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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 77,741

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Illinois House OKs tax rates for proposed graduated scale

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democrats who control the Illinois House on Thursday approved tiered income-tax rates that would take effect if voters opt for revamping state taxation to hit higher incomes harder, a plan they say is aimed at attacking the state's crippling debt.

The 67-48 vote followed blistering criticism from Republicans. They claimed it's not the ticket to financial stability that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker promises, but to runaway government spending.

The vote came on the next-to-last day of the General Assembly's spring session and finalized a Pritzker campaign centerpiece. The plan would replace the current 4.95% flat rate with a progressive scale topping out at 7.99% for the wealthiest residents of Illinois.

The overhaul would raise $3.4 billion in new annual revenue, according to Pritzker. It would take effect in 2021 only if voters in next year's election approve an amendment to the state constitution, which currently stipulates that income be taxed at a flat rate.

Read more: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/illinois-house-oks-tax-rates-for-proposed-graduated-scale/article_336c259d-a6a4-501e-b442-47004460fb34.html
(Northwest Indiana Times)

Illinois lawmakers' final day: Budget, marijuana, gambling

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Legislature has one day to churn out a state budget.

Friday is the last scheduled day of the General Assembly's spring session. Paperwork has moved in anticipation of adopting a spending plan of about $39 billion , but few details have emerged.

It promises to be a long day at the Illinois Capitol. Unresolved substantive measures join the budget. Legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana has cleared the Senate and awaits action in the House. Statutory protections for abortion have House OK and await Senate action.

Neither a long-discussed measure to legalize sports betting nor a massive expansion of casino gambling has seen action.

Read more: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois/illinois-lawmakers-final-day-budget-marijuana-gambling/article_2673446f-849c-58a3-ab03-55625285d717.html
(Northwest Indiana Times)

MSNBC to host town hall with Elizabeth Warren in Fort Wayne next week

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will bring her presidential campaign to Indiana next week with stops in both Fort Wayne and Elkhart.

MSNBC announced Wednesday night on Twitter that the cable news network will host a town hall with the Massachusetts Democrat in Fort Wayne next Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Earlier that day Warren will make a campaign stop at Southgate Crossing in Elkhart, just a short drive from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's hometown, where he formalized his own presidential run in April.

Because Indiana doesn't hold its primary early in the election cycle, the conservative-leaning state typically doesn't get much attention during Democratic primaries. But national media outlets have started flocking to the state because of Buttigieg's early success as a candidate.

Read more: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/30/msnbc-host-town-hall-elizabeth-warren-fort-wayne-next-week/1289251001/

Eight San Fernando Valley Residents Arrested in Check-Kiting Scheme that Allegedly Defrauded Banks

Eight San Fernando Valley Residents Arrested in Check-Kiting Scheme that Allegedly Defrauded Banks out of nearly $1.5 Million

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities this morning arrested eight people named in a federal grand jury indictment that alleges check-kiting schemes that used hundreds of altered Armenian passports to fraudulently open bank accounts and steal nearly $1.5 million from Bank of America and Wells Fargo. A ninth defendant in this case is currently being sought by authorities.

The investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations found that the defendants obtained genuine Armenian passports issued to other people, altered the passports to include the photos of the defendants, and used the fraudulent documents to obtain other identity documents and to open bank accounts at the victim banks.

The 36-count indictment unsealed today alleges that the defendants used the bank accounts, which were opened in the names that appeared on the altered passports, to write bad checks to other fraudulently obtained bank accounts. The defendants allegedly exploited bank rules that allowed them to transfer money from one account to another, and then to immediately withdraw funds at ATMs in Las Vegas casinos and other locations before the checks bounced.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used 331 fraudulently altered Armenian passports to steal, or attempt to steal, $1,556,336 from Bank of America. They actually obtained approximately $1.12 million.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/eight-san-fernando-valley-residents-arrested-check-kiting-scheme-allegedly-defrauded

Mandeville, Louisiana Neurologist Pleads Guilty For Role in Scheme to Unlawfully Dispense Controlled

WASHINGTON – A neurologist from Mandeville, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to unlawfully prescribe controlled substances, namely oxycodone and hydrocodone, without performing required face-to-face examinations, and his role in a scheme to commit health care fraud.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Eric J. Rommal of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Field Office made the announcement.

Anil Prasad, M.D., 62, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sentencing is set for Sept. 4, 2019, before Judge Milazzo.

In pleading guilty, Prasad admitted that he conspired with others to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances at a medical clinic that was, in actuality, a pill mill. Prasad admitted that he rarely performed face-to-face examinations of patients at the clinic to determine whether any medical necessity existed for the controlled substances that he dispensed to them. Instead, Prasad admitted he pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances for patients. Those patients then picked up the prescriptions from the clinic after making a cash payment to the clinic. Prasad also admitted that he pre-signed prescriptions before traveling internationally, and that patients would pick up those prescriptions while he was out of the country. Further, Prasad admitted that he knew certain patients who received the pre-signed prescriptions used their Medicare and Medicaid benefits to fill the prescriptions at area pharmacies. In total, Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $1,657,461.15 for those prescriptions, Prasad admitted.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edla/pr/mandeville-louisiana-neurologist-pleads-guilty-role-scheme-unlawfully-dispense

Kansas Cardiologist and His Practice Pay $5.8 Million to Resolve Alleged False Billings for Unnecess

Kansas Cardiologist and His Practice Pay $5.8 Million to Resolve Alleged False Billings for Unnecessary Cardiac Procedures

Joseph P. Galichia M.D., a Wichita, Kansas, cardiologist, has agreed to pay $5.8 million to resolve allegations that he and his medical group, Galichia Medical Group, P.A. (GMED), violated the False Claims Act by improperly billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary cardiac stent procedures, the Department of Justice announced. Galichia also agreed to a three-year period of exclusion from participation in any federal health care program. The settlement relates to a lawsuit in which the United States intervened on Dec. 12, 2014.

“This settlement reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to ensuring the safety of federal health care program beneficiaries and that taxpayer monies are properly spent,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.

“Patient safety is critically important,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister for the District of Kansas. “Performing medically unnecessary procedures puts patients at risk and defrauds federal health care programs.”

“When a physician bills the government for medically unnecessary procedures, both patients’ health and taxpayers can end up paying the price,” said Special Agent in Charge Steve Hanson of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “OIG is excluding Dr. Galichia from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs, and we will continue to work with our partners to protect the health and welfare of Medicare beneficiaries.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ks/pr/kansas-cardiologist-and-his-practice-pay-58-million-resolve-alleged-false-billings

Indictment: Kansas Couple Stole Millions In Check Kiting Scheme

TOPEKA, KAN. - The owners of the Plainville Livestock Commission in Rooks County are charged with carrying out a check kiting scheme that cost banks millions of dollars, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said today.

A grand jury in Topeka returned the indictment Wednesday.

Tyler Gillum, 47, and his wife, Camden Gillum, 50, both of Plainville, Kan., are charged with 31 counts of bank fraud, one count of making a false statement to the Small Business Administration in an application for a $1.5 million loan, and one count of making a false statement to Almena State Bank in an application for a $500,000 line of credit.

The indictment alleges the Gillums defrauded Almena State Bank in Almena, Kan., Landmark Bank in Manhattan, Kan., Colorado East Bank and Trust in Lamar, Colo., Astra Bank in Scandia, Kan., TBK Bank in Dallas, Guaranty State Bank in Beloit and The Bank in Oberlin, Kan.

The indictment alleges investigators examined unfunded checks and wire transfers totaling more $2 billion sent by Tyler Gillum as part of the scheme. That included 409 wire transfers and 7,584 checks. Tyler Gillum, formerly a loan officer for Montezuma State Bank, owned and operated with his wife Plainville Livestock Commission. In advertisements for the business, they said: “The sale barn facility was first established in 1950 and is situated in the heart of Cow-Calf Country. We pride ourselves in offering individualized attention to marketing your livestock.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ks/pr/indictment-kansas-couple-stole-millions-check-kiting-scheme

Former State Employee Sentenced to Prison for Role in Medicaid Fraud Scheme

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that TOSHIREA JACKSON, 50, of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a health care fraud scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in January 2012, Jackson and Juliet Jacob operated two businesses, Transitional Development And Training (TDAT), and It Takes A Promise (ITAP), both located at 360 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, which provided social and psychotherapy services. The investigation revealed that Jackson and Jacob used ITAP and TDAT to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services that were never provided. As part of their scheme, Jackson and Jacob used the Medicaid provider numbers of two licensed health care providers who had neither rendered nor supervised any of the psychotherapy services that Jackson and Jacob billed to Medicaid. Jackson, and the two licensed providers, were employees of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). The two providers did not authorize Jackson or Jacob to obtain provider numbers for them at TDAT or ITAP, and were not aware that TDAT or ITAP were billing Medicaid as if the providers had personally rendered the psychotherapy services.

The investigation further revealed that, in March 2012, Nikkita Chesney, who was employed by a health care provider that provided substance abuse treatment, including a detoxification program in Bridgeport, began to steal the personal identification information of Medicaid clients who were patients of her employer. The personal identifying information included the patients’ Medicaid identification number, Social Security Numbers and dates of birth. Jackson, Jacob, and Chesney then used the stolen identity information to bill Medicaid for psychotherapy services purportedly provided by TDAT and ITAP, when the Medicaid clients had never received any such services from TDAT or ITAP.

Jackson has admitted that the scheme involved stealing the identity of more than 150 Medicaid clients, and that she and her co-conspirators successfully billed Medicaid for approximately half of those clients. Jackson further admitted that she and her co-conspirators also billed Medicaid for services to other clients that were never provided to those clients.

Judge Bolden ordered Jackson to pay $2,496,618 in restitution.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ct/pr/former-state-employee-sentenced-prison-role-medicaid-fraud-scheme

Little Rock Man Pleads Guilty to Lying on Loan Applications, Lenders Lose $3.3 Million

LITTLE ROCK – A Little Rock man pleaded guilty today to making false statements on loan applications, costing banks and lenders over $3.3 million. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the guilty plea of Marcus Shane Sweetin, 46, of Little Rock. Sweetin entered his plea earlier today before United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr.

Sweetin pleaded guilty Thursday to an Information charging him with one count of making a false statement on a loan application. Sweetin operated Sweetin Farms LLC, which farmed two parcels of land in Arkansas County and Prairie County. In April 2013, Sweetin applied for a loan from AgHeritage Farm Credit Services that sought to recoup money his company allegedly spent acquiring a Case 290 Magnum Tractor. The tractor itself was to serve as collateral, and in support of the loan, Sweetin gave AgHeritage an invoice from an equipment dealer reflecting the tractor had been purchased outright and a copy of the company check that had supposedly been used to pay.

The tractor had not been purchased outright but had actually been financed through another lender. The real tractor bore a different serial number, and the check and invoice Sweetin provided in support of the loan were both fabricated. During his plea hearing, Sweetin acknowledged this was only one of several instances where he lied to lenders in order to secure loans for his farming operation. At various points, he sought purchase money for farming equipment financed elsewhere using fictitious serial numbers and invoices, he overstated farmable acreage and understated debt to secure crop loans, and he double pledged collateral. All told, these false statements secured loans that occasioned over $3.3 million in losses to AgHeritage, BancorpSouth, and Regions Bank.

Judge Moody will sentence Sweetin at a later date. Making false statements on loan applications is punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment. The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander D. Morgan.

(no more a link)

Manitowoc Man Sentenced to 84 Months in Federal Prison for $3,100,000 Ponzi Scheme That Defrauded

Manitowoc Man Sentenced to 84 Months in Federal Prison for $3,100,000 Ponzi Scheme That Defrauded Elderly Victims

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that on May 29, 2019, James A. Nickels (age 68), of Manitowoc, Wisconsin was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison for carrying out a $3,100,000 Ponzi scheme that defrauded 37 victims, most of whom were elderly. Nickels had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count of money laundering in in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.

The information presented at the sentencing hearing showed that Nickels was a prominent member of the Manitowoc community for many years, and used that status to solicit family, friends, and neighbors, many of whom were elderly, to “invest” in his business, which was largely a Ponzi scheme. Twelve persons who had lost money, or whose deceased family members had lost money due to the fraud, gave in-person statements at the sentencing, explaining the financial and emotional harm and sense of betrayal that the defendant’s actions caused them.

In pronouncing sentence, Chief United States District Court Judge William C. Griesbach described the defendant’s actions as “a scam” whose victims were vulnerable. He stated that the defendant had committed an “evil, horrible” crime that was “grotesque” and had “high impact.” The Chief Judge further reprimanded the defendant for a lack of remorse, saying that this was not a matter of business plans not working out, but a “deliberate, sophisticated effort to defraud” that was “not an aberration.” The Chief Judge further stated that Nickels’ conduct was a “betrayal of trust” of friends and family that gained him a great benefit, and that the magnitude of the offense was a “huge aggravating factor” requiring a sentence that both punished and deterred.

“As a society, we have an obligation to protect our older members from predators,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger. “This seven-year sentence sends a clear message that taking advantage of elderly persons will be met with severe punishment. This case highlights the Department of Justice’s commitment to working with state and local partners to combat elder fraud.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edwi/pr/manitowoc-man-sentenced-84-months-federal-prison-3100000-ponzi-scheme-defrauded-elderly
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