October 21, 2021

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Murder crew latest in violent crime arrests

9 min read
A group of violent criminals are now facing possible severe federal penalties for firearms charges, to include use of a weapon resulting in death, carjacking, robbery and other felonies

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov October 14, 2021

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  • [Protest of DPSC Contract Award for Retractor Holder Sets]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested a Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) contract award for retractor holder sets, contending that: (1) the awardee's item failed to conform to the solicitation requirements; (2) DPSC should have conducted a preaward survey of the awardee; and (3) the award violated patents held by the protester. GAO held that the protest was untimely, since the protester did not diligently pursue its basis for protest or request a post-award debriefing where it could have obtained the same or similar information pursuant to its Freedom of Information Act request. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.
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  • System Review Report of the GAO OIG Audit Organization (prepared by the Architect of the Capitol OIG)
    In U.S GAO News
    Government Auditing Standards require that each organization conducting engagements in accordance with these standards must obtain an external peer review. The objectives of a peer review are to determine whether (1) the reviewed audit organization's system of quality control is suitably designed and (2) the organization is complying with its quality control system so that it has reasonable assurance that it is performing and reporting in conformity with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements in all material respects. Peer reviews of Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) must be conducted by reviewers independent of the audit organization being reviewed at least once every three years in accordance with guidance established by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency. The GAO OIG received a peer review rating of "pass." The Architect of the Capitol OIG completed the peer review of the GAO OIG audit organization for the year ending March 31, 2021 and concluded that the system of quality control has been suitably designed and complied with to provide the GAO OIG with reasonable assurance of performing and reporting in conformity with applicable professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements in all material respects. For more information, contact Mary Arnold Mohiyuddin at (202) 512-3087 or mohiyuddinm@gao.gov.
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  • Department of Justice Announces DEA Seizures of Historic Amounts of Deadly Fentanyl-Laced Fake Pills in Public Safety Surge to Protect U.S. Communities
    In Crime News
    Today, at a press conference, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram announced a significant law enforcement surge to protect American communities from the flood of fentanyl and fentanyl-laced pills across the United States. Illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid found in most of the fake pills that were seized, is the primary driver of the recent increase in U.S. overdose deaths.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Defense Transportation: DOD Can Better Leverage Existing Contested Mobility Studies and Improve Training
    In U.S GAO News
    From 2016 through 2019, the Department of Defense (DOD) conducted or sponsored at least 11 classified or sensitive studies on contested mobility— the ability of the U.S. military to transport equipment and personnel in a contested operational environment. The studies resulted in more than 50 recommendations, and DOD officials stated they believed that some of the recommendations had been implemented. However, officials did not know the exact disposition of the recommendations, as they are not actively tracking implementation activities. Further, no single DOD oversight entity evaluated the studies' recommendations and tracked implementation across the department. As a result, DOD may be missing an opportunity to leverage existing knowledge on mobility in contested environments across organizations, and strengthen its mobility efforts for major conflicts as envisioned in the National Defense Strategy. DOD has updated aspects of wargame exercises and mobility training to prepare for a contested environment, but has not updated training for the surge sealift fleet—ships owned by DOD and the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) and crewed by contracted mariners. These crews are primarily trained and qualified to operate the ship, but receive limited contested mobility training. While DOD has updated air mobility training and other aspects of mobility training, sealift crew training requirements have not been updated by DOD and MARAD to reflect contested environment concerns because DOD has not conducted an evaluation of such training. Since sealift is the means by which the majority of military equipment would be transported during a major conflict, it is important that crews be trained appropriately for contested mobility to help ensure that ships safely reach their destinations and complete their missions. C-17 Performing Defense Maneuvers DOD has begun to mitigate contested environment challenges through improved technology and related initiatives. The Navy is acquiring improved technologies to deploy on surge sealift ships and replacement ships. The Air Force is equipping current mobility aircraft (see photo above) with additional defensive technologies and planning for the development of future replacement aircraft. According to U.S. Transportation Command, the command is revising its contracts with commercial partners to address cyber threats, and funding research and development projects that address contested mobility concerns. Many of these efforts are nascent and will take years to be put in place. China and Russia are strengthening their militaries to neutralize U.S. strengths, including mobility—the ability of U.S. military airlift and air refueling aircraft and sealift ships to rapidly move equipment and personnel from the United States to locations abroad to support DOD missions. Senate Report 116-48 included a provision for GAO to review DOD's ability to operate in a contested mobility environment. This report assesses the extent to which DOD has studied contested mobility and tracked the implementation of study recommendations, assesses the extent to which DOD has revised its training to incorporate contested mobility challenges, and describes the technologies that DOD uses to mitigate contested mobility challenges. GAO identified contested mobility studies conducted or sponsored by DOD; evaluated DOD's processes for monitoring implementation of study recommendations; analyzed training and exercise documents from DOD combatant commands, the Air Force, and the Navy; and reviewed DOD plans for technological improvements to its mobility forces. GAO recommends that DOD designate an oversight entity to track the implementation of study recommendations, and that DOD and MARAD evaluate and update sealift training. DOD and the Department of Transportation concurred or partially concurred with each recommendation. GAO believes each recommendation should be fully implemented, as discussed in the report. For more information, contact Cary Russell at (202) 512-5431 or RussellC@gao.gov.
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  • Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Ida without violating the antitrust laws.
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  • Man-Made Chemicals and Potential Health Risks: EPA Has Completed Some Regulatory-Related Actions for PFAS
    In U.S GAO News
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed three of six selected regulatory-related actions for addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) outlined in EPA's PFAS Action Plan . (See fig.) For two of the three completed actions, the steps EPA took were also in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20 NDAA): After proposing a supplemental significant new use rule in February 2020, EPA met a June 2020 deadline set in the FY20 NDAA when the EPA Administrator signed the final rule. Among other things, under the final rule, articles containing certain PFAS as a surface coating, and carpet containing certain PFAS, can no longer be imported into the U.S. without EPA review. EPA incorporated 172 PFAS into the Toxics Release Inventory in June 2020. The FY20 NDAA directed EPA to take this action, extending EPA's original planned action to explore data for listing PFAS chemicals to the inventory. Finally, in March 2020, EPA completed a third regulatory-related action, not required under the FY20 NDAA, when the agency proposed a preliminary drinking water regulatory determination for two PFAS—an initial step toward regulating these chemicals in drinking water. Status of Six Selected Regulatory-Related Actions in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan Planned action Status Propose a supplemental significant new use rule. Complete Explore data for listing PFAS chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory. Complete Propose a drinking water regulatory determination. Complete Monitor PFAS in drinking water. Ongoing Explore industrial sources of PFAS that may warrant potential regulation. Ongoing Continue the regulatory process for a hazardous substances designation. Ongoing Source: GAO analysis of EPA's 2019 PFAS Action Plan. | GAO-21-37 Three of the six selected regulatory-related actions are ongoing, and EPA's progress on these actions varies. For example: As of August 2020, EPA was developing a proposed rulemaking for a nationwide drinking water monitoring rule that includes PFAS, which EPA officials said the agency intends to finalize by December 2021. EPA planned to continue the regulatory process for designating two PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, would allow the agency to require responsible parties to conduct or pay for cleanup. On January 14, 2021, EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for the hazardous substances designation to get public comment and data to inform the agency's ongoing evaluation of the two PFAS. Beginning in the 1940s, scientists developed a class of heat- and stain-resistant chemicals—PFAS—that are used in a wide range of products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and some firefighting foams. PFAS can persist in the environment for decades or longer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that most people in the U.S. have been exposed to two of the most widely studied PFAS, likely from consuming contaminated water or food. According to EPA, there is evidence that continued exposure above certain levels to some PFAS may lead to adverse health effects. In February 2019, EPA issued its PFAS Action Plan , which outlined 23 planned actions to better understand PFAS and reduce their risks to the public. GAO was asked to examine the status of regulatory-related actions in EPA's plan. For six regulatory-related actions GAO selected in EPA's PFAS Action Plan , this report examines (1) the number of actions that are complete and the steps EPA took to complete them and (2) the number of actions that are ongoing and EPA's progress toward completing them. GAO first identified those actions in the PFAS Action Plan that may lead to the issuance of federal regulations or could affect compliance with existing regulations. GAO then assessed the status of the actions by reviewing EPA documents and examining EPA's response to related FY20 NDAA requirements. For more information, contact J. Alfredo Gómez at (202) 512-3841 or gomezj@gao.gov.
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  • Military Personnel: More DOD Actions Needed to Address Servicemembers’ Personal Financial Management Issues
    In U.S GAO News
    Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) are concerned about the financial conditions of servicemembers and their families, particularly in light of recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Serious financial issues can negatively affect unit readiness. According to DOD, servicemembers with severe financial problems risk losing security clearances, incurring administrative or criminal penalties or, in some cases, face discharge. Despite increases in compensation and DOD programs on personal financial management (PFM), studies show that servicemembers, particularly junior enlisted personnel, continue to report financial difficulties. GAO assessed (1) the extent deployment impacts the financial condition of active duty servicemembers and their families, (2) whether DOD has an oversight framework for evaluating military programs designed to assist deployed and non-deployed servicemembers in managing their finances, and (3) the extent junior enlisted servicemembers receive required PFM training.The financial conditions of deployed and non-deployed servicemembers and their families are similar, but deployed servicemembers and their families may face additional financial problems related to pay. In both a 2003 DOD-wide survey and non-generalizable focus groups that GAO conducted on 13 military installations in the United States and Germany, servicemembers who were deployed reported similar financial conditions as those who were not deployed. Some of GAO's focus group participants also noted that they--like Army Reservists in GAO's 2004 report, Military Pay: Army Reserve Soldiers Mobilized to Active Duty Experienced Significant Pay Problems--had not received their $250 family separation allowance each month during their deployment. Pay record data showed that almost 6,000 deployed servicemembers had received more than the prescribed $250 in January 2005, and 11 of them received a $3,000 catch-up, lump sum payment--the equivalent of 12 months of the allowance. This pay problem was due, in part, to service procedures being confusing and not always followed. Families who do not receive this allowance each month may experience financial strain caused by additional expenses such as extra childcare. DOD lacks an oversight framework--with results-oriented performance measures and reporting requirements--for evaluating the effectiveness of PFM programs across the services. DOD's 2002 human capital strategic plan stated that a standardized evaluation system for PFM programs is a desired goal; however, DOD does not currently have such a system. In 2003, GAO reported that DOD had included evaluative reporting measures in a draft of its PFM instruction to the services. However, the final PFM instruction issued by DOD in 2004 did not address outcome measures or contain a requirement that the services report program results to DOD because the services objected to these additional reporting requirements. Without a policy requiring evaluation and a reporting relationship between DOD and the services, DOD and Congress do not have the visibility or oversight needed to address issues related to the PFM programs. Some junior enlisted servicemembers are not receiving PFM training that is required in service regulations. While each of the services implements PFM training differently, all of the services have policies requiring that PFM training be provided to junior enlisted servicemembers. Moreover, the extent to which the PFM training is not received is unknown because most of the services do not track the completion of PFM training at the service level. Only the Army collected installation-level data and could provide a service-wide estimate of PFM training completed by junior enlisted servicemembers. Senior Army officers said PFM training had not been a priority given the need to prepare for current operations. Top-level DOD officials have repeatedly stated that financial issues directly affect servicemembers' mission readiness and should be addressed. Therefore, units whose servicemembers do not receive required PFM training risk jeopardizing their ability to meet mission requirements.
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  • Additions of Cuban Military-Owned Companies to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Bankruptcy Filings Fall 11.8 Percent for Year Ending June 30
    In U.S Courts
    Despite a sharp rise in unemployment related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, personal and business bankruptcy filings fell 11.8 percent for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2020, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
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  • Remarks by Attorney General William P. Barr at a Press Conference Announcing the Results of Operation Crystal Shield
    In Crime News
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  • USDA Food Box Program: Key Information and Opportunities to Better Assess Performance
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Through contractors, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box Program purchased fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat products from producers and delivered them to recipient organizations, such as food banks. USDA's goals for the program included providing food to those in need, helping contractors retain jobs, and supporting producers. USDA collected large amounts of data and analyzed various data on deliveries to recipient organizations—that is, total number of food boxes delivered to each state and per million people in each state—and determined that the program met its goal of providing food to those in need. GAO further analyzed USDA's data and found that 243 contractors delivered more than 176 million food boxes to recipient organizations across the U.S. and territories by the end of the program (see figure). GAO's analysis also found that food boxes were delivered to nearly 78 percent of all U.S. counties, including to more than 89 percent of counties where at least 20 percent of the population lives in poverty. Number of Food Boxes Contractors Delivered to Recipient Organizations for the Food Box Program USDA could not analyze the program's performance in meeting its other two goals: (1) helping contractors (i.e., distributors of goods) retain jobs and (2) helping food producers faced with declining demand—because USDA did not systematically collect the necessary data. For example, USDA did not collect data on (1) the number of jobs contractors might have lost but ultimately retained as a result of participating in the program and (2) the number, category, and size of participating producers or whether the pandemic had reduced demand for or sales of the type of product the producer provided for the program. USDA officials acknowledged that a key lesson learned during the implementation of the Food Box Program was the need to collect and analyze such data but that the department did not have time to do so. Federal guidance expresses the importance of balancing speed with transparency, and states that federal managers should use data and evidence to achieve program goals. By applying this lesson learned to current and future emergency food assistance programs, USDA would have greater assurance that it can assess program effectiveness even when it must move quickly in implementing a program. Why GAO Did This Study The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in the U.S. food supply chain and contributed to a national hunger crisis. In response, USDA implemented the Food Box Program in May 2020. USDA directed a total of $6 billion in congressional appropriations to the program, which lasted 1 year. The program included organizations such as food banks, which received food boxes; contractors that purchased and delivered the food; and food producers, such as farmers and ranchers. The CARES Act contained a provision for GAO to conduct monitoring and oversight of the use of funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines the extent to which USDA collected and analyzed data on participants in the program, including data necessary to assess performance in meeting program goals. GAO analyzed information from USDA's website, database, and departmental guidance. GAO also compared USDA's efforts to collect and analyze data on the program against federal guidance, USDA's strategic plan, and documents that include lessons learned. GAO also interviewed USDA officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Alabama Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion
    In Crime News
    An Alabama man was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for tax evasion, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama announced today.
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  • Workforce Diversity: Analysis of Federal Data Shows Hispanics Are Underrepresented in the Media Industry
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Hispanics are underrepresented in the media industry compared to their representation in the rest of the workforce, according to GAO's analysis of American Community Survey (ACS) data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2019, the most recent year data were available, Hispanics made up an estimated 12 percent of workers in the media industry, which includes film, television, publishing, and news, compared to an estimated 18 percent of workers in the rest of the workforce, which includes all other industries combined. Hispanic representation remained at an estimated 11 to 12 percent of the media industry workforce from 2014-2019, according to GAO's analysis of ACS data. The estimated percentage of Hispanic workers varied by media sector. In 2019, the estimated percentage of Hispanic workers ranged from 8 percent in the publishing subsector to 16 percent for the film and video industry subsector. Hispanic representation also varied by occupation. We analyzed ACS data on the race/ethnicity of workers in 13 media occupations and found, on average, about 11 percent of these workers were Hispanic. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) data for 2018, the most recent year data were available, provide a different breakout of occupations that further inform the racial and ethnic makeup of the media industry. According to Employer Information Reports (EEO-1) submitted by media companies to the EEOC, service worker positions—food service, cleaning service, personal service, and protective service—had the highest percentage of Hispanic workers (22 percent). Eight percent of professional positions in the media industry were held by Hispanics. Hispanics were least likely to work in first- and mid-level management positions (7 percent) and in senior/executive management positions (4 percent), according to media companies' reports to EEOC. Why GAO Did This Study The media industry plays an important role in educating and entertaining the public, but some have questioned the industry's commitment to workforce diversity, including for Hispanic workers. The U.S. Census Bureau collects employment and race/ethnicity information from individuals living in the U.S. EEOC collects data from employers on the race/ethnicity of their workers and which positions they hold. GAO was asked to review representation of Hispanics in the media industry, including in the film, television, and publishing industries. This report examines representation of Hispanics in the media industry and in specific media occupations. GAO analyzed workforce data, including the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey data for 2014-2019 and EEOC annual Employer Information Reports for 2014-2018, the latest data available during GAO's review. For more information, contact Dawn Locke at (202) 512-7215 or locked@gao.gov.
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  • Honduran immigrant convicted of alien smuggling
    In Justice News
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    In Justice News
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  • Public Designation of Five Bulgarian Public Officials Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Former South Carolina Sheriff and Former Deputies Convicted of Conspiracy, Misuse of Funds, and Other Offenses
    In Crime News
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  • Texas Entrepreneur Charged with Spending COVID Relief Funds on Improper Expenses Including Lamborghini and Strip Club
    In Crime News
    A Houston, Texas man has been taken into custody on allegations he fraudulently obtained more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
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