Stopping Fraud Against Seniors a Top Priority for the Attorney General

Keep this number handy!

AG Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced this week that an unprecedented number of cases of fraud against senior Americans have been charged or prosecuted and announced a hotline where you can report suspected fraud and help them catch more of the crooks, often foreign crooks, stealing from older Americans.

From CBS News  (good for them because I have seen very little elsewhere about this story from Tuesday):

Barr announces more than 400 charged for defrauding seniors over past year

Washington — More than 400 people have been charged with defrauding seniors out of more than $1 billion over the past year, the Justice Department revealed Tuesday. Attorney General William Barr announced the charges in Tampa on Tuesday at the Sun City Center Community Hall for seniors.

Barr explained why this issue has personal meaning for him. “I myself was used as a lure in a scam,” the attorney general told retirees. Before he became the nation’s 85th attorney general, the 1991 official photograph of Barr from his first stint in in the job in George H.W. Bush’s administration was used by scammers offering phony federal grants in exchange for money. “It was really heart-wrenching. People called in desperate hope that this was real,” Barr explained. “That crystalized the issue for me, and when I got to the department I wanted to make sure that this was one of our highest priorities to go after this.”

Fraud ring busted in 2019. https://qz.com/africa/1693540/fbi-bust-of-nigerian-email-fraud-shows-evolving-scam-tactics/

[….]

Barr has made elder fraud one of his top priorities as attorney general, and Tuesday’s announcement nearly doubles last year’s prosecutions.

Every U.S. attorney’s office across the country participated in either prosecuting or conducting proactive community outreach as part of the department’s sweep.

[….]

Scams targeting the elderly are usually foreign-based, like the “Nigerian prince” scheme or robocalls involving the impersonation of a U.S. government official who demands money from targets.

“The charges announced today demonstrate the great success of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force to identify and stop those who are targeting our senior communities from overseas,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement. “We’re committed to continuing our efforts to keep our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, or online.”

More here.

And, see the FBI Press Release on the announcement which includes a link to an interactive US map so you can see where some of the 400 cases are being prosecuted.

As I have said on innumerable occasions the President should be highlighting this fraud-busting work of his Justice Department, like this Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force , at every one of his rallies.

 

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Michigan Mayor Indicted! Committed Bribery and Wire Fraud, Say the Feds

“Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions.”

(Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI)

 

The Mayor, along with his pals, allegedly used his elected office and campaign funds to enrich himself.

From the US Justice Department just before Christmas:

MAYOR OF TAYLOR AND TWO OTHERS INDICTED FOR BRIBERY AND FRAUD

A thirty-three count Indictment unsealed today charges City of Taylor Mayor Richard “Rick” Sollars, businessman Shady Awad, and Taylor Community Development Manager Jeffrey Baum with conspiracy to commit bribery in a scheme spanning from 2015 to 2019, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced. The Indictment also charges Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud.

According to the Indictment, Sollars helped Awad’s real estate development company Realty Transition LLC obtain scores of tax-foreclosed properties owned by the City of Taylor. In return, Awad lavished Sollars with thousands of dollars in cash and over $30,000 in renovations to Sollars’s home, over $11,000 in renovations to Sollars’s lake house, and over $12,000 in new household appliances.

Alleged co-conspirator Shady Awad chit-chatting with Democrat Mayor Sollars. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2019/12/19/feds-indict-taylor-mayor-sollars-bribery-scandal/2698426001/

 

The appliances included a refrigerator, stove, microwave, dishwasher, a $1,600 cigar humidor, a vacuum cleaner, and a clothes washer and dryer. The free renovations provided to Sollars by Awad include hardwood floors on every level of Sollars’s Taylor residence, hardwood floors at the lake house, a garage door, a new front door, cabinets, and a refurbished lake house deck.

The Indictment also alleges that Jeffrey Baum received bribes from Awad and another developer, in exchange for Baum’s help in obtaining tax-foreclosed properties from the City.

Sollar’s vacation home!

Text messages between Sollars, Awad, and Baum cited throughout the Indictment document the bribe scheme. In one text, Awad states as follows: “My relationship with Rick is worth $1 million so whatever it takes I’ll pay for it” in telling a contractor to do free work on Sollars’s lake house.

The Indictment also charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of Wire Fraud, alleging that Sollars and Baum defrauded donors to Sollars’s campaign fund in three ways. First, Sollars would take checks from his campaign account and write them payable to a particular market, purporting to pay for catering for one of Sollars’s events. Instead, the market owner would cash the campaign checks and give the cash back to Sollars, with no catering provided. Second, Sollars and Baum would direct Sollars’s supporters to write checks directly to the market for events that never occurred. Sollars would get cash and scratch-off lottery tickets from the market owner. Third, Sollars and Baum would solicit and accept thousands of dollars in cash contributions to Sollars’s campaign. Instead of depositing the funds into his campaign account, Sollars would simply keep the cash and use it for personal expenses.

The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of $205,993 in cash seized from Sollars’s home on February 10, 2019.

FBI provides readers with contact information if you suspect fraud or corruption with your local elected officials!

“Any time an allegation of corruption is brought to our attention, the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force will investigate it thoroughly. Public corruption at any level undermines the community’s faith in their elected officials and does long-term damage to government institutions,” said SAC D’Antuono. “With that in mind, we encourage anyone who believes they have information about corruption to contact the FBI at 313-965-4545 or tips.fbi.gov.”

More details here.

I know I haven’t done a scientific analysis, but heck it sure seems that a very high percentage of my ‘Frauds and Crooks’ stories originate in Michigan!

 

For new readers:  If you are interested in the issue of Refugee Resettlement (Michigan is a leading state that ‘welcomes’ more impoverished people), visit my other blog Refugee Resettlement Watch where I have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks.

Illinois: Edgar County Watchdogs Show How it Should be Done!

A couple of days ago, I told you that you must become community organizers and fight to save your towns and cities. By re-electing Donald Trump you buy four more years to get to work!

Reader Judy came across an inspirational story that, although five years old, tells us what is possible when just a few people get together, investigate, and then hold elected officials accountable.

From Take Back Our Power:

Entire county board arrested following citizens arrest by 2 military veterans

 

Clark County, Illinois — Sometimes citizens can be so frustrated with county board members they wish someone could just place them under arrest. Well, that is exactly what citizens in Clark County, Illinois did.

Illinois’ number one manufactured product is corruption. More than 95 percent of the Illinois legislature is safe in gerrymandered districts. The incumbent governor has three current federal investigations of his administration, but the Attorney General/state’s attorney class can’t find public vice anywhere.

Residents that voted in the recent election said they are hoping officials have learned from the past mistakes of others.

So what can the law abiding citizen do? The answer is coming from some regular guys in southern Illinois who decided to hold public officials accountable. They call themselves the “Watchdogs.”

Kirk Allen and John Kraft — two military veterans — live in Edgar County which just might be the most corrupt county in the country. For a couple of watchdogs, it’s a target rich environment.

In an effort to take back their government from self-serving politicians and bureaucrats, Kraft and Allen established a group called the Edgar County Watchdogs. Through a combination of public pressure, Freedom of Information filings, lawsuits, and media exposure, they have created a system that deeply threatens Illinois’ corrupt, entrenched political establishment. They operate a blog called Illinois Leaks that exposes corruption at the state and local levels. The blog is so popular that, it is trusted more than the local paper.

Considering the fact that, according to Forbes, their home county’s government has racked up over $79 million in debt all on its own while serving only 18,000 residents, Kraft and Allen have their work cut out for them.

By relentlessly pursuing justice for even the smallest infractions by bureaucrats and politicians, the Edgar County Watchdogs have driven 102 public officials to resign from their posts, including 33 officials in Edgar County alone.

The pair busted the mayor of Redmond for attempting to hold office while living out of town. They represented themselves in court and beat Illinois Assistant Attorney General Emma Steimel in a lawsuit seeking access to state e-mails. Officials who have resigned due to the Watchdogs’ efforts include a property tax assessor, the Edgar County board chairman, an entire airport board and its manager, the attorney for Kansas Township’s fire department, Shiloh’s superintendent of schools, and Effingham’s health department administrator, among others. After they exposed corrupt, illegal, and self-serving spending habits by the Ford-Iroquois County health department, the entire bureaucracy was dissolved. In some cases, federal agents have even stepped in to investigate and issue subpoenas to local officials after receiving tips from Kraft and Allen.

Read more here.

Since the story is old, I checked to see if their blog is still up and running and it is, see it here.

Their facebook page is up-to-date.

There is no reason that you can’t do this where you live!

If you aren’t visiting the newly reconstructed Refugee Resettlement Watch yet, check out two posts there today.  RRW was informing now Trump chief immigration expert Stephen Miller in the run-up to the 2016 election, here.

And see how the great replacement is changing the electoral map from Virginia to Montana.