Justice Triumphs

Abingdon, Virginia - An attorney from Wise, Virginia was sentenced this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon on four felony drug charges.

After a three-day trial, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict against James G. Berghius, 41, of Sacramento, convicting him of four counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering related to a Ponzi scheme that he operated, announced United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, Sacramento FBI Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller, and Special Agent in Charge IRS-Criminal Investigation José M. Martínez.

In federal court in St. Paul, Frank Elroy Vennes, Jr. was sentenced to 180 months in prison in connection with fraudulently raising money from individuals and through hedge funds for investment in Petters Company Inc. (PCI).

Michael E. Earwood, 61, an attorney from Madison, Mississippi, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 46 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for bankruptcy fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis, Acting U.S. Trustee Henry G. Hobbs, Jr. of Region 5, FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen, and Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General of the FDIC.

Steven Pitchersky, 64, of Rancho Mirage, California, was charged today by information (an indictment or information is an accusation; a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty) with one count of wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Pitchersky, who operated Nationwide Mortgage Concepts, a California mortgage lender, is accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud Ally Bank that caused the bank a loss of approximately $5.3 million.