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New Jersey Lawyer Issued Nearly $ 9 Million In PPP Loans, Purchased Home And Invested In Stock Market, DOJ Says | Zoom Fintech

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A New Jersey lawyer was indicted Tuesday on a number of counts of bank fraud for allegedly acquiring $ 9 million in loans from the Federal Paycheck Security Program (PPP).

Jae H. Choi from Bergen County submitted 4 fraudulent purposes for PPP loans to 4 lenders on behalf of 4 companies that were mentioned to offer university companies, in accordance with the documents filed and statements made in the court record. He allegedly lied about the existence of a whole bunch of on-demand employees, manipulated bank data and falsified a driver’s license, all while claiming that these companies paid more than $ 3 million in monthly wages.

On only one occasion, Choi falsely claimed in an email to a lender that he had informed 150 of his employees that they were at risk of losing their jobs due to the lack of PPP loans. He wrote that he had “watched adult women and men cry” and added that he “sincerely hopes[d]”That the employee of the lender” would not discover in any case [himself] in this kind of scenario.

Three of the four lenders provided Choi with PPP loans estimated at $ 3 million for three of the companies.

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Court documents also indicate that Choi invested the $ 9 million in federal funds provided to him in a $ 1 million residence in Cresskill, New Jersey; used approximately $ 30,000 for the redevelopment and improvement of the residence; and invested hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in the stock market using an account held in his partner’s name.

He has been charged with 4 counts of bank fraud, 4 counts of misrepresenting loan software, one for aggravated identity theft and one for money laundering, according to US lawyer Craig Carpenito and assistant by Common Lawyer Brian C. Rabbitt of the Legal Division of the Justice Division. The indictment calls for the confiscation of 11 bank accounts, one fundraising account and the million dollar residence.

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Passed in March, the CARES law was created to financially assist hundreds of thousands of people who have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Up to $ 349 billion in forgivable loans have been applied under the CARES Act, funding the bills of struggling small businesses through the PPP. In April, Congress authorized the addition of more than $ 300 billion to P3 funding.

Qualifying small businesses should use these loans for payroll, mortgage, rental, and utilities to ensure they are forgiven within a set time frame.

The case was investigated by the IRS-Legal Investigative Officer in particular Cost Michael Montanez; inspectors from the US Postal Inspection Service; the place of work of the Small Business Administration of the Joint Inspector; and the Social Security Administration – Place of work of the joint inspector.

An indictment date for Choi has yet to be set.

News week contacted the Justice Division for a remark, but did not get a response in time for the publication. It is not known whether or not Choi has a lawyer.

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Santa Ana Police Officer Charged With Workers’ Compensation Fraud – CBS Los Angeles

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SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Santa Ana police officer who was injured in a 2017 lawsuit has been charged with workers’ compensation fraud, charged with receiving disability benefits while in fairly good health to resume work.

Jonathon Ridge, 39, drove all the way to Utah, went to the beach and rode his motorcycle, while telling the department he couldn’t return to work due to a wrist injury, reports the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

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He was charged Wednesday with four counts of insurance fraud.

Ridge lied to his doctor and the agency about the condition of a wrist injury in order to receive 100% of his normal pay, even though his activity showed he was healthy enough to return to work, said said the prosecutor’s office.

The situation began on October 5, 2017, when Ridge was injured in a chase involving a stolen car. He immediately became disabled and about seven months later, in May 2018, underwent surgery on his left wrist. He was not allowed to return to work until November 2018.

However, due to the alleged stresses of his injury, he was forced to return to disability immediately, prosecutors said.

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“The work restrictions were too severe for the city of Santa Ana to adapt, although the city of Santa Ana has an extensive return to work program for injured employees,” the prosecutor’s office wrote in a statement. Press.

The city began to monitor it between March and May 2019.

The city then launched an investigation which found Ridge began attending full-time college courses in June 2018, just weeks after undergoing his surgery. Investigators also learned that during that time he traveled to Utah, went to the beach and rode his motorcycle, prosecutors said.

“Worker’s compensation fraud costs honest, hard-working businesses and government entities over $ 30 billion a year,” OC DA Todd Spitzer wrote in a statement. “We cannot allow those who commit workers’ compensation fraud to go unpunished, as the financial cost to government and private companies makes the cost of doing business increasingly difficult. “

It is not known if Ridge was fired from the department, or exactly when he stopped receiving his disability award.

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He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison if convicted of the charges.


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Opinion: Vaccines alone are not enough to beat COVID-19

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Vaccines are a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19, so it’s great news that the UK, on ​​Tuesday December 8, became the first country to start mass inoculations using a new vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

This vaccine and another developed by Moderna Inc. are expected to be approved in the United States soon, and a handful of additional vaccines are on the way. But even though they are as effective in the real world as they appear in clinical trials, they cannot change the course of the pandemic overnight and may not be able to completely stop the spread of the disease. virus. We need reinforcements.

It will take months for COVID-19 vaccines to reach a large enough percentage of the population to create ‘herd immunity’ – and that is assuming they gain public trust and the vaccination effort goes smoothly. . Manufacturing sufficient doses may not be as easy as the agreements with various countries suggest. There are also questions about the duration of immunity to COVID-19. And vaccines can fail in frail or elderly people, especially those with pre-existing illnesses. Worse yet, the virus can mutate around our vaccines and start re-infecting people. This is one of the reasons public health officials have called for continued social distancing and masks even after the vaccination effort is in full force.

While vaccines aren’t a silver bullet and won’t be widely available early on, even as the number of cases continues to rise, this makes COVID-19 treatments – drugs that reduce hospitalizations and deaths, and even help in warding off the virus – just as important in fighting the pandemic. The easier they are to take, the better. The good news is that there are several promising therapies in use and more in development. But the biggest game changers are still months away. Here is where it stands.

To date, companies and clinicians have been somewhat successful in their quest for therapies. For example, remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc., baricitinib from Eli Lilly & Co., and the generic steroid dexamethasone have been shown to reduce hospital stays and improve recovery rates. Dexamethasone also appears to reduce the risk of death. Another new group of therapies called monoclonal antibodies, which mimic the body’s response to infection, have worked relatively well in reducing hospital admissions in high-risk patients. Two of these treatments, one from Lilly and the other from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., have been approved for use so far, although, as my colleague Max Nisen wrote, Lilly’s therapy and the best how to use it raise questions. In addition, both new drugs require intravenous infusions under medical supervision and may only be effective for a few months, requiring repeated intravenous visits which could strain health systems.

Without taking anything away from the above achievements, all these drugs fall short of what is really necessary to fight the disease and prevent hospitalizations: either oral antivirals that target the virus’s ability to copy itself, or long-lasting antibodies. duration that can be used as viable. preventive measures in people who are unable to use or respond to vaccines. These treatments are coming, but they are only in the early stages of their development, so we have to wait. There is still some progress.

AstraZeneca Plc is working on a two-antibody infusion cocktail that can be effective for six months to a year and has been designed to reduce the risk of treatment making the disease worse. The first data is expected in the first half of 2021. There is also Vir Biotechnology Inc., which, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline Plc, is developing two antibodies with long-lasting potential. Vir also engineered one of the antibodies in a way that could leave an immune “memory” like a vaccine. The first antibody is in an advanced stage trial with data expected in the first trimester, while the second has yet to be tested.

What would really step up our efforts to fight the pandemic is a safe oral antiviral drug. Merck & Co. and Pfizer are in pursuit of this. These are drugs designed to interfere with the virus’s ability to reproduce, and they work in much the same way as the highly effective anti-HIV and anti-HCV drugs. But just like vaccines and antibodies, we need to watch the virus closely and assess any mutations that make drugs inactive. Therapies for HIV and HCV use drug cocktails for precisely this reason. Merck and its partner Ridgeback Therapeutics are expected to release data from a small Phase II trial of their drug, molnupiravir, before the end of the year, while larger Phase III trials will be released in 2021, starting with that of Merck in the first half of the year.

As we increase the huge machinery needed to immunize the world’s population against the coronavirus, we will continue to need treatment. As the arsenal of treatments has grown, I’m much more excited about what’s on the horizon.


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Prosecutors examine McDowell Rice Smith & Buchanan’s role in Scott Tucker case

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Federal prosecutors want access to communications between Scott Tucker and his attorneys at Kansas City law firm McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan in a 2010 lawsuit.

Photo file

U.S. lawyers suing Leawood payday loan businessman Scott Tucker want access to communications between Tucker and a major Kansas City law firm, cases that would be banned without the government’s claim which the firm aided Tucker in committing fraud.

Federal prosecutors in New York, where Tucker awaits trial on criminal charges relating to running an illegal payday loan business and racketeering, have asked a judge to order McDowell, Rice, Smith & the company. Buchanan to disclose her records related to a 2010 case that she handled on behalf of Tucker.

Records and communications between attorneys and clients are in almost all aspects sacrosanct and strictly off-limits to outside parties. An exception to attorney-client privilege is if it is established that a lawyer assisted a client with criminal or fraudulent behavior.

Manhattan prosecutors filed a lawsuit in March against the law firm. The motion states that R. Pete Smith, chairman of McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan, filed a 2010 lawsuit on behalf of Tucker that forced the Kansas Secretary of State to acknowledge a 2008 merger between two companies in the payday loan industry.

Prosecutors say it was a “sham merger” designed to hamper investigations into Tucker’s payday lending business.

Lawyers representing Tucker and his co-defendant, Tim Muir, said in a response filed in court Thursday that the government had failed “terribly short” in its attempt to overcome attorney-client privilege.

Thomas Buchanan, a member of the McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan executive committee, told The Star in an email that the firm handled the 2010 case under Kansas law.

“Our law firm is not a party or joined to the criminal proceedings in New York and we have not received any subpoenas or documents,” Buchanan wrote. “Kansas statutory and judicial process was followed in the matter (sic) we dealt with.”

Buchanan declined to respond further to allegations by federal prosecutors. He cited ethical rules that prohibit lawyers from publicly discussing clients’ cases without permission.

Tucker, whose involvement in payday loans began with a storefront operation in the late 1990s, has become one of the most prominent figures in the online consumer loan industry. Federal and state investigators said he obtained his fortune by granting deceptive short-term loans at interest rates as high as 700%.

Last year, Tucker and his related businesses were hit by a $ 1.3 billion in civil judgment in a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission. It was the highest judgment obtained by the FTC in a contentious case.

A New York grand jury in February 2016 indicted Tucker, as well as Muir, an Overland Park lawyer not affiliated with McDowell, Rice, Smith & Buchanan but who handled Tucker’s business affairs. They are accused of giving deceptive loans, illegally collecting debts and racketeering.

The indictment says Tucker amassed a $ 2 billion business that exploited 4.5 million consumers. Tucker’s corporate profits allowed him to finance a professional racing car team; Tucker competed in races in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Tucker and Muir pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing. Their trial is scheduled to begin in September.

Smith, the chairman of McDowell Rice, is one of Kansas City’s best known and most successful attorneys whose practice includes corporate affairs, litigation, divorce and bankruptcy.

A key business practice of Tucker, which comes into play in the McDowell Rice case, was his use of businesses based on Native American lands. Indian tribes generally enjoy immunity from state regulations and investigations.

The lawsuit at the center of the government’s attempts to breach Tucker’s attorney-client privilege with McDowell Rice was filed by Smith in 2010 in Wyandotte County District Court. It was filed against a company called AMG Services Inc.

The lawsuit sought to force the Kansas Secretary of State to acknowledge a merger of Tucker’s payday loan services company, called CLK Management, with AMG Services.

AMG is a loan company, and Tucker described it as belonging to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

Tucker’s lawsuit said the merger took place in 2008, but AMG Services had not filed documents with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office to make it official. When Tucker sued AMG two years later, he wanted the documentation to reflect that the merger took place in 2008.

The date of 2008 is important. By merging with AMG Services, CLK would become a tribal corporation and could withstand investigations into its business practices, prosecutors say.

And in 2008, prosecutors said the Colorado attorney general was trying to investigate CLK Management. Prosecutors accuse the AMG-CLK merger of thwarting this attempt.

Lawyers for Tucker and Muir argue that the merger was a straightforward and legitimate business transaction. They add that Colorado’s attempt to pressure CLK was “a way to shut down the tribe’s payday lending business.”

But prosecutors also said AMG was nominally created with a tribe, but was effectively owned and operated by Tucker in an office building in Overland Park where 600 employees worked. Tucker’s criminal attorney described Tucker as an AMG employee.

The government is calling Tucker’s case against AMG a “mock lawsuit” designed to address the failed merger registration of two of Tucker’s companies.

AMG never responded to the lawsuit. Exactly 21 days after Smith filed the lawsuit on Tucker’s behalf, which is the time frame within which Kansas civil defendants must respond to a lawsuit, Wyandotte County Judge David Boal ruled an order finding AMG in default and ordering state authorities to register the merger of CLK into AMG, effective in 2008.

To support its case, the government released a letter from a lawyer advising the Miami Tribe General Manager of Oklahoma. It was written in 2008 and describes the Colorado Attorney General’s subpoena as a way to pressure a company that does not have tribal protection from a state investigation.

The letter, written by lawyer Lance Morgan of Omaha, Neb., On June 3, 2008, came as the Colorado attorney general issued a subpoena to CLK.

“Colorado is trying to achieve its goal of indirectly hampering the Miami Tribe’s business model by trying to put pressure on CLK, an entity that does not enjoy sovereign immunity,” Morgan’s letter reads. to Don Brady, general manager of the tribe.

He went on to say that a merger would create an entity that “might be able to invoke tribal sovereign immunity.”

Another claim by prosecutors is that the tribe paid $ 120,000 for CLK, “a paltry sum considering the value of the business,” and that bank records indicate that the acquisition was only paid for in 2010. Tucker’s defense attorney retorts that there could be all kinds of them. for commercial reasons to defer a payment.

The government also claims the lawsuit includes false statements, including a claim by Tucker that he had no control over AMG following the 2008 merger. Prosecutors have copies of AMG checks bearing Tucker’s signature in 2009 and 2010 which were written to McDowell Rice to pay for legal services – all after the merger.

AMG Services never responded to Tucker’s lawsuit against the company in 2010. Defendants who do not respond to the litigation are considered in default, which means that a judge accepts a plaintiff’s claims as true and grants generally to the plaintiff what is requested in the lawsuit.

Lawyers for Tucker and Muir say AMG acted on legal advice by not responding. They say that as far as the Miami Tribe is concerned, AMG’s acquisition of CLK was legal and the tribe did not want to submit to Kansas law by responding to Tucker’s lawsuit in Wyandotte County.

A letter from a tribal lawyer in 2010 said that the registration of the CLK-AMG merger in Kansas was important to Tucker so that other states would recognize the transaction.

The files the government has recovered through grand jury proceedings hint at a coordinated effort by Tucker and other attorneys to derail investigations into their companies.

Prosecutors cited them in the motion asking McDowell Rice for additional documents.

Prosecutors say the emails between Tucker and Muir, where they congratulate each other on the Wyandotte County judge’s decision, demonstrate Muir’s role.

In a July 31, 2010 email to Tucker, Muir wrote: “There are only a dozen agents in the country who can really appreciate how (expletive) good it is. And we ALL want to be flies on the wall when the opposing attys figure that out. “

Muir’s email continued, “Finally, when Pete spoke to an agent in the KS Sec of State office, she said,” I don’t know how you did this… you shouldn’t have been able to. to do.

Federal prosecutors say the referenced Pete is R. Pete Smith.

Another email written to Tucker by Conly Schulte, an Omaha lawyer who works for a firm that represents tribes, also gives Muir credit for leading the merger lawsuit.

“I think this was one of the brightest legal jobs I’ve seen in a while – Tim deserves a huge pat on the back for pulling this one off!” Schulte’s August 5, 2010 email to Tucker reads.

“Getting a court order directing the Secretary of State to file Articles of Amalgamation – with an effective date of June 2008 – in such a short time – was simply miraculous! This will prove invaluable in the ongoing litigation in California (and elsewhere) – and should go a long way in protecting the business model. “

Lawyers for Tucker and Muir say the emails reflect “appreciation for the excellent legal work involved” in the merger registration while preserving AMG’s tribal immunity.


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Izotropic Unveils “Izoview” Brand for Breast Computed Tomography Platform for Development and Trademark Applications

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Vancouver, British Columbia – (Newsfile Corp. – February 9, 2021) – Izotropic Company (CSE: IZO) (OTCQB: IZOZF) (FSE: 1R3) (“Izotropic“or the”Society“), a company that markets true 3D breast CT imaging technology dedicated to the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, is pleased to unveil its highly anticipated breast CT platform, the izoview.

Concept rendering image. Not for sale in the United States.

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TRADEMARK DEPOSITS

The Company enriches its intellectual property portfolio by filing several trademark applications in Canada, the United States and Europe. Protection is ongoing for the recognizable company name, platform device name, and logos.

CEO Robert Thast said: “While the izoview platform is not yet available for sale, we are securing critical foundations around the world that will benefit society and patients for years to come. We will continue to plan for the future and identify opportunities to support the company’s growth plans and to accelerate patient access to breast CT scans. “

THE IZOVIEW LOGO

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The word “isotropic” was coined by the principal founder of breast CT and company director, Dr. John M. Boone to describe the technology and has since been adopted by the breast imaging industry. Meaning “uniform in all directions,” isotropic inspired the name of the company and the platform itself, as it reflects the device’s unique 360-degree image acquisition and viewing capabilities.

THE IZOVIEW PLATFORM

To view an improved version of this graphic, please visit:
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The izoview breast imaging platform will be a whole new experience for patients, radiologists and providers:

The patient places her own breast in the izoview imaging cup. The dignity of the patient is preserved because no degrading manipulation of the breast or painful compression of the breast is required. With a comfortable face-down view, the natural orientation of the breast is maintained, producing more appropriate image outputs.

The izoview imaging equipment under the table then circles the patient’s breast, producing approximately 500 high-resolution images (depending on breast length) in 10 seconds, with a radiation dose comparable to a 2-view mammogram. A true 3D reconstructed image (dataset) is produced in 30 seconds, which a radiologist can then view from any angle like a 3D model, or individually drag the 500 cross-sectional images to better determine size , shape, location and relationship to internal structures of the breast, which is essential for surgical planning, treatment monitoring and treatment administration. When used with a contrast medium in ongoing clinical trials, the izoview can detect lesions and tumors in the range of 3 to 5 mm. Compared to the medium-sized tumor found on the screening mammogram, the izoview may offer breast cancer detection 1 to 1.5 years earlier. Each month, delayed cancer treatment increases the risk of death by 10%.

The izoview offers the possibility of a shorter workflow for suppliers. Faster imaging times create the potential for a 3-fold increase in the number of patients imaged per day, which would reduce wait times for critical breast imaging appointments.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

For investor relations inquiries, contact:

Dan Sammartino
Phone: 1-778-962-0234
Email: [email protected]

For general inquiries, contact:

1-833-IZOCORP
[email protected]

About Izotropic Corporation

Izotropic Corporation markets dedicated breast CT imaging technology for the earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Extensive preliminary studies have shown that breast CT scan may be able to consistently detect small breast tumors in the size range of 3-5mm. The median size of breast cancers detected by mammography is approximately 11 mm. Routine detection of 3mm lesions would result in detection 1.5 years earlier than mammography.

The initial indication for the use of breast computed tomography as a diagnostic device has been confirmed. Future business goals include identifying additional indications for use, developing additional accessories and products, all aimed at making breast CT scans an indispensable tool for improving breast cancer outcomes.

Additional information about Izotropic Corporation can be found on its website at izocorp.com and reviewing its profile on SEDAR at sedar.com

Forward-looking statements

This document may contain statements which are “forward-looking statements”, which are based on current estimates, assumptions, projections and expectations of management, activities and knowledge of the market and the economic environment in which it operates. The Company has tried, to the extent possible, to identify such information and statements by using words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “consider”, “estimate”, “expect”, “have the intention to “,” may “,”, “” predict “,” project “,” target “,” potential “,” will “,” would “,” could “,” should “,” continue “,” contemplate ” and other similar expressions and their derivatives in connection with any discussion of future events, trends or prospects or of future operational or financial performance, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. not guarantees of performance and involve risks and uncertainties which are difficult to control or predict, and as such they may cause the future results of the business of the company to differ materially from the content and implications of these declaration ons. Forward-looking statements are only relevant as of the date on which they are made, and the company assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect new information or the occurrence of future events or circumstances. , unless otherwise stated. by the law. Neither the company nor its shareholders, officers and consultants will be responsible for any action and the results of any action taken by any person based on the information contained herein, including, without limitation, the purchase or sale of company securities. Nothing in this document should be taken as medical or other advice of any kind.

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Looming Battle Over Missouri Payday Loan Restrictions | Politics

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The pro-initiative side has a political committee called Missourians for Responsible Lending. He raised around $ 50,000 and spent around $ 10,000, mostly on legal fees.

Molly Fleming-Pierre, policy and development organizer for a pro-initiative group called Opportunity Communities, said no one expects supporters to raise as much as groups opposing the measure.

Instead, Flemming-Pierre said, supporters will rely on a network of groups, especially faith groups, to get the initiative ahead of voters and ultimately get it approved.

“We will never win the fundraising battle, and we know it,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t win the political battle, and strong faith-based engagement is how we’ll do it.”

Katie Jansen Larsen, state organizer with Metro Congregations United, said her organization’s 35 religious congregations in the St. Louis area have pledged to collect thousands of signatures to get the measure on the ballot. The coalition will need to collect approximately 90,000 signatures from six of the state’s nine congressional districts to get on the ballot.

“We got involved in this effort because our pastors started to say, ‘This is wrong and we have to do something about it,’” she said.

Typically, a payday loan is a small, one-time payment loan that customers repay when a paycheck is received. Payday loan amounts generally vary between $ 100 and $ 500.


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Sarasota Babe Ruth League returns to the game

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SARASOTA

It’s “Play ball! for the Sarasota Babe Ruth League.

The Youth Baseball League, made up of 13 to 15 year olds, resumed play last week at the Fruitville Road courts with some minor changes.

“We had to come up with a plan to reopen before they even allowed us to reserve any fields,” said Sarasota BRL secretary Carl Luer.

All seven teams went through a few practice sessions before embarking on a 10-game season.

One of the main changes is that the umpire is positioned behind the pitcher, which avoids a blockage at home plate with the batter, catcher and umpire nearby.

“We respect social distancing as much as possible,” Luer said.

Luer said a handful of players who initially signed up did not return, but the league picked up players who did not originally register.

“Not as much as I feared we would lose,” Luer said.

Most teams have rosters of 11 players.

Because the rosters are limited, players can have enough space in the dugouts and they don’t have to sit in the stands as originally thought.

“It’s written in our plan, but we really didn’t have to lay out in the stands,” Luer said. “But it’s there as an option.”

There is no team caucus or high fives. Each player is responsible for their own equipment and ensures that all of their equipment is maintained. There is no sharing of gloves.

Umpires have rags to wipe off baseballs every now and then. There is no post-match team handshake and post-match meetings with managers take place in the outfield with appropriate spacing between players.

“It’s a work in progress,” Luer said. “Fortunately, everyone understands that we have to make changes as we go to improve the safety aspect.

“The parents are very cooperative and support the efforts. “

The matches take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays until July 8. Teams play twice a week with the rest days used as rain catch-up days.

The league is to work around a USSSA state tournament to be held June 24-28 on the grounds.

While the Babe Ruth League’s national headquarters have canceled its regional championships and World Series, Sarasota BRL is still looking to host the Florida State tournament which will be postponed from July 23 to July 26, if it takes place.

Sarasota BRL has hosted the event for the past several years. This will be the furthest a BRL all-star team can advance this season.

“It’s still in the planning stages,” Luer said.


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ACOA’s East Coast finance agency grapples with high bad debt rate worth tens of millions

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The federal agency tasked with stimulating economic development and innovation in Atlantic Canada is chasing bad loans worth tens of millions of dollars, loans that make up a significant portion of its portfolio of nearly a half. billion dollars.

The federal government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is a major East Coast funding agency, distributing an average of $ 323 million per year, including interest-free loans.

As of September 30, ACOA managed an active loan portfolio totaling $ 422.9 million. Of that total, $ 43.2 million in loans are currently in “collection”, meaning that just over 10% of ACOA’s portfolio is in default.

By comparison, the Business Development Bank of Canada manages $ 882.8 million in impaired loans, which represented 3.3% of the Crown corporation’s total portfolio (made up primarily of loans) as of March 31.

Canadian bank losses are even lower. Over the past 20 years, major Canadian banks have averaged a 1% default rate on their business loans, notes Laurence Booth, professor of capital markets at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

ACOA has sued dozens of companies for outstanding loans over the past few years. According to figures obtained as part of an access to information request, ACOA owes more than $ 65 million in loans it sent for collection in just four years between 1 January 2015 and January 2019.

The collection process is triggered when a company defaults on its ACOA debt. The process may involve the agency suing and seeking judgment against the debtor business, and seeking compensation from the Canada Revenue Agency – essentially claiming any tax refund owed by the CRA to the debtor.

The loans ACOA sent to the takeover between 2015 and early 2019 are tied to a variety of businesses, from tech startups to businesses focused on cranberries, fish farms, caviar, goat cheese, homes. cedar, potatoes, furs, oilfield drilling services, berries, soap, and juice, to name a few.

In an email, the agency said it was “not unusual” to have $ 65 million in loans sent for collection in four years. In addition, only six percent of its funding agreements have been returned for collection or written off since its inception in 1987. “The vast majority of ACOA funding recipients are fulfilling their contractual obligations,” noted the agency.

Donald Savoie, a professor at the University of Moncton, who has been described as the father of ACOA, says the agency is an “easy target” for critics and, historically, some of them were justified. Questionable spending during its first “fat” years generated bad press that damaged the agency’s reputation.

The agency was created by the government of Brian Mulroney, on the basis of the Savoie plan described in a report commissioned by the Prime Minister.

“Maybe it wasn’t unfair 30 years ago to say that Atlantic Canada was getting into a mess,” he said. “I can tell you that it is unfair to give this label now to ACOA because its budget is small compared to what it was 20 years ago, and compared to other regions it is very good. managed.

Savoie has a concern, however. The current Minister responsible for ACOA, Navdeep Bains, is a Member of Parliament for Mississauga, Ontario, making him the first federal politician outside of Atlantic Canada to oversee ACOA. “Which I find a bit heavy to take,” said Savoie. “I think that’s a horrible idea… Wake me up when you see the minister responsible for economic development for Ontario is from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

To defend its record, ACOA also highlighted the success of startups it has funded, such as Ocean Nutrition Canada, which focused on products derived from fish oil and was sold to Royal DSM, a Dutch company, in 2012 for 540 million dollars. ACOA says it has invested $ 6 million in Ocean Nutrition.

However, many other ACOA investments collapsed.

John Xidos

Tech Link International Entertainment Limited, a Nova Scotia company focused on responsible gaming technology, went bankrupt and ceased operations in 2015, leaving ACOA in pursuit of nearly $ 3.2 million. In 2016-2017, Nova Scotia Business Inc., the province’s business development agency, wrote off more than $ 10 million in equity, loans and interest associated with Tech Link.

Two levels of government found themselves chasing debt, but John Xidos, the former CEO and founder of Tech Link, says there was a solid return on their investments: Tech Link has been around for 20 years and employed up to 100 people.

“It’s not that they gave us money one year and that we ceased operations the following year,” he said in an interview.

Another ACOA debtor is Dean Smith’s Halifax-based electronic voting company, Intelivote Systems Inc.. Smith says Intelivote is still in business, but is looking for an exit strategy – either a new partner or even a new owner.

This process has been going on for five years, in part because it’s a tough sell: Intelivote owes a lot of money, including nearly $ 1.4 million to ACOA and $ 2.8 million to NSBI. Without a new approach, Dean says, it is not possible to pay off these debts in full.

“I think they would rather get some of their money than nothing,” he said, “so that’s kind of where this is heading now.”

Financial post

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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Opinion: Fighting COVID-19 is Biden’s first and most urgent job

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President-elect Joe Biden’s first and most urgent task will be to repair the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given how much the current president has messed up the job, it won’t be hard to do better. Even so, the scale of the task is daunting.

From the start, President Donald Trump failed to organize the response or create a national plan to allocate medical supplies, coordinate testing and traceability efforts, and prepare states to distribute vaccines. He refused to take scientific reality into account or let professionals lead the public health response. He fomented a bitter disagreement among his own advisers. Trump didn’t even bother to wear a mask or get Americans to take basic precautions.

In most cases, Biden just has to do the opposite. It can change the national conversation on COVID by restoring professional public health leadership, improving communication with states, and accelerating vaccine deployment – internationally as well as in the United States. who can be trusted to focus on ending the pandemic.

Above all, Biden should keep his pledge to heed the advice of scientists and public health authorities – especially that of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC can do a lot to streamline the response to the pandemic, as long as the president and his political advisers stay on the sidelines. The new administration is expected to return to the tradition of CDC-led public briefings, to keep Americans up to date with the pandemic and vaccine progress, and to deliver a cohesive message about the need for masks , social distancing and the laundry. The CDC should be granted its former authority to collect all detailed data on COVID infections, hospitalizations, deaths, etc. states and put them into a public national dashboard, as Biden promised. And the agency should make it clear to states when and how it’s safe to open restaurants, stores, gyms, schools, and businesses.

Biden is rightly preparing to fight the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on black, Latin American and Native American communities – where the death rate from COVID has so far tripled that of white Americans – by creating a group of special work, led by Marcella Nunez-Smith, a leading expert on disparities in access to health care. Her challenge will be to ensure that vulnerable communities are properly tested and treated for COVID-19, that people receive the support they need to self-isolate and self-quarantine if necessary, and that they get vaccinated. without delay. He must be given the authority that his difficult work will require.

The vaccinations are not going well. Operation Warp Speed ​​delivered vaccine to states but is not properly guiding distribution. And states, cities, hospitals, nursing homes and other vaccine delivery agencies need to do better. Biden has pledged to step up the pace to at least 1 million shots per day, setting up more sites, deploying mobile units and sending the message that vaccines are safe and essential.

Biden also wants to open schools by spring. He will have to persuade Congress to pay to adapt school buildings and buses to social distancing. (If new variants of the coronavirus spread easily among children, vaccinating teachers and school staff will be even more urgent.) He wants to provide the resources to get more Americans tested, faster, by setting up a National Pandemic Testing Board along the lines of Franklin Roosevelt’s War Production Board. He says he will increase production of personal protective equipment and work with governors and mayors to push, inspire and inspire people to wear masks. All of these efforts should have started months ago.

As if all this weren’t enough, Biden should also join the international effort to ensure all countries receive COVID-19 vaccines and treatment – by reversing Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization; join Covax, the global vaccine purchasing pool; and donating and helping buy vaccines for the poorest countries. As it stands, a large portion of the world’s population may have to wait until 2022 to get vaccinated. It could take years to immunize 60% of the population in Africa. Yet no country can be safe from COVID-19 until all countries are.

Finally, Biden must do everything possible to ensure that the next pandemic is not so deadly or so costly. It starts with restoring the leadership of the National Security Council for Global Health Security and Biodefense, whose job it was to monitor epidemics around the world – until the Trump administration disbanded it in 2018. The United States must also support the WHO, the agency best positioned to help all countries recognize and repel emerging health threats.

By the time Biden is sworn in, nearly 400,000 Americans will likely have died from COVID-19, and the disease will still rage. The new president must not doubt his first and most urgent task.


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BBB Trends: Seniors are often the targets of scams; here are the most common, how to avoid being a victim

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Better Business Bureau

According to the FBI, if you are 60 or older, you are a likely target for scammers who sell fraudulent products and services over the phone. Scammers know that seniors were brought up to be polite and confident, and often have a hard time just saying “no” or hanging up. Combined with the fact that seniors can have savings, own their own homes, and have excellent credit, these characteristics make them vulnerable to fraud.

BBB takes senior citizen fraud very seriously and warns of the following popular scams:

Grandparents scam

It’s 2 a.m., and you are sleeping soundly when the phone rings. “Grandmother?” said a hysterical voice on the other end of the line. “It’s me… I’m in trouble.” I am on vacation, and there has been an accident! I need money. Please keep this between us. Being half awake and fearing for your grandchild’s safety, you wire the money.

This scam is designed to trick older people into believing their grandchild has been hurt, arrested or stranded while out of town and in need of money. The crook invents an urgent situation and asks for help and money.

How to avoid: Do not divulge any information. Scammers make their story more believable by grabbing details you give them, like your grandchild’s name. Ask the person claiming to be your grandchild a personal question, such as the name of a family member, or better yet, agree on a code word with your grandchildren in advance that they can. use if they have any problems. Plus, communicate with your family and know when they’re going on vacation so you don’t get caught off guard.

Lottery scam

A bright red envelope comes out of the stack of mail, the words “You are a winner!” Emblazoned on the front. The letter inside begins: “We are happy to inform you that you have won our raffle! Provide the following processing fees to claim your prize.

These form letters promise a great exchange of money for fees. The fees are often low, but can run into the thousands of dollars. Lotteries are illegal, except when conducted by states and certain exempt charities.

How to avoid: To verify. Don’t use a contact source that crooks give you. Look for them independently and call BBB for more information. Never pay to claim a prize – it is illegal to demand payment to claim a prize in the United States. And remember, you can’t win a contest you haven’t entered.

IT support scams

Caller ID claims the incoming call is from Microsoft. Your computer is using Microsoft software, so you think the call must be legitimate. “Hello Ma’am. My name is Keith and I represent Microsoft. Your computer has a virus and I am calling you to make repairs. I just need remote access to your computer, and I will need one-time charges. of $ 299.

Cybercriminals now have the ability to spoof the names and numbers of people or businesses you may know, and this tactic is often used in IT support scams. The scammer will claim that your computer has a virus or needs an update and will call for help. Once these crooks gain access to the computer, they can install malware, steal personal information, lock the computer and demand payment to unlock it again, or direct you to a scam website where you are prompted. enter your credit card information.

How to avoid: Install virus detection software on your computer and make sure it is updated regularly. Don’t trust cold calls; your software vendor will not call you to repair your computer. Find a computer repair company ahead of time that you can trust to perform repairs and protect your system from malware.

IRS and US Treasury scams

The IRS has never called you by phone before, but the man on the phone claims to be a government agent representing them. You are too pissed off to check because it explains how you owe overdue taxes and your arrest is imminent. He claims that if you don’t make the wire transfer payment by today, the police will arrive at your home.

In other versions of this scam, the scammer threatens to arrest you for overdue payday loan or for breach of jury duty. Whatever the “violation”, it is frightening to be threatened with arrest, and many people pay out of fear.

How to avoid: To hang up! The IRS and other government entities will not call you to collect money and will never ask you to make a payment via a prepaid card or wire transfer.

Statistically, older Americans are less likely to report fraud because of embarrassment or not knowing they’ve been scammed. Victims may also not know where to report the fraud. Protect yourself and report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Attorney General or BBB at www.scamtracker.org.

Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. To reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.


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