Defrauding the Federal Video Relay Service

UPDATE:  February 18, 2010:

Irma Azrelyant and Joshua Finkle, the former co-owners of New York and New Jersey-based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services Inc. (DHIS), pleaded guilty today to engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Video Relay Service (VRS) program of more than $7 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.

Today, Azrelyant, 47, and Finkle, 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton, N.J., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Azrelyant and Finkle were indicted on Oct. 29, 2009, along with DHIS assistant bookkeeper and video interpreter coordinator Oksana Strusa, as well as video interpreters Natan Zfati, Alfia Iskandarova and Hennadii Holovkin.

In pleading guilty, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that beginning in approximately October 2007 and continuing through approximately July 2009, they conspired with others to pay individuals to make fraudulent VRS phone calls that were processed through DHIS, and that were billed to the FCC through VRS provider Viable Communications Inc. (Viable). According to the guilty pleas, Azrelyant and Finkle made VRS calls to prerecorded messages and other numbers for the sole purpose of generating VRS minutes and also coordinated with others to generate illegitimate VRS minutes that would be billed to the FCC. Azrelyant and Finkle also admitted to processing illegitimate VRS calls that were routed to DHIS by Viable….

According to information contained in the plea documents, Azrelyant and Finkle admitted that their role in defrauding the FCC’s VRS program led to a total of between $7 million and $20 million in fraudulent billing to the program. At sentencing, Azrelyant and Finkle each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, as well as mandatory restitution and forfeiture. Sentencing is set for June 29, 2010 at 10 a.m.

The disabled are always ripe for the raping and the ripping off and when the news hit the street today in New York City that big players at DHIS — Deaf and Hearing Impaired Services — were under Federal indictment for defrauding the FCC’s Video Relay Service Program, hands and heads were shaking everywhere as the Panopticonic Gaze of the Federal government rightly blinked to stop a taxpayer rip off.

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Gardasil for Anal Cancer

I am not a Gay Man, but I as a child of the theatre and a man of the moment, I certainly appreciate and understand the human struggle for Gay equality and equity in America — and while my support has not always been perfect, I appreciate the dedication and vision of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the work they do to serve and educate all the people of the world.

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Jail Terrorist Mamdouh Mahmud Salim

Is it possible to commit terrorist acts while in jail?  Federal prosecutors argue it is not only possible, but actual:

A reputed former leader of Al Qaeda who is serving 32 years in prison for stabbing a jail guard in 2000 must be resentenced, a federal appeals panel in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday, because a judge wrongly concluded that the man’s crime did not meet the legal standard for terrorism.

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Vick Back on the Street and in the Field

It looks like Michael Vick might just be back on a football field sooner than we thought and slower than we hoped:

Michael Vick said he was remorseful for his past actions involving his dogfighting activities as he entered a guilty plea to state charges Tuesday at the Sussex County Courthouse. In a plea deal that was agreed upon before he travelled from Leavenworth, Kansas to the Hopewell Regional Jail in Virginia, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback pleaded guilty to charges of attending, sponsoring and promoting dogfighting.

Vick, who didn’t plead guilty to animal cruelty, received a three-year suspended jail term and four years of probation. The prison term is suspended provided Vick can display good behavior for four years.

“Remorse” is not enough.  Vick should serve our his full prison punishment and rightfully confess to animal cruelty — even if he didn’t plead to it — and then completely reveal his moral and financial role in the killing of dogs for betting profit.

Can They Hear Us Now? Yes We Can!

When personal privacy is lost — nay, thefted by the very government sworn to protect us — under the mask of personal protection from terrorism, those small intimacies are forever forsaken but not in freedom of the Greater Good but rather in slavery to the Broader Bad as our tiniest thoughts are dissected to determine guilt beyond the shadowy frame of reasonable checks and balances.

The NSA is Listening

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