Category: Dept of Justice

The unsealed indictment alleges that from March 2017 to August 2018, Moktar Hossain, 30, conspired to bring and brought 14 Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for a fee.

Bangladeshi National Arrested in Houston to Face Charges for a Conspiracy to Bring Aliens into the United States

A Bangladeshi national residing in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested yesterday on arrival at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to face a criminal indictment issued in the Laredo Division of the Southern District of Texas for his role in a scheme to smuggle aliens from Mexico into the United States.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge Shane M. Folden of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio made the announcement.

The unsealed indictment alleges that from March 2017 to August 2018, Moktar Hossain, 30, conspired to bring and brought 14 Bangladeshi nationals to the United States at the Texas border in exchange for a fee.  Hossain operated out of Monterrey, Mexico, where he maintained a hotel that housed aliens before they were transported to the U.S. border by drivers paid by Hossain.

Hossain was presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo in the Southern District of Texas for his initial appearance.  At the hearing, Judge Palermo ordered that Hossain be held pending transfer to Laredo for further criminal proceedings.

“Protecting our country from illegal immigration and the national security threat it poses is a priority for the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The Criminal Division is dedicated to working with our law enforcement partners both here and abroad to disrupt the flow of illegal aliens into the United States, and bring those who facilitate their travel to justice.”

“Homeland Security Investigations remains steadfast in vigorously pursuing members of transnational criminal networks that exploit and endanger the people they smuggle into the United States,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge Folden.  “Smugglers are driven by simple greed with no thought for human compassion.  HSI continues to work with our law enforcement partners to maintain the integrity of our border and the safety of our communities.”

This case is being investigated by HSI Laredo, with assistance from HSI Monterrey, HSI Houston, HSI Calexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Marshals Service.  The investigation is being conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI.  The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns.  ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources.  ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James Hepburn and Erin Cox of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/bangladeshi-national-arrested-houston-face-charges-conspiracy-bring-aliens-united-states

 

Faiz Ahmed, M.D., 66, of Houston, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Southern District of Texas.

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 29, 2018

South Texas Doctor Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in a Fraudulent Medical Clinic

A Houston, Texas doctor was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release today for his role in a fraudulent medical clinic that ran costly, unnecessary diagnostic tests.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) made the announcement.

Faiz Ahmed, M.D., 66, of Houston, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller of the Southern District of Texas.  Judge Miller also ordered the defendant to pay $4,192,156 in restitution.  Ahmed was found guilty following a six-day trial in 2017 of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and seven counts of healthcare fraud.

Ahmed and eight co-defendants engaged in a conspiracy to falsely bill Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary diagnostic tests.  According to evidence admitted at trial, Ahmed agreed to approve the unnecessary testing and allowed his physician number to be used  to fraudulently bill the Medicare program.  As a result of the overall conspiracy, Medicare and Medicaid were billed approximately $13 million and paid out approximately $9 million in false claims.

Eight others have pleaded guilty for their respective roles including Mkrtich Yepremian, 61; Bompa Mbokoso Mompiere, 59; Michael Wayne Wilson, 49; Jermaine Doleman, 41; Harding Dudley Ross, 64; Eric Johnson, 64; Ann Marie Rocha, 51; and Eddie Wayne Taylor, 59, all of Houston. These defendants have all been sentenced.

This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  Trial Attorney Jason Knutson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Bradley formerly of the Southern District of Texas prosecuted the case.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than 14 billion.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/south-texas-doctor-sentenced-five-years-prison-role-fraudulent-medical-clinic

 

The unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information allowed these television broadcast companies to disrupt the normal competitive process of spot advertising in markets across the United States

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Justice Department Requires Six Broadcast Television Companies to Terminate and Refrain From Unlawful Sharing of Competitively Sensitive Information

Proposed Settlement Preserves Competition in Broadcast Television Advertising Markets Across the United States and Requires Cooperation in Ongoing Antitrust Division Investigation

The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement with six broadcast television companies — Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.; Raycom Media Inc.; Tribune Media Company; Meredith Corporation; Griffin Communications; and Dreamcatcher Broadcasting LLC — to resolve a Department lawsuit alleging that the companies engaged in unlawful agreements to share non-public competitively sensitive information with their broadcast television competitors.

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge the unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information among these six broadcast television companies, their sales representatives, and other broadcast television groups. At the same time, the Department filed proposed settlements that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit’s alleged competitive harm alleged in the complaint.

“The unlawful exchange of competitively sensitive information allowed these television broadcast companies to disrupt the normal competitive process of spot advertising in markets across the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Advertisers rely on competition among owners of broadcast television stations to obtain reasonable advertising rates, but this unlawful sharing of information lessened that competition and thereby harmed the local businesses and the consumers they serve.”

According to the complaint, the six broadcast television companies agreed in many metropolitan areas across the United States to exchange revenue pacing information, and certain defendants also engaged in the exchange of other forms of non-public sales information in certain metropolitan areas.  Pacing compares a broadcast station’s revenues booked for a certain time period to the revenues booked in the same point in the previous year.  Pacing indicates how each station is performing versus the rest of the market and provides insight into each station’s remaining spot advertising for the period.

By exchanging pacing information, the broadcasters were better able to anticipate whether their competitors were likely to raise, maintain, or lower spot advertising prices, which in turn helped inform the stations’ own pricing strategies and negotiations with advertisers.  As a result, the information exchanges harmed the competitive price–setting process.

The proposed settlement prohibits the direct or indirect sharing of such competitively sensitive information. The Department has determined that prohibiting this conduct would resolve the antitrust concerns raised as a result of the conduct of these defendants.  The proposed settlement further requires defendants to cooperate in the department’s ongoing investigation, and to adopt rigorous antitrust compliance and reporting measures to prevent similar anticompetitive conduct in the future.  The settlement has a seven year term, and it will continue to apply to stations currently owned by defendants, even if those stations are acquired by another company.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., a Maryland corporation with headquarters in Hunt Valley, Maryland, owns or operates 130 television stations across 87 markets. In 2017, it reported revenue in excess of $2.7 billion.

Tribune Media Company is a Delaware corporation; its headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois. It owns or operates 41 television stations in 31 markets and had over $670 million in revenue in 2017.

Raycom Media Inc., a Delaware corporation, has its principal place of business in Montgomery, Alabama. It owns or operates 55 television stations in 43 markets and had over $670 million in revenue in 2017.

Meredith Corporation, an Iowa corporation, has its principal place of business in Des Moines, Iowa. It owns or operates 17 television stations in 12 markets and had over $1.7 billion in revenue in 2017.

Griffin Communications is an Oklahoma corporation; its principal place of business is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It owns or operates four television stations in two markets and exceeded $60 million in revenue in 2017.

Dreamcatcher Broadcasting, LLC, a Delaware corporation, has its headquarters in Santa Monica, California. It owns or operates three television stations in two markets and had over $50 million in revenue in 2017.

As required by the Tunney Act, the proposed settlement, along with the department’s competitive impact statement, will be published in the Federal Register.  Any person may submit written comments concerning the proposed settlement within 60 days of its publication to Owen Kendler, Chief, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 8700, Washington, D.C. 20530.  At the conclusion of the 60-day comment period, the court may enter the final judgment upon a finding that it serves the public interest.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-requires-six-broadcast-television-companies-terminate-and-refrain-unlawful

 

Former Recruiter of U.S. Military Language Interpreters Indicted for Alleged Scheme That Resulted in Unqualified Language Interpreters Being Deployed with U.S. Combat Forces in Afghanistan

Former Recruiter of U.S. Military Language Interpreters Indicted for Alleged Scheme That Resulted in Unqualified Language Interpreters Being Deployed with U.S. Combat Forces in Afghanistan

A former recruiter of U.S. military language interpreters was charged in an indictment filed today for his role in an alleged scheme to recruit unqualified language interpreters to be deployed with U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko.

Abdul Aman, 34, of Fairfax, Virginia, was charged in the District of Maryland with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and one count of major fraud against the United States.  Aman will be arraigned on the charges on Nov. 8.

The indictment alleges that Aman, while working as a recruiter for a U.S. government contractor, circumvented procedures designed to ensure that candidates for jobs as language interpreters for the U.S. military met minimum proficiency standards, which resulted in unqualified language interpreters being hired and later deployed alongside U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan.  Aman’s employer was a subcontractor on a multimillion-dollar Defense Department contract to supply qualified language interpreters to support U.S. military operations around the world.  To carry out the fraud, the indictment alleges, Aman arranged for a close associate to take language tests for candidates who Aman knew did not meet minimum proficiency standards. Aman allegedly obtained financial bonuses from his employer based on the number of candidates whom his employer hired through his efforts.

This case was investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Zia Zafar targeted a U.S. government employee and surveilled him before shooting him in the chest at close range

U.S. National Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for the Attempted Murder of U.S. Consulate Official in Mexico

A U.S. national and former medical student was sentenced to 264 months in prison for the 2017 shooting of a U.S. diplomat stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, Acting Special Agent in Charge Tom Jones of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Christian J. Schurman for U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security and Director for Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), made the announcement.

Zia Zafar, 33, of Chino Hills, California, previously pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.  Zafar was sentenced by U.S District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia.  In addition to the prison sentence, Zafar was sentenced to serve eight years of supervised release.

“Zia Zafar targeted a U.S. government employee and surveilled him before shooting him in the chest at close range,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “The Department of Justice will do everything in its power to prosecute anyone who targets U.S. officials at home or abroad.  I commend the investigative team and our law enforcement partners in Mexico for their outstanding work in bringing Zafar to justice for this premediated heinous act.”

“The FBI works closely with international partners and security services in order to conduct complex investigations and acquire evidence from abroad for criminal prosecutions in the United States,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jones.  “I want to thank the Mexican government for their full support and cooperation throughout this investigation.”

“The Vice Consul was targeted and shot because he represented the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “No one should doubt the resolve of law enforcement to steadfastly investigate and apprehend those who attack us. I wish to express our sincere thanks to the many United States and Mexican law enforcement agencies involved in the apprehension and return of this defendant to the United States to face justice.”“The Vice Consul was targeted and shot because he represented the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “No one should doubt the resolve of law enforcement to steadfastly investigate and apprehend those who attack us. I wish to express our sincere thanks to the many United States and Mexican law enforcement agencies involved in the apprehension and return of this defendant to the United States to face justice.”

“Today’s sentencing of Zia Zafar sends a strong message: Diplomatic Security is committed to making sure those who attack diplomatic personnel representing America abroad face serious consequences,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Schurman.  “Diplomatic Security’s strong relationships with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. and foreign law enforcement partners around the world continue to be essential in the pursuit of justice.  Such crimes threaten the national security of the United States.”

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea and facts presented at the sentencing hearing, on Jan. 6, 2017, Zafar, then living in Guadalajara, Mexico, armed himself with a firearm and wore a wig and sunglasses to disguise his appearance.  He then waited in a parking garage for the victim, a vice consul who worked at the U.S Consulate in Guadalajara, following him as he walked towards his vehicle.  After noticing a security guard nearby, Zafar changed his location to the vehicle exit ramp, where he waited for the vice consul to exit.  When the vice consul approached the exit in his car, Zafar fired a single shot into the vehicle, striking the vice consul in his chest.  The vice consul survived, but the bullet remains lodged in his spinal column, as it was deemed too dangerous to remove.  Zafar admitted that he targeted the vice consul because he knew from earlier surveillance that the victim worked at the U.S. Consulate.

FBI and DSS investigated the case in close cooperation with Mexican authorities and with valuable assistance from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.  Trial Attorney Jamie Perry of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walutes of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-national-sentenced-22-years-prison-attempted-murder-us-consulate-official-mexico