Posts

Showing posts from June, 2008

Illinois Veterans Affairs Official Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Accepting Illegal Gratuities

WASHINGTON – The director of the Hines, Ill., Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP) has agreed to plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy that allowed a subordinate to make contracting decisions regarding a company owned by the subordinate’s spouse, the Department of Justice announced today. The director also has agreed to plead guilty to accepting illegal gratuities.

In a plea agreement filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Joel M. Gostomelsky, admitted to conspiring with a subordinate between 2000 and 2007 to allow the subordinate to be involved in the hiring and supervising of temporary pharmacist employees supplied to the CMOP by a company owned by the subordinate’s spouse. Among other actions, Gostomelsky falsely represented to VA officials that the subordinate had no role at the CMOP in the ordering of these services, and that the subordinate would be removed from making decisions affecting the employees of the temporary s…

Bardstown Crack Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to Twenty-Four Years

LOUISVILLE, KY - Tyrone Montgomery, age 32, of 1117 Plum Run Road, Bardstown, Kentucky, was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment in United States District Court, Louisville, Kentucky, for possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.

On March 25, 2008, a federal court jury foundMontgomery guilty of three counts of possessing with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The total quantity of crack and powder cocaine totaled 574 grams, which has a street value of $57,200. At trial, the testimony established that on two occasions, Montgomery sold 82 and 111 grams of crack cocaine, respectively, to a confidential source (CS) working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Hardin County Drug Task Force. Following the March 13, 2007, drug purchase, the DEA and Hardin County Drug Task Force agents executed a search warrant at Montgomery’s residence, wherein an additional 45 grams o…

Legal Personnel Specialist Strategic Staffing Associates (SSA) Acquired by Library Associates Companies (LAC)

Denver, CO (PRWEB) June 30, 2008 -- Library Associates Companies (LAC) is pleased to announce that it has acquired Strategic Staffing Associates (SSA), formerly a corporation co-owned by Deborah Schwarz, LAC's president and CEO, which will be merged into the organization as a wholly-owned division of LAC.

"We are delighted to include Strategic Staffing Associates as part of our parent company. We are confident that the synergies in staffing, recruiting and outsourcing of legal personnel, which has grown to include attorneys, paralegals, law librarians, knowledge managers, marketing, competitive intelligence and other professionals, will position LAC to better serve its law firm and corporate legal department client base both in the Rocky Mountain region and throughout the United States," says Ms. Schwarz.

Based in Denver, Colorado, SSA provides quality legal personnel to law firms and corporate legal departments. Known for its expertise in staffing large scale attorney doc…

KRISTIN DENISE SMART

Image
NEW YORK - Kristin Denise Smart was last seen at approximately 2:00 a.m., May 25, 1996, as she was walking back to her dorm room on the California Polytechnic campus, San Luis Obispo, California from an off-campus party. Kristin was accompanied by a fellow student who stated that he left her a block from her Muir Hall dorm to go to his dorm. Kristin did not return to her room and has not contacted family or friends since that time. She did not have any identification, money, or extra clothing when she disappeared. Smart was last seen wearing a grey half T-shirt, black surfing shorts, and red "Puma" athletic shoes. Her hair is straight and shoulder length.

If you have seen Ms. Smart, or have any information as to her present whereabouts, contact the Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI at (805) 934-2444. You may also contact the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department at (805) 781-4550. A reward of $75,000 is being offered for information that helps locate Kristin. Indi…

Hot Prowl Sexual Assault Suspect Apprehended

Los Angeles - On June 23, 2008, at approximately 3:45 a.m., the victim, a 7-year old girl, was asleep in her residence in the 200 block of North Park Paseo Lane, when the suspect, later identified as Alexander Linares, attempted to sexually assault her. The victim alerted other sleeping family members by screaming. Linares then attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by the victim’s parents after a struggle. Her parents were able to detain Linares until the police arrived.

Linares had managed to cut a hole into the screen of an open downstairs window and entered the residence through the open window. He then entered the residence, and stole money from a wallet inside one of the bedrooms. Linares found the girl sleeping in her bedroom where the assault with intent to commit a lewd act with a child occurred.

Linares was arrested and booked for Penal Code Section 288(A)-Lewd Acts with a Child. The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the …

RAPIDLY GROWING NEW YORK CITY PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION

NEW YORK - New York City Paralegal Association, Inc. (NYCPA), is the only nationally recognized professional paralegal association serving the metropolitan New York area. Incorporated in May 2007, this association has rapidly grown in membership and provides a valuable medium for the progress and professional advancement of all paralegals working within the five boroughs, Westchester and Rockland Counties. We are actively seeking members who are currently employed in the paralegal field as well as students currently pursuing a paralegal studies program. Corporations interested in providing sponsorship opportunities are also welcomed.

NYCPA has launched its official website located at www.nyc-pa.org. Stop by the website for additional information about the association and its upcoming events, our official newsletter is also available online at http://www.nyc-pa.org/times.pdf.

For Further Information Contact:

Shaun Pilcher
President
Phone: (914) 798-5415
president[@]nyc-pa.org

Jessica Mieles
Vi…

HUD SECRETARY HIGHLIGHTS FAITH-BASED CONTRIBUTIONS TO FIGHTING HOMELESSNESS

WASHINGTON - Faith-based organizations are making a huge difference in the Bush Administration's efforts to reduce homelessness, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston said today. Addressing the White House National Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Conference, Preston highlighted the Administration's partnership with faith-based and community organizations and steps being taken to reduce chronic homelessness, especially among veterans.

"The Faith-Based and Community Initiative combines the strengths of the public and private sectors to make our social programs work better," said Preston. "There is a vast, network of partnerships between HUD, local communities and nonprofit organizations around the country. These partnerships are incredibly effective in helping to reduce the number of persons who are calling the streets their home."

Federal Jury Convicts High Ranking Web Site Administrator in Peer-to-Peer Piracy Crackdown

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Big Stone Gap, Va., convicted Daniel Dove, 26, formerly of Clintwood, Va., on one count each of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich announced today.

Dove was an administrator for EliteTorrents.org, an Internet piracy site that, until May 25, 2005, was a source of infringing copyrighted works, specifically pre-release movies. Elite Torrents used BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to distribute pirated works to thousands of members around the world. The jury was presented with evidence that Dove was an administrator of a small group of Elite Torrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group. The evidence showed that Dove recruited members who had very high-speed Internet connections, usually at least 50 times faster than a typical high-speed residential Internet connection, to become Uploaders. The evidence also showed that Dove…

JOIN A LOCAL PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION

Image
By: Joel Irving

Have you joined your local paralegal association? It is one of the best resources for networking, getting employment leads, and staying up to date on issues and trends in the paralegal profession. Additionally, you can find pro bono and internship opportunities through your local paralegal association.

Local paralegal associations are usually affiliated with the National Federation of Paralegal Associations or The National Association of Legal Assistants. The two organizations also offer paralegal certification and publications to keep you current on trends and issues pertaining to paralegals and the paralegal profession. Both organizations espouse the need and value of paralegals in the legal profession. If you are interested in finding out more information on paralegal associations or if you would like to find a paralegal association in your area, click on one of the two links below.

National Federation of Paralegal Associations

The National Association of Legal Assistan…

Kentucky Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Receiving Child Pornography

WASHINGTON – Mark Doane, of Independence, Ky., was sentenced today to five years in prison for receiving child pornography, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and Acting U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky James A. Zerhusen announced. U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman also ordered Doane to serve 25 years of supervised release.

In November 2005, Doane, 35, sent his computer to Hewlett Packard in Louisville, Ky., for repair. Technicians reviewing the hard drive subsequently discovered images and videos of what appeared to be minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and alerted the Independence Police Department. A preliminary forensic exam by the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uncovered approximately 70 images, 8 movie files and several cookies from child pornography Web sites on Doane’s computer. Initially, Doane claimed that a virus caused the child pornography to …

FREELANCE PARALEGALS

Image
By: Joel Irving

According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, the freelance paralegal, also known as a contract paralegal, is no different than a traditional paralegal except to the extent that an attorney in a traditional setting such as a law firm, governmental entity or corporation does not employ him. Rather, many supervising attorneys in these settings retain a freelance paralegal on an as-needed basis. Freelance paralegals are educated and qualified to perform paralegal work just the same as traditionally employed paralegals.

Paralegals who are tired of the long commute to the office and paralegals that just want to want to spend more time at home with their children; are setting up shop at home. Freelance paralegals are servicing attorney clients all over the country. With an abundance of available technology, it has never been easier to become a freelance paralegal. Everything that can be done in a brick and mortar law office can be done, conveniently, from the…

Medicare Fraud Convictions Result in Prison Terms for Mother and Two Daughters

WASHINGTON – The owners of four Miami-based healthcare corporations were sentenced and remanded to prison yesterday for their roles in schemes to defraud the Medicare program, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced today. Collectively, the three defendants through their companies collected more than $14 million from the Medicare program for unnecessary medicine, durable medical equipment (DME) and home health care services.

U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced Maria T. Hernandez (Mayte), 50, to 51 months in prison; Marta F. Jimenez, 67, to 31 months in prison; and Maivi Rodriguez, 34, to 51 months in prison. All three were remanded into federal custody at the conclusion of the sentencing. Hernandez and Rodriguez are the daughters of Jimenez. On March 7, 2008, after a five week trial, a jury convicted Hernandez, Jimenez and Rodriguez on all charged count…

Anheuser-Busch Ends Alcoholic Energy Drink Sales

SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined ten states in announcing that Anheuser-Busch will discontinue its popular alcoholic energy drinks, including Tilt and Bud Extra, and will not produce any caffeinated alcohol beverages in the future.

“Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewing company in the United States, has taken an important action to protect young people from attractive alcohol advertising and marketing,” Attorney General Brown said. “Other major alcohol manufacturers should follow Anheuser-Busch’s lead and eliminate dangerous combinations of caffeine and alcohol from the marketplace.”

Alcoholic energy drinks are prepackaged beverages that combine alcohol and caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng and other ingredients associated with non-alcoholic energy drinks. Brown asserts that Anheuser-Busch marketed Bud Extra and Tilt in violation of state consumer protection statues by:

• Making misleading health-related statements about allegedly energizing effec…

JUDITH BROWNING IS AWARDED ADVANCED CERTIFICATION

By: Joel Irving

NALA, National Association of Legal Assistants Inc., May 2008 awarded Judith Browning, paralegal with the law firm of Jenkins Fenstermaker, the Certified Legal Assistant designation. In June, Browning was awarded the prestigious Advanced Certified Paralegal designation in the area of Social Security Disability. (See, West Virginia Record.) The National Association of Legal Assistants offers 6 areas of specialization in its advanced paralegal certification program. Those areas of specialization are: Alternate Dispute Resolution, Contract Administration, Business Organizations: Incorporated Entities, Discovery, Social Security Disability, and Trial Practice.

Visit NALA's website at www.nala.org for more information on the certification programs.

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND PUBLIC ART FUND LAUNCH THE NEW YORK CITY WATERFALLS PUBLIC ART PROJECT BY ARTIST OLAFUR ELIASSON

NEW YORK - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman, and artist Olafur Eliasson today launched The New York City Waterfalls, a major work of public art that will be on display through October 13. The exhibition of four man-made waterfalls of monumental scale are on view on the shores of the New York waterfront: one on the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge; one on the Brooklyn Piers, between Piers 4 and 5 near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35 north of the Manhattan Bridge; and one on the north shore of Governors Island. The Waterfalls, which have been designed to protect water quality and aquatic life, will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they will run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Waterfalls will be lit after sunset. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor Harris and Ms. Freedman were joined by Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, …

UPCOMING EVENTS

NEW YORK - The National Association of Paralegal Associations will be presenting the 2008 Tech Institute "REAL WORLD TOOLS FOR THE VIRTUAL WORLD" at the Doubletree Hotel in Aurora, Co., July 25-26, 2008. You can visit their website at www.paralegal.org for more information.

The Association of Litigation Support Professionals invites practitioners from all sectors of the industry to attend — and submit proposals to share their own expertise at — ALSP’s first international event. Mark your calendar:

ALSP 2008 Fall Forum: Education Through Collaboration
13–14 November
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Visit www.alsponline.org/FallForum for updates and hotel information, and submit presentation proposals at www.alsponline.org/CallforPresentations. Registration opens in July, and the deadline for submissions is 18 July.

NALS...the association for legal professionals is having its 57th Annual Education Conference & National Forum in Norfolk, Virginia on September 1…

AG Cuomo obtains order against David Bourlier and Arrowhead Garage

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (June 25, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced that his office has obtained a court order barring an Oswego County garage builder who defrauded homeowners in Central New York from operating in the home improvement business.

The order, issued by Judge James Murphy in Onondaga County Supreme Court as a result of a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Cuomo’s Office, bars David F. Bourlier of County Rte. 10 in Pennellville, owner of Arrowhead Garage Builders, from operating in the home improvement business in New York state unless he posts a $75,000 performance bond with the state. The order also requires Bourlier to pay eleven consumers restitution totaling $82,562.52, plus costs and penalties to the state.

BOOKS FOR SOLDIERS

Image
By: Joel Irving

New York Paralegal Blog would like to thank the brave men and women in the U.S. military who risk their lives to protect us. New York Paralegal Blog is asking for your support in helping Books For Soldiers continue their good work in providing care packages for the mind to our U.S. Soldiers. This nonprofit organization supports all branches of deployed U.S. military with books, care-packages and letters, and is staffed entirely by volunteers. No one at Books For Soldiers receives a salary. Books For Soldiers will have to close its doors and web site – if $70,000 is not raised by November 1, 2008.

If you are interested in making a donation feel free to visit their website at:
http://www.booksforsoldiers.com/donate.php

Payday Loan Lead Generators Settle FTC Charges

Two payday loan lead generators have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that their Internet advertising stated payday loan costs and repayment periods without disclosing annual percentage rate (APR) information as federal law requires. The settlements require the respondents to disclose APR information in similar payday loan ads in the future and to comply in all other respects with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and its implementing Regulation Z. APR information helps consumers compare the costs of these payday loans with others and with alternative forms of short-term credit.

In typical payday loan transactions, consumers receive cash in exchange for their personal checks or authorization to debit their bank accounts, and lenders and consumers agree that consumers’ checks will not be cashed or their accounts debited until a designated future date. Payday loans have high fees and short repayment periods, which translate to high annual rates, and they often are due on t…

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the City of Dallas Alleging Race Discrimination and Retaliation

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the city of Dallas, alleging that the city subjected Frenchell Willis, an African-American and a former general laborer for the city, to discrimination on the basis of his race by terminating Willis from his position as a general laborer in the Wastewater Operations Division of the City’s Water Utilities Department. The complaint also alleges that the city subjected Willis to retaliation by terminating him for opposing conduct that he reasonably believed to be unlawful under Title VII.

Willis was assigned to work as a general laborer in the Dallas Water Utilities Department in October 2006. Willis reported that his immediate supervisor referred to Willis using racial slurs. On the day Willis reported the use of racial slurs by his immediate supervisor to senior management in the Dallas Water Utilities Department, Willis was terminate…

Justice Department to Monitor Election in Mississippi

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced that on June 24, 2008, it will monitor the special primary election in Wilkinson County, Miss., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The election will include special primary contests for county offices.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered by the Act or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Wilkinson County, Miss., based on the special coverage provisions. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction. Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to moni…

FHA REACHING OUT TO 675,000 AT-RISK HOMEOWNERS IN SECOND PHASE OF DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN

WASHINGTON - This week, HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is mailing hundreds of thousands of letters to homeowners at risk of losing their homes through foreclosure and urging them to consider a safer, more affordable alternative to the high-cost mortgages they are currently paying. The first round of 280,000 letters was mailed in February. FHA's public awareness campaign will continue through September, ultimately reaching 850,000 distressed homeowners.

"This letter might be the most important piece of mail many of these families will receive all year," said HUD Secretary Steve Preston. "This information could not only help save their current home, it could help provide them with long term financial security. This outreach campaign will ensure families are aware of the safe mortgage alternative offered by FHA."

Pfizer to Pay $975,000 for Alleged Clean Air Violations at Connecticut Facility

WASHINGTON—The pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay a $975,000 civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at its former manufacturing plant in Groton, Conn., the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Today’s settlement is the first of its type in federal court under regulations that are designed to control the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from pharmaceutical manufacturing operations.

The consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut settles government claims that Pfizer violated the “National Emission Standards for Pharmaceuticals Production” and the “National Emission Standards for Organic Hazardous Air Pollutants for Equipment Leaks,” (PharmaMACT regulations) under the federal Clean Air Act. The PharmaMACT regulations impose “Maximum Achievable Control Technology” (MACT) standards, which are industry-specific measures that must be implemented to control hazardous air pollutants in …

Report Card Blasts Federal Systems for Failing to Hold Judges Accountable

Washington, DC— Today, the nation's first comprehensive study of the systems that hold state and federal judges accountable issued the 13 federal circuits, which now all operate under the same set of rules, a combined D+ overall. To shine a light on the typically secretive and toothless systems that often fail to remove abusive and incompetent judges from the bench, legal consumer watchdog group HALT, Inc. released its 2008 Judicial Accountability Report Card, analyzing programs in all 50 states, D.C. and the federal circuits. "While most judges serve capably from the bench, our systems for judicial accountability unfortunately allow others to regularly abuse their positions of power," stated HALT Senior Counsel Suzanne M. Blonder. "Weak conduct codes permit federal judges to rule even when they have a critical conflict of interest in a case. Judicial discipline bodies regularly turn a blind eye to misconduct by making it difficult for citizens to file complaints…

WANTED BY THE FBI

Image
Maribel Rodriguez Vasquez is wanted for her alleged involvement in a sex trafficking organization operating in Los Angeles, California. The organization smuggled a number of young women, many of them minors, from Guatemala into the United States. The women were allegedly held without their consent and forced to engage in prostitution. The organization allegedly used "witch doctors" to warn the victims that curses would be placed on them and their families if they attempt to escape. On December 18, 2006, an arrest warrant was issued for Vasquez by the United States District Court, Central District of California, after she was charged with knowingly and intentionally concealing, harboring, and shielding illegal aliens in the United States for financial gain; importation into and harboring of aliens in the United States for purposes of prostitution; and aiding and abetting.The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leadin…

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PERSON?

Image
Chioma Gray has not been seen since December 13, 2007. She is believed to have been taken from her high school in Ventura, California, and driven to Mexico by fugitive Andrew Tafoya. The two may be travelling in a stolen, white 2008 Acura TSX with California license plate 6AXX928. It is believed that Tafoya took Gray across the border into Mexico on December 13, 2007. An arrest warrant was issued for Tafoya by the Ventura County Superior Court on December 14, 2007, after he was charged with child stealing, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and car theft. On December 31, 2007, Tafoya was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and a federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court in Los Angeles.

Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United St…

EPA to assess hazardous materials danger in Indiana floods

CHICAGO (June 20, 2008) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today will begin to assess hazardous materials, oil, orphan containers and sites that potentially present an imminent danger to health or the environment in 37 flooded counties in Indiana. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has funded EPA with $150,000 to conduct the assessments.

The Indiana counties affected by floods are Adams, Bartholomew, Boone, Brown, Clay, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, Gibson, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Henry, Huntington, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Owen, Parke, Pike, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Shelby, Sullivan, Vermilion, Vigo, Washington, and Wayne.

As with any flooding situation, EPA recommends that residents avoid contact with floodwater. More EPA advice about floods is available at: http://www.epa.gov/naturalevents/flooding.html

More information about Midwest flood response and recovery is available at: http://www.usa.gov/fl…

SOCIAL SECURITY ANNOUNCES IMPROVEMENTS TO THE TICKET TO WORK PROGRAM

The Social Security Administration issued final rules designed to improve the Ticket to Work program. The changes will improve the effectiveness of the Ticket program in assisting beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work.

"These rules outline a new and improved Ticket to Work program and are based on learning from our experiences, listening to input from interested parties, and responding to their suggestions," said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. "Beneficiaries with disabilities will have greater flexibility and expanded choices in obtaining the services they need to attain their employment goals."

The new Ticket to Work program rules:

* Include more beneficiaries under the Program--The population of individuals eligible for a Ticket is expanded to include beneficiaries who are expected to medically improve.

* Increase incentive payments for Employment Networks (ENs)--The new rules modify the EN payment systems to create greater f…

Former New York City Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery on New York Pier 86 Project

WASHINGTON - Charles N. Kriss, a former New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services engineer, pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment, which was filed on June 5, 2008 in the U.S. District Court in Islip, N.Y., and charged him with accepting money in return for ensuring that a co-conspirator corporation received orders for plastic marine pilings on a project overseen by New York City to repair Pier 86.

Plastic marine pilings are reinforced synthetic pilings, resembling telephone poles, used as substitutes for traditional wood timber pilings in port and pier construction projects and other marine applications.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Kriss has agreed to plead guilty, serve a sentence and pay a fine that will be determined by the court, and cooperate in the ongoing investigation. According to the charge, the conspiracy to bribe Kriss began in or about 1999 and continued until in or about 2003. See, USDOJ.

"Bribery und…

GOVERNOR PATERSON AND ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCE LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN FEDERAL LAND INTO TRUST DECISION

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 19, 2008) – Governor David A. Paterson and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo jointly announced today that the Governor, the counties of Oneida and Madison, and State of New York have filed a lawsuit to overturn an administrative decision by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs authorizing the transfer of more than 13,000 acres of land in Oneida and Madison Counties from being taken into trust for the Oneida Indian Nation.

The State will argue that Secretary Kempthorne’s decision is unconstitutional, because New York State has continuously exercised jurisdiction over its lands since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the lands which are the subject of the land into trust decision, and has never consented to the removal of such land from State jurisdiction. The U.S. Constitution does not grant to the United States the authority to remove land from a State’s jurisdiction for the purpose of providing such la…

More Than 400 Defendants Charged for Roles in Mortgage Fraud Schemes as Part of Operation “Malicious Mortgage”

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today a national take down of mortgage fraud schemes, the culmination of substantial coordinated efforts during the last three and a half months to identify, arrest and prosecute mortgage fraud violators through the United States. Operation Malicious Mortgage highlights the strong enforcement response undertaken by the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners to combat the threat mortgage fraud poses to the U.S. housing industry and worldwide credit markets.

From March 1 to June 18, 2008, Operation Malicious Mortgage resulted in 144 mortgage fraud cases in which 406 defendants were charged. Yesterday, 60 arrests were made in mortgage fraud-related cases in 15 districts. Charges in Operation Malicious Mortgage cases were brought in every region of the United States and in more than 50 judicial districts by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices based upon the law enforcement and investigative effor…

Thousands of Small Businesses and Nonprofits Billed for Domain Registrations They Didn't Get

A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a halt to the illegal practices of Canadian operators who deceptively posed as domain name registrars and sent bogus bills to thousands of U.S. small businesses and nonprofit organizations for their annual “WEBSITE ADDRESS LISTING.” Many of the businesses and nonprofits believed they would lose their Web site addresses unless they paid the bill, so they paid. The Federal Trade Commission alleged that in most cases the defendants did not provide domain registration services, did not provide the “search optimization” services it claimed to provide, and bilked small businesses and nonprofits out of millions of dollars.

According to the FTC, since 2004, Toronto-based Internet Listing Service has been sending fake invoices to small businesses and others, listing the existing domain name of the consumer’s Web site or a slight variation on the domain name, such as substituting “.org” for “.com.” The invoice appears to come from the businesses’ existing …

Former Monmouth County Dentist Pleads Guilty to $530,000 Disability Insurance and Social Security Fraud

TRENTON - Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Gregory A. Paw announced that a former Freehold dentist has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $530,000 in disability and Social Security benefits over a 13-year period.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Michael F. Monica, 65, of Freehold, pleaded guilty on Friday before Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa in Middlesex County to a criminal accusation which charged him with second-degree theft by deception.

At the guilty plea hearing, Monica, formerly a licensed dentist in the State of New Jersey, admitted that between Jan. 2, 1992, and Nov. 29, 2005, he fraudulently obtained disability insurance claims money from several insurance companies and from the U.S. Social Security Administration. Monica admitted that he falsely advised the insurance companies and the Social Security Administration that he was disabled and not able to practice dentistry when, in fact, he continued to operate…

Leader of Colombian Terrorist Organization AUC Pleads Guilty

MANHATTAN, NY - MICHELE M. LEONHART, the Acting Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the guilty plea of DIEGO FERNANDO MURILLO-BEJARANO, a/k/a "Don Berna," a/k/a "Don Bernardo," a/k/a "Adolfo Paz," the top leader of the Autodefensas Unidas De Colombia ("AUC"), a former Colombian paramilitary group designated by the United States Department of State as a foreign terrorist organization. MURILLO-BEJARANO pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge RICHARD M. BERMAN to conspiring to import multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the United States.

“The extradition and guilty plea of Diego Murillo-Bejarano represent a monumental defeat to the leadership of the AUC,” said DEA Acting Administrator MICHELE M. LEONHART. “It further demonstrates the strength in partnership between the DEA and Colombian law enfor…

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PERSON?

Image
Robert Arthur Wiles allegedly was kidnapped from Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport in Florida, where he worked. He was last seen at work at approximately 6:30 p.m. on April 1, 2008. A few days later, his parents received a ransom note, but no further demands have been made. Robert Wiles is employed by the family owned business, Toledo-based National Flight Services, an aircraft maintenance company. Wiles is a business development manager at the company's branch in Lakeland, Florida. Wiles is a pilot, diver, fisherman, and an athlete.

Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the toll-free number at 1-866-838-1153, the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.

FTC Staff Files Comments with HUD on Proposed Amendments to RESPA Regulations

WASHINGTON, DC - The Federal Trade Commission has authorized its staff to file comments with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) concerning proposed amendments to regulations implementing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

RESPA and its implementing regulations govern settlement services for most residential purchase, refinance, and home equity mortgage transactions. RESPA requires that consumers receive certain disclosures during the mortgage process, including the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) within three days of the loan application and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement at closing.

On March 14, 2008, HUD issued a proposed rule to revise mortgage disclosures required under RESPA. In comments prepared by the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Economics, and Office of Policy Planning, the FTC staff states that some of the proposed modifications could help consumers better understand and compare loan terms and closing costs. However, staff believes …

GOVERNOR PATERSON PRAISES STATE AGENCIES FOR TURNING GREEN POLICIES INTO PRACTICE

NEW YORK - Governor David A. Paterson today praised the work of State agencies that are cutting their energy needs and announced the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will install photovoltaic solar equipment at its Ray Brook Headquarters. The solar panels will provide one third of the agency’s energy needs, a major reduction of its outside power consumption.

Governor Paterson issued a Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Executive Order in April 2008 to promote policies within State agencies and authorities to reduce the consumption of materials and energy and reduce the potential impacts on public health and the environment. The APA was among the first to take action, with assistance from New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

U.S. Patent and Tradmark Office Offers Intellectual Property Rights Seminar in Baltimore on June 20

The USPTO and the Computing Technology Industry Association are partnering to present a free one-day seminar in Baltimore, Maryland on June 20 that will highlight practical information on how businesses can protect their own intellectual property rights both in the United States and overseas as well as discuss the growing threats of counterfeiting and piracy.

Featured speakers will include intellectual property experts on patents, trademarks, copyrights and enforcement from the USPTO.

There is no cost to attend this seminar, but registration is suggested. Click here for more information and to register.

FROM THE U.S. MARSHAL'S 15 MOST WANTED FUGITIVES LIST

Image
Washington, DC - Daniel William Hiers, Jr. seemed to be a good cop, a faithful public servant for the city of Charleston, South Carolina. But, he betrayed his badge in the worst way, using it to gain the trust of a single mother with a young daughter, then allegedly molesting the 10-year-old child over a period of months. On November 24, 2004, Hiers, 32, was arrested by the North Charleston Police Department for committing lewd acts on a child under the age of 16 and was released on bond. He was promptly suspended from the police force.

The Dorchester County, SC Sheriff’s Department subsequently filed additional charges against Hiers for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Hiers was scheduled to surrender on those charges on March 15, 2005, but failed to meet his lawyer at the sheriff’s department. When Hiers’ mother looked for him at his house, he was nowhere to be found. What was found in Hiers’ bedroom was the body of his 24-year-old wife, Ludimila, killed with …

International Arms Dealer Extradited on Terrorism Offenses

NEW YORK- Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michele M. Leonhart, the Acting Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced that international arms dealer Monzer Al Kassar, a/k/a Abu Munawar, a/k/a El Taous, arrived in New York today after being extradited from Spain on federal terrorism charges. Al Kassar was extradited to New York for his participation in a conspiracy to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the FARC) -- a designated foreign terrorist organization -- to be used to kill Americans in Colombia. Al Kassar’s co-defendants, Tareq Mousa Al Ghazi and Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, were both previously extradited to New York from Romania to face the same terrorism charges. According to the superseding Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court:Since the early 1970s, Al Kassar has been a source of weapons and military equipment for arm…

SECOND FORMER HOME DEPOT EMPLOYEE CHARGED IN ALLEGED VENDOR KICKBACK SCHEME

Atlanta, GA—JAMES P. ROBINSON, 43, of Atlanta, Georgia, was charged today in a Criminal Information with two counts of income tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Home Depot, relating to a kickback scheme involving overseas vendors. ROBINSON made his initial appearance today before United States Magistrate E. Clayton Scofield, III, and was granted $10,000 bond.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, "This defendant is the second person who has been charged with taking secret payoffs from Home Depot's foreign suppliers and then not reporting or paying taxes on that corrupt income. Vendor kickbacks to corporate employees corrupt the honest operations of American businesses, and those who pay, receive, or solicit such payoffs may face federal prosecution."

"Taking kickbacks from suppliers undermines the competitive process," said Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department's Antitrust Division …

Bankruptcy Filings Up in March

WASHINGTON, DC - Bankruptcy filings in the for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2008, exceeded 900,000, according to statistics released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The 901,927 bankruptcy cases filed represent a 30 percent increase over the 695,575 cases filed in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2007.

After an initial drop in bankruptcy filings following the October 17, 2005, implementation date of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), filings have risen gradually. Calendar year 2007 filings saw a 38 percent increase. September 2007 filings were the highest of any previous 12-month period since December 2006. See, U.S. Courts

“Free Software CD” Internet Operation Settles FTC Charges

Defendants who allegedly offered “free” software CDs that weren’t free, and billed unsuspecting consumers for a software continuity program they didn’t know they were enrolled in, have agreed to settle FTC charges that their practices violated federal law. The settlement bars the illegal practices in the future and requires the defendants to give up more than $2 million for consumer redress.

In January 2007, the FTC charged that the defendants’ Web site offered consumers a free CD containing computer software if they agreed to pay a shipping and handling fee of $1.99 to $2.99. Consumers provided their names and addresses to receive the CD and a credit or debit card number to cover postage and handling. Consumers who signed up for the free CD were then offered three more free software CDs with no additional shipping or handling fees. Before they completed the transaction, they checked a box saying they agreed to the “terms of use.” The “terms of use” detailed computer software licensin…

Appeals Court Affirms Decision to Revoke U.S. Citizenship of Pittsburgh-Area Man Who Served as Nazi Concentration Camp Guard

WASHINGTON – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday affirmed a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh revoking the U.S. citizenship of Anton Geiser of Sharon, Pa., due to his participation in Nazi-sponsored acts of persecution while serving during World War II as an armed SS guard at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and other places of persecution, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced today.

Geiser admitted under oath that he served during most of 1943 as an armed SS guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp near Berlin, Germany; that his duties included escorting prisoners to slave labor sites and standing guard in the camp’s guard towers; and that he was under standing orders to shoot any prisoner attempting escape. He also admitted serving as a guard at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and its Arolsen subcam…

Justice Department Files Employment Discrimination Lawsuit Against the City of Jackson, Alabama

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today announced the filing of a lawsuit against the city of Jackson, Ala., in the District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile, alleging that the city discharged Virginia Savage, an African American, from her employment as a circulation clerk at the city’s municipal library in retaliation for her complaints of racial discrimination and harassment by her supervisors, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Savage was employed at the library from approximately September 2002 until May 2004. In February 2004, Savage submitted a written complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), stating that her supervisors were discriminating against her on the basis of her race. As the complaint alleges, on or about May 7, 2004, the city of Jackson, through its agents at the library, discharged Savage fro…

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE ADD NEW YORK GIANTS TO THE CANYON OF HEROES

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Alliance for Downtown New York President Elizabeth Berger and New York Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck today unveiled a permanent historic marker along the Canyon of Heroes in honor of the New York Giants historic victory in Super Bowl XLII. The marker, located on Broadway between Park Place and Barclay Street, joins the more than 200 plaques in Lower Manhattan commemorating ticker-tape parades which have celebrated legendary individuals and sports teams for more than 100 years. It is the first time in history that the New York Giants will be honored with a plaque in the Canyon of Heroes, located along Broadway from Battery Park to City Hall.

"The Giants Super Bowl XLII victory was a great day in New York City history and now all the memories of that game and the tickertape parade will be etched into the streets of our city," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As Lower Manhattan continues to grow into a thriving community, the Canyon of Heroes reminds us…

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES UNPRECEDENTED DEAL WITH NATION’S LARGEST INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TO BLOCK MAJOR SOURCES OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

NEW YORK, NY (June 10, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced landmark agreements with Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to shut down major sources of online child pornography. For the first time, three of the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have agreed to block access to child porn from two significant sources. The companies will eliminate access to child porn Newsgroups, a major supplier of these illegal images, and will also purge their servers of child porn websites.

“The pervasiveness of child pornography on the Internet is horrific and it needs to be stopped,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We are attacking this problem by working with Internet Service Providers to ensure they do not play host to this immoral business. I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry.”

WAL-MART TO PAY $250,000 FOR DISABILITY BIAS

BALTIMORE – Retail giant Wal-Mart will pay $250,000 and furnish significant injunctive relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Wal-Mart failed to accommodate and then fired a long-time pharmacy technician who suffered a disability resulting from a gunshot wound.

In its suit (1:06-cv-2514), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the EEOC said that Glenda D. Allen had been employed with the Arkansas-based company as a pharmacy technician since July 1993, most recently at its store in Abingdon, Md. As a result of a gunshot wound sustained during the course of a robbery at a different employer in 1994, Allen suffered permanent damage to her spinal cord and other medical issues, including an abnormal gait requiring the use of a cane as an assistive device.

The agency charged that despite Allen’s successful job performance throughout her em…

New Officers and Board of Directors Announced for the Alliance of Legal Document Assistant Professionals

(openPR) - Sacramento, CA – The Alliance of Legal Document Assistant Professionals (ALDAP), a non-profit organization established in 2007 to further the legal document assistant (LDA) and paralegal professions, has announced the election of new association leaders at its annual member meeting in Santa Ana, California on May 30, 2008. ALDAP’s newly elected officers are: Kathleen Mountjoy, President; Suzanne Ervine, Vice President/Treasurer; and Andrew Voller, Secretary.

ALDAP President Kathleen Mountjoy co-founded the state-wide association in 2007, and previously served as Vice President and Director of Education. Mountjoy owns and operates Catalyst Legal (www.catlegal.com) with offices in Lincoln and San Diego. Mountjoy is retired from the law firm of McDonough Holland & Allen (Sacramento), and currently works as a “dual” professional, actively working both as a paralegal and LDA. She is registered as a legal document assistant (LDA) in Sacramento, Placer and San Diego Counties. I…

Justice Department to Monitor Election in South Carolina

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department today announced that on June 10, 2008, it will monitor the primary election in Williamsburg County, S.C., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights statutes. The election will include primary contests for federal, state, and county offices.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the act or by a federal court order. Federal observers will be assigned to monitor polling place activities in Williamsburg County, S.C., based on the special coverage provisions. The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel …

LATHAM MAN FRAUDULENTLY SOLICITED INVESTORS AND POCKETED $45,000 IN ILL-GOTTEN GAINS FOR BOGUS WATERFRONT REAL ESTATE DEAL IN TROY

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 6, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today announced the indictment of a Capital region man accused of fraudulently soliciting investors for a real estate venture in Troy that he knew was bound to fail.

Roger Shearer, 61, of Farmingdale Road, Latham, was charged in a six-count indictment with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud and securities fraud under the state’s “Martin Act.”

In 2003 and 2004, Shearer allegedly solicited investors for a project called Gateway Commons, which, according to Shearer, included the purchase of a building and the rehabilitation of a waterfront area in Troy, New York. Instead, according to court proceedings, Shearer solicited and pocketed $45,000 in investments after learning he would not be able to purchase the building and the venture was not going to take place.

CONNECTICUT WOMAN BARRED FROM PREPARING FEDERAL TAX RETURNS FOR OTHERS & FROM PROMOTING TAX FRAUD SCHEMES

WASHINGTON - A federal judge in Hartford, Conn., has issued a preliminary injunction order against Sunita Buddhu, the Justice Department announced today. The order precludes Ms. Buddhu from preparing federal income tax returns, amended federal income tax returns and other related documents and forms for others. Additionally, the order prohibits the Wethersfield, Conn., resident from representing customers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); advising, assisting, counseling or instructing anyone about the preparation of a federal tax return; and promoting tax fraud schemes. The court had entered a temporary restraining order against Ms. Buddhu last month.

The court found that Ms. Buddhu prepared tax returns for Paradise Consulting Services, a tax preparation business started by her father, Deowraj Buddhu. After her father was incarcerated on unrelated state charges in 2005, Ms. Buddhu took over Paradise Consulting and began operating a tax return preparation business under the nam…

FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS CALIFORNIA PRODUCER & HIS ADULT ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY OF OBSCENITY CRIMES

WASHINGTON - A federal jury in Tampa, Fla., convicted Paul F. Little and his adult entertainment company, MaxWorld Entertainment Inc. (MaxWorld), of obscenity crimes, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Matthew Friedrich and Chief Postal Inspector Alexander Lazaroff announced today.

Following a seven-day trial, the Tampa jury found Little, 50, of Altadena, Calif., and MaxWorld guilty of all charged counts of transporting obscene matter by use of an interactive computer service and mailing obscene matter. At sentencing on Sept. 5, 2008, Little faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of conviction as well as forfeiture of all domain names. MaxWorld faces a separate $250,000 fine. See, USDOJ.

FBI EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGALLY ACCEPTING GRATUITY

WASHINGTON – A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employee pleaded guilty today to accepting an illegal gratuity for the performance of his official duties, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division announced today.

Curtis Jones, 47, a resident of Annapolis, Md., pleaded guilty today before Chief Judge Benson Everett Legg in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to a single count indictment that charged him with acceptance of an illegal gratuity. Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 18, 2008. Jones was a physical security specialist with the FBI at the Bureau’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at the time of his arrest.

According to the indictment, as an equipment program manager for the FBI, Jones was responsible for negotiating, reviewing and making recommendations regarding a blanket purchase agreement valued at nearly $2 million for the purchase of upgraded shredders to meet new national security standards for the destruction of classified inform…

OPERATOR WHO CRAMMED UNAUTHORIZED CHARGES FOR WEB SITE SERVICES ONTO PHONE BILLS ORDERED TO PAY $4.1 MILLION OVER FTC CHARGES

A U.S. district court has ordered a halt to the illegal operations of an defendant who crammed unauthorized charges for Web site services onto the phone bills of hundreds of thousands of small businesses and non-profit organizations. The Federal Trade Commission charged that the operation violated federal law and, following a trial, District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt ordered the defendant to permanently halt the unlawful practices and give up more than $4.1 million in ill-gotten gains.

In June 2006, the FTC charged a group of interrelated businesses and individual defendants with cramming unauthorized charges onto the phone bills of small businesses and nonprofit organizations for Web site services that, in many cases, they had not requested and did not know they had. The agency alleged that the operators used telemarketers to make cold calls to small businesses and non-profits, and offered a “free”15-day trial of a Web site design. The consumers were told there was no charge or obligation…

WALGREENS TO PAY $35 MILLION TO U.S., 46 STATES & PUERTO RICO TO SETTLE MEDICAID PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

WASHINGTON – Walgreen Co. of Deerfield, Ill., has agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that from 2001 to 2005, it improperly switched patients to different versions of the prescriptions drugs Ranitidine, Fluoxetine and Eldepryl in order to increase its reimbursement from Medicaid, the Justice Department announced today.

Walgreens, which operates over 5,000 retail pharmacies throughout the U.S., switched the prescriptions for Medicaid patients who were prescribed 150 mg or 300 mg tablets of Ranitidine to more expensive capsules; prescriptions for 10 mg or 20 mg capsules of Fluoxetine to more expensive tablets; and prescriptions for 5 mg tablets of Eldepryl to more expensive capsules. By switching the form of the drug dispensed to Medicaid patients, Walgreens substantially increased its reimbursement from Medicaid while providing no additional medical benefit to patients. See, USDOJ

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO SUES INSURAMCE BROKER WHO TARGETED SENIOR CITIZENS WITH UNNECESSARY HOME HEALTH SERVICE POLICIES

BUFFALO, N.Y. (June 2, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office filed suit against an Auburn insurance broker who targeted seniors across the state by selling overlapping home health services policies they did not need.

Thomas Piccirillo, a licensed insurance broker, used the fear of being sent to a nursing home as a tactic to sell elderly clients overlapping home health services policies. By doing so, Piccirillo obtained significant commissions from two service companies, both of which were unaware he was selling the other’s duplicative product. The Attorney General’s initial investigation determined that in 2006 alone, Piccirillo earned over $117,000 in commissions from the two service companies.

Attorney General Cuomo’s lawsuit seeks restitution for all the seniors he defrauded and to prohibit him from selling any home care policies unless he posts a $500,000 bond. The suit also seeks a $10,000 penalty against Piccirillo for defrauding senior citizens…

FTC HALTS BOGUS PREPAID PHONE CARD CLAIMS, CARDS FAILED TO DELIVER THE NUMBER OF MINUTES PROMISED IN ADS

At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U. S. District Court has ordered a temporary halt to the deceptive advertising claims used to promote prepaid phone cards marketed by Alternatel, Inc.; G.F.G. Enterprises, LLC, also d/b/a Mystic Prepaid; Voice Prepaid, Inc.; Voice Distributors, Inc.; Telecom Express, Inc.; and their principals, pending trial. The agency alleges the marketers misrepresent the number of calling minutes consumers will get on their cards and fail to adequately disclose fees that will reduce the value of the cards.

The defendants are part of an industry that sells approximately $4 billion worth of prepaid calling cards a year, many of which are sold to immigrants who depend on the cards to call friends and family in other countries.

According to the FTC, the defendants market their prepaid calling cards through small retailers such as newsstands, kiosks, grocery and convenience stores, and over the Internet. The defendants’ cards, which sell for between $…

TAVERN ON THE GREEN TO PAY $2.2 MILLION FOR HARASSMENT OF FEMALES, BLACKS, AND HISPANICS

NEW YORK – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the settlement of a harassment and retaliation lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against Tavern on the Green, a landmark restaurant located in Central Park in New York City, for $2.2 million and significant remedial relief.

The EEOC charged in the case that Tavern on the Green engaged in severe and pervasive sexual, racial, and national origin harassment of female, black, and Hispanic employees. The sexual harassment included graphic comments and demands for various sex acts, as well as groping of women’s buttocks and breasts. The racial and national origin harassment included epithets toward black and Hispanic employees and ridiculing Hispanics for their accents. The restaurant also retaliated against employees for refusing to consent to and/or objecting to the harassment, according to the EEOC.

The consent decree resolving the suit was submitted for approval today to U.S. Magistrate Judg…