Monday, January 31, 2011

Georgia Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Child Sex Abuse Offenses

Dwain D. Williams, age 37, a resident of Pelham, Georgia, was sentenced today (January 28) before the Honorable W. Louis Sands, United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, to life in prison for child sex abuse offenses, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and United States Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia.

Williams was convicted on Aug. 19, 2010, by a federal jury in Valdosta, Georgia, of one count of traveling in foreign commerce and engaging in illicit sexual conduct, one count of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact of a child under 12 years of age. The aggravated sexual abuse and the abusive sexual contact charges were committed while Williams was accompanying a member of the Armed Forces outside of the United States in violation of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).

At trial, the female victim testified that Williams had repeatedly raped her starting from when she was nine years old until she was 13.

“The law, not to mention human decency, demands that we protect innocent children, whether they be here or abroad, from predators like Mr. Williams”, said United States Attorney Moore.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Leah McEwen of the Middle District of Georgia and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of the Criminal Division’s CEOS. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Special Investigations for Moody Air Force.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Friday, January 28, 2011

Doctor Sentenced for Providing False Information to Federal Officer

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announces that on January 27, 2011, Bradford G. Brown, M.D., was sentenced to serve thirty-six (36) months in prison and a $500.00 Mandatory Assessment Fee by the Honorable Judge Lawson in United States District Court in Macon, Georgia.

Brown was convicted by a Federal Jury of his peers on September 23, 2010. He was found guilty of one count of Conspiracy to Provide False Information to a Federal Officer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371 in connection with Section 1001. Brown was also convicted of four counts of Providing False Information to a Federal Officer, Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.

Dr. Brown had previously been convicted of Federal Tax Evasion, had served his time and was on supervised release. One of the conditions of supervised release was that he look for and maintain a job. The Defendant’s supervised release had previously been revoked for his failure to look for employment. The revocation was for three months before Brown was placed back on supervised release. Brown still failed to look for a job and was told he was going to go back in front of the Court for a second possible violation. The Defendant enlisted Adam Jackson, a former Hancock County Commissioner, on two different occasions to sign off on two letters the Defendant himself had penned stating that the Hancock County Board of Commissioners had offered him a job to reopen the defunct County Hospital. (Jackson was a Hancock County Board member). The Defendant then sent those letters along with a employment contract that he had also penned to his probation officer which provided the false statements that he had been offered a position with the Hancock County Board of Commissioners when in fact, there was no position or offer ever extended to Brown. The second letter was sent about a month after the first letter with an even more elaborate false statement than the first letter. Brown claimed that by a unanimous vote by the Commissioners he had been offered the position, when in fact, there was no vote, no position, and no offer of employment.

Brown’s co-defendant, former Hancock County Commissioner Adam Jackson, entered a plea of guilty to Count One of Conspiracy to Provide False Statements and was sentenced to serve 24 month in prison on November 22, 2010.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Severe Weather Awareness Week a Time to Prepare for Remainder of Year

GEMA’s Ready Georgia campaign helps residents prepare for a variety of natural disasters

Georgia has already experienced its first taste of severe weather in 2011 – a snowstorm that affected 70 percent of the state. With that in our collective memory, the governor and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA)/Homeland Security encourage all Georgians to participate in this year’s Severe Weather Awareness Week, Feb. 7-11, by turning to the state’s Ready Georgia campaign.

“Take time now to prepare for the extreme weather the rest of the year can bring,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “Tornadoes, storms and floods can devastate our communities, but devastation can be minimized if we’re prepared.”

The week’s activities begin with Family Preparedness Day on Feb. 7, when all Georgia households are encouraged to program their NOAA Weather Radios and create Ready Profiles at to get a customized checklist of emergency supplies and a tailored family communications plan.

On Wednesday, when tornado safety is emphasized, a statewide tornado drill will be issued by the National Weather Service. Severe Weather Awareness Week’s specific observations are:

Monday, Feb. 7 – Family Preparedness/NOAA Weather Radio Day
Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Thunderstorm Safety
Wednesday, Feb. 9 – Tornado Safety and Statewide Tornado Drill (issued by NWS)
Thursday, Feb. 10 – Lightning Safety
Friday, Feb. 11 – Flood Safety (alternate tornado drill date)

"By preparing for one emergency, you are actually arming yourself against many types of disasters," continued English. “Our goal is for all residents to be their own first responders and to be able to help others in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.”

During severe weather, emergency workers might need at least 72 hours to open roadways and restore utilities. When Georgians are prepared to survive independently, the potential for tragic outcomes is greatly reduced. GEMA offers this information from its Ready Georgia campaign:

Prepare for Severe Weather:

Make a Ready kit of emergency supplies for your home, car and office. Most of the recommended items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life.

- Water: at least three gallons per person for drinking and sanitation
- Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
- Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Face mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Specific items for children, family members’ special needs or pets
- Cash or travelers checks
- Important documents in a waterproof container
- Blankets and warm clothes

Plan for Severe Weather:

- Be sure every family member knows important phone numbers for schools, offices, home and emergency services.
- Identify an out-of town contact. It might be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call in town, so an out-of-town contact is in a better position to communicate among separated family members.
- Identify a meeting place near your home where family members can meet if separated during severe weather.
- Identify a meeting place away from your home where family members can meet if your neighborhood in not accessible.
- Map out evacuation routes in case you are ordered to evacuate, and always keep at least a fourth of a tank of gas in your car.
- Know your insurance policies and whether your home is in a flood zone.

Stay Informed about Severe Weather:

- Find out what type of disasters could occur and how you should respond.
- Learn your community's warning signals and evacuation plans.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify severe weather, such as advisories, watches and warnings.
- Monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, television and the Internet to stay informed of severe weather conditions.

During Severe Weather Awareness Week, Ready Georgia is also giving residents the chance to win their very own Ready kit and NOAA Weather Radio, a $100 value. Starting Feb. 7, visit Ready Georgia’s Facebook page and click on the “Contests” tab. Then, enter the contest by simply submitting a severe weather photo and a step you have taken to prepare.

For more information on preparing for severe weather, contact your local EMA or visit or

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy Sentenced to Prison for Corruption and Drug Charges

ANTHONY C. ATWATER, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced today (January 24) by United States District Judge J. Owen Forrester to serve six years in federal prison on corruption and drug charges.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "While dressed in his uniform, this former law enforcement officer sold out his badge to people he knew as drug dealers, and chose to protect them rather than the citizens. Any sworn officer who thinks they can abandon their oath and become a criminal in police clothing should know this: Your betrayal makes you a criminal ready for federal prison."

FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin said, "Having the public's trust is paramount in order for the criminal justice system to work effectively. It is for this reason that the FBI makes such public corruption matters a priority. While the public can be reassured that the vast majority of law enforcement personnel do uphold their sworn oaths of office with great vigor, those that choose to stray down a similar path as that of Atwater can expect a similar fate."

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael D. McDaniel said of the case, "Public Safety Officers hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public and violation of this trust can send damaging ripple effects throughout the community. Today's sentencing demonstrates the government s determination to restore and ensure that trust."

ATWATER was sentenced to six years in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release, and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service. ATWATER pleaded guilty to the charges on July 21, 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On two occasions in 2010, ATWATER provided protection for what he believed to be multi-kilogram cocaine deals. For each deal, ATWATER agreed to protect the people he thought were drug dealers in exchange for $2,000. On both of those occasions, ATWATER was on duty, in uniform, and in his marked police vehicle when he provided the protection. ATWATER's participation in each of these two drug transactions forms the basis for both the corruption and the drug charges.

At today's sentencing hearing, prosecutors told the Court that after ATWATER's arrest, Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated a report that ATWATER illegally searched the home of a Fulton County resident while driving a marked Fulton County Sheriff's Department vehicle and wearing a Fulton County Sheriff's Department uniform. ATWATER incorrectly told the resident that he had an arrest warrant for an individual inside of the residence. However, he refused to show the arrest warrant to the resident upon request. ATWATER then proceeded to enter and search the residence and again refused to show or leave a copy of the purported arrest warrant with the resident as he left the residence.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Armored Car Robbery in Stone Mountain

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Brian D. Lamkin, FBI Atlanta, requests the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the individuals responsible for today’s (January 21) armed robbery of a Loomis Armored Car courier, which occurred at the Wells Fargo Bank, 4798 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia.

On Friday, January 21, 2011, at approximately 9:00 a.m., two couriers for the Loomis Armor Car were servicing an ATM located at a Wells Fargo bank, 4798 Redan Road, Stone Mountain, Georgia. One of the two couriers, while outside of their vehicle and servicing the machine, was suddenly approached and, without warning, fired on multiple times by an armed assailant.

The assailant was able to take the courier’s bag containing an undisclosed amount of money. Witnesses observed the gunman jump into a late 1980s or early 1990s Jeep Cherokee, white in color, and depart the area. The gunman is described as being a black male, 20s to late 30s in age, 5’8” -5’11” in height, medium build, medium complexion, slight facial hair, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brandishing a black semi automatic .40 caliber handgun. The driver of the getaway vehicle is described as being a black male, 20s to 30s in age wearing a light colored jacket with a fur collar.

The wounded courier was transported to a local area hospital where he underwent surgery as a result of the multiple gunshot wounds. Wells Fargo has announced a reward in this matter of up to $10,000.

The above robbery is believed to be connected to a string of five previous armored car courier robberies within the Metro Atlanta area as listed below:

On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at approximately 11:15 a.m., two couriers for Dunbar Armored Car were inside the Mall of Georgia, Gwinnett County, servicing an ATM. One of the couriers was approached suddenly from behind and forced to the ground by an armed assailant. The second courier, observing this, fired on the assailant as he was departing the mall through a side door.

On Monday, November 29, 2010, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a courier for a Loomis Armored Car was robbed at gunpoint while servicing an ATM at the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 3520 Centerville Highway, Snellville, Georgia.

The courier was approached from behind by a single robber who placed a semi automatic handgun to the courier’s head. The robber departed the area with an undisclosed amount of money and was seen getting into the back seat of a light blue or silver vehicle, described as being possibly a Buick, Oldsmobile, or Jaguar.

On November 11, 2010, a robbery of a Dunbar Armored courier occurred at the Bank of America, located at 1500 Buford Highway, Buford, Georgia. In that robbery, the courier was robbed while servicing an ATM at that location. The courier was approached from behind by two black male suspects brandishing handguns. One of the robbers was described as having a gold upper tooth. The robbers were seen departing that robbery in a blue Chevrolet Tahoe, which was recovered shortly after the robbery and was determined to have been reported stolen in Atlanta.

On September 14, 2010, a robbery of a Garda Armored courier occurred at the Bank of America, located at 1775 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, Georgia. Two black males approached the courier while he was servicing an ATM at that location. Both robbers were brandishing semi auto handguns. During that robbery, the courier was forced to the ground and his sidearm was taken by the robbers.

On October 7, 2010, a 1:00 p.m. robbery of a Dunbar Armored courier occurred inside of a Mex-America Latino store, located at 641 South Marietta Parkway, Marietta, Georgia. In that robbery, two black males, one with long black dreadlocks, waited inside of the above store for the courier to arrive. Upon arrival, the two robbers confronted the courier with handguns.

Anyone with information regarding this matter should contact the Atlanta office FBI at tel. (404) 679-9000.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Friday, January 21, 2011

Operation Spider Web Snags Cocaine, Meth, and Weapons; Fifteen Indicted on Related Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crimes

In the past 24 hours, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), have concluded search and arrest actions in Cobb County and today (January 20), with the United States Attorney’s Office, announce that 15 individuals have been indicted for alleged drug trafficking and firearms-related crimes stemming from the large-scale investigation, code-named Operation Spider Web.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the takedown and the case, “The U.S. Attorney's office targets the largest drug trafficking organizations in the district, so that we can reduce the drug trafficking and violence not only in the state of Georgia but the other parts of the country that these organizations touch. Operation Spider Web involves 15 defendants who are alleged to have distributed cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana using tire stores as fronts, and tires as drug packaging. The takedown of this case has a direct impact on the community to make Atlanta safer, with less drugs and fewer guns on the streets.”

“Georgia residents can sleep better tonight knowing that an organized criminal ring has been hit,” said Brock Nicholson, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Office overseeing Georgia and the Carolinas. “This case demonstrates yet again how law enforcement in Atlanta is committed to working together to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks.”

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “DEA and its law enforcement counterparts orchestrated a well-planned and coordinated assault against a high-level, poly-drug distribution network. Because of the unified effort between DEA and its law enforcement counterparts, this organization will no longer be able to wreak havoc on our community.”

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge, Gregory K. Gant said, “The mission of ATF is unwavering—we fight violent crime by investigating and prosecuting those who criminally use firearms that cause immeasurable damage to our communities. Today's enforcement activity is a perfect example of the law enforcement community working together to remove these violent criminals from its streets.”

Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, on behalf of the Marietta-Cobb-Smyrna Organized Crime Intelligence Task Force (MCS), said, “We often work in conjunction with other local, state and federal agencies in order to maximize our resources in combating illegal activity in our community. These cooperative efforts, especially in the metro area, are especially effective in letting the criminal element know we are all serious about protecting and serving the citizens in our jurisdictions. Job well done.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: In May 2009, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies began investigating a drug trafficking organization operating in the metro-Atlanta area and elsewhere. The organization allegedly coordinated the receipt and distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana throughout Atlanta and elsewhere, using firearms in furtherance of its illegal activities. The indictment alleges that members of the organization hid, transported, and stored illegal drugs and drug money inside of tires that were then either placed on or inside drug delivery vehicles.

As part of today's takedown, agents searched two tires shops, “Alex Tires and Rims” in Marietta, Georgia, and “Emmy Tires” in Griffin, Georgia. Both tire shops were allegedly operated by SANTIAGO VILLANUEVA PINEDA. Agents also executed three search warrants, including at the tire businesses used by the criminal organization as fronts for its illegal activities. Today’s takedown ensnared 13 defendants, with the arrest of eight additional individuals on state drug charges or for immigration offenses. Items seized during the takedown included 22 guns, several kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine, a meth lab, over $30,000 in cash, and several vehicles. Those seizures supplement the approximately $1,000,000, 75 kilograms of cocaine, over 11 pounds of methamphetamine, 16 firearms, and two grenade hulls already seized in the investigation.

Earlier this week, a federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment related to “Operation Spider Web,” which was unsealed today with the arrests. The indictment charges the defendants with various criminal offenses including conspiring to traffic over five kilograms of cocaine, over 100 kilograms of marijuana, and over 500 grams of methamphetamine; substantive drug trafficking charges; and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes:

SANTIAGO VILLANUEVA PINEDA, a/k/a “Alex,” 36, of Marietta, Georgia;
RAMIRO ALVARADO GONZALEZ, a/k/a “Mori,” a/k/a “Moreno,” 25, of Marietta, Georgia;
JAMES TORRES, a/k/a “El Gordo,” 28, of Marietta, Georgia;
TARSICIO BRAVO-CARBAJAL, a/k/a “Chicho,” a/k/a “Chucho,” 53, of Marietta, Georgia;
BERNALDO MOLINA-CARDENAS, a/k/a “Berna,” 49, of Marietta, Georgia;
ELEAZAR AGUIRRE RIVERA, 27, of Cartersville, Georgia;
JUVENTINO BAZA, 43, of Marietta, Georgia;
PABLO GARCIA, a/k/a “Enrique Farias,” 34, of Cartersville, Georgia;
WILBER AVALOS PEREZ, 36, of Smyrna, Georgia;
JOSE CARLOS SOTO-PINEDA, a/k/a “Pedro Mendoza,” 29, of Sandy Springs, Georgia;
JOSE PATINO-CHAVEZ, a/k/a “Markos Jaimes,” 38, of Marietta, Georgia;
ISAIAS MONDRAGON, a/k/a “Fat Boy,” 30, of Powder Springs, Georgia;
NARCISO FLORES-ORTIZ, a/k/a “Chicho,” 33, of Smyrna, Georgia;
GREGORY EARL HARRISON, 40, of Marietta, Georgia; and
CHADWICK HUDSPETH, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

The investigation and prosecution of this case is a coordinated effort through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is comprised of special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and the Marietta-Cobb-Smyrna Organized Crime Intelligence Task Force (MCS), which is comprised of officers from Cobb County Sheriff's Office, Cobb County Police Department, Marietta Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, Kennesaw Police Department, Acworth Police Department, and Powder Springs Police Department, along with the Cobb County District Attorney's Office.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Credit Union Teller Sentenced for Embezzlement Scheme

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces January 19 that Lisa R. Cox, age 48, a resident of Macon, Georgia, was sentenced before the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, to 36 months’ imprisonment on Count One and 36 months as to Count Two to run concurrent to Count One for a total imprisonment term of 36 months; five years’ supervised release; $200.00 mandatory assessment fee; and restitution in the amount of $624,608.00.

On September 20, 2010, Cox entered a plea of guilty to one count, of embezzlement by a credit union employee in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 657, and also a single count of making a false entry in credit union records in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1006. Cox admitted to embezzling $624,608.00 and making fraudulent entries into the general ledger maintained by Mid South Federal Credit Union by indicating that vault 300 of its Mercer branch contained $500,000.00 in nickel denomination coins. She admitted to using the funds to gamble, take a European vacation, make monthly payments on a motor vehicle, and assist a relative in the purchase of a home. Cox was employed by Mid South Federal Credit Union for approximately 17 years and was at the time of the offense serving as head teller at the Mercer branch.

United States Attorney Moore noted that “not only did Ms. Cox violate the law, she violated the duties she owed to every member of the credit union.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The sentencing was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Sharon Ratley.

Questions relating to the case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office at (478) 621-2602.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Friday, January 7, 2011

FDA Warns Public of Continued Extortion Scam By FDA Impersonators

/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about criminals posing as FDA special agents and other law enforcement personnel as part of a continued international extortion scam.

The criminals call the victims -- who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the Internet or via "telepharmacies" -- and identify themselves as FDA special agents or other law enforcement officials. The criminals inform the victims that purchasing drugs over the Internet or the telephone is illegal, and that law enforcement action will be pursued unless a fine or fee ranging from $100 to $250,000 is paid. Victims often also have fraudulent transactions placed against their credit cards.

The criminals always request the money be sent by wire transfer to a designated location, usually in the Dominican Republic. If victims refuse to send money, they are often threatened with a search of their property, arrest, deportation, physical harm and/or incarceration.

"Impersonating an FDA official is a violation of federal law," said Dara Corrigan, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "FDA special agents and other law enforcement officials are not authorized to impose or collect criminal fines. Only a court can take such action."

In most instances, victims of extortion-related calls have also received telephone solicitations for additional pharmaceutical purchases from other possibly related, illegal entities located overseas. The extortionists use customer lists complete with extensive personal information provided through previous purchase transactions. These include names, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, purchase histories and credit card account numbers.

Typically, these criminals use telephone numbers that change constantly and make it appear as though their calls originate in the United States.

No known victim has been approached in person by a law enforcement impersonator associated with this scheme.

The FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, with the support of various U.S. Attorneys, are pursuing multiple national and international criminal investigations.

Arrests have been made and additional prosecutions are pending; however, the scheme is likely to continue. The FDA has issued similar warnings in the past:

* FDA Warns Public of Extortion Scam by FDA Impersonators (11/12/2008)
* FDA Warns Public of Continued Extortion Scam by FDA Impersonators (12/29/2009)

Victims of this scheme who have suffered monetary loss through the payment of funds in response to an extortion call, or anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be an FDA or other law enforcement official who is seeking money to settle a law enforcement action for the illegal purchase of drugs over the Internet may obtain a victim questionnaire by contacting the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations and clicking "Report Suspected Criminal Activity."

Anyone receiving a purported official document on agency letterhead may verify its authenticity by contacting that organization directly via a publicly available phone number. Additionally, all federal agencies use email addresses with a "gov" email extension.

The FDA also reminds consumers that pharmaceutical products offered online and by telephone by sources of unknown origin can pose a substantial health risk. Products recovered during this investigation that were purchased from online or telephone sources have been found to contain trace amounts of heroin, other undisclosed and potentially harmful active pharmaceutical ingredients, or no active ingredient at all. Purchases should only be made from licensed pharmacies located in the United States. In addition to the increased risk of purchasing unsafe and ineffective drugs from websites operating outside the law, personal data may be compromised.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Lawyer Sentenced to Prison for Embezzling Funds

MICHAEL SHAW, 37, of Mableton, Georgia, was sentenced January 5 by United States District Judge Willis B. Hunt on bank fraud charges relating to an embezzlement scheme.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant is a former lawyer who betrayed the trust that his law firm and its clients placed in him by stealing from them. The evidence showed that his fraud continued over a five-year period, and was far from a one-time accounting mistake. His crimes cost him his job, his law license and now will send him to federal prison.”

SHAW was sentenced to one year and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. SHAW pleaded guilty to the charges on October 20, 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: SHAW was employed as an associate attorney at a large Atlanta law firm, specializing in bankruptcy and commercial foreclosure litigation. From 2003 to 2009, he regularly performed investigative services for clients himself, but submitted invoices in the name of an investigator who also worked for the firm. These invoices totaled approximately $90,000. At the same time, SHAW performed title-examination services for clients himself, but submitted invoices to the firm in the name of a fictitious vendor. He obtained the vendor’s social security number from federal bankruptcy filings and submitted fraudulent W-9 forms in the vendor’s name. These invoices totaled approximately $425,000. For almost five years, SHAW regularly performed work for clients, submitted fraudulent invoices to the firm’s accounting department, received checks, endorsed the checks over to himself, and deposited the funds into his personal checking account. During this period, he also continued to receive his regular law firm salary as well.

In June 2009, a client’s billing review caused the law firm to discover SHAW’s misconduct, and he was terminated. SHAW, a member of the Georgia Bar from 1999 to 2010, was disbarred by the Georgia State Bar after his misconduct came to light.

This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Distributor of Child Pornography Sentenced

CHARLIE BENJAMIN FLOWERS, II, 34, of Cartersville, Georgia, was sentenced by District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten January 5 for collecting and trading images and videos of children being sexually abused.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant’s collection represents the worst of the worst of child pornography. The videos and pictures that he shared with other online predators showed infants and toddlers being raped, fondled, and abused. By making these horrible images available to others, this defendant was helping to grow an industry that has no place in our society, and today he is being justly punished for what he did.”

FLOWERS was sentenced to 20 years in prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system. He is also required to register as a sex offender upon his release from custody. FLOWERS pleaded guilty to the charges in October 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In the summer of 2010, while operating in undercover capacities, three FBI agents, working independently of each other, encountered FLOWERS using online file sharing software to collect and distribute pictures and videos of infants and toddlers being sexually abused. Because FLOWERS typically accessed the Internet from a public node, it took several months for agents to determine his identity and location.

When he was finally apprehended, FLOWERS had in his possession a computer containing thousands of images of child pornography. His collection was almost exclusively focused on pictures and videos of infants and toddlers being raped, sodomized, and otherwise sexually abused. His online advertisement in the file-sharing forum announced his interest in and the availability of “only the youngest and hardest” images. Such images were acquired by each of the three undercover agents when, on separate occasions, FLOWERS gave them access to his collection.

Also found on FLOWERS’s computer was a file directory containing footage of FLOWERS groping a fully clothed toddler. FLOWERS had named the folder “first recorded molestation.”

This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Community News You Can Use
Click to read MORE news:
Twitter: @gafrontpage & @TheGATable @HookedonHistory
Twitter: @artsacrossga, @softnblue, @RimbomboAAG @FayetteFP