January 29, 2022

News

News Network

Former Owner of Health Care Staffing Company Indicted for Wage Fixing

18 min read
<div>A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Neeraj Jindal, the former owner of a therapist staffing company, for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices by lowering the rates paid to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in north Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the Department of Justice announced today. The indictment also charges Jindal with obstruction of the Federal Trade Commission’s separate investigation into this conduct.</div>

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Neeraj Jindal, the former owner of a therapist staffing company, for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices by lowering the rates paid to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in north Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the Department of Justice announced today.  The indictment also charges Jindal with obstruction of the Federal Trade Commission’s separate investigation into this conduct.

According to the two-count indictment filed in the U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, Jindal and his co-conspirators agreed to pay lower rates to certain physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, and Jindal’s company paid lower rates, from in or about March 2017 and continuing through in or about August 2017.  Jindal is charged with participating in the conspiracy when he was the owner of a Texas-based therapist staffing company that provided in-home physical therapy services.  Jindal is also charged with obstruction of proceedings before the Federal Trade Commission.  According to the indictment, Jindal made false and misleading statements and withheld and concealed information during the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation to determine whether Jindal’s company or other therapist staffing companies violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

“The charges announced today are an important step in rooting out and deterring employer collusion that cheats American workers — especially health care workers — of free market opportunities and compensation,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Employers who conspire to fix the wages of workers or restrict their mobility by allocating labor markets will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  The division will also continue to prosecute those who undermine the integrity of federal investigations, including proceedings before other federal agencies.”

“The integrity of the market is the foundation of our free-enterprise system,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox for the Eastern District of Texas.  “Wage-fixing agreements exploit workers by pushing down wages and eliminating competition.  The Eastern District of Texas is proud to partner with the Antitrust Division in protecting the marketplace and the opportunities for American workers.”

“The FBI is committed to rooting out anti-competitive activity and corruption in our markets,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the Criminal Investigative Division.  “In this case, Neeraj Jindal attempted to cheat the system and, in doing so, hurt hard-working Americans providing medical care and relief.  Our International Corruption team worked creatively and diligently to investigate this crime.  We are prepared to take our findings and work with our partners at the Department of Justice to ensure justice is served.”

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A violation of the Sherman Act carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $1 million.  The charged obstruction offense carries a statutory maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Today’s announcement is the result of a federal investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I and II Sections and the International Corruption Unit of the FBI.

The charges in this case were brought in connection with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing commitment to prosecute anticompetitive conduct affecting American labor markets.  Anyone with information on market allocation or price fixing by employers should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.

More from: December 10, 2020

News Network

  • Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken Remarks at a Service of Remembrance for George Pratt Shultz
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Paying Co-Conspirator to Illegally Dump Drums of Hazardous Waste
    In Crime News
    An Ohio man pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Ohio before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. to conspiring to illegally transport and dispose of hazardous waste at several area apartment complexes.
    [Read More…]
  • Iranian National Sentenced for Illegally Exporting Military Sensitive Items
    In Crime News
    An Iranian national was sentenced today to 63 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
    [Read More…]
  • Cryptocurrency Fraudster Sentenced for Money Laundering and Securities Fraud in Multi-Million Dollar Investment Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Swedish man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges that defrauded thousands of victims of more than $16 million.
    [Read More…]
  • Military Readiness: Joint Policy Needed to Better Manage the Training and Use of Certain Forces to Meet Operational Demands
    In U.S GAO News
    Military operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism, particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan, have challenged the Department of Defense's (DOD) ability to provide needed ground forces. Section 354 of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act directed GAO to report on a number of military readiness issues. In this report, GAO addresses (1) the extent to which DOD's use of nonstandard forces to meet ground force requirements has impacted the force and (2) the extent to which DOD has faced challenges in managing the training and use of these forces, and taken steps to address any challenges. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed DOD policies, guidance, and data and interviewed department, joint, combatant command, and service officials as well as trainers and over 300 deploying, deployed, and redeploying servicemembers.The use of nonstandard forces--individuals in certain temporary positions, and units with missions that require the unit personnel to learn new skills or operate in different environments--has helped DOD fulfill U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) requirements that the Army otherwise would not have been able to fill, but these efforts have also caused challenges across the force. For certain Navy and Air Force occupational specialties, these nonstandard force deployments have challenged the services' abilities to (1) balance the amount of time their forces are deployed with the amount of time they spend at home, and (2) meet other standard mission requirements. Some of the communities that have been most affected by nonstandard force deployments include the engineering, security force, and explosive ordnance disposal communities. In addition, the services have been challenged by emerging requirements for capabilities which do not exist in any of the services' standard forces, such as the transition teams that train local forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. These requirements are particularly taxing because the teams are composed primarily of officers and senior noncommissioned officers. Because standard forces do not exist to meet these leadership requirements, the services are forced to take leaders from other commands, which must then perform their missions without a full complement of leaders. The steps that DOD has taken to increase coordination between the services and CENTCOM have helped DOD manage challenges related to nonstandard forces, but additional steps are needed to ensure consistency in training and using these forces. Nonstandard forces face more complex relationships than standard forces, making coordination of their training and use more challenging. Specifically, their training requirements are established by both the services and theater commanders and training may be conducted by trainers from another service. In addition, while deployed, these forces often report to commanders from two different services. Furthermore, authorities concerning the training and use of forces do not specifically address the training and use of nonstandard forces. DOD has taken significant steps to coordinate the training of its nonstandard forces through regular conferences at which CENTCOM and service officials develop detailed training plans for some nonstandard forces. However, the training of individual augmentees has not been fully coordinated. As a result, individuals who perform the same types of tasks may receive different levels of training. Also, the services waive training requirements without consistently coordinating with CENTCOM, so CENTCOM lacks full visibility over the extent to which all of its forces have met requirements. To increase support and oversight of the use of nonstandard forces in theater, the services have taken steps to improve coordination, which have reduced instances where nonstandard forces' missions, tasks, or organization are modified. However, the services do not have full visibility over their nonstandard forces and view the authority of ground force commanders differently, which has sometimes led to differences in their use of nonstandard forces.
    [Read More…]
  • Man Sentenced for Role in International Human Smuggling Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    A Bangladeshi national was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for his role in a scheme to smuggle undocumented individuals from Mexico into the United States.
    [Read More…]
  • Small Business Administration: Physical Disaster Loan Performance Before and After Changes in Statutory Collateral Requirements
    In U.S GAO News
    Why GAO Did This Study SBA assists most types of businesses regardless of size and others affected by natural and other declared disasters through its Disaster Loan Program. The Rebuilding Small Businesses After Disasters Act included a provision for GAO to review the performance of SBA's physical disaster loan portfolio and compare the performance of loans made before changes to the collateral requirements because of the RISE After Disaster Act of 2015 to loans made after the changes were in effect. To perform this work, GAO obtained and analyzed loan data made under SBA disaster declarations from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2020; reviewed relevant federal laws and regulations; and interviewed SBA officials. What GAO Found When disaster strikes, the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Disaster Loan Program provides direct assistance in the form of low-interest loans. Physical disaster loans can be used to rebuild and replace uninsured or underinsured property damaged in a declared disaster area, helping homeowners, renters, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. But in order for an applicant to qualify for SBA's physical disaster loans, the property damage must occur in a federally declared disaster area. The President can issue a major disaster declaration in response to a request by the governor of a state or territory or the chief executive of a tribal government. For an event that does not rise to the level of a presidential disaster declaration, the SBA Administrator can issue an agency disaster declaration in response to a timely request by a state governor. The Recovery Improvements for Small Entities (RISE) After Disaster Act of 2015 temporarily modified collateral requirements for loans approved under SBA disaster declarations. Specifically, the act temporarily raised the limit for loans without collateral from $14,000 to $25,000. The increase expires on November 25, 2022, when, absent further revision of the statute, the amount will revert back to $14,000. GAO reviewed SBA's $855 million of approved physical disaster loans made under SBA disaster declarations from January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2020. GAO found that default and charge-off rates were higher for loans that were approved before the collateral changes that the RISE After Disaster Act of 2015 made when compared to loans approved after these changes were in effect. However, as the loans made after the RISE After Disaster Act of 2015 have more time to mature, their default and charge-off rates may increase. Loans made before the RISE After Disaster Act of 2015 have had approximately 5 to 20 years to mature, while the loans made after have all had less than 5 years. GAO's analysis did not isolate the contribution the collateral changes made to the difference in loan performance from other contributing factors, such as the state of the economy or changes in SBA lending practices. To minimize the effect of the difference in time of performance of the two groups of loans, GAO assessed the performance for the initial 4 years following loan disbursement of subsets of loans made approximately 5 years before and after the RISE After Disaster Act of 2015. GAO found that for these subsets of loans, the default and charge-off rates varied by less than one percentage point for each of the years. In addition, GAO compared the performance of loans with collateral to the performance of loans without collateral and found that loans with collateral did not necessarily perform better than those without collateral. For more information, contact Cheryl Clark at (202) 512-9377 or clarkce@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Jamaica Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel [Read More…]
  • J&F Investimentos S.A. Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay Over $256 Million to Resolve Criminal Foreign Bribery Case
    In Crime News
    J&F Investimentos S.A. (J&F), a Brazil-based investment company that owns and controls companies involved in multiple industries, including the meat and agriculture industry, has agreed to pay a criminal monetary penalty of $256,497,026 to resolve the department’s investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  The resolution arises out of J&F’s scheme to pay millions of dollars in bribes to government officials in Brazil in exchange for obtaining financing and other benefits for J&F and J&F-owned entities.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Partners on COVID-19
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Announces National Response Center and Offer to Bring Assistance to Minneapolis Police Department to Support Law Enforcement and Safe Communities Through Fair Policing
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department, in an announcement by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric S. Dreiband, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Katharine T. Sullivan, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica H. MacDonald, unveiled a new National Response Center Initiative and offered the assistance to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to support law enforcement, and review, enhance and reform policies and practices to prevent the use of excessive force. The BJA Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Response Center will be a national resource for all state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States and Japan Reaffirm Strong Ties and Shared Democratic Values
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Climate Change: USAID Is Taking Steps to Increase Projects’ Resilience, but Could Improve Reporting of Adaptation Funding
    In U.S GAO News
    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided at least $810 million to directly and indirectly support climate adaptation from fiscal years 2014 through 2018—the latest available data at the time of GAO's analysis. However, USAID ended new funding for programming activities that directly address climate adaptation (i.e., direct funding) in fiscal year 2017 in part due to a shift in administration priorities, according to agency officials. However, following a congressional directive in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations act, USAID restored direct funding for adaptation programming. GAO found that USAID did not consistently report all funding data for activities that indirectly addressed climate adaptation, which does not align with expectations in foreign assistance guidance and internal controls standards. USAID's direct adaptation assistance had the primary program goal of enhancing resilience and reducing vulnerability. For example, in the Philippines, a USAID activity assisted communities in preparing for extreme weather events by developing maps of potential hazards to aid in evacuation planning. USAID attributed funding that indirectly addresses climate adaptation assistance (i.e., indirect funding) from programs with other goals such as agriculture, where priorities include supporting food production and distribution. For example, in Guatemala, a USAID agricultural activity worked with farmers to transition to crops with greater economic benefits that are also drought tolerant. However, not all missions with indirect adaptation assistance reported these funding data and reporting has varied, in part, because the agency has not clearly communicated the expectation to do so. Without addressing this issue, USAID risks providing incomplete and inconsistent data to Congress and others. A Community Leader Shows the Hazard Map Prepared as Part of a U.S. Agency for International Development Project to Help Adapt to Climate Change in the Philippines Since October 2016, USAID has generally required projects and activities to conduct climate risk management, which is the process of assessing and managing the effects of climate change. USAID requires documentation of this process and GAO's review found 95 percent compliance for USAID's priority countries for adaption funding. USAID has experienced some challenges with its initial implementation of climate risk management and is assessing these challenges and identifying improvements. For example, mission officials said that some technical staff lack expertise to do climate risk management and that their environment offices had a small number of staff to provide assistance. To help staff conduct climate risk management, USAID is building staff capacity through trainings and is in the process of evaluating implementation of the policy and whether it requires any changes, among other efforts. USAID is the primary U.S. government agency helping countries adapt to the effects of climate change. USAID has provided this assistance through activities that directly address climate adaptation as well as indirectly through activities that received funding for other purposes, such as agriculture, but which also support climate adaptation goals. GAO was asked to review issues related to U.S. foreign assistance for climate adaptation. For USAID, this report examines (1) funding the agency provided for climate adaptation assistance in fiscal years 2014 through 2018, and (2) how climate risk management is implemented. GAO analyzed funding data and documentation of agency activities and climate risk management; interviewed agency and project officials; and conducted fieldwork in three countries receiving adaptation assistance—Guatemala, the Philippines, and Uganda. GAO selected these countries based on the amount of funding they received for climate adaptation activities, geographic diversity, and variety of observed and projected climate effects, among other factors. GAO recommends that USAID communicate to its missions and bureaus that they are expected to report all data on funding that indirectly addresses climate adaptation. USAID agreed with the recommendation and outlined a number of steps the agency plans to take to improve the reporting of these data. For more information, contact David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or gootnickd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Warfighter Support: Army Has Taken Steps to Improve Reset Process, but More Complete Reporting of Equipment and Future Costs Is Needed
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundSince GAO’s 2007 review, the Army has taken steps to improve its use of reset in targeting equipment shortages. In 2007, GAO noted that the Army’s reset implementation strategy did not specifically target shortages of equipment on hand among units preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to mitigate operational risk. GAO recommended that the Army act to ensure that its reset priorities address equipment shortages in the near term to ensure that the needs of deploying units could be met. The Department of Defense (DOD) did not concur, and stated that there was no need to reassess its approaches to equipment reset. However, in 2008, the Army issued its Depot Maintenance Enterprise Strategic Plan, noted that filling materiel shortages within warfighting units is a key challenge facing the depot maintenance enterprise, and called for changes in programs and policies to address materiel shortages within warfighting units. Further, recognizing that retrograde operations—the return of equipment from theater to the United States—are essential to facilitating depot level reset and redistribution of equipment, the Army in 2010 developed the retrograde, reset, and redistribution (R3) initiative to synchronize retrograde, national depot-level reset efforts, and redistribution efforts. In March 2011, the Army issued an R3 equipment priority list, and revised and reissued an updated list at the end of fiscal year 2011 with full endorsement from all Army commands. The R3 initiative has only begun to be fully implemented this year, and thus it is too early to tell whether it will provide a consistent and transparent process for addressing the Army’s current or future equipping needs.GAO found that the Army’s monthly reports to Congress do not include expected future reset costs or distinguish between planned and unplanned reset of equipment. GAO has reported that agencies and decision makers need visibility into the accuracy of program execution in order to ensure basic accountability and to anticipate future costs. However, the Army does not include its future reset liability in its reports to Congress, which DOD most recently estimated in 2010 to be $24 billion. Also, the Army reports to Congress include the number of items that it has repaired in a given month using broad categories, such as Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, which may obscure progress on equipment planned for reset. For example, GAO’s analysis of Army data showed that 4,144 tactical wheeled vehicles were planned for reset in fiscal year 2010, while 3,563 vehicles were executed. According to the Army’s current reporting method, this would result in a reported completion rate of 86 percent, but GAO’s analysis showed that only approximately 40 percent of the equipment that was reset had been planned and programmed. This reporting method may also restrict visibility over the Army’s multiyear reset liability. For example, both the M1200 Knight and the M1151 HMMWV are categorized as Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, but anticipated reset costs for the M1200 are significantly higher. In 2010 more M1200s were repaired than planned, thus accounting for a larger share of the budgeted reset funds. With fewer funds remaining, some equipment planned and budgeted for repair was not reset, pushing that workload to future fiscal years. These differences are not captured in the Army’s monthly reports, and thus Congress may not have a complete picture of the Army’s short- and long-term progress in addressing reset.Why GAO Did This StudyFrom 2007 to 2012, the Army received about $42 billion to fund its expenses for the reset of equipment—including more than $21 billion for depot maintenance—in support of continuing overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. Reset is intended to mitigate the effects of combat stress on equipment by repairing, rebuilding, upgrading, or procuring replacement equipment. Reset equipment is used to supply non-deployed units and units preparing for deployment while meeting ongoing operational requirements. In 2007, GAO reported that the Army’s reset strategy did not target equipment shortages for units deploying to theater. For this report, GAO (1) examined steps the Army has taken to improve its equipment reset strategy since 2007, and (2) determined the extent to which the Army’s reset reports to Congress provide visibility over reset costs and execution. To conduct this review, GAO reviewed and analyzed DOD and Army documentation on equipment reset strategies and monthly Army reports to Congress, and interviewed DOD and Army officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Syndemics and the Commitment to Quitting Equitably
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    May 27, 2021 By: Leith [Read More…]
  • Oregon Man Charged with Federal Hate Crime After Attacking Gay Man
    In Crime News
    An Oregon man has been charged with a federal hate crime after using the internet to target and brutally assault a gay man because of his sexual orientation.
    [Read More…]
  • The Sentencing of Belarusian Opposition Figures Maria Kalesnikava and Maksim Znak
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Major Garrett of CBS Face the Nation
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Hospital Pharmacist Sentenced for Attempt to Spoil Hundreds of COVID Vaccine Doses
    In Crime News
    A Wisconsin man was sentenced today to three years in prison for tampering with COVID-19 vaccine doses at the hospital where he worked.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.