January 25, 2022

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Texas man admits to smuggling $1.1 Million of crystal meth

14 min read
A 20-year-old Dallas resident has entered a guilty plea to illegally importing approximately 25.16 kilograms of meth

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov December 1, 2021
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  • Former Owner of Michigan Home Health Care Business Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Michigan man was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison today for filing a false tax return.
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  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team
    In Crime News
    Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced today the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.
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    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment today charging a member of the U.S. Foreign Service with engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and possession of child pornography.
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    In Human Health, Resources and Services
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  • VA Research: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Partnerships and Guide Decision-Making with Nonprofits and Academic Affiliates
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) extramural research spending totaled about $510 million in fiscal year 2019—nearly half of the $1.1 billion in total spending on VA research. Of the $510 million, federal sources, such as National Institutes of Health, funded $382 million (75 percent), and nonfederal sources, including private entities, academic institutions, state and local governments, and foundations, funded $128 million (25 percent). Spending at the 92 VA medical centers that conducted extramural research in fiscal year 2019 ranged from less than $2 million to more than $10 million (see figure). VA medical centers' nonprofit research and education corporations (NPC) and academic affiliate partners administered the grants that accounted for 91 percent of the spending. Figure: Extramural Research Spending by VA Medical Centers that Conducted Extramural Research in Fiscal Year 2019 VA has made efforts to promote and support VA medical centers' partnerships with academic affiliates—for example, by coordinating a mentoring program for local VA research officials—and considers effective affiliations as an enhancement to research. However, VA's Central Office officials have not provided examples of successful practices for strengthening research partnerships with academic affiliates. Having such practices would promote collaborative opportunities for VA medical centers with academic affiliates, particularly for medical centers that have poor communication with affiliates. Additionally, VA's Central Office has provided general guidance but not specific tools to VA medical centers for determining when an NPC or an academic affiliate should administer a project's extramural funds. Having specific decision-making tools could help medical centers make more informed decisions to provide optimal support for the research. VA research, which has contributed to many medical advances, may be funded by VA's appropriation or extramurally by other federal agencies and nonfederal sources. To access extramural funding, investigators at VA medical centers usually work with an NPC or academic affiliate partner to submit a grant proposal. Once a grant is awarded, medical centers' partners administer the grant by distributing funding, fulfilling reporting requirements, and performing other administrative activities. GAO was asked to review VA's extramural research. This report examines, among other objectives, (1) how much VA spent on extramural research in fiscal year 2019 and (2) the efforts VA has made to support medical centers' partnerships for extramural research. GAO analyzed VA policies, documents, and data. It also conducted site visits and interviewed officials from VA's Central Office and from a nongeneralizable sample of VA medical centers, NPCs, and academic affiliates, which GAO selected to represent variation in geographic location and funding. GAO recommends that VA (1) provide more information to VA medical centers on strengthening research relationships with academic affiliates and (2) develop decision tools to help VA medical centers determine whether NPCs or academic affiliates should administer extramural grants. VA agreed with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact John Neumann at (202) 512-6888 or neumannj@gao.gov.
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  • Areas with High Poverty: Changing How the 10-20-30 Funding Formula Is Applied Could Increase Impact in Persistent-Poverty Counties
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Some federal agencies have been statutorily required to use the “10-20-30 formula” when allocating funding for certain programs. That is, agencies must allocate at least 10 percent of designated funds to counties with poverty rates of at least 20 percent over the last 30 years (persistent-poverty counties). However, GAO found the formula has not always increased the proportion of funding awarded to those counties. The Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund both awarded at least 10 percent of designated funds to persistent-poverty counties in fiscal years 2017–2020, but generally had done so before 2017. Most of their programs subject to the formula already were required to target funds to economically distressed areas. The Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development awarded less than 10 percent of designated funds to persistent-poverty counties in at least one fiscal year for six out of 10 appropriations accounts. Rural Development set aside 10 percent of designated funds for use in those counties, which officials said met the statutory requirement to allocate these funds. Officials said some programs had not received a sufficient number of applications from these counties to meet the threshold because the programs are not well-suited to areas with severe poverty. For example, it may not be financially prudent for local governments in persistent-poverty counties to participate in a loan program to finance community facilities if the governments cannot service the debt. The purpose of the 10-20-30 formula—to increase the proportion of funding awarded to persistent-poverty counties—could be better achieved by focusing its application on programs that do not already target such areas and which can provide meaningful assistance to economically distressed communities. The three agencies GAO reviewed used different datasets and methodologies to identify persistent-poverty counties for the 10-20-30 formula. Appropriations laws for 2017–2020 required the agencies to use data from different years and sources, some outdated, to identify the counties. EDA also used a methodology that identified more than 100 additional persistent-poverty counties, than the other two agencies. Requiring each agency to identify persistent-poverty counties in this way is inefficient, and the inconsistency limits the ability to compare targeted funding across agencies. Using a uniform list of persistent-poverty counties, updated each year, would reduce administrative costs and facilitate assessments of the formula's impact across agencies. Such a measure also could help ensure more consistent investment in areas with current poverty rates of at least 20 percent. USDA's Economic Research Service has the technical capabilities to produce such a list and officials said that doing so each year would not be resource intensive because the agency already publishes other related work using the same data. Why GAO Did This Study Since 2009, the 10-20-30 formula has been applied to appropriations for certain federal programs and accounts. This includes programs and accounts administered by USDA's Rural Development, Treasury's CDFI Fund, and Commerce's EDA that averaged more than $10 billion in each fiscal year from 2017 to 2020. GAO was asked to review certain issues related to the 10-20-30 formula. This report examines (1) the proportion of funds subject to the 10-20-30 formula that these agencies awarded in persistent-poverty counties in 2017–2020 and the effects on funding levels to these areas, and (2) how agencies identify persistent-poverty counties. GAO analyzed agency budget and administrative data for fiscal years 2017—2020. GAO also reviewed documentation, such as program descriptions and funding notices, and interviewed agency officials.
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  • Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    A New York man was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, aka ISIS.
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  • Federal Court Permanently Shuts Down Two Miami-Area Tax Return Preparers
    In Crime News
    A federal court in the Southern District of Florida has permanently enjoined two Miami-area tax return preparers from preparing federal income tax returns for others.
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  • U.S. Manager of Money Laundering Ring in a Nigerian Romance Scam Sentenced
    In Crime News
    An Oklahoma man was sentenced today in the Northern District of Oklahoma to four years in prison for managing a group of money launderers in an online Nigerian romance scam that defrauded multiple victims, including elderly individuals across the United States, and caused losses of at least $2.5 million. 
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  • Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on Mexico’s Proposed Legislation
    In Crime News
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  • Combating Illegal Fishing: Clear Authority Could Enhance U.S. Efforts to Partner with Other Nations at Sea
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. works with other nations through multilateral agreements to collectively manage high seas fisheries. For example, the U.S. is a member of nine regional fisheries management organizations (RFMO), which are treaty-based organizations of nations with an interest in managing and conserving fisheries in specific regions of the sea. These organizations establish rules for vessels fishing in the RFMO agreement area, such as limits on the numbers and types of fish that can be caught. In addition, the U.S. establishes bilateral agreements and conducts at-sea operations focused on strengthening other nations' capacity to manage their own fisheries and fleets. For example, the Department of Defense (DOD) leads a program aimed at building African partner nations' capability to enhance maritime security and enforce their maritime laws. However, DOD officials told us that, as a result of changes to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the department no longer has clear authority to conduct the operational phase of this program—known as Operation Junction Rain. By determining whether it has the authority to conduct this operation, and, if not, seeking such authority, DOD could continue efforts to support African partner nations' capability to enforce fisheries laws and regulations, which in turn helps them work to counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Coast Guard Officials Preparing to Board and Inspect a Fishing Vessel The U.S. collects and analyzes information from various sources to identify potential IUU fishing at sea outside of U.S. waters. For example, Coast Guard analyzes vessel location data to identify movements that may signal potential IUU fishing, and officials told us they use this data analysis to help to guide at-sea patrol operations to target these vessels. Several interagency groups and processes help coordinate federal efforts to combat IUU fishing at sea. For example, an interagency working group, established by the Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement Act in 2019, coordinates U.S. efforts to address IUU fishing government-wide. We found that the working group generally followed selected leading collaboration practices, such as developing a written work plan. The working group's tasks include assessing areas for increased agency information-sharing on IUU fishing-related matters, identifying priority regions and nations, and developing a 5-year strategic plan to combat IUU fishing and enhance maritime security. Why GAO Did This Study IUU fishing undermines the economic and environmental sustainability of the fishing industry in the U.S. and globally. IUU fishing encompasses many illicit activities, including under-reporting the number of fish caught and using prohibited fishing gear. While the illicit nature of IUU fishing means its consequences can only be estimated, a recent study estimates catches from IUU fishing could cause global economic losses up to $50 billion annually. A variety of federal agencies coordinate with one another, as well as internationally, to address IUU fishing at sea. GAO was asked to review federal efforts to combat IUU fishing outside of U.S. waters. This report examines how the U.S. (1) works with other nations to address IUU fishing at sea, (2) identifies potential incidents of IUU fishing at sea, and (3) coordinates its interagency efforts to combat IUU fishing at sea and the extent to which selected efforts are consistent with leading collaboration practices. GAO reviewed various international agreements and the mechanisms that support these efforts, as well as other relevant agency documents. We also spoke with officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, and DOD, among others, about their approaches to identifying and combating IUU fishing at sea.
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  • Federal Budget: A Few Agencies and Program-Specific Factors Explain Most Unused Funds
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found About 1.6 percent of the total available budget authority government-wide was cancelled from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2019, averaging $23.9 billion per year. The variations in cancelled appropriations from year to year can be explained largely by trends in four departments. Together they represent 86 percent of the total government-wide cancelled appropriations, but their rate of cancellations were within a few percentage points of the government-wide rate. Four Agencies Represent the Majority of Total Cancellations from FY2009–FY2019 Cancelled appropriations for the six case study accounts GAO reviewed largely resulted from program-specific factors: Actual program needs were less than estimated. For example, actual versus projected troop levels and warfront movements can contribute to cancelled appropriations at the Department of Defense (DOD). Some program funds are only for specific purposes. For example, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families officials reported that some states declined funding for a teen sex and pregnancy prevention program, and the agency did not have the authority to redirect those funds for other purposes. Some programs' costs are more unpredictable than others. Contract and acquisition costs can be unpredictable . When final costs are less than originally estimated, agencies may have to cancel the difference. In contrast, agencies with a higher proportion of personnel expenses, which are relatively predictable, can more easily avoid cancelled appropriations. All of GAO's case study agencies have procedures in place to help limit discretionary cancelled appropriations. For example, the Army established a program that helps reduce cancelled appropriations by providing management with metrics and tools to help prevent them. Why GAO Did This Study Laws limit the time that agencies have available to use fixed-term appropriations for obligations and expenditures. However, agencies do not always obligate and outlay these funds in time, which ultimately results in cancelled appropriations. Efforts to limit the amount of cancelled appropriations result in more accurate budget estimation and fiscal projections, a more efficient appropriations process, and better service to the public. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 includes a provision for GAO to review the status of cancelled appropriations. This report addresses (1) the extent of appropriations that were cancelled in fiscal years 2009 through 2019 and how the rate of cancelled appropriations and other characteristics differ across agencies, (2) factors that contribute to the level of cancelled appropriations in selected accounts at agencies, and (3) efforts selected agencies make to prevent the cancellation of funds. To provide government-wide trends, GAO analyzed Department of the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget data. GAO also analyzed related documents from six case study accounts at DOD, HHS, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and interviewed officials at these agencies. The selected accounts included the three with the most cancelled appropriations government-wide and three additional accounts to represent the major categories of federal spending: personnel, acquisitions, grants, and contracts. For more information, contact Jeff Arkin at (202) 512-6806 or arkinj@gao.gov.
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