Justice Department Employees To Be Awarded For Service In Major Cases
Several Department of Justice employees will be honored for their exemplary service in cases that had a profound impact on Northern Ohio.
The employees are being honored for their work on the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation, the investigation into Omnicare Corp. that resulted in a $50 million settlement, the successful prosecution of the LSP street gang in Youngstown for racketeering, including attempted and narcotics trafficking and two dozen convictions following the collapse of the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union.
“Each of these people represents the best of federal law enforcement,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “They worked for months -- sometimes years -- to make Northern Ohio a safer place by bringing down a decade-old cycle of corruption or ensuring the elderly would receive proper healthcare or dismantling a violent street gang. They have taken on the hard challenges and succeeded in making our community better.”
“Each one of these well-deserving recipients went above and beyond to get the job done and serve our community,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office. “They were determined and dedicated to seeing justice prevail, and for that, we honor and thank them”
“The IRS, Criminal Investigation Chief's Investigative Excellence Award is presented in recognition and appreciation of the outstanding commitment and dedication to excellence by the multiple agencies in support of their investigative efforts relative to the Cuyahoga County corruption investigation. In addition, the multiple agencies who were involved in the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union investigation were presented the Commendation Award for Excellence in support of their investigative efforts,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “These investigations exemplify the outstanding partnership and cooperation.”
Cuyahoga County Corruption Investigation
The Cuyahoga County corruption investigation has resulted in more than 60 convictions, including the former County Commissioner, County Auditor and two Common Pleas Judges. The case uncovered several pay-to-play bribery schemes in which public officials awarded jobs, contracts and other favors in exchange for cash, trips and other gifts. Former County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s 28-year prison sentence is believed to be the longest sentence handed out for a public corruption conviction. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service.
Those being honored with the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service are: Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon, Henry DeBaggis, Nancy L. Kelley, Sharon L. Long, Robert J. Patton, Justin J. Roberts, Ann C. Rowland, Bernard A. Smith, FBI Special Agents Gregory D.L. Curtis, Melissa L. Fortunato, Raymond Michael Massie, Kirk P. Spielmaker, William M. Werner, Christine C. Oliver and IRS Special Agent Kelly D. Fatula.
Omnicare, Inc. paid a $50 million civil penalty to resolve claims that its various pharmacy facilities improperly dispensed controlled substances to patients at long-term care facilities across the country, such as routinely dispensing controlled substances to residents of long-term facilities without a prescription signed by a practitioner. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Receiving the Director’s Award for Superior Service by an Assistant United States Attorney – Civil and a DEA Commendation are Kent W. Penhallurick and Steven J. Paffilas. Receiving the United States Attorney’s Award for Distinguished Public Service is DEA Special Agent Scott Brinks.
LSP Gang Prosecution
Twenty-two people were convicted of racketeering and other crimes for their roles in a conspiracy in which the LSP street gang used violence, including drive-by shootings, to control territory and sell heroin, cocaine and other drugs in Youngstown. Gang leaders Derrick Johnson Jr. was sentenced to 65 years in prison and Daquann Hackett was sentenced to 37 years in prison. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Youngstown Police Department.
Receiving the Director’s Award for Superior Service by an Assistant United States Attorney – Criminal are Robert F. Corts and Daniel J. Riedl. Receiving the United States Attorney’s Award for Distinguished Public Service is ATF Special Agent John Smerglia.
St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union Investigation
When the St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union went into conservatorship and then forced liquidation in 2010, the resulting $170 million loss made it the largest credit-union failure in American history. The subsequent criminal investigation revealed a decade-long scheme in which the credit union’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Raguz made more than 1,000 fraudulent loans and payments in return bribes, gifts and other kickbacks. More than two dozen people were convicted for their roles in the conspiracy, including Raguz (currently serving 14 years in federal prison) and Koljo Nikolovski (currently serving an 18-year prison sentence), a man who wired more than $2.3 million in ill-gotten money to Macedonia.
Those being honored with the IRS Commendation Award are Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Sammon (retired), Bridget M. Brennan, James Morford, Paralegal Specialist Daniel Nugent, IRS Special Agents Frank Brown and Rob Thatcher, FBI Special Agents Derek Kleinmann, Steve Sloan, and Mike West, FBI Forensic Accountant Leann Royal, Eastlake Detectives Ted Kroczak and Chris Bowersock, and FBI TFO John Ypsilantis.
FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to present the awards during a private ceremony in Cleveland on Nov. 25.