News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases 2009

2009 Archives: Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec

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Note: To request a specific press release issued prior to September 2009 please contact USARI.Media@usdoj.gov

December 2009

December 30, 2009

Nathaniel Pope, 47, of Indiana, and Catherine Pflug, 45, of Indiana, have been charged in a federal complaint with interstate transportation of an individual for prostitution, in violation of the Mann Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2421. Pope and Pflug allegedly transported the victim from Indiana to Rhode Island, where they solicited prostitution customers for the victim.

December 24, 2009

Audeliz Villegas, 44, of Pawtucket, has been charged in a federal complaint with wire fraud and impersonating a federal agent.  Villegas allegedly defrauded immigrants by posing as an immigration attorney.  He later claimed that he was a federal immigration agent and threatened to have individuals whom he had allegedly defrauded arrested.

December 17, 2009

Jose Francisco Medina-Liz, 52, most recently of Providence, has pleaded guilty to illegally reentering the country and trafficking in ecstasy.  DEA agents found 994 Ecstasy pills on him in July.  Medina-Liz had been deported in 1993 after being convicted in Rhode Island of drug trafficking a year earlier.

David Christensen, of South Kingstown, who ran a glass bead manufacturing business, pleaded guilty today to filing a false income tax return and, as a result, underpaying his income tax by about $70,000.

December 11, 2009

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Christian A. Rufino, 39, of Patterson, New York, with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to an affidavit supporting a complaint filed on December 2, Cranston police found a gun in the trunk of a car that Rufino was driving on December 1.

December 10, 2009

A federal grand jury in Providence has returned an indictment charging John H. Douglas, a Woonsocket Police officer, with violating the civil rights of a juvenile in his custody by assaulting him, and with obstructing justice.

December 9, 2009

A federal judge today sentenced Lisa Torres, 41, formerly of Johnston, to 46 months in federal prison for a $1.7 million mortgage fraud scheme.  In October, Torres admitted that she purchased properties that had recently been foreclosed upon and then used the names of straw purchasers in sham sales at inflated prices to fraudulently obtain mortgage financing.

December 8, 2009

DEA agents yesterday arrested Edward “Buckles” Melise, 61, of North Providence, on a federal complaint charging him with selling oxycodone.  According to an affidavit supporting the complaint, Melise sold oxycodone pills twice on November 4 to an individual who claimed that Melise had supplied oxycodone on previous occasions.

December 7, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced Jason Loyd, 33, of Scituate, to 30 months in federal prison for robbing tellers at two banks in Cranston in May.  Loyd passed tellers notes demanding money at the Randolph Savings Bank on Pontiac Avenue on May 20, and at a Citizens Bank branch on Oaklawn Avenue on May 28.  Police arrested Loyd after he crashed his pickup truck during a high-speed chase immediately following the May 28 robbery.

December 4, 2009

Adrian A. Aponte, 24, of Providence, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  In August, Aponte fled from Providence Police officers through a cemetery and was found hiding in a dog house, after tossing away a backpack containing a handgun.

December 2, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced Pasquale Scavitti, III, a former attorney based in Cranston, to 42 months in prison for diverting more than $2.5 million in mortgage funds from his firm’s client account for personal use.

A federal judge today sentenced Douglas Denson, 28, and Marcus Denson, 29, brothers who lived in Cranston, to ten years each in federal prison for trafficking in crack cocaine.  In February, DEA Task Force Agents seized crack cocaine and trafficking materials from the Densons’ apartment on Richard Street.  Both have at least two prior drug trafficking convictions and were sentenced as career offenders.

November 2009

November 24, 2009

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch announced today that both of their offices will be prosecuting the case against Arjusz Roszkowski, the 26-year-old North Reading, MA, man who shot himself while struggling with an undercover Rhode Island State Police detective from whom, State Police allege, Roszkowski was buying guns to rob a bank. The incident occurred in the parking lot of Lincoln Woods State Park Nov. 6.

November 20, 2009

Dimas Liranzo and Jeanette Hernandez-Javier, both of Providence, have pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking charges, admitting that they received packages of cocaine that had been mailed from Puerto Rico.  The package sent to Liranzo contained a kilogram of cocaine and the one sent to Hernandez-Javier, evidently from the same source, contained two kilograms.

November 19, 2009

Dennis Tasker, 38, of Providence, pleaded guilty today to robbing tellers at banks in Providence and Newport in July by using threatening notes.  Quickly identified as a suspect, Tasker was arrested in Boston three days after the second robbery while allegedly trying to break into cars.

A federal judge has sentenced two men to prison for being felons in possession of firearms.  In separate cases, Stanley Alston, 39, of Providence was sentenced on November 17 to 67 months, and Damon Foster, 35, of The Bronx, New York, was sentenced today to 37 months.

November 18, 2009

Robert Beauparlant, Jr., 26, of Woonsocket, pleaded guilty today to robbing a Providence man of a half-kilogram of marijuana and $2,800 in cash and, in a separate case, to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

November 13, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced two former union officials and a contractor to probation and fined the union officials for participating in a scheme to funnel illegal payments to the union officials. 

November 12, 2009

Ming Yan, who operates a computer store in North Providence, has pleaded guilty to causing the misbranding of the prescription drug sildenafil citrate, which is marketed as Viagara, and to copyright infringement.  Immigration and FDA agents seized counterfeit sildenafil citrate pills and more than 1,000 pirated movie DVDs from Yan’s store and home in March 2008.

November 6, 2009

Rodney Wilcox, 24, of Providence, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Providence Police narcotics detectives saw Wilcox clutching what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, and arrested him after Wilcox fled and tossed away the gun.  The handgun had been stolen during a break-in at a Providence Police officer’s house.

A federal judge today sentenced Craig Shacklock, 52, of Providence, to 92 months in prison for robbing a teller at a Citizens Bank branch in Providence in January and attempting a robbery at a downtown Providence bank earlier the same day.

November 3, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced Stiven F. Polanco, 22, of Providence, to ten years in federal prison for trafficking in heroin and possessing a gun.  Polanco and David Contreras sold heroin to an undercover DEA Task Force agent, and were arrested a week later when they had arranged to sell additional heroin.  Agents found a stash of heroin and a loaded handgun in a hidden compartment in Polanco’s car.

A federal judge has found Stephfon Cover, 37, of Woonsocket, guilty of trafficking in crack cocaine. Codefendant Stephanie Fath, 32, of the same address as Cover, pleaded guilty to her role in their crack distribution conspiracy, and is serving a five-year federal prison sentence.

November 2, 2009

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha today announced the formation of the office leadership team:  First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth P. Madden, Criminal Division Chief Stephen G. Dambruch, Civil Division Chief Michael P. Iannotti, Deputy Criminal Chief and Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Adi Goldstein, and Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew J. Reich.

October 2009

October 26, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the appointment of Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and eight other U.S. Attorneys to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC).  The committee provides advice and counsel to the Attorney General on policy, management, and operational issues affecting the Offices of the U.S. Attorneys.  The appointments are for two-year terms.

October 23, 2009

A federal judge today sentenced Souvanh Keosouvanh, 29, of Providence, to 220 months in federal prison for leading a plot to rob drug dealers of cocaine.  Keosouvanh discussed the proposed robbery with an undercover ATF agent posing as a drug courier, and was arrested along with three codefendants as they were en route to the proposed robbery.  The drug dealers, purportedly the undercover agents’ employers, did not exist.

A federal judge has sentenced Marcos Castro Daly, 30, formerly of San Juan, Puerto Rico, to 60 months in federal prison for taking shipment of a kilogram package of cocaine that had been mailed from San Juan to an address in Providence.

October 22, 2009

Jonathan Rodriguez, 21, of Providence, pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Providence Police arrested Rodriguez last November after hearing gun shots and seeing Rodriguez running, holding a silver handgun.  At about the same time, a man had been shot nearby, but later did not identify the shooter.

October 21, 2009

Eric Snead, 32, of Providence, and four other defendants have pleaded guilty to identity theft and credit card fraud for obtaining duplicate credit cards of victims’ accounts and using the cards at casinos, auto club service centers, and retail stores.  Snead and his cohorts compromised the accounts of nearly 50 victims and defrauded three banks of more than $400,000.

October 20, 2009

A federal jury has found James Farrell, 66, most recently of Cranston, guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Citing Farrell’s violent criminal history, the government contends that he is an armed career criminal, which would mandate a minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

October 2, 2009

A federal judge today assessed the Southern Union Company $18 million for illegally storing mercury at a company-owned site in Pawtucket.  The sentence imposed in U.S. District Court includes a $6 million criminal fine and $12 million in payments of various amounts to community initiatives, including the Rhode Island Foundation, the DEM Emergency Response Fund, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Lisa Torres, 40, formerly of Johnston, pleaded guilty today to a $1.7 million mortgage fraud scheme in which she purchased properties that had recently been foreclosed upon, and then used the names of straw purchasers in sham sales to finagle mortgage financing.

September 2009

September 28, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced Brian Murphy, 39, formerly of Providence, to seven years in prison for distributing child pornography over the Internet.  As part of an investigation that began in Switzerland, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rhode Island State Police, and Providence Police in 2007 seized computer equipment containing thousands of child pornography images from Murphy’s apartment.

September 22, 2009

A federal judge has sentenced Anthony Soares, 46, of Pawtucket, to 96 months in prison for a pair of bank robberies last September in Providence and Central Falls.  Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi sentenced Soares, who has more than a dozen prior convictions dating back to 1982, to the high end of federal sentencing guidelines for the robberies.

September 16, 2009

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi today administered the oath of office to Peter F. Neronha as U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island.  President Obama today formalized Mr. Neronha’s appointment after the Senate yesterday confirmed his nomination.  President Obama nominated Mr. Neronha for U.S. Attorney on the recommendation of Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.

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