Two Corporate Executive Parents Found Guilty in First College Admissions Scandal Trial

Two corporate executive parents whose children attend prestigious universities were found guilty in federal court Friday for bribing university staff to rig the admissions process, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gamal Abdelaziz, former chief operations officer of Wynn Resorts Development and John Wilson, a private-equity financier and former chief financial officer of Staples, who were tried together in federal court, each spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to falsify their childrens’ academic and athletic records to gain admission to the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford and Harvard as athletic recruits with the help of scandal ringleader and admissions consultant Rick Singer.

The two men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery involving a school that receives federal funds, the WSJ reported. The jury also found Wilson guilty of aiding and abetting in fraud and bribery and filing a false tax return.

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Judge Stymies Feds’ Plan to Keep $85 Million in Raid Without Filing Criminal Charges

The feds faced another setback in their quest to keep $85 million in assets seized in a raid without charging hundreds of safe deposit box renters with a crime.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner issued a preliminary injunction July 16 in a lawsuit by several customers of Los Angeles-based U.S. Private Vaults (USPV), who alleged the FBI denied them due process by providing civil forfeiture notices that lacked “any legal basis” for seizing the contents of each box.

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Maryland Announces over 500,000 New Potentially Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Since May

Larry Hogan

Maryland officials say they suspect over 508,000 new, potentially fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed since May.

The announcement Monday followed the state saying it has verified over 1.3 million fraudulent claims since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common means of filing a fraudulent claim is identity theft, according to CNN.

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Michigan Senate Report Concludes Mailing of Unsolicited Ballot Applications Poses Risk of Fraud

Republican lawmakers in Michigan released a report Wednesday concluding there was no widespread fraud in the state’s November election, debunking many speculations, but they pointedly warned that the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot applications creates “a clear vulnerability for fraud that may be undetected.”

“The serious, potential outcomes of these vulnerabilities versus the minor effort to request an application make a strong and compelling necessity to not provide such applications without a request from a voter – as was standard practice until this past year,” the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee concluded. “Therefore, the committee recommends the Michigan secretary of state discontinue the practice of mailing out unsolicited applications.”

The committee also recommended that the state strengthen voter ID requirements, not weaken them like Democrats in Congress have proposed, as the practice of absentee or not-in-person voting grows.

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Pension Bailout Agency Flagged for Contract Bribery, Fraud and Payments to Dead Americans

American flag with handcuffs and $100 bills

This week’s Golden Horseshoe award goes to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the nation’s pension bailout agency that is still reeling from revelations its chief of contracting engaged in a bribery scheme that steered $4.8 million in fraudulent business to a vendor in return for more than $1 million in personal benefits.

The bribery scheme involving the now convicted director of PBGC’s Procurement Department was possible because the agency suffered from several vulnerabilities, including reduced competition among vendors, missing legal reviews and sole-source contracts that evaded bidding designed to get taxpayers the best bargain, the PBGC’s inspector general reported.

“His actions were enabled by internal control weaknesses; specifically, inadequate oversight of PD procurements and a lack of a control mechanism to ensure that PD sent all requisite contract actions for legal review,” the inspector general reported. “Although PBGC began requiring that more contract actions receive legal review after the PD Director resigned in February 2020, it does not have a mechanism to ensure PD complies with this requirement.”

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Commentary: A Cautionary Tale of Unintended Consequences

For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.

The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.

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Disparate Treatment in Two Fund-Raising Fraud Cases Renews Debate Over Dual Justice System

Just a few short weeks apart, the U.S. Justice Department settled two major fund-raising cases involving foreign money injected into American elections.

In February, a longtime Democratic bundler named Imaad Zuberi, who also donated to Donald Trump’s inauguration, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and millions in fines in a criminal information that alleged he routed foreign money into U.S elections, sometimes through straw donors.

Last week, Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, 75, a large donor to the Clinton Foundation, got a fine, no prison and deferred prosecution for allegedly routing his foreign money to straw donors to help Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and some GOP congressional candidates. An associate also made a secret loan to Obama-era Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who failed to disclose the assistance.

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Ballot Transfer Forms Show Cobb County Violated Georgia Election Rule Requiring Absentee Ballots from Drop Boxes ‘Be Immediately Transported to the County Registrar’

A review of drop box ballot transfer forms reveals that Cobb County violated the Rules of the State Election Board for Absentee Voting that requires absentee ballots from drop box locations be “immediately transported” to the country registrar.

Specifically, the Rules of the State Election Board of the Georgia Election Code Chapter 183-1 for Absentee Voting states, “The ballots from the drop box shall be immediately transported to the county registrar and processed and stored in the same manner as absentee ballots returned by mail are processed and stored.”

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Commentary: Fraud, Evidence, Proof, Power

The Trump campaign alleges that massive voter fraud, especially perpetrated by computer software, is responsible for the widely published figures indicating Joe Biden won the presidential election. Consensus has spread from the Left, through the Republican establishment (e.g. the Wall Street Journal) to honest Tucker Carlson, that the Trump team has presented no proof and, absent that, must concede. But even the few who adhere to that consensus honestly do so based on neglect of law, facts, and even of the English language. 

For Trump’s highly paid lawyers, there is no excuse whatsoever to submit to that expectation.

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Criminals Stealing Unemployment Benefits as Claims Surge

Criminals are seizing on a surge in job losses to steal unemployment benefits from Americans nationwide. This complicates an already tough situation for millions of financially strapped Americans and overwhelmed state unemployment offices.

While there’s no exact measure of how many fraudulent claims have been made, states from Washington to Maine say they’ve seen an increase and numerous federal agencies are working to fight it.

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Lawyer Avenatti Charged in California with US Fraud, Tax Crimes

Lawyer Michael Avenatti was charged with 36 counts of fraud, tax evasion, identity theft and other financial crimes in an indictment made public by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday. The indictment came about three weeks after Avenatti, best known for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her…

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RNC Slams Elizabeth Warren as ‘Total Fraud’ Amid 2020 Presidential Speculation

by Henry Rodgers   Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Sen. Elizabeth Warren a “total fraud” Monday, the day the Massachusetts Democrat announced she was forming a presidential exploratory committee. In a fiery statement from the RNC, McDaniel called out Warren for her “phony claim to minority status,”…

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Russian Nationals Indicted in North Carolina on Immigration Fraud, Murder for Hire Charges

Five Russian nationals were indicted on Wednesday in the Eastern District of North Carolina, according to a Department of Justice press release. The five are charged with “federal crimes stemming from a bribery and kickback scheme, including money laundering, immigration fraud, and a subsequent murder for hire plot.” Leonid Teyf, 57,…

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Lancaster County Will Be Pennsylvania’s First Investigative Target Under New Program to Tackle Welfare Fraud

The Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General and the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office announced last week that they are joining forces to tackle welfare fraud, specifically food-stamp fraud. Commonly referred to as the food-stamp program, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increasingly become a concern among law-enforcement officials.…

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Attorney General Sessions Announces Charges For 601 People In Largest Health Care Fraud Bust In History

by Steve Birr   Federal officials are charging 601 people, including more than 100 medical workers, for fueling opioid addiction in the largest bust of health care fraud in U.S. history. The Department of Justice revealed the charges Thursday, which were brought as part of an annual effort to dismantle…

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