News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases 2010

2010 Archives: Jan | Feb | Mar | April | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | 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 2010

December 23, 2010

The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has upheld the conviction and $18 million dollar fine against Southern Union Company for illegally storing mercury at a company-owned site in Pawtucket. In October 2008, a U.S. District Court jury in Providence found Southern Union guilty of illegally storing mercury for several years at a site off Tidewater Street, near the Seekonk River. The Houston-based company owned New England Gas for several years. 

A Dominican national, whose fingertips had been burned and altered beyond recognition in an attempt to conceal his true identity, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to reentering the country illegally after having been deported in October 2004 for drug trafficking. Robert M. Cordero-Luciano, 26, entered his plea before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

December 21, 2010

A federal grand jury in Providence has returned indictments charging four individuals with receipt of and possession of child pornography. Two of the defendants also face charges of allegedly distributing child pornography.

December 20, 2010

A U.S. District Court judge today sentenced Edward F. Melise, of Johnston, to 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy, possession and distribution of OxyContin. Melise, 60, pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to distribute seven hundred (700) oxycodone pills; two counts of distributing a total of three hundred ten (310) oxycodone pills; and one count of possession with the intent to distribute forty (40) oxycodone pills.

December 17, 2010

Dorothy St. Laurent, 71, of Johnston, R.I., and her son Anthony St. Laurent Jr., 44, of Cranston, R.I., were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., for their participation in an interstate extortion scheme, in violation of the Hobbs Act, announced U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.

December 16, 2010

A Providence man, who acknowledged in U.S. District Court that he was a “probationary member” of the Trinitarios Gang, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy and the distribution of Ecstasy. Jose Cabrera, 25, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to distribute MDMA, or Ecstasy, and distribution of MDMA. There is no Plea Agreement between Mr. Cabrera and the Government.

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today that financial collections by the Department of Justice in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 reached an all-time high due to the efforts of the U.S. Attorneys’ offices nationwide. The ninety-four U.S. Attorneys’ offices contributed to the collection of $6.68 billion during the government’s fiscal year. 

December 15, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence to eighty-four months in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Scott Arnum, 21, was arrested by officers assigned to the Providence Police Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau (NOC) in January 2010. The arrests followed an investigation into the sale of crack cocaine from the defendant’s apartment. Arnum pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

December 14, 2010

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a three-count indictment charging three individuals with participating in a conspiracy, and the armed robbery and murder of David D. Main of Woonsocket. Mr. Main was chased, robbed and shot to death at close range as he approached the doorstep of a Woonsocket branch office of Citizens Bank on September 20, 2010. Mr. Main was attempting to enter the bank to deposit receipts belonging to a Shell gas station that he managed.

December 10, 2010

A U.S. District Court jury today convicted Ervin Figueroa, 42, of Cranston, his brother, Elio Figueroa, 35, of Cranston, and a third man, Carlos R. Rodas of Guatemala for their roles in smuggling significant amounts of heroin into the United States from Guatemala, packaging and selling the drugs in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and laundering more than $100,000 in proceeds from the drug sales to Guatemala.

December 3, 2010

Former Woonsocket Police Officer John H. Douglas was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence to twelve months and one day in federal prison followed by two years supervised release, the first six months to be served in home confinement, for assaulting a juvenile who was in his custody. Douglas pleaded guilty in June to a federal criminal civil rights charge.

December 1, 2010

Two Providence men arrested by Rhode Island State Police last month for possession of cocaine were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges of conspiracy and possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

November 2010

November 30, 2010

A Providence man who told investigators that he armed himself because of his “lifestyle” and as a means to protect women who worked for his escort service was sentenced Monday to 70 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. James Lombardi, 26, was arrested by Providence Police in December 2009, and indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2010 on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to the charge in U.S. District Court in July.

November 24, 2010

Four individuals named in a five-count federal indictment returned last Thursday which alleges that they participated in a scheme to defraud an insurance company of nearly $50,000 pleaded not guilty to the charges today in U.S. District Court in Providence. The indictment alleges the four intentionally damaged the home and in-ground swimming pool of one of the defendants, then filed an exaggerated insurance claim to repair the damage and damage that occurred during the historic floods in March. The flood damage was not covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

November 23, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison, having been convicted by a U.S. District Court jury of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Dwight Paneto, 32, was convicted in June following two days of testimony.

November 22, 2010

Two men who were arrested in May 2009 for on-line trading of child pornography as the result of an undercover operation initiated by the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (RI ICAC) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victim of a series of child pornography videos.

A Warwick, R.I. man was sentenced Friday to 46 months in federal prison for robbing three Providence banks in six days in December 2009. Tarik Metts, 27, was arrested shortly after the third robbery after his mother identified him from bank surveillance photographs. Metts was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2010 on three counts of bank robbery.

November 19, 2010

A federal grand jury Thursday returned a five-count indictment charging four individuals with allegedly scheming to defraud an insurance company of nearly $50,000 by intentionally damaging a home and in-ground swimming pool, then filing a claim to pay to repair the damage and damage that occurred during the historic floods in March. The flood damage was not covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

November 18, 2010

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today the filing of a Criminal Complaint in U.S. District Court in Providence which charges two men with the armed robbery and shooting death of David D. Main of Woonsocket, R.I. Mr. Main, the manager of a local gas station, was robbed and shot at close range as he approached the doorstep of a Woonsocket branch office of Citizens Bank on September 20, 2010. Mr. Main was about to enter the bank to deposit receipts belonging to the gas station.

November 12, 2010

A Russian national purporting to be an American citizen and his wife, a naturalized American citizen, whose true identities are not known to authorities, were arrested by federal agents and charged Wednesday with identity theft, bank and passport fraud, and false statement of citizenship, according to U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The couple was arrested at their Warwick, R.I. home following an investigation that began after an individual living in Ireland filed a complaint with Warwick Police alleging that he discovered through the Internet that his identity and personal information may have been stolen by a man living in Warwick.

November 10, 2010

Christopher B. Maselli, a North Providence real estate attorney and former state senator from Johnston, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to eight counts of bank fraud. Maselli pleaded guilty to an Information filed by the Government on October 26, alleging that he falsified bank and federal tax documents, and lied about his income and assets in obtaining more than $1.7 million in mortgages and loans. Mr. Maselli pleaded guilty as charged in the Information. There is no Plea Agreement between Mr. Maselli and the Government.

The president of Espaillat Motors Inc., a Providence used car dealership, and his son were arrested Tuesday by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and charged in U.S. District Court with money laundering. In addition, the government seized 17 vehicles from Espaillat Motors Inc., and will move in federal court for the forfeiture of the vehicles and the business’s assets. Tuesday’s arrests and seizures culminate a year-long investigation by the DEA and the DEA Taskforce.

A Seekonk, Massachusetts man pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to tax evasion related to his 2003 income tax filings. Gerald Diodati, 61, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi to one count of tax evasion. 

November 3, 2010

A U.S. District Court jury in Providence on Wednesday convicted David Chiaradio, 28, of Westerly, R.I., of one count of distribution of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography. The jury returned its verdicts after considering more than two days of testimony and evidence. Jury deliberations lasted less than two hours

November 1, 2010

Christopher B. Maselli, a North Providence real estate attorney and state senator from Johnston, has filed notice with the U.S. District Court in Providence that he intends to plead guilty to eight counts of bank fraud, as charged by the Government. An Information filed by the Government last week alleges that Maselli falsified bank and federal tax documents, and lied about his income and assets in obtaining more than 1.7 million dollars in mortgages. There is no Plea Agreement between Mr. Maselli and the Government.

October 2010

October 31, 2010

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced Sunday that Assistant U. S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly will lead the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program in Rhode Island for the upcoming November 2, 2010 general elections. Mr. Donnelly has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the District of Rhode Island, and is responsible for overseeing complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with The Department of Justice in Washington. 

October 29, 2010

A Dominican native who was deported in December 2009 after having been convicted of drug trafficking pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence to charges of identity theft and falsely representing his citizenship at the Rhode Island Registry of Motor Vehicles. Odelin Enrique Medrano, 28, was also charged in a five count indictment with intentionally making false statements to an agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an attempt to conceal his identity, and illegal re-entry into the United States. Medrano was ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.

October 27, 2010

A Warwick man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to an Indictment charging him with two counts of bank robbery. Andrew Shepard, 29, was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 20, 2010, of robbing branch offices of Citizens Bank in Cumberland and Lincoln. Shepard was ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin.

October 24, 2010

Bryan Polke, 56, of North Providence, R.I., was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence to twelve months in federal prison and three years supervised release for stealing computer equipment from the VA Medical Center in Providence. Polke, who was both a patient and employee of the Medical Center at the time of the theft, pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft of government property.

October 22, 2010

A Cranston, R.I., man pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence to eight counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a scheme in which six Rhode Island banks were defrauded of more than $73,000. Vincent A. Onorato, 38, admitted to the Court that between February and June 2009 he masterminded a check cashing scheme that defrauded the banks of a total of $73,255.48.

October 20, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 51 months in federal prison and 3 years supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Glenn Cannon, 31, who had previously been convicted of a felony, pleaded guilty in June 2010 to one count of a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

October 14, 2010

A Springfield, Mass., woman was ordered detained Thursday at her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on charges of being a co-conspirator in the robbery of Woonsocket gas station manager David D. Main which resulted in his murder. Kelley M. Lajoie, 32, appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin on a Complaint charging her with Hobbs Act Robbery. Ms. Lajoie was arrested Thursday morning by a team of law enforcement officers from the FBI, Woonsocket, Providence, Cranston and Pawtucket Police Departments, and the Rhode Island State Police.

October 8, 2010

A federal judge today sentenced Darrin Gray, a career offender with more than 30 prior convictions, to 14 years in federal prison for a bank robbery he committed in Cumberland last year.

October 7, 2010

The owner of a Providence, R.I., temporary employment agency was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 24 months in federal prison for under reporting substantial amounts of wages and failing to pay millions of dollars in federal withholding, social security and Medicare taxes. Cheang Chea, owner of S&P Temporary Help Service, Inc., pleaded guilty in June to tax evasion, theft from a health care benefit program and mail fraud.

A federal judge today sentenced Mark McNaught, of Providence, to five years in federal prison for manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants in his Providence apartment, and for possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.

October 6, 2010

A Chinese drug manufacturer, GeneScience Pharmaceutical Company, and its CEO, Lei Jin, pleaded guilty today to illegally marketing human Growth Hormone in the U.S. The company and Jin jointly forfeited $4.5 million as a result of the criminal charges and will pay an additional $3,000,000 to finance a Clean Competition Fund designed to counter the effects of illicit doping in sports.

A Providence man arrested shortly after police watched him handling a large chunk of cocaine and counting large sums of cash in his apartment was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to 87 months in federal prison.  Brayanth Fernandez, 36, pleaded guilty in June to one count of possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute and one count of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. At the time of Fernandez’s arrest, police seized more than 4 kilos of cocaine and $96,000 in cash, which has been forfeited to the federal government. 

October 4, 2010

Vincent Aiello, the owner of a North Providence, R.I. check cashing business, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 5 years probation and a $30,000 fine for failing to report nearly two million dollars in transactions as required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Aiello was ordered to serve the first eight weekends of the sentence in intermittent confinement at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Bourne, Mass.

October 1, 2010

Portland, Maine: Thomas E. Delahanty II, United States Attorney for the Maine, has announced that Robert Ferguson pleaded guilty today in United States District Court in Bangor to 11 counts of bank robbery. The pleas were accepted by Chief Judge John Woodcock.

September 2010

September 30, 2010

The Justice Department today announced agreements with the cities of Fort Myers, Fla., and Newport, R.I., to improve access to all aspects of civic life for individuals with disabilities. The agreements were reached under Project Civic Access (PCA), the department’s wide-ranging initiative to ensure that cities, towns and counties throughout the country comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The department has now reached 185 agreements under the PCA initiative, improving access to civic life for more than four million individuals with disabilities nationwide.

September 29, 2010

A Cranston, R.I. woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Tuesday to possessing and passing $21,000 in counterfeit $100 bills, bogus U.S. currency she obtained from a person in Nigeria whom she met through the Internet. Amy Flowers, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of passing counterfeit notes and one count of possessing counterfeit notes.

September 24, 2010

Jose Francisco Medina-Liz, 52, formerly of Providence, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 36 months in federal prison on charges of trafficking in Ecstasy and illegally reentering the country after having been deported. Medina-Liz pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2009.

September 23, 2010

A Warwick, R.I., man was indicted by a federal grand jury and arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence on charges of willfully interfering with the safe operation of an airborne commercial aircraft and endangering the safety of the passengers and crew. Joseph Aquino, 31, was indicted on charges he interfered with the safe operation of an aircraft and endangered the passengers and crew on September 15, 2010, when he allegedly illuminated the cockpit of an incoming commercial flight on final approach to T.F. Green Airport with a laser light, momentarily blinding the pilot.

September 22, 2010

A federal jury Wednesday returned guilty verdicts on federal firearms charges against a Massachusetts man in connection with a November 2009 scuffle with a Rhode Island State Police Detective at Lincoln Woods State Park, during which he discharged a firearm. Arjusz Roszkowski, 27, of Reading, Massachusetts, was convicted by a jury on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number following three days of testimony and less than three hours of deliberation.  Roszkowski claimed he wanted to buy guns to use in a bank robbery. 

September 21, 2010

Alfredo Hernandez, 28, formerly of Providence, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Providence to 108 months in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release on carjacking and firearm charges. Hernandez pleaded guilty in March to one count each of carjacking and use of a firearm while in the commission of a violent crime in connection with an armed carjacking in the parking lot of a Cranston school in June 2009.

September 8, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced Wednesday to 37 months in federal prison and 3 years supervised released for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Xavier Reyes, 24, pleaded guilty in March to a single count federal indictment. Reyes had previously been convicted in state court of a felony.

September 2, 2010

Former North Providence Town Councilman Raymond L. Douglas III was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on one count of using extortion as a means to collect gambling debts owed him. The indictment alleges that Douglas operated an illegal gambling business in North Providence which accepted illegal sports wagers over the telephone on various college and professional sports, including football, basketball and baseball, and that he used extortion to collect gambling debts owed his business.

August 2010

August 31, 2010

John Buerman, 51, of Warwick, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence to Internet sales of unregistered, unlabeled pesticides for cats and dogs while infringing on the trademark of two well known national brand names, “Frontline” and “Frontline Plus.” Buerman pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods and knowingly using a counterfeit mark; and one count of knowingly distributing and selling a misbranded pesticide. Buerman made more than 3,500 sales through eBay.

August 27, 2010

A Providence man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and attempt to possess with the intent to distribute more than 5 kilos of cocaine. Jose J. Astacio, 40, was arrested in August 2008 after setting up a deal with an undercover FBI agent and others to purchase a million dollars worth of cocaine. Nearly a half million dollars had been delivered for the drugs when Astacio was arrested.

August 26, 2010

Three men captured on an undercover FBI videotape attending a recent organizational meeting of the Trinitarios street gang in Rhode Island were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, and arrested and arraigned Thursday on firearms and drug charges. A fourth individual who was present at the meeting has been charged by the State on a firearm’s charge. The charges are the result of a months-long investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which includes members of federal, state and local law enforcement which targets gang activity in the metropolitan Providence area.

August 25, 2010

A North Providence attorney and a businessman indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, attempted extortion and delivering a bribe entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court. It is alleged that attorney Robert S. Ciresi, 77, of Hope, and businessman Edward Imondi, 73, of North Providence, acted as middlemen and received a portion of bribes they delivered to three North Providence town councilmen.

Dorothy St. Laurent, 71, of Johnston, R.I., and her son Anthony St. Laurent, Jr., 44, of Cranston, R.I., pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to interstate extortion, in violation of the Hobbs Act.   The wife and son of Anthony St. Laurent, Sr., a person identified by law enforcement as a member of organized crime, were charged in a federal complaint in February with extorting payments from bookmakers in the Taunton, Mass. area on behalf of Anthony St. Laurent, Sr.

August 23, 2010

Former North Providence town councilmen Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence to conspiracy, extortion and bribery charges. A federal grand jury handed up a superseding indictment Thursday, alleging the defendants and others extorted bribes from several businesses appearing before the town council. Zambarano also pleaded not guilty to making a false statement to the FBI.

August 19, 2010

Five individuals, including three former North Providence town councilmen, were charged Thursday in a twelve count superseding indictment by a federal grand jury with conspiracy, extortion and bribery. The indictment, which details four alleged extortion and bribery schemes, and demands for more than $100,000 in bribes, comes as the result of an ongoing investigation into public corruption in North Providence. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

Jan M. Wales of Indianapolis, Indiana, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday to conspiracy and transporting an individual across state lines to engage in prostitution, in violation of the Mann Act. Wales and a co-defendant, Nathan G. Pope of Indianapolis, were indicted by a federal grand jury in January.

August 18, 2010

Ten teams totaling more than 100 state, federal and local law enforcement agents fanned out across Rhode Island today armed with search warrants targeting individuals identified in a lengthy multi-agency investigation into online child pornography and child exploitation.

August 12, 2010

Not guilty pleas to federal extortion charges were entered in U.S. District Court in Providence Wednesday on behalf of Dorothy St. Laurent, 73, of Johnston, and her son Anthony St. Laurent, Jr., 44, of Cranston. The charges are contained in informations and plea agreements signed by the defendants and filed with the U.S. District Court. The defendants are expected to plead guilty to interstate extortion at change of plea hearings expected to occur later this month.

August 10, 2010

A Worcester, Mass., man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence to 46 months in federal prison and 3 years supervised release on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jose Diaz, 20, pleaded guilty on February 17.

August 9, 2010

Two people indicted by a federal grand jury August 4, 2010, on charges of conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine have been ordered detained following arraignments in U.S. District Court in Providence. Luis A. Guzman, 33, of Fall River, Mass., and Madaline Mulero-Sosa, 29, of Providence, R.I., were arrested after federal agents intercepted a shipment of approximately 3.5 kilos of cocaine from Guatemala in Miami, and federal and state law enforcement agents orchestrated a controlled delivery in Providence.

August 6, 2010

An inmate incarcerated at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, R.I., was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to one year in prison for assaulting a correctional officer. Vaughn Watrous, 33, who was incarcerated at the time of the attack for violating the terms of supervised release on a previous bank robbery conviction, pleaded guilty in May to an assault charge.

A Dominican national living with his family across the street from a Providence elementary school has been sentenced to federal prison and faces deportation proceedings for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute near a school and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Jose A. Payamps, 40, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 18 months in federal prison and 6 years supervised release. Payamps pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

A Central Falls, R.I., man who was a key figure in an international heroin trafficking operation reaching into Central Falls, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 140 months in federal prison for conspiracy to traffic three kilos of heroin and laundering more than $100,000 in cash.  Jose Manuel Vasquez, a/k/a/ Chelo, 39, pleaded guilty in February to one count each of conspiracy to possess and distribute one kilogram or more of heroin; and laundering $109,100 derived from the sale of drugs.

August 4, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced Wednesday to 120 months in federal prison and 5 years supervised release for possession of more than 300 grams of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. Jose Hurtado, 31, pleaded guilty in March 2009 to an indictment charging him with possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine.

August 3, 2010

A Fall River, Mass., man was sentenced Monday to 60 months in federal prison and 4 years supervised release for conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute nearly 730 grams of heroin. Baker Alli, 50, and two co-defendants, pleaded guilty in May in U.S. District Court in Providence to trafficking heroin from India. A fourth person is being sought.

July 2010

July 30, 2010

A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a four-count indictment charging a Providence, R.I., man with one count of conspiracy, one count of possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone and two counts of distributing oxycodone pills. The indictment alleges that Ara Giragosian, 35, conspired to distribute oxycodone and did distribute oxycodone between December 3, 2009 and April 27, 2010.

A Dominican National twice deported after being convicted on felony drug charges, was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in federal prison for re-entering the United States illegally for a third time. 30-year-old Jose Mercedes-Leon’s most recent arrest on a felony assault charge in Woonsocket occurred less than two months after he was released from a Massachusetts prison on a third felony drug conviction.

July 29, 2010

Craig Forest, 29, of Attleboro, Mass., was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence to 46 months in federal prison for robbing a Pawtucket credit union in July 2009. Forest was indicted by a federal grand jury in December of robbing the Broadway branch of the Pawtucket Credit Union of $1,300.

Central Falls woman pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday to conspiracy and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. Ligia Delassalas, 33, is the second defendant to plead guilty in a conspiracy to distribute approximately 700 grams of heroin. In June, Smyrna Martinez, 25, of Central Falls, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi. Charges are pending in U.S. District Court against a third defendant, William Arms, 31, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

July 28, 2010

A Warwick, R.I. man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Wednesday to robbing three Providence banks in six days in December 2009. Tarik Metts, 26, faces up to 60 years in federal prison on three counts of bank robbery. Metts was charged after his mother identified him after viewing bank surveillance photographs.

July 23, 2010

Subject to court approval, Cardi Materials, LLC of Warwick, R.I., will pay a $55,000 civil penalty and perform an additional project costing $168,500 to resolve numerous violations of the Clean Water Act at its Warwick concrete manufacturing facility.

July 9, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced Friday to 60 months in federal prison and 4 years supervised release, having pleaded guilty to four counts of possessing and distributing crack cocaine. Jason Faiola, 28, also known as MJ, pleaded guilty in January in U.S. District Court in Providence to three counts of possession of five grams or more of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute and one count of possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Cristofer Abreu-Quero of Providence was sentenced Thursday to 75 months in federal prison and 8 years supervised release for possessing and conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine from a basement apartment across the street from a Providence elementary school. Abreu-Quero, 25, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in January to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin; possession with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin within 1000 feet of a school; possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute within 1000 feet of a school; and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Dwayne, K. Lewis, 28, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was sentenced Friday to 120 months in federal prison on armed bank robbery charges. Lewis pleaded guilty February 1, 2010 to armed bank robberies in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York in which nearly $269,000 was taken. Lewis, a Jamaican National, faces a deportation hearing after completing his prison sentence. 

July 7, 2010

Hines Dermatology Associates, Inc., a Massachusetts based corporation with a practice and laboratory in Providence, R.I., is reimbursing $275,000 to the Medicare Program after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S Attorney’s Office in Rhode Island determined that unnecessary pathology services were being performed at the Rhode Island office and then billed to the federal government. 

June 2010

June 23, 2010

Former Woonsocket Police Officer John H. Douglas pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to a federal criminal civil rights charge for assaulting a juvenile who was in his custody.

A Providence man arrested shortly after police watched him handling a large chunk of cocaine and counting large sums of cash in his apartment pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Brayanth Fernandez, 36, pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Police seized more than 4 kilos of cocaine and $96,000 in cash from Fernandez at the time of his arrest.

Two men in a vehicle stopped for running a stop sign in Cranston, R.I., and who ended up being arrested when two large packages with nearly 500 grams of heroin were found in the car, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Wednesday to heroin possession charges. Dimitrit Vallejo Lara of Miami and Simon Suazo of Boston both pled guilty to two counts of possession of more than 100 grams of heroin with the intent to distribute.

A Pawtucket man already serving a federal sentence for dealing crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. Benny Vasconcelos, 27, was on supervised release when he was arrested on the most recent drug dealing charge in January 2010.

A Pawtucket man pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to defrauding immigrants by posing as an immigration attorney; and claiming he was a federal immigration agent, threatening to have individuals deported. Audeliz Villegas, 45, who was also known by several aliases, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud and one count of impersonating a federal agent.

June 22 2010

A North Providence, R.I., real estate attorney indicted by a federal grand jury on federal bank fraud charges pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today in U.S. District Court. Christopher Maselli entered a not guilty plea before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin. Magistrate Judge Martin released Maselli on $10,000 unsecured bond, and limited the defendant’s travel outside of Rhode Island to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

June 21, 2010

A Fall River, Mass., home health care provider pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence Monday to stealing the identity of a patient in her care and stealing nearly $36,000 from his bank account. Juliet Rose Levesque and a cousin, Paul McKenzie of Rex, Georgia, were indicted by a federal grand jury June 10 on charges of conspiracy, identity fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.

A Quebec man was sentenced Friday to 30 months in federal prison for his role in a $1.7 million international marijuana shipment earmarked for Rhode Island which was interrupted by federal law enforcement agents at the U.S. Border in Vermont in October 2009. Mario Sorgiacomo, 41, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to possess and distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

June 18, 2010

A Fall River, Mass., home health care provider pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence Monday to stealing the identity of a patient in her care and stealing nearly $36,000 from his bank account. Juliet Rose Levesque and a cousin, Paul McKenzie of Rex, Georgia, were indicted by a federal grand jury June 10 on charges of conspiracy, identity fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.

June 14, 2010

A Providence, R.I., man deemed a career criminal by a U.S. District Court judge has been sentenced to 175 months in federal prison, having pleaded guilty to robbing banks in Providence and Newport. Dennis Tasker, Jr., 39, had previously been arrested approximately two dozen times on more than 50 charges in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Florida; and had been out of prison for about one month when he robbed the banks in July 2009.

June 15, 2010

A Cranston man arrested when police found him with 180 grams of crack cocaine pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. Daniel Waite, 23, was arrested in April 2009, after a search of his apartment turned up crack cocaine and drug dealing paraphernalia. The drugs had a street value of more than $6,300.

June 10, 2010

A home healthcare provider and her cousin have been named in a 32-count federal indictment alleging they stole the identity of a Bristol, R.I., man and used it to steal nearly $36,000 from his bank account. Juliet Rose Levesque of Fall River, Mass., and her cousin, Paul McKenzie of Rex, Georgia, were indicted Wednesday by a Providence federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, identity fraud, bank fraud and wire fraud.

A Pawtucket man, arrested following a failed delivery of cocaine in April 2009, was sentenced Friday to 24 months in federal prison; 3 years supervised release; and 300 hours community service which the court will waive if the defendant enrolls in higher education courses. Freddy Alberto Rivera, 23, was arrested moments after leaving a Cranston auto shop after trying to deliver a package of cocaine. Rivera pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in November 2009 to one count of possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

June 9, 2010

Heily Gonzalez, 32, of Milford, Massachusetts, was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in federal prison and 4 years supervised release for conspiracy and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, which was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

June 8, 2010

The owner of a Providence, R.I., temporary employment agency pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Providence to under reporting substantial amounts of wages and failing to pay between seven and twenty million dollars in federal withholding, social security and Medicare taxes. Cheang Chea, 73, owner of S&P Temporary Help Service, Inc., pleaded guilty to an information charging him with tax evasion, theft from a health care benefit program and mail fraud.

A federal jury took less than two hours Monday to convict a Providence man of manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants in his Providence apartment. Mark McNaught, 36, was also found guilty of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

A Woonsocket man charged in connection with the theft of a half kilogram of marijuana at gunpoint entered a change of plea to guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence. Julio Candelario, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, Hobbs Act robbery, using a firearm to commit a crime of violence, and trafficking in marijuana. He is the third Woonsocket man to plead guilty to the armed rip-off which occurred in Providence in February 2009. Candelario also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

June 7, 2010

Three former North Providence, R.I., town councilmen pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to indictments charging them with bribery and extortion, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III, and John A. Zambarano were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 27, 2010.

June 3, 2010

A Johnston man who admitted to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in federal prison and three years supervised release, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

May 2010

May 27, 2010

Three former North Providence town councilmen were indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on extortion and bribery charges. U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the indictment of Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano. It is alleged the councilmen, while serving on the town council in February 2009, accepted a $25,000 bribe in return for favorable votes on a zoning change for a retail development project.

A Warwick, R.I., man was ordered detained Wednesday following his arrest and arraignment in U.S. District Court on charges of receipt and distribution of child pornography; it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

May 21, 2010

A Providence man was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison and faces the potential of being deported having been indicted for and pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Patrick Johnson, 26, a Liberian national, will begin serving his three year federal prison sentence after he completes serving a state prison sentence in October 2010, having been found to be a probation violator.

May 20, 2010

A Nigerian national living in Fall River, Mass., was sentenced Thursday to 27 months in federal prison and three years supervised probation on bank, check, mail and passport fraud charges. Damilola Oke, 34, who also used several aliases, ran a bogus check and money order scam through the mail. Oke pleaded guilty in January to bank, check, mail and passport fraud charges contained in a 35 count indictment.  

May 10, 2010

Rodney Wilcox, 24, of Providence, was sentenced Monday to 48 months in federal prison and 36 months supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm stolen from a Providence Police officer’s home. U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today’s sentencing which was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith. Wilcox pled guilty to the charge in November 2009.

A Warwick man who was found to be in possession of a firearm by two Providence Police bicycle officers while on routine patrol was sentenced Wednesday to 96 months in federal prison and 36 months supervised release. Alpha Williams, 39, pleaded guilty June 9, 2009 to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The owner of a North Providence, R.I. check cashing business pled guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to failing to report nearly two million dollars in transactions as required by the Bank Secrecy Act. An investigation and audit of North Pro Services found that between March 2005 and July 2007, Vincent Aiello, owner of North Pro Services, failed to report dozens of transactions in excess of $10,000, and allowed the same person or persons to affect more than one transaction in excess of $10,000 on the same date without reporting the transactions, also a violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.

May 6, 2010

This afternoon, in United States District Court, this Office charged three members of the North Providence Town Council in connection with an alleged bribery scheme.  Those three North Providence Town Council members are Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III, and John A. Zambarano.  Mr. Burchfield is the Town Council President. The complaints filed in Court today allege that the councilmen extorted and accepted a $25,000 cash payment in exchange for their favorable vote on a zoning change to allow for the construction of a supermarket.

Three North Providence town councilmen, including the President of the Town Council, were arrested by federal agents today on criminal complaints charging them with extortion and accepting a bribe. It is alleged the councilmen accepted a $25,000 bribe in return for favorable votes on a zoning change for a retail development project. U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the arrests of Council President Joseph S. Birchfield, and Town Councilmen Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano.

May 5, 2010

Three individuals pled guilty in U.S. District Court this week to trafficking large quantities of heroin shipped from India; it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. An indictment and arrest warrant has been issued for a fourth person.

May 3, 2010

William J. Ferland, a top criminal prosecutor for 20 years with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, joined the staff of the Rhode Island U. S. Attorney’s Office today; it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ferland will primarily prosecute organized crime, drug and firearm cases.

April 2010

April 30, 2010

Stephfon Cover, 38, of Woonsocket, R.I., was sentenced Friday to 210 months in federal prison for trafficking crack cocaine. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed the sentence after finding Cover to be a career offender, declaring he was a “dangerous and violent” drug dealer. Cover had previously been convicted of felony assault and drug dealing in state court. He was on probation on his previous convictions at the time he was arrested and charged in federal court with trafficking crack cocaine.

April 27, 2010

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch announced today that they have formed and held the first meeting of the Rhode Island Mortgage Fraud Task Force, an initiative linking federal and state agencies in the fight against mortgage fraud.

April 26, 2010

A federal grand jury has indicted Napoleon Andrade, 29, of Central Falls, R.I., on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm; it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The indictment was issued on April 21, 2010. Andrade entered a plea of not guilty at arraignment on April 23, before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin. Andrade pled not guilty to federal drug charges and was ordered detained on April 14, 2010, by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin. Last week’s indictment is an outgrowth of a continuing investigation into Andrade’s activities.

April 25, 2010

Seven people have been charged and were arraigned last week in U.S. District Court on federal bank robbery charges. The charges result from ongoing federal and local law enforcement investigations into “note-job” bank robberies. A “note-job” bank robbery occurs when a note demanding money is passed or an oral demand is made but a weapon is not shown.

April 22, 2010

A federal grand jury indicted two Rhode Island men Wednesday on charges of conspiring to possess and distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. The heroin was trafficked to Rhode Island via the mail from India and Bangladesh, according to U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, who announced the indictments.

April 20, 2010

A Providence man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Angel Polanco, 50, entered a change of plea before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith; it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. 

April 19, 2010

A Providence man pleaded guilty Monday to being a felon in possession of a firearm, having been arrested in September 2009 by Providence Police who were monitoring reports of a potential confrontation between gangs. Dwayne Wheeler, 31, entered a change of plea before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi; it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

April 15, 2010

Napoleon Andrade, 29, of Central Falls, R.I., has been ordered detained following his arraignment on federal drug charges, according to United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.  A federal grand jury issued indictments naming Andrade which remained sealed until his arrest and arraignment before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin.

April 12, 2010

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha is urging Rhode Island residents and businesses to be aware of and report suspected fraudulent activity related to flood relief operations and federal funding for flood victims. As of Monday, $12.5 million in FEMA grants have been dispersed, and nearly $8 million more has been approved. Those amounts are expected to grow considerably in the days and weeks ahead.

Two Providence men, previously convicted for crimes of violence, have pled guilty to firearms charges and have been returned to state prison. The arrests and convictions are the result of an ongoing commitment by Providence Police, The Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General and the United States Attorneys Office to identify and remove violent criminals from Providence neighborhoods.

April 8, 2010

Anthony Miller, 22, of Providence, R.I., pled guilty Thursday to robbing a Warwick branch of the Pawtucket Credit Union of about $7,700 in July 2009. United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the guilty plea which was entered before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.

April 6, 2010

In response to the recent flooding in Rhode Island and subsequent relief efforts, the National Center for Disaster Fraud is reminding the public to be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims.

April 5, 2010

Eucraneo Severino, 60, of Providence, R.I., has been sentenced to 70 months in federal prison on money laundering and cocaine conspiracy charges, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced. The sentence was imposed by United States District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

March 2011

March 23, 2010

Craig Forest, 29, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, pled guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Providence, to robbing a Pawtucket credit union on July 31, 2009, it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The defendant entered a change of plea before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.

March 19, 2010

Michael Avila, 25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of a Felon in Possession of a Firearm; it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The defendant entered a change of plea before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.

Jarrod Cole, 28, of Providence, R.I., was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith to five years imprisonment and three years supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

Pedro Michael Goncalves, a/k/a Michael Goncalves, 28, formerly of Pawtucket, R.I., was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison, having been convicted on drug trafficking and firearms charges, it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The sentence was imposed by United States District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

March 18, 2010

David Christensen, 58, of South Kingstown, R.I., owner of a glass bead manufacturing company, was sentenced Thursday to five years probation - the first five months on home confinement with electronic monitoring - for filing false income tax returns, it was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

March 17, 2010

Armando Lastor-Canil, 34, of Providence, R.I., an alien who was previously convicted of a felony, and twice deported from the United States, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday for re-entering the country without the express consent of the Attorney General of the United States to reapply for admission to the United States.

Bryan Polke, 56, of North Providence, R.I., was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on one count of knowingly stealing from the Veterans Administration Hospital two computers and two monitors, of a value over $1,000, belonging to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

March 16, 2010

Roldy Francois, 25, of Providence, R.I. was arrested and detained Tuesday on a federal complaint of being a felon in possession of a firearm, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha today announced the formation of a Stimulus Fraud Prevention Task Force. The multi-jurisdictional task force consists of more than a dozen federal and state government and law enforcement agencies, which will monitor and investigate allegations of misuse of federal stimulus funds provided to Rhode Island.

March 10, 2010

Brayanth A. Fernandez, 35, of Providence, R.I., was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday with knowingly and intentionally possessing more than 500 grams of cocaine with the intent to distribute. Fernandez was also indicted on one count of knowingly and intentionally possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute. The indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, who, upon successful conviction of the defendant, will seek the forfeiture of more than $96,000 in cash and a vehicle seized at the time of the defendant’s arrest.

March 9, 2010

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and R.I. Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch today jointly announced the cross-designation of several senior prosecutors to bolster the prosecution of neighborhood crimes, particularly crimes involving drugs and firearms. The announcement follow meetings last week in Washington with United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., attended by both Lynch and Neronha, where Holder urged state and federal prosecutors from across the country to continue to work together and share resources.

March 1, 2010

Alfredo Hernandez, 28, formerly of Providence, R.I., pled guilty Monday to one count each of carjacking and being in possession of a firearm while in the commission of a violent crime, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha. Hernandez was charged in connection with an armed carjacking that occurred in the parking lot of a Cranston, R.I., school on June 7, 2009.

February 2010

February 25, 2010

Anthony St. Laurent, Sr., 68, appearing by teleconference from a federal prison where he is currently detained, made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. A federal complaint charging the defendant with conspiracy to commit extortion was issued on February 4, 2010.

February 24, 2010

Steven Allard, 47, of Scituate, Rhode Island, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison having pled guilty in July 2009 to one count each of Tax Evasion and Bankruptcy Fraud. The sentence, announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi.

February 5, 2010

Pedro Cuadrado, 21, of Woonsocket, pleaded guilty today to robbing a Providence man of a half kilogram of marijuana and $2,800 in cash.  Another Woonsocket man has also pleaded guilty to the robbery and charges are pending against a third defendant, also from Woonsocket.

FBI agents, working with Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police, today arrested Dorothy St. Laurent and Anthony St. Laurent, Jr. on charges of interstate extortion.  They are the wife and son of Anthony St. Laurent, Sr. and are charged in a federal complaint with extorting payments from bookmakers in the Taunton area on his behalf.  Anthony St. Laurent, Sr., who is serving a federal prison sentence, is also charged in the complaint with extortion.

February 3, 2010

A federal grand jury in Providence has charged Nathan G. Pope and Jan M. Wales, both of Indianapolis with transporting an individual across state lines to engage in prostitution, in violation of the Mann Act.

February 1, 2010

Dwayne K. Lewis, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today to armed bank robberies committed in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York in which a total of $269,000 was taken.  Two other defendants have pleaded guilty in Massachusetts to taking part in the robberies.

January 2010

January 29, 2010

A federal judge today sentenced Eric Snead, 33, of Providence, to 11 years in prison for orchestrating an identity theft and credit card fraud scheme.  Snead and coconspirators compromised the accounts of nearly 50 victims and defrauded banks of more than $400,000 by obtaining duplicate credit cards of victims’ accounts and using the cards to obtain cash and merchandise.

January 28, 2010

A federal judge today sentenced James Farrell, 67, most recently of Cranston, to 15 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Because of his history of violent offenses, Farrell was sentenced as an armed career criminal.

Audeliz Villegas, 44, of Pawtucket, was arraigned today on a federal indictment charging him with defrauding individuals seeking legal representation in immigration matters.  The indictment alleges that Villegas falsely posed as an attorney and subsequently pretended to be an Immigration Officer with the Department of Homeland Security.  Immigration agents arrested Villegas last month on a federal complaint.

Jacob Cross, 33, of Norfolk, Virginia, has pleaded guilty to a federal child pornography charge.  Cross admitted that, while living and working at Naval Station Newport in 2008, he possessed still and video images depicting child pornography.

January 22, 2010

A federal judge today sentenced Melanie Gagne, 38, of North Providence, to 15 months  in federal prison for arranging a $68,000 check fraud scheme.  Gagne and three other defendants bought merchandise with worthless checks that were written in a manner designed to evade a check clearing process.  They then returned the merchandise for cash refunds.

Cristofer Abreu-Quero has pleaded guilty to heroin and cocaine trafficking charges, admitting that he had a stash of heroin and cocaine in a basement apartment near the Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School in Providence, and additional cocaine in a car parked nearby the apartment.  Providence Police detectives seized the drugs in April.

A federal judge this week sentenced three firearms offenders to prison for being felons in possession of firearms.  All three pleaded guilty in unrelated cases that resulted from investigations by Providence Police, the Providence Police Violent Crime Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

January 15, 2010

A federal judge today sentenced two Providence men to federal prison for being felons in possession of firearms.  Providence Police arrested both as a result of separate investigations.

Gerllin Perez-Sanchez, 30, has pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking conspiracy.  In July, DEA agents intercepted a shipment of ten kilograms of cocaine headed to Perez-Sanchez’s home in Cranston.  The cocaine was in a hidden compartment in an SUV that a Rhode Island State trooper stopped on I-95.

January 5, 2010

Rocco DeSimone, 56, of Johnston, pleaded guilty today to federal mail fraud and money laundering charges, admitting that he conned an inventor and defrauded several investors with fraudulent claims about marketing inventions.

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