Arizona Privatized Jail Well being Care to Save Cash. However at What Value?

In 2017, Walter Jordan wrote a memo to a federal judge from the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. “Notice of Impending Death,” it said in a shaky hand.

Jordan told the judge that Arizona corrections officials and Corizon Health, the state prison system’s private health care contractor at that time, delayed treating his cancer for so long that he would be “lucky to be alive for 30 days.” Jordan, 67, had a common form of skin cancer that is rarely life-threatening if caught early, but said he experienced memory loss and intense pain from botched care. Other men in his unit were also denied treatment, he wrote, “all falling, yelling, screaming of pain.”

Jordan was dead eight days later.

Reviewing his medical records later, Dr. Todd Wilcox, a physician hired by lawyers for the state’s prisoners, agreed that Jordan’s death was likely preventable. Corizon’s treatment of Jordan’s “excruciating needless pain,” was “the opposite of how cancer pain should be managed,” he said.

Wilcox will take the stand in a landmark trial that begins Monday in Phoenix, the latest chapter in an almost decade-long struggle to determine whether Arizona’s prisoners are getting the basic health care they are entitled to under the law.

The trial pits Arizona against the people held in its prisons, who argue in a class-action lawsuit that the medical services they receive are so poor, they constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The state’s current health care contractor, Centurion, is the latest in a string of companies that have failed to pass muster with the courts.

None of the companies have been named as defendants in the lawsuit, because, the claimants say, the state is ultimately responsible for their care. The suit was originally filed in 2012, shortly before private contractors took over Arizona’s prison medical services. But whether privatization can provide decent care is one of the biggest issues looming over the trial.

The Arizona Department of Corrections declined to comment on pending litigation. Centurion of Arizona and Corizon, based in Tennessee, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Arizona is one of around two dozen states that use a private, for-profit contractor to provide prison medical care, and almost all have been sued. But a trial is rare, as most states settle to avoid this kind of exhaustive public scrutiny.

Health care in Arizona prisons is “grossly inadequate,” the prisoners have said in court papers, with crisis-level understaffing, delayed or denied treatments, and unreliable access to medication.

Attorneys have chronicled a man who died after his swollen legs split open, the wounds weeping pus and swarmed by flies; a man with mental illness who was in such distress that he chewed off parts of his fingers; a man who entered prison with a small bump on his face that went untreated and became a disfiguring baseball-sized tumor; and several people denied access to regular mental health care who later killed themselves.

The trial could spell the end of privatized care in Arizona prisons — or, in a more extreme outcome, the end of Arizona’s control over its prison health care entirely. U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver could appoint an outside official to run it who would answer to her, or she could impose additional financial sanctions against the state. Ultimately, Silver will have to decide: How much cost-cutting is too much when lives are at stake?

Although the trial will not directly affect other state systems, experts say the outcome could show officials across the country that courts are serious about enforcing health standards in prison — and that not providing adequate care can have real consequences.

The case is “a great example of why we have it all wrong,” said Homer Venters, a correctional health care consultant who spent years as the medical director for the New York City jail system. Instead of a judge looking over administrators’ shoulders, “the jail has to stop operations if the conditions are inhumane or if the care is not adequate,” he said.

Few prison health care systems get high marks for quality care, regardless of whether the government or a private company provides services. At least 47 states have been the target of major lawsuits. The judge in a landmark case in California — where health care was not privatized — was so appalled by medical services in prisons there that in 2006, he appointed an outside official to take over the state’s $1.2 billion prison health care system.

But bringing companies with a profit motive into the mix poses additional problems, some experts warn, especially in a setting where patients have so little control over their care. “They’ve got every incentive to delay treatment or provide more minimal treatment, or to count something as treatment when it’s not really treatment,” said Michele Deitch, a University of Texas senior lecturer who studies prison conditions. “It would be so much cheaper to just do the things than spend the money on fighting it.”

Until the 1970s, every state provided medical care in its own prisons. But these services were “inadequately available and frequently primitive,” said Douglas McDonald, a researcher at health consulting firm Abt Associates. There were few doctors on staff, and scant health care standards. Prisoners without medical training were known to pull teeth, dispense medications and perform minor surgery on each other, according to one case in Alabama.

Then in 1976, the Supreme Court found that “deliberate indifference by prison personnel to a prisoner’s serious illness or injury” was cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden by the Eighth Amendment. A series of cases in the decades that followed clarified that people in prison are entitled to routine and emergency medical, dental and mental health care that is “adequate … at a level reasonably commensurate with modern medical science.”

These court decisions forced prisons to hire hundreds of medical personnel and pay for hospital stays and expensive procedures. Just as health care in broader society began relying on “managed care” to limit costs, some states started privatizing prison medical care, using small contractors to provide hard-to-hire staff and negotiated rates with hospitals, specialists and pharmacies, McDonald said.

Arizona began contracting out its prison health care in 2012, around the time several of these small companies combined to create the major industry players of today.

The newly merged and fast-growing companies were an attractive investment for private equity, says Dan Mistak, acting president of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, a nonprofit that helps prisons and jails improve health care. Unlike hospitals and other settings subject to Medicare’s strict quality standards, Mistak said, prison health care is paid for almost entirely from state coffers, which eliminates many requirements that drive up cost — and quality — on the outside.

Medicare provides “stringent accreditation processes and data transparency,” says Monik Jiménez, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In prisons, “we don’t have any of that with these private providers.”

Arizona has employed three prison health care contractors over the past decade: Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health, then Corizon, and now Centurion. Allegations of subpar care and chronic understaffing have dogged all three companies.

The number of medical staff decreased by 11% from 2012 to 2019, despite Arizona’s prison population remaining relatively flat, leaving prisons with hundreds of fewer providers than they needed, according to court documents. During its six-year tenure, Corizon paid the state more than $3 million in fines for failing to hire enough doctors and nurses.

After years of fighting in court, in which the state denied all allegations, officials agreed to settle the case on the eve of trial in 2014. The Arizona Department of Corrections pledged to improve care by ensuring its health care provider met more than 100 benchmarks, including: providing adequate access to counseling and mental health care, providing timely referrals to specialists and following instructions of hospital doctors who release patients.

“When prison officials settle a case of this nature, it’s usually because they recognize that there is a problem, and there’s some commitment to fix it,” said ACLU National Prison Project Director David Fathi, who represents the incarcerated people suing the state.

But the problems have persisted. Two judges have separately held the state in contempt and levied fines totaling $2.5 million for failing to meet the quality standards it had agreed to.

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In a recent whistleblower account — the latest in a string of such stories — a former prison nurse alleged that the company directed her to lie on a medical report in order to save Centurion $100,000 in court sanctions.

The state has spent years contesting the evidence, pushing back on recommendations from court-appointed experts, and appealing court orders, losing most of them.

Finally, this year, Judge Silver rescinded the settlement agreement and set the case for trial, writing in a scathing order that she could no longer trust the state was making a good-faith effort to meet the terms of the settlement.

Dustin Brislan says Arizona’s failure to meet health care standards nearly cost him his life.

Brislan, 39, who is serving 17 years at the state prison in Tucson on various charges including armed robbery, is a named plaintiff in the lawsuit. Among other care issues, he said, medical staff switched him from an antipsychotic medication that helped stabilize him to an anti-anxiety drug he told them had not worked in the past.

As a result, Brislan said, his mental health deteriorated into a yearslong cycle of self-harm: cutting himself, then being placed in isolation for weeks or months as a result of the cutting, which led to additional self-harm. At one point, he almost bled to death.

“They are trying to cut corners and save money,” he said, “rather than give us the medications we need.”

Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh sponsored the 2011 legislation that privatized health care in state prisons. One of the main goals “was always to save money in tough economic times,” he told The Arizona Republic in 2012.

But cost savings have been elusive from the start.

An earlier version of the bill required that privatization save the state money, but when no company could do that, Kavanagh removed the requirement. The legislature pressed ahead with privatization, and the lowest bidder, Wexford, got the initial contract, which cost the state about $116 million a year, about $5 million more than the state spent the previous year.

Since then, costs have increased each year and with each vendor change. For the 15-month period that began in July, Arizona agreed to pay more than $216 million to Centurion. That doesn’t include the more than $21 million the state has spent on attorney’s fees and other costs of litigation to defend its care in court.

A similar scenario played out in Florida, where an outside auditor said privatization both decreased the quality of care in Florida’s prisons and cost the state more money.

In 2017, the Pew Charitable Trusts published a report that detailed how each state structured its prison health care, and how much each state spends.

Centurion’s health care contract was the most common structure. The state pays the company a set amount per incarcerated person per day, creating what critics say is a perverse incentive: If the company spends less, it pockets the difference.

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Pew’s findings underscore the question of whether privatization actually saves states money. Data from the report showed no meaningful difference in per-patient spending between states with privately-run and publicly-run health care.

Arizona was near the bottom of the pack, spending $3,529 per patient per year, compared to a national median of $5,720. Only five states spent less. Of those, two provide their own care, two have a contractor providing care, and one uses a mix of both.

In 2019, Dr. Marc Stern, a correctional health care expert appointed by Judge Silver to review Arizona’s prison health care system, identified tens of millions of dollars in state spending on privatization instead of health care. The spending ranges from the vendor’s profit margin, to lawyers to manage and oversee the contract, to duplication of services, to the hundreds of hours that staff on both teams spend facilitating transitions from one vendor to another.

“Privatization has not served, and will continue to not serve, [Arizona Department of Corrections] well,” Stern said.

Maria Schiff, a health policy analyst and one of the authors of Pew’s report, said the money a state spends on health care is only one piece in a much larger equation. The state’s oversight of care, high and measurable quality standards, and efficient use of resources all matter, too.

“What kind of care is a state (and more importantly, its incarcerated individuals) getting for the money it does spend?” she said.

The upcoming trial is set to last three weeks. Eight incarcerated people will take the stand alongside state officials and medical experts.

Among the voices who will not be heard is Walter Jordan, who sent notice of his impending death to the court. But his experience — a litany of mismanagement and incompetence that led directly to his death — was “was sadly predictable,” wrote Wilcox, the outside expert.

According to Wilcox, as someone who already had skin cancer in the past, Jordan should have been provided extra-strong sunscreen, but a Corizon nurse denied it. When Jordan developed a scalp lesion, Corizon sent him to a dermatologist, who should have sent him immediately to an oncologist because the lesion had grown so large. But they didn’t.

The dermatologists’ attempts to remove the growth on Jordan’s head “burn[ed] a hole in his skull bone,” allowing the skull to become infected and the cancer to invade his brain. A provider wrote in Jordan’s chart, “THE WOUND IS HORRIFIC.”

One explanation for such poor decision-making, according to Wilcox: The legislature had set unreasonably low caps on how much the state was willing to pay outside specialists, a problem compounded by millions of dollars in bills to outside hospitals and providers that Corizon left unpaid.

“The completely foreseeable result of not paying specialists, or paying them very little, is that there is an ever-shrinking pool of specialists willing to see prisoners, and the quality of those willing specialists can be lower, as was the case here,” Wilcox wrote.

Wilcox warned more people would have similar experiences unless there were drastic changes.

So far, the lawsuit has outlasted lawyers, Department of Corrections directors, the original judge, and even the original plaintiff in the case, known as Parsons v. Ryan.

Victor Parsons had a stomach infection in prison that went undiagnosed for so long it caused permanent damage. After his release, at the age of 42, he was shot and killed by police in Tucson in 2019 after a standoff at his girlfriend’s apartment.

In an interview conducted while still behind bars, Parsons said he was proud to be part of the case. “Even though people forgo their freedoms when they come to prison,” he said, “they shouldn’t have to forgo their lives.”

Delta variant infects extremely vaccinated jail inhabitants, however few hospitalized

A sheriff’s deputy measures on Wednesday, April 22.

Sandy Huffaker | AFP | Getty Images

The rapidly spreading Delta variant broke through a federal prison in Texas in the summer and infected both the unvaccinated and fully vaccinated populations, but few were hospitalized, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 233 detainees in the prison that was not named, 185 or 79% were fully vaccinated Covid19according to the new report published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

From July to August, 172 inmates or 74% of the federal prison population were infected with Covid, according to the CDC. The Delta variant hit the unvaccinated harder, the agency said, and infected 39 of the 42 prisoners who were not given the syringes. That compares to the 129 infections from 185 fully vaccinated people.

According to the CDC, four people were hospitalized, three of whom were unvaccinated, and one person who was unvaccinated died.

The agency said the report shows the potential for Delta variant outbreaks in community facilities, including correctional facilities and detention centers, even in locations and populations with high vaccination rates.

“Although attack rates, hospital admissions and deaths were higher in unvaccinated people than vaccinated people, the duration of positive serial test results was similar for both groups,” the agency wrote in the report.

Vaccinating the majority of the US population remains vital as vaccinations are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the agency said.

The new report comes as federal health officials urge all Americans to get vaccinated and continue to wear masks indoors, especially in meeting places, as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.

The US still has a dangerously high number of cases. The nation reports an average of more than 138,900 cases a day on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The country reports an average of more than 1,900 deaths a day, data from Johns Hopkins shows.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden outlined a broad plan to increase Covid vaccination rates in the US, pressures on private employers to immunize their workforce; and order vaccinations for federal employees, contractors and healthcare workers.

The plan is to offer boosters of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the general population.

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday recommended unanimously Pfizer Booster Vaccinations For People 65+ And Other At-Risk Americans. A final decision from the agency is now expected every day.

Expensive Abby: Each time buddy calls from jail, he asks for cash

LOVE ABBY: I have a former high school classmate who I’ve gotten pretty close over the years. He was there for me when I was deepest, and I was there for him too. He lives several hours away, but we talked almost every day, in addition to social media.

I stopped hearing from him a few months ago and his social media profile went dark. I had a bad feeling so I googled him and was shocked to see he was arrested! Even though it wasn’t a violent crime, it was still terrible. He called me several times from prison and protested his innocence – always asking for money. Abby, I live from paycheck to paycheck. Even if I had extra money, I wouldn’t be comfortable giving it to him.

I feel hurt and used. Part of me says I have to end the friendship; the other part says he needs friends now and it is not my place to judge him. I refused to take his recent calls because I really don’t know what to do. Your thoughts are appreciated. – BLINDED IN PENNSYLVANIA

LOVE BLINDSIDE: This person hasn’t used you before. The next time he holds out his hand, answer the call. In doing this, you make it clear that you can offer moral support, but you cannot give him money because you are living from paycheck to paycheck. After that you are not allowed to hear from him anymore. But if he continues to ask, take a big step back and realize that that friendship has ended.

LOVE ABBY: My husband and I have been together for three years. He recently returned for a two-day trip to his home state, 1,000 miles away, to retrieve some items from his late mother’s estate. He’s been out of work for most of last year due to the pandemic so I’m a little at odds with something he said to me when I called to ask when he’ll be home. He said he found a job and decided to stay there and work for a few months in order to save enough money to pay off most of our debts.

He didn’t consult me ​​before making that decision. He told me that he had worked out a COVID-safe shelter with his sister and aunt. The kind of work he’s going to do there, he could be doing here where our home is. I don’t want to discourage him, but I am amazed that he would take a job 1,000 miles away. What if something happened to me or our animals? When I told him I didn’t agree with his decision, he told me to be glad he was no longer unemployed. How should I handle it? – FAR AWAY IN MISSOURI

LOVE MORE: Your husband shouldn’t have taken a job 1,000 miles away without first talking to you. That is, what is done is done and you have to let this play. Nothing stands in the way of your visit. Fortunately, you and the animals are fine. If circumstances change, he can quit the job and come back at any time.

When the time comes, say hello to your debt-free husband. There will be plenty of time for both of you PERSONAL to figure out what made him such a disruptive decision if there were similar jobs in your own community.

Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For what teenagers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and how to interact with their peers and parents, see What Every Teen Should Know. Submit your name and mailing address and a check or money order for $ 8 (US money) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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.

Pa. couple sentenced to jail for giving kinfolk cash to affix ISIS

A Montgomery County couple convicted last year of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to ISIS were sentenced to jail Thursday.

Shahidul Gaffar, 40, and Nabila Khan, 35, both from Collegeville, were sentenced to 18 months and two years in prison, respectively, by the US District Court. The judge also sentenced her to three years of supervised release.

Each of them faced the maximum possible prison sentence of five years, a fine of $ 250,000, and three years of supervised release.

Prosecutors said they had provided financial and moral support to Khan’s two brothers in their efforts to travel to Syria to join the designated foreign terrorist organization as fighters. Court documents against her were unsealed late last year after pleading guilty.

The couple alleged in court on Thursday that they did it out of love for the family and not for ISIS. after the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gaffar is a US naturalized citizen and Khan is a permanent resident.

Court records gave this account:

Gaffar and Khan, both originally from Bangladesh, discussed in detail the brothers’ travel plans among themselves as well as with the brothers and other family members in September 2014. In January 2015, Khan asked her sister, who lived in Bangladesh, to sell some of Khan’s gold and gave the money to her eldest brother, JK, to help him with his trip to Syria.

Khan then flew to Bangladesh to bid farewell to JK before leaving in February 2015. Gaffar, who stayed in Pennsylvania, sent Khan’s mother messages of support: “Be [p]raw mother for the noble cause and for Allah’s sake !!! “

Khan’s second brother, IK, had come to the United States on a student visa and lived with the couple in Pennsylvania from June 2014 to February 2015 when he returned to Bangladesh.

For the next several months, Khan, who was still in Bangladesh, watched IK watch terrorist propaganda videos starring Anwar al-Awlaki, a declared global terrorist who is now dead.

Around the same time, Gaffar began sending international money transfers to IK in Bangladesh. This money served several purposes, but one was to support IK’s trip to Syria to join IS.

In June 2015, Gaffar Khan sent a message saying, “Let’s [I.K.] know that I will make it and send $ 3000 if Allah wills. Let us help him, my dear, for the good cause, who knows that this might be enough to receive and accept forgiveness from Allah[ance] [in]to the sky.”

In July 2015, Gaffar continued to communicate with Kahn about the conspiracy, sometimes saying: “I feel sorry for mom and dad, but at the same time I’m very proud. [W]Has a happy mom and dad. “

At the beginning of July 2015, IK traveled to Syria to join IS. The next day, Gaffar and Khan discussed electronic messages about how Khan had tried to give IK more money just before leaving

Gaffar sent reassuring messages to Khan saying it was “cool” that she could watch the radical Islamist “changes” in IK from “start to finish.”

IK eventually changed his online profile picture on social media to one that shows himself, his brother and another man sitting with firearms on a table in front of them in front of the black ISIS flag and openly showing himself and his brother as members identified by ISIS. according to court records. IK was finally killed in the fighting in Syria in March 2019.

“Money and labor are the lifeblood of terrorist groups like ISIS,” said Bradley S. Benavides, acting special agent for the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Gaffar and Khan enjoyed all of the rights and privileges of living in America, but they have conspired to support violent extremists who regard our country as their sworn enemy.”

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The Middletown man had materials to make explosives in his illegal and ailing home laboratory, investigators say

Effingham Man Sentenced to 58 Months in Jail for Manufacturing Counterfeit Cash | USAO-SDIL

A man from Effingham was sentenced yesterday to four years and 10 months in prison and a fine of $ 1,000 for making counterfeit money.

According to court documents, counterfeit banknotes made by Jared Sapp, 29, have been seized in Madison, St. Clair and Effingham counties and as far as Colorado. The forgery of Sapp goes back at least to the year 2016. A number of companies in Effingham, Illinois reported being paid counterfeit money in 2017 and 2018, which was later traced back to Sapp. Sapp would also use counterfeit money to pay for used goods on websites or applications such as letgo.com and craigslist.com. In total, law enforcement agencies recovered at least 201 counterfeit banknotes made by Sapp with a total face value of $ 4,715.00. The operation ended when Sapp was arrested in April 2020 with two printers / scanners and a stack of counterfeit $ 20 in the trunk of his car.

The investigations were conducted by the US Intelligence Service, the Effingham City Police Department, the Granite City Police Department and the Caseyville Police Department.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Peter Reed is pursuing the case.

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.

Bernie Madoff earned $710 in jail after Ponzi fraud conviction

Bernie Madoff is leaving federal court in New York on March 10, 2009.

Jin Lee | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some people might argue that Bernie Madoff was massively overpaid even at just 24 cents an hour to work as a jailer.

Madoff, the late king of the Ponzi scheme who ripped off thousands of people for billions of dollars, earned just $ 710 after working nearly 3,000 hours while serving 12 years in a North Carolina federal prison before he dies of kidney failure in April, show newly released records.

And when he died at the age of 82, Madoff didn’t leave much of his personal belongings: eight AAA batteries, four religious paperback books, a Casio calculator, four packets of popcorn, a packet of ramen soup, a box of filtered fish, and not much more.

Bureau of Prinance records, reported first from the online publication The City, also show that while Madoff received generally positive reviews for his performance as a nurse, at some point a supervisor remarked that he “needs closer supervision than most” and was “not very reliable”.

This was certainly the case when Madoff ran Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in New York, where for decades he led a luxurious lifestyle and satisfied clients with constant investment returns on their portfolios.

These returns turned out to be a deception.

In 2008, federal prosecutors accused Madoff of running the largest Ponzi scheme in history, using money from some investors to distribute alleged profits to others.

Madoff’s sons, Mark and Andrew, had told authorities that he had confessed to them that his business was an outright fraud.

Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 crimes in Manhattan federal court in 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Mark Madoff killed himself in 2010 at the age of 46, two years from the day this father was arrested. Andrew Madoff died of lymphoma four years later at the age of 48.

While in custody in Butner, North Carolina, Madoff served as the first vigilante in a section of the detention center dedicated to educational programs. He later asked to be transferred to work in the chapel area, The City noted in its report.

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Last year, Madoff’s attorney revealed in court files that the sociopathic impostor was terminally ill with kidney disease. when he asked a judge to grant Madoff an early release out of compassion.

Manhattan Federal Judge Denny Chin Chi shot this request in June 2020, stated that Madoff had committed “one of the most egregious financial times of all time” and that “many people still suffer from it”.

About 500 victims wrote to oppose Madoff’s release.

One of Madoff’s victims had written to Chin, “I wholeheartedly believe that my husband would be alive today if he did not deal with the stress and emotional distress that the loss of almost all of our money has meant to our family. “

In December, the Justice Department announced that the Madoff Victim Fund was total $ 3.2 billion for nearly 37,000 people scammed by Madoff. This dollar amount represents more than 80% of the total casualty losses.

The fund’s money comes from recovering assets associated with Madoff. The fund predicts that it will ultimately return more than $ 4 billion in total assets.

CT free jail telephone calls to save cash, present ‘a lifeline,’ advocates say

Phone calls to her son cost thousands of dollars in the 14 years he was in prison, but Diane Lewis felt she needed to make sure he was safe.

“He was 17 when he first went to prison, so I had to speak to him very regularly,” said Lewis of her son Jovaan Lumpkin, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit first degree assault in 2004, down from one Attempted murder charges.

“When your child is in jail, you want to talk to them every day just to see if they’re still alive,” she said. “It could get expensive; you juggle it around. Sometimes the lights went out. Sometimes the gas went out. “

But the law, signed by Governor Ned Lamont on June 16, will call prisoners for free will bring peace of mind to Lewis and other family members of prisoners without incurring an enormous financial burden. The law also allows prisoners up to 90 minutes of phone time per day. But the law, which goes into effect July 1, 2022, will also increase the likelihood of those incarcerated successfully returning to society after their release, proponents say.

Connecticut becomes the first state to phone inmates and their families to jail for free; New York City made free calls from city jails in 2019. The state, which charges up to $ 5 for a 15-minute phone call, has a contract with Securus Technologies from Dallas. According to Securus, Securus makes about $ 7 million a year and Connecticut keeps $ 6 million CT News Junkie.

Karen Martucci, spokeswoman for the state law enforcement agency, said in a statement emailed that the agency expects “phone use to increase with the new guidelines within the recently passed legislation.

“We plan to overhaul operations to allow maximum phone access,” she said.

“Commissioner (Angel) Quiros and the correctional facility support efforts to keep detainees in contact with their families,” Martucci said. “We recognize family reunification as a factor that leads to a successful transition into the community.”

‘Connected’

Lewis, who lives in Hartford, said her son was allowed to make four calls a day, “and we basically got those four calls. As a mom, when your teenage girl who hasn’t even graduated from high school is in jail, you’ll want to talk to your child. It is at its lowest point and you have to support it. “

Over the years, Lewis said she had spent “tens of thousands” of dollars calling Lumpkin. “I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going crazy,” said Lewis.

“It’s not just the money,” she said. “Having your family member in jail and connected to the family will lower the relapse rate.” Staying in touch meant that after his release, Lumpkin knew of family members who died or were born while in custody.

“For me it was everything, because sometimes you just need this escape when there’s a lot of chaos around you,” said Lumpkin. “I was fortunate that I could almost always use the phone whenever I wanted.”

“When I got back it wasn’t that overwhelming because the phone calls kept me in touch with reality per se,” he said. “I didn’t have to be a prisoner 100 percent of the time. I could be a normal person. “

He said opponents of the bill have raised concerns that the free calls would lead to long lines and fights over the phones. Quiros testified that additional phone lines will likely need to be installed. But Lumpkin said concerns about inmates struggling for phone time were not justified.

When he was in prison, Lumpkin said: “I noticed that people who made a lot of phone calls or were visited often stayed out of trouble so as not to lose these privileges.” He said that if he was told to call on Thursday and his son would call, “it is easier for me to avoid trouble, go on the phone.”

“My lifeline for him”

Rahisha Bivens is a restorer for her brother Joshua Stanley, who spent three years in custody, sentenced to prison, and “spent up to 21 hours a day in his cell with the general population,” she said.

Joshua Stanley and his sister Rahisha Bivens on the day he was released from prison in January.

Contributed photo

Stanley, who advocated first-degree assault under the Alford Doctrine to reduce his sentence, said it was “very important” to have contact with his family and said his sister could not have stood up for him without it can make calls. “I had to speak to my sister to find out what the plan was,” he said.

Bivens said it was important to speak to her brother to stand up for him and reduce his sentence. An Alford plea means that the accused does not admit guilt, but admits that the state likely has enough evidence to convict him.

“When I didn’t speak to them for months, I was in a bad mood all the time,” said Stanley. “I got into a lot of arguments, felt lost. … It really helps to have support and just love. You have this love when you are in prison. You don’t feel like the road is over. [It’s] as if there were light at the end of the tunnel. “

“He knew he was empowered. He knew he was loved, ”said Bivens, organizer of the prison reform organization Stop Solitary. “It was just a lifeline to make sure he didn’t give up hope and was loved, that he was treated and cared for.”

Stanley has several mental health issues, and Bivens said the days when she couldn’t speak to her brother were “definitely scary for me and for him. There were moments when he could have become hopeless. “

She said that while calls cost $ 100 every few weeks, family members could “pool money. We could afford it. “

However, she said, “If the phone calls hadn’t been so high, we could have saved the money for his return to the community. We no longer have that to redirect to other resources. “

Joshua Stanley

Contributed photo

Bivens said prisoners should be recognized as people with life and families, not just people who broke the law. Many are in custody like their brother.

“My brother was in college before he was arrested,” Bivens said. “He’s had a whole life and I think people forget that. You have potential. If people fail to maintain this connection with mental health, it can get really ugly for people and their wellbeing. “

Charging phone calls means that “you are burdening their loved ones financially … who already have enough burden”. Many are low-income families and people of color, Bivens said.

“An expensive experience”

Jacqueline James, a former New Haven alder, once had a brother in jail and said the cost of socializing was a burden. “My parents, who have a steady income, wanted to be there for their child in every possible way,” she says. “If you’ve been on the phone every day for a year, it’s eight, nine, ten thousand dollars.”

James said she also has friends in prison that she speaks to. “It’s just a costly experience,” she said. “When you talk about the process of keeping people connected, the state has done a really bad job.”

She pointed out that Securus is a private company that benefits from several prison communication platforms.

“You do video technology. They make phones. They make debit cards, ”she said. “It’s a prison communications company specifically.”

Securus, which has held the State Treaty since 2012, did not respond to a request for comment.

edward.stannard@hearstmediact.com; 203-680-9382

Second UAW president sentenced to jail in union corruption probe

Gary Jones, newly elected President of the United Auto Workers (UAW), speaks at the 37th UAW Constitutional Convention on June 14, 2018 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano | Getty Images

DETROIT – Former United Auto Workers president was sentenced Thursday to 28 months in prison for participating in a scheme with fellow leaders to collect up to $ 1.5 million in union money for lavish travel, golf, alcohol and others Stealing luxury.

Gary Jones is the second UAW president convicted of a multi-year corruption investigation against the well-known American union. He is one of 15 defendants, including three Fiat Chrysler executives and his predecessor Dennis Williams, who died last month 21 months in prison.

His conviction is one of the latest in the investigation, which has damaged the union’s reputation, aroused suspicion among its members, and resulted in federal oversight of the UAW.

During the hearing, Jones spoke quickly and somewhat emotionally as he apologized to the court, his family, and UAW members.

“I failed [my family]and I failed the UAW, “he said before pleading with the judge for mercy on the sentencing.

Jones is also required to repay or withhold more than $ 750,000, including $ 550,000 to the UAW and $ 42,000 to the IRS.

US Attorney David A. Gardey described Jones as a “good man” who worked in a “culture of corruption”. He said Jones continues to cooperate with the prosecutor “on other matters” affecting the union.

Prosecutors had recommended Jones a 28-month prison sentence, well below an earlier range of 46 to 57 months as part of a plea with federal prosecutor’s office. The recommendation below reads, according to court records, “commendable substantial cooperation with the government”.

Jones Faust hit his attorney and prosecutors after the verdict. Despite wearing masks, Jones hugged and kissed his wife in the middle of the courtroom in downtown Detroit.

Jones, who headed the union from June 2018 to November 2019, pleaded guilty in June extortion, embezzlement and tax evasion. As part of the plea agreement, his maximum sentence was nearly five years in prison.

FBI agents clear materials from the home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones into a truck on Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

The sentences for those indicted in the federal investigation ranged from 60 days to 5½ years. Ex-Fiat Chrysler executive Alphons Iacobelli, who ran the company’s labor relations, received the longest prison sentence; however, it has recently been reduced to four years.

In December the UAW and the federal prosecutor’s office agreed to end the corruption investigation Joined the union on a civil settlement that included an independent observer who oversaw the organization for six years.

Additional requirements under the agreement include holding a member-wide vote by the union, possibly to reform their voting process, and making certain repayments, including a payment of $ 1.5 million to the IRS. The UAW has already repaid approximately $ 15 million to training centers for improper chargebacks uncovered by officials.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office in Detroit confirmed that a federal criminal investigation was pending against individuals.

The homes of Jones, Williams and other union officials were searched in August 2019 as part of the investigation, which was published in July 2017.

In a statement Thursday the UAW said Jones’ conviction “closes a very dark chapter in the history of the UAW”.

“Jones has clearly put his personal and self-interest above that of his union members and has been removed from his membership in the UAW,” the union said. “These serious crimes violated the oath of the UAW officers and they violated the trust of the UAW officers charged with handling our members’ sacred dues and community action funds.”