Saturday, July 30, 2022

Third Man Pleads Guilty in Hostage Death in Tijuana, MX

 Luis Armando Dorantes Rivera Jr. of Tijuana pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his role in the kidnapping of Miguel Anthony Rendon, a U.S. citizen, which resulted in Rendon’s death.  Dorantes is the third defendant to plead guilty in connection with this crime, after Alan Lomeli-Luna and Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco. 

Welcome to Tijuana! by sergejf (CC BY-SA)

 In his plea agreement, Dorantes admitted that on May 29, 2020, at approximately 11:50 p.m., Dorantes and others forcibly removed the victim, Miguel Anthony Rendon, from his hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. Dorantes and others punched, kicked, and pistol-whipped Rendon. Once subdued, Dorantes and others placed Rendon in a waiting car and drove away.

Dorantes’ co-conspirators then took Rendon to another hotel in Tijuana, Mexico. There, while Rendon was held and detained, Dorantes’ co-conspirators called Rendon’s family and made ransom demands for Rendon’s release. Specifically, Dorantes’ co-conspirators demanded $2,000 to $3,000 or methamphetamine in exchange for Rendon’s release. On or about May 30, 2020, Dorantes’ co-conspirators intentionally killed Rendon.

“This is a tragic case where a young man paid the ultimate price for getting involved with the wrong people, and his family is forever devastated,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “Drug traffickers don’t hesitate to use extreme violence. We will not hesitate to seek justice for victims.”  Grossman thanked the prosecution team as well as the investigating FBI agents for their excellent work on this case.

Tijuana is situated within the Mexican state of Baja California, located at the most northern extreme tip of Mexico, the heart of the city is only 5 miles from the Pacific coast. Tijuana sits on the border with the USA, with the city of San Diego on the USA side. The San Diego/Tijuana transborder conglomeration is the fourth biggest in the world with over five million people living close to the border. "Since it’s such a heavily guarded border, Tijuana is incredibly safe to travel to,  Over 50 million travelers pass through this border crossing every year, from both sides. The cityscape is daunting when you arrive, but if you keep your wits about you, you’ll see how safe of a place it is. Most visitors to this region describe the area as just as safe as most American cities. So many Americans regularly travel to Tijuana," according to

Welcome to Tijuana! by milesgehm (CC BY)

Dorantes is scheduled to be sentenced October 31, 2022, at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes. Valencia-Pacheco is scheduled to be sentenced on October 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. and Lomeli-Luna is scheduled to be sentenced on September 12, 2022 at 9 a.m., also before Judge Hayes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

DOJ Charges Congressman, FBI Agent Trainee, Tech Company Executives, And Investment Banker with Insider Trading.

An old Muslim proverb warns that the biggest threats come from inside.  A security professional's nightmare is an insider with a motive, because such insider has a MOM: A motive, means and opportunity to commit a crime.  Despite staggering statistics around the number of security breaches within critical infrastructure, arguably the backbone of global economy, new research shows that the gap between security concern and preparedness is overwhelming for utility, oil and gas, energy and manufacturing organizations. Some 70%  of critical infrastructure companies have suffered a security breach, whereas 66% of organizations consider malicious insider attacks or accidental breaches more likely than external attacks. Over the last two years, the number of insider incidents has increased by 47%. Insider threat stats reveal that more than 70% of attacks are not reported externally. The DOJ in  announcing charges in four separate insider trading cases, collectively charging nine defendants with securities fraud illustrates the Internal Threat. . It also brings into question why the FBI has not emphasized the Inside Threat as it should and did so only in connection with China: In remarks prepared April 27, 2022 for delivery to the Domestic Security Alliance Council, FBI Director Christopher Wray made it clear the counterintelligence threat posed by China is top of mind and " nothing presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than the People’s Republic of China.

The defendants in these cases made between hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars from illegal securities trading based on material, non-public information that was stolen from numerous sources.

Those charged include Stephen Buyer, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, FBI Academy trainee Seth Markin, According to court records, Buyer engaged in two separate, but interrelated insider trading schemes to steal material non-public information that he obtained through consulting work and place timely, profitable securities trade based on that stolen information.  Ahead of the Sprint/ T-Mobile merger,  Buyer breached his duty of confidentiality to T-Mobile and misappropriated that information by purchasing shares of Sprint across several brokerage accounts, including his own accounts, an account held jointly with his cousin, and an account in the name of a close personal friend.   Across these accounts, Buyer made more than $126,000 from the purchase and subsequent sale of Sprint stock after the merger was publicly announced.  In or about June through August 2019, BUYER traded in shares of Navigant Consulting, Inc. ahead of Navigant’s acquisition by consulting and advisory firm Guidehouse. Buyer determined through his consulting work for Guidehouse that Guidehouse intended to acquire Navigant, and misappropriated that information by purchasing Navigant shares ahead of the public announcement of the acquisition.  Buyer purchased Navigant shared across several brokerage accounts, including accounts in his own name, joint accounts held with family members, and Individual-1’s account.   In total, Buyer made more than $223,000 from his illegal Navigant trades.  Buyer, 63, of Noblesville, Indiana, has been charged with four counts of securities fraud.

In early 2021, Seth Markin and Brandon Wong together made more than $1.4 million dollars in illegal profits by trading in stock based on inside information that Markin misappropriated from his then-girlfriend, who was then an attorney at a major law firm in Washington D.C. assigned to work on the acquisition of Pandion Therapeutics by Merck & Co.   After misappropriating this material non-public information from his girlfriend, Markin purchased shares in Pandion, and tipped several friends and family members, including Wong.  Wong, in turn, purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Pandion shares, and told at least eight other people to purchase Pandion shares.  In total, Markin and Wong directly or indirectly caused more than twenty people to trade in Pandion stock based on the material non-public information that Markin misappropriated from his girlfriend resulting in millions of dollars of illegally obtained trading profits. At the time of the relevant trades, Markin had been accepted into the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a new agent trainee.  

Markin, 31, of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, was arrested Monday and has been charged with nine counts of securities fraud and eight counts of tender offer fraud.  Wong, 38, of New York, was also arrested Mondayand  has been charged with eleven counts of securities fraud and ten counts of tender offer fraud.

From November 2020 through April 2020, Amit Bhardwaj, Sirinavas Kakkera, Abbas Saeedi  engaged in an insider trading scheme in which Bhardwaj, who was the Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) of Lumentum Holdings Inc., misappropriated material, non-public information belonging to Lumentum and then traded on that information himself and tipped his criminal associates, including Kakkera,  Saeedi, Dhirenkumar Patel, and Ramesh Chitor, in connection with two separate potential acquisitions by Lumentum, Coherent, Inc. and Neophotonics Coproration  

Bhardwaj,, 49, of San Ramon, California, who was arrested Monday, has been charged with seven counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. LKakkera 47, of Pleasanton, California, who was arrested Monday and has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire frau and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.  Saeedi, 47, of Fremont, California, who was arrested Monday and has been charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, each of which carries a maximum term of 5 years in prison. Also unsealed Monday were charges against Dhirenkumar Patel and Ramesh Chitor, who have separately pled guilty and are cooperating with the Government in this case.

Brijesh Goel  was an investment banker in the financing group at a major international investment bank in New York, New York. In that position, GOEL received confidential, internal emails directed to the Investment Bank’s Firmwide Capital Committee, which contained detailed information and analysis about potential mergers and acquisitions transactions the Investment Bank was considering financing.  In violation of the duties that he owed to the Investment Bank, GOEL misappropriated that confidential information and tipped a friend, who worked at another investment bank in New York, New York (“CC-1”), with the names of potential target companies from these FWCC emails, typically during in-person meetings (such as when the two met to play squash).  CC-1 then used that MNPI to trade call options, including short-dated, out-of-the-money call options, in brokerage accounts that were in the name of CC-1’s brother.  Goel and CC-1 agreed to split the profits from their trading.  Between approximately 2017 and 2018, Goel ipped CC-1 on at least seven deals in which the Investment Bank was involved, yielding total illegal profits of approximately $280,000.  Goel, 37, of New York, New York, has been charged with four counts of securities fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tender offer fraud

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Google & City of Washougal WA: Investment Vs Mendacity

A recent  piece in BizzTalkz titled "Google has a graveyard of failed projects" caught my eye for a number of reasons, including the difference between what is understood by investment in Corporate America versus Investment used by politicians, which is nothing more than an euphemism for mendacity. My first thought was of a visit to Apple Computer while Pauline Alker, CEO & Founder of Counterpoint Computers was entertaining a sale of Counterpoint to Apple. As we were getting a tour of Apple's operation, there was a noticeable empty area where something used to be. Preemptively, Apple's director of logistics proudly told us that the empty area used to house a multi million dollar robotics-based inventory system that didn't work.  "At Apple we are never afraid to try new things, even if they don't work out," she said proudly.  I recalled being ambivalent at her statement:  Was it lack of planning?  Poor management?  Wasteful spending? 

Prior to following Pauline to Counterpoint, my friend and mentor Jim Otts (RIP) convinced me to join start-up  Convergent Technologies in San Jose, California, which experienced a successful IPO years later,  when Convergent Technologies was named the fastest growing company in America (circa 1984,)  Prior to the IPO  I had a used desk and a card board box that functioned as a trash bin.  After the IPO my office was fully equipped with the latest Herman Miller furniture - the fashion police at Human Resources wanted to cancel my beloved trash bin, but I stopped them " because I wanted to show our new employees where we started" - they obliged.

My own WorkSlate - Still Works!

Convergent had its own product failures, including a portable notebook with limited functionality called the Workslate.  The Workslate was first launched in the American Express Christmas catalog, and was sold as a high-tech novelty product. But no one was interested in buying a limited spredsheet machine for $895. Convergent Technology planned to sell 200,000 units within a year, but only 5,000 systems were sold in the U.S.A plus some hundreds in Europe. The product was discontinued in July 1984, and the company lost about $15 million. Right around this time, I took over the manufacturing of the distributed systems division to fix its supply chain and quality problems, which were officially fixed at the end of 2Q84

NGEN Inventory and quality Problems Solved:  2Q84

Then I thought about motivational speaker Simon Sinek's Ted Talk where he introduces a framework for leaders to inspire action, which he calls the Golden Circle - I used the Onion for 15 years before Simon introduced the Golden Circle, but that is another story

In his talk, Sinek contrasts the motivation of the  Wright Brothers to Samuel Pierpont Langley: Langley had assembled a large team and garnered large sums of United States Government funds to build the first airplane.  One of his last attempts at being first, ended in the craft going nose first into the Potomac River on December 8.  Langley failed, whereas as the self-funded, private duo of the Wright Brothers succeeded. The implication is that when the motive is purely financial, or as Bishop Robert Barron might say, a destructive path centered on wealth, power, pleasure and honor, the odds are not in your favor.

The City of Washougal's financially-irresponsible, boneheaded decision to disturb a natural Habitat, family trail & children's park in favor of a disk golf course is another example of government investment: Arbitrarily the City decided to proceed even when alerted that in addition to not having environmental approval, the City was exposing children not only to physical harm, but would be a pedophile honeycomb.  After numerous Washougal resident's complaints -Washougal Answers Disc Golf Course Questions - The Wrong OnesWashougal City Council #Hartwood Park Disc Golf Course Discussion and our efforts to have local, county and state politicians to help with this issue, we concluded with a rhetorical question: How did we get to having a government that works for government and NOT the taxpayers?

Family park destroyed by install of disc baskets

Eventually the city decided to put the brakes and go back to the drawing board. We were told the City would employ an architectural firm familiar with developing disc golf courses.  At the time, we told the City that the decision would only add to the cost and not solve the original problems:  A disc golf course and a children's park are mutually exclusive. 

The park restored to its original form - Almost

As of last month the park was almost restored to its original condition.  So we asked City Mayor Rochelle Ramos for a  status on the project and to comment for this piece.  As expected, the City failed to respond.  However, we have noticed that disc baskets have appeared once again, As Apple's logistics manager might say  "At Washougal we are never afraid to spend taxpayer's money  new things, even if they only work out for a minority of users and put children at risk."

Tweet and email asking Mayor Ramos to comment

 The aforementioned BizzTalkz article's point is that "We often forget a crucial point in entrepreneurship, there is no guarantee of success. Regardless of funds, a top-notch team, and access to the market, even the most innovative company in the world can experience failure. Sinek's  story; however,  should tell us something of the efficacy of  government programs, not unlike the City of Washougal's investment in a disc golf course - "Investing" in a project that will continue to drain the government's coffers and expose children to undue threats. So, tell me again:   How did we get to having a government that works for government and NOT the taxpayers?

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Forget the Liturgy Wars - It's The Media's War On Pope Francis

Image: Stained glass, depiction Christ appearing to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and showing her His Sacred Heart | St. Francis Xavier Basilica, Vincennes, IN

Crux's Sr Editor John L. Allen Jr. Writes that Pope Francis does not understand America.  Allen writes in part: "It’s said of the pope that he doesn’t understand the United States, and that what he does get, he doesn’t especially like. Many of his bishops’ appointments seem deliberately calculated to upset the dominant ethos of the American church, and some of his policy decisions also seem designed to challenge certain aspects of the American Catholic experience." Allen appears to not understand the Church or deliberately misrepresenting her to advance his agenda - The onus is not on the Pope to understand the American Church, but for the American Church to understand its place in the Catholic Church The Church is Catholic. 1 Corinthians 10:17 says "And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body."

The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practices the original Christian faith taught by the apostles, preserving the faith infallibly through scripture and sacred tradition as authentically interpreted through the magisterium of the church

Meanwhile, W. Joseph DeReuil opines that "the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month dealt a significant blow to legalized abortion, a social evil that the U.S. bishops have reaffirmed as recently as 2020 is a “preeminent threat to human life and dignity” in American society. But the response by some Catholic entities, including some Vatican officials, has been relatively muted. They have used the opportunity to highlight gun violence, the death penalty and other social ills rather than stressing the evil of abortion." The Reuil is not alone. Many others, including Carl DeMarco in his piece titled No Comment: Pope Francis Remains Silent On Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision? raised the same question, as I did, initially. The answer to Reuil et al's question is found in the piece Understanding Pope Francis “No Comment” on RvW SCOTUS Decision

ETWN NCRs Larry Chapp takes it even farther. He characterizes Pope Francis Desiderio desideravi as a big Nothing Burger, whereas Will Wright wrote in his easy titled: What You Should Know About Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on The Liturgy – Desiderio Desideravi writes “Pope Francis begins this beautiful and relatively short reflection on the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Sacred Liturgy by reminding us of the Most Holy Trinity’s love for us and desire for us.” Edward Pentin in his piece Vatican Inconsistencies: A Tale of Two Bishops, which is merely recycled news expresses his discontent with Pope Francis selection of new Cardinals.

These are not just random hit pieces and it's now just about liturgy wars.  More like the media's war on Pope Francis continues. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

In Defiance of His Critics, Pope Francis Expected to Be In Canada July 24-30

In defiance of his many critics, who object to what he does, or fails to do, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada July 24-30, 2022, some concerned for his health, but most because they want the Holy Father to resign: "Assuming Francis does go, it will mark his first outing since troubles with his right knee forced him to cancel a series of commitments, including a trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this month," writes Crux's Inés San Martín, while Fox's By Landon Mion writes: "Media reports have suggested that a number of events in late August, including meetings with the world's cardinals to discuss a new Vatican constitution and a visit to the Italian city of L'Aquila, could signal a resignation in the near future."  And Reuters reported that "Pope Francis has dismissed reports that he plans to resign in the near future, saying he is on track to visit Canada this month and hopes to be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv as soon as possible after that. In an exclusive interview in his Vatican residence, Francis also denied rumors that he had cancer, joking that his doctors "didn't tell me anything about it", and for the first time gave details of the knee condition that has prevented him carrying out some duties

Pope Francis apologizes to Canada's Indigenous Peoples

Pope Francis visit to Canada is a result of invitations from civil and ecclesiastical authorities, as well as the indigenous communities. on Sunday during his Angelus, the Holy Father described his journey to Canada as a penitential pilgrimage, that will hopefully contribute to a process of healing and reconciliation with the country’s indigenous peoples. During the 24-30 July visit, the Pope is expected to make stops in Edmonton, Quebec, and the northern city of Iqaluit. According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, two nights before Pope Francis's 37th Apostolic Journey abroad, he went as is his custom to the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major to entrust his visit to Our Lady.  Ahead of the visit to Canada,  Pope Francis, in recent weeks, has had a series of meetings with several delegations of Canadian indigenous peoples in the Vatican. The Pope met with the delegations of Métis and Inuit on 28 March and with the First Nations delegation on 31 March. He then received all three delegations together, along with representatives of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference (CCCB) on 1 April. Live coverages begins on Monday morning, 10:00AM local time, with a meeting with the country's indigenous populations in Maskwacis.

During The Pope's Angelus of 17 July, he announced that in each of these places, at the heart of the his visit, is the desire to "meet and embrace the indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities in various ways. For this reason, recently, at the Vatican, I received several groups, representatives of Indigenous peoples, to whom I manifested my sorrow and my solidarity for the evil they have suffered,” he said. “Now, I will make a penitential voyage that I hope, with the grace of God, can contribute to the path of healing and reconciliation already undertaken,”  

Pope Francis met  with Métis, Inuit and First Nations delegates the last week of March,  who shared stories of their residential school experiences and the effects that still ripple in their communities. Canadian governments and churches pursued a policy of “cultural genocide” against the country’s indigenous people according to seven years of hearings, and testimony from thousands of witnesses heard by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Our own reporting shows that Faucci-like progressive policies, corrupt tribal leaders have failed Native Americans and Alaska Natives:  Disregarding the culture and traditions of Aboriginal peoples, children were uprooted from their families to be educated in the West in residential schools appointed and managed by the Canadian government until the end of the nineteenth century 1996, from the Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. About 6,000 children have gone missing and their bodies are said to have been found in mass graves. Many of them may have died as a result of abuse and disproportionate punishment.

While the Pope's apology received plenty of ink, in general, it missed the rest of Pope Francis’ message as reported by the Vatican News:  “In his speech, the Pope touched on a number of topics which ranged from the elderly and future generations, to the care of the land, as well as culture and tradition. He also turned his attention to those good and decent believers who, in the name of the faith, and with respect, love and kindness, have enriched your history with the Gospel. …. I think with joy, for example, of the great veneration that many of you have for Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus.”

Father Antonio Hofmeister, archbishop of Porto Alegre, Brazil, who for some years had pastoral work in Canada, in an interview with Vatican Radio – Vatican News spoke about the implications of  Pope’s visit to Canada: "Of course, I think it’s important that all institutions that have been a part of these painful realities of residential schools follow this same path. Reconciliation goes through the recognition of truth, which is the first step. But then it is necessary to apologize and find ways to achieve this reconciliation together. Indigenous peoples’ dialogue with the church, but with Canada’s civil institutions, with society, with everyone.  According to Father Hofmeister the main obstacle might be the Canadian government led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has publicly demanded a papal apology. “I’m biased, because I am a priest, but I see that the church is truly working towards reconciliation, while the government isn’t,” he said. “The government’s agenda on many issues, including family and life, is hostile to the church’s.”

Meanwhile Alberta residents are bracing for major disruptions as a result of Pope Francis; visit:  CBC reports: Access to Alberta highways will be restricted during Pope Francis's tour of the province next week and drivers can expect delays as the papal motorcade hits the road. Rolling closures are scheduled for highways across the province between July 24 and July 27 as the pontiff travels through Edmonton, Maskwacis and Lac Ste. Anne. Sections of the Queen Elizabeth II, 2A, 16, 43, 611 and 633 highways will close during his various tour stops. Motorists can expect delays and are being encouraged to consider alternate routes, the province said in a traffic advisory. Within Edmonton, multiple road closures are also expected.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

DOJ's $1.2 Billion In Health Care Fraud - Illustration Of the inside Threat

The Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced criminal charges against 36 defendants in 13 federal districts across the United States for more than $1.2 billion in fraudulent telemedicine, cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing, and durable medical equipment (DME) schemes. The nationwide coordinated law enforcement action includes criminal charges against a telemedicine company executive, owners and executives of clinical laboratories, durable medical equipment companies, marketing organizations, and medical professionals.  Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance. It has been used to overcome distance barriers and to improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations. Whereas Cardiovascular genetic testing (CVD) is a lab procedure that may be performed in the course of cardiology and vascular care to determine the personal risk of cardiovascular disease. Because the risk factor is based on inherited genes Cardiovascular genetic testing (CVD) is considered a family test versus an individual test due to the fact that the same genes are inherited across biological families. Durable medical equipment is any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living. It is a benefit included in most insurances. In some cases certain Medicare benefits, that is, whether Medicare may pay for the item. The item is defined by Title XIX for Medicaid

"Wherever there is power, greed and money, there is corruption" - Ken Poirot

Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Center for Program Integrity (CPI) announced today that it took adverse administrative actions against 52 providers involved in similar schemes. In connection with the enforcement action, the department seized over $8 million in cash, luxury vehicles, and other fraud proceeds.

A Security Professional's worse nightmare is  Insider Threat - an Insider with a motive:  A need for power, money, jealousy, revenge and so on.  The Insider then has motive, means and opportunity to commit a crime.  For an insider to commit a crime, including voter fraud, is so easy, a caveman can do it.  "Wherever there is power, greed and money, there is corruption" - Ken Poirot

The coordinated federal investigations announced today primarily targeted alleged schemes involving the payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes by laboratory owners and operators in exchange for the referral of patients by medical professionals working with fraudulent telemedicine and digital medical technology companies. Telemedicine schemes account for more than $1 billion of the total alleged intended losses associated with today’s enforcement action. These charges include some of the first prosecutions in the nation related to fraudulent cardiovascular genetic testing, a burgeoning scheme. According to court documents,  medical professionals made referrals for expensive and medically unnecessary cardiovascular and cancer genetic tests, as well as durable medical equipment. For example, cardiovascular genetic testing was not a method of diagnosing whether an individual presently had a cardiac condition and was not approved by Medicare for use as a general screening test for indicating an increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions in the future.

One particular case charged involved the operator of several clinical laboratories, who was charged in connection with a scheme to pay over $16 million in kickbacks to marketers who, in turn, paid kickbacks to telemedicine companies and call centers in exchange for doctors’ orders.  Orders for cardiovascular and cancer genetic testing were used by the defendant and others to submit over $174 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare—but the results of the testing were not used in treatment of patients. The defendant laundered the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme through a complex network of bank accounts and entities, including to purchase luxury vehicles, a yacht, and real estate. The indictment seeks forfeiture of over $7 million in United States currency, three properties, the yacht, and a Tesla and other vehicles.  

Some of the defendants charged controlled a telemarketing network, based both domestically and overseas, that lured thousands of elderly and/or disabled patients into a criminal scheme. The owners of marketing organizations allegedly had telemarketers use deceptive techniques to induce Medicare beneficiaries to agree to cardiovascular genetic testing, and other genetic testing and equipment.

The charges announced today allege that the telemedicine companies arranged for medical professionals to order these expensive genetic tests and durable medical equipment regardless of whether the patients needed them, and that they were ordered without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephonic conversation. Often, these test results or durable medical equipment were not provided to the patients or were worthless to their primary care doctors. 

The following documents related to today’s announcement are available on the Health Care Fraud Unit website through the following links:

Bulletproof Hosting Service Cybercriminal "Virus" Extradited

 Mihai Ionut Paunescu, a Romanian National known as “Virus” was extradited for operating “Bulletproof Hosting” service that facilitated the distribution of destructive malware.  Bulletproof hosting operations are similar to regular web hosting. Bulletproof hosting services are often found in countries with more relaxed laws about what type content is hosted on these servers, and also have less strict extradition laws, therefore making it easier to evade law enforcement. Due to the different laws in different countries, this creates a huge grey area that allow the owners to claim immunity to what their customers host. Bulletproof Hosting is the technology behind of malware, ransomware, botnets, and the like. 

A lot of the owners of these facilities take the approach that they are just a service for customers. Many of these hosting servers have massive amounts on data on them, and it can be very difficult to track every move each customer makes. John Karlung of Banhoff Hosting states that his service is like the postal service—“a mailman doesn’t read the mail, he just delivers it.” He claims that his hosting is a legitimate law abiding service, and that any nefarious activity lies with his customers. He is also an advocate for privacy for his customers, and requires a formal warrant to remove any of his servers.

However, the DOJ and FBI announced today that  Mihai Ionut Paunescu, a/k/a “Virus,” a dual Romanian and Latvian national, was extradited from Colombia for running a bulletproof hosting service that enabled cyber criminals to distribute the Gozi Virus, one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history.  It is also alleged that Paunescu  enabled other cybercrimes, such as distributing malware including the “Zeus Trojan” and the “SpyEye Trojan,” initiating and executing distributed denial of service (“DDoS”) attacks, and transmitting spam.  Paunescu was initially arrested in Romania in December 2012 and released on bail, and he was arrested again in Colombia last year at the request of the United States.  Paunescu was presented yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein and detained.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.

The Gozi Virus is malicious computer code or malware.that stole personal bank account information, including usernames and passwords, from the users of affected computers. The Gozi Virus infected over one million victim computers worldwide, among them at least 40,000 computers in the United States, including computers belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), as well as computers in Germany, Great Britain, Poland, France, Finland, Italy, Turkey and elsewhere, and it caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to the individuals, businesses, and government entities whose computers were infected.  Once installed, the Gozi Virus – which was intentionally designed to be undetectable by anti-virus software – collected data from the infected computer in order to capture personal bank account information, including usernames and passwords.  That data was then transmitted to various computer servers controlled by the cyber criminals who used the Gozi Virus.  These cyber criminals then used the personal bank account information to transfer funds out of the victims’ bank accounts and ultimately into their own personal possession.

The Zeus Trojan is an insidious malware kit commonly used to steal banking information. With millions of Windows computers infected, it’s one of the most widespread and successful strains of malware in the history of the internet

SpyEye is a malware program that attacks users running Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Internet Explorer on Microsoft Windows operating systems. This malware uses keystroke logging and form grabbing to steal user credentials for malicious us

Paunescu, 37, of Bucharest, Romania, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds & Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Lai is in charge of the prosecution.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers MIA In Taco Debacle

 The National Hispanic Journalists Association (NAHJ)  response to Doctor Jill Biden Taco Debacle?: ‘We are not tacos." Meanwhile the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (#SHPE,) while heavily promoting its social engineering agenda, remains conspicuously absent from the conversation, recalling Adam Smith's warning: "The man of system <engineering> on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit. ... He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess–board."

I did find a SHPE reference to tacos - but this was a Fireside Tacos with GE event.

Since Sexologist Chris Wilkie was appointed as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers newest Chief Executive Officer,  we have noticed  a renewed emphasis in social engineering such as its special programs, featuring inspiring LGBTQIA+ stories to Pride Month.

Chris Wilkie's LinkedIn post

For Pride Month, June 14th, Author and presenter Jerry A Yang was invited to talk about his work on the intersections of sociology, feminists and queer theory and their application to DEI issues in engineering. No longer Rod Garcia's SHPE - In 1974 Rod Garcia  co-founded SHPE. Garcia served as the first president of the organization, which initially focused its efforts in Southern California.   To be fair, SHPE, like NAHJ did not just woke up. Wokeness infiltrated these organizations years ago, leaving their core mission statement for intersectionality, which is when I left both organizations. But  it is not just Hispanic professional organizations going woke.  At the same time that the self-described world's largest professional organization, IEEE joined the movement.  I also left IEEE.

And  Myra Flores, the newly-elected congresswoman has 'had enough of the Democrat party's far-left policies." Flores says she's not surprised by Jill Biden's 'tacos' comments about Latinos.  "It doesn’t surprise me, Jill Biden and the far-left don’t see us as Americans. They see us as tacos. And they think that by giving us tacos, playing Latin music, that’s all it’s going to take for us to vote for them, and it’s not," she continued. "They’re going to have to get to work."

And of course Flores is Spot On - Dr Jill Biden Vacuous Apology Is Not The Issue 

Just last week more than 100 black academics and community leaders signed an open letter condemning “white progressives” for a “barrage of racist, vicious, and ugly personal attacks” on Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas. 

Do you remeber Joe Biden's "You Aint Black Jack" Remark; During an interview on “The Breakfast Club” Joe Biden told host #CharlamagneThaGod, “I’ll tell you what: If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”  Joe subsequently apologized.  What about Hilary's apology for her 1996 remark on 'super-predators' - Hillary Clinton expressed regret for her comments  about young, black "super-predators" - Which is why I say:  Politicians are like the wind – they apologize if they sense resistance, or bask on it if theyare praised. Why Hispanics should not be enraged.  Forcing politicians to stop publicly demeaning minorities will not change their hearts. They will merely utter their thoughts in private but not stop their actions – it will simply mean more Euphemisms. As USCCB’s Lucas Koach might warn, it will lead to proliferation of Euphemisms Rise in ‘Polite Persecution

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Desiderio desideravi: TGTN or HCE?

ETWN NCRs Larry Chapp Claims that "One could make a strong case that the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and not the liturgy, is the real target of the most recent document from Pope Francis....However, one could make a strong case that the ecclesiology of Vatican II, and not the liturgy, is the real target here. Indeed, the Pope himself explicitly makes this claim in Desiderio when he says, concerning the current liturgical debates: It would be trivial to read the tensions, unfortunately present around the celebration, as a simple divergence between different tastes concerning a particular ritual form. The problematic is primarily ecclesiological” (31).  Desiderio desideravi is Pope Francis’ 2022 document on the Sacred Liurgy.  The titled is derived from the Latin version of Luke 22:15: “I have earnestly desired (desiderio desideravi) to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Chapp goes on to say that in Desiderio, the Holy Father wallows in the never never nebulosities of open ended possibilities: ".. a big nothing burger. As beautiful as the text is in many places, there is also a sense one gets that the text is talking “around” the central issues without really resolving anything. Desiderio is proposed as a purely admonitory meditation on some broad theological themes and never seems to land anywhere concrete in a way that actually matters." An apparently Chapp's reasoning for looking at Desiderio as a big nothing burger is because Pope Francis does not include an "or else" clause in the algorithm and concludes that "Therefore, one is perhaps justified in concluding that the Pope is more interested in suppressing the old liturgy than he is in cleaning up abuses in the current one. "

My own interpretation after my first reading of Desiderio is not only the beautiful text but also a reminder of  1 Corinthians 1:27:  God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise. I need to read Desiderio a few more times to make sure I fully understand it.  Fortunately Will Wright wrote an easy to read summary titled:  What You Should Know About Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on The Liturgy – Desiderio Desideravi.  Wright's summary reads very much like my first reading of Desiderio:   "Pope Francis begins this beautiful and relatively short reflection on the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Sacred Liturgy by reminding us of the Most Holy Trinity’s love for us and desire for us."  Wright summary includes this passage:  "The key to understanding Pope Francis’ document is worth quoting at length:

“With this letter I simply want to invite the whole Church to rediscover, to safeguard, and to live the truth and power of the Christian celebration. I want the beauty of the Christian celebration and its necessary consequences for the life of the Church not to be spoiled by a superficial and foreshortened understanding of its value or, worse yet, by its being exploited in service of some ideological vision, no matter what the hue. The priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper that all may be one (Jn 17:21) judges every one of our divisions around the Bread broken, around the sacrament of mercy, the sign of unity, the bond of charity (DD, 16).” POPE FRANCIS
and concludes "He ends with a vital exhortation that every Catholic of good will in the Roman Rite needs to hear: “Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy (DD, 65)."

Comparing Chapp's commentary to Will Wright's summary is like comparing two views of the same coin:  "There goes the neighborhood" versus "Here come everybody"  The first statement comes from syndicated columnist Art Buchwald, Son of the Great Society (1967): "When the flying saucers were sighted over Ann Arbor, Mich., a few weeks ago, the first reaction from one of the residents was, "Dammit, there goes the neighborhood." Feb 29, 2012. Whereas “Here Comes Everybody” is the nickname given to the character at the center of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, HCE. Officially, the initials stand for Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, but he earns the nickname on account of his size, and it’s underscored in the complicated flux of attributes and the universal, anyman-quality of HCE throughout the novel. The connection reveals itself to be a clever insight by Joyce: “Catholic means ‘Here Comes Everybody.

Today's Homily by Father McCarren based on Lk 10:38-42 emphasized the HCE argument: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Father McCarren emphasized that the Church is big enough for Mary and Martha. For liberals, progressives and conservatives. Father's advice" Follow the Rule of St. Benedict:  Listen,

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Iverson and Ramaswamy Receive David Margolis Award for Wrecking The Emotet Cyber Malware Operation

 Iverson and Ramaswamy were the recipients of  the 69th David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service for Work in Disrupting International Cyber Malware Operation.  Yesterday Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the recipients for the 69th Annual Attorney General’s Awards, recognizing Department of Justice employees and partners for extraordinary contributions to law enforcement.This year, two Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Middle District of North Carolina were awarded the Attorney General’s David Margolis Award, along with multiple law enforcement partners, for the exemplary work targeting the Disrupting the . The Attorney General’s David Margolis Award is the department’s highest award for employee performance.  First observed in Europe in 2014, Emotet expanded its reach over the years and was behind millions of costly cyberattacks across the globe. The FBI opened its first related investigation when a North Carolina school district was compromised by Emotet in 2017.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Iverson and Ramaswamy were recognized for their role as part of a multinational operation involving actions in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom disrupting Emotet malware and botnet. According to court documents, Emotet was a family of malware that targets critical industries worldwide, including banking, e-commerce, healthcare, academia, government, and technology. Emotet malware primarily infected victim computers through spam email messages containing malicious attachments or hyperlinks. Emails were designed to appear to come from a legitimate source or someone in the recipient’s contact list. Once it infected a victim computer, Emotet could deliver additional malware to the infected computer, such as ransomware or malware that steals financial credentials.

Emotet operators targeted over 1.6 million computers worldwide between April 1, 2020, and January 17, 2021, including approximately 45,000 located in the United States. Attacks from this software cost millions in losses, including $1.4 million in losses in the Middle District of North Carolina, where the software targeted North Carolina school districts in 2017. Since then, multiple other victims in North Carolina have been the target of this software, causing more damage and financial loss to the citizens of the Middle District. In addition to financial loss, these cyber-attacks disrupted business operations, interfered with government services, and harmed critical infrastructure in multiple countries.

Others recognized recognizedwere Supervisory Special Agent Jessica A. Nye, Special Agents Peter Ahearn, Jr, Blair H. Newman, and John A. Maser, Computer Scientists Lindsey Chiesa and Naomi R. Patrick, Charlotte Field Office; Supervisory Special Agent Thomas S. Breeden, Baltimore Field Office; Supervisory Special Agent Carrie A. Crot, Cyber Division; Intelligence Analyst Sean A. McDermott, Richmond Division, FBI and; Senior Counsel Ryan Kao Jeung Dickey, Criminal Division along with AUSAs Iverson and Ramaswamy.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina, the FBI Charlotte Division, and the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) conducted the operation in close cooperation with Europol and Eurojust who were an integral part of coordination and messaging, and investigators and prosecutors from several jurisdictions, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, France’s National Police and Judicial Court of Paris, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police and General Public Prosecutor’s Office Frankfurt/Main, Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau, Netherlands National Police and National Public Prosecution Office, Swedish Police Authority, National Police of Ukraine and Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also provided significant assistance. CCIPS Senior Counsel Ryan K.J. Dickey and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Iverson and Anand Ramaswamy of the Middle District of North Carolina led the U.S. efforts.

Dr Jill Biden Vacuous Apology Is Not The Issue

Doctor Jill Biden apologized Tuesday via a Tweet from her Spokesperson Michael LaRosa after she characterized Hispanics as unique as breakfast tacos. In her speech, Biden said that “the diversity of this community, as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio, is your strength.” LaRosa's apology tweet said: "The First Lady apologizes that her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community," the tweet read. Even the woke National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)  objected to the taco analogy: “using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by a variety of diasporas, cultures and food traditions, and should not be reduced to a stereotype.” In 2020, Kyle Smith wrote "To call Jill Biden’s dissertation thin gruel is an insult to gruel. Whatever meager substance puddled in Bob Cratchit’s miserable bowl at mealtime was a bountiful feast compared with this paper. I wrote yesterday about the problems with this capstone project, the foundation of her Ed.D. degree and of the insistence of so many in recent days that we must call her “Dr.”" 

Still, giving Doctor Jill Biden the benefit of the doubt,  and if we take LaRosa at her word - 'her words conveyed anything but pure admiration and love for the Latino community there must be a "love" that fits the intent - right?  But that was not in the Bible

What's Love Go To Do With It?

So perhaps what Doctor Biden is referring to is a Familiar Love for Hispanics - As in Doctor Jill Biden reflects on a fond memory when she last visited a restaurant that served her favorite breakfast burrito?

Which type of Love does Doctor Biden have for the Latino Community?

Regardless, the issue is not her demeaning statement or her vacuous apology:  Politicians are like the wind - they apologize if they sense resistance, or bask on it if praised. Why Hispanics should not be enraged - they should focus on the real prize; 

You see, thoughts lead to words. Words lead to actions and actions lead to habits:  progressives have a tendency to promote policies to "help minorities" that lead to the #BlackGenocide and the near extinction of the African American nuclear family. In 1965 25% of African American Children were raised featherless.  Today, its 75%.  Very soon the African American nuclear family will be extinct.  Then there is the #BlackGenocide:  Planned Parenthood kills millions of preborms, mostlynon-whites. 

Native Americans and Alaska Natives have and continue to suffer human  rights abuses due to  progressive policies which can be aptly characterized as War on Minorities: WON, corrupt politicians and incompetent tribal leadership.  Prior to Dr, Faucci, U.S. government doctors thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people, prison inmates and minorities, such experiments as  giving hepatitis to mental patients, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland,  injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital, sterilizing Native American women whiteout their consent and notably the Tuskegee trials where for r 40 years, the US Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on African Americans men who suffered from syphilis, lured them under the guise of free medical care and meals but withheld treatment

Forcing politicians to stop publicly demeaning minorities will not change their hearts.  They will merely utter their thoughts in private but not stop their actions - it will simply mean more Euphemisms. As USCCB's Lucas Koach might warn, it will lead to proliferation of Euphemisms Rise in ‘Polite Persecution"

Hispanics should focus on the family; Society is built on the family, in all its unglamorous beauty, and Chesterton helps us to see this reality with fresh eyes.  "The business done in the home is nothing less than the shaping of the bodies and souls of humanity." — G.K. Chesterton⁰ 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

How to Scare the Devil out of you

If Saint Benedict of Nursia were alive today, witnessing the constant attacks not only on the Church, but on the Holy Father to the point that the Catholic Media would have crucified Pope Francis 2000 years ago, along with St Peter, St Paul and Jesus, St. Benedict would most probably have sought a life of peace and prayer in Mount Khuiten - The world's most remote mountain.  

According to Catholic Online "St. Benedict is believed to have been born around 480, as the son to a Roman noble of Norcia and the twin to his sister, Scholastica. In the fifth century, the young Benedict was sent to Rome to finish his education with a nurse/housekeeper. The subject that dominated a young man's study then was rhetoric -- - The power of the voice without foundation in the heart was the goal of the student's education. And that philosophy was reflected in the lives of the students as well. They had everything -- education, wealth, youth -- and they spent all of it in the pursuit of pleasure, not truth. Benedict watched in horror as vice unraveled the lives and ethics of his companions."

Tomorrow July 11th, we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia.  St, Benedict  is known as the founder of the Benedictine Order, Exorcist, Mystic, Abbot of Monte Cassino, and Father of Western Monasticism, having established a Rule that would become the norm for innumerable Christian monks and nuns. He is the patron saint of Europe.  Benedict of Nursia died in the mountains of Monte Cassino Italy around the year 547. Frustrated with the secular creep of the world into the life of the Church, Benedict sought a lift of peace and prayer in the mountains outside Rome, writing the Rule of St. Benedict and founding Christian monasticism as we know it.

In 1964, in view of the work of monks following the Benedictine Rule in the evangelization and civilization of so many European countries in the Middle Ages, Pope Paul VI proclaimed him the patron saint of all Europe.

There are many miracles associated with saint Benedict, but the most famous is the story of a raven that swept down and took poisoned food from his hand, saving his life.

After his death, there was a trial of a witch in Germany who claimed she was unable to curse an Abbey protected by the cross and seal of St. Benedict. 

Exorcists today use the cross of St. Benedict in the healing ministry of exorcism. Many recommend Christians place this cross in their homes or wear it on their bodies as a reminder of the protection of Christ and the saints against diabolical influence. We should note that on Sunday March 18, 2028, Pope Francis said that "the crucifix is not just something decorative to hang on the wall or wear, it is an important sign of our beliefs – and should be truly looked at and prayed before as the source of our salvation."  On March 18, 2018 Pope Francis made the point again: "Today's Gospel invites us to turn our gaze to the crucifix, which is not an ornamental object or clothing accessory – sometimes abused! – but a religious sign to be contemplated and understood" 

Like St. Benedict, many Catholics today are worrying about the chaos and corruption of not only secular life, but also attacks on the Church, on Pope Francis and are getting more and more concerned about the end times,  The good news is that we can find solace in Saint Benedict's teachings: "Saint Benedict's fifth-century guide to humility offers the antidote to the epidemic of stress and depression overwhelming modern young adults. But the language of The Rule by Saint Benedict is medieval, and its most passionate advocates are cloistered monks and nuns. How then does this ancient wisdom translate into advice for ordinary people? With candor, humor, and a unique approach to classical art, Father Augustine, a high school teacher and coach, breaks down Saint Benedict's method into twelve pithy steps for finding inner peace in a way that can be applied to anyone's life."

Since 1963 when the Supreme Court in Abington Township v. Schempp (1963) decided that teaching children about wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord., charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity was too radical we have had a mental health crisis and mass shootings people blame on toxic masculinity, among other excuses, we all could benefit from the Rule of St. Benedict


Friday, July 08, 2022

Five Indicted in Repression Scheme to Silence China Critics as MI5 & FBI Chiefs Warn on China's IP Theft

Defendants Include one current (DHS)  federal law enforcement officer and one retired (DHS) federal law enforcement office just as MI5 & FBI Chiefs warn on China's Intellectual Property (IP) Theft

"According to FBI Director  Christopher Wray "The Chinese Government is set on stealing your technology -It sees cyber as the pathway to cheat and steal on a massive scale," he added in prepared remarks delivered Wednesday at the London headquarters of the U.K.'s Security Service, known as MI5. whatever that is that makes your company tick"

Meanwhile a federal grand jury in Brooklyn returned a superseding indictment Wednesday charging five defendants  with various crimes related to a transnational repression scheme on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Defendants Fan “Frank” Liu, 62, of Jericho, New York; Matthew Ziburis, 49, of Oyster Bay, New York; and Qiang “Jason” Sun, 40, of the PRC were charged in March 2022 with a transnational repression scheme that targeted U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC Government.
Liu and Ziburis were arrested on a criminal complaint in March 2022, while Sun remains at large.

The superseding indictment adds two new defendants, Craig Miller and Derrick Taylor, to the scheme. Miller is a 15-year employee of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), currently assigned as a deportation officer to DHS’s Emergency Relief Operations in Minneapolis, and Taylor is a retired DHS law enforcement agent who presently works as a private investigator in Irvine, California. Miller and Taylor are charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence after they were approached by FBI agents and asked about their procurement and dissemination of sensitive and confidential information from a restricted federal law enforcement database regarding U.S.-based dissidents from the PRC. Both Miller and Taylor were arrested on a criminal complaint in June 2022.

The  case involves a multifaceted campaign to silence, harass, discredit and spy on U.S. residents for exercising their freedom of speech – aided by a current federal law enforcement officer and a private investigator who provided confidential information about U.S. residents from a restricted law enforcement database, and when confronted about their improper conduct, lied and destroyed evidence,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York.

Liu and Ziburis are charged with conspiring to act as agents of the PRC government. Liu, Ziburis and Sun are charged with conspiring to commit interstate harassment and criminal use of a means of identification. Liu and Sun are charged with conspiring to bribe a federal official in connection with their scheme to obtain the tax returns of a pro-democracy activist residing in the United States. Both Miller and Taylor are charged with obstruction of justice, while Taylor is charged with making a false statement to the FBI.

If convicted, Liu faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment; Ziburis, Sun and Taylor face up to 25 years’ imprisonment; and Miller faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment. The defendants will be arraigned at a later date.

According to the indictment, one of Liu’s co-conspirators (“Co-conspirator”) retained Taylor to obtain personal identification information regarding multiple PRC dissidents residing in the United States, including passport information and photos, and flight and immigration records, which Taylor allegedly tasked to two DHS law enforcement officers, including Miller. As alleged, Miller and the other DHS agent obtained the information from the restricted database and improperly provided it to Taylor, who shared it with the Co-conspirator. Liu, Ziburis and Sun used this information to target and harass these U.S. residents while acting on behalf of the PRC government.

Miller and Taylor both lied about their past conduct when confronted by the FBI. According to the indictment, Miller deleted text messages with Taylor from his phone while being interviewed by the FBI, and Taylor instructed a co-conspirator to withhold evidence from the U.S. government. When interviewed by the FBI, Taylor falsely claimed that he obtained the records in question from a friend who was using the Black Dark Web
According to the indictment, the Co-conspirator called Taylor and claimed he received a subpoena from the Department of Justice seeking the Co-conspirator’s communications with Taylor, and Taylor directed the Co-conspirator to withhold such information from the U.S. government.

When interviewed by the FBI, Miller initially claimed to be in sporadic contact with Taylor and said the two did not discuss work matters. Miller later admitted that Taylor provided him names to run through law enforcement databases. Miller granted consent to the FBI to search his phone, and ultimately admitted that he ran the queries for Taylor and sent the results to Taylor via text message, and that Taylor had provided a gift card in return. Miller then admitted that he deleted the text chain with Taylor during the interview earlier that day and that he fabricated all earlier statements about the text chain, including whether the chain included the names requested by Taylor.