January 27, 2022

News

News Network

Virginia Attorneys Sentenced for Attempting to Extort a Multinational Chemicals Company

8 min read
<div>Two Virginia attorneys were sentenced today on federal extortion charges for their roles in a scheme to extort a multinational chemicals company by threatening to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if their demands for a $200 million payment disguised as a purported “consulting agreement” were not met.</div>

Two Virginia attorneys were sentenced today on federal extortion charges for their roles in a scheme to extort a multinational chemicals company by threatening to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if their demands for a $200 million payment disguised as a purported “consulting agreement” were not met.

Timothy Litzenburg, 38, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon of the Western District of Virginia.  Daniel Kincheloe, 41, of Glen Allen, Virginia, was separately sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release by Judge Moon.  Both defendants had previously pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort.

“These two attorneys flagrantly violated their ethical duties to their own clients as they sought to extort a company out of $200 million,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Attorneys who cross the line and abuse their status as officers of the court will be held accountable for their actions.”

“Today’s sentencing should serve as a strong notice to fraudsters that the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will pursue anyone who uses the mail for illegal schemes,” said Delany De Leon-Colon, Inspector in Charge at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) who oversees the Criminal Investigations Group.  “Whether it’s a private citizen or a major corporation, Postal Inspectors will never relent in protecting them from those who seek to use the U.S. Mail to further their dangerous scams.”  

Litzenburg and Kincheloe previously admitted that in approximately October 2019, Litzenburg approached a company (Company 1) and threatened to make public statements alleging that Company 1 had significant civil liability for manufacturing a purportedly harmful chemical used in a common household product used to kill weeds.  Litzenburg and Kincheloe also admitted that after describing the possibility of damaging lawsuits against Company 1, Litzenburg proposed, in sum and substance, that he and Kincheloe enter into a “consulting arrangement” with Company 1 that would create a purported conflict-of-interest that would effectively stop them from representing their clients as plaintiffs in litigation against Company 1.  Thereafter, Litzenburg and Kincheloe admitted that Litzenburg, with Kincheloe’s knowledge and agreement, demanded that Company 1 pay Litzenburg, Kincheloe, and others, a total of $200 million in purported “consulting fees.”

Litzenburg and Kincheloe also previously admitted that after making their demand for $200 million from Company 1, they registered a Virginia corporation for the purpose of receiving monies from Company 1, and that they agreed to split the funds from Company 1 amongst themselves and their associates, and to not distribute any of the monies Company 1 paid them as purported “consulting fees” to their existing clients.  Litzenburg and Kincheloe admitted that after making their demand for $200 million, Litzenburg threatened Company 1 that they and others would commence litigation that would become “an ongoing and exponentially growing problem for [Company 1], particularly when the media inevitably takes notice” and that such litigation would cost Company 1 and its publicly-traded parent company “billions, setting aside the associated drop in stock price and reputation damage.”

Litzenburg and Kincheloe also admitted pursuant to their guilty pleas that in an email written by Litzenburg, they threatened Company 1 that unless they were paid $200 million, Company 1 would have “thousands of future plaintiffs against [Company 1]” and that “in the absence of a so-called ‘global’ or final deal with me, this will certainly balloon into an existential threat to [Company 1].”

Litzenburg and Kincheloe also admitted that they met in person with attorneys representing Company 1 at a conference center in Charlottesville, Virginia, and during that meeting Litzenburg again threatened to injure the property and reputation of Company 1 and its parent company unless they were paid $200 million pursuant to purported “consulting arrangements,” and that without such a deal there was no way Company 1 “gets out of it for less” than “[a] billion. Yeah. No, I mean, nuisance value, uh, defense lawyer fees, a hit in the stock when this gets filed and served, maybe the press conference, whatever.”  Later in the same meeting, Litzenburg and Kincheloe admitted that Litzenburg again stated, in sum and in part, that if they commenced litigation it would have adverse effects on Company 1’s parent’s stock price, which Litzenburg described as “a 40 percent stock loss coming off the top.”

Litzenburg also admitted that, during other communications with Company 1, he told Company 1 that if he received the $200 million in “consulting fees” he would not discuss Company 1 or its parent company with his current clients, and that he was willing to “take a dive” during a deposition of a toxicology expert to deter potential future claims related to litigation against Company 1.

The USPIS investigated the case.  Principal Assistant Chief Henry P. Van Dyck and Assistant Chief L. Rush Atkinson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section plays a pivotal role in the Department of Justice’s fight against white collar crime around the country.

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.

News Network

  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Jesper Steinmetz of TV2
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Mary Ida Townson Appointed U.S. Trustee for Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has appointed Mary Ida Townson as the U.S. Trustee for Florida, Georgia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Region 21). Ms. Townson will assume her duties in June and will replace Nancy Gargula, who is the U.S. Trustee in Region 10 and who has served as the interim U.S. Trustee in Region 21 since April 2019.
    [Read More…]
  • Decennial Census: Bureau Should Assess Significant Data Collection Challenges as It Undertakes Planning for 2030
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In March 2020, the Census Bureau (Bureau) delayed the start of field data collection because of COVID-19 safety, and then revised several operational timelines in response to the pandemic and Department of Commerce (Commerce) decisions. Nationally the Bureau reported completing more than 99 percent of nonresponse follow-up cases (households that have not responded to the census) by October 15, 2020. The Bureau attributes the use of technology as among the reasons it completed the work by this date. The Bureau, however, had lower completion percentages ranging between 94 and 99 for 10 local geographic areas, in part because of natural disasters and COVID-19. For example, according to the Bureau, in Shreveport, Louisiana, short-term closures stemming from the hurricane impacted data collection for 82,863 housing units. As a mitigation strategy, the Bureau shifted the Shreveport operation to telephone enumeration and brought in more than 1,200 enumerators from travel teams. Despite these efforts, the Bureau was unable to complete 22,588 cases in Shreveport before data collection ended. For these cases the Bureau will need to rely on alternate methods including imputation, which draws data from similar nearby households to determine whether a housing unit exists, whether it is occupied, and, if so, by how many people. In addition to the challenges brought on by natural disasters, the Bureau encountered other difficulties during nonresponse follow-up, such as, the inability of supervisors to reassign open cases in a timely fashion. GAO found that census field supervisors did not have the authority to reassign cases and had to wait for the field manager to make those reassignments. Bureau officials told GAO it would consider the reassignment of cases as it moves towards planning for the 2030 Census. To monitor nonresponse follow-up, the Bureau used quality control procedures, such as real-time monitoring of enumerator activities by supervisors and training assessments. However, GAO found the Bureau did not have proper controls in place, allowing some enumerators to work without having passed the required training assessment. The Bureau agreed that additional controls were necessary. The Bureau planned to count individuals living in group quarters, such as skilled-nursing and correctional facilities, between April 2, 2020, and June 5, 2020, but revised those dates to July 1, 2020, through September 3, 2020. The pandemic made it difficult to count group quarters. For example, Bureau staff found it challenging to locate a point of contact at some group quarters because facilities were closed due to the pandemic. Bureau officials told us that in December 2020 they decided to re-contact more than 24,000 out of approximately 272,000 group quarter facilities to collect data, and that imputation would be used to count individuals at the remaining facilities still reporting a zero population count. The Bureau is updating plans to assess operations and identify resulting lessons learned from the 2020 Census. As part of its planning for 2030, it will be important for the Bureau to assess the impact of the 2020 late design changes and the operations' challenges that arose. Why GAO Did This Study The 2020 Census was conducted under extraordinary circumstances. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and related Commerce decisions, the Bureau made a series of late changes to the design of the census. As GAO previously reported, these changes introduced risks to the quality of data that the Bureau provides for congressional apportionment and redistricting purposes. GAO was asked to review the Bureau's implementation of the 2020 Census. This report assesses the Bureau's implementation of the: (1) nonresponse follow-up operation, (2) group quarters enumeration, and (3) plans to assess those operations. To address these objectives, GAO conducted a series of surveys of all 248 census offices during the collection of data for those operations. GAO also monitored the cost and progress of operations and interviewed census field supervisors for each operation.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Against Staten Island, New York Rental Agent and Real Estate Agency
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Village Realty of Staten Island Ltd. and Denis Donovan, a sales and former rental agent at Village Realty, alleging discrimination against African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act when offering housing units for rent. The lawsuit is based on the results of testing conducted by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices. 
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the Toys for Tots Ceremony
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Travel to the Republic of Korea
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • The Republic of Kenya’s National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Tony Perkins of Value Voters Summit
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on United States and Palestinian Authority Renewal of the U.S.-Palestinian Economic Dialogue
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Veterans Health Care: Agency Efforts to Provide and Study Prosthetics for Small but Growing Female Veteran Population
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides veterans with prosthetic services to assist with their mobility, vision, and hearing needs. The proportion of prosthetics VHA provided to female veterans has been small compared to the share provided to male veterans. However, in fiscal years 2015 to 2019, this proportion grew from 6.8 percent to 7.9 percent and accounted for about $889.1 million of the $15.4 billion total cost of prosthetics. Artificial limbs comprised a relatively small number of the total prosthetics VHA provided to veterans in fiscal years 2015 to 2019; however, veterans who use artificial limbs have complex needs and are significant users of health care services. VHA provided prosthetic services to a small but growing female veteran amputee population (almost 3 percent of veteran amputees in fiscal year 2019), who were generally younger than male veteran amputees. VHA has established an individualized patient care approach in its Amputation System of Care that seeks to address the prosthetic needs of each veteran, including accounting for gender-specific factors. VHA officials said that using a standardized, multidisciplinary approach across VA medical facilities also helps them incorporate the concerns and preferences of female veterans. For example, veterans are provided care by a team that includes a physician, therapist, prosthetist (clinician who helps evaluate prosthetic needs and then designs, fabricates, fits, and adjusts artificial limbs), and other providers as needed. Female veteran amputees GAO spoke with at one VA medical facility said they were satisfied with their VHA care. They also noted a lack of commercially available prosthetic options that VHA providers can use to meet women's needs. Examples of Female Veterans' Artificial Limb Prosthetics Women are generally studied less than their male counterparts in prosthetic and amputee rehabilitation research. VHA designated prosthetics for female veterans a national research priority in 2017, and has funded eight related studies as of May 2020: four pertain to lower limb amputation, three pertain to upper limb amputation, and one pertains to wheelchairs. VHA officials noted the importance of this research priority and the ongoing challenge of recruiting study participants due to the small female veteran population. VHA researchers said they employ various tactics to address this challenge, such as using multi-site studies and recruiting participants from the non-veteran population. Women are the fastest growing veteran subpopulation, with the number of female veterans using VHA health care services increasing 29 percent from 2014 to 2019. Female veterans accounted for an estimated 10 percent of the total veteran population in fiscal year 2019. They are eligible to receive a full range of VHA health care services, including obtaining prosthetics. House Report 115-188 included a provision for GAO to review VHA's prosthetic services for female veterans. This report examines 1) trends in prosthetics provided by VHA to female veterans; 2) characteristics of the female veteran population with limb loss and how VHA provides prosthetic services to these veterans through its Amputation System of Care; and 3) VHA's research efforts and the challenges that exist in studying prosthetics for female veterans with limb loss. GAO analyzed VHA documents, as well as data from fiscal years 2015 to 2019 on prosthetics and veterans with amputations. GAO interviewed agency officials from VHA central office and officials and female veteran amputees at two VA medical facilities selected for expertise in amputation care and prosthetics research activities. In addition, GAO interviewed VHA researchers conducting studies on prosthetics for female veterans. GAO provided a draft of this report to VA. VA provided general and technical comments, which were incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-7114 or farbj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Final Member of Violent Baltimore “Trained to Go” Gang Sentenced to More Than 11 Years in Federal Prison for Racketeering and Drug Conspiracies
    In Crime News
    A Baltimore, Maryland, man was sentenced today to 138 montjhs in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release for federal charges of conspiring to participate in a violent racketeering enterprise known as Trained To Go (TTG), and for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. 
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Domestic Abuse: DOD Needs to Enhance Its Prevention, Response, and Oversight
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In its May 2021 report, GAO found that the Department of Defense (DOD) met a statutory requirement to collect and report data for incidents that it determined met its criteria for domestic abuse. In fiscal years 2015-2019, DOD determined that over 40,000 domestic abuse incidents met its criteria, of which 74 percent were physical abuse. However, DOD has not collected and reported accurate data for all domestic abuse allegations received, including those that did not meet DOD's criteria, as statutorily required. Thus, DOD is unable to assess the scope of alleged abuse and its rate of substantiation. In addition, despite a statutory requirement since 1999, DOD has not collected comprehensive data on the number of allegations of domestic violence—a subcategory of different types of domestic abuse that constitute offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice—and related actions taken by commanders. Improving collection of these data could enhance DOD's visibility over actions taken by commanders to address domestic violence. DOD and the military services have taken steps to implement and oversee domestic abuse prevention and response activities, but gaps exist in key areas, including creating awareness of domestic abuse reporting options and resources, allegation screening, and victim risk assessment. For example, while DOD and the military services have taken steps to promote awareness of reporting options and resources, DOD has not fully addressed challenges in doing so, and may miss opportunities to provide available resources to victims. In addition, the military services perform limited monitoring of installation incident-screening decisions and therefore lack reasonable assurance that all domestic abuse allegations are screened in accordance with DOD policy. DOD and the military services have developed risk assessment tools in accordance with DOD policy, but the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps have not ensured their consistent implementation across installations, and may therefore be limited in their ability to identify and convey the need for any critical safety measures for victims of domestic abuse. Finally, GAO found that the military services perform limited oversight of commanders' disposition of domestic violence incidents, referred to as command actions. These command actions can have significant implications, including for victims' eligibility for transitional compensation and Lautenberg Amendment restrictions to firearm possession for alleged abusers. DOD has not assessed the potential risks associated with its current disposition model for domestic violence incidents and the feasibility of potential alternatives that may respond to such risks. Performing such an assessment could provide the department and military services with a better understanding of such risks and their resulting potential impacts. Why GAO Did This Study This testimony summarizes the information contained in GAO's May 2021 report, entitled Domestic Abuse: Actions Needed to Enhance DOD's Prevention, Response, and Oversight (GAO-21-289). Specifically, this testimony discusses the extent to which 1) DOD has met statutory requirements to collect and report complete data on reports of domestic abuse and 2) DOD and the military services have implemented and overseen domestic abuse prevention and response activities, including commanders' disposition of incidents, in accordance with DOD policy.
    [Read More…]
  • Brazil Can Join the Growing Clean Network by Banning Huawei
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Keith Krach, Under [Read More…]
  • Our Global Partnership Against Chemical Weapons Abuses
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Dr. Christopher Ashley [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo Travels to India to Advance U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Awards $34 Million to Support Community Crisis Response
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced grant awards totaling $34 million to help communities address crises involving homelessness, mental health and substance use disorders, and other public health and public safety emergencies. The grants, made by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ), will support partnerships between justice system officials, health and mental health professionals and community providers designed to reduce arrests, divert individuals from the justice system and deliver the appropriate treatment and other support services to those in need.
    [Read More…]
  • Three Florida Men Charged in $46 Million Health Care Fraud, Kickback, and Money Laundering Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    Three telemarketing company owners were charged for their alleged participation in a $47 million health care fraud, kickback, and money laundering scheme involving the referral of medically unnecessary cancer genetic tests to labs in exchange for kickbacks.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination in Residential Rental Properties in North Dakota
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that Hampton Corporation Inc. and several related individuals and entities have agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to design and construct apartment complexes and a rental office in North Dakota so they are accessible to people with disabilities. The Department of Justice previously resolved claims against the architect and engineer involved in the design of one of the four apartment complexes at issue in the lawsuit.
    [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.