Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 7, 2007

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

FBI'S TOP TEN NEWS STORIES FOR THE WEEK ENDING SEPTEMBER 7, 2007

1. Newark: 11 Public Officials Arrested in Corruption Probe

Paterson Assemblyman Alfred E. Steele; Orange Mayor and State Assemblyman Mims Hackett; Passaic Mayor Samuel "Sammy" Rivera; Passaic City Council member Marcellus Jackson; Former Passaic City Council member Jonathan Soto; former President of the Pleasantville Board of Education Jayson Adams; Pleasantville Board of Education member James Pressley; Pleasantville School Board member Rafael Velez; former Pleasantville School Board member Maurice "Pete" Callaway; Pleasantville Board of Education James T. McCormick; and Chief of Staff to the Newark City Council President Keith O. Reid were charged with either conspiracy to extort corrupt payments or attempting to extort corrupt payments. Full Story


2. Miami: Son of Former Liberian President Charged With Acts of Torture

Roy Belfast, Jr., aka Chuckie Taylor, was charged with a superseding indictment with additional crimes of torture occurring in Liberia between 1999 and 2003. Belfast is the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and is alleged to have been a commander in the armed security force in Liberia during his father's administration. Full Story

3. San Diego: San Diego State University Hoax Threat Case

Cristobal Fernando Gonzalez was sentenced for making threatening communications by posting a threat on his website. Gonzalez posted the threat shortly after the shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, intending to draw attention to his website business. Full Story

4. Las Vegas: Henderson Man Charged With Defrauding Investors in Mining Claim Scam

Alberto DoCouto was charged with wire fraud, securities fraud, fraudulent interstate securities transactions, making a false statement, and visa fraud in soliciting others to invest over $20 million in various alleged mining projects. DoCouto has no expertise or appreciable experience in mining precious metals. Full Story

5. St. Louis: Former Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Sentenced for Embezzlement

Christina Finney was sentenced on wire fraud charges for embezzling from the Mobile Chamber of Commerce. To cover up the embezzlement, she failed to pay, among other things, insurance policy premiums which covered employee embezzlements. By not paying these premiums, the Chamber of Commerce had no insurance and suffered the entire loss of the embezzlement. Full Story

6. Los Angeles: Former Make-a-Wish Foundation Board Member Arrested in $8.7 Million Scam

Thomas Mitchell Johnson, former member of the boards of directors of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, was arrested for defrauding a North Carolina man out of more than $8.7 million dollars through a bogus investment scheme. Johnson spent the victim's money on extravagant personal expenses for himself and his girlfriend. Full Story

7. Chicago: Three Officials Indicted in Fraud Scheme

Julius Patterson, president of the Harvey Park District (HPD); Kendall Parrott, director of the HPD; and Linda Hudson, assistant director of the HPD were arrested and charged with wire fraud and theft of government funds. The three defendants obtained corporate credit cards in the name of the HPD and used them for personal expenses. Parrott allegedly concealed the scheme by instructing a HPD employee to classify the expenses as "board-related" or "special events." Full Story

8. New Orleans: Project Safe Childhood Initiative Generating Results

A Bridge City, Louisiana, man was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for producing child pornography. One of his victims was a 6-year-old girl. Federal investigators found more than 15,800 images of child pornography on his computer. Officials announced action on two other cases under the initiative. Full Story

9. Indianapolis: Operation Tombstone Leads to 26 Indictments in Crack Cocaine Trafficking Case

FBI Safe Streets Task Force and DEA-Evansville launched "Operation Tombstone" in Spring 2007 to target the drug trafficking organization. 150 law enforcement officers participated in the execution of arrest warrants and over fourteen search warrants. Twenty-six individuals were indicted for trafficking powder and crack cocaine. Full Story

10. Washington Field Office: Four Defendants Plead Guilty "Pump and Dump" Scheme

Michael Saquella, Lawrence J. Kaplan, Henry "Hank" J. Zemla, and Justin Medlin pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of over $20 million in stock manipulation schemes involving 15 different publicly traded companies. Three other defendants have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced in federal court. Full Story



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