January 25, 2022

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Louisiana Construction Company Employee Pleads Guilty to Tax Conspiracy

13 min read
<div>A Louisiana man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the IRS.</div>
A Louisiana man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the IRS.

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  • Colorado Man Sentenced to Prison for Biodiesel Tax Credit Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Colorado resident was sentenced to 15 months in prison yesterday for his role in a biodiesel tax credit fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
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  • Immigration: Information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
    In U.S GAO News
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  • Nuclear Weapons: NNSA Plans to Modernize Critical Depleted Uranium Capabilities and Improve Program Management
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is taking steps to establish a new supply of high-purity depleted uranium (DU) to modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile. DU for fabrication of weapons components must be in high-purity metal form. Producing DU metal generally involves first converting a byproduct of uranium enrichment, known as “tails,” into a salt “feedstock,” which is then converted into metal. (See figure.) To reestablish a supply of feedstock, NNSA plans to install conversion equipment in an existing facility at DOE's Portsmouth site in Ohio. DOE initially estimated costs of $12 million to $18 million to design and install the equipment, with operations beginning in fiscal year 2022. However, in March 2020, NNSA requested an increase in conversion capacity, and an updated proposal in July 2020 estimated costs of $38 million to $48 million and a slight delay to the start of operations. NNSA plans to convert the feedstock into DU metal using a commercial vendor at a cost of about $27 million annually. Conversion of a Byproduct of Uranium Enrichment into Metal NNSA is also taking steps to reestablish and modernize DU component manufacturing capabilities, but it risks delays that could affect the timelines of nuclear stockpile modernization programs, according to officials. NNSA has reestablished processes for manufacturing some DU components but not for components made with a DU-niobium alloy, a material for which NNSA has no alternative. Thus, restarting the alloying process—a complicated, resource-intensive process that has not been done in over a decade—is NNSA's top priority for DU and presents a very high risk to timely supply of components for certain nuclear stockpile modernization programs, according to NNSA documents and officials. NNSA is also developing more efficient manufacturing technologies, in part because the current alloyed component process wastes a very high percentage of the materials and NNSA cannot recycle the waste. For its DU activities, NNSA has requested an increase in funding from about $61 million in fiscal year 2020 to about $131 million in fiscal year 2021. Until recently, NNSA had not managed DU activities as a coherent program in a manner fully consistent with NNSA program management policies. Since October 2019, however, NNSA has taken actions to improve program management. For example, NNSA has consolidated management and funding sources for DU activities under a new office and DU Modernization program with the goal of better coordinating across the nuclear security enterprise. Further, NNSA appointed two dedicated Federal Program Managers to gather and organize information for required program management and planning documents. High-purity DU is an important strategic material for ongoing and planned modernizations of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. However, according to NNSA estimates, NNSA has a very limited supply of DU feedstock, and its current supply of DU metal will be exhausted in the late 2020s. NNSA also does not have the full range of capabilities needed to manufacture DU into weapon components needed for modernizing the stockpile. GAO has previously reported that NNSA has experienced challenges in restarting some technical manufacturing processes. A Senate committee report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 included a provision for GAO to examine NNSA's management of DU for nuclear stockpile modernization. GAO's report examines (1) the status of NNSA's efforts to obtain the necessary quantities of DU to meet stockpile modernization requirements; (2) the status of NNSA efforts to develop DU component manufacturing capabilities to meet stockpile modernization requirements; and (3) the extent to which NNSA is managing DU activities as a program, consistent with agency policy. GAO reviewed relevant agency documents; interviewed NNSA officials and contractor representatives; and conducted site visits at headquarters and at research, development, and production locations. For more information, contact Allison Bawden at (202) 512-3841 or bawdena@gao.gov.
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  • Higher Education: Office of Federal Student Aid Is Beginning to Identify and Address Its Workforce Needs
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) recently began its first formal workforce review to identify staffing needs and skills gaps, according to officials. Without a workforce review, officials told GAO that FSA staffing levels and expertise had not sufficiently adjusted as student aid programs grew in size and complexity. GAO’s analysis found that staffing remained relatively flat from fiscal year 2010 through 2019, and FSA officials said that staffing levels have not kept pace with loan portfolio growth. For example, FSA’s Direct Loan volume increased approximately 450 percent and the number of borrowers increased almost 150 percent from fiscal years 2010 through 2019, while the number of FSA staff increased 6 percent.   In 2020, FSA began taking steps to review its workforce by identifying staffing needs and skills gaps. These steps included: Workforce requirements assessment. FSA recently completed an assessment that compared the office’s fiscal year 2020 staffing levels to its employees’ workload. According to the assessment, FSA is understaffed in many of its program and operational offices. Consequently, staff did not complete almost 20 percent of FSA’s workload in fiscal year 2020, despite staff working overtime and supervisors completing extra work. In fiscal year 2021, FSA plans to begin incorporating information from the workforce requirements assessment into its staffing process and plans to update each office’s staffing requirements annually. Skills gaps assessment. FSA is currently assessing the capabilities of its workforce to identify gaps in existing staff’s skills. Preliminary FSA recommendations from analyses of five offices focus on increasing training and improving staff’s leadership, technical skills, and soft skills. According to officials, the results will be used to inform future staff training. GAO did not independently evaluate the findings and recommendations identified through FSA’s workforce assessment activities. While conducting its workforce review, FSA took more immediate steps to address indications that staff lacked certain skills and some offices were understaffed, including: Prioritized hiring. FSA program offices worked with the Human Capital Group to prioritize hiring certain positions in critical areas in fiscal year 2020 which, according to officials, eased workload distribution across the organization.  Increased hiring. FSA increased hiring in fiscal year 2020 by 17 percent compared to the previous fiscal year to 1,462 employees, according to FSA data, and primarily relied on staffing flexibilities unique to FSA to fill those positions. Reorganized the agency. On March 29, 2020, FSA reorganized to meet current workforce needs and create a more agile organization, according to officials. Officials said the reorganization was also intended to address staff concerns about having more work than they could handle.  Why GAO Did This Study FSA manages all federal student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. FSA’s responsibilities have grown significantly in recent years and its loan portfolio now exceeds $1.5 trillion, making it the largest consumer lender in the country. However, little is known about how FSA has adjusted the size and composition of its workforce in response to the office’s increased responsibilities. To examine how FSA has identified and addressed its staffing needs, GAO interviewed FSA officials who develop staffing policies and manage the staffing process, and conducted two group interviews with Human Capital staff who implement staffing policies. In addition, GAO reviewed documentation on FSA’s workforce assessment efforts and hiring, recruitment, and retention activities. GAO also analyzed FSA human capital data on FSA’s federal employees from fiscal years 2010 through 2020, and determined it to be reliable for our purposes. For more information, contact Melissa Emrey-Arras at (617) 788-0534 or emreyarrasm@gao.gov.
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  • United States Prevails in Actions to Seize and Forfeit Iranian Terror Group’s Missiles and Petroleum
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced the successful forfeiture of two large caches of Iranian arms, including 171 surface-to-air missiles and eight anti-tank missiles, as well as approximately 1.1 million barrels of Iranian petroleum products.
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  • [Protest of Forest Service Contract Award for Publication Support Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested a Forest Service contract award for publication support services, contending that the Forest Service conducted improper post-best and final offer (BAFO) discussions with the awardee. GAO held that the: (1) Service's consideration of the awardee's subcontracting approach constituted discussions and therefore it should have reopened discussions and allowed bidders to resubmit BAFO; and (2) Service conducted improper discussions with only the awardee after BAFO submission. Accordingly, the protest was sustained and GAO recommended that the Forest Service: (1) reopen discussions and request best and final offers; (2) make award to the bidder whose bid is determined to be the most advantageous to the government; and (3) reimburse the protester for its protest costs.
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  • Founder of Russian Bank Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
    In Crime News
    The founder of a Russian bank pleaded guilty today to filing a materially false tax return.
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  • Previously Convicted Felon Indicted for Illegally Transporting and Storing Hazardous Waste, Falsifying a Hazardous Waste Manifest and Obstructing an Agency Proceeding
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Hawaii returned an indictment against Anthony Shane Gilstrap, 54, for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by transporting hazardous waste without a required manifest, falsifying a hazardous waste manifest, and storing hazardous waste without a permit. He is also charged with obstructing an agency proceeding.
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  • Special Envoy Lenderking and Chargé Westley’s Visit to Aden, Yemen
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    In Crime News
    A former officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department pleaded guilty today to using unreasonable force against an arrestee.
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    In Crime News
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