December 4, 2021

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Global Entry for Indian Citizens

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How to Apply for Global Entry:Citizens of India are eligible for Global Entry. Applications must be submitted through CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website. The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100…

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  • Court Intervention Teams Target Substance Abuse
    In U.S Courts
    Two specialized programs in the Northern District of California are harnessing local resources to help high-risk individuals rebuild their lives.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Files Civil Action to Shut Down California Tax Return Preparer
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California seeking to bar a Visalia, California tax return preparer from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing federal income tax returns for others.
    [Read More…]
  • Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Fall Sharply
    In U.S Courts
    Personal and business bankruptcy filings fell 29.1 percent for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2021. A steady decline in filings has continued since the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis began.  
    [Read More…]
  • Biofuel Fraudster Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Scamming Multiple Federal Agencies and Customers
    In Crime News
    The owner of a biofuel company was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by a three-year term of supervised release and ordered to pay $10,207,000 in restitution for defrauding multiple federal agencies and customers.
    [Read More…]
  • Public Schedule – July 30, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Health Care Company Indicted for Labor Market Collusion
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging Surgical Care Affiliates LLC and its related entity (collectively SCA), which own and operate outpatient medical care centers across the country, for agreeing with competitors not to solicit senior-level employees, the Department of Justice announced today. These are the Antitrust Division’s first charges in this ongoing investigation into employee allocation agreements.
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  • Lead Paint in Housing: Key Considerations for Adopting Stricter Lead Evaluation Methods in HUD’s Voucher Program
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO found that the Housing Choice Voucher program had 1.1 million voucher holders living in units built before 1978, the year the U.S. banned lead paint in housing. Of these units, roughly 171,000 were occupied by approximately 229,000 young children (under age 6)––putting these children at an increased risk of lead exposure. The voucher program requires visual assessments for identifying deteriorated paint, with no testing of paint or dust. Any change to stricter evaluation methods would need to consider that certain states have a larger portion of pre-1978 voucher units occupied by families with young children. Estimated costs for adopting stricter lead evaluation methods for the voucher program would vary substantially depending on the method used and what units were included (see figure). Estimated initial costs range from about $60 million for a less expensive method applied only to units with young children to about $880 million for a more expensive method applied to all pre-1978 units. These estimated costs range from 3 percent to 41 percent, respectively, of the fiscal year 2021 budget dedicated to public housing agencies' administrative expenses for the voucher program. Total costs would also depend on the mobility of voucher households and the frequency of any additional lead evaluations. Total Estimated Cost to Change the Lead Evaluation Methods for Housing Choice Voucher Units Would Vary by Evaluation Method Used and Units Included Note: A combination evaluation includes all components of a lead inspection and a risk assessment. Estimated costs may vary by up to plus or minus 14 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. GAO analysis estimated that nearly 6,000 lead professionals can conduct lead evaluations in the U.S. While there is no indication of a national shortage of lead professionals, areas with high numbers of pre-1978 voucher units and low numbers of lead professionals may face implementation challenges. Selected cities offer observations from their implementation of a change in lead evaluation method. For example, education of landlords can help clarify new evaluation requirements and encourage landlords to continue to rent to voucher holders. Further, implementing a new method in phases could target areas with the greatest need and help landlords and the industry adapt to the new requirement and the increased demand for lead evaluations. Why GAO Did This Study Exposure to lead paint, which was used in housing built before 1978, can have serious health effects, especially for young children. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has primary responsibility for identifying lead paint hazards in housing receiving HUD assistance, including private rental units in the voucher program. Some members of Congress have raised questions about whether the voucher program should change from visual assessments to a stricter lead evaluation method. The 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Joint Explanatory Statement, includes a provision for GAO to review HUD's efforts to address lead paint hazards. This report identifies considerations for policymakers related to changing to stricter lead evaluation methods for the voucher program, specifically regarding the (1) number and characteristics of voucher housing units and their occupants, (2) costs for lead evaluations based on method used and units included, (3) availability of lead professionals, and (4) observations from selected cities that use lead evaluation methods stricter than visual assessments. GAO analyzed HUD data on the voucher program (as of year-end 2019, the most recent available) and information on lead professionals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states. GAO also conducted a nationwide, generalizable survey of lead professionals to estimate the costs of lead evaluation methods. In addition, GAO interviewed staff from HUD, EPA, and public housing agencies, and representatives from two national organizations that represent lead professionals. For more information, contact John H. Pendleton at (202) 512-8678 or pendletonj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Financial Audit: Securities and Exchange Commission’s FY 2021 and 2020 Financial Statements
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO found (1) the United States Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) and its Investor Protection Fund's (IPF) financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021, and 2020, are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; (2) SEC maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting for SEC and for IPF as of September 30, 2021; and (3) no reportable noncompliance for fiscal year 2021 with provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements GAO tested. In commenting on a draft of this report, SEC stated that it is pleased that GAO found that SEC's financial statements and notes were presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Why GAO Did This Study The Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 requires that SEC annually prepare and submit audited financial statements to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), requires SEC to annually prepare and submit a complete set of audited financial statements for its IPF to Congress. In accordance with the authority conferred by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended by the Government Management Reform Act of 1994, GAO audited the SEC and IPF financial statements. Section 963 of the Dodd-Frank Act further requires that (1) SEC annually submit a report to Congress describing management's responsibility for internal control over financial reporting and assessing the effectiveness of such internal control during the fiscal year; (2) the SEC Chairman and Chief Financial Officer attest to SEC's report; and (3) GAO assess the effectiveness of SEC's internal control over financial reporting and evaluate, attest to, and report on SEC's assessment. Accordingly, this report also includes GAO's reporting in response to the requirement under the Dodd-Frank Act. For more information, contact M. Hannah Padilla at (202) 512-5683 or padillah@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Observes National Missing Children’s Day
    In Crime News
    As part of the 38th annual commemoration of National Missing Children’s Day, the Department of Justice today honored nine courageous individuals for their extraordinary efforts to recover missing children and bring sexual predators to justice. This year’s award recipients include four detectives and a sergeant from Fresno, California; two coordinators in the Missing Child Center-Hawaii in Honolulu; a sergeant from Addison, Illinois; and a U.S. Postal Service employee from Columbia, Maryland.
    [Read More…]
  • Former Shadow Creek Ranch manager charged with wire fraud
    In Justice News
    A 62-year-old Houston [Read More…]
  • Veterans Health Care: VA’s Medical Support Role in Emergency Preparedness
    In U.S GAO News
    Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has increased its efforts to plan for and respond to national emergencies, including acts of terrorism and natural disasters. Additionally, in August 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security announced that military and VA medical facilities were potential terrorist targets. In light of military casualties from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and continued threats of terrorist incidents, Congress asked us to review VA's medical support role in emergency preparedness. Specifically, we agreed to provide information on the following questions: (1) What is VA's role in providing medical support within the U.S. to military personnel in wartime and during national emergencies? (2) What actions has VA taken to improve its internal emergency preparedness to ensure that it is ready to maintain continuity of operations and provision of medical services to veterans? (3) What is VA's role in participating in emergency medical response measures with other federal, state, and local agencies?GAO found that Public Law 97-174 authorizes VA to provide inpatient medical care to active duty members of the armed services during or immediately following their involvement in armed conflicts during wartime and national emergencies. According to VA, while the Department of Defense (DOD) has never requested priority care from VA based on this law, VA has routinely reported to the Congress and DOD the number of inpatient beds available for military personnel. We also found that VA has taken numerous actions to improve emergency preparedness, such as developing educational and training materials for its staff, training staff at 134 VA medical centers, and increasing security at its facilities by requiring a minimum of two patrolling VA police officers on duty at all times. Other activities, such as developing a systemwide strategy for protecting its facilities and acquiring decontamination equipment, are still in progress. Finally, VA participates in emergency medical response measures with other federal, state, and local agencies by providing assistance in seven support functions outlined in the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan. For example, if requested, the types of support VA would provide include public health and medical services, emergency management, and public safety and security.
    [Read More…]
  • OECD Working Group on Bribery Issues Report Commending United States for Maintaining Leading Role in the Fight Against Transnational Corruption
    In Crime News
    The Working Group on Bribery of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD Working Group) issued its Phase 4 Report of the United States today, announced the U.S. Departments of Justice, Commerce, State, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
    [Read More…]
  • Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry with Raj Chengappa of India Today
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Force Structure: Restructuring and Rebuilding the Army Will Cost Billions of Dollars for Equipment but the Total Cost Is Uncertain
    In U.S GAO News
    The high pace of overseas operations is taking a heavy toll on Army equipment. Harsh combat and environmental conditions over sustained periods of time have exacerbated equipment repair, replacement, and recapitalization problems. The Army has also taken steps to restructure its forces before implementing its longer term transformation to the Future Combat System. To support ongoing operations and prepare for the future, the Army has embarked on four key initiatives: (1) restructuring from a division-based force to a modular brigade-based force, (2) expanding the Army by adding about 74,000 people and creating new units, (3) repairing, replacing, and recapitalizing new equipment through its reset program, and (4) replacing equipment borrowed from its pre-positioned equipment sets around the world. Since 2004, Congress has provided billions of dollars to support the Army's equipping needs. GAO has issued many reports on the Army's efforts to equip modular units, expand the Army, reset equipment, and manage and replace prepositioned equipment. This statement, which draws largely on these reports, will address (1) the equipment-related cost of these initiatives, and (2) the management challenges facing the Army and the actions needed to improve its implementation of these initiatives. GAO is issuing a separate statement today on the Future Combat System (GAO-08- 638T).Restructuring and rebuilding the Army will require billions of dollars for equipment and take years to complete; however, the total cost is uncertain. Based on GAO's analysis of Army cost estimates and cost data, it appears that the Army's plans to equip modular units, expand the force, reset equipment, and replace prepositioned equipment are likely to cost at least $190 billion dollars through fiscal year 2013. However, these estimates have some limitations and could change. Further, the Army has stated it plans to request additional funds to address equipment shortfalls in modular units through fiscal year 2017. Several factors are contributing to the uncertainties about future costs. First, the Army's $43.6 funding plan for equipping modular units was based on preliminary modular unit designs and did not fully consider the needs of National Guard units. Second, the Army expects to need $18.5 billion for equipment to expand the force but has not clearly documented this estimate. Third, costs to reset equipment may total at least $118 billion from fiscal years 2004-2013 but may change because they are dependent on how much equipment is lost, damaged, or worn beyond repair during continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and how long these operations continue. Fourth, the Army believes it will need at least $10.6 billion to replace pre-positioned equipment that was taken out of storage to support ongoing operations, but this amount is an estimate and DOD's overall strategy for prepositioned equipment has not yet been issued Given the magnitude of these initiatives and potential for costs to change, DOD will need to carefully monitor the projected costs of these initiatives so that it can consider tradeoffs and allocate funding to balance the Army's equipping needs for the next decade and longer term transformation goals. A common theme in GAO's work has been the need for DOD and the Army to take a more strategic approach to decision making that promotes transparency and ensures that programs and investments are based on sound plans with measurable, realistic goals and time frames, prioritized resource needs, and performance measures to gauge progress. GAO's work on modular restructuring has shown a lack of linkage between the Army's funding requests and equipment requirements. This lack of linkage impedes oversight by DOD and Congress because it does not provide a means to measure the Army's progress in meeting modular force equipment requirements or inform budget decisions. Oversight of Army initiatives has also been complicated by multiple funding requests that makes it difficult for decision makers to understand the Army's full funding needs. GAO has recommended a number of actions to improve management controls and enhance transparency of the Army's plans for equipping modular units, expanding the force, resetting equipment, and replacing prepositioned equipment. However, many of these recommendations have not been fully implemented or adopted. For example, until the Army provides a comprehensive plan for its modular restructuring and expansion initiatives, which identifying progress and total costs, decision makers may not have sufficient information to assess progress and allocate defense resources among competing priorities.
    [Read More…]
  • Information Technology: DOD Software Development Approaches and Cybersecurity Practices May Impact Cost and Schedule
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO reported in June 2020 that, of the 15 major Department of Defense (DOD) information technology (IT) programs selected for review, 11 had decreased their cost estimates as of December 2019. The decreases in cost estimates ranged from a .03 percent decrease to a 33.8 percent decrease. In contrast, the remaining four programs experienced increases in their life-cycle cost estimates—--two with increases exceeding 20 percent. Program officials reported several reasons for the increases, including testing delays and development challenges. Ten of the 15 programs had schedule delays when compared to their original acquisition program baselines. Schedule delays ranged from a delay of 1 month to a delay of 5 years. Program officials reported a variety of reasons for significant delays (delays of over 1 year) in their planned schedules, including cyber and performance issues. Regarding software development, officials from the 15 selected major IT programs that GAO reviewed reported using software development approaches that may help to limit risks to cost and schedule outcomes. For example, 10 of the 15 programs reported using commercial off-the-shelf software, which is consistent with DOD guidance to use this software to the extent practicable. Such software can help reduce software development time, allow for faster delivery, and lower life-cycle costs. In addition, 14 of the 15 programs reported using an iterative software development approach which, according to leading practices, may help reduce cost growth and deliver better results to the customer. However, programs also reported using an older approach to software development, known as waterfall, which could introduce risk for program cost growth because of its linear and sequential phases of development that may be implemented over a longer period of time. Specifically, two programs reported using a waterfall approach in conjunction with an iterative approach, while one was solely using a waterfall approach. With respect to cybersecurity, programs reported mixed implementation of specific practices, contributing to program risks that might impact cost and schedule outcomes. For example, all 15 programs reported developing cybersecurity strategies, which are intended to help ensure that programs are planning for and documenting cybersecurity risk management efforts. In contrast, only eight of the 15 programs reported conducting cybersecurity vulnerability assessments—systematic examinations of an information system or product intended to, among other things, determine the adequacy of security measures and identify security deficiencies. These eight programs experienced fewer increases in planned program costs and fewer schedule delays relative to the programs that did not report using cybersecurity vulnerability assessments. For fiscal year 2020, DOD requested approximately $36.1 billion for IT investments. Those investments included major IT programs, which are intended to help the department sustain key operations. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included a provision for GAO to assess selected IT programs annually through March 2023. GAO's objectives for this review were to, among other things, (1) describe the extent to which selected major IT programs have changed their planned costs and schedules since the programs' initial baselines; and (2) describe what selected software development and cybersecurity risks or challenges, if any, may impact major IT programs' acquisition outcomes. GAO selected programs based on DOD's list of major IT programs, as of April 10, 2019. From this list, GAO identified 15 major IT programs that had established an initial acquisition program baseline and that were not fully deployed by December 31, 2019. GAO compared the 15 programs' initial cost and schedule baselines to current acquisition program estimates. In addition, GAO aggregated DOD program office responses to a GAO questionnaire about software development approaches and cybersecurity practices used by the 15 programs. GAO compared this information to leading practices to identify risks and challenges affecting cost, schedule, and performance outcomes. This report is a public version of a “for official use only” report issued in June 2020. For more information, contact Kevin Walsh at (202) 512-6151 or walshk@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the Anniversary of Mr. Alexey Navalny’s Poisoning
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Facing Long Post-Hurricane Recovery, Court in La. Gets Help From Friends
    In U.S Courts
    Hurricane Laura has left a lasting impact on the Western Louisiana community of Lake Charles, and the federal courthouse could be closed a year or more. Despite the disarray, courts in New Orleans, Texas, and even Alaska have reached out to support the court’s staff in getting back on their feet.  
    [Read More…]
  • Immigrant gets lengthy prison sentence for drug conviction
    In Justice News
    A 35 year-old Mexican [Read More…]
  • Bank Julius Baer Agrees to Pay More than $79 Million for Laundering Money in FIFA Scandal
    In Crime News
    Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. (BJB or the Bank), a Swiss bank with international operations, has admitted today in federal court in Brooklyn that it conspired to launder over $36 million in bribes through the United States to soccer officials with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and other soccer federations, in furtherance of a scheme in which sports marketing companies bribed soccer officials in exchange for broadcasting rights to soccer matches. The proceeding was held before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen.
    [Read More…]
  • United States to Host World Data System’s International Program Office
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
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