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Tag: Justice Department

$16 a Muffin: IG Report Finds Justice Dept. Over Spent at Conferences on Food and Beverages

By PETE YOST
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Muffins: $16 apiece. Coffee: more than a dollar an ounce. Snacks: $32 per person.

A report issued Tuesday by the Justice Department’s inspector general found excessive spending on food and beverages in an audit of 10 department conferences.

Justice spent about $490,000 on food and beverages at the conferences — more than 10 percent of the $4.4 million total cost of the events.

In response, the Justice Department concurred with the IG’s recommendations to more closely monitor costs.

To read more click here.

Read report

Justice Department Upping Efforts to Police the Police

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is ramping up civil rights enforcement against local police nationwide, opening a number of investigations to determine whether officers are guilty of brutality or discrimination against Hispanics and other minorities.

In recent months, the Justice Department has begun inquiries into major city police departments such as Portland, Ore., where officers shot several people who had mental health issues, and Seattle, where police were accused of gunning down a homeless Native American woodcarver. The department issued a scathing report earlier this month accusing Puerto Rico police of a “staggering level of crime and corruption.’’

All told, Justice’s Civil Rights Division is conducting 17 probes of police and sheriff departments — the largest number in its 54-year history. The investigations are civil, meaning they will not lead to criminal charges, but can result in court-enforced reforms.

To read more click here.

 

Justice Department Scorns Puerto Rico Police Dept. — the Nation’s Second Largest

 
 By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is coming down hard on the Puerto Rico Police Department — the nation’s second largest —  accusing it of  “profound” and “longstanding” civil rights violations and illegal practices, reports the New York Times.

The Puerto Rico Police Department is “using force, including deadly force, when no force or lesser force was called for,” says a 116-page Justice Department report to be made public on Thursday, according to the Times.

The report cited regular profiling and singling out of those of Dominican descent, and it noted a failure to “adequately police sex assault and domestic violence” cases, such as spousal abuse and abuse by fellow law enforcement officials, reports the Times.

Puerto Rico has seen increases in violent crimes, an occurance that has begun to spill into middle class neighborhoods recently, according to the Times, with 786 homicides this year–up by 117 from the same time last year.

To read more click here.

Read Statement on Report by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez

Feds Bust 91 in Nationwide $295 Mil Medicare Fraud Crackdown

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

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

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

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Oracle Investigation Latest in Trend in Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Crackdown by Justice Dept.

 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Software company Oracle is being investigated by the FBI, reports the Guardian, in what some see as a trend in the increase of prosecutions under the foreign corrupt practices act (FCPA), which forbids U.S. companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials or employees of state-owned companies.

“Every week there seem to be more and more companies going through what Oracle is going through,” said Butler University professor Mike Koehler, who maintains a blog on the subject, according to The Guardian.

Koehler cited increasing globalization and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which brought stricter corporate disclosure requirements, for the increase. He said  FCPA actions in 2010 accounted for 50% of the fines levied by the Justice department’s criminal division.

“The Justice Department brought 24 enforcement actions in 2010, up from five in 2004, and has brought seven so far this year,” the Guardian reports.

Other software companies have or are facing similar concerns; Hewlett-Packard is currently under investigation, and IBM paid the SEC $10 million this year on similar charges.

Investigators are looking at whether or not Oracle or it’s employees paid government officials to secure software contracts in western and central Africa.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Will Once Again Give Test on Domestic Operations

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
The FBI soon plans to give its employees a test on bureau policies for conducting surveillance on Americans. The test, if you recall, is called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. (DIOG)

Last time the test was given for the DIOG, things didn’t go so well. In fact, a scandal developed. The Justice Department’s Inspector General last year found that a number of employees cheated on the open-book test on the DIOG. Some agents passed around the answers. Some finished in such short time it was obvious they cheated. Some folks got in trouble.

This time agents, analysts and other employees are going to take a test focusing just the revisions made on the DIOG. It will be much shorter.

Paul Bresson, spokesman for the FBI, said he expects the test to be introduced in the coming weeks.

“Prior to implementation of the revised Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), all FBI special agents and appropriate professional staff will be required to successfully complete a training course and assessment,” Bresson said in a statement to the ticklethewire.com

“This requirement, to include the assessment, is designed to review important concepts (including items focusing on respect for civil rights and privacy concerns) and to ensure that FBI employees understand the changes that are being made in the revised DIOG.”

“Much like other web-based training regularly provided by the FBI, the DIOG assessment will be part of the educational program.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Attorneys for Accused Mexican Drug Lord Says Justice Department Protected Him

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mexico may not be thrilled about the latest allegations coming out of the U.S.

The news service All Headline News (AHN) reports that court filings in an upcoming Chicago case against accused Mexican drug lord Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla claim the Justice Department agreed to protect Niebla from prosecution in exchange for information about other drug cartels.

Zambada, 36, is the son of an alleged leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel that operates in Mexico’s western states, AHN reported

The filing by Zambada’s attorneys claims the Justice Department gave the Sinaloa cartel’s leaders “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the rest of the United States.”

FBI Director Mueller Picks Aaron Zebley as New Chief of Staff

Aaron Zebley/uv law school photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s Aaron M. Zebley is movin on up.

The website Main Justice reports that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has promoted Zebley to his chief of staff. Zebley, an agent and a former federal prosecutor, had been the deputy chief of staff.

Zebley will replace John P. Carlin, who has been named principle assistant deputy attorney general in the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Main Justice reported.

Zebley was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Alexandria, Va., National Security and Terrorism Unit.

From January 1998 to April 2005, he was a Special Agent with the FBI in the New York City Field Office, and was assigned to counterterrosim investigations.

He was one of the lead investigators assigned to August 7, 1998 bombing of United States Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and was designated as the case agent in the terrorism case involving Zacarias Moussaoui, according to a bio on the website of the University of Virginia Law School.