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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Albany, NY – Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Coombe, Richard Belliss and Wayne Myers and former Assistant United States Attorney John Katko were among the 243 members of the Department of Justice recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder at the 30th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

In his prepared remarks, Attorney General Holder told the awardees, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer. Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Coombe, Richard Belliss, and Wayne Myers were recognized for the successful investigation and prosecution of Timothy McGinn and David Smith, two Albany-area securities brokers who devised and executed a $30 million investment fraud scheme. The defendants owned and operated a prominent Albany broker-dealer specializing in the securitization of burglar alarm, broadband, cable, and telephone services contracts. Along with associates who were also indicted, convicted, and sentenced, the lead defendants used a complex arrangement of trusts, holding companies, and layered financial transactions to siphon investor funds for personal expenses; to pay purported returns to some investors to encourage additional investment and conceal significant losses; to cover operating expenses of the broker-dealer; and to conceal from both investors and regulators these improper diversions of investor funds. The defendants, whose criminal conduct wiped out the life savings of numerous investors, received sentences of 15 and 10 years in prison.

Former Assistant United States Attorney John Katko was recognized for the investigation and racketeering prosecution of 25 members of the “Bricktown” and “V-NOT” street gangs. Both gangs were involved in multiple murders, armed assaults, and robberies, as well as firearm and cocaine base trafficking. The investigations solved numerous acts of violence that had occurred during a 2010 gang war, including the tragic drive-by murder of an uninvolved high school basketball star and the killing of a 20-month-old child in a misguided act of retaliation.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said, “We thank Attorney General Holder for recognizing the hard work of four of our dedicated prosecutors. Our office has 41 other diligent lawyers who fight crime and injustice every day on behalf of the citizens in our district.”

Updated January 29, 2015