Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: Notorious criminal impersonator James Hogue has pleaded guilty to a pair of felonies and one misdemeanor over an illegal shack he built on the property of a glamorous ski area. They’re the latest convictions in a bizarre life of lies. Westword has the story.
Breakfast reading from the Voice Media Empire: Hogue is among the most notorious criminal impersonators in American history. First, he faked his way into high school when he was in his mid-twenties. Then he faked his way into Yale when he was even older. And that was just the beginning of his criminal career. Westword has the story.
A former Medicare provider who owned an ambulance company has been found guilty of engaging in organized crime after deceiving dozens of mentally disabled patients and attempting to steal more than $1.3 million through fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid programs, the Texas Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday.
A Harris County judge sentenced the 44-year-old Houston man, Chimaroke Echenwune, to 30 years in prison for the elaborate theft.
Heading into the election, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned of voter fraud and urged his supporters to watch the polls in “certain areas.” Though we don’t think he meant his own supporters would be the ones trying to stuff the ballot box.
But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday evening, when the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office says it arrested a man who claimed to be a Trump supporter. In a tweet, the sheriff’s office said the man claimed to work for Trump and was “testing the system.”
Some criminals spend their dirty money on drugs. Others blow it on luxury cars, high-end escorts, or trips to obscure rich-people enclaves like Gstaad, Switzerland. Or, if you’re Dr. Fernando Mendez-Villamil, a man accused of running one of the largest fake-prescription schemes in history, you invest heavily in paintings of surreal horses and nude women.
Last Friday, Mendez-Villamil pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States in regard to immigration matters, and “conspiracy to defraud the government.” And on June 30, authorities seized his 221-piece collection of surrealist art from his home.
From a showroom set up in her pricey Coconut Grove home, Tascon peddled fake designer handbags from the likes of Louis Vuitton and counterfeit Rolex watches.
Selling clients a fake version of the good life earned her more than $700,000, and, in turn, the money helped fund her own good life. When she filed for bankruptcy in 2014, she failed to report the income from her counterfeit business. The feds soon uncovered a web of money laundering and counterfeit trafficking.
“I’m Paul Vernon — Big Vern — of Cryptsy,” said the CEO, whose company was an online marketplace where users could trade their Bitcoins — a virtual form of money — for a growing number of digital imitators with names like Litecoin and Darkcoin.
Business was booming. In barely a year, Cryptsy had amassed 250,000 users trading millions of dollars, and Vernon was flying cross-country to speak at conferences from New York to San Francisco. His firm had outgrown its first office and moved its dozen or so employees into this Mediterranean-style building. Soon, Vernon himself would upgrade to a million-dollar Delray Beach mansion.
“Opa-locka Hialeah is the place to go,” goes the familiar jingle. “It’s more than just a market, it’s a great big” center of food stamp fraud, apparently. Multiple agencies raided the iconic Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market this afternoon and 22 shop owners ended up being indicted. Some were hauled off in zip-tie handcuffs for participating in a widespread scheme that involved exchanging food stamps for cash.
Stealing someone’s identity to become a dinner cruise ship captain might be easier than actually going through the training — but the latter, at least, doesn’t end with a ten-year prison sentence hanging over your head. Cynthia Lyerla has been arrested for using the stolen identity of a dead woman for more than 20 years in order to obtain a mariner’s license and Transportation Security Administration documentation — and also to get paid to live in vacationers’ paradise.