Last edited on Friday, July 02, 2021, at 8:14 PM.
Welcome to The Blanch Law Firm’s weekly digest of New New York Criminal Cases. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country.
As always, unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.
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Friday, July 02, 2021
I. Watertown Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug and Firearms Charges
On June 28, 2021, Daniel J. Borg, 43, of Watertown, New York, pled guilty to a charge of possession of controlled substances (heroin/fentanyl and eutylone) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The disposition of thew case was , announced by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Antoinette T. Bacon, along with several prominent law enforcement officials.
As part of his guilty plea, Daniel J. Borg admitted that on January 21, 2021 he was in possession of 305 grams of eutylone as well as 30 separate bags of a heroin/fentanyl mixture in an Audi automobile that he parked at a self-storage area in Watertown, where he leased a unit. Detectives from the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force (Met-Jeff) surveilled Borg as he was about to enter his locked storage unit. After taking Borg into custody and recovering the drugs from the Audi, Met-Jeff Detectives obtained Borg’s consent to search his locked storage unit.
Inside the storage unit Met-Jeff Detectives located a safe containing 500 separate small plastic bags, each holding a small quantity of a heroin/fentanyl mixture. Also recovered from the storage unit was a sawed-off .410-gauge shotgun illegally possessed by Borg, who was previously convicted of five (5) prior felony offenses.
II. Nine Face Federal Drug and Firearms Charges
On June 28, 2021, the Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Antoinette T. Bacon, announced that nine defendants were arrested and charged with federal drug conspiracy and drug possession charges, conspiracy to commit money laundering and federal firearms offenses.
The following defendants were arrested from June 17, 2021 through June 26, 2021: Tushaun Merritt, 44, of Michigan, has been charged in an Indictment with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. Demarrio Shell, 47, of Michigan, was arrested in the District of Nevada on an indictment filed in the Northern District of New York.
He is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. Michael Hawkins, 38, of Michigan, was arrested in the Western District of Michigan on an indictment filed in the Northern District of New York. He is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.
David Wemmer, 51, of Spencer, New York, is charged in an indictment with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering. Jennifer Patton, 40, of Spencer, New York, is charged in an indictment with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.
Brandon Vanorman, 45, of Spencer, New York, is charged in a criminal complaint with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Cocaine. Philip Acciarito, 34, of Owego, New York, is charged in a criminal complaint with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. David Cobb, 32, of Spencer, New York, is charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Finally, Eini Raupers, 44, of Spencer, New York, is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Cocaine.
III. Former Branch Manager Charged with Bank Fraud
On June 29, 2021, the U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that Derline Cunningham, 60, of Greece, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
According to U.S. Attorney Kennedy, stated that from July 2014 to March 2017, the defendant was employed as a bank branch manager, initially at Bank of America and later at Citizens Bank. One of Cunningham’s largest clients was Lucian Development, including Perry Santillo, Christopher Parris, and various entities they controlled, through which they are alleged to have operated a massive, decade-long Ponzi scheme.
At the behest of Lucian Development, the defendant repeatedly lied to another bank, which extended millions of dollars of revolving credit to Santillo and Parris, regarding the extent of their assets. Santillo and Parris used the credit to finance the operations of their Ponzi scheme, and but for their access to such credit, the scheme would have collapsed years earlier. The victim bank ultimately lost approximately $335,968 to Santillo and Parris.
IV. Three Arrested For Orchestrating Multimillion-Dollar “Silver Lease” Investment Fraud
On July 1, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, along with the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, William F. Sweeney Jr, announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging Robert Jeffrey Johnson, a/k/a “Jeff Johnson,” Ross Baldwin, and Kathleen Hook with conspiring to commit wire fraud and wire fraud for defrauding at least approximately 60 investors of at least approximately $8 million in connection with a precious metals leasing program known as the “Silver Lease Program.”
Johnson and Baldwin were further charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and wire fraud for defrauding insurance companies by making misrepresentations in connection with obtaining insurance for the purported silver. Baldwin was also charged with making false statements to federal officials in connection with lying to officials of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during a sworn deposition. Johnson and Hook were arrested July 1 in Palm Beach, Florida, and they were presented that same day in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Baldwin was arrested July 1 in Albany, New York, and was presented in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York the same day.
V. Canadian Asset Management Firm Trader Charged with Insider Trading
On July 2, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, along with William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office announced today that Sean Wygovsky, a trader at a large Canadian asset management firm was charged in a Complaint in Manhattan federal court with securities fraud and wire fraud in connection with his scheme to steal confidential information about the trade orders of the Employer Firm in order to conduct hundreds of timely, profitable personal securities trades in the same stocks as his Employer Firm.
Wygovsky attempted to hide his conduct by trading or causing trading in brokerage accounts held in the names of his close relatives. Wygovsky was arrested in Austin, Texas, and is expected to be presented in federal court this afternoon before a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Texas.
According to details in the complaint, Sam Wygovsky stole confidential trade information from his employer and used that information over the course of several years to place hundreds of trades that were both timely and profitable, and made him a lot of money. Put simply, Wygovsky exploited his access to his firm’s trade orders to make trades for himself and for his own benefit. As alleged in the complaint, Wygovsky made or directed hundreds of timely transactions that netted him more than $3.6 million in illegal profits.
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