Last edited on Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6:21 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.
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Friday, June 11, 2021
I. Ringleader, Five Other Members of Rochester Drug Trafficking Group Charged with Narcotics Conspiracy
In Rochester, on June 7, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced that six Rochester men had been charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, at least 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, as well as 500 grams or more of cocaine. The charges carry a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison, as well as a $10,000,000 fine.
Named in the complaint are Jason Siplin a/k/a J, 44; Jason Siplin, Jr. a/k/a Mush, 27; Ernest Gamble a/k/a Dred, 19; Lytrice Jackson a/k/a Storm, 31; Timothy Granison, 42 and; Dkeidron Dublin, 39. In addition, Dkeidron Dublin is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The U.S. Attorney handling the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. McGrath. According to the criminal complaint, the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRANET) has for some time been investigating a drug trafficking organization led by Jason Siplin. That investigation revealed that, since at least August 2020, the drug trafficking organization was distributing large quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine in the City of Rochester, as well as surrounding areas.
Jason Siplin regularly obtained large quantities of cocaine that he used to supply a drug house in central Rochester, from which cocaine and crack cocaine were sold to individual drug users. Siplin had one or more storage locations for narcotics and United States currency.
II. Former Olympic Figure Skater Arrested for Role in Defrauding SBA of Over $1.5 Million
On June 8, 2021, Audrey Strauss, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with William F. Sweeney, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, announced the unsealing of a complaint charging Luka Klasinc, a former Olympic figure skater, with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with his use of falsified documents used in his attempts to gain access to over $1.5 million in funds disbursed pursuant to fraudulent U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Klasinc, who is a Slovenian national, was arrested June 7 in Manhattan, and was presented June 8, before Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox.
According to the allegations in the Complaint, Klasinc is the sole owner of a company named BOB77, LLC. Klasinc claimed that BOB77, LLC (“BOB77”) is an event management company that, in conjunction with its global partners, stages major ice-themed amusement park style events around the world. Beginning in or around 2019, BOB77 opened three business bank accounts (the “BOB77 Accounts”) with an international financial institution (“Bank-1”).
Between July 2020 and September 2020, the BOB77 Accounts received a total of $1,595,800 from the SBA, pursuant to eleven Economic Injury Disaster Loans. In the same period, there were numerous wire transfers from the BOB77 Accounts to international beneficiaries. In late September 2020, after identifying potential fraud, Bank-1 froze all funds in the BOB77 Accounts and contacted Klasinc for additional information regarding the account activity.
In response, Klasinc provided documentation — including a falsified document purporting to be a letter from the U.S. Small Business Administration — intended to legitimize the SBA deposits and persuade Bank-1 to release the funds. In or around June 2021, Klasinc traveled to the United States and appeared at in person at a New York branch of Bank-1, where he again attempted to persuade Bank-1 to release the funds by claiming that the SBA deposits were “investments” and not associated with a loan.
III. Man Arrested in Texas for New York-Based Wire Fraud & Money Laundering Scheme
On June 9, 2021, Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) in New York, announced that Guillermo Perez had been arrested earlier in the day for defrauding businesses and individuals of more than $2.2 million through business email compromise and bank fraud schemes. Perez was presented June 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment, from at least in or about October 2018 through at least in or about October 2019, Guillermo Perez participated in a scheme to defraud businesses by impersonating individuals and businesses in the course of otherwise ordinary financial transactions, thereby fraudulently inducing counterparties to those transactions to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by PEREZ and his co-conspirators (the “Business Email Compromise Scheme”).
To facilitate this scheme, PEREZ conspired to deceive federally insured banks into opening business bank accounts (the “Fraudulent Bank Accounts”) by providing the banks with false and misleading information regarding PEREZ’s co-conspirators’ affiliations.
IV. Man Charged with Using Identities of Trump Family Members to Perpetrate Online Fraud Scheme
On June 8, 2021, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, along with William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Office, announced the unsealing of a Complaint charging Joshua Hall with fraud and identity theft offenses related to his use of social media and crowdfunding websites to fraudulently impersonate Trump family members to fraudulently raise funds for a fictitious political organization and defraud hundreds.
Hall was arrested earlier that day and was presented in Harrisburg federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab. According to the allegations made in the Complaint, Hall defrauded hundreds of victims by making false representations in the course of raising funds for a Fictitious Political Organization, with the alleged purpose of supporting the reelection of the individual who was at that time serving as President of the United States (“the President”).
However, the Fictitious Political Organization did not exist and Hall used the funds for his own personal living expenses. A central facet of the scheme was Hall’s impersonations of Trump family members, using social media accounts bearing Trump family names and photos.
V. Long Island Gang Member Indicted for Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Minors
On June 10, 2021, in federal court in Central Islip, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mark J. Lesko, along with several prominent state and federal law enforcement officials, announced the unsealing of a seven-count indictment charging Joshua Lampley-Reid, a member of the Makk Balla set of the Bloods street gang, with sex trafficking, coercion and enticement of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, transportation of child pornography and interstate prostitution.
Lampley-Reid was arrested on Wednesday and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James M. Wicks. Allegedly, Lampley-Reid groomed and sent girls as young as 15 into prostitution.
According to numerous court filings, from December 2019 until his arrest yesterday, Lampley-Reid allegedly used violence and the threat of violence to compel the commission of commercial sex acts by numerous women for his financial benefit, including by minors as young as 15-years-old.
Lampley-Reid used social media and other internet applications to establish relationships with potential victims, groomed those victims by feigning a romantic interest in them, manipulated them into working for him as prostitutes, and then effectively enslaved them through acts of force and coercion. Lampley-Reid demanded that the proceeds of prostitution “dates” be turned over to him, and any resistance from the victims was met with violence or threats.
Lampley-Reid trafficked victims on Long Island, including at motels in East Meadow, Freeport and Rockville Centre, as well as in Florida, Maryland and North Carolina, among other states.
VI. Five Individuals, Including Current and Former JetBlue Employees, Charged with Covid-19 Related Fraud
On June 10, 2021, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mark J. Lesko, along with Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Orlando Sanay, Keimi Nunez and his twin brother Keily Nunez, Michael Pimentel Veloz and Fanny Plasencia with wire fraud in connection with false statements they allegedly made to obtain loans pursuant to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL). All defendants were arrested June 10, and made their initial appearances later that day, before United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann.
The defendants are all current and former employers of airline JetBlue. And they used false information to steal relief funds meant to provide help for small businesses that suffered economic hardship during the Coronavirus pandemic. As alleged in the complaint, between April 2020 and August 2020, the defendants applied for EIDL loans for eight separate entities. In those applications, the defendants falsely represented the number of employees associated with the entities and misstated the gross revenues for the entities for the 12 months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, Sanay submitted a loan application to the Small Business Association (SBA) in July 2020 claiming that he was the owner and chief executive officer of Sanay Venture Capital LLC (“SVC”). In the application, Sanay falsely claimed that SVC had 26 employees, gross revenues of $839,000 and cost of goods sold of $560,000 for the relevant period.
Sanay and Keimy Nunez submitted the application from the IP address of their employer, JetBlue Airways, to the SBA’s online portal. The SBA approved SVC’s application and on August 4, 2020, wired $139,400 to Sanay’s personal bank account.
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