Last Updated Friday, September 10, 2021, at 3:31 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.
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FRIDAY, September 10, 2021
I. Pennsylvania Man Charged with Federal Drug Law Violation
On September 3, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced that a resident of Charleroi, PA, Keith McCrae, 47, had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of violating federal narcotics laws. The single-count indictment, which was returned on Aug. 25 and unsealed today.
According to the Indictment, on or about March 31, 2021, McCrae possessed with the intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base, in the form commonly known as crack, as well as an additional quantity of powder cocaine. If he is convicted, McCrae faces at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, a find of up to $5 million, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Yvonne M. Saadi and Jonathan D. Lusty are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government, and the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police continue to investigate.
II. Two New Grand Jury Indictments Unsealed in Wisconsin
On September 7, 2021, the Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, Timothy M. O’Shea, announced that two unrelated indictments had been returned by a federal grand jury on September 1 and were subsequently unsealed following the arrest of the defendants. Noah Eisele, 35, of Janesville, WI has been charged with five counts of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
According to the indictment, it is alleged that, on March 16, 2021, Eisele possessed a cellphone containing visual depictions of child pornography, and that at least one of the depictions involved a minor who was under 12 years of age.
The second indictment charges Michelle Ales, 50, of Monona, Wisconsin with two counts of making a false statement while purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer. Both counts allege that Ales falsely indicated she was the actual buyer of a firearm on a required Firearms Transaction Record form when she was purchasing a 9mm firearm, when she knew she was not the actual buyer of the firearm.
Count 2 includes the additional allegation that the false statement was intended and likely to deceive the dealer.
III. CEO, CFO and Boston-Area Spinal Device Company Charged in Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme
On September 7, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Mendell, made an announcement that a spinal device manufacturer based in Malden, Mass. Several prominent executives had already been arrested and charged in connection with a kickback scheme to bribe surgeons to use company products in exchange for sham consulting fees.
Kingsley R. Chin, MD, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who serves as the CEO and founder of SpineFrontier, and Aditya Humad, 36, of Cambridge, Mass., the company’s CFO were charged, as was SpineFrontier, Inc., were indicted on one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. They were also charged with six counts of violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the indictment, SpineFrontier, Chin and Humad conspired to pay and paid millions of dollars in bribes to surgeons in the form of sham consulting fees for work they did not perform. The defendants allegedly bribed surgeons to use SpineFrontier’s products, for which SpineFrontier received millions of dollars in revenue from surgeries the surgeons performed.
The defendants allegedly agreed to contracts with surgeons, agreeing to pay them between $250 and $1,000 per hour for purported consulting for SpineFrontier. In reality, however, the defendants allegedly paid the surgeons for using SpineFrontier’s products. While the surgeon-consulting program was purportedly directed at gathering technical feedback about SpineFrontier’s products, the indictment alleges that Chin and Humad designed and used the program and bribes to induce surgeons to use SpineFrontier’s products in surgeries that were paid for by federal health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and VHA.
It is further alleged that the surgeons frequently spent only a small fraction of their reported time, if any at all, performing actual consulting. On numerous occasions the bribe amounts were determined following a review of the number of procedures a surgeon performed and the amount of revenue those procedures generated for SpineFrontier. The defendants allegedly paid each surgeon described in the indictment between $32,625 and $978,000 in bribes during the conspiracy.
IV. Indiana Man Charged with Credit Union Robbery
On September 7, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, Tina L. Nomma, announced that Lance Lombrana, 41, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, had been charged via a criminal complaint with armed credit union robbery, announced Acting U.S. Attorney y.
According to documents filed in this case, it is alleged that, on August 30, 2021, Lombrana entered the Three Rivers Federal Credit Union in Kendallville, approached a teller, and asked to speak with a manager. Once the manager arrived, Lombrana removed what appeared to be explosives with a timing device from a red and black bag.
Credit union employees later advised law enforcement that they believed the device to be a bomb. The suspect demanded cash which the manager obtained and provided to him. Lombrana then left the credit union. He was apprehended in Garrett, Indiana, a short time later by an Indiana State Police trooper and was taken into custody without incident.
V. Pennsylvania Man Charged With Unlawful Exchange of $1.8 Million In SNAP Benefits For Cash
On September 8, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jimmy Tran, 40, of Harrisburg, PA had been charged in a criminal information with the unauthorized use, acquisition, and possession of benefits of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The information alleges that Tran, who owned and operated Asia Market in Harrisburg, unlawfully provided cash in exchange for $1.8 million in SNAP benefits between January 2017 and August 2020.
If Tran is convicted, he faces as much as 20 years in prison, as well as a term of supervised release, and a fine. For a number of reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
VI. Ukrainian Cyber Criminal Extradited For Decrypting Computer Credentials, Then Selling Them On Dark Web
On September 8, 2021, the Acting U..S. Attorney Karin Hoppmann announced the extradition of Glib Oleksandr Ivanov-Tolpintsev, 28, of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, in connection with charges of conspiracy, trafficking in unauthorized access devices, and trafficking in computer passwords. If he is convicted on all counts, he faces up to 17 years in prison. The indictment also notifies Ivanov-Tolpintsev that the United States intends to forfeit $82,648, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.
Ivanov-Tolpintsev was taken into custody by Polish authorities in Korczowa, Poland, on October 3, 2020, and extradited to the United States pursuant to the extradition treaty between the United States and the Republic of Poland. Ivanov-Tolpintsev was presented on September 7, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Julie S. Sneed, and ordered detained pending trial.
According to the indictment, Ivanov-Tolpintsev controlled a “botnet,” which is a network of computers infected with malware and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. He used the botnet to conduct brute-force attacks designed to decrypt numerous computer login credentials simultaneously.
During the course of the conspiracy, Ivanov-Tolpintsev stated that his botnet was capable of decrypting the login credentials of at least 2,000 computers every week. Ivanov-Tolpintsev then sold these login credentials on a dark web website that specialized in the purchase and sale of access to compromised computers. Once sold on this website, credentials were used to facilitate a wide range of illegal activity, including tax fraud and ransomware attacks.
VII. Santa Barbara Man Indicted in San Diego for Killing his Children in Mexico
Matthew Taylor Coleman, 40, of Santa Barbara, California was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 8, 2021, for taking his two young children to Rosarito, Mexico and killing them. Coleman, 40, allegedly killed his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter on August 9, 2021. The indictment charges Coleman with two counts of foreign first-degree murder of U.S. nationals. If he is convicted of the charges, he could receive he death penalty.
According to the affidavit, the investigation that started when Coleman’s wife contacted the Santa Barbara Police to report that her husband had left the couple’s residence in a Sprinter van, and she did not know where they had gone. The next day, Coleman’s wife filed a missing person’s report. Using a computer application, she was able to determine that Coleman’s phone had been in Rosarito on Sunday afternoon.
The affidavit also notes that the same phone-locating service was used on Monday and showed that Coleman’s phone was near the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI dispatched colleagues in San Diego to contact Coleman, who entered the United States in the Sprinter van without the children.
When the children were not found, FBI agents contacted law enforcement officials in Rosarito and learned that Mexican authorities that morning had recovered the bodies of two children matching the description of Coleman’s children. After further investigation, FBI agents took Coleman into custody at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
VIII. Five Ohio Men Charged Federally with Crimes Related to Three Murders
On September 9, 2021, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Vipal J. Patel, along with several prominent law enforcement officials, announced that a federal grand jury had charged five Columbus men with crimes related to three murders. An alleged narcotics conspiracy in 2018 to rob a local marijuana dealer of drugs and cash in his residence allegedly resulted in the shooting death of another resident within that house.
To cover up for this murder, it is alleged that one defendant murdered two people – a man and a woman – with knowledge of the first murder. According to the 17-count second superseding indictment, Larry J. Williams, 40, of Columbus, Ohio, solicited others in the conspiracy to learn of potential drug traffickers to rob of their drugs and drug proceeds. On June 27, 2018, several of the defendants allegedly robbed a drug premises at 847 E.N. Broadway in Columbus at gunpoint.
It is alleged the co-conspirators planned and carried out the robbery to steal one of the residents’-controlled substances and profit from the sale of the drugs. The indictment further details that on June 27, 2018, Williams allegedly murdered Connor Reynolds, a 23-year-old from Grove City, and Castle and Climer were part of the armed robbery. In August 2018, Williams then allegedly murdered Henry Watson, a 52-year-old from Columbus, to prevent him from providing information regarding Connor Reynolds’s murder to law enforcement.
IX. Seven Arrested in Joint State/Federal Investigation into Myrtle Beach Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
On September 9, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, M. Rhett Dehart, announced that a joint team of dozens of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, led by officials from the DEA, arrested seven individuals who have been indicted in federal court and face charges related to an interstate drug trafficking organization that operated out of Myrtle Beach and Kingstree.
Those arrested include Leroy Junior Cunningham, a/k/a “Black,” a/k/a “Chris,” 45, of Myrtle Beach, Tyrone Brown, a/k/a “Chief,” 46, of Myrtle Beach, Alex Letroy Glover, 41, of Conway, SC, Tonya Grant Mitchell, 45, of Andrews, Derrick Lee Cunningham, a/k/a “Ruby Tuby,” 43, of Myrtle Beach, Cameron John Kazimierczak, a/k/a “Cam,” 30, of Myrtle Beach, and Marlin Carlos McKnight, a/k/a “Martin Carlos McKnight,” 46, of Goose Creek. Three defendants are still at large, including Jamel Rashad Small, 32, of Myrtle Beach. The charges against the other two are still currently sealed.
According to the unsealed indictment, in 2020 and 2021, a DEA-led effort, called Operation New Optix, resulted in drug charges against 34 defendants, 22 of whom have pled guilty to date. In 2018, Operation Rise and Shine targeted 33 associates of a related gang. In 2020, Operation Broken Branch targeted 31 members of a drug trafficking organization in the Cedar Branch area of Horry County.
Agents with the DEA’s Florence Resident Office led this investigation, along with several other law enforcement agencies, as part of an ongoing effort to “vigorously prosecute” major drug trafficking organizations.
X. Missouri Man Indicted for Kansas Bank Robbery
On September 9, 2021, a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Kansas, returned an indictment charging a man from Kansas City, Missouri, with one count of bank robbery. The FBI, the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department have been investigating the case, while Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas, David Zabel, is handling the prosecution of the case.
According to the criminal complaint that preceded the returning of the indictment, on Aug. 2, 2021, Broderick Burr, 47, allegedly presented a note to a bank employee at Commerce Bank on West 43rd Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, in which he demanded money and indicated that he had a gun.