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ITMG Insider Threat Cases – September 21, 2020

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Former employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory sentenced to probation for making false statements about being employed by China

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –Turab Lookman, 68, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was sentenced on Sept. 11 to five years of probation and a $75,000 fine for providing a false statement to the Department of Energy.  Lookman is not allowed to leave New Mexico for the term of his probation. On June 6, 2018, Lookman, then an employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, falsely denied to a counterintelligence officer that he had been recruited or applied for a job with the Thousand Talents Program, established by the Chinese government to recruit individuals with access to or knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property.  Lookman pleaded guilty to the charge in January. “The safeguarding of research conducted at our national laboratories is critical to the security of the United States,” said John C. Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. “I commend the work of the FBI in identifying this defendant and investigating this case. The message here is clear: if you work with foreign interests to jeopardize our national security, the Department of Justice will find you and you will be prosecuted.”

Former DEA Agent and His Wife Plead Guilty for Roles in Scheme to Divert Drug Proceeds From Undercover Money Laundering Investigations

A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent and his wife pleaded guilty Monday to all charges in a 19-count indictment unsealed against them on Feb. 21, 2020.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson accepted the guilty pleas in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.Jose Ismael Irizarry, 46, and his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, 36, admitted to participating in a seven-year scheme to divert over $9 million in drug proceeds from undercover money laundering investigations into bank accounts that they and co-conspirators controlled.  Irizarry and Gomez-Irizarry are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. “In a shocking breach of the public’s trust, former DEA Special Agent Jose Irizarry, together with his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, abused his position by illegally diverting millions of dollars in drug proceeds from undercover operations to personally benefit themselves,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Sworn law enforcement agents are entrusted with great responsibility, and the department will hold accountable those who exploit their positions to profit from public corruption.”

Former High School Classmates Charged In 34 Count Indictment For Defrauding Corporation Of $7.2 Million

U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a pair of former high school classmates have been indicted for allegedly defrauding a multinational energy development corporation of approximately $7.2 million. Forrest Wright, 40, and Nathan Keays, 40, both of Anchorage, have been named in a 34 count indictment charging them with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. From January 2012 to December 2019, Wright was employed by a multinational energy development corporation as a Senior Drilling and Wells Planner, responsible for ordering materials and labor for the drilling and wells program. Wright had authority to approve orders up to $1 million and was trusted to endorse and recommend vendor suppliers for approval.  Keays is employed as a police officer with Anchorage Police Department and owns a personal business, Eco Edge Armoring, LLC (Eco Edge). The indictment alleges beginning in February 2019, Wright devised a scheme to defraud his employer, a multinational energy development corporation, of monies. In furtherance of the scheme and using his trusted position within the company, Wright authored emails containing technical data and industry specific content in order to present Eco Edge as a legitimate oil and gas business with the purpose of obtaining an approved vendor status with his employer. Wright sent the emails from his personal email account to Keays with instructions to send the emails to Wright’s business email account.

Southington Woman Sentenced to 2 Years in Federal Prison for Embezzling $370K from Employer

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LYDIA CABRERA, 37, of Southington, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling $370,000 from her employer. According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately August 2016 to August 2018, Cabrera was employed by A2Z Home Medical Supplies (“A2Z”) as a bookkeeper.  As part of her job responsibilities, Cabrera was given access to A2Z’s online merchant payment system.  Approximately 10 days after being hired by A2Z, Cabrera began to use A2Z’s online merchant payment system to steal from the company by falsely representing that customers of A2Z had sought a return of their funds.  On approximately 272 occasions, Cabrera input her personal debit card information as the card to which the funds should be returned.  Through this scheme, Cabrera embezzled approximately $370,000.

Simsbury Woman Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison for Embezzling More Than $580K

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that PAMELA HILL, 55, of Simsbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffery A. Meyer in New Haven to 41 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling approximately $584,000. According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2013 and 2018, Hill embezzled more than $500,000 from a company where she was employed as a controller.  Hill wrote company checks to herself, applied signature stamps with the owner’s signature to the checks, and deposited the checks into her own bank account.  She also issued electronic payments to her bank account and disguised the payments to make them appear to payments to vendors.  When the company’s CFO questioned Hill about a vendor payment in December 2018, Hill provided the CFO with an altered bank statement that falsely reflected the payment had been credited back to the company’s account. The investigation also revealed that Hill defrauded a separate individual for whom she provided bookkeeping services.

Former Savannah finance company employee sentenced to federal prison for bank fraud

A former employee of a Savannah finance company was sentenced to federal prison for committing bank fraud. Dean Emerson Flake, 58, of Brooklet, Ga., was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison followed by 13 months of home confinement by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore after pleading guilty to one count of Bank Fraud, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. After completion of his prison term, Flake will be required to serve three years of supervised release. “Stealing from your own long-time employer displays callous disregard for those who have placed employees in positions of trust,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “Dean Flake squandered his opportunity to earn an honest living when he bit the hand that generously fed him, and thus will now dine in a prison cafeteria.” According to court documents and testimony, Flake was employed for nearly 35 years as an Accounts Payable Processor at a finance company in Chatham County. In 2019, he began forging signatures on checks drawn on the company’s checking account and depositing them in his own account.

Former Marine and Current Illinois State Trooper Charged in Conspiracy to Steal, Sell, and Ship Government Property

A Yorkville, IL man was arrested on charges of conspiracy, theft of government property, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. According to court documents, Rafael Montalvo, 31, is a former Individual Material Readiness List (IMRL) Manager aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC, and a current Illinois State Trooper and member of the Illinois National Guard.  He conspired with others in and outside the State of North Carolina to steal government-owned avionics and electronic testing equipment from multiple Marine Aviation Squadrons, and ship the stolen goods interstate to buyers located in other states.  The conspiracy, alleged to have occurred between March 2018 and the present, is described as having used IMRL managers with access to the avionics equipment to steal from the military installations, and then either ship directly to Montalvo or to persons whom Montalvo directed.  Montalvo received payment from the buyer, and paid those who reportedly stole the equipment for him.

Former General Counsel and Chief Business Officer for Financial Technology Company Charged with Wire Fraud

Brooke Campbell Solis appeared today in U.S. Magistrate Court for arraignment and an initial federal court appearance on a criminal complaint charging her with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle funds from her former employer. According to the complaint, Solis, 49, of Austin, Texas, is a licensed attorney.  From January 2018 until July 2019, Solis was the General Counsel and then Chief Business Officer of a financial technology company registered to do business in the State of California.  While employed with the technology company, Solis telecommuted from her home in Austin to her employer’s principal place of business in San Francisco. The complaint describes how Solis allegedly diverted funds from her employer and paid the diverted funds to shell companies and entities controlled by Solis and her husband.  For example, Solis controlled a shell company named The Paralegal Group LLC. The company was incorporated in Delaware and Solis was listed as the sole member.  Bank records and additional vendor records identify Solis as the person controlling The Paralegal Group.  The complaint alleges Solis submitted fraudulent invoices in the name of The Paralegal Group and then arranged for her employer to pay the invoices to the shell company.

Iranian Hackers Indicted for Stealing Data from Aerospace and Satellite Tracking Companies

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An indictment was unsealed today charging three computer hackers, all of whom were residents and nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran), with engaging in a coordinated campaign of identity theft and hacking on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization, in order to steal critical information related to United States aerospace and satellite technology and resources. “We will relentlessly pursue and expose those who seek to harm American companies and individuals wherever they reside in the world,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The use of malware, the theft of commercial data and intellectual property, and the use of social engineering to steal the identities of United States citizens to accomplish unlawful acts will not be tolerated. Along with our incredible and steadfast law enforcement partners, the Eastern District of Virginia continues to lead efforts to combat serious cybercrime globally and the charges outlined in the indictment exposing IRGC linked hacking operations in the United States are just another example of the fruits of our seamless teamwork.”

Corporate Embezzler Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison

A woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for embezzling $823,714 from her Tulsa employer. Leslie Michelle Clark, 53, of Tulsa, previously pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud on June 10. U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Clark to 33 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. He further ordered Clark to pay $823, 714 in restitution to her former employer.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office white collar prosecution team won’t stand idly by while thieves like Leslie Clark embezzle from Oklahoma businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Fraudsters in this district can expect to find themselves in a federal courtroom and then in federal prison. On top of that, Leslie Clark will have to pay back the more than $800,000 of ill-gotten gains she embezzled.” Clark was hired as a financial controller at a Tulsa company in 2014. As controller, she supervised all financial matters, including contracting, billing and paying vendors. In July 2018, Clark created a fictitious consulting company, opened an account for it, and caused her employer to pay for fabricated services never rendered.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2020 at 3:57 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.