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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: 77,765

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

Department Of Justice Reaches $5.5 Million Settlement With Van Andel Research Institute To Resolve

Department Of Justice Reaches $5.5 Million Settlement With Van Andel Research Institute To Resolve Allegations Of Undisclosed Chinese Grants To Two Researchers

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) has agreed to pay $5,500,000.00 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting federal grant applications and progress reports to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in which VARI failed to disclose Chinese government grants that funded two VARI researchers. The settlement further resolves allegations that in a Dec. 21, 2018 letter, VARI made certain factual representations to NIH with deliberate ignorance or reckless disregard for the truth regarding the Chinese grants.

Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said, “Our local institutions, like VARI, serve a vital role in raising West Michigan’s profile as a national player in cutting-edge biomedical research, but institutions everywhere must deal honestly and transparently when applying for U.S. government funding and respond appropriately when compliance issues arise. It’s unfair to other grant applicants and to the NIH for any institution to withhold requested information about whether the research that an institution wants the NIH to support may be getting funding from outside sources, specifically including foreign governments. False Claims Act penalties are harsh by design. I sincerely hope the word gets out on the importance of full disclosure with the government.”

“It is imperative that recipients of NIH grant funds properly report all sources of research support, financial interests and affiliations of individual researchers to ensure the proper and effective use of taxpayer dollars,” said Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge of HHS-OIG’s Chicago Region. “HHS-OIG will continue to investigate allegations of failures to properly report information to ensure the integrity of Departmental programs.”

Obtaining research funding from NIH is a highly competitive process, with only a small portion of eligible applications receiving funding each year. Nondisclosures and false statements to granting agencies are especially harmful because they distort competition, disadvantage applicants who play by the rules, and undermine agencies’ decision-making on the use of their limited resources.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdmi/pr/2019_1219_VARI

C.E.O. And Founder Of Cash Flow Partners Charged With Multimillion-Dollar Bank Fraud And Securities

C.E.O. And Founder Of Cash Flow Partners Charged With Multimillion-Dollar Bank Fraud And Securities Fraud Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County, New Jersey, man was charged today for a multi-million dollar bank fraud and securities fraud scheme operated through his company, Cash Flow Partners LLC (Cash Flow), U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Edward Espinal, 44, of Wayne, New Jersey, was charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of securities fraud. He is scheduled to have his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The Bank Fraud Conspiracy

Espinal was the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cash Flow, and controlled the company’s operations. From March 2016 through December 2019, Espinal led and directed a bank fraud conspiracy designed to obtain millions of dollars in loans from banks on the basis of false representations. To attract customers, Cash Flow released internet advertisements and held seminars offering to assist customers with low-paying salaries in obtaining loans. These advertisements included promotional videos featuring Espinal and a former telenovela actor. Customers contacted Cash Flow and were routed to the company’s sales department.

Employees in the sales department then encouraged customers to sign up for various loan programs that Cash Flow provided and to enter into contracts with Cash Flow. Under those contracts, employees would help customers obtain loans from banks. The Cash Flow contracts permitted customers to keep a portion of the loan proceeds and customers agreed to provide the remaining percentage of the proceeds to Cash Flow. Cash Flow agreed to pay off the loans on behalf of its customers.

Cash Flow then used false information and fraudulent document to obtain loans for its customers for which they otherwise would not have qualified, and posed as the customers in communications with the banks.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/ceo-and-founder-cash-flow-partners-charged-multimillion-dollar-bank-fraud-and-securities

Chinese National Arrested in $23.8 Million Scheme to Sell Counterfeit Laptop Computer Batteries on

Chinese National Arrested in $23.8 Million Scheme to Sell Counterfeit Laptop Computer Batteries on eBay and Amazon

LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man was arrested today on federal criminal charges that he participated in a $23.8 million scheme to manufacture and ship counterfeit laptop computer batteries and other electronics from China to the United States, where the bogus batteries were sold to unsuspecting buyers in online marketplaces.

Zoulin Cai, a.k.a. “Allen Cai,” 28, of La Puente, was arrested at his residence this morning on a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

The three-count indictment alleges that Cai, a Chinese national who moved to Los Angeles County in 2012, worked for Shenzhen Theseus Technology Co. Ltd., a China-based company. Theseus Technology, which was owned and operated by Cai’s relatives, manufactured counterfeit lithium-ion batteries, some of which were designed for laptop computers.

Cai and his co-conspirators sold and shipped the counterfeit batteries to unsuspecting individual buyers via eBay and Amazon, falsely advertising them as brand-name new, genuine, original, or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products, the indictment alleges. The batteries allegedly bore counterfeit trademarks of companies such as Apple, Dell, HP, and Toshiba, as well as counterfeit certification marks of UL, a company that tests and certifies the safety of electronic products.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/chinese-national-arrested-238-million-scheme-sell-counterfeit-laptop-computer-batteries

Former shipbuilding project manager sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for $1.5 million false

Former shipbuilding project manager sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for $1.5 million false invoice scheme

Defendant put shipbuilding company and 2,300 jobs at risk with embezzlement on government contract

Seattle – A former project manager for Portland, Oregon-based shipbuilder Vigor Marine LLC, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 51 months in prison for his scheme to defraud his employer out of approximately $1.5 million, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. SHELTON LAYNE SMITH, 50, of Portsmouth Virginia was indicted in June 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud on September 26, 2019. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik found that SMITH had obstructed justice by making false statements to FBI agents and urging a co-conspirator to lie to investigating agents. SMITH was also ordered to pay $1,483,802 in restitution.

“This fraud could have resulted in the shipbuilder being barred from government contracts – a key source of shipbuilding work,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “In order to line his pockets, this defendant put the future of his employer and its 2,300 person work force at risk.”

According to records filed in the case, in 2016 and 2017, SMITH served as the project manager on the renovation of two U.S. Coast Guard cutters called the “Bertholf” and the “Waesche.” The renovations took place at Vigor’s Seattle facility. SMITH was responsible for selecting vendors and approving payments to them for equipment and services related to the renovations. Smith admitted in a plea agreement that, in this role, he fabricated invoices from a fictitious company called “Marine Service Solutions” (MSS). The fraudulent invoices caused Vigor to pay out approximately $1.5 million for work that was never done and equipment that was never provided. SMITH used the fraud proceeds for his own purposes, including to finance his gambling activities.

SMITH’s scheme to defraud was an elaborate charade. SMITH persuaded a legitimate Vigor vendor to serve as a “pass-through” entity that received invoices from MSS, marked up the cost of the services, and passed on the fraudulent expenses to Vigor. The local vendor was not aware that Marine Service Solutions was not a real company. SMITH also misled a long-time acquaintance in Mississippi into setting up a bank account for MSS, cashing the checks, and funneling most of the proceeds to SMITH. In emails, SMITH posed as the Mississippi man, making it appear as if the Mississippi man was the owner of MSS.

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwa/pr/former-shipbuilding-project-manager-sentenced-more-4-years-prison-15-million-false

Husband and Wife Sentenced to Prison for Attempting to Bilk the IRS out of $1.3 Million

CHICAGO — A husband and wife have been sentenced to federal prison for stealing the identities of at least ten people and using the information to file fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $1.3 million in refunds.

TILLMAN LIGGINS III, 50, of Joliet, was sentenced Tuesday to five years and four months in prison. His wife, CHINITA WILLIAMS-LIGGINS, 39, of Joliet, was sentenced in July to three and a half years in prison. The couple was also ordered to pay $331,154 in restitution to the IRS.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed the sentences in federal court in Chicago.

The sentences were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.

“Without the compliance of taxpayers with our country’s tax laws, the federal government would essentially cease to function,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalia Coleman argued in the government’s sentencing memorandums. “The honest taxpayers must shoulder a disproportionate amount of the tax burden, and fewer necessary government services and benefits can be provided when some people cheat the IRS out of substantial sums of money.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/husband-and-wife-sentenced-federal-prison-attempting-bilk-irs-out-13-million

Report: Richest Mainers benefited from tax overhaul, poor will pay more in 2027

When Sen. Susan Collins cast her vote for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, she said the corporate tax cuts would “provide significant relief to lower- and middle-income taxpayers.” However, two years after the passage of that bill, a new analysis shows that while the wealthiest one percent of Mainers saw significant tax breaks, the state’s poorest will see their taxes increase in 2027.

Marking the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Republican tax plan, the progressive 16 Counties Coalition issued the report on Thursday to highlight the local impact of the overhaul.

“Senator Collins said this law would provide tax relief to lower- and middle-income families, but Mainers aren’t feeling it. Instead, it was big corporations and pharmaceutical companies who gained the most,” said 16 Counties executive director Willy Ritch.

“Collins said it would create more jobs and economic growth, but it hasn’t. She said the law would make the tax simpler, but it’s as complicated as ever. She said the corporate tax cuts would pay for themselves instead of adding to our nation’s debt, but our debt has continued to skyrocket,” Ritch continued. “Honestly, I don’t know how you look at this as anything other than a scam designed to benefit corporations and the wealthy.”

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/report-richest-mainers-benefited-from-tax-overhaul-poor-will-pay-more-in-2027/

Collins under fire as appeals court strikes down ACA mandate

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional, referring the law back to a lower court where observers say it will likely be struck down.

Healthcare advocates have warned that such a ruling could jeopardize health care for an estimated 83,000 Mainers and tens of millions of people across the country.

The lawsuit can be traced back to the 2017 GOP tax overhaul that included repealing the individual mandate. Spearheaded by state attorney generals from Texas and other Republican-controlled states, the lawsuit argues that the ACA is unconstitutional because, without the individual mandate, the law no longer operates under Congress’ authority to impose a tax. While the Appeals Court ruling struck down the individual mandate, the three-judge panel sent the question of whether the ACA as a whole is unconstitutional back to District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, who has already ruled against the federal health care law.

As the grassroots activist organization Suit Up Maine noted in its reaction, the ruling was handed down the same day that Sen. Susan Collins announced that she was seeking re-election.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/collins-under-fire-as-appeals-court-strikes-down-aca-mandate/

Miss Texas first to rock a 'fro at Miss America pageant

By Joy Sewing

Miss Texas and Pearland resident Chandler Foreman, 23, plays a medley of Diana Ross hits, “Theme from ‘Mahogany’” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” on the flute. She is in the Miss America pageant, televised tonight.

When Chandler Foreman takes the stage at the Miss America pageant Thursday, she'll be making a statement as one of the first contestants to wear an Afro.

Now, that may not sound like big deal, but in the pageant world, beauty is often measured by straight, flowing hair -- not natural styles such as Afros, and locks. Foreman, who's from Pearland, won Miss Texas sporting a 'fro while playing a medley of Diana Ross hits on the flute.

Her Miss Texas crowning is part of a historic year.

For the first time, the titles for all five top beauty contests have been won by black women. Most recently, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh was named Miss World. There's also Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, Miss America Nia Franklin, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garris.

Read more: https://www.lmtonline.com/life/article/Miss-Texas-first-to-rock-a-fro-at-Miss-America-14916602.php
(Laredo Morning Times)

Sovereign citizen gets 12 years in prison for child pornography

GALVESTON -- A Galveston man who has argued he couldn’t be prosecuted because he is a sovereign citizen will serve 12 years in a federal prison for receipt and possession of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

A judge Monday sentenced John David Knowlton, 57, several months after he was found guilty in a bench trial, said Angela Dodge, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Knowlton argued the federal judicial system didn’t have authority to punish him because he was a sovereign citizen, Dodge said.

The FBI defines the sovereign citizen movement as a group of anti-government extremists who believe they are separate from the United States, despite physically residing in the country. Adherents argue they don’t have to answer to any government authority, such as courts, taxing entities and law enforcement, according to federal documents.

Read more: https://www.galvnews.com/news/police/free/article_9d8a1d8d-2048-5000-81f0-99b628eb4058.html

It's always a pleasure to see the sovereign citizens end up in prison. It's a bonus when they are involved in child pornography.

Dozens of senior care homes that broke labor laws continue to get Medicaid funds

By Jennifer Gollan

Medicaid funding has continued to flow to dozens of senior care-home operators in four states cited for stealing workers’ wages or breaking other labor laws, an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Earlier this fall, Medicaid funding went to at least 45 care homes previously cited for labor violations in California, Florida, Oregon and Wisconsin. The bulk of those cases occurred in California, where at least 35 facilities continued to receive Medicaid reimbursements in October after being penalized by state or federal labor regulators. That number dropped to 18 facilities as of Nov. 21, when the state released the most recent data. Medicaid reimbursements can fluctuate month to month, depending on the number of Medicaid-eligible residents in a facility at any one time.

Government spending under the public health insurance program still was going to Agape Cottages, a chain of care homes in Southern California owned by Joseph Alvarez, who pleaded guilty last year to a criminal misdemeanor after he directed 17 workers to return $196,000 in back wages he had agreed to pay them and then lied to federal regulators to cover it up.

Also still receiving or eligible for Medicaid reimbursements were care homes in the West Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles that until recently operated under the name Adat Shalom. In 2017, state labor regulators cited Adat Shalom and its owner, Angelica Reingold, for more than $7 million for unpaid wages and penalties involving 149 workers in one of the nation’s largest cases of wage theft in the residential care industry. An appeal by the company is pending.

Read more: https://www.revealnews.org/article/dozens-of-senior-care-homes-that-broke-labor-laws-continue-to-get-medicaid-funds/
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