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Federal court sentences Nebraska man for crop insurance fraud

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Below is a roundup of sentences handed down last week in federal court in Omaha, according to updates Monday from acting U.S. Attorney Steven Russell.

The acting U.S. Attorney’s office in Omaha reminds the public that there is no parole in the federal system.

Timothy S. Daly, 49, of Ponca, was sentenced Monday by Judge John M. Gerrard to seven years in prison for interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. On Aug. 31, 2021, Daly allegedly contacted a phone number on an online ad for sex services. An undercover officer responded, posing as a 15-year-old girl. Daly allegedly texted the undercover officer and arranged a meetup for sexual activities. On Aug. 26 Daly allegedly went to the agreed meeting place and was arrested. Police searched his vehicle and allegedly found cash, condoms and fast food – which was allegedly negotiated as a form of payment for the sex acts. The case was investigated by the FBI and part of Project Safe Childhood, which is a nationwide initiative to combat child sexual exploitation.

Andrea Hall, 46, of McCook, was sentenced Thursday by Judge John M. Gerrard to four years and nine months in prison for possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine. Allegedly on June 20, 2020, police in Colorado told the FBI that Andrea Hall and another individual named James Essex had left a stash house that police were watching. Police in McCook set up a surveillance and found their vehicle. Hall and Essex were then stopped by police and law enforcement could allegedly smell burnt marijuana from the vehicle. Police searched the vehicle and allegedly found 46 grams of meth. Police say Hall admitted she went to Colorado to buy the meth and intended to sell some of it.

Kenneth W. Blair, III, 41, of Omaha, was found guilty of one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and one count of distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Allegedly, in Nov. 2021, investigators with the Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force believed Blair was distributing meth in Lincoln. Investigators set up a controlled buy and Blair allegedly sold 914 grams of meth to a cooperating individual on Nov. 11. The next week a search warrant was executed at Blair’s home in Omaha and investigators allegedly found five pounds of meth, more than $19,000 in cash and a loaded handgun. Judge John M. Gerrard will sentence Blair on Dec. 1, 2022.

Patricia Jacobsen, 36, of Omaha, and Elycia Washington, 24, of Arizona were both sentenced for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Jacobsen was sentenced by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to 12 years in prison. Jacobsen also had to forfeit $17,380. Washington was sentenced to four years and six months in prison. Allegedly on Oct. 20, 2020, Omaha Police found 339.2 grams of meth during a search warrant executed at Jacobsen’s residence. Jacobsen was allegedly getting meth from another individual – Brandy Williamson from Arizona. The two allegedly agreed for Williamson to travel to Omaha regularly to give Jacobsen meth to sell. The day after the search officers found Williamson and Washington at a hotel in Omaha. They searched the room and allegedly found 16.4 pounds of meth. Brandy Willamson pleaded guilty is pending sentencing. Omaha Police investigated the case.

Ross Nelson, 48, of Newman Grove was sentenced Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard to four years probation, including 16 weekends of intermittent confinement and a $100 special assessment for making a false statement in connection with federal crop insurance. Nelson also has to pay a $30,000 fine and $1,000,000 of restitution. The Department of Justice says Nelson had lied about the number of crops he grew in an insurance claim. In 2015 in Holt County, Nelson insured his corn and soybean crops. That same year Nelson submitted a report to the insurance provider, claiming that a certain number of soybeans had been produced. Nelson got an indemnity check for $700,092 from his insurance provider. Nelson also submitted a report for his corn crop. Alleged inconsistencies in Nelson’s claim prompted the USDA Risk Management Agency to investigate the claims. The agency noted Nelson’s numbers were too different compared to neighboring farms. The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the United States Department of Agriculture.

Scott Joseph Nielsen, 60, of Omaha, was sentenced Friday by Judge Robert F. Rossiter, Jr. to seven years in prison for possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of pure methamphetamine. Nielsen also had to forfeit $11,621. On Dec. 21, 2020, deputies with the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office saw Nielsen digging through a dumpster in La Vista. Nielsen was arrested for an outstanding warrant. The deputies searched his car parked nearby and allegedly found 28 grams of meth in a binocular case, as well as $11,621.

Kyle G. Daniel, 36, of Ball Ground, Georgia, was sentenced Friday by Judge John M. Gerrard to two years of probation for violating the Lacey Act. Daniel also has to pay a $5,000 fine and restitution of $4,000. Daniel allegedly traveled to Noble Outdoors – a commercial big game guiding and outfitting business in North Platte – and illegally shot a mule deer from a roadway. A plea agreement admitted by Daniel says he and two hunting partners went to Noble Outdoors during the fall 2020 archery season. Daniel allegedly shot the mule dear from the rear seating area of a Noble Outdoors vehicle that was parked on the traveled portion of a public road. Nebraska law prohibits shooting from the road and hunting on property without permission from the landowner. This conviction is the second federal sentencing regarding several defendants related to violations from Noble Outdoors, its clients and its associates. The operation was a joint investigation conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Law Enforcement Division.

Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.


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North America

China Props Up Tehran With Major Oil Purchases

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Iran sold China $38 billion in oil since Biden took office

Chinese president Xi Jinping / Getty Images

• September 27, 2022 2:25 pm

Iran has illicitly sold China $38 billion worth of oil since President Joe Biden took office and relaxed sanctions enforcement on Tehran. Revenue from the Chinese has kept Iran’s hardline regime afloat as it grapples with the largest outbreak of nationwide protests in years.

China “has proven to be the savior of Tehran by continuing to import millions of barrels of oil every single day,” according to newly released figures calculated by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an advocacy group that tracks Iran’s illicit oil trade. “Chinese imports have likely even exceeded the purchases made when the trade was not subject to U.S. sanctions.” Iran’s oil trade is heavily sanctioned by the United States as part of measures aimed at curbing the hardline regime’s revenue sources.

“It is widely acknowledged,” according to UANI, “that China is principally responsible for keeping the Iranian regime in business through oil purchases that have totaled $38 billion since President Joe Biden assumed office.” Entities found to be complicit in violating sanctions can face huge fines and be iced out of the U.S. financial system.

While the Biden administration has not nixed U.S. sanctions on Iran’s lucrative oil trade, it has eased its enforcement of these measures, according to experts tracking the situation. This has allowed Iran to export around 1,000,000 barrels of crude per day to Beijing amid a global supply crisis and enriched Tehran’s hardline regime at a time when its grip on power is more threatened than ever.

Protests have erupted across Iran since the regime’s morality police beat and killed a 22-year-old woman for not properly wearing her head covering, which is required under Iran’s theocratic legal system. Since her death, men and woman have taken to the streets across the country to express outrage at the regime’s human rights crimes, as well as its mismanagement of the country’s economy, which remains in shambles.

The Biden administration has offered tepid support for the anti-regime protests, but continues to walk a diplomatic tightrope as it engages in talks with the hardline government over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear accord. These talks, and the lax enforcement of sanctions that have sent Iran’s oil revenues skyrocketing, is helping to keep the regime in power amid the protests.

“Protests are occurring all over Iran, some of the most serious in years,” UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told the Washington Free Beacon. “Men and women are joining the demonstrations denouncing a regime they see as repressive and the cause for isolating the country, inflation soaring, and rampant poverty.”

“All of this,” Jungman explained, “has occurred under the current administration’s lax sanctions enforcement policy, which has enabled the regime to export millions of barrels of Iranian oil and accumulate billions in revenue from these sales. It is clear that only the regime is profiting while the Iranian people continue to suffer.”

Before the Biden administration took office and reentered talks with Iran, China was importing around 400,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day. That number now stands at around one million.

UANI analysts have discovered that Iran is using a so-called Ghost Armada comprising more than 200 oil-carrying ships. Much of this trade is being facilitated by China, which is able to import the illicit Iranian oil at discount prices.




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Biden’s America: Retailers Opt for Empty Shelves To Prevent Theft

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Many retailers are emptying their shelves across the country, but not because of low stock. A concerning increase in thefts has pushed companies to put more products under lock and key, the Wall Street Journal reports.

At one Best Buy store in the suburbs of Houston, where hundreds of items like Bose speakers and Fitbit activity trackers used to sit on the shelves, shoppers will instead find small blue signs that read, “This product kept in secured location.”

Surging crime rates across the country are hitting retailers hard. The National Retail Federation’s 2022 Retail Security Survey found that retailers lost $94.5 billion overall in 2021 mainly due to external theft and organized retail crime. Theft attempts at Home Depot are on the rise compared with before the pandemic, Home Depot vice president of asset protection Scott Glenn told the Journal. Last year, the supermarket giant Kroger for the first time listed organized theft as a factor pressuring profit margins. Starbucks has had to close 16 U.S. stores this year because of drug-related incidents and other disruptions, the Journal reported.

Twelve Democrat-run cities hit record-high crime rates last year, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Voters have responded by turning on left-wing prosecutors who support lighter sentences, less policing, and the elimination of cash bail. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has blamed the crime spike on “illegal gun trafficking” and has focused on gun control legislation.

“Organized retail crime is more than petty shoplifting, and the economic impact has become alarming,” Retail Industry Leaders Association senior executive vice president of public affairs Michael Hanson said in 2021. “Professional thieves and organized criminal rings are building a business model by stealing and reselling products, increasingly online through marketplace platforms like Amazon or Facebook.”

While Best Buy has always kept its high-valued items locked in the back, the number of locked items is higher in locations like Houston, where police data show that crime rates have risen.

Executives fear that more secured items will inconvenience customers and reduce sales. Some retailers are looking into “customer-friendly, higher-tech” security solutions, while others are giving employees more safety training.




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Area Police Logs | News

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Peabody

Sunday

Police went to 8 Walnut St. at 11:13 p.m. Sunday to check on a party slumped over in a gray Jeep. Police woke Jason Lee Torres, 37, of 588 Summer St., Lynn, and arrested him for drunken driving, second offense, and for operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license.

Police were sent to Macy’s at 4:31 p.m., and spoke to asset protection, who reported one male and two females took sunglasses and fled. An officer spoke within the operator of the vehicle involved and will review surveillance footage.

A cruiser and was sent to the intersection of Webster and Tremont streets, at 8:27 p.m., for an intoxicated party lying in the middle of the road. They were transported to Salem.

Salem

Monday

Police responded to the intersection of Highland Avenue and Valley Street, at 3:58 p.m., for a motor-vehicle accident without injuries.

Police were called to 40R Highland Ave., at 6:43 p.m., for an undesirable or unwanted guest.

The report of a larceny brought police to 42 Mason St., at 7:11 p.m.

At 7:13 p.m., police were called to 204 Highland Ave., for another larceny.

Police were called to 91 Lafayette at 10 p.m., for a panhandler.

Tuesday

A cruiser was sent to 24 Willow Ave., at 2:35 a.m., to check on a noise complaint.

Vandalism or graffiti was reported at 13 Franklin St., at 8 a.m.

Police went to 170 North St., at 9:15 a.m., to end a dispute.

At 10:05 a.m., officers were sent to 5 Pioneer Terrace to halt a dispute.

Two motor vehicle hit-and-run accidents brought police to the vicinity of 155 Washington St., at 11:27 a.m., for a hit and run accident, and to the vicinity of 3 Bedford St., at 11:55 a.m., for another.

One call for a larceny brought officers to 12 First St., at 12:50 p.m., and another to 27 Charter St., at 1:10 p.m.

Police were sent to 14 Essex St., at 3:06 p.m., to look into a fraud or a scam.

Beverly

Monday

Nine drivers were stopped and verbally warned for miscellaneous operating or safety offenses in or near the intersection of Ellsworth Avenue and Tremont Street between 4:03 and 4:34 p.m.

Four officers were sent to 224 Elliott St., at 4:55 p.m., for a bike taken by a friend.

The theft of a small boat and outboard engine from 126-127 Water St., were reported at 5:16 p.m.

Kids were disturbing the neighborhood in the vicinity of Robb Road and Stewart Lane at about 7:30 p.m. by ringing doorbells.

A cruiser was sent, about 7:15 p.m., to assist state police in finding a person walking on Route 128 north in the vicinity of Beverly Exit 19.

Two cruisers, fire and ambulance were dispatched to the vicinity of Exit 20B on Route 128 north. at 7:52 p.m., for a motor-vehicle accident.

The sergeant along with two officers and an ambulance were sent to Cabot Street on the Salem Line, at 8:56 p.m., for a man on the bridge.

Tuesday

Two officers were called to a Lothrop Street address, at 4:53 a.m., to assist a party with their female friend.

An officer was sent to Cabot Street, at 10:27 a.m., to assist with students who came to school under the influence.

Officers were sent to 295 Cabot St., at 11:20 a.m., to assist a female who kept falling in the street.

The sergeant and a patrolman were sent to 606 Cabot St., at 12:44 p.m., for loud neighbors playing offensive music.

Two officers were sent to Essex Street, at 1:15 p.m. to try to assist an 83-year-old man possibly having a stroke.

Two officers went to the vicinity of 91 Herrick St., at 2:50 p.m., to settle an argument between two drivers over a parking space.

Middleton

Monday, Sept. 19

A bear sighting was reported at 7:45 a.m., in the vicinity of Forest Street.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

An officer went to Park Street after a person complained about being threatened or verbally harassed.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

A party came into the station, at 9:39 a.m. and spoke with an officer about a customer who canceled payment after services were rendered.

Police authorized towing a car parked in the way of paving underway, at 10:40 a.m., at the Ferncroft Corporate Center, Village Road.

Thursday, Sept. 22

Police were sent to North Liberty Street, at 6:55 a.m., for a motor-vehicle accident with injury. The 17-year-old operator was placed under juvenile arrest and was summoned to court for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and for speeding at a rate greater than reasonable.

A telephone fraud or scam was reported by a Peaslee Circle party, at 2:38 p.m.

Police forwarded a request of illegal dumping at the Rubchinuk dump on East Street to the DPW, at 3:22 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 23

A catalytic converter theft from a North Main Street location was reported to police at 3:07 a.m.

A check fraud was reported to police, at 4:17 p.m. from a North Main Street address.

An ambulance was sent to MarketBasket at 6:54 p.m., for a party who had fainted or lost consciousness. They were transported to an area hospital.

Saturday, Sept. 24

Police received multiple calls regarding a power outage, starting about 8:22 a.m. from East Street. The Middleton Electric Department was notified.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Police were sent to the Doubletree Hotel, Village Road, at 2:15 a.m., where they arrested a male for a domestic assault and battery on an intimate partner.

An officer was sent to Market Basket at 12:52 p.m. for a report of a panhandler walking between cars stopped in traffic and asking for money.

An officer was sent to Forest Street at 3:20 p.m., for a report of a person behaving suspiciously at an open house.

Danvers

Sunday

Police were sent to the vicinity of 15 Folly Hill Drive, at 9:20 p.m., to search for an SUV believed to have been involved in a larceny, but the search was fruitless.

Monday

An officer was sent to Holten Garden Condos, 33 Holten St., at 10:47 a.m., to send a male who wouldn’t leave on his way.

Police were sent to 16 Dartmouth St., at 11:06 a.m., to look for a suspicious person who tried to get into the house.

An ambulance was sent to Twin Oaks Nursing Home, 63 Locust St., at 1:28 p.m., to transport a party hurt in an assault, involving a nurse and a patient, to the hospital.

A 38 Princeton St. party reported their front license plate was missing or had been stolen.

Police were sent to Buffalo Wild Wings, 100 Independence St., at 3:22 p.m. for a complaint about three teens.

Tuesday

An issue with an Uber driver brought an officer to Recovery Centers of America, 75 Lindall St., at 2 a.m.

Police were called to Motel 6, 65 Newbury St., at 8:26 a.m., after a party reported stolen suitcases.

The theft of more than $2,000 worth of Jewelry brought police to The Doubletree Hotel, 51 Village Road, at 10:45 a.m.

Police were called to the Danversport Bridge, 126 Water St., at 11:47 a.m., for a protest at the bridge.

An officer was sent to M&T Bank, 1 Conant St., at 12:58 p.m., to check the well-being of a mother under duress.

An officer was sent to the Highlands School, 190 Hobart St., at 2:30 p.m., to assist the crossing guard.

Marblehead

Monday

Police performed property checks on Community Road, Atlantic Avenue, Stramski Way and Humphrey Street between 1:06 and 1:44 a.m.

Two officers were sent to the {span}Jewish Community Center of the North Shore {/span}on Community Road, at 8:36 a.m., for a property check at 8:36 a.m.

Police were called to the intersection of Pleasant Street and Baldwin Road at 8:45 a.m. to clear obstructed traffic.

An officer was sent to Conant Road, at 10:13 a.m., on a general complaint.

At 11:12 a.m. officers were called to Atlantic Avenue for a motor vehicle crash.

Officers were sent to Lafayette Street, at 12:05 p.m., for an assault.

At 4:21 p.m. police were sent to Commercial Street for a motor-vehicle crash.

A disturbance brought two officers to Broughton Road at 6:05 p.m.

An officer was posted to the intersection of Countryside Lane and Humphrey at 6:43 p.m. for speed enforcement.

Two officers were sent to Everett Paine Boulevard, at 6:58 p.m., to check on a burglar alarm.

At 7:52 p.m., two officers were sent to Pleasant Street to end a disturbance.

Between 10:11 and 10:36 p.m. on Monday, officers made property checks on Lighthouse Lane, Community Road, Atlantic Avenue and Brook Road.




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