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Archive for September 7th, 2011

Feds Bust 91 in Nationwide $295 Mil Medicare Fraud Crackdown

FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, left, is joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in announcing a nationwide Medicare fraud takedown operation./fbi photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Medicare fraud, which helps zap government funding for healthcare, was at front center on Wednesday when the Justice Department announced a nationwide crackdown that resulted in charges against 91 people who were involved in roughly $295 million in false billings. Authorities said in Miami alone, 45 people—including a doctor and a nurse—were charged for their roles in fraud involving $159 million in false Medicare bills in the areas of home health care, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy, durable medical equipment, and HIV infusion. In Los Angeles, six defendants—including one doctor—were charged for their roles in schemes to defraud Medicare of more than $10.7 million. And in Brooklyn, three defendants—including two doctors—were charged in a fraud scheme involving more than $3.4 million in false claims for medically unnecessary physical therapy, authorities said. “The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare – jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement. “Today’s arrests are a powerful warning to those who would try to defraud taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries,” added Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These arrests illustrate close cooperation between the Medicare program that identified these fraudsters and the law enforcement officials who acted swiftly to cut them off. And our efforts to stop criminals don’t end here because the Affordable Care Act gives us new tools to prevent Medicare fraud before it is committed – better protecting seniors and the integrity of the Medicare program for generations to come.”

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Republicans Refuse to Confirm Leader for ATF

White House nominee Andrew Traver has not been confirmed as head of ATF/zerocancer.org photo

By David G. Savage
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans have been upset at the management at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which authorized a botched sting operation near the Mexican border that put guns in the hands of drug criminals.

But Republican leaders, responding to complaints from gun-rights lobbyists, have refused to confirm a director for the bureau since it was split from the Treasury Department eight years ago.

“They have had nothing but acting directors. Do you wonder why some things would go wrong there?” said John Killorin, a retired special agent from Atlanta and president of the ATF Assn. “This is a major law enforcement agency, and they need a confirmed director with the full responsibility and authority to run it.”

President Obama’s nominee, an ATF special agent from Chicago, has yet to have a Senate hearing.

To read more click here

Secret Service Won’t Let VP Biden Tool Around in his 67′ Green Corvette

govt photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes the Secret Service acts like over-protective parents when it comes to its protectees.

Vice President Joe Biden complains in the October issue of Car and Driver Magazine that the Secret Service won’t let him drive around town in his beloved 1967 green Corvette.

“The Secret Service won’t let me drive it. I’m not allowed to drive anything. It’s the one thing I hate about this job. I’m serious,” Biden tells the magazine, according to ABC News.

The magazine reported that Biden still gets a bit of drive time in his driveway. He recently test drove his brother’s 556-horsepower Cadillac.

“He brought it down for me to eat my heart out,” Biden said, according to the magazine. “So I got in. I have a driveway that’s about 1,700 feet long. I knew the Secret Service wouldn’t let me drive it outside. So I jumped on that sucker and laid rubber.  A great feeling. That thing could probably beat my Corvette.”

Washington State US Atty. Jenny Durkan Ripped Off in ATM Scam

Greedy Citigroup Exec Admits Embezzling More than $22 Million

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For those who like to vent about the greed of bankers, here’s more ammunition: Meet Gary Foster, the vice president in Citigroup, Inc.’s treasury finance department.

Foster pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn to bank fraud involving the theft of more than $22 million from Citigroup between September 2003 to June 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Foster entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn says Foster used the money to buy real estate and luxury cars including a Ferrari and a Maserati.

Authorities alleged that Foster transferred money from various Citigroup accounts to Citigroup’s cash account, then wired the money to his personal bank account at another bank.

Authorities said he concealed his crooked deeds by making false accounting entries to create the appearance that the cash account was in balance and by placing a fraudulent contract or deal number in the reference line of the wire transfer instructions to give the appearance that the wire transfers were actually in support of an existing Citigroup contract.

“The defendant violated his employer’s trust and stole a stunning amount of money over an extended period of time to finance his personal lifestyle,” U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement.

Justice Dept. Gives “No Confidence Vote” to Phoenix U.S. Atty Office: Moves Controversial Cases

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is transferring two controversial weapons cases and a murder case out of Phoenix, news that comes after Phoenix’s U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke abruptly resigned late last month, CBS News reports.

“The Department of Justice is giving a no-confidence vote to the US Attorney’s office in Arizona,” one law enforcement source told CBS News.

The cases involve an Operation Fast and Furious case, a major grenade case, and the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Two of the cases have been moved to San Diego and the other to Los Angeles, CBS reported.

To read the full story click here.

John Edwards Wants Criminal Charges Dropped; Claims Charges are Part of Political Crusade

John Edwards/senate photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, whose public image quickly turned to mud after news of his affair surfaced while his wife was dying of cancer, wants the criminal charges against him dismissed.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports that Edward’s high-powered attorneys Abbe Lowell, Jim Cooney and Wade Smith filed a motion Tuesday seeking to dismiss the crimina charges of campaign finance violations, saying the case amounts to a political crusade.

“This case is about politics,” the motion said, according to Politico. “A Republican U.S. Attorney with political ambitions of his own has used this high-profile case to his personal benefit,” the defense team wrote.

The motion was in reference to Bush-appointee, former Raleigh, N.C. U.S. Attorney George Holding, who resigned shortly after Edwards was indicted in June.

Interestingly, key politicians in the state wanted Holding to stay on as U.S. Attorney to handle the case, and to avoid allegations of political interference.

To read more click here.

 

Maryland Scientist Pleads Guilty for Attempting to Spy for Israel

Stewart Nozette/nasa photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Maryland scientist busted in an FBI sting in 2009 for attempting to spy for Israel, pleaded guilty Wednesday in D.C. federal court to one count of attempted espionage, the Associated Press reported.

Stewart D. Nozette, 54, was charged in 2009 with giving sensitive government information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer with the Mossad.  In exchange, the agent paid him $11,000.

Nozette plea calls for a 13 year sentence, with two years credit for time served, AP reported.

In 2009, in a hotel room in Northwest Washington, Nozette told the undercover agent posing as a Mossad agent:

Nozette: I don’t get recruited by Mossad every day. I knew this day would come by the way.

 Agent: How’s that.

Nozette: (laughs) I just had a feeling one of these days.

Agent: Really?

 Nozette: I knew you guys would show up.

Nozette over the years worked for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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