Home Indianapolis Press Releases 2014 Week in Review—Hammond

Week in Review—Hammond

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 13, 2014
  • Northern District of Indiana (219) 937-5500

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

Pleas:

Fayez Abdallah, 69, of Chicago, Illinois, pled guilty before District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the Indiana SNAP program. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

Amjad Muhamad, 38, of Chicago, Illinois, pled guilty before District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the Indiana SNAP program. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

Ashraf Muhamad, 41, of Oak Lawn, Illinois pled guilty before District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the Indiana SNAP program. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

Yousef Muhamad, 44, of Chicago, Illinois pled guilty before District Judge Rudy Lozano to the felony offense of wire fraud in a scheme to defraud the Indiana SNAP program. This charge was filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Berkowitz.

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

Israel Castro, 25, of Mexico was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the felony offense of entry of alien at improper time or place. This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas McGrath.

Natisha Hillard, 25, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced to 292 months’ imprisonment, followed by supervised release for life after pleading guilty of sale of a child by a parent for production of child pornography and sexual exploitation and permitting a child by a parent to participate in the production of child pornography. The investigation of this case began on February 13, 2013, when a third party contacted the FBI and reported that Bour had invited her to watch him sexually abuse a child. Bour’s home was searched later that day and child pornography was found, but Bour adamantly denied sexually abusing any children and claimed his texts with the third party were “fantasy” and “role playing.” Nine days later, law enforcement found depictions of Bour sexually abusing an infant on his computer and noted the presence of an adult female, later identified as Natisha Hillard. Hillard was interviewed later that day admitted that Bour had paid her a total of approximately $500 in exchange for her allowing him to sexually abuse her youngest child on several different occasions. Hillard signed a plea agreement with the government and agreed to testify against Bour. Prior to Hillard’s sentencing, the government filed a motion pursuant to United States Sentencing Guideline Section 5K1.1 and Title 18, United States Code, Section 3553(e) asking the curt to give Hillard credit for her substantial cooperation in the case. This case was the result of an investigation by the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Indiana State Police, the Gary Police Department, and the Michigan City Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jill Koster.