United States Attorney David Capp

Northern District of Indiana

M01-204 S. Main Street

South Bend, Indiana  46601

Hammond                                                      South Bend                                           Fort Wayne

 
 

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Chad Hunter

February 21, 2014

Mary Hatton

www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn

OFFICE: 219-937-5500

chad.hunter@usdoj.gov

CELL: 219-902-3452

                                                           

           

 

WEEK IN REVIEW – SOUTH BEND

 

            South Bend, Indiana — The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in Federal Court:

 

PLEAS (before Magistrate Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein)

 

Ø  Michael Hillebrand III, 30, of Mishawaka, Indiana pled guilty to the felony offense of theft of government property. The magistrate is recommending that the district court accept the tendered guilty plea.  Parties have 14 days in which to object to the magistrate judge’s recommendation. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Department of Labor.  Sentencing has been set for 5/22/2014.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Brook.

 

Ø  Joseph Golden, 27, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Indiana pled guilty to the felony offense of attempting to enter a bank to commit larceny. The magistrate is recommending that the district court accept the tendered guilty plea.  Parties have 14 days in which to object to the magistrate judge’s recommendation. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Sentencing has been set for 5/22/2014.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Donald Schmid.

 

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.

 

 

DISPOSITIONS (before District Judge Robert L Miller, Jr.)

 

Ø  Rick Franklin, 55, of South Bend, Indiana was sentenced to 71 months imprisonment with 3 years supervised release and to pay $40,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to the felony offense of knowingly and intentionally possessing a vehicle which had altered or removed VIN numbers with the intent to dispose of the vehicle.  According to documents filed in this case, in February 2013, law enforcement stopped a trailer hauling a Bobcat Skid Steer loader on US 31. The Bobcart Skid Steer loader had been “re-vinned” (the proper VIN number removed and a different one substituted) and Franklin was involved with the re-vinning. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Schaffer.

 

Ø  Christopher Wilhite, 33, of Monon, Indiana was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment with 5 years supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of child pornography plus forfeiture allegation.  According to documents filed in this case, from October 2011 to May, 2012, Wilhite possessed a laptop computer onto which he had downloaded numerous images and videos that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Wilhite subsequently transferred those computer files to an external hard drive. In October 2012, the laptop and external hard drive were seized at Wilhite’s residence by law enforcement. This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Department of Homeland Security, state and local task force.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Maciejczyk.

 

Ø  Michael Spurgeon, 47, of Elkhart, Indiana was sentenced to 2 years probation after pleading guilty to the felony offense of knowingly manufacturing marijuana.  According to documents filed in this case, in February 2013, DEA entered a garage in Elkhart, Indiana. Law enforcement discovered marijuana plants, grow materials, and grow lights in the building. The marijuana growing equipment and items were the property of Spurgeon. This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Schaffer.

 

Ø  Raymond Belsan, 33, of Syracuse, Indiana was to 120 months imprisonment with 7 years supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of distribution of child pornography.  According to documents filed in this case, in September 2012, Belsan possessed a custom built desktop computer onto which he had downloaded numerous images and videos that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Belsan also utilized file sharing programs which he used to download these images from others via the internet. Belsan also enabled file sharing for others to access some of the child pornography on his machine.  This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Maciejczyk.

 

(before District Judge Jon E. DeGuilio.)

 

  Ø   Dontrell Smith, 24, of South Bend, Indiana was sentenced to 40 months with 3 years supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.  According to documents filed in this case, in August 2013, Smith possessed a PT111 Pro Millennium, Caliber: 9mm handgun loaded with ammunition.   Previously, Smith had been convicted of possession of cocaine. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Donald Schmid.