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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 17, 2018

Federal Grand Jury Indictments

Columbia, South Carolina----United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today that Federal Grand Juries have returned Indictments against the following:

Charleston Area Men Face Federal Charges for Armored Car Robbery.  Rashad Dingle of North Charleston, South Carolina, and Robert Lee Brown, II, of West Ashley, South Carolina, were charged in a 5-count indictment arising out of the April 10, 2018, robbery of an armored car driver. Among other charges, the indictment alleges a robbery affecting interstate commerce and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Dingle is also charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition. Both men face a maximum penalty of up to life in federal prison. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Dorchester County Sheriff's Office and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Chris Schoen of the Charleston office for prosecution.

Seabrook Island Man Indicted in $2M Fraud.  Todd Vannatta, 42, of Seabrook Island, South Carolina, was charged in a 10-count superseding indictment.  The indictment charges nine counts of wire fraud, with each count punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  Count Ten charges False Statement and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison.  The indictment alleges that Vannatta used several businesses to steal approximately $2,000,000.00 from multiple investors.  The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorneys Nathan Williams and Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office are prosecuting the case.

Illegal Aliens Indicted for Illegal Re-Entry.  Marcelo Diaz-Cordero, 34; Melchor Gonzalez-Gutierrez, 33; Juan Carlos Hernandez-Renteria, 34; Jorge Ramos-Luna, 31; and Sofronio Cruz-Aragon, 35, are each charged in separate Indictments with illegal re-entry to the United States. Each faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison, depending on his record. The cases were investigated by agents of the ICE-Enforcement and Removal Operations and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Max Cauthen of the Greenville Office.

Three Spartanburg Residents Indicted on Conspiracy to Rip Off Housing Programs Designed to Help the Poor and UnderprivilegedTommy E.  Quick, 69; Isaac T. Quick, 29; and John E. Bagwell, Jr., 78, all of Spartanburg, South Carolina, were charged in a one-count Indictment with conspiracy.  The defendants face a maximum penalty of up to five years in federal prison.  The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Inspector General, and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr., of the Greenville office for prosecution.

Operators of Balanced Solutions Indicted for Scamming Patients Involving Scar CreamKristopher  M. Oakes, 46, of Greenville, South Carolina; Christy L. Oakes, 47, of Greenville, South Carolina; Gerald S. Lemarr, 72, of Dandridge, Tennessee; Melissa G. Barbour, 57, of Travelers Rest, South Carolina; Erskine C. Carpenter, 21, of Taylors, South Carolina; Austin B. Cathcart, 28, of Greenville, South Carolina; and Deborah R. Cathcart, 58, of Greer, South Carolina, were charged in a one-count Indictment with attempt and conspiracy. The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr., of the Greenville office for prosecution.

Enoree Resident Indicted for Child Pornography Possession and Sexually Explicit Conduct.  Jeremey A. Bennett, 27, of Enoree, South Carolina, was charged in a two-count Indictment with possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of children. Bennett faces of maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr., of the Greenville office for prosecution.

This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Simpsonville Resident Indicted on Embezzlement from Social Security AdministrationMelissa Thames, 48, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, was charged in a one-count indictment with embezzlement. The maximum penalty Thames could receive is 10 years in federal prison.  The case was investigated by agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General and is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William J. Watkins, Jr., of the Greenville office for prosecution.

 

The United States Attorney stated that all charges in these indictments are merely accusations and that all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Contact: 
Lance Crick(864) 282-2105
Updated December 17, 2018