Crime and Safety

Roundup of sentences handed down this week in federal courts in Nebraska

OMAHA, Nebraska – The following is a summary of the sentences that were handed down this week in federal courts in Nebraska and Iowa, according to the most recent information provided by the U.S. Attorney’s offices.

The public is reminded by Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell, whose office is in Omaha, that there is no provision for parole under the federal system.

After entering a guilty plea and admitting to transporting, coercing, and seducing a juvenile, Missouri Valley resident Quinn Matthew Sorensen, 23, was given a sentence of 14 years in prison on Tuesday in a federal court in Iowa. After serving his time in jail, he will be subject to a supervised release period of 12 years and will be compelled to register as a sexual offender. In addition, he will be expected to pay restitution. Students at Millard West High School informed a school resource officer about Sorensen’s contact with a first-year student, which led to the discovery of the relationship, as stated in a press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa in Iowa. Investigators found evidence that he was communicating with multiple girls at the high school via text messages and Snapchat chats. In these messages, he encouraged high school freshman to date him and participate in sexual actions. In addition to that, he gave them alcoholic beverages and marijuana. In one incident, Sorensen was kind enough to pick up a student from Omaha and drive her all the way to her destination in Missouri Valley, which was his apartment.

This week in federal court in Omaha, 22-year-old Jose Ramon Cisneros Perez was given a sentence for receiving and attempting to receive child pornographic material. Cisneros was given a sentence of eight years in federal prison, to be followed by 15 years of supervised release. The judge who handed down the sentence was Robert F. Rossiter. The incident began in Kansas City, Missouri, when the father of a young girl of ten years old there reported that his daughter had been communicating online with someone who had asked her to send sexually explicit photos of herself. The girl’s father said that his daughter had been talking to the person for about a week. An undercover investigation conducted by a detective in Kansas City led to the discovery that the suspect’s Internet Protocol (IP) address was located at a home in Omaha. Investigators carried out a search warrant at the property, and during the course of the investigation, Cisneros admitted to having the discussion with the youngster from Kansas City as well as having additional online conversations with children that were similar in nature. According to the release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office, forensic investigations of Cisneros’ electronic devices revealed photos of child pornography that had been saved on the devices.

U.S. District Court Judge John M. Gerrard handed down the sentence this week in Lincoln for “willful failure to collect or pay over employment taxes” against 51-year-old Seward resident Melissa Grantski. She was placed on five years of probation and was required to serve 10 weekends in detention as part of her sentence. In addition to that, she was ordered to pay more than 58,000 dollars in restitution. Officers of the Internal Revenue Service were aware in October 2017 that Grantski owed back taxes because he had failed to pay payroll taxes for a trucking company located in Seward for seven consecutive quarters between 2015 and 2017. They found out much later that she was already on probation for a conviction in Seward County that was quite similar to the one they were investigating. According to the press release, “Investigators worked with Grantski in an attempt to bring her into conformity with tax regulations and pay off her tax burden.” However, their efforts were fruitless.

On Friday, Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. handed down a sentence of 15 years in prison to Christian Genchi, 29, of Omaha, for possessing methamphetamine with the purpose to distribute it as well as possessing a handgun during the commission of a crime related to narcotics trafficking. The Omaha Police Department conducted a search of a residence on August 9, 2021, and located a safe in the garage. Genchi was the owner of the safe, which contained a pistol in addition to three pounds of methamphetamine.

On Friday, Judge Robert F. Rossiter Jr. handed down a sentence of ten years in prison to Josiah Negley, 35, of Holdrege, for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the purpose to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. A search warrant was issued for a building in Kearney on March 30, 2019, by the Kearney Police Department. During the search of the building, Negley was there. As a result of the search, 117 grams of meth were located and seized. In addition, co-defendants allegedly admitted that they traveled to Colorado with the intention of purchasing methamphetamine to bring back to Kearney and sell there.

On Friday, Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. handed down a sentence of two years and six months in jail to Anthony L. Taylor, who was found to be an addict in possession of a handgun. Taylor is 34 years old. A source working with the ATF purchased a pistol from Taylor, who was a drug user at the time of the transaction, which took place on April 10, 2020.

Wesley S. Cassidy, age 27, from Wallace, was found guilty of armed bank robbery on Friday and received a sentence of four years and two months in prison from Judge John M. Gerrard. Cassidy walked into the Flatwater Bank in Gothenburg, Nebraska on August 19, 2021, brandishing a knife, and demanded money from the teller. Cassidy escaped the bank after receiving money from the teller, but she was caught not long after leaving the establishment.

Andrea Rodriguez, age 42, from Norfolk, was sentenced to four years of probation and a $10,000 fine on Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard for two charges of embezzlement and theft from an Indian tribal organization totaling less than $1,000. Rodriguez worked for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska as the Director of the Ponca Tribe’s Domestic Violence Department beginning in July 2019 and continuing through the end of his employment in October 2020. Rodriguez was in charge of managing the funds that came from the Victims of Crime Act Assistance Grant for the year 2018, which the Ponca tribe had received. Rodriguez allegedly fabricated bogus reimbursement requests from domestic abuse victims. The fraudulent petitions claimed that the funds would be used to cover the bills of victims of domestic violence; however, Rodriguez really used the money to pay her own personal expenditures. During the course of the scam, Rodriguez was paid about $19,431.57 in tribal funds.

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