General Info
Post-holiday safety for peak fire months PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Lorraine Carli   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 11:06

NFPA reminds the public to properly store and dispose of seasonal decorations

December 21, 2011 – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are more home structure fires in the cooler months than any other time of year. As pine needles begin to drop on living room carpets, NFPA is offering suggestions for safe storage and removal of holiday decorations.

 

“It’s not uncommon to see residents keeping lights and Christmas trees up past December,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “The reality is, continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out Christmas trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home.”

 

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they have a higher chance of being deadly. NFPA recommends getting rid of the tree when it’s dry. Dried trees should not be kept in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.

 

In 2005-2009, holiday lights and other decorative lighting were involved in an annual average of 150 home fires, 8 civilian deaths, 14 related injuries, and $8.5 million in direct property damage. To reduce the risk of holiday light fires and keep equipment in good condition for next year, follow these storage suggestions:

 

  • To unplug electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets. Doing so can harm the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical shock or fire.
  • As you’re putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Do not place a damaged set of lights back into the storage box for next year’s use.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Also, keep them away from children and pets.

Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. In fact, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February, according to NFPA's Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment (PDF, 723 KB) report.

 

NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are working together to remind everyone that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Learn more information about the organizations’ joint safety campaign, “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires.”

 

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA’s website at www.nfpa.org for more information.

 
Jan Karski Presidential Medal of Freedom Campaign Gains Momentum PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Alex Storozynski   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:31
Dear Friends of the Kosciuszko Foundation,

Many of you remember that Jan Karski was a member of the Kosciuszko Foundation for decades. The photo above shows Karski during one of his many talks at the Kosciuszko Foundation. While Karski is known as the man who tried to stop the Holocaust by urging Roosevelt and Churchill to take action, he was also a diplomat, resistance fighter against the murderous regimes of Hitler and Stalin, and a Professor at Georgetown University. Ever vigilant as a champion of justice, he was a true Polish hero.

 

On April 7, 2011, the executrix of Jan Karski's estate, Kaya Mirecka-Ploss and I wrote to President Obama asking him to award Karski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We are pleased to announce that the campaign is gaining momentum, and so far, 11 United States Senators and 66 Members of the House of Representatives have signed on to a letter in support of President Obama awarding this posthumous honor to Professor Karski.

 

Members of the steering committee that have been pushing the campaign include: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter; Robert L. Billingsley, Co-Chair, Georgetown University Jan Karski Centennial Campaign; David Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee; Andrzej Rojek, Kosciuszko Foundation Trustee; and Wanda Urbanska, Director of the Jan Karski U.S. Centennial Campaign.

 

As a beneficiary of Karski's estate, the Kosciuszko Foundation believes it is important to keep Karski's legacy alive. If you have time, please take a moment and call the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111 and ask the President to confer this long-overdue honor on Dr. Karski. If the line is busy, please keep trying.

 

To learn more about the campaign to honor Jan Karski visit: http://www.jankarski.net/

 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas,

Happy Chanukah,

and a fantastic New Year!

 

Alex Storozynski

President & Executive Director

 
Amica Insurance offers accident checklist for the holidays PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Amy Duquette   
Friday, 23 December 2011 16:10

LINCOLN, RI   Dec. 20, 2011 – If you’re traveling for the holidays, please drive safely. But if an accident occurs, remember Amica Insurance offers a handy accident checklist on Amica.com and on the Amica mobile app for most smartphones.

“We hope everyone makes it to their holiday parties safely,” said Lisa St. Onge, an assistant vice president with Amica. “But accidents do happen, even on those last-minute trips to the mall, so it’s important to be prepared. That’s why we have an Auto Accident Checklist, with a list of what to do – and not do – if you’re involved in an accident. We hope you never have to use it. But, just in case, you may want to print a copy to keep with your vehicle or download the Amica mobile app so you’ll have it on your phone.”

Amica Insurance Auto Accident Checklist

If you are involved in an accident

• Remain calm and clearheaded.
• Turn on your hazard lights.
• If safe to do so, move your vehicle away from traffic.
• Do not discuss who is at fault or your insurance limits.
• Do not leave the scene of the accident.

Contact emergency personnel

• If anyone is injured, call 911 for medical assistance.
• Do not move an injured person.
• Give police your version of what happened.
• Obtain the police officer's name, department and incident number.

Exchange information

• Vehicle owner's name, address, telephone and/or email address
• Insurance information (company and policy number)
• Other vehicle information (year, make, model and registration plate)
• Driver's name, address, telephone and/or email address (if different from the vehicle owner's information)
• Obtain contact information from passengers and/or witnesses.
• Note the accident location.

Take photos/video if safe to do so

• Accident scene
• Traffic controls
• Street names
• Road conditions
• Vehicles and other property damage

“Also, remember to buckle up, pay attention and stay fresh and alert when driving,” St. Onge said. “And, if you’re going to a party or event where alcohol will be served, make sure there is a designated driver.”

With so many people on the roads and so many holiday parties, motorists need to be extra vigilant this time of year, St.Onge said. We hope everyone has a safe, happy holiday season.

About Amica Mutual Insurance
Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation’s oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,200 people in 40 offices across the country.

 
DAVENPORT MAN WINS $30,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
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. 

 

###


 
Grassley Law Recovers Another $2.8 Billion of Taxpayer Money Otherwise Lost to Fraud PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
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.

 

-30-

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

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.

# # #

 
<< Start < Prev 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 Next > End >>

Page 390 of 475