SEC charges radio hostess for Ponzi scheme
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Dawn Bennett, a financial advisor and host of a radio program, of defrauding investors by promising them a 15% annual return on their funds which she used to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors and to enrich herself. Bennett raised more than $20 million by selling notes issued by her company, DJB Holdings LLC, a luxury sports apparel firm in Washington, D.C. According to its website, the Financial Myth Busting With Dawn Bennett radio program featured interviews with guests such as magazine publishers Steve Forbes and Mortimer Zuckerman, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). The SEC said Bennett used invested funds for homes in Chevy Chase, Md., and Santa Fe, N.M., and a $500,000 fee for a luxury suite at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
EPA administrator is EPA probe target
The Inspector General’s Office of the Environmental Protection Agency announced an investigation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel habits, American Oversight said. A month ago, AO called for an investigation after a Freedom of Information Act request yielded documents that showed Pruitt spent 43 out of his first 93 days in office either in Oklahoma or traveling to or from Oklahoma. “While Pruitt has every right to return to Oklahoma, he can’t expect American taxpayers to foot the bill for politically motivated or personal travel,” AO senior advisor Melanie Sloan said.
DREAMers make solid progress at school and work
A survey sponsored by several pro-immigration organizations, led by the Democrat-aligned Center for American Progress, claims that children of illegal aliens who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are making substantial educational and economic gains despite the program’s uncertain future. CAP said DACA enrollees are advancing in the economy by gaining higher wage jobs, buying cars and houses, and starting businesses.
Consumer groups ask court to brake overdraft fees
Several pro-consumer advocacy groups led by the Center for Responsible Lending filed a friend-of-the-court brief that asks a federal appeals court to find unlawful a bank’s practice of charging overdraft penalties when consumers have enough funds in their debit credit card accounts to cover a transaction at the time it is made. CRL, joined by the National Consumer Law Center, said a $35 penalty charged by Capital One Financial Corp. is based on a misleading interpretation of “available balance.”
Marshals seize vials of stem cell vaccine
The U.S. Marshals Service seized five vials of an unproven vaccine from StemImmune Inc., of San Diego, Calif., and its affiliated California Stem Cell Treatment Centers in Rancho Mirage and Beverly Hills, Calif., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. FDA said the vaccine’s use is restricted for people at high risk for smallpox, particularly members of the military. Because it is not commercially available in the U.S., the FDA said it has “serious concerns” about how the vaccine was obtained by SemImmune.
IRS alerts taxpayers to new scam
Calling it “a new twist on an old scheme,” Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen warned taxpayers of a phony email scheme that uses IRS and FBI emblems to create a false authenticity. The email asks recipients to click on a “here” button to display a fake FBI questionnaire, but instead opens the taxpayer’s computer to install a ransomware program that prevents users from accessing their data until they pay a ransom to the scammers. Koskinen reminded that the IRS doesn’t use email or telephone calls to initiate inquiries with taxpayers.
FTA announces funds for Maryland “purple” line
The Federal Transit Administration announced its agreement to provide $900 million for the Maryland Purple Line light rail project that will enable commuters to travel between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in suburban Washington, D.C. The 16.2-mile railway will have 21 stations and provide direct access to Washington Metro (WMATA) stations, all three Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train stations, and Amtrak’s New Carrolton station.
FBI nabs “most wanted” fugitive
Luis Macedo was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities in Guadalajara, Mexico, just 15 months after he was added to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list. Macedo became a fugitive in 2010 after he was charged with murdering a rival gang member and he fled the country to avoid prosecution. Macedo, who was living in Oak Lawn, a south Chicago suburb at the time, was added to the “most wanted” list in May 2016.
77 million fill U.S. classrooms
Approximately 77.2 million people were enrolled in America’s public and private schools in 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau said, representing a 9.9% increase in classroom population since 1996. Elementary and secondary school enrollment remained fairly constant through the last decade, the Census Bureau said.
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 Monday, August 28