Commentary: Fake Goods Fund Real Crime

Illicit trade has increased significantly over the last several years, fueled in part by the growth in internet sales and the COVID-19 pandemic. While this criminal activity is happening in communities throughout the United States, the money often flows to dangerous organizations based overseas. Combating this issue is complex, but today we see a growing willingness to combine forces to help fight this danger.

Two years ago, pandemic-related shortages in health care supplies created an ideal environment for counterfeiters and other criminals. Front line health care workers needed personal protective equipment and were too often getting swindled or receiving fraudulent products that could put them at risk. This even extended to medicines and pharmaceuticals.

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Arizona Man Sentenced to Probation for Scheme That Stole from Veterans

An Arizona man was sentenced to probation for his role in a scheme that stole from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Dennis Gene Godbolt, from Buckeye, will serve five years supervised probation and will be forced to pay $95,000 in restitution for his efforts, based on a ruling from Senior U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell.

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New Legislation Targets Organized Retail Crime in Minnesota

A new piece of legislation proposed in the Minnesota State Legislature seeks to deter organized retail crime throughout the state.

S.F. 3487, introduced by Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), would establish a legal statute for the crime and details various levels of penalties.

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China Made an Artificial Intelligence ‘Prosecutor’ That Can Charge People with Crimes

Chinese scientists reportedly developed an artificial intelligence (AI) program capable of filing criminal charges.

The AI “prosecutor” is given a verbal definition of a case and then decides whether to file charges, according to the South China Morning Post, citing researchers involved in developing the program. The prosecutor files charges with a 97% accuracy rate, and is intended to reduce prosecutors’ workload.

“The system can replace prosecutors in the decision-making process to a certain extent,” said Shi Yong, director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ big data and knowledge management laboratory that developed the program.

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Jury Selected in Tennessee State Senator’s Trial on Theft Charges

On Monday, a jury was selected in the trial of Tennessee State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) who was charged with stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds.

According to AP News, a 12-person jury was chosen for the trial which could last three weeks. The trial is taking place at the Odell Horton Federal Building in Downtown Memphis.

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Mother and Son Indicted for Theft of over $83,000 from Meigs County, Tennessee Church

Carolyn Mullins and her son William “Larry” Mullins are charged with theft of $83,710.82 from Peakland Baptist Church in Decatur, Tennessee, state Comptroller Jason Mumpower announced Tuesday. 

The church’s sanctuary area was consumed by fire on February 18th, 2019, according to the Comptroller’s Office. When insurance proceeds totaling $189,000 became available, members of the congregation—four altogether—decided to rebuild. Disbursement of the reconstruction funds was entrusted solely to Larry and Carolyn Mullins, then the treasurer and assistant treasurer of the church, respectively. They were the only authorized signers on the church’s bank accounts. 

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Ex-Parent Teacher Organization Head in Gibson County, Tennessee Indicted for Stealing Association Funds

Spring Hill School

Kacey Criswell, formerly the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) president and treasurer at Gibson County’s Spring Hill School, allegedly stole at least $17,586 from the organization from July 2015 and November 2019, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office stated Tuesday.

After officials of the elementary school reported that the PTO was missing funds, a county grand jury was empaneled and investigatory findings were presented to District 28 Attorney General Frederick Hardy Agee on July 12th supporting an indictment for theft of property over $10,000. 

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Cap Wealth Management CIO, Tim Pagliara Talks About His Book and Outlines the Two Upcoming Lawsuits Surrounding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Tim-Pagliara

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tim Pagliara of Cap Wealth Management in studio to talk about his new book and the dynamics of the 2008 financial crisis.

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MTSU Students Charged After Allegedly Stealing $114k from Student Groups

Two students at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) have been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from the school over a period of several years. 

“Mohamed Osman and Mohamed Gure were presidents of MTSU’s Somali Students Association, according to investigators,” WKRN said. “During their time in office, the Comptroller’s Office said they submitted at least 85 false invoices to MTSU, many of which were for non-existent vendors, to obtain reimbursements totaling $82,200 in student activity fee funds.”

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Michigan Investigates Alleged Shakedown By Unemployment Agency Workers Accused of Stealing Benefits

The State of Michigan is investigating whether new employees of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) are stealing funds from jobless residents, multiple media outlets report.

The workers are accused of stealing and charging clients to receive their benefits more quickly, WDIV reported. This is happening even as Michigan is among several states experiencing fraudulent claims being submitted, and they temporarily stopped payments.

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