October 21, 2021

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Two Former Correctional Officers Charged with Accepting Bribes and Smuggling Contraband into Federal Prison

17 min read
<div>As part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts against prison corruption, a federal grand jury in the District of Kansas returned two indictments on Sept. 22 charging two former correctional officers with smuggling drugs and other contraband into Leavenworth Detention Center.</div>
As part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts against prison corruption, a federal grand jury in the District of Kansas returned two indictments on Sept. 22 charging two former correctional officers with smuggling drugs and other contraband into Leavenworth Detention Center.

More from: September 30, 2021

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  • Justice Department Applauds the Passage and Enactment of the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020
    In Crime News
    On Jan. 5, 2021, President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 8354, the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act of 2020, a bill to permanently establish the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative, or “SVI”, within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
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  • Child Care: Subsidy Eligibility and Receipt, and Wait Lists
    In U.S GAO News
    An estimated 1.9 million children received child care subsidies in fiscal year 2017, representing approximately 14 percent of all children estimated to be eligible under federal rules – and 22 percent of all children estimated to be eligible under state rules -- in an average month. These figures are from the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) analysis of fiscal year 2017 data, the most recent year for which such analysis is available. Generally, fewer families qualify for subsidies under state eligibility rules than under federal eligibility rules since most states use flexibility provided by HHS to set their income eligibility limits below the federal maximum. Health and Human Services’ Estimated Number of Children Eligible Under Federal and State Rules, and Estimated Number Receiving Child Care Subsidies, Fiscal Year 2017 GAO found that the extent to which children who meet federal child care eligibility requirements also meet state eligibility requirements varies by state as does the share of eligible children who receive Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies. Under state requirements, the CCDF subsidy receipt rate ranged from 5 percent to 32 percent of eligible children. Under federal requirements, the CCDF subsidy receipt rate ranged from 4 percent to 18 percent of federally eligible children. According to HHS estimates, among families who met federal child care eligibility criteria, children from lower-income families were more likely to receive child care subsidies compared to children from higher-income families. These estimates also showed that preschool-age children were more likely to receive subsidies compared to older, school-age children and that Black children were more likely to receive subsidies compared to children of other races / ethnicities. As reported in previous GAO work, states have varied strategies for managing their wait lists. Some states have a single statewide list while others have sub-state lists that allow sub-state areas to have their own policies. Some states conduct full or partial eligibility determinations prior to placing families on wait lists, and many states require periodic reviews of their wait lists. According to state administrators GAO interviewed, the strategies that states use to manage their wait lists pose certain challenges. For example, state administrators told GAO that sub-state lists can contain duplication, making state-wide estimates of families in need difficult. And administrators told GAO that maintaining up-to-date contact information is challenging, in part due to insufficient technology. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted child care in several ways, including cost, eligibility and subsidy receipt, according to some members of the National Association of State Child Care Administrators (NASCCA). These members told GAO that despite initial declines in the number of families receiving subsidies, some states are seeing their child care costs increase due to, for example, more school-age children using full-day care; increased expenses for additional health and safety measures; paying for more absences and for parent co-pays; and families applying for subsidies for relative care. NASCCA members noted that some states have made changes to policies to help families and providers. To help families access child care, some states have increased income eligibility for subsidies to 85 percent of the state median income; temporarily waived work requirements to receive subsidies; and covered family fees for parents when a family must quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure. Changes to some state policies aimed at helping providers include providing funds to providers to help with increased costs, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional cleaning supplies; paying providers based on their pre-COVID-19 level authorized enrollments; and raising the state's provider reimbursement rate to help providers cover overhead costs. The federal child care subsidy program known as CCDF is one of the primary sources of federal funding dedicated to assisting low-income families with child care who are working or participating in education and training. Funding for CCDF, which is administered by HHS at the federal level, comes from two funding streams: discretionary funding in the form of block grants authorized by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG Act) of 1990, as amended, and mandatory and matching funding authorized under section 418 of the Social Security Act. CCDF was appropriated more than $8 billion in federal funds in 2019. For more information, contact Kathryn Larin at (202) 512-7215 or larink@gao.gov.
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  • Opioid Manufacturer Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Kickback Conspiracies
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    Opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma LP (Purdue) pleaded guilty today in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, to conspiracies to defraud the United States and violate the anti-kickback statute.
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  • Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to Using Threats to Obstruct Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs
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    The Justice Department today announced that Ronald Wyatt, 22, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to intentionally threatening physical harm to a female victim, T.P., to obstruct T.P.’s free exercise of religion. As part of his plea agreement, Wyatt admitted that he targeted T.P., who is African-American, because of her race. 
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  • [Protest of AID Contract Award for Administrative, Technical, and Program Support]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested an Agency for International Development (AID) contract award for administrative, technical, and program support, contending that AID: (1) improperly based its cost realism analysis on predecessor contracts that had dissimilar work requirements; (2) should have upwardly adjusted the awardee's proposed costs for travel and the use of consultants because they were unrealistically low; and (3) should have awarded it the contract, since its combined evaluation score was higher than the awardee's evaluation score. GAO held that: (1) AID reasonably based its cost realism analysis on the predecessor contracts, since they were substantially similar in scope to the instant procurement; (2) the protester failed to present any evidence that the awardee's proposed costs were unrealistically low; (3) AID reasonably evaluated the protester's proposed costs; and (4) AID properly made award to the low bidder, since the bidders' proposals were technically equal. Accordingly, the protest was denied.
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  • Kenyan National Indicted for Conspiring to Hijack Aircraft on Behalf of the Al Qaeda-Affiliated Terrorist Organization Al Shabaab
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced the unsealing of an indictment charging Cholo Abdi Abdullah with six counts of terrorism-related offenses arising from his activities as an operative of the foreign terrorist organization al Shabaab, including conspiring to hijack aircraft in order to conduct a 9/11-style attack in the United States.  Abdullah was arrested in July 2019 in the Philippines on local charges, and was subsequently transferred on Dec. 15, 2020 in connection with his deportation from the Philippines to the custody of U.S. law enforcement for prosecution on the charges in the indictment.  Abdullah was transported from the Phillippines to the United States yesterday, and is expected to be presented today before Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger in Manhattan federal court.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge Analisa Torres.
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  • Joint Statement by the Secretary of State of the United States of America, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, and Italy
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  • Justice Department Settles Race Discrimination Case Against a Florida City Securing $195,000 in Lost Wages and Damages
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    The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement with the City of Venice, Florida, resolving its race discrimination lawsuit against the city. 
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  • Defense Critical Infrastructure: Actions Needed to Improve the Consistency, Reliability, and Usefulness of DOD’s Tier 1 Task Critical Asset List
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on a global network of defense critical infrastructure so essential that the incapacitation, exploitation, or destruction of an asset within this network could severely affect DOD's ability to deploy, support, and sustain its forces and operations worldwide and to implement its core missions, including current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of its importance to DOD operations, this defense critical infrastructure could be vulnerable to attacks by adversaries, and vulnerable to natural disasters and hazards, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Since September 2003, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs (ASD[HD&ASA]) has been responsible for developing and ensuring implementation of critical infrastructure protection policy and program guidance. To identify and help assure the availability of this mission-critical infrastructure, in August 2005 DOD established the Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP), assigning overall responsibility for the program to ASD(HD&ASA). In April 2008, DOD issued an instruction that further assigned responsibilities and prescribed procedures for the implementation of DCIP, among other things. In October 2008, DOD formalized the process for identifying and prioritizing its critical infrastructure. Since 2006, ASD(HD&ASA) has collaborated with the Joint Staff to compile a list of all DOD- and non-DOD-owned infrastructure essential to accomplish DOD's missions. To support this effort, the combatant commands and military services are to identify and place their critical assets into prioritized tiers, including Tier 1 Task Critical Assets, which are assets of such extraordinary importance that their incapacitation or destruction would have a serious, debilitating effect on the ability of one or more military services, combatant commands, or DCIP Defense Infrastructure Sector Lead Agents to execute the mission essential tasks they support. Defense Critical Assets, on the other hand, are the assets most critical for fulfilling overall DOD missions and are identified from the universe of Task Critical Assets. The Joint Staff worked with the combatant commands, military services, and Defense Infrastructure Sector Lead Agents to develop the current departmentwide list of Tier 1 Task Critical Assets. In October 2008, ASD(HD&ASA) formally accepted the Joint Staff's Defense Critical Asset nomination list as an initial list of Defense Critical Assets. In its May 2008 report on H.R. 5658, the House Committee on Armed Services addressed DOD's lack of progress in analyzing the risks of electrical power outages to critical DOD missions through DCIP and, among other things, directed that GAO continue its review of DCIP. As a result, we initiated our on-going review of the assurance of electrical power supplies to DOD's critical assets.While DOD has made some progress in developing a Tier 1 Task Critical Asset list, this progress was limited by DOD's lack of consistent criteria for identifying and prioritizing Tier 1 Task Critical Assets. When selecting and submitting their most recent lists of Tier 1 Task Critical Asset submissions to the Joint Staff, the combatant commands and the military services used disparate sets of guidance, including draft and nonbinding guidance, as their criteria. Air Force officials, however, told us they developed formal critical asset identification guidance based on DOD's draft critical asset identification manual. According to military service and combatant command officials, DOD's draft and nonbinding guidance contained unclear definitions of asset tiers, Task Critical Assets, and other key terms, such as "mission essential tasks." DOD has taken some actions toward promoting coordination among the combatant commands, military services, and Joint Staff in compiling DOD's Tier 1 Task Critical Asset list. For example, in August 2005, DOD issued DOD Directive 3020.40, which calls for coordination among the Joint Staff, combatant commands, military services, and other defense agencies for the purpose of identifying and assessing critical assets needed to implement DOD missions. However, DOD has not yet developed formal coordination responsibilities and an effective coordination mechanism within DCIP, including a forum for coordination between the military services and combatant commands when identifying critical assets. Combatant command and military service officials told us that, in considering which assets to submit to DOD's Tier 1 Task Critical Asset list, they coordinate only minimally with each other when determining which assets are critical to combatant command missions. Based on our analysis of the October 2008 manual and discussions with DCIP officials, we found that the Joint Staff, combatant commands, military services, and other DOD agencies still lack clearly defined coordination responsibilities and a mechanism for effective coordination within DCIP. As a result, the communication and coordination efforts among these key DCIP stakeholders when considering assets to nominate as Tier 1 Task Critical Assets have been insufficient and inconsistent. While DOD has developed a strategy and comprehensive management plan for DCIP, it has not fully developed some DCIP program management elements for identifying Tier 1 Task Critical Assets, which could enhance the effectiveness of the program. DOD's formal critical asset identification process manual issued in 2008 lacks some key elements necessary for sound program management, including clearly defined schedules and milestones for meeting performance goals and a formal feedback process. According to our work on sound management practices, comprehensive program schedules and formal communication strategies assist agencies in effectively implementing programs by providing relevant stakeholders with timelines to follow, performance milestones to meet, and shared expectations to guide their efforts. Because DOD lacks a formal process for submitting critical assets, including milestones and formal feedback from ASD(HD&ASA) or the Joint Staff on meeting program goals, the combatant commands and military services are limited in their ability to effectively select, compile, and validate their final nominations to DOD's Tier 1 Task Critical Asset list.
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  • Switzerland’s Largest Insurance Company and Three Subsidiaries Admit to Conspiring with U.S. Taxpayers to Hide Assets and Income in Offshore Accounts
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today filed a criminal information charging Swiss Life Holding AG (Swiss Life Holding), Swiss Life (Liechtenstein) AG (Swiss Life Liechtenstein), Swiss Life (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Swiss Life Singapore), and Swiss Life (Luxembourg) S.A. (Swiss Life Luxembourg), collectively, the “Swiss Life Entities,” with conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to conceal from the IRS more than $1.452 billion in offshore insurance policies, including more than 1,600 insurance wrapper policies, and related policy investment accounts in banks around the world and the income generated in these accounts.
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  • District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Shutting Down Technical-Support Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal court entered an order of permanent injunction against an individual and five companies in a case against a large-scale technical-support fraud scheme alleged to have defrauded hundreds of elderly and vulnerable U.S. victims, the Department of Justice announced today. 
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  • Environmental Safety International Inc. and its Agents to Pay $1.66 Million for Telemarketing Violations
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced that the government will collect $1.66 million in civil penalties as part of a settlement to resolve alleged violations of the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by New Jersey-based Environmental Safety International Inc. (ESI), as well as its co-owners, Joseph and Sean Carney, and its telemarketer, Raymond Carney, all of whom reside in New Jersey.
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  • U.S Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General and Justice Department Conduct Animal Welfare Criminal Investigations Training
    In Crime News
    On Sept. 14 to 18, criminal investigators and attorneys from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG) and the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) collaborated to put on a week-long training for USDA-OIG criminal investigators, as well as other federal law enforcement agencies on animal welfare criminal investigations and prosecutions.
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