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by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

Four men have been charged with a series of 19 robberies in the D.C. area over a six month period.

The men, all in their 20s and all residents of the District, are being charged in federal court as their alleged crime spree took them across state lines.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging four Washington, D.C. residents for their alleged roles in 19 separate armed robberies in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

According to allegations in the indictment, from Nov. 1, 2016 to April 12, Desmar Rashad Gayles, Andrew Bernard Duncan, Anton Durrell Harris, and Lamont Kortez Gaines committed a total of 19 armed robberies of commercial establishments and three carjackings, allegedly using two of the vehicles that they carjacked to commit some of the armed robberies. In ten of the armed robberies, the defendants used an Intratec 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine. That firearm was recovered in Harris’ residence on April 13 with the extended magazine fully loaded and a round in the chamber.

Among other jurisdictions, the men are accused of seven robberies and a carjacking in Alexandria and one armed robbery in Arlington.

That robbery happened in March, at a store near Shirlington, according to Arlington County Police.

From an ACPD crime report:

ROBBERY, 2017-03190011, 4000 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 12:35 a.m. on March 19, officers responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred. Three masked male suspects entered a store and confronted the employee and a customer inside. One suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money from the register, while another suspect demanded money from the customer. The suspects then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10”-6’00” tall and weighed 140-170 lbs. He was wearing a black winter coat, dark jeans, dark colored shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The second suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black coat, black pants, black shoes, black gloves, and a black mask. The third suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’03”-5’06” tall and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, dark shoes, black gloves, and a mask. The investigation is ongoing.

by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

An Arlington resident has pleaded guilty to illegally buying guns while under indictment for cocaine possession.

Federal prosecutors announced the plea deal early Tuesday afternoon. The defendant, 28-year-old Anthony Medrano, now faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced in August.

From a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:

An Arlington man pleaded guilty today to willfully receiving a firearm while under indictment in Virginia state court.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and other court records, Anthony Fernandez Medrano, 28, was indicted in Virginia state court in 2015 for possessing cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance.  While still under indictment, and not lawfully able to purchase or possess firearms,  Fernandez Medrano sought and purchased guns from a private party seller and signed bills of sale confirming the purchases.

Fernandez Medrano faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on August 11.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael B. Boxler, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Smith III is prosecuting the case.

by Tim Regan — February 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

Gavel (Flickr photo by Joe Gratz)An Arlington man has been sentenced to spend more than eight years behind bars for downloading child pornography.

James Jeffrey Schroeder, 50, was today sentenced to 100 months in prison for “for receiving and downloading child pornography,” according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He pleaded guilty to the crime last October.

Schroeder also was sentenced to 20 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $182,000 in restitution to victims.

Schroeder, a former teacher’s assistant in Texas, got the illegal pornography from the internet and from a family member between 1997 and 2015, authorities said. A review of Schroeder’s electronic media found he had more than 13,000 images and 400 videos of child pornography, many sadistic or masochistic in nature.

Schroeder “worked for an unnamed government agency” after moving here from Texas. During the pornography investigation, he also reportedly confessed to sexually abusing two special needs students more than 20 years ago, according to a Texas newspaper.

From a press release:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – James Jeffrey Schroeder, 50, of Arlington, a former teacher’s assistant in Texas, was sentenced today to 100 months in prison for receiving and downloading child pornography. Schroeder was also sentenced to 20 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $182,000 in restitution to victims.

Schroeder pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2016. According to court documents, from approximately 1997 to 2015, Schroeder received and downloaded child pornography from the internet and from a family member. A forensic review of Schroeder’s electronic media revealed more than 13,000 images and 400 videos of child pornography. Numerous images and videos were sadistic or masochistic in nature.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis, III. Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Dougherty Russell prosecuted the case.

Flickr photo by Joe Gratz

by ARLnow.com — December 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Macy's store at the Fashion Center at Pentagon City mallAn Arlington woman arrested earlier this year for a counterfeit handbag fraud has been sentenced to jail time.

Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh would buy luxury handbags online, then return high-quality knockoff handbags to the store while selling the real bag online, netting big profits in the process

She was sentenced today to 30 months in prison and more than $800,000 in forfeiture and restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

More from a press release:

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, 41, of Arlington, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for running a multiyear scheme to defraud department stores across the country. Smatsorabudh was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $403,250.81 in forfeiture and the same amount in restitution to her victims.

Smatsorabudh pleaded guilty to wire fraud on August 3. According to court documents, Smatsorabudh bought brand name purses online and then returned in their place counterfeit purses, which were smuggled into the country from China. She then sold the authentic purses on Instagram for more than $2,000 each. In order to avoid detection, Smatsorabudh made fraudulent returns at over 60 department store locations in 12 states.  In total, her scheme defrauded department stores out of more than $400,000.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer prosecuted the case.

File photo

by ARLnow.com — November 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Polling place volunteers work with voters at Arlington Traditional School

Who should you call should you suspect election fraud or voting rights abuse at the polls on Election Day next week?

The regional U.S. Attorney’s Office says to give them a call.

In a press release, prosecutors say that such complaints on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 8) will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Gillis, who can be reached at 703-299-3700.

For more mundane problems at the polls that don’t rise to the level of a federal offense, voters can notify one of the poll workers or call the Arlington County elections office at 703-228-3456. Officials say Arlington is well-prepared for the anticipated crush of voters during a particularly contentious presidential election year.

The full U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, after the jump.

File photo

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by ARLnow.com — August 24, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Lanier Avant (Photo via cbcfinc.org)Lanier Avant, the chief of staff for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and a House Homeland Security Committee staff director, has been charged with failing to file his tax returns for five years.

Avant, who lives in Arlington, falsely claimed he was exempt from federal tax withholding, prosecutors say. He made more than $170,000 per year during tax years 2009-2013, but did not file a tax return during that time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Avant faces up to five years in prison. From a press release:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Isaac Lanier Avant, of Arlington, who is currently employed as a staffer by the U.S. House of Representatives, has been charged with five counts of willfully failing to file a tax return.

According to the criminal information and affidavit, Avant has been employed as a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2002.  For tax years 2009 through 2013, Avant earned annual wages of over $170,000, but did not timely file a personal income tax return for any of those years. In May 2005, Avant filed a form with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes.  Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

Avant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Caroline D. Ciraolo, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, made the announcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division.

Photo via cbcfinc.org

by ARLnow.com — January 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Subway store in Clarendon (photo via Google Maps)(Updated at 3 p.m.) The owner of a Subway sandwich store in Clarendon has pleaded guilty to a tax evasion conspiracy and could face up to five years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Alexandria resident Obayedul Hoque conspired with managers at a number of Subway stores and a gas station he owned to keep some $6.5 million in sales off the books between 2008 and 2013. Hoque’s company dodged between $1.5 and $3.5 million in federal taxes as a result of the conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Among the seven Subway locations Hoque owned in Arlington, Alexandria and D.C. is the shop at 3000 10th Street N. in Clarendon. That store has remained open. Hoque also owned a Shell station on Duke Street in Alexandria.

Hoque pleaded guilty today and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13. The full press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, after the jump.

Photo via Google Maps

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by ARLnow.com — January 14, 2016 at 10:20 am 0

Former Hamburger Hamlet in the shops at Crystal CityThe Crystal City Shops will become more accessible thanks to an agreement reached between property owner Vornado and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A citizen’s complaint led federal prosecutors to investigate the indoor shopping concourse, which runs along Crystal Drive and connects with the Crystal City Metro station. The complaint stated that portions of the shops are inaccessible to those with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As a result of the agreement, Vornado will build ramps or lifts in portions of the shopping center that were previously only accessible by stairs. New signage, accessible parking spaces and accessible restroom fixtures will also be added.

The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, after the jump.

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