September 28, 2021

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Federal Court Permanently Enjoins Tax Return Preparer in Illinois

11 min read
<div>A federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has permanently enjoined a Rockford, Illinois-area tax return preparer from preparing returns for others and from owning, operating or franchising any tax return preparation business in the future.</div>
A federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has permanently enjoined a Rockford, Illinois-area tax return preparer from preparing returns for others and from owning, operating or franchising any tax return preparation business in the future.

More from: June 30, 2021

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  • Department of Justice Announces the Use of Body-Worn Cameras on Federal Task Forces
    In Crime News
    Today, the Justice Department announced that it will permit state, local, territorial, and tribal task force officers to use body-worn cameras on federal task forces around the nation.  The department’s policy will permit federally deputized officers to activate a body-worn camera while serving arrest warrants, or during other planned arrest operations, and during the execution of search warrants.  The policy is the result of a pilot program launched by the department last October.
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  • Capitol Police: Applying Effective Practices to Address Recommendations Will Improve Oversight and Management
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. Capitol Police (Capitol Police) may benefit from applying practices to help implement recommendations from auditing entities, such as those from GAO and the Capitol Police Office of the Inspector General (OIG). These effective practices include the following: Provide management oversight over the prompt remediation of deficiencies and delegate authority. Federal internal control standards state that management should oversee the prompt remediation of deficiencies. This should be done by communicating the corrective actions to the appropriate personnel and delegating authority for completing these actions. Communicate regularly with auditing entities on the status of recommendations. Engagement between Capitol Police and auditing agency leaders could provide important leadership attention to help ensure actions are taken to implement recommendations. Work with Congress to address recommendations. Congress plays a key role in providing oversight and maintaining focus on recommendations from audit entities. For example, federal agencies, including the Capitol Police, are required to report on the implementation status of public recommendations. Further, agencies can also assess the need for legislation to address recommendations and report their findings to Congress. Follow key organizational transformation practices . As the Capitol Police takes steps to implement recommendations from auditing entities, the agency may benefit from following key organizational transformation practices, such as (1) setting implementation goals and a timeline, (2) dedicating an implementation team to manage the transformation process, and (3) involving employees to obtain their ideas and gain their ownership for the transformation. Coordination between the Capitol Police and its Board is critical to addressing its recommendations. The Capitol Police Board (the Board) is charged with oversight of the Capitol Police. Given the oversight role of the Board, the Capitol Police may need approval from the Board in order to take actions to address recommendations from auditing entities. GAO's 2017 work on the Board assessed whether the Board, in fulfilling its role in overseeing the Capitol Police, had developed and implemented policies that incorporate leading practices to facilitate accountability, transparency, and effective external communication. In that effort, GAO examined the Board's main governing document, its Manual of Procedures, and determined that it fully incorporated one leading practice and partially incorporated five others. Specifically, the Board's manual did develop processes for the internal functions of the Board but did not address any Board responsibilities in ensuring that any audit findings and recommendations to the Capitol Police were promptly resolved. By incorporating leading practices into its manual, the Board can ensure it is facilitating accountability, transparency, and effective external communication as it fulfills its oversight role of the Capitol Police. Why GAO Did This Study The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, highlighted the critical need to identify and address deficiencies in the management and security functions of the Capitol Police. Various auditing entities have work ongoing related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, including GAO and the Capitol Police OIG. It is important that the Capitol Police is well positioned to respond to existing and future recommendations from auditing entities. To do so, Capitol Police will also need to work closely with the Capitol Police Board, which has varied and wide-ranging oversight roles and responsibilities per statute. This statement discusses (1) effective practices for addressing recommendations from auditing agencies and (2) GAO's open recommendation to the Capitol Police Board from February 2017. To identify effective practices for addressing recommendations, GAO reviewed reports and testimonies issued from July 2003 through March 2021 that discussed the implementation of GAO recommendations, federal internal control standards, and organizational transformation. GAO also reviewed its February 2017 report on the Capitol Police Board, and used information gathered from its recommendation follow up efforts with the Capitol Police Board in 2020 and 2021.
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  • Veterans Community Care Program: Improvements Needed to Help Ensure Timely Access to Care
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established an appointment scheduling process for the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP) that allows up to 19 days to complete several steps from VA providers creating a referral to community care staff reviewing that referral. However, as the figure shows, VA has not specified the maximum amount of time veterans should have to wait to receive care through the program. GAO previously recommended in 2013 the need for an overall wait-time measure for veterans to receive care under a prior VA community care program. Subsequent to VA not implementing this recommendation, GAO again recommended in 2018 that VA establish an achievable wait-time goal as part of its new community care program (the VCCP). Potential Allowable Wait Time to Obtain Care through the Veterans Community Care Program Note: This figure illustrates potential allowable wait times in calendar days for eligible veterans who are referred to the VCCP through routine referrals (non-emergent), and have VA medical center staff—Referral Coordination Team (RCT) and community care staff (CC staff)—schedule the appointments on their behalf. VA has not yet implemented GAO's 2018 recommendation that VA establish an achievable wait-time goal. Under the VA MISSION Act, VA is assigned responsibility for ensuring that veterans' appointments are scheduled in a timely manner—an essential component of quality health care. Given VA's lack of action over the prior 7 years implementing wait-time goals for various community care programs, congressional action is warranted to help achieve timely health care for veterans. Regarding monitoring of the initial steps of the scheduling process, GAO found that VA is using metrics that are remnants from the previous community care program, which are inconsistent with the time frames established in the VCCP scheduling process. This limits VA's ability to determine the effectiveness of the VCCP and to identify areas for improvement. In June 2019, VA implemented its new community care program, the VCCP, as required by the VA MISSION Act of 2018. Under the VCCP, VAMC staff are responsible for community care appointment scheduling; their ability to execute this new responsibility has implications for veterans receiving community care in a timely manner. GAO was asked to review VCCP appointment scheduling. This report examines, among other issues, the VCCP appointment scheduling process VA established and VA's monitoring of that process. GAO reviewed documentation, such as scheduling policies, and referral data related to the VCCP and assessed VA's relevant processes. GAO conducted site visits to five VAMCs in the first region to transition to VA's new provider network, and interviewed VAMC staff and a non-generalizable sample of community providers receiving referrals from those VAMCs. GAO also interviewed VA and contractor officials. GAO recommends that Congress consider requiring VA to establish an overall wait-time measure for the VCCP. GAO is also making three recommendations to VA, including that it align its monitoring metrics with the VCCP appointment scheduling process. VA did not concur with one of GAO's recommendations related to aligning monitoring metrics to VCCP scheduling policy time frames. GAO continues to believe this recommendation is valid, as discussed in the report. For more information, contact Sharon M. Silas at (202) 512-7114 or silass@gao.gov.
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  • The Department of Justice Alleges Conditions at Cumberland County Jail Violate the Constitution
    In Crime News
    Today, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the conditions at the Cumberland County Jail in Bridgeton, New Jersey violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
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  • Concrete Contractor Agrees to Settle False Claims Act Allegations for $3.9 Million
    In Crime News
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    In Crime News
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    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today announced criminal charges against 14 defendants, including 11 newly-charged defendants and three who were charged in superseding indictments, in seven federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various health care fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in over $143 million in false billings.
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    In Crime News
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  • Vocational Rehabilitation: VA Has Opportunities to Improve Services, but Faces Significant Challenges
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Veterans Affairs' Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program has taken on heightened importance due, in large measure, to the number of servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with serious injuries and their need for vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance. This statement draws on over 20 years of GAO's reporting on VA's provision of vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance to American veterans and focuses primarily on the results of two recent GAO reports. The first, issued in June 2004, commented on the report of the VA-sponsored VR&E Task Force, which performed a comprehensive review of VR&E activities and made extensive recommendations that, if implemented, would affect virtually every aspect of VR&E's operations. The second, issued in January 2005, focused on the steps VA has taken and the challenges it faces in providing services to seriously injured veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.The past year has presented the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an unprecedented opportunity to begin strengthening its provision of vocational rehabilitation and employment services to veterans. The VR&E Task Force has developed a blueprint for the changes needed to improve numerous programmatic and managerial aspects of VR&E's operations. We generally agree with the Task Force's three key findings. We also generally agree with the Task Force's key recommendations to streamline eligibility and entitlement, institute a new employment-driven service delivery process, expand counseling benefits, reorganize and increase VR&E staffing, and improve information technology capabilities and intra- and inter-agency coordination. VR&E faces three overriding challenges as it responds to the Task Force recommendations. First, providing early intervention assistance to injured servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq is complicated by (1) differences and uncertainties in the recovery process, which make it difficult for VR&E to determine when a servicemember will be able to consider its services; (2) the Department of Defense's (DOD) concerns that VA's outreach could work at cross purposes to the military's retention goals; and (3) lack of access to DOD data that would allow VA to readily identify and locate all seriously injured servicemembers. Second, VR&E needs to upgrade its information technology system. The Task Force report pointed out that VR&E's IT system is limited in its ability to produce useful reports. Third, VR&E needs to use new results-based criteria to evaluate and improve performance. The Task Force recommended that VR&E develop a new employment-oriented performance measurement system, including measures of sustained employment longer than 60 days. In fiscal year 2004, VR&E included four employment-based performance criteria in its performance and accountability report. However, as of February 2005, VR&E had not yet reported results using these longer-term measures.
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  • Missile Defense: Opportunity to Refocus on Strengthening Acquisition Management
    In U.S GAO News
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