DOJ telling U.S. Attorney’s to prioritize COVID-19 fraud cases

first_img DOJ telling U.S. Attorney’s to prioritize COVID-19 fraud cases Pinterest Medical providers obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures.      In a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys issued March 19, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen also directed each U.S. Attorney to appoint a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to the Coronavirus, direct the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness activities.   The Northern District of Indiana Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator is Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell.The public is urged to report any suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) to Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell at 219-937-5656, the Indiana FBI at 317-595-4000, and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or to the NCDF e-mail address [email protected] NCDF can receive and enter complaints into a centralized system that can be accessed by all U.S. Attorneys, as well as Justice Department litigating and law enforcement components to identify, investigate and prosecute fraud schemes.  The NCDF coordinates complaints with 16 additional federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state Attorneys General and local authorities.To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit Twitter WhatsApp (“Court Gavel – Judge’s Gavel – Courtroom” by wp paarz, CC BY-SA 2.0) The Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr are taking steps to make sure that they are prepared and prioritizing potential cases of COV-19 fraud. This included directing individual US districts to appoint an attorney to act as a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator.Locally, anyone that thinks they have experienced some sort of fraud related to the pandemic should immediately contact Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell at 219-937-5656Below is the full release:HAMMOND – In coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus fraud schemes.“Our mission will not change during this national emergency,” said United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch.  “We will continue to prosecute criminals, including fraudsters, who wish to prey on our citizens, either by fraud or force.  Our law enforcement partnerships remain strong and committed to reducing crime throughout the District.”Some examples of these COVID-19 schemes include:Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud.Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Malicious websites and apps that appear to share Coronavirus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations. By Carl Stutsman – March 24, 2020 0 238 Previous articleStay-at-Home Orders are in place, and government offices are making changesNext articleLippert Components shifts production, donates masks to help hospitals Carl Stutsman CoronavirusIndianaLocalNewscenter_img Twitter Facebook Google+ Google+ Facebook Pinterest WhatsApplast_img read more

Press release: Pressure grows on producers of illegal streaming devices and thieves of paid-for content

first_img Deliver up to date training to Trading Standards officers via the established IP in Practice courses. Extensive review finds current laws are effective in combating illicit streaming Consider the evidence for and potential impact of administrative site blocking (as opposed to requiring a High Court injunction in every case), as well as identifying the mechanisms through which administrative site blocking could be introduced. Minister warns users and providers of adapted streaming devices who steal ‘paid for’ content they run the risk of fines or prison Illegal streaming damages our creative industries. We have always been clear that media streaming devices used to access ‘paid for’ material for free are illegal. Recent prosecutions have shown that if caught, sellers of boxes adapted in this way face fines and a prison sentence. Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are backing our booming creative industries which is why we are taking further steps to tackle this threat and in our recent creative industries sector deal outlined support to create the right conditions for them to continue to thrive. Government to explore further measures to prevent damage to creative and broadcasting industries caused by theft of intellectual property The Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah, today highlighted the continued Government clampdown on users and providers of illicit streaming boxes who cause damage to our £92bn creative industries.It comes as the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) publishes its response to a call for views on illicit streaming (PDF, 297KB, 16 pages). This finds that a number of recent prosecutions show existing laws are working. But the government will push ahead with a range of measures to tackle the threats created by the infringement of intellectual property rights.Media streaming boxes are devices such as Android TV or Kodi boxes. They are legal until they are altered with apps or add-ons that allow users to access ‘paid for’ material for free. This could be subscription TV, premium sports channels and new films. Using apps or add-ons like these is against the law. It is estimated that around one in four may not be paying for what they are watching.Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah said: Work to identify disruptions that may be applied at other points in the supply chain, for example App developers, and further develop our understanding of the effect of new generation smart TVs on how this infringement occurs. The IPO published its response to a Call for Views on illicit streaming today. It shows recent prosecutions demonstrate the current laws are working. This summer the owner and operator of a major pirate streaming service providing illegal access to Premier League football, was jailed for five years in Newcastle. Around the same time, two suppliers of illicit streaming devices were jailed for four and a half years for selling hundreds of devices that let customers watch games via unauthorised access to Sky Sports, BT Sport and illegal foreign channels.But in addition to the law, the government is taking a range of additional steps to counter the problem. It has already delivered a public education campaign in conjunction with Crimestoppers and industry stakeholders to highlight the risks associated with watching content using ISDs while also highlighting the importance of tackling the organised criminal networks behind much of this activity.In addition, the Government confirmed today that it will: Undertake research into consumer attitudes/motivations towards use of ISDs in order to develop more effective strategies for reducing levels of use. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) will continue to prioritise resources in this area, taking appropriate action against those traders who seek to encourage copyright infringement through the sale of IPTV boxes.View the Intellectual Property Office call for views responses (ZIP, 7.58MB).last_img read more

McVitie’s Cuddle Café attracts broad interest

first_imgMore than 1,000 consumers visited McVitie’s London Cuddle Café in one day, during the brand’s promotion of its continued Sweeet campaign. Upon completing research that almost 75% of Brits would like more cuddles in their lives, McVitie’s owner United Biscuits (UB) decided to spread the love with its Cuddle Café on Tottenham Street, which featured the Sweeet animal friend characters from its TV advertisements.In the second wave of its Sweeet campaign, it is giving away 3.5 million cuddly toys in on-pack promotions in a £3m investment, and the four characters – the Chocolate Digestives kitten, the Digestives puppy, the BN owl and the Jaffa Cakes tarsier – are all over the store. pen for one day only, the Cuddle Cafe attracted 1,035 visitors who popped along for a cup of tea and a hug from the oversized McVitie’s BN owl that hooted when hugged, for a free cup of tea.The value of a cuddleElements of the Cuddle Café were crafted with the help of Dr Stuart Farrimond, who has done research into the emotional and health benefits of a cuddle.He said: “My research not only discovered that cuddling a soft toy triggers a similar emotional response and health benefit to hugging a person, but also that the act of drinking a hot beverage can stimulate similar warm, positive feelings. So what better combination that a cuppa and a cuddle?”Sarah Heynen, McVitie’s marketing director, added: “At McVitie’s we truly know the importance of a cuddle, and what better way to put a smile on people’s faces and beat the winter blues than with a Cuddle Café?”People are so busy these days, and lead such stressful lives, that we want to offer all of our visitors their very own form of ‘cuddle therapy’ coupled with a cup of tea, cakes, biscuits – and all for the price of a hug.”last_img read more

Nobel laureates donate prize money to research fund

first_imgMichael Kremer, Gates Professor of Developing Societies in the economics department, and his colleagues Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of MIT, announced that they will donate their Nobel prize money to the Weiss Fund for Research in Development Economics.Banerjee, Duflo, and Kremer received the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty and the successful application of those approaches in environments around the world. They delivered their Nobel Prize Lectures in Sweden on Dec. 8.The Nobel laureates contributed their 9 million Swedish Kroner (approximately $916,000) to the fund, administered by Harvard University, in a commitment to investing in development economics research around the world. The donation, combined with a $50 million gift from Child Relief International (CRI), a foundation established by Andrew and Bonnie Weiss, will support research funding through 2035.Weiss is a fund manager and professor Emeritus of economics at Harvard. The Weiss Fund has operated since 2012 to support developmental economics research at universities in the United States, and will expand its reach globally following the provision of new funds from CRI and the Nobel laureates.“As Esther, Abhijit, and I have emphasized, this is a prize not just for the three of us but for a broader movement involving researchers, nonprofit organizations, businesses and governments that want to improve what they’re doing for the broader good, and are courageous enough to try new approaches and rigorously test them,” Kremer said in his lecture.“We are confident that this commitment will empower a broader set of people to use the experimental approach to advance science, inform policies, and develop and scale innovative solutions to address human needs.”last_img read more

Renovations ‘go green’ in Madeleva

first_imgIn an age of environmental awareness, Saint Mary’s has been making efforts to create an environmentally friendly campus through this year’s new renovations. Madeleva has served as a classroom and office building for students, faculty and staff of Saint Mary’s since the 1960s. With the preparation and hard work of Bill Hambling, director of facilities at the College, his maintenance team and Arkos Design of Mishawaka, Madeleva will show off its new look by next summer.  The project was funded by a bond issued through the city of South Bend and will not affect operating capital, so it will not be in competition with any academic funding, Hambling said.  “It’s a lot of windows, so it’s a lot of work,” he said, “but it’s how we reduce our carbon footprint. We want the building looking fresh, clean and excited again; it will look youthful, just like our students.” This two-phase project began this past summer by replacing the energy inefficient windows surrounding the building with Low-E windows.  Thenew energy efficient windows will allow more light to enter the building, making the classrooms and offices seem more spacious, Hambling said. “The windows are made from all green material and will reduce the heat of the building, specifically in the warmer months, by nearly 30 degrees; saving the school a great deal on air conditioning costs,” he said Monday marked the start of the replacement windows on the panel curtain wall that faces the courtyard. They will be completed over the next four to five weeks, Hambling said. Another important aspect of this first phase of renovations is the removal of the “zippered” bricks that run vertically on all sides of the building.  “Over the last few decades, the layout of these bricks has allowed moisture and insects to enter through cracks, ruining the exterior walls,” Hambling said. “The vines covering the building have also been removed. They had started to grow through holes in the brick walls and began to enter classrooms, causing further damage to be done. These renovated window systems will also be constructed of all eco-friendly materials.” Hambling said the second phase of the operation will be the completion of the window replacements on the on the opposite side of the panel curtain wall and the remaining sides of the building.  “The area surrounding the building has also experienced some revisions. The maintenance and grounds crew have made great efforts to revitalize the growth of grass around the building,” Hambling said. “Lilac bushes have also been planted along the driveway leading up to the front of Madeleva, and should be in full bloom by spring 2013.” Hambling added that the College will continue to experience many other green renovations under his direction in the year to come.last_img read more

Fr. Hesburgh celebrates final Mass

first_imgUniversity President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh’s last day was characterized by the act that was most central to him throughout his life — saying Mass. Although he wasn’t able to preside, Fr. Hesburgh was able to say Mass with his brothers at Holy Cross House on the day of his death. Doyle said other men present commented on how “happy and peaceful he looked” throughout the service.Photo courtesy of University Archives It had been a prayer Hesburgh prayed for decades, to say Mass on the day he died. This desire wasn’t a surprise to those who knew him, Dillon Hall rector Fr. Paul Doyle said. Hesburgh was a man who thought of himself as a priest before anything else, who spent his life in prayer, Doyle said.“[Hesburgh] was a prayerful guy, and he prayed from the gut,” Doyle said. “The prayers were very much between him and the Lord. He would talk to Mary, and the rest who heard him would feel like bystanders — like this is an intimate relationship and exchange here. He would do that at Mass, after Communion for example. He would just pray out loud to the Lord.”Hesburgh prided himself in saying Mass every day — only missing one or two days in almost 72 years as a priest, Doyle said.“[Hesburgh] said Mass in the Kremlin; he said Mass in Buckingham Palace; he said Mass in the South Pole, in the military installation down there,” he said. “He said Mass in submarines and everywhere else.”Fr. Ernie Bartell, professor emeritus of economics who was present at Hesburgh’s last Mass, said he remembers saying Mass with Hesburgh even in the forests of rural Mexico, the site of a Notre Dame service project for students during the beginning of Hesburgh’s stint as University president.“He was a great adventurer … but wherever he was, he said Mass. When he came to Mexico, we had Mass every day. … And that wasn’t for show or to impress the students or anything. That was the way he was.”Hesburgh carried a Mass kit with him wherever he traveled so that he could say Mass wherever he was, Bartell said. “The Mass was central [to him], no matter where he went,” Bartell said. “If he had a really busy schedule, he’d say Mass at five in the morning in the hotel room, or two in the morning as he got in his hotel room the next day because the Mass for him was this central prayer.”What was central for Hesburgh, though, wasn’t necessarily the ritual of Mass, but the meaning behind it, Bartell said.“For Ted, the Mass was very central to his life,” he said. “But he wasn’t like some priests who make the Mass the center of their lives, but then they become the people who tell you exactly how to hold your fingers or exactly how long to pause between this and that.“That wasn’t Ted. … The Mass is, after all, an offering of all of your talents and all of your service to the Lord. And so I suppose it’s true that there have been some priests that focus on the Mass, and then they spend all their time telling you how you said it wrong today. … But that’s rubrics; that’s not prayer.”As Hesburgh grew older, traveling to the Grotto and presiding over Mass became more difficult. But he was still dedicated to a life of prayer, Doyle said.“We would drive by the Grotto, and since he moved over to the priest’s infirmary, he couldn’t make his daily trip to the Grotto,” Doyle said. “But if we were driving back, he wanted to stop, and he would talk to Mary out the [car] window, even though he couldn’t see her because he’s been mostly blind lately. He would just talk to Mary beautifully. I’d sit there and say, ‘Oh my.’”During his stay at Holy Cross House, Hesburgh continued to go to Mass every day, Bartell said.“He used to be walking. And then he came in [the chapel] with a walker,” Bartell said. “And towards the end, they were wheeling him in, and he had to stay in the wheelchair … because it was so hard to move him. So he knew his days were going, but he did his best. He couldn’t go down to the dining room anymore at the end. They brought his meals up to his room, but he wanted to go to Mass.” Up until his last day, when Hesburgh said Mass, Bartell said it came from the heart. “When he said Mass, he really meant it,” he said. “He wasn’t doing it for show or to impress the trustees or anything like that. … He became a very real role model in that respect.”Tags: Final Mass, Holy Cross House, Remembering Father Hesburghlast_img read more

Culturalist Challenge! What Is the Best Broadway Halloween Costume of 2014?

first_img STEP 1 — SELECT: Visit Culturalist to see all of your options. Highlight your ten favorites and click the “continue” button. STEP 2 — RANK: Reorder your ten choices by dragging them into the correct spot on your list. Click the “continue” button. The staff is wild about Culturalist, the awesome website that lets you rank and create your own top ten lists. In fact, we love it so much that we’ve decided to partner with them! Each week, we’re bringing you a new Broadway-themed topic, so you can rank your favorites on Then we’ll announce the most popular ten choices on the new episode of The Show every Wednesday. STEP 3 — PREVIEW: You will now see your complete top ten list. If you like it, click the “publish” button. (If you don’t have a Culturalist account, you will be asked to create one or sign in with Facebook at this point.) Last week, Bonnie & Clyde stole the top spot for the Broadway flop that most deserves a comeback. This week, we’re all about Halloween! In honor of the only day it’s socially acceptable to eat your weight in peanut butter cups, we’re asking you to rank the new Broadway characters you think would make the best Halloween costumes. To start us off, video producer Anthony Taylor posted his list of ultimate Halloween looks here!center_img Once your list is published, you can see the overall rankings of everyone on the aggregate list. Pick your favorites, then tune in for the results on the October 22 episode of The Show. View Commentslast_img read more

The Fans Have Spoken! Readers Rank Their Favorite Avenue Q Characters

first_imgTREKKIE MONSTER Show Closed This production ended its run on May 26, 2019 It definitely doesn’t suck to be us, because Avenue Q is celebrating its 12th anniversary this week! The Tony-winning musical originally opened on Broadway on July 31, 2003 and played for 6 years before moving to off-Broadway’s New World Stages. In honor of the hit tuner’s big birthday, we asked you to rank your favorite characters on Culturalist, from Trekkie Monster to Lucy the Slut. The results are in—check out your picks below! LUCY THE SLUT GARY COLEMAN Avenue Q ROD BRIAN PRINCETON KATE MONSTER NICKY View Comments Related Shows THE BAD NEWS BEARS CHRISTMAS EVElast_img

Final appeals, SRC rule on NCUA’s Oct. 19 agenda

first_img continue reading » Final appeals and supervisory review committee (SRC) rules are part of NCUA’s board meeting agenda next week. The meeting will come a day after NCUA conducts a briefing on its 2018-2019 budget, which CUNA will attend and give a presentation.CUNA generally supports NCUA’s proposals on appeals and SRCs. The appeals rule would adopt procedures governing appeals to the board that would apply to agency regulations that currently have their own embedded appeals provisions.The SRC rule would expand the number of issues that can be appealed to the SRC, and would also expand the SRC and update its operating rules. 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img

Will the water still run during a pandemic?

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Has your business taken into account what happens to your water supply when an influenza pandemic begins? Do you know whether the water utilities that serve your enterprise are prepared to keep the water running and safe for your operations and employees?In Texas, Eugene “Buck” Henderson has repeatedly invited the state’s 6,700 water utilities to sign up for a free mutual aid program that would give them onsite emergency assistance in an influenza pandemic or natural disaster if they agree to help other utilities as needed.Fewer than 300 have taken him up on it.Just as surprising, the number that signed up for another free preparedness resource—installation of an electrical harness for quick hookup to a generator—didn’t even break 100, says Henderson, manager of the public drinking water section of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) based in Austin. “My greatest concern is for the smaller water systems, especially those that supply less than 3,300 businesses and households, because they have not been required to have a vulnerability assessment and an emergency response plan,” as have the bigger plants, he says.The inertia is especially puzzling, given that Hurricane Rita incapacitated 1,100 water utilities along the southeastern Texas coast in September 2005, according to Henderson. Some were up and running again in a day or 2, but others took 3 months to recover. In the meantime, they relied on just the sort of assistance that the Texas Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network TxWARN would provide: emergency generators, staff, and other supplies.”People have a tendency not to see an urgent situation until it happens,” he says. “Water is sometimes taken for granted until it isn’t there—until the well runs dry.” But imagine what could happen (or not happen) to your enterprise if water stops running, pumps shut down, or purification cannot be guaranteed during an influenza pandemic.Brian Good has. The director of operations and maintenance for Denver Water estimates at least 110 of the utility’s 1,100 employees will be needed to ensure uninterrupted service to its 1.2 million customers, make major repairs, and do limited meter reading, billing, and information technology (IT) support. He’s developed a cross-training program to allow operation with such a “barebones” staff.Further, Good has purchased 2,000 N-95 respirators and stashed 37 emergency kits containing tools, sleeping bags, and food at different locations. The kits, which Good estimates could sustain 2 people for 3 to 5 days, are marked with dates and shrink-wrapped. The utility has its own medical clinic and plans to identify and track employees who recover from pandemic influenza (if there is a way to distinguish such employees from those who have had seasonal flu or other illnesses). Presumably, recovered employees would have developed immunity and could return to work after the first wave of infection.Some water utilities are ahead of others in planning for a pandemic, says Kevin Morley, regulatory analyst for the American Water Works Association (AWWA), a trade organization headquartered in Denver, representing 4,700 water utilities. “People are thinking about it,” he says. Even so, he adds, questions remain about what would be expected of a utility and the surrounding community.Workers firstWhat water utilities do seem to agree on is this: of the 3 essential and interrelated resources—workers, electrical power, and chemicals—workers are the most critical. Although the effects of a pandemic on a workforce are unpredictable, no one disputes that small utilities will be hardest hit, Morley says. “Thirty to 40% of a utility that has 400 or 500 employees is going to be different than 30 to 40% of a utility that has 10 employees.”In Texas, says Henderson, “If you count all the water systems that serve fewer than 3,300 households or businesses, that’s 80%.”That’s why the AWWA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have teamed up to help water utilities form intrastate—and soon, interstate—mutual aid pacts, similar to TxWARN. Such agreements are intended to enable utilities to get assistance without waiting for the federal government. Utilities who sign up for a pact identify their own needs and what resources they could offer another utility in an emergency. And that’s important. “For the first 72 hours, you’re on your own,” Morley says.In addition to Texas, California, Florida, and Louisiana have established mutual-aid pacts, and Oregon, Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Connecticut are well on their way, according to John Whitler of the EPA’s Water Security Division. Other states, such as Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, are in various stages of planning, he says.In addition to the mutual aid pacts, the EPA is offering water utilities several business-continuity tools, says Jane Downing, chief of the EPA’s Drinking Water Branch in Boston. “We’re working with EPA headquarters to develop a cross-training compendium,” she says. The catalog will point operators to online resources to ramp up their expertise on, for example, disinfection.However, not all roles lend themselves to cross-training. In the case of a laboratory worker who processes federally mandated water samples, Morley says, regulations may have to be temporarily relaxed. “You may not be able to take all of those samples, and the labs may not be able to process them,” he says.Whether workers are going to be willing to come to work—let alone to help out another utility—is another issue, Morley says. “You’re basically asking someone to go into a known infectious area, expose themselves, and then risk bringing it back to their families,” he says.Depending on power and ITPower and water often have a reciprocal relationship, Good says. “The type of power plants we have, a lot of them rely on our water,” he says. “They can’t run without our water, and we can’t run without their power.”Denver Water has placed diesel generators at critical facilities and invested in polyvinyl water storage bladders that can be distributed to central locations in the event of a loss of water pressure. The only “downside” of this plan, says Good, is that it relies on “people getting together,” which could potentially spread infection.Utilities with their own telecommunications system will fare best at sustaining operations and communicating with vendors, partners, suppliers and employees, experts say. In Texas, says Henderson, the TCEQ provides its own IT services and has provided notebook computers for workers in the field to allow workers critical access to databases of the area’s water systems.Utilities that contract for services may encounter fierce competition for bandwidth as other organizations, a panicked public, and bored schoolchildren log on to the Internet, Morley says.’Upstream’ supply chainWater utilities require disinfectants such as chlorine to make water drinkable. And because water utilities can store only about 3 weeks’ worth of chlorine, they rely heavily on suppliers. While Good believes his pandemic plan is solid, “the problem is that our plan is only as good as the plan of our suppliers.”A disruption could occur at each link in the supply chain, including the production of chlorine and other treatment chemicals by petrochemical companies in the United States and Canada, Morley says. “There is no sector that is immune from the effects of a pandemic,” he says. “If 30% of my workforce is affected, why wouldn’t 30% of their workforce be affected?” A little further down the chain, a transportation breakdown (rail or highway) is also a likely scenario.Not wanting to take chances, Good had representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security tour Denver Water. “They have assured us that they can help, as far as distributing chlorine to some of the plants, if we need it,” he says. To conserve supplies in a pandemic, Denver Water may introduce water rationing, similar to restrictions enacted in a drought, and temporarily shut down 2 of its 4 plants.The EPA will continue to work with state regulatory agencies and water trade associations to conduct community-based emergency preparedness workshops, doing the drills and presentations it has since 9/11, now expanding its efforts toward pandemic preparedness, Downing says. But first, she says, “A lot of the efforts need to start to happen locally.”last_img read more