MIDWEST CITY OK June 19 2013 — A man was shot and killed by a Midwest City police officer Monday afternoon after holding a toddler hostage for more than half an hour inside a grocery store, authorities said.
No names were released Monday.
About 3:10 p.m., a man walked into the dairy section of the Walmart Market, 7520 E Reno Ave., grabbed a 2-year-old girl and held her at knife point, Midwest City Assistant Police Chief Sid Porter said.
The store was evacuated, and officers attempted to get the child from the man, who made unintelligible demands before he held the knife to her throat and began a countdown, at the end of which he pledged to kill the girl, Porter said. Police said there was no connection between the man, the girl or her mother.
The officer fired one shot, which struck and killed the man. The girl was not hurt and was returned safely to her mother, Porter said.
“The officer had no choice. We don’t want anything to happen to an innocent bystander,” he said.
Porter said it was too early in the investigation to determine whether the man had any past criminal activity or mental health issues.
“It sounds like the officer saved the child’s life,” said Police Chief Brandon Clabes, who was out of state when the shooting occurred.
The store reopened for business Monday evening.
POLK COUNTY, Fla. – June 19 2013
Former Part-Owner of Litigation Funding Company Admits Defrauding Business Partners www.privateofficer.com
NEWARK, NJ June 19 2013—The former part-owner and underwriter for New York-based litigation funding company The Law Funder LLC admitted today in Newark federal court to participating in a secret kickback scheme that defrauded his former business partners of approximately $869,492, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Mathew Sheldon, 39, of New York, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud through the deprivation of honest services.
According to documents filed in this case and statements in court:
The Law Funder, which extends loans to plaintiffs in pending civil litigation, did business with Montclair Funding Group LLC (“MFG”)—at one time headquartered in Union City, New Jersey—and its owner Rory Donadio, 43, of New York. MFG was a broker between plaintiffs seeking advances against potential recoveries in pending litigation and private entities such as Law Funder. In exchange for a broker’s fee, MFG would, among other things, gather necessary information and documents in support of funding opportunities so Law Funder could evaluate whether to fund a case and for how much. Sheldon was a 25 percent owner in Law Funder and supervised the underwriting process for the company.
Sheldon admitted that from approximately February 2005 through July 2009, he conspired with Donadio to design and execute a secret kickback scheme. Sheldon would offer certain of Law Funder’s investment opportunities to MFG in exchange for personally receiving a portion of each broker’s commission Law Funder paid MFG. Sheldon and Donadio agreed to conceal their fee-splitting arrangement from Law Funder and Sheldon’s three partners. The kickback scheme resulted in approximately $869,492 in fraudulent payments to Sheldon, which were paid by wire transfer and other means.
Sheldon also admitted that he and Donadio concealed the scheme by, among other methods, using code such as “Giants” or the letter “G” in records referring to related transactions. He acknowledged he regularly communicated with Donadio to identify the coded transactions and calculate the amount payable to Sheldon pursuant to the kickback scheme.
The conspiracy count to which Sheldon pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross amount of pecuniary gain or loss resulting from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for October 7, 2013.
Donadio also has pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme and awaits sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, and inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Newark Division, under the direction of Maria L. Kelokates, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph B. Shumofsky, Mala Ahuja Harker, and Jenny Kramer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Evan Weitz of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.
Atlanta GA June 19 2013 Two Atlanta officers caught on video punching a suspect have now lost their certification to work as police officers.
Channel 2 Action News first exposed cellphone video of the incident in April, when one of those officers won his job back on appeal.
Now, Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council has voted to revoke both officers’ certification.
“That’s about as serious as it gets,” said POST Executive Director Ken Vance. “I think this shows that POST works.”
The officers now have 30 days to appeal that revocation. Under POST rules, they are allowed to keep working while they wait. The process can sometimes take years to resolve.
“To this very day, I’m still scared,” said Clemmin Davis, upon learning the officers in the video were wearing badges again.
Davis was the man being punched by them.
“I’m little, you know, look at me. I don’t weigh that much, and they did me like that. I just thought I was going to lose my life,” said Davis.
He was driving his girlfriend’s car in southwest Atlanta, when he got pulled over for an expired tag. He said he got worried when his passengers ran from the car.
“At that point I was scared. I didn’t know what to do or if he left weapons or drugs or anything in the vehicle,” Davis said.
He ran also and collapsed in nearby woods.
“They were just kicking me, you know, just beating me. I was trying to give up my hands as you could hear in the background,” said Davis.
He’s thankful a passerby thought to record the incident on a cellphone.
Officer Brian Thomas admitted repeatedly kicking Davis, and resigned while under investigation. Officer Joshua Lowery was suspended for two days.
Officer Nicholas Dimauro, seen punching Davis several times, was fired.
“If I had to make the same decision, I’d make it again,” Atlanta Police Chief George Turner told Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer. “I believe the officers could have handled that situation completely different.”
Turner said he takes termination very seriously, and considered Dimauro’s history with the department.
“There were multiple disciplinary issues that were in his file and that was one of the main reasons that we came to that conclusion,” said Turner, “And obviously, the actions of this particular case was pretty egregious.”
But earlier this year, the city’s civil service review board forced Turner to rehire Dimauro, despite 10 prior unnecessary force complaints the board never saw. In the incident prior to the beating, the department’s Office of Professional Standards investigators recommended terminating Dimauro, but that punishment was later reduced.
Records show the department recommended firing Thomas four different times prior to the beating; in each case he, too, received a lesser punishment.
“I absolutely agree with giving people due process rights, but it looks like in some instances, they have had more bites at the apple than may be deserved,” said Vance.
This is the second time POST has revoked Thomas. In a prior case, he appealed and made a deal for two years of POST probation instead, after giving a bulletproof vest to a criminal. Thomas has also been in trouble for domestic violence and lying.
His lengthy history did not stop Clark Atlanta University’s police department from hiring Thomas as an officer while he was under POST investigation. The department’s deputy chief said Thomas has already been terminated.
“It’s going to be real hard for him to get a third chance, real hard,” said Vance.
An Atlanta police representative said Chief Turner is waiting for official notification from POST before taking any additional action against Dimauro.
“How can you possibly justify allowing criminals patrolling the streets with a badge and a gun?” quipped attorney Mark Bullman, who filed a civil case against the city on Davis’ behalf.
They support POST’s decision to get Dimauro and Thomas off the streets.
“Of course it’s a good thing. It’s safer for the people in Atlanta,” said Bullman.
Davis just hopes this time, the punishment sticks.
“They’re supposed to be here to serve and protect us, not harm us,” said Davis.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
New Haven CT June 19 2013
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that Jonathan Gracia, 24, formerly of Middletown, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford to one count of wire fraud stemming from an investment fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Gracia falsely told friends and acquaintances that he was developing a website for which he had potential buyers and that he had developed an app for the iPhone and then solicited investments and loans from his victims in connection with both of these purported ventures. Gracia regularly told the victims that they would receive outsized returns on their investments. As part of the scheme, Gracia created bogus documents to deceive his victims, including fake checks, bogus bank account statements, and a letter that he created on what appeared to be the letterhead of a prominent Connecticut hedge fund management company. Through this scheme, Gracia defrauded his victims of at least $200,000.
Gracia is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on September 10, 2013, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Gracia has been detained since his arrest on March 18, 2013.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Branford and Stamford Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul A. Murphy.
In December 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and several law enforcement and regulatory partners announced the formation of the Connecticut Securities, Commodities and Investor Fraud Task Force, which is investigating matters relating to insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, investor fraud, financial statement fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and embezzlement. The task force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section and Antitrust Division; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; State of Connecticut Department of Banking; Greenwich Police Department; and Stamford Police Department.
Citizens are encouraged to report any financial fraud schemes by calling, toll-free, 855-236-9740, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit http://www.stopfraud.gov.
Wichita KS June 19 2013 A Wichita elementary teacher facing a misdemeanor charge for carrying a concealed gun on school property is speaking out.
Dan Nagel was arrested at White Elementary last month. He says he had completed the concealed carry courses. The law does not allow concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons in school buildings.
Nagel came to the Wichita School Board meeting Monday hoping to read a statement to board members, but didn’t sign up early enough and was turned away.
He read part of his speech to Eyewitness News.
“I’m not here to try and save my job, I’m here to try and save kids,” says Nagel.
Kansas lawmakers passed a law this year that allows school districts to designate an employee to carry a gun. The law goes into effect July 1st.
Nagel came to the board meeting Monday because board members took up the issue of concealed carry.
Wichita has a policy in place and board members don’t support changing it to allow employees to carry a weapon. No vote was taken, but the board wants the district to clarify current policies to prevent anyone other than law enforcement from carrying a firearm on school property.
Superintendent John Allison also says insurance companies that cover school districts have said they will not provide coverage to districts that allow concealed weapons.
Nagel also explained why he decided to carry a firearm.
“The reason I brought my firearm to school is the punishment I would receive would be way better than having the possibility of standing by and watching my kids be executed.
Our children can no longer be sitting ducks with bulls-eyes on their back.”
Nagel says there is a petition with thousands of signatures supporting him.
Since his arrest he has been on paid administrative leave. He faces a court date in July for his misdemeanor charge.
West Islip NY June 19 2013 “As the cold metal cuffs were tightened around our wrists,” the article began, “it was clear that we were in way over our heads.”
When two student journalists from Paw Prints, the newspaper of West Islip High School, set out to investigate school security, they thought they might do some good, maybe win the award for story of the year in the Long Island Press high school journalism contest. Instead, the article was quashed, and they wound up with a grown-up lesson in the consequences of testing nerves in a post-Newtown-massacre world.
Court proceedings against the students, Paula Pecorella and Nicholas Krauss, finally ended last week. But there are still bruised feelings and recriminations all around.
“I certainly hope that high school kids get an opportunity to engage in the real-world issues, and part of our job is to help them do that in an appropriate and responsible way,” said Richard A. Simon, the West Islip schools superintendent. “I would say that their heart was in the right place, maybe, but they didn’t go about it in the best way.”
Though the Newtown school shooting was in the back of their minds, the two students said their inspiration was what they saw as the folly of the $10 swipe cards offered to West Islip seniors as a way to gain access to the school via the back doors. As a February editorial in Paw Prints put it, “Why are students being presented the alternative of using the unlocked main entrance?”
Physical security at West Islip was spotty, the budding reporters believed: the main entrance was effectively wide-open; the back doors had locks, but students could prop them open with sticks or stones; surveillance cameras were antiquated; and the few guards assigned to patrol the perimeter — to make sure students were not cutting class — sometimes simply waved from their cars.
“It’s harder to get out of the building than it is to get in,” said Ms. Pecorella, 17, the managing editor of Paw Prints.
On Feb. 22, two teenagers Ms. Pecorella knew from church who were not students at the school pitched in with the reporting. They succeeded in entering West Islip High School, making laps around the first and second floors and exiting.
What occurred next, and who precipitated it, is at the heart of the continuing quarrel.
The students said they initially envisioned their article solely as an analysis of West Islip. Mr. Krauss, the paper’s features editor, said it was their adviser, Tina Schaefer, who “recommended to us that we should take the project to another school.” They picked North Babylon High School, which was rumored to have fortresslike defenses.
Ms. Schaefer did not return phone calls. The superintendent, however, said Ms. Schaefer “categorically says it was not the case” that she made such a suggestion. “And I absolutely believe her,” he said.
Either way, on Feb. 26, Ms. Pecorella and Mr. Krauss drove to North Babylon High School. According to a copy of the unpublished article provided by Ms. Pecorella, this is what happened:
“First, we entered through a set of doors toward the north end of the high school. Upon entering the building, we were immediately intercepted by clearly marked security guards wearing bright orange jackets, who asked for our school identification cards. After a quick excuse that our cards were left in the car, we were escorted back out the doors and were instructed not to re-enter without our cards.”
But re-enter they did.
“When we located a door not protected by security, we were sighted by a passing student who opened the door for us,” their account continued. “Upon entering the building, the next step was to make a full lap around the school as our first subjects had done in West Islip.”
Within moments, the students were stopped by a security guard and taken to the dean’s office, where, Ms. Pecorella said in an interview, the principal told them they “would see the full extent of the security at the school.”
The two were taken by Suffolk County police officers to the First Precinct station in separate cars, searched, photographed and shackled to a table with other prisoners before being freed on $50 bail. They were charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
That night, they wrote their article together via Skype. But it never ran.
According to Superintendent Simon, the principal of West Islip, Anthony Bridgeman, said the article was too focused on North Babylon. It also “kind of glorified their being arrested,” Mr. Simon said. He added that Dr. Bridgeman offered the students a chance to recast their article, but that they stopped going to journalism class and did not return text messages from the editor in chief of Paw Prints.
Ms. Pecorella disputed that, saying Dr. Bridgeman “absolutely did not want us to print anything about the topic of security; he was not willing to work with us to change the story.” Mr. Krauss conceded that they had mentally checked out of journalism class, amid feelings of betrayal.
The two students also said they deserved credit for exposing poor security at the school.
Last week, a reporter for The New York Times and a photographer carrying a bag of camera equipment were able to walk to the principal’s office without being stopped.
Mr. Simon said security would be reinforced beginning in the fall, but added that plans to do so had been under way since the Newtown shooting, and not because of the students’ article.
Mr. Krauss, who is headed to Suffolk County Community College, said he had soured on journalism as a possible career and would study international relations. Ms. Pecorella, who won 10 journalism awards this year and is headed to SUNY-Cortland, said the experience had ignited in her an even fiercer fire for the craft.
Both acknowledged the holes in their effort: not seeking interviews with West Islip school officials, misrepresenting themselves to the first guard at North Babylon and then pressing on to enter the school.
“There’s a million things we could have done to prevent what happened,” Ms. Pecorella said. “But at the time, we wanted to get to the next part of our experiment, and so we did what it took.”
Deirdre Gilligan, a spokeswoman for the North Babylon school system, said school officials followed protocol in calling in the police when the students could not show proper identification and were found to be trespassing.
“Just because they say they are working on a story for the newspaper, why is the school district supposed to take their word for it?” Ms. Gilligan said. “God forbid they were there for something else.”
Ultimately, she said, “the district decided that they did not want to go ahead and press the charges.”
So, in court on May 24, Mr. Krauss accepted an “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal,” meaning “the charges will be dismissed if there are no rearrests within six months,” said Rita Bonicelli, his lawyer. On June 6, Ms. Pecorella got the same result after a prosecutor told the judge it was offered, in part, because of “the very bright future that she does have before her.”
Source- New York Times
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Hartford CT June 19 2013
Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Michelle Laudato, 35, of Farmington, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of bank fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between July 2009 and June 2010, Laudato used her position as a teller supervisor at a branch of Webster Bank in Bristol to steal more than $178,000 from the CD accounts of at least 18 bank customers. Thirteen of the 18 bank customers were between the ages of 79 and 99.
As part of the scheme, Laudato sometimes withdrew funds from certain CD accounts to replace funds in the CD accounts she had previously accessed. She also withdrew funds in increments of $10,000 or less to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.
Laudato is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson on September 6, 2013, at which time she faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Felice M. Duffy.
DILLSBURG, Pa. June 19 2013 AP —A former teacher in central Pennsylvania is facing charges after police say she allowed a student to perform body piercings in class.
Police in Carroll Township allege 34-year-old April Beard allowed a student to pierce Beard’s ear and then pierce another student’s stomach without parental consent at Northern York County High School. She’s charged with endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Police say the student had a piercing kit. The school district says that Beard, a family and consumer science teacher, did not return to the classroom after the April 16 incident. She resigned a month later. Beard’s attorney, Robert Daniels, says she’s a good person and was a good teacher. He says she recognizes her “lapse of judgment.”
Day Care Provider Charged After Allegedly Feeding Children Drug-Laced Pancakes www.privateofficer.com
WESTERVILLE, Ohio June 19 2013- A Westerville woman is charged with six counts of child endangering after alleged activities that occurred at her home day care facility.
Tammy Eppley of Fairdale Avenue is charged after allegedly feeding six children pancakes laced with drugs to make them fall asleep.
The children were 2 to 5 years old.
Police said that at least one of the children in her care was hers.
According to police reports, Eppley allegedly prepared the food with various medications, including melatonin and antihistamine allergy medicine.
“My whole heart feels, my whole heart feels good when I’m with them,” Eppley told 10TV News on Monday.
The mother of three said that she was shocked when Children Services knocked on her door a few months ago. She said the investigation stemmed from text messages between her and her former best friend.
“I had a couple of problem children that were hyperactive,” she said. “I would say off-colored texts like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to drug them. They’re driving me bananas.’”
She said she never imaged that the texts would lead to a police investigation.
She said she did give children Benadryl, but on with their parents’ consent.
“We thought there was enough probably cause to charge her,” said Westerville Lt. Paul Scowden. “We’re pretty positive that she did this.”
Eppley said the unequivocally denied the charges.
Franklin County Children Services issued the following statement:
“We investigated this allegation in May and are no longer working with this case or this family. It has now become a police matter. Such cases of allegations made against teachers or daycare workers are appropriately assessed by Children Services for their validity but in this case we are no longer investigating.”
Police asked anyone with more information about the case to contact detectives at 614-882-7444.
NC Files Cease and Desist Order Against Southern Pines Apartment Complex-A-1 Tactical Security www.privateofficer.com
Southern Pines NC June 19 2013 The state Attorney General’s office has filed three cease-and-desist orders against representatives of the management company, the security company and a security guard at Brookside Park Apartments.
Southern Pines Police Chief Bob Temme said the orders were filed on Friday.The orders stemmed from incidents that happened earlier this month around the time police and representatives from the Moore County District Attorney’s office met with community members to discuss the possibility of a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the owners and managers of Brookside Park Apartment.
Temme said on the day before the community meeting, the police were informed by representatives of PK Management that security guards would be stationed at the complex. When asked if the guards would be armed, Temme said the answer was no.
The night after the meeting, Temme said a lieutenant and a patrol officer came across an individual who said he was a security guard working for A-1 Tactical, a company believed to be hired by the management company.
“He was, in fact, armed with a Glock semi-automatic handgun,” Temme said.
The gun, Temme said, had been modified and had not been issued by the security company, both violations of state law.
“We think it is an act of extreme indifference to human life to have armed security guards there,” Temme said, “We are not against armed security guards, we are against illegally armed security guards.”
Temme said A-1 Tactical security company is not registered with the state Attorney General’s office, making it illegal to provided armed security.
Temme said the nuisance abatement lawsuit has not been filed and the Attorney General’s actions are separate from ongoing problems at the complex.
During the public meeting earlier this month, Temme told residents that the department has averaged between 1,600 and 1,700 calls for service each year over the past six years at the Brookside complex. This figure only represents the Southern Pines Police Department’s responses, and does not include statistics from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI or any other agency.
Temme has said officers’ calls to Brookside account for about 7 percent of total calls. And of those responses to Brookside, 500, or 29 percent, are calls that require officers to initiate an investigation. It was a call volume that Temme said was “astronomical” considering the 150-apartment complex is such a small part of the town.
The frequent calls to Brookside are straining town resources, Temme said.
Representatives from the PK Management and security officers attended the meeting.
During that meeting, Temme said the police and representatives from PK management reached an agreement in 2010, but little progresss has been made since.
A copy of a letter dated July 23, 2010 from the Southern Pines Police to Teresa Blanco, PK Management’s regional manager, details the “mutual concerns regarding public safety at Brookside Park Apartments.”
During the meeting earlier this month, Krueger told attendees that the purpose of a lawsuit is to get the owners and the management company to stop the nuisance. She indicated these nuisances are in two categories: illegal drugs and breach of the peace, which she called a “situation where there are repeated acts that disturb the public order.” Filing a lawsuit could result in a judge ordering the property owners and managers to abate the nuisances. If they don’t, they could face fines or even jail time.
Residents voiced concerns over being evicted, safety, and poor communication between residents and the management company as well as the police.
Any lawsuit related to nuisance abatement at Brookside could be filed as early as next week.
Milwaukee WI June 19 2013 The security policies followed at Potawatomi Bingo Casino during a weekend shooting are similar to those used by other casinos around the state, and one expert said Tuesday that casino security guards followed industry standards by not trying to apprehend the shooter.
The Milwaukee casino is reviewing security procedures after a man ignored posted warnings and brought a gun inside the casino, shooting a Milwaukee woman in her leg early Sunday. Casino patrons were able to wrestle the gun away from the shooter. He was arrested at the casino. Charges have yet to be filed.
A casino spokesman said earlier this week that unarmed security guards are trained to lead patrons to safety, call police and serve as witnesses, rather than intervening in situations such as the shooting.
It’s important to differentiate between police officers and security guards, said Richard Sem, president of Sem Security Management, a security consulting firm in Trevor.
“They are not the same thing,” Sem said Tuesday. “The industry standard for security guards is to observe and report and be a deterrent by their presence. They are more preventive, and police are more of a reactive measure. (Police) can arrest and apprehend.”
In an active shooter situation, in which someone is indiscriminately shooting people, security officers are trained to protect people and get them out of harm’s way, he said.
“So even an armed security officer wouldn’t necessarily be expected to get in a gunbattle,” Sem said.
In general, a security guard at St. Croix Casino in Danbury might intervene during a crime, depending on the situation, said Jim Wakefield, director of security there.
But if a person was armed, security guards would likely do the same thing as those at Potawatomi, he said.
Cameras, like a security guards, can serve as a deterrent.
“We have surveillance inside, outside, everywhere and it’s state of the art,” said Louise Cornelius, gaming general manager at Oneida Casino in Green Bay.
Officials at the Oneida Casino, St. Croix Casino in Danbury, Bad River Lodge & Casino in Odanah, and St. Croix Casino in Turtle Lake said Tuesday that they prohibit firearms but do not have metal detectors, and security guards are not armed.
Only one of the four, St. Croix in Danbury, does not routinely check purses or bags of patrons.
“If we came across a person with a gun at the entrance, we would let them know it’s a premise where people cannot have a weapon,” said Travis Lowe, security director at the casino in Turtle Lake.
All four casinos, like Potawatomi, have agreements with local law enforcement agencies or tribal police to investigate crimes.
Ryan Amundson, Potawatomi casino spokesman, said Monday that procedures followed by security guards during the shooting were recommended by Milwaukee police.
Milwaukee police spokesman Sgt. Mark Stanmeyer declined to confirm or deny that, and issued the following statement:
“While the Milwaukee Police Department does not set security policies for private businesses, MPD has been and continues to be a resource for private entities, including the casino, on security-related matters. Training topics include suspicious activity and active shooter, and that training took place at the casino on Dec. 20, 2012.”
Stanmeyer referred questions about specific security procedures at the casino to the casino. He did say that police squad cars were dispatched within two minutes of the first call on Sunday, within standards set for those types of calls.
The shooting at the casino on Sunday began with a fight, police have said. Training staff to recognize escalating confrontations is an important aspect to preventing something more serious from happening, Sem said.
“It’s training all of your staff, not just security, to be vigilant and be aware and to look for suspicious activities and to look for escalation,” he said.
“Almost always there was some escalation and usually were some early sign — a verbal altercation and it gets more heated and someone pulls out the gun. That’s more common in that kind of place (a casino) than a random act of violence where someone shoots for no reason,” Sem added.
Seattle WA June 19 2013 Two men who allegedly stole thousands of feet of copper wire from runway light towers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are in custody facing federal charges, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Jeramie Harms, 28, will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle today at 1:30 p.m. Timothy Lynch, 50, is in custody in King County, Washington, on an unrelated charge and will be scheduled for his appearance in the coming weeks. The theft was discovered on February 12, 2013, when a Port of Seattle employee noticed damage to the fence surrounding the runway light structures near South 188th Street and Des Moines Memorial Drive. In total, approximately 7,200 feet of copper cable was stolen from the FAA light towers, rendering them inoperable and potentially posing a threat to airline safety.
According to the criminal complaint unsealed today, Harms and Lynch entered a secured area of Sea-Tac airport and removed copper cable from the light towers. Harms first came to the attention of law enforcement in connection with a King County burglary. While being questioned by law enforcement, information was developed linking Harms and Lynch to the wire theft. The copper wire cost more than $77,000 when it was installed in 2008. Harms was arrested yesterday afternoon.
The men are charged with theft of public property, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force which includes officers from the Port of Seattle Police Department, the Seattle Police Department, and the King County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Bates.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
ATLANTA GA June 19 2013 —Jennifer C. Alsdorf has been indicted on charges of health care fraud and wire fraud for filing over $500,000 in fraudulent claims with the Georgia Medicaid program.
“This defendant is charged with robbing Medicaid of over half-a-million dollars intended for children in need. Her alleged fraud includes billing for medical services never performed, for patients never seen, and in the names of medical professionals who were not working for the defendant,” United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Medicaid fraud affects individuals, families, and communities in higher costs, and, as this case shows, we have a strong federal-state alliance intent on combating this serious crime.”
“The FBI continues to work hard in ensuring that federal Medicaid funds are used in the manner intended by law and will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in identifying, investigating, and presenting for prosecution those individuals who abuse the system,” stated Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “Anyone with information regarding health care fraud should contact their nearest FBI field office immediately.”
“It appears that Ms. Alsdorf viewed Medicaid as a slush fund to enrich herself,” said Attorney General Sam Olens. “This case sends a strong message that the federal and state governments will work together to aggressively prosecute Medicaid fraud in Georgia.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Jennifer C. Alsdorf, 43, of Tampa, Florida, is the owner, president, and CEO of Hand in Hand Speech & Language Services Inc. The medical business is located in Tampa, Florida (and prior to 2005 in Vidalia, Georgia) and offers speech-language therapy services for children covered by Medicaid. Acting on behalf of Hand in Hand, Alsdorf contracted with speech-language pathologists to perform services under independent contractor agreements. Alsdorf would bill Medicaid for the services provided by the pathologists and then send a portion of the amount she received from Medicaid to them.
In the contracts, Alsdorf agreed to pay a set fee to the pathologists for each initial evaluation and each subsequent therapy visit rendered by the pathologists to Medicaid recipients. The fees that Alsdorf paid to the pathologists for those two services were less than, but based on, the amounts that Medicaid reimbursed for the services. Alsdorf made a profit by keeping the difference between what Medicaid paid and what she remitted to the pathologists.
After rendering services to patients, the pathologists would send Alsdorf treatment notes showing which patients they had seen, how long they had provided therapy, and which services they had provided. Alsdorf was supposed to use these notes to prepare the claims to submit to Medicaid. Unbeknownst to the speech-language pathologists, however, in addition to billing Medicaid for initial evaluations and therapy visits, Alsdorf also billed Medicaid for “sensory integration” therapy, a service the pathologists had not provided. Many of the pathologists did not even know what sensory integration therapy was and had never heard of such a service. Alsdorf did not send any of the money she received from Medicaid for this service to the pathologists. She instead kept all the money she received for sensory integration therapy.
Alsdorf also submitted claims to Medicaid for patient visits that never occurred. She submitted claims under pathologists’ names for services during times when they were not working with Hand in Hand. She also submitted claims representing that the pathologists had treated certain patients when, in fact, the pathologists had never seen or treated the patients at any time. Alsdorf is alleged to have submitted over $500,000 in fraudulent claims to Medicaid.
A federal grand jury indicted the defendant on May 21, 2013, who was arraigned today on the charges before United States Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand.
The indictment charges 74 counts of health care fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud. Each health care fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and each wire fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Investigators from the Georgia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Georgia Department of Community Health.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephen H. McClain and Georgia Assistant Attorney General Henry A. Hibbert are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan.
Woodstock GA June 19 2013 A 3-year-old police dog died from a heat stroke after being left in his handler’s patrol car, Woodstock police said Tuesday.
Spartacus, a Belgian Malinois, was found dead inside the patrol car around 9 p.m. Monday at the officer’s Pickens County home, according to Brittany Duncan, Woodstock police spokeswoman.
Spartacus, a certified multi-purpose dog, performed narcotics detection, tracking, and apprehension for the department, Duncan said.
A necropsy determined the dog’s cause of death, Duncan said.
The animal’s handler, whose name was not released, is a 9-year veteran of the department and has been a “K-9” handler for seven years, Duncan said.
“After the retirement of his first police K-9, who is now a family pet living with the K-9 handler, the handler is devastated by the loss of his second police K-9,” Duncan said in an emailed press release.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Duncan said.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the officer’s home Monday night, is also investigating the dog’s death, Sheriff Donnie Grigg told the AJC. Specific details about the investigation were not released, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said.
A memorial service for Spartacus will be held at a later date.
In an unrelated case, a South Georgia police officer resigned in September after leaving his canine partner “Sasha” in his patrol vehicle for three days.
San Bernardino CA June 19 2013 When San Bernardino police detectives would raid houses to search for drugs the past few years, they couldn’t believe what they kept finding. “The question started coming up, ‘Why are we seeing so much laundry detergent in so many dope houses?’” Sgt. Travis Walker said. Strange as it may seem, detergent — specifically liquid Tide and Tide Pods — has become a currency on the black market nationwide. It is traded for drugs or sold far below retail prices at open swap meets and clandestine meetings, law enforcement and retail officials say. Several factors have combined to turn the product into what some are calling “liquid gold”: The Tide brand is the most popular, even though it is the highest priced; detergent is relatively easy to steal and, unlike electronic items with serial numbers, is difficult to trace; and shoplifting is a relatively low-risk operation compared to other crimes to make a quick buck. “People refer to it comically like, ‘They’re stealing laundry detergent?’” said Richard Mellor, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation. But merchants aren’t laughing. Walker said one Inland supermarket chain, which he declined to identify, reported each store suffering four to six thefts of Tide per week, with each loss valued at $100 to $400. The Tide thefts are part of what merchants have told the National Retail Federation is an increase in organized groups stealing for resale many products that people use every day: razors, beauty supplies, allergy medicine. The Inland Empire Organized Retail Crime Association was created by local retailers, police and prosecutors in 2011 to share information on crime trends and suspect descriptions.
The National Retail Federation lists laundry detergent only behind baby formula as the most-stolen product. “It’s a hot commodity on the streets,” Riverside police Lt. Dan Hoxmeier said. And no, the ingredients are not broken down to make drugs, as with some cold medicines that are frequently stolen. People actually buy the stolen Tide to wash clothes. “Everyone uses laundry detergent,” Mellor said. A 2009 survey listed Procter & Gamble’s Tide, along with Kraft and Coca-Cola, as the three brands that consumers would never give up no matter how badly the economy tanked. That loyalty comes at a cost: In a recent check at a Stater Bros. market in Riverside, a 150-ounce bottle of Tide was priced at $17.97, $3 more than the same amount of Gain and $7.20 more than a 150-ounce bottle of All. Those Tide bottles can be exchanged for $5 cash or $10 worth of marijuana or crack cocaine, according to New York Magazine’s “Suds for Drugs” article, which said the product has received the nickname “liquid gold.” Sundar Raman, the marketing director of P&G’s North American fabric-care division, told the magazine, “It’s unfortunate that people are stealing Tide, and I don’t think it’s appropriate at all, but the one thing it reminds me of is that the value of the brand has stayed consistent.” Procter & Gamble officials did not return two phone messages from The Press-Enterprise seeking comment.
The scope of the problem is far beyond a single person slipping a bottle or bag of Tide under his arm and sneaking out of a supermarket, big-box store or pharmacy, and it is not limited to Tide. Rings of thieves cost businesses $30 billion annually, the National Retail Federation estimates. “This is not shoplifting we’re talking about,” Mellor said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. “It’s a criminal enterprise to make a significant profit.” Hoxmeier said a crew will often have three people: a target, lookout and mule. The target identifies the product to be stolen. The lookout makes sure no one is watching and loads the cart, with Tetris-like precision, with detergent, baby formula, razor blades, energy drinks, allergy medicine and beauty products. Sometimes they’ll conceal the bounty with blankets and even children, Hoxmeier said. The mule will then push the cart right out of the store. Once obtained, the products often go to middlemen who might have furnished the thieves with shopping lists. Riverside police Detective Dave Riedeman said some people sell the stolen items out of their homes to neighbors who learn of their availability through word of mouth. Riedeman’s partner, Detective Lori Blaszak, said stolen women’s beauty products, expensive in stores, are particularly popular on the black market.
Retailers are fighting back, short of putting Tide under lock and key. Mellor said some merchants shrink-wrap excess inventory on shelves or otherwise make the bottles difficult to reach. Others attach electronic devices that will activate an alarm if they are not removed at the checkout stand. Merchants, fierce competitors for the customer dollar, also have found success by working together. They compare notes and surveillance photos on who has been stealing and when and where, and forward the information to police. “There is a collaboration like I’ve never seen before. It’s very refreshing,” Mellor said. Organized retail crime was a hot topic at a National Retail Federation loss-prevention conference in San Diego this month that Mellor organized. He said he was heartened to see 20 law enforcement agencies represented, including some federal agencies and police from as far away as Florida.
Law enforcement also is gaining awareness of the scope of the problem and is committing more resources, Mellor added. CVS recently approached Riverside police about its theft problem, Riedeman said. The result was an operation June 4-5 in which 28 Riverside and San Bernardino officers fanned out to 16 locations and made 38 theft arrests, including 13 for felonies. Riedeman said the most audacious attempted theft was by a woman who loaded up her cart with car batteries and tried to wheel them out the door. The undercover plan involved 44 retail employees at CVS, Food 4 Less, Ralphs, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club, Stater Bros., Target, Toys R Us and Walmart stores. A Stater Bros. spokesman declined to discuss thefts from the markets. CVS did not return a call seeking comment. This was the first such operation for Riverside police, Blaszak said. “Usually we’re just coming in from behind. Part of the goal is to be proactive,” she said. The big prize was not the thieves themselves, but the identity of those, known as fences, who would have received the stolen goods, Riedeman said. “We’re going to continue to do operations like this,” Riedeman added. “Hopefully the same way the word got out that you can go out and steal whatever you want, we want to make it so you’re not so comfortable that you can go out and steal.” Follow Brian Rokos on Twitter: @Brian_Rokos and online at blog.pe.com/crime-blotter/ TIDE BY THE NUMBERS YEAR OF DEBUT: 1946 SUPERIOR PRODUCT: Tide was so revolutionary that it was “kind of like the iPod of the day,” Davis Dyer, co-author of the book “Rising Tide,” told New York Magazine. STILL NO. 1: Procter & Gamble sells about $3 billion worth of various Tide products every year, according to industry estimates. In 2010, Tide had a 28 percent share of the overall laundry detergent market, with Purex far behind at 12.5 percent. PAYING FOR IT: Prices for 150-ounce bottles of detergent at a Riverside Stater Bros. market recently: $17.97 for Tide $14.97 for Gain $10.77 for All Dource-pe.com
Seattle WA June 19 2013 Four felons who police said stole thousands of dollars of liquor from grocery stores across Western Washington have been charged with organized retail theft for a suspected months-long crime spree.
Charles Askew, Devonte Jack, Darren Dean and Blake Kirvin conspired to steal high-end liquor from Safeways, QFCs and Top Foods, investigators said. They described the thefts as “brazen,” and the men appeared to be casual about stuffing bottles into their pant legs and sweatshirts.
They “did not appear to care if they got caught,” a detective wrote in a probable cause document.
In one case from last July, police said the group stole 11 bottles of vodka for a loss of more than $4,504.89. The following month, police allege the group stole $809.60 in liquor from the Redmond Albertsons and roughly $1,200 in alcohol from a Maple Valley Safeway, and another $1,304.69 on a second visit to the Redmond Albertsons.
On a few occasions, store workers saw the men huddled in the liquor aisle and called police, but the men always drove off before police arrived, prosecutors said. Workers were able to write down the license plate number, which helped investigators.
When police caught up to the men after a long search, they reported finding stacks of stolen liquor and a stolen handgun stashed in their car.
Police suspect these thefts were spurred by the passage of Initiative 502 passed June 1, which allows private parties with liquor licenses to sell alcohol. Since that initiative passes, several grocers have complained of skyrocketing losses from liquor theft.
This suspected crime spree began just two days after that initiative passed.
Askew, Jack, Dean, and Kirvin each have several prior convictions, and excluding Kirvin have previously been convicted of third-degree theft.
The men are scheduled to have an arraignment, where they’ll enter a plea, on June 27.
Source- NBC NY
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis indicted for theft, extortion, false statements www.privateofficer.com
DeKalb District Attorney Robert James announced a grand jury indicted Ellis Tuesday on 15 counts that included charges of theft, extortion, false statements and writings, conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision and coercion of another employee to give anything of value for political purposes.
James announced during a news conference that an arrest warrant was issued for Ellis and he had up to 48 hours to turn himself in. The CEO surrendered to authorities almost immediately after.
According to the indictment, Ellis asked the county’s director of purchasing and contracting to create a list of vendors with county contracts so Ellis could solicit campaign contributions from them. It said Ellis threatened to cut business ties with vendors and report at least one employee for poor customer service after there was no response to his solicitations.
Channel 2 Action News had the only crew there when Ellis walked out of the DeKalb County Jail at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night after posting a $25,000 bond.
Channel 2′s Amy Napier Viteri tried to ask Ellis questions, but he would not stop to answer any.
Channel 2′s Ashley Swann was at Ellis’ home when he arrived there from the jail, where he gave a brief statement.
“I do want to make one statement emphatically to the good people of DeKalb County, that I’ve done nothing wrong, as I’ve said from the very beginning. (I’ve) Done nothing wrong and I would never, ever, ever do anything to violate the public trust,” Ellis said, talking to reporters in the driveway of his Stone Mountain home.
Earlier this year, agents took computers and other evidence from his home and county office. The district attorney’s office was also looking into campaign financial records.
At the time, Ellis denied any wrongdoing.
Ellis could be potentially removed from office as a result of the indictment. Gov. Nathan Deal’s office told Channel 2′s Erica Byfield the governor will receive the indictment and assemble a three-person panel to review the case. Based on the panel’s recommendation, the governor may remove Ellis. In that case, the county commission’s presiding officer, Lee May, would become the interim CEO.
“This is a sad day for DeKalb County. While every person is clearly innocent until proven guilty, this ongoing saga has been a distraction and continues to bring unwelcome negative publicity to our county and government,” May said.
Ellis’ indictment comes just months after Gov. Nathan Deal removed five DeKalb school board members for mismanagement.
“Businesses shy away from a county that’s in disrepair when they have that many problems, and they smell bad with all these problems,” he said. “Why go and put your headquarters in a county which resonates with bad press? It breaks your heart.”
But those close to Ellis still say Tuesday’s indictment doesn’t square with the man they know, who was elected to DeKalb’s top job promising reform.
“I don’t know of any forced campaign contribution that Ellis ever attempted, and I worked in all his campaigns,” said Oliver Brown, a DeKalb political operative. “I’d be shocked (if this is true).”
Should Ellis get suspended, he’ll be the seventh elected official in DeKalb to meet that fate since March. That’s when a federal judge allowed Deal to suspend two-thirds of the county school board over an accreditation agency’s allegations about nepotism, financial mismanagement and other concerns.
RALEIGH NC June18 2013 — A protest led by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP led to the arrests of 84 people Monday at the state legislature in the seventh installment of the civil rights group’s near-weekly demonstrations.
Protesters and supporters railed against the health and environmental policies of the Republican-controlled legislature as well as claims from GOP leaders that they’re disenchanted “outsiders.” Police estimated a crowd attending a rally before the protests approached roughly 1,000 people.
What started with 17 arrests and dozens of supporters in late April has grown to encompass a wider coalition of left-leaning demonstrators who are outraged over Republican policies ranging from social spending to education and voting rights. Monday’s protests brought the arrest total to more than 450 as NAACP chapter president the Rev. William Barber called for mass rallies for the next two weeks of demonstrations.
Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly and the executive branch simultaneously for the first time since 1870.
Supporters varying in age and ethnicity held signs emphasizing that they are locals in response to comments from Gov. Pat McCrory and the state Republican Party chairman that protesters represent outside interests.
“We don’t need any outside support to get this point across,” said Marge Macintyre of Chapel Hill.
Others held up signs opposing legislation that critics fear will speed up oil and gas drilling in the state. Many critics say hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” poses threats to water supplies.
“The technology of fracking is not ready for primetime,” said Ken Crossen, who said he’s an engineer from Pittsboro. “This whole thing is political, but it ought to be driven by engineering.”
Outside the Senate chambers–where protesters have gathered each week to deliver speeches, chants and songs–supporters drowned out initial commands to disperse issued through megaphone by General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver. Barber tried to quiet the crowd to let individual speakers explain why they were choosing to be arrested.
“If you want justice, you have to let people say why we’re here,” he said.
Barber said before the protests that the next two Mondays will include mass rallies along the lines of an earlier week. The legislature is expected to wrap up its regular yearly session in the coming weeks.
Barber said in an interview earlier in the day that the NAACP will continue leading events that bring greater attention to the policies of the legislature even after it adjourns.
“This is not a temporary exercise in futility,” he said. “This is a movement.”
The NAACP estimates about 4,500 people attended Monday’s protest, which is the largest yet.
Meanwhile, a new poll by the left-leaning group Public Policy Polling shows only 20 percent of people approve of the job the legislature is doing, while 56 percent disapprove. McCrory’s approval numbers are at their lowest since taking office. He sits at a 39 percent disapproval rating. Forty-five percent approve of him.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Hartford CT June 18 2013 Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut; Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General for New England; and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found Samir Zaky, 38, of Brookfield, guilty of 14 counts of health care fraud and 14 counts of making false statements relating to health care matters. The trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred V. Covello began on June 10 and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon.
“Health care fraud is a serious crime that undermines our ability to provide care to those who need it most,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Daly. “Our office is committed to protecting Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers from all unscrupulous health care providers in Connecticut.”
“When health providers put personal greed ahead of the provision of quality patient services, they should expect intense scrutiny by law enforcement officials,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Waddell. “Dr. Zaky recklessly ignored the consequences, insisting on cheating taxpayers, patients, and the Medicare program. Now, he is paying the price.”
“Medicare is in place for our nation’s elderly to receive important and often vital health care services,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “It is not for unscrupulous doctors and health care professionals to use as a personal slush fund. The FBI is committed to investigating fraud in both government-sponsored and private health insurance programs and urges anyone with information on a health care fraud to report it their local FBI office.”
According to the evidence at trial, Zaky is a podiatrist who operated Affiliated Podiatrists LLC in Brookfield. From August 2010 to July 2011, Zaky submitted numerous claims to the Medicare program stating that he had performed nail avulsions, a surgical procedure that requires use of an injectable anesthetic and removes the entire border of a patient’s toenail. In fact, Zaky had only clipped or trimmed the patient’s toenails.
Judge Covello has scheduled sentencing for September 10, 2013, at which time Zaky faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count of health care fraud and a maximum term of imprisonment of five years of each count of making a false statement.
The government also is seeking to forfeit more than $29,000 in cash found during a search of Zaky’s residence in August 2010.
Zaky has been released on bond since his arrest on November 29, 2012.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David J. Sheldon and Christopher W. Schmeisser and Auditor Kevin Saunders.
Acting U.S. Attorney Daly encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at 203-777-6311 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.
Washington DC June 18 2013
The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations.
The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.
The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. The increasingly widespread deployment of the technology in the United States has helped police find murderers, bank robbers and drug dealers, many of whom leave behind images on surveillance videos or social-media sites that can be compared against official photo databases.
But law enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.
Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.
“Where is government going to go with that years from now?” said Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann, a conservative Republican who has fought the creation of such systems there. “Here your driver’s license essentially becomes a national ID card.”
Facial-recognition technology is part of a new generation of biometric tools that once were the stuff of science fiction but are increasingly used by authorities around the nation and the world. Though not yet as reliable as fingerprints, these technologies can help determine identity through individual variations in irises, skin textures, vein patterns, palm prints and a person’s gait while walking.
The Supreme Court’s approval this month of DNA collection during arrests coincides with rising use of that technology as well, with suspects in some cases submitting to tests that put their genetic details in official databases, even if they are never convicted of a crime.
Facial-recognition systems are more pervasive and can be deployed remotely, without subjects knowing that their faces have been captured. Today’s driver’s-
license databases, which also include millions of images of people who get non-driver ID cards to open bank accounts or board airplanes, typically were made available for police searches with little public notice.
Thirty-seven states now use facial-recognition technology in their driver’s-license registries, a Washington Post review found. At least 26 of those allow state, local or federal law enforcement agencies to search — or request searches — of photo databases in an attempt to learn the identities of people considered relevant to investigations.
“This is a tool to benefit law enforcement, not to violate your privacy rights,” said Scott McCallum, head of the facial-recognition unit in Pinellas County, Fla., which has built one of the nation’s most advanced systems.
The technology produces investigative leads, not definitive identifications. But research efforts are focused on pushing the software to the point where it can reliably produce the names of people in the time it takes them to walk by a video camera. This already works in controlled, well-lit settings when the database of potential matches is relatively small. Most experts expect those limitations to be surmounted over the next few years.
That prospect has sparked fears that the databases authorities are building could someday be used for monitoring political rallies, sporting events or even busy downtown areas. Whatever the security benefits — especially at a time when terrorism remains a serious threat — the mass accumulation of location data on individuals could chill free speech or the right to assemble, civil libertarians say.
“As a society, do we want to have total surveillance? Do we want to give the government the ability to identify individuals wherever they are . . . without any immediate probable cause?” asked Laura Donohue, a Georgetown University law professor who has studied government facial databases. “A police state is exactly what this turns into if everybody who drives has to lodge their information with the police.”
Facial-recognition systems analyze a person’s features — such as the shape of eyes, the curl of earlobes, the width of noses — to produce a digital “template” that can be quickly compared with other faces in a database.
The images must be reasonably clear, though newer software allows technicians to sharpen blurry images, bolster faint lighting or make a three-dimensional model of a face that can be rotated to ease comparisons against pictures taken from odd angles.
For the state officials issuing driver’s licenses, the technology has been effective at detecting fraud. As millions of images are compared, the software typically reveals the identities of hundreds or thousands of people who may have more than one driver’s license.
When searches are made for criminal investigations, typically a photo called a “probe” is compared against existing images in a database. The analytical software returns a selection of potential matches, though their accuracy can vary dramatically. A probe image of a middle-aged white man, for example, could produce a possible match with a 20-something African American woman with similarly shaped eyes and lips. Many systems include filters that allow searchers to specify race, sex and a range of possible ages for a suspect.
“It’s a fine line where you need to protect the rights of the citizens, but you also are protecting the right of citizens when you ferret out crime,” said Anthony J. Silva, administrator of Rhode Island’s Division of Motor Vehicles and a former town police chief.
Establishing identity, Silva said, is essential to effective police work: “I can’t tell you how many times I was handed fraudulent documents. And when you are on the street at 3 a.m., who do you call?”
Pennsylvania’s Justice Network, which has allowed police anywhere in the state to compare a facial image with mug-shot databases, has become a key investigative tool, officials said, and last month it added access to 34 million driver’s-license photos. (Some residents have several images, taken over years.)
A detective in Carlisle, Pa., attempting to learn the real name of a suspect known on the street as “Buddha the Shoota” compared a Facebook page picturing the man with the mug-shot database and got a promising lead.
“Facebook is a great source for us,” said Detective Daniel Freedman, who can do facial searches from his department-issued smartphone. “He was surprised when we walked in and said, ‘How you doin’, Buddha?’ ”
He said the suspect responded, “How you know that?” — to which Freedman replied simply, “We’re the police.”
Safeguards and trends
There typically is little concern when facial-recognition systems relying on criminal databases help identify suspects in narrowly targeted investigations. But searches against images of citizens from driver’s licenses or passports, as opposed to mug shots of prisoners, raise more complex legal questions.
Police typically need only to assert a law enforcement purpose for facial searches, whether they be of suspects or potential witnesses to crimes. Civil libertarians worry that this can lead to broadly defined identity sweeps. Already many common but technically illegal activities — blocking a sidewalk, cycling at night without a light or walking a dog without a leash — can trigger police stops and requests for identification, they say.
The potential for abuse of this technology is such that we have to make sure we put in place the right safeguards to prevent misuse,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said in a statement. “We also need to make sure the government is as transparent as possible in order to give the American people confidence it’s using this technology appropriately.”
A few states, including Washington, Oregon and Minnesota, have legal barriers to police accessing facial-recognition technology in driver’s-license registries. New Hampshire’s legislature passed a law prohibiting motor vehicle officials from collecting any biometric data.
But the broader trend is toward more sophisticated databases with more expansive access. The current version of the Senate’s immigration bill would dramatically expand an electronic photo-verification system, probably relying on access to driver’s-license registries.
Montana has a facial-recognition system to help prevent fraud in its driver’s-license registry, but officials are still debating whether to allow police any kind of access.
“I can see it’s an amazingly powerful tool. It has a lot of possibilities,” said Brenda Nordlund, the administrator of the Motor Vehicle Division there. “I don’t know if that’s what citizens expect when they come in and get their driver’s-license pictures taken.”
There are substantial variations in how states allow police searches of their driver’s-license databases. Some allow only licensing-agency officials to conduct the actual searches. Others let police do searches themselves, but only from a headquarters office. And still others have made the technology available to almost any officer willing to get trained.
The District of Columbia has facial-recognition technology for its driver’s-license registry but does not permit law enforcement searches, spokeswoman Vanessa Newton said. Virginia motor vehicle officials have run a pilot program experimenting with facial-recognition technology but have not made a decision on whether police will have access to such a system if it is eventually installed, spokeswoman Sunni Brown said. Maryland does not use such technology in its driver’s-license registry.
Police long have had access to some driver’s-license information — including photographs — when they are investigating criminal suspects whose names they know. But facial-recognition technology has allowed police working from a photo of an unknown person to search for a name.
Las Vegas police, for example, called on authorities two states away in Nebraska for help solving a homicide. Based on a tip, investigators had a page from a social-media site featuring the image of an unknown suspect; the tipster said the woman in the photo had lived in Nebraska. The facial-recognition software produced a hit on a driver’s license there, cracking open the case.
“That picture hung on our wall for a long time,” said Betty Johnson, vehicle services administrator in Nebraska. “We are pretty darn proud of that one.”
Who has the databases?
A single private contractor, MorphoTrust USA, which is based in a suburban Boston office park but is owned by French industrial conglomerate Safran, dominates the field of government facial-
recognition technology systems. Its software operates in systems for the State Department, the FBI and the Defense Department. Most facial-recognition systems installed in driver’s-license registries use the company’s technology, it says.
The largest facial database belongs to the State Department and includes about 230 million searchable images, split almost equally between foreigners who apply for visas and U.S. citizens who hold passports. Access for police investigations, though, is more limited than with state driver’s-license databases.
The FBI’s own facial-recognition database has about 15 million criminal mug shots. Bureau officials are pushing to expand that by tens of millions more by encouraging states to upload their criminal justice photos into the national system. The FBI does not collect driver’s-license images, but the bureau has developed access to state systems that do.
That effort began with“Project Facemask,” which compared images of federal suspects and fugitives against photos in North Carolina’s driver’s-license registry, helping identify a double-homicide suspect who had changed his name and moved to that state from California. The FBI now has agreements giving access to driver’s-license databases in 10 states for investigative purposes. Many motor vehicle officials say they also run searches for federal agents who request them, typically through “fusion centers” that ease the sharing of information among state, local and federal authorities.
Depending on the importance of the case, federal agents can potentially tap facial databases held by driver’s-license registries, state criminal justice systems, the FBI, the State Department and the Defense Department, which has several million searchable faces, mostly Afghans and Iraqi men. Together these amount to an estimated 400 million facial images in government hands, though the rules on access to each database vary. (Often an individual is pictured in more than one database, or even more than once in a single one.)
Federal investigators searched several facial databases in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in April, officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. But the images were not clear enough to produce hits, even though both of the alleged bombers had driver’s licenses in Massachusetts, a state that uses facial-recognition technology.
Yet as facial databases grow and video cameras become more prevalent and powerful, such searches will become more effective, experts say.
“More and more, what you’re going to see is criminals and other people whose images were taken over the years are digitized, [and] put into these databases, and incidents like Boston will be easier to solve,” said James Albers, senior vice president for government operations for MorphoTrust USA.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says its facial-recognition unit conducts 5,000 searches a month and has assisted in nearly 1,000 arrests since 2004. A bulletin board in the office is lined with success stories: A teenage boy who was sending lewd messages to young girls through multiple Facebook accounts was identified, as was a suicide victim and an alleged bank robber — whose scowling image was captured by the branch’s surveillance camera.
In another case, a man reported a stolen computer but then noticed that an online photo album he long had maintained was automatically uploading new snapshots of a couple he did not recognize. When the sheriff’s office ran a search, the pictures matched faces in both the mug-shot and driver’s-license databases. The couple soon fingered an acquaintance who was arrested for stealing the computer and then selling it to them.
The sheriff’s office, whose jurisdiction includes St. Petersburg and its suburbs, built its facial-recognition system over more than a decade, relying for most of that time on mug shots collected at prisons and police booking centers across the state.
The system now has partnerships with the sheriff’s offices in more than half of Florida’s counties and many other government agencies. This year the unit added the ability to search more than 20 million driver’s-license records, bringing the number of facial images in the database to 30 million, officials say.
The Pinellas County system also has access to 250,000 mug shots — though not driver’s-license images — from the Northern Virginia Regional Identification System, a joint project of Washington area jurisdictions, including some Maryland counties.
Pinellas Deputy Jeremy Dressback, a community policing officer, uses access from the laptop in his patrol car to keep track of the people he encounters on a dingy country stretch notorious for prostitution, drugs and seedy motels.
On a recent patrol, when a scruffy-looking man he did not recognize walked up to one of the motels, Dressback stopped him on suspicion of trespassing and asked for identification. The man did not have a driver’s license but gave his name — James A. Shepherd, age 33, from Kentucky — and said he was staying at the motel with his girlfriend.
Dressback pulled out a digital camera, asked permission to take a picture and then snapped a shot. When the image did not match anyone in the facial-recognition system, Dressback downloaded the picture to his laptop computer and attached it to a field report on Shepherd as a “suspicious person.”
Shepherd, who said he was a roofer returning from work, grumbled at the intrusion, even though he had agreed to have his picture taken. “I’m not a criminal, so there’s really no reason for me to be in a criminal database,” Shepherd said before adding, “But I have been arrested quite a few times.”
When his girlfriend walked by moments later — they were indeed staying at the motel — Shepherd directed her toward their room.
“Get out of here,” he said. “You’ll be in his database in 10 seconds.”
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. June 18 2013
By- Jodie Fleischer
A Channel 2 Action News investigation found private security guards pulling over drivers in several local neighborhoods.
They use lights, sirens, and even write traffic tickets, but they aren’t real police officers. Channel 2 producers went undercover to catch the activity on video.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer received calls and emails from drivers complaining about security guards running radar and staking out stop signs in several neighborhoods.
In the gated St. Marlo community in southern Forsyth County, a security officer pulled over our producers for rolling through a smaller version of a stop sign. (Channel 2 producers first consulted our attorney and law enforcement, then drove below the speed limit. They also made sure there were no children or pedestrians around before carefully driving through, to document a traffic stop.)
The security officer issued a $100 fine traffic citation, payable to the neighborhood’s homeowners’ association, which employs the guards.
“If I was to stop a motor vehicle with lights in my car, I would be on my way to jail,” said resident T.J. Ward.
Ward believes the security officers are impersonating real ones. He has been a certified police officer for 40 years.
“A private individual can’t make a traffic stop and security officers are private individuals. The only person that can stop a motor vehicle is a law enforcement officer,” said Ward.
Ward got pulled over a few years ago, which launched a heated exchange with his HOA. In a letter, the neighborhood’s property manager wrote in part, “The decision by individuals to stop for security personnel is purely voluntary, given their understanding of homeowner responsibility to comply with all rules promulgated by the association.”
The neighborhood already installed speed bumps and posted the speed limit and stop signs.
“I think it has nothing to do with safety. It’s a money maker, and they know it,” said Chip Terrell, who got a $50 ticket in the St. Ives neighborhood in Johns Creek.
“If you don’t come to that head-jerking stop, they are coming out and trying to write you a ticket,” said Terrell.
Our cameras also caught security trucks in both neighborhoods rolling through stop signs.
Terrell believes his pest control truck made him a target. He said drivers working in the neighborhood frequently receive tickets.
“They are taking advantage of people that can’t defend themselves. There’s no legal system in here. You pay the ticket or your company doesn’t work in here anymore,” said Terrell.
“I don’t know that they’re necessarily targeting anybody,” said Tom Bartolozzi, an attorney who has represented hundreds of homeowners associations.
He said neighborhoods have the right to enforce their own rules on their streets.
“If they see a stop sign, they should just stop,” Bartolozzi said.
He added, “All it takes is one incident of a small child coming through, because you’re rolling, looking to the left, and someone comes out there. I think they would rather err on the side of caution.”
He said that guests consent to the traffic stops when they enter the gated community, and homeowners agree to live by association rules when moving in.
“It’s just the same thing like they can’t paint their house a certain color or they have to keep their lawn maintained,” said Bartolozzi.
“I think it’s absurd. It certainly seems to run afoul of state laws,” said constitutional law professor and former U.S. Attorney Bob Barr.
Barr published a column on the topic years ago, and said most homeowners don’t want the trouble or expense of battling their HOA, or they think the officers are real police officers.
“I pulled over thinking I was yielding to an emergency vehicle,” said attorney Ken Poris, who fought a traffic stop in his neighborhood outside Chicago.
The Court of Appeals wrote, “The security officers are without legal authority to stop and detain drivers for violating association rules.”
But Poris lost in the Illinois Supreme Court earlier this year.
“I felt that they were dead bang wrong,” said Poris, whose community was not gated.
He said the private security officer used a radar gun with no calibration or training.
“It’s vigilante law. He was making what amounted to a citizen’s arrest without the authority,” said Poris.
Back here in Georgia, the St. Marlo officer advised our producer that she would not be allowed back in the community until the ticket was paid.
The officer said, “We’re here to make sure no one speeds and everyone is safe.”
Critics like Ward worry about the safety of the officers and their neighborhoods.
Ward said, “God forbid that a child gets hit by a car. I understand there are a few people who speed through here, but there’s other ways of doing it. They can target a car, see the car, send them a ticket by mail.”
Bartolozzi said in most neighborhoods, the HOA board is willing to hear appeals from drivers who want to fight a ticket, but that’s the same board that collects the money.
The citations do not affect drivers’ state maintained records, and there is no criminal penalty for non-payment. However, if the driver lives in the neighborhood, the HOA can place a lien on the owner’s property for non-payment. It can also hold homeowners responsible for tickets received by their visitors, because the guards document the guest information when they enter the neighborhood.
Because a homeowner in the St. Marlo community allowed our producers through the gate, the HOA can fine that homeowner if the ticket goes unpaid. Channel 2 Action News plans to pay the fine.
Representatives from several law enforcement agencies have contacted Fleischer saying they are outraged over the issue. Many pointed out that traffic stops are one of the most dangerous parts of their job.
WASHINGTON DC June 18 2013 —Jonathan Womble, 36, a former corrections officer at the District of Columbia Jail, pled guilty today to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting $400 in cash in return for smuggling drugs and other contraband into the facility, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Womble pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Reggie B. Walton ordered him detained pending sentencing on September 13, 2013. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and financial penalties.
According to the government’s evidence, the FBI received information in January 2013 that a corrections officer was providing narcotics and other contraband to an inmate at the D.C. Jail. An investigation revealed that the inmate was working with co-conspirators outside the jail to assemble, deliver, receive, and distribute narcotics intended for inmates at the jail and that they were paying an individual to get the drugs into the facility.
On January 27, 2013, Womble met with one of the co-conspirators in the parking lot of a carry-out restaurant in the District of Columbia. The co-conspirator gave Womble a plastic bag, which contained a powdery substance consistent with heroin and marijuana. The bag also contained a cell phone, cell phone charger, and $400 in cash. Womble understood that the cash was in exchange for him getting the drugs, cell phone, and charger to the inmate in the jail. Two days later, he smuggled the items into the jail and provided them to the inmate.
Plans were subsequently made for another delivery of contraband. However, on February 12, 2013, multiple bags of marijuana were discovered and intercepted inside Womble’s locker at the jail by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections and one of its K-9 dogs. The marijuana had been provided to Womble by a person who wanted it delivered to another inmate.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge Parlave commended the work of the three agencies who jointly worked the case, including agents from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, an FBI task force officer from Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and investigators from the District of Columbia Department of Corrections Office of Investigative Services. Finally, they commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Lenisse Edloe, Legal Assistant Angela Lawrence, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard E. DiZinno and Christopher R. Kavanaugh, who are prosecuting the case.
Richmond VA June 18 2013 Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores in Virginia and across Long Island were charged on Monday in a scheme to exploit immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines.
Some business owners used Social Security numbers of a child and three deceased people on the workers’ pay stubs, authorities said.
Most of the defendants were arrested early Monday as federal authorities raided 14 franchise stores, including locations in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Va.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were executing search warrants at about 30 other stores across the country suspected of similar infractions, authorities said at a news conference in Brooklyn.
Federal indictments, which named eight men and one woman, allege that since 2000 they employed more than 50 immigrants who didn’t have permission to be in the United States.
They tried to conceal the immigrants’ employment by stealing the identities of about two dozen people — including those of the child, the dead and a Coast Guard cadet — and submitting the information to the 7-Eleven payroll department.
When 7-Eleven’s headquarters sent the wages for distribution, the employers stole “significant portions” of the workers’ pay, authorities said. The defendants also forced the workers to live in houses they owned and pay them rent in cash, they added.
“The defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants, but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and the grave to steal the identities of children and even the dead,”‘ U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Finally, these defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system.”
The government seized the franchise rights of 10 stores in New York and four stores in Virginia. The stores will remain open under the parent company’s operation.
Immigration officials detained 18 workers, including some who first notified authorities about the alleged fraud.
The defendants were to appear in court on Long Island and Norfolk, Va., later in the day to face wire fraud conspiracy, identity theft and alien harboring charges. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy.
A 7-Eleven spokesman said the company was cooperating with the investigation, but declined further comment.
The case reflects stepped up enforcement against employers using bogus documentation for immigrant workers. In the past two years, federal authorities have brought similar charges against more than 500 business-owners and managers, said James Hayes, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s New York office.
“There’s real teeth to these laws, and we’re using them now more than ever before,” Hayes said.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. also came under investigation in recent years by for hiring workers who were in the country illegally. Last year, federal prosecutors charged a Minneapolis man who ran a company that provides labor to large poultry farms with transporting and harboring illegal immigrants.
Haeyoung Yoon, senior staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project, said that low-wage employers are more prone to not having the proper documentation for their workers. Once the fraud is exposed, the workers typically end up getting fired on the spot and sometimes deported, Yoon said.
Source- NBC Washington