United States Attorney David Capp
Northern District of Indiana
5400 Federal Plaza, Suite 1500
Hammond, Indiana 46320
Hammond South Bend Fort
Hammond South Bend Fort Wayne
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary Hatton
www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn/ FAX (219) 852-2770
WEEK IN REVIEW – HAMMOND
Hammond, Indiana - The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in Federal Court:
Ø Seandell Rounds, 20, of Riverdale, Illinois, a defendant in the case US v Elmore et al., pled guilty before Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of robbery. These charges were filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Gary Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.
If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Ø Lance Payton, 35, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by Chief Judge Philip Simon to 100 months imprisonment and 2 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to documents filed by the government in this case, after an altercation broke out between Lance Payton and another individual on the streets of East Chicago, Indiana, instead of leaving the scene and calling the police, Payton went across the street to his step-father’s residence and returned with a loaded, nine millimeter, semi-automatic pistol. Payton then committed numerous felony offenses with this firearm in the span of a few minutes, by pointing this loaded firearm at the other individual, then fired the gun into the air two times (committing the crime of criminal recklessness), then battered this individual with the firearm, then shot him in the shoulder and also shot out the window of this individual’s car. Payton has three prior felony convictions and five prior misdemeanor convictions. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives HIDTA Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.
Ø Randall Causey, 48, of Gary, Indiana, a defendant in the case US v Chandler et al., was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 108 months imprisonment and 3 years of supervised release after being found guilty at trial of the felony offenses of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. According to documents filed in this case, Causey engaged in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses. He, along with others, recruited five buyers and talked them into purchasing a combined total of 21 houses in the scheme. Causey told the buyers the houses were good investments despite knowing that the houses were in disrepair and located in unsafe neighborhoods. He told them the houses would be rehabilitated by his company when he knew that little if any of the necessary repairs would actually be done. He told them he would find renters to occupy the houses and maintain and manage the properties thereafter, knowing he would make no effort to do so once the house had sold and the first month or two of the mortgage had been paid. The lenders were provided false information regarding the buyers’ credit-worthiness and were falsely told buyers had made down payments and taken out seller-second mortgages. As a result, in most of the home sales, the lenders unwittingly approved financing for 100% of the purchase of the homes, leaving no cushion if the housing market declined. The financial institutions to which some of the mortgages were packaged and sold by the initial lenders eventually lost their investment as well, as all of the homes sold in the scheme were eventually foreclosed upon. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster and Emily Cremeans.
Ø Ikedia Smith, 26, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Chief Judge Philip Simon to 60 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Smith has prior convictions for attempted residential entry. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Kolar.