December 5, 2021

News

News Network

Justice Department and FTC Announce First Enforcement Actions for Violations of the Better Online Ticket Sales Act

6 min read
<div>The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced three settlements resolving alleged violations of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act. These are the first enforcement actions that the department and the FTC have brought under the BOTS Act.</div>
The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced three settlements resolving alleged violations of the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act. These are the first enforcement actions that the department and the FTC have brought under the BOTS Act.

More from: January 22, 2021

News Network

  • Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen Attends Security Briefing at FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center on Inauguration Planning and Recent Capitol Attack
    In Crime News
    Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen attended a briefing today at the FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) on the recent attack on the Capitol building and law enforcement preparations for the upcoming presidential inauguration. Following the briefing, he addressed the assembled law enforcement partners and thanked them for their efforts.
    [Read More…]
  • Domestic Renewal as a Foreign Policy Priority
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Elections in El Salvador
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Imminent Danger Pay: Actions Needed Regarding Pay Designations in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe Department of Defense (DOD) obligated more than $1 billion in imminent danger pay from fiscal years 2010 through 2013 in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, excluding Afghanistan, according to data from the military services. In June 2011, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness requested the geographic Combatant Commands to assess existing imminent danger pay areas. The last such review had been completed in 2007. In January 2013, the U.S. Central Command recommended terminating imminent danger pay designations in many locations within its area of responsibility. However, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness had not completed its current review or made a decision as of December 20, 2013, when we transmitted a draft of our report to DOD. DOD's guidance on imminent danger pay requires a periodic review but neither specifies the frequency with which periodic reviews must be completed, nor stipulates a time frame by which the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness should render a final decision regarding the findings of the review. The Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government highlights, among other things, the importance of management-led reviews and clear policies and procedures as well as assurance that the findings of reviews are promptly resolved. In the absence of clear procedures and policies specifying time frames for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to complete reviews of imminent danger pay area designations and render a final decision, DOD is spending millions of dollars annually for imminent danger pay in areas within U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility that may not warrant this designation.Why GAO Did This StudyDOD relies on forward-stationed or rotationally deployed forces, bases and infrastructure, and host nation agreements to execute its mission around the world. This combination of forces, footprint, and agreements constitutes DOD's defense posture in a given geographic region.In December 2012, GAO began work reviewing DOD's posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, as part of series of reports examining DOD's global defense posture initiatives in response to direction from the Senate Appropriations Committee. As part of this review on posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, GAO examined posture costs in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility--including special pays, such as imminent danger pay, and benefits for service members who are assigned, deployed, or on temporary duty travel. In the course of that review, GAO identified issues related to DOD's process for reviewing and making decisions on imminent danger pay area designations, with regard to the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility.To conduct this work, GAO analyzed imminent danger pay and family housing cost data in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility from the military departments for fiscal years 2010 through 2013. To assess the reliability of the data, we interviewed cognizant DOD officials regarding the accuracy of data entry, limitations of the data, and the results of previous audits conducted on the data systems used. We determined the data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes of our review. GAO reviewed, and compared DOD Instruction 1340.09, Hostile Fire Pay and Imminent Danger Pay with GAO's Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government to evaluate the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness's process for reviewing imminent danger pay designated locations. Further, GAO obtained documentation from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and U.S. Central Command related to U. S. Central Command's recommendation to terminate imminent danger pay.
    [Read More…]
  • History, Ambition, and Technology: The Chinese Communist Party’s Challenges to U.S. Export Control Policy
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Dr. Christopher Ashley [Read More…]
  • Kennedy Center Facilities: Life-Cycle Cost Analysis and Other Capital-Planning Practices Could Help Minimize Long-term Costs
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts partially or fully met most selected practices for capital planning, procurement, and maintaining its facilities, but could take action to help ensure efficiency in future projects. Specifically, in planning for maintaining and renovating its facilities, the Kennedy Center met or partially met six out of seven selected capital planning practices. For example, it developed a capital plan for its portfolio of projects, budgeted for these projects, prioritized these projects, and completed an assessment of its facilities' conditions. The Kennedy Center has not, however, updated its capital planning policies and procedures for over 15 years nor did it comprehensively analyze the life-cycle costs—such as the cost of repair, maintenance, and operations—of its projects, including the recent REACH expansion. Implementing these two selected practices would position the Kennedy Center to ensure that it has a consistent, repeatable process for managing projects effectively and that it is making decisions early in the planning of the project to minimize the long-term costs to the federal government. Kennedy Center's Original Building with the REACH Expansion Six of the Kennedy Center's nine highest cost capital projects from 2015-2020 were within 10 percent of the contract award amount, a government benchmark. But GAO found that the Kennedy Center did not have up-to-date procurement procedures or well-documented projects. Without updated procurement policies and procedures in accordance with selected practices, the Kennedy Center could apply its procurement program inconsistently. Further, without complete project documentation, the Kennedy Center lacks reasonable assurance that project requirements are met or that it established traceability concerning what has been done, who has done it, and when it was done. This omission could potentially affect the quality of the product delivered to the Kennedy Center. The Kennedy Center met most selected practices for operations and maintenance. For example, it developed an operations and maintenance plan, used a specialized information system to help manage its activities, and used automatic control systems to enhance energy efficiency. However, fully defined policies and procedures for its operations and maintenance program would better position the Kennedy Center to meet its mission to provide the highest quality services related to the repair and maintenance of its facilities. Why GAO Did This Study The Kennedy Center is a national cultural arts center and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. The federal government funds the Kennedy Center's capital repairs and renovations of its facilities, as well as its operations and maintenance, all of which totaled $40.4 million in regular appropriations for fiscal year 2021. The REACH expansion, built using private funds, has increased the Kennedy Center's federally funded operations and maintenance expenses. GAO was asked to examine how well the Kennedy Center manages its projects. This report evaluates the extent to which the Kennedy Center followed selected practices in its: (1) capital planning, including for the REACH; (2) procurement; and (3) operations and maintenance, including energy efficiency and facility security. GAO selected criteria from government and industry to review the Kennedy Center's documentation for three projects that GAO selected based on cost. GAO assessed the Kennedy Center's capital planning, procurement, and operations and maintenance actions against selected industry and government practices and interviewed officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Financial Audit: IRS’s FY 2021 and FY 2020 Financial Statements
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In GAO's opinion, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) fiscal years 2021 and 2020 financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects, and although certain controls could be improved, IRS maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2021. GAO's tests of IRS's compliance with selected provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements disclosed no instances of reportable noncompliance in fiscal year 2021. Limitations in the financial systems IRS uses to account for federal taxes receivable and other unpaid assessment balances, as well as other control deficiencies that led to errors in taxpayer accounts, continued to exist during fiscal year 2021.These control deficiencies affect IRS's ability to produce reliable financial statements without using significant compensating procedures. In addition, unresolved and newly identified information system security control deficiencies in such areas as access controls and configuration of security settings increased the risk of unauthorized access to, modification of, or disclosure of sensitive financial and taxpayer data and disruption of critical operations in fiscal year 2021. IRS continues to take steps to improve internal controls in these areas. However, the remaining deficiencies are significant enough to merit the attention of those charged with governance of IRS and therefore represent continuing significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting related to (1) unpaid assessments and (2) financial reporting systems. Continued management attention is essential to fully addressing these significant deficiencies. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enacted in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, enacted in March 2021, as well as other COVID-19 pandemic relief laws, contained a number of provisions, including the second and third rounds of direct payments (i.e., economic impact payments) totaling over $569 billion in fiscal year 2021, for eligible individuals to address financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of monitoring and oversight of the federal government's efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, GAO has issued a number of reports on federal agencies' implementation of COVID-19 pandemic relief laws, including reports providing information on, and recommendations to strengthen, IRS's implementation of the tax-related provisions. Similar to GAO's prior year findings for the processing of the first round of economic impact payments, GAO's work in fiscal year 2021 found that IRS faced challenges issuing the second and third rounds of payments to certain eligible recipients and preventing improper payments. In commenting on a draft of this report, IRS noted its intention to continue working to improve its internal controls. Why GAO Did This Study In accordance with the authority conferred by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended, and because of the significance of IRS's tax collections to the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government, which GAO is required to audit, GAO annually audits IRS's financial statements to determine whether (1) the financial statements are fairly presented and (2) IRS management maintained effective internal control over financial reporting. GAO also tests IRS's compliance with selected provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements. IRS's tax collection activities are significant to overall federal receipts, and the effectiveness of its financial management is of substantial interest to Congress and the nation's taxpayers. For more information, contact Dawn B. Simpson at (202) 512-3406 or simpsondb@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited Agrees to Pay Over $18 Million to Resolve Charges Related to Bribery Scheme in Brazil
    In Crime News
    Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (Amec Foster Wheeler or the Company), a subsidiary of John Wood Group plc (Wood), a United Kingdom-based global engineering company, has agreed to pay $18,375,000 to resolve criminal charges stemming from a scheme to pay bribes to officials in Brazil in exchange for an approximately $190 million contract to design a gas-to-chemicals complex.
    [Read More…]
  • Former Air War College Professor Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements About Relationship with Government Official in China
    In Crime News
    A civilian professor at the Air War College on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal agent.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Energy Contracting: Improvements Needed to Ensure DOE Assesses Its Full Range of Contracting Fraud Risks
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO identified nine categories of contracting fraud schemes that occurred at the Department of Energy (DOE), including billing schemes, conflicts of interest, and payroll schemes. For example, a subcontractor employee at a site created fraudulent invoices for goods never received, resulting in a loss of over $6 million. In another scheme, a contractor engaged in years of widespread time card fraud, submitting inflated claims for compensation. The contractor agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle the case. DOE reported that it identified nearly $15 million in improper payments due to confirmed fraud in fiscal year 2019. However, due to the difficulty in detecting fraud, agencies—including DOE—incur financial losses related to fraud that are never identified or are settled without admission to fraud and are not counted as such. Fraud can also have nonfinancial impacts, such as fraudsters obtaining a competitive advantage and preventing legitimate businesses from obtaining contracts. DOE has taken some steps and is planning others to demonstrate a commitment to combat fraud and assess its contracting fraud risks, consistent with the leading practices in GAO's Fraud Risk Framework. However, GAO found that DOE has not assessed the full range of contracting fraud risks it faces. Specifically, GAO found DOE's methods for gathering information about its fraud risks captures selected fraud risks—rather than all fraud risks—facing DOE programs. As shown in the figure, DOE's risk profiles for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 did not capture four of nine fraud schemes that occurred at DOE. For example, one entity did not include any fraud risks in its risk profiles, yet GAO identified six types of fraud schemes that occurred at the entity's site. DOE plans to expand its risk assessment process, but officials expect the new process will continue to rely on a methodology that gathers information on selected fraud risks. The Fraud Risk Framework states that entities identify specific tools, methods, and sources for gathering information about fraud risks. Without expanding its methodology to capture, assess, and document all fraud risks facing its programs, DOE risks remaining vulnerable to these types of fraud. Fraud Risks Identified in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 Risk Profiles Compared with Types of Fraud Schemes That Have Occurred at DOE DOE is planning to develop an antifraud strategy in fiscal year 2022 and has taken some steps to evaluate and adapt to fraud risks, consistent with leading practices in GAO's Fraud Risk Framework. Part of DOE's effort to manage fraud risks includes adapting controls to address emerging fraud risks. Additionally, DOE is planning to expand its use of data analytics to detect contracting fraud, beginning in fiscal year 2022. DOE relies primarily on contractors to carry out its missions at its laboratories and other facilities, spending approximately 80 percent of its total obligations on contracts. GAO and DOE's Inspector General have reported on incidents of fraud by DOE contractors and identified multiple contracting fraud risks. GAO was asked to examine DOE's processes to manage contracting fraud risks. This report examines, for DOE, (1) types of contracting fraud schemes and their financial and nonfinancial impacts, (2) steps taken to commit to combating contracting fraud risks and the extent to which these risks have been assessed, and (3) steps taken to design and implement an antifraud strategy and to evaluate and adapt its approach. GAO reviewed relevant laws and guidance; reviewed agency media releases, Agency Financial Reports, and DOE Inspector General reports to Congress from 2013 through 2019; and reviewed documents and interviewed officials from 42 DOE field and site offices, contractors, and subcontractors, representing a range of sites and programs. GAO is making two recommendations, including for DOE to expand its fraud risk assessment methodology to ensure all fraud risks facing DOE programs are fully assessed and documented in accordance with leading practices. DOE concurred with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact Rebecca Shea at (202) 512-6722 shear@gao.gov or Allison B. Bawden at (202) 512-3841, bawdena@gao.gov.
    [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…]
  • Brooklyn Federal Jury Convicts U.S. Citizen of Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    Earlier today, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Bernard Raymond Augustine, a U.S. citizen and California resident, of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS” or “the Islamic State”). The verdict followed a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. When sentenced, Augustine faces up to 20 years in prison.
    [Read More…]
  • Tax Administration: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight of Hospitals’ Tax-Exempt Status
    In U.S GAO News
    Nonprofit hospitals must satisfy three sets of requirements to obtain and maintain a nonprofit tax exemption (see figure). Requirements for Nonprofit Hospitals to Obtain and Maintain a Tax-Exemption While PPACA established requirements to better ensure hospitals are serving their communities, the law is unclear about what community benefit activities hospitals should be engaged in to justify their tax exemption. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identified factors that can demonstrate community benefits, but they are not requirements. IRS does not have authority to specify activities hospitals must undertake and makes determinations based on facts and circumstances. This lack of clarity makes IRS's oversight challenging. Congress could help by adding specificity to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). While IRS is required to review hospitals' community benefit activities at least once every 3 years, it does not have a well-documented process to ensure that those activities are being reviewed. IRS referred almost 1,000 hospitals to its audit division for potential PPACA violations from 2015 through 2019. However, IRS could not identify if any of these referrals related to community benefits. GAO's analysis of IRS data identified 30 hospitals that reported no spending on community benefits in 2016, indicating potential noncompliance with providing community benefits. A well-documented process, such as clear instructions for addressing community benefits in the PPACA reviews or risk-based methods for selecting cases, would help IRS ensure it is effectively reviewing hospitals' community benefit activities. Further, according to IRS officials, hospitals with little to no community benefit expenses would indicate potential noncompliance. However, IRS was unable to provide evidence that it conducts reviews related to hospitals' community benefits because it does not have codes to track such audits. Slightly more than half of community hospitals in the United States are private, nonprofit organizations. IRS and the Department of the Treasury have recognized the promotion of health as a charitable purpose and have specified that nonprofit hospitals are eligible for a tax exemption. IRS has further stated that these hospitals can demonstrate their charitable purpose by providing services that benefit their communities as a whole. In 2010, Congress and the President enacted PPACA, which established additional requirements for tax-exempt hospitals to meet to maintain their tax exemption. GAO was asked to review IRS's implementation of requirements for tax-exempt hospitals. This report assesses IRS's (1) oversight of how tax-exempt hospitals provide community benefits, and (2) enforcement of PPACA requirements related to tax-exempt hospitals. GAO is making one matter for congressional consideration to specify in the IRC what services and activities Congress considers sufficient community benefit. GAO is also making four recommendations to IRS, including to establish a well-documented process to ensure hospitals' community benefit activities are being reviewed, and to create codes to track audit activity related to hospitals' community benefit activities. IRS agreed with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact Jessica Lucas-Judy at (202) 512-9110 or lucasjudyj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Designation of Iraqi Militia Leader in Connection with Serious Human Rights Abuse
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Four Members of Los Angeles-Based Fraud Ring Indicted for COVID-Relief Fraud
    In Crime News
    Four individuals were charged in an indictment for their alleged participation in a scheme to submit at least 35 fraudulent loan applications seeking over $5.6 million in COVID-19 relief guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Montana Man Indicted on Federal Hate Crime and Firearm Charges
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Billings, Montana, returned an indictment on May 20 charging a Montana man with hate crime and firearm violations for allegedly firing a gun into an individual’s house and threatening the individual with violent, homophobic slurs.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Neenah Enterprises Inc.’s Acquisition of US Foundry
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that it will require Neenah Enterprises Inc. (NEI), U.S. Holdings Inc. (U.S. Holdings), and U.S. Foundry and Manufacturing Corporation (US Foundry) to divest certain gray iron municipal castings assets in order to proceed with NEI’s proposed acquisition of substantially all of the assets of US Foundry. NEI and US Foundry are two of only three significant suppliers of gray iron municipal castings in eleven eastern and southern states. Gray iron municipal castings are customized molded iron products such as manhole covers and frames used to access subterranean areas and grates and drains used to direct water in roadway, parking, and industrial areas.
    [Read More…]
  • Uzbekistan Independence Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the U.S.-Colombia High-Level Dialogue
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.