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News Releases
Canadian National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Maritime Possession of Methamphetamine - 05/21/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—John Philip Stirling, 66, a Canadian citizen, was sentenced today to 40 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA).

According to court documents, on April 9, 2019, while on a routine patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alert detected a sailing vessel traveling north, from Mexico to Canada, 225 nautical miles from Newport, Oregon in international waters. The vessel, named Mandalay, had a home port of Seattle, Washington. When Coast Guard personnel attempted to communicate with Stirling, he would only respond via VHF radio. Once Coast Guard personnel determined the Mandalay was a vessel within the jurisdiction of the U.S., they boarded and found Stirling to be the vessel’s sole occupant.

Stirling stated he did not have vessel documentation and refused to produce identification. Upon further questioning, Stirling’s speech began to deteriorate and he displayed signs of a possible drug overdose. Shortly before Coast Guard personnel boarded the vessel, Stirling consumed a large amount of what he believed to be pure fentanyl, but was later determined to be pentobarbital. Coast Guard personnel administered medical aid to Stirling and evacuated him by helicopter to Astoria, Oregon. He was later transported by ambulance to Adventist Health Portland for additional treatment.

The Mandalay was towed to port and later searched pursuant to a federal warrant. Investigators searched the vessel and discovered 28 jugs containing more than seven gallons of liquid methamphetamine each and a duffel bag containing several plastic-wrapped bricks of pentobarbital. Investigators later learned the drugs had been loaded onto the Mandalay from another vessel in the Sea of Cortez for delivery to Canada.

On January 13, 2020, Stirling pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine under the MDLEA.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Eugene Man Sentenced to Four Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Firearm Possession - 05/20/20

EUGENE, Ore.—A convicted felon from Eugene was sentenced to federal prison today for illegally possessing a 20-gauge shotgun, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.

Delano Franklin Oscar, Jr., 58, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of December 14, 2018, Lane County Sheriff deputies identified a parked car as reported stolen. They discovered Oscar asleep in the vehicle’s front passenger seat with a 20-gauge shotgun shell near his feet. The deputies searched the vehicle and found a loaded 20-gauge pump-action shotgun, a small baggy of methamphetamine, and a glass pipe. The shotgun had been reported stolen in October 2017. Oscar was arrested without incident.

On January 16, 2019, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a two-count indictment charging Oscar with felon in possession of ammunition and a firearm. On January 29, 2020, he pleaded guilty to both charges.

As part of his plea agreement, Oscar agreed to voluntarily abandon his interest in the shotgun seized by investigators.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
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U.S. Attorney to Join Portland-Area Law Enforcement and Faith Leaders for Online Interfaith Prayer Vigil (Photo) - 05/14/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that he will join Chief Jami Resch of the Portland Police Bureau, Sheriff Michael Reese of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and faith leaders from across Portland for an online, interfaith prayer vigil to support and honor Portland-area law enforcement.

WHAT: An online prayer vigil hosted by the Portland OneCOP Initiative and the National Sheriffs’ Association to honor Portland-area law enforcement.

WHO: All Portland-area faith and community leaders, law enforcement personnel, media, and the general public are invited to attend this free event.

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 10:00am PDT

WHERE: A web link will be provided upon registration for attendees who wish to participate in the listen-only video conferencing portion of the event. For registered attendees who do not wish to or are unable to participate in the video conference, a view-only livestream link will be made available at the time of, and after, the vigil.

RSVP: Please register for this event by visiting www.portlandvigil.us.

QUESTIONS: Please direct all registration- and event-related questions to Patrick Royal at ickroyal@sheriffs.org">patrickroyal@sheriffs.org or by calling (401) 465-0800.

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency has changed the way people live in Portland and throughout the country. Sadly, as of May 13, 2020, 134 people have died from COVID-19 in Oregon and there are an additional 3,338 confirmed cases. Amid these unprecedented times, public servants at the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and other area law enforcement agencies have remained steadfast in their duty to protect and serve.

As an expression of appreciation for their courageous efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, MovementForward, Inc., in partnership with the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA), is hosting this virtual prayer vigil as part of their Portland “One Congregation One Precinct” (OneCOP) Initiative and national “Supporting the Blue” campaign.

About the National Sheriffs’ Association:

The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the U.S., representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and with a total membership of more than 14,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of law enforcement, public safety, and criminal justice. Throughout its seventy-nine-year history, NSA has also served as an information resource for all law enforcement, as well as state governments and the federal government.

About MovementForward, Incorporated:

MovementForward, Inc. (MFI) is a modern, inclusive social change organization working to protect, promote and advance the civil and human rights of all people. MFI is working to build a multiracial, multifaceted and intergenerational movement for social justice, economic parity, educational equity, racial reconciliation and global peace by bringing diverse people together to solve problems. Founded in 2015 by emerging faith leaders in Atlanta, MFI provides this generation of Americans a conciliatory voice to offer programs, projects, activism, empowerment opportunities, and targeted issue campaigns to advocate for one standard of justice regardless of race, class, gender, religion, orientation or immigration status. MovementForward, Inc. provides innovative, inclusive, and solution-focused direct action, leadership development, ongoing programs, special projects, educational forums, community meetings and other strategic advocacy initiatives for civil and human rights, racial reconciliation, social justice, civic and cultural development, peace, and economic and educational parity.

The OneCOP initiative, MovementForward’s signature program, facilitates positive, ongoing partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and diverse congregations of every faith tradition. This includes organizing various crime and violence prevention/solving efforts, hosting public safety briefings, providing cultural and sensitivity training, conducting officer appreciation events, holding community safety workshops, and hosting forums focused on bettering the relationship between cops and citizens.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release , Event Graphic
Omnicare Agrees to Pay Over $15 Million to Resolve Allegations It Improperly Dispensed Opioids at Long-Term Care Facilities - 05/13/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—Omnicare, Inc., a subsidiary of CVS Health and a provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, has agreed to pay the United States a $15.3 million civil penalty to resolve allegations that it violated federal law by, among other things, allowing opioids and other controlled substances to be dispensed without a valid prescription, United States Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today.

The Cincinnati-based Omnicare operates “closed door” pharmacies – meaning they were not open to the public – that deliver controlled substances to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Omnicare makes daily deliveries of prescription medications to residents of LTCFs, and it also pre-positions limited stockpiles of controlled substances at LTCFs in “emergency kits,” which are to be dispensed to patients on an emergency basis. These emergency kits, which often include opioids and other controlled substances that are commonly abused and diverted, remain part of Omnicare’s inventory and must be tightly controlled and tracked. The controlled substances may be dispensed only pursuant to a valid prescription.

The United States alleged that Omnicare violated the federal Controlled Substances Act in its handling of emergency prescriptions, its controls over the emergency kits, and its processing of written prescriptions that lacked required elements such as the prescriber’s signature or DEA number. The federal investigation found that Omnicare failed to control emergency kits by improperly permitting LTCFs to remove opioids and other controlled substances from emergency kits days before doctors provided a valid prescription. The investigation also revealed that Omnicare had repeated failures in its documentation and reporting of oral emergency prescriptions of Schedule II controlled substances.

As part of the settlement agreement announced today, Omnicare agreed to pay the $15.3 million civil penalty and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Drug Enforcement Administration that will require Omnicare to increase its auditing and monitoring of emergency kits placed at LTCFs.

“At a time when the opioid abuse and addiction crisis continues to ravage communities across the country, vulnerable Americans must be able to trust that health care providers have their best interest in mind when administering care,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to holding accountable companies like Omnicare who dispense powerful opioids without valid prescriptions.”

“Omnicare failed in its responsibility to ensure proper controls of medications used to treat some of the most vulnerable among us,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “DEA is committed to keeping our communities safe by holding companies like Omnicare accountable for such failures, while ensuring continuity of care and necessary access to emergency prescription drug supplies.”

This matter was investigated by the DEA’s Field Divisions in Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, in conjunction with five United States Attorney’s Offices: the District of Oregon, the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California, the District of Colorado, and the District of Utah. The settlement agreement, which was finalized on May 6, resolves Omnicare’s civil liability for the alleged CSA violations in those five districts.

The claims settled by this civil agreement are allegations. In entering into this settlement agreement, Omnicare did not admit to any liability.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon was represented in this matter by Assistant United States Attorneys Clem Ashley and Alexis Lien from the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Tacoma Man Sentenced to 46 Months in Federal Prison for Violating Domestic Violence No-Contact Order - 05/12/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—Deshawn Everett Little Eagle, 31, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for repeatedly and deliberately violating a domestic violence no-contact order.

According to court documents, in 2018, Little Eagle strangled and beat adult victim one (AV1) and her 4-year-old child in Tacoma, Washington. AV1’s parents reported suspicious bruising to the child, resulting in the issuance of a no-contact order by the Superior Court of Pierce County, Washington on October 30, 2018. The order, signed by Little Eagle, prohibited him from contacting, communicating with, or coming into physical proximity with AV1.

Between December 4, 2018 and January 7, 2019, Little Eagle called AV1 more than 100 times and, on January 9, 2019, admitted, in a text message with a relative of AV1, that he knew about the protective order. Later, on January 9, Little Eagle travelled from Tacoma to Celilo Village, Oregon where AV1 was staying with her parents. Over the next three days, Little Eagle argued with AV1, broke her phone, and damaged property at AV1’s parent’s home.

On January 12, 2019, neighbors observed AV1 crying as she and Little Eagle left Celilo Village to travel to Washington State. AV1 later told officers that during this trip, Little Eagle threatened to kill her and himself. On January 14, 2019, when Little Eagle returned AV1 to Celilo Village, a Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission Officer arrested him for violating the protective order. After his arrest, Little Eagle called AV1 from custody at least 50 times, again violating the protective order.

On March 6, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland returned two-count indictment charging Little Eagle with interstate violation of a protection order—travel or conduct of the offender and casuing travel of a victim. On March 20, 2020, Little Eagle pleaded guilty to one count of interstate violation of a protection order—travel or conduct of the offender.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown ordered a restitution hearing to be set in July, 2020.

This case was investigated by the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission Enforcement department and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Jennifer Martin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Domestic violence is a serious violent crime that includes both physical and emotional abuse. It is frequently hidden from public view. Many survivors suffer in silence, afraid to seek help or not knowing where to turn. The traumatic effects of domestic violence also extend beyond the abused person, impacting family members and communities.

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you need assistance or know someone who needs help, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Many communities throughout the country have developed support networks to assist survivors in the process of recovery.

The StrongHearts Native Helpline offers culturally specific support and advocacy for American Indian and Alaska Native survivors of domestic violence. Please call 1-844-762-8483 or visit www.strongheartshelpline.org for more information.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Gresham Man Charged with Smuggling and Importing Misbranded Chloroquine from China for Attempted Resale - 05/11/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Gresham, Oregon man has been charged with illegally purchasing, importing, and offering for sale chloroquine, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in prescription drugs used to treat malaria.

Matthew Owens, 42, has been charged by criminal complaint with smuggling and the receipt in interstate commerce of misbranded drugs and the delivery thereof for pay.

“Together, Americans are facing a public health emergency without precedent in our lifetimes. We are heartened by the countless examples of public service by front-line health workers, law enforcement, and ordinary Americans alike. These heroic acts of service inspire us all,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “And yet, there are some individuals actively trying to profit off the pandemic, and, in the process, putting more lives as risk. We will not let these selfish and dangerous criminal acts continue unchecked.”

“Drugs that are produced and distributed outside the FDA’s oversight present the prospect of harm to the public health. The FDA’s drug approval process is designed to ensure that patients receive safe and effective drugs,” said Special Agent in Charge Lisa L. Malinowski, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Los Angeles Field Office. “The FDA will not tolerate those who attempt to place the public health at risk, especially during a pandemic and we will take appropriate action to protect consumers from bad actors who take advantage of a crisis to deceive the public.”

“It’s unconscionable that individuals would prioritize their own greed over the health of others, particularly during a public health crisis,” said Eben Roberts, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle. “Illicit distribution of narcotics put unsuspecting consumers at serious risk. HSI, and our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek and bring to justice anyone who attempts to use the current health emergency to exploit others.”

According to court documents, on April 13, 2020, HSI contacted FDA-OCI after a package containing 122.8 grams of a white powder was intercepted at a FedEx facility in Memphis, Tennessee. The package originated in Xiaoshan, China, and was addressed to Owens’ Gresham apartment. The enclosed substance was declared as ammonium polyphosphate but was later determined to be chloroquine. An invoice included with the substance described it as a “sample” having “no commercial value”, statements commonly used by persons improperly importing items and attempting to avoid detection.

Investigators searched FDA records and found neither “Hangzhou Weishi Electronic Commerce Co Ltd,” the entity who shipped the package, nor “Matthew Owens” as having registered any drug manufacturing facilities. A search of Oregon Medical Board, Oregon Board of Pharmacy, and Oregon State Board of Nursing public databases found no records indicating that Owens was a physician, pharmacist, or registered nurse.

As the investigation continued, special agents from FDA-OCI and HSI learned that two additional shipments were sent from China to Owens’ apartment. One contained resveratrol, a chemical commonly found in dietary supplements. The second contained polyacrylamide, a chemical compound primarily used in wastewater treatment, but also as an ingredient in certain cosmetics.

On April 27, 2020, agents from HSI, FDA-OCI, FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) executed a search at Owens’ apartment. They seized laptop computers, cell phones, an unopened bag of clear, empty capsules for encapsulating pharmaceuticals, a foil bag containing an unknown powder, and a material safety data sheet for polyacrylamide.

A forensic search of Owens’ cell phones and Facebook Messenger messages associated with his cell phone number revealed conversations discussing the purchase and receipt of chloroquine from Alibaba.com, the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform. Other messages discussed the offering of chloroquine for sale as a treatment for COVID-19.

Owens made his first appearance in federal court today after having been served a summons to appear on May 8, 2020. If convicted, Owens faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison, 3 years’ supervised release, and a $500,000 fine.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FDA-OCI and HSI with assistance from the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

On March 27, 2020, the FDA issued a public notice warning of the dangers of using chloroquine phosphate and warning the public to be wary of anyone claiming to have a product to prevent or cure COVID-19. The U.S. Attorney’s Office joins the FDA in imploring the public not to take any form of chloroquine unless it has been prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider and is obtained through a legitimate source.

If you or someone you know is in danger or experiencing a health emergency, please call 911.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
U.S. Attorney's Office Joins in Recognizing National Police Week, May 10-16, 2020 - 05/11/20

PORTLAND—In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams will recognize the service and sacrifice of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The week will be observed Sunday, May 10 through Saturday, May 16, 2020.

“There is no more noble profession than serving as a police officer,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “The men and women who protect our communities each day have not just devoted their lives to public service, they’ve taken an oath to give their lives in order to ensure our safety. And they do so not only in the face of hostility from those who reject our nation’s commitment to the rule of law, but also in the face of evolving adversity – such as an unprecedented global health pandemic. This week, I ask all Americans to join me in saying ‘thank you’ to our nation’s federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers. Their devotion and sacrifice to our peace and security will not be taken for granted.”

“National Police Week affords us the opportunity to recall and reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made by everyone in the law enforcement community. While our honoring of this occasion will look different this year because of COVID-19, we still pause to commemorate the courage, duty, and extraordinary character that this profession mandates and that law enforcement officers across Oregon nobly reflect,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Throughout this week, we join with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners in recognizing the service of everyone in law enforcement, particularly the 89 officers nationally who gave their lives in service of their communities. We are forever grateful to these officers and the families they leave behind.”

In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

Each year, during National Police Week, our nation celebrates the contributions of law enforcement from around the country, recognizing their hard work, dedication, loyalty and commitment to keeping our communities safe. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored law enforcement officers’ courage and unwavering devotion to the communities they swore to serve.

Based on data collected and analyzed by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officer Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, 89 law enforcement officers died nationwide in the line of duty in 2019. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing most of the fatal attacks are included in the sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2019.

The names of the fallen officers who have been added in 2020 to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Memorial will be read on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, during a Virtual Annual Candlelight Vigil. Because public events have been suspended as a result of COVID-19, the vigil will be livestreamed to the public at 8:00 PM (EDT). To register to view this free online event, please www.LawMemorial.org/webcast.

To learn more about National Police Week and the virtual candlelight vigil, please visit www.policeweek.org.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Salem Man Drug Dealer Arrested, Charged in Federal Court (Photo) - 05/08/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Salem, Oregon man faces federal drug and firearm charges after large quantities of methamphetamine, eight firearms, and approximately $400,000 in cash were found in his residence and nearby storage locker.

Joshua McGuire, 42, has been charged by criminal complaint with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

According to court documents, the Salem Police Department Street Crimes Unit (SCU) began investigating McGuire in April 2020 after they learned he was distributing large quantities of methamphetamine throughout the Salem area. On May 7, 2020, SCU investigators applied for and obtained warrants to search McGuire’s home, vehicle, and storage locker. SCU investigators, working in cooperation with the FBI, executed the warrants the same day.

In McGuire’s storage locker, investigators found more than seven pounds of methamphetamine, a Sig Sauer handgun, digital scales, and drug packaging material. In his home, they found an additional 395 grams of methamphetamine, seven firearms, and approximately $400,000 in cash. McGuire was arrested at his residence without incident.

McGuire made his first appearance in federal court today and was ordered detained pending a follow-up hearing on May 11, 2020. If convicted, McGuire faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum, five years’ supervised release, and a $10 million fine.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Salem Police Department Street Crimes Unit with assistance from the FBI and is being prosecuted by the Ashley Cadotte, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release , Photo , Photo , Photo
U.S. Attorney Seeks Reporting of Discrimination and Sexual Harassment in Housing Resulting from COVID-19 Pandemic - 05/08/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams is asking anyone who has witnessed or experienced discrimination or sexual harassment by a landlord, property manager, maintenance worker, or anyone with control over housing to report this conduct.

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency has impacted many Americans’ ability to pay their rent and has increased housing insecurity. It is violation of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) for housing providers to exploit this crisis by sexually harassing tenants in exchange for rent or other housing needs.

“Nobody should feel unsafe in their own apartment or home—particularly in the midst of a global pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Our office stands ready to investigate allegations of sexual harassment by anyone in control of housing and, where appropriate, we will pursue enforcement action. We will work closely with our enforcement partners to investigate any federal violations of Oregonians’ civil rights. The first step is reporting of such discrimination.”

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division in coordination with U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. The initiative’s goal is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing.

Last fall the U.S. Attorney’s Office hosted two roundtables to bring awareness to this type of predatory discrimination. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Attorney Williams asks for the community to be even more vigilant given the increased vulnerability of individuals.

The Department of Justice has filed lawsuits across the country where a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing is alleged.  Investigations frequently uncover sexual harassment that has been ongoing for years. Many individuals do not know that being sexually harassed by a housing provider can violate federal law or that the Department of Justice may be able to help.

Discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and other protected classes is unlawful under several federal laws, including FHA, and may result in criminal or civil liability. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by FHA. Further, violent acts of hate based upon these and other protected classes violate federal hate crimes statutes. Discrimination can arise in many different contexts in addition to housing, including education, employment, health and safety, and places of public accommodation.

“It is important that we all work together to address unlawful discrimination, including violent acts or threats based upon protected classes,” U.S. Attorney Williams emphasized. “As in all emergencies, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected people of many different races, religions, and ethnicities, as well as those with disabilities. Laws prohibiting unlawful discriminatory behavior must and will be vigorously enforced.”

If you believe you are a victim of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected classes, you can find information about how to file a complaint at https://www.justice.gov/crt/how-file-complaint and https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs. Anyone who has experienced sexual harassment in housing, or knows someone who has, can also email housing@usdoj.gov">fairhousing@usdoj.gov. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Coordinator can be reached by calling (503) 727-1000.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Culver Man Sentenced to 57 Months in Federal Prison for Statewide Identity Theft and Fraud Spree - 05/07/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—Garrett Luke Pruitt Rexroad, 29, of Culver, Oregon, was sentenced today to 57 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release for a yearlong identity theft and fraud spree that spanned seven Oregon counties and cheated more than 100 individuals, businesses, financial institutions, and communities out of $190,000.

According to court documents, investigators first learned of Pruitt Rexroad’s conduct in April and May of 2017 when he used a stolen credit card to reserve several Portland hotel rooms. When police arrested him, he possessed an identification card and 26 credit and debit cards in the name of a single victim. He was charged in Multnomah County Circuit Court and released from custody.

Between May and August of 2017, while on pre-trial release, Pruitt Rexroad made several more fraudulent transactions in Lane County and Redmond, Oregon using the stolen credit card information of three additional victims. He was arrested, charged in Lane County Circuit Court, and again released from custody.

On November 6, 2017, Pruitt Rexroad led law enforcement officers from multiple agencies on a high-speed pursuit in a stolen vehicle from Seaside to Astoria, Oregon while under the influence of methamphetamine and alprazolam. After driving over a spike strip, he abandoned the car and fled on foot. Police continued to pursue and eventually arrested Pruitt Rexroad. Officers searched the stolen vehicle and found a wallet containing the driver’s license of another victim, 50 credit cards in different names, credit card readers, lists of credit card numbers, an unloaded .22 caliber handgun and $200 in cash. Pruitt Rexroad was charged in Clatsop County Circuit Court and, after posting bond, was released from custody a third time.

Pruitt Rexroad’s crime spree continued just two weeks later when he used a stolen credit card to rent two hotel rooms in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Police searched the abandoned rooms and found copies of fraudulent Oregon driver’s licenses, bags of stolen mail, and packaging for prepaid debit cards. Between November 22, 2017 and December 20, 2017, Pruitt Rexroad used fraudulent credit cards to purchase more than $1,600 in cigarettes from several Plaid Pantry stores in the Portland area. Then, on December 6, 2017, he stole an ATM containing approximately $10,000 from a McMenamin’s Hotel in Gearhart, Oregon.

He was arrested on December 24, 2017 in West Linn, Oregon in possession of a stolen vehicle after a concerned citizen reported seeing him steal a license plate from a neighbor’s truck. Upon his arrest, Pruitt Rexroad possessed a laptop, credit card writer, and a single credit card used to make several other phone fraudulent credits cards. The stolen vehicle was found to contain various burglary tools, a large saw, cutting blades, ski mask, hand truck, can of mace, and marijuana. A search of Pruitt Rexroad’s laptop revealed additional evidence of fraudulent retail purchases and identity theft crime. On January 10, 2018, he was charged in Clackamas County Circuit Court and released from custody a fourth time.

Between March and May 2018, Pruitt Rexroad’s continued criminal conduct resulted in additional charges in Washington, Umatilla, and Hood River County Circuit Courts. He was repeatedly released from custody only to commit further crimes. Finally, on May 25, 2018, Hood River Police found Pruitt Rexroad and three others at the side of a road removing tires from a stolen vehicle. The officers arrested him after a short foot chase. Pruitt-Rexroad has been in custody ever since.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman ordered Pruitt Rexroad to pay $55,824 in restitution.

On October 7, 2019, Pruitt Rexroad pleaded guilty to one count each of access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of unauthorized access devices.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the Astoria Police Department, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Forest Grove Police Department, Gearhart Police Department, Gresham Police Department, Hood River Police Department, Lake Oswego Police Department, Oregon City Police Department, Oregon State Police, Port of Portland Police Department, Portland Police Bureau, Redmond Police Department, Sandy Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and West Linn Police Department. It was prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Aequitas Senior Executive and Chief Financial Officer Indicted for Making False Statements to Creditor - 05/05/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Nelson Scott Gillis, 66, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, a former senior executive and chief financial officer of Aequitas Management, LLC, and several other Aequitas-owned entities, has been indicted for conspiring to submit false statements to a federally insured creditor in order to obtain $4.2 million for Aequitas as it struggled to survive in January 2016.

According to court documents, Aequitas created and operated investment funds that purchased trade receivables in education, health care, transportation, and other consumer credit areas. To purchase the trade receivables, and for other purposes it fraudulently concealed, Aequitas solicited some investors through the issuance of promissory notes via the Aequitas Commercial Finance (ACF) Private Note program.

Aequitas also borrowed funds from other financial institutions to purchase trade receivables. One of these institutions was Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. On or about January 12, 2015, Aequitas entered into a loan agreement with Wells Fargo to establish a $100 million line of credit. On or about June 30, 2015, Gillis signed an amended loan agreement with Wells Fargo on Aequitas’s behalf. To receive advances on this line of credit, Aequitas had to certify several things, including that it was not experiencing an “event of default” or “potential event of default” on more than $2.5 million in debt held by third parties.

In early January 2016, Gillis and other Aequitas executives were advised that Aequitas was already in default on Private Note obligations exceeding $2.5 million. Despite that advice, on or about January 15, 2016, Gillis signed and, with others, submitted to Wells Fargo an “advance notice,” requesting that Wells Fargo advance $4.2 million to Aequitas under the terms of their loan agreement. As part of this “advance notice”, Gillis certified that “no potential event of default or event of default has occurred or is occurring.”

Gillis faces a maximum sentence of 90 years in prison, fines of $3 million or twice the gross monetary gains or losses resulting from his crimes, and 5 years’ supervised release. He will be arraigned on May 15, 2020, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Scott E. Bradford and Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
U.S. Attorney and Oregon Attorney General Partner to Protect Oregonians from COVID-19 Fraud - 05/05/20

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today announced the formation of a state-federal partnership to protect Oregonians from COVID-19 fraud. Together, the two offices will share information and resources to prevent Oregonians from falling victim to scams and other schemes attempting to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency.

Both offices have civil and criminal enforcement authority and will continue to refer serious allegations regarding COVID-19-related scams, Medicaid fraud, and other consumer fraud to each other for state or federal enforcement, as appropriate. They will also work with other federal, state, local, and tribal partners throughout Oregon to help educate communities about emerging scams and fraud schemes, and share resources related to consumer complaints.

“While Americans work to protect themselves and their loved ones from the ongoing threat of COVID-19, some individuals are actively trying to profit off of the public health emergency. Scammers have devised numerous methods to defraud people, preying on individuals’ fear, emotion, and desire to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “I am pleased to join Attorney General Rosenblum and the Oregon Department of Justice to announce our new consumer protection partnership. Oregonians should have confidence that our offices are doing everything in our power to prevent them from becoming the victim of COVID-19 fraud and abuse.”

“Fraudsters are operating in full force right now—especially preying on Oregonians who may have uncashed stimulus checks, pending unemployment claims, or who may be particularly vulnerable to health care-related scams, like unauthorized tests to detect the coronavirus. By working together with U.S. Attorney Williams, we can use the power of our positions and the resources of our two offices to make sure no Oregonian is taken advantage of. I look forward to working together and with our other wonderful state and local partners, like the new non-profit, Oregon Consumer Justice, who are helping us spread the word about—and put a stop to—COVID-related scams and frauds,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

In particular, U.S. Attorney Williams and Attorney General Rosenblum encourage Oregonians to be on the lookout for:

  • Testing scams—someone trying to sell you an unauthorized COVID-19 cure, vaccine, or testing kit or going door-to-door performing fake tests for money;
  • Charity scams—scammers soliciting donations for individuals or areas affected by COVID-19 or charities purportedly working on behalf of COVID-19 victims;
  • Price gouging scams—businesses marking up the price of essential consumer goods and selling them at higher prices than what the goods would normally be sold for;
  • Identity scams—imposters pretending to be a government official asking you for personal identifying information, access to your bank or unemployment insurance account, or offering to help you access government benefits faster, including economic impact payments.

U.S. Attorney Williams and Attorney General Rosenblum will host a tele-town hall on May 12, 2020, focusing on scam and fraud identification and prevention. The event will be co-hosted by Oregon Consumer Justice and will be open to the public. Event details:

  • Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
  • Time: 10:00-11:00 PDT
  • To participate, please dial: (855)-756-7520, Extension 60478#
  • If you cannot attend this event live, a recording will be made available online at www.oregonconsumer.gov/COVID-19.

If you or someone you know have been the victim of one of the scams described above or any other COVID-19-related fraud, please contact the Oregon Department of Justice at 1-877-877-9392, or submit a tip online at www.oregonconsumer.gov. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release