’Amato. Also serving time at Devens was Frank Locascio, a former underboss of the Gambino crime family.

The 1,000-bed medical center opened its doors in Devens at 42 Patton Road in 1999, three years after Fort Devens formally ceased to be an Army base.

The base served as the Army’s New England headquarters for 79 years. It was conveyed to the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency for redevelopment as Devens, a residential and business community made up of property formerly part of surrounding towns. The army still has its reserve forces training center on sections of the former base.

Among the better-known soldiers to serve there was Gen. Colin Powell, who met his wife while assigned to Fort Devens.

The U.S. Marshals Service said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had left Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center overnight and been transported to Devens.

Thanks to George Barnes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Damon Rucker Convicted of Witness Retaliation

A former Freeport, Illinois man was convicted late yesterday of witness retaliation by a federal jury in U.S. District Court in Rockford following a two-day jury trial. Damon Rucker, 36, was found guilty of causing bodily injury to a witness on December 20, 2012, with intent to retaliate against the witness for testifying against Rucker in federal court.

According to the incitement and evidence at trial, Rucker was initially convicted in federal court in Rockford on July 31, 2012, having pled guilty to a drug trafficking crime. A co-defendant, who also pled guilty in that case, agreed to cooperate with the government and testified against Rucker during Rucker’s sentencing hearing.

On December 20, 2012, Rucker, with intent to retaliate against the co-defendant for testifying, slammed the witness’s head against a concrete wall while both were in custody. At the time, the victim was in the process of being transported to a different jail and was in hand and leg shackles. Rucker was not shackled at the time.

Rucker faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, in addition to a term of supervised release of up to five years following his imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000. The court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. in federal court in Rockford. The conviction was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States Marshals Service and the Ogle County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott R. Paccagnini and John G. McKenzie.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Up to $5000 Reward Offered for Capture of Paris "Polerowski" Poe

Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is asking for the public’s help in locating a Chicago man who allegedly violated the conditions of his parole and has been on the run from authorities. Mr. Nelson also announced that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the apprehension of the fugitive.

Paris PoeParis Poe Paris Poe

Paris Poe, aka “Polerowski,” is wanted pursuant to a federal arrest warrant for unlawful flight to avoid custody and confinement, a felony offense. Poe is also being sought for questioning in a federal murder investigation.

The arrest warrant was filed last week in the United States District Court in Chicago. Poe was convicted in the Circuit Court of Cook County for aggravated battery and robbery, and after spending a portion of his sentence in state custody, he was released in June 2011 on parole for the remainder of his sentence. According to the warrant, Poe is charged with traveling interstate to avoid custody for a parole violation. Efforts thus far by law enforcement to locate and apprehend him have been unsuccessful. During the course of their search for Poe, authorities developed information that Poe may have fled the state, leading to the filing of the federal warrant and an ongoing manhunt coordinated by the Chicago FBI.

Poe’s last known address was 5904 South Indiana in Chicago. He is described as a black/male, 33 years old, 6’0” tall, 200 lbs., with brown eyes and black hair that he often wears in braids. He has numerous tattoos, including “Chief Hobo” on his upper right arm and “RIP Angie” on his upper left arm.

Poe is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Chicago office of the FBI at (312) 421-6700 or local law enforcement authorities.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi Arrested by FBI's Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force on Charge of Supporting Terrorism Overseas

An alleged attempt by an Aurora, Illinois man to travel to Syria in order to join a jihadist militant group operating inside Syria led to his arrest Friday evening. The arrest was announced by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody without incident at O’Hare International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force as he attempted to board a flight destined for Istanbul, Turkey. He was charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a felony offense. Tounisi appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin and was ordered held until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 23, 2013.

In making the announcement, Mr. Nelson stated that the investigation that culminated in Tounisi’s arrest began in 2012 and that there is no connection between this case and the events that occurred over the last several days in Boston.

The complaint states that Tounisi is a close friend of Adel Daoud, an individual arrested in September 2012 for attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar and that Tounisi and Daoud appeared to share an interest in violent jihad. While Tounisi allegedly discussed attack techniques and targets prior to Daoud’s arrest, Tounisi did not participate in Daoud’s attempted attack.

According to the complaint, from January to April 2013, Tounisi conducted online research related to overseas travel and violent jihad, focusing specifically on Syria and the Jabhat al Nusrah terrorist group. Jabhat al Nusrah is listed by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The complaint alleges that Tounisi searched online for information about travel from Chicago to Syria, obtained a new passport, and, beginning in late March 2013, made online contact with an individual Tounisi believed to be a recruiter for Jabhat al Nusrah. That individual was in fact an FBI employee acting in an online undercover capacity. The complaint further alleges that Tounisi and the undercover employee exchanged a series of e-mails in which Tounisi shared his plan to get to Syria by way of Turkey, as well as his willingness to die for the cause. During the exchanges, Tounisi also sought advice from the undercover employee on travel from Istanbul to the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which lies near the border of Turkey and Syria.

The complaint states that on April 10, Tounisi purchased an airline ticket for a flight from Chicago to Istanbul and on April 18, the undercover employee provided Tounisi with a bus ticket for travel from Istanbul to Gaziantep. Tounisi arrived at O’Hare International Airport’s international terminal Friday evening, and after passing through airport security, he was arrested.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Tounisi faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The JTTF is composed of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Justice Department’s National Security Division assisted in the investigation.

Mr. Nelson expressed his gratitude to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the significant support provided by its officers during the arrest of Tounisi.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Gangsters of Boston" Discussed by Author George Hassett on Crime Beat Radio

April 25th, George Hassett will discuss his fascinating book, Gangsters of Boston on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at artistfirst.com/crimebeat.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

@TheMobMuseum to Host "Protectors of the State - A Conversation with 3 Former Govenors"

On Thursday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m., The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, will host “Protectors of the State – A Conversation with Three Former Governors,” in its historic courtroom. Featuring a panel discussion with former Nevada Governors Bob List, Senator Richard Bryan and Bob Miller, the event will be moderated by journalist and author Jack Sheehan. This Courtroom Conversation’s discussion is part of the Museum’s ongoing commitment to presenting informative and thought-provoking programming to the community. The event is brought to the Museum through generous contributions from Mike Sloan, Rogich Communications Group and Robin and Danny Greenspun.

Beyond its borders, perceptions of Nevada have been challenged because of its libertarian social norms, times of economic hardship, and the presence of organized crime. “Protectors of the State” will feature three of Nevada’s great leaders who navigated tumultuous waters while continuing to modernize the State and defend its image to the outside. In addition, the discussion will include stories from Gov. Miller’s recently released book, “Son of a Gambling Man.” A book signing with Gov. Miller will follow the discussion.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with a reception including light fare and refreshments. The program will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. in The Mob Museum’s historic courtroom. Following the moderator-led discussion among the panel, audience members will have a chance to ask questions. The program will conclude by 8 p.m. and will be followed by Gov. Miller’s book signing.

Tickets for the April 25 event are $10 for members and $19.95 for non-members and include complimentary libation and light fare. To make reservations, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit http://themobmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/upcoming-events.

Bob List served as the 24th Governor of Nevada from 1979 to 1983. Previously, he served as the Carson City District Attorney and the Nevada Attorney General. Currently, List practices law in Las Vegas with the law firm Kolesar & Leatham, Chtd. He was the last Governor to serve from outside Clark County until Jim Gibbons' election.

A native Nevadan, Senator Richard Bryan won his first statewide election as Nevada’s Attorney General where he played a major role in successfully defending Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure in the Federal Courts. In 1982, he was elected to the first of two terms as Governor. In 1988 he was elected to the first of two terms in the U.S. Senate. He was the only Senate member to simultaneously serve on these U.S. Senate Committees: Finance; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Banks, Housing and Urban Affairs.

When Bob Miller arrived in Las Vegas as a boy, it was a small, dusty city—a far cry from the glamorous, exciting place it is today. His father, Ross Miller, had operated on both sides of the law on some of the meaner streets of industrial Chicago, and brought his family to Las Vegas so he could create a legitimate career out of gaming. As Bob grew up, so did Vegas; the city’s population doubled every decade during the 1900’s and Las Vegas was now a “town” of some two million. He went on to become Nevada’s longest serving governor, holding office from 1989 to 1999. Bob’s new book, “Son of a Gambling Man,” is a warm family memoir, with just a little bit of  “The Godfather” and “Casino” thrown in for spice, making it a unique and memorable story.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ricin Letter Sent to The President

A second letter containing a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin was received at an offsite mail screening facility. The envelope, addressed to the President, was immediately quarantined by U.S. Secret Service personnel, and a coordinated investigation with the FBI was initiated. It is important to note that operations at the White House have not been affected as a result of the investigation.

Additionally, filters at a second government mail screening facility preliminarily tested positive for ricin this morning. Mail from that facility is being tested.

Any time suspicious powder is located in a mail facility, field tests are conducted. The field and other preliminary tests can produce inconsistent results. Any time field tests indicate the possibility of a biological agent, the material is sent to an accredited laboratory for further analysis. Only a full analysis performed at an accredited laboratory can determine the presence of a biological agent such as ricin. Those tests are currently being conducted and generally take 24 to 48 hours.

The investigation into these letters remains ongoing, and more letters may still be received. There is no indication of a connection to the attack in Boston.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hospital Owner, Executive, and Four Doctors, from Chicago’s Sacred Heart, Arrested in Alleged Medicare Referral Kickback Conspiracy

The owner and another senior executive of Sacred Heart Hospital and four physicians affiliated with the west side facility were arrested today for allegedly conspiring to pay and receive illegal kickbacks, including more than $225,000 in cash, along with other forms of payment, in exchange for the referral of patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid to the hospital, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Gary S. Shapiro.

Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General today also began executing search and seizure warrants in connection with an ongoing investigation of alleged Medicare and Medicaid fraud schemes at the hospital involving emergency room evaluation, testing, and observation services that were not medically necessary, as well as medically unnecessary sedation, intubation, and tracheotomy procedures performed on patients. Approximately $2 million in Medicare reimbursement payments was seized today from various bank accounts.

Arrested were Edward J. Novak, 58, of Park Ridge, Sacred Heart’s owner and chief executive officer since the late 1990s; Roy M. Payawal, 64, of Burr Ridge, executive vice president and chief financial officer since the early 2000s; and Drs. Venkateswara R. “V.R.” Kuchipudi, 66, of Oak Brook, Percy Conrad May, Jr., 75, of Chicago, Subir Maitra, 73, of Chicago, and Shanin Moshiri, 57, of Chicago.

Sacred Heart Hospital is a 119-bed acute care facility located at 3240 West Franklin Blvd. in Chicago. Approximately 40 in-patients were in the hospital this morning, and representatives of the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were on site and coordinating with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to ensure continuity of patient care.

“These charges and the affidavit’s other allegations outline a kickback conspiracy to bribe doctors to refer patients to Sacred Heart where they would be treated in in an environment in which the quality of care and appropriate medical analysis were less important than maximizing the numbers of patients funneled into the hospital,” said Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“The payment of kickbacks or bribes in exchange for the referral of Medicare or Medicaid patients, regardless of the form in which they are paid, is a crime,” said Lamont Pugh, III, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Region of HHS-OIG. “The Office of Inspector General will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate alleged illegal patient referral schemes and hold accountable those who seek to exploit vulnerable patients and the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

“Today’s arrests demonstrate our commitment to enforcing the laws intended to prevent abuses of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and to preserve the ability of those programs to provide appropriate medical services to the elderly and the needy,” said Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of investigation.

The defendants were charged in a complaint that was filed yesterday and unsealed today after the arrests. All six defendants were scheduled to appear beginning at 3 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin in Federal Court.

Kickback Conspiracy

A 90-page affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and search and seizure warrants states that former Sacred Heart Physician A began cooperating in the investigation in October 2011, and Administrator A and Administrator B began assisting in January 2013 and February 2012, respectively. Each of them made consensual recordings of meetings and telephone conversations with other executives, administrators, physicians, and employees that are described in the affidavit.

According to the complaint—at Novak’s direction and with his approval and Payawal’s assistance—Sacred Heart implemented a scheme to pay kickbacks to physicians in return or referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients. Novak and Payawal allegedly tried to conceal the scheme by masking payments as fictitious rental payments; paying the salaries of physicians’ employees; providing physicians ghost contracts for duties without any real responsibilities; creating alternative billing arrangements; and purporting to pay physicians to supervise and teach non-existent medical students.

In a conversation that Administrator A recorded on February 28, 2013, Novak and Payawal allegedly identified Drs. Moshiri, Maitra and May as physicians receiving regular kickback payments who Administrator A should pay.

Between January 2010 and February 2013, May allegedly received $74,000 in the form of 37 checks, for $2,000 each, disguised as “rental payments”; Moshiri, a podiatrist, allegedly received $86,000 in 38 checks pursuant to a purported contract to teach podiatry students; and Maitra allegedly received $68,000 in 34 checks pursuant to a purported teaching contract—and the $228,000 total in alleged kickbacks were all in exchange for their referral of patients to Sacred Heart, the charges allege.

In a recorded conversation last month, Maitra allegedly explained to Administrator A that he used to make Novak “so much money” performing almost daily penile implant procedures on patients, but that he no longer performed as many of those procedures because Medicare had decreased its rates of reimbursement for the procedure. Maitra did not comment on whether the patient need for the procedure had somehow changed, according to the affidavit.

Regarding Dr. Kuchipudi, Administrator A told agents that he was one of Sacred Heart’s most prolific patient referral sources and, according to Physician A, was known within the hospital as the “king of nursing homes.” According to Administrator A, Sacred Heart paid Kuchipudi for Medicare patient referrals in two ways: first, by paying most of the salaries of a physician’s assistant and a registered nurse who were effectively employed by Kuchipudi, and second, by paying Physician B for treating Kuchipudi’s patients at Sacred Heart, despite the fact that Kuchipudi, and not the hospital, billed insurers for the services Physician B provided to those patients. These arrangements allegedly benefited Kuchipudi as a result of the hospital absorbing employee salary costs that Kuchipudi would normally have to pay himself.

Tracheotomy Procedures

The investigation is also probing claims that Sacred Heart Physician D, a pulmonologist, allegedly performs a high number of unnecessary intubations and prolongs them by directing heavy sedation of his patients, often resulting in tracheotomies being performed by Sacred Heart surgeons that may not have been medically necessary. Administrator A told agents that during a lunch with Novak and Payawal in December 2012, they both explained that tracheotomy cases provide substantial insurance reimbursement income for the hospital. On March 1, 2013, Administrator A recorded Novak stating that tracheotomies are Sacred Heart’s “biggest money maker” and the hospital can make $160,000 for a tracheotomy if the patient stays 27 days. On March 7, 2013, the Intensive Care Unit case manager told Administrator A that she must often “stretch” a tracheotomy patient’s stay to 28 days to maximize Medicare reimbursements “to make Novak happy.”

Novak’s Business Interests

According to the affidavit, Novak has direct or indirect ownership interest in various related entities, including Superior Home Health LLC, a home health care company; the Golden L.I.G.H.T. clinics, which are family practice/internal medicine clinics operated as divisions as Sacred Heart; the Chen Medical center; the Garfield Kidney Center LLC, an outpatient dialysis center; and the Bentley Insurance Group, a medical malpractice insurance company. Novak also owns various real estate and corporate management holding companies, and prior to June 2012, he operated the Chicago R.E.A.C.H Foundation, a purported non-profit, senior citizen program financed by the state of Illinois.

In a series of recorded conversations over the last two months, Payawal told Administrator A that a substantial part of Sacred Heart’s revenue comes from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and explained various ways in which revenue generated from the hospital is transferred to and among Novak’s other corporate interests.

Conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel Hammerman, Terra Reynolds, and Ryan Hedges.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case falls under the umbrella of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which expanded operations to Chicago in February 2011, and is part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Justice Department and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. More than five dozen defendants have been charged in health care fraud cases since the strike force began operating in Chicago.

To report health care fraud to learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ovidiu Isac, Chicago Leader of Romanian-Based Conspiracy That Obtained $1.6 Million in False Tax Refunds, Sentenced to 85 Months in Prison

The leader in Chicago of a Romanian-based international conspiracy to fraudulently obtain millions of U.S. tax dollars was sentenced to just over seven years in federal prison. The defendant, Ovidiu Isac, oversaw and directed nearly two dozen co-defendants in the United States who used their bank accounts to receive fraudulent federal income tax refunds after overseas co-conspirators filed hundreds of false tax returns claiming refunds in the names of Romanian citizens who had visited the United States on exchange student visas.

At least 470 false tax returns, typically claiming refunds between $4,000 and $7,000, were filed and resulted in a loss of more than $1.6 million to the U.S. Treasury during the conspiracy that spanned three tax years between 2007 and 2009. The returns were filed in the names and Social Security numbers of individuals who had previously traveled to the United States on temporary student visas and had filed tax returns in the past, but who were likely no longer living in the U.S. nor filing a real return in their own name. Isac led and organized the co-conspirators in Chicago and controlled the flow of money to his co-conspirators in Romania. On one occasion, Isac led a group of co-conspirators in physically attacking a group of individuals who were associated with someone who refused to pay Isac his cut of the proceeds.

Isac, 31, a Romanian citizen who lived in Skokie, was sentenced on Friday to 85 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $1,641,209 by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle. Isac pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to defraud the United States and theft of government funds. He will be subject to deportation after completing his sentence.

Isac was arrested in April 2010 and was among 24 defendants who were indicted in July that year for their roles in the conspiracy. Nineteen of the defendants have been convicted and sentenced, while five remaining co-defendants are fugitives.

Evidence in two companion cases showed that the fraudulent returns typically claimed large deductions for moving expenses, and the fraud was concealed by electronically submitting false wage and tax statements. The returns were filed in the names of real individuals and employers who likely were unaware that their identities and information were being misused. At least 200 bank accounts in the names of more than 75 individuals were used to receive and obtain the tax refund money triggered by the fraudulent returns.

The sentence was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; James C. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; and Gary Hartwig, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Burke, Jennie Levin and Julie Porter.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stephen Talty Discusses "Agent Garbo: the Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent who Tricked Hitler & Saved D-Day"

April 18th, Stephen Talty discusses his fascinating book titled Agent Garbo: the Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent who Tricked Hitler & Saved D-Day on Crime Beat Radio. An investigation of the life and career of Garbo, World War II spy and history’s greatest double agent.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at artistfirst.com/crimebeat.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Harold Schechter Discusses "Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of" on Crime Beat Radio

On April 11th, Harold Schechter (http://www.haroldschechter.com/) discusses his book, Psycho USA: Famous American killers you never heard of, on Crime Beat Radio.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST., on the Artist First World Radio Network at artistfirst.com/crimebeat.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Teen Gang Mobs Continue to Attack Shoppers and Tourists on Chicago's Magnificent Mile

More than two dozen teens were arrested Saturday night after dozens of groups began randomly attacking pedestrians on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.

Police responded to reports of disturbances around 6:30 p.m. Saturday near Michigan and Chicago avenues. They said a number of teens took to the streets and started fighting.

Police said 28 teens were arrested during the incident and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and battery and later released, according to Police News Affairs. Eleven other teens were charged with misdemeanor charges after they allegedly attacked a group of women on the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line, police said.

"You have over three to four hundred teenagers with mob action, jumping on individuals that are downtown," community activist Andrew Holmes said. "Multiple people have been arrested and I caution those parents that get this call about your child being arrested -- maybe you need to check your child."

Officers began breaking up the attacks by ushering teens to the Red Line. Chaos continued underground but many attackers reportedly left the area. "I just saw a cluster run down to the Red Line," CTA passenger Amanda Dobson said. "I didn't know what was going on. I just kind of stepped back and let the police do what they needed to do."

Police continued to patrol the area on bikes, horses and on foot as smaller groups wandered around the Loop.

It is not clear if the attacks are related to a similar mobbing of Ford City Mall last month.

Residents were concerned that this could be the first in a long line of attacks after warm weather brought on a string of similar instances last year. "It's been happening a lot around here," said Eric Baldinger, who works along the Mag Mile. "Just keep your wallet close and your purse closer."

Others said the attacks were disappointing and feared for the future of the city. "I think it’s very childish," resident Angelica Wilson said. "That’s what wrong with the generation today because there’s always petty fights going on down here and everybody getting hurt. We don’t need more problems."

Thanks to Alexandria Fisher.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Illinois State Rifle Association Calls for Firing of @Chicao_Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy

The ISRA is once again calling upon Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.  This latest call for McCarthy's ouster comes after a mob of young thugs - estimated to be in the hundreds - swarmed the Magnificent Mile shopping district Saturday night and began beating dozens of innocent shoppers.  This latest mob action appears to be the most serious in a string of events over the past two years involving gangs of youths randomly attacking shoppers on North Michigan Avenue.

"Just like dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patty's Day, cracking tourists' heads on North Michigan Avenue is becoming a Windy City tradition," commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson.  "The first warm night of the year, and all hell breaks loose in the city's most tony shopping district.  It should be clear to everybody by now that Supt. McCarthy has lost control of the city.  What are things going to be like when the weather really heats up?  What has to happen before Emanuel wakes up and gives the nod to a more effective top cop?"

"The ISRA has been cautioning folks against making Chicago a leisure time destination for a few years now," continued Pearson.  "Unless you're the kind of person who wants to be terrorized, beaten, raped or robbed, then you should definitely find another place to vacation.  For the law-abiding citizen, Chicago has become just too dangerous to visit."

"While vicious mobs have been busily destroying Chicago's tourism industry, Mayor Emanuel and Supt. McCarthy have been busy as well – vilifying law abiding firearm owners," said Pearson.  "If they spent more time thwarting crime and less time trying to take guns away from hunters and sportsmen, then Chicago might be a better place in which to live and work."

"The sad events of Saturday night will certainly bolster efforts to pass concealed carry legislation down in Springfield," said Pearson.  "Good people have a right to defend themselves against lawless thugs.  I'm positive that the prospect of encountering armed citizens would make such flash mobs vaporize in a hurry."

The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership.  For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.

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