Press Conferences


December 5, 2013

Health Care Fraud Charges Against Current and Former Russian Diplomats and Their Spouses

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos announce charges against 49 defendants for participating in a widespread fraud scheme from 2004 to August 2013 to illegally obtain nearly half a million dollars in Medicaid benefits. Each of the defendants charged in the Complaint is a current or former Russian diplomat or the spouse of a diplomat employed at either the Russian Mission to the United Nations, the Russian Federation Consulate General in New York, or the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the USA, New York Office. The Complaint alleges that each of the defendants and their unnamed co-conspirators participated in a widespread scheme to illegally obtain Medicaid benefits for prenatal care and related costs by, among other things, falsely underreporting their income or falsely claiming that their child was a citizen of the United States.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Charging Document(PDF)

 

November 5, 2013

Guilty Plea Agreement With SAC Capital Management Companies Announced

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge April Brooks announce an agreement to resolve insider trading charges against four companies – S.A.C. Capital Advisors, L.P., S.A.C. Capital Advisors, LLC, CR Intrinsic Investors, LLC, and Sigma Capital Management, LLC, collectively (the “SAC Companies”) – that are responsible for the management of a group of affiliated hedge funds. Under the agreement, which is subject to Court approval, the SAC Companies will plead guilty to each count in which they are charged of an indictment unsealed in July of this year charging the SAC Companies with securities fraud and wire fraud in connection with a large-scale insider trading scheme. The agreement imposes a $1.8 billion financial penalty on the SAC Companies – the largest insider trading penalty in history – split between a $900 million fine in the criminal case and a $900 million forfeiture judgment in a civil money laundering and forfeiture action filed by the Government simultaneously with the criminal charges. It also provides that the SAC Companies and their affiliates will no longer accept outside investor funds and will shut down operations as an investment adviser.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Indictment & Additional Supporting Documents(PDF)

 

September 27, 2013

Two Former U.S. Soldiers & One Former German Soldier Arrested for Conspiracy to Murder a DEA Agent

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart announce the arrests of three defendants – Joseph Manuel Hunter and Timothy Vamvakias, both citizens of the United States, and Dennis Gogel, a citizen of Germany. Hunter, Vamvakias, and Gogel arrived in the Southern District of New York and were presented in U.S. Magistrate Court. As part of the same case, Slawomir Soborski and Michael Filter, citizens of Poland and Germany, respectively, were arrested in Estonia at the request of the United States on September 25, 2013. Hunter, Vamvakias, and Gogel are charged in five separate counts with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States; conspiracy to murder a law enforcement agent and a person assisting a law enforcement agent; conspiracy to kill a person to prevent communications to law enforcement agents; conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and conspiracy to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft. Soborski and Filter are charged with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States and conspiracy to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft. On September 25, 2013, the DEA’s Special Operations Division, Bilateral Investigative Unit Narco-Terrorism Group, concluded a long-standing undercover operation conducted in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere. Hunter was arrested in Thailand; Vamvakias and Gogel were arrested in Liberia and all three subsequently were expelled to the United States. Soborski and Filter were arrested in Estonia, where they remain, pending extradition to the United States.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Chart(PDF)
Superseding Indictment(PDF)

 

August 14, 2013

Attorney General, Manhattan U.S. Attorney, and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Announce Charges Against Two Derivatives Traders In Connection With Multi-Billion Dollar Trading Loss At JPMorgan Chase & Company

Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge April Brooks announce the unsealing of criminal complaints against Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout for their alleged participation in a conspiracy to hide the true extent of losses in a credit derivatives trading portfolio maintained by the Chief Investment Office (“CIO”) of JPMorgan Chase & Company. Martin-Artajo served as a Managing Director and Head of Credit and Equity Trading for the CIO, and Grout was a Vice President and derivatives trader in the CIO.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Indictment & Additional Supporting Documents(PDF)

 

July 25, 2013

Insider Trading Charges Announced Against Four SAC Capital Management Companies and SAC Portfolio Manager

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos announce the unsealing of insider trading charges against four companies – S.A.C. Capital Advisors, L.P. (“SAC Capital LP”), S.A.C. Capital Advisors, LLC, CR Intrinsic Investors, LLC, and Sigma Capital Management, LLC, collectively (the “SAC Companies”). The SAC Companies are responsible for the management of a group of affiliated hedge funds. The alleged insider trading was committed by numerous employees of the SAC companies, occurred over the span of more than a decade, and involved the securities of more than 20 publicly-traded companies across multiple sectors of the economy. Charges were also unsealed today against Richard Lee, a portfolio manager employed by SAC Capital LP, who focused on “special situations” like mergers and acquisitions, private equity buy-outs, and corporate restructurings in publicly-traded companies across various industry sectors. Lee pled guilty on July 23, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe, to conspiracy and securities fraud charges in connection with his work at SAC Capital LP.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Indictment & Additional Supporting Documents(PDF)

 

July 24, 2013

United States Returns Stolen Antique Books to the National Library of Sweden

NEW YORK, NY – Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) announced the return to the National Library of Sweden of two antique books that were stolen from the Library in the 1990s. The books, which were once part of the collections of Swedish royalty, contain early depictions of interior areas of the United States, including the Mississippi River, by explorers.

Press Release
Indictment & Additional Supporting Documents(PDF)

 

May 28, 2013

Liberty Reserve, One of World’s Largest Digital Currency Companies, and Seven of Its Principals and Employees Charged for Allegedly Running a $6 Billion Money Laundering Scheme

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent-in-Charge Steven G. Hughes, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr., announce the unsealing of an indictment charging Liberty Reserve, a company that operated one of the world’s most widely used digital currency services, and seven of its principals and employees with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Liberty Reserve is alleged to have had more than one million users worldwide, including more than 200,000 users in the U.S, who conducted approximately 55 million transactions – virtually all of which were illegal – and laundered more than $6 billion in suspected proceeds of crimes including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking. In addition to the criminal charges brought in the indictment, five domain names were seized, namely, the domain name of Liberty Reserve and the domain names of four exchanger websites that were controlled by one or more of the defendants; 45 bank accounts were restrained or seized; and a civil action was filed against 35 exchanger websites seeking the forfeiture of the exchangers’ domain names because the websites were used to facilitate the Liberty Reserve money laundering conspiracy and constitute property involved in money laundering. The four exchangers whose domain names were seized, as well as the 35 exchangers whose domain names are the subjects of the civil forfeiture action, were all exchangers that transacted business with Liberty Reserve and were listed on Liberty Reserve’s website as “pre-approved exchangers.” The investigation and takedown involved law enforcement action in 17 countries, including Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Spain, Morocco, Sweden, Switzerland, Cyprus, Australia, China, Norway, Latvia, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada. U.S. Department of Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen also announced today that Liberty Reserve has been named as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This coordinated action by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network includes a notice to the Federal Register proposing to prohibit covered U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining correspondent or payable-through accounts for foreign banks that are being used to process transactions involving Liberty Reserve.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Indictment & Additional Supporting Documents(PDF)

 

May 7, 2013

Charges Announced Against Debt Settlement Company and Six Individuals for Multi-Million Dollar Scheme That Targeted Debt-Ridden Consumers

NEW YORK, NY- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip Bartlett announced the unsealing of an Indictment charging Mission Settlement Agency (“MISSION”), its owner Michael Levitis, and three of its employees – DENIS KURLYAND, BORIS SHULMAN, and MANUEL CRUZ – with mail and wire fraud charges in connection with a multi-million dollar scheme that victimized more than 1,200 debt-ridden individuals across the country. As alleged, the defendants fraudulently tricked people into paying MISSION for debt settlement services by lying to prospective customers about its fees, and its purported affiliation with the federal government and one of the three leading credit bureaus in the U.S., as well as the results it supposedly achieved for its customers. In connection with the scheme, MISSION received over $6.6 million in fees. For over 1, 200 of its customers, MISSION took fees totaling nearly $2.2 million and has never paid a penny to the customers’ creditors. Two former employees of the debt settlement company, Felix Lemberskiy and Zakhir Shirinov, previously pled guilty for their participation in the fraudulent scheme. In addition, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the filing of a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to forfeit the proceeds of the alleged fraud and the assets involved in money laundering related to the scheme. CFPB Director Richard Cordray also announced civil charges against MISSION and LEVITIS, among others.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Charging Documents(PDF)

 

April 4, 2013

Bribery Charges Announced Against NY State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and Four Others in Connection with Alleged Scheme to Sell Legislation for Cash

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announce the unsealing of a Complaint charging New York State Assemblyman Eric Stevenson with accepting bribes in exchange for official acts. Stevenson is charged with taking more than $22,000 in bribes from Igor Belyansky, Rostislav Belyansky (a/k/a “Slava”), Igor Tsimerman, and David Binman, all of whom are also charged, in exchange for Stevenson’s official acts, which include drafting, proposing, and agreeing to enact legislation. Specifically, Belyansky, Slava, Tsimerman, and Binman, who were interested in operating and constructing adult day care centers in the Bronx, allegedly paid Stevenson to sponsor, and ultimately cause to be enacted, legislation that would declare a three-year moratorium on the construction of adult day care centers in New York City, but from which their current centers would be exempted. In connection with one of the defendants’ adult day care centers on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, Stevenson is also alleged to have used his office to facilitate the issuance of a certificate of occupancy and the installation of a gas line. In addition, he is alleged to have held events in his official capacity to recruit senior citizens to attend a second center on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx. Four of the defendants were arrested this morning and the fifth, Tsimerman, self-surrendered. A second Assemblyman cooperated in the investigation and has agreed to resign.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Charging Documents(PDF)

 

April 2, 2013

Federal Corruption Charges Announced Against NY State Senator Malcolm Smith, NYC Council Member Daniel Halloran, and Four Others

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos announce the unsealing of a Complaint charging New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, New York City Council Member Daniel Halloran, and four others with bribery, extortion, and fraud charges. The charges against the defendants arise from an undercover investigation of three distinct but related bribery schemes involving public corruption. In the first scheme, SMITH allegedly arranged for cash bribes totaling $40,000 to be paid to Vincent Tabone and Joseph Savino, two New York City Republican county leaders, as part of an effort by Smith, who is a Democrat, to appear on the Republican primary ballot as a mayoral candidate in the 2013 election. Halloran is alleged to have received approximately $20,500 in cash bribes to act as an intermediary with Tabone and Savino on Smith’s behalf. In the second scheme, Halloran allegedly received approximately $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 in straw donor campaign contribution checks in exchange for agreeing to steer up to $80,000 of New York City Council discretionary funding to a company he believed was controlled by those who paid him the bribes. The final scheme involved Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Village of Spring Valley in Rockland County, and their alleged receipt of financial benefits, including Jasmin’s receipt of a hidden interest in a real estate project and Desmaret’s receipt of approximately $10,500 in cash bribes, in exchange for official acts.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visuals(PDF)
Charging Documents(PDF)

 

January 23, 2013

Three Alleged International Cyber Criminals Responsible for Creating and Distributing Virus That Infected Over One Million Computers and Caused Tens of Millions of Dollars in Losses Charged in Manhattan Federal Court

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, and FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos announce charges against three individuals who played critical roles in creating and distributing the Gozi Virus, one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history. The Gozi Virus infected over one million computers globally and caused tens of millions of dollars in losses. Nikita Kuzmin, a Russian national who created the Gozi Virus, was arrested in the U.S. in November 2010 and pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand to various computer intrusion and fraud charges in May 2011. Deniss Calovskis, a/k/a “Miami,” a Latvian national who allegedly wrote some of the computer code that made the Gozi Virus so effective, was arrested in Latvia in November 2012. Mihai Ionut Paunescu, a/k/a “Virus,” a Romanian national who allegedly ran a “bulletproof hosting” service that enabled cyber criminals to distribute the Gozi Virus, the Zeus Trojan and other notorious malware, and conduct other sophisticated cyber crimes, was arrested in Romania in December 2012.

Press Release
Remarks by U.S. Attorney Bharara(PDF)
Press Conference Visual(PDF)
Charging Documents(PDF)

 

 

 



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