Home Indianapolis Press Releases 2014 Week in Review—Hammond

Week in Review—Hammond

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 28, 2014
  • Northern District of Indiana (219) 937-5500

HAMMOND, IN—The United States Attorney’s Office announced the following activity in federal court:

Pleas:

  • Anthony Bitterling, 40, of Winimac, Indiana, a defendant in the case U.S. v Hoosier EMS Inc. et al., pled guilty before District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to the felony offense of conspiring with other individuals to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare in connection with ambulance transportation. Sentencing has been set for May 8, 2014. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Medicare Fraud Control Unit, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Diane Berkowitz and Thomas McGrath.
  • Karen Stone, 57, of Hammond, Indiana, pled guilty before District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to the felony offense of embezzlement of Union Funds. Sentencing has been set for May 14, 2014. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Department of Labor-Office of Management Standards. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Toi Houston.

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.

Dispositions:

  • Jose Reyes-Zuniga, 32, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to six months’ imprisonment and, if not deported, one year of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of fraudulent use of a Social Security number. According to documents filed in this case, Reyes-Zuniga used a social security number that did not belong to him for purposes of gaining employment. He admitted to purchasing identification and a social security number from a person in Chicago. Reyes-Zuniga entered the United States illegally from Mexico. This case was a result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the East Chicago Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gary Bell and Philip Benson.
  • Christian Austin, 27, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 51 months’ imprisonment and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession with the intent to distribute heroin. According to documents filed in this case, Austin was transporting heroin to Chicago on behalf of an acquaintance when he was pulled over for a traffic violation. Approximately 2.1 kilograms of heroin was found in the vehicle. This case was a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jacqueline Jacobs.
  • Virlissa Crenshaw, 43, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 30 months’ imprisonment, $176,763.07 in restitution to the town of Merrillville and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offenses of theft from a local government entity receiving federal funds and making false statements on a tax return. According to documents filed in this case, during Ms. Crenshaw’s tenure of collecting bond money for the Merrillville Town Court, in excess of 400 criminal cases were not docketed in the court system because the bond money was stolen and no criminal case was ever docketed. Ms. Crenshaw essentially engaged in a Ponzi scheme by shuffling bond money from one case to another in attempts to conceal her theft, allowing her to steal even more money. This case was a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Indiana State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Philip Benson.
  • Terrance Winton, 49, of Merrillville, Indiana, was sentenced by District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to 37 months’ imprisonment, a $10,000.00 fine and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine. According to documents filed in this case, pursuant to information from a confidential source, a federal search warrant was executed at Winton’s residence in March 2013. Agents seized approximately one ounce of crack cocaine (13 grams were uncut, and the rest was packaged for sale) from the kitchen. In Winton’s bedroom, agents seized four pistols. Additionally, there were seven long guns in a gun cabinet including a stolen AK-47 and a stolen Springfield rifle. This case was a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.
  • Mark Alan Smith, 44, of Valparaiso, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 108 months’ imprisonment and 15 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of receipt of child pornography. According to documents filed in this case, over the course of at least one-and-a-half years, Smith received over 400,000 images and over 1,500 videos depicting minor children being sexually exploited and abused. This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
  • Booker Rogers, 47, of West Lafayette, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 105 months’ imprisonment and 20 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of failure to register as a sex offender. According to documents filed in this case, Rogers was convicted of sexual abuse of a 14-year-old female in 1999, a 4-year-old child in 2007, and failure to register as a sex offender in 2010 and 2011. This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the United States Marshals Service. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
  • Adam Buckler, 29, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 225 months’ imprisonment and 20 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of distribution of child pornography. According to documents filed in this case, Buckler was found to possess over 24,000 images and 600 videos depicting minor children as young as toddlers being forced to engage in sexually explicit conduct. This case resulted from an investigation by members of the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kokomo Police Department, and the Indiana State Police. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
  • Octavio Casas-Garcia, 45, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to five months’ imprisonment and, if not deported, one year of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of illegal re-entry after having been convicted of a felony. Casas-Garcia has a prior conviction for possession of marijuana in Texas. This case was a result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Philip Benson.
  • Antoine McClain, 31, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 21 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to documents filed in this case, McClain has prior felony convictions for possession of cocaine and attempted larceny in a building, as well as 11 other misdemeanors. This case was a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives HIDTA Task Force and the East Chicago Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.
  • Tyrone Benson, 38, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to 27 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Benson has a prior felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance in San Diego, California. This case was a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration HIDTA Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Nozick.
  • Javante Toran, 21, of Hammond, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge James Moody to six months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Toran has a prior felony conviction for theft in Lake County, Indiana. This case was a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Nozick.
  • Kenneth Sandidge, 54, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to 92 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sandidge has a prior felony conviction for pointing a firearm in Lake County, Indiana. This case was a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Lake County Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Padilla.
  • Carl Powers, 54, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, was sentenced by Chief Judge Philip Simon to 33 months’ imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offenses of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. According to documents filed in this case, Powers defrauded two lenders by inducing them to provide mortgage loans to the buyers through the use of materially false representations and, in so doing, to fraudulently obtain a portion of those funds. Powers also defrauded the buyers by inducing them to purchase properties and seek mortgage loans through the use of materially false representations and, in doing so, to fraudulently obtain a portion of those funds. This case was a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.
  • Jerome Robinson, 24, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen to 36 months of probation after pleading guilty to the felony offense of distribution of heroin. This case was a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dean Lanter.
  • Chester Washington, 43, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by Senior District Judge Rudy Lozano to three years of probation with eight months of home detention after pleading guilty to the felony offense of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. According to documents filed in this case, Washington has prior felony convictions for possession of cocaine and battery in 1995. This case was a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives HIDTA Task Force and the Lake County Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga.
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