FBI: “Former Sandia Corporation Scientist Pleads Guilty to Taking Government Property to China”

August 26, 2014

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 25, 2014 released the following:

“ALBUQUERQUE— Jianyu Huang, a scientist formerly employed by Sandia Corporation (Sandia) at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), pleaded guilty this afternoon to making a false statement and unlawfully transporting converted government property in interstate and foreign commerce. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.

Huang, 46, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the People’s Republic of China who resides in Albuquerque, N.M., was arrested in June 2012, on a six-count indictment charging him with misusing U.S. government resources and equipment to conduct research for Chinese research institutions and with falsely stating that he did not intend to take U.S. government equipment with him on a trip to China. The indictment subsequently was superseded to add an interstate transportation of converted property charge and a theft of government property charge. Huang was employed by Sandia until his employment was terminated in late April 2012.

SNL is a government-owned research facility operated by Sandia Corporation for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) that is responsible for ensuring the safety of the nation’s nuclear stockpile; enhancing the security of energy and other critical resources; reducing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; addressing threats to national security; and protecting the nation against terrorism. The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CiNT) is a DOE user facility and science research center devoted to establishing scientific principles that govern the design, performance, and integration of materials on the atomic and molecular scale, located at SNL.

In light of the sensitivity of SNL’s work, all Sandia employees are required to report to the Sandia Office of Counterintelligence (SOC) any substantive relationship with foreign nationals, including associations that involve meeting and sharing work-related information. Sandia employees also are required to submit to interviews with SOC before international travel on official business, and are prohibited from bringing government-owned equipment on international travel without prior approval.

Huang was employed by Sandia at CiNT, where he worked in an unclassified open science facility without access to classified national security information. As a Sandia employee, Huang was prohibited from bringing government-owned equipment on international travel without prior approval.

Counts 1 through 5 of the second superseding indictment charged Huang with federal program fraud and alleged that between Jan. 2009 and Jan. 2012, Huang unlawfully and without authority used DOE equipment, materials and property to conduct research for businesses and universities in the People’s Republic of China. Count 6 charged Huang with making a false statement charge to a federal officer and alleged that, in June 2011, Huang falsely represented to a counterintelligence officer that he would not take any U.S. government electronic equipment with him on an upcoming trip to the People’s Republic of China. The statement was false because Huang knew that he intended to take a U.S. government computer and hard-drive to the People’s Republic of China on that trip, and did in fact take that equipment with him. Count 7 charged Huang with the interstate transportation of converted property charge and alleged that between June 30, 2011 and July 18, 2011, Huang unlawfully transported a DOE-owned laptop computer and computer-related media in interstate and foreign commerce. Count 8 charged Huang with an embezzlement charge and alleged that between April 25, 2012 and June 2, 2012, Huang embezzled electronic files and documents, including research proposals, belonging to DOE that came into his possession by virtue of his employment with SNL.

During his plea hearing this afternoon, Huang pled guilty to Counts 6 and 7 of the second superseding indictment. In his plea agreement, Huang admitted taking a trip to China in July 2011, for the purpose of attending and making a presentation at a research conference. Huang acknowledged that in seeking and obtaining Sandia’s permission to participate in the conference, he represented that he would not take any DOE-owned equipment with him. Huang also admitted deliberately lying to a counterintelligence office when he made the representation because he intended to take his DOE-owned laptop on the trip.

Huang admitted taking a DOE-owned laptop computer with him when he traveled to China on June 30 and July 1, 2011, even though he knew that he did not have permission to do so. In so doing, Huang unlawfully converted the laptop computer to his own use. According to Huang’s plea agreement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seized the DOE-owned laptop from Huang’s baggage when he returned to the United States on July 18, 2011, after Huang admitted that he did not have permission to take the laptop computer out of the country.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Huang will be sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Huang’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathon M. Gerson.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Seventeen Members of an Alleged North Carolina Racketeering Enterprise Indicted on Investment Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, and Related Charges

October 25, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 24, 2012 released the following:

“Fourteen Others to Plead Guilty on Related Charges; Total of 81 Defendants Have Been Charged to Date in Operation Wax House

CHARLOTTE, NC— A federal indictment charging 17 defendants in Charlotte and elsewhere with racketeering, investment fraud, mortgage fraud, bank bribery, and money laundering was unsealed today in U.S. District Court, announced the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina. Fourteen additional defendants have agreed to plead guilty in connection with the latest round of criminal charges resulting from Operation Wax House, a mortgage fraud investigation that began in the Western District of North Carolina in 2007.

Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Charlotte Division; Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Elaine Marshall, North Carolina Secretary of State join the U.S. Attorney’s Office in making today’s announcement.

The federal racketeering indictment was returned by a federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte on July 26, 2012, but remained sealed until today. The indictment alleges that the 17 defendants and others were part of a criminal organization (the Enterprise) that operated principally in the cities of Charlotte and Waxhaw, North Carolina, and stole more than $75 million from investors and mortgage lenders. The indictment was unsealed following the arrests this week of 11 members of the Enterprise, including three of its leaders, James Tyson, Jr.; his mother, Carrie Tyson; and Victoria Hunt. James Tyson, Jr. was arrested on Sunday, October 21, 2012, at Washington Dulles International Airport upon arrival in the United States from a flight originating in Dakar, Senegal, which is Tyson’s last known residence.

The racketeering charges contained in the indictment are the result of Operation Wax House, an ongoing investigation into securities and mortgage fraud targeting communities in the Mecklenburg and Union Counties of North Carolina’s Western District. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and IRS-CI, along with the North Carolina Secretary of State, Securities Division.

According to allegations contained in the unsealed indictment:

The Enterprise, which operated from about 2005 through the present, engaged in an extensive pattern of racketeering activities, consisting of investment fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and distribution of illegal drugs. Members of the Enterprise also bribed bank officials and committed perjury before the grand jury. The co-conspirators targeted professional athletes and doctors as well as their personal and professional acquaintances and convinced them to invest in a series of sham corporations controlled by the Enterprise. The co-conspirators stole over $27 million from more than 50 investor victims, including money that the investor victims were induced to obtain as loans from financial institutions. Rather than investing victims’ money as promised, the Enterprise diverted victims’ money to finance its mortgage fraud operations and to support its members’ lifestyles. For example, members of the Enterprise used the stolen money to purchase luxury vehicles, take lavish vacations, organize extravagant dinners and parties, and invest in other sham businesses or investments. In addition, the conspirators made Ponzi-style payments to other victims.

The Enterprise’s mortgage fraud operations involved acquiring luxury homes in neighborhoods in Charlotte and Waxhaw. One member of the Enterprise would agree with a builder to purchase a property at the “true price.” The Enterprise would then arrange for a buyer to purchase the property at an inflated price. In most circumstances, the buyer would agree to purchase the property in his or her own name and sign whatever documents were necessary, in exchange for a hidden kickback. The builder would sell the property at the inflated price, the lender would make a mortgage loan on the basis of that inflated price, and the difference between the inflated price and the true price would be extracted at closing by the Enterprise.

The 17 defendants charged in today’s indictment and the 14 defendants who have agreed to plead guilty bring the total number of defendants charged to date in connection with Operation Wax Houseto to 81. Charged in the indictment are:

  • Ramin Amini, 44, of Tehran, Iran, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Leader and promoter in the scheme. Status: Fugitive.
  • Vonetta Tyson Barnes, 38, of Wahiawa, Hawaii, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: Released following arrest and initial appearance.
  • Travis Bumpers, 36, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, bank bribery, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: Fugitive.
  • Glynn Hubbard, 35, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: In federal custody, pending release on conditions, following arrest and initial appearance.
  • Victoria Hunt, 36, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering. Role: Leader and promoter. Status: Currently in federal custody pending detention hearing.
  • Toby Hunter, 37, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering. Role: Promoter. Status: Released following arrest and initial appearance.
  • Steven Jones, 44, of Waxhaw, is charged with securities fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: Currently in federal custody pending detention hearing.
  • John McDowell, 40, of Dunn, North Carolina, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering. Role: Promoter. Status: Arrest warrant issued.
  • Kurosh Mehr, 52, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering. Role: Promoter and buyer. Status: Currently in federal custody pending detention hearing.
  • Ann Tyson Mitchell, 61, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering. Role: Facilitator. Status: Released following arrest and initial appearance.
  • John Wayne Perry, Jr., 31, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: Released following arrest and initial appearance.
  • Donte Thorogood, 34, of Durham, North Carolina, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering. Role: Promoter. Status: To appear for an initial appearance pursuant to a summons.
  • Carrie Tyson, 58, of Winterville, North Carolina, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering. Role: Leader and promoter. Status: Released following arrest and initial appearance.
  • James Tyson, Jr., 32, of Dakar, Senegal, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, bank bribery, and money laundering. Role: Leader and promoter. Status: Currently in federal custody pending detention hearing.
  • James Tyson, Sr., 61, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud to defraud investors, and money laundering. Role: Promoter. Status: Currently in federal custody pending detention hearing.
  • Nathan Shane Wolf, 41, of Charlotte, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud and money laundering. Role: Real estate agent. Status: To appear for an initial appearance pursuant to a summons.
  • Purnell Wood, 41, of Palmyra, New Jersey, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mortgage fraud, and money laundering. Role: Promoter. Status: Arrest warrant issued.

Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office also filed criminal bills of information and plea agreements against 14 other defendants who acted as mortgage brokers, real estate agents, straw buyers, and a home builder in the scheme. They acknowledge taking part in the mortgage fraud conspiracy and have agreed to plead guilty. They are:

  • Crystal Goodson-Hudson, 44, of Kannapolis, North Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Mortgage broker. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Shannon Lee (Somer Bey), 47, of Charlotte, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Real estate agent. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Robert Mahaney, 52, of Ridgeway, South Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Mortgage broker. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • George Moore, 44, of Charlotte, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Buyer. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Kevin Smith, 46, of Oxford, North Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Buyer. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Holly Pasut, 56, of Charlotte, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Real estate agent. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Danielle Vaughn, 34, of Greenbelt, Maryland, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Mortgage broker. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Mary Vaughn, 58, of Charlotte, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Buyer. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Jamaine Wallace, 41, of Conyers, Georgia, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Buyer. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Phillip Wellington, 46, of Charlotte, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Promoter. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • William Wellington, 30, of Amityville, New York, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Buyer. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Marcia Williams, 36, of York, South Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Mortgage broker. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Sean Williams, 41, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Role: Mortgage broker. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.
  • Mark, Wittig, 41, of Matthews, North Carolina, is charged with mortgage fraud conspiracy. Role: Builder. Status: To appear for initial appearance upon a summons.

The conspiracy to participate in the racketeering activities charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross profits or other proceeds. The securities fraud charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum term of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or twice the amount of criminally derived proceeds. The bank bribery conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. In addition, the guilty plea of any other person is not relevant to the guilt of any indicted person.

Operation Wax House in the Western District of North Carolina is being handled by the Charlotte Division of the FBI, the Criminal Division of the IRS for the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, and the Securities Division of the North Carolina Secretary of State. The prosecution for the government is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Kurt W. Meyers and Maria K. Vento and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin M. Harrington.

The President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.

The names and case numbers of all the defendants charged to date in Operation Wax House are listed below, organized by their alleged role in the scheme.

Attorneys and Paralegals
Crawford/Mallard, Michelle 3:11cr374
Gates, Christine 3:09cr100
Norwood, Kelli, 3:09cr162
Rainer, Demetrius 3:08cr239/241
Smith, Troy, 3:08cr264

Bank Insiders
Brown, Jamilia, 3:10cr124
Eason, Danyelle, 3:10cr116
Henson, Vic. F., 3:10cr124
Jackson, Mitzi, 3:11cr374
Ramey, Bonnie Sue, 3:10cr124

Builders and Sellers
Fink, James, 3:11cr374
Jackson, Jennifer, 3:09cr241
Smith, Kelvis, 3:12cr238
Viegas, Jeffrey, 3:12cr298
Wittig, Mark, 3:12cr335
Wood, Gary, 3:09cr208

Facilitators and Financiers
Hickey, Denis, 3:09cr103
McClain, Landrick, 3:10cr124
Mitchell, Ann Tyson, 3:12cr239
Panayoton, Sherrill, 3:11cr176
Taylor, Alicia Renee, 3:10cr124
Wilson, Willard, 3:09cr161

Buyers
Banks, Arketa, 3:12cr297
Hillian, Kirk, 3:12cr83
Mathis, Charles, 3:10cr1
Mobley, Sarena, 3:10cr124
Moore, George, 3:12cr337
Richards, Dan, 3:10cr119
Smith, Kevin, 3:12cr341
Tyler, Glenna, 3:11cr200
Vaughn, Mary, 3:12cr329
Wallace, Jamaine, 3:12cr330
Wellington, William, 3:12cr333

Notary Public
Willis, Anthony, 3:09cr218

Appraiser
Darden, Clinton 3:10cr108

Mortgage Brokers
Bradley, Bonnette, 3:12cr299
Clarke, Linda, 3:10cr120
Flood, Ericka, 3:10cr124
Goodson-Hudson, Crystal, 3:12cr339
Mahaney, Robert, 3:12cr34-0
Scagliarini, Coley, 3:11cr374
Staton, Walter, 3:10cr113
Vaughn, Danielle, 3:12cr329
Williams, Marcia, 3:12cr334
Williams, Sean, 3:12cr336

Woods, Joseph, 3:09cr178

Real Estate Agents
Belin, Chris, 3:11cr374
Clark, Christina, 3:09cr44
Lee, Shannon, 3:12cr338
Pasut, Holly Hardy, 3:12cr331
Wolf, Nathan Shane, 3:12cr239
Wood, Gary, 3:09cr208

Promoters
Amini, Ramin, 3:12cr239
Barnes, Vonetta Tyson, 3:12cr239
Bumpers, Travis, 3:12cr239
Carr, Stephen, 3:10cr124
Clarke, Reuben, 3:10cr120
Coleman, Gregory, 3:10cr118
Hitchcock, Jimmy, 3:11cr374
Hubbard, Glynn, 3:12cr239
Hunt, Victoria, 3:12cr239
Hunter, Toby, 3:12cr239
Jones, Steven, 3:12cr239
Jones, Tyree, 3:10cr230
Marshall, Michael, 3:07cr283
McDowell, John, 3:12cr239
McPhaul, Elizabeth, 3:10cr114
Mehr, Kurosh, 3:12cr239
Mitchell, Ann Tyson, 3:12cr239
Perry, John Wayne, Jr., 3:12cr239
Perry, Kim, 3:10cr25
Phillips, Rick, 3:10cr115
Sharreff-El, Drew, 3:10cr124
Sherald, Kiki, 3:10cr117
Simmons, Aaron, 3:09cr240
Snead, Todd, 3:10cr124
Staton, Lisa, 3:10cr113
Thorogood, Donte, 3:12cr239
Tyson, Carrie, 3:12cr239
Tyson, James, Jr. 3:12cr239
Tyson, James, Sr., 3:12cr239
Wellington, Phillip, 3:12cr332
Wood, Purnell, 3:12cr239″

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Christopher Tappin, extradition’s forgotten victim who is awaiting US trial, talks of his strange life in Texas

October 22, 2012

The Telegraph on October 21, 2012 released the following:

“By Philip Sherwell

As he strolled off the fairway with his scorecard at the 18th hole, the white-haired man in blue polo shirt and khaki shorts could have been just another relaxed late-afternoon golfer.

But a closer look revealed two pieces of extra “kit” not needed by his playing partners at the country club in the affluent leafy suburbia north of Houston.

Inside the white sock on his left foot was the bulge of an ankle bracelet, while a satellite GPS tracking device blinked in a holster on his belt.

For this was Christopher Tappin, the retired British businessman, former president of the Kent Golf Union and epitome of Home Counties respectability who will go on trial in two weeks [NOV 5] in a Texas courtroom charged with conspiring to supply batteries for Iranian missiles.

His case made headlines as he fought extradition from Britain for five years, under the lopsided treaty passed by the Labour government after the Sept 2001 terror attacks.

This requires evidence of “probable cause” before an American is extradited to Britain, a far higher standard of proof than the “reasonable suspicion” that suffices to send a Briton to trial in the US.

Mr Tappin, 65, who has consistently denied the charges, eventually lost that battle in February and was handed over to the US authorities. The next two months were spent in the hellish conditions of a federal prison in New Mexico, much of the time in solitary confinement.

In April, he was released under strict bail conditions – including wearing the ankle bracelet and GPS tracker to ensure that he does not leave the three Texas counties where he is allowed out before his overnight curfew.

And last week, he spoke for the first time about his life since then in a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Telegraph.

As he finished the 18 holes in a brisk round of 75, the 65-year-old grandfather looked as calm as the new friends he has made among the businessmen and lawyers at the club.

There was no indication of the inner turmoil that he must feel as he prepares to face an agonising dilemma next month in a federal courtroom in El Paso.

If he pleads not guilty and loses in a country with one of the world’s highest conviction rates, then he could be jailed for up to 35 years in the US – effectively a life sentence away from his sick wife, two children and grandson.

But in a common US legal move, prosecutors are expected to offer him a plea bargain that would give him a much shorter prison term and to probably repatriation to a British jail – provided he admits at least some of the charges.

Mr Tappin, from Orpington, owned a freight shipping company and is accused of trying to buy 50 oxide batteries to power Iranian Hawk missiles after a colleague made contact with a front company set up by the Department of Homeland Security.

He has, however, always insisted he was the unwitting victim of an FBI sting operation and believed the batteries were for commercial use in the Netherlands.

For Mr Tappin, the rounds of his beloved golf that he plays most days are a solace and escape. “Without the golf, I’d go raving mad,” he said. “It keeps me from thinking too much about the case, but it’s tough, it’s very tough.”

His failed battle against extradition was one among a series involving Britons accused in the US of alleged crimes that took place on UK soil.

Last week, he heard some bittersweet news about the most high-profile of all such cases during his daily telephone call from his wife [] Elaine, who is in Britain and unable to visit him because she suffers Churg-Strauss syndrome, a severe allergic condition that endangers the body’s vital organs.

She told him that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, had ruled that the Briton, Gary McKinnon, accused of hacking into US military computers and causing 300 of them to crash, would not be handed to the US authorities for trial. Her last-minute decision to block his extradition frustrated US officials, who said publicly that they were “disappointed” but were privately furious.

Mrs May took the decision on medical grounds – Mr McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s, a form of autism and his family had argued that he would not survive life inside an US jail, even awaiting trial.

But she also announced plans to introduce a so-called “forum bar” under which judges would decide whether alleged offences should be tried in Britain rather than in the US. If such a law had already been in place, Mr Tappin might have been tried in Britain rather than in America – and as key evidence was collected from a sting operation, the case could have been thrown out before reaching court.

“I’m delighted for Gary and his mother Janis,” he said. “I’ve met them several times and this is great news.

“Gary would never have survived the prison they slung me into, not in his condition. It was the psychotic screaming throughout the night that got me. And the head-banging. And God help him if he’d had to go through solitary like I did, with the lights on 24 hours and the only human contact when they give you a meal three times a day. He couldn’t have coped.

“I desperately hope this presages a change to the system. Something has to be done with that treaty and we’ve been advocating for a ‘forum bar’ for a long time. It’s got to be changed.

“I hope I am the final Brit to be extradited under this treaty as it stands. My case should never be being tried here in the US, I was living in the UK when these alleged offences took place, the crimes were allegedly committed in Britain and the evidence against me comes from the UK, so why am I not being tried in the UK?”

As Mr Tappin awaits that trial, he is trapped in a “gilded cage” existence, and one that is eating up the money he made running his freight business.

After his release on bail, he initially lived at his lawyer’s $2 million home in an upmarket neighbourhood that is built around a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and protected by private guards and security barriers.

He is now renting his own one-bedroom apartment in a nearby gated community in the wealthy suburban belt north of Houston called Woodlands. “There’s a gym and a swimming pool that I use and I try and keep myself physically fit, though mentally is a whole different challenge,” he said.

“It a very nice area with some lovely people, but you pay a heavy price for life in a paradise,” he noted wrily. “I miss my family and friends and home deeply. Life is boring, to be honest. Each day is deja deja deja déjà vu.”

He is not allowed access to email or the internet under the terms of his bail, but talks each day with his wife and friends and also spends several hours writing and answering letters in longhand.

And he does of course have his golf, playing with his own clubs after they were brought out on a visit by his son Neil, the deputy editor of Golf Monthly magazine. “I’m playing well and happy to get my game back after his two months in jail,” he said. “But these are hardly the circumstances in which I’d want to sharpen my game.”

Pointing to his ankle bracelet and GPS device he added: “And of course, I have to wear these things. It’s not comfortable, but you get used to it. The court charges me a $9 fee a day for the honour of wearing them.”

He has to be home each night from 10pm to 6am under a curfew, and most evenings he cooks for himself. So one big plus, he said, was the discovery of Goodwood’s British Market, a nearby store that specialises in foods from Britain. “They’ve got it all, bangers, fish and chips, Heinz baked beans, HP sauce, Robinson marmalade and the like,” he said.

But he is lonely and desperately pines for home. “It’s nice to hear an English accent,” he said during the interview. “At least the heat of summer has relented. This is the only place where I know where they have to chill the outdoor pools with ice.”

Adding to the strain is the deterioration in his wife’s health. Mrs Tappin visited him in June, but is now no longer allowed to fly on doctor’s orders and is awaiting an operation.

“Elaine is very unwell and this whole situation is really aggravating her condition,” he said. “It used to be me who cared for her. That’s now fallen to my daughter Georgina, but it’s a real strain for her.”

No family will be in El Paso on Nov 5 when appears in court – quite possibly in the manacles and jumpsuit that he had to wear for earlier hearings. “It really wouldn’t serve any purpose to have them there,” he said with resignation. “I just need to get home to them.” As the trial date approaches, the strain is taking its toll. “I used to feel OK, that I have a strong case and didn’t worry too much about it. But the nearer it gets the more I worry.”

He has lost weight and runs his hand through his thinning hair as he spoke, sighing and blowing out air as he talks about his exasperation at his plight.

“It’s utterly devastating to be in this situation at my stage in life,” he said. “I should be spending my retirement looking after my wife, enjoying my new grandchild and playing some golf. Extradition was a very bitter pill to swallow.”

He is not only dealing with the enormity of his legal challenge. He is also undergoing a crash course in American culture, and in particular that of its biggest state, as he finds himself living in a country that he only ever visited as an occasional tourist, the last time 10 years ago.

“Texas is a funny old pace and everything’s just so very different from Kent,” he mused. “They go on about road deaths here but there are guns everywhere and they don’t seem to care. There’s even a Gun Channel on the TV, for heaven’s sake.

“I have made some good friends playing golf, but it is difficult to reconcile how nice some of the people are and how harsh the system is. It’s not just me of course. They’re just as harsh on their own people. They don’t call it ‘Incarceration Nation’ for nothing. There is a huge prison population and the prison industry is a big business.”

Mr Tappin talks regularly to David Bermingham, one of the “NatWest Three”, the British bankers who were also controversially extradited to the US for financial crimes allegedly committed in the UK. The men were jailed in the US after admitting a single offence and sent home to serve out their sentences.

“It’s good to talk to someone who has been in this situation,” he said. And he hopes that a change in the extradition treaty will come in time to help Richard O’Dwyer, a 24-year student in Sheffield, who faces jail in the US for hosting a television download website from his bedsit.

Meanwhile, Mr Tappin is tangling with another immediate headache. His passport has been removed so he cannot board a flight. But his bail conditions restrict his movements to two counties in and around Houston, as his lawyer is based there, and El Paso, where he faces trial – but not the swath of Texas through which he would have to drive between them.

“I’m not quite how I’m even going to get to court,” he said. “What a situation.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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Husband and Wife, Aaron Michael Hymas and Tiffany Kim Hymas, Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud

October 19, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2012 released the following:

Part of Ongoing Crestwood Mortgage Fraud

BOISE— Aaron Michael Hymas, 38, and Tiffany Kim Hymas, 37, former Treasure Valley residents now living in Bountiful, Utah, pled guilty today in United States District Court in Boise to one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreements, the defendants admitted that on March 28, 2007, they schemed to defraud a lender by having Tiffany Hymas submit a residential loan application for $295,600, wherein she misrepresented that she was employed by OPM Enterprises with 2.6 years on the job; that she had income and commissions of $72,500 per month; and that she had gross rental income of $14,600 per month from four properties located in Meridian, Nampa, and Boise. Based on these misrepresentations, the loan was funded by Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker Mortgage Corporation. The defendants admitted that Tiffany Hymas’ statements were false and material to the loan application and that they knew the statements were false at the time she made them.

The defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Sentencing is set for January 14, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.

“False statements to banks and lenders in order to obtain home loans have undermined the integrity of our nation’s housing financing system,” said Olson. “These pleas move us closer to the conclusion of the long term investigation into the mortgage activities of those associated with Crestwood Homes. Federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the District of Idaho are committed to working together to ensure that those who fraudulently obtain home loans for personal gain are punished.”

In a related case, sentencing is set for October 25-26, 2012, for Travis Richard Hymas, 29, of Cedar Hills, Utah, formerly of Meridian, Idaho. A federal jury convicted Hymas on June 22 on five counts of wire fraud related to mortgage fraud. During the eight-day trial, the jury heard evidence that between November 2006 and March 2007, Hymas defrauded five lenders on nine residential loans valued at approximately $1.7 million. According to court documents, Travis and his wife Season filed a bankruptcy petition on July 17, 2008, in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. On March 19, 2009, a substantial amount of the debt they owed on the fraudulent loans was discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding. Season Hymas is set for trial in Boise on November 13.

The cases are part of an investigation of mortgage fraud activity related to Crestwood, which involved multiple defendants who bought and sold real estate in order to “flip” it, or gain profits from the sales. The financial institutions and mortgage lenders incurred substantial losses on the loan transactions.

To date, nine people have been sentenced in related cases, including Michael J. Hymas, Shauntee K. Ferguson, Christopher R. Georgeson, Stanley J. Ferguson, Brent Bethers, Shane Merlin Hymas, Laurie Krechelle Hymas, Melody C. Redondo, and Paul Redondo.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with assistance provided by the Office of the United States Trustee and the Idaho Department of Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho and the State of Idaho, Office of the Attorney General.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.”;

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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Peregrine’s Wasendorf Signed Plea Deal, FBI Agent Says

September 12, 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek on September 11, 2012 released the following:

“By Andrew Harris and Tom Witosky

Russell Wasendorf Sr., the indicted founder of Peregrine Financial Group Inc., has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he admits to crimes including mail fraud, an FBI agent testified.

William Langdon, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent whose affidavit supported the original criminal complaint against Wasendorf in July, disclosed the agreement today at a detention hearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, federal court.

Wasendorf, who has been in custody since his arrest on July 13, was indicted last month on 31 counts of lying to U.S. regulators about how much client money his now-bankrupt commodities firm had on deposit.

He entered a plea of not guilty on Aug. 17 and hasn’t changed that plea since then. Langdon didn’t say if or when the plea agreement would be brought before the court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles is presiding over today’s hearing, which he scheduled at Wasendorf’s request, according to a Sept. 7 order posted in the court’s electronic docket.

Wasendorf was arrested four days after trying to asphyxiate himself in his car outside Peregrine’s Cedar Falls, Iowa, headquarters. Langdon, in his July affidavit, said the firm’s founder had in his possession at the time of the suicide attempt a written confession that said he stole from the firm for almost 20 years.

At least $190 million in client funds is unaccounted for, Peregrine bankruptcy trustee, Ira Bodenstein, told creditors at a meeting yesterday in federal court in Chicago, where the company filed for liquidation on July 10.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Wasendorf, 12-cr-2021, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (Cedar Rapids).”

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes – 18 U.S.C. § 1341

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Ex-EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo García’s victims can tell court of harm

August 29, 2012

El Paso Times on August 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Hayley Kappes \ El Paso Times

Victims of a scheme to fraudulently inflate standardized test scores at the El Paso Independent School District have until Sept. 21 to inform a federal court of the harm they suffered.

Students or employees of the school district between 2006 and 2011 who suffered damages from a plan devised by former Superintendent Lorenzo García can fill out a “declaration of victim losses” through the U.S. Probation Office.

Those who were directly harmed include students classified as “limited English proficient” or special education students whom the district targeted to prevent from taking the 10th-grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exams, according to a letter dated Aug. 17 from the probation office to district students, parents and employees.

District faculty and staff members were indirectly harmed by the scheme, according to the letter.

Former state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, who in 2010 alleged the district was removing students improperly, and members of Kids First! Reform EPISD!, a general-purpose political action committee, are urging victims of García’s crimes to detail their losses to the U.S. Probation Office.

Shapleigh argued that García’s restitution should include the cost of educating each student who was denied an education and the bonuses he earned by fraudulent means.

Under the plea agreement, García faces a prison sentence of just less than four years and is ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution to the school district for his role in the cheating scheme and for steering a $450,000 contract to his mistress.

The restitution money should go toward creating a fund at the district to help students who were improperly pushed out as a result of the scheme, Shapleigh said.

“We’re asking that the return of the money be made to the students for their education, that the students have a fund at EPISD, to go find them, to restore them and get them a high-school degree,” Shapleigh said. “They are the real victims.”

District officials have not identified all the students whose education was impeded because of the scheme, district spokeswoman Renee de Santos wrote in an email.

“The district is continuing its efforts, on its own and as part of its cooperation with federal investigators to identify students who may have been affected by the criminal conduct described in the information filed against Dr. Lorenzo García,” de Santos wrote.

Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said that because there are so many direct and indirect victims, it would have been difficult to assign a restitution amount.

García’s attorneys worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine the restitution amount, said Jim Darnell, one of the former superintendent’s attorneys.

Darnell disagreed that the restitution should reflect the district’s per student expenditures for students who were pushed out of school and said Shapleigh is not a criminal lawyer.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he couldn’t comment on how the restitution amount was reached.

The judge has the authority not to accept the plea agreement and can factor the victims’ statements to determine García’s punishment, said Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law. McNabb has been a federal criminal defense lawyer for 30 years.

For each charge García pleaded guilty to, the punishment range is a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones in June said he would review the sentencing guidelines to determine whether the punishment should be more or less than the recommended sentence.

García is free on bond and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

“The court could say based upon the stated harm from the victims, ‘I’m going to give the defendant the high end of the guideline range,'” McNabb said. “By allowing the victim to set out a dollar amount in the statement would help perhaps the probation officer in terms of apportioning the amount of the plea-agreed-upon restitution, assuming that the defendant can pay it. Most of them can’t.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Alaska couple admits to plot to kill federal judge and others

August 28, 2012

Reuters on August 28, 2012 released the following:

“By Yereth Rosen

(Reuters) – An Alaska couple pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of conspiring to kill a federal judge in what prosecutors said was a revenge plot over income-tax rulings against them.

Lonnie and Karen Vernon, followers of jailed Alaska militia leader Schaeffer Cox, reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid the need for a trial that had been set to begin next month.

The Vernons and Cox were active in the “sovereign citizen” movement, whose adherents believe individuals are sovereign nations and federal, state and local laws do not apply to them.

The Vernons each entered a guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to commit murder for their plan to kill Alaska-based U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline, who presided over a federal income tax case that ultimately cost the couple their home.

The Vernons also admitted in their plea agreement to planning to kill an Internal Revenue Service official and Beistline’s daughter and grandchildren.

The Vernons bought a silencer-equipped pistol and grenades in March 2011 and told the seller of the weapons about their intentions, according to the plea agreement. But the seller turned out to be a confidential government informant, and the Vernons were arrested immediately after the transaction took place.

Despite entering his guilty plea, Lonnie Vernon disrupted Monday’s court proceedings with a number of defiant outbursts.

“If I’m accused of doing anything, I’m accused of freely exercising my First Amendment rights to the max,” he told Judge Robert Bryan, who was brought in from Tacoma, Washington, to preside over the case.

But Bryan told the defendant that he and others with similar political views are mistaken about their responsibilities to obey the law. “You can’t decide, on your own, that you won’t be part of what the government rules are,” Bryan said.

In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop related charges concerning murder threats and illegal weapons, according to the agreement filed on Monday.

Under the plea deal, Lonnie Vernon, 56, faces a prison term of 21 to 27 years when the couple is sentenced on November 14.

Agreement on a specific sentence for Karen Vernon, 66, was not reached, but prosecutors pledged to recommend a sentence of no longer than 15 years and eight months.

Lonnie Vernon also was a top officer in an organization called the Alaska Peacekeepers Militia, founded and led by Cox, 28.

In a separate case, Cox and Lonnie Vernon were convicted in June of conspiring to murder federal and state government officials and of acquiring illegal weapons to use against their targets. Karen Vernon was not a defendant in that case.

Sentencing for Cox and Lonnie Vernon on the militia-conspiracy case is set for September 14. Both men, along with Karen Vernon, have been jailed since they were arrested last year.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


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