A former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) Special Agent was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for orchestrating, through multiple misrepresentations to numerous government agencies, the dismissal of a drug trafficking indictment filed against a fugitive narcotics kingpin.

According to admissions in his plea agreement, Christopher V. Ciccione II, 52, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, accepted cash and other things of value and used his official position to cause a drug trafficking indictment against Colombian national Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos to be dismissed. Piedrahita and Colombian national Juan Carlos Velasco Cano met with Ciccione in Bogota, Colombia in December 2010,   more...
Defendants claimed they would reduce consumers’ debts

The Federal Trade Commission has charged a student loan debt relief operation with bilking more than $28 million from thousands of consumers throughout the country by falsely promising that consumers’ monthly payments would go towards paying off their student loans.

This is the eighth action the FTC has taken in Operation Game of Loans, the first federal-state law enforcement initiative targeting deceptive student loan debt relief scams.

Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 34, a citizen of Saudi Arabia and a current resident of Weatherford, Oklahoma, has been arrested for visa fraud, and making false statements to the FBI by, among other things, concealing his application to and attendance at an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in late 2000.

Based on a criminal complaint signed in the Western District of Oklahoma and unsealed today, Alfallaj was taken into custody by the FBI without incident on February 5. A grand jury returned a three-count indictment against him today. He was arraigned this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard M. Jones and is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Editor’s Note: All dates and times are in New Zealand Daylight Time, which is 21 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time and 24 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica – The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star completed their mission Tuesday in support of National Science Foundation (NSF) after cutting a resupply channel through 15 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea and escorting supply vessels to the continent.

The Polar Star sailed from Seattle to assist in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for NSF research stations in Antarctica during Operation Deep Freeze by carving a navigable path through seasonal and multi-year ice sometimes as much as 10-feet thick. Operation Deep Freeze is the logistical support provided by the U.S. Armed Forces to the U.S. Antarctic Program.

A former Vienna, Virginia attorney has been sentenced to 84 months in prison for conspiring to launder over $2 million dollars derived from a business email compromise scheme and for attempting to launder funds he believed to be the proceeds of smuggling illegal aliens into the United States and trafficking firearms in Africa.

Raymond Juiwen Ho, 48, pleaded guilty on Oct. 19, 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, from at least March 2013 to February 2017, Ho engaged in a large-scale money laundering scheme that resulted in millions of dollars being moved through bank accounts (some of which were attorney trust accounts) that Ho or his co-conspirators controlled.   more...
Commission files contempt motion against second marketer alleging similarly deceptive claims

Chemical Free Solutions LLC (CFS), the seller of Cedarcide Original, a line of cedar oil-based products deceptively marketed as effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations, has settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated a 2013 order barring it from making scientifically unsupported product claims. Under the modified court order, CFS admits it violated the 2013 order, is banned from selling bed bug eradication products, and will pay $224,356 for consumer refunds.

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