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Teenager pleads guilty to killing deli owner
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/09 16:58

A 16-year-old Buffalo youth has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing a deli owner during a robbery.

Robert Gwynn was 15 when he and a 13-year-old accomplice robbed Myheeb's Deli in November. Gwynn shot the deli owner, Mike Saeed, in the chest. He died soon after.

Because of his age, Gwynn was prosecuted as a juvenile offender. State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Drury told him he'll likely impose a sentence of eleven years to life when he is sentenced in July.

The 13-year-old is being prosecuted in Family Court. His identity hasn't been released.



Verdict: Guilty but mentally ill
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/09 16:58

A jury found Gregory Nurrenberg Jr. guilty but mentally ill when he killed 45-year-old Sherry Dickey.

Nurrenberg, 24, admitted killing Dickey during Memorial Day weekend 2006, but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Jurors deliberated approximately 4 ½ hours before reaching a verdict about 7 p.m. Monday. The trial in Lawrence Superior Court II lasted five days.



Credit Card Counterfeiter Gets Five Years In Prison
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/06 18:29

United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that defendants Ming Li and Zhou Ru Tan have been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay fines in connection with their roles in a counterfeit credit card scam. Mr. Li was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine as well as more than $10,000 in restitution for possessing counterfeit access devices. Ms. Tan, who had a minor role in the scheme, was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. These sentences were the result of a four-year investigation by the United States Secret Service in coordination with local law enforcement in the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

Mr. Li, 35, of El Monte, California, was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on June 15, 2004. He was charged with possession and use of counterfeit access devices as well as possession of access-making equipment. Mr. Li pleaded guilty to possessing over fifteen counterfeit credit cards. Mr. Li also admitted to using counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase merchandise in retail stores in the Bay Area that resulted in a total loss of between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000.

Ms. Tan, 36, of Richmond, California, was indicted by the same grand jury with the same violations of federal law and pled guilty to the same violation as Mr. Li. Ms. Tan admitted that her actions in using counterfeit credit cards resulted in loss of more than $5,000.

"These sentences embody the United States Attorney’s Office ongoing commitment to work closely with the United States Secret Service to investigate and prosecute credit card fraud," U.S. Attorney Scott N. Schools stated. "The possession and use of counterfeit credit cards is a scourge on our modern society. Counterfeit credit cards threaten the integrity of our banking system and result in higher costs to businesses and consumers. Those who choose to engage in such fraud will be prosecuted, and if convicted, face lengthy jail time. The Department of Justice commends the dedication of the Secret Service in bringing Mr. Li and Ms. Tan to account for their crimes."



Charge upgraded after lieutenant's death
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/04 07:17

A man accused of driving drunk and fatally injuring a Gainesville Police lieutenant in the aftermath of Tuesday morning's national championship celebration could be prosecuted under a law passed following the death of another GPD officer in 2001.

Attorneys with the State Attorney's Office are reviewing whether Austin J. Wright, accused of DUI manslaughter in connection with Gainesville Police Lt. Corey Dahlem's death, could be prosecuted under a law known as the Scott Baird Act.

Gainesville Police Officer Scott Baird, 23, died in 2001 after he was struck by a vehicle while trying to remove a batting cage that had been dragged from a field at Gainesville High School onto NW 16th Terrace. Baird had been with the department two years when he was killed.

The year following Baird's death, Florida legislators passed an act that makes manslaughter of a law enforcement officer punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison rather than 15 years.

Prosecutors plan to review crash investigation reports and other records before determining if Wright will be tried under the Scott Baird Act, said State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann.

Wright, listed by troopers as an Atlantic Beach resident, was being held at the Alachua County jail late Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, Wright had made his first court appearance, at which a $500,000 bond was set for his release, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Mike Burroughs.

Charges originally filed against Wright after the crash were driving under the influence with serious bodily injury to another and failure to stop or remain at an accident involving injury, Burroughs said. But, after Dahlem's death Wednesday afternoon, the charge was upgraded to DUI manslaughter aggravated by leaving the scene of a traffic crash involving death. Wright also was cited for careless driving and violation of a traffic control device.

Wright's prior criminal history and driving record show he had received tickets for speeding and was charged with minor drug-related charges.

Misdemeanor charges against Wright out of Highlands County for marijuana possession, possession of narcotics equipment and possession of alcohol by a person under 21 were dismissed, according to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He also had been cited for speeding in Hernando and Duval counties last year, a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles showed.

Wright appeared to have a bruise on his cheek in a jail mug shot taken after his arrest. Police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said officers on the scene when Wright was stopped and later arrested said the bruise was present when he was taken into custody.

The name of an attorney representing Wright was not immediately available Wednesday.



Alameda man gets prison for groping girl
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/03 20:51

An Alameda man will spend seven months in prison for groping a 14-year-old girl he was sitting next to on a flight home from the Philippines last July, U.S. Attorney Scott Schools announced today. Benjamin Caniaveral, 48, was sentenced today in San Francisco federal court by Judge William Alsup and must report to prison by the end of the month.

Caniaveral pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of simple assault on a juvenile in October. In doing so, he admitted to intentionally touching the girl, who was sleeping in the window seat covered by a blanket.

The U.S. Attorney's office reports that Caniaveral first stroked the girl's arm with his hand, then he touched her on the stomach below the navel. The tip of his fingers reached below the waist of her pants, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The girl awoke during the incident, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, and she alerted a flight attendant.

"I laud the victim's courage in reporting and pursuing this case," said Schools. "Too often this type of attack is not reported or not punished."

The incident, which was investigated by the FBI, took place on a Philippine Airlines flight to San Francisco from Manila.



Milan woman indicted on bank fraud charges
Criminal Law Updates | 2007/04/01 17:15

A Milan woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Jackson on bank fraud and income tax evasion charges, according to a Friday release from David Kustoff, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Donna L. Hardy, 48, of Milan, was charged with 12 counts of bank fraud and five counts of income tax evasion in a sealed indictment returned on Tuesday.
 
She made her initial court appearance on Wednesday, the release said.

According to the indictment, Hardy was employed by The Dedmon Company as a bookkeeper until it merged with Milan Box Corp. in March of 2002.
Hardy then was employed by Milan Box as a plant accountant. The indictment charges that from March 25, 2002 until around December 17, 2004, Hardy devised a scheme to defraud the former Union Planter's National Bank, now called Regions Bank.

Prosecutors said Hardy did not close bank accounts that belonged to Dedmon upon the merger of the two companies as she was instructed to do.

Instead, Hardy transferred funds from Milan Box accounts into the bank accounts belonging to Dedmon that were supposed to have been closed, the indictment said.

Hardy then transferred funds from this account to her personal bank accounts. The indictment lists more than $232,000 in fraudulent transfers from Milan Box accounts to Dedmon accounts.

In addition, the indictment charges Hardy with five counts of income tax evasion for the years 2000 through 2004.

According to the indictment, Hardy did not report over $250,000 in income on her federal income tax returns filed for these years. This resulted in a tax loss to the government of over $58,000.

This investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and IRS Criminal Investigation.



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