Wausau medical health insurance dealer sentenced to federal jail in drug, cash laundering scheme

From Shereen Siewert

A Wausauer health insurance broker who ran a program to import and distribute fake brand medicines from India will spend six months in jail after pleading guilty of postal fraud and money laundering, federal officials said Friday.

Kenneth Zipperer, 54, was also fined $ 150,000 and $ 483 in restitution costs.

In January 2019, At least five agents were seen pulling boxes from the Zipperer Financial, Wausau Forststr. 115 carried and placed in vehicles. The agents wore jackets that identified them as IRS-CID officers.

Zipperer Financial offered complementary Medicare plans, benefit plans, and Part D pharma plans.

Investigators refused to comment on the investigation for more than 18 months. But in November 2020, federal officials announced that Zipperer had been charged with 26 federal charges stemming from a plan with an unlicensed pharmacy. Zipper initially faced five postal fraud cases, ten wire transfer fraud cases, two cases of distributing bogus prescription drugs without a written prescription or license to administer such drugs, five cases of covert money laundering, and four cases of advertising money laundering.

According to the indictment, Zipperer imported overseas prescription drugs via the U.S. Mail and Express Mail Service from an Internet pharmacy company in India, and none of the drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for human consumption in the U.S. Attorney’s Office Zipperer was not licensed to dispense or prescribe prescription drugs, and that he used his staff, computers, and office space to order prescription drugs from India, break down bulk shipments into quantities for individual customers, store drug inventory, and issue invoices for payment, and deposit drug customers’ checks into the company’s commercial bank account, officials said.

Zipperer urged his prescription drug customers to pay him cash to avoid leaving a paper trail of financial transactions related to the operations of his underground pharmacy and for him to conduct financial transactions knowing that it was revenue engaged in illegal activities, prosecutors said. Usually he personally distributed the drugs to insurance customers, mostly in his office in downtown Wausau.

On Friday, Zipperer was convicted of postal fraud and once money laundering, said Timothy M. O’Shea, acting US attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. US District Judge William M. Conley directed the case.

O’Shea said distributing unapproved prescription drugs is not only illegal, but also endangers consumer health.

“To protect public health and safety, our office works closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who seek profit from the sale of unapproved prescription drugs,” said O’Shea.

Federal officials warn against taking foreign unapproved prescription drugs that can put patients at serious risk. Unapproved drugs have no guarantees of safety or effectiveness and can harm those who use them, said special envoy Lynda M. Burdelik, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Chicago Field Office.

“We will continue to investigate those who endanger public health,” said Burdelik.

The charges against Zipperer were the result of an investigation by the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Food & Drug Administration – Office of Criminal Investigations, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. Deputy US Attorney Daniel Graber took the indictment.

Worldwide cash launderer sentenced to federal jail in cyber-crime conspiracies accountable for meant lack of almost $60 million | USAO-SDGA

SAVANNAH, GA: A Canadian man who conspired to launder the tens of millions of dollars stolen from various wire transfer and bank fraud programs – including a massive online banking theft by North Korean cyber criminals – has been sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison.

Ghaleb Alaumary, 36, of Mississauga, Ontario, was sentenced to a total of 140 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of money laundering conspiracies, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of Georgia . District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Alaumary to pay $ 30,703,946.56 in compensation to the victims and to be released under custody after completing his three-year sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

“This defendant served as an integral channel in a network of cyber criminals who siphoned tens of millions of dollars from multiple companies and institutions around the world,” said acting US Attorney Estes. “He laundered money for a rogue nation and some of the world’s worst cybercriminals, and led a team of co-conspirators who helped fill thieves’ pockets and digital wallets. But US law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with their partners around the world, will bring fraudsters to justice who believe they can hide behind a computer screen. “

As described in unsealed court documents and trials, Alaumary and his co-conspirators used business compromise email programs, ATM withdrawals, and bank cyber-robberies to steal money from victims and then launder the money through bank accounts and digital currencies. He previously pleaded guilty to two money laundering cases in the southern Georgia district.

In the first case, filed and investigated in the southern district of Georgia, Alaumary conspired with others who sent fraudulent “fake” emails to a university in Canada in 2017 to create the appearance that the emails came from a university Construction company came out paying for a large construction project. The university, believed to be paying the construction company, transferred CAD 11.8 million (about $ 9.4 million) to a bank account controlled by Alaumary and his co-conspirators. Alaumary then arranged with individuals in the US and elsewhere to launder the stolen funds through various financial institutions.

Weeks later, Alaumary arranged several trips to Texas for a co-conspirator in the United States to impersonate wealthy bank customers in order to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims ‘accounts using the victims’ stolen personally identifiable information. There was a phone call to a co-conspirator in Savannah discussing the fraud.

In the second case, relocated from the Central District of California to the Southern District of Georgia for his admission of guilt and conviction, Alaumary recruited and organized individuals to withdraw stolen cash from ATMs; provided bank accounts that received funds from bank cyber-robberies and fraud systems; and once the ill-gotten funds were in accounts he controlled, Alaumary further laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals, and by exchanging the funds for cryptocurrency. Funds included a cyber attack on a Maltese bank in 2019 by North Korea. Other victims of Alaumary’s crimes have included banks headquartered in India, Pakistan and Malta, as well as corporations in the US and UK, individuals in the US and a professional football club in the UK

“International money launderers provide critical services to cyber criminals, helping hackers and scammers avoid their illegal profits and hide their illegal profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Department of Criminal Investigation. “Businesses large and small, a university, banks and others lost tens of millions of dollars on this plan. Alaumary’s verdict today reflects how seriously the Justice Department takes the critical role money launderers play in global cybercrime. “

“The conviction of the defendant in this case speaks to the value of cross-border investigative cooperation,” said Steven R. Baisel, SAIC Field Office of US Intelligence Atlanta. “Despite the complex, international nature of this criminal enterprise, the accused and his co-conspirators were brought to justice.”

“This case exemplifies our relentless determination to hold criminals accountable, no matter how sophisticated their crimes may seem,” said Phil Wislar, acting special agent for the FBI Atlanta. “The arrest and conviction of cybercriminals like Alaumary, who feel safe behind a computer screen, is only possible through persistent investigative efforts by the FBI and our close cooperation with our US and international partners.”

Alaumary is the fourth defendant in the investigation to be convicted in the southern district of Georgia. Uchechi Ohanaka, Kelvin Desangles and Jennal Aziz had previously pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court and were sentenced to more than 200 months in prison.

The cases were investigated by the U.S. Intelligence Savannah Resident Office, with assistance from the Los Angeles Field Office and Global Investigative Operations Center, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and followed up by the Criminal Investigation Department of the U.S. District Attorney’s Southern District of Georgia, Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky, of the US Department of Justice’s cybercrime and intellectual property division, and Assistant US Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki, of the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Federal cash is flowing into Pa. neighborhood well being facilities, however leaders say there are too many limits on it

If she had her Druther, Cheri Rinehart would have every doctor and staff working in underserved communities wear a pin that said, “I’m vaccinated against Covid. Ask me about the vaccine. “

Rinehart, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers, said the pins would facilitate conversation and engagement about the COVID-19 vaccine and reduce vaccine reluctance in low-income communities.

Amid the urgency to vaccinate minorities and the small disparities in health care, the pins represent a small financial investment as community health centers have a significant impact on the health of underserved communities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We think this is a very gentle way to start a conversation when you bring someone back to the exam room or weigh them. If he sees a needle on your collar, he may be more open to talking to the person taking their blood pressure than even a doctor or nurse, ”said Rinehart.

Rinehart recently tabled a proposal for the lapel pins, just one item in a litany of needs and financial inquiries vying for the tens of millions of dollars in federal funding.

In fact, community health centers officials say there has been no shortage of funds to help them support impoverished urban or rural communities, especially since the pandemic began. But often the money comes with constraints that limit their options.

“We wish it wasn’t that specific. These uses weren’t that specific, ”said Jeannine Peterson, CEO of the Hamilton Health Center. “Of course the first pot was money to test and we tested a lot. When the vaccine hit the market in January, testing slowed down, but all that testing money is still there and you can’t use it for anything other than testing.

The most recent source of funding was released in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which allocated $ 27 million to Pennsylvania specifically to address health inequalities in minority and rural communities. The state health ministry has not yet released the money but is completing a number of initiatives.

Nationwide qualified community health centers in Pennsylvania are on the verge of getting a sizable chunk of the money.

Peterson announced programs that would improve human resource development, recruitment, salaries for healthcare professionals and personnel, as well as a number of other initiatives, including infrastructure, that could affect the six locations under the Hamilton Health umbrella.

His missions, she says, are vital.

“The county has mental health and substance abuse responsibility, but it really has no health care responsibility, and that doesn’t exist anywhere in town,” said Peterson. “Things fell to the community health centers. We want to be there to answer. Here we lack the resources to meet the public health needs of the population. These are concrete things. The Covid money is plentiful, but what about everything else we have to do? “

the Hamilton Health Center provides free or discounted health care to more than 20,000 Harrisburg residents and rural communities in Dauphin and Perry counties. The center employs 160 people and provides medical, social, behavioral and dental services to tens of thousands of otherwise unmedically unsupervised residents. It operates on a budget in excess of $ 16 million.

The Hamilton Health Center and the other state-qualified health centers in Pennsylvania continue to benefit from the CARES bill. Much of this money is earmarked for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. Part of the funding is determined by formulas, such as the number of patients treated in the last year.

In fact, most of the federal aid has yet to be used to help Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania received nearly $ 7.3 billion in federal aid through the US rescue plan; $ 1 billion is earmarked for the new state budget.

Regardless, the money is carefully scrutinized and channeled, and is generally targeted towards initiatives such as testing and vaccinations. There Peterson said she wished the flow of funding could be a little more flexible.

Community health centers are required to follow strict guidelines for the use of federal funds. Funds earmarked for testing cannot, for example, be used for vaccination programs or to meet staffing needs.

“It is very difficult to manage all of the funds … to make sure you are spending according to guidelines and having the impact you want to make in the community,” said Peterson.

Brian Lentes, director of operational excellence for the Department of Health, said state officials are working closely with regional ethnic and minority groups and health care providers in rural and urban settings to identify needs and provide the latest federal grants.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for the department to use federal funds to create opportunities for four major strategies,” said Lentes.

These strategies include funding field workforce training; Programs to address inequalities in rural health and the disabled population and initiatives within the ministry.

The funding stream has a designated pot of approximately $ 5 million to be used to address rural health care and inequalities there, and approximately $ 8 million is dedicated to Philadelphia.

“It comes from many different ideas that have been generated by grants to address health inequalities and their relation to COVID-19,” Lentes said. “We know that certain populations contracting COVID-19 have more severe consequences, and this is a great way to address those differences. How can you improve the response in the future? “

Pennsylvania is one of the states that does not provide state funding for community health centers. Health centers in the Commonwealth receive their funding largely from federal sources, including Medicaid and Medicare, as well as from critical grant funding streams.

Extensive studies have confirmed the difference that community health centers are making in their communities and the quality of care they provide, especially during the pandemic.

“We had health inequalities before the pandemic,” said Rinehart. “Many of these churches – where we see big differences in health – are the same churches where our most important workers had to work in the early days. Often they were dependent on public transport. They live in smaller neighborhoods with more people, which increases the risk of infection. It was important to give these people access to the vaccine as soon as possible. “

Nationwide Qualified Health Centers in Pennsylvania provided medical care to nearly 1 million Pennsylvania residents last year – in fact, 917,000 people received medical care at more than 330 clinic locations in 53 of the Commonwealth of Counties. Nationwide, this number is 29 million people.

The federal grant is available until 2023, a fact that, depending on your point of view, makes the situation even more urgent.

Lentes guarantees that the money will be paid out on time and carefully. Will it be enough to address and contain the persistent disparities?

“I think this is a very good place to start and it is appropriate at this point to keep looking at the additional options,” he said. “This is a great start, but there is always room for more. As we continue to address health inequalities and improve our response to Covid and underserved racial and ethnic groups, we are generally looking for additional funding to continue building existing programs but have other areas and agencies do the same. “

Rinehart said she was happy with the speed at which the state is processing the grants.

“I would prefer you to make a well-considered decision,” she said. “It’s a lot of money that has flowed out of it since the beginning.”

Peterson agrees: Funding was ample, if limited.

“If we had our Druther it would have been displayed differently,” said Peterson. “But it is what it is and we are very grateful. After all, we were able to bring initiatives that the community needs on the street. “

More from PennLive

The sickest COVID-19 patients at Penn State Health often are in their 20s or 30s, almost none vaccinated

Faculties nonetheless have billions of federal Covid aid cash to spend

Posted by Katie Lobosco, CNN

(CNN) – Congress approves more than $ 190 billion to help America’s schools reopen and stay open during the pandemic – and while much of the funding has been used to buy PPE, improve ventilation, and promote summer school programs, billions of dollars remain to be spent.

Many local school authorities have not yet decided how to use the final round of funds released in March. In most states, districts are required to submit an expense plan between mid-August and mid-September, which will be refunded when the money is used.

“I am both compassionate and frustrated with the district’s current spending rate,” said Marguerite Roza, professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and director of the Edunomics Lab research center.

The Covid aid money – which comes from three different laws – is a huge federal investment of roughly six times the core funding for fiscal year 2021. Congress gave schools more than three years to spend the newest and largest round of cash with few conditions. It is unlikely to be spent all at once, especially if used on teacher salaries or capital improvements that are paid over time.

The money should help schools provide safe, personal tuition for all students new challenges to keep kids in the classroom this fall as the delta variant spreads and families await vaccine approval for children under 12.

Schools in Texas have already topped the highest weekly number of Covid cases from last year. A Lack of bus drivers in Chicago, partly because of Resignation due to vaccination mandate, left families in search of transportation. Parents are frustrated and in some places have it Push school councils into heated debate about masks and vaccines, which fuel interest in local elections.

Here’s what we know about what schools are getting and how they are spending it.

How much money do schools get?

Not every school gets the same amount of money. The law tells states to pay out the money like Title I funding, meaning more money goes to districts with more low-income families. Some districts with very low poverty rates do not receive direct Covid aid funding – but may be eligible for some funding at the discretion of the state.

When the pandemic first broke out, the CARES bill approved about $ 13 billion for K-12 schools, or about $ 270 per student. The bill, passed in December, provided roughly $ 54 billion, or $ 1,100 per student, and the latest and greatest package, the American Rescue Plan, saw spending of $ 128 billion, according to an analysis by FutureEd amount to $ 2,600 per student. another non-partisan think tank at Georgetown University.

Schools spent a large portion of the money from the first relief law, passed a year ago, on PPE, cleaning supplies, technology, and learning management systems that helped students study from home, as well as salaries and wages – so a survey by the Association of School Management Officials carried out in February.

How can schools spend the money?

About 20% of the money a district receives goes to dealing with learning losses – this can include tutoring programs, summer schools, or extended school days in the future.

There are few other constraints on funding, however, so it is largely up to local school authorities to decide how to spend it on a wide range of pandemic-related needs.

The law states that it can be spent on things like plumbing, technology, mental health services, and ventilation systems, to name a few. However, it is not certain that all plans will be fully implemented – especially when it comes to hiring more teachers and counselors who may be hard to find.

Districts are required to solicit public contributions on the use of the money, although public relations efforts vary. Many school authorities discussed spending in public meetings throughout the summer. The topic is often referred to on agendas as the Elementary and Middle School Emergency Fund or ESSER.

States are allowed to keep 10% of the Covid education aid and decide how the money is paid out. They had to file an application with the Ministry of Education earlier this year and will receive the last third of the money once it’s approved. The department has 33 approved so far.

Expenditure plans: tutoring, psychological counseling, renovations

The decentralized nature of the US school system makes it difficult to keep track of how exactly the districts spend the money. A recent poll from the School Superintendents Association noted that the majority of districts plan to use the funds for support staff, technology for Internet access, and professional development for educators. Other top priorities are high-intensity tutoring, additional study time through remuneration of staff for longer working hours and the renovation of facilities.

The Detroit Public School District, For example, plans to use Covid aid funds to give teachers a one-time bonus, tutoring, expanding mental health services, making improvements to facilities, and reducing class size by hiring more teachers.

But not every use can be justified. The Illinois State Board of Education recently rejected the plan of a district,o Use Covid aid dollars for an artificial surface on his soccer field.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.

Trout Creek resident opposes federal cash

When the FEDS says “jump”, the Montana government says “how high”

Yes, thanks to the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, our Montana lawmakers passed HB632, which can pour billions of dollars into our state.

We are told they have to vote YES or lose the money. So let’s get that straight. We, the people, must sacrifice the COVID manipulations of “control” and “compliance” in exchange for numerous better ways of living in Montana!

Let’s examine the funding allocated for these much-needed millions of improvement dollars, as cited in HB632: $ 462,689,925 for water and sanitation infrastructure projects; $ 275 million for communications; $ 150,000,000 for economic transformation, stabilization and human resource development; $ 213,859,768 for housing programs; $ 365,595,000 for public health and human services; $ 391,260,656 for education. Don’t worry, the grants associated with many of these funds are initially just taxpayer-funded money.

The judiciary is even allocated $ 944,721 to aid COVID19-affected court cases.

In Montana, do you feel freed by the $ 1.8 billion funding caused by the pandemic? Are you content to be a hostage to the American Rescue Plan Act?

Go back to your corner, sit down and be still.

Kathleen Hassan, trout stream

Report: Most Federal Election Safety Cash Stays Unspent

Congress allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to shore up the country’s electoral system against cyberattacks and other threats, but about two-thirds of the money went unspent just weeks before last year’s presidential election.

A recent federal report said the states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories had spent just over $ 255 million of $ 805 million on election security grants as of September 30th last year, the latest numbers available.

States have been given leeway in how and when to spend their shares as electoral concerns and potential weaknesses in electoral systems vary widely. Several election officials cited two main reasons for the slow pace of spending: More than half of the money was not allocated until the 2020 elections were less than a year away, leaving election officials and state lawmakers little time to make key spending decisions. And the coronavirus pandemic turned last year’s election planning on its head, forcing officials to focus on election security and seek earlier voting and postal voting.

“Security was still on everyone’s lips, but it was being pushed into the background to make sure the elections go without a total collapse,” said Don Palmer, chairman of the US Electoral Commission, which published the report.

A State-by-state snapshot The commission, released last month, shows that the state’s 50 states plus the District of Columbia and five territories at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, when the early voting was already in the presidential election, accounted for around 31% of the funding for election security. The grant money has come in two servings since 2018 under the Help America Vote Act.


US Electoral Aid Commission

A breakdown of electoral security funds by state in the Election Assistance Commission report shows Colorado spent $ 1 million of the $ 13.5 million in federal funds it received through September 30, 2020.

Louisiana, one of the last states to deploy aging paper-free voting machines nationwide, did not spend any of its $ 12.5 million in electoral security grants prior to the 2020 presidential election. Its initial efforts to replace thousands of voting machines were halted amid controversy over the selection process.

In July, the Democratic governor of Louisiana and his Republican lawmakers agreed on a process a verifiable paper trail required for any electoral system chosen by the GOP foreign minister.

In 2017, the federal government informed election officials in 21 states that hackers targeted their systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The spread of the attempts caused concern among some electoral officials and lawmakers at the time, even though the hackers failed to break into electoral systems or manipulate voter data or results.

North Dakota – one of the target states – did not spend any of the $ 6 million it received in electoral security grants as of September 30. The state told the Election Assistance Commission in its own financial report that it did not purchase any election equipment and did not conduct any security training during the year. Instead, other funding sources with expiration dates were prioritized. North Dakota originally applied for polling bail to purchase a nationwide digital scan voting system and electronic polling books for every polling location in the state.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report says that in June 2016, Russian activists successfully compromised the Illinois State Board of Elections computer network and gained access to a voter registration database containing the information of millions of people. By September 30, however, Illinois officials had spent less than 16% of the $ 28.1 million in bail money for the federal election. EAC Commissioner Benjamin Hovland told lawmakers that Illinois spending seemed low as the state spent most of its money on a multi-year project called the Cyber ​​Navigator Program, which aims to defend, detect, and stay away from cyber attacks to recover them.

Pennsylvania, a presidential battlefield that was also one of the target states in 2016, spent nearly 90% of its $ 28.6 million prior to the 2020 elections mainly on replacing voting machines. Other politically important states that were targeted – Arizona, Florida, and Wisconsin – spent about half of their money.

Hovland said the electoral grant money had no expiration date and said it was “the first real money” to come into the states for elections in a long time, and people had no confidence that there would be additional federal funding .

A review of state progress reports by Commission officials found that a “joint activity” among states was to spend the money on examining the November presidential election. The report found that Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, and many other states are planning some form of audit.

According to the agency’s 2020 report, state spending on federal grants fell into three main categories: nearly 39% went to cybersecurity upgrades; approx. 25% were invested in new voting machines; and 11% updated voter registration databases.

During the 2020 general election, only 32 constituencies across the country relied on paperless voting machines. Nine states – Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas – used electronic voting machines that had no verifiable paper trail in at least one of their territories.

Five states that had used voting machines without paper backup in 2018 had stopped using them by the 2020 general election. These were Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

The lack of consistent federal money for election security is likely a reason why many electoral officials in the state don’t spend their federal grants, said Lawrence Norden, director of electoral reform at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who served as vice chairman of former President Donald Trump’s now-defunct electoral fraud commission, was the top electoral officer in the state when Kansas received the first infusion, ultimately worth $ 9.3 million. Nothing of this money was spent at the time.

Kobach said that when the federal money arrived, lawmakers did not meet to provide the necessary matching funds. Under his successor, Scott Schwab, Kansas spent only $ 19,200 on testing and training prior to the 2020 election to ensure electoral staff were using email “safely and securely”. State officials say they have since spent more than $ 3.4 million of grant funding, in part to improve the security of the Kansas statewide voter registration system and to complement cybersecurity efforts.

Some states have chosen to keep the federal money because the technology that now appears to be effective in securing elections could be out of date in 10 years, said Danielle Root, an electoral security expert with the Center for American Progress.

“Many states view the elections as a marathon rather than a race, and many states want to reserve some of that funding to update their systems as new threats and technological advances emerge,” she said.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Lake Metropolis hopes federal cash will convey new life to empty, deserted properties

LAKE CITY, SC (WMBF) – Lake City neighbors are fed up with the empty and abandoned homes in their area, and the city’s mayor is hoping federal money can change that.

The City of Lake City requested a community development bloc grant that the mayor intends to use to revitalize the neighborhoods.

Lake City Mayor Lovith Anderson said many of the vacant and run-down lots in the area have caused problems for neighbors.

He said he would use the grant money to demolish and rebuild houses and rehabilitate the neighborhoods.

“Housing is a huge need in South Carolina. And rural areas are no less inundated with people looking for a place to stay than the larger communities, and we need people in solid structures in the wind zone we are in, “said Anderson.

He added that his goal is to make Lake City more attractive to people who want to live there.

“We lost a little population during the last census, not a lot, so we want to bring that back in and gain a lot more,” said Anderson.

A scholarship public hearing will be held Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Lake City Senior Center.

Copyright 2021 WMBF. All rights reserved.

Florida Choose Weighs Resolution To Reinstate Federal Unemployment Cash Suspended By Gov. DeSantis In June – CBS Miami

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – A Leon County district judge rushed into a lawsuit on Wednesday over whether Governor Ron DeSantis’s government violated state law by withdrawing unemployment benefits from tens of thousands of unemployed Floridians in June Federal deleted.

Judge Layne Smith heard testimony from plaintiffs who said the decision to end the $ 300 a week in federal benefits resulted in them having difficulty paying housing and other expenses. As part of the COVID-19 aid, the federal government provided the money in addition to the state’s maximum unemployment benefits of $ 275 per week.

CONTINUE READING: Poll: Majority of Floridians Disapprove of Governor DeSantis’ Response to COVID-19

The lawsuit alleges that payments should have continued through September 6, as approved by Congress, and that the unemployed should receive retroactive payments through June 26. The money comes from a federal funding law commonly known as the CARES law.

Plaintiffs attorneys say the DeSantis government has violated a state law directing the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to work with the US Department of Labor and take action “by adopting appropriate rules, administrative methods, and standards that are necessary for the state ”. all advantages according to the federal regulations on re-employment (unemployment) assistance. “

“The governor and the DEO (the Department of Economic Opportunity) have no discretion as to whether or not to accept the money,” said Marie Mattox, plaintiff’s attorney.

However, Daniel Nordby, an attorney for the DeSantis administration, denies the state needs to provide the additional services.

“Florida law quite simply does not require participation in the CARES Act programs that were passed by Congress,” Nordby said. “Neither federal nor Florida law requires participation.”

Smith, who is contemplating plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction, said repeatedly that he would not address the political issues surrounding the suspension of federal payments. He said he needed to focus on the details of state and federal laws.

“The bottom line is it’s a legal construction case,” said Smith.

Plaintiffs, who testified on Wednesday, described economic troubles during the pandemic, made worse by the state cutting $ 300 a week in federal payments.

For example, Harriett Rubin, a 68-year-old Broward County resident who has been unemployed since the pandemic began, said she put a tax lien on her home because she couldn’t pay property taxes.

“To worry about your apartment or whether your air conditioning is on and working, and can I bring some food into the house. That little bit of money helps, ”said Rubin.

Will Currie, chief financial officer of the Department of Economic Opportunity, testified that in the spring of 2020, the state began providing the additional federal benefits – known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC benefits – to provide assistance as the pandemic was major economic Caused problems and an increase in unemployment.

But the state decided to stop the services that summer as vacancies remained unfilled. Many companies have argued in recent months that they cannot find enough workers.

“The idea was to add the weekly benefit that was believed to be

Incentivizing people not to return to work, ”Currie said.

But Mattox said the people who need the extra money aren’t “free riders” who don’t want to be hired.

“DeSantis decided to cut those benefits because he said it was keeping people from going back to work,” Mattox said. “Research just doesn’t confirm that.”

MORE NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis continues to double his stance on masks in schools

(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. The Florida News Service of Jim Saunders and Tom Urban contributed to this report.)

Federal election officers need solutions from Rep. Lauren Boebert after marketing campaign cash used for private bills

RIFLE, Colorado (KRDO) – Federal election officials urge Congressman Laurens Boebert for responses after using $ 6,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

A spokesman for the South Colorado legislature told 13 Investigations that the expenses had been mistakenly made and reimbursed.

On Tuesday, the federal electoral commission sent a seven-page letter to Boebert’s campaign treasurer demanding answers to these personal expenses and an excess of campaign funds totaling over $ 50,000.

FEC officials are requesting more information on a total of $ 6,000 in personal Venmo payments made in May and June of this year.

The letter states that federal election campaign money from civil servants or a candidate cannot be used for anything “which would exist regardless of the campaign or the duties of the candidate as a federal official”.

According to her spokesman, the newly minted congresswoman fully refunded the money when her team discovered the mistake. It is not clear who received the Venmo payments or for what purpose they were used.

13 Investigates were advised that the refund would be included in their campaign funding reports for the third quarter.

The letter from election officials also indicates that Boebert’s campaign received more than $ 50,000 in excess donations. Federal law limits how much individuals and committees can donate to a candidate and requires that those funds be returned if the caps are exceeded.

Boerbert’s spokesman said any excess donations would be refunded in order to comply with the law.

The FEC informed Boebert’s campaign that it had to respond by September 21, otherwise this could lead to an audit and enforcement measure.

Your spokesperson tells 13 investigates that they will respond within the deadline.

61% of People paid no federal revenue taxes in 2020, Tax Coverage Middle says

John Ewing | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images

More than 100 million US households, or 61% of all taxpayers, did not pay federal income taxes in the past year, so a new report.

The pandemic and federal incentives resulted in a huge increase in the number of Americans who either owed no federal income tax or received tax credits from the government. According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 107 million households owed no income tax in 2020, up from 76 million – or 44% of all taxpayers – in 2019.

“It’s a really big number,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “It’s really ephemeral too.”

Gleckman said the main reasons for the surge – high unemployment, extensive economic controls and generous tax credits – would largely end after 2022, so the proportion of non-taxpayers would start to decline again from next year.

The percentage of Americans who do not pay income taxes is expected to remain high this year at around 57%, according to the Tax Policy Center. It is expected to drop back to 42% in 2022 and stay at around 41% or 42% through 2025, “assuming the economy continues to recover and several temporary tax breaks expire as planned,” Gleckman said.

Although fleeting, the large number of non-taxpayers will fuel the debate in Congress about higher taxes for the rich. Many Democrats say the rich don’t pay their fair share, citing a number of recent articles in ProPublica showing that billionaires are including Jeff Bezos and Carl Icahn No federal income tax paid in certain years. The $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill in Congress is expected to include increases in capital gains taxes, a higher top ordinary income rate, a higher corporate tax rate, and other measures aimed at those earning $ 400,000 or more.

Some Republicans argue that the tax structure is already progressive and relies heavily on the income of a small group of high earners and corporations at the top, while many Americans pay little or no tax. The percentage of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes has been about 44% over the past decade, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The top 20% of taxpayers paid 78% of federal income taxes in 2020, up from 68% in 2019, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 1% of taxpayers paid 28% of taxes in 2020, up from 25% in 2019.

For 2021, the congress is the size of Child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and care allowance – All of this erased federal taxes owed millions of American families.

No household earning less than $ 28,000 will pay federal taxes this year due to the loan and tax changes, according to the Tax Policy Center. About 43% of middle-income households do not pay federal income tax.

Income tax equalization payments last year for many families in terms of dollars have been small, Gleckman said.

“Imagine if someone owed $ 1,500 in income tax in 2020 until they received two stimulus payments – $ 1,200 in April and $ 600 in December,” he said. “That put them in the non-payers category. While the payments resulted in a large percentage increase in their after-tax income, the dollar amount of their tax cut was only a tiny fraction of a high-income applicant who received a tax cut from. got, say, $ 30,000 in 2017 [Tax Cuts and Jobs Act]but still owed some taxes. “

Federal income taxes do not include wage taxes. The Tax Policy Center estimates that only 20% of households have not paid federal income tax or wage tax. And “almost everyone” paid a different form of tax, including state and local sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, and state income taxes, the report said.