Article: Romance Scammers Charged with Laundering $3.5 Million Stolen from Victims

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Romance Scammers Charged with Laundering $3.5 Million Stolen from Victims

JULETT PINEDA SLEINAN, 05 June 2021

U.S. prosecutors have charged six people for conspiring to launder US$3.5 million in proceeds derived from romance scams, a profitable fraud scheme on the rise that defrauded hundreds of millions of dollars from American victims last year.

Authorities said the scammers preyed on vulnerable people by using online aliases on multiple dating sites and convinced victims to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by the gang, a complaint unsealed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York last week revealed.

Under the aliases ‘Diego Francisco’, ‘Richard Francisco’ and ‘Tom Francisco’, the scammers used photos of male models to engage in conversations with the victims and ask them for money. Continue reading “Article: Romance Scammers Charged with Laundering $3.5 Million Stolen from Victims”

Article: Local expert explains meatpacking industry concerns

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Local expert explains meatpacking industry concerns

Emily Tabar, 27 May 2021

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt released a letter last week about his concerns in the meatpacking industry. A local expert in the beef supply chain explains those concerns and what they hope to see change.

If you’re headed to the grocery store this memorial day weekend, expect to pay more at the meat counter. “We’ve let it go on for too long, and now we’re at the point now, it’s become a huge problem,” said Jeff Hazaleus, owner of Durant Stockyards.

Hazaleus said market manipulation by meatpackers has gone on for a while, but has become more clear this past year. Continue reading “Article: Local expert explains meatpacking industry concerns”

Article: Stitt voices support for investigation of meatpacking industry and prices

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Stitt voices support for investigation of meatpacking industry and prices

Cory Smith, 25 May 2021

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – Gov. Kevin Stitt and Blayne Arthur, the Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, sent a letter last week to the U.S. attorney general in support of the investigation into price-setting in the meatpacking industry.

They say the lack of competition in the meatpacking industry means possible “market manipulation” that squeezes profits for Oklahoma’s 52,000 cattle operations.

“The substantial margins between the live cattle prices our ranchers receive and the retail prices consumers pay at the grocery store are a continuing source of concern and frustration for Oklahoma’s beef industry,” reads part of the letter. Continue reading “Article: Stitt voices support for investigation of meatpacking industry and prices”

Article: FBI probing federal contractor’s donations to Sen. Collins’ campaign

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FBI probing federal contractor’s donations to Sen. Collins’ campaign

Dennis Hoey, Portland Press Herald, Maine, 19 May 2021

A Department of Defense contractor with ties to Maine is under investigation by the U.S. government for allegedly making illegal contributions to Sen. Susan Collins’ 2020 re-election campaign.

An FBI search warrant in the investigation names Martin Kao and Clifford Chen. Kao is the former president and CEO of Hawaii-based Navatek — now known as Martin Defense Group — and Chen was Navatek’s chief financial officer at the time the contributions were made. The contractor is based in Honolulu and has offices in Maine, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas and South Carolina.

Kao and Chen are accused of making illegal contributions of about $45,000 to Collins’ re-election campaign and $150,000 to the independently operated 1820 PAC, which supported the Republican’s re-election bid. Donations of that nature constitute violations of federal law that prohibit federal contractors from making political contributions, according to FBI Special Agent Michelle Ball, who filed an application for a search warrant on April 7. The warrant, which had to be executed before April 21, was authorized by U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey. Continue reading “Article: FBI probing federal contractor’s donations to Sen. Collins’ campaign”

Article: Okla. Cannabis Co. Sues State Over Pot Tracking System

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Okla. Cannabis Co. Sues State Over Pot Tracking System

Sarah Jarvis, 16 April 2021

An Oklahoma medical marijuana business has filed a proposed class action against the state’s medical marijuana regulators, alleging they created a monopoly through their contract with a seed-to-sale tracking system and improperly required businesses to pay for its services.

Dr Z Leaf LLC said in a complaint filed Thursday in Oklahoma state court that while the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and the Oklahoma State Department of Health are responsible for auditing grower and processor reports, the state has outsourced that responsibility to the company Metrc LLC. Continue reading “Article: Okla. Cannabis Co. Sues State Over Pot Tracking System”