75-YEAR-OLD CHICAGO RESIDENT CONQUERS EVEREST

by The Chicago Times Staff

May 31, 2021

CHICAGO — Arthur Muir, 75, was safely returned from Mount Everest on Sunday, where climbing teams had battled bad weather and a coronavirus outbreak.  Muir climbed the peak earlier this month, breaking the 67-year-old record set by another American, Bill Burke.

Muir’s ankle was injured in a climbing accident on Everest in 2019, but that didn’t stop him from attempting to scale the peak again.  He started mountaineering later in life and admitted to being scared and anxious during his most recent expedition.

“You realize how big a mountain it is, how dangerous it is, how many things that could go wrong. Yeah, it makes you nervous, it makes you know some anxiety there and maybe little bit of scared . . . I was just surprised when I actually got to there (the summit) but I was too tired to stand up, and in my summit pictures I am sitting down,” Muir told reporters in Kathmandu.

At the age of 68, Muir began mountaineering with trips to South America and Alaska before attempting Everest in 2019 and falling off the ladder.

Tsang Yin-hung, 45, of Hong Kong, became the fastest female climber when she reached the summit from base camp in 25 hours and 50 minutes.  Lakpa Gelu, a Sherpa guide, holds the record with a time of 10 hours and 56 minutes.

BARBER CHARGED IN MAYWOOD MURDER

by J. J. Quincannon, The Chicago Times

May 31, 2021

MAYWOOD, IL — After allegedly shooting and killing a customer who refused to pay, the owner of a suburban barbershop was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail on Sunday.

According to Cook County prosecutors and Maywood police, Deshon Mcadory, 40, of Lombard, was charged with first-degree murder in last Thursday’s shooting at the Studio 914 barbershop, 914 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood.

Christian McDougald, 31, refused to pay for a haircut that day and began arguing with the barbers, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Meehan.  Except for McDougald and Mcadory, everyone left after the argument moved outside.

When McDougald followed the shop owner to the back door, Mcadory allegedly shot him once in the chest, according to Meehan.  McDougald was discovered by responding officers and taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

According to Meehan, the shooting was caught on surveillance video, and a witness identified Mcadory as the shooter.  A gun linked to the shooting was discovered in a coat thought to be Mcadory’s, and ammunition matching the shell casing discovered at the scene was discovered in his car.

Three additional firearms were discovered at the workstation of Mcadory’s business partner, 43-year-old Samuel Williams.  Williams, a Bellwood resident with four prior felony convictions, was charged with felonious use of a weapon.  His bail was set at $25,000 after he appeared in court alongside Mcadory on Sunday.

Mcadory’s attorney, Anthony Burch, insisted that his client was acting in self-defense, pointing out that he has a Firearm Owners Identification card as well as a concealed carry permit.  Mcadory, according to Burch, was “retreating” back into the barbershop when he shot McDougald, whom he referred to as the “aggressor.”

Burch described his client as a lifelong Cook County resident who employs eight independent contractors and pays for the college education of two sons.  Mcadory has two prior convictions, including a felony for cannabis possession in 2004.

Mcadory and Williams are scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday.

ILLINOIS STATE TROOPER’S CRUISER HIT BY DRUNK DRIVER

by The Chicago Times Staff

May 31, 2021

MOLINE, IL — According to Illinois State Police, an alleged drunk driver struck an Illinois State Trooper’s vehicle last Monday in Moline.

The ISP sergeant had completed a traffic stop and was parked on the shoulder of the road with his emergency lights flashing when a green Jeep crossed the white fog line and crashed into the rear driver’s side of the car.  Dashcam video of the incident shows the Jeep, driven by Matthew Scherer, 55, rolling several times after colliding with the ISP cruiser.  According to police, both drivers were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

“ISP Troopers across the state put their lives on the line every day to keep our roads safe . . . These crashes are entirely avoidable, and I urge the public to avoid endangering the lives of others by making responsible decisions behind the wheel; always drive sober and move over when approaching a stationary vehicle on the side of the road,” said District 7 Commander Captain Jason Dickey.

The driver faces several charges, including Scott’s Law, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.

A person who violates Scott’s Law commits a business offense and faces a $10,000 fine for a first offense, according to police.  If the violation causes another person to be injured, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least six months.

FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO ILLINOIS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY LYING UNDER OATH TO FEDERAL GRAND JURY

FBI News File

May 26, 2021

CHICAGO — The former Chief of Staff to the Illinois Speaker of the House of Representatives was indicted today for allegedly providing false material declarations under oath to a federal grand jury and attempting to obstruct its investigation into allegations of public corruption.

TIMOTHY MAPES, 66, of Springfield, Ill., is charged with one count of making false declarations before a grand jury and one count of attempted obstruction of justice, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  Arraignment has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Schwartz, Amarjeet S. Bhachu, Diane MacArthur, Timothy J. Chapman, Sarah E. Streicker, Matthew L. Kutcher, and Michelle Kramer.  The officials noted that the federal investigation into the allegations of public corruption remains ongoing.

According to the indictment, the federal grand jury was investigating possible violations of federal criminal law, including efforts by the Illinois Speaker of the House and an individual acting on the Speaker’s behalf, to obtain for others private jobs, contracts, and monetary payments, including from Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”), the largest electric utility in Illinois, to influence and reward the Speaker in the Speaker’s official capacity.  On March 24, 2021, Mapes was granted immunity to testify before the grand jury.  The immunity order provided that no testimony or evidence provided by Mapes could be used against him in a criminal case, except for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with the immunity order.

On March 31, 2021, Mapes testified before the grand jury and knowingly made false material declarations in response to several questions about a consultant’s relationship with the Speaker from 2017 to 2019, the indictment states.  Mapes in his testimony denied knowing that the consultant acted as an agent or performed work for the Speaker during those years, when, in fact, Mapes knew that the consultant carried out work and assignments on behalf of the Speaker and communicated messages on the Speaker’s behalf, the indictment states.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The obstruction charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while the false declaration charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.

United States Department of Justice

SIX FORMER RAILROAD EMPLOYEES CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING FEDERAL DISABILITY BENEFITS

FBI News Files

May 26, 2021

CHICAGO – Six former railroad employees have been indicted on criminal charges for allegedly fraudulently obtaining federal disability benefits.

The indictments accuse the defendants of working other jobs while providing false information to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board’s Disability Benefits Division.  The defendants were charged as part of an ongoing, nationwide investigation into alleged fraud perpetrated against benefits programs administered by the RRB to rail workers and their families.   The investigation is being jointly conducted by the RRB Office of Inspector General, FBI, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

Charged in indictments returned in the Northern District of Illinois are SCOTT CARLBERG, 50, of Menomonie, Wisc., a former engineer at Soo Line Railroad; RONALD LEE CRIBBS, 49, of Hastings, Fla., a former employee of Chessie Seaboard Consolidated; ROBIE VONDERHAAR, 58, of Guttenberg, Iowa, a former foreman for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp.; RICHARD W. BROWNER, JR., 65, of Toms River, N.J., a former assistant line engineer at the New Jersey Transit Corp.; JAMES BONNER, 52, of Shalimar, Fla., a former engineer for Burlington North Santa Fe; and KING BRADLEY, JR., 48, of Medina, Tenn., a former conductor for Illinois Central Railroad.

The indictments were ordered unsealed this week.  The defendants will be arraigned in federal court in Chicago on a date to be set by the Court.

The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Martin J. Dickman, Inspector General of the RRB; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Lamont Pugh, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Division  of the HHS-OIG.  Valuable assistance was provided by Brian Jeanfreau, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Coast Guard Investigative Service Gulf Region.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Rothblatt and Terry Kinney.

“Disability payments from the Railroad Retirement Board are a critical benefit for those who truly need them,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “Individuals who seek to fraudulently obtain these benefits jeopardize the viability of the program and must be held accountable.”

“The fraud alleged in these indictments is appalling,” said RRB IG Dickman.  “My office will continue to pursue individuals who attempt to defraud the USRRB and the actors who may help perpetuate the fraud, whether they be medical professionals, contractors, private employers, or government employees.  I would also like to acknowledge the hardworking prosecutors and agents assigned to this ongoing, national investigation.”

“Disability benefits are a critical lifeline for injured workers,” said FBI SAC Buie.  “Defrauding the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board means stealing resources from hardworking citizens, and we will continue to work with our partners to prevent future abuses.”

“Making false statements and concealing material facts in order to obtain benefits from federally funded programs is wrong and illegal,” said HHS-OIG SAC Pugh.  “Those who receive disability benefits may be deemed eligible for other federal benefits such as Medicare before attaining age 65.  Therefore, falsifying information to receive benefits that individuals are not entitled to wastes valuable taxpayer dollars across multiple federally funded programs.  HHS-OIG will continue to work with our federal partners to identify instances where benefit programs are being defrauded and protect vital taxpayer dollars.”

According to the indictments, Carlberg operated and managed a tanning salon in Wisconsin for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits;  Cribbs worked in the construction and landscaping trades for various companies in Florida for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Vonderhaar managed a construction company in Iowa for three years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Browner co-owned and managed a donut shop in New Jersey for six years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; Bonner captained a chartered fishing boat in Florida for three years while simultaneously receiving occupational disability benefits; and Bradley worked for a construction company for six years while simultaneously receiving total and permanent disability benefits.

The charges seek cash forfeiture from the defendants in the following amounts: Carlberg $273,974; Cribbs $145,000; Vonderhaar $110,732; Browner $226,443; Bonner $10,180; and Bradley $211,650.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Carlberg, Cribbs, Vonderhaar, and Browner face multiple counts of wire fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.  Bonner and Bradley are charged with making materially false statements to the FBI and RRB, which is punishable by up to five years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

If you believe someone you know is receiving fraudulent disability benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, you can anonymously contact the USRRB OIG by calling 1-800-772-4528 or by sending an email to hotline@oig.rrb.gov.

United States Department of Justice

FEDERAL INDICTMENT CHARGES 22 INDIVIDUALS WITH PURCHASING AND USING PAYMENT CARDS STOLEN FROM NATIONAL RETAIL CHAIN

FBI News File

May 25, 2021

CHICAGO — Twenty-two individuals have been indicted on fraud and identity theft charges for allegedly purchasing and using credit, debit, and gift cards that were stolen in a cyber attack from a national retain chain.

According to an indictment unsealed in the Northern District of Illinois, the cyber attack occurred in 2016 and 2017 when an individual installed a malicious software program on multiple computers of the retail chain, which is headquartered in the Chicago area.  The malware allowed the co-schemer to capture data from more than three million payment cards, including credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards, that had been used at more than 400 of the company’s retail stores.  The co-schemer then sold the card data for $4 million in bitcoin to another individual, who in turn sold it online to thousands of others, including the 22 charged defendants, the indictment states.

The defendants used data from the cards to purchase items at businesses throughout the country, including restaurants, gas stations, and hotels, the charges allege.  At least 80 people were victimized by the defendants’ conduct, the indictment states.

Twenty defendants were arrested this month and have begun making initial appearances in federal courts throughout the country.  Two defendants remain at large and are believed to be residing overseas.  The investigation remains ongoing.

The indictment and arrests were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter M. Flanagan and Thomas P. Peabody.

Charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft are BARRY SHI, 35, of Rosemead, Calif.; ANDREW DARIEN MCLEOD, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; JAMEL T. WILLIAMS, 30, of Raleigh, N.C.; SAAQUAN RAM, 33, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; JAMES B. GIBBS, 32, of South Carolina; YI LIU, 32, of Temple City, Calif.; CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, 38, of Monroe Township, N.J.; DAJUAN GEE, 32, of Redmond, Mich.; YANG SONG, 34, of Rosemead, Calif.; JAYVON A. PUGH, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; KADEEM DEAN, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; ENPING QU, 26, of Calif.; CAN JIANG, 27, of San Gabriel, Calif.; ESRON A. MURRELL, 30, of Jamaica, N.Y.; ZANPENG CHEN, 27, of Los Angeles, Calif.; JEFF MURAT, 41, of Miami, Fla.; CHRISTOPHER T. THOMPSON, 32, of Woodland Hills, Calif.; JOHN LIU, 37, of West Covina, Calif.; SADIKIFU NAWAB SHABAZZ, 42, of Atlanta, Ga.; BYRON HICKMAN, 32, of New York, N.Y.; CLIVE BAKER, 26, of New York, N.Y.; and DAVIN SMART, 31, of Spotsylvania, Va.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory, consecutive prison sentence of two years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

United States Department of Justice