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Daughter testifies at corruption trial of Delaware auditor

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DOVER, Del. (AP) — The daughter of Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness testified Wednesday at her mother’s criminal corruption trial, saying she earned her pay after being hired for a part-time job in the auditor’s office but was treated poorly by other staffers.

Elizabeth McGuiness, 20, was called as a prosecution witness after reaching a limited immunity agreement with prosecutors shielding her from any repercussions regarding conflicting statements she had previously made to investigators, including denying she used her personal phone or personal email account for work.

Kathy McGuiness, a Democrat elected in 2018, is responsible as state auditor for rooting out government fraud, waste and abuse. She is being tried on felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, conflict of interest and noncompliance with procurement laws.

Prosecutors allege, among other things, that McGuiness hired her daughter and her best friend as temporary employees in 2020, even though other temporary employees had left because of the lack of available work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities allege that in hiring her daughter and exercising control over taxpayer money with which she was paid, McGuiness engaged in theft of state money and conflict of interest.


Elizabeth McGuiness, who has not been charged with any crime, testified under questioning by prosecutor Maria Knoll that she and her best friend applied for “casual-seasonal” jobs in her mother’s office in February 2020 and began working there the following May.

McGuiness could not recall details of how she learned about the job or what she was asked when interviewed by her mother’s chief of staff, but she acknowledged under cross-examination by her mother’s defense attorney, Steve Wood, that she was pretty certain she would get the job.

McGuiness said her duties included “a lot of editing of reports, presentations and newsletters, as well as graphic design and social media work. Prosecutors allege that she continued to be paid after leaving for college in the fall of 2020, but McGuiness said she continued work a few hours a week on projects while at school, and also got paid for hours she had “banked” after exceeding her weekly maximum of 29.5 hours while working long summer hours at the Delaware State Fair.

“I was able to continue the data entry and more adds from the future social media,” McGuiness told her mother in a September 2020 email from her personal email account. “I won’t be able to do more than 10 hours a week since I am in school and my excess hours end the week of the 20th.”

Under cross-examination by Wood, McGuiness denied billing the state for hours she did not work and said she worked every hour for which she was paid. She also told Wood that she was treated poorly by other staffers in the auditor’s office, saying that they had “gotten a distaste” for her and her friend and co-worker, Virginia Bateman “right off the bat.”

In earlier testimony, the owner of a consulting firm hired by Kathy McGuiness in late 2019 under a no-bid contract said staffers in the auditor’s office were incompetent and pushed back on reforms Kathy McGuiness wanted to make after her predecessor’s 30-year tenure.

“It was a very toxic culture,” said Christie Gross, adding that she never had any conflict with McGuiness herself.

Gross testified that she eventually stopped working for the auditor’s office in 2021, after having successfully bid on a second contract. She said the final straw came after she spent several late-night hours correcting numbers in a budget request to be presented to state lawmakers, only to see the old numbers put back in. After complaining to McGuiness, Gross was assured by the auditor’s chief of staff that the right numbers would be restored, only to discover by accident that they were not.

“When I saw it, I just decided it was too much for me to continue,” said Gross, who described the auditor’s office as a “disaster” that “lacked professionalism.”

Prosecutors have alleged that McGuiness orchestrated a no-bid “communications services” contract for Gross’ consulting firm, My Campaign Group, which she had used as a campaign consultant when running for lieutenant governor in 2016. They also said she deliberately kept the contract payments under $5,000 each to avoid having to get them approved by the Division of Accounting.

Gross testified that McGuiness never told her to submit a bill for less than $5,000, and that she didn’t even know about the $5,000 reporting threshold until after McGuiness had been indicted.

McGuiness also is charged with intimidating and retaliating against employees who reported her alleged wrongdoing or who she believed might be cooperating with investigators.

Prosecutors allege that the intimidation, which included monitoring employees’ emails, began as early as March 2019, even though McGuiness was not told until September 2021 that she was the subject of a criminal investigation.


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Hundreds of stolen cars recovered in global Interpol operation funded by the UAE

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A United Arab Emirates-funded global police operation targeting stolen vehicle trafficking has led to the recovery of hundreds of cars, trucks and motorbikes and almost half a million stolen cigarettes in just two weeks, Interpol announced on Wednesday.

Operation Carback saw frontline police at seaports and land border crossings in 77 countries use Interpol’s secure global police communications network – I-24/7 – to check vehicles and their owners against Interpol’s databases and instantaneously detect potential criminals or criminal activity.

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Interpol launched its ‘Reducing Vehicle Crime and Theft’ Program in 2016 with funding from the United Arab Emirates via Interpol’s ‘Foundation for a Safer World’, which financed Operation Carback 2022.

Since May 2016, the foundation has been supporting seven key Interpol initiatives by donating $52 million over a period of five years, as part of a contribution agreement between the Foundation and the UAE government.

In just over two weeks, Operation Carback led to the identification of 1,121 stolen cars and 64 motorcycles, the arrest or detention of 222 suspected stolen vehicle traffickers, the detention of eight suspected people smugglers, the detection of 26 fraudulent vehicle documents and the seizure of 480,000 stolen cigarettes.

Officers raided chop shops – places where stolen vehicles are dismantled into parts that are smuggled or sold online – with confiscations triggering further investigations into car crime gangs globally.

Interpol supported the operation by crosschecking information collected in the field against its international databases, with Frontex also supporting the European leg of frontline operations.

Experts from Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicles Unit were deployed to key locations to assist national law enforcement with database checks in the field as well as in exchanging, analyzing and acting on operational data.

With the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) typically removed from stolen cars, on-the-ground assistance from Interpol enabled national law enforcement to connect with car manufacturers to identify vehicle origin.

Because stolen vehicles are frequently trafficked to finance and carry out crime ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing and people smuggling to corruption and international terrorism, the Interpol General Secretariat headquarters is analyzing intelligence gathered during Operation Carback to identify links with other crime areas.

“With vehicles usually smuggled beyond borders and ending up thousands of miles away from where they were stolen, an international operation like Carback is crucial to enabling police to tackle the networks behind global car trafficking,” said Ilana de Wild, Interpol’s director of organized and emerging Crime.

“The main key to the success of Operation Carback is the wealth of information contained in Interpol’s Stolen Motor Vehicle database, and the fact that throughout the operation police in the field were able to access this crucial data.”

Last year, Interpol identified some 248,000 stolen vehicles thanks to the SMV database. More than 130 countries shared their national data with Interpol, and carried out more than 280 million searches.

The UAE has close links with Interpol and in November it was announced that the country’s Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, of the UAE’s interior ministry, had been elected as the new President of Interpol.

The senior police official will serve the four-year term in Lyon, France.

The new appointment makes him the first candidate from the Middle Eastern region to be elected into the position since the global crime fighting agency was founded in the 1920s.

Read more:

UAE Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi elected as new Interpol President

UAE joins Interpol operation to crack down on human trafficking gangs

Dubai Police arrest international drug lord known as ‘The Ghost’


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Albanian Daily News – albaniandailynews.com

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Albanian Daily News  albaniandailynews.com


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S. Korean police drop case alleging defect in Tesla doors – The Hankyoreh

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