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Five Defendants Linked to Genovese Crime Family Plead Guilty to Loansharking, Check Cashing, Gambling & Money Laundering Schemes in “Operation Fistful”

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that five defendants pleaded guilty today in connection with criminal schemes that generated millions of dollars through illegal loansharking, unlicensed check cashing, gambling, and money laundering. The schemes were linked to the New York-based Genovese organized crime family.

The defendants were indicted in “Operation Fistful,” a joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, conducted with assistance from the New York and Queens County District Attorneys’ Offices and other law enforcement agencies.

Continue reading Five Defendants Linked to Genovese Crime Family Plead Guilty to Loansharking, Check Cashing, Gambling & Money Laundering Schemes in “Operation Fistful”
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Former Bank Employee Charged with Theft from the Bank Accounts of a Deceased Teaneck Resident

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July 8,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Teaneck NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of SHANNELL GRIGGS (DOB: 04/16/1990; single; and employed as a receptionist) of 354 Bryant Avenue, Syracuse, NY and GIVONNI BUTLER (DOB: 08/21/1989; single; and unemployed) of 27 Pine Street, Passaic, NJ on charges of Computer Related Theft, Theft By Deception, Impersonation, Money Laundering, Receiving Stolen Property, and Conspiracy. The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti and the Teaneck Police Department under the direction of Chief Glenn M. O’Reilly.

In December 2017, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit received a complaint of theft from the bank accounts of a recently deceased Teaneck resident. The executor of the decedent’s estate reported that the decedent’s bank accounts had been accessed by an unknown party and that approximately $375,000 had been stolen between 2015 and 2016.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Shannell GRIGGS, a bank employee, had unlawfully used the bank’s computerized account and customer service systems to access and take over the victim’s bank accounts. Shannell GRIGGS and her boyfriend, Givonni BUTLER, then stole approximately $375,000 through a combination of illicit debit card purchases, cash withdrawals, wire transfers, and cashier check purchases.

Shannell GRIGGS was arrested on June 29, 2018 in Syracuse, NY and charged with one count of Computer Related Theft, in an amount greater than $250,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25c, a 1st degree crime; one count of Impersonation For The Purpose Of Obtaining A Benefit, in an amount greater than $75,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17a(1), a 2nd degree crime; one count of Theft By Deception, in an amount greater than $75,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4a, a 2nd degree crime; and one count of Financial Facilitation Of Criminal Activity, in an amount greater than $75,000 but less than $500,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25b(2), a 2nd degree crime. GRIGGS was taken into custody in Syracuse, NY on the New Jersey warrant and is awaiting extradition proceedings.

A warrant for the arrest of Givonni BUTLER was issued on July 3, 2018 and served on July 5, 2018 as a detainer, since BUTLER is currently serving a prison sentence in Pennsylvania on an unrelated matter. He was charged with one count of Receiving Stolen Property, with a value greater than $75,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7a, a 2nd degree crime; and one count of Conspiracy To Commit Computer Related Theft, in an amount greater than $5,000, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25c, a 2nd degree crime.

Acting Prosecutor Calo states that the charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Acting Prosecutor Calo would like to thank the Teaneck and Syracuse Police Departments and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance with this investigation.

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ICE arrests 91 in New Jersey operation targeting criminal aliens

June 13,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK NJ,  An Salvadoran national in the country illegally, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of MS-13 and trafficking in firearms and narcotics, is among 91 foreign nationals taken into custody during a five-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week in New Jersey, targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and other immigration violators. The operation was supported by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) New Jersey Field Office.

Of those arrested during the operation, which was spearheaded by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), 77 percent were convicted criminals and 70 percent of them had prior felony convictions.

“The remarkable results of our officers and law enforcement partners highlight ICE’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” said John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director of ERO Newark. “This operation focuses on the arrest of individuals convicted of serious crimes and are a threat to public safety. Because of the targeted efforts of these professional officers, there are 91 fewer criminals in our communities.”

These individuals will go through removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge or for those under a final order of removal, arrangements will be made to remove them from the U.S.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extremely proud to have assisted in this operation,” said Frank Russo, Acting Director New York Field Office. “It is through collaborative efforts that law enforcement agencies can combat illegal acts and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to the Homeland.”

The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Anguilla (1), Bangladesh (1), Cameroon (1), Colombia (4), Cuba (3), Dominican Republic (14), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (10), Ghana (1), Guatemala (3), Guinea (1), Guyana (2), Haiti (3), Honduras (4), Jamaica (3), Korea (2), Macedonia (2), Mexico (12), Nicaragua (1), Pakistan (2), Philippines (4), Peru (4), Poland (1), Spain (1), St. Lucia (1), Trinidad (3), and Venezuela (2)

These individuals were arrested in the following counties in New Jersey: Atlantic (3), Bergen (5), Burlington (3), Camden (3), Cumberland (6), Essex (19), Hudson (15), Mercer (7), Middlesex (7), Monmouth (1), Passaic (10), Union (8), and Warren (2). Also, one individual was arrested in New Castle county in Delaware and one individual was arrested in Bronx county in New York. They range from age 19 to 78 years old and all were previously convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the convictions included sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, money laundering, DUI, fraud, domestic violence, theft, possession of a weapon, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on law enforcement, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, kidnapping and illegal reentry.

Among those arrested during this operation include:

  • In Jersey City, a 39-year-old previously removed Venezuelan national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest by Force, Possession of a Weapon, and Distribution of Heroin;
  • In Saddle Brook, a 46-year-old Bangladeshi national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, and pending charges for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor;
  • In New Brunswick, a 47-year-old Honduran national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, who was released by Middlesex County Jail and rearrested by ICE;
  • In Passaic, a 24-year-old Jamaican national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Lewdness;
  • In Perth Amboy, a 32-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions of Possession of Cocaine, Domestic Violence Assault, and Trespassing;
  • In Newark, a 45-year-old Pakistani national, who has convictions of Money Laundering and Theft by Deception;
  • In Elizabeth, a 42-year-old Colombian national, who has a conviction for Homicide
  • In Bergenfield, a 58 year old Philippines national, who has convictions for DUI, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Assault;
  • In Jersey City, a 54-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions for Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault;
  • In Bridgeton, a 41-year-old Mexican national, who has a conviction for Criminal Sexual Contact;
  • In Pleasantville, a 21-year-old Honduran national, who has been convicted for Endangering the Welfare of a Child;
  • In Plainfield, 22 & 23-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In Lindenwold, 27 & 29-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In East Orange, a 23-year-old Anguillan national, who is a member of the Bloods;
  • In South Brunswick, a 31-year-old Venezuelan national, who is a member of MS-13;
  • In West New York, a 26-year-old El Salvadorian national, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of a terrorist organization (MS-13), trafficking in narcotics and trafficking in firearms;
  • In Bridgeton, a 22-year-old Mexican national, who is a member of the gang Los Pelones

ICE deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.

During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.

ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, as ICE Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.

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Bergen County Jail Inmates Pull Off Identity and Credit Card Theft

bergen county jail

February 3,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hackensack NJ, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrests of the following individuals involved in a fraud scheme: TERRANCE HART (D.O.B. 2/22/1989, single, unemployed) of 211 S 8th Lincoln Place, Garfield, New Jersey; RASHAD BLACK (D.O.B. 12/29/1986, single, unemployed) of Hackensack, New Jersey; JAMES MILLER (D.O.B. 06/28/1987, single, unemployed) of Paterson, New Jersey; IVY HERNANDEZ (D.O.B. 4/09/1993, single, unemployed) of 211 Lincoln Place, Garfield, New Jersey; CHRISTIAN REYES (D.O.B. 1/18/1991, single, unemployed) of Secaucus, New Jersey; and TORI BEATO (D.O.B. 12/28/1992, single, unemployed) of 1538 Paterson Plank Road, Secaucus, New Jersey.

The arrests are the result of a cooperative investigation conducted by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit under the direction of Chief Robert ANZILOTTI, and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Michael SAUDINO.
In September 2017, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit was notified by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office that Bergen County Jail Annex inmate commissary accounts were being used to receive and transfer illicit funds obtained from stolen credit cards.
A joint investigation revealed that Bergen County Jail inmates Christian REYES, James MILLER, and Rashad BLACK had used their assigned inmate commissary accounts and those of other inmates whom they enlisted, to receive illicit funds obtained through the use of stolen personal identifying information and credit cards. The information and illicit funds, which totaled in excess of $30,000, were transmitted to the suspect accounts via an internet-based commissary account system accessed by co-conspirators Terrance HART, Ivy HERNANDEZ and Tori BEATO, who were not incarcerated. A portion of the illicit funds were used by the inmates, and the remainder was transferred back to the co-conspirators through checks issued, at the inmates’ request through the jail commissary system. As a result of the investigation, other suspected accounts and victim credit cards have been identified.

As a result of the investigation:

Tori BEATO was arrested on Thursday, December 14, 2017 in Paramus, New Jersey and charged with one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; and two counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Summons, and BEATO appeared in Central Judicial Processing Court on January 3, 2018 and was released.
Christian REYES was arrested on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the Bergen County Jail Annex in Hackensack, New Jersey, and charged with one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; and two counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Warrant and REYES was released on his own recognizance.
Ivy HERNANDEZ was arrested on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Paramus, New Jersey and charged with one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Fraudulent Use, Distribution, Manufacture, and/or Possession of Items Containing the Personal Identification Information of Another (Trafficking in Stolen Identities), ten or more items pertaining to five or more persons, N.J.S.A. 2C:17.3, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; one count of Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (Money Laundering), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25, a 3rd degree crime; and four counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Summons, and HERNANDEZ is scheduled to appear in Central Judicial Processing Court at 8:30 a.m. on February 14, 2018.

Rashad BLACK was arrested on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at the Bergen County Jail Annex in Hackensack, New Jersey and charged with one count of Fraudulent Use, Distribution, Manufacture, and/or Possession of Items Containing the Personal Identification Information of Another (Trafficking in Stolen Identities), ten or more items pertaining to five or more persons, N.J.S.A. 2C:17.3, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; one count of Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (Money Laundering), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25, a 3rd degree crime; and four counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Summons, and BLACK is scheduled to appear in Central Judicial Processing Court at 8:30 a.m. on February 14, 2018.

James MILLER was arrested on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at the Bergen County Jail Annex in Hackensack, New Jersey and charged with one count of Fraudulent Use, Distribution, Manufacture, and/or Possession of Items Containing the Personal Identification Information of Another (Trafficking in Stolen Identities), ten or more items pertaining to five or more persons, N.J.S.A. 2C:17.3, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; one count of Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (Money Laundering), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25, a 3rd degree crime; and four counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Summons, and MILLER is scheduled to appear in Central Judicial Processing Court at 8:30 a.m. on February 14, 2018.

Terrance HART was arrested on Friday, February 2, 2018 in Paramus, New Jersey and charged with one count of Fraudulent Use, Distribution, Manufacture, and/or Possession of Items Containing the Personal Identification Information of Another (Trafficking in Stolen Identities), ten of more items pertaining to five or more persons, N.J.S.A. 2C:17.3, a 2nd degree crime; one count of Using a Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Credit Card, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6H, a 3rd degree crime; one count of Impersonation, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-17A(1), a 3rd degree crime; one count of Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (Money Laundering), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25, a 3rd degree crime; and four counts of Conspiracy, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2, a 3rd degree crime. The complaint was issued as a Summons, and HART is scheduled to appear in Central Judicial Processing Court at 8:30 a.m. on February 14, 2018.

Acting Prosecutor Calo states that these charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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FBI Finds Russian Collusion

meet-the-pr-firm-that-helped-vladimir-putin-troll-the-entire-country

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

By John Solomon and Alison Spann – 10/17/17 06:00 AM EDT

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/355749-fbi-uncovered-russian-bribery-plot-before-obama-administration

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Leonardo DiCaprio, the Malaysian Money Scandal and His “Unusual” Foundation

Golden Globes Nominations

By Gary Baum

7:25am PT | August 17, 2016

According to the Justice Department, certain donations to the Oscar winner’s charity came directly from a multibillion-dollar embezzlement drama in Southeast Asia.

On the evening of July 20, under a tent at a vineyard in St. Tropez brimming to his specifications with booze, billionaires and babes, Leonardo DiCaprio was preparing to host one of the glitziest charitable events of the year: the third annual fundraiser for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Earlier that same day, under far less glamorous auspices half a world away, the U.S. Department of Justice was filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles that suggested the recent Oscar winner is a bit player in the planet’s largest embezzlement case, totaling more than $3 billion siphoned from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund called 1MDB.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/leonardo-dicaprio-malaysian-money-scandal-920199

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Iran: $400 Million in Cash Was Part of ‘Expensive Price’ to Free U.S. Hostages

monopoly-money-748981

New Iranian television footage shows stacks of cash

BY: Adam Kredo
August 5, 2016 11:50 am

Iranian television has broadcast what some say is purported footage of the $400 million pallets of cash that officials claim was part of the “expensive price” paid by the Obama administration to free several U.S. hostages.

The footage, which could not be independently verified, shows images of large stacks of hard currency and features claims that the Obama administration sent this money over as part of an effort to free several U.S. hostages. The White House vehemently denied these claims this week following new reports about the cash exchange.

BBC Persian reporter Hadi Nili posted the footage on Twitter, describing it as showing the “pallets of cash” and quoting officials as saying “this was just part of the ‘expensive price’ to release Americans.”

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-400-million-cash-part-expensive-price-free-u-s-hostages/

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U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

Obama-Golf

Obama administration insists there was no quid pro quo, but critics charge payment amounted to ransom

By
JAY SOLOMON and

CAROL E. LEE
Updated Aug. 3, 2016 12:01 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.

Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.

The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sent-cash-to-iran-as-americans-were-freed-1470181874