Last Updated Friday, April 02, 2021, at 4:08 PM

Every Friday, The Criminal Lawyer Group publishes a digest of the latest federal prosecutions nationally.  Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country. 

Unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a federal crime, we are here to help.  The attorneys at The Criminal Lawyer Group are some of the nation’s top-ranked attorneys in their field and their experience defending criminal defendants in federal courts is exemplary.

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FRIDAY, April 02, 2021

I. South Dakota Woman Charged with Assaulting Federal Officer

On March 29, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Dennis R. Holmes announced that a federal grand jury had indicted a Fort Thompson woman for he the charge of Assaulting, Resisting, and Impeding a Federal Officer. The woman, Jennifer Surrounded, 35, was indicted on March 9, 2021, and she made her first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on March 24, 2021, where she pled not guilty to the indictment. 

If Suppose she is convicted at trial, Surrounded faces as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, in addition to three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The court may also order some form of Restitution.

According to the Indictment, on February 12, 2021, in Fort Thompson, SD, Surrounded allegedly assaulted an officer with a knife while the officer was engaged in the performance of his official duties. The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Crow Creek Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy R. Morley is prosecuting the case. Surrounded has been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial, a date for which has yet to be set.

II. South Dakota Man Charged with Assault

On March 29, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota Dennis R. Holmes announced an indictment by a federal grand jury against Gavin Drapeau, 29, for wo two counts; Assault with a Dangerous Weapon and Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury. The man, was indicted on March 9, 2021.  Drapeau appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on March 24, 2021,  where he pled not guilty to the Indictment.

If he is convicted of these charges, Drapeau faces as much as 10 ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He also faces three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.  Restitution may also be ordered. According to the indictment, on January 11, 2021, in Fort Thompson, Drapeau unlawfully assaulted an individual with shot feet, and said assault resulted in serious bodily injury to the victim.

III. Man Charged with Organizing Smuggling Event that Led to Deaths of 13 Mexican and Guatemalan Nationals

Jose Cruz Noguez, who once came from Mexicali, Mexico, but is now a permanent legal permanent resident of the United States and, more specifically, San Jose, California. was charged in federal court on March 30, 2021, for his role in the coordination of a smuggling event on March 2, 2021. That event, in turn, led to the deaths of 13 Mexican and Guatemalan nationals, which occurred when their overloaded vehicle crashed near Holtville, California.

Cruz was arrested and taken into custody on March 29, as he crossed into the U.S. from Mexico at the Calexico Port of Entry. He made his first appearance in federal court in El Centro on March 30 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro. That was when Cruz was charged with Conspiracy to Bring Aliens to the United States Outside a Port of Entry, Causing Serious Bodily Injury/Placing a Life in Jeopardy, and Bringing in Aliens Without Presentation for Financial Gain. Judge Montenegro ordered that Cruz remain in custody and scheduled a detention hearing for Monday, April 5, 2021.

IV. Nevada Exec and Healthcare Staffing Company Indicted for Colluding to Suppress School Nurse Wages

On March 30, 2021, a federal grand jury in Las Vegas, Nevada, returned an indictment charging a healthcare staffing company, VDA OC LLC (formerly known as Advantage On Call LLC), and Ryan Hee, of Las Vegas, NV, and a former manager of the company, with entering into and engaging in a conspiracy with a competitor to allocate employee nurses and to fix the wages of those nurses, in violation of the Sherman Act.

According to the felony indictment filed March 30 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, Hee and a co-conspirator agreed not to recruit or hire nurses staffed by their respective companies at Clark County School District facilities and to refrain from raising the wages of those nurses. During the alleged conspiracy, from about October 2016 until July 2017, Advantage was one of two primary providers of contract nursing services to the school district and employed Hee as a regional manager in its Las Vegas office. 

Advantage changed its name to VDA OC LLC after its assets were acquired by another company in July 2017. If he is convicted, Hee and the company will face up to 10 years in prison for violating the Sherman Act, and could be fined as much as $100 million.

V. New Mexico Tax Preparer Charged with Preparing Fraudulent Tax Returns

On March 30, 2021, 47-year-old Albuquerque resident Solomon Gbara, was arraigned in federal court on a 13-count indictment issued on March 12, for aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent income tax returns. If he is convicted, Gbara faces up to three years in prison for each count of the indictment.

According to the indictment, from February 10, 2015, through March 13, 2017, Gbara allegedly assisted in the preparation and presentation of individual income tax returns (IRS Form 1040) that included numerous claims that Gbara knew to be false, including claims for dependents and Schedule C businesses to which the taxpayers were not entitled under the provisions of internal revenue laws.

Vi. Minnesota Man Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammo

On March 30, 2021, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota W. Anders Folk announced a federal criminal complaint charging Thomas Wilder Moseley, 29, with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. Moseley made his initial appearance on March 31, 2021, before Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson in U.S. District Court.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, on August 15, 2020, a protest took place at the 5th Precinct building of the Minneapolis Police Department, located in south Minneapolis. When individuals began throwing rocks and other objects, the protest became far more intense, with broken windows, and protesters firing mortar-type fireworks at the building and at the officers stationed on the roof. 

Protesters also started to spray paint the building, and to use paint to obscure the video surveillance cameras. After reviewing video surveillance footage, investigators allegedly identified Moseley as one of the individuals who was spray painting the front windows of the building. The building sustained several thousand dollars’ dollars worth of damages as a result of the incident.

ViI. West Virginia Woman Indicted on Fraud, Money Laundering Charges

On March 30, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of West Virginia Randolph J. Bernard announced that Shelly Anne Leipham, 65, of Las Vegas, Nevada, had been indicted on March 2, 2021, on three counts of Wire Fraud, five counts of Mail Fraud, and three counts of Money Laundering. The charging documents allege that Leipham allegedly called an elderly victim living in Harrison County, West Virginia, claiming the victim won $1 million. 

Leipham is accused of defrauding the victim of nearly $25,000 by directing the victim to send that amount to her over the course of two years by mail and wire.  The government is also seeking a monetary judgment in the amount of $336,402.

If she is convicted, Leipham faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as fines of up to $250,000 for each of the wire fraud and mail fraud counts. She is also looking at up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for each money laundering count. This case is being prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice Elder Fraud Initiative.

ViII. New Hampshire Man Indicted for Fentanyl Trafficking, Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises

Michael Cicciu, 41, of Manchester, NH, was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 29, 2021. According to the indictment, on September 3, 2020, Cicciu possessed a quantity of fentanyl with intent to distribute.  The indictment also alleges that between October 26, 2019, and September 3, 2020, Cicciu managed and controlled a property on High Street in Manchester and made the premises available for storing, distributing, and using controlled substances.

The indictment charged him with one count of possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and another count of maintaining a drug-involved premises. The charges were announced on March 30 by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, John J. Farley, on March 30, 2021. Cicciu was arrested on state charges on September 3, 2020, and is currently is being detained by the state of New Hampshire.

Ix. Philadelphia Attorney Charged With Mail Fraud And Tax Evasion

On March 31, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania made the announcement that Jonathan Olivetti, 40, a licensed attorney in Philadelphia, had been charged by criminal information with mail fraud and tax evasion. According to the criminal information, it is alleged that between November 9, 2015, and July 15, 2020, Olivetti attempted to evade paying his taxes by hiding funds and providing false information to an Internal Revenue Officer.

According to the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Bruce D. Brandler, the information alleges that Olivetti stole approximately $91,991.28 from an estate that he represented as an attorney. The case was investigated by the IRS. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny P. Roberts is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Olivetti faces up to 25 years in prison, as well as a term of supervised release and a fine.

X. Five Men Face Federal Indictment for Conspiracy to Kidnap Victim They Met at a Casino

As of April 1, 2021, five men from DC/Maryland now face a federal indictment for allegedly kidnapping and robbing a man they met at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.  The federal grand jury returned an indictment on March 31, charging five men with conspiring to commit a kidnapping, in connection with an incident on February 3, 2021.  

The defendants charged in the indictment are: Darius Lawrence Young, a/k/a “Mup,” 28; Christopher Allen Young, a/k/a “40,” 26, both of Washington, D.C.; Anthony Erik Hebron, a/k/a “Pain,” 28, also of Washington, D.C.; Tray David Sherman, a/k/a “Racks,” and “Fat Det,” 26, of Germantown, MD; and Lamar Jamal Perkins, a/k/a “Lou,” 27, of Washington, D.C. 

Young and Sherman were arrested on March 31, 2021, on a criminal complaint filed on March 30, 2021, for the same charge.  Darius Young was already in custody on a related charge. Hebron and Perkins are fugitives. The charges were announced by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner, along with several federal and Maryland law enforcement officials.  

According to the indictment and the affidavit filed in support of the previous criminal complaint, on February 3, 2021, the five defendants conspired to kidnap at gunpoint an individual they had met at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in National Harbor, Maryland.  Sherman and Hebron were allegedly seen on surveillance footage leaving the hotel & casino with the victim.  

The three men then allegedly drove to Washington, D.C. in Sherman’s vehicle, and the victim can be seen in surveillance footage getting out of the car and meeting with an unknown male.