Dr. Blandina “Bambi” Cárdenas, featured first row, second from left, on Thursday, November 20, outlined some of the key measures that she hopes to secure for the University of Texas-Pan American during the upcoming regular session of the Texas Legislature, which convenes on Tuesday, January 13. Cárdenas, the first female president of UT-Pan American, made her presentation during a legislative luncheon at the ECHO Hotel and Conference Center coordinated by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. She noted that graduates from UT-Pan American who apply to medical school have a higher acceptance rate than students from other Texas universities, a key point that will be used by area state lawmakers, who have pre-filed legislation to build a UT medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. In a related move, Mayor Joe Ochoa, featured to the left of Cárdenas, has pledged the city’s support for plans by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, which is considering building a cutting-edge medical conference center that would feature world-class medical professionals who would provide unprecedented seminars, including onsite surgeries, in the three-time All-America City. City Councilmember Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (not included in this portrait) has been a key player in promoting Edinburg’s participation in the discussions about DHR’s medical conference center. “I do not want to identify just yet who the players are, but this project, if brought to fruition and marketed properly, could very well put Edinburg in a national spotlight,” Councilmember García said. “I have been assured by the investor group that with the city’s participation, they would name it the ‘Edinburg Medical Conference Center’.” See lead story later in this posting.
In a time of challenging national economic data, positive news was recently announced at the Edwards Abstract and Title Co.’s annual economic outlook symposium. “Jobs are everything to an economy, and Hidalgo County has delivered for more than a decade,” said Ted C. Jones, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Company. “Hidalgo County and the cities therein have grown jobs at 4.5 times the rate of the U.S. per year, compounded annually for the past 10 years,” added Jones. “In the latest twelve months ending September 6, nine hundred net new additional jobs were created in the local economy.” Another highlight of the forum was the participation of a panel of economic development experts from the cities of McAllen, Edinburg and Weslaco who shared their views regarding the factors that are contributing to the continued commercial and industrial growth of the region. Participating in the economic development panel were, first row, from left: Dr. Ted C. Jones; Elva Jackson Garza, Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Ramiro Garza, executive director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Byron Jay Lewis, president of Edwards Abstract and Title Co.; Stewart Morris, Sr. with Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Back row, from left: (back) Stewart Morris, Jr. with Stewart Title Guaranty Company; Keith Patridge, President and CEO, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Pat Townsend, Jr., President and CEO, Mission Economic Development Authority; and Hernán González, Executive Director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation. See story later in this posting.
Young ladies who are seniors at Edinburg High School were recently addressed by prominent Texans during the Young Women’s Summit, a forum which allows the students to interact with some of the most successful women in their respective fields. The Young Women’s Summit developed from research completed by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) which found that Hispanic girls are the most under- represented group of post-secondary graduates. Featured, from left: Rep. Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen; Gloria Cotton Wells; Deann Craft; María Piña; and Jennifer Ruiz, Miss Galaxy International 2009.
Miss Edinburg 2009 and her counterparts were recently honored by the Edinburg school district for their outstanding efforts in representing the city and school district, and for bringing honor to their respective families. Featured in this portrait during a recent school board public session were, from left: Gilberto Garza, Jr., superintendent of the Edinburg school district; Alexis García, Miss Edinburg 2009; Avery García, Miss Pre-Teen; Anahi García, Little Miss Edinburg; Rachel Tgunberg, Junior Miss Edinburg; and Omar Palacios, president of the Edinburg school board.
G&C Avanti Trucking LLC in Edinburg is partnering with South Texas College on an experimental project that calls for students in the Precision Manufacturing Technology Program to help fabricate prototypes of several automotive parts that will enable vehicles, such as this GMC 5500 truck, to travel in up to five feet of water. Pictured are (front row, l-r): Chente Aguilar from G&C Avanti Trucking LLC; Leticia Reyes from the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Mario Reyna, STC division dean of business and technology; Efrain García, Jr.; Efrain García, Sr.; Rodolfo Sánchez from G&C Avanti Trucking LLC; Alberto Díaz from Santos International; and G&C Avanti technician Marcelo Cantú. STC Precision Manufacturing Technology instructor Harold Bernard and PMT students Zeke Sáenz, Erick Vega, Ricardo García and René Vera are pictured on top of truck. See story later in this posting.
Councilmember García, Mayor Ochoa support plan for trailblazing medical conference center by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
A cutting-edge medical conference center under consideration for Edinburg may involve the construction of a specialized facility that would feature world-class medical professionals who would provide unprecedented seminars, including onsite surgeries, as part of a developing plan involving city leaders and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR).
The medical conference center would be built and funded by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, with some help from public resources, according to sources close to the discussions between city and DHR officials.
The sources requested anonymity in order not to jeopardize the ambitious goal.
Drawing such top talent to the three-time All-America City would generate positive regional, statewide, and possibly national attention to Edinburg, bolstering its image as the center for higher education and medical care in South Texas.
Surgeons, physicians, physicians-in-training, other health care professionals, and even students from the region would be able to benefit from such a facility, allowing them unrivaled local access to exceptional educational events, presentations, and first-hand observations of some of the latest medical advances.
Alonzo Cantú, a McAllen construction magnate, has acknowledged to sources that DHR is indeed discussing the plan with Edinburg city leaders.
Cantú, president of Cantú Construction and Development Company, one of Texas’ most successful development firms, also serves on the board of directors for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.
His company is responsible for the construction of the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance complexes, which are located along McColl Road in southwest Edinburg.
The creation of the medical conference center also would help move along plans by the hospital system to build an adjoining hotel, which would serve the hundreds of medical and health professionals who, on a regular basis, would come to Edinburg to participate in the seminars, the sources said.
An undetermined amount of funding from the city could come through numerous avenues, such as from the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), which is the jobs-creations arm of the Edinburg City Council.
The EEDC sits on a treasury of millions of dollars generated annually, mostly from the collection of a one-half cent economic development sales tax, for jobs-creation projects.
The EEDC is governed by a five-member board of directors which includes former Mayor Richard García, Mayor Joe Ochoa, Fred Palacios, Elias Longoria, Jr., and Dr. Glenn E. Martínez, Ph.D.
Doctors Hospital at Renaissance features two sprawling sites, known as medical campuses, which serve as home to an impressive array of state-of-the-art facilities.
The campus being eyed to host the medical conference center currently includes a women’s hospital, a behavioral health facility, a cancer treatment center, and a medical professional’s headquarters.
“Edinburg Medical Conference Center”
Edinburg City Councilmember Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. has been a key player in promoting Edinburg’s participation in the discussions about DHR’s medical conference center.
“I do not want to identify just yet who the players are, but this project, if brought to fruition and marketed properly, could very well put Edinburg in a national spotlight,” Councilmember García said. “I have been assured by the investor group that with the city’s participation, they would name it the ‘Edinburg Medical Conference Center’.”
Councilmember García said he initiated the discussions between city leaders and the investment groups.
“In early discussions with the potential investor groups, it became clear to me that I needed to get the EEDC involved before bringing any sort of plan to council,” Councilmember García said. “They are now taking the lead on this project. Then, it can be brought to the mayor and city council for approval.”
Ochoa added that the medical conference center “would be a great compliment to the UT-Regional Academic Health Center and the cooperative pharmacy program, adding great medical education and quality healthcare to Edinburg and the Valley. I would definitely support all efforts to bring this medical conference center to Edinburg.”
Springboard to VA Hospital?
Councilmember García shared Ochoa’s assessments.
“This medical conference center is definitely an ambitious goal, but if the Valley expects to have our medical services compete nationally, then we need to grow the medical, governmental and educational resources available to us,” he said. “UT-Pan American and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance offer a clear and distinct competitive advantage, so we have to embrace and foster these organizations.”
The potential benefits to the region could have far-reaching effects, Councilmember García added.
“If details can be worked out, the ultimate goal would be to springboard Edinburg towards getting a University of Texas System medical school and/or a Veterans Administration Hospital,” he said. “Services and facilities such as this medical conference center make Edinburg and the Valley a more viable candidate for a medical school and VA hospital.”
Several measures have already been pre-filed by area lawmakers asking the Texas Legislature to authorize and help fund the construction and operation of a UT medical school. The legislation will be considered by state lawmakers when they convene for their five-month regular session.
The Texas Legislature returns to the state Capitol on Tuesday, January 13.
In Congress, the Valley’s congressional delegation and its two U.S. senators also have filed legislation to bring a Veterans Administration Hospital to deep South Texas.
Wise investments, far-reaching impact
Ochoa said that the ongoing plan for the DHR medical conference center also reflects the wisdom of decisions by his administration in the mid-1990s to bring that area of southwest Edinburg into the city limits through a process known as annexation.
Soon after, Ochoa’s administration rallied public support to invest local and state funds to improve key infrastructure that led to an explosion of economic growth in the then-newly-annexed region.
“Back then, the area where Doctors Hospital at Renaissance is now located was dominated by agricultural fields, and McColl Road and Trenton Road, which were rural streets, are now major roadways which have powered the great economic growth in the region,” Ochoa said. “Now we have a major medical corridor anchored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, and the proposed medical conference center would be the latest result of our vision.”
Ochoa led city strategies in the 1990s to improve medical care and education, spearheading successful efforts to bring the Edinburg Regional Medical Center to Edinburg, land the University of Texas-Pan American Regional Academic Health Center, and support a cooperative pharmacy program at UT-Pan American in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin.
The UT-RAHC is a $20 million medical research and education facility located immediately north of the University of Texas-Pan American campus.
The UT-RAHC in Edinburg is part of a three-city, upper-division medical school system that includes an educational component in Harlingen and a postgraduate school of public health in Brownsville.
Consistent with DHR goals
The plan for the medical conference center is consistent with the stated goals of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, which promotes itself as being “dedicated to continually expanding our programs and services to include the latest medical procedures, treatments, and technologies to help ensure we meet the health care needs of the communities we serve today and in the future.”
Former Mayor García, who serves as president of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Thursday, November 20, first publicly revealed that there were discussions regarding the construction of a privately-owned conference center in the city.
“There is interest from a least two different parties,” he reported. ““We met at 9 this morning – (EEDC executive director) Ramiro Garza and myself – and another group, which is interested in building a conference center in our city…
“Basically, they have been working and talking with EEDC for (help) on infrastructure, things for which the EEDC usually participates,” former Mayor García said.
During his November 20 remarks, former Mayor García declined to identify the university officials or the private investors involved in the deliberations.
Valley economy focus of Edwards Abstract and Title Co.’s 5th Annual State of Real Estate Forum
By ELVA JACKSON GARZA
In a time of challenging national economic data, positive news was recently announced at the Edwards Abstract and Title Co.’s annual economic outlook symposium.
“Jobs are everything to an economy, and Hidalgo County has delivered for more than a decade,” said Ted C. Jones, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Company.
“Hidalgo County and the cities therein have grown jobs at 4.5 times the rate of the U.S. per year, compounded annually for the past 10 years,” added Jones. “In the latest twelve months ending September 6, nine hundred net new additional jobs were created in the local economy.”
The 5th Annual State of Real Estate Forum addressed the mortgage and lending issues, interest rates, inflation, energy costs and the declining value of the dollar. The Real Estate Forum was held on Friday, November 14 at the McAllen Country Club. More than 250 of the area’s real estate industry leaders attended the event.
“We are very pleased with the relationship that Edwards Abstract and Title Co. has maintained with Dr. Jones during the past several years. He travels throughout the country regularly and gains first hand knowledge and expertise regarding the real estate industry,” said Byron Jay Lewis, president of Edwards Abstract and Title Co. “All of us in the real estate market are very fortunate that he makes time to schedule a visit to the Rio Grande Valley, especially at this critical period that we are presently experiencing.”
Another highlight of the forum was the participation of a panel of economic development experts from the cities of McAllen, Edinburg and Weslaco who shared their views regarding the factors that are contributing to the continued commercial and industrial growth of the region.
Participating in the economic development panel were Keith Patridge, President and CEO, McAllen Economic Development Corporation; Ramiro Garza, Jr., Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Pat Townsend, Jr., President and CEO, Mission Economic Development Authority; and Hernán González, Executive Director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.
“Sometimes we hear so much doom and gloom that we start second guessing what is happening in our own lives and community,” Patridge said. “Ted’s presentation provided a reality check for us and realization the Rio Grande Valley is fairing pretty well,” he commented.
The Edwards Abstract and Title Co. management team and escrow officers will make the power point information presented by Jones available to groups who are interested in scheduling a presentation.
“We are committed to the continued growth and success of real estate industry professionals in the Rio Grande Valley. One of the priorities of the Edwards team is to be proactive and differentiate our company as the leader in the title insurance industry in the Valley,” Lewis said.
Edwards Abstract and Title Co. was founded in 1880 and offers the convenience of four branch offices in Edinburg, McAllen, Mission/Sharyland and Weslaco. For more information visit the website at http://www.edwards-titleco.com.
G&C Avanti Trucking LLC in Edinburg partners with STC students to manufacture experimental parts to aid relief workers around U.S., world
By MICHELLE A. BALANI
When a disaster involving flooding strikes, relief vehicles often have a difficult time getting to those in need because water deeper than three feet can get into engines and render them useless. G&C Avanti Trucking LLC in Edinburg is partnering with South Texas College on an experimental project for students in the college’s Precision Manufacturing Technology Program to help fabricate several parts that will enable these vehicles to travel without problem in up to five feet of water.
“The parts can be installed in large commercial trucks, allowing vehicles to tread through deeper water levels. The innovation can be used on any large vehicle, and will benefit a number of U.S. industries, as well as relief workers around the world,” says G&C Avanti Trucking LLC spokesperson Chente Aguilar. “We have seen the recovery work in our own backyard after a hurricane and how high water levels slow the process. We firmly believe that the retrofit engine parts package we are working to develop with make it much easier for workers to get to a scene much faster.”
G&C Avanti Trucking LLC came up with the new innovation and STC students will be responsible for cutting and fabricating prototypes of the parts. This collaboration will help prepare students for careers in a variety of manufacturing occupations, including machining, precision measurement, tool and die machining, industrial maintenance and quality assurance.
“This project offers students real world experience in problem solving and creativity, and in using advanced skills, which will help them tremendously once they get into the workforce,” said Mario Reyna, STC division dean of business and technology. “At STC, we believe in providing students with hands-on training and skills to help them thrive in their chosen career field. And we hope that participation in this project significantly contributes to their professional success and to the local economy.”
Students in STC’s Precision Manufacturing Technology Program are trained to specialize in the machining, precision measurement, tool and die and manufacturing processes. Upon earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree from the program, students are prepared to secure positions in a variety of industries around the world.
For more information about STC’s PMT Program, visit http://bt.southtexascollege.edu/manufacturing/index.html or contact Pedro Garza at 956-872-6610.
Brooklyn-based Broadway Photo, Starlight Camera & Video cited for deceiving purchasers via Internet
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday, November 25, charged two online digital camera and electronics retailers with conducting an unlawful bait-and-switch sales scheme. The November 25 enforcement action seeks restitution for Texans who suffered financially because of the defendants’ unlawful conduct.
According to state investigators, Broadway Photo, L.L.C. and Starlight Camera & Video Inc., both of Brooklyn, N.Y., attempted to attract customers by offering the lowest retail prices on price-comparison Web sites. Once customers selected merchandise and made credit card purchases via the defendants’ Web sites, customers were notified that their orders had been processed. Despite the order-processing notice, customers were subsequently asked to call a specified telephone number to confirm their orders.
However, rather than use the calls to confirm customers orders, the defendants instead initiated aggressive, high-pressure sales pitches promoting over-priced accessories, including memory cards and batteries. The defendants’ telemarketers insisted these upgraded accessories were needed in order for the customers’ confirmed merchandise to function normally.
When customers refused these offers, the defendants told the customers the confirmed merchandise was substandard and lacked warranties. The defendants’ telemarketers encouraged customers to purchase different, more expensive products. If customers refused, the defendants canceled the orders, claiming the products were indefinitely back-ordered. When the defendants actually did ship orders, customers who intended to purchase new merchandise often received used or refurbished products.
The Office of the Attorney General is seeking injunctions halting this conduct and civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Gov. Perry: Proposed EPA rules on greenhouse gas emissions would cripple Texas economy
Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday, November 25, strongly urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against passing a proposed framework for regulating greenhouse gas emissions due to its devastating implications for Texas’ economy and energy industry.
“The EPA is making plans to re-interpret the Federal Clean Air Act in ways that were never contemplated when this law was passed and will cripple the Texas economy,” said Perry. “The methods under consideration by the EPA will punish innovation, cost jobs and drive investment out of Texas and overseas.”
The EPA’s proposed regulations would for the first time subject large swaths of the economy to costly and time consuming regulation and permitting, including commercial buildings, churches, small farms, hotels, hospitals, and even large residential homes while having a negligible effect on worldwide concentrations of greenhouse gases.
As the nation’s leading energy producer, implementing such regulations would cripple the Texas’ energy sector, irreparably damaging both the state and national economies, and severely impacting national oil and gas supplies. Further, the governor noted that imposing a large tax burden on energy producing companies would drive them out of the U.S. to countries that do not have burdensome restrictions, counteracting the regulations’ desired effects.
Rather than adopting the EPA’s suggestion to make traditional energy sources more expensive, the governor proposed making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition. Modernizing the national energy grid to support wind and solar energy transmission, facilitating investments in the development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and removing barriers to investment in nuclear generation would reduce carbon emissions while encouraging competitiveness, innovation and growth in alternative energy sources.
Texas’ energy industry fuels the nation, supplying 20 percent of the nation’s oil production, one-third of the nation’s natural gas production, a quarter of the nation’s refining capacity, and nearly 60 percent of the nation’s chemical manufacturing.
Diversifying the state’s energy portfolio remains a priority for Perry. Texas has already installed more wind power than any other state and all but three countries, and provided new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state- more than all other states current capacity combined. Texas has also attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next generation nuclear power plants. The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants which will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions.
The governor’s comments to the EPA are based on findings by the Texas Advisory Panel on Federal Environmental Regulations, which was created earlier this month to study the economic impact to Texas of the EPA’s proposed rules. Members of the panel include Bryan Shaw, commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Texas, and Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams.
“I am calling on the EPA to suppress the urge to regulate and include greenhouse gases in the Clean Air Act and find ways to unleash our economy, not strangle it,” Perry said.
Federal jury in Dallas convicts Holy Land Foundation for supporting Hamas terrorist group
Following approximately six weeks of testimony and seven days of deliberation, a federal jury in Dallas on Tuesday, November 25, returned guilty verdicts this afternoon convicting the Holy Land Foundation of Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its leaders on charges of providing material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization, announced U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper of the Northern District of Texas, and Patrick Rowan, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
“Money is the lifeblood of terrorism. The jury’s decision demonstrates that U.S. citizens will not tolerate those who provide financial support to terrorist organizations,” said Roper.
“Today’s verdicts are important milestones in America’s efforts against financiers of terrorism. For many years, the Holy Land Foundation used the guise of charity to raise and funnel millions of dollars to the infrastructure of the Hamas terror organization. This prosecution demonstrates our resolve to ensure that humanitarian relief efforts are not used as a mechanism to disguise and enable support for terrorist groups,” said Rowan.
HLF was incorporated by Shukri Abu Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, and Ghassan Elashi. Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh worked as fund raisers. Together, with others, they provided material support to the Hamas movement. From its inception, HLF was linked to radical groups promoting jihad. Before it was designed as a Specially Designated Terrorist by the Treasury Department and shut down in December 2001, it was the largest U.S. Muslim charity. It was based in Richardson, Texas, a Dallas suburb.
The “material support statute,” as it is commonly referred to, was enacted in 1996 as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. That statute recognizes that money is fungible, and that money in the hands of a terrorist organization — even if for so called charitable purposes — supports that organization’s overall terrorist objectives.
The jury convicted all defendants on the conspiracy charges — conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In addition, Abu Baker and Elashi were convicted of conspiring to impede and impair the IRS.
HLF, Abu Baker and Elashi were also convicted on all of the substantive charges of providing material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, providing funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist and money laundering. Abu Baker was convicted on one count of filing a false tax return and Elashi was convicted on two counts of filing a false tax return.
The government presented evidence at trial that, as the U.S. began to scrutinize individuals and entities in the U.S. who were raising funds for terrorist groups in the mid-1990s, the HLF intentionally hid its financial support for Hamas behind the guise of charitable donations. HLF and these five defendants provided approximately $12.4 million in support to Hamas and its goal of creating an Islamic Palestinian state by eliminating the State of Israel through violent jihad.
The government’s case included testimony that in the early 1990’s, Hamas’ parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, planned to establish a network of organizations in the U.S. to spread a militant Islamist message and raise money for Hamas. The government’s case also included testimony about Hamas material found in zakat committees. The defendants sent HLF-raised funds to Hamas- controlled zakat committees and charitable societies in the West Bank and Gaza. Zakat is an Arabic word meaning the religious obligation to give alms.
HLF became the chief fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas. According to a wiretap of a 1993 Palestine Committee meeting in Philadelphia, former HLF President and CEO Shukri Abu Baker, spoke about playing down Hamas ties in order to keep raising money in the U.S. Another wiretapped phone call included Abdulrahman Odeh, HLF’s New Jersey representative, referring to a suicide bombing as “a beautiful operation.”
The government also presented evidence that several HLF defendants have family members who are Hamas leaders, including Hamas’s political chief, Mousa Abu Marzook, who is married to a cousin of Ghassan Elashi, HLF’s former Chairman of the Board. Ghassan Elashi, who also served as the vice-president of marketing for Infocom Corporation, is currently serving an 80-month sentence following his conviction on several charges related to export violations. Mohammed El-Mezain was HLF’s Director of Endowments and Mufid Abdulqater was HLF’s projects and grants director. Two named defendants, Akram Mishal and Haitham Maghawri are fugitives.
The defendants provided financial support to the families of Hamas martyrs, detainees, and activists knowing and intending that such assistance would support the Hamas terrorist organization. Since 1995, when it first became illegal to provide financial support to Hamas, HLF provided approximately $12.4 million in funding to Hamas through various Hamas-affiliated committees and organizations located in Palestinian-controlled areas and elsewhere.
During trial, the government also presented evidence that HLF was so concerned about investigators uncovering the group’s intentions that they kept a manual entitled “The Foundations Policies and Procedures.” HLF followed various security procedures outlined in the manual to include, hiring a security company to search the HLF for listening devices, ordering defendant Haitham Maghawri, (a fugitive) to take training on advanced methods in detecting wiretaps, shredding documents after board meetings, and maintaining incriminating documents in off-site locations.
All defendants were detained pending sentencing; a sentencing date is forthcoming. All defendants face substantial prison sentences.
Robert E. Casey, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Dallas FBI, expressed appreciation for the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, the team of FBI Agents and staff, along with the Agents and staff of the Internal Revenue Service, Army Criminal Investigations Division, Dallas Police Department and Richardson Police Department for their efforts in this investigation.
Casey said, “These men and women followed the evidence in this case even as it led them across the globe. Their personal sacrifices and dedication to preserve the security of the U.S. and ensure justice should be admired by citizens everywhere. The FBI will continue to keep the country safe by actively investigating all forms of terrorist threats, whether that threat manifests itself in the planning or execution of a violent terrorist act or other crimes that provide support to terrorist organizations.”
“Terrorist networks need money to be effective,” said Special Agent in Charge, Michael P. Lahey, Dallas Field Office. “IRS Criminal Investigation will not allow exempt organizations to be misused for raising money that is ultimately used for terrorism financing.”
The case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, involving agents from federal, state, and local agencies including: FBI, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of State, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Dallas, Plano, Garland and Richardson, Texas, Police Departments.
The case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas; Barry Jonas, Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice Counter-terrorism Section; and Elizabeth J. Shapiro, Deputy Director, Federal Programs Branch, Department of Justice, serving as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.