Court orders reprieve for Utah prairie dog
With the sidelines packed with animal rights organizations, farm and conservation groups and the attorneys general of nine western states, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulation that prohibits the killing of prairie dogs in Utah. Residents of Cedar City, Utah, banding together as People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners, protested the regulation’s application on non-federal land, but the Court held the Constitution’s “interstate commerce” clause applies to federal and non-federal land alike.
Ex-congressman indicted for theft
Former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Stockman, 60, of Clear Lake, Tex., was indicted on charges he stole $1.25 million from charitable organizations and used the money to finance his election campaigns and personal expenses, the Department of Justice said. After losing bids for election to the House in 1990 and 1992, Stockman won election and served a single term in the House (1995-96); and, he won another term in 2012.
State Department employee traded secrets for cash
Candace Claiborne, 60, of Washington, D.C., an employee of the U.S. Department of State, was indicted for concealing contacts over a period of years with Chinese intelligence agents. The Department of Justice said Claiborne had a Top Secret security clearance and had worked in embassies and consulates in Iraq, Sudan, and China. DOJ said Claiborne failed to report her contacts with two Chinese agents who gave her cash and gifts in exchange for classified information.
Aging mobster sentenced for murder plot
Charles Stango, 73, of Henderson, Nev., a member of the DeCavalcante Family of La Cosa Nostra, was given a 10-year sentence for using a telephone to plan the murder of a mob rival, the Department of Justice said. Stango admitted that he wanted to murder a rival who falsely claimed he was a “made” member of the New Jersey-based crime family. Stango also admitted he offered $50,000 to two assassins to carry out the murder, but the DOJ said the “assassins” were actually undercover FBI agents.
Unfair trade probe opens for Chinese aluminum foil
The Department of Commerce opened an investigation to determine if China is illegally subsidizing exports of aluminum foil into the U.S. market. A complaint from the Aluminum Association claimed that 230 Chinese manufacturers were dumping aluminum foil at prices ranging from 38.4% to 140.2% below fair value. A concurrent investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission will determine if the U.S. aluminum industry was harmed by the underpriced imports.
EPA withdraws proposed ban on dangerous pesticide
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt cancelled a proposed ban of a pesticide by denying a 2007 petition that languished without action throughout the Obama administration. In 2015, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said EPA’s failure to respond to a Natural Resources Defense Council petition for over eight years was “egregious.” Residential use of the pesticide, called chlorpyrifos and sold by Dow Chemical Co. under brand names such as Dursban and Lorsban, has been banned for residential use since 2001.
Nigerian scammer collected $12 million in bogus tax refunds
Kevin Williams (also known as Kunlay Sodipo), a citizen of Nigeria who re-entered the U.S. after his 1995 deportation, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of identity theft and collecting more than $12 million in refunds from fraudulently filed federal tax returns. He was also charged with falsely claiming U.S. citizenship to cast votes in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, the Department of Justice said.
Chicago investment advisor scammed elderly
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission obtained an emergency asset freeze and restraining order against Daniel Glick, a Chicago investment advisor, and his company, Financial Management Strategies, for scamming elderly investors out of millions of dollars. The SEC claimed clients were given false account statements that hid Glick’s use of their money to pay personal and business expenses, including the purchase of a Mercedes-Benz.
TARP was profitable enterprise for taxpayers
More than 700 banks shared $205 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that Congress hastily approved in 2008 to help the banking industry survive the nation’s worst economic collapse since the Depression. The Government Accountability Office reported to Congress that 696 out of 707 banks have repaid $199.6 billion of the $204.9 billion that was distributed, and that the Department of Treasury collected an additional $27.1 billion in dividends and interest, working out to a 7.56% return on investment for taxpayers.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, March 29