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FBI offers $20,000 reward for info leading to arrest of man indicted in New Bedford for murder

*Armed and Dangerous**

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Boston Division, the Norton Police Department, and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office are asking for the public’s assistance in locating longtime fugitive Andrew P. Dabbs, who is wanted for allegedly murdering his girlfriend on October 10, 1981. Dabbs should be considered armed and dangerous.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the murder and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 payable to anyone who can provide information about his current whereabouts.


FBI photo.

Andrew Peter Dabbs, also known as Peter Dabbs, is wanted for the murder of Robin A. Shea. The couple was driving through Norton, Massachusetts, when Dabbs allegedly shot Shea in the chest with a .45 caliber revolver and pushed her body out of the vehicle onto the side of Route 123, where she was later found by a passing motorist.

On November 3, 1981, Dabbs was indicted for murder by the Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and a state warrant was issued for his arrest. On September 20, 1982, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Dabbs by a United States Magistrate in the District of Massachusetts, after he was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Dabbs is a Black male with brown eyes and would now be 78 years old. At the time of the murder, he weighed approximately 180 pounds and was approximately 5’10” tall. He had a mole on the right side of his nose, a scar on his arm, and skin grafts on his leg from a burn. Dabbs was an auto mechanic and may have possessed weapons and was known to use drugs. His last known address was in Derry, New Hampshire, but he also has ties to Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, New York, and Pennsylvania.


FBI photo.

“Someone out there knows where Andrew Dabbs is, and we’re asking you to contact us. We are in the final stages of this investigation and we’re doing everything we can bring him to justice and provide some much-needed closure to Robin’s family who has already endured enough heartache,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.

Robin Shea’s sister, Joyce Carter, added, “The reality is that this is really unfinished, it’s unfinished in the sense that I’m talking about it and he’s out there somewhere. Maybe he’s dead, and if he is, I would love to know that, I would love to know more of that detail, and if he isn’t dead, if he’s alive, he needs to pay for what he did.”

The public is being asked to review Dabbs’ wanted poster which includes an age-progressed photo, depicting what he may look like at 78-years-old.

Photos of Robin Shea are attached and a portion of an on-camera interview with her sister Joyce Carter can be downloaded here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY6KXJ9k6HM.

A vodcast can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw2piv4FSgM.

The FBI is offering a monetary reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the location, arrest, and prosecution of Andrew P. Dabbs. Anyone with information should call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Tips can also be electronically submitted at tips.fbi.gov.


FBI photo.




New Bedford woman, Fairhaven school department employee convicted of stealing more than $100,000

A 55-year-old New Bedford woman, who while serving as the Fairhaven Public School Department’s Business Office Manager stole at least $100,000, was convicted in New Bedford District Court this week of Larceny over $250 by a Single Scheme, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Christine E. Mitchell pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday and was sentenced by Judge Patrick J. Malone to two years in the Bristol County House of Corrections. However due to the defendant’s serious current medical condition, the judge suspended the sentence for five years, meaning she will be on supervised probation for five years. If the defendant were to commit a new crime during the next five years, she could be forced to serve the entire two year jail term. Judge Malone also ordered the defendant to pay the Fairhaven School Department $1,000 in restitution, which equals the amount the school department had to pay to its insurance company as its deductible.

The defendant was an employee of the Fairhaven public schools for more than 15 years, and in her most recent role, served as the business office manager. In October of 2018, when the defendant took an unexpected medical leave, it was discovered there were a variety discrepancies in school finances that were under the direct control of the defendant. School officials were able to confront the defendant with their findings when she was back in the office. During that meeting, the defendant could not provide explanations, but prior to being terminated, handed over a resignation letter that ended with “I’m so sorry.”

Fairhaven public schools retained an accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit. That auditing report revealed a pattern of theft that totaled over $100,000. Specifically, the defendant stole $89,893 from the Student Activities funds and the preschool fund from 2015-2018 and also wrote herself unauthorized checks totaling $10,892 in 2011-2012 for a grand total $100,785. In regards to the theft from the student activities funds and preschool fund, this defendant would take possession of checks and cash, but only deposit the checks – never the cash. She would manipulate internal records to cover up the theft. Due to the cost of the audit and policy coverage, the school was unable to dig deeper back into the defendant’s time employed with the department. The insurance policy covered the school department’s loss, but the school had to pay an out-of-pocket deductible of $1,000.00.

The defendant has been suffering from a serious disease during the pendency of this case. A subset of her medical records was submitted to the judge for consideration of probation vs. jail time. The defense argued that a jail sentence was effectively a death sentence based on her current state of health.

Assistant District Attorney Madalyn Fairbanks argued that years of deception and theft warranted jail time, but a shorter period was recommended in light of the defendant’s health issues. Taking the health concerns into account, the Commonwealth argued for a two year jail term with six months to serve and the balance suspended for two years. The Commonwealth also argued for the $1,000 restitution. The defendant’s criminal behavior affected a public school, children who worked to raise money, and members of the Fairhaven community.

“I am pleased the defendant was held accountable for stealing a substantial amount of money from school department funds. This was a clear breach of trust to the town, the school committee, the children and the citizens of Fairhaven,” District Attorney Quinn said.




Nigerian national living in Massachusetts indicted in connection with romance schemes

A Nigerian national residing in Canton was indicted today by a federal grand jury for his role in a wire and bank fraud conspiracy involving romance scams targeting individuals in the United States.

Mark Arome Okuo, 41, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. Okuo was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in March 2021 and has been detained since his arrest.

According to the charging documents, Okuo participated in a conspiracy involving romance scams designed to defraud victims into sending money to accounts he controlled. Criminals perpetrating romance scams create fictitious profiles on online dating or social media websites, gain the trust of potential victims and then direct those victims to transfer money under false pretenses. To further the conspiracy, Okuo allegedly used fake passports in the names of aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to receive the proceeds of the romance scams. Okuo then allegedly executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Special assistance was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Stearns of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.




Massachusetts man pleads guilty to child pornography offenses

A Seekonk man pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 in federal court in Boston to charges of child pornography.

Sean J. Trahan, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of access with intent to view child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2022.

This case stemmed from two separate investigations into Trahan’s child pornography activities. An undercover investigation revealed that Trahan used the Dark Web to access child pornography in February 2015. In October 2015, Trahan was arrested and charged after a search of his residence revealed images of child pornography on his personal computer. At the time of his arrest, Trahan stated that he had accessed sites containing child pornography.

Trahan was released on conditions, including cell phone monitoring. On Sept. 8, 2021, he was arrested for violating conditions of his release. Trahan remains in custody.

In October 2021, Trahan was later charged in a superseding information after further investigation connected Trahan with a username that posted child pornography in a Kik messenger group. Another search of Trahan’s residence in September 2021 revealed child pornography on Trahan’s tablet.

The charges of possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography with intent to view each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Due to a prior state conviction for possession of child pornography, Trahan faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison if he is convicted. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement. Valuable assistance was provided by the Winnebago (Wis.) Sherriff’s Office and the Seekonk Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Herbert of Mendell’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.




Family seeks information on New Bedford hit and run of 12-year old child

“My 12-year old son Jayden was hit on his bike around 6:45 pm yesterday (Thursday, October 21st) leaving Buttonwood Park from his football practice.

We are looking for the person who hit him. I believe it was a black SUV, white male driver. We filed an incident report already and hoping you and the community can help us catch the guy.

We have been trying to spread the word around football over near Buttonwood .. he was hit on Rockdale Ave heading towards Arnold Street. If you have any information contact the New Bedford Police Department or Jrebello7249@gmail.com or 774-365-7645.” -Jessica Rebello.




Dartmouth Police officers allegedly assaulted while responding to shoplifting incident

On Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at approximately 1:15 p.m., Dartmouth Police responded to Walmart for a past shoplifting.

According to Walmart Loss Prevention, the male suspect had fled the store prior to the arrival of the police.

Upon viewing an image of the suspect, a Dartmouth detective positively identified him as Joshua AUDETTE, 30, of President Avenue, Fall River.

Later in the day, Dartmouth detectives observed AUDETTE as a passenger in a vehicle operating on State Road. After the vehicle was stopped, and officers encountered him, AUDETTE resisted arrest and assaulted three (3) officers.

Due to his combative and assaultive actions towards police, an electronic control device was used to subdue AUDETTE. As a result of the incident, one (1) Dartmouth officer was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

AUDETTE was charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest, and three (3) counts of assault and battery on a police officer.


Dartmouth Police Department photo.




Massachusetts man pleads guilty to federal drug and firearms charges

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and aiding and abetting the straw purchase of firearms, U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee announced.

According to court records, in April 2021, Sergio Figueroa aka “Kash,” 29, conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl. As part of the conspiracy, he used a residence in Bangor to store and distribute drugs. On April 21, 2021, agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant on the Bangor residence. Upon searching Figueroa’s bedroom, agents found 80 grams of fentanyl and $1,680 in cash, along with a loaded .380 caliber pistol. Figueroa was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because of a prior Maine felony conviction.

Earlier, in a separate January 2020 incident, court records show that Figueroa arranged for a straw purchaser to buy two pistols for him from a federal firearm licensee in Androscoggin County. While purchasing the firearms, the straw purchaser responded “Yes” to a question on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) form that asked whether the purchaser was the actual buyer of the firearms. In truth, the straw purchaser bought the firearms at Figueroa’s instruction, using money provided by Figueroa, and gave the firearms to Figueroa minutes after the sale. It is against federal law to aid and abet the provision of false information to federal firearm licensees when purchasing firearms from them.

On the drug conspiracy charge, Figueroa faces a minimum of five years in prison and up to 40 years, a $5 million fine, and four years of supervised release. On the firearms charges, he faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Lewiston Police Department investigated the case.

The prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative. PSN is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community leaders and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. PSN is coordinated by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the 94 federal judicial districts throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. PSN is customized to account for local violent crime problems and resources. Across all districts, PSN follows four key design elements of successful violent crime reduction initiatives: community engagement, prevention and intervention, focused and strategic enforcement, and accountability.




Dominican national living in Massachusetts pleads guilty to Fentanyl trafficking

A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to drug trafficking activities involving fentanyl and oxycodone.

Jose Guerrero, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and oxycodone, three counts of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2022.

Between June and August 2020, Guerrero sold fentanyl and oxycodone powder and pills on five occasions to an undercover law enforcement officer in Lawrence, and was arrested after making the fifth sale. A subsequent search of Guerrero’s residence resulted in the seizure of an additional 830 grams of fentanyl.

The charges of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and oxycodone provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charges of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl provide for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least four years of supervised release and a fine of up to $5 million. The charge of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Office, made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Lawrence Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Hassink of Mendell’s Narcotics and Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.




Two Massachusetts men convicted in large-scale cocaine and heroin trafficking conspiracy

Defendants conspired to traffic cocaine and heroin from Mexico to Springfield area.

Two Springfield men were convicted yesterday by a federal jury in Worcester for their roles in a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

Isaac Cardona, 34, and Rafael Cardona Sr., 61, were convicted following a nine-day trial of conspiracy to distribute to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin. Isaac Cardona was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Jan. 31, 2022.

The Cardonas were indicted in November 2017 as part of a 14-month wiretap investigation into a large-scale drug trafficking organization supplied by sources in Mexico and spanning at least four states.

The Cardonas conspired with co-defendant David Cruz to traffic cocaine and heroin from Mexico, through California, to the Springfield area and into New England. Isaac Cardona owed Cruz money for one kilogram of the cocaine Cruz had distributed to him, and, in order to pay down that debt, the Cardonas and other co-conspirators conspired to import at least one kilogram of heroin (which turned out to be pure fentanyl) from sources in Mexico. In late August 2016, Isaac Cardona traveled by car to San Diego, Calif., with cash to pay for the heroin. Cruz later traveled to San Diego, retrieved the car and the cash, and, on Sept. 8, 2016, used the cash to purchase what he believed to be one kilogram of heroin. Law enforcement in California seized the vehicle and recovered approximately one kilogram of pure fentanyl.

Cruz previously pleaded guilty to drug and firearms offenses and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2021.

The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine provides for a sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, at least three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Carlsbad (Calif.) Resident Office and the Westfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Catherine G. Curley, Steven H. Breslow and Neil L. Desroches of Mendell’s Springfield Office are prosecuting the case.

The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.




Massachusetts man charged with pandemic unemployment and mortgage fraud

Defendant allegedly obtained more than $67,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits while at the same time working and collecting a full-time salary.

A Taunton man was arrested today in connection with making alleged fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims and for making false statements in support of a residential mortgage application.

Clark Grant, 38, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of false statements on a loan and credit application. Grant will make an initial appearance in Boston this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein.

In March 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act created a temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which in Massachusetts is administered by the Department of Unemployment Assistance. This program is designed to provide unemployment benefits for individuals who are not eligible for other types of unemployment benefits.

According to charging documents, from approximately May 2020 to September 2021, Grant fraudulently applied for and obtained approximately $67,950 in PUA benefits while at the same time working and collecting a salary from his full-time job. In addition, from May 2021 to July 2021, Grant allegedly made false statements to a mortgage lender in order to fraudulently obtain a residential mortgage in the amount of approximately $410,000.

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of false statements on a loan and credit application provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Ketty Larco-Ward, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigation; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Massachusetts Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha made the announcement today. The Taunton Police Department provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Chao and Adam Deitch of Mendell’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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