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Investigative Press Releases

Friday, October 22, 2021
BILLINGS — The former chairwoman of the Montana Native Women’s Coalition was sentenced today for conviction at trial of stealing federal grant funds for unapproved travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and other unauthorized expenses, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said. Meredith McConnell, 52, of Lame Deer, was found guilty on April 2 at trial by a federal jury on all counts in a superseding indictment, including theft from a program receiving federal funding, wire fraud and false claims.
Friday, October 22, 2021
BOSTON – A U.S. Postal employee pleaded guilty today in connection with stealing mail believed to contain controlled substances.  Shawn M. Herron, 44, of Whitman, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of theft of mail by a postal employee. U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2022. Herron was indicted in August 2020.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
HARRISBURG, PA —The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Dr. Gina Sohn, a dentist practicing in South Korea, has agreed to pay the United States $100,000 to resolve civil liability for alleged violations of the False Claims Act.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
PITTSBURGH- Two residents of Upper St. Clair, PA, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, on conspiracy and fraud charges, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. The three-count Indictment, returned on September 21, named J. Reed Pirain, 45, and Renee Vasilko, 48, as the defendants.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
PITTSBURGH - Two southwestern Pennsylvania residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, on conspiracy and fraud charges, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today. The four-count Indictment, returned on September 21, named Richard Sunseri, 36, of Pittsburgh, PA, and Matthew Durbin, 41, of McMurray, PA as the defendants.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that a Rapid City, South Dakota, woman convicted of Theft of Government Property and Supplemental Security Income Benefits Fraud was sentenced on October 19, 2021, by U.S. District Judge Linda R. Reade.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An undocumented individual pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to use over 100 victims’ identities (without their consent) to unlawfully submit fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits claims, totaling at least $934,129.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Jacksonville, Florida – Billy Micah Sermons (44, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), a federal agency. Sermons faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and payment of restitution to the federal government. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
DENVER –The Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR), a nonprofit organization in Boulder, Colorado, has paid over $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in fraud related to grants it received from three federal agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Jacksonville, Florida – A federal jury has found Scott Balotin (51, St. Johns) and Thomas Jones (52, Jacksonville) guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering. Each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The sentencing hearings are scheduled for January 18, 2022. Balotin and Jones had been indicted on October 30, 2019.

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