From the daily archives: Friday, September 3, 2010

Issued by The National Weather Service
Phoenix, AZ
9:30 am PDT, Fri., Sep. 3, 2010

… EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ THIS EVENING… … EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM MST /10 AM PDT/ TO 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ SATURDAY…

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ THIS EVENING. AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM MST /10 AM PDT/ TO 8 PM MST /8 PM PDT/ SATURDAY.

* AFFECTED AREA: DESERT AREAS OF SOUTHEAST CALIFORNIA AND SOUTHWEST ARIZONA. LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE YUMA… EL CENTRO… IMPERIAL… AND BLYTHE.

* TEMPERATURE: HIGH TEMPERATURES 110 TO 115. FORECAST HIGHS TODAY INCLUDE 114 AT YUMA… 115 AT IMPERIAL… AND 112 AT BLYTHE. SIMILAR TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED ON SATURDAY… ALONG WITH AN INCREASE IN HUMIDITY.

* IMPACTS: EXCESSIVELY HOT WEATHER CAN BE STRESSFUL TO ANIMALS AND HUMANS… MAKING IT HARD FOR THE BODY TO REMAIN HYDRATED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

IT WOULD BE WISE TO COMPLETE ANY NECESSARY OUTDOOR ACTIVITY IN THE EARLY MORNING WHEN THE SUN AND HEAT ARE LESS INTENSE. IF YOU PLAN TO BE OUTSIDE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME IN THE AFTERNOON OR EARLY EVENING… STAY IN THE SHADE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND DRINK AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF WATER. WEAR LIGHT- COLORED AND LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING… INCLUDING A WIDE-BRIMMED HAT. IF POSSIBLE… SPEND MORE TIME IN AIR-CONDITIONED OR WELL- VENTILATED PLACES.

 

Carlsbad, Calif. – A collaborative effort between U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine and U.S. Border Patrol prevented a maritime smuggling attempt early this morning as 20 foreign nationals who illegally entered the country were arrested at Carlsbad State Beach.

At about 1 a.m., the San Diego Coastal Border Enforcement Team (CBET) comprised of U.S. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were on patrol along the coastline spotted a panga boat at sea near the shores of Carlsbad State Beach.

CBET responded to the area shortly after the boat reached the shore and apprehended seven people. A CBP helicopter crew assisted agents in a search of the surrounding area resulting in the arrest of an additional 10 people.

The panga, with two occupants aboard, attempted to flee towards Mexico. A CBP Air and Marine plane and boat responded and detected and stopped the panga.

In addition, Border Patrol agents noticed a van waiting near the beach and arrested the driver, a Mexican national, suspected of being involved with the smuggling attempt.

The total arrested in this smuggling incident was comprised 19 males and one female. All were adults and Mexican nationals except one male from Ecuador. All individuals were in the United States illegally. Agents transported the group to a local Border Patrol station for processing. An investigation is being conducted to identify and prosecute the individuals responsible for this smuggling attempt.

The interdiction was part of a coordinated effort by member agencies 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 coastal region.

 

Blythe, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Sector seized more than 20 pounds of cocaine on Wednesday.

Border Patrol agents assigned to the Blythe station encountered a man driving white 2000 Ford F-250 at about 6:45 A.M., at the Highway 98 checkpoint north of Yuma. A cursory sniff by a K9 team alerted to the odor of narcotics or hidden persons within the vehicles.

The subject was referred to secondary where the K9 team alerted to a non-factory compartment located behind the airbag. A search of the compartment revealed 8 packages of cocaine hidden within.

The cocaine, which weighed a total of 20.794 pounds, had a street value of $665,408. This is the second large cocaine seizure for the Border Patrol in three days. On Monday agents seized over 23 pounds of cocaine at the Highway 98 checkpoint. The total street value of the seizures is $1,407,808. The subject and narcotics were all turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicle was seized by the United States Border Patrol.

To report suspicious activity, contact the Yuma Sector Border Patrol’s toll free telephone number at 1-866-999-8727.

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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 

It’s a morbid tale involving phony death certificates, staged funerals with paid actors, and coffins buried with no bodies, but in the end, it’s just a financial fraud scheme like thousands of others we investigate every year.

Earlier this month in Los Angeles, the fourth and final member of an insurance fraud ring was convicted in federal court. Jean Crump—a former mortuary employee—was found guilty of joining three other women in a scheme to defraud insurance companies by filing $1.2 million in phony life insurance policy claims.

Also victimized were several financial assignment companies, often used by funeral homes and mortuaries to advance cash for funeral expenses in exchange for a portion of the deceased’s life insurance policies.

How the scam worked: In one instance, Crump and/or her co-schemers purchased life insurance policies for “Jim Davis,” naming his supposed “nephew” and “niece” as beneficiaries.

Avoiding Insurance Fraud:
Tips for Consumers

– When buying any kind of insurance, read the policy closely and make sure you’re only paying for coverage that you ordered.

– Be wary if the price of coverage seems way too low, or is sold by telephone or door-to-door.

– Always write your premium check to your insurer, not the agent. And never sign a blank claim form.

– Make sure your insurance company and agent are licensed by checking with your state’s insurance department.

– If you think you may have been a victim of insurance fraud, contact your state insurance department to file a complaint.

– Visit www.naic.org and fill out a form in the Online Fraud Reporting System. (Through this system, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and state regulators encourage consumers to take a proactive role in identifying and reporting insurance fraud.)

Tips from www.InsuranceFraud.org and www.naic.org.

Mr. Davis conveniently had an untimely demise, and the conspirators created false documents, including a death certificate with a doctor’s forged signature, to collect his life insurance. They also prepared grossly inflated bills for different amounts from a mortuary to cover the man’s funeral and burial costs and wired the bills to two different assignment companies.

Both assignment companies paid the mortuary (one nearly $30,000 and the other just over $16,000), but of course the money went right into the hands of the criminals—the mortuary was owned and operated by Lydia Pearce, one of the four charged in the investigation. And an insurance company paid out more than $230,000 in life insurance to Mr. Davis’ so-called nephew.

The criminals went so far as to purchase a burial plot for Mr. Davis and bury him, without a headstone. But despite the extravagant funeral described on paper for the financial assignment companies—including an ornate casket and elaborate floral arrangements—the funeral was a simple affair, attended by several phony family members recruited to play the part of mourners in case anyone was watching.

Each member of the fraud ring brought her own expertise to the table: Crump and Pearce, with their mortuary experience, knew all there was to know about funerals and death documents. Phlebotomist Faye Shilling knew the ins and outs of filing insurance claims, and notary Barbara Ann Lynn used her stamp to make the fake documents look legitimate.

How the scam unraveled. Two insurance companies began looking more closely at the claims and hired an investigator to ask questions. The con artists were so unnerved by this that they had the coffin supposedly holding the remains of Jim Davis unearthed. They filled the casket with a mannequin and cow parts to ensure the proper weight and then sent it to a crematory. Then, they filed phony paperwork stating that he had been cremated and had his ashes scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

The FBI’s Los Angeles office eventually became involved. Upon closer inspection of the life insurance policies, death certificates, funeral bills, and financial information of the ring members, our investigators gathered the evidence needed to charge the four women—whose scheme ultimately met its own demise.

 

INDIO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Indio station seized more than $400,000 worth of cocaine and arrested two U.S. citizens in connection with a narcotics smuggling attempt yesterday evening.

At approximately 5 p.m., agents encountered a female U.S. citizen while conducting transportation checks at a local bus station.  During a subsequent consensual search, agents discovered several bundles of cocaine in her backpack and on her person.  Another bus passenger, who was a male U.S. citizen, was found to have several bundles of cocaine taped to his thighs after being questioned and searched by agents.  The cocaine has an estimated value of approximately $403,000.

The two subjects and the cocaine were subsequently turned over to a local narcotics task force.

El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey A. Calhoon commented on the rationale and importance of conducting enforcement efforts at transportation hubs.  He stated, “Agents conduct these operations in locations that criminal organizations attempt to exploit for human and narcotics smuggling as part of our defense in depth strategy.”

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 the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

 
%d bloggers like this: