Extra Extra : Fraud

Fraud victims spend millions on attorneys and accountants trying to recoup losses

Being a fraud victim can be financially and emotionally devastating — then you get sucked into the U.S. legal system.

For some investors, the experience can be maddening as they watch lawyers and accountants eat up $380 an hour and more in fees and expenses paid from recovered investor money as cases drag on.

But for some investors who are left with little money when the scam they invested in falls apart, the system of court-appointed receivers taking over fraudulent operations can work wonders in getting back at least some of their funds — even if it sometimes takes years.

Welfare cash pulled from ATMs inside Colorado pot shops

FOX31 Denver compared Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cash transactions against locations of marijuana dispensaries and found that 19 different marijuana retail stores had at least one welfare recipient walk into their business.

Welfare recipients are also withdrawing money at liquor stores and strip clubs, the station reported.

Thousands of welfare fraud tips purged at Wash. Department of Social and Health Services

More than two years after KING 5’s series of investigative reports about welfare fraud – and Washington State government’s lax oversight – the Seattle TV station looked into the progress of pledged reforms. The follow-up investigation uncovered that a re-vamped state fraud unit is struggling with enormous case backlogs and has dumped thousands of potential tips about fraud.

How fraud flourishes in Medicare's drug plan

Medicare’s massive drug program has a process so convoluted and poorly managed that fraud flourishes, giving rise to elaborate schemes that quickly siphon away millions of dollars. Among the findings of an ongoing investigation by ProPublica and NPR: 

 

  •  ProPublica identified scores of doctors whose prescribing in Medicare’s drug program bore the hallmarks of fraud
  • The cost of one Miami doctor’s medications jumped from $282,000 to $4 million in one year , but her lawyer said Medicare didn’t ask any questions
  • Scammers sometimes charge Medicare for drugs they don’t dispense and then resell them to pharmacies ...
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Some non-profits found to keep significant losses quiet

Charities and other non-profits often try to keep their losses quiet to avoid spooking donors, but a Washington Post investigation by Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty used a new IRS tax return checkbox to find more than 1,000 organizations that reported significant diversions of assets. The Post’s online database is being used by news organizations around the country (and abroad) to report on charities in their area that were victimized.

Nursing home residents' trust funds lack oversight

Drivers’ $1 donation yields little for organ donors and their families

"The fund has raised about $10 million since 2000, including about $1 million or 10 percent that a state law designated to help organ donors’ families pay funeral and medical expenses. But none of the money has been spent to defray those bills, a Tribune-Review investigation found. Even after the state started a smaller program to help living donors or deceased donors’ families to defray hotel and meal expenses, it spent slightly more than $180,000 of the $1 million for that. Only one deceased donor’s family was helped before the state stopped reporting the results in 2011."

Taxpayers Turn U.S. Farmers Into Fat Cats With Subsidies

"A Depression-era program intended to save the nation’s farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at U.S. taxpayer expense. Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control."

Before Bakken well violation, a $22M fraud case in the Texas oil patch

EnergyWire reports: "A little-known company called Halek Operating ND LLC is facing the largest fine North Dakota has ever levied against an oil and gas producer -- $1.5 million -- for jeopardizing drinking water near Dickinson. But even before the company drilled its first well in North Dakota, federal officials say the man behind it had swindled $22 million out of 300 investors in a Texas oil and gas project."