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Keeping Our Ears To The Streets

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Jewish Family Accused in $20 Million Mortgage & Welfare Fraud Scheme

Jewish Family Accused in $20 Million Mortgage & Welfare Fraud Scheme

 

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — An extended family and several business associates were indicted on federal charges Thursday in a mortgage and welfare fraud scheme that authorities say netted more than $20 million.

Federal agents arrested 13 people in pre-dawn raids in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Kiryas Joel and Monroe in Orange County, and Manhattan. Two more people indicted are expected to surrender Thursday, authorities said.

“The defendants involved alternately played the parts of prince and pauper depending on which scam was being perpetrated,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference in White Plains. “There’s a lot of fraud here and shell games. … The fraud was complex and they were fairly organized.”

He said the investigation is continuing.

Using falsified documents and concealed identities, the group obtained $20 million in mortgages and other loans from banks and financial institutions, according to the 21-count indictment unsealed Thursday morning.

Bharara said some of the defendants doubled dipped, claiming to be rich while obtaining million-dollar loans and mortgages and then pleading poverty — even homelessness — to get welfare payments and social services.

They used the money to pay credit card debts, mortgages, and to enrich themselves and their families, authorities said. They also provided charity to residents of Brooklyn, Monroe and Kiryas Joel.

FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said that by fraudulently taking social service benefits, they also took money other people truly needed.

The indictment includes charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to make false statements to lenders, aggravated identity theft, and theft of public money. Some 20 loans were identified as problematic; the majority of those went into default, Bharara said.

The indictment names Yehuda Rubin, 29, as the scheme’s organizer, accusing him of participating in 10 fraudulent loans. He allegedly acted as a borrower, the borrower’s power of attorney, mortgage broker, distributor of the money and arranger of short sales.

Rubin and his wife, Rachel, 29, of Monroe, claimed $180 a month and $360 bi-weekly from Rachel Rubin’s work to qualify for Medicaid and food stamps, but also claimed a monthly income of $25,000 to get a loans from banks, Bharara said.

The borrowers who fraudulently obtained loans allegedly included various family members and associates: Yehuda Rubin’s father, Irving Rubin, 58, of Brooklyn; Irving Rubin’s brothers Abraham Rubin, 51, Jacob Rubin, 41, and Samuel Rubin, 59, all of Brooklyn; another of Irving Rubin sons, Joel Rubin, 33, of Brooklyn; Irving Rubin’s wife, Desiree Rubin, 57 of Brooklyn; and other relatives by marriage — Joel Koppel, 30, of Monroe, Rifka Rubin, 46, of Brooklyn, and Benzion Kraus, 29, of Brooklyn.

Attorney Martin Kofman, 53, of Brooklyn, is accused of acting as the real estate lawyer on numerous transactions with fraudulent loans. Pinchus Glauber, 53, of Monsey, who allegedly provided faulty real estate appraisals, is accused of lying about the details of his review of a property as well as inflating their value. He also is among a number of the defendants accused of fraudulently obtaining public assistance — in his case, $60,400 in food stamps between 2009 and 2014.

 

 

Source:  USAToday

Richard Sherman Of The Seattle Seahawks Launches Word Game App “Letters Of Boom”

letters of boom

If you feel you don’t already have enough of Richard Sherman in your face, there’s a new app for that.

The Seattle Seahawks cornerback has lent his brash persona to Letters of Boom, a word game ($1.99) that is on Apple’s iTunes store.

Sherman tells USA TODAY that one constant in his journey from Compton to Stanford University to the NFL has been an enduring love of word games, a passion he hopes to ignite in his fans via a spelling game he created with app makers Digital Kitchen.

“My message is, knowledge is power,” says Sherman, who even on the phone has the terse delivery of a coiled cobra. “You should want to be powerful in all aspects of your life. It would be fantastic to attract a crowd of kids who are mainly into sports, and get them to fall in love with books and reading.”

The premise of Letters of Boom is addictively simple. Think Scrabble without the annoying wait for others to take their turn.

Fire up the app, and Sherman greets you with a booming “Boom!” In Classic mode, a stream of tiles present themselves and you choose to place them on one of two virtual racks. Each time you spell a word, points accrue and more letters appear. In Blitz mode, there’s a 60-second countdown clock.

The somewhat cheesy game-show music aside, the best soundtrack is provided by Sherman’s occasional outbursts (for those needing a refresher, Sherman made his name after last year’s winning NFC Championship Game, when he boasted about being the best corner in the league and called his opponent a “sorry” receiver).

Beyond screaming things like “Don’t make me laugh” (for an easy three-letter word) and “That’s not a word,” Sherman also is quick to prop the use of so-called Shermanisms built into the game. These include phrases such as “umadbro” and “picksix,” all allowed in an effort “to get Richard’s personality across,” says Anthony Vitagliano, director of experience design in Digital Kitchen’s Chicago offices.

“On the one hand, the idea of creating a word-game app for him did at first seem super weird,” says Vitagliano, noting that the company was approached by Sherman’s representatives at the Creative Artists Agency. “But he’s not just some meathead football player, he’s very smart. So we wanted to bring that duality that he brings to football, the brains and the brawn, to his game.”

Vitagliano says that while the word-game app market is packed with competitors, he was motivated by the possibility that Sherman’s “could leverage his professional success to reach into a market demographic that might only play this game if it was a more intense experience.”

For Sherman, it all started with staples such as Scrabble and newspaper crossword puzzles. The mental challenge of summoning a word from random letters was something the football player always found exciting.

“We didn’t have much at home in terms of technology when I was growing up, but I can remember being 7 or 8 and loving word games,” he says. “Seeing words appear from letter combinations that on the surface seem random is just a thrill.”

In creating Letters of Boom, Sherman says he wanted to combine his love of action (his favorite app mode is, not surprisingly, Blitz) with a nod to his own admittedly out-there personality. “That’s why you get rewarded with extra points if you know me and what I say,” he says.

Asked whether a word-game app and a football player isn’t an incongruous pairing, Sherman’s famously feisty side rears up: “Well maybe, but maybe you also shouldn’t be so quick to judge something like that.”

Words of boom, indeed.

Source: USA Today

Social Media Alert!!! Twitter Is Now Tracking Apps On Your Cell Phone

twitter logo

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter said it is now tracking what other apps its users have installed on their mobile devices so it can target content and ads to them better.

Twitter Inc. said Wednesday that users will receive a notification when the setting is turned on and can opt out using settings on their phones. On iPhones, this setting is called “limit ad tracking.” On Android phones, it’s “opt out of interest-based ads.”

San Francisco-based Twitter said it is only collecting the list of apps that users have installed, not any data within the apps. It won’t collect the app lists from people who have previously turned off ad targeting on their phones.

Besides advertising, Twitter said knowing what apps people have downloaded can improve its suggestions on what accounts to follow and add relevant content to their feeds that isn’t advertising.

A recent Pew Research Center poll found that people sometimes have conflicting views on privacy. About 80 percent of Americans who use social networking sites are concerned about third parties, such as advertisers, accessing data that they share on the sites, according to the poll. At the same time, most are willing to share some information about themselves in exchange for using such services for free.

Source: Huffington Post

Blacks In Chicago At Higher Risk Of Being Shot By Police

police shooting

Chicago police have long been criticized for interpreting the Constitution in different ways depending on which neighborhood they patrol.

People living in a white neighborhood, or a wealthy one, are rarely stopped or frisked. Replace “white” and “wealthy” with “brown” and “poor,” and the odds increase.  “All of a sudden, you’re a suspect,” civil rights attorney Craig Futterman says.

More confrontations with police heighten the chances of a deadly encounter–particularly for people of color.

New data released Wednesday by the City of Chicago Independent Police Review Authority show African Americans are 10 times more likely to be shot by a Chicago police officer than a white person.

“In black and Latino, lower-income neighborhoods you will see police officers who are instructed to stop and frisk and aggressively search every day,” says Futterman who founded the University of Chicago’s Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project. “These opportunities for conflict to escalate present themselves. And they often do.”

The data show the odds of being shot by a police officer go up for all races in the most aggressively policed neighborhoods, which happen to be mostly black and brown.

It’s worth pointing out the number of police-involved shootings fell to a five-year low in 2013. Last year, 42 people were shot by a Chicago police officer. The numbers have fluctuated since 2009, the first year that IPRA began publishing the numbers. The high mark was 61 in 2009.

Whether the numbers are up or down, the fact that nine out of every 10 police-involved shootings involves a person of color underscores the dual interpretation of the Constitution, where communities of color are policed with excessive force and illegal searches and white ones are not.  As we’ve reported before, the city has paid out millions to settle related lawsuits. Yet, rarely are members of the police force found culpable. Even when a life is lost.

 

Source: Chicago Reporter

Shocking Mistake In Darren Wilson Grand Jury – Law Imposed With Jury Was Viewed Unconstitutional Since 1985 [ Video]

Shocking Mistake In Darren Wilson Grand Jury [ Video]

 

In the Rewrite, Lawrence looks at a major correction the assistant prosecutors had to make to the grand jury in the Michael Brown case.

Assistant district Cathy Alizadeh lowered the standard in which Darren Wilson could be judged. She handed the Grand Jury a copy of a 1979 Missouri law that was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S.A Supreme Court in 1985. She handed them something that was not deemed lawful in her entire career. The document stated an officer can shoot at a suspect as he/ she is fleeing.

 

grand jury

By handing the Grand Jury that document, she essentially told the jury that Officer Darren Wilson had the legal right to shoot & kill Michael Brown the minute he started running.

In the aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, many legal analysts and commentators have pointed out just how badly the grand jury was stacked in Wilson’s favor.

Rather than attempt to establish probable cause to indict and try Wilson, the prosecutor conducted what amounts to a secret trial, only worse.

Check out the video; was this a simple mistake or was this intentional???  Judge for yourselves.

 

 

 

Video Source: MSNBC

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