Friday, November 28, 2008

Sunday, November 30 Marks 15th Anniversary of Signing of the Brady Bill

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sunday, November 30 marks 15 years since President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Bill after an eight-year legislative struggle. Since the bill became law, more than 1.6 million criminals, stalkers and court-adjudicated mentally ill persons have been stopped from purchasing a firearm.

The Brady Center will issue an informational report Sunday morning on the law. The report, called Brady Background Checks: 15 Years of Saving Lives, details the Brady Law's long record of success.

"This is a happy anniversary, but a reminder that we need to do more," said Sarah Brady, Chair of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"Every day, Brady criminal background checks help save lives, reduce gun crime, and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center.

"Though just one of a handful of federal gun laws on the books, Americans can take pride in the Brady Law as a prime example of how strong gun laws work to protect our communities and our families," Helmke said. "But while we celebrate the Brady Law's huge success, we also must remember that too many sales - from so-called 'private sellers' at gun shows, through classified ads and by word of mouth - still don't require background checks," Helmke said.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a national non-profit organization working to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in America, through education, research, and legal advocacy. The programs of the Brady Center complement the legislative and grassroots mobilization of its sister organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Attorney Sentenced to almost Five years in Federal Prison for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Mary Reagan, 41, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was sentenced today to serve almost five years in federal prison for her role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme. Reagan pleaded guilty in July 2008 shortly before she was to go to trial, and agreed to assist the government in the prosecution of the scheme.

"As is unfortunately true of many mortgage fraud schemes that we have seen, this case involves an attorney who should have known and done better," said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. "This prosecution serves as another warning to closing attorneys and others in positions of trust in the real estate industry. If you become involved in mortgage fraud, you will not just lose your license, you may end up in a federal prison."

Reagan was sentenced to four years, nine months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Reagan was also ordered to pay full restitution of over $4,000,000 and an exact amount will be determined by the court at a later date.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and information presented in court: From mid-2004 through June 2006, Reagan was an attorney, doing business as The Reagan Law Group, closing millions of dollars of fraudulently inflated mortgage loans being provided to unqualified straw buyers. Reagan was the attorney responsible for representing the mortgage lenders at the closing table. When the loans closed, Reagan instead transferred millions of dollars of the inflated loan proceeds to her co-conspirators by falsifying closing documents, such as the HUD-1 settlement statements, and concealing from the lenders the true recipients and purposes of payments made in connection with the closing.

Reagan also concealed from the lenders that the unqualified straw buyers did not make sizeable down payments required by lenders as a condition of closing. On one property, Reagan falsified title work and other documents to conceal from a lender that the property was already encumbered by two mortgages at an inflated price, ensuring that the lender's security interest in the property was worthless.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Gilfillan and Barbara E. Nelan prosecuted the case.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Fugitive Marijuana Grower Convicted by Federal Jury

Late November 19, a jury in federal district court returned a guilty verdict against ANDREW N. COX, 45, of Blairsville, Georgia on charges of conspiring to manufacture and attempting to manufacture marijuana in and around the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia in the spring of 2004. The evidence presented at trial showed that COX, who was originally indicted on January 11, 2005, fled after he was indicted and remained a fugitive until he was apprehended by authorities in Casa Grande, Arizona more than three years later, on February 13, 2008.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said of the verdict, “With tightened border security, America’s national forests are a battleground in our fight against the illegal drug business. This verdict sends a message to all who exploit and destroy our natural resources to profit off of the illegal domestic drug trade, and those who flee from justice. We will find you, and then we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law. The U.S. Forest Service should be commended for its outstanding work in a difficult investigation.”

Russ Arthur, Supervisory Special Agent, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service, Law Enforcement & Investigations Unit, said of the jury’s verdict, “This case exemplifies the importance of multiple agency cooperation. Our limited resources, compounded with the complexity of this case, made this positive outcome extremely difficult. We sincerely appreciate the level of support from all local, state and federal agencies who came to our aid.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: Between early 2004 through July 2004, COX conspired in a marijuana manufacturing conspiracy with three other men, JOSE QUEZADAS-FIERROS, PACIANO VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, and MAYOLO VARGAS-VILLENUEVA. COX hired the three men to plant and cultivate marijuana on private and U.S. Forest Service property using a landscaping company as a front, and using private property owned by COX’s father as a staging area to begin growing seedlings in hundreds of plastic starter cups. The co-conspirators then prepared three marijuana grow sites on private and public land, destroying underbrush and trees to do so, and transplanted the seedlings into the forest. During their investigation U.S. Forest Service agents discovered 724 seedlings in the yard of COX’s father’s property and an additional 594 plants at three separate grow sites in the adjacent forest, ranging in maturity from 3 to 4 inches to 4 ½ feet tall, for a total of 1,318 plants.

The co-conspirators – QUEZADAS-FIERROS, VARGAS-HERNANDEZ, and VARGAS-VILLENUEVA – were indicted and pleaded guilty to related charges in 2004 and 2006.

Because COX has two prior felony drug convictions and the jury found that the conspiracy involved at least 1,000 marijuana plants, COX faces a mandatory life sentence for this crime. There is no parole in the federal justice system. Sentencing is scheduled for February 6, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. before Senior United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley at the United States Courthouse in Gainesville, Georgia.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site:

This case was investigated by the United States Forest Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Marshals Service, with the assistance of the Appalachian Drug Task Force. Additional assistance was provided by the Casa Grande, Arizona Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney David M. Chaiken is prosecuting the case.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CDC Launches New Violence Prevention Information Resource

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control's Injury Center is launching a new web resource that provides violence prevention data from 16 funded states.

The new on-line tool, WISQARS(tm) NVDRS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System National Violent Death Reporting System) provides data on violent deaths from the National Violent Death Reporting System so that it is easily accessible to researchers, public health practitioners, decision makers and the media. The new tool is a component of the currently available interactive WISQARS(tm) (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, pronounced "whiskers") tool which provides customized reports of injury-related data.

WISQARS(tm) NVDRS links information from multiple sources-death certificates, law enforcement reports, medical examiner and coroner reports and crime laboratories-to more fully understand the circumstances of violent deaths. It includes data on homicides, suicides, legal intervention deaths, unintentional firearm deaths, and deaths of undetermined intent.

Additionally, the new tool also provides data on important public health problems like intimate partner homicides, suicides among youth, and suicides among persons with military service and infant/child deaths. The system also links information across victims to better understand events where there may be more than one victim (e.g. a school or workplace shooting) or where homicides may be followed by suicides.

Users will be able to customize their search based on a variety of data fields including: demographics, victim/suspect relationships, method of injury, and precipitating circumstances.

WISQARS(tm) NVDRS is now available online as of November 18.

You can access WISQARS(tm) NVDRS online, at

Currently, CDC receives Congressional funding to support data collection from 16 states. The CDC Foundation and the Joyce Foundation provided support for the development of the WISQARS(tm) NVDRS module.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Allen Sentenced to More Than 11 Years in Federal Prison in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

ADRIENE NEWBY-ALLEN, 40, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was sentenced November 10, 2008, to serve more than 11 years in federal prison for her role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme. NEWBY-ALLEN pleaded guilty in July 2008 shortly before trial.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This case is the result of a FBI sting operation that uncovered a mortgage fraud scheme with far reaching effects. This defendant, along with others, were on all sides of a complex paper trail that circled a number of criminal acitivies.”

NEWBY-ALLEN was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $5,278,703 in restitution.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and information presented in court: From mid-2004 through March of 2006, NEWBY-ALLEN conducted a mortgage fraud scheme that siphoned off millions of dollars in fraudulently inflated mortgage loans being provided to unqualified straw buyers, one of whom was her husband and co-defendant, BRINSON ALLEN. ALLEN was found guilty of multiple charges relating to the fraudulent scheme on July 30, 2008, by a federal jury after a ten-day trial and will be sentenced at a later date.

NEWBY-ALLEN inflated the sale prices of residential real estate and arranged for the submission of false loan applications, documents and other information to mortgage lenders to obtain loans for the unqualified straw buyers. When the loans closed, NEWBY-ALLEN and her co-conspirators received millions of dollars of the mortgage loan proceeds through NEWBY-ALLEN’S shell company, “Swiss Acquisitions,” by using misrepresentations about disbursements of the loan proceeds. NEWBY-ALLEN personally received more than $1 million of the loan proceeds obtained in the fraudulent scheme.

Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Gilfillan and Barbara E. Nelan are prosecuting the case.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

ATF Offers Reward for Information on Retail Gun Theft

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Atlanta Field Division, and Jasper, Ga., Police Department today announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of those responsible for a recent firearms theft at the Bargain Barn, located at 3622 Camp Road in Jasper, Ga.

The early morning burglary occurred at the Bargain Barn, a sporting goods store and federal firearms licensee (FFL), on Saturday, Nov. 8. Video surveillance footage shows three masked suspects running through the store smashing display cases and stuffing the firearms into bags before exiting the premises. In less than two minutes, the suspects were able to steal a total of 40 firearms to include 36 semi-automatic pistols and six rifles.

"Theft of firearms from licensed gun dealers is a top priority for ATF," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Pearce. "We all have a vested interest in arresting those responsible and recovering the stolen guns. Solving this crime will be a team effort among ATF, the Jasper Police Department and concerned members of the public."

"It's clear that a burglary of a gun dealer is unlike any other commercial theft," said Jasper Police Chief Harold Cantrell. "We need to prevent these stolen firearms from falling into the hands of felons, gang members and juveniles before violent crime and tragedy results."

Investigators are seeking the public's help with identifying the suspects or providing information on the location of the stolen firearms.

Anyone with information in helping to solve this crime is encouraged to call ATF's toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477) or the Jasper Police Department by contacting Detective Gleason at (404) 317-2532. Callers can remain anonymous.

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Oxendine Announces Arrest of Suspects in Insurance Fraud Bust

Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine said arrest warrants have been issued on 19 suspects in an insurance fraud ring that allegedly collected $995,641.75 in misappropriated claims from a Japanese insurance company.

The suspected ringleader, Ken Dewberry, 42, of Lawrenceville, worked for Sompo Japan Insurance Company of America at the time the theft occurred -- March 1, 2001 to March 30, 2004. He has been charged with 30 counts of theft by taking, as well as charges under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

“Someone at the Sompo Atlanta office was changing the names and addresses of vendors and then requesting and distributing medical claim checks to people that had not performed any services on the claimants,” Oxendine said. “Our investigation has led us to suspect Ken Dewberry.”

A total of 473 checks were issued to 21 different individuals. Oxendine said the checks were cashed by the individuals, who typically kept some money for themselves and then passed the rest to Dewberry. Dewberry’s financial records during the time of loss show approximately $154,000 in unexplained deposits into his checking and savings accounts. Also, personal connections can be drawn between Dewberry and nearly all of the check recipients, many of whom he knew from previously living in New York.

A total of 19 suspects will be charged under the RICO Act in connection with the case, and other charges are possible, Oxendine said. Besides Dewberry, the suspects include: Raymond Santana, 43, address unknown; Henry Rolle, 43, Atlanta; Terence Hover, 35, Decatur; Dujuan R. Free, 27, Atlanta; Frederick Brown, 28, Decatur; Henry Free, 43, Forest Park; Marcus Battle, 27, Marietta; Katie Winborn, 28, College Park; Mario Starks, 29, College Park; Victor Devalia, 31, Atlanta; Christopher A. Hinds, 34, Marietta; Dana Hunter, 38, Lawrenceville; Jeffrey L. Thompson, 39, Lithonia; Eric Charles Ridenhour, 44, Atlanta; Curtis Broussard, 48, Austell; Frederick Isaac, 39, Stone Mountain; Sandra Lamore, 36, address unknown; and Lawrence Scott, Duluth.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

LG, Sharp, Chunghwa Agree to Plead Guilty, Pay Total of $585 Million in Fines for Participating in LCD Price-Fixing Conspiracies

Three leading electronics manufacturers-LG Display Co. Ltd., Sharp Corp. and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd.-have agreed to plead guilty and pay a total of $585 million in criminal fines for their roles in conspiracies to fix prices in the sale of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, the Department of Justice announced. Of the $585 million in fines, LG will pay $400 million, the second highest criminal fine ever imposed by the Department's Antitrust Division.

Today's charges were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The companies have agreed to cooperate with the Department's ongoing antitrust investigation.

Thin-Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. In 2006, the worldwide market for TFT-LCD panels was approximately $70 billion. Companies directly affected by the LCD price-fixing conspiracies are some of the largest computer, television and cellular telephone manufacturers in the world, including Apple, Dell and Motorola.

"Today's charges and criminal fines emphasize the commitment of the Department of Justice to crack down on international cartels," said Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

LG Display Co. Ltd, a South Korean corporation, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, LG Display America Inc., a California company (LG), agreed to plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy from September 2001 to June 2006 to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold worldwide. During the conspiracy, LG Display Co. Ltd. was known as LG.Philips LCD Co. Ltd. (a joint venture between LG Electronics and Philips Electronics) and LG Display America Inc. was known as LG.Philips LCD America Inc.

Sharp Corp., a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $120 million fine for its participation in separate conspiracies to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold to Dell Inc. from April 2001 to December 2006 for use in computer monitors and laptops; to Motorola Inc. from fall 2005 to the middle of 2006 for use in Razr mobile phones; and to Apple Computer Inc. from September 2005 to December 2006 for use in iPod portable music players.

Chunghwa, a Taiwanese TFT-LCD panel manufacturer, has agreed to pay a $65 million fine for its participation with LG and other unnamed co-conspirators in a conspiracy from September 2001 to December 2006 to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold worldwide.

"These price-fixing conspiracies affected millions of American consumers who use computers, cell phones and numerous other household electronics every day," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division. "These convictions, and the significant fines they carry, should send a clear message that the Antitrust Division will vigorously investigate and prosecute illegal cartels, regardless of where they are located."

LG and Chunghwa are charged with carrying out the conspiracy by:

* Participating in meetings, conversations, and communications in Taiwan, Korea and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels;
* Agreeing during those meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels;
* Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and
* Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

Sharp is charged with participating in three separate conspiracies, to fix the price of TFT-LCD panels sold to Dell, Motorola and Apple by:

* Participating in bilateral meetings, conversations, and communications in Japan and the United States to discuss the prices of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola;
* Agreeing during those bilateral meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels to Dell, Apple and Motorola;
* Issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached; and
* Exchanging information on sales of TFT-LCD panels to be sold to Dell, Apple and Motorola, for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.

LG, Sharp and Chunghwa are each charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $100 million for corporations. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

LG Display Co. Ltd., based in Seoul, South Korea, reported $15.3 billion in revenue for 2007.

Sharp, based in Osaka, Japan, reported $34.2 billion in revenues for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, including $6.8 billion in revenue from LCD sales.

Chunghwa, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China, reported $4.8 billion in revenue for 2007.

These pleas are the result of a joint investigation by the Antitrust Division's San Francisco Field Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Francisco. The plea agreements are subject to court approval.

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Federal Jury Finds Chiropractor Guilty of $3 Million Health Care Fraud Scam

A jury in federal district court has returned a guilty verdict against DR. WILLIAM STEARNS, DC, 47, of Marietta, Georgia, on 18 charges of health care fraud and five charges of money laundering.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “Today’s verdict sends the message that health care providers who fraudulently bill for their services will be held accountable for their crimes. The Defendant and his partners received millions of dollars to which they were not entitled, by lying to insurers about the services they were providing patients. These lies contribute to the problem of soaring health costs for all, and will be vigorously prosecuted.”

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court:

In 2004, STEARNS and two partners, fellow chiropractors STEVEN LEVINE and CHRISTOPHER TOPEL, operated three clinics around the Atlanta area under the name Comprehensive Care Medical Group (“CCMG”). CCMG, under the Defendant’s direction, fraudulently billed Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia for two separate back pain procedures, costing that insurer alone approximately $3 million. Both LEVINE and TOPEL previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

First, the Defendant and his partners fraudulently billed for a procedure known as Vertebral Axial Decompression (“VAX-D”) – a non-invasive back pain procedure that uses a mechanical table to stretch a patient’s spine. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia considers VAX-D to be investigational and not medically necessary, and made clear to health care providers that it did not cover the procedure. Thus, the Defendant, along with LEVINE and TOPEL, were convicted of having lied to Blue Cross about what procedures they were performing in order to get paid for this non-covered procedure. Specifically, instead of using the specific billing code assigned to VAX-D, CCMG used a different code that pertained to surgical nerve decompression procedures. The Indictment charged that the Defendant used that code because he and the others knew Blue Cross would pay for it, and would not pay for VAX-D. The proof at trial included testimony from the Defendant’s former employees, several of whom were explicitly instructed to not refer to the procedure as “VAX-D” in patient files.

Second, the Defendant also fraudulently billed for an electrical stimulation procedure using a device known as “Hako-Med.” Instead of billing for a relatively low-paying electrical stimulation procedure, the Defendant instead claimed to be performing surgical procedures known as nerve block injections. This was false, but allowed the Defendant to bill for rates 5-10 times as high as if he had correctly billed for electrical stimulation.

STEARNS could receive a maximum sentence of 230 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,750,000. Sentencing is scheduled for February 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm before United States District Judge Clarence Cooper.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Assistant United States Attorneys Teresa D. Hoyt and Justin S. Anand are prosecuting the case.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armed Bank Robber Sentenced to Prison for over 25 Years

DONNIE ATKINS, 58, of Atlanta , Georgia , was sentenced November 7, 2008, by United States District Judge Marvin H. Shoob to over 25 years in federal prison on a charge of armed bank robbery.

“This defendant terrorized bank tellers and employees whose only mistake was to show up at the bank to do an honest day’s work,” said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. “Then he brazenly and recklessly shot at Atlanta Police officers who arrived at the scene to stop the robbery. Fortunately, no officer or bank employee suffered any physical injuries. The sentence imposed on this defendant shows the harsh consequences for anyone who would dare to rob a bank at gunpoint, including significant time in federal prison.”

ATKINS was sentenced to 25 years, 8 months in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. ATKINS pleaded guilty to the charge on August 22, 2008.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: On December 13, 2007 , at approximately 9:10 a.m. , ATKINS and an unidentified accomplice robbed the Capitol City Bank at gunpoint, located at 2358 Cascade Road , Atlanta. Employees of the bank noticed the two men as they approached the bank, and thought that the men looked suspicious because they were wearing sweatshirts with hoods covering their heads and faces. An armed security guard attempted to block their entry into the back door of the bank, but the men overpowered him, forced him to the ground, removed his weapon, and handcuffed him. The accomplice stayed with the guard during the robbery, keeping a gun pointed at the guard’s head. ATKINS forced at gunpoint bank employees who were hiding in a break room to come into the lobby and to lie on the floor. One of the employees was on the phone with an emergency dispatch operator when ATKINS came into the break room. ATKINS took more than $15,000 from the teller drawers. ATKINS demanded access to the vault, but the tellers told him that they did not have the keys to the vault. ATKINS began kicking the iron gate to the vault to gain access when his accomplice alerted ATKINS that two police cars had pulled up to the bank. ATKINS and his accomplice ran out of the bank and separated. Atlanta Police Department officers chased ATKINS, and he turned around and fired several shots at them. ATKINS continued to run and, as he attempted to shoot at the pursuing police officers again, he shot himself in the shoulder. At that point, ATKINS was taken into custody. ATKINS had all of the robbery money in a bag that he was carrying. Moreover, ATKINS also had on him a gun that was taken from the armed security guard at a robbery of the same bank on June 22, 2007.

ATKINS’ accomplice has not yet been located, and the FBI’s investigation and search continues. Anyone with information about the accomplice is asked to call the FBI at 404-679-9000.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul R. Jones prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact David E. Nahmias (pronounced NAH-me-us), United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Eddie Milton Garey, Jr. Sentencing Affirmed

Maxwell Wood, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced today that on October 31, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the prison sentence of Eddie Milton Garey, Jr.

In early September 2003, the Macon - Bibb County 911 Center received a series of disturbing calls from the same unidentified caller. Using several different cellular telephones and a computer generated voice, the caller tried to extort money by threatening to bomb and gas various locations throughout Macon, Georgia. On September 11, 2003, agents traced the calls to a local residence, and found themselves at the home of Garey.

Garey was tried in December 2004. On December 17, 2004, a jury in Columbus, Georgia found the defendant guilty of twenty-seven (27) charges arising from the bomb threats. On August 10, 2005, the Honorable Clay D. United States District Judge, imposed a sentence of 360 months imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system.

On August 20, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, sitting en banc, found that Garey properly waived his right to counsel when Garey announced that he represent himself.

The October 31 decision affirmed Garey's 360 month sentence. A panel of the appellate court found that Garey was appropriately sentenced under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, and that the district court properly found that Garey's offensive conduct was a federal crime of terrorism.

Agencies involved in the investigation included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Macon Police Department and the Bibb County Sheriffs Office. The appeals were handled by Elizabeth A. Olson and Elizabeth D. Collery, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Appellate Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Dean S. Daskal. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Tracia M. King, Jennifer Kolman and Harry J. Fox, Jr.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Muscogee County Marshals Take Top National Honors in IACP Law Enforcement Awards

The Muscogee County Marshal’s Office has taken Second Place among the nation’s top law enforcement agencies in the prestigious National Law Enforcement Challenge judged by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In an official ceremony conducted in Columbus by the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Director Bob Dallas presented the National IACP Award to Muscogee County Marshal Gregory Countryman on Wednesday, October 29th, at 10AM.

There were 560 entries from 30 states and Canada entered in the National IACP Law Enforcement Challenge. GOHS Director Bob Dallas said, “This means the Annual IACP Challenge has recognized the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office as a national winner among all competing law enforcement agencies from across the country. We’re honored to see the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office receive this Award in the IACP’s National Law Enforcement Challenge.”

Georgia’s Highway Safety Director will present the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office with an IACP National Second Place Award for the Special Law Enforcement Agency category in recognition of overall highway safety officer training, public information and education initiatives, innovative public safety programs, and highway safety enforcement efforts.

The actual IACP award will be presented to the Muscogee County Marshal’s Office at the National Highway Safety Awards Banquet on November 11th in San Diego, California.

“We’re delighted that Muscogee County will be one of eighteen Georgia law enforcement agencies recognized at the upcoming IACP Highway Safety Awards in San Diego,” said GOHS Director Bob Dallas. “Together, these fine law enforcement agencies from Georgia will receive a total of 20 National Law Enforcement Challenge Awards.” The Annual IACP National Law Enforcement Challenge is designed to recognize the efforts of law enforcement agencies that save lives on our highways by increasing safety belt usage, slowing down speeders and reducing impaired and aggressive driving.

“The Muscogee County’s Marshal’s Office was awarded for their local enforcement efforts in the Columbus area,” said GOHS Director Dallas. “I am truly proud of everything Muscogee County does to save lives in their community and on Georgia’s roadways. It’s gratifying to see this department recognized for their pro-active measures and excellence on the job.”

The Muscogee County Marshal’s Office is an active member of the GOHS West Central Traffic Enforcement Network called WCTEN. The WCTEN network covers Talbot, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Marion, Schley, Stewart, Webster, Sumpter, Quitman, Randolph, Terrell, Clay, Taylor and Calhoun County traffic enforcement agencies.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final Update: Suspicious Package in Fayetteville, Georgia

3:25 p.m. A whole lot of hoopla, a little bit of nothing. It seems, according to our sources, that the package delivered to the Fayette County Republican Party Headquarters this morning was full of anti-Obama literature and this was something that had been happening with some frequency, thus the postal system was alert and aware. The U.S. Postal Department took the package away and everyone went back to work. Note to those sending packages: use a legitimate sounding return address and don't cut out letters and addresses and paste them on envelopes that resemble those anthrax packages. In these crazy days it's a good idea not to send anything that looks alarming.

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Update: Suspicious Package Delivered in Fayetteville; Building Evacuated

Earlier today we reported a suspicious package had been delivered to the Fayette County Republican Party. Currently the Fayetteville Police are awaiting the arrival of the U.S. Postal Inspector and / or another Federal agency to follow up. The package was discovered this morning by Republican Party volunteers. The package was addressed to Josh Bonner, the Chairman of the Fayette County Republican Party. Upon reading the return address "Michael the Archangel, Divine Intervention Way, Holy Cow JC, 33666" the volunteers, Marilyn Watts, Debbie Dickinson, Debbie Groinger and others immediately decided to contact law enforcement.
In short order the building was evacuated.

Fayetteville CSI, a number of detectives, the fire department and a K-9 unit were all on-hand within the hour. The K-9 dog checked the area and the package and did not detect a bomb. The Fayetteville Police have indicated the package will also be x-rayed by the U.S. Postal Service. If it is determined that there is no danger, the package will be transported elsewhere.

According to an anonymous source we have been informed that the individual or group responsible for the package is known to law enforcement. Local Party officials checked with other state and county Republican Party officials and to the best of their knowledge this is an isolated occurrence.

Suspicious Package Found in Downtown Fayetteville, Georgia on November 4

A suspicious package was found at the Fayette County Republican Party Headquarters on North Glynn Street in Fayetteville, GA. Upon the package's discovery around 11 am this morning, the Fayetteville Police were contacted.

The package was addressed to Josh Bonner, Chairman of the Fayette County Republican Party and appears to have been mailed on Halloween.

The return address is listed as Michael, the Arch Angel, Divine Intervention Way in Holy Cow, JC. The return zip code reads 33666.

The K9 unit was immediately brought in to check for the presence of a bomb. At this time, there is no evidence that the lumpy package contains a bomb.

There appears to be a postal mark on the package. The U.S. Postal Service is on the way to the scene. The package will be x-rayed.

The entire building in which the Republican Party Headquarters in Fayette County is located has been evacuated.

A federal agency is currently enroute. Through an anonymous tip, we understand the person responsible for the package is known for similar actions.

Fayette Front Page Staff Report

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Monday, November 3, 2008

ATF National Response Team Activated to Georgia Mill Fire

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Response Team (NRT) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from the Columbus Satellite Office and the Macon Field Office, of the Atlanta Field Division, have entered into the investigation of a large commercial fire at the request of the Columbus Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The fire occurred Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Bibb Mill located at 3715 First Ave., downtown Columbus. The NRT arrived today and will begin its work at the scene.

The 750,000 square foot structure was built around 1920 and holds significant historical value to the community. The approximate loss is estimated at $2 million. The Mill housed several businesses and a portion of the property was to be converted to a condominium community. There are no reported injuries at this time and the investigation is continuing.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to provide resources to federal, state and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to assist state and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

The teams are each composed of veteran special agents who have post blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support, computer forensic support and audit support. The teams work alongside state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson.

Further complementing the team's efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States is available to provide logistical support.

This will be the NRT's second activation in fiscal year 2009 and the 660th activation since the inception of the NRT in 1978.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at

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