DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2008                                     PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                        PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881

 

FEDERAL GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENTS
 IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

TYLER, TX—United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments late yesterday charging multiple individuals in separate cases of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            RYAN FOUNTAIN, 30, of Nacogdoches, has been indicted for being a Felon in Possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm.  According to the indictment, on February 8, 2008, Nacogdoches police officers responded to a welfare concern at the defendant's residence.  Officers recovered 6 firearms at the residence, one of which was a sawed-off rifle.  Further investigation revealed Fountain is on felony probation for burglary of a building in Nacogdoches.

         If convicted, Fountain faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Flournoy is prosecuting the case. The case is being investigated by the Nacogdoches Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

            THOMAS GORE, 44, of Lake Jackson, is charged with being a Felon in Possession of a firearm.  According to the indictment, on December 8, 2007, U.S. Forest Service received a call about illegal hunting in Trinity County, Texas in the Davy Crockett National Forest. Officers went to the location and found the defendant in possession of a 30-06 rifle.  Further investigation revealed the Defendant has prior felony convictions for delivery of a controlled substance.

            If convicted, Gore faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  The case is being investigated by the United States Forest Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Flournoy.  

            MICHAEL S. COSSEY, 21, of Texarkana, Texas, is being charged with one count of simple possession of methamphetamine.  According to the indictment, Cossey was found in possession of methamphetamine while on the Red River Army Depot in Bowie County, Texas.  

            If convicted, Cossey faces up to one year in federal prison and a fine of up to$100,000.00.  The Red River Army Depot is investigating this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Simpson is prosecuting the case.

            MARIAN HARRIST, 48, of Nash, Texas, is charged with 16 counts of wire fraud.   According to the indictment, Harrist and unknown coconspirators would search internet classified websites for merchandise or services for sale.  The Defendant and others would contact the sellers by email and offer to buy the merchandise or service and would send the seller a counterfeit bank check or counterfeit money order in an amount higher than the selling price of the merchandise/service.  The seller was unaware that the check or money order was counterfeit.  Once the seller received the counterfeit check or money order, defendant would ask the seller to wire the difference between the item's/service's sale price and the counterfeit check's excess amount to the defendant to cover expenses related to the purchase.  The seller would deposit the counterfeit check/money order into his/her account, and then wire the requested amount to the Defendant.  The Defendant would then wire via Western Union or other wire transfer service a certain amount of the proceeds received from the sellers to an unknown co-coconspirator(s) to Western Africa or Nigeria, Africa, and keep a certain amount for herself.  The seller would then be held responsible for any loss attributable to the counterfeit check or money order.    

            If convicted, Harrist faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  The Federal Bureau of investigation is investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Simpson is prosecuting the case.

            COREY JAMES THROWER, 28, of Camden, Arkansas, is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.   According to the indictment, the crimes took place in Titus County, Texas.

            If convicted, Thrower faces up to life in federal prison and a fine of up to $4 million.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson is prosecuting the case.   

            JITENDRA RAVANI, 58 of Plano, is charged with attempted arson of a competitor's business.  He is also charged with burning his own convenience store which resulted in complete destruction of the building.

            If convicted, Ravani faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales.       

            HECTOR HUGO GALDINDO-BECERRA, 20, of Longview, is charged with using fraudulent immigration documents and social security card to obtain employment. 

            If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  This case is being investigated by the Longview Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen H. Hurst.  

            JERRY WILLIAM BOVARD, SR., 20, of Jacksonville, is charged with mail fraud and filing a false claim with FEMA. According to the indictment, in September, 2005 the defendant submitted a disaster assistance claim to FEMA claiming that he had suffered tornado and wind damage during Hurricane Katrina while living in New Orleans, LA.  Based on this claim the defendant was paid $2,000 in Federal disaster assistance aid.  Further investigation revealed that the defendant did not reside in the New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina, but that he had manufactured this claim while living in the Tyler/Jacksonville, Texas area.

            In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud.  The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force – chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division – includes members of the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.

            If convicted, Bovard faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen H. Hurst.  

            JOE MASTIN MURRAY, 45, of Jacksonville, Texas is charged with mail fraud and filing a false claim with FEMA. According to the indictment, in September, 2005 the defendant submitted a disaster assistance claim to FEMA claiming that he had suffered tornado and wind damage during Hurricane Katrina while living in New Orleans, LA.  Based on this claim the defendant was paid $2,000 in Federal disaster assistance aid.  Further investigation revealed that the defendant did not reside in the New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina, but that he had manufactured this claim while living in the Tyler/Jacksonville, Texas area.

            In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud.  The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force – chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division – includes members of the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.

            If convicted, Murray faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen H. Hurst.  
        
          It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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