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News Releases
Hoover Criminal Gang Members Indicted for Illegal Firearm Possession - 04/19/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—Two known Hoover Criminal Gang members have been arrested in Portland after being charged with illegal firearm possession, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

On April 6, 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a two-count indictment charging Samuel Deoshay Marquise Mason, Jr., 24, and Cocoa Dalonta Taplin, 26, both residents of Portland, with illegally possessing firearms after previous criminal convictions.

According to court documents and testimony, law enforcement obtained several images of Mason posing with numerous firearms, leading investigators to obtain and execute a search warrant on his residence. Investigators located an assault rifle and 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number. Both firearms were fully loaded with rounds in the chamber. A subsequent search of Mason’s mobile phone revealed photos of Taplin holding and posing with two firearms three days prior to the search. Mason confessed to possessing the seized firearms. He also admitted to being shot at the week prior and firing one round in return from a third unknown gun.

Mason and Taplin made their initial appearances in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. They were arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Gresham Police Department, and FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This 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
Hoover Criminal Gang Member Faces Drug and Gun Charges in Fentanyl Trafficking Conspiracy - 04/16/21

Firearms connected to defendant and accomplice linked to 17 Portland-area shootings

PORTLAND, Ore.—Aumontae Wayne Smith, 27, a known Hoover Criminal Gang member and resident of Portland, is facing federal drug and gun charges for his role in a fentanyl trafficking conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

On April 6, 2021, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Smith with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to court documents and testimony, Smith and an unnamed accomplice conspired with one another to distribute fentanyl disguised as oxycodone pills in and around Portland. Smith advertised selling the fake oxycodone pills and guns via Snapchat posts that were observed by law enforcement. Investigators seized six firearms from Smith and his accomplice and, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Further investigation revealed Smith purchased 16 firearms since 2019 that linked to 17 different shootings in the Portland area between April and December 2020.

Smith voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement today and made his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. A three-day jury trial is scheduled to begin on June 15, 2021.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, FBI, and ATF. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This 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
Former Weyerhaeuser Employee Sentenced to Federal Prison for Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme - 04/14/21

EUGENE, Ore.—Susan Tranberg, 62, of Eugene, Oregon, was sentenced to federal prison today for defrauding her former employer, the Weyerhaeuser Company, out of more than $4.5 million, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Tranberg was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, beginning as early as June 2004 and continuing to January 2019, Tranberg defrauded Weyerhaeuser out of more than $4.5 million by submitting fraudulent invoices for payment to a fake vendor she created. Tranberg had worked for Weyerhaeuser in Springfield, Oregon in various positions for more than 40 years. A financial analysis determined that the vast majority of the money was used to fund a lavish lifestyle of expensive dinners, vacations, six-figure wedding expenses, and shopping sprees.

At some point in or before June 2004, Tranberg created a fake timber contract between the company and a vendor she named after her mother, who was unaware of the scheme. Over the next 10 years, Tranberg would use her positions in the company’s accounting and finance departments to request cashier’s checks, which she then cashed into her own bank account. During this time period, Tranberg requested and received more than $2.6 million.

In June 2014, Weyerhaeuser transitioned to a new payment processing system. To continue her scheme, Tranberg set up a fake vendor account in the new system and attached a letter purportedly from her mother describing the documentation provided to set up the account. This documentation included a Form SSA-1099 Social Security Statement and a forged Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. At the time Tranberg sent the letter and documentation, Tranberg’s mother had been deceased for five years.

After setting up the fake vendor account, Tranberg continued her scheme by forging colleagues’ signatures on check requests and using her colleagues’ computer login credentials without authorization to create requests and approve fraudulent payments. All requested cashier’s checks were sent via private or commercial interstate carrier directly to Tranberg. During these final five years, ending in January 2019, Tranberg requested and received nearly $1.9 million.

On January 29, 2020, Tranberg was charged by superseding criminal information with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and tax evasion. On January 30, 2020, she waived indictment and pleaded guilty to all three charges.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane also ordered Tranberg to pay more than $5.3 million in restitution, to include $775,984 to Weyerhaeuser, $3,805,223 to the Crime Victims Fund, and $807,033 to the IRS.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and FBI, and prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Area Mail Thief Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud, Identity Theft, and Possession of Methamphetamine - 04/14/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Washington County, Oregon man pleaded guilty today for using stolen bank checks and debit cards to defraud local residents and illegally possessing distribution quantities of methamphetamine, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

William Anthony McCormack, Jr., 39, pleaded guilty to a superseding criminal information charging him with one count each of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents, between June and September 2020, McCormack devised a scheme whereby he would steal bank checks and debit cards from community mailboxes, primarily in Washington County, and use them to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ bank accounts. On at least five separate occasions, McCormack deposited stolen checks into victims’ Rivermark Community Credit Union accounts and immediately made unauthorized withdrawals from the same accounts.

On September 29, 2020, during a traffic stop for speeding and driving with a suspended license, a Tualatin Police officer arrested McCormack pursuant to a federal arrest warrant. At the time of his arrest, McCormack possessed 30 small plastic baggies containing at least 5 grams of methamphetamine and two 9mm handguns in the glove compartment of his vehicle. Officers also found several driver’s licenses, U.S. passports, and pieces of mail that did not belong to him in McCormack’s trunk and hotel room.

McCormack faces a maximum sentence of 72 years in prison, a $6.25 million fine, and five years’ supervised release. He is subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of seven years. McCormack will be sentenced on July 27, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown.

As part of his plea agreement, McCormack has agreed to pay restitution in full to his victims as ordered to the court.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Meredith Bateman and Scott Bradford, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

If you or someone you know are the victim of or witness a mail-related crime, please contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by visiting www.uspis.gov/report.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Nike Marketing Manager Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Making False Statements - 04/12/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—Errol Andam, 49, of Beaverton, Oregon, a former marketing manager at Nike, Inc., pleaded guilty today to wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements on a loan application as part of a scheme to defraud his former employer, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

According to court documents, from 2001 until his termination in 2018, Andam was employed by Nike at its headquarters in Beaverton. Most recently, Andam worked as a manager in the company’s North American Retail Brand Marketing division wherein he managed the design, build-out, and operation of “pop-up” retail venues, temporary Nike shops situated near and tailored to sports competitions and other special events around the U.S.

In the summer of 2016, Andam recruited a childhood friend to establish a company to design and build the pop-up venues as an independent contractor for Nike. Andam used his authority as a manager at Nike to ensure that his friend’s company was consistently awarded the contracts for these jobs. Though he had no formal role in his friend’s company, Andam assumed control of much of the company’s financial operations, managing financial accounts and issuing invoices to Nike.

To conceal his role in the scheme, Andam used an alter ego, “Frank Little,” to invoice Nike and manage the contract company’s account with Square, Inc., a California-based provider of mobile credit-card-processing services. In 2016, Andam also renewed the lapsed registration of an Oregon-based limited liability corporation (LLC) he owned so that he could use the defunct entity as a shell company to funnel the proceeds diverted from Nike and his friend’s company to accounts under his personal control.

Beginning in September 2016, Andam caused credit-card sales at various pop-up venues around the U.S. to be run through card readers associated with a Square account owned by his friend’s company. These proceeds were transferred to Square in California and then to Andam’s LLC bank account in Oregon. Andam represented to both Nike and his friend that the proceeds of these sales were credited against the total amount Nike owed to his friend’s company. In truth, Andam simply pocketed the proceeds and, as “Frank Little,” invoiced Nike for the full cost of the contracted services.

From September 2016 through December 2018, Andam diverted and embezzled nearly $1.5 million in Nike proceeds for his own use. In July 2018, Andam submitted a fake financial statement from his LLC in support of a residential mortgage loan application. The financial statement falsely reflected as revenue checks for $194,000 drawn on a bank account owned by his friend’s business. Andam forged his friend’s signature on one of the checks and withdrew much of that money without his friend’s knowledge.

On February 4, 2021, Andam was charged by criminal information with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements on a loan application.

Under the terms of Andam’s plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend a sentence of 37 months in federal prison when he is sentenced on July 12, 2021. Andam will ask for a sentence of not less than 24 months. He has also agreed to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution and forfeit $212,838 in criminally-derived proceeds.

This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Shark fin
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Portland Woman Sentenced for Selling Pangolin Scales Illegally Imported Into the U.S. (Photo) - 04/12/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland resident and purveyor of Chinese homeopathic remedies pleaded guilty and was sentenced today for selling pangolin scales illegally imported into the U.S., announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Agnes Yu, 53, was sentenced to three years’ federal probation and a $5,000 fine.

“Illegal trafficking poses a grave and persistent threat to wildlife populations across the globe. The purchase or sale of these animals is a serious crime and priority for federal law enforcement,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug.

“We commend the Department of Justice and all other agencies that played a role in aiding this investigation and prosecution,” said James Ashburner, a Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “Trafficking of pangolins, and other protected species, is a huge part of global illegal wildlife trade. The Service will continue to use every tool at its disposal to fight wildlife trafficking and bring to justice the individuals who are depriving our planet of these magnificent creatures for their own profit.”

According to court documents, Yu and her husband operated Wing Ming Herbs, a store selling Chinese homeopathic remedies and other merchandise in Southeast Portland. On December 7, 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel screened Yu and her husband at the U.S.-Canada border. The inspection recovered 10 dried sea snakes and 49 dried big-toothed sea snakes. As a result of this encounter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent the Yus a letter informing them about federal laws and regulations governing the import and export of wildlife into and out of the U.S, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES lists each of the wildlife species whose trafficking it regulates under one of three appendices, with the most endangered and protected listed in Appendix I.

On November 14, 2017, an undercover Postal Inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service went to Wing Ming and spoke with Yu in Chinese. The inspector covertly recorded and videotaped the meeting. In the course of their transaction, Yu sold the inspector thirty grams of pangolin scales for approximately $165. Personnel at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory later confirmed the scales had been taken from a pangolin, a species of scaled anteater-like mammals endemic to Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  All species of pangolins (which form the genus Manis) are listed in CITES Appendix I, meaning that all commercial trafficking in pangolins is prohibited by the Convention.

Yu was aware of U.S. and foreign restrictions on the import, export, and sale of CITES-listed plants and wildlife but did not comply with those restrictions. Yu repeatedly exported American ginseng to customers in China in 2017 and 2018. American ginseng is listed on CITES appendix II, requiring exporters to obtain and ship such ginseng with a valid CITES certificate. Neither Yu nor Wing Ming Herbs procured such certificates.

On July 24, 2018, an undercover agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went to Wing Ming Herbs and purchased giant sea horses, which are protected by CITES appendix II and fourteen shark fins, four of which originated from scalloped hammerhead sharks, which are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On the same date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a search warrant at Wing Ming Herbs and seized additional pangolin scales, ground Asian elephant ivory which is protected by CITES Appendix I and ESA, eleven penises and fifteen gall bladders of red deer which are protected by ESA, and giant devil ray which is protected by CITES Appendix II. Yu agreed to abandon all the wildlife seized in the search warrant, which included thousands of additional wildlife items.

On March 22, 2021, Yu was charged by criminal information with recklessly selling pangolin illegally imported into the U.S. in violation of CITES.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Quarantine, and the Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for protecting America’s wildlife from poaching, illegal commercialization, and other kinds of wildlife crime. If you have information related to a wildlife crime, please call 1-844-FWS-TIPS (1-844-397-8477) or email fws_tips@fws.gov.

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Lincoln City Felon Sentenced More Than 8 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Methamphetamine - 04/01/21

EUGENE, Ore.—A Lincoln City, Oregon man with multiple felony convictions was sentenced to federal prison today for distributing methamphetamine in and around Lincoln City, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Jerad Joseph White, 39, was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison and 5 years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on March 12, 2018, White and an accomplice, Patricia Rose Hendrick, 25, of Lincoln City, Oregon, arrived in a vehicle to the parking lot of the Lincoln City Outlets. As had been previously arranged, White sold three ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover agent for $900.

On December 12, 2018, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a two-count indictment charging White and Hedrick with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

By December 2020, White and Hendrick had both pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. On October 29, 2020, Hendrick was sentenced to time served in prison and five years’ supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Lincoln City Police Department; and the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

This 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
Leader of Darknet Drug Distribution Conspiracy Sentenced to Federal Prison - 03/31/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—The leader of and final defendant in a darknet drug distribution conspiracy was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in operating a narcotic vendor site that facilitated thousands of purchases of MDMA and generated nearly $200,000 in drug trafficking revenue, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

James Campbell Cardwell, 28, of Tigard, Oregon, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, Cardwell operated a large MDMA darknet vendor site called “The Collective.” Cardwell, through The Collective, distributed nearly six kilograms of MDMA in one and ten-gram quantities. Cardwell oversaw and ran the operation from his Tigard residence. Cardwell’s three co-conspirators, Gordon Filemu Cady, 35, of Portland; Heidi Gravier, 31, of Portland; and Ruth Lacy Gloe, 38, of Salem, Oregon, conspired to import and possess with intent to distribute MDMA, ketamine and cocaine.

During a search of Cardwell’s residence in May 2018, investigators located drug packaging paraphernalia, numerous pills, digital scales, mailing envelopes, an unknown white powder, a grinder containing an unknown white powder, 11 baggies containing 21 grams of MDMA, $1,670 in cash, several cell phones and computers, and a loaded 9mm firearm. Based on a review of records seized, Cardwell was involved in more than 3,000 transactions generating more than $197,000.

In August 2018, following Cardwell’s arrest and while he was on pretrial supervision, federal agents learned he was attempting to sell the login credentials for two darknet vendor accounts that he had operated during the charged offense. Later, in November 2018, Cardwell arranged to purchase a counterfeit Canadian passport and British Columbia driver’s license so he could leave the country.

On June 26, 2018, Cardwell, Cady, Gravier, and Gloe were all indicted on drug trafficking offenses. By February 2021, all of Cardwell’s co-conspirators had pleaded guilty and been sentenced to time served in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

This case was investigated by a HIDTA Interdiction Task Force comprised of Homeland Security Investigations and the Portland Police Bureau. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The Oregon HIDTA program was established by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in June of 1999. In 2015, the program expanded into Idaho and was renamed the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA consists of 14 counties and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Counties in the HIDTA include Oregon’s Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington counties, and Idaho’s Ada, Bannock and Canyon counties.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme Involving Minors - 03/30/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for a bank fraud scheme whereby he would recruit others, including minors, to deposit fraudulent checks into their personal bank accounts and withdraw cash, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Marcus Raiford, 22, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison and five years’ supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $75,681 in restitution.

According to court documents, beginning in August 2017 and continuing until at least September 2018, Raiford and others recruited individuals, primarily minors, young adults, and students at various local high schools, to deposit counterfeit checks at banks and credit unions throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area. Raiford and his accomplices used social media platforms, including Snapchat and Instagram, to recruit the minors and young adults, promising significant cash payments in exchange for their participation in the scheme.

Individuals recruited by Raiford and his accomplices were instructed to open accounts at various banks or use existing accounts to deposit counterfeit checks made payable to the recruits. The recruits were told they worked for a company that held inactive investments and accounts in need of liquidation, thereby concealing the scheme. In some instances, the recruits were told they needed to deposit the counterfeit checks to help the company avoid tax liability.

Raiford and others requested the recruits’ identification, ATM card, and pin number so counterfeit checks could be made payable to them and deposited into their accounts. Raiford and his accomplices then withdrew the money from ATMs or made point of sale purchases with the ATM cards at various commercial businesses. Over the course of the conspiracy, Raiford and his accomplices deposited more than $150,000 in counterfeit checks.

On December 19, 2018, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 14-count indictment charging Raiford and his accomplices with conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. On August 26, 2020, Raiford pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the Vancouver Police Department. It was prosecuted by Rachel K. Sowray, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Washington State Man Pleads Guilty After Traveling Across State Lines for Sex With a Minor - 03/30/21

EUGENE, Ore.—A Vancouver, Washington man pleaded guilty today to sending sexually explicit emails and text messages to an undercover law enforcement officer posing online as a 13-year-old girl, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Daniel Lee Baldie, 34, pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.

According to court documents, in January and February 2020, Baldie sent emails and text messages to a Benton County Sheriff’s Office deputy posing online as a 13-year-old girl. Baldie’s emails included requests for a nude photo and descriptions of sexual acts he could engage in with the child. Baldie also sent the deputy a photo of his genitals. As part of the email and text message exchange, Baldie arranged to meet the purported child and bring her back to his residence in Vancouver for a sexual encounter.

On February 7, 2020, law enforcement officers followed Baldie from his residence to a meeting location in Corvallis where he was arrested. Baldie admitted he intended to meet the child and take her back to his residence as planned.

On February 11, 2020, Baldie was charged by criminal complaint with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted production of child pornography, and coercion and enticement.

Baldie faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, a $250,000 fine, and a life term of supervised release. He will be sentenced on July 8, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken.

Under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, Baldie will be required to register as a sex offender in any state in which he resides.

This case was investigated by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Jeffrey Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Convicted Child Molester Sentenced to 17 Years in Federal Prison for Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography - 03/29/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland man who previously served 12 years in California state prison for sexually abusing a child was sentenced to federal prison today for enticing an adolescent boy to produce sexually explicit videos of himself and share them via Facebook Messenger, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Scott Andrew Lawrence, 57, was sentenced to a total of 17 years in federal prison and a life term of supervised release after pleading guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography.

“Scott Lawrence is a sexual predator who posed online as a woman to prey on a vulnerable teenager,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug. “Online sexual exploitation is a grave threat to children and families, even older children. We implore parents and guardians everywhere to talk frankly with their children about the risks posed by online predators, and to monitor their children’s use of social media.”

“Seventeen years is a rightfully long sentence for a man who has repeatedly abused children. The victims targeted by Scott Lawrence, however, are the ones who will pay a higher price as they must live with the effects of that exploitation for a lifetime,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

According to court documents, in April 2001, Lawrence was convicted in San Diego County Superior Court of sexually abusing a child and sentenced to a total of 14 years in prison. He was paroled in 2013 and completed his parole term three years later. In September 2018, Lawrence was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon of failing to register as a sex offender and, at the end of February 2019, was sentenced to time served plus five years of supervised release.

Three months into his supervised release term, Lawrence began communicating via Facebook Messenger with a 16-year-old boy from South Dakota whose family Lawrence lived with previously. During one exchange, Lawrence confirmed the boy’s age. In online conversations with the boy, Lawrence posed as an adult female named “Mary,” sent the boy several sexually explicit images, and repeatedly asked for videos of the boy masturbating in return. During at least three separate chat conversations, the boy sent Lawrence a total of six videos and one image of himself masturbating. Lawrence sent the image to at least two other people.

FBI agents arrested Lawrence on October 24, 2019. He admitted to chatting with the boy while posing as a woman and asking him for sexually explicit images and videos. He also admitted sending an image of the boy to two other people.

On November 19, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a nine-count indictment charging Lawrence with production, receipt, and distribution of child pornography, and committing a felony offense involving a minor while registered as a sex offender. On December 21, 2020, he pleaded guilty to distribution and receipt of child pornography.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the District of Oregon.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. It is important to remember child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document the victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, re-victimize and re-traumatize the child victims each time their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.missingkids.org.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Idaho Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Darknet Drug Distribution Scheme - 03/22/21

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former Boise, Idaho resident was sentenced to federal prison today for his role in a darknet drug distribution scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug. Kevin Marc Crotteau, 25, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, in July and August 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted several packages containing MDMA and ketamine shipped from France to Crotteau’s co-conspirator, Brandon Paul Bart, 25, of Portland, at four different Portland addresses. On August 30, 2018, federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and officers from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) assigned to a federal drug interdiction task force detained Bart after he attempted to retrieve two of the parcels, and executed search warrants on the parcels and Bart’s residence.

Investigators seized approximately eight kilograms of MDMA and two kilograms of ketamine. They determined that the packages had been imported from France to Bart’s addresses by Crotteau. The following day, August 31, 2018, investigators from HSI and PPB traveled to Boise and executed a search warrant at Crotteau’s residence.

Crotteau’s drug trafficking scheme generated significant proceeds. Investigators determined that Crotteau had sold Bitcoin valued at more than $108,000 and deposited the proceeds into a personal bank account. Crotteau used proceeds to purchase a Tesla valued at $136,200. Federal agents seized the Tesla.  

On October 3, 2019, Crotteau was charged by criminal information with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. On August 4, 2020, he pleaded guilty to the same charge.

On June 26, 2019, Bart was charged by criminal information with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. On August 27, 2019, he pleaded guilty to the same charge. Bart was sentenced to five years’ probation on September 13, 2020.

This case was investigated by the HIDTA Interdiction Task Force comprised of HSI and PPB with assistance from CBP and the Boise Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

This case was brought as part of the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The Oregon HIDTA program was established by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in June of 1999. In 2015, the program expanded into Idaho and was renamed the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA consists of 14 counties and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Counties in the HIDTA include Oregon’s Clackamas, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Washington counties, and Idaho’s Ada, Bannock and Canyon counties.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Portland Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud Schemes Targeting Family and Friends - 03/22/21

Update: please note corrected attachment.

PORTLAND, Ore.—A Portland man was sentenced to federal prison today for perpetrating two separate fraud schemes targeting his family and friends, resulting in losses exceeding $650,000, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Joseph D. Galvan, 46, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 3 years’ supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $658,060.39 in restitution.

According to court documents, between January 2018 and August 2020, Galvan devised a scheme to defraud his ex-wife’s family and friends, most of whom had emigrated to the U.S. from Romania or were of Romanian descent. Galvan posed as a savvy, high-rolling investment trader and promised his victims he would invest their money and help them achieve financial security, retire early, and live a good life. He also promised to teach his victims, many of whom were elderly and spoke English as a second language, how to successfully navigate the stock market.

Once victims transferred their funds into an account controlled by Galvan, he failed to open investment accounts on their behalf as promised. Galvan used an app called StockMaster to create false investment profile accounts for each victim and would periodically send them phony screen shots of their profiles. Galvan subsequently spent victims’ money on various personal expenses including rent, car payments, travel, dining, food, guns, and voluntary cosmetic procedures. Total losses incurred by these victims exceeded $518,000, which, for many, constituted their entire life savings.

During this same time, Galvan engaged in a separate scheme targeting his own family and friends. In July 2019, he told a victim he had purchased a house in Lake Oswego, Oregon for $900,000, despite the home being worth approximately $2 million. He further told the victim that he sued the owners of the house after they refused to leave. According to Galvan, a court judgment allegedly required the owners to pay him a large settlement that was placed into an escrow account. Galvan falsely claimed the settlement had grown in escrow to $1 million, but that the court would not release the funds until certain conditions with Galvan’s bank account were met.

Galvan convinced the victim to pay for various fees and costs associated with the house purchase while he awaited the settlement funds. Galvan told the victim he would pay him $250,000 if the victim agreed to provide these funds. Galvan also promised to pay the victim an additional $100,000 every time the victim provided more funds toward house purchase expenses. Galvan encouraged the victim to convey a similar offer to several of the victim’s relatives and a family friend. Based on Galvan’s false promises, the victim and several others paid him more than $130,000. In reality, Galvan had never purchased a home in Lake Oswego and there were no settlement funds in escrow.

On August 19, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a seventeen-count indictment charging Galvan with wire fraud and money laundering for the scheme perpetrated on his ex-wife’s family and friends. For the scheme targeting his own family and friends, on November 19, 2020, Galvan was charged by criminal information with wire fraud. On November 23, 2020, he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering to resolve both cases.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release