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New Jersey Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking

Department of Justice Press Release
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For Immediate Release
January 18, 2011
United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Contact: (215) 861-8200

New Jersey Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking

PHILADELPHIA—Matthew Bean, 20, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 45 days in prison and five years probation for a case of cyberbullying that included sending sexually explicit photos of another person to that person's school on January 26, 2009 and posting them on his own online page. The defendant took part in a web chat about the victim and the photos that included references, by others, to shaming the victim into possibly committing suicide. Bean pleaded guilty to stalking on September 15, 2010.

In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody ordered Bean to post a message on the pertinent chat board to let people know that cyberbullying is a crime and that law enforcement will pursue those who commit it, serve five years of supervised release, and pay a fine of $2,000.

"Technology has created new avenues for crime including many that target or involve children," said Memeger. "Today's sentence sends a message that we take crimes like cyberbullying and cyberstalking very seriously. People who attempt to harm others using the internet cannot hide in cyber space. Law enforcement will find them and seek to hold them accountable."

"We cannot, in 2011, underestimate the impact of bullying when it is enhanced by cyber means. Gone are the days of the proverbial "playground bully," as that playground has now expanded exponentially via the Internet," said Special Agent-in-Charge George C. Venizelos of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. "The relative perceived anonymity of the Internet appears to empower individuals to say and do things they would not do in person."

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael L. Levy.

According to a report by the Office of Justice Program's Bureau of Justice Statistics, during a 12-month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking. The study measured behaviors such as unwanted phone calls, sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails, following or spying on the victim, showing up at places without a legitimate reason, waiting at places for the victim, leaving unwanted items, presents or flowers and posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth. Additional findings included that approximately one in four stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail (83 percent); 30 percent of victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner; females are nearly three times more likely to be victims of this crime; and nearly three in four stalking victims knew the offender in some capacity.

President Obama designated January as National Stalking Awareness Month. The Department of Justice commemorated this designation today as a means to help raise awareness about the signs and consequences of this crime. Resources and information related to stalking awareness month are located at www.ovw.usdoj.gov and the Stalking Resource Center's National Stalking Awareness Month website at www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org.

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Army reserve component suicides rising

Army reserve component suicides rising

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown Army News Service

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Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, speaks to Army leaders about suicide prevention during an Army leader's forum at the Pentagon, Sept. 8, 2010. (Photo credit Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown, Army News Service)
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WASHINGTON (9/9/10) -- While active-duty Army suicides are trending downward, reserve-component suicides appear to be on the rise -- a fact that worries leaders as the Army observes Suicide Prevention Month.

"We're seeing a really disturbing increase in reserve-component suicides," said Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army at a Pentagon Army leader's forum. "I don't totally understand it, but we're working hard to try and get at it."

According to a recently-released study, more Soldiers died in fiscal year 2009 as a result of high-risk behavior than in combat. The Health Promotion, Risk Reduction, and Suicide Prevention report was a 15-month study by the Army's Suicide Prevention Task Force on understanding the increasing rate of suicides among troops.

The report found a rise in high-risk behavior throughout the Army, an increase in prescription antidepressants, amphetamines and narcotics, and a boom in Soldiers seeking behavioral-health care.

The total number of suspected suicides across the Army in fiscal year 2009 was 239 with 1,713 known attempts. At press time, the current number of potential suicides in 2010 stands at 169 -- nine less active-duty deaths than during the same period last year.

Also, for the second year, the Army suicide rate has surpassed the national average with about 22 per 100,000 versus 19 per 100,000 across America.

"Suicide prevention is much more than thwarting that last final act of desperation," wrote Col. Chris Philbrick, the director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force in a press release. "It is increasing awareness and education in order to preclude members of the Army Family from ever getting to the point where suicide might be considered an alternative to asking for help."

The Army is engaged in a suicide-prevention campaign called "Shoulder to Shoulder: I will never quit on life." Part of the campaign is a new 15-minute training video which features candid interviews of Soldiers and Family members who have battled with suicide.

The Army has also partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health in a five-year, $50-million research program to better understand why Soldiers are ending their lives.

Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, the provost marshal general of the Army -- who was responsible last year for heading up the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force -- noted that suicide is not just an Army problem: about 32,000 people in the U.S. commit suicide each year, the third leading cause of death.

While Army leaders and mental-health professionals haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why suicide rates have spiked dramatically since 2001, McGuire said much of the cause may lie in nearly 10 years of war and transitional stress.

Transitions, such as re-locating to a new unit and base, deploying, coming home from deployments and the breakdown of relationships are all life changes that are hard on Soldiers, she said.

"Transitions are huge on individuals," echoed Chiarelli, who added that a Soldier in his or her first year in the Army is more likely to commit suicide than at any time.

In fact, 79 percent of Soldiers who commit suicide have either never deployed or been on only one deployment, Chiarelli said.

However, McGuire sees the decrease in active-duty suicides as a success, and links the push in suicide-prevention training and awareness to the downshift in numbers.

"I think all of it is helping ... the professional products, the emphasis on leadership, the resources that are available, the entire campaign has had an effect," she said.

McGuire said she would like all leaders to put an emphasis on Soldier accountability and focus on the basics of leadership.

"Soldiers need to understand that they are responsible for themselves and they need to abide by Army values and integrate them fully in everything they do," McGuire said.

She urged troops to take extra time to know their fellow Soldiers personally and be vigilant for the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide.

"If we truly are living by the warrior ethos, we really will look after each other," McGuire said. "We can't look after each other if we aren't also looking after ourselves. If we find that we need help, we need to seek it."

(Editor's note: If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/suicide).

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LSD AND TODAY

Twenty years ago there was a resurgence in the abuse of LSD, a hallucinogen that first became popular in the late 1960’s. This odorless and colorless drug, also known as acid, has a high potential for abuse. While its primary effect is to give users a dramatic change in their visual perception, it also can result in extreme changes in mood, a distorted view of objects, sounds, touch and their own body image. Their ability to make sound judgments is also impaired, and the likelihood of experiencing extreme anxiety and depression is greatly increased. Hallucinogens, from LSD to PCP to Ecstasy, continue to be dangerous and illegal drugs of concern today.

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Detroit Area Strip Club Owner Pleads Guilty to Using Computer Software Program to Delete Club’s Sales in Order to Cheat on Taxes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Detroit Area Strip Club Owner Pleads Guilty to Using Computer Software Program to Delete Club’s Sales in Order to Cheat on Taxes

Nicholas J. Faranso of Farmington Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.   For his role in the conspiracy, Faranso faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The court set sentencing for July 14, 2011.

 

­According to court documents, Faranso owned   two strip clubs:   BT’s in Dearborn, Mich., and Tycoon’s in Detroit.   From 2001 through 2004, both establishments used a computerized point of sales system which produced guest checks and electronically tracked and recorded sales.   Court documents reveal that, in 2001,Faranso purchased a computer software program called Journal Sales Remover from Theodore Kramer, a self-employed computer software salesman.   This computer software program was specifically designed to remove a portion of the actual sales from the computerized point of sales systems.   The program would make it appear that Faranso’s clubs received less income than they actually did.    

 

Faranso directed Kramer to put the Journal Sales Remover program onto his businesses’ computer systems in order to help the club owner cheat on the businesses’ taxes.   From about 2001 to about 2004, at Faranso’s request, Kramer made periodic visits to Faranso’s clubs to run the Journal Sales Remover program to remove a substantial amount of the actual sales from the computerized sales systems.   Faranso then provided the reduced sales figures to his accountant.   As a result, Faranso falsified the clubs’ tax returns by understating their gross receipts by more than $500,000. Kramer previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on Nov. 17, 2010.

 

Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, and John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Tax Division, commended the IRS special agents who investigated this matter and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Kenneth C. Vert and Tiwana L. Wright, who prosecuted the case.

11-040
Tax Division

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Birds Fall From Sky in Falkoping Sweden

A large number of birds were found dead in Falkoping, Sweden, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Autopsies on five birds were completed by the Swedish National Veterinary Institute. Their findings were no illness, no external signs of damage or blows of any kind and no infection. However, the birds showed signs of internal bleeding, which ultimately killed them.

In similar cases, Arkansas had thousands of red-winged blackbirds and starlings fall from the sky on New Year’s Eve in the small town of Beebe.

Monday morning, at least 500 birds fell dead in Labarre, Louisiana, showing the same symptoms. The birds dying there were also starlings, red-winged blackbirds and sparrows.

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