December 4, 2021

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New York Plumbing Contractor Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Employment Tax Fraud

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<div>A New York man was sentenced today to 20 months in prison for failing to collect and pay over to the IRS $732,462 in employment taxes.</div>
A New York man was sentenced today to 20 months in prison for failing to collect and pay over to the IRS $732,462 in employment taxes.

More from: June 7, 2021

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  • Architecture Firm Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Payroll Tax Fraud
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    A West Virginia woman pleaded guilty today to willfully failing to pay over to the IRS employment taxes withheld from employees’ wages.
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    A federal grand jury in the Western District of Arkansas returned an indictment yesterday charging an Arkansas man who owned or managed numerous diagnostic testing laboratories with health care fraud in connection with over $100 million dollars in false billings for urine drug testing, COVID-19 testing, and other clinical laboratory services.
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  • 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.
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    What GAO Found The U.S. government awarded contracts valued at about $12 billion to foreign-located firms, of which about $5 billion went to firms with reported locations in the other six main parties to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (see figure). Conversely, government procurement databases indicated the central governments of these parties awarded an estimated $7 billion to foreign sources, out of which about $2 billion was U.S.-sourced. Canada and Mexico awarded most of the U.S.-sourced contracts. GAO was able to determine that the U.S. government awarded more, by contract value, to foreign-owned firms located abroad than to foreign-owned, U.S.-located firms. Moreover, more than 80 percent of U.S. government contracts awarded to foreign-owned firms located abroad were Department of Defense contracts performed abroad. Overall, while available contract data enable broad cross-country comparisons, they do not necessarily show where the goods are produced, where the services are delivered, or where the profits go, among other economic effects. Estimated Bilateral Procurement Flows between Central Governments of the United States and the Other Six Main Parties to Selected International Procurement Agreements, 2015 Foreign sourcing by the seven GPA and NAFTA parties within the scope of the study, using two alternative methods, is less than 20 percent of overall central government procurement. Foreign sourcing by central governments, estimated from government procurement databases of the United States and the other six main parties, varied in value by party from about 2 to 19 percent of overall central government procurement. Foreign sourcing by all levels of government, estimated from data on trade and public sector purchases, showed that the governments' imports likely ranged from about 7 to 18 percent of the goods and services the governments purchased. In addition, contract data show that U.S., South Korean, and Mexican central government foreign sourcing was greater in value under contracts covered by GPA and NAFTA than under noncovered contracts, but the opposite was true for Canada and Norway. For the European Union and Japan, GAO found little difference or could not calculate an estimate. Why GAO Did This Study Globally, government procurement constitutes about a $4 trillion market for international trade. However, little is known about foreign sourcing in government procurement—how much governments procure from foreign-located suppliers or how much they acquire in foreign-made goods. GAO was asked to review the extent of foreign sourcing in government procurement across countries. GAO focused on the United States and the other six main parties to the GPA and NAFTA, selected international agreements that open procurement markets on a reciprocal basis. This report, the fourth of a related series, (1) provides broad estimates of foreign sourcing by the U.S. government and central governments of the other six main parties, and (2) assesses foreign sourcing as a share of estimated central government procurement and of estimated procurement by all levels of government, and the extent to which central government contracts that are covered under selected international procurement agreements are foreign-sourced. GAO analyzed the most recent comparable data available from two sources: (1) government procurement databases used in Canada, the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, and the United States, for 2015, and (2) 2014 trade data merged with data on the types of goods and services purchased by the public sector. Since Japan does not have a government procurement database, data for Japan were based on its 2015 GPA submission of 2013 data. GAO also interviewed cognizant government officials in Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Seoul, South Korea; and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, contact Kimberly Gianopoulos at (202) 512-8612 or gianopoulosk@gao.gov.
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    The Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury in Portland returned a five count indictment against Portland resident Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, charging two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1). In addition, the indictment charges Mothafar with one count of false statements in an immigration application in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546(a) and one count of false statement to a government agency in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).
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  • DOD Financial Management: Actions Needed to Address Deficiencies in Controls over Army Active Duty Military Payroll
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundGAO identified deficiencies in the design of key control procedures relied on by the Army and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service-Indianapolis (DFAS-IN) to detect errors in payroll disbursements to active duty Army military personnel. Specifically, GAO found that the Army's procedures for reviewing Unit Commander Finance Reports (UCFR) do not (1) provide for monitoring of required UCFR reviews to better assure detection of payroll errors, (2) require reporting on completed UCFR reviews in all cases, and (3) clearly establish time frames for completing and reporting on UCFR reviews. GAO's analysis of DFAS data on military pay debts and Army investigations of potential fraud completed over the past 2 years identified numerous instances of the effect of errors or irregularities in Army active duty payroll disbursements that went undetected for lengthy periods of time, including some that were not detected for up to 2 years or until the soldier left the Army. For example:A soldier who separated from the Army in 2009 continued to receive active duty pay totaling about $185,000 until 2011.A soldier who was absent without leave from January 2010 to September 2011 received military pay of $33,268 to which she was not entitled.A soldier under investigation for possible fraud allegedly received over $34,000 in paratrooper and language proficiency pay but did not have a documented record of jumps performed or up-to-date proficiency certifications.GAO's analysis determined that the Army could reduce its risk of lengthy delays in detecting and correcting pay errors with more stringent UCFR monitoring and reporting requirements.GAO also found that DFAS and the Army have procedures and metrics in place that focus on the timeliness of manual processing and payroll adjustments for error corrections. However, they do not have procedures and metrics to enable them to gather data on active duty pay errors that were related to causes other than timeliness, such as over- and underpayments, data entry errors, and unauthorized payments. Further, the design of existing Defense Joint Military Pay System-Active Component and DFAS-IN Case Management System procedures for transaction processing and error correction did not provide for monitoring to capture data on all types of pay errors and their causes that would be useful in identifying the extent to which there are any additional systemic payroll control weaknesses. For example, an Army National Guard colonel deployed on active duty to Afghanistan reported that he experienced financial hardship when his military pay was stopped for 1-1/2 months. The absence of data on the extent and causes of all types of Army active duty military payroll errors impairs the Army's ability to identify and address any adverse trends that may indicate the existence of other systemic control weaknesses. Overall, the control deficiencies that GAO identified increase the risk that the nearly $47 billion in reported fiscal year 2011 Army active duty military payroll includes Army servicemembers who received pay to which they were not entitled and others who did not receive the full pay they were due. Further, to the extent that errors in Army active duty pay are not identified and addressed in a timely manner, they can have a negative effect on soldier welfare and, ultimately, could erode soldiers' focus on their Army mission.Why GAO Did This StudyIn March 2012, GAO reported on challenges that DOD and the Army face in achieving audit readiness with respect to the over $45 billion in reported fiscal year 2010 Army active duty military payroll disbursements. In performing that work, GAO identified indications of possible weaknesses in selected processes, systems, and controls relied on to reasonably assure the validity and accuracy of reported Army active duty military payroll that were beyond the scope of that audit. GAO subsequently completed work on those issues and is presenting the results in this report. GAO (1) assessed the design of key controls for payroll accuracy and (2) determined the extent to which the Army and DFAS-IN have monitoring controls to identify and address any systemic weaknesses. GAO compared selected Army and DFAS-IN processes, systems, and controls for assuring payroll accuracy to applicable internal control standards and to applicable provisions of law, regulations, and policies and procedures. GAO also interviewed officials and examined related data and information.
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    A Rhode Island man was sentenced today to 400 months in prison for his role in an international fentanyl distribution conspiracy.
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  • Defense Logistics: Army and Marine Corps Cannot Be Assured That Equipment Reset Strategies Will Sustain Equipment Availability While Meeting Ongoing Operational Requirements
    In U.S GAO News
    Congress has appropriated billions of dollars for equipment repair, replacement, and recapitalization, collectively known as equipment reset. Because of the potential for equipment reset costs to affect the Department of Defense's (DOD) future budget requirements and related readiness concerns, GAO initiated this review under the Comptroller General's authority. GAO's objectives were to determine the extent to which the Army and Marine Corps (1) track and report equipment reset expenditures in a way that confirms that funds appropriated for reset are expended for that purpose and (2) can be assured that their reset strategies will sustain equipment availability while meeting ongoing operational requirements. GAO reviewed equipment reset policies and analyzed related budget data.Although the Army and Marine Corps track and report equipment reset expenditures in the operation and maintenance accounts in detail, they do not report detailed equipment reset expenditures within the procurement accounts in a way that confirms that funds appropriated for reset are expended for that purpose because the DOD Financial Management Regulation does not require them to specifically report procurement expenditures for reset in detail. As directed by the Conference Report accompanying DOD's appropriations act for 2007, the Army and Marine Corps report detailed reset obligations and expenditures in their operation and maintenance accounts. While the Army and Marine Corps track reset expenditures and obligations in detail within the procurement accounts, they do not report those expenditures at the same level of detail as with the operation and maintenance accounts because they are not legally required do so. Neither the Army's nor the Marine Corps' monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports identify the types of equipment at the subactivity group level, such as aircraft or vehicles. Until the Army and Marine Corps are required to report the obligation and expenditure of funds appropriated for reset in the procurement accounts at a more detailed level, Congress will not have the visibility it needs to exercise effective oversight and to determine if the amount of funding appropriated for equipment reset has been most appropriately used for the purposes intended. The Army and Marine Corps cannot be assured that their reset strategies will sustain equipment availability for deployed units as well as units preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan while meeting ongoing operational requirements because neither the Army's nor the Marine Corps' reset implementation strategies target shortages of equipment on hand and prioritize equipment needs of units preparing for deployment over longer-term modernization goals. While the Army's Force Generation implementation strategy and reset implementation guidance state that the goal of reset is to prepare units for deployment and to improve next-to-deploy units' equipment-on-hand levels, the Army's reset strategy is based on resetting equipment that it expects will be returning to the United States in a given fiscal year and not on targeting shortages of equipment for units preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, the Marine Corps' reset goal is to ensure that the Corps is equipped to perform both ongoing operations and future missions; however, over 80 percent of its reset budget is for procurement of equipment that will not be available for many months. Units can continue to report significant shortages during their training cycles that affect their ability to train. Thus, the services may be sacrificing short-term equipment needs for longer-term modernization goals. Until the services' reset strategies target shortages of equipment needed to equip units preparing for deployment and give priority to those units over longer-term needs, the Army and Marine Corps will be unable to minimize operational risk by ensuring the needs of deploying units can be met.
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    Seven members of a Los Angeles-based fraud ring were sentenced for a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $20 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 relief funds.
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