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A total of six Houston residents have been charged in a nine-count indictment alleging their inv
involvement in a marriage fraud scheme involving Nigerian nationals, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston.

The indictment was returned under seal Feb. 26, 2015, and unsealed today as Shakietha Ann Joseph, 39, Nathan Michael, 36, Trevor Ray Frenney, 39, and Hauwa Bello, 37, all of Houston, made their initial appearances in federal court. At that time, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy ordered they be detained pending further criminal proceedings.

Anthony Andrews 27, also of Houston – is in state custody on unrelated charges and is expected to make his appearance in federal court in the near future.

A final defendant – Anisha Nicole Gable, 33 – is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for her arrest. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact HSI at 281-985-0500.

The six defendants allegedly conspired together in connection with a marriage fraud ring involving arranged “sham” marriages between recruited U.S. citizens and Nigerian nationals. A “sham” marriage is a marriage that is entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws.

“Becoming an American citizen is an honor and a privilege,” said Moskowitz. “Obtaining citizenship through fraud is an affront to every person who has played by the rules and it threatens the integrity of our legal immigration system. HSI special agents will continue to work with our partners to ensure that those who use criminal and dishonorable means to achieve the most honorable of goals are brought to justice.”

The indictment alleges conspirators would pay U.S. citizens for entering into fraudulent marriages to Nigerian nationals who had originally entered the country on tourist visas. The conspirators would then complete immigration documents and submit them to Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to obtain legal permanent resident status, according to the indictment. As part of the conspiracy, the indictment further alleges they would take staged photographs of themselves as a couple for documentation of an allegedly meaningful relationship. The conspirators also allegedly coached the recruits and/or the Nigerian nationals on what to say when questioned or interviewed by law enforcement or immigration officials about the legitimate nature of the marriages.

The indictment charges all six with conspiracy commit marriage fraud. Gable is also charged with four counts of aiding and abetting marriage fraud, while Joseph and Frenney are each charged with two counts of the same allegation. Michael and Bello were also indicted on one count of committing marriage fraud.  

Gable allegedly recruited Andrews, Frenney and Joseph to marry Nigerian nationals. The indictment further alleges Bello did knowingly marry Frenney, a U.S. citizen for the for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws of the United States. Similarly, Michael allegedly entered into a sham marriage with Joseph, according to the allegations. At the time of their respective marriages, Bello and Michael were natives and citizens of Nigeria and were in the U.S. temporarily on B1/B2 non-immigrant visas.

If convicted on any of the counts as charged, each defendant faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.

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A Houston man has been arrested after investigators say he orchestrated a scheme to steal $177,000 from a local bank.

Houston police say 43 year old Pablo Salazar stile the money over a three month period.

Investigators say he lifted more than $43,000 out of his cash drawer at the bank while also shorting the ATM of $133,000.

Now the police report shows two of Salazar’s coworkers falsified documents to cover the theft but there’s no word if they have been arrested in the $170,000 inside job.

Bail has been set at $354,000 for Salazar!

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A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo NA of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you received an autodialed call or prerecorded voice message from Wells Fargo that attempted to collect on a consumer credit card account, you may be eligible for benefits from the class action settlement.

The TCPA class action lawsuit alleged that Wells Fargo placed calls to cell phones in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff alleged she received calls from Wells Fargo that were intended for the collection of another person’s credit card account. Further, these calls allegedly featured a prerecorded voice message or were made with an autodialer, in violation of the TCPA. According to the class action lawsuit, the plaintiff did not have a credit card account with Wells Fargo and never gave her express consent to receive the calls.

Wells Fargo denies the allegations but has agreed to pay nearly $14 million to settle the TCPA class action lawsuit to avoid the expense and uncertainty of continued litigation. More than 4 million consumers may be eligible for benefits from the Wells Fargo class action settlement.

Who’s Eligible

Class Members of the Wells Fargo TCPA class action settlement include cell phone users or subscribers to wireless/cellular service within the United States who received a call from Wells Fargo with automated dialing or prerecorded voice technology in an effort to collect on a consumer credit card account between Nov. 1, 2009 and Sept. 17, 2014.

Potential Award

Each eligible Class Member who submits a valid and timely claim will receive a pro rata payment from the class action settlement fund. The actual amount each claimant receives will depend on the total number of approved claims.

How to sign up – click here!

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Houston police are asking for the public’s help in identifying three suspects wanted in at least seven robberies of cell phone stores and one robbery at a fast-food restaurant in the southwest Houston area since February.  

The suspects are described only as three black males, 17 to 20 years of age.  One suspect is about 6 feet tall, about 165 pounds, and has a medium complexion.  The other two suspects are about 5 feet 9 inches tall, about 135 pounds and have dark complexions.  Surveillance video of the suspects can be viewed on the HPD YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/CIq5tjlL9X4.  Surveillance photos of the suspects are attached to this news release.  

The suspects are believed responsible for robberies at the following locations:  

Cricket Store at 8658 South Braeswood about 7:10 p.m. on February 2Cricket Store at 8658 South Braeswood about 6:50 p.m. on February 8Cricket Store at 8658 South Braeswood about 1:50 p.m. on February 23Cricket Store at 9621 Fondren Road about 7:40 p.m. on February 28Cricket Store at 7245 Bissonnet about 11:50 a.m. on March 2Boost Mobile Store at 7600 Sanford about 2:40 p.m. on March 3McDonald’s at 10900 Beechnut about 5:20 p.m. on March 8Cricket Store at 9621 Fondren about 7:45 p.m. on March 20

In each incident, the suspects entered the location acting as customers and asked questions about cell phone prices and service plans.  At some point, one suspect pulls out a gun, demands money from the register and the safe and threatens to shoot the employees if their demands are not met.  The suspects then steal new cell phones and flee the scene on foot.  In at least one incident, there was a possible vehicle, described as a white or silver Buick or Impala.    

Anyone with information in these case or on the identity of the wanted suspects is urged to contact the HPD Robbery Division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.  

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Fix it: If the city of Houston ever felt generous about capital improvements then this is the project…

This is likely the worst stretch of sidewalk in the city on Eagle at Delano (The Third Ward) that I have ever seen.

If a person on a bike or a wheelchair hits this…they’re done.

Have you seen sidewalks like this before and where?

(Note: It’s my understanding homeowners are responsible for the sidewalks unless they can’t afford it and there is a public accessibility issue – Houston we have an issue!)

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Life doesn’t stop for Adrian Peterson since he is in between football teams.

Published reports and busy people on Instagram posted pictures of the former Minnesota Vikings player celebrating his 30th birthday in Houston over the weekend.

It was described as a lavish party that was attended by Jamie Foxx and a live camel.

Many of the people who posted photos and videos have since taken them down since nosy reporters have been sharing them.

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Sorry for the poor quality photos but they weren’t that great online.

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Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, along with Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigators, have filed charges of Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Sexual Performance by a Child Under the Age of 14 against Ashley Dack, 29, and Patrick Schuneman, 37.

Dack is currently being held on a $350,000 bond, while the court declined bond for defendant Schuneman.

The defendants were charged after authorities found video and photos depicting the sexual assault of a child on Schuneman’s mobile phone and on his personal computer.

According to investigators, defendant Dack took photos of the infant-aged victim and provided them to Schuneman to download.

The ICAC Task Force was created to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or computer technology to sexually exploit children.

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(Variety) The NBC network has tapped former Destiny’s Child member LeToya Luckett to co-star in the drama pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

From TV writer/playwright Diana Son, Love Is a Four Letter Word explores what happens when three diverse couples take on issues including race, sexuality and gender roles — putting modern marriage to the test.

Luckett will play the role of Tandi, a happily married woman and mother, who is experiencing difficulties fulfilling her dream of having a second child.

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LeToya's Mom Pam Luckett is really proud!

Luckett assumed the role after former lead Meta Golding exited, and Cynthia McWilliams (Real Husbands of Hollywood, who had formerly been cast as Tandi) took over the starring role of Julie, an attorney formerly married to Nick (Rockmond Dunbar) and the mother of his two children.
Colin Donnell (Arrow) co-stars as Tandi’s husband Sean and Nick’s friend.Brian Tee, Nadine Velazquez, Monet Mazur, Lauryn Hardy, Alex Hendersonand Iyanna Arrigo round out the cast.

Son will pen the script and exec produce the 20th Century Fox Television and Fabrik production alongside Mikkel Bondesen, Kristen Campo and George Tillman, who will direct the pilot.

Luckett’s credits include a recurring role on HBO’s upcoming Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson series Ballers as well as VH1’s Single Ladies and HBO’sTreme. An original member of Destiny’s Child, Luckett has since pursued a successful solo career with a new album due in the spring. She is repped by APA, Everly Lee and Stone Meyer.

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State Rep. Sylvester Turner has earned the endorsement of the Houston
Professional Fire Fighters Association in this year’s mayoral race, the HPFFA said today.

HPFFA President Alvin W. White, Jr. said 84 percent of voting fire fighters approved the recommenda-
tion of the HPFFA board of directors to endorse Turner after a review of the public safety records of the
mayoral candidates.

“Sylvester has been a consistent friend of fire fighters and an advocate for public safety in Austin for 25
years,” White said. “He is clearly the best choice for us in this mayoral race. We also appreciate that he
has built a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business leaders, unions and community groups.”

White added, “Rep. Turner understands that Houston fire fighters are delivering excellent service to citi-
zens, are good stewards of city resources, and are giving back to the community. He also has been a sen-
sible voice – here and in Austin – in the debate about city employee pensions.”
Rep. Turner said, “I am proud to have earned the support of Houston’s firefighters. Together, we will
work to keep our neighborhoods safe, teach our youth the values of courage and shared sacrifice and
show the world that Houston is a place that working families are proud to call home.”

Rep. Turner has served 25 years in the Texas House of Representatives. He is a member of the Legisla-
tive Budget Board; Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee; Chair of the Subcommittee on
Articles 1, 4 and 5 (General Government, Judiciary, Public Safety and Criminal Justice); and the House
State Affairs Committee.
Born in the Acres Homes community of northwest Houston, Rep. Turner graduated from Klein High
School, where he was valedictorian and student body president. He then attended the University of Hou-
ston and Harvard Law School. More information is available at www.sylvesterturner.com.

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The American Leadership Forum (ALF) is pleased to announce the graduates of Class XXXIII. “The American Leadership Forum is very excited about the 25 people graduating from Class XXXIII,” said Jim Drew, Senior Vice President, Bowen, Miclette & Britt, Inc. and Chair of the American Leadership Forum Board of Trustees. “Class XXXIII is an outstanding blend of leaders from a variety of fields who work for positive change in our community. Upon graduating from the American Leadership Forum, Senior Fellows serve as committed catalysts in Houston, bringing stakeholders from all walks of life together to create opportunities to work together and to address urgent public concerns.”

Graduates of Class XXXIII are:

Joi Beasley- President/CEO, GOGO Business Communications

Alfred H. Bennett- Judge 61st Civil Court, Harris County

Peter Boudreaux- Partner, Curry Boudreaux Architects

David A. Brown- Founder and Director, Invest in Houston

M. Helen Cavazos- President/CEO, M. H. Cavazos & Associates

Bruce G. Coe- Assistant Director of Development, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Diane Englet- Senior Director Corporate Community Relations, CenterPoint Energy

Stephen M. Fraga- President, Tejas Office Products, Inc.

Nicole Gonzales- Assoc. Professor of Neurology, UT-Houston Medical School

Brian Greene- President/CEO, Houston Food Bank

Michele M. Hedges- Senior Counsel, Omega Protein, Inc.

John Hinojosa- Director, St. Francis Charities/Zachariah House

Harish Jajoo- City Council Member, Sugar Land

David Kim- Deputy Assistant Director, Houston Housing & Community Development Dept.

Anne McClellan- Executive Director for Growth and Innovation, University of Houston

Adrian Patterson- Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP

Randy Petersen- Executive Vice President, Cadence Bank

Dean R. Quinn- Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, S & B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd.

Renee Reimer- Chief Risk & Legal Operations Officer, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System

Leila Sarmecanic- Partner, Rogers, Morris & Grover

Christof Spieler- Vice President, Morris Architects

Chris Tritico- Attorney at Law, Tritico, Rainey, PLLC

Audrey M. Trotti- President, Watershed Market

Evelyn V. Velasquez- Dean of Workforce & Economic Development, Houston Community College Northwest

Tandelyn Atkinson Weaver- Executive Director, The Kingdom Builders’ Center

A class of Fellows is selected from a broad range of leadership, reflecting social, ethnic, gender, geographic, political, religious and work sector diversity. Fellows are selected based on demonstrated outstanding leadership and potential for growth, integrity, professional stature, commitment to the community beyond their profession, willingness to learn, to challenge assumptions, and to increase understanding and awareness of others.

In each class, 20 to 26 established leaders from various sectors in the community are selected to participate in ALF’s yearlong, national caliber leadership development program in which leaders engage in dialogue, learn to value their differences and unique perspectives, find common ground, and build lasting relationships, elements which all contribute to a cooperative spirit and invigorated commitment to community. The program consists of monthly seminars on topical issues to stimulate inquiry, analysis and solutions for the public good. The result is a lifelong fellowship of highly connected leaders who strengthen and broaden the social fabric of the community.

The American Leadership Forum (ALF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to join and strengthen diverse leaders to better serve the public good. Since the American Leadership Forum’s founding in 1981, more than 1,000 leaders have participated in a Fellows Program. For more information, please visit alfhouston.org.

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It doesn’t take much to get people on the dance floor with Scott Gertner singing especially if everyone has been sampling whiskey all night.

Malika Bradley says, “I think it’s my very first time here and some of the vendors have been wonderful and the whiskey is delightful.”

For the second year in a row the Houston Whiskey Festival was held in town and as you can see the attendance has more than doubled since last year.

Thousands of people packed into the Bayou City Event Center to sample as many whiskey’s as they could hold. For the city this is not just about drinking.

City Controller Ronald Green says, “when you get individuals and they come out obviously sales taxes are a great thing but the fact that Houston is a good place to have a festival of this kind it bodes well for us all across the country.”

That’s exactly what this festival did. It attracted whiskey makers from all over the country. It gave them a chance to show off the product. And in 2015 even Vodka makers wanted in on the action.

Vincent Milson with RWB Vodka says, “a lot of the retailers like to see brands do events like this. It let’s them know we’re out there in the market working. It makes them want to pick us up and add them to some of their stores.”

While it was a festival about whiskey there were constant reminders all night to be careful behind the wheel and find alternate ways of getting home…and there was plenty of water to keep the participants from going over the edge.

The event was hosted by Original Texan and Sportscaster Chester Pitts and Chita Johnson from KHOU TV.