From the daily archives: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection marine interdiction agents Sunday stopped a U.S. citizen with 144 pounds of methamphetamine and 10 pounds of cocaine in a hidden compartment under the deck of his boat.

At about 12:30 p.m. on August 22, CBP marine interdiction agents on routine patrol stopped a private pleasure craft, a 1994 23-foot Bayliner with one male U.S. citizen on board, as it returned to the U.S. from Mexico.

The CBP marine interdiction unit, joined by a back-up vessel and crew with additional marine interdiction agents and a CBP officer, performed a boarding just outside of Mission Bay before escorting the pleasure boat and sole occupant to the CBP dock.

Vessel Stopped by CBP in Mission Bay
CBP Agents Seize Drugs inside Boat

Agents found a hidden compartment below the deck with 144 pounds of methamphetamine and 10 pounds of cocaine, worth an estimated $3 million.

This is CBP’s largest methamphetamine seizure at sea off the coast of San Diego.

CBP turned the suspected smuggler over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with the Maritime Task Force, which is investigating the incident.

CBP’s San Diego Air and Marine branch is a member of the San Diego Maritime Unified Command. The San Diego Maritime Unified Command, comprised of CBP, ICE, the Coast Guard, and other law enforcement partners, is an all-threats multi-agency approach to maritime law enforcement operating in the San Diego and Orange County maritime region.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today filed a $34 million lawsuit against television’s “Tax Lady Roni Deutch” for orchestrating a “heartless scheme” that swindled thousands of people facing serious and expensive tax collection problems with the IRS.

“Tax Lady Roni Deutch is engaged in a heartless scheme that swindled people with tax problems,” Brown said. “She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”

Deutch manufactures credibility by boasting that her tax resolution law firm, which has annual revenues of at least $25 million, is the largest of its kind in the nation. She spends $3 million a year on advertising, much of it on late-night cable TV, and frequently offers tax advice on NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and CNBC.

Desperate debtors turn to Deutch based on her misleading ads that feature fictional testimonials claiming she secured large reductions in the featured clients’ federal tax debts.

For example, her ad entitled “It’s Your Turn” features three clients whom Deutch claims to have “saved” from having to pay thousands of dollars to the IRS. In fact, those clients still owe the IRS the full amount of their taxes, plus interest and penalties.

When potential clients call Deutch’s boiler room, sales agents employ high-pressure sales tactics plus a series of misrepresentations and false promises to persuade them to retain her firm. The sales agents claim Deutch’s success rate in dealing with the IRS is as high as 99 percent. But the percentage of clients whose tax bills Deutch actually reduces is a mere 10 percent.

Rather than cut clients’ debts, Deutch often escalates them. She places clients in an endless loop of requests for duplicate documents that increases her fees and, due to further delays in payments to the IRS, increases clients’ IRS fines and penalties.

One woman from Pico Rivera, who owed the IRS $13,000, turned to Deutch after seeing a TV ad. She paid Deutch a $1,900 retainer, but by the time the Deutch firm ended its representation, she owed the IRS hundreds of dollars more in interest and penalties, and the IRS had placed a levy against her Social Security benefits. Despite failing to take any effective action on her behalf, Deutch refused to refund the woman’s retainer by falsely billing her for time the firm did not spend on her case. Deutch regularly uses false billing statements to deny her clients’ refund requests.

Hundreds of clients have filed complaints with the Attorney General and other government agencies, describing Deutch’s failure to reduce their IRS debts as she advertised and her refusal to refund retainers of as much as $4,700.

Brown’s lawsuit says thousands of consumers in California and around the country have fallen victim to Deutch’s unlawful scam, losing millions of dollars that could have been used to pay their IRS tax liabilities. The lawsuit charges that Deutch operates a deceptive tax resolution scheme that employs “a bevy of false promises and misrepresentations.”

Brown’s action seeks to permanently prevent Deutch from engaging in such unfair business practices and false advertising, and force her to pay victims restitution of at least $33.9 million plus civil penalties.

Brown’s lawsuit follows the consumer alert he issued on March 30, 2010, warning consumers to be wary about tax debt scams. It is also one of a series of actions he has taken to protect consumers who suffered during the financial crisis and resulting economic downturn, including his 2008 lawsuit against Countrywide Home Loans that resulted in an $8.68 billion settlement, as well as recent enforcement actions against scams in the foreclosure consultant, loan modification, and property tax reassessment industries.

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You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1978

 

Calexico, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Calexico downtown port of entry discovered 517 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a brown 1995 Dodge van over the weekend.

On August 21, CBP officers from Calexico port of entry discovered 517 lbs of marijuana hidden inside a van.

The incident occurred on Saturday, August 21, at about 2:45 p.m. when a CBP officer conducting vehicle primary inspections referred the driver, a 69-year-old male Mexican citizen, to the secondary examination area after the driver displayed signs of nervousness during the vehicle primary interview.

A secondary inspection that included a canine screening led officers to the discovery of 94 wrapped packages of marijuana concealed underneath stuffed animals and electronic equipment in the cargo area of the van. The marijuana has a street value of over a half million dollars.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further processing.

CBP placed an immigration hold on the driver to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.

CBP seized both vehicle and narcotic.

 

Charles Keith Rowe, a resident of BRAWLEY, CA  has earned a(n) Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College.
Excelsior College (www.excelsior.edu) is an accredited, private, nonprofit institution that focuses on the needs of working adults. Its primary mission is to increase access to a college degree for adult learners by removing obstacles to their educational goals. Excelsior’s unique strength is its acknowledged leadership in the assessment of student knowledge. It does so by providing working adults multiple avenues to degree completion that include its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance of credit in transfer from other colleges and universities.
Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, N.Y., it is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its bachelor’s degrees in nuclear engineering technology and electronics engineering technology are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Excelsior’s degree programs in nursing are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). The School of Nursing has been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. Excelsior’s bachelor’s degrees in accounting (NYS CPA Track) and business are recognized by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). Its Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program is the first exclusively distance learning-based program to be admitted to full membership in to the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP).

 

What is Measure “J”?
On November 2, 2010, voters in the Imperial Community College District will be asked to approve a bond measure that would generate $80 million for career and public safety training facilities and continued modernization of the 50-year-old IVC Campus. This money would stay in the Imperial Valley and only be used to improve local college facilities.
How much would Measure “J” cost? Measure “J” does not increase tax rates. The current tax rate for IVC is $25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation and is not expected to change.
What about other sources of funding?
IVC would be eligible for an additional $25 million in State matching funds, however, a local match is required. Measure “J” will provide that local match. In the event state matching funds are not realized, projects lower on the priority list will be postponed and may not be funded through this bond measure. IVC will continue to look for other sources of funding.
What would Measure “J” do?
IVC’s full 10 year plan has been split into two phases and the Measure J would cover Phase I. Any projects not completed in Phase I will be moved into future phases of the plan.
What are the specific priorities for Measure “J”?
Priority 1—Construction of a Career Technical Training facility and remodeling of the existing
buildings to house classrooms and labs for Police Officers Standards and Training, fire sciences, EMS training, laboratories for alternative energy, automotive repair, welding and other vocational training.
Priority 2—Modernization of the existing Counseling Center, College Center, Multipurpose/Gym, Business/Data Processing, Library, and Health Sciences and other instructional areas to accommodate smart classrooms and updated technology. These include the core classrooms on the campus. Many of them were first opened in 1962 and after 50 years of use are showing their age.
This will also include the conversion of existing spaces to be better used as classrooms.
Priority 3—Replace 50 year old plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical systems to accommodate expansion of the college, and to provide modern classrooms and technology. This will include the conversion of campus air conditioning systems into a highly efficient centralized HVAC Chiller Plant.
It would be significantly more efficient than existing systems which are reaching the ends of their useful lives. This plant would reduce operational and maintenance costs, save energy and money, and provide for future campus growth. Priority 4—Construct a new technology/library building. This building not only will house IVC’s traditional library, it also will consolidate computer labs on campus that are now located in temporary buildings into one location. IVC’s current library will be converted into classrooms.
Priority 5—Construct a new College Center with community meeting rooms to house student food services and other student offices.

 
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