December 4, 2021

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Local tax preparer charged with fraudulently filing tax returns

5 min read
A local man who had several offices in the Houston area is set to appear in federal court for allegedly filing false taxes for clients

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov November 2, 2021

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  • Federal Court Terminates Paramount Consent Decrees
    In Crime News
    WASHINGTON – A federal court in the Southern District of New York today terminated the Paramount Consent Decrees, which for over seventy years have regulated how certain movie studios distribute films to movie theatres. The review and termination of these Decrees were part of the Department of Justice’s review of legacy antitrust judgments that dated back to the 1890’s and has resulted in the termination of nearly 800 perpetual decrees.
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    In Travel
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  • Justice Department And Indian Authorities Announce Enforcement Actions Against Technical-Support Fraud Scheme Targeting Seniors
    In Crime News
    A federal court has ordered an individual and 5 companies to stop engaging in a technical-support fraud scheme that is alleged to have defrauded hundreds of elderly and vulnerable U.S. victims, the Department of Justice announced today. 
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  • Military Training: DOD Met Annual Reporting Requirements and Continued to Improve Its Sustainable Ranges Report
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe 2013 Sustainable Ranges Report of the Department of Defense (DOD) met the annual statutory reporting requirements for the department to describe its progress in implementing its sustainable ranges plan and any additional actions taken or planned for addressing training constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine areas, or airspace. DOD's 2013 report provides updates to several elements of the plan that the act required it to include in its annual progress reports, including (1) proposals to enhance training range capabilities and address any shortfalls; (2) goals and milestones for tracking progress in the implementation of its sustainment plan; and (3) projected funding requirements for each of the military services to implement their planned actions. DOD reported that there were no significant changes in range capability or encroachment since 2012. It identified emerging challenges to training range sustainability, and reported on actions being taken to mitigate them. It used goals and milestones in its progress updates, and reported its projected funding requirements for implementing planned actions. Together these elements describe DOD's progress in implementing its comprehensive plan and addressing training constraints at its ranges, thus meeting the annual reporting requirements of the act.DOD has now implemented all prior GAO recommendations focused on meeting the requirements of the act and improving report submissions. GAO reported in 2012 that DOD had implemented all but 2 of 13 prior recommendations. DOD has subsequently addressed these 2 recommendations by developing and launching the range assessment module within the Defense Readiness Reporting System. Additionally, DOD created a range visibility tool within its range scheduler system to enable a user to query and identify the availability of training ranges across the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy to optimize utilization of training resources. Future improvements include plans to provide a link to the Air Force range scheduling system. Through the changes DOD has implemented in its annual reporting over the past several years, the department has continually improved reporting on the sustainability of its ranges.Why GAO Did This StudyAs U.S. forces draw down from Afghanistan and home training is expanded, the competition for training ranges may also increase. Section 366 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 (as amended) required DOD to submit a comprehensive plan to address training constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine areas, and airspace available in the United States and overseas for training, and provide annual progress reports on these efforts through 2018. The act also requires GAO to submit annual evaluations of DOD’s reports to Congress within 90 days of receiving them from DOD. In this report, GAO examined (1) whether DOD’s 2013 Sustainable Ranges Report met the legislative requirements; and (2) whether DOD acted on GAO previous recommendations to improve its submissions.GAO is not making any recommendations in this report. In commenting on this report, DOD stated that it agrees in general with the report.For more information, contact Brian Lepore at (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov.
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  • Pipeline Safety: Performance Measures Needed to Assess Recent Changes to Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Regulations
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In 2019, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a final rule amending its hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations. Selected pipeline operators and officials from PHMSA and selected states' pipeline safety offices said that these changes would enhance pipeline safety and present no significant challenges. They said the most beneficial changes expanded the scope of inspections. For example, in addition to existing requirements for operators to use specialized tools to inspect pipelines in “high consequence areas”—defined by population and environmental factors—the 2019 Rule requires such inspections outside of those areas. While operators noted the rule's potential to improve safety, all 11 operators GAO interviewed identified specific amendments that could increase their costs. For example, several operators said they would need to modify or replace some of their pipeline to allow for certain inspection tools required by the changes. PHMSA and state pipeline safety officials said they did not anticipate oversight challenges or additional costs because the changes did not alter their inspection process. Specialized In-Line Inspection Tool Being Placed in a Launch Point on a Pipeline PHMSA held meetings with and provided guidance to operators and inspectors on the changes but has not developed measures to assess if the changes improve safety. Leading performance management practices call for agencies to track progress toward goals using measures that include targets for expected levels of performance and timeframes. While PHMSA has desired outcomes for the 2019 Rule, including safety improvements, PHMSA officials said they have not established performance measures for those outcomes because some of the changes have long-term compliance deadlines, and so data are not yet available to assess effectiveness. However, other changes have shorter-term deadlines for compliance and PHMSA could use data it already collects from operators for its assessment. Without performance measures, PHMSA cannot determine whether the changes made by the 2019 Rule are achieving their intended outcomes and contributing to PHMSA's safety goals. Why GAO Did This Study The U.S. hazardous liquid pipeline network runs for over 220,000 miles and is a critical component of the nation's economy. Pipelines are considered to be a relatively safe mode of transporting crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other hazardous liquids, but accidents can occur that result in loss of life and environmental damage. PHMSA, within the Department of Transportation (DOT), sets the federal minimum pipeline safety standards and generally ensures operator compliance. In 2016, a pipeline safety statute included a provision for GAO to report on hazardous liquid pipeline safety after PHMSA issued a specific final rule amending its safety regulations, which it did in 2019. This report examines: (1) perspectives of selected pipeline stakeholders on the benefits and challenges of the amendments made by the 2019 Rule and (2) steps PHMSA has taken to inform stakeholders of these amendments and to measure their effects on pipeline safety. GAO reviewed relevant statutes and regulations; analyzed PHMSA accident data from calendar years 2011-2020; interviewed 11 pipeline operators—selected by pipeline type, miles, and product type—as well as pipeline industry and safety stakeholders, and PHMSA and pipeline safety officials from six states.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks Before Meeting with Qatari Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Rashid Al-Khater, Roya Mahboob, CEO and President of Digital Citizen Fund, and Afghan Girls Robotics Team
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  • Three Charged with Illegally Exporting Goods to Iran
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that three individuals have been charged in an indictment with conspiracy to export U.S. goods to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), as well as conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States, and conspiracy to engage in international money laundering.
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  • History, Ambition, and Technology: The Chinese Communist Party’s Challenges to U.S. Export Control Policy
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Operation Legend: Case of the Day
    In Crime News
    Each weekday, the Department of Justice will highlight a case that has resulted from Operation Legend.  Today’s case is out of the Northern District of Illinois.  Operation Legend launched in Chicago on July 22, 2020, in response to the city facing increased homicide and non-fatal shooting rates.
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  • Close Air Support: Actions Needed to Enhance Friendly Force Tracking Capabilities and Fully Evaluate Training
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) has made progress implementing initiatives to enhance capabilities that are used to identify friendly force locations during close air support (CAS) missions, but GAO identified additional actions that are needed to strengthen these efforts. Specifically, DOD has made limited progress in implementing 10 changes the department approved to address gaps in the interoperability of digital communications systems used to conduct CAS, hindering efforts to improve the speed and accuracy of information exchanges. DOD's efforts to assess the interoperability of digital systems used to perform CAS have been limited in scope. GAO found that DOD had formally assessed two out of 10 approved changes during joint service and multinational events, and these assessments were not conducted in a training environment that replicated capabilities of near-peer adversaries. DOD implemented a new capability in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to help identify the positions of friendly forces during CAS missions. However, GAO found that DOD did not provide adequate training for personnel who operate it or conduct an evaluation to resolve implementation challenges that have hampered its performance. DOD conducts evaluations of training programs for forces that participate in CAS missions, but GAO identified two areas where DOD can improve its efforts. First, the Army and Marine Corps have not systematically evaluated the effectiveness of periodic training for ground observers providing targeting information due to a lack of centralized systems for tracking training data and the absence of designated entities to monitor service-wide training. Second, the use of contract aircraft for training increased substantially between 2017 and 2019, but DOD has not fully evaluated the use of non-military contract aircraft to train air controllers for CAS (see fig.). GAO found that differences between U.S. military aircraft and contract aircraft (e.g., airspeed) can result in a misalignment of aircraft capabilities for certain types of training events. Without evaluating CAS training fully, DOD cannot have assurance that its forces are prepared to conduct CAS missions safely and effectively. Number of Hours Non-Military Aircraft Were Used to Train for Close Air Support for Fiscal Years 2017 through 2019 The use of ordnance delivered by aircraft to support U.S. military forces that are in close proximity to enemy forces on the ground requires detailed planning, seamless communications, and effective training. Mistakes in communications or procedures used to identify and maintain an awareness of the positions of friendly forces on the battlefield during CAS can result in the loss of U.S. military personnel. Senate Report 116-48 and House Report 116-120, accompanying bills for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, included provisions for GAO to evaluate issues related to friendly-force identification capabilities in CAS missions. Among other things, this report evaluates the extent to which DOD has (1) implemented initiatives to enhance friendly-force identification capabilities during CAS, and (2) evaluated training for forces that participate in CAS. GAO analyzed documentation and interviewed officials regarding DOD efforts to develop and implement friendly force tracking capabilities for CAS; reviewed CAS training programs; and analyzed training data, including the number of hours that DOD used non-military contract aircraft for CAS training from 2017 through 2019. GAO is making 11 recommendations to DOD, including that DOD implement and assess initiatives to improve the interoperability of digital systems used in CAS and take additional steps to evaluate the training for certain forces that participate in CAS missions. DOD concurred with the recommendations. For more information, contact Cary Russell at (202) 512-5431 or RussellC@gao.gov.
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  • Intersex Awareness Day
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  • Department Press Briefing – February 25, 2021
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Lucia Duraccio of RAI TG1
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Joint Statement on the C5+1 Virtual Ministerial
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Foreign Minister Lamamra
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen Delivers Remarks at Announcement of Results of Operation Disruptor
    In Crime News
    Good morning. I am pleased to be joined today by FBI Director Christopher Wray, DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea, ICE Acting Deputy Director Derek Benner, and Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.
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  • Developer Agrees to Mitigate Impacts to Streams and Wetlands
    In Crime News
    A developer and his companies have agreed to effectuate $900,000 in compensatory mitigation, preserve undisturbed riparian areas, conduct erosion-control work on streams, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property north of Houston, Texas, the Justice Department announced today.
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  • Man Sentenced for Receiving, Soliciting and Promoting Child Pornography
    In Crime News
    A Virginia man was sentenced today to 240 months, or 20 years, in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for downloading images and videos depicting children as young as 4 years old being sexually abused, and for utilizing the Dark Net to solicit and promote child pornography.
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