Last Updated Friday, February 11, 2022, at 12:55 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, February 11, 2022
Schoolteacher Faces Charges Related to Sexual Exploitation of Children
On Feb. 7, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Roger B. Handberg, announced that Michael Paul Gillis, 64, of Jacksonville, had been arrested and charged via criminal complaint with possessing a computer disk drive containing videos depicting the sexual abuse of children. If he is convicted in a court of law, Gillis could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a potential lifetime term of supervised release. Gillis was arrested by FBI agents at his home on Feb. 2, 2022.
According to court documents and information provided in open court, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Gillis’ residence on February 2, 2022, which is when they seized a computer hard disk drive that was inside a desktop computer belonging to Gillis. This disk drive allegedly contained videos depicting prepubescent children being sexually abused.
Oregon Man Charged with Stealing Numerous Guns from Pawn Shops
As of Feb. 7, a man from Oregon, Kory Dean Boyd, 38, of Portland, is currently facing federal charges after he and several accomplices used a sledgehammer to break into a local pawn shop and steal forty-seven firearms. Boyd has been charged by criminal complaint with stealing firearms from a federal firearm licensee and illegally possessing firearms as a convicted felon.
According to court documents, on Jan. 31, agents from the ATF were notified of a burglary at a Southeast Portland pawn shop. Early that morning, shop owners discovered two large holes in a concrete block wall on the building’s exterior and concrete debris littering the inside of the business. The room exposed by the holes contained dozens of firearms, including pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns, and 47 of them had been reported stolen.
After reviewing exterior surveillance video from the pawn shop, ATF agents observed two vehicles and five individuals present near the holes in the building during the late evening and early morning hours of Jan. 29 and 30. Two individuals carried a large-handled tool believed to be a sledgehammer. Several other individuals were seen carrying long firearm cases to the vehicles.
As a result, on February 4, 2022, ATF agents applied for and obtained search warrants for Boyd’s Southeast Portland residence, which is when they recovered eight firearms, including seven stolen from the pawn shop.
According to an indictment unsealed Feb. 7, a telecom company allegedly conspired with several former employees of Motorola Solutions Inc., which is based in Chicago, to steal Motorola-developed digital mobile radio technology.
According to the indictment, through years of research and design, as well as significant expense, Motorola Solutions developed DMR technology, and they also marketed and sold the radios, also often referred to as “walkie-talkies,” in the United States and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that China-based Hytera Communications Corporation recruited and hired Motorola Solutions employees and directed them to take proprietary and trade secret information from Motorola without authorization.
The charges further allege that while still employed at Motorola, some of the employees allegedly accessed the trade secret information from Motorola’s internal database and sent multiple emails describing their intentions to use the technology at Hytera. From 2007 to 2020, Hytera and the recruited employees used Motorola’s proprietary and trade secret information to accelerate the development of Hytera’s DMR products, train Hytera employees, and market and sell Hytera’s DMR products throughout the world.
North Carolina Man Faces Assault Charges Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
On Feb. 8, a North Carolina Man was arrested for his part of the action during the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol. The arrest came as a result of an investigation, in which it was found that Matthew Jason Beddingfield, 21, of Middlesex, North Carolina, was worthy of being charged for assaulting law enforcement with a during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the criminal complaint in this case, which was filed in the District of Columbia, Beddingfield is alleged to have assaulted, resisted, and/or impeded officers by using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, and related offenses.
He was arrested in Smithfield, North Carolina, and made his initial appearance Feb. 9 in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Court documents allege that, on Jan. 6,2021, at approximately 12:58 p.m., Beddingfield jumped over a barricade and charged towards a group of U.S. Capitol Police officers who were near the scaffolding that had previously been erected outside the southwest side of the building.
A crowd surrounded the officers. At approximately 1:06 p.m., Beddingfield attacked the officers, jabbing at them with a metal flagpole he brought with him. Soon thereafter, he can be seen throwing a metal rod at law enforcement. He remained on the restricted grounds, moving about, before entering the Capitol at approximately 2:38 p.m. through a door on the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace.
South Dakota Charged With Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
On Feb. 8, the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Mission, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Jeffery Leo Larvie, 39, was indicted on Feb. 1. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on Feb. 4 and pled not guilty to the Indictment.
If he is convicted, Larvie will face up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, life of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
The Indictment alleges that Larvie, who had previously been convicted of a sex crime and required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, failed to do so between September 22, 2021, and February 1, 2022.
Pendleton Marine Facing Cyberstalking, Sextortion Charges
An active-duty Marine who is stationed at Camp Pendleton was arrested Feb. 8 on charges that he cyberstalked multiple young women who lived near his former hometown of Torrance, CA in a campaign he has referred to as “sextortion. Johao Miguel Chavarri, 25, of Oceanside, made his initial appearance Feb. 8 in the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the criminal complaint, which was unsealed following his arrest, from 2019 through 2021, Chavarri, using the online alias “Michael Frito,” created and used numerous online accounts to repeatedly stalk, harass, and threaten women who would not give in to his demands that they send him nude, sexually explicit or otherwise compromising photos and videos of themselves, a practice that has come to be known as “sextortion.” In some cases, his cyberstalking, threats and sextortion demands continued for over a year.
Three Charged with Conspiracy to Obtain Drugs Via Fraud
On Feb. 8, the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Dennis R. Holmes, announced that a man from Kent, Washington, a man from Seattle, Washington, and a third man from Portland, Oregon, have all been indicted by a federal grand jury for Conspiracy to Obtain Controlled Substances by Fraud.
The three men, Hakeem Mohamed, age 22, Zekki Kemal, age 23, and Warsame Jama, age 30, were all orignally indicted on October 5, 2021. Jama appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on Dec. 14, 2021, Kemal appeared before Judge Duffy on Jan. 4, 2022, and Mohamed appeared before Judge Duffy on February 4, 2022, where they each pled not guilty to the Indictment.
If they are convicted of the charges they face, each defendant is looking at up to four years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, one year of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. Restitution may also be ordered.
According to the indictment, it is alleges that beginning at a date unknown and continuing to on or about Dec. 22, 2020, Mohamed, Kemal, and Jama knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with others to acquire and obtain possession of promethazine with codeine syrup, which is a Schedule V controlled substance, as well as oxycodone, which is a Schedule II controlled substance.
They obtained them through via he use of misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and subterfuge.
St. Louis Woman Faces Charges Linked to Drug Trafficking, Overdose Death
Federal charges were filed against Chuny Ann Reed, 46. o;f St. Louis, Missouri, on Feb. 8. Reed is accused of distributing crack cocaine and fentanyl. The charges were a direct result of an investigation that began following a series of fatal overdoses that occurred on Feb. 5, 2022.
According to the charging documents in.this case, on Feb. 5, law enforcement was notified about a series of suspected fentanyl-related overdsoses, which DEA investigators responded to, in order to assist the SLMPD with the investigation.
It was determined at least nine victims suffered fentanyl overdoses on the day in question, and investigators further determined five of the nine victims died as a result. Agents and detectives developed information that Chuny Reed was distributing crack cocaine on Feb. 5, 2022, from her residence.
Investigators learned that video surveillance footage from inside the apartment complex was available via the SLMPD Real Time Crime Center because the apartment complex is affiliated with the St. Louis Housing Authority. While reviewing the previously mentioned surveillance footage, investigators observed a black male arrive at Reed’s apartment on February 5, 2022.
The black male entered Reed’s apartment and stayed for several minutes, until he departed and returned shortly after. Later in the day, that individual was found dead inside his apartment from an apparent overdose. At the scene of the overdose death, investigators recovered and seized a crack pipe with trace amounts of a suspected controlled substance inside the pipe.
This evidence was taken to the SLMPD Crime Laboratory for analysis on February 6, 2022. Investigators received an analysis report that confirmed the trace substance found on the pipe was in fact a mixture of fentanyl and cocaine base, both Schedule II controlled substances.
Ten in Texas Facing Charges for Healthcare Kickbacks
On Feb. 10, Ten people from Texas, including two medical doctors, were indicted on charges related to a $300 million healthcare fraud. The charges were announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Chad E. Meacham.
In all, the ten defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, offering or paying illegal kickbacks, and soliciting or receiving illegal kickbacks. The 26-count indictment was filed on Feb. 9.
According to the indictment, the founders of a number of lab companies, like Unified Laboratory Services, Spectrum Diagnostic Laboratory, and Reliable Labs LLC, allegedly paid kickbacks to induce medical professionals to order medically unnecessary lab tests, which they then billed to Medicare and other federal healthcare programs.
The medical professionals — including internal medicine specialist Eduardo Canova, family medicine practitioner Jose Maldonado, and nurse practitioner Keith Wichinski – allegedly accepted the bribes and ordered millions of dollars’ worth of tests.
Meanwhile, Unified, Spectrum, and Reliable disguised the kickbacks as legitimate business transactions, including as medical advisor agreement payments, salary offsets, lease payments, and marketing commissions.