December 4, 2021

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Tennessee Man Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violations for Series of Church Arsons

15 min read
<div>A Tennessee man pleaded guilty today to civil rights violations for a series of church arsons.</div>
A Tennessee man pleaded guilty today to civil rights violations for a series of church arsons.

More from: October 20, 2021

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  • [Protest of Contract Award]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested the award of a contract by a firm which the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hired to operate a computer complex. The protester contended that: (1) it should not have been excluded from the competitive range; (2) the acceptance of the awardee's proposal effected a material change in the solicitation; and (3) neither NASA nor its contractor obtained a Delegation of Procurement Authority from the General Services Administration prior to issuing the request for proposals and contracting with the awardee. The contractor stated that the protester's proposal was unacceptable because it lacked technical information, was deficient, and could not be evaluated. The protester stated that it should have been included in the competitive range because its proposal took no exceptions to the technical requirements. In addition, it contended that it should not have been excluded for informational deficiencies because the solicitation cautioned offerers against submitting elaborate proposals. GAO found that the contractor's decision to exclude the protester from the competitive range was reasonable. Although the solicitation cautioned against overly elaborate proposals, this did not excuse offerers from discussing their proposals in detail. GAO found that Federal regulations required neither NASA nor its contractor to obtain a Delegation of Procurement Authority. Finally, GAO did not find it necessary to resolve the question of the awardee's cost proposal because, even if the allegation were correct, the protester would not have been entitled to an amendment dealing with cost proposals since it was excluded from the competitive range on the basis of its technical proposal. Accordingly, the protest was denied.
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  • Unaccompanied Children: Actions Needed to Improve Grant Application Reviews and Oversight of Care Facilities
    In U.S GAO News
    The Office of Refugee Resettlement's (ORR) grant announcements soliciting care providers for unaccompanied children—those without lawful immigration status and without a parent or guardian in the U.S. available to provide care and physical custody for them—lack clarity about what state licensing information is required. Further, ORR does not systematically confirm the information submitted by applicants or document a review of their past performance on ORR grants, when applicable, according to GAO's analysis of ORR documents and interviews with ORR officials. The grant announcements do not specify how applicants without a state license should show license eligibility—a criterion for receiving an ORR grant—or specify what past licensing allegations and concerns they must report. In addition, the extent to which ORR staff verify applicants' licensing information is unclear. In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, ORR awarded grants to approximately 14 facilities that were unable to serve children for 12 or more months because they remained unlicensed. In addition, ORR did not provide any documentation that staff conducted a review of past performance for the nearly 70 percent of applicants that previously held ORR grants. Without addressing these issues, ORR risks awarding grants to organizations that cannot obtain a state license or that have a history of poor performance. State licensing agencies regularly monitor ORR-funded facilities, but according to GAO's survey of these agencies, their information sharing with ORR is limited (see figure). State licensing agencies and ORR staff both said that improved information sharing would benefit their monitoring of facilities. Without such improvements, ORR may lack information about ongoing issues at its facilities. Key Survey Responses on Information-Sharing with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) by the 23 State Agencies That Licensed ORR-Funded Facilities in Fall 2019 ORR requires grantees to take corrective action to address noncompliance it identifies through monitoring, but ORR has not met some of its monitoring goals or notified grantees of the need for corrective actions in a timely manner. For example, under ORR regulations, each facility is to be audited for compliance with standards to prevent and respond to sexual abuse and harassment of children by February 22, 2019, but by April 2020, only 67 of 133 facilities had been audited. In fiscal years 2018 and 2019, ORR also did not meet its policy goals to visit each facility at least every 2 years, or to submit a report to facilities on any corrective actions identified within 30 days of a visit. Without further action, ORR will continue to not meet its own monitoring goals, which are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children in its care. ORR is responsible for the care and placement of unaccompanied children in its custody, which it provides through grants to state-licensed care provider facilities. ORR was appropriated $1.3 billion for this program in fiscal year 2020. GAO was asked to review ORR's grant making process and oversight of its grantees. This report examines (1) how ORR considers state licensing issues and past performance in its review of grant applications; (2) state licensing agencies' oversight of ORR grantees, and how ORR and states share information; and (3) how ORR addresses grantee noncompliance. GAO reviewed ORR grant announcements and applications for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. GAO conducted a survey of 29 state licensing agencies in states with ORR facilities, and reviewed ORR monitoring documentation and corrective action reports. GAO also reviewed ORR guidance and policies, as well as relevant federal laws and regulations, and interviewed ORR officials. GAO is making eight recommendations to ORR on improving clarity in its grant announcements, communication with state licensing agencies, and monitoring of its grantees. ORR agreed with all eight recommendations. For more information, contact Kathryn A. Larin at (202) 512-7215 or larink@gao.gov.
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  • Louisiana Doctor Indicted for Illegally Dispensing Over One Million Doses of Opioids and for $5.1 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in New Orleans, Louisiana, returned an indictment today charging a Louisiana physician for his role in distributing over 1,200,000 doses of Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone and morphine, outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, and for maintaining his clinic for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances. Today’s indictment also charges the physician with defrauding health care benefit programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, of more than $5,100,000, given that the opioid prescriptions were filled using health insurance benefits.
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  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Delivers Remarks at Major Cities Chiefs Association 2021 Annual Meeting
    In Crime News
    Thank you, Laura, for that introduction, and good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today.
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  • Military Equipment: Observations on the Transfer of Excess Humvees to Foreign Governments
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Excess High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV)—commonly pronounced Humvees—are among thousands of items that the Department of Defense (DOD) can transfer to foreign governments at their request through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Twenty-three countries, primarily from the Middle East and Africa, requested 16,005 Humvees for the 7-year period GAO reviewed. DOD approves such requests if it determines: excess U.S. inventory is available at the time of the request, the request aligns with U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as using the vehicles to help combat terrorism, and the U.S. industrial base will not be adversely affected by the transfer. For example, DOD approved a country's request for excess Humvees for border security, counter-smuggling, and counter-terrorism efforts. DOD approved nearly half of the total Humvees requested for fiscal years 2012 through 2018 (see figure). However, DOD has halted further approvals since the start of fiscal year 2017 due to concerns expressed by the Humvee manufacturer and language in the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (2018 NDAA) and conference report that generally says Humvees must be modernized at no cost to DOD. Humvees Approved as Grants through the Foreign Assistance Act, Compared to Total Requested (by fiscal year transfer was requested) Note: The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act generally requires Humvees be modernized prior to transfer. GAO found that DOD considered the Humvee manufacturer's perspectives on proposed transfers and generally took steps to mitigate concerns about transfers that could siphon potential business from the manufacturer or compete with its sales efforts. Further, GAO found that generally, when the manufacturer objected to a transfer, the manufacturer withdrew its objection after receiving business opportunities to repair or upgrade vehicles for DOD or a requesting government's fleet. DOD officials also noted that most of the countries requesting Humvees through the EDA program find it cost-prohibitive to purchase new Humvees directly from the manufacturer. As a result, these countries rely on EDA Humvees to sustain their military fleets. Why GAO Did This Study DOD can declare defense equipment as excess to U.S. military needs and make it available for transfer as a grant or sale to foreign governments. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorizes these transfers as grants provided that they do not adversely affect the U.S. national technology and industrial base, among other things. In this regard, transfers pursuant to the Act must not limit U.S. companies' ability to sell new or used defense equipment to countries requesting the transfer. The 2018 NDAA generally requires that Humvee transfers be modernized with a new powertrain and armor prior to being transferred. The Act also generally requires GAO to report on proposed and completed Humvee transfers and the process to determine if transfers will adversely affect the industrial base. This report provides information on (1) excess Humvees requested and approved during fiscal years 2012 through 2018 and (2) how the Humvee manufacturer's perspectives on the proposed transfers have been addressed by DOD as part of the determination of any adverse industrial base effects. GAO analyzed the latest DOD data on EDA Humvee transfers from fiscal years 2012 through 2018; reviewed DOD policies, guidance, and documents to gain insight into the process for determining industrial base effects of proposed transfers; and interviewed agency officials and Humvee manufacturer representatives. For more information, contact Marie A. Mak at (202) 512-4841 or makm@gao.gov.
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  • OPCW Condemns Syria’s Repeated Use of Chemical Weapons
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Member of White Supremacist Prison Gang Guilty of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering
    In Crime News
    A Texas man pleaded guilty today to violent gang-related activities in the Eastern District of Texas.
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  • Sutter Health and Affiliates to Pay $90 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations of Mischarging the Medicare Advantage Program
    In Crime News
    Sutter Health, a California-based health care services provider, and several affiliated entities including Sutter Bay Medical Foundation (dba Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation, and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation) and Sutter Valley Medical Foundation (dba Sutter Gould Medical Foundation and Sutter Medical Foundation) (collectively, “Sutter Health”), have agreed to pay $90 million to resolve allegations that Sutter Health violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting inaccurate information about the health status of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans.
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  • [Request for Reconsideration of Protest of NASA Contract Award]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm requested reconsideration of a dismissed protest of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contract award for custodial, roads, and grounds maintenance services. GAO had held that the original protest was untimely. In its request for reconsideration, the protester contended that alleged NASA improprieties and procurement violations that took place during the initial protest warrant reconsideration of the protest. GAO held that the: (1) request for reconsideration was untimely; and (2) protester failed to show any legal errors or improprieties which would warrant reconsideration or reversal of the original decision. Accordingly, the original dismissal was affirmed.
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  • Department of Justice Statement on Solarwinds Update
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice Spokesman Marc Raimondi issued the following statement:
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  • Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Louisiana Tax Return Preparers
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint seeking to bar Louisiana tax return preparers from owning or operating a tax return preparation business and preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil complaint against Leroi Gorman Jackson and Mario Alexander, both individually and doing business as The Taxman Financial Services LLC, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
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  • NASA Observes Earth Day With Downloadable Art
    In Space
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  • Defense attorney convicted
    In Justice News
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  • Joint Press Statement on the 11th U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Kenya Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2021
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Presented is GAO's Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2021. In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, this annual report informs the Congress and the American people about what we have achieved on their behalf. The financial information and the data measuring GAO's performance contained in this report are complete and reliable. This report describes GAO's performance measures, results, and accountability processes for fiscal year 2021. In assessing our performance, we compared actual results against targets and goals that were set in our annual performance plan and performance budget and were developed to help carry out our strategic plan. An overview of our annual measures and targets for 2021 is available here, along with links to a complete set of our strategic planning and performance and accountability reports. This report includes A Fiscal Year 2021 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer, an introduction, four parts, and supplementary appendixes as follows: A Fiscal Year 2021 Performance and Financial Snapshot for the American Taxpayer This section provides an overview of GAO's performance and financial information for fiscal year 2021 and outlines GAO's near-term and future work priorities. Introduction This section includes the letter from the Comptroller General and a statement attesting to the completeness and reliability of the performance and financial data in this report and the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This section also includes a summary discussion of our mission, strategic planning process, and organizational structure, strategies we use to achieve our goals, and process for assessing our performance. Management's Discussion and Analysis This section discusses our agency-wide performance results and use of resources in fiscal year 2021. It also includes, among other things, information on our internal controls and the management challenges and external factors that affect our performance. Performance Information This section includes details on our performance results by strategic goal in fiscal year 2021 and the targets we are aiming for in fiscal year 2022. Financial Information This section includes details on our finances in fiscal year 2021, including a letter from our Chief Financial Officer, audited financial statements and notes, and the reports from our external auditor and Audit Advisory Committee. This section also includes an explanation of the information each of our financial statements conveys. Inspector General's View of GAO's Management Challenges This section includes our Inspector General's perspective on our agency's management challenges. Appendixes This section provides the report's abbreviations and describes how we ensure the completeness and reliability of the data for each of our performance measures. For more information, contact Timothy Bowling (202) 512-6100 or bowlingt@gao.gov.
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  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Icelandic Foreign Minister Thordarson
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Jury convicts man for smuggling 105 in trailer
    In Justice News
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  • Deputy Attorney General Convenes Inaugural Meeting of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force
    In Crime News
    Yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco convened the first meeting of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Launched earlier this month, the Task Force is marshalling the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across the federal government to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.
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  • Briefing With Senior U.S. Government Officials On Operation Allies Welcome Relocation Assistance Efforts for Non-SIV Holders
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]

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