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Florida: A Florida man, who was arrested for drunk driving, had to deal with getting arrested and attacked by his pet squirrel at the same time, so he says.
Warren Thomas Michael, 23, said "he had a squirrel eating him" when officers pulled him over on Saturday night in Fleming Island, Fla., according to the arrest report.
"The defendant pointed out a small squirrel he had wrapped under his shirt," Police Officer JC Saunders wrote.
Michael talked about his squirrel with slurred, mumbled and profanity-laden speech. His bloodshot eyes appeared glassy above his red cheeks, the report describes.
"After some discussion about the squirrel," Officer Saunders explained why he pulled Michael over.
Earlier Michael's car allegedly swerved in and out of lanes, ran off the road and almost hit someone. That person called the authorities. When Saunders arrived, he reportedly witnessed Michael's car weave back and forth and cross the fog line onto the grass.
Michael could not answer the officer's simple questions while looking for his license and registration. The police also smelled alcohol, so he had "the defendant secure the squirrel" and go through sobriety tests.
The defendant Michael was arrested and taken to Clay County Jail, where he was charged with driving under the influence and driving without a seat belt. He also received a written warning for driving a vehicle in unsafe conditions.
Michael's pet squirrel and vehicle were released to his girlfriend.
CAMDEN, NJ—A Camden County man today admitted concealing from law enforcement authorities information about a home invasion and kidnapping that led to the death of an Atlantic City woman, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ronnie Ruffin, 43, of Lindenwold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court to in information charging him with one count of misprison of a felony.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ronnie Ruffin was arrested October 18, 2011. Prior to his arrest, he had learned that on March 26, 2011, Nadirah Ruffin (no relation) was the victim of a home invasion and was kidnapped from Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ronnie Ruffin also learned Nadirah Ruffin was driven to Philadelphia, shot, and killed. Her body was found in the Schuylkill River on April 19, 2011. Ronnie Ruffin admitted that before his arrest that he had learned the home invasion and kidnapping of Nadirah Ruffin were orchestrated to retaliate for an assault on another individual.
After Ronnie Ruffin was arrested, he gave a statement to an FBI special agent and a Atlantic City Police Department detective in which he concealed and failed to immediately make known that he knew the identities of the individuals involved in the home invasion and kidnapping.
The charges to which Ronnie Ruffin pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; investigators from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor James P. McClain; and detectives from the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee, Commander of the Atlantic City Police Department, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason M. Richardson and Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities have led to charges against 91 people—including doctors, nurses, and other licensed professionals—for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving $429.2 million in false billing. FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins joined Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government officials at a Washington, D.C. press conference announcing the takedown.
The largest number of defendants were charged in Miami—a total of 33 for their alleged participation in various fraud schemes involving a total of $204.5 million in false billings for home health care, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy, and durable medical equipment. Other defendants were charged in Los Angeles (16), Brooklyn (15), Dallas (14), Baton Rouge (4), and Chicago (2).
According to court documents, defendants were charged in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided. In many cases, patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries, and others were allegedly paid kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to the providers who submitted the fraudulent claims.
Perkins, who called the strike force’s partnerships “a critical piece of our strategy” to “protect the integrity of Medicare and the health care system at large,” also offered steps that the public—especially Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and their family members—can take to help prevent fraud:
Beware of suspicious activity, including marketers offering money, gifts, or free services to patients;
Review explanation of benefits forms sent by your insurance company (and contact your company immediately if you see any suspect billings);
Protect your insurance card information the same way you would protect your credit card information;
NEWARK—A Newark, New Jersey man made his initial court appearance today following his arrest in connection with two bank robberies, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Alfred Ferguson, 55, is charged by complaint with two counts of bank robbery. The defendant appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox-Arleo in Newark federal court. He was ordered detained without bail.
According to the complaint:
Ferguson allegedly robbed the Garden State Community Bank in Newark on September 17, 2012 and October 9, 2012. Ferguson used a similar procedure for both robberies: after entering the bank wearing a red bandana over the lower part of his face, Ferguson would verbally threaten the bank teller, vault over the glass partition, and empty money from bank tellers’ drawers. Following the latest robbery, officers of the Newark Police Department spotted Ferguson fleeing the scene on a bicycle.
If convicted on the bank robbery charges, Ferguson faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, for each count with which he is charged.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to charges. He also thanked the Newark Police Department for their contribution to the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Eskew of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Fort Dix Inmate Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Death of Another Inmate
Connecticut Man Pushed Victim Down Flight of Stairs During Argument
U.S. Attorney’s Office
October 12, 2012
District of New Jersey
CAMDEN, NJ—A Connecticut man serving a prison sentence at the Ft. Dix Federal Correctional Institution was sentenced today to an additional 120 months in prison for pushing a fellow inmate to his death during an argument, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
David Besaw, 27, of Newington, Connecticut, previously pleaded guilty before District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman to an information charging him one count of voluntary manslaughter in the November 4, 2010 death of an inmate identified only as “F.F.” Judge Hillman imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
Besaw said he was sleeping when F.F. punched the back of his bunk. The two men had an argument, after which F.F. left their cell. Besaw followed F.F. into a nearby stairwell, saw F.F. standing at the top of the stairwell and deliberately pushed him from behind, causing him to fall down the stairs. F.F. died as a result of the injuries he suffered in the fall.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Besaw to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $9,577 to the victim’s family for funeral expenses.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the warden of Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution, Donna Zickefoose; and special agents and investigators of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to today’s sentence.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Carrig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today the unsealing of a complaint charging New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, New York City Council Member Daniel Halloran, and four others with bribery, extortion, and fraud charges. The charges against the defendants arise from an undercover investigation of three distinct but related bribery schemes involving public corruption. In the first scheme, Smith allegedly arranged for cash bribes totaling $40,000 to be paid to Vincent Tabone and Joseph Savino, two New York City Republican county leaders, as part of an effort by Smith, who is a Democrat, to appear on the Republican primary ballot as a mayoral candidate in the 2013 election. Halloran is alleged to have received approximately $20,500 in cash bribes to act as an intermediary with Tabone and Savino on Smith’s behalf. In the second scheme, Halloran allegedly received approximately $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 in straw donor campaign contribution checks in exchange for agreeing to steer up to $80,000 of New York City Council discretionary funding to a company he believed was controlled by those who paid him the bribes. The final scheme involved Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the mayor and deputy mayor of the Village of Spring Valley in Rockland County, and their alleged receipt of financial benefits, including Jasmin’s receipt of a hidden interest in a real estate project and Desmaret’s receipt of approximately $10,500 in cash bribes, in exchange for official acts. All six defendants were arrested this morning and will be presented later today in White Plains federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion-Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest. We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s problem.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “Elected officials are called public servants because they are supposed to serve the people. Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment. People in New York, in Spring Valley—in any city or town in this country—rightly expect their elected or appointed representatives to hold themselves to a higher standard. At the very least, public officials should obey the law. As alleged, these defendants did not obey the law; they broke the law and the public trust. There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal.”
According to the allegations in the complaint unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
Scheme to Bribe New York City Republican Party Committee Leaders
Under New York State law, a person seeking to run for a citywide position in New York City may not have his or her name listed as a candidate on the ballot if he or she is not a registered member of the party having the primary contest unless he or she receives the approval of at least three of the five chairmen of the county committees for that party. The approval is given in the form of what are known as Wilson Pakula certificates, which are signed by the approving chairmen.
Smith, a Democrat, was first elected to the New York State Senate in March 2000 and represents the 14th Senatorial District in Queens, New York. He is chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference of the State Senate and, among other positions, has served as the State Senate’s minority and majority leader. Smith has spoken publicly about his desire to run for mayor of New York City in 2013.
Halloran, a Republican, was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents the City Council’s 19th District in Queens, New York. Halloran ran unsuccessfully for the United States Congress in 2012. Tabone and Savino are New York City Republican Party officials. Savino is the chairman of the Bronx County Republican Party, and Tabone is the vice chairman of the Queens County Republican Party. Their duties include endorsing candidates for public office and voting on Wilson Pakula certificates.
In November 2012, Smith agreed with Halloran, an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer (the UC), and a cooperating witness (CW) to bribe New York City Republican Party county leaders in exchange for their issuance of Wilson Pakula certificates that would enable Smith to run as a Republican candidate for New York City mayor in 2013. When asked by the UC what he wanted in exchange for his help securing the certificates, Halloran said that he wanted to get his “mortgage situation resolved,” and that if Smith was elected mayor, he would expect to be named deputy police vommissioner if he asked for the job. He also solicited and received from the UC and the CW approximately $20,500 in cash for himself.
In furtherance of the scheme, Halloran arranged for the UC and the CW to meet Tabone and Savino and negotiated the amounts of the cash bribes to be paid by the UC and the CW to Tabone and Savino on Smith’s behalf. Halloran told the UC and the CW that, “You gotta get [Savino] business but put 25 in an envelope....Tabone is 25 up front, 25 when the Wilson Pakula is delivered.” After his meeting with the UC and the CW, Savino accepted $15,000 in cash and agreed to accept another $15,000 after he formally approved Smith’s appearance on the 2013 Republican ballot for New York City mayor. After meeting with the UC and the CW, Tabone accepted $25,000 in cash and agreed to accept another $25,000 after his committee approved Smith’s appearance on the 2013 Republican ballot for New York City mayor.
In exchange for the payment of bribes to Tabone and Savino by the UC and CW, in his capacity as a New York State Senator, Smith agreed to help obtain $500,000 in New York State funds for road work that would benefit a real estate project in Spring Valley that Smith understood was being developed by a company controlled by the UC and CW (the company).
Bribery of Halloran to Steer City Council Discretionary Funding
Since August 2012 to the present, Halloran accepted approximately $18,300 in cash bribes and approximately $6,500 in straw donor campaign contribution checks from the UC and the CW in exchange for agreeing to steer up to $80,000 in New York City Council discretionary funding to the company.
For example, at a meeting on September 7, 2012, at which Halloran and the UC discussed Halloran’s need to raise money for his congressional campaign, Halloran agreed to hire someone of the CW’s choosing for a congressional staff or some equivalent position and to help him raise money for his campaign. During the discussion, Halloran said, “That’s politics, that’s politics, it’s all about how much. Not whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that....And they get like that because of the drive that the money does for everything else. You can’t do anything without the f—ing money.” During the meeting, the CW paid Halloran $7,500. Near the end of the meeting, Halloran remarked, “Money is what greases the wheels—good, bad, or indifferent.”
In furtherance of this scheme, Halloran wrote two letters on New York City council letterhead about this funding, one to civic organizations and the other to the company. Despite suggesting in these letters that work would be done by the company to support the allotment of up to $80,000, Halloran agreed with the UC and the CW that the company would provide no services.
Bribery of the Spring Valley Mayor and Deputy Mayor
Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret were sworn in as mayor and deputy mayor of the Village of Spring Valley, New York, in December 2009. From September 2011 through the date of the complaint, Jasmin and Desmaret accepted financial benefits from the UC and the CW in exchange for official acts. Desmaret accepted approximately $10,500 worth of cash bribes from the UC and the CW in exchange for, among other things, his vote in favor of a sale of land owned by Spring Valley to the company a company he believed was controlled by the UC and that would be used to build a community center (the “real estate project”).
In exchange for her vote awarding the real estate project to the company, Jasmin demanded a partnership interest in the company, stating, “So for me, it’s better for us to partner, that’s what I said to you before; a partnership will be best.” When the CW later suggested that Jasmin have a 20 percent stake in the project, she replied, “Partnership is 50-50, right?”
In support of the scheme, Jasmin coached the UC on how to make his presentation to the Spring Valley Village Board of Trustees about why the board should award the real estate project to his company. She also coached two other individuals, whom she understood were associates of the UC and who would pose as competing developers, but who were actually undercover FBI agents, on how to make their presentation to the Village Board. In addition, both Jasmin and Desmaret agreed to steer to the UC’s company the New York State funding for road work that Smith agreed to help the CW and the UC obtain.
* * *
Charts containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are below.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI. He also thanked the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and the Spring Valley Police Department for their invaluable assistance to the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Public Corruption Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas B. Bloom and Alvin Bragg are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
* * *
United States v. Malcolm A. Smith et al.
Defendant Residence Age
Malcolm Smith Queens, New York 56
Daniel Halloran Queens, New York 42
Vincent Tabone Queens, New York 46
Joseph Savino Rockland County, New York 45
Noramie Jasmin Spring Valley, New York 49
Joseph Desmaret Spring Valley, New York 55
Count Charge Defendants Maximum Penalty
One Wire fraud and Travel Act bribery
conspiracy Malcolm Smith, Daniel Halloran, Vincent Tabone, Joseph Savino Five years in prison
Two Wire fraud Malcolm Smith, Daniel Halloran, Vincent Tabone, Joseph Savino 20 years in prison
Three Hobbs Act Malcolm Smith 20 years in prison
Four Wire fraud Daniel Halloran 20 years in prison
Five Mail fraud Noramie Jasmin 20 years in prison
Six Mail fraud Joseph Desmaret 20 years in prison
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