Last Updated Friday, February 18, 2022, at 6:32 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, February 18, 2022

Louisiana Man Indicted for Attempting to Steal Postal Mail

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Duane A. Evans, announced on Feb. 14 that Wayne C. Walker, 24, of New Orleans had been indicted on Feb. 11 for unlawful possession and Use of a United States Postal Service “arrow” key, which is used by postal employees to access authorized mail receptacles.

If he is convicted in a court of law, Walker faces up to 10 years in prison on the count of unlawful possession of the Postal Service mail key and another possible 5 years in prison for possession of stolen mail, as well as up to three years of supervised release, He could also be hit with a fine as high as$250,000, as well as a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

According to the indictment, on Jan. 26, when Walker was arrested, he was in possession of the U.S. Postal Service “arrow” key, as well as an assortment of stolen mail. At the time, postal inspectors counted at least 80 pieces of mail that had been deposited in legal mail receptacles, which makes it stolen mail. The end number may have been much higher, however.

Fraud Scheme at Chicago Elementary School Adds Two More to Indictment

As of Feb. 16, two additional defendants have been added in an ongoing federal investigation into an alleged fraud scheme that took place at a Chicago elementary school. The eleven-count superseding indictment that was officially unsealed in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Feb. 16 alleges that Sarah Jackson Abedelal carried out a fraud scheme while serving as Principal of Brennemann Elementary School on the North Side of Chicago. The first aspect of the scheme involved overtime fraud, for which Abedelal was initially charged last year.

According to the superseding indictment, Abedelal, 58, of Chicago, has been charged with a single count of wire fraud, while McBride, 40, of Northbrook, Ill., faces four counts of wire fraud.  Jackson, 37, of Chicago, has been charged with five counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.  Arraignments in U.S. District Court in Chicago have yet o be scheduled.

The superseding indictment adds procurement fraud as a second aspect in the alleged scheme, even as it charges two new defendants: former Brennemann Assistant Principal Jennifer McBride and former Brennemann Business Manager William Jackson. McBride was allegedly quite active in the overtime aspect of the fraud scheme, while Jackson allegedly participated in both the overtime and procurement aspects.

Oregon Man Faces Charges for Attempting to Open Plane’s Emergency Exit Mid-Flight

A Portland, Oregon man faces federal charges after attempting to open an emergency exit on a commercial airline flight from Salt Lake City to Portland.

Michael Brandon Demarre, 32, was charged via criminal complaint on Feb. 14 with threatening to interfere and interfering with a flight crew and attendants.

According to court documents, on February 11, 2022, while he was on a Delta Airlines flight, Demarre attempted to open the aircraft’s emergency exit door while it was in flight. 

According to witness statements, Demarre removed the plastic covering over the emergency exit handle and forcefully pulled on the handle. A flight attendant demanded Demarre cease touching the handle and move to the rear of the aircraft. Demarre complied and was physically restrained by the flight crew. Once in Portland, Demarre told officers he created the disturbance so other passengers would take video of him expressing his personal views.

Florida Felon Facing Charges for Possession of a Firearm, Ammunition
On Feb. 14, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Roger B. Handberg, officially announced that an indictment had been returned charging Otis L. Shivers, 49, of Jacksonville, with possession of a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. If he is convicted at trial, Shivers faces at least 15 years and up to life in federal prison. Shivers will also have to forfeit a revolver and six live rounds of ammunition as an element of his sentence. 
According to the indictment, on Oct. 29, 2021, Shivers was arrested by officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department outside a Jacksonville motel. At the time, Shivers had a revolver loaded with six live rounds in his possession. Because Shivers had five previous felony convictions for selling drugs, he was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition under federal law.

Four Face Indictment for Trafficking Guns from St. Louis to Chicago

Gun violations seem to have been a major issue for this week’s Roundup. For example, on Feb. 16, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John R. Lausch, Jr. announced that federal grand jury had returned an indictment against four men on firearm offenses for allegedly trafficking guns from St. Louis to Chicago. 

The superseding indictment charges Jerome Boykin, 31, of St. Louis, MO, Robert Narup, 71, of Washington, MO., Rodolfo Ortega, 26, of Chicago, and Rogelio Mancera, 26, of Schaumburg, IL., with willfully dealing firearms without a license. 

Boykin and Mancera are also charged with possession of multiple firearms in he process of trafficking marijuana in the Chicago area, and Ortega is also charged with illegally possessing two firearms as a previously convicted felon. Arraignments are scheduled for Feb. 23, before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle.

Tennessee Man Faces Child Exploitation Charges

Special Agents from the Jackson Field Office of the FBI, along with Agents from the Memphis, Tennessee Field Office, arrested Andreus T. Shannon in Dickson, Tennessee on Jan. 28. The arres and the charges were announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, Clay Joyner, and followed an FBI investigation.

According to the complaint, it has been alleged that Shannon was acting as a basketball coach when he allegedly transported a minor female that he coached across state lines between Mississippi and Tennessee to engage in sex acts. Shannon is also accused of extorting and cyberstalking the same victim once she became an adult.

Shannon made his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Jan. 28, and was Shannon appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi for a detention hearing, where he was released on bond with a number of special conditions, including home confinement and electronic monitoring, pending further judicial proceedings.

Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threats Against New Jersey Company’s Officer

On Feb. 15, a Georgia man pled guilty to making interstate threats to an executive officer of a New Jersey based company. The announcement was made by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Philip R. Sellinger. The man in question, Alan Wallace, 59, of Cumming, Georgia, pled guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Court Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of transmitting interstate threats.

According to the documents filed in this case, from January to March 2021, Wallace, a former employee of Company-1, sent threatening emails via an anonymous email service to the victim, who was an executive officer of the Company, a publicly traded company with headquarters in New Jersey. 

Victim-1’s Company-1 email account received the emails every few days beginning on Jan. 11, 2021, and continuing through early March 2021, with more sporadic emails arriving thereafter. The emails threatened violence to Victim-1 and to Victim-1’s family if Company-1’s stock did not exceed a certain share value within 30 days. With his guilty plea, Wallace faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for June 23.

Three Face Charges for Drug Trafficking

On Feb. 15, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, Nikolas P. Kerest, announced that two had been arrested on Feb. 15, in Westfield, Vermont on federal charges relating to the distribution of drugs.  Federal arrest warrants had been issued for Rachael Goulet, 27, Johnny Crocker, 25, and a third, yet-unidentified person using the street name “Danger,” had conspired  to distribute  cocaine, cocaine base (crack), and fentanyl in the District of Vermont between the end of December 2021 and the filing of the complaint. 

Goulet and Crocker are expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Burlington before Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle for an initial hearing on the complaint this afternoon or tomorrow.  According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Goulet and Crocker possessed and distributed controlled substances from their shared residence in Westfield. Goulet and Crocker also hosted people from outside Vermont for the purpose of obtaining and distributing controlled substances. 

“Danger” was one such individual who lived in their residence and distributed large amounts of drugs while collecting the proceeds from the distributions. The defendants worked together to bring cocaine and fentanyl into Vermont and then process and distribute it in Orleans County for a profit or to support their own consumption.

Two Face Indictment for Carjackings in East St. Louis

On Feb. 15, Armon R. Simpson, 18, and Jamariante N. Burgess, 19, both of East St. Louis, Illinois, have been charged by superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit carjacking, carjacking, and use of a gun during a violent crime. Both men have been ordered detained pending trial.

According to court documents, between July 12, 2021, and August 5, 2021, Simpson, Burgess, and others conspired to commit armed carjacking,  including three in the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois. The final carjacking prior to their arrest occurred on Aug. 5, when Burgess and Simpson approached a vehicle in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, displayed firearms at the passengers, and forcibly took their vehicle.

Oklahoma Man Faces Murder Charges in Indian Country

On Feb. 15, Johnny Sapcut, 18, of Elgin, Oklahoma, was arrested for murder in connection with a death in Indian country, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester. According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed today, in the early hours of February 15, 2022, law enforcement responded to a home after a woman called 911 in apparent distress. 

The affidavit alleges that Sapcut and the woman were the only two in the home and that the woman was deceased.  An investigation into the cause of death is underway. The case has been charged in federal court because the alleged crime took place on tribal land of the Comanche Nation both the defendant and victim are members of the Comanche Nation. 

Sapcut was arrested in the early morning hours and made his initial appearance Feb. 15 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shon T. Erwin.  Judge Erwin ordered that Sapcut be detained pending a detention hearing on Feb. 18, 2022. If he is convicted in a court of law, Sapcut faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and mandatory restitution.