Age creep: U.S. population keeps getting older
The nation’s median age—the age where half of the population is younger and the other half is older—rose from 35.3 years in 2000 to 37.9 years last July, the U.S. Census Bureau said. Also, the population of Americans who are 65 years or older grew from 35.0 million in 2000 to 49.2 million last year, and they accounted for 12.4% and 15.2% of the total population, respectively. Among the states, Maine had the highest median age of 44.6 years and Utah had the lowest median age of 30.8 years. Sumter County, Fla., which is home to The Villages, the nation’s largest retirement community, unsurprisingly had at 67.1 years the highest median age of any county.
Retail “shrink” grew last year
The National Retail Federation estimated that retailers lost $48.9 billion worth of inventoried goods last year, an increase from the previous year’s $45.2 billion estimate. The thefts amounted to 1.44% of sales, up from last year’s 1.38%, the NRF said. Shoplifting and organized retail crime accounted for 36.5% of the “shrink,” while employee theft was 30%, administrative paperwork error was 21.3% and vendor fraud or error was 5.4%.
Marijuana: No impact on traffic deaths
Against a backdrop of decreasing highway fatalities, road deaths in two states—Colorado and Washington—did not change after recreational marijuana was legalized, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said. NORML reported a University of Texas-Austin study that evaluated crash fatalities in the two states, and found no significant change in the years preceding and following marijuana legalization. Fatal crashes have fallen from 37,500 in 1996 to 30,000 in 2014, coinciding with the legalization of medical marijuana in a majority of the states, NORML said.
Appeals court dismisses marriage law dispute
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a preliminary injunction that blocked implementation of Mississippi’s one man-one woman marriage statute and instead dismissed a pair of lawsuits brought by same-sex marriage advocates. The three-judge appeals court panel said the Campaign for Southern Equality and other plaintiffs who filed the lawsuits did not demonstrate how they were harmed by the state law; and, thus lacked standing to challenge its constitutionality. The appeals court said a future plaintiff may someday qualify for standing “but the federal courts must withhold judgment unless and until that plaintiff comes forward.”
MS-13 gangster draws 160 months for racketeering
Celvin Ramos-Meija, 21, of Columbia, Md., was given a 160-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to attempted murder in a Marastrucha-13 gang ritual. Ramos-Meija admitted that he conspired with other gang members to murder a rival gang member to qualify themselves for increasing their positions in MS-13, an international gang composed primarily of immigrants from El Salvador, the Department of Justice said.
FTC aims at outdated regulations
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on proposals to eliminate four obsolete regulations; namely, the FTC’s 1966 Picture Tube Rule, the 1959 Textile Rule, the 1979 Energy Labeling Rule, and the 2003 CAN-SPAM Rule on unsolicited commercial email. While claiming the exercise is intended to keep pace with marketplace changes, the actions may be part of an effort to meet President Trump’s order to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation.
Robocall scammer faces $120 million fine
The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $120 million fine against Adrian Abramovich, of Miami, Fla., who used automated calling devices to place 100 million telemarketing calls in violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act. According to the FCC, Abramovich’s robocalls transferred consumers to foreign call centers where operators attempted to sell timeshare properties.
Ex-CIA worker accused of selling secrets to China
Kevin Mallory, 60, was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Leesburg, Va., to face charges he sold Top Secret documents to China’s intelligence service. According to news media reports, Mallory was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency and had Top Secret security clearance until October 2012 when he left government service. A Department of Justice announcement identified him as a self-employed consultant with GlobalEx LLC, a defense contracting firm.
Chicagoan charged in reverse mortgage scheme
Mark Diamond, 60, a mortgage loan originator in Chicago and nearby Calumet City, was charged for engaging in home repair and loan fraud schemes that bilked elderly homeowners out of $7 million. The Department of Justice said Diamond caused lenders to make reverse mortgage loans to homeowners who did not sign for the loans, and lenders wrote loan checks directly to him so as not to tip off the homeowners.
Atlanta money launderers arrested by ICE
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged 11 persons who laundered more than $40 million in drug proceeds back to Mexico by breaking up large amounts of cash into smaller transactions, and using false names and addresses to disguise their electronic money transfers as remittances. Federal agents who conducted a three-year criminal investigation determined that owners and employees of money remitters in the Atlanta metropolitan area were knowingly helping send drug proceeds to Mexico in exchange for kickback payments.
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 Thursday, June 22