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DAVENPORT MAN WINS $30,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Iowa Lottery   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:06

Justin Titus Wins Top Prize Playing “Merry Crossword” Holiday Scratch Game

 

 

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Davenport man won a top prize of $30,000 playing the lottery’s “Merry Crossword” instant-scratch game.

Justin Titus claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. He purchased his winning ticket at Slagle Foods, 6723 Northwest Blvd. in Davenport.

Merry Crossword is a $3 scratch game. Players win a prize by uncovering at least three complete words in the ticket’s puzzle. If a player uncovers 10 words, he/she wins $30,000. The overall odds of winning in the game are 1 in 3.82.

Four top prizes of $30,000 are still up for grabs in Merry Crossword as well as 10 prizes of $3,000, 138 prizes of $300 and more than 600 prizes of $100.

Players can “Super Tech” the Halls in the Iowa Lottery’s Super Tech promotion this holiday season. All 10 holiday instant-scratch tickets can be entered online for a chance to win one of 250 Sony® tech prizes or one of six “Super Prizes” valued at more than $4,900 each. The eligible tickets are: “Holiday Countdown,” “Holiday Bonus Crossword,” “Merry Crossword,” “Lucky Elves Bingo,” “Holiday Wishes,” “Sparkling Winnings,” “Betty Boop™,” “Snow Bank,” “Santa Games Doubler” and “Winter Bucks.” To participate in Super Tech, a player must register for a free Iowa Lottery VIP Club account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. All holiday tickets entered into Super Tech will also earn players “Points For Prizes™” points that can be used in the Iowa Lottery’s online store.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

 

© 2011 Sony Electronics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. 

 

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Grassley Law Recovers Another $2.8 Billion of Taxpayer Money Otherwise Lost to Fraud PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 23 December 2011 15:47

More than $30 billion has been recovered thanks to federal False Claims Act

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley today said that the federal False Claims Law has recovered an additional $3 billion to the U.S. Treasury.  Grassley is the author of the 1986 qui tam amendments to the law as well as an update to the False Claims Act in 2009.  According the U.S. Department of Justice, the qui tam amendments alone recovered $2.8 billion of taxpayer money.  The total amount recovered through the False Claims Act since Grassley’s 1986 provisions were signed into law is now more than $30 billion.

“Year after year, the federal False Claims Act proves to be the most powerful tool in rooting out fraud against the federal treasury.  Not only does the law help recover billions of taxpayer dollars, but it deters untold more, and is a real savior for taxpayers tired of Washington ways,” Grassley said.  “The whistleblowers who bring these cases to light know the secrets hidden by those who are ripping of federal taxpayers.  Unfortunately, alerting federal officials about fraud often puts them at great employment peril.  Our 1986 qui tam amendments have empowered these people to come forward and risk their livelihoods to do what is right.”

The amendments Grassley championed 25 years ago along with Rep. Howard Berman of California strengthened the Civil War-era False Claims Act which was originally signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.  The 1986 Grassley-Berman qui tam amendments empowered whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the United States against those who fraudulently claim federal funds, including Medicare, Medicaid, contract payments, disaster assistance and other benefits, subsidies, grants and loans.

According to the Justice Department, since the 1986 Grassley-Berman qui tam amendments were signed into law, whistleblowers have filed more than 7,800 actions under the qui tam provisions, including a peak of 638 this past year.

In 2008 Grassley introduced legislation that would further update the federal False Claims Act.  Many provisions of this legislation were included in the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act that was signed into law in 2009.  The legislation overturned several court decisions that threatened to limit the scope and applicability intended by Congress in the 1986 update.  Grassley said the update helps ensure that no fraud will go unpunished because of legal loopholes.

Fraudulent claims by defense contractors during the 1980s prompted Grassley’s initiative.  Today the qui tam amendments also recoup billions that would otherwise be lost to health care fraud.  This year alone, most of the $2.8 billion in recoveries were in the Medicare and Medicaid programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the TRICARE program administered by Department of Defense, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program administered by the Office of Personnel Management, and Veterans Administration health programs.

 

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________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        CIV

MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2011                           (202) 514-2007

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV TTY (866) 544-5309

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RECOVERS $3 BILLION IN FALSE CLAIMS ACT CASES IN FISCAL YEAR 2011

Department Sets Records for Recoveries in Health Care and War-Related Fraud Annual Recoveries in Whistle Blower Cases Reach All Time High

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department secured more than $3 billion in settlements and judgments in civil cases involving fraud against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011, Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, announced today.  This is the second year in a row that the department has surpassed $3 billion in recoveries under the False Claims Act, bringing the total since January 2009 to $8.7 billion – the largest three-year total in the Justice Department’s history.

The $3 billion total for fiscal year 2011 includes a record $2.8 billion in recoveries under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which is the government’s primary civil remedy to redress false claims for federal money or property, such as Medicare benefits, payments on military contracts, and federal subsidies and loans.  The department has recovered more than $30 billion under the False Claims Act since the act was substantially amended in 1986.  The 1986 amendments strengthened the act and increased the incentives for whistle blowers to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.  That in turn led to an unprecedented number of investigations and greater recoveries.

“Twenty-eight percent of the recoveries in the last 25 years were obtained since President Obama took office,”Assistant Attorney General West said.  “These record-setting results reflect the extraordinary determination and effort that this administration, and Attorney General Eric Holder in particular, have put into rooting out fraud, recovering taxpayer money and protecting the integrity of government programs.”

Assistant Attorney General West noted that the $3 billion recovered this year included $2.4 billion in recoveries involving fraud committed against federal health care programs.  Most of these recoveries are attributable to the Medicare and Medicaid programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  They also include the TRICARE program administered by Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Employees Health Benefits program administered by the Office of Personnel Management and Veterans Administration health programs.

Fighting health care fraud is a top priority for the Obama Administration.  On May 20, 2009, the Attorney General and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the creation of an interagency task force, the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), to increase coordination and optimize criminal and civil enforcement.  Since January 2009 alone, the department has used the False Claims Act to recover more than $6.6 billion in federal health care dollars.  This is more recovered under the act than in any other three-year period.

The historic $2.8 billion recovered in whistle blower cases came from suits filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act.  These provisions allow private citizens, known as relators, to file lawsuits on behalf of the government.  In the 25 years since the False Claims Act was substantially amended, whistle blowers have filed more than 7,800 actions under the qui tam provisions. Qui tam suits hit a peak of 638 this past year, after hovering in the 300s and low 400s for much of the decade.

Assistant Attorney General West thanked the courageous citizens who have come forward to report fraud, often at great personal risk:  “We are tremendously grateful to whistle blowers who have brought fraud allegations to the government’s attention and assisted us in this public-private partnership to fight fraud,” he said.

In 1986, Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Howard Berman led successful efforts in Congress to amend the False Claims Act, including enhancements to the qui tam provisions to encourage whistle blowers to come forward with allegations of fraud.  In this 25th anniversary year of the 1986 amendments, Assistant Attorney General West paid tribute to the bill’s sponsors, saying that “without their foresight, the breadth of the recoveries we announce here today would not have been possible.”  He also expressed his gratitude to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to Senator Grassley and Representative Berman for their support of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, which made additional improvements to the False Claims Act and other fraud statutes.

Assistant Attorney General West also applauded Congress’ passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, which reenforced the government’s ability to redress fraud in the nation’s health care system.  Among many other changes, the ACA amended the False Claims Act to provide additional incentives for whistle blowers to report fraud to the government and strengthened the provisions of the federal health care Anti-Kickback Statute.

Enforcement actions involving the pharmaceutical industry were the source of the largest recoveries this year.  In all, the department recovered nearly $2.2 billion in civil claims against the pharmaceutical industry in fiscal year 2011, including $1.76 billion in federal recoveries and $421 million in state Medicaid recoveries.  These cases included $900 million from eight drug manufacturers to resolve allegations that they had engaged in unlawful pricing to increase their profits.  Additionally, GlaxoSmithKline PLC paid $750 million to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company knowingly submitted, or caused to be submitted, false claims to government health care programs for adulterated drugs and for drugs that failed to conform with the strength, purity or quality specified by the Food and Drug Administration.

Adding to its successes under the False Claims Act, the department obtained 21 criminal convictions and $1.3 billion in criminal fines, forfeitures, restitution, and disgorgement under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).  The FDCA’s criminal provisions are enforced by the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch.

In addition to health care, the department continued its aggressive pursuit of fraud in government procurement and other forms of financial fraud, including grant, housing and mortgage fraud that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis.  In November 2009, President Obama established the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to hold accountable the individuals and corporations who contributed to the crisis as well as those who would claim illegal advantage through false claims for funds intended to stimulate economic recovery.  Of the $3 billion in fiscal year 2011 recoveries, these non-war related procurement and consumer-related financial fraud cases accounted for nearly $358 million.

Overall, the department recovered $422 million in fiscal year 2011 in procurement fraud cases, including $89.3 million in recoveries in connection with the wars in Southwest Asia.  This brings civil fraud recoveries in connection with the wars in Southwest Asia since January 2009 to $153.4 million, and the total amount recovered in procurement fraud cases during that time to $1.5 billion, again a greater amount than in any previous three-year period.

Assistant Attorney General West expressed his deep appreciation for the dedicated public servants who contributed to the investigation and prosecution of these cases.  These individuals include attorneys, investigators, auditors and other agency personnel throughout the Civil Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, HHS, DoD and the many other federal and state agencies.

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Looking for 2011 Tax Relief? There’s Still Time PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 23 December 2011 14:52
Expert Shares Tips for Saving on Your Income Tax

If you’re just beginning to think about your 2011 income tax return, you’ve got a late start – but it’s still not too late to cash in on some savings.

“A lot of the deductions associated with the economic stimulus package will disappear in 2012, so if you want to take advantage of them, you’ve got only until Dec. 31,” says Jessica James, CPA and author of Justice for None (www.AuthorJessicaJames.com), an insider look at IRS tactics in a tax fraud investigation and trial.

But, she says, there’s still plenty of time for some other measures to ease your share of the tax burden. Now is also a good time to resolve to start earlier in 2012 to minimize that year’s tax bill. Here are a some tips for both 2011 and 2012 savings.

• Contribute to retirement accounts. If you haven’t already put money into your traditional or ROTH IRA account for 2011, you’ve got until April 17 to do it. If you have a Keogh or SEP (Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement for businesses), and you get a filing extension to Oct. 15, you’ve got until then to make your 2011 deposits. The maximum IRA contribution for 2011 is $5,000, or $6,000 if you’re 50 or older by the end of the year. For self-employed people, the maximum for SEPs and Keoghs for 2011 is $49,000.

• Don't fear the home office deduction. In the past, many tax filers didn’t claim a home office deduction because it was seen as an IRS red flag. But the requirements and forms have been clarified so people can do that properly – and not make mistakes that can lead to an audit. Also, the rules have been expanded so more people can claim the deduction. If you use a home office exclusively for business, even if you don’t meet your clients there, you’re eligible. For instance, a handyman who does his work other people’s houses can claim the deduction if he does his paperwork at his home office. Another change is that, in the past, if you claimed 10 percent of your home as an office, that amount would not be included in the $250,000 tax-free profit from the home’s sale that’s allowed for an individual by the IRS. Be sure to make your claim reasonable, or it will get questioned; a $25,000 home office deduction for a business with $50,000 annual gross revenue is not reasonable.

• Maximize your Flexible Spending Account. The Health Care Act will limit the maximum you can put into these pre-tax medical expense accounts in 2013. So 2012 is the last year to use an FSA to pay for orthodontics and other large medical expenses using pre-tax earnings. A medical expense flexible spending account, or FSA, allows you to use before-tax earnings to pay for medical or health care expenses not covered by your health insurance. Assuming a 25 percent tax rate, you avoid $25 in taxes for every $100 you spend from your FSA.

• Need to sell an investment? Next year may be the time. The Tax Relief Act maintains the tax rate cap on capital gains and dividends at 15 percent through 2012. In 2013, the cap for capital gains will increase to 20 percent and for dividends, 39.6 percent. The Health Care Act also created a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on investment income, effective in 2013. Given those scheduled increases, plan to take advantage of the rates next year.

James is an author pseudonym used because she fears her novel may provoke IRS retaliation. It’s a fictionalized account of her experience as a minor player swept up in an IRS probe that included anyone associated with the primary target, a corporation. She says that, though she was innocent of any wrongdoing, she was coerced into accepting a plea deal by the IRS, which was bent on amassing adjudications of guilt to justify the investigation’s expense. She pled guilty to a count of falsifying a tax return and continues to work as a CPA.

About Jessica James

Jessica James is a CPA and the author of a novel, “Justice for None,” about her experiences as a minor target in a major federal tax fraud case.  After her ordeal, she decided to write about it as a warning to others who think they can take on the government and win.

 
Winegard Company Wins National Safety Council Award for 1 Million Work Hours without an Occupational Injury PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Shelby Kraus   
Friday, 23 December 2011 14:40

Company credits teamwork and commitment in attaining important milestone

BURLINGTON, Iowa – (December 19, 2011) – Winegard Co. claimed a significant national award for surpassing one million injury-free work hours at its facilities. That means no work time lost to injuries in more than a year for the antenna manufacturer that proudly makes its antennas in the U.S.A.

The National Safety Council recognized Winegard for notable performance in occupational safety and health with the Million Work Hours Award. This award recognizes the achievement of one million consecutive work hours without an occupational injury or illness resulting in days away from work or death.

"It took a tremendous amount of teamwork to achieve this award," said Vic Kohlhof Winegard safety director. "Only a very few elite companies ever achieve such a phenomenal goal and we’re proud to be one of them. I’d like to express our gratitude to everyone at the company for their commitment to our safety programs, from all the team members to the hiring manager."

"Safety compliance and an accident-free workplace allow Winegard to keep costs down," added Kohlhof. "It allows us to provide our customers with the lowest-total-cost-products made by skilled, experienced workers in the U.S. enabling Winegard to be competitive in the global marketplace."

About Winegard
Winegard Company is a respected world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative antenna products for satellite and terrestrial communications. Since its founding in 1954, Winegard’s pioneering solutions have shaped the industry for home, recreational vehicle (RV), truck, marine, medical and automotive antennas. The company’s VSAT 2-way antennas provide real-time broadband solutions for extreme and remote environments in support of the oil and gas industries, as well as military and emergency response teams. Winegard is a privately-owned company that designed the first antenna for the U.S. It has designed more than 1,000 antenna models and does custom antenna design and development work. To learn more about Burlington, Iowa-based Winegard, visit http://www.winegard.com or call 800-288-8094.


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Ron Paul Statement Concerning Becket Fund for Religious Liberties Lawsuit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Gary Howard   
Tuesday, 20 December 2011 16:04
Citing Jefferson, Dr. Paul calls federal mandate forcing private institutions to cover contraceptives “sinful and tyrannical”
LAKE JACKSON, Texas – The Ron Paul 2012 Presidential campaign released the following statement concerning the Becket Fund for Religious Liberties lawsuit filed on behalf of Belmont Abbey College, located in North Carolina.  Below please find comments from Congressman Paul:

"I applaud the Becket Fund for coming to the defense of Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic school founded by Benedictine monks.  Federal bureaucrats are using their powers to try to force this traditional Catholic school to cover contraceptives, defined to include drugs such as RU-486, as part of their group health care plan.

“Thomas Jefferson said it was ‘sinful and tyrannical’ to ‘compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors.’  Forcing private religious institutions to cover RU-486 certainly falls within Jefferson's definition of sinful and tyrannical. 

“Unlike other candidates, I have fought against the federal promotion, funding, and mandating of contraceptives and abortion my entire political career.  As President, I will use my constitutional authority to stop federal bureaucrats from forcing any institution to violate their sacred moral and religious beliefs by making them provide coverage for contraceptives in their health insurance plan."
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