Last Updated Friday, July 09, 2021, at 11:41 AM
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.
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FRIDAY, July 09, 2021
I. Florida Man Indicted for Enticing a Minor Child to Engage in Sexual Activity, More
On July 2, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Karin Hoppmann, announced the return of an indictment charging Michael Lumpkin, a/k/a “Jamari” (26, Land O’Lakes), with one count of enticement and attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.
The charges against lumpkin also was charged with two counts of using a minor child to produce videos depicting sexual abuse, and one count of possessing materials containing images of child sex abuse. If convicted on all counts, Lumpkin faces as much as life in federal prison.
According to the indictment, between July 2019 and February 2020, Lumpkin enticed and attempted to entice a child to engage in sexual activity. In February 2020, Lumpkin used a child to produce sexually explicit videos. Lastly, on or about July 24, 2020, Lumpkin knowingly possessed certain matters that contained visual depictions of children under the age of 12 being sexually abused.
II. Rapid City Man Charged with Unlawful Possession of Unregistered Firearm
On July 5, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Dennis R. Holmes, announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm. Cory Marshall, 42, was charged on June 17, 2021, and he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on June 23, 2021, where he pled not guilty to the charges.
If he is convicted, Marshall faces as much as 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The charges relate to Marshall, previously convicted of a felony and prohibited from possessing firearms, possessing an unregistered, illegally shortened Remington Arms, 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun, which was found after Marshall came into contact with Pennington County Sheriff’s deputies in April 2021.
III. Man Arrested on Charge of Illegally Transporting Fireworks, Including Homemade Devices that Caused Huge Explosion in South L.A.
A South Los Angeles man was arrested July 3, 2021, on federal charges of illegally transporting the tons of explosives he purchased in Nevada. Those include dangerous homemade devices that were detonated by police, which led to a massive explosion that destroyed a specially designed containment vehicle and injured 17 people in southern Los Angeles, California.
Arturo Ceja III was arrested by ATF special agents pursuant to a criminal complaint that was filed late Friday, charging him with transporting explosives without a license. Ceja will remain in custody at least until an initial appearance expected on July 6 in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
The complaint alleges that Ceja made several trips to Nevada in late June to purchase various types of explosives – including aerial displays and large homemade fireworks containing explosive materials – that he transported to his residence in rental vans.
Most of the explosives were purchased at Area 51, a fireworks dealer in Pahrump, Nevada. The complaint notes that fireworks in California can be sold for as much as four times what purchasers pay for the fireworks in Nevada.
IV. Louisiana Man Indicted for Making Threatening Phone Calls
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Duane A. Evans, announced that Russell Vennell, 59, of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, had been charged on July 1, 2021, in a one-count indictment by a federal Grand Jury with making threatening phone calls.
According to previously filed court documents, on June 13, 2021, a person called the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, from a telephone number found to be subscribed to Vennell. The caller stated that he was going to kill S.H., a person employed by the Brooking Institution at the time of the call. The subject later left a voicemail, at the Brookings Institution, reiterating the previous threat he made to kill S.H. Vennell was arrested on June 18, 2021, by agents of the FBI.
If he is convicted, Vennell faces at least five years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee based on the charge outlined in the indictment.
V. Delaware Woman Charged with Wire Fraud, SBA Fraud, and Money Laundering
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, David C. Weiss, announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging a Newark, DE woman with wire fraud, loan fraud, and money laundering in connection with seventeen fraudulent loan applications under programs authorized by the CARES Act. According to the indictment, Ana Soto, 40, fraudulently applied for loans designed to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, using the names of five separate companies, Soto allegedly submitted applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and its authorized lenders, inflating, among other metrics, the revenues and number of employees of the companies in attempt to obtain greater payments under either the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”).
In some instances, Soto allegedly falsely claimed businesses that had either already closed or not yet open at the onset of the pandemic were entitled to funds. While many of these applications were denied, because of her illegal conduct, Soto obtained approximately $246,000. Soto allegedly used the money for personal expenses, not authorized by the PPP or EIDL program, including the purchase of a personal use vehicle.
VI. Oath Keeper Arrested on Conspiracy Charges Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
A Florida man and member of the Oath Keepers was arrested Friday for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election. David Moerschel, 43, of Punta Gorda, is charged with federal offenses that include conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding.
The Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are affiliated with militias. According to court documents, Moerschel and others planned and participated in an operation to interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote on Jan. 6, and coordinated with others in advance, using websites and social media to recruit other participants before traveling to Washington.
As alleged, Moerschel joined and participated in an invitation-only encrypted Signal message group titled “OK FL DC OP Jan 6.” Moerschel also attended GoToMeetings with individuals affiliated with the Oath Keepers, with session names such as “ok florida,” “florida dc op planning chat” and “dc planning call.”
On Jan. 6, Moerschel was captured on surveillance footage with other Oath Keepers, including charged defendant Kelly Meggs, walking towards the eastern façade of the Capitol at 2:27 p.m. Moerschel joined in a military-stack formation of individuals moving up through the crowd toward the east doors of the Capitol. Moerschel and others from the stack were captured on surveillance video inside the Capitol shortly after the Capitol’s east Rotunda doors were breached around 2:40 p.m.
VII. Federal Grand Jury Indicts Louisiana Man on Gun, Drug Offenses
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Duane A. Evans, announced that, in July 1, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging a New Orleans man for violations of the Federal Gun Control and Federal Controlled Substances Acts.
According to court documents, Charles Roy, 32, is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a quantity of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, with a second count in which Roy is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There is also a third count, in which Roy is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A).
If he is convicted of Count 1, Roy faces up to 40 years in prison, up to a $5,000,000 fine, at least 4 years of supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100. If convicted of Count 2, Roy faces up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, up to 3 years of supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.
If convicted of Count 3, Roy faces a mandatory consecutive 5 years imprisonment, up to life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, up to 5 years of supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.
VIII. Kingston Man Charged as Felon in Possession of Firearm
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Ahmyr Younger, 19, of Kingston, PA, was charged by criminal complaint June 30, 2021, with illegal possession of a firearm. According to Acting U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the complaint alleges that on June 30, 2021, in Luzerne County, Younger illegally possessed a 9mm handgun after having been previously convicted of a felony.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Camoni is prosecuting the case, which is part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program. The PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.
Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
IX. Two Indicted for Maritime Drug Trafficking Offenses
On July 8, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Richard G. Frohling, announced that on August 25, 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Herlin Hernandez-Trinidad (a/k/a “Rainely), and on January 26, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Jose Crespo-Lorenzo (a/k/a “El Colombiano”).
In both cases, the defendants were charged with a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Both Hernandez-Trinidad and Crespo-Lorenzo were recently arrested in Puerto Rico and transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to face prosecution in this district. If each is convicted, both Hernandez-Trinidad and Crespo-Lorenzo face at least ten years and up to life in prison. They also face fines of up to $10,000,000, and from five years to life of supervised release.