Justice Department Announces Total Distribution of Over $4 Billion to Victims of Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Department of Justice announced today that the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) began its eighth distribution of approximately $372 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme. 

In this distribution, payments will be sent to 27,219 victims across the globe, bringing their total recovery to 88.35%. The total amount distributed now exceeds $4 billion to more than 40,000 victims as compensation for losses they suffered from the collapse of BLMIS. 

According to court documents and information presented in related proceedings, for decades, Bernard L. Madoff used his position as chairman of BLMIS, the investment advisory business he founded in 1960, to steal billions from his clients. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, admitting that he had turned his wealth management business into the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, benefitting himself, his family, and select members of his inner circle.

“The Criminal Division is proud to continue providing compensation to victims through the largest remission process the Department has overseen,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The billions distributed worldwide is a testament to the department’s sustained efforts to ensure justice for the victims of Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud.” 

“This Office continues its historic work seeking justice for the victims of Madoff’s heinous crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Today’s additional payments of $372 million by this Office and the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represents the eighth in a series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 88 percent of their losses—a truly remarkable result. But our work is not fully complete, and this Office’s tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s crimes continues.”

“The damage perpetrated by Bernard Madoff in history’s largest Ponzi scheme reverberates around the world, devastating thousands of victims,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The funds distributed today are approximately $372 million, alongside the funds distributed previously now totaling over $4 billion, showing our unwavering commitment to bringing justice to the victims of Madoff’s greedy crimes.”

On June 29, 2009, then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to serve 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history. Of the over $4 billion that has been made available to victims, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the historic civil forfeiture recovery from the estate of deceased Madoff investor Jeffry Picower. An additional $1.7 billion was collected as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. and civilly forfeited in a parallel action. The remaining funds were collected through a civil forfeiture action against investor Carl Shapiro and his family, and from civil and criminal forfeiture actions against Bernard L. Madoff, Peter B. Madoff, and their co-conspirators.

The MVF’s payouts would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the FBI in the prosecution of Madoff’s crimes and the recovery of assets supporting the forfeiture in this case. 

Former Chairman Richard Breeden of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversees the MVF in his capacity as Special Master appointed by the Justice Department to assist with the victim remission proceedings. The Department also acknowledges the continued sacrifice of numerous individuals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, who worked in challenging conditions to ensure that this distribution occurred and remained on schedule.  

More information about MVF and its compensation to victims of BLMIS is available on the MVF website at www.madoffvictimfund.com, such as eligibility criteria, process updates, and frequently asked questions. Further questions may be directed to the MVF at 866-624-3670 or info@madoffvictimfund.com.

Georgia Resident Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for International Lottery Fraud Scheme that Victimized Elderly People in California and Elsewhere

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of California


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, September 26, 2022

Dozens of victims lost nearly $7.8 million

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Adedayo Akinwunmi Agbayewa, 45, of College Park, Georgia, was sentenced today to five years in prison and ordered to pay $7,784,415 in restitution for a mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Agbayewa and his co‑conspirators were involved in a lottery or sweepstakes telemarketing scheme that targeted elderly victims. The conspirators used false names and falsely notified the victims by mail or telephone that they had won a sweepstakes or lottery. The victims were told that they had to pay taxes or fees before they could receive their winnings. The victims mailed checks or deposited money into bank accounts as directed by the individuals involved in the scheme. However, the victims never received any prize money; in fact, no lottery or sweepstakes ever existed.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS‑Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina McCall prosecuted the case.

The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Elder Justice Initiative, works to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s older adults. Through the Elder Justice Initiative, the department provides community presentations, educational webinars, summits, and resources to help older victims and their families. The Elder Justice Initiative’s website is: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice. The National Elder Fraud Hotline number is: 1-833–FRAUD–11 (or 833–372–8311).

Albion College Class of 1972 presents free concert during Homecoming


Albion College’s Class of 1972 presents free Legacy Concert at the Bohm for the community
Albion College’s Class of 1972 is gifting a free concert for the community at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7 at the
Bohm Theatre in downtown Albion. Common Chords, featuring Robert Jones and Matt Watroba, will
perform.
It is a common tradition for classmates to leave behind a legacy gift either upon graduation or at a
milestone reunion. The Class of 1972’s reunion committee landed on something more indicative of their
generation, their time on campus — a shared memory in the form of one last concert together. Concerts
remain a major part of their shared memories 50 years later. Some of the most iconic artists of the 20 th
century came to perform during their four years at Albion, including John Denver, Chicago, Muddy
Waters, Sam and Dave, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Stan Kenton Orchestra, Kenny Rogers and the
First Edition, Willie Dixon, Jim Croce, John Sebastian, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Association,
The Cowsills and more.
Gordon Berg, a reunion committee member and coordinator of this event said, “An amazing thing
happens at a concert. Any concert. You file into the concert hall as an individual, but you experience the
concert as a community. We sing together. We laugh together. We smile at strangers seated around
us together. When we leave, we’re not the same individuals we were when we took our seats. We have
a shared memory. That memory becomes a lasting treasure.”
The memories created from this shared experience will be the Class of 1972’s legacy gift to Albion the
college and Albion the community to express the class’s gratitude for educating and sustaining them.
Creating those shared memories that evening will be Common Chords, featuring Robert Jones and Matt
Watroba. Both have been favorites at the Swingin’ at the Shell concert series at Albion’s Victory Park.
Through their music, Jones and Watroba bring a common understanding for one another. They
showcase the qualities we all have in common, while celebrating the diversity that makes us different.
They subscribe to Pete Seeger’s belief that it is more important to put a song on people’s lips than
simply in their ears; it is, after all, what truly brings us together. The following newsclip provides a taste
of their music and message: https://youtu.be/PZfCnWIkTFI
  
Come celebrate this milestone moment with the Class of 1972. A shared experience. A shared memory.
Their one-last-concert legacy gift to Albion.

Calhoun County Dispatch Signs Agreement with Motorola for System and Radio Upgrades

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, Press Release
Today, Sept. 27, the Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority (CCCDA) leadership signed an agreement with Motorola for a system solution and hundreds of portable radios, which will improve communications for first responders countywide. The proposal and contract were approved at a special meeting of the CCCDA Board of Directors on Monday, Sept. 26, after voters approved a millage for the authority at the Primary Election on Aug. 2, 2022. 

The proposal, which totals $14,482,542, has two primary components—system infrastructure and portable devices. As part of the system that the radios operate on, four new towers will be built, which will add to two that are already in use by CCCDA, for six towers total for the new simulcast system. The system will operate on 10 communication channels, with an additional one for data. Additionally in the agreement, CCCDA will purchase 413 portable radios, 167 mobile radios, 400 pagers, 10 control stations that will be installed within the agencies, and Radio Manager software that allows the devices to be updated via WiFi.

Dispatch will work with public safety agencies countywide on distribution of the radios and pagers. “This proposal addresses the current communications challenges facing the 911 communication ecosystem in Calhoun County. With the voters’ approval in August, we are taking the first steps to improve communications between emergency agencies and Dispatch, which will lead to a safer condition for all residents,” said CCCDA Executive Director Michael Armitage. 

This lease purchase agreement with Motorola lasts 10 years and gives the authority the ability to explore bonding options, potentially with the County. It will take two years to build out the system. This agreement addresses Phase 1 of the CCCDA’s strategic plan to improve communications technology, by improving tower infrastructure and law enforcement radios.

ALBION-HOMER UNITED WAY HELPS LITTLE BIG READ PROJECT

Press Release from Linda Kolmodin

Books designed to spark reading enjoyment will be part of Albion’s Little Big Read at
Harrington Elementary School. The program is partially funded by the Albion-Homer United
Way through a recent $1,500 grant.
As a community-backed program the Little Big Read also received $500 from the Albion
branch of the NAACP. The reading initiative is a spin-off from Albion’s Big Read through
Albion College.
According to Albion College Professor Jess Roberts the Big Read director, the Little Big
Read is designed to “distribute books—selected by Harrington teachers—to all the adults and all
the children at Harrington, and teachers and others will create and implement activities, both
classroom-specific and school-wide, inspired by the books. Those activities, spanning 2-4 weeks,
will produce excitement about the book and engagement among the kids and adults at
Harrington.”
Companion books based on reading levels were selected for grades kindergarten through
second and for third through fifth. The chapter books are Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground
Millionaire by Sundee Frazier and Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO by Dr. Tamara Pizzolli.
In addition, Frazier will visit Albion from October 19 through 21 for a school visit to meet
with Harrington student-readers.
Albion-Homer United Way’s commitment is to help fund non-profit programs through
grants. On-going donations throughout the year are needed for funding these efforts.

According to AHUW Executive Director Marcia Starkey there are several good reasons
to donate to the local United Way including that donations fund Albion and Homer specific
programs and funding decisions are made by a local board. Donor lists are never shared with
other agencies and payroll deductions make donating easier. Donations can be mailed at any time
to AHUW P.O. Box 55, Albion, MI 49224, made on-line at http://www.albionhomeruw.org or by
contacting Starkey at 517-499-2563. AHUW board members are Carolyn Amos, Donisha Brewer, Chris Burdette, Robert Hawkins, Art Kale, Marc Newman, Isabell Nazar, Eddie Williams and Shane Williamson.

PHOTO CAPTION: Albion Big Read Director Jess Roberts introduces the Little Big Read
book to Harrington Elementary School students. Albion-Homer United Way helped fund this
new program designed to engage the whole school community in reading and discussing the
same book.

Three Family Members of the Former Director of the St. Clair Housing Commission Plead Guilty to Conspiracy and to Defrauding HUD

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of Michigan


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

DETROIT – Three family members of the former executive director of the St. Clair Housing Commission, Lorena Loren, pleaded guilty today to various federal offenses due to their involvement in Loren’s fraudulent scheme to steal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Machelle L. Jindra, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Lorena Loren (now deceased) had previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison for conspiring with several family members to steal federal funds provided to the St. Clair Housing Commission by HUD to administer low-income housing programs within St. Clair County.  As part of her scheme, Loren stole approximately $336,000 in federal funds, including money earmarked for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, commonly known as Section 8 housing, which allows low-income families to lease privately owned rental properties with the assistance of HUD rental subsidies. 

Today, the three family members who pleaded guilty before the Honorable Mark A. Goldsmith are as follows:

Brian Loren (Lorena Loren’s husband), age 61, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit federal program fraud.  According to court records, Brian Loren conspired with his wife and others to embezzle money from the St. Clair Housing Commission.  Brian Loren and another individual opened a joint bank account at a PNC Bank in Deland, Florida. Between August 2014 and August 2016, fraudulent Section 8 rental subsidy payments were issued to the PNC Joint Account Holder to benefit Lorena Loren, Brian Loren, and the PNC Joint Account Holder. 

Ryan Loren (Lorena Loren’s son), age 35, pleaded guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud.  Ryan Loren admitted that, from August 2008 through August 2016, he made false statements to HUD and to a federal grand jury regarding where he lived in order to receive improper funds from HUD.  Ryan Loren agreed that he illegally received between $40,000 and $95,000.

Kayla Loren (Ryan Loren’s wife and Lorena Loren’s daughter-in-law), age 31, also pleaded guilty to receiving unlawful compensation from HUD with the intent to defraud.  Like her husband, Kayla Loren admitted that, from August 2010 through August 2016, she made false statements to HUD and to a federal grand jury regarding who lived with her in order to receive improper funds from HUD.  Kayla Loren also agreed that she received between $40,000 and $95,000.

As part of her their guilty pleas, the defendants paid the remaining restitution owed to HUD.  The total amount of restitution paid today was $99,835.29.  In total, $336,340.22 in restitution has been repaid to HUD as a result of the prosecutions of the Loren family.

U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison commended the work of HUD and the FBI in conducting this criminal investigation and said, “The HUD Section 8 program serves some of the neediest in our community, very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled.  We are committed to prosecuting public officials who steal from any federal program and anyone who assists public officials in depriving lawfully-entitled citizens of the vital assistance they need.”

“HUD OIG is committed to bringing to justice those who fraudulently divert Federal housing program resources for their own personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge, Machelle L. Jindra. “Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will pursue and hold accountable bad actors who prey on our most vulnerable communities and steal taxpayer funded resources that support these programs.”

 “Having been trusted to serve the residents of St. Clair as a public official, Lorena Loren instead conspired with her family to steal federal funds for herself and her family, and today that family is admitting their collective role in that criminal scheme,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “This case is yet another example of the FBI’s commitment to rooting out public corruption in order to protect the integrity of the institutions that are supposed to serve the best interests of our citizens.

Brian Loren faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  Ryan Loren and Kayla Loren each face a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.  A sentencing date will be set by the court.

The case was originally prosecuted by Dawn N. Ison and is now being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Resnick Cohen, Craig A. Weier, and Gjon Juncaj.

The case was investigated by agents of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Detroit Man Pleads Guilty to Spree of Three Violent Carjackings

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of Michigan


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 22, 2022

DETROIT – Rayquan Sturgis, 23, of Detroit, MI, pled guilty today to a spree of three violent carjackings he committed in June and July 2020.  Sturgis also pled guilty to additional charges of using and discharging a firearm during crimes of violence.  Sturgis faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced the plea today and was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division.

“My office is committed to using all of our resources to combat violent crime in our community, particularly targeting those who use firearms to commit that violence. Today’s guilty pleas reflect that commitment and serve as a warning to those who use a gun to terrorize and harm others,” stated US Attorney Ison.

According to court records, Sturgis committed the three carjackings between June 10, 2020 and July 7, 2020 on the west side of Detroit.  All three of the victims were strangers to Sturgis who had offered him a ride in their car.  In the first carjacking on June 10, 2020, Sturgis pulled out a gun, pointed it at the victim, and forced her out of her car before stealing it. 

In the second, on June 18, 2020, Sturgis got out of the victim’s van when they stopped, walked around to the driver’s side, and immediately fired multiple shots at the victim, striking him in the leg, arm, and hand.  The victim suffered permanent injuries as a result. 

Finally, on July 7, 2020, Sturgis got a ride from the third victim, before pistol whipping him and stealing his car and driving away. 

Sentencing is set for January 25, 2022.

The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Picek.

Former manager of Prairie View Federal Credit Union indicted on embezzlement charges

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Texas


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

HOUSTON – A 56-year-old Prairie View woman has been indicted on charges of embezzlement from elderly customers, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Gloria Jean Hall She is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan at 2 pm.

A federal grand jury returned the four-count indictment Sept. 15.

The charges allege Hall was the manager at Prairie View Federal Credit Union from February 2000 to August 2020. Beginning in 2010, she allegedly embezzled approximately $211,563 from elderly account holder funds. She created loans totaling nearly $791,000, withdrew the loans and cashed $76,772 in numerous unauthorized checks from accounts at the credit union for her own personal use and benefit, according to the indictment.

Hall allegedly fraudulently formed 58 nominee loans by creating fake share loans in the names of relatives and friends. She transferred money across the loans to make payments among them, according to the charges. She also allegedly created fake monthly loan statements and moved funds mainly from elderly credit union members into the accounts of her relatives and friends.

Hall is charged with three counts of embezzlement by a credit union employee and one count of making false entries in the financial records of the credit union. 

If convicted, Hall faces up to 30 years in prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.

The credit union existed for approximately 85 years. It was one of the oldest continually operational federal credit unions established by a historically black college and university in the United States until its failure and merger with the Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union in early 2022.

The FBI – Bryan Resident Agency conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Quincy L. Ollison is prosecuting the case.

Haadsma October Coffee Hours in Springfield and Albion

MEDIA ADVISORY

Who: State Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) 

What: State Rep. Haadsma will be holding coffee hours in Springfield and Albion to meet with constituents.

When & Where: 

Saturday, Oct. 1, 9-11 a.m. at Mr. Don’s Restaurant, 341 N. 20th St., Springfield 

Saturday, Oct. 1, 1-2:30 p.m. at Stirling Books and Brew, 119 N. Superior St., Albion

Background: State Rep. Haadsma hosts coffee hours on the first Saturday of the month to give residents the opportunity to discuss the most important issues happening at the state Capitol and around the community. 

Calhoun County Sheriff Office Seeks Information About Man with a Gun

Press Release

On Sept. 19, 2022 around 1:20 p.m., Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to 334 N 20th St., the Sunoco gas station, for a man with a gun. The victim told deputies that a subject was driving recklessly and then pulled into the Sunoco station. The victim and suspect had a verbal altercation about driving, and the suspect drew a pistol from his sweatshirt and pointed it at the victim.

The suspect left northbound on 20th St. in a black Dodge Journey after the victim told the attendant to call 911. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact Calhoun County Sheriff’s Detectives at 269-781-0880 or Silent Observer at 269-781-9700.

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