U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon
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News Releases
Madras Man Found Guilty of Discharging Firearm During Road Rage Altercation on Warm Springs Indian Reservation - 03/18/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—On Friday, March 15, 2019, a federal jury found Dat Quoc Do, 28, of Madras, Oregon, guilty of two counts of unlawful use of a weapon for discharging a firearm during a road rage altercation on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in September 2017.

“There is simply no excuse for this sort of violence in our community. Mr. Do’s actions are very serious and could have critically injured or killed an innocent motorist,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “The jury clearly saw this case for what it is: an egregious and preventable overreaction to an otherwise ordinary event on the highway.”

“These acts are shocking.  Handguns are not video games and this is not a movie,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “By shooting towards another car, Mr. Do put lives in danger and traumatized the occupants including a child inside the vehicle.”

According to court documents and information shared during trial, on September 14, 2017, Do was riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle driven by his girlfriend, Thao Bich Tran. The two were driving at night eastbound on Highway 26 on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation when they came upon another eastbound vehicle being driven by an adult member of the tribe. Also in the second vehicle were the driver’s adult daughter and 12-year-old niece.

Tran was tailgating the vehicle when the other driver motioned for her to pass. At some point in the encounter, the other driver’s adult daughter threw a water bottle at, but did not hit Tran and Do’s vehicle. In response, Do fired several shots out the front passenger window of their vehicle, but did not hit the other driver’s vehicle. After the initial shooting, Tran raised the passenger window and continued to the follow the other vehicle. When Tran had a clear lane to pass, she moved to change lanes.

As Tran began to overtake the other vehicle, Do extended his hand holding a handgun out of their vehicle’s front passenger window. Believing that Do was pointing the gun in her direction, the other driver rapidly applied her brakes. Do fired several additional rounds as Tran drove away.

The other driver called Warm Springs Tribal Police to report the incident while continuing to follow Tran and Do’s vehicle. A patrol officer later stopped their vehicle and ordered Tran and Do out at gunpoint. Both were taken into custody. Officers recovered a Springfield Armory XD .45 caliber handgun in the front-passenger door pocket of the vehicle and a .45 caliber magazine partially loaded with five rounds in the center console.

Do faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He will be sentenced on Monday, June 10, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department and prosecuted by Paul T. Maloney and Lewis S. Burkhart, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: VERDICT-Do-Final.pdf
Des Moines, Iowa Man Sentenced to Prison for Threat to Baker County Sheriff - 03/14/19

The below release is distributed on behalf of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa – On March 13, 2019, Freddie Armando Butler, age 31, of Des Moines was sentenced to 24 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for making a false bomb threat to the Baker County, Oregon Sheriff, announced United States Attorney Marc Krickbaum. Butler was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

In March of 2016, Butler used a cell phone to leave an anonymous message for the Baker County, Oregon Sheriff. Butler stated a package that had been placed behind the Sheriff’s residence was going to explode. As part of his guilty plea, Butler admitted to leaving the message for the purpose of frightening, scaring or impeding law enforcement. In 2011, Butler was convicted of state charges involving similar conduct toward a school in Baker County.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baker County, Oregon Sheriff’s Office, and the West Des Moines Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Klamath County Man Found Guilty of Stealing Missing Mother's Social Security Benefits - 03/14/19

MEDFORD, Ore.—On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, a federal jury found Theodore Martin Kirk, 64, of Klamath County, Oregon, guilty of stealing more than $30,000 in Social Security benefits dispersed in the name of his elderly mother, Nadine Kirk. Ms. Kirk has been missing since March 2010 and is presumed to be deceased.

“This case began with a single tip from an observant community member and led to the discovery of a multi-year scheme to exploit the Social Security program—a critical tax payer-funded program supporting the nation’s elderly. Tips play an important role in law enforcement and help to reveal crimes that might otherwise go undiscovered,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

According to court documents and information shared during trial, in July 2015, a concerned community member contacted the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office regarding the whereabouts of Ms. Kirk as she had not been seen for multiple years. At the time of this call, Ms. Kirk would have been 98 years old. Shortly thereafter, a sheriff deputy visited the residence shared by Ms. Kirk and her son, Theodore, in Bonanza, Oregon. Mr. Kirk claimed his mother had left with friends to travel to California two months prior, but would not permit the deputy to enter his property to confirm his mother was not there.

In an August 2015 interview with a detective, Mr. Kirk again told law enforcement he believed his mother was in California with friends. He added that it had been “quite some time” since his mother had seen a doctor despite having suffered from multiple strokes. Mr. Kirk claimed to be suspicious of his mother’s medications and reported previously removing her from them. Further, he acknowledged that he shared a joint checking account with his mother, into which her monthly Social Security payments were deposited.

Later in August, the Social Security Administration suspended payments to the Kirk’s joint checking account based on Ms. Kirk’s unknown whereabouts. A Social Security investigator reviewed Ms. Kirk’s bank records and found that the last transaction bearing her signature was dated January 2010. From January 2010 until August 2015, over $1,000 in benefits were deposited monthly into the joint checking account and nearly every month, Mr. Kirk would withdraw the entire amount in cash. All of the withdrawals from the account occurred in Oregon, not in California were Ms. Kirk was purported to be.

In August 2017, investigators conducted a search of the Kirk property and recovered a detailed calendar kept by Mr. Kirk. Prior to 2010, the calendar included activities for both Mr. Kirk and his mother. The calendar revealed a series of strokes experienced by Ms. Kirk beginning in 2004 and continuing into the beginning of 2010, where the calendar showed she experienced two strokes in three days. Following the multiple strokes, there were no additional calendar entries for Ms. Kirk’s activities.

Mr. Kirk faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. He will be sentenced on Thursday, June 27, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General with the assistance of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Adam E. Delph and Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Tualatin Man Sentenced for Money Laundering and Defrauding Investors - 03/11/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Ronald Eugene Stover, 65, of Tualatin, Oregon, was sentenced today to five years of probation including two years’ house arrest for money laundering and engaging in a scheme to defraud investors.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken also ordered Stover to pay more than $3.2 million in restitution to his victims and $168,883 to satisfy a forfeiture money judgment. The court cited Stover’s age and poor health in issuing a probationary sentence.

According to court documents, beginning in 2010, Stover began soliciting short-term loan investments to fund various Xtreme Iron capital projects. Stover claimed to have a long track records of success in real estate development, business and banking and relied heavily on investor introductions made by other professional intermediaries to establish his credibility. Xtreme Iron owned a heavily-leveraged fleet of Caterpillar and John Deere heavy equipment in Frisco, Texas and maintained an office in Wilsonville, Oregon.

At Stover’s urging, investors sent funds to Tri-Core Funding Group, an entity wholly owned and controlled by Stover. Stover falsely claimed the company had a sound business model, strong growth opportunities and manageable debt exposure. In addition to Stover’s many false claims about the business’s health and viability, he advanced many falsehoods about the nature of the investment opportunity including, but not limited to: investor funds would be used exclusively for business purposes, Stover himself would provide additional capital sourcing from his own funds and investors would receive short-term repayment of their loan notes plus interest.

In May 2012, Stover emailed a victim soliciting funds to purchase heavy equipment from Caterpillar. In response to the solicitation, Stover executed a 30-day loan note promising repayment plus interest. The victim wired $175,000 to Tri-Core Funding Group the next day. Unbeknownst to the victim, Stover never intended to use the money as promised. Immediately after receiving the funds, Stover used the funds to make over a year’s worth of mortgage payments on his residence in Tualatin, which was on the brink of foreclosure. Stover never repaid his victim.

Stover previously pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering on November 13, 2018.

The IRS and FBI investigated this case. It was prosecuted by Donna Brecker Maddux and Julia E. Jarrett, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
District Of Oregon Takes Part in Largest-Ever Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep - 03/07/19

Attorney General Focuses on Threats Posed by Technical-Support Fraud

PORTLAND, Ore.—Attorney General William P. Barr and U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams today announced the largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history, surpassing last year’s nationwide sweep. The cases during this sweep involved more than 260 defendants from around the globe who victimized more than two million Americans, most of them elderly.

“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. “But thanks to the hard work of our agents and prosecutors, as well as our state and local partners, the Department of Justice is protecting our seniors from fraud. The Trump administration has placed a renewed focus on prosecuting those who prey on the elderly, and the results of today’s sweep make that clear. Today we are announcing the largest single law enforcement action against elder fraud in American history. This year’s sweep involves 13 percent more criminal defendants, 28 percent more in losses, and twice the number of fraud victims as last year’s sweep. I want to thank the Department’s Consumer Protection Branch, which led this effort, together with the Department’s Criminal Division, the more than 50 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and the state and local partners who helped to make these results possible. Together, we are bringing justice and peace of mind to America's seniors.”

“Today’s sweep sends a clear message that the Department of Justice is determined to hold accountable criminals who prey on our elderly citizens,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners from across the federal government as well as the many state, local and tribal agencies here in Oregon who assisted in bringing these cases and helping to put an end to these shameful schemes.”

Three District of Oregon cases were included in the sweep:

U.S. v. Stevens et al.

On January 8, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging Portland couple Ronnie Stevens, 49, and Tina Ephrem, 43, with wire fraud after they conspired to defraud an elderly couple of money and property. Stevens and Ephrem stole more than $1.5 million from the adult victims and spent the proceeds on utility bills, restaurants, cigars, retail purchases and travel to locations including Hawaii, Anaheim, California, Las Vegas, Nevada and the Spirit Mountain Lodge in Grand Ronde, Oregon. The couple was arrested on January 11, 2019 and ordered detained pending a five-day jury trial beginning on June 10, 2019. Read more.

U.S. v. Gregory

On January 22, 2019, Rodney Paul Gregory, 64, of Lebanon, Oregon, pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering for his role in online romance scams, some of which targeted the elderly. Between May 2017 and January 2019, Gregory acted as a money mule, receiving proceeds from various scams and wiring the money into overseas bank accounts. Gregory faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release and will be sentenced on April 4, 2019. Read more.

U.S. v. Tucker

On February 12, 2019, Tayva Tucker, 41, of Madras, Oregon, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds for stealing nearly $40,000 in Social Security payments from ten mentally disabled adults. Tucker was employed by a social services organization where she oversaw outreach to mentally disabled clients as part of the organization’s mental health program. An organizational audit uncovered unusual movement of funds between various client accounts, as well as funds transferred from client accounts to Tucker. When confronted, Tucker admitted to taking clients’ Social Security benefits for her personal use. Tucker faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release and will be sentenced on April 25, 2019. Read more.

The Department took action in every federal district across the country, through the filing of criminal or civil cases or through consumer education efforts. In each case, offenders allegedly engaged in financial schemes that targeted or largely affected seniors. In total, the charged elder fraud schemes caused alleged losses of millions of more dollars than last year, putting the total alleged losses at this year’s sweep at over three fourths of one billion dollars.

The charges are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Since passage of the bipartisan Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act (EAPPA), the Department of Justice has participated in hundreds of enforcement actions in criminal and civil cases that targeted or disproportionately affected seniors. The Justice Department has likewise conducted hundreds of trainings and outreach sessions across the country since the passage of the Act.

A fact-sheet with technical-support fraud case information can be found here.

A fact-sheet with cases on mass mailing fraud can be found here.

A fact-sheet with examples of a few elder fraud cases involving extradition in which the Office of International Affairs played a substantial role can be found here.

Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime, which can be reached at www.ovc.gov.

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Former Oregon State University Student Sentenced for Threatening Campus Shooting - 03/05/19

Update: Corrected defendant's age.

EUGENE, Ore.—Christopher Adam Strahan, 23, of Corvallis, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to threatening a campus shooting and was sentenced to time served in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on February 27, 2018, the Director of Public Safety for Oregon State University (OSU) was notified of Twitter posts threatening a campus shooting at OSU. A request to Twitter revealed the account in question, “Hard Belly Dorm,” was owned by Strahan. A detective from Oregon State Police (OSP) positively identified Strahan from the account’s profile photo. The detective was familiar with Strahan from an investigation in February 2017 for similar threats to OSU.

Later on February 27, a 911 tip produced a possible residential address for Strahan. OSP and FBI responded to the address in an attempt to locate him. While at the address, Strahan arrived in his own vehicle, was arrested and transported to the Benton County Jail.

Strahan was held in the Benton County Jail from February 27 until he was ordered detained pending trial in federal court and transferred to FCI Sheridan on March 27, 2018.

As a condition of Strahan’s supervised release, he is prohibited from contacting or entering the property of Oregon State University or the Linn Benton Community College.

Strahan was previously convicted in Benton County Circuit Court of second degree disorderly conduct for Twitter threats made in February 2017. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail, civilly committed to the state mental hospital for six months and ordered to pay $438.

This case was investigated by OSP, the Corvallis Police Department and the FBI and prosecuted by Amy Potter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Press Release
Oregon Man Sentenced for Depredation of Government Property in the Umatilla National Forest - 03/05/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—John M. Wasson, 74, of Irrigon, Oregon, was sentenced today to five years’ probation including 60 days in a community corrections facility for misusing a mining claim on the North Fork of the John Day River in the Umatilla National Forest resulting in the depredation of government property. Wasson was also ordered to pay $28,817 in restitution.

“Like all Americans, Oregonians expect public lands to be protected from degradation and misuse. This defendant, over a series of years, treated Forest Service land as if it were his own, causing significant environmental damage,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We take these crimes seriously and will continue to pursue those who violate our shared resources.”

“Our wild and scenic rivers are special places that hold many values for our public, while providing habitat and resources for a variety of species and ecosystems,” said Eric Watrud, Umatilla Forest Supervisor. “I’m thankful for the professional support from DOJ to hold people accountable that ignore the rules on our public lands. Our National Forests provide a wide array of resources and benefits, which our multiple use mission sustains through wise use and permitted activities.”

According to court documents, Wasson was the claimant on the Slippery Rocks Mining Claim, an unpatented claim giving him possessory interest in the site for prospecting, mining or processing operations. Beginning in 2012, Wasson developed a personal interpretation of mining laws that permitted him to take any action on the claim that he believed to be reasonably incident to his mining. Over a period of years, despite court orders, misdemeanor convictions and the U.S. Forest Service officials’ repeated attempts to work with Wasson to bring his conduct into compliance, Wasson’s misuse of the claim grew more expansive and egregious.

By 2017, Forest Service officials observed that Wasson established a semi-permanent encampment on the claim, violating Forest Service regulations prohibiting occupancy for more than 14 days in a 30 day period without Forest Service authorization. Wasson’s camp included three tents, one with a foundation Wasson constructed of treated lumber, sand and gravel; a camper; a truck and a pop-up outhouse. Wasson had constructed a new road to the claim by driving through a riparian area, compacting soil and native vegetation. Additionally, Wasson created a walking path across the John Day River and used plastic sheeting to line a wing dam he made to hold water. The plastic lining was catching and holding juvenile steelhead, preventing them from accessing the flowing portion of the river. 

The Forest Service paid a hazardous waste disposal company more than $19,000 to remove three quarters of a ton of contaminated soil, 90 gallons of vegetable oil, and quantities of pesticides, insecticides and rodenticides from the campsite.

Wasson was previously found guilty of one count of depredation of government property in a four-day jury trial ending on November 8, 2018.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service and prosecuted by Jennifer Martin and John Brassell, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Press Release
Justice Department Secures Denaturalization of Convicted War Criminal Who Fraudulently Obtained Refugee Status and U.S. Citizenship - 03/05/19

Defendant Concealed that She Had Murdered Six Unarmed Civilians and Prisoners of War During the 1990s Balkans Conflict

WASHINGTON – On March 1, Judge Marco A. Hernandez of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon entered an order revoking the naturalized U.S. citizenship of a convicted war criminal. The court held that defendant Sammy Rasema Yetisen aka Rasema Handanovic aka Zolja, a native of the former Yugoslavia, illegally procured her U.S. citizenship. The court’s order was based on its finding that Yetisen lacked the good moral character required to naturalize because she had executed six unarmed civilians and prisoners of war during the 1990s Balkans Conflicts because of their religion and ethnicity. She later concealed her crimes to procure refugee status and U.S. citizenship in the United States.

“War criminals will find no safe haven in the United States,” said Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute those who fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship and willfully abuse our refugee program.”

“Sammy Rasema Yetisen’s denaturalization is yet another example of the Justice Department’s enduring commitment to ensuring war criminals find no sanctuary in our country,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “The long passage of time will neither shelter nor immunize those who have defrauded the United States by concealing such heinous crimes.”

Yetisen, 46, was part of an elite unit of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that attacked the village of Trusina in April 1993, in what is known as the Trusina massacre. The unit targeted Bosnian Croats who resided in the village because of their Christian religion and Croat ethnicity, killing 22 unarmed individuals including women and the elderly. Yetisen played a key role in the massacre, serving as part of a firing squad that lined up and executed six unarmed prisoners of war and civilians. Yetisen was admitted to the United States as a refugee before naturalizing in 2002. In her naturalization application, Yetisen indicated that she had never had any military service “in the United States or in any other place.”

In April 2012, Yetisen was convicted in a Bosnian court pursuant to a guilty plea of war crimes against prisoners of war and war crimes against civilians based on the firing squad execution-style killings. In exchange for her plea and cooperation, Yetisen was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. Upon her release from prison, Yetisen returned to the United States and resides in Oregon. The Justice Department previously secured the denaturalization of Edin Dzeko, one of Yetisen’s fellow soldiers and another perpetrator of the Trusina massacre.

Before their war crimes had come to light, Dzeko and Yetisen each requested and received refugee status from the United States, claiming themselves to be victims of persecution. Dzeko and Yetisen concealed and affirmatively misrepresented their criminal history, military service, and persecutory acts throughout their immigration proceedings. Such benefits would have been denied had immigration authorities known about their roles in the Trusina massacre.

“This case exemplifies the work of the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center. We will use all available resources, collaborate with all possible partners and explore all mechanisms of the law to bring these cases of horrendous human rights violations to justice,” said Mark Shaffer, Chief of the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center. “Our inter-disciplinary, inter-agency team continues to delve into the human rights abuses that occurred in the former Yugoslavia and around the world, and we will not rest until we are certain that the United States does not serve as a safe haven for those who would commit such abuses.”

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Human Rights Violator and War Crimes Center and the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section (OIL-DCS) National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit (NS/A Unit), with consultation and support from ICE’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Seattle Office of the Chief Counsel, and the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. 

The case was jointly prosecuted by Chief Timothy Belsan and Senior Counsel for National Security Aram Gavoor of OIL-DCS’s NS/A Unit and Trial Attorney Steven Platt of OIL-DCS, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianne Schweiner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals or naturalized U.S. citizens suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are encouraged to call the ICE tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form; or the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section at 1-202-616-2492.  Callers may remain anonymous.

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Oregon U.S. Attorney's Office Collects Nearly $7 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions for U.S. Taxpayers in Fiscal Year 2018 - 03/05/19

PORTLAND—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that the District of Oregon collected $6,996,187 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2018. Of this amount, $5,085,876 was collected in criminal actions and $1,910,310 in civil actions.

As a whole, the Justice Department collected nearly $15 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. The FY 2018 collections are nearly seven times the appropriated $2.13 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices.

An example of the district’s collection efforts was U.S. v. Jumroon et al. On December 18, 2018, Paul Jumroon was sentenced to 37 months in prison for forced labor, visa fraud and filing false tax returns. Between 2011 and 2014, defendant Paul Jumroon and co-defendant Tanya Jumroon fraudulently obtained E-2 “investor” visas to bring Thai nationals into the United States to provide cheap labor at their restaurants in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and in Ridgefield, Washington. At sentencing, Paul Jumroon was ordered to pay more than $131,000 in restitution to his victims and more than $120,000 to the IRS. As part of his plea agreement, Jumroon also agreed to forfeit more than $80,000 in seized currency and gold bars and to a garnishment of more than $170,000 in retirement savings.

A second example is U.S. v. Hankins. In 2001, Anne Hankins pleaded guilty to bank fraud after submitting a false loan application for $350,000 to U.S. Bank Special Assets Group. Hankins was sentenced to 30 days in jail and, under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, ordered to pay $350,000 in restitution to U.S. Bank. Between 2002 and 2013, Hankins made sporadic payments ranging from $50 to $400 monthly. By July 2013, Hankins had paid $13,044. In September 2013, Hankins and Horton & Associates LLC, a firm U.S. Bank had previously assigned its restitution interest to, agreed to settle the outstanding restitution for a mere $5,000. In April 2015, the Treasury Offset Program garnished $21,765 from Hankins, who had stopped making restitution payments after her purported agreement with Horton & Associates LLC. Displeased with the garnishment, Hankins filed a motion in the district court for full satisfaction of the restitution judgment. The district court denied the motion and Hankins appealed.

The government successfully argued on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that restitution cannot be settled for less than the full amount ordered and that if a victim declines receipt of restitution, the balance should be paid to the national Crime Victims Fund. The ruling resulted in a full restitution judgment of $331,995 from Hankins going directly to the Crime Victims Fund.

The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims Fund, which distributes the funds collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.

The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Small Business Administration and the Department of Education.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Press Release
Woodburn Man Pleads Guilty for Role in Counterfeit ID Scheme - 03/05/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Miguel Merecias-Lopez, 24, of Woodburn, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to one count each of conspiracy to produce false identification documents and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents, from a time unknown until September 21, 2017, Merecias-Lopez and other co-conspirators were part of a Oaxaca, Mexico-based criminal conspiracy to produce and sell fraudulent U.S. government documents.

Conspirators, including Merecias-Lopez, maintained a clandestine photo lab in Woodburn where they used various computers, scanners, laminators, digital cameras and a high-resolution printer to produce the fraudulent documents. They would communicate with customers in-person and electronically via email, Facebook and Snapchat, and receive payments via PayPal, U.S. mail or in person.

On September 21, 2017, investigators arrested Merecias-Lopez in a fast food parking lot in Woodburn when he arrived to conduct a drug deal. More than a kilogram of methamphetamine was found on Merecias-Lopez’s person. A subsequent search of Merecias-Lopez’s apartment produced additional methamphetamine and equipment used in furtherance of the fraudulent document scheme. Investigators found and seized the materials needed to produce thousands of identification cards.

A review of electronic devices found in Merecias-Lopez’s apartment produced evidence that the conspiracy had operated in Woodburn for more than a decade and produced and sold more than 10,000 different fraudulent documents including driver’s licenses for more than 25 states, U.S. social security cards, immigration-related documents including non-immigrant visas and legal permanent resident cards, marriage licenses, vehicle bills of sale and titles, and birth certificates. Merecias-Lopez was personally responsible for producing more than 300 fraudulent U.S. government documents.

A charge of conspiracy to produce false identification documents carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. A charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine carries of maximum sentence of life in prison with a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence, a $10,000,000 fine and five years’ supervised release.

The government and defense counsel representing Merecias-Lopez are jointly recommending a sentence on the low-end of the non-binding U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines range when he is sentenced on June 18, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN), the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) and the Woodburn Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Peter D. Sax, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Press Release
Warm Springs Man Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter and Illegal Firearm Possession - 02/27/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Harold Blackwolf Jr., 35, of Warm Springs, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

According to court documents, on September 28, 2017, Blackwolf was at a friend’s house on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. While under the influence of alcohol, Blackwolf left his friend’s house and entered his Dodge Durango, a sport utility vehicle. Blackwolf drove away at a high rate of speed with his headlights off. As he was departing, he struck two adult men who were in the road, killing both. Blackwolf, a convicted felon, was arrested on April 20, 2018 and found to be in possession of a single firearm, a Taurus .38 special revolver.

Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. Possessing a firearm as a felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. Blackwolf will be sentenced on June 11, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown.

The government will seek an order of restitution on behalf of Blackwolf’s victims at sentencing.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Benjamin Tolkoff, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release
Former Lake Oswego Financial Advisor Sentenced to 36 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Investors - 02/25/19

PORTLAND, Ore.—Shayne Kniss, 43, formerly of Lake Oswego, Oregon, was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release for defrauding clients of his investment firm, Iris Capital Management Group, LLC. Kniss was also ordered to pay more than $529,000 in restitution to his victims.

According to court documents, Kniss founded Iris Capital in October 2010 and offered real estate based investments in several different funds to investors. Through various means, including brochures, private placement memoranda, emails, and personal presentations, Kniss misrepresented how he would manage investor funds.

Between February 2011 and April 2013, 47 people invested approximately $4.3 million in Kniss’s funds. Kniss commingled investor money among the funds, used new investments to make payments to prior investors, and used more than $500,000 for person use, including investing in a retail marijuana enterprise.

Kniss previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on May 8, 2018.

The FBI investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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Attached Media Files: SENTENCING-Kniss-Final.pdf