May 5, 2021

USA: Former Communications Director For The Democratic Party of Arkansas And Chairman Of The Pulaski County Democratic Party Charged In Child Porn Case Used Meth At County Job.

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
written by Linda Satter
Monday November 19, 2018

A federal agent testified Friday that Harold "H.L." Moody, who was fired last week from his job as special events coordinator for Pulaski County Youth Services, distributed child pornography and smoked methamphetamine out of a glass pipe while seated at his desk in the county administration building during regular work hours.

Jason Bennett, a special agent for Homeland Security Investigations, said an agent who was participating in an undercover capacity in a video-conferencing application used by child pornographers took "screen shots" of Moody sitting at his desk and conversing with others in the secret chatroom on more than one occasion between Aug. 29 and Oct. 12.

Moody, 39, was fired from his job of nearly two years -- a job that a county spokesman said was administrative and didn't involve interaction with children -- immediately after his arrest on the evening of Nov. 5, when agents executed a search-and-seizure warrant at his downtown Little Rock apartment. Bennett said screen shots also captured Moody using the app while he was at home.

Moody was also a political consultant. He was hired by the county after a year-and-a-half stint as communications director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Before that, he had been chairman of the Pulaski County Democratic Party for two years.

Bennett's testimony helped convince a federal judge to order Moody to remain in federal custody until his trial on two counts of receipt of child pornography, three counts of distribution of child pornography and a single count of conspiring to advertise child pornography.

The trial is tentatively set to begin in January.

The details surrounding Moody's arrest emerged during a hearing at which his attorney, Chris Tarver of the federal public defender's office, sought to have him released pending trial. Tarver asked that Moody be allowed to return to the downtown Little Rock apartment he shares with his partner or that he be committed to an in-patient drug-treatment facility.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe said he was inclined to release Moody to an in-patient care facility until Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Bryant convinced him that Moody poses a risk of flight and could be a danger to the community, though it was "a close call."

Bryant argued that Moody has sophisticated computer skills, is connected to shadowy figures who share child pornography across the globe and faces a minimum 15-year prison sentence if convicted on the conspiracy charge, which "ups the ante significantly" that he might flee before trial.

While Bennett testified that agents found 15 images of child pornography on one of the devices found in Moody's apartment, Bryant said federal agents haven't been able to access all of the devices because they are password-protected, so "we don't know if he's a producer of child pornography," and, "I don't think we know how much of a danger to the community he is."

Agents also found two grams of methamphetamine at Moody's home and a half-gram of the drug in his office desk drawer, Bennett said.

In asking the judge to detain Moody, Bryant also cited the nature of the photographs and videos he is accused of distributing -- images of babies and young children being raped -- and his apparent rapidly escalating involvement. She pointed to the agent's testimony that Moody was initially observed viewing the images, then distributing them and eventually even hosting sessions in which people in a secure chatroom stream live videos of infants being raped.

Bennett testified that the chatrooms in which an undercover officer encountered Moody are accessible through a computer application that he wouldn't identify. He said they require a room code and a password to enter, and "are solely dedicated to displaying child pornography."

The agent called Moody a "high-volume user" who logged in and out several times a day -- including 26 times in a two-day span -- and who was given the privilege of being a host, which indicates he did something to ingratiate himself with the person who is in charge of the rooms.

Tarver put on testimony from Moody's partner, Gabriel Womack, who said he broke off their engagement this summer after finding methamphetamine in their apartment and after Moody admitted to being addicted to the drug. Womack said Moody has made at least two attempts to stop, but can't. He said, "This is a drug issue."

Two female friends of Moody's also testified on his behalf. One said he recently told her he was hopelessly addicted to methamphetamine and looking for treatment. The other said that although she knew he was charged with child pornography, much of it involving young boys, she would allow him to stay in her house with her and her 15-year-old son.

Bryant told the judge that while she is "sympathetic" to addicts, "I don't think that because he's a methamphetamine addict that makes him go look at child pornography."

She argued that if he was released, he could alert the other people who are being investigated for the same activities that they are being watched, which "poses a danger to the children yet to be rescued."

Tarver argued that Moody has no previous criminal history and was trying to seek treatment for drug addiction before his arrest. Tarver said two business owners had offered to let Moody work for them if he was allowed to remain free.

Womack testified that he never saw any child pornography in the apartment the two men shared, but he acknowledged they each had separate computers and that Moody frequently changed his passwords because he "frequently thought he was being hacked."

Bennett told the judge that when agents executed the search warrant at Moody's apartment, he answered their knock at his door without a shirt and with his pants unzipped. Bennett said another agent noticed "some foreign substance" on Moody's arm when pulling him out of his apartment, but they didn't know what he was doing when they arrived.
US Dept of Justice
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

LITTLE ROCK—A federal investigation into certain online child exploitation chatrooms has resulted in the arrest of Harold "HL" Moody, Jr. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Jere T. Miles, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New Orleans Field Division, announced today the unsealing of a criminal complaint charging Moody, 39, of Little Rock, with distribution and possession of child pornography. Moody worked as the special events coordinator for Pulaski County Youth Services.

Moody was arrested Monday evening and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe on Tuesday morning, at which time he was remanded to federal custody. A trial date will be set at a later time. Law enforcement officers also executed a search warrant at Moody’s residence on Monday.

HSI was conducting an undercover investigation into child exploitation chatrooms when agents discovered an individual later identified as Moody distributing child pornography. The undercover agents involved in the investigation observed Moody in these chatrooms on at least five occasions.

According to the complaint affidavit, on August 29, 2018, Moody was present in a chatroom when child pornography was being displayed. Agents observed Moody in the chatroom, via his webcam. Moody’s face was clearly visible and the undercover agent observed what appeared to be an office setting in the background.

That same day, undercover agents again observed Moody in a chatroom where child pornography was being displayed. Moody appeared to be in the same office.

On September 7, 2018, Moody was again visible on camera and observed in the chatroom actually distributing child pornography. 馃憠 Among the images that Moody distributed was a video that depicted a nude, adult, male performing oral sex on two nude, PRE-PUBESCENT males. 馃憟 According to the complaint, Moody then follows the video with the following chat message sent to all participants of the chatroom: "not the version I thought." Another user requests, via chat message, that Moody play more videos. Moody responds via chat message, "I’ve heard of White privilege but never Perv privilege – I am not the Juke Box at Waffle House...I do not play on demand..."

On September 9, 2018, and October 12, 2018, Moody was again in the chatroom distributing child pornography.

Distribution of child pornography carries a penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years imprisonment, not less than 5 years to life of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Possession of child pornography carries a penalty of not more than 10 years imprisonment, not less than 5 years to life of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

This investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kristin Bryant and Allison Bragg.

A complaint or indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

May 4, 2021

USA: The Former Democrat House Speaker For The State Of Oregon And Current Clackamas Community College Board Member Was Arrested And Charged Over Human Sex Trafficking.

Portland Tribune
written by Jim Redden
Monday May 3, 2021

Former Oregon House Speaker and current Clackamas Community College board member Dave Hunt was cited by Portland police in an undercover sex traffic sting operation in April.

Contacted by the Portland Tribune on Monday, May 3, Hunt said, "I don't think I should talk about that."

Hunt's attorney, Micheal De Munis, said, "Mr. Hunt denies the allegations, but respects the criminal justice process and will refrain from saying more until he has his opportunity in court."

Clackamas Community College said Hunt was taking a leave from the board.

As a legislator, Hunt was one of numerous sponsors of a bill criminalizing sex trafficking in 2007. In 2011, he also voted for HB 2714, that bill created the crime of commercial sexual solicitation, the crime for which he was arrested and cited.

The Portland Police Bureau issued a press release May 1, saying its Human Trafficking Unit had cited eight men in an operation conducted in April. Officers posted online decoy ads on known human trafficking websites, and the subjects who "contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts" were criminally cited on the charge of commercial sexual solicitation.

The release did not name those cited, but said the list was available on request. The Portland Tribune requested the list and received it Monday morning, May 3. It included "53-year-old David Hunt of Milwaukie."

Reporters at the Portland Tribune then requested and received a portion of the police report. The suspect has the same full name, date of birth and home address as the former speaker and current CCC board member. It said he was arrested and cited on April 28 by two Portland police officers at a Ramada Inn in Southeast Portland.

A Democrat, Hunt served as state representative for District 40 of the Oregon House of Representatives, representing Clackamas County from 2003 to 2013. He was elected Oregon House majority leader for the 2007-2009 session and served as speaker during the 2009-11 session.

After leaving the Legislature, Hunt served as president & CEO of the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition for five years and as senior vice-president of Strategies 360 for three years. He currently serves as president and CEO of Columbia Public Affairs, where he is also a registered Oregon lobbyist.

According to the police bureau, the Human Trafficking Unit is one of its oldest units. It added two additional detectives along with an additional sergeant and four officers in 2020, giving it the investigative capacity to follow up on felony-level Measure 11 crimes while simultaneously conducting rescue missions for victims of trafficking and affecting the demand side of trafficking by conducting periodic buyer suppression missions.

Due to both COVID-19 restrictions and months of nightly civil unrest, the unit's work was severely curtailed for most of the year. Its operations included six surveillance missions, 100 hours of remote review surveillance, two buyer suppression missions, and four rescue/trafficker suppression missions.

USA: Compilation Black Marxists Attacking Asian Americans Across America. BLM And Democrats Have Been Blaming White Supremacists And Trump Referring To Covid19 As The China Virus.

UPDATE 5/5/21 at 3:52pm: Added info below.
oh look, what a surprise. 馃檮

USA: A Police Officer Pulls Over A Woman Driver For Using Her Cell Phone While Driving. She Called Him A Murderer And A Mexican Racist. She Said You'll Always Be A Mexican, You'll Never Be White.

Fox News
written by Yael Halon
Monday May 3, 2021

A woman can be heard verbally attacking a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy with racist slurs during a standard traffic stop in bodycam footage exclusively obtained by Fox News' Bill Melugin and featured on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Monday.

The anti-cop hostility in the U.S. reared its ugly head during a traffic stop last month when an officer pulled over a woman who appeared to be using her cellphone while driving.

The 14-year career officer told Melugin that he recorded the interaction on both his official department-issued bodycam and a personal one he bought to "protect himself from false allegations" as the public continues to demonize police following the death of George Floyd last year.

As the unidentified officer approaches the window, the driver begins recording him on her cellphone, before saying, "I started to record because you’re a murderer."

When the officer calmly explains to the woman she "can't be on your cellphone while you are driving" and requests to see her identification, the driver fires back, "It's at my apartment, and I am perfectly legal and I am a teacher."

The interaction took a turn when the woman called the officer a "Mexican racist."

"You are always going to be a Mexican," she is heard saying. "You will never be White. You know that, right?"

Melugin called the exchange a "grade A example of the kind of animosity that some of the officers out there are encountering on the streets."

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told Fox News that he was "appalled" by what he saw in the video, but commended his deputy for staying professional.

"She claims to be a teacher. I'm not so sure where she is teaching... but if she represents her profession, is that an indictment on her profession and the caliber of people?" Villanueva asked.

"You have one incident like George Floyd....but some people want to label the entire profession as if everyone was a Derek Chauvin. It shows you that bigotry, racism comes in all, colors and all ages -- that's proof of that right there. If you want to call all of the deputies murderers, unfortunately, you are doing the exact same thing you're accusing other people of doing against your own kind."

The LA County Sheriff's department told Fox News that the woman in the video called internal affairs and filed a harassment complaint against the deputy immediately after the incident. The department also said that the woman has a history of making false claims against deputies.

Fox News has identified the woman, but she has not responded to the network's multiple requests for comment.

 I was watching KTLA5 this morning and they reported on this incident focusing solely on the racist issue never showing or mentioning the woman driver repeatedly calling the police officer a murderer. So, KTLA5 is misleading their audience in a big way. Because she is one of their own. But they want their audience to believe she is a White racist "right-wing" Republican. KTLA5 didn't upload a video clip of this news segment on YouTube. I wish I had videotaped it for you. (emphasis mine)

HAPPY Star Wars Day!!! :)

Party at Jabba's Palace tonight! The Max Rebo Band will be performing. Here they are in the video with Sy Snootles rockin the mic to Lapti Nek.
See you there! I'll be the Jedi boogying on the dance floor. lol ;) ♥
written by Dirk Libbey
Friday May 3, 2019

For years, May 4th has been known as Star Wars Day. The phonetic similarity between "May the fourth" and 'May the Force" has made the day an unofficial day to celebrate all things Star Wars, but the day is now anything but unofficial, as the State of California has officially declared May 4th 2019, Star Wars Day.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 72 was officially introduced on April 22 but was voted on yesterday by the California legislature and it officially declared the fourth day of May as Star Wars Day. A large Yoda shaped balloon was on display on the Capitol lawn and members of the 501st, the charity organization whose members dress as Stormtroopers, were on hand for the event.

The resolution wasn't entirely done simply for fun. It was introduced by California Assemblyman Tom Daly whose district includes a very important place for the Walt Disney Company, the city of Anaheim. The resolution's text specifically calls out that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is set to open at Disneyland later this month, and that the creation of the new land brought numerous temporary construction jobs as well as additional permanent Disneyland cast member jobs to the city of Anaheim. Disneyland is the largest employer in all of Orange County.

Galaxy's Edge alone is estimated to bring in an additional $14 million in tax revenue to the city of Anaheim according to the resolution.

Certainly, it's understandable with that information at hand why California would bother to take the time to create an official Star Wars Day. Disney and Star Wars are massively important to the state in real, tangible, ways.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opening is certainly going to be a massive event for Disneyland, and by extension, the state. Disneyland is already one of the top tourist destinations in the state, which means millions of people coming from outside the city and the country, nevermind the state, to spend money. It's no understatement that the entire state's economy would be measurably smaller if Disneyland did not exist.

Yesterday we saw every reservation available for Galaxy's Edge in the land's first three weeks vanish in under two hours. Now, the only way to get into the land when it opens is to book a Disneyland Resort hotel. One assumes that a lot of people who got reservations are now booking trips to Disneyland that will bring money into the state, county, and city. Many of those that did not are probably looking at booking Disney hotels in order to be sure they don't miss anything.

Of course, while May 4 may now be an official Star Wars holiday in California, that unfortunately doesn't mean that business will be closing in observation of the day. This year May 4 happens to fall on a Saturday anyway, so a lot of businesses will already be closed.
SYFY WIRE published December 10, 2017: Yes, there may be things about Star Wars: A New Hope (a.k.a. just "Star Wars") that you might not know. We are certain Chewbacca mom does not know them. 
We are here to tell you!
Disney Parks published December 25, 2018: Check out this exciting new video of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening summer 2019 at Disneyland Resort and fall 2019 at Walt Disney World Resort.
Deutsche Grammophon - DG published October 2, 2020: John Williams and Wiener Philharmoniker – "Main Title" from "Star Wars: A New Hope"

USA: John Kerry Says We Need To Remove Carbon Dioxide From The Atmosphere. Humans Exhale Carbon Dioxide. Plants Use The Carbon Dioxide We Breathe Out And Create The Oxygen We Breathe In.

The Daily Caller
written by Maydeen Merino
Thursday April 22, 2021

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, speaking at the Leaders Summit on Climate, said Thursday that carbon dioxide emissions reaching a net zero would not be enough to prevent climate change.

President Biden invited 40 world leaders to participate in the summit with the goal of addressing climate change issues and presenting policies for the future. Kerry spoke at the event as a representative of the U.S., saying that humanity must make efforts to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“You said twice, getting to net zero is going to be hard, really hard. And just remind everybody that it will depend on whether or not we have breakthrough technologies, some breakthrough inventions, number one,” Kerry stated at the summit. “But even if we get to net zero, we still have to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. So this is a bigger challenge than a lot of people haven’t really grabbed onto yet.”

“Net zero” refers to a balance of greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions removed from the atmosphere, according to the Climate Council.

Leaders at the summit are also discussing the economic benefits of climate action and opportunities to protect citizens in vulnerable geographic areas from the impacts of climate change, according to the White House.

The U.S. has committed to removing half of their emissions by 2030, according to the New York Times.
written by Lachlan Markay
Friday April 30, 2021

John Kerry disclosed millions in income and a massive stock portfolio that he's liquidated since taking office as President Biden’s special climate envoy, according to a financial filing obtained by Axios on Friday.

Why it matters: Kerry is among the wealthiest members of the Biden administration. He maintains significant influence over U.S. energy and environmental policy as Biden's climate envoy, a role that comes after he advised a number of firms in the space following his time as secretary of State.
  • The State Department, where Kerry officially works again, says he has divested assets that could pose a conflict of interest, and signed an ethics pledge barring him from participating in specific policymaking decisions that could affect his former clients and employers.
The big picture: Kerry received millions of dollars in salary, consulting fees and honoraria, according to the filing, which covers 2020 and most of January 2021.
  • He drew a $5 million salary from Bank of America. He was tapped as chairman of the bank's global advisory council months after his tenure as Barack Obama's second secretary of State.
  • He landed $382,400 in speaking fees from entities including Deutsche Bank, Waste Management and Cornell University.
  • Kerry also reported compensation "in excess of $5,000" for more than a dozen other speeches in 2019, including ones to Barclays, Zurich Insurance and the foundation run by Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk.
Kerry also reported receiving $125,000 in consulting fees from The Rise Fund, an investment firm with a significant renewable energy portfolio, just one of the entities in the energy and environment space to which he reported business ties.
  • Kerry was the advisory board chairman for Climate Finance Partners, which "creates innovative and globally needed finance solutions that address climate change."
  • He was also the president of the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Corporation.
  • In addition, Kerry reported receiving more than $5,000 in compensation as an advisor to the New York-based investment firm Ripplewood, which specializes in leveraged buyouts. The firm is run by his friend Tim Collins.
Kerry's huge stock portfolio was largely held through a trust affiliated with his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz food processing fortune.
  • He reported liquidating between $4.2 million and $15 million in stock holdings last month.
  • Federal ethics rules could permit Kerry to defer capital gains taxes on those sales by reinvesting the money in "permitted" assets such as treasury bonds or exchange-traded funds. It was not immediately clear whether Kerry had done so or planned to.
What they're saying: "The State Department's Ethics Office reviewed Special Presidential Envoy Kerry's assets and investments upon his appointment to identify holdings that could pose a significant risk of a conflict of interest," a State Department spokesperson told Axios.
  • "Special Presidential Envoy Kerry agreed to divest the assets identified by the Ethics Office and has done so."

USA: A Former Obama/Biden White House Advisor And Spouse To A Well-Known National CBS News Anchor Was Arrested On Charges Of Fraud And Money Laundering.

written by Staff
Wednesday April 28, 2021

MANHATTAN, NY - A former White House advisor and spouse to a well-known national news anchor was arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering.

Seth Andrew, husband to CBS News anchor Lana Zak and former education advisor in the Obama White House, found himself under arrest on Tuesday, according to CNN.

This was a far cry from the seemingly promising career path the entrepreneur had forged for himself in years past.

At only 26 years of age, the Harvard-educated businessman founded Democracy Prep Public Schools in Harlem. His work resonated with many, including former President Barack Obama. By the time Andrews was about 35 years old, he had a key role with the White House. He became senior advisor and superintendent-in-residence at the U.S. Department of Education and senior advisor in the Office of Educational Technology.

But seven years later, the now 42-year-old businessman was taken into custody on April 27 in Manhattan, New York.

According to CNN, the charges against Andrew stem from claims that he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very schools he'd helped to found, and that he'd attempted to launder the funds in order to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage for a Manhattan apartment.

Andrew was charged by prosecutors in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a bank.

Officials say Andrew helped create the network of charter schools based in New York City in 2005, and left the network in 2013 for a job at the US Department of Education, and later became a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House, where he continued to be paid by the charter school network.

Prosecutors add that Andrew left his role in the White House in November 2016 and cut ties with the school network in January 2017.

CNN says this was verified with the charter school's CEO, Natasha Trivers, who issued a statement via email that said, "Seth left our network in 2013. His alleged actions are a profound betrayal of all that we stand for and to you and your children, the scholars and families that we serve. To be clear, at no time did the alleged crimes pose any risk to our students, staff or operations in any way."

Trivers added that the activity did not have "any adverse effect on our scholars or the functioning of our schools" and that the school system has since instituted financial safeguards, which lead to the discovery of the withdrawals.

According to a criminal complaint filed on April 20, prosecutors allege Andrew used his former association with the network of schools to steal $218,005 of the school's reserve money between March and August of 2019.

Officials claim Andrew used his email address affiliated with the schools to email a bank employee and convince them he was still associated with the school.

The complaint goes on to state that after allegedly stealing the school network's money, Andrew "attempted to conceal the source of the stolen funds ... and make it appear that the stolen funds belonged to a non-profit organization that Andrew founded, and currently appears to control."

Prosecutors say Andrew misrepresented that he "lawfully controlled" the money in order to obtain a discounted mortgage interest rate to buy an apartment in Manhattan.

After being taken into custody Tuesday, he was released on a personal recognizance bond, officials say.

According to CNN, Andrew's attorney says he will plead not guilty.

Andrew and his wife, Lana Zak, have three children.
US Dept of Justice
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of a complaint charging SETH ANDREW with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution, in connection with a scheme in which ANDREW stole $218,005 from a charter school network that he founded. ANDREW was arrested this morning in New York, New York, and will be presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Seth Andrew abused his position as a founder of a charter school network to steal from the very same schools he helped create. Andrew is not only alleged to have stolen the schools’ money but also to have used the stolen funds to obtain a savings on a mortgage for a multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartment. Thanks to the FBI’s diligent work, Andrew now faces federal charges for his alleged scheme.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Locking into the lowest interest rate when applying for a loan is certainly the objective of every home buyer, but when you don’t have the necessary funds to put down, and you steal the money from your former employer to make up the difference, saving money in interest is likely to be the least of your concerns. We allege today that Andrew did just that, and since the employer he stole from was a charter school organization, the money he took belonged to an institution serving school-aged children. Today Andrew himself is learning one of life’s most basic lessons – what doesn’t belong to you is not yours for the taking.”

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today[1]:

In 2005, SETH ANDREW helped create “School Network-1,” a series of public charter schools then based in New York City. In the Spring of 2013, ANDREW left School Network-1 and accepted a job in the United States Department of Education and, thereafter, as a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology at the White House. While employed at the Department of Education, and at the White House, ANDREW was paid by School Network-1. In November 2016, ANDREW left his role in the White House and, shortly thereafter, in January 2017, ANDREW officially severed his relationship with School Network-1.

School Network-1 comprises several charter schools throughout United States including several in New York City. Pursuant to an agreement with the New York State Board of Regents, School Network-1’s New York-based charter schools must maintain an “escrow account” that may be accessed only if the school dissolves. Three such escrow accounts, for three New York City-based School Network-1 schools, were opened by ANDREW and other School Network-1 employees at “Bank-1” in 2009, 2011, and 2013. As to each of those three accounts – Escrow Account-1, Escrow Account-2, and Escrow Account-3 – ANDREW was a signatory and had access to the funds in them. However, pursuant to the charter agreement, the funds in the Escrow Accounts were reserved in case the school dissolved, and the funds could not be moved by ANDREW, or anyone, without proper authorization.

After he severed his relationship with School Network-1, on March 28, 2019, ANDREW entered a Bank-1 branch in New York City and closed both Escrow Account-1 and Escrow Account-2. Bank-1 provided ANDREW a bank check in the amount of $71,881.23 made payable to “[School Network-1] Charter School” (“Check-1”) and a second bank check in the amount of $70,642.98 to “[School Network-1] Harlem Charter” (“Check-2”). Check-1 and Check-2 represented the funds that were in Escrow Account-1 and Escrow Account-2, respectively.

The same day that ANDREW closed Escrow Account-1 and Escrow Account-2, ANDREW entered a Manhattan branch of a different FDIC-insured bank (“Bank-2”) and opened a business bank account in the name of “[School Network-1] Charter School” (“Fraud Account‑1”). To open that account, ANDREW represented to a Bank-2 employee that he was a “Key Executive with Control of” School Network-1 Charter School, which was a lie. ANDREW then deposited Check-1 into the account but, that day, ANDREW did not deposit Check-2.

Five days later, on April 2, 2019, ANDREW used an ATM machine in Baltimore, Maryland, to deposit Check-2 into Fraud Account-1. It appears ANDREW waited to deposit Check-2 because it was made payable to “School Network-1 Harlem Charter” and not “School Network-1 Charter School.” Had he tried to deposit Check-2 when he opened Fraud Account-1 it would not have been honored by Bank-2.

At the time ANDREW deposited Check-1 and Check-2 into a Bank-2 bank account, ANDREW was contemplating obtaining a mortgage from Bank-2 to purchase a residential property. At that time, Bank-2 offered certain customers, as a promotion, more favorable mortgage interest rates if those customers maintained a certain amount of funds in Bank-2 accounts. Specifically, for every $250,000 on deposit, up to a total of $1 million, Bank-2 would lower that qualifying customer’s mortgage interest rate by 0.125%. Thus, in total, if a qualifying customer maintained $1 million or more of his/her funds in Bank-2 accounts that customer would receive a 0.5% interest rate deduction on a Bank-2 mortgage. But to take advantage of the interest rate deduction promotion, Bank-2 required that the funds a customer deposited be funds owned by the customer or, in some instances, a business the customer owned, controlled or was lawfully associated with. Bank-2 did not permit a customer to utilize money owned by someone else to gain the benefit of the interest rate deduction promotion.

By April 2019, because of the $142,524 ANDREW deposited in Bank-2, using the money he stole from two charter schools, ANDREW deposited a total of approximately $1,007,716 with Bank-2, and therefore became eligible to receive a 0.5% interest rate deduction – the largest deduction a customer could receive from Bank-2’s promotion. Without the $142,524 deposited stolen funds, ANDREW would have been eligible for only a 0.375% interest rate deduction. On August 21, 2019, ANDREW purchased a residential property located in New York, New York, for approximately $2,368,000. To effectuate that purchase, ANDREW, and his spouse, obtained a mortgage from Bank-2 in the amount of $1,776,000 with an interest rate of 2.5% – taking full advantage of the promotion Bank-2 offered.

On October 17, 2019, ANDREW closed out Escrow Account-3 and received a check (“Check-3”) made payable to “[School Network-1] Endurance” in the amount of $75,481.10.

On October 21, 2019, ANDREW deposited Check-3 into an account that he opened at a third bank (“Fraud Account-2”). Approximately one month later, ANDREW obtained a check from Bank-2 for $144,473.29, which constituted the funds stolen from Escrow Account-1 and Escrow Account-2, and ANDREW ultimately deposited those funds into Fraud Account-2. Five days later, ANDREW rolled the funds in Fraud Account-2 into a certificate of deposit. That certificate of deposit matured on May 20, 2020, which earned ANDREW $2,083.52 in interest. ANDREW then transferred the funds from the certificate of deposit – including the funds stolen from the Escrow Accounts – into a bank account held in the name of a particular civic organization that ANDREW currently controls, thereby concealing the money’s association with School Network-1, and depositing the stolen money into an account under ANDREW’s complete control.

ANDREW, 42, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of making a false statement to a bank, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan B. Finkel is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges in the Complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

May 3, 2021

WORLD: 100-Foot-Tall Booster From Chinese Rocket Will Likely Make an Uncontrolled Reentry 馃槺


Things are now falling from the sky...馃槼 Follow for more!! 馃く ##rocket ##LearnOnTikTok ##TikTokPartner

♬ Acid Flow - MCR
written by George Dvorsky
Friday April 30, 2021

Following yesterday’s launch, the core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket inadvertently went into low Earth orbit. The booster—now spinning out of control—is poised to perform an uncontrolled reentry from orbit, potentially threatening inhabited areas.

As SpaceNews reports, the core stage will likely fall from low Earth orbit at some point in the next few days, making it one of the biggest human-made objects to perform an uncontrolled reentry. The gigantic core stage, measuring 98 feet (30 meters) long and 16 feet (5 meters) wide, might burn up during atmospheric reentry, but debris could potentially reach the surface. Odds are that bits and pieces from the booster will fall into the ocean or onto uninhabited areas, but there’s a nonzero chance for it to threaten human lives and property.

Aside from this unexpected occurrence, yesterday’s launch of the Long March 5B rocket from Wenchang Launch Center was a success. It’s the first of 11 planned launches, as China begins construction of its Tianhe, or “Heavenly Harmony,” space station. The 176-foot-tall (53.7-meter) Long March 5B heavy-lift launch vehicle, with its quartet of side boosters, was specifically designed for this project. This is the latest variant of the Long March 5 rocket; an earlier version failed during launch on July 2, 2017. Completion of the new space station is expected in late 2022, after which time the orbital outpost will accommodate a crew of three.

The main stage released the 25-ton Tianhe module shortly after the eight-minute mark of the mission, but instead of falling back to Earth as planned (and onto a pre-designated area), the expendable core stage stayed in space, having achieved escape velocity. Ideally, the core stage should’ve performed a controlled deorbit shortly after its separation from Tianhe, but it’s not yet clear why this didn’t happen.

Regrettably, we’ve gone through this rodeo before. The same thing happened to a Long March 5B rocket back in May of last year, with the core stage entering into low Earth orbit. This core stage fell into the Atlantic Ocean and onto West Africa, with debris potentially causing damage to villages in Cote d’Ivoire—thankfully with no reports of casualties.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, suspects this is a deliberate design choice.

“Both CZ-5B launches have left their core stage in orbit for uncontrolled reentry,” he explained in an email. “They are over 20 [metric tons]. It has been standard practice for 30 years for the rest of the world not to leave objects this big—or even half this big—in orbit without controlled deorbit.”

To which he added: “This design choice in 2021 is unacceptable and tarnishes China’s great achievement in launching Tianhe.”

McDowell said a potential solution would be to add a system that vents “leftover propellant in a forwards direction to lower the perigee and make it reenter.” This would be “a bit tricky,” he noted, because the “dead rocket stage would be tumbling at that point,” but this solution would probably be cheaper “than adding a stabilization system and a restartable engine.”

It’s currently impossible to know when the booster, which now weighs around 23 tons, will deorbit and where it might land. As SpaceNews reports, the object’s “orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees means the rocket body passes a little farther north than New York, Madrid and Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and could make its reentry at any point within this area.”

The U.S. military is using radar to track the wayward object, now designated 2021-035B, and its altitude is oscillating between 106 and 231 miles (170 and 372 km) above the surface, according to SpaceNews. Traveling at more than 4.4 miles per second (7 km/s), the object is flashing periodically, which suggests it’s tumbling and very much out of control.

McDowell suspects we’ll get a prediction about the booster reentry in a day or two, but “it won’t be useful in terms of location, just approximate time.” As McDowell reminds us, “a one-hour error in the reentry time is an 18,000-mile error in the location.”

On a similar note, the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 failed to deorbit properly following a launch this past March. The second stage, which was supposed to burn up over the Pacific Ocean, made an uncontrolled reentry over the Pacific Northwest, producing a spectacular light show and dropping a pressure tank onto a farmer’s field. The core stage of the Long March 5B is considerably larger, however.

The record for the largest uncontrolled reentry of a human-built object goes to NASA’s Skylab. The 84-ton space station deorbited in 1979, scattering debris across the Indian Ocean and parts of western Australia.

This post was updated to include the comments made by Jonathan McDowell and to include the detail about the debris from the earlier booster falling onto West Africa.

COLOMBIA: 16 Protesters, 1 Officer Dead After Police Fired At Covid19 Lockdown Protesters And Rammed Crowds With Motorcycles. Covid19 Shutdown Pushes 75 MILLION More People INTO Poverty In India

The Guardian, UK
written by Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogot谩
Monday May 3, 2021

Colombia is bracing for further unrest after a weekend in which largely peaceful nationwide demonstrations were met with a violent police reaction which left at least 16 demonstrators and one police officer dead and hundreds injured.

Videos shared on social media over the weekend showed police firing at protesters sometimes from close range, ramming crowds with motorcycles, and bashing demonstrators with their shields.

The drama of the weekend was encapsulated in a shocking TV news clip in which a live shot of the central city of Ibagu茅 captured the moment in which a woman learnt that her 19-year-old son had died after being shot by police. “Kill me too, they also killed me,” she cried. “He was my only son!”

The demonstrations began with a general strike last Wednesday over an unpopular tax reform but quickly escalated when protesters were met by riot police armed with teargas, bean-bag rounds and billy clubs.

“They may have guns but they can’t kill us all,” said Gabriela Gutierrez, one of a group of students who set up a roadblock in downtown Bogot谩, on Monday. “Colombia needs change and we’ll be on the streets until we get it.”

Alongside the unpopular tax proposal, protesters also marched against a deeply polarizing government, in defense of threatened human rights leaders, for an increase of the social safety net during the pandemic, and for police reform.

Although the vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful, incidents of looting and vandalism were reported in Cali, Bogot谩 and other cities. The road between Cali and Buenaventura, Colombia’s largest seaport on the Pacific coast, was also blocked by protesters.

Tension was ratcheted up on Saturday night when the president, Iv谩n Duque, ordered troops on to the streets. But less than 24 hours later he was forced to scrap the proposed tax reform which would have hiked taxes on individuals and business during a coronavirus pandemic that continues to ravage public health and the economy.

“The reform is not a whim, it is a necessity,” Duque said in a televised address on Sunday afternoon while announcing the U-turn.

Duque’s concession has done little to quell protesters’ anger, with strike leaders saying that demonstrations will continue this week and that another national strike will be held on Wednesday.

“The people in the streets are demanding much more than the axing of the reforms,” Francisco Malt茅s, the president of Colombia’s central workers’ union, said at a press conference on Monday morning, adding that the brutal police response had “curtailed democratic guarantees for social protest”.

Scenes of police brutality have become wearyingly familiar in Colombia. Last September, anti-police demonstrations broke out after Javier Ord贸帽ez, a lawyer, was Tasered to death by officers. At least 10 people were killed in the ensuing unrest, and dozens of police kiosks were torched.

The confirmed death toll from the present violence is expected to rise over the coming days.

On Monday morning, following a night of cacerolazos – a noisy spectacle where people bang pots and pans from their windows – truckers blocked roads around the country. In Bogot谩, as Duque held an emergency meeting with his finance minister, drivers honked in approval as students waved them slowly through the blockade.

“Every time we protest, the police draw their weapons,” said Alejandro Rodr铆guez, another student protester in Bogot谩. “We won’t be cowed by their violence.”

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