Tuesday, January 19States Top Leading News (STL.News)

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EDVA and FBI Affirm Commitment to Ensuring Peaceful Inauguration
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EDVA and FBI Affirm Commitment to Ensuring Peaceful Inauguration

EDVA and FBI Affirm Commitment to Ensuring Peaceful Inauguration ALEXANDRIA, VA (STL.News) The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the FBI affirmed their commitment today to holding accountable anyone who, in connection with tomorrow’s presidential inauguration, commits acts of violence or otherwise violates federal law in the Eastern District of Virginia, including at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. “While the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to assemble peaceably, it does not provide safe harbor to those who engage in repugnant and destructive behavior to violently attack our Nation’s democracy,” said Raj Parekh, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “Our office—in partnership with federal, state, and...
Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi Charged With Acting As An Unregistered Agent
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Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi Charged With Acting As An Unregistered Agent

Political Scientist Author, Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi Charged With Acting As An Unregistered Agent Of The Iranian Government Defendant Lobbied U.S. Officials, Published Books and Articles Advancing Iranian Viewpoints While Secretly Employed by the Iranian Mission to the United Nations (STL.News) A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, also known as Lotfolah Kaveh Afrasiabi, with acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  Afrasiabi was arrested yesterday at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, and will make his initial appearance this morning in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, before U.S. Magistra...
Hospice, home health agency and owners pay over $1.8M
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Hospice, home health agency and owners pay over $1.8M

Hospice, home health agency and owners pay over $1.8M to resolve claims concerning physician payments McALLEN, TS (STL.News) The founders of an Edinburg hospice and related home health agency have paid to resolve allegations they submitted claims to Medicare that resulted from unlawful referrals, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Onder Ari, 49, Edinburg, and Sedat Necipoglu, 48, McAllen, founded Allstate Hospice LLC and Verge Home Care LLC.  They and their companies have now paid $1,847,279.36 following an investigation into improper payments to physicians for referrals. The investigation began in 2016 and revealed Ari and Necipoglu offered compensation to physicians who were responsible for a significant majority of their patient referrals.  Specifically, they provided physi...
Statement Regarding Nationwide Safety and Security for Inauguration Day
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Statement Regarding Nationwide Safety and Security for Inauguration Day

Statement of Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen Regarding Nationwide Safety and Security for Inauguration Day (STL.News) Tomorrow, the Nation and the world will witness an orderly and peaceful transfer of power in the United States, as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court swears in President-Elect Biden.  Throughout our Nation’s proud history, this ceremony has served as a beacon of democracy and a testament to the enduring strength of our Constitution. By contrast, the violence we witnessed at the Capitol two weeks ago was an intolerable travesty, which is why the Justice Department has now brought charges against more than one-hundred individuals and has investigations of many others underway. The Department of Justice is committed, together with our federal, state, and lo...
DuPont and former employee charged in 2014 fatal La Porte incident
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DuPont and former employee charged in 2014 fatal La Porte incident

DuPont and former employee charged in 2014 fatal La Porte incident HOUSTON (STL.News) A Houston federal grand jury has indicted E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company Inc. (DuPont) and a former employee for knowingly violating requirements of federal safety regulations and negligently releasing an extremely hazardous substance, U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick announced today. Kenneth Sandel, 49, Friendswood, along with representatives of DuPont are set to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy at 10 a.m. The indictment stems from the Nov. 15, 2014, incident at the LaPorte plant when 24,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan - a highly toxic, flammable gas - were released.  The incident resulted in the deaths of four plant employees and injured others, according to the charges. ...
Aberdeen: Johnathan Bravo Barrera Sentenced on Drug Charges
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Aberdeen: Johnathan Bravo Barrera Sentenced on Drug Charges

Aberdeen Man, Johnathan Bravo Barrera Sentenced on Drug Charges (STL.News) United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that an Aberdeen, South Dakota, man convicted of Possession of a Controlled Substance was sentenced on January 14, 2021, by U.S. Magistrate Judge William D. Gerdes. Johnathan Bravo Barrera, age 26, was sentenced to one year of probation, a $1,000 fine, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $25. Bravo Barrera was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 11, 2020.  He pled guilty on October 26, 2021. The conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred on October 23, 2019, in Corson County, South Dakota.  On that date, Dewey County and McPherson County Sheriff’s Department deputies initiated a traffic stop of Barrera’s ve...
Statement from United States Attorney Tim Garrison
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Statement from United States Attorney Tim Garrison

Statement from United States Attorney Tim Garrison (STL.News) Federal law enforcement authorities have publicly expressed concern about the potential for violent demonstrations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia leading up to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. My concern, as the chief representative of the U.S. Department of Justice in the Western District of Missouri, is not with peaceful rallies or responsible public expressions of opinion.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens the right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” My determination to protect our Constitutional rights, however, is matched by my utmost respect for law and order. I stand with our law enforcement partners, who will take all necessary measures to p...
California: Hunter Allen Ehmke Arrested on Federal Charges
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California: Hunter Allen Ehmke Arrested on Federal Charges

California Man, Hunter Allen Ehmke Arrested and Charged on Federal Charges Following Events at The United States Capitol WASHINGTON, D.C (STL.News) A California man was arrested and charged yesterday in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Hunter Allen Ehmke, 20, of Glendora, California, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1521(c)(2); one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, in violation of Title 40, United States Code, Section 5104(e)(2); and one count of destruction of government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361.  The defendant was arrested outside of Los Angeles, and made ...
Rogers: Juan Garcia-Maldonado Sentenced For Drug Trafficking
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Rogers: Juan Garcia-Maldonado Sentenced For Drug Trafficking

Rogers Man, Juan Garcia-Maldonado Sentenced To 10 Years In Federal Prison For Drug Trafficking Fayetteville, AS (STL.News) David Clay Fowlkes, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Juan Garcia-Maldonado, age 47, was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison without the possibility of parole followed by three years of supervised release on one count of Distribution of Methamphetamine.  The Honorable Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fayetteville. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Fayetteville Resident Office assisted by detectives and officers with local law enforcement agencies are actively investigating the distribution of methamphetamine in the ...
Washington State Company Ordered to Stop Distributing Juice Products
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Washington State Company Ordered to Stop Distributing Juice Products

District Court Orders Washington State Company and its Owner to Stop Distributing Adulterated Juice Products (STL.News) A federal court permanently enjoined a Sunnyside, Washington, company from preparing, processing, and distributing adulterated juice and other food products, the Department of Justice announced. In a complaint filed on Nov. 6, 2020, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States alleged that Valley Processing Inc., along with the company’s owner and president, Mary Ann Bliesner, violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) by distributing adulterated apple, pear, and grape juice products.  The company formerly supplied millions of juice servings used in school lunch programs.  The complaint alleged that the defendants proc...
Winneconne: Jon E. Janikowski Indicted for Cyberstalking
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Winneconne: Jon E. Janikowski Indicted for Cyberstalking

Winneconne Man, Jon E. Janikowski Indicted for Cyberstalking and Possession of Ammunition (STL.News) Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on January 12, 2021, a federal grand jury had returned a two-count indictment against Jon E. Janikowski (age: 36) of the Winneconne, Wisconsin.  The indictment alleges that Janikowski engaged in cyberstalking and illegally possessed ammunition. The cyberstalking charge alleges that Janikowski intended to “harass and intimidate another person” using a computer or “electronic communication system of interstate commerce” and that he engaged in a “course of conduct that placed that person in reasonable fear of death and serious bodily injury,” contrary to Title 18, United States Code, Section 2261A(2)(A)...
Cova Campbell pleads guilty to million-dollar embezzlement scheme
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Cova Campbell pleads guilty to million-dollar embezzlement scheme

Former Pierce County public housing executive, Cova Campbell pleads guilty to multi-million-dollar embezzlement scheme Stole nearly $7 million using fake invoices and false wire transfers Tacoma (STL.News) A former Pierce County Housing Authority executive pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with her scheme to steal nearly $7 million, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. According to the plea agreement, between March 2016 and July 2019, COVA CAMPBELL, aka Cova Hunter, used a variety of schemes to divert $6.9 in public money to her own bank accounts. CAMPBELL faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on April 8, 2021. According to records filed in the case, CAMPBELL initiated wire transfers of as much as $500,000 from Pierce County H...
Moses Lake: Juan Rivera Sentenced For Child Pornography Charges
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Moses Lake: Juan Rivera Sentenced For Child Pornography Charges

Moses Lake Man, Juan Rivera Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison on Child Pornography Charges Spokane (STL.News) William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Juan Rivera, age 47, of Moses Lake, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on October 20, 2020, to Conspiracy to Produce Child Pornography.  United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Rivera to 20 years in federal prison, well above the mandatory minimum sentence required by federal law.  Judge Peterson also imposed a lifetime of court supervision after Rivera is released, required him to register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison sentence, and ordered him to pay $48,000 in restitution to his minor victim.  Rivera is a citizen of M...
Shehzadkhan Pathan Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Over 5,000 U.S. Victims
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Shehzadkhan Pathan Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Over 5,000 U.S. Victims

Operator of Indian Robocall Scam, Shehzadkhan Pathan Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Over 5,000 U.S. Victims Out of More Than $8 Million RICHMOND, VA (STL.News) An Indian national pleaded guilty to conspiracy and identity theft in connection with his operation of an overseas robocall scam that defrauded thousands of mostly elderly victims of at least $8 million. According to court documents, Shehzadkhan Pathan, 39, operated a call center in Ahmedabad, India from which automated robocalls were made to victims in the United States.  After establishing contact with victims through these automated calls, Pathan and other “closers” at his call center would coerce, cajole, and trick victims to send bulk cash through physical shipments and electronic money transfers.  Pathan and his conspirators ...
NDTX Round-Up: January 8 – 14
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NDTX Round-Up: January 8 – 14

NDTX Round-Up: January 8 - 14 SENTENCING – KRIS LANDON GREENE (STL.News) On January 8, Kris Landon Greene, 23, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm by a user of a controlled substance.  Greene admitted that members of Dallas-based criminal street gang known as “YNG Stretchgang” and himself distributed drugs, including crack cocaine, to customers in the Northern District.  To help facilitate his drug sales, Greene possessed a .38 caliber handgun.  This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dallas Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert prosecuted this case. SENTENCING – DANIEL LEE COLLINS On January 8, Daniel Lee Collins, 35, was ...
Choice Lynn Needham Pleads Guilty To Laundering Monetary Instruments
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Choice Lynn Needham Pleads Guilty To Laundering Monetary Instruments

Quinton Resident, Choice Lynn Needham Pleads Guilty To Laundering Monetary Instruments MUSKOGEE, OA (STL.News) The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Choice Lynn Needham, age 46, of Quinton, Oklahoma entered a guilty plea to Laundering Monetary Instruments, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) and (2), punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine up to $500,000.00 or twice the amount of the illicit transaction, whichever is greater, or both. The Indictment alleged that on January 2, 2018, Needham transferred $1,200.00 in United States Currency via MoneyGram from a Walmart Store in McAlester, Oklahoma to another coconspirator in Palm Springs, California.  Needham knew that the $1,200.00 was proceeds...
Update on law enforcement search at 2448 Sullivant Avenue
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Update on law enforcement search at 2448 Sullivant Avenue

Update on law enforcement search at 2448 Sullivant Avenue COLUMBUS, OH (STL.News) – United States Attorney David M. DeVillers confirmed that human remains from two individuals were located during the execution of a search warrant on Jan. 14 at 2448 Sullivant Avenue. Authorities are investigating the possibility that the bodies may be connected to the Aug. 26, 2018 missing persons report of Henry Clay Watson and Tera Lynn Pennington.  The families of the missing persons have been notified and authorities are working to verify their identities. The bodies were discovered partially dismembered, buried in the basement and covered in concrete. This is a joint investigation with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Division of Police, Ohio ...
Ontario County: Karen Owens Going To Prison For Stealing Dollars
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Ontario County: Karen Owens Going To Prison For Stealing Dollars

Ontario County Woman, Karen Owens Going To Prison For Stealing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars From Her Employer ROCHESTER, N.Y (STL.News) U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Karen Owens, 55, of Phelps, NY, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. Owens was also ordered to pay $607,672.71 in restitution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was employed by Finger Lakes Conveyors, Inc. (FLC) as its Director of Finance from 2003 to 2017.  As such, Owens had authority to write and issue checks from FLC's bank account in order to pay legitimate business expenses to FLC's vendors and creditors.  The defendant also had an obligation to rec...