FL woman allegedly scammed more than $800K allocated for hurricane victims

first_imgMaximusnd/iStock(TAMPA BAY, Fla.) — A Florida woman was indicted on fraud charges this week for allegedly claiming more than $800,000 in phony invoices through a federal relief program for hurricane victims.Juli Campbell, owner of Campbell Development, was charged with fraud for allegedly bilking $840,000 in false claims from a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that provided money for repairing homes damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, according to the indictment.Campbell’s construction company was hired as a subcontractor to repair homes in St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she submitted fraudulent invoices, including some that mentioned names of workers who weren’t even on the island at that time, the indictment said.She also had employees submit signed timesheets intentionally left blank and directed workers to fill in false information “attesting to work that was not actually performed,” according to the indictment, which prosecutors unsealed Tuesday.The alleged scheme was carried out between August and October of last year, according to the indictment, which listed three others as co-defendants.The company also was accused of bringing workers to St. Croix to work on FEMA-funded projects “despite having no work for such persons and even after being told not to bring more workers” by program representatives, prosecutors said.James Blankenberg, of Central Florida, said he worked for Campbell in St. Croix, but she never paid him.“All she did was take advantage of the government,” Blankenberg, who said he’s owed nearly $40,000, told ABC Tampa Bay affiliate WFTS-TV. “My lights got turned off, my water got turned off, my insurance elapsed … we deserve what’s owed to us.”The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General as well as Homeland Security Investigations.“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Virgin Islands is especially committed to making certain that federal funds intended for the victims of natural disasters are accounted for and used consistent with FEMA’s directives,” U.S. Attorney Shappert said in a press release Tuesday. “The DHS OIG will continue to use its investigative resources to stop those who use these circumstances for personal and illegal gain.” Campbell could not be reached for comment. It’s unclear whether she’s retained legal counsel.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

AU, UN mourn late Mogadishu mayor, say attacks won’t derail Somalia…

first_imgUN chief condemns Mogadishu attack Relatives carry on July 25, 2019 the dead body of one of Mogadishu district commissioners who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on July 24. – Six people were killed and the mayor of Mogadishu was wounded in a bombing at the mayoral offices in the Somali capital on July 24, 2019, in an attack claimed by Al-Shabaab jihadists to have been targeting a UN envoy. (Photo by Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP) (Photo credit should read ABDIRAZAK HUSSEIN FARAH/AFP/Getty Images) Relatives carry on July 25, 2019 the dead body of one of Mogadishu district commissioners who was killed in a suicide bomb attack on July 24. (Photo credit ABDIRAZAK HUSSEIN FARAH/AFP/Getty Images)African Union and United Nations envoys in Somalia have mourned the death of Mogadishu mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman, who, on Thursday, died from injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack on July 24, saying increased attacks will not derail efforts to stabilize the country.Francisco Madeira, special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, and James Swan, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Somalia, both called for the arrest of those behind the death of Osman.“As we come to terms with the passing of the mayor, terrorists should be aware that their cowardly attack will not break the people’s resolve to forge ahead,” Madeira said in a statement issued on Thursday evening.Madeira, who is heads the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), said the AU mission, in close collaboration with the Somali government and the international partners, will support Somalis as they continue to fight for stability and strive to bring peace to Somalia.He said the mayor, together with the resilient Somalis, shared the ideals of justice, peace, security and improved standards of living for the people.“He was a true friend and companion of AMISOM and supported, without reservations, our mandate to help usher in a stable, peaceful and prosperous Somalia,” said the AU envoy.“His commitment and belief in a better, stable, and secure Somalia was the spirit that drove him to serve his people with such admirable courage and dedication,” Madeira said.The mayor and nine of his staff sustained serious injuries after a suicide bomb was detonated within the municipal premises during a meeting at the mayor’s compound, leaving six people dead and unknown number injured.Swan, the UN envoy, said Osman’s life reflected a deep commitment to Somalia and that his loss is felt by the entire country.“His work must be continued, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” Swan said, wishing the mayor’s staff who are still hospitalized full and speedy recovery.Related Somalia: Al-Shabaab Threatens Even More Attacks in Mogadishu center_img UN urged to end attacks on Journalists in Somalialast_img read more

Crusaders-Blues blockbuster carries feeling of old

first_imgRugby Union You can sense the tension and anticipation in the air at the Crusaders’ Rugby Park base in Christchurch. It’s been an age since a Crusaders-Blues match has produced such a feeling, but Saturday night’s battle of the unbeatens in the Garden City has brought back feelings of old. ‘’It feels like that [the old days],’’ Crusaders assistant coach Scott Hansen said. Forget the fact the Blues haven’t beaten their arch rivals since 2014, and that it’s been 16 years since they tipped over the Crusaders in Christchurch. The Crusaders owning the Blues 24-11 in the head-to-head stakes can also be cast aside, because the red and blacks know full well it means nothing. That comes with the Blues’ resurgence under former Crusader Leon MacDonald, who is finally getting consistency in his second year in charge of the Auckland-based team. Including the pre Covid competition, they’ve won seven games on the bounce, with Super Rugby Aotearoa wins against the Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders behind them in recent weeks. “There is a huge amount of respect for the Blues. They are a team with a lot of cohesion at the moment, awesome synergy in their game with attack and their defence,’’ Hansen said. ‘’They’re a big, physical team that are looking for big collisions. They have got a mindset around working teams into the ground. Our boys will need to be up for it, but they will.’’ It’s too early to label the match a competition decider, but the Crusaders, who beat the Blues 25-11 at Eden Park in February, have an opportunity to land a huge blow. Nabbing bonus points against the Highlanders and Hurricanes puts them in a position to pull as many as seven points clear at the top of the table heading into next week’s bye. On the other hand, should the Blues hand the Crusaders their first loss on home soil in almost four years, it could only result in a one-point lead on the ladder. ‘’It’s good for New Zealand Rugby, isn’t it? You’ve got teams that are competing, you’ve got players that are playing at the top-level, it’s awesome for NZ Rugby, it’s going to be a hell of a collision this weekend around mindset and intensity. Two teams undefeated, going for it,’’ Hansen said. Outside of the Crusaders’ 54-17 pasting of the Blues in Christchurch two years ago, the success-starved Blues have pushed the 10-times champions in recent years. They lost 19-11 at Orangetheory Stadium last season, and finished between two and nine points off the pace on four other occasions since 2016. “It’s been building,’’ Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall said. He’s been on both sides of the rivalry, having played for the Blues between 2013-2016, before joining the Crusaders and winning titles each of the past three years. Hall was rested last weekend, and took the opportunity to return home to Auckland for the first time since lockdown, visiting family and friends while the Crusaders beat the Highlanders 40-20 in Dunedin Recharged and ready to tackle a team which still includes many of his friends, Hall doesn’t think their improvement comes down to rocket science. – stufflast_img read more

Ravens fans vs. Orioles fans – are we two birds of a different feather?

first_imgIt goes without saying that Baltimore isn’t quite yet embracing this 2012 version of Baltimore Orioles pennant fever. No matter how dramatic the victories or how unlikely this late August run for postseason glory seems, nothing about The Birds has moved the sports fans of Maryland.Even into the great beyond via the long reach of MASN – not to mention the reach into your pockets every month like a public utility – for whatever reason people aren’t coming back in droves to give King Peter Angelos their money to watch the likes of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and even boy wonder Manny Machado, who has been worth the price of admission alone this week.Oh, I know I’m being “Negative Nestor” by even writing this blog when the Orioles are winning baseball games and on the verge of a sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox. But every time the TV cameras pan the more than half-empty stadium, I can’t help but thinking the same thing you’re thinking: “I wonder why people aren’t going to Camden Yards to support this winning team?”Yeah, we all thought Camden Yards would be packed once the Orioles started winning. And as the team closes a 10-game homestand tonight in full control of a wild card berth and still within striking distance of the New York Yankees, a true “pennant fever” atmosphere has yet to emerge in Baltimore.It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes, bad baseball, steroid needles, lies from the owner and the emergence of the Washington Nationals as the regional team with marketing legs and, dare we say, “Natitude.”And here’s where we’ll piss off both side of the Baltimore fence.I have one question for you: “Are you excited about the Baltimore Ravens’ upcoming season?”My gut is that you just yelled, “YES!”My gut also says that your neighbor is excited, your cousins, your co-workers, the folks in your social group – wherever your friends and loved ones reside — they’re ready to don purple and are counting down the minutes until the 7 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.I’m not sure when it became sort of fashionable to only support one of the two teams in Baltimore and perhaps for the younger generation there has never been a good time to embrace the Orioles. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ready for Ravens’ season and that my love for the purple guys has superseded my spirit and energy for the Orioles. But I do love them both. And I will support them both equally for what it means for Baltimore to have a winning sports team and a chance to hang red, white and blue bunting here in October.And, somehow during this emergence of the purple birds of Baltimore since 1996, this weird kind of divide has occurred here in the Charm City where some folks only have enough “love” – if not dollars and time and energy – for one of the two teams.Do you know people who love the Orioles and have no use for football or the Ravens? Almost to the point where they root against the purple birds in football season?I do.And, conversely, from what I can tell there are a myriad of people everywhere around town who are fervent Baltimore Ravens fans and have long-since given up following the Orioles on a nightly basis, even now that the team on the field is representative of the community’s desire for hard work, overachieving and beating the Yankees and Red Sox.I know many, many people who have purple “Man Caves” – an entire kingdom and closets dedicated to all things Baltimore Ravens. There are whole stores like The Raven Zone dedicated to selling merchandise year-round.I don’t know anyone who has a basement that is an homage to the Orioles these days, despite the fact that you get 162 chances to enjoy games vs. just 16 that count.I also admit that the amount of hours necessary to follow the Orioles is extraordinary. It’s a lifestyle commitment to watch four hours of baseball six nights a week for six months. It’s almost like a full-time job if you’re going to vest into MLB fandom.And certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon for sports teams anywhere in America. It seems that there’s plenty of love for all four sports teams in places like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. where the seasons and the reasons all seem to blur together into a full calendar of activity and passion.But it might be time to ask, “Where’s the emotional investment for Baltimore fans?”Is it possible that you only have room in your heart — or wallet — for one successful local team?last_img read more

Harvard running back flips bird on touchdown run, play gets called back

first_imgHarvard man has TD called back for obscene gesture (h/t @darrenelwood) pic.twitter.com/CpNiRLD5h4— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 17, 2018MORE: College football scores, hightlights from Week 12 Harvard had a touchdown called back in its game against Yale Saturday, but not for the reason you might think.Leading 28-27 early in the fourth quarter, the Crimson handed it off to running back Devin Darrington, who scored a 27-yard touchdown to help extend the lead. Here’s the problem: Darrington turned to some trailing Yale defenders and flipped them the bird at about the 8-yard line as he scampered into the end zone. Counterpoint: Harvard deserved two touchdowns for this pic.twitter.com/u15LRzbXZa— Andrew Joseph (@AndyJ0seph) November 17, 2018Now that’s something you don’t see every day.Darrington was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and the touchdown was called back. Harvard ended up kicking a field goal on the drive.Harvard would go on to win 45-27, but not before Darrington provided one of the more unsportsmanlike highlights of the day.last_img read more