Week in Review—Hammond
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 21, 2013|
HAMMOND, IN—The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in federal court:
- Charles Johnson, Jr., 33, of Gary, Indiana, pled guilty before Senior District Judge James Moody to the felony offense of distribution of crack cocaine. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.
- Christopher Castro, 33, of Lorain, Ohio, a defendant in the case U.S. v Yanez et al., pled guilty before Senior District Judge James Moody to the felony offense of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Kolar.
- Jon Erik Lilly, 27, of Cedar Lake, Indiana, pled guilty before Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of receipt of child pornography. Sentencing has been set for September 26, 2013. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Hammond Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
- Eugene Wilson, Sr., 56, of Merrillville, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 60 months’ imprisonment and four years of supervised release after being found guilty at trial of felony offenses of wire fraud and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. Wilson stole approximately $1.5 million from three groups of investors. The FBI received a complaint that Wilson had defrauded individuals of money through a Ponzi type scheme. Essentially, Wilson convinced individuals to invest money with him by promising a very high rate of return. To lure the investor into the scheme, Wilson created a written agreement and promised to keep the funds in an escrow account. In all three events, upon receiving the money, Wilson immediately wire transferred the funds to third parties, most of whom banked in Europe. Wilson then lied about the whereabouts of the funds and finally ended communications with the investors. In 2008, Wilson received a series of wire transfers. He then engaged in a series of bank transactions to avoid the bank reporting that he had received more than $10,000 in cash. This case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell.
- Scott R. Becker, 47, and Christina Becker, 49, of Lafayette, Indiana, were sentenced by District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen on June 19.Scott Becker was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment and 10 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offenses of mail fraud, wire fraud, and possession of child pornography. The court also ordered Mr. Becker to pay restitution as follows: $250,000 to Stelko and the balance due on the mortgage to his Colorado home (jointly and severally with Christina Becker, his wife and co-defendant). To accomplish the payment of restitution, the Beckers forfeited the Colorado property to the U.S. government. From January 1, 2002 and continuing to July 27, 2009, Scott Becker devised a scheme and artifice to take advantage of his position as General Manager of Stelko Electric to fraudulently obtain tools, building materials, labor, and money, which rightfully belonged to Stelko, totaling over $250,000 in value to aid in the building of a home in Colorado. There were three different aspects to Becker’s scheme: the theft of labor, materials, and tools used to build his Colorado home; the theft of funds from Stelko via contract fraud; and the theft of Stelko materials that Becker sold for cash. In June 2009, a search of Becker’s work computer for evidence of employee theft revealed video images of a minor teenage girl in a state of undress. Christina Becker was sentenced to one day in prison with time considered served and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to wire fraud affecting a financial institution. From on or about January 1, 2009 and continuing to on or about March 4, 2009, the Beckers devised a scheme and artifice to obtain mortgage funds totaling $275,000 from Regions Bank d/b/a/ Regions Mortgage Corporation (hereafter Regions Bank) located in Birmingham, Alabama, by providing false and fraudulent information on and with their mortgage application for the Colorado home and knowingly caused to be transmitted by means of a wire communication in interstate commerce, any signs, signals, or sounds, to wit: a wire transfer of $270,737.44 from Regions Bank in Birmingham, Alabama, to a title company located in Durango, Colorado. This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Kokomo Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.