Sunday, February 12, 2012

Former New York State Senator Nicholas A. Spano Pleads Guilty in White Plains Federal Court to Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns



Senator Guilty of Falsely Characterizing and Failing to Report Certain Income

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeFebruary 10, 2012
  • Southern District of New York
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Victor W. Lessoff, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CID”), and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that former New York State Senator NICHOLAS A. SPANO pled guilty today in White Plains federal court to obstructing the ability of the IRS to assess and collect U.S. income taxes by filing fraudulent tax returns.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Former Senator Nicholas Spano is the latest in a regrettably long line of lawmakers turned lawbreakers. When elected officials put padding their pockets above the law, they tarnish our government and undermine people’s faith in their public servants. We will not tolerate this conduct and will continue to aggressively prosecute those who engage in it.”
IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff stated: “Public officials, whether elected or appointed, hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when these officials commit crimes. Public officials do not get free passes to ignore the tax laws and they will still be held accountable after they leave office. IRS-CI works to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. “
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk stated: “We hope that our elected representatives hold themselves to a higher standard. At a minimum, the people of New York have the right to expect that lawmakers will not be lawbreakers.”
According to the information and statements made during today’s proceeding:
Background
NICHOLAS SPANO served as a New York State Senator for the 35th district, representing most of Westchester County, from 1987 until 2006. In that capacity, SPANO was responsible for voting on and approving the operating budget for New York State, a portion of which included funding for the Office of General Services (“OGS”).
In 1993, a White Plains-based insurance company began paying SPANO a $1,500 monthly fee to act as an outside consultant. In 1996, after the insurance company was awarded a lucrative contract by OGS to become the broker of record for New York State, the payments increased to $5,000 per month. The payments were subsequently increased to $6,000 per month in 1999 and $8,333.33 (or $100,000 per year) in 2002. The payments stopped in 2008 when the insurance company ceased to be OGS’s broker of record.
The payments from the insurance company were paid through various corporate entities controlled by SPANO, including ONAPS, Inc. which later changed its name to HVM Corp. ONAPS had no employees or offices and was used almost exclusively to receive money paid to SPANO by the insurance company.
Spano’s Concealment of Income
From 2000 through 2008, SPANO engaged in a scheme to impede and impair the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws by filing false federal income tax returns that falsely characterized income he received from the insurance company and other sources to unlawfully reduce his tax burden.
During the relevant time period, SPANO wrote checks that totaled more than $180,000 from HVM to a real estate holding company he owned, 221 Ridge Ave. Corp, which owned a two-family rental property in Yonkers, New York. The checks were for non-existent rental expenses. SPANO falsely advised his tax return preparer that HVM conducted business at 221 Ridge Avenue, had an office at that location, and paid rent to the holding company. As a result, HVM deducted more than $180,000 in false and fraudulent rental expenses on its tax returns.
In 2004, SPANO also failed to report to the IRS a $45,000 commission he received from the sale of a building to a White Plains real estate developer, and between 2005 and 2006, failed to report cash rental payments he received from residential real estate tenants.
* * *
SPANO, 58, of Yonkers, New York, pled guilty to one count of obstructing and impeding the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the crime.
SPANO will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel on June 11, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding work of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry A. Carbone, Jason P.W. Halperin, and Cynthia Dunne are in charge of the prosecution.








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Attorney General Eric Holder Launches Consumer Protection Working Group to Combat Consumer Fraud


Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Attorney General Eric Holder Launches Consumer Protection Working Group to Combat Consumer Fraud
Working Group Created Under President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Brings Together Federal, State and Local Partners
The Consumer Protection Working Group, formed under President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), convened its first meeting in Washington, D.C., today to address consumer fraud, which can financially cripple households and can cause extensive losses to our economy. The newly-created group will work across federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and with state and local partners, to strengthen efforts to address consumer-related fraud, including schemes targeting vulnerable populations, such as the unemployed, those in need of payday loans, and those suffering from the burden of high credit card and other debt. The new working group will also focus on scams that exploit prospective students, active-duty military personnel and veterans.  
“The schemes we are combating are as diverse as the imaginations of those who perpetrate them, and as sophisticated as modern technology will permit. Thanks in large part to the leadership of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force we are tackling financial fraud, in all its forms, head on,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Through the extensive and coordinated partnership we start today, we will strengthen our collective efforts, enhance civil and criminal enforcement of consumer fraud and educate the public in an effort to prevent consumers from being victimized in the first place.”  
Attorney General Holder delivered remarks at today’s meeting which was convened by FFETF Executive Director Michael Bresnick along with the working group’s co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division Lanny Breuer, U.S. Attorney  for the Central District of California André Birotte and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) David Vladeck. Another co-chair, Director of Enforcement for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Kent Markus, was unable to attend the meeting.
“We know all too well how opportunistic fraudsters have adapted their schemes to take advantage of consumers facing financial hardships, using false promises of mortgage modification, debt relief, and job placement, to name a few. Since 2009, the FTC has brought over 90 cases to stop these scams,” said Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the FTC David Vladeck. “This partnership will only serve to enhance our collective efforts to protect consumers.”  
The Consumer Protection Working Group will address several areas of concern, including payday lending and other high-pressure telemarketing or Internet scams, business opportunity schemes, for-profit schools that engage in fraud or misrepresentation and fraudulent third party payment processors that facilitate payments on behalf of other fraudsters without the permission of the customer.
At today’s meeting, the Consumer Protection Working Group members set priorities and discussed taking collaborative steps to continue to seek out and prosecute consumer fraud as well as protect consumers from fraud before it happens through outreach and education. The new working group plans to establish a best-practices tool kit, legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives and an information sharing structure.   
Other members of the Consumer Protection Working Group include representatives from the Department of Treasury, FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, U.S. Secret Service, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Trustee Program, the National Association of Attorneys General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board and the National Credit Union Administration. The state attorneys general are represented on the working group by Attorney General Lisa Madigan from Illinois, Attorney General Greg Zoeller from Indiana and Attorney General Roy Cooper from North Carolina.  
The Consumer Protection Working Group is part of ongoing enforcement efforts by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.   
Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Task force members have charged a record number of  mortgage fraud cases in the past two years, trained more than 100,000 professionals responsible for awarding and overseeing Recovery Act funds and held regional summits around the country to discuss strategies, resources and initiatives, as well as to meet with communities most affected by the financial crisis.
Learn more about the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at www.stopfraud.gov .


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Regeneca, Inc. Issues A Voluntary Nationwide Recall Of A Specific



Regeneca, Inc. Issues A Voluntary Nationwide Recall Of A Specific Lot Of RegenArouse Because Of Potential Health Risks





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 10, 2012 - Regeneca, Inc. announced today that it is conducting a voluntary nationwide recall of RegenArouse, Lot Number 130100, because FDA lab analysis has confirmed the presence of Tadalafil making these products unapproved new drugs. Tadalafil is an FDA-approved drug used as treatment for male Erectile Dysfunction (ED). The active drug ingredient is not listed on the label for these products.
Use of these products may pose a threat to consumers because it may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin) and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. FDA has advised that consumers with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. FDA has advised that ED is a common problem in men with these conditions, and consumers may seek these types of products to enhance sexual performance.
Regeneca, Inc. has distributed RegenArouse via sales made over the internet to consumers in the United States of America and Puerto Rico between November 29, 2011 and February 10, 2012.
RegenArouse, Lot Number 130100, is a pink capsule sold individually in foil packets, with the expiration date of 12/5/2013 and a UPC code of 816860010079. Regeneca, Inc. had this specific lot of RegenArouse capsules tested at a testing facility and had received a report indicating that no PDE-5 inhibitors or any of their analogues were detected in the capsules. The Company learned today that there was an error on this test and has thus made the decision to issue a voluntary nationwide recall on this lot of RegenArouse. Regeneca, Inc. is committed to improving its products and avoiding future recall issues by improving its existing testing procedures.
Regeneca, Inc. advises any customers in possession of the RegenArouse product matching the lot number above to return any unused product for an exchange, or a full refund, to the company directly. Customers can call (800) 690-6958 (Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm Pacific Time) for instructions on the return and exchange/refund process.
Any adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of these products may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.




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New Jersey Firm Recalls Cobb and Spinach Salads Due to Possible Listeria Contamination




Recall ReleaseCLASS I RECALL
FSIS-RC-006-2012HEALTH RISK: HIGH


Congressional and Public Affairs
Adam Tarr 
(202) 720-9113


WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2012 - F&S Produce Company Inc., a Deerfield, N.J. establishment, is recalling approximately 389 pounds of Cobb and spinach salads. The salads contain eggs that are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall due to concerns about contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.


The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels]
  • 10-oz. plastic containers of "Fresh Garden Highway Spinach Salad with Bacon"
  • 10.75-oz plastic containers of "Fresh Garden Highway Cobb Salad"


Recommendations for people at risk for Listeriosis


Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.


Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.


Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna or other deli meats unless reheated until steaming hot.


Do not eat refrigerated paté, meat spreads from a meat counter or smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section of the store. Foods that don't need refrigeration, like canned tuna and canned salmon, are safe to eat. Refrigerate after opening.


Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.


Do not eat salads made in the store such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad or seafood salad.


Do not eat soft cheeses such as Feta, quesco blanco, quesco fresco, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses and Panela unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk.


Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can.Listeria can grow in the refrigerator. The refrigerator should be 40° F or lower and the freezer 0° F or lower. Use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature of your refrigerator.
The products subject to recall have a "Sell By" date through 2/8/2012, and bear the establishment number "Est. 39897" as well as the USDA mark of inspection The products were distributed to a warehouse in Pennsylvania for further distribution to retail locations.


The problem was discovered when F&S Produce Company Inc . was notified by one of its suppliers that hard-cooked eggs (a product inspected by the FDA) had tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and are being recalled by Michael Foods Egg Products Co. The salads contain the recalled eggs and are the subject of this FSIS recall. FSIS, FDA, and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.


FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at:  www.fsis.usda.gov/
FSIS_Recalls/
Open_Federal_Cases/
index.asp
.



Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. However, listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.


Media and Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Douglas Nicoll, Ph.D, Director of Technical Services, at 800-886-3316 ext. 217.


Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day atAskKaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
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Labels
Cobb salad


spanish salad with bacon




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North Carolina Firm Recalls Chicken Salad Products Due To Possible Listeria Contamination


North Carolina Firm Recalls Chicken Salad Products Due To Possible Listeria Contamination
Recall ReleaseCLASS I RECALL
FSIS-RC-007-2012HEALTH RISK: HIGH

Congressional and Public Affairs
Catherine Cochran
(202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2012 - Bost Distributing Company doing business as Harold Food Company, a Bear Creek, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,200 pounds of chicken salad products. The products contain eggs that are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall due to concerns about contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following products are subject to recall:
  • 30-lb. boxes of "Harold Food Co. Grand Strand Deluxe Chicken Salad."

Recommendations for people at risk for Listeriosis

Wash hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw meat and poultry for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water. Immediately clean spills.

Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.

Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna or other deli meats unless reheated until steaming hot.

Do not eat refrigerated paté, meat spreads from a meat counter or smoked seafood found in the refrigerated section of the store. Foods that don't need refrigeration, like canned tuna and canned salmon, are safe to eat. Refrigerate after opening.

Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.

Do not eat salads made in the store such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad or seafood salad.

Do not eat soft cheeses such as Feta, quesco blanco, quesco fresco, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses and Panela unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk.

Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can.Listeria can grow in the refrigerator. The refrigerator should be 40° F or lower and the freezer 0° F or lower. Use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature of your refrigerator.
Each box has a "Sell By" date of 2/15/2012 and bears the establishment number "P-20479" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were sent to a distributor in South Carolina for further distribution to retail establishments in North Carolina and South Carolina. The chicken salad products may have been repackaged as sandwiches under a brand other than Harold Food Co. and no longer bear the identifying information listed above.

Through a follow-up investigation of the FDA's recall of hard-cooked eggs sold by Michael Foods Egg Products Co., it was determined that Bost Distributing Company had received hard-cooked eggs that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The chicken salad products contain the recalled eggs and are the subject of this FSIS recall. FSIS, FDA, and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at: www.fsis.usda.gov/
FSIS_Recalls/
Open_Federal_Cases/
index.asp
.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis. However, listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections in those with weakened immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

Consumers and media with questions about the recall should contact Bost Distributing Company's General Manager, Jeff Bennett, at (919) 775-5931.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day atwww.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day




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Wisconsin Firm Recalls Cooked Pork Hocks Due To Misbranding and an Undeclared Allergen


Wisconsin Firm Recalls Cooked Pork Hocks Due To Misbranding and an Undeclared Allergen
Recall ReleaseCLASS II RECALL
FSIS-RC-008-2012HEALTH RISK: LOW

Congressional and Public Affairs


WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2012–Han Yang Inc., a Milwaukee, Wisc., establishment, is recalling approximately 25,600 pounds of cooked pork hocks because of misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products contain wheat, a known allergen, which is not noted on the label.

The products subject to recall include: [View Label]:
  • Shrink wrapped packages of various weights of "JANG CHUNG DONG HAN YANG KING JOAK BAL COOKED PORK HOCKS."

The products bear the establishment number "EST. 21880" inside the USDA mark of inspection, and have a four month shelf life. The products subject to recall were produced between Oct. 7, 2011, and Feb. 7, 2012, and were distributed for wholesale and retail use in Los Angeles, Calif. and Chicago, Ill. areas.

The problem was discovered by an FSIS inspector during a label review. The inspector reviewed the ingredient statement of a seasoning component used in the product and the finished product label and discovered that wheat, an allergen, was listed as an ingredient in the component, but not declared on the finished product label. FSIS and the company have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers and media with questions about the recall should contact the company's President, Chang Choi, at (414) 389-1099.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day atwww.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. "Ask Karen" live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day.
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Label




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SHANDONG YONGTAI / NEGOTIATOR COMMERCIAL H/T / LT235/85R16


Tire Brand Name / Tire Line / Tire Size:   Production Dates:
    SHANDONG YONGTAI / NEGOTIATOR COMMERCIAL H/T / LT235/85R16   MAY 01, 2009 - MAY 31, 2011
    SHANDONG YONGTAI / NEGOTIATOR COMMERCIAL H/T / LT265/75R16   APR 01, 2009 - MAY 31, 2011
Manufacturer: ITR USA, INC. (DBA ITA)Mfr's Report Date: JUL 11, 2011
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 11T006000NHTSA Action Number: N/A
Component: TIRES
Potential Number of Units Affected: 51,003
Summary: 
  ITR USA IS RECALLING CERTAIN SHANDONG YONGTAI NEGOTIATOR COMMERCIAL H/T TIRES, SIZES LT265/75R16 AND LT235/85R16, PRODUCED FROM APRIL 2009 THROUGH MAY 2011. SOME OF THE SUBJECT TIRES EXPERIENCE BLISTERING OR BUBBLES ON THE TIRE'S SIDEWALL. THESE TIRES FAIL TO CONFORM TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 139, "NEW PNEUMATIC RADIAL TIRES FOR LIGHT VEHICLES."
Consequence: 
  THESE TIRES MAY EXPERIENCE BLISTERING ON THEIR SIDEWALL THAT, WITH EXTENDED USE, COULD LEAD TO A LOSS OF TIRE PRESSURE, THEREBY INCREASING THE POTENTIAL RISK OF PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY, OR A CRASH.
Remedy: 
  ITR USA IS NOTIFYING OWNERS AND THEY WILL REPLACE ANY AFFECTED TIRES FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2011. OWNERS MAY CONTACT ITR USA AT 1-818-715-7080.
Notes: 
  OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153)






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