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Examples of International Investigations - Fiscal Year 2014

Criminal Investigation (CI) is increasing its focus on international tax compliance. 

International investigations encompass a wide range of activities such as abusive tax schemes, narcotics, non-filers, money laundering, and terrorism funding. Criminal Investigation works closely with international law enforcement partners as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate financial fraud.

The following examples of investigations with international links are written from public record documents on file in the court records in the judicial district in which the cases were prosecuted.

IRS Receives Unprecedented Amount of Information in UBS Agreement

For information pertaining to the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), UBS clients, and former bankers, visit the IRS web page: Offshore Tax-Avoidance and IRS Compliance Efforts.

Abusive Tax Schemes

New Mexico Man Sentenced on Tax Charges

On Feb. 7, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M., Bill Melot, a farmer from Hobbs, N.M., was sentenced to 168 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $18,469,998 in restitution to the IRS and $226,526 to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Melot was previously convicted of tax evasion, failure to file tax returns, making false statements to the USDA and impeding the IRS.  According to court documents and evidence presented at trial and at sentencing, Melot has not filed a personal income tax return since 1986, and owes the IRS more than $25 million in federal taxes and more than $7 million in taxes to the state of Texas. In addition, Melot has improperly collected more than $225,000 in federal farm subsidies from the USDA by furnishing false information to the agency.  Specifically, Melot provided the USDA with a false Social Security number (SSN) and a fictitious employer identification number (EIN) to collect federal farm aid. Melot took numerous steps to conceal his ownership of 250 acres in Lea County, N.M., including notarizing forged deeds and titling the property in the name of nominees. Additionally, Melot used false SSNs and fictitious EINs to hide his assets from the IRS. He also maintained a bank account with a Swiss financial institution which he set up in Nassau, Bahamas, in 1992, and failed to report the account to the United States Treasury Department as required by law.

General Fraud

California Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion

On October 23, 2013, in San Jose, Calif., Jonathan Jianguo Jiang was sentenced to 16 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $467,336 in restitution. Jiang also paid his civil tax liability, which includes penalties and interest, of over $3,000,000. On March 3, 2013, Jiang pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion for the 2004 tax year. According to court documents, Jiang, of Saratoga, Calif., incorporated SecureM in the Cayman Islands on January 28, 2004. He was the director, president, and sole shareholder of SecureM. On April 17, 2004, SecureM was sold to a United Kingdom company for at least $8,600,000. Jiang willfully omitted the capital gains from his 2004, 2005 and 2006 federal income tax returns, notwithstanding the fact that he received capital gains of at least $2.9 million between 2004 and 2006 from the sale of SecureM.

Two Men Sentenced for Their Roles in International High-Yield Investment Scheme

On October 18, 2013, in Boston, Mass., Alan Gilner, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Randi A. Bochinski, of British Columbia, Canada, were sentenced for their roles in a scheme to defraud investors out of millions of dollars. Gilner was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5.2 million in restitution.  Bochinski was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5.2 million in restitution. In June 2012, Gilner was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering following a seven-day jury trial. In May 2013, Bochinski pleaded guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering for his role in the scheme.  According to court documents, Gilner and Bochinski promoted a series of purported high-yield investment programs to investors throughout the United States. The men promised extraordinary rates of return on the investments within a short period of time, and also pledged that investors’ principal would be insured or maintained in an escrow account. Once investors sent their money to either Gilner or Bochinski, the defendants diverted the funds for other uses, including their own personal use.  In order to lull investors into believing that their funds had been invested as promised, Bochinski and Gilner typically made at least some purported “return” payments using money from other investors.  In some instances, Bochinski and Gilner attempted to return principal to frustrated investors by using counterfeit checks.

Identity Theft

Leader of Large-Scale Identity Theft Ring Sentenced for Role in Fraud Enterprise  

On Feb. 11, 2014, in Newark, N.J., Sang-Hyun Park, of Palisades Park, N.J., was sentenced to 144 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,774,116 in restitution. He will also be deported upon his release from prison. Park previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully produce identification documents and false identification documents, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. According to court documents, Park was the leader of a criminal organization (the “Park Criminal Enterprise”) headquartered in Bergen County, N.J., that obtained, brokered, and sold identity documents to customers for the purpose of committing credit card fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud. As part of the scheme, the Park Criminal Enterprise obtained social security cards beginning with the prefix “586” which were issued by the United States to individuals, usually from China, employed in American territories. The Park Criminal Enterprise sold the cards to its customers and then took steps assist these customers to obtain fraudulent identification cards and driver’s licenses, build fraudulent credit scores and open bank accounts and credit cards. Park relied on several collusive merchants who possessed credit card processing machines and who would, for a fee, charge the fraudulently obtained credit cards, although no transaction took place. After receiving the money into their merchant accounts from the credit card related to these fraudulent transactions, the collusive merchants gave the money to Park and his conspirators. Park laundered portions of the money he obtained through the fraud by wiring the money to various accounts in South Korea. Park defrauded various credit card companies, banks, and lenders out of $4 million. He and his conspirators also claimed more than $182,000 in tax refunds from the IRS through the filing of false and fictitious tax returns and accompanying documents.

Nurse’s Aide Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the Government

On January 24, 2014, in Norfolk, Va., Festus Ighalo, of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Ighalo pleaded guilty on October 8, 2013 to conspiracy to defraud the government. According to court documents, Ighalo and his co-defendant Emmanuel Effiong, both originally from Nigeria and now naturalized United States citizens, were formerly nurse’s aides at a hospital in Virginia Beach. They used their positions there to obtain personally identifiable information, such as dates of birth and social security numbers, from thousands of patients. Then, with the help of others located elsewhere in the United States and Nigeria, they used that information to submit fraudulent federal tax returns with the IRS and receive tax refunds in the patients’ names. Effiong was sentenced to 81 months for conspiracy and aggravated identity theft on January 10, 2014.

Leader of Massive Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Sentenced

On November 13, 2013, in New York, N.Y., Melvin Duarte was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $15 million. In June 2013, Duarte pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to steal mail and one count of mail theft. According to court documents, Duarte participated in a massive tax and mail theft scheme. As part of the scheme, co-conspirators operating out of the Dominican Republic and other places electronically filed thousands of fraudulent federal tax returns, seeking tens of millions of dollars in tax refunds. The fraudulent returns were filed using social security numbers and other identifying information stolen from residents of Puerto Rico. Each of the tax returns at issue falsely represented that the taxpayer resided at an address in the Bronx, N.Y., where the refund check was to be sent. The checks were then stolen by letter carriers assigned to the mail routes where the checks were sent who had been recruited beforehand to participate in the scheme. The letter carriers participating in the scheme were paid a kickback for each check they stole. The letter carriers passed the checks on to other co-conspirators, who cashed them at various banks and check-cashing businesses located in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

Money Laundering

Multiple Defendants Sentenced for International Money Laundering Conspiracy

On March 31, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska, several defendants were sentenced for their roles in an international conspiracy to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking. Claritza Natera was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $239,990 to the United States. The court ordered a money judgment in that amount to be entered against Natera. Natera pleaded guilty to international money laundering. According to court documents, in 2010 and 2011, Natera repeatedly deposited currency that she knew to be the proceeds of drug trafficking into her bank account in Alaska and then immediately wired the funds to persons in the Dominican Republic. She was paid cash for conducting these transactions by a person known to her to be a cocaine dealer and an illegal alien. Joel Paredes Henriquez was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to forfeit $25,500 to the United States. Joel Paredes Henriquez pleaded guilty to being a member of an international money laundering conspiracy. He deposited cash that he received from a man he knew to be an illegal alien and a cocaine dealer into his bank account. He wired over $25,000 between March 2010 and February 2011 to the Dominican Republic. Nerido Paredes Henriquez was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to forfeit $15,400 to the United States. Nerido Paredes Henriquez pleaded guilty to one count of structuring financial transactions. He and others made several currency deposits at different bank branches to avoid the currency transaction reporting requirements. On March 27, 2014, Randin Paredes Henriquez was sentenced to a term of time-served in jail. Randin Paredes Henriquez pleaded guilty to one count of international money laundering. In December 2011, Randin flew from Anchorage to Philadelphia enroute to the Dominican Republic. Customs agents discovered that he was smuggling cash, which he admittedly knew to be the proceeds of cocaine trafficking in Alaska. Cash in the amount of $55,720 was seized and forfeited to the United States. Randin Paredes Henriquez had been in federal custody for approximately two years, since his return to Alaska from the Dominican Republic in March 2012. On March 14, 2014, Concepcion Egea was sentenced to four years of probation and fined $5,000. Egea pleaded guilty to one count of structuring financial transactions to avoid the currency reporting requirements. Evidence presented in court established that the defendants shared joint financial accounts, shared an address, and made multiple cash transactions in a single day or over several days at various branches to avoid suspicion. Most of the currency deposits were approximately $5,000. The funds were almost always immediately wired to persons in the Dominican Republic. Randin, Joel, and Nerido Paredes Henriquez are lawful permanent residents of the United States, but remain citizens of the Dominican Republic. Concepcion Egea and Claritza Natera are naturalized U.S. citizens, and were formerly citizens of the Dominican Republic.

Worldwide Drug Trafficker Sentenced

On Feb. 20, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif., Shiraz Malik, a Pakistani national residing in Warsaw, Poland, was sentenced to 180 months in prison. Malik was arrested at the Prague International Airport on Sept. 8, 2011, and was extradited on June 22, 2012, from the Czech Republic to the United States. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2013 to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and listed chemicals, conspiring to import controlled substances and ephedrine into the United States, and conspiring to launder money.  According to court documents, from June 1, 2008, through Sept. 8, 2011, Malik sold pharmaceuticals and highly regulated chemicals to customers in the United States, Europe and other countries and conspired to launder the profits of that activity. Malik took orders from customers via the Internet and coordinated with people in Pakistan to fill the orders. In the course of the three-year investigation, law enforcement agents made eight undercover purchases of various drugs from Malik that were shipped from a post office in Lahore, Pakistan to addresses in the Sacramento area. In each instance, the purchase request was sent to Malik via email and payment instructions were sent by Malik to the undercover agent. Malik maintained at least two bank accounts in Poland that he used to receive payments for Internet drug purchases from undercover agents.

Two Men Sentenced for Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

On January 27, 2014, in Phoenix, Ariz., Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release. David Ortiz Troncoza, Jr. was sentenced to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Jonathan Troncoza pleaded guilty on August 6, 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. David Troncoza pleaded guilty on July 30, 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, beginning on or about March 29, 2005 and continuing through June 1, 2010, Jonathan Troncoza operated a marijuana and cocaine distribution organization. Jonathan and David Troncoza and others distributed large amounts of marijuana and cocaine and laundered the drug proceeds. Specifically, the drug organization receive marijuana and cocaine from sources in the Republic of Mexico. The defendants used stash houses and warehouses to store the drugs for further distribution. A portion of the proceeds were used to acquire additional quantities of drugs for sale, pay for the expenses of the stash houses, cars, couriers, communication equipment and other needs of the drug organization. In addition, business entities were used in furtherance of the conspiracy in order to conceal the identities of the defendants and the true nature of the drug trafficking organization.

Leader of “Pump and Dump” Stock Fraud Scheme Sentenced

On January 24, 2014, in New York, N.Y., David Levy was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Levy was also preliminarily ordered to forfeit $12 million, his home in Florida, certain luxury vehicles and certain bank accounts. Levy previously was found guilty by a federal jury for orchestrating “pump and dump” stock fraud schemes that used the Internet and social networking sites, among other tools, to manipulate the price of penny stocks as well as participating in an international money laundering scheme. Levy’s wife and co-defendant, Donna Levy, who also was found guilty by the federal jury for her role in this and other schemes, is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.  According to court documents, David and Donna Levy offered to help start-up companies obtain financing, take the start-up companies public, and coordinate marketing and investor relations for the companies, in exchange for company shares. Once they had helped the companies go public, Donna Levy put out press releases on behalf of the target companies, and she worked with her husband to secretly fund and distribute misleading third-party recommendations concerning the targeted companies. This misleading promotional campaign, along with other manipulative conduct, generated demand for stock in the targeted companies, and caused the price of the stocks to rise. David Levy also was convicted of a money laundering conspiracy in connection with his efforts to conceal more than $2.3 million in proceeds of the fraudulent schemes in Panamanian shell company bank accounts maintained by a co-conspirator at a bank in Panama. In connection with the scheme, Levy wire transferred $150,000 in fraud proceeds to a Panamanian shell company bank account through a bank account in New York. Levy carried more than $2 million in cashier’s checks, representing proceeds from stock fraud, to Panama and caused them to be deposited into the shell company bank accounts.

Father and Son Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Money Laundering

On January 23, 2014, in Pensacola, Fla., Gary Wayne Thomas, of Daphne, Ala., and his son, Brian Keith Thomas, of Birmingham, Ala., were sentenced to 72 months and 24 months in prison, respectively. Both men were charged with conspiracy to structure cash withdrawals and structuring cash withdrawals to avoid the Currency Transaction Reporting (CTR) requirement, conspiring to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Gary Thomas was also charged with money laundering, failure to appear, possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person under indictment, and possession of a firearm and ammunition by a fugitive from justice. Brian Thomas went to trial during the week of July 22, 2013, and was convicted of all counts. Gary Thomas pleaded guilty to all charges on October 30, 2013. The evidence showed that between January 1, 2008, and November 1, 2008, Gary and Brian Thomas caused approximately $4,550,000 to be deposited into their domestic bank accounts and then wired to offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and Belize. Shortly thereafter, Gary Thomas stopped making payments on the loans he and his various entities had obtained from a bank. The total amount of the loans was approximately $56 million. In the summer of 2009, the bank filed civil suits against Gary Thomas on these loans. In a three-year period between 2010 and 2013, Gary Thomas wired approximately $2,150,000 from the offshore banks into several domestic accounts including five accounts that Brian Thomas opened in banks.  Thereafter, the father and son conspired to structure withdrawals of cash under $10,000 to avoid the CTR requirement and to hide Gary Thomas’s interest in the funds from his creditor bank. The structured withdrawals were done on roughly 194 occasions and totaled more than $1.6 million. Gary Thomas used some of these funds to purchase five airplanes, numerous vehicles, and homes. Thus far, the government has successfully forfeited the five airplanes; approximately $387,413 in cash, which represents the proceeds of the sale of the home in Alabama; and a $60,000 Hyundai Equus.  The government has also obtained monetary judgments of forfeiture against Gary and Brian Thomas in the amounts of $4,970,000 and $1,197,148 respectively.  

International Fugitives Sentenced for Asset Tracing Scheme

On January 16, 2014, in Newport News, Va., Elaine White, formerly a resident of Toronto, Canada, and her husband, Cullen Johnson, were both sentenced to 66 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,021,738 in restitution for their role in an international asset tracing scheme. Johnson and White pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to engage in money laundering.  According to court documents, starting in 2006, Johnson and White owned and/or operated an asset location business called “Internal Affairs,” “World Solutions” and then “Occipital.”  Clients seeking to locate funds that had been stolen from them or trying to trace lost, missing or stolen assets, hired White and Johnson to investigate the location of such assets. White and Johnson then produced reports of information to clients, which purported to contain financial and other information subject to the clients’ requests. Rather than providing valid information, White and Johnson provided the client-victims with fabricated banking records, purporting to show that the assets or money that clients sought had been moved from one banking institution to another in locations such as Monaco, Greece, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Latin America and the Caribbean. For additional payments, White and Johnson claimed that they could continue to trace the funds to their final destination. On any occasion where the client-victims determined that the information provided by the defendants was false, the defendants claimed that the information was valid and accused the client-victims or their representatives of improperly trying to collect the funds. Court documents also state that, in or about 2009, White and Johnson were charged by the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada with crimes related to this asset tracing fraud. The couple fled Canada, travel to the Turks & Caicos Islands, where they continued to operate this fraudulent asset tracing business on U.S. and Canadian victims. The couple resided there until they were apprehended by Turks & Caicos authorities. All told, the couple solicited more than $1,000,000 from U.S. and Canadian victims, including about $500,000, which they wired to one of their co-conspirators.

Couple Sentenced for Conspiracy and Money Laundering

On November 19, 2013, in Portland, Ore., Hossein Lahiji and Najmeh Vahid Dasterjerdi, aka Najmeh Lahiji, from McAllen, Texas, were both sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to jointly pay $973,503 in restitution to the IRS.  In addition, Lahiji and Dasterjerdi were each ordered to pay $200,000 in fines and to forfeit an additional $600,000. In June 2013, Lahiji and Dasterjerdi were convicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States and money laundering. According to court documents, Lahiji and Dasterjerdi conspired to impede and impair the functions of the IRS in the collection of income taxes and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department in the enforcement of the Presidential Embargo against Iran. Trial evidence showed that the defendants provided funds to a Portland charity, the Child Foundation, between 1998 and 2006. The Child Foundation, in turn, gave the defendants charitable donation receipts and transferred the funds to Iran. Lahiji and Dasterjerdi claimed charitable deductions from their income taxes for these payments. Some of the funds were used to purchase a building in Tehran in the name of Hossein Lahiji’s sister. Additional funds were used to invest in an interest-bearing account in an Iranian bank or committed to be spent at the discretion of an Iranian Ayatollah. Some of the payments were backdated to facilitate claims of charitable donations for a year prior to the year of actual payment. Many of the uses of the funds violated the Presidential embargo against Iran, instituted in 1995.

Businessman Sentenced for Fraudulently Importing $30 Million of Chinese-Made Textiles

On October 21, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., Sunil Jiwat Mirwani was sentenced to 27 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In addition, Mirwani was ordered to forfeit over $30,000 in cash, the contents of a Hong Kong-based bank account, and an inventory of more than 220,000 pairs of blue jeans valued at more than $1 million. According to the evidence presented at a trial in June 2012, Mirwani hired a group of San Diego-based businessmen and logistics professionals to initiate shipments of Chinese-made merchandise from ports in China to the Port of Long Beach, California. When the goods arrived at Long Beach, Mirwani and his conspirators would ensure that the merchandise was classified as “in bond” which is a special customs classification meaning that they had to be shipped directly to Mexico. However, rather than complete the shipment to Mexico, Mirwani and his conspirators forged documents and falsified database entries, allowing them to send the merchandise to warehouses in the Los Angeles area. Mirwani would then sell his merchandise throughout the United States, effectively evading customs duties on more than $30 million in Chinese-made wearing apparel.  Mirwani laundered his ill-gotten gains through a complex web of international wire transfers. Mirwani transmitted nearly $10 million from M Trade, Inc.’s bank account to the account of Mirvana International, a Hong Kong-based company. In addition, Mirwani transmitted similar sums to the Mirvana International account through a series of intermediary accounts in the United States and Mexico and even sent money from M Trade Inc.’s account directly to accounts in mainland China.

New York Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Synthetic Drug

On October 11, 2013, in Syracuse, N.Y., Rosario Gambuzza, of East Syracuse, N.Y., was sentenced to 188 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In May 2013, Gambuzza was convicted after a jury trial on charges of a drug conspiracy and money laundering. According to court documents, between January 2010 and April 2011, Gambuzza conspired to import and distribute a controlled substance analogue, known on the street as “Molly” in Syracuse, N.Y.  Gambuzza was also convicted of 19 counts of money laundering relating to $73,000 he wired to a co-conspirator in Shanghai, China, in order to purchase the drug.  

Narcotics

Worldwide Drug Trafficker Sentenced

On Feb. 20, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif., Shiraz Malik, a Pakistani national residing in Warsaw, Poland, was sentenced to 180 months in prison. Malik was arrested at the Prague International Airport on Sept. 8, 2011, and was extradited on June 22, 2012, from the Czech Republic to the United States. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 7, 2013 to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and listed chemicals, conspiring to import controlled substances and ephedrine into the United States, and conspiring to launder money.  According to court documents, from June 1, 2008, through Sept. 8, 2011, Malik sold pharmaceuticals and highly regulated chemicals to customers in the United States, Europe and other countries and conspired to launder the profits of that activity. Malik took orders from customers via the Internet and coordinated with people in Pakistan to fill the orders. In the course of the three-year investigation, law enforcement agents made eight undercover purchases of various drugs from Malik that were shipped from a post office in Lahore, Pakistan to addresses in the Sacramento area. In each instance, the purchase request was sent to Malik via email and payment instructions were sent by Malik to the undercover agent. Malik maintained at least two bank accounts in Poland that he used to receive payments for Internet drug purchases from undercover agents.

Two Men Sentenced for Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

On January 27, 2014, in Phoenix, Ariz., Jonathan Ortiz Troncoza was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release. David Ortiz Troncoza, Jr. was sentenced to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Jonathan Troncoza pleaded guilty on August 6, 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. David Troncoza pleaded guilty on July 30, 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, beginning on or about March 29, 2005 and continuing through June 1, 2010, Jonathan Troncoza operated a marijuana and cocaine distribution organization. Jonathan and David Troncoza and others distributed large amounts of marijuana and cocaine and laundered the drug proceeds. Specifically, the drug organization receive marijuana and cocaine from sources in the Republic of Mexico. The defendants used stash houses and warehouses to store the drugs for further distribution. A portion of the proceeds were used to acquire additional quantities of drugs for sale, pay for the expenses of the stash houses, cars, couriers, communication equipment and other needs of the drug organization. In addition, business entities were used in furtherance of the conspiracy in order to conceal the identities of the defendants and the true nature of the drug trafficking organization.

Five Men Sentenced for Prescription Drug Trafficking

On January 24, 2014, in Sherman, Texas, Khuda Balouch Buksh, of Duncanville, Texas; Sikander Ali Teepu, of Wantagh, N.Y.; and Haroon Ahmad Tanooli, of Sugarland, Texas, were sentenced to 36 months, 18 months and 18 months in prison, respectively. On January 22, 2014, Mustajab Ali Raza, of Brighton, Minn., and Saaim Aslam, of Irvine, Calif., were both sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. Buksh and Raza were ordered to be deported following the completion of their prison sentences.  According to information presented in court, beginning in 2009, the defendants conspired to import and distribute controlled substances to others by way of a large on-line pharmaceutical operation. The defendants conspired to import and distribute drugs that were unlawfully imported from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Pakistan, and elsewhere by use of the United States Postal Service and other foreign and domestic common carriers. The drugs consisted primarily of misbranded, adulterated, and counterfeit pills made to look like, and sold to customers as if they were, FDA-approved substances manufactured and approved for use within the United States.

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced in Drug Conspiracy Case

On October 22, 2013, in Wilmington, Del., Kevin Morris, of Franklin Township, Pa., was sentenced to 57 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $22,172 in drug proceeds. Morris pleaded guilty on July 25, 2012, to conspiracy to smuggle five kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin from the Republic of Panama into the United States and money laundering.  According to facts introduced during the plea hearing, Morris acted as a recruiter, facilitator, and financier for an organization and was involved on multiple occasions in which couriers smuggled or attempted to smuggle heroin and cocaine from Panama to Delaware.  He made cocaine and heroin sales to customers based primarily in Pennsylvania, including to confidential informants under the control of the Pennsylvania State Police.  Morris further admitted his involvement in purchasing approximately one-half kilogram of cocaine in Washington, D.C., which had been smuggled into the United States through a military contractor based in Afghanistan. In connection with his plea agreement, Morris laundered his drug proceeds in part by purchasing two vehicles.

New York Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Synthetic Drug

On October 11, 2013, in Syracuse, N.Y., Rosario Gambuzza, of East Syracuse, N.Y., was sentenced to 188 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In May 2013, Gambuzza was convicted after a jury trial on charges of a drug conspiracy and money laundering. According to court documents, between January 2010 and April 2011, Gambuzza conspired to import and distribute a controlled substance analogue, known on the street as “Molly” in Syracuse, N.Y.  Gambuzza was also convicted of 19 counts of money laundering relating to $73,000 he wired to a co-conspirator in Shanghai, China, in order to purchase the drug.  

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 11-Apr-2014