Williamsburg police arrest 10 people

Ten people — including eight College of William & Mary students and a professor — were arrested this week on narcotics distribution charges following a monthslong investigation, Williamsburg police said.

Police said the operation, a joint investigation by Williamsburg authorities and the Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force, seized LSD, cocaine, psilocybin (mushrooms), opioids, amphetamines, steroids, hashish and marijuana. Roughly $14,000 in cash was also recovered, authorities said.

Williamsburg police Maj. Greg Riley said the drugs were being sold on or around the William & Mary campus.

“We have no indication that these individuals were working together,” Riley said.

The criminal investigation began after authorities were told that there were unreported sexual assaults occurring because of increased drug activity on or around the William & Mary campus, Williamsburg police said.

“We were told the assaults were occurring because of increased drug use,” Riley said.

Police looked into the drug activity, which led to this week’s arrests, he said.

Police identified the professor arrested as Gi Sang Yoon, 40, who is facing two felony marijuana distribution charges and one count of possessing hashish. The other nonstudent charged was Timothy Tyrone Pryor, 27 — an employee at William & Mary who is facing a felony marijuana distribution charge.

Yoon is a visiting biology professor and Pryor works in dining services, said Suzanne Seurattan, a William & Mary spokeswoman.

In addition to facing drug distribution charges, the eight students are facing charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Police identified the students charged as Alexander Patrick Foley, 20; Biloliddin Tulamirza, 18; Daniel Jacob McBride, 20; Devin Moore, 20; Jacob Selmonosky, 18; Keegan Paugh, 22; Nicolas George Manuel, 22; and Shannon Cannaday, 20.

Riley could not provide where the students lived before attending the college. Seurattan said William & Mary has the following mailing addresses on file for the students: Foley, Bel Air, Md.; Tulamirza, Falls Church; McBride, Williamsburg; Moore, Springfield; Selmonosky, Falls Church; Paugh, Rapid City, S.D.; Manuel, Arlington; and Cannaday, Leesburg.

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Nationwide Law Enforcement Action Targets Online Drug Trafficking

A nationwide law enforcement action aimed at shining a light on those who use the dark web to buy and sell illegal opiates has resulted in hundreds of interactions and arrests of individuals who may have considered their seemingly anonymous online transactions beyond the reach of authorities.

The FBI-led enforcement action last week, named Operation Disarray, is part of a recently launched Department of Justice initiative to disrupt the sale of opioids online and was the first operation of its kind to occur simultaneously in all 50 states.

“The point of Operation Disarray,” said Special Agent Chris Brest, who helped organize the effort from FBI Headquarters, “is to put drug traffickers on notice: Law enforcement is watching when people buy and sell drugs online. For those who think the Darknet provides anonymity,” he explained, “you are mistaken.”

Darknet marketplaces resemble legitimate e-commerce sites, complete with shopping carts, thousands of products, sales promotions, and customer reviews. But the Darknet sites’ drop-down menus direct customers to cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and other illegal drugs.

The marketplaces are accessed through a type of software that claims to make the buyer and seller anonymous. Drug users anywhere in the world can sit in front of a computer screen and, with a click of the mouse, buy narcotics without having to risk a face-to-face interaction. “Drug trafficking is changing,” Brest said. “The environment is moving from real-world to the virtual realm, and it’s on the rise.”

Such unfettered access to illegal drugs, said Special Agent Eric Yingling, who specializes in Darknet investigations from the FBI’s Pittsburgh Division, “can accelerate someone’s addiction because the drugs are so easy to obtain. It also facilitates a low barrier of entry to becoming a trafficker,” he explained. “We see a number of individuals go from consuming to becoming distributors because they’ve become comfortable using the marketplaces. Anyone who owns a computer could potentially be involved in this type of activity.”

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Nurse accused of stealing nearly $2,600 from patient

WAUKESHA – A patient walked into Waukesha Memorial Hospital with a wallet containing $2,585 in cash, which is placed in a bag for storage in a security room.

When the patient is discharged six days later and the security bag is opened in his presence, the only items found inside are a white board eraser and a box of tissues, neither of which belonged to him. No cash.

According to a criminal complaint filed March 28, an investigation by hospital security officials pointed to Jay Reiners, a 33-year-old nurse from Hartland, who was reportedly seen on surveillance video entering an area where the security bag was temporarily placed before it was moved to more secure area.

As a result of an investigation conducted separately by hospital security and the Waukesha Police Department, Reiners was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court with one count of theft of movable property worth between $2,500 and $5,000.

Reiners was one of four hospital staff members aware of the large sum of money the patient had brought to the hospital prior to an undisclosed medical treatment on Jan. 6, according to the complaint. Three of them — a nursing assistant and two nurses, including Reiners — were identified in surveillance video as the money was first being counted and placed in the security bag.

According to the complaint, that bag was moved to a “cubby area,” loosely described as a place where patients’ belongings are kept before they are turned over to security personnel. The area is in view, though apparently not fully, of a surveillance camera.

In video reportedly viewed by hospital security and Waukesha police, Reiners was seen entering the cubby area, where he appeared to grab some items off the counter there, though it isn’t clear what they were, the complaint said. About five minutes later, he returned to the area, but this time, as he was leaving, he appeared to be holding his left arm tightly against his body, then entered a bathroom down the hallway.

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Sewerage & Water Board employees used fake handicap parking tags

More than two dozen Sewerage & Water Board employees have been using fake or unauthorized handicap tags to bilk parking meters near the utility’s main office on St. Joseph Street, according to a report drafted following an investigation by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General.

The report, sent to the city’s Department of Public Works last November, summarizes a two-day investigation probing an “allegation” that “able-bodied” utility employees had been using handicap tags to park their personal vehicles on metered spaces near the utility’s main office at 625 St. Joseph St. The handicap tags allow drivers to park up to three hours for free in downtown metered spaces, which otherwise would cost $3 per hour.

Office of Inspector General investigators ran the registrations of 40 vehicles displaying handicap tags near the St. Joseph Street main office and found 37 of those vehicles were registered to Sewerage & Water Board employees. Of those 37 employees, investigators found just 11 – less than a third – were authorized to have handicap tags, which are distributed by Louisiana State Police, according to the report.

In all, 26 Sewerage & Water Board employees parked with handicap tags that either belonged to a relative, belonged to someone else or were “invalid or unreadable.”

Additionally, investigators spotted 31 vehicles with handicap tags that also displayed parking receipts, ostensibly to cover meter fees beyond the maximum three hours of free time, but that those vehicles had receipts showing “usually a nickel” had been paid into the meter. While five cents would cover “only one minute of parking,” investigators found some of those vehicles were parked that way for entire work shifts. None were ticketed.

All together, the inspector general’s report estimated the invalid handicap tags and expired meter receipts that weren’t ticketed could cost the city around $197,000 a year in lost parking meter revenue.

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6 Howard University Employees Fired for Misappropriating Financial Aid

Six Howard University employees were fired last year after an internal investigation found the financial aid office had misappropriated university-based grants to some university employees, the school’s president said Wednesday.

According to a statement from Wayne Frederick, Howard University president, an outside auditor found that several university employees received grants in addition to discounts on tuition that exceeded the total cost of tuition and kept the difference.

Some students said they felt betrayed. Employees took financial aid funds as students prepare to spend years paying off their loans.

“I’m actually on the verge of transferring schools because I can’t afford to stay here because a grant was taken away from me,” one student said.

“It’s disappointing to actually come to terms with the reality of what’s going on,” senior Quencey Hickerson said.

Parent Cecily Johnson said she was disgusted.

“Someone could totally change their trajectory if they can’t pay tuition,” she said.

Frederick said he was told in December 2016 that there may have been “some misappropriation of university-provided financial aid funds,” and launched an internal investigation.

The auditor found that between 2007 and 2016, university grants were awarded to some university employees who also were receiving tuition remission. The grants and tuition remission equaled more than the total cost of attendance, which allowed the employees to receive “inappropriate refunds.”

The grants came from institutional funds that help low-income students pay tuition. Frederick said the grants came from the university and were not federal or donor funds.

Tuition remission allows eligible employees or their dependents to receive discounted tuition at the university. Full-time employees eligible to receive tuition remission can take two classes per semester for free, according to the university’s website. Tuition at Howard for the 2017-2018 school year was $12,061 per semester, not including room and board.

Frederick’s statement came after an anonymous post on Medium.com claimed financial aid employees at the university stole nearly $1 million in funds.

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International Criminal Communication Service Dismantled

International organized crime and drug trafficking groups were dealt a blow by the takedown of an encrypted communication service they used to plan and commit their crimes, the FBI and its international partners announced yesterday.

Canada-based Phantom Secure was a criminal enterprise that provided secure communications to high-level drug traffickers and other criminal organization leaders. The group purchased smartphones, removed all of the typical functionality—calling, texting, Internet, and GPS—and installed an encrypted e-mail system, so the phones could only communicate with each other. If a customer was arrested, Phantom Secure destroyed the data on that phone, which is obstruction of justice under U.S. law. In an attempt to thwart law enforcement efforts, the company required new customers to have a reference from an existing user.

Given the limited functionality of the phones and the fact that they only operate within a closed network of criminals, all of Phantom Secure’s customers are believed to be involved in serious criminal activity. Most of Phantom Secure’s 10,000 to 20,000 users are the top-level leaders of nefarious transnational criminal organizations in the U.S. and several other countries, and the products were marketed as impervious to decryption or wiretapping.

“Working with our international partners in Australia and Canada, we learned that these phones have been used to coordinate drug trafficking, murders, assaults, money laundering, and all sorts of other crimes,” said Special Agent Nicholas Cheviron of the FBI’s San Diego Division, who investigated the case along with U.S. and international counterparts. “By shutting down Phantom Secure, criminals worldwide no longer have that platform to conduct their dangerous criminal activities.”

In collaboration with the Australian Federal Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and law enforcement agencies in Panama, Hong Kong, and Thailand, Phantom Secure’s founder and chief executive Vincent Ramos was arrested in Bellingham, Washington, on March 7. Four of Ramos’ associates are fugitives. They are charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations.

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Crooked Michigan Doctor Sentenced

From 2010 to 2015, Advanced Care Services (ACS), located in Southfield, Michigan—a suburb of Detroit—billed itself as a pain management clinic and HIV infusion center that primarily served Medicare recipients.

But as it turned out, ACS wasn’t serving anyone but itself. It was nothing more than a pill mill involved in the illegal sale and distribution of dangerous prescription medications, including opioids, into nearby communities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, ACS was also involved in a related multi-million-dollar health care fraud scheme. The lone doctor employed at the facility, Rodney Moret, personally enabled both of these conspiracies through his actions at the clinic.

Fortunately, law enforcement ultimately uncovered the actions of Moret and his four co-conspirators, and he was sentenced last month to a federal prison term on various drug and health care fraud charges after previously pleading guilty. Moret’s associates have also pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the criminal activity and have been sentenced. All five were ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution.

And ACS—a clinic that ostensibly offered medical care for a vulnerable population but instead broke its promise to the communities it served—was put out of business.

According to FBI case agent Larissa Kramer, the Bureau’s Detroit Field Office opened an investigation into ACS in December 2011 after receiving a referral from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concerning suspicious billings from a Dr. Rodney Moret. “Shortly after that,” Kramer explained, “an ongoing Detroit investigation into another pill mill led directly to the doorstep of Advanced Care Services, Moret’s employer. And our case, run jointly with HHS-OIG investigators, took a new direction.”

Kramer said that a variety of investigative techniques—including confidential informants, consensual recordings, analysis of financial records, and interviews with ACS employees and patients—uncovered the breadth and depth of the fraudulent activity being perpetrated by Moret and company.

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Brockton men ran organized retail crime ring

BROCKTON MA March 8 2018 – They double-dipped, switched tags and stuffed boxes, police say, on their way to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise from dozens of stores over the last year.

Police say two Brockton men operated an organized retail crime enterprise in which they stole items from home improvements stores on more than 80 occasions to re-sell the merchandise at reduced prices online.

An investigation that began with the Bellingham and Weymouth police departments last fall resulted in the arrests of 46-year-old Shawn Monteiro and 49-year-old Paul Licciardi in Brockton on Tuesday.

Brockton police detectives assisted Bellingham police in executing search warrants at two homes — 78 Orchard Ave. and 712 North Quincy St. — and on three vehicles just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Bellingham police Officer Amy Kirby and Weymouth police Officer Stephen Demorat previously began separate larceny investigations that led to the same “organized retail theft ring,” said Bellingham police Detective Stephen Daigle.

The investigation, which also included police in Blackstone, Hopedale and Medway, resulted in police identifying Licciardi and two others “as being responsible for committing regular thefts from home improvement retailers,” Daigle said.

The men, including two whose identities weren’t immediately released, were supplying the merchandise to Monteiro for resale, he said.

“Monteiro then arranged for the sales of the stolen goods through secondhand sale applications and websites,” Daigle, who applied for the arrest and search warrants, said.

The men are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items, including expensive power tools, generators, portable vacuums, and various Dewalt products, from The Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement locations throughout the state, including locally in Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Plymouth, Quincy, Rockland, Taunton and Wareham.

Police say Licciardi, who was the one sent to stores to steal items, used three different methods – double dipping, tag switching and box stuffing, according to a report filed in Milford District Court.

Licciardi would often purchase an expensive item, but set up two more carts with the same item near exits, the report states. After purchasing one of the items, he would re-enter the store with his receipt to make it look like he was picking up an item he had already paid for.

“In every instance where Mr. Licciardi made an apparent legitimate purchase with his card, he followed up the transaction by stealing at least one, but often two or more, of the same item that he had just purchased,” Daigle wrote in the arrest report. “Mr. Licciardi would immediately come back into the store and return the single item that he had paid for.”

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Child Sexual Exploitation Ring Collaborative

In late 2015 through early 2016, vulnerable girls as young as 14 and 16 were being exploited as part of a sex trafficking ring run by a group of conspirators in Ohio and Indiana.

But thanks to a joint law enforcement effort conducted by the FBI-led Toledo Child Exploitation Task Force, the ringleader of the conspiracy as well as the other six participants were eventually brought to justice and sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms.

The case started in December 2015, when the Lima (Ohio) Police Department began investigating allegations of human trafficking and forced prostitution involving a juvenile victim. One of the Lima officers who originally interviewed the victim was also a member of the Child Exploitation Task Force. That officer—based on his previous task force experiences—understood that the interstate aspects of the case made it a good candidate for federal jurisdiction, which often results in enhanced investigative resources and stronger criminal justice penalties.

So the case was referred to the task force—specifically to Special Agent Devon Lossick, the task force coordinator who works out of the FBI Cleveland Division’s Toledo Resident Agency.

According to Lossick, Lima resident Lorenzo Young was the leader of the group and was assisted, in varying degrees, by his longtime friend Aundre Davis, as well as by his girlfriend, mother, and three acquaintances.

“Members of the conspiracy would go after vulnerable and trusting young girls—usually runaways and others estranged from their families—by promising them money and then coaxing them into posing for sexually explicit photos,” Lossick explained. The photos would be posted to the adult entertainment sections of a classified ads website; when interested customers reached out, the girls would be transported to apartments in Lima or to motel rooms in nearby Fort Wayne across the Indiana state line.

“And the financial proceeds of the transactions would go straight into the pockets of Young and his co-conspirators,” said Lossick.

Once the task force was on the case, investigators began to question some of the victims, gathered motel records and receipts, reviewed video surveillance, and conducted physical surveillance and court-authorized electronic surveillance on the suspects.

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Murder charge filed after nurses caught laughing at WWII vet

Two Georgia nurses and an aide have been indicted in the death of an elderly World War II veteran after they were caught on camera laughing as the man gasped for air and pleaded for help.

Authorities launched a criminal investigation in November after details and video were obtained by WXIA. The information was originally included as part of a lawsuit filed by the family of James Dempsey against Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center.

The video, which was taken February 27, 2014, showed Dempsey gasping for air and calling for help more than six times before losing consciousness.

After finding Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 a.m., nurses waited nearly an hour to call 911 at 6:25 a.m.

During that hour, video shows nurses failing to help administer aid to Dempsey and laughing as they struggled to get his oxygen machine to work, the outlet reports.

Nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles testified at a deposition that when she discovered Dempsey was not breathing she rushed to his room, took over CPR and kept going until the paramedics arrived.

Nuckles was then confronted with the hidden camera video that shows she did nothing when she first arrived at Dempsey’s room.

“Sir, that was an honest mistake,” Nuckles said in the deposition obtained by WXIA, “I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”

When asked why she was laughing about the oxygen machine not working, she told the family’s attorney she did not remember that.

The nursing home tried to stop WXIA from getting and releasing the videos but a DeKalb County judge refused to seal the footage

After WXIA went public, Brookhaven Police launched an investigation, which led to a grand jury handing down indictments Wednesday against two nurses and an aide, the outlet reports.

Loyce Pickquet Agyeman is charged with felony murder and neglect to an elder person.

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