A Chinese national was sentenced today to five years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $4.2 million for laundering drug proceeds generated by large-scale cocaine trafficking in the United States.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Wendy C. Woolcock for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey T. Scott of DEA’s Louisville, Kentucky Field Division; Chief Jason Crosby of the Criminal Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); and Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Chicago, Illinois made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema for the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, Xueyong Wu, 40, cultivated relationships with Latin American drug trafficking organizations to transport and launder their United States-based drug proceeds. Much of this money was repatriated to Mexico through a complex series of international financial transactions. Wu received a percentage of the money involved in these transactions as compensation for organizing these laundering activities. Much of this money was generated through movement of cocaine or payment for cocaine that took place within the Eastern District of Virginia.
Trial Attorneys Steve Sola and Kerry Blackburn of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael P. Ben’Ary and David A. Peters prosecuted the case.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
- Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2020By Sam NewsNovember 16, 2020Presented is GAO's Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2020. In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, this annual report informs the Congress and the American people about what we have achieved on their behalf. The financial information and the data measuring GAO's performance contained in this report are complete and reliable. This report describes GAO's performance measures, results, and accountability processes for fiscal year 2020. In assessing our performance, we compared actual results against targets and goals that were set in our annual performance plan and performance budget and were developed to help carry out our strategic plan. An overview of our annual measures and targets for 2020 is available here, along with links to a complete set of our strategic planning and performance and accountability reports. This report includes A Fiscal Year 2020 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer, an introduction, four parts, and supplementary appendixes as follows: A Fiscal Year 2020 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer This section provides an overview of GAO's performance and financial information for fiscal year 2020 and outlines GAO's near-term and future work priorities. Introduction This section includes the letter from the Comptroller General and a statement attesting to the completeness and reliability of the performance and financial data in this report and the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This section also includes a summary discussion of our mission, strategic planning process, and organizational structure, strategies we use to achieve our goals, and process for assessing our performance. Management's Discussion and Analysis This section discusses our agency-wide performance results and use of resources in fiscal year 2020. It also includes, among other things, information on our internal controls and the management challenges and external factors that affect our performance. Performance Information This section includes details on our performance results by strategic goal in fiscal year 2020 and the targets we are aiming for in fiscal year 2021. Financial Information This section includes details on our finances in fiscal year 2020, including a letter from our Chief Financial Officer, audited financial statements and notes, and the reports from our external auditor and Audit Advisory Committee. This section also includes an explanation of the information each of our financial statements conveys. Inspector General's View of GAO's Management Challenges This section includes our Inspector General's perspective on our agency's management challenges. Appendixes This section provides the report's abbreviations and describes how we ensure the completeness and reliability of the data for each of our performance measures. For more information, contact Timothy Bowling (202) 512-6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
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- Federal Prisons: Monitoring Efforts to Implement COVID-19 Recommendations and Examining First Step Act ImplementationBy Sam NewsJanuary 21, 2022What GAO Found GAO's July 2021 report on the Bureau of Prison's (BOP) response to the COVID-19 pandemic found that, while BOP developed and updated COVID-19 guidance with input from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BOP staff reported confusion about how to implement the guidance. In response, GAO recommended that BOP routinely evaluate how it communicates its COVID-19 guidance to facility staff and modify its approach, as needed, to ensure more clear communication about BOP protocols. Since GAO issued the report, BOP has developed two questions on its annual feedback survey to BOP staff about its COVID-19 guidance and deployed the survey in December 2021. This is a promising step; however, the recommendation remains only partially addressed, as BOP still needs to review and assess staff feedback to determine whether modifications to its guidance are needed. GAO will continue to monitor BOP's efforts. In addition, BOP has processes, such as teleconferences among BOP officials and facility inspections, to identify best practices and lessons learned related to BOP's COVID-19 response. However, BOP does not capture or share, bureau-wide, the lessons and practices discussed at its teleconferences, or have an approach for ensuring that facilities apply them, as appropriate. In response, GAO recommended that BOP develop and implement an approach to (1) capture and share best practices and lessons learned for responding to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies; and (2) ensure its facilities are applying, as appropriate, these best practices and lessons learned. At the time of GAO's report issuance, BOP indicated that it planned to conduct an after-action assessment of its pandemic response to help ensure preparedness for any future public health emergencies. BOP has yet to implement these two recommendations, and GAO will continue to coordinate with BOP for updates on BOP's progress. The First Step Act (FSA) requires the Attorney General, in consultation with an Independent Review Committee, to develop and release publicly on the Department of Justice (DOJ) website a risk and needs assessment system. This system is to be used to determine the recidivism risk of each federal inmate as part of the intake process. It is also to be used to help determine and assign the type and amount of evidence-based recidivism reduction (EBRR) programming—activities designed to help inmates succeed upon release from prison—appropriate for each inmate. Generally, eligible inmates who successfully complete EBRR programming may earn time credits that will allow them to be placed in prerelease custody or supervised release earlier than they were previously allowed. GAO is currently reviewing DOJ's and BOP's implementation of certain FSA requirements related to the risk and needs assessment and has a number of audit steps planned. These include examining BOP data and documentation on progress, and conducting interviews with DOJ and BOP officials, as well as selected stakeholders knowledgeable in the area of recidivism. GAO expects to publish the findings of its work, and any related recommendations that may stem from its findings, later in 2022. Why GAO Did This Study BOP is responsible not only for the supervision and custody of more than 157,000 federal inmates, but also for their health care, safety, and rehabilitation. The COVID-19 pandemic has strained BOP's institutions, yet BOP's obligation to provide inmates with programs to advance their education and development remains. Further, BOP has ongoing challenges with leadership instability and staff shortages. In response, GAO raised federal prison management as an emerging issue on its High-Risk List. This statement discusses (1) three recommendations GAO made in July 2021 to enhance BOP's COVID-19 response and efforts to date to address them, and (2) GAO's ongoing review of DOJ's and BOP's implementation of FSA requirements related to inmate assessments and programming. GAO updated information on BOP's activities in response to GAO recommendations, reviewed FSA requirements, and conducted preliminary research to design its audit work[Read More…]
- Disaster Housing: Improved Cost Data and Guidance Would Aid FEMA Activation DecisionsBy Sam NewsDecember 15, 2020The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relied primarily on rental assistance payments to assist 2017 and 2018 hurricane survivors but also used direct housing programs to address housing needs, as shown in the table below. GAO found that FEMA provided rental assistance to about 746,000 households and direct housing assistance to about 5,400 households. FEMA did not use the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP)—a pilot grant program managed jointly with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—because FEMA viewed its direct housing programs to be more efficient and cost-effective and did not consider DHAP to be a standard post-disaster housing assistance program. Number of Households Affected by the 2017 and 2018 Hurricanes That Received Rental and Direct Temporary Housing Assistance, by State or Territory State or territory Rental assistance Direct housing assistance Florida 422,230 1,241 North Carolina 20,198 656 Puerto Rico 147,620 414 Texas 143,465 2,988 U.S. Virgin Islands 12,147 69 Total number of households 745,660 5,368 Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). | GAO-21-116 Notes: FEMA provided the vast majority of its direct housing assistance through transportable temporary housing units such as manufactured housing. Rental assistance data are as of February 13, 2020, and direct housing assistance data are as of July 15, 2020. FEMA's analyses of the cost-effectiveness of housing assistance programs were limited because program cost data were incomplete or not readily useable. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act requires FEMA to consider factors including cost-effectiveness when determining which types of housing assistance to provide. Although FEMA has stated its direct housing programs were relatively more cost-effective than DHAP, FEMA generally could not support these statements with cost data. Specifically, FEMA does not collect key program data in its system, such as monthly subsidy and administrative costs, in a manner that would allow it to analyze the full costs of providing the assistance. Without such information, the agency's program activation decisions will not be well informed, particularly with regard to cost-effectiveness. FEMA policy guidance also says that FEMA is to compare the projected costs of the direct housing programs it is considering activating, but does not consistently specify what cost information to consider, such as whether to use both programmatic and administrative costs. Without such guidance, FEMA cannot reasonably assure that its assessments and their results incorporate consistent and comparable data. The 2017 and 2018 hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, and Michael) caused $325 billion in damage. FEMA provided post-disaster assistance, including rental and direct housing assistance. DHAP was a pilot grant program that provided temporary rental assistance and was used to respond to several hurricanes before 2017. GAO was asked to review issues related to major disasters in 2018 and housing assistance provided after the 2017 and 2018 hurricanes. This report (1) describes the assistance FEMA provided in response to those hurricanes, and (2) evaluates the extent to which FEMA considered cost-effectiveness in activating programs. GAO reviewed FEMA and HUD policies, communications, and other documentation; analyzed FEMA data; and interviewed officials at FEMA headquarters and regional offices, HUD, and Texas state and local government offices. GAO makes two recommendations to FEMA for its temporary housing programs: (1) identify and make changes to its data systems to allow for capture and analysis of programs' full costs, and (2) specify the information needed to compare projected program costs in its guidance on activating programs. DHS agreed with both recommendations, and said it planned to implement them in 2021–2022. For more information, contact John Pendleton at (202) 512-8678 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar Before Their MeetingBy Sam NewsDecember 20, 2021
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- Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and FBI Director Christopher Wray Deliver Remarks on Sodinokibi/REvil Ransomware ArrestBy Sam NewsNovember 8, 2021More from: November 8, [Read More…]
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- Former Chief Executive Officer of Petrochemical Company Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Foreign Bribery SchemeBy Sam NewsOctober 12, 2021A Brazilian man who previously served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Braskem S.A. (Braskem), a publicly-traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was sentenced today in the Eastern District of New York to 20 months in prison for a scheme to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from Braskem into a secret slush fund and to pay bribes to government officials, political parties, and others in Brazil.[Read More…]
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- Ongoing Investigation into Violent White Supremacist Gang Results in Rico Indictment and Additional Charges against Members and AssociatesBy Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020The Justice Department announced today that additional charges have been brought in a superseding indictment against members and associates of a white supremacist gang known as the 1488s. The 1488s have been charged as a criminal organization that was involved in narcotics distribution, arson, obstruction of justice, and acts of violence including murder, assault, and kidnapping.[Read More…]
- Statement from Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband and Michigan U.S. Attorneys on Michigan Supreme Court Ruling Striking Down Governor Whitmer’s Pandemic-Related OrdersBy Sam NewsOctober 3, 2020Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider for the Eastern District of Michigan, and U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge for the Western District of Michigan issued the following statements:[Read More…]
- On the 40th Anniversary of the First Reported Cases of AIDSBy Sam NewsJune 5, 2021
- FY 2021 State Justice Statistics Program for Statistical Analysis Centers (SJS-SAC) Technical Assistance ProgramBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 18, 2021(Solicitation)
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is seeking applications for funding to administer activities under the FY 2021 State Justice Statistics Program for Statistical Analysis Centers (SJS-SAC) Technical Assistance Program. This program supports the collection, analysis, and dissemination of statistical information on crime and criminal justice at the state and local level.
Grants.gov Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 14, 2021; JustGrants Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 28, 2021 [Read More…]
- Facial Recognition: CBP and TSA are Taking Steps to Implement Programs, but CBP Should Address Privacy and System Performance IssuesBy Sam NewsSeptember 2, 2020U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has made progress testing and deploying facial recognition technology (FRT) at ports of entry to create entry-exit records for foreign nationals as part of its Biometric Entry-Exit Program. As of May 2020, CBP, in partnership with airlines, had deployed FRT to 27 airports to biometrically confirm travelers' identities as they depart the United States (air exit) and was in the early stages of assessing FRT at sea and land ports of entry. Facial Recognition Technology in Use at an Airport CBP has taken steps to incorporate some privacy principles in its program, such as publishing the legislative authorities used to implement its program, but has not consistently provided complete information in privacy notices or ensured notices were posted and visible to travelers. Ensuring that privacy notices contain complete information and are consistently available would help give travelers the opportunity to decline to participate, if appropriate. Further, CBP requires its commercial partners, such as airlines, to follow CBP's privacy requirements and can audit partners to assess compliance. However, as of May 2020, CBP had audited only one of its more than 20 airline partners and did not have a plan to ensure all partners are audited. Until CBP develops and implements an audit plan, it cannot ensure that traveler information is appropriately safeguarded. CBP has assessed the accuracy and performance of air exit FRT capabilities through operational testing. Testing found that air exit exceeded its accuracy goals—for example, identifying over 90 percent of travelers correctly—but did not meet a performance goal to capture 97 percent of traveler photos because airlines did not consistently photograph all travelers. A plan to improve the photo capture rate would help CBP better fulfill the program's mission of creating biometrically confirmed traveler departure records. Further, while CBP monitors air exit's performance, officials are not alerted when performance falls short of minimum requirements. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has conducted pilot tests to assess the feasibility of using FRT but, given the limited nature of these tests, it is too early to fully assess TSA's compliance with privacy protection principles. Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), CBP is charged with the dual mission of facilitating legitimate travel and securing U.S. borders, and TSA is responsible for protecting the nation's transportation system. For both CBP and TSA, part of their inspection and screening responsibilities includes reviewing travel identification documents and verifying traveler identities. Beginning in 1996, a series of federal laws were enacted to develop and implement an entry-exit data system, which is to integrate biographic and, since 2004, biometric records for foreign nationals. This report addresses (1) the status of CBP's deployment of FRT, (2) the extent to which CBP has incorporated privacy protection principles, (3) the extent to which CBP has assessed the accuracy and performance of its FRT, and (4) the status of TSA's testing and deployment of FRT and how TSA has incorporated privacy protection principles. GAO conducted site visits to observe CBP's and TSA's use of FRT, which were selected to include all three travel environments—air, land, and sea; reviewed program documents; and interviewed DHS officials. GAO is making five recommendations to CBP to (1) ensure privacy notices are complete, (2) ensure notices are available at locations using FRT, (3) develop and implement a plan to audit its program partners for privacy compliance, (4) develop and implement a plan to capture required traveler photos at air exit, and (5) ensure it is alerted when air exit performance falls below established thresholds. DHS concurred with the recommendations. For more information, contact Rebecca Gambler at (202) 512-8777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
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