Thursday, April 28, 2011

RIA Offers Tips for After the Tornadoes and Storms

Editor Note:  Our prayers are with the families of Georgia and Alabama as reports of damage and loss of life continue to come in.  

/PRNewswire/ -- With such a large area of the U.S. affected by the tornadoes and storms pummeling the country, the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has these tips for individuals now working on cleaning up in the aftermath:

* Notify your insurance company of the loss.
* Keep a notebook to track dates and times of conversations with individuals pertaining to your claim.
* Save receipts for meals, hotels, toiletries, replacement clothing, prescriptions, etc.
* Take photos of each room for future reference and insurance claims. This will provide a digital inventory of some visible contents.
* If electrical appliances, including televisions and computers are damaged by water, do not turn them back on when power is restored. This can result in electric shock and/or do further damage to the appliance. Electronics can often be cleaned & restored by knowledgeable contractors.
* Drywall, insulation and carpeting/padding impacted by rain will probably need to be removed and replaced.
* Beware of scammers offering restoration services. Check references and visit the Restoration Industry Association website – – to find a contractor.
* Homeowners with appropriate insurance coverage may hire any restoration company they choose and are not limited to only those suggested by an insurer.
* Wear heavy rubber gloves or work gloves and thick-soled shoes, preferably not tennis shoes since there can be exposed nails, glass and other sharp objects.
* Wash your hands frequently – especially before touching your face or eating.
* Avoid cross contamination – don't wear dirty clothes or shoes to the clean or undamaged part of a structure.
* Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
* Don't use bleach to disinfect since it is corrosive and can react with other substances. Use household disinfectants.
* Open windows to ventilate the area. Open drawers and cabinets for interior drying, but don't force them open.
* Remove standing water from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting.
* Hard surfaces can be disinfected as well as some soft goods, depending on washability.

For clean up tips, information on hiring a contractor, and restoration & remediation in general, visit the RIA website at and click on the Consumer link.


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Monday, April 25, 2011

Business Owners Sentenced for Employing Illegal Aliens

PILI CHEN, 56, of Norcross, Georgia, who was both an employment agency owner and driver, was sentenced today (April 21) by United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. for recruiting and employing illegal aliens in Chinese restaurants, where they were provided housing and transportation to work. Today’s sentencing follows the January 2011 sentencings in a related case of owners and operators of a neighboring agency and a Chinese restaurant in the Atlanta area.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “These defendants not only broke the law by employing workers who were illegally in the United States, they exploited the workers by subjecting them to long shifts, substandard pay, and poor working conditions. As this case shows, we will hold employers responsible—including business owners and managers—who attempt to gain an unlawful economic advantage by hiring employees who are not permitted to be in the United States.”

“These sentencings send a clear message that there are real consequences for willfully recruiting and employing an illegal workforce,” said Brock Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta. “Working in conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively target those who take advantage of illegal labor to make a profit.”

FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin said, “This case was the result of a joint FBI/ICE operation which shut down a network that not only recruited and employed illegal aliens but exploited their vulnerabilities. Human trafficking, no matter what the underlying purpose is for, is a process of systematically exploiting others for personal gain. The FBI remains committed in its endeavor of combating human trafficking in all of its many and varied forms, including alien smuggling.”

PILI CHEN, 56, of Norcross, Georgia, was sentenced to one year and four months in prison to be followed by three years’ supervised release. On January 31, 2011, Judge Evans sentenced three defendants. AI LIN FU, 41, of Norcross, Georgia, was sentenced to one year and two months in prison. SAU TING CHENG, 42, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and a $3,000 fine. LIANG FENG CHEN, 33, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced to two years’ probation, including three months of home confinement, and a $1,000 fine. FU, CHENG, and PILI CHEN’s prison sentences are to be followed by three years of supervised release.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: PILI CHEN and co-defendant XIAO PING LI, owned and operated an employment agency named “New Fuzhou” in Chamblee, Georgia, while AI LIN FU owned and operated a similar agency, “Zhong Mei Employment Agency,” in the same Chamblee shopping center.

The agencies obtained employment for illegal aliens, primarily undocumented Mexican workers, across the eastern United States. Neither agency required or requested any proof that the aliens had permission to be or work in the United States. They advertised in Chinese language newspapers and on the Internet. Employers called the agencies and requested workers for various jobs, usually in the kitchens of Chinese restaurants. The agencies charged the illegal aliens a commission and transportation fee to place them in the job and drive them there, and in some cases charged the restaurant owners, who deducted the fees from their illegal workers’ modest pay. FU’s husband and co-defendant, XIAN CHEN, operated Zhong Mei Employment Agency with FU and drove workers to the restaurants. PILI CHEN operated New Fuzhou with his wife XIAO PING LI, and also transported the workers. The employment agencies used paid drivers to minimize contact between the illegal aliens and the outside world, including law enforcement. XIAN CHEN fled to Canada after the indictment and has been ordered extradited to the United States. XIAO PING LI remains a fugitive.

SAU TING CHENG owned and operated a Chinese restaurant in Duluth, Georgia, named “Grand Buffet and Grill.” LIANG FENG CHEN was the manager at the restaurant. CHENG and CHEN hired illegal aliens through Zhong Mei Employment Agency. To better monitor the workers and shield them from detection, CHENG housed them at a nearby apartment complex and had them transported to and from work in 15-passenger vans. She also paid the workers in cash to avoid paying unemployment taxes. As the restaurant manager, CHEN participated in the pattern of hiring and employing the workers, knowing that the aliens were unauthorized to work in the United States, and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for his more limited role in the scheme.

These cases were part of a larger operation in June 2010 that involved the separate indictments of the owners and drivers of four employment agencies at 3146 Chamblee Dunwoody Road and the administrative arrests of 39 illegal aliens associated with the agencies and restaurants.

This case was investigated by special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (HSI), Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brian M. Pearce and Stephen H. McClain prosecuted the cases.


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

12-Year Old Peachtree City Girl Missing - Located

Right after posting that a 12-year old from Peachtree City was missing, we received word that the girl had been located. She's with the Peachtree City Police and GBI. More as we get news.

12-Year Old Peachtree City Girl Missing

Angela Isabella Borgmann                               Last Seen Wearing:

DOB: 05/18/98                                                Blue Jeans

5’ 4”                                                              Long Sleeve Burgundy Shirt

120 lbs                                                           Black T-Shirt on top with

Brown hair                                                     “Strangers Have the Best Candy” on it

Brown Eyes                                                   Carrying a blue “string” bag

The Peachtree City Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations are currently searching for the location of Angela Isabella Borgmann, a 12 year old white female who resides in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Angela was last seen wearing jeans, a long sleeve burgundy shirt with a short sleeve black shirt over the top. The black shirt had “Strangers Have the Best Candy” displayed on the front. She also had a blue “string” bag in her possession.

Angela was last seen on April 12, 2011 at Booth Middle School in Peachtree City, Georgia just prior to school starting. She does have a prior history of running away; however, never for periods of more than 6 hours. It is unknown if she is in danger.

Information has placed her with a young male, who is possibly around 20 years of age. The only information available on this male subject is the name “Luke”. Additionally, information has developed that possibly places her and Luke traveling in an unknown vehicle, possibly out of the state of Georgia.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Henry County Marijuana Grow House Operators Indicted; 10 Charged on Related Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crimes

The United States Attorney’s Office, along with the David G. Wilhelm Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force and the Henry County Police Department announce today (April 8) that 10 individuals have been indicted for alleged drug trafficking and firearms-related crimes stemming from their operation of marijuana grow houses in Henry County. This week, nine of the 10 defendants were arrested and arraigned in United States Magistrate Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the case, “Through the David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force, the U.S. Attorney’s office works with local and state law enforcement agencies to target drug trafficking organizations that impact us locally and regionally. The federal prosecution of this organization for this conspiracy has a direct impact on the local community in Henry County, and regionally in the Northern District of Georgia, by making us all safer through the removal of dangerous grow houses from the community, and by having fewer drugs and guns on the streets.”

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “The mission of DEA is unwavering—we combat drug trafficking organizations by investigating those who criminally distribute dangerous drugs which cause immeasurable damage to our communities. Today’s enforcement activity is a perfect example of the law enforcement community working together to remove violent criminals from our streets.”

Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols said, “I appreciate the hard work and dedication that our narcotics unit put into working this case. These indoor grows are a relatively new problem here in Henry County and we are becoming more familiar in working these types of cases. Getting these individuals out of our community is a huge benefit to our law abiding citizens, and I know they appreciate it too. I would also like to thank the federal law enforcement authorities that assisted us with this case, helping bring it to a successful resolution.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: In the fall of 2010, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies began investigating a marijuana grow house organization operating in Henry County and elsewhere. The organization allegedly coordinated the construction of hydroponic marijuana grow houses at four separate locations. Several members of the organization possessed firearms in support of the illegal narcotics trafficking activities. As part of the investigation, in November and December 2010, agents searched four separate marijuana grow house operations in Henry County that were constructed in residential homes with independent grow lighting, irrigation and nutrient systems designed to cultivate and grow marijuana plants for distribution. Agents also searched several of the residences of the defendants. Investigators found that three of the houses had been set up specifically as grow houses, and not to house residents. Those houses were located in Stockbridge, Georgia, at 925 Hemphill Road; 1680 Jodeco Road; and, 436 Hood Road. A fourth house, located at 166 Alexander Drive in McDonough, Georgia, was used as both a residence and a grow house. Items seized during the investigation include 340 plants of marijuana, 52 guns, at least 50 grams of methamphetamine, and over $384,000 in cash.

In March 2011, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment related to this grow house operation, which was unsealed on April 5, 2011, after the arrests. The indictment charges the defendants with various criminal offenses including conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute over 100 plants of marijuana; substantive drug trafficking charges; and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. Those arrested include:

* JOSHUA MCCULLOUGH, 37, of Stockbridge, Georgia;
* JIMMY RAY WHORTON, 56, of Stockbridge, Georgia;
* SANDRA WHORTON, 49, of Stockbridge, Georgia;
* JAMES MCKENZIE, 29, of McDonough, Georgia;
* KARRY AUTRY, 30, of McDonough, Georgia;
* HOLLY AUTRY, a/k/a “Holly Fritzius,” 27, of McDonough, Georgia;
* BRAIN PREWITT, 33, of Griffin, Georgia;
* PAUL BUNCH, 36, of Stockbridge, Georgia; and
* IRA BUTLER, 46, of Stockbridge, Georgia.

JOSEPH TILLMAN, 41, of Griffin, Georgia, remains at large. 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 with the Henry County Police Department and the David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike 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 United States Marshal Service (USMS); and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), working with other state and local law enforcement agencies.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Smith and Assistant United States Attorney Michael Brown are prosecuting the case.

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