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OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA

Betsy C. Jividen
Acting UNITED STATES ATTORNEY


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist

 

March 8, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Eight Defendants Named in Federal Indictments

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA — Eight individuals were named in three Indictments returned by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on March 2, 2010.

Acting United States Attorney Betsy C. Jividen announced that:

➀ JAMES WOODSON, age 26, of Clarksburg, West Virginia; JENNIFER MILLS, also known as JENNIFER WOODSON, age 28, of Weston, West Virginia; and CHRISTOPHER BRAGG, age 32, of Salem, West Virginia, were named in an 11-count Indictment charging them with four counts of wire fraud; six counts of mail fraud; and one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. The Indictment alleges that WOODSON, BRAGG, and MILLS, aided and abetted by each other, devised a scheme to defraud insurance companies and health care providers and for obtaining money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses from July 2001 to April 2007 in Harrison County. The Indictment alleges that it was part of their scheme that WOODSON, BRAGG, and MILLS purposely inflicted damage to vehicles and staged motor vehicle accidents, then filed false insurance claims to collect monetary settlements from insurance companies for vehicle damage and personal injuries. The Indictment also alleges that it was further a part of the scheme that WOODSON and MILLS staged various accidents at retail stores and a hotel, then filed false insurance claims to collect monetary settlements from insurance companies for fabricated injuries; and that to increase the monetary value of their false insurance claims that WOODSON, BRAGG, AND MILLS exaggerated and fabricated personal injuries, provided false and misleading information to health care providers, and received unnecessary medical treatment.

Counts One though Four of the Indictment allege that the defendants committed wire fraud in furtherance of their scheme by using the phone and fax for interstate communication. Counts Five through Ten of the Indictment allege that the defendants committed mail fraud by causing documents from health care providers and insurance companies to be delivered by the United States Postal Service. Count Eleven of the Indictment alleges that WOODSON, BRAGG, and MILLS conspired to commit mail fraud and wire fraud from the beginning of July 2001 to April 2007.

The Indictment also includes a Forfeiture Allegation wherein the United States intends to seek at sentencing the forfeiture of any property obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the commission of the mail or wire fraud offenses and a money judgment in the amount of at least $190,000.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each count of the Indictment.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Cogar. The case was investigated by the West Virginia Insurance Commission, Office of Inspector General.

➁ DANE MICHAEL CHILDS, also known as “BRICKS,” age 24; AMIR MILLER, also known as “BIZ,” age 27; and ROBERT ABRAM, also known as “COMPTOM,”age 32; all of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were named in a five count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that CHILDS, ABRAM, and MILLER conspired to distribute in excess of five grams of cocaine base, also known as “crack,” and heroin from the Summer of 2009 to March 2010 in the Northern District of West Virginia and elsewhere. Count Two alleges that CHILDS distributed heroin on August 28, 2009, in Monongalia County. Count Three alleges that CHILDS and MILLER, aided and abetted by each other, distributed heroin on September 3, 2009, in Monongalia County. Count Four alleges that CHILDS possessed with intent to distribute heroin on September 3, 2009, in Monongalia County. Count Five alleges that MILLER and ABRAM, aided and abetted by each other, possessed with intent to distribute heroin and in excess of five grams of cocaine base, also known as “crack,” on September 3, 2009, in Monongalia County. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five to 40 years imprisonment on Count One; and a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 on each of the remaining counts of the Indictment. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zelda E. Wesley. The case was investigated by the Mon Valley Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, consisting of officers from the Morgantown Police Department, the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

➂JOSHUA BUTCHER, age 22, of Camden, West Virginia, and LINDSAY HAMAN, age 21, also of Camden, were named in a three-count Indictment. Count One of the Indictment alleges that BUTCHER possessed, concealed, sold, and disposed of stolen firearms between July 21, 2008, and July 24, 2008, near Linn, Gilmer County, West Virginia. Count Two of the Indictment alleges that HAMON, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, knowingly and willfully made materially false and fraudulent statements on October 24, 2008, about the possession, concealment, sale, and disposal of stolen firearms by Joshua Butcher and about whether she had seen those firearms and whether she ever had carried those firearms in a bag when Joshua Butcher sold them. Count Three of the Indictment alleges that HAMON, while testifying under oath in a proceeding before a Grand Jury in Clarksburg, West Virginia, made a false declaration. If convicted, BUTCHER faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on Count One of the Indictment; and HAMON faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 each on Counts Two and Three of the Indictment. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn Angus Morgan. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

It should be noted that the charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations and not evidence of guilt, and that each defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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