Two Corporate Executive Parents Found Guilty in First College Admissions Scandal Trial

Two corporate executive parents whose children attend prestigious universities were found guilty in federal court Friday for bribing university staff to rig the admissions process, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Gamal Abdelaziz, former chief operations officer of Wynn Resorts Development and John Wilson, a private-equity financier and former chief financial officer of Staples, who were tried together in federal court, each spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to falsify their childrens’ academic and athletic records to gain admission to the University of Southern California (USC), Stanford and Harvard as athletic recruits with the help of scandal ringleader and admissions consultant Rick Singer.

The two men were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery involving a school that receives federal funds, the WSJ reported. The jury also found Wilson guilty of aiding and abetting in fraud and bribery and filing a false tax return.

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Judge Stymies Feds’ Plan to Keep $85 Million in Raid Without Filing Criminal Charges

The feds faced another setback in their quest to keep $85 million in assets seized in a raid without charging hundreds of safe deposit box renters with a crime.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner issued a preliminary injunction July 16 in a lawsuit by several customers of Los Angeles-based U.S. Private Vaults (USPV), who alleged the FBI denied them due process by providing civil forfeiture notices that lacked “any legal basis” for seizing the contents of each box.

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Maryland Announces over 500,000 New Potentially Fraudulent Unemployment Claims Since May

Larry Hogan

Maryland officials say they suspect over 508,000 new, potentially fraudulent unemployment claims have been filed since May.

The announcement Monday followed the state saying it has verified over 1.3 million fraudulent claims since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common means of filing a fraudulent claim is identity theft, according to CNN.

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Michigan Senate Report Concludes Mailing of Unsolicited Ballot Applications Poses Risk of Fraud

Republican lawmakers in Michigan released a report Wednesday concluding there was no widespread fraud in the state’s November election, debunking many speculations, but they pointedly warned that the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballot applications creates “a clear vulnerability for fraud that may be undetected.”

“The serious, potential outcomes of these vulnerabilities versus the minor effort to request an application make a strong and compelling necessity to not provide such applications without a request from a voter – as was standard practice until this past year,” the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee concluded. “Therefore, the committee recommends the Michigan secretary of state discontinue the practice of mailing out unsolicited applications.”

The committee also recommended that the state strengthen voter ID requirements, not weaken them like Democrats in Congress have proposed, as the practice of absentee or not-in-person voting grows.

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Pension Bailout Agency Flagged for Contract Bribery, Fraud and Payments to Dead Americans

American flag with handcuffs and $100 bills

This week’s Golden Horseshoe award goes to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the nation’s pension bailout agency that is still reeling from revelations its chief of contracting engaged in a bribery scheme that steered $4.8 million in fraudulent business to a vendor in return for more than $1 million in personal benefits.

The bribery scheme involving the now convicted director of PBGC’s Procurement Department was possible because the agency suffered from several vulnerabilities, including reduced competition among vendors, missing legal reviews and sole-source contracts that evaded bidding designed to get taxpayers the best bargain, the PBGC’s inspector general reported.

“His actions were enabled by internal control weaknesses; specifically, inadequate oversight of PD procurements and a lack of a control mechanism to ensure that PD sent all requisite contract actions for legal review,” the inspector general reported. “Although PBGC began requiring that more contract actions receive legal review after the PD Director resigned in February 2020, it does not have a mechanism to ensure PD complies with this requirement.”

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Commentary: A Cautionary Tale of Unintended Consequences

For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.

The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.

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