Jackson, TN – Bridget Nicole Bickings, 31, of Hardin County, Tennessee, has been sentenced to over 12 years in federal prison for conspiring with others to possess with the intent to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. United States Attorney Kevin Ritz announced the sentence today.

According to information presented in court, on April 18, 2021, at approximately 1:45 a.m., officers with the Savannah Police Department initiated a traffic stop on a silver vehicle for failing to stop at a stop sign. Bickings was driving the vehicle and a male subject in the front passenger seat. Officers immediately smelled the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Bickings gave the officers a small marijuana joint and stated that she had smoked marijuana approximately 45 minutes ago.

After both occupants were removed from the vehicle, Bickings handed the officers a Ruger .380 pistol, and the male passenger told the police that there was a 9mm handgun under the front passenger seat. Officers found $4,000 in cash on her person along with a small white envelope containing multiple small blue Xanax pills. As officers attempted to place Bickings in custody, she ran away but was eventually captured and arrested. A further search of the vehicle revealed over 12 ounces of methamphetamine, a box of baggies, a digital scale, and multiple rounds of 9mm and .22 caliber ammunition.

During a post-arrest Mirandized interview, Bickings admitted to buying and selling over 200 pounds of methamphetamine during the past few years.

On November 3, 2022, United States District Judge J. Daniel Breen sentenced Bickings to 151 months imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was investigated by the Savannah Police Department, FBI, DEA, and ATF.

United States Attorney Kevin Ritz thanked Assistant United States Attorney Josh Morrow, who prosecuted this case.

Trafficking Monitor is a blog I created and curate. It offers posts highlighting the multifaceted nature of human trafficking and forced/indentured labour. I draw on a diversity of sources for my posts. You are invited to recommend materials for posting.

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Ronald Longhini, 60, of Warsaw, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that on April 28, 2021, during the execution of a search warrant at Longhini’s residence, investigators recovered two laptop computers, which were found to contain images and videos of child pornography. In total, Longhini possessed over 458 images and 1094 videos of child pornography, some of which included prepubescent minors and depictions of violence.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Stansbury; the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gregory J. Rudolph; and the Tonawanda Police Department, under the direction of Chief James P. Stauffiger.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 27, 2023, before Judge Arcara.   

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PITTSBURGH – A suburban Pittsburgh man has pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of attempted receipt of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Vikash Mishra, age 41, formerly of Ross Township, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Christy Criswell Wiegand.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from on or about October 30, 2021, until on or about Feb. 25, 2022, Mishra used cellular telephone networks and the internet to knowingly attempt to receive material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Judge Wiegand scheduled sentencing for March 7, 2023. The law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000.00, supervised release for any term of years not less than five and up to life. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the Judge ordered the defendant remain detained.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert C. Schupansky is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Mishra.

PITTSBURGH - A former physician pleaded guilty today in federal court to a health care fraud charge associated with the pain management practice, Jefferson Pain and Rehabilitation Center, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Dr. John Keun Sang Lee, age 79, of Venetia, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud before United States District Judge W. Scott Hardy.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that between in and around May 2016 to in and around October 2020, Lee knowingly and willfully submitted claims for steroid injections to Medicare and Medicaid that were neither reasonable nor medically necessary. According to former patients and employees, Lee required patients to submit to steroid injections, even when patients reported that the injections were not helping but rather causing them more pain and other injuries. Lee also instructed employees to withhold patient medication if patients objected to the injections. In order to justify billing insurance companies for the medically unnecessary injections, Lee directed staff to use templates indicating that patients received 80% relief from prior pain injections.

Judge Hardy scheduled sentencing for March 7, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000.00, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

As part of his plea agreement, Lee has agreed to pay $264,730 in restitution to the United States Department of Health & Human Services and $153,230 to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services for losses associated with the fraudulent billings. Lee also has agreed to voluntarily surrender his medical license and DEA registration and not to maintain any ownership or management interest in any medical clinic or facility.

            WASHINGTON — A Florida man has been arrested on felony charges, including assaulting a law enforcement officer, for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Raymund Joseph Cholod, 52, of Tallahassee, Florida, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon. He was arrested yesterday in Miami. He is expected to make his initial appearance later today in the Southern District of Florida.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Cholod was among a mob illegally massed on the Lower West Terrace and in an Archway and tunnel that leads into the Capitol Building. At approximately 2:41 p.m., he entered the tunnel. Law enforcement officers had formed a protective line with riot shields behind a set of glass doors in efforts to keep the rioters outside. Cholod advanced until he was positioned immediately in front of the police line. He pointed and shook his finger at officers and shouted, among other things, “This is our house … This is our f------ house.”

            At approximately 2:45 p.m., Cholod pushed his arm and elbow into a police officer’s face and neck. Less than a minute later, he pushed against a police riot shield, then grabbed it, and attempted to pull it away from officers. Later in the day, Cholod was positioned on the steps of the Lower West Terrace, holding what appears to be a baton or stick.