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Extra Extra Monday: ATF stings, voter fraud and the new subprime bubble

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities | USA TODAY

The nation's top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

 

In a Subprime Bubble for Used Cars, Borrowers Pay Sky-High Rates | The New York Times

Mr. Durham is one of millions of Americans with shoddy credit who are easily obtaining auto loans from used-car dealers, including some who fabricate or ignore borrowers’ abilities to repay. The loans often come with terms that take advantage of the most desperate, least financially sophisticated customers. The surge in lending and the lack of caution resemble the frenzied subprime mortgage market before its implosion set off the 2008 financial crisis.

Auto loans to people with tarnished credit have risen more than 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, with roughly one in four new auto loans last year going to borrowers considered subprime — people with credit scores at or below 640.

 

If they're dead, then who voted? | U-T San Diego

Amid a national debate about whether states should pass new laws to curb voter fraud, U-T Watchdog found their cases in a review of county elections data.

The review found that 26 ballots have been cast in the names of 10 dead San Diego County citizens since 1998.

 

Md. health agency cutting back on facilities it inspects |The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland health agency responsible for overseeing medical facilities, including the group home where a disabled foster child died this month, is moving to reduce the number of facilities it inspects across the state — even as it acknowledges that thousands of complaints and inspections have not been properly handled.

 

2 Milwaukee police officers present during body cavity searches keep jobs | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Two Milwaukee police officers who admitted they were present during invasive body cavity searches that led to felony convictions against a third officer were neither criminally charged nor fired from the department after making deals with prosecutors, according to court records.

One of the two officers, Michael Gasser, was on the scene during a 2010 search that caused the victim to bleed from his anus for several days, according to Gasser's deposition in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Not only did Gasser avoid termination, he has been allowed to continue training rookie officers — even though he told internal investigators he didn't think there was anything wrong with the search, he testified in June.

 

Reports show major staff shortages at local VA | Montgomery Advertiser

Part of the reason the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System's facilities can't see patients in a timely manner is that it doesn't have the personnel to see them.

The facility is only about 78 percent staffed, according to a June 27 report from its human resources department.

 

No quick action from Boston on taxi reform | The Boston Globe

It has been 10 months since a city-commissioned review of the taxi industry called for creation of an advisory committee to respond to reports of corruption and poorly enforced regulations. Mayor Thomas M. Menino and successor Martin J. Walsh each vowed to follow through.

But no committee has been established and little has changed. Those involved in the taxi industry — drivers, passengers, and even taxi medallion owners — say they are frustrated by the slow pace of promised reform.

 

Deputy fired for assisting criminals, documents show | The Greenville News (Greenville, SC)

The third-highest ranking officer in the Greenville County Sheriff's Office has been fired after an internal affairs investigation concluded that he assisted criminals and didn't keep Sheriff's Office business secure, The Greenville News has learned.

 

40 allegations of guards abusing inmates at Waupun Correctional Institution | WisconsinWatch.org

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has identified 40 allegations of physical or psychological abuse by correctional officers against inmates in Waupun’s segregation unit since 2011. The allegations, involving 33 inmates, allege extreme mistreatment, including being beaten and stomped on while handcuffed behind their backs.

 

Obama aides were warned of brewing border crisis | The Washington Post

Nearly a year before President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the border, a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for a deluge of foreign children.

The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer’s escalating crisis.

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