TSA adds automated screening lanes to Midway Airport

Chicago (WSL)–With a record 50 million people expected to travel over the week of Thanksgiving, the Transportation Security Administration unveiled new technology Thursday to get people through lines faster at Midway Airport.

TSA officials said travelers will make it through security about 50 percent faster than in the past.

The first thing travelers will notice? Larger bins. A laptop, toiletries, a pair of shoes and a jacket will all fit in one bin, instead of the usual two or three. Everything will get scanned at once, and after the bins go through and travelers retrieve their belongings, an automated system kicks the bins back to the front of the line.

Travelers will also notice a change if their bag is singled out for additional screening.

“If there’s an item that we want to take another look at in the bag, a possible threat item, the system automatically kicks that bag with a diverter arm off to the side. It goes onto a separate belt system and waits there for one of our officers to screen that bag,” said TSA’s Kevin McCarthy.

In the past, bags would stand in a queue, waiting for an officer to arrive and holding up passengers.

The new system is being launched on only two of Midway’s 17 security lanes, with the possibility for more in the future.

This new system already exists at O’Hare International Airport, where travelers may have noticed two of these automated lanes in the United Terminal and another three in the American Terminal. They were installed a year ago and TSA said they are making a difference when it comes to cutting down passenger wait time for security screenings.

TSA personnel will be on-hand during this transition to help travelers navigate the new equipment.

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Bridgeport school security union gives back to help district

“School security officers in the city aren’t exactly giving students the shirt off their backs — just the cost of them.

James V. Meszoros, a security guard and president of NAGE Local R1-200, told the city school board Monday they are giving back $200 of a $424 uniform allowance to help the financially strapped school district.

The gesture will amount to $16,600 that Meszoros said he hopes the district will put toward the athletics program.

His announcement brought a round of applause in the room when the announcement was made.

“I know it goes back into the general fund but I was a coach at Bassick High School for 13 years,” Meszoros said.

Meszoros said he is hopeful Marlene Siegel, the district’s chief financial officer, can work the numbers so they can benefit athletics.

Last year, Meszoros said, the idea was raised by Police Lt. Paul Grech. After Meszoros became union president, he presented the idea to his members who liked it because it was something different.

Security guards make an average of just shy of $38,000 annually. The union contract calls for guards to get an allowance to cover four shirts and four pairs of pants every October. This year only, he said guards will get two and two.

Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson said she was ecstatic to hear of NAGE’s give back when the union president told her of it.
“It truly exemplifies all of us pulling together and rowing in the same direction for the betterment of our students,” Johnson said. “I️ sincerely thank each member of NAGE.”

The district is working to close a multi-million dollar gap between what officials say they need to run the system of 21,000 and the near flat operating funding it got from the state and city in the current fiscal year.”

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Army veteran TSA agent runs exploding battery away from passengers at Orlando Airport

“The Transportation Safety Administration released surveillance video showing an agent moving a smoking bag containing an exploding lithium-ion battery away from passengers during a panic at Orlando International Airport Friday.

The TSA agent, a 20-year Army veteran, said he believed the bag to be an improvised explosive device. He placed it between a concrete column and a concrete planter to mitigate any harm that might come with a full explosion.

The TSA commended the agent, saying he ran the bag away even as panicked passengers “knocked over the queuing stanchions and dropped roller bags, creating loud banging sounds which were perceived as gunshots, further spreading panic throughout the airport.”

Numerous people at OIA reported there was a panic caused by those loud noises, initially thought to be gunshots.

“Our TSA Team’s performance was outstanding. I’m very proud of our team and how they responded to both the incident and the recovery process of rescreening passengers,” said Jerry Henderson, TSA Federal Security Director.
“Our people responded as they are trained to do, and to lead passengers to safety.”

The Orlando Police Department said on Twitter that no shots had been fired and it was “a loud sound that startled people.”

The department later said on Twitter that the noise was caused by a lithium-ion battery that exploded inside a camera.

The bag the camera was in started to smolder, but no one was injured, the OPD tweet said.

The incident was first reported just after 5 p.m., airport officials said in a statement.

“As a result of the incident, a ground stop was issued and a number of flights were held while passengers were allowed back into the building and security checkpoints reactivated,” the statement said.

The incident did not pose any danger to people at the airport, the department’s Twitter post said.

Regardless, photos given to Channel 9 showed a normally busy terminal that was completely empty.

Because everyone who evacuated the terminal had to go through security screening again, travelers were experiencing inordinately long lines.

“It’s crazy. Nobody knows anything,” traveler McKenzie Golden said.
She had just gone through the security checkpoint and was preparing to get onto a flight home to Michigan when the chaos hit.

“I heard people screaming and then everybody hit the ground and people were basically running over each other, trampling each other,” Golden said.
Numerous flights were delayed due to the incident.

Hours after the battery explosion, massive crowds were still working their way through security to get to their flights.”

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Hanover Mall reaches security agreement with town for police detail

“The Hanover police officers that work at The Hanover Mall may be referred to as Unit B, but that doesn’t mean they are doing anything but A-1 work.

The mall has been contracting with the town for the services of the police officers since the 1970s when Zayre Department Store first opened. The town then contracts with the police department with their collective bargaining agreements.

“At that point you had a small town that was suddenly dealing with a large shopping center,” said Hanover Mall General Manager Ed Callahan. “The town didn’t have the resources police-wise to handle that, so the town worked out a deal with the original owner, which was Campenelli-Tedeschi, for them to hire a police presence at the mall. Over the years, it was a combination of
Hanover Police and private public safety.”

There have been deals made every two-to-three years and the current one will begin on Jan. 1, 2018. According to the agreement signed in October, the town will receive a payment of $9,532 each month.

The contract will be automatically extended for an additional 12 months unless one side provides a written statement two months before the year is up wishing to not extend for an additional year.

According to former town manager Troy Clarkson, in addition to the monetary value, having this contract in place ensures that calls for service at the mall do not take away from other important responses, as the officer on duty can handle most issues on site without requiring a cruiser to be taken away from patrol in other areas.

This program, Clarkson said, has received national recognition and is yet another example of the strong and enduring partnership between the town and our partners at PREP.

There is a cruiser specifically for the position and the officers aren’t set out on calls other than extreme emergencies.

“We meet with Chief Walter Sweeney and Lt. Greg Nihan sometimes once a month or every other month and we sit down the program and review any incidences that have happened,” said Callahan. “We review what we want the officers to be doing in terms of community policing. We encourage the officers to be visible, interact with store managers and personnel and get to know people. With the cruiser they are able to do that same function with the peripheral around Dick’s Sporting Goods, Office Max, Trader Joe’s and Buffalo Wild Wings.”

When both the public safety officers and the Hanover police officers are fully staffed, typically one patrols the outside of the mall and the other on the inside of the mall. The goal is for them to work “in harmony” with two-way radios.”

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‘Hacker-for-hire’ cases going federal in Minnesota

“In the first Minnesota case to address a new and growing form of cybercrime, federal prosecutors have charged a former state resident with employing “hackers-for-hire” to sabotage the website of a local business.

The case reflects concern among law enforcement officials nationwide that hackers ranging from disgruntled ex-employees to enemy nation states are ramping up attacks on an ever-expanding array of personal digital devices connected to the web.

Prosecutors say John Kelsey Gammell, 46, paid hacking services to inflict a year’s worth of “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attacks to bring down websites affiliated with Washburn Computer Group, a Monticello business where he used to work.

DDoS attacks overwhelm a network with data, blocking access for legitimate users and even knocking web services offline. Washburn, a point-of-sale system repair company, told prosecutors that Gammell’s attacks cost it about $15,000.

Authorities say Gammell didn’t stop there: He is accused of paying $19.99 to $199.99 in monthly payments to try to bring down web networks that included those of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Hennepin County and several banks.

“As a society that is increasingly reliant on network-connected devices, these types of cyberattacks pose a serious threat to individuals, businesses, and even our nation’s critical infrastructure,” Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker in Minneapolis said, speaking generally about the new forms of crime.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported more than $11 million in losses to victims of DDoS attacks last year.

“We have a growing trend where the sophistication of the dark web and the sophistication of certain professional hackers to provide resources is allowing individuals — and not just experienced individuals — to conduct hacks and conduct DDoS,” said FBI Supervisory special agent Michael Krause, who leads the FBI’s cyber squad in Minneapolis.

Devices such as digital video recorders and home appliances recently have been marshaled by cyber criminals to carry out massive operations like last year’s flooding of a prominent web infrastructure company that affected sites like Amazon and Netflix. In a separate attack, in June 2016, the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website went down for 10 days, alarming local officials because so many government services have at least some nexus to the web.

“A lot of people think it’s just a nuisance,” said Chris Buse, Minnesota’s chief information security officer. “But it’s not. If you look at what government does — basic critical services — if those services don’t continue, people can literally die.”

Minnesota IT Services, which administers the state’s computer systems, said state networks field an average of more than 3 million attempted cyberattacks daily. Officials say the state still hasn’t experienced a major attack on par with a 2012 South Carolina breach that exposed personal data for 3.7 million residents and cost the state $20 million.

But with hackers able to take over hundreds of millions of unsecured devices worldwide to flood networks in a single DDoS attack, security professionals are trying to stay ahead of the threat.

“In our environment it’s pretty clear now that every organization needs some sophisticated and expensive tools to mitigate these DDoS attacks,” Buse said.

‘We will do much business’

The government’s case against Gammell underlines the difficulty of linking any suspect to the daily torrent of attacks often carried out by far-afield hackers who advertise their services online. Authorities might not have caught Gammell without tracing taunting e-mails he allegedly sent after attacks.

One of his preferred hacking-for-hire services was called vDOS, which was shuttered last year after the arrests of two alleged operators in Israel. The FBI obtained files from vDOS that included records of Gammell’s purchases, attacks and communications with vDOS administrators and customers.

One day in 2015, according to a criminal complaint, Gammell eagerly wrote the company boasting of his success in blowing past a “DDoS mitigation” program to kick an unnamed network offline for at least two days. “We will do much business,” Gammell allegedly wrote. “Thank you for your outstanding product.”

According to an FBI agent’s sworn affidavit, Gammell sought out seven sites offering DDoS-for-hire services and paid monthly fees to three to carry out web attacks from July 2015 to September 2016.

Charges are also expected out of Colorado and New Mexico for firearms offenses stemming from searches in the case.

Appearing in a Minneapolis courtroom last week, Gammell confirmed that he rejected a plea offer that would have resolved all charges and capped his possible prison sentence at a mandatory 15 to 17 years. A federal magistrate is reviewing motions filed by Gammell’s attorney, Rachel Paulose, to dismiss the case or suppress evidence.

On Monday, Paulose told U.S. Magistrate Judge David Schultz that evidence the FBI obtained from an unnamed researcher should be thrown out and suggested the data could itself have been retrieved by hacking.

Paulose, who did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story, also argued in pretrial motions that Gammell didn’t personally attack Washburn.

“The government has failed to charge a single one of those ‘cyber hit men’ services, named and evidently well known to the government,” Paulose wrote. “Instead the government’s neglect has allowed the professional cyber hit men for hire to skip off merrily into the night.”

Addressing Schultz last week, Paulose described the attacks on Washburn as “essentially a prank on a dormant site not doing business.”

“Even if Mr. Gammell thinks it’s a prank,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Rank replied, “it’s a criminal prank.”

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Father/Son Tutoring Company Executives Sentenced for Fraud

“The father-and-son executives of two suburban Chicago tutoring companies have been sentenced to federal prison for orchestrating an $11 million fraud scheme that bilked more than 100 school districts around the country, including Illinois.

From 2008 to 2012, JOWHAR SOULTANALI and his son, KABIR KASSAM, fraudulently obtained funds from the school districts by misrepresenting the nature of their companies’ tutoring services and falsely inflating invoices for tutoring work that was never performed. Soultanali and Kassam also paid bribes to school officials and teachers to make sure the fraud was not detected. The bribes included a Caribbean cruise for an assistant principal in Texas and an outing to a gentleman’s club for a state education official in New Mexico.

Soultanali, 62, of Morton Grove, Ill., and Kassam, 38, of Wheeling, Ill., each pleaded guilty last year to one count of mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve on Friday sentenced Soultanali to six years in prison, and Kassam to five years and ten months in prison.

The sentences were announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; John P. Selleck, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas D. Utz Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the North Central Region of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General. The Chicago Public Schools Office of Inspector General assisted in the investigation.

“Defendants abused the trust that the Department of Education placed in them to carry out a massive fraud that was not merely extensive, but also egregious,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kruti Trivedi and Barry Jonas argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “The fraud in this case had a significant impact on both the failing school districts that allocated their federal funds to defendants and on the students at those school districts.”

Soultanali served as director of operations for BRILLIANCE ACADEMY INC. and its wholly owned subsidiary, BABBAGE NET SCHOOL INC., both based on Niles, Ill. Kassam was the president of both companies. The firms contracted with school districts to provide tutoring services to students on-site at schools and via laptop computers.

According to the charges, Soultanali and Kassam furnished the school districts with false applications and marketing materials that fraudulently inflated the companies’ services. The companies falsely stated that they provided pre-testing of enrolled students, created customized tutoring programs, provided ongoing progress reports to schools and parents, and compiled accurate student improvement results after the tutoring was completed. In total, Brilliance and Babbage received $33 million from more than 100 school districts and small schools throughout the country.

The fraud scheme also involved numerous bribes paid to some school officials, with the expectation that the officials would assist in procuring federal funds for the tutoring services.

In addition to Soultanali and Kassam, the investigation resulted in criminal charges against Brilliance and Babbage, as well as three school officials in Texas and one state education official in New Mexico
who pocketed the bribes.”

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Connecticut Group Staged Car Accidents for Insurance Money

“After a autumn evening of drinking and using drugs in 2013, a group of friends got into an Audi A6 and drove to the remote Wilderness Road in Norwich, Connecticut. The car slid off the road, hitting a tree.

Everyone in the car survived, but this seemingly typical crash was no accident.

Despite their impairment, the driver and passengers had purposely planned the crash to collect the insurance money. It was one of many crashes that a group of Connecticut residents were connected to over several years—contributing to higher car insurance premiums for all drivers and wasting public resources like ambulance responses.

In the October crash, driver Mackenzy Noze got out of the Audi and drove away in a getaway car, while his friend, Jacques Fleurijeune, climbed into the driver’s seat of the damaged Audi and called 911. Fleurijeune told police he had hit the tree while swerving to avoid a deer—though no witnesses or police ever saw the alleged deer.

The four passengers were all taken to the hospital and eventually received insurance settlements for their injuries, which were fake. Fleurijeune also received payment for the value of the car, and others in the car gave some or all of their injury payouts to Noze and Fleurijeune.

This scenario played out numerous times with various combinations of co-conspirators from 2011 through 2014, with insurance companies paying out $10,000 to $30,000 per crash in about 50 crashes. Many of them happened under similar circumstances—late-night, single-car crashes on remote roads without witnesses. In the fall, the drivers would claim to have swerved hitting a deer. In the winter, they said they lost control on a snowy street. To up their payout, they used older, European cars, which tend to hold their value over time.

For the insurance companies, these repeat crashes raised red flags. So the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a non-profit organization that serves as a liaison between law enforcement and insurance companies, shared crash data with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut. The NICB’s suspicious accident data helped investigators hone in on the worst offenders.

“It was just a good, old-fashioned case, conducting interviews and reviewing documents—such as police reports and insurance company records—looking for patterns,” said Special Agent Daniel Curtin, who investigated the case out of the FBI’s New Haven Division. “With a lot of these staged crashes, the fraudsters made interstate telephone calls to file the insurance claims, and the calls were recorded, forming the foundation for many of the wire fraud counts.”

Noze, 33, the group’s ringleader, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and sentenced last month to four years in prison. Six others, including Fleurijeune, have been charged and convicted.

While insurance fraud may seem to be a victimless crime, that’s far from the case.

Estimates show car insurance fraud costs the average policyholder about $300 per year in higher premiums, according to NICB Supervisory Special Agent John Gasiorek, who assisted the FBI with the investigation.

Additionally, staged accidents are a safety hazard, both to those involved and other drivers. While in this ring, the conspirators generally did not involve other motorists, criminals sometimes do stage accidents involving unsuspecting drivers.

“You never know who’s going to come around the corner. You could hit an innocent person. It’s really a public safety issue,” Gasiorek said, noting that even willing participants in the staged accidents are unexpectedly injured.

“When insurance companies pay fraudulent claims, everyone’s premiums go up,” Curtin said. “More importantly, the staged crashes pose risks to first responders. You had police officers and EMTs rushing to crash scenes. The wasted time of medical professionals was also a concern with ER doctors and nurses treating these fraudsters for non-existent injuries. It took time away from other patients who really needed medical attention.”

At least in the local region, Curtin said word has gotten out that law enforcement is working these cases and bringing perpetrators to justice.

“The insurance companies have said that suspicious claims, especially those involving single-car accidents on remote roads, are down in southeastern Connecticut,” Curtin said. “They’re not seeing these types of suspicious accidents because this case has sent a message.”

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Security officers capture Utah murder suspect after tip from alert librarian

“As Austin Jeffrey Boutain stepped out of an elevator at Salt Lake City Main Library Tuesday afternoon, an alert librarian recognized him as the man officers had sought in a massive overnight hunt after the fatal shooting of a University of Utah student.

The librarian greeted Boutain — as he does everyone who visits the third floor — then waited until Boutain was out of earshot and called security, according to City Library Communications Director Andrew Shaw.

Within minutes, security officers apprehended Boutain, who had appeared to be unarmed, in a restroom, Shaw said.
“A big shout out to a librarian,” Salt Lake City police Chief Mike Brown said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, announcing Boutain, 24, had been taken into custody at about 1:10 p.m.

Brown said Boutain was being questioned and would be booked into the Salt Lake County jail in connection with the Monday night shooting death of 23-year-old ChenWei Guo, an international student at the U. Guo, who is from China, was killed during an attempted carjacking near Red Butte Canyon, police said.

University authorities have declined to say whether Guo was alone in the vehicle when he was shot.

Also Tuesday, University police Chief Dale Brophy announced that Boutain and his wife, 23-year-old Kathleen Elizabeth Rose Boutain, may be connected to a recent suspicious death in Golden, Colo.

Salt Lake City officers had asked Golden police to check on the owner of a green 2000 Ford pickup truck with Colorado plates that Boutain was allegedly driving in Utah.

When Golden officers arrived at the Clear Creek RV Park, they found 63-year-old Mitchell Bradford Ingle dead inside a trailer, the department said in a Tuesday news release. “Preliminary investigations indicate that the man had been deceased for a few days,” the release said.

There were obvious signs of trauma to Ingle, who had been staying at the RV park on a short-term lease, and the Boutains are considered persons of interest in the case, Golden police said.

The stolen pickup truck was still being sought by Salt Lake City area police on Tuesday.

Events in Utah began at about 8:15 p.m. Monday, when Kathleen Boutain went to the U. campus and reported that her husband had assaulted her while they were camping in Red Butte Canyon, Brophy said. She was being treated for an unspecified injury just before 9 p.m. when Guo was shot, Brophy said.

Kathleen Boutain admitted to police that she was “traveling in a stolen vehicle which contained stolen firearms,” according to a probable cause statement filed with the Salt Lake County jail.

She was arrested Monday night and booked into the jail, where she was being held without bail on suspicion of theft by receiving stolen property and drug possession charges. Police said she had a prescription bottle of generic Ambien that was not labeled and other drug paraphernalia.

Police are still stitching together a timeline of how Boutain got from the foothills above the university on Monday night to the library, at 200 East and 400 South, and how long he had been in the library Tuesday before he was spotted.

The earliest Boutain could have been in the library is 9 a.m., when it opened, Shaw said. It had closed at 9 p.m. the night before, at around the time of the homicide.

In an interview Tuesday, security guard Johann Gonzalez-Rubio described approaching Boutain in the library’s restroom on the third floor. He said Boutain nonchalantly told him, “Hey man, I just need to use the restroom real quick and then you can arrest me.”

Boutain appeared calm and unarmed, Gonzalez-Rubio said. Because a bystander also was in the restroom, the guard said, he stepped outside to wait for backup to arrive and for the other man to leave. Then he and another security guard went back in together.

“Hey, you got me,” Boutain said, as he knelt down and put his hands behind his back, according to Gonzalez-Rubio.

The Boutains had been in Utah “a couple days,” Brophy said. Their campsite in Red Butte Canyon was located Monday night, Brown said, and police recovered a rifle and ammunition cans. Police were not sure if the rifle was the same weapon used in the U. slaying.

Police and prosecutors from Golden investigating Ingle’s death were expected to travel to Utah on Tuesday to gather more information, which could include interviewing Kathleen Boutain.

Boutain reportedly has family in Minnesota and as recently as 2015 lived in the Cincinnati suburb of Millvale, in Ohio, according to Fox 19 TV. The station noted that he entered a guilty plea in May 2015 to “obstructing official business” in exchange for a disorderly conduct count being dismissed.

Fox 19 reported that he had been accused of fleeing police in connection with an unspecified disturbance at Cincinnati’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

Alabama court records system show Boutain was arrested in March in Marion County on drug manufacturing charges, according to WAFF 48 TV in Huntsville, Ala. He also was arrested in February 2016 on charges of theft and attempting to elude in another state. Court records also show he is a registered sex offender who failed to notify officials in Marion County when he moved there in 2016, WAFF 48 TV reported.

On Monday night in Utah, the hunt for Boutain initially focused on an area east of Mario Capecchi Drive. Classes were canceled and that area of campus — which includes the school’s main residence halls, medical complex and research buildings — was locked down until about 3 a.m.”

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11 arrested at Grand Falls Casino during undercover operation

LARCHWOOD, IOWA - People go to the casino to win big, but over the weekend several people won a ticket to the county jail during an undercover operation at the Grand Falls Casino.

Deputies from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office arrested 11 people on drug charges Saturday night while Cheech and Chong performed at the venue.

The Lyon County Sheriff says these types of patrols aren’t routine, but the office will do them when they think they need to show their presence.

“We thought we need to nip it in the bud now before it gets way out of whack,” Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep said.

He says deputies have responded to an increase in calls to the Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort parking lot over the course of the last few weeks.

“We had break-ins in the cars, in fact one involved a stolen gun out of a vehicle, and we had a fight,” he said.

Deputies patrolled the parking lot Saturday night.

“It was just officers walking by cars, and just looking in cars with people in there, and they’d be smoking marijuana or paraphernalia right out there in the open,” he said.

They arrested 11 people on misdemeanor drug charges.

“It did surprise me that there were that many that were doing it,” he said.

The casino’s managers say they didn’t know the sheriff’s office was conducting a sting while Cheech and Chong performed to an audience of more than 1,100 people.

“I think that was probably very much a very isolated incident for Saturday night,” General Manager Sharon Haselhoff said.

“I would like to think that, that was the case. That it was just more isolated, but again it was more just to be a presence out there to the other crimes and issues that have been going on,” Stoep said.

Grand Falls Casino General Manager Sharon Haselhoff says they take security seriously and all you need to do is simply look up and you can find several cameras.

“Whether you get caught right away or later on, you’re going to get caught. So, really it’s the last place you ever want to do criminal activity,” she said. “Obviously we want a safe, fun environment for our guests, and so we have a great working relationship with Lyon County. So, you know, whatever they can do to help us out with that, we are you know in favor of that,” Haselhof said.

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Commodities Fraud Sentencing

Self-professed investment professional Pedro Jaramillo was a pro at promoting himself and his financial prowess. Through a slickly produced online video, phony office space on Wall Street, and promises of unrealistic financial returns, this Peruvian national living in New York managed to convince more than two dozen investors to trust him with more than $1.2 million of their hard-earned money.

Jaramillo, however, never invested a dime of their money—instead, he used it to line his own pockets and keep his Ponzi scheme going. Even his claim to be an investment professional was false—he wasn’t licensed to do anything remotely connected to financial advising and/or investing.

But, as with most Ponzi scheme operators, Jaramillo eventually ran out of funds to keep his fraud scheme afloat, and two unhappy investors reported their concerns to the FBI. After an intensive investigation by the FBI’s New York Field Office—in close coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—Jaramillo was arrested and charged with commodities fraud in December 2016, pleaded guilty in April 2017, and was sentenced last month to 12 years in federal prison.

Investigators determined that, beginning at least in January 2014 until his arrest, Jaramillo—using his Latin American heritage as a common bond—had been soliciting potential victims mostly from Latin American immigrant communities in the U.S. to invest in commodity futures contracts. He told would-be investors that their money would be invested in short-term commodities contracts with a guaranteed (and unrealistically high) rate of return.

And he established his financial bona fides with potential clients using various methods.

His online video, done in Spanish, opened with flashy depictions of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. Then, Jaramillo himself made his pitch to potential investors, telling them, “Money is being earned on every transaction. All you have to do is work with a proven winner.” He delivered all sorts of promises about how client investments would be handled—including being set up in individually managed and federally protected accounts. Unfortunately for his investors, none of what Jaramillo said in the video was true.

To further impress potential investors, Jaramillo met with many of them in rented office space on Wall Street, where he touted his prior financial successes and his relationship with a well-known global investment bank. Again, this “relationship” with the bank proved to be non-existent, and he had no prior Wall Street investment successes.

Jaramillo also created and handed out documents with simple charts and graphs that purported to illustrate past successes and his high rates of return. This were yet more false facts he fed to his victims.

The FBI investigation included numerous interviews with the victims of Jaramillo’s scheme. Many of these people—including retirees, working professionals, and manual laborers—lost their life savings, retirement money, or homes.

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