Drug-Testing Company Used in Child Custody Cases Investigated for Fraud

Averhealth, a drug testing company used by courts around the country to decide whether people go to jail or parents retain custody of their children, was under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for fraud in 2022, according to emails reviewed by VICE News.

Averhealth runs millions of drug tests a year, working with courts and government agencies in 34 states. The DOJ was looking into the company as early as June 2021, according to emails between the DOJ and Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, (MDHHS), one of the state agencies that contracted with Averhealth. The investigation was still active as of March 2022. The probe led Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services to stop doing business with Averhealth, according to an internal email at the department. 

The DOJ investigation gathered information about court testimony, given by Averhealth’s former lab director Sarah Riley in 2021, that up to 30 percent of the results reported to the state of Michigan’s child welfare agency were wrong, both false positives or false negatives. As VICE News previously reported, Riley testified Averhealth was botching the quality controls that ensure lab instruments are properly calibrated. The company denies those claims.

The DOJ would not comment on the investigation, including whether it was concluded or ongoing. Neither would Averhealth. 

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George Santos Accused of Stealing Thousands from Dying Dog’s GoFundMe

Along with lying about being Jewishusing stolen checks in Brazil, and essentially inventing out of thin air much of his resumé before he was elected to Congress, you can now add one more allegation against George Santos: stealing money from a GoFundMe for a veteran’s dying service dog

The veteran, 47-year-old Richard Osthoff, accused the freshman New York congressman Tuesday of setting up a GoFundMe to pay for medical treatment for his service dog, raising $3,000 through it, and then disappearing with the money without handing over a cent. The dog then died months later without receiving treatment. 

Osthoff told Patch.com that after his dog Sapphire developed a stomach tumor in 2016, a veterinarian referred him to “a guy who runs a pet charity.” That man was Santos, who was then going by the name Anthony Devolder, and the charity was Friends of Pets United, according to Patch.com. Santos has claimed that the charity was a registered nonprofit, but the Internal Revenue Service has no record of the organization’s existence, the New York Times reported in December

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These Doctors Pushed Masking, Covid Lockdowns on Twitter. Turns Out, They Don’t Exist

Last month, Dr. Robert Honeyman lost their sister to Covid. They wrote about it on Twitter and received dozens of condolences, over 4,000 retweets and 43,000 likes.

Exactly one month later, on Dec. 12, Honeyman wrote that another tragedy had befallen their family.

“Sad to announce that my husband has entered a coma after being in hospital with Covid. The doctor is unsure if he will come out,” they tweeted. “This year has been the toughest of my life losing my sister to this virus. This is the first time in my life I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Again, the condolences and well-wishes rolled in. But there was a problem: Honeyman wasn’t real. 

The transgender “Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies” with a “keen interest in poetry” who used they/them pronouns was, in fact, a stock photo described on DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as “Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait.”

Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana.

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Still More Juicy Stuff on the New GOP Congressman Who Lied About Everything

Perhaps you saw The New York Times’s exposé on incoming Republican Congressman George Santos from the Empire State. He’s a total unknown who in November managed to flip one of a handful of House seats nationally in the fingernail-chewing battle for control of the House of Representatives. 

And, as we shall see, there is less to the man than meets the eye.  

I’d read up on Santos right after the election, and noted his consequential victory and a  historical first: Both the Republican and his Democratic opponent, Robert Zimmerman, whom he narrowly beat, are openly gay. It is the first time this has ever happened in the country. 

It also didn’t happen where one might expect. New York’s 3rd Congressional District, one of the wealthiest in the country, runs along Long Island’s North Shore, includes a bit of Queens, leans conservative, and is graced with the Gatsby-esque old-money mansions of the “Gold Coast.” All this just a short distance from the Gomorrahs of Manhattan, Fire Island, and the Hamptons. 

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ID.me accused of exaggerating info to push for Digital ID

Controversies continue to plague the biometric identification firm ID.me, specifically around its government contracts in the US.

According to reports, after the big IRS privacy-related controversy earlier in 2022, it is now suspected that ID.me could have been feeding both the public and House committees with misleading information concerning the level of fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims.

In addition, instead of making sure it was easier to detect fraud, and help those actually in need of help, the service used by 21 states the company provided may have been highly inefficient and therefore near useless – other than promoting the business itself, and the relevance of the biometric surveillance industry.

This is the gist of the allegations coming from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

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US Postal workers arrested in $1.3 million fraud and identity theft scheme, authorities say

Three US Postal employees are among four people arrested in connection with a $1.3 million fraud and identity theft scheme allegedly carried out in New York and New Jersey since 2018, according to the Department of Justice.

A further five people facing changes in connection with the case remain at large, it said.

The individuals are accused of stealing credit cards from the mail and using them to buy merchandise at a variety of stores, including high-end retailers in New York and New Jersey, authorities said.

They are then said to have sold some of the merchandise on the website LuxurySnob.com, according to a statement from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

US postal workers Nathanael Foucault, Johnathan Persaud, Fabiola Mompoint, and civilian Devon Richards were arrested on Thursday, according to the statement.

Officials said five other people face charges, including Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud, Access Device Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft charges, and each face lengthy prison sentences if found guilty.

“The defendants took advantage of the public trust we place in US Postal Service employees for their own financial gain,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “Thanks to the diligence of USPIS (the Postal Inspection Service), the NYPD, and USPS-OIG (the Office of the Inspector General), the defendants will now be held accountable for their brazen criminal conduct.”

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Historical Levels of Fraud – How $600B Was Snatched from American Pockets in Almost 3 Years

Fraudulent looting of coronavirus relief programs may amount to the most expensive waste of taxpayer money in American history.

As much as $600 billion in federal funds intended for coronavirus relief have been siphoned away through various forms of fraud, according to one estimate.

In comparison, Congress authorized $5 trillion in total federal relief spending, according to the New York Post.

The overwhelming majority of Paycheck Protection Program loans will never be repaid to the government.

As of August, 10.2 million PPP loans have been partially or fully forgiven — more than 88 percent of the 11.5 million loans that were issued. The program was authorized with the goal of keeping small businesses and their employees afloat amid the pandemic’s effect on the economy.

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Ohio GOP House candidate has misrepresented military service

Campaigning for a northwestern Ohio congressional seat, Republican J.R. Majewski presents himself as an Air Force combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, once describing “tough” conditions including a lack of running water that forced him to go more than 40 days without a shower.

Military documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request tell a different story.

They indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan but instead completed a six-month stint helping to load planes at an air base in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally that is a safe distance from the fighting.

Majewski’s account of his time in the military is just one aspect of his biography that is suspect. His post-military career has been defined by exaggerations, conspiracy theories, talk of violent action against the U.S. government and occasional financial duress.

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Congressional staffer spent his off-hours pretending to be an FBI agent

This story from the Daily Beast about a congressional staffer impersonating an FBI agent is just crazy. In 2020 a couple of Secret Service agents in Washington, DC noticed what appeared to be an unmarked police car but something about the license plate looked off. It turned out it wasn’t a real undercover police car, it had just been made to look that way by a congressional staffer named Sterling Carter:

According to D.C. court documents, Carter had tricked out the otherwise boring sedan with blue emergency lights, a laptop computer mount on the front dashboard, a spotlight near the driver’s side view mirror, and even a barrier separating the front half from the back half—ready to transport detainees.

Carter, who was standing near his parked car, was wearing a black T-shirt that read “federal agent,” a police duty belt, a Glock pistol, extra ammunition, handcuffs, a radio, and an earpiece. That was enough to convince passersby, who kept thanking him for his service, according to court records.

The two Secret Service agents tried to get closer but Carter seemed to be trying to avoid them. When they ran the license plate for his car, it came up blank. At that point they called a Joint Operations Center and uniformed Secret Service agents on bicycles were sent to confront Carter.

When five bicycle cops with the Secret Service approached him, Carter simply said he was “FBI,” according to a police report. His baseball cap and facemask made it difficult to identify his face, the police report said. When they asked him for credentials, he said he didn’t have them on him, then flipped on his emergency lights and sped away. One agent pedaled as hard as he could on an electric bike through several D.C. streets, but gave up after a few blocks for “officer safety reasons,” the report says.

An investigation was opened involving the Capitol Police, the Secret Service and the FBI. One Secret Service agent recognized the shirt the suspect was wearing and traced it back to a single shop in Florida. After receiving a list of everyone who’d bought that particular shirt, he narrowed it down to one person who lived in the DC area and matched the description of the suspect: Sterling Carter. Several weeks later, the investigators learned that Carter was a congressional staffer who worked for Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat from Illinois.

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