The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia serves to protect the United States and its citizens, to promote our national security and prevent terrorism, to improve the quality of life in our community through the protection of civil rights, and to safeguard the financial assets of the United States and its citizens. Coordination and outreach with law enforcement, government agencies, and community stakeholders are invaluable tools that assist the Eastern District in fulfilling these important goals.
Terrorism and National Security
Protecting our national security remains the Department of Justice’s highest priority, and the Eastern District leads the nation in the prosecution of significant terrorism and espionage cases.
The U.S. Attorney chairs the District’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils, which over the years have developed into close partnerships among local, state, and federal agents who work together to detect, disrupt, and deter threats to national security.
- Zacarias Moussaoui: Sentenced in May 2006 to spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in the al Qaeda 9/11 conspiracy - a horrific crime in which 2,972 innocent men, women and children were murdered and thousands more injured.
- Iyman Faris: Conspired with al Qaeda in a plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2003.
- Ahmed Omar Abu Ali: Convicted in November 2005 of joining an al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia and plotting to assassinate the President of the United States and members of Congress and to destroy commercial airliners. He was sentenced to life in prison.
- Amine Mohamed El-Khalifi: Sentenced to 30 years in prison in September 2012 for attempting to carry out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol Building as part of what he intended to be a terrorist operation.
- Glenn Duffie Shriver: Pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to provide national defense information to intelligence officers of the People’s Republic of China. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison in January 2011.
- Somali Pirates: Dozens of Somali pirates have been prosecuted for their roles in attacks against American vessels on the high seas and sentenced to life in prison. In April 2011, the Eastern District of Virginia set a new first in piracy prosecutions by capturing and charging an alleged pirate in a leadership role – Mohammad Saaili Shibin, a hostage negotiator in Somalia.
- Jubair Ahmad: At the request of Talha Saeed, the son of the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Ahmad prepared a video promoting LeT and terrorism that he then uploaded to YouTube. The Woodbridge, Va., resident was sentenced to 12 years in prison in April 2012.
- Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai: Sentenced to 24 months in prison in March 2012 for carrying out a decades-long scheme to conceal the transfer of at least $3.5 million from the government of Pakistan to fund his lobbying efforts in America related to Kashmir.
- Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid: A Leesburg, Va., resident, Soueid was sentenced to 18 months in prison for collecting video and audio recordings about those in the United States and Syria who were protesting the government of Syria and then providing these materials to Syrian intelligence agencies to silence, intimidate, and potentially harm the protestors.
- Zachary Chesser and Jesse Curtis Morton: These two men used the Revolution Muslim Organization’s websites to solicit murder, threaten others, and encourage violent extremism. Chesser – a Fairfax County, Va., resident – was sentenced to 25 years in prison in February 2011; Morton, who is from New York City, was sentenced to 138 months in June 2012.
In light of the recent economic crisis, prosecuting financial crimes is a top priority for the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Financial crimes have depleted people’s savings, siphoned taxpayer dollars, deprived Americans of jobs, and impeded our ongoing economic recovery. Holding those who commit these crimes accountable is critical to protecting Americans and our economy.
To meet today’s challenges, the Eastern District is particularly focused on bank, securities, mortgage and defense procurement fraud.
- Lee Farkas: The chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker was sentenced to 30 years in prison in April 2011 for pulling off one of the largest bank frauds in history. The $2.9 billion fraud scheme contributed to the failure of TBW, one of the top privately held mortgage lending companies in the U.S., and Colonial Bank, one of the 25 largest banks in the U.S.
- A&O: Two principals of A&O Resource Management Ltd. were sentenced in September 2011 to 45 and 60 years in prison for their roles in a $100 million life settlement fraud scheme that included more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada.
- Roger Charles Day Jr., a former America’s Most Wanted fugitive, was sentenced on Dec. 15, 2011, to 105 years in prison for his role in leading an international conspiracy to defraud the Department of Defense (DOD) of more than $11.2 million by supplying the DOD with nonconforming and defective parts for military aircraft, vehicles and weapons systems.
- Edward Okun: The owner of 1031 Tax Group LLP was sentenced to 100 years in prison in August 2009 for defrauding clients of $132 million.
- Oracle Corp. and Oracle America agreed to pay $199.5 million plus interest for failing to meet their contractual obligations to the General Services Administration. The civil settlement reached on Oct. 6, 2011, resolves allegations that Oracle knowingly failed to provide GSA with current, accurate and complete information about its sales practices and discounts involving software licenses and technical support products. This was the largest False Claims Act settlement the GSA has obtained.
- Phillip Offill: A former attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was sentenced to 96 months in prison in April 2010 for participating in multi-million dollar pump-and-dump stock manipulation schemes.
- Donald Johnson: A former managing director of the NASDAQ Stock Market, was sentenced to 42 months in prison for in August 2011 for engaging in insider trading on multiple occasions based on material, non-public information he obtained in his capacity as a NASDAQ executive.
Violent Crime, Gang Crime and Drug Trafficking
Regional street gangs are becoming increasingly involved with violent national and international criminal organizations and drug trafficking organizations. The Eastern District has a broad array of targeted, intelligence-driven programs aimed at reducing the interrelated threats of violent crime and drug trafficking as well as disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations.
Through initiatives that include Project Exile, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and various dedicated task forces, the U.S. Attorney’s Office targets violent criminals who threaten the District and uses tough federal sentences to keep them off the streets.
- Dump Squad: Crime dropped by 44 percent in 2009 when the members of a violent gang were arrested in Newport News, Va. Through two rounds of indictments, 19 gang members were convicted, with the leaders receiving life sentences.
- MS-13: Dozens of gang members associated with MS-13 have been prosecuted for murders, assaults, and other activities as part of a dedicated, long-term strategy to eradicate the violent gang from Northern Virginia.
- Bounty Hunter Bloods/Nine Tech Gangsters: Two gangs in Portsmouth, Suffolk and Chesapeake joined forces to increase their influence and their ability to make money. They achieved both through murder, narcotics trafficking, and armed home invasions. The leaders and violent members were all convicted in 2010 and 2011.
Crimes Against Children and Human Trafficking
Since launching Project Safe Childhood in 2006, the Department of Justice has placed special emphasis on combating the dangers facing children. These efforts include prosecuting individuals who exploit children as well as identifying and rescuing victims.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia consistently ranks among the top in the nation for prosecuting child exploitation cases, placing priority on cases involving predators who produce child pornography and those who attempt to meet minors for illegal sexual contact.
In addition, the Office leads the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – along with nongovernmental organizations – dedicated to combating human trafficking and related crimes. Since late 2010, the task force has assisted the office to bring more than 20 cases that have saved dozens of victims from traffickers.
- Justin Strom: A local gang leader was sentenced to 40 years in prison for leading a gang-controlled prostitution business that recruited and trafficked high school girls. Four others from his gang were also convicted and received sentences ranging from 10 to 23 years in prison.
- Jose Ciro Juarez-Santamaria: A leader of MS-13 was convicted of prostituting a 12-year-old female with clients throughout northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. He was sentenced to life in prison in October 2011. Other MS-13 members convicted of sex trafficking children have received sentences as high as 50 years in prison.
- Kevin Ricks: A former school teacher in Manassas, Va., admitted to engaging in and taking photos and videos of illegal sexual contact with minor boys dating back more than three decades. In May 2011, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
- Alan Paul Strieper: Sentenced to 35 years in prison in September 2010 for planning to kidnap and rape a child as young as two years old.