Monday, December 27, 2010

As New Year's Eve Approaches, AT&T Aims to Reach Millions With Powerful Anti-Texting While Driving Message

/PRNewswire/ -- "Where u at." Those three words made up the last text message Mariah West read before her car crashed into a bridge, ending her life. Approaching one of the most dangerous days on the road – New Year's Eve – AT&T* today announced the release of a powerful new documentary featuring stories from individuals, including Mariah's parents, whose lives have been altered by texting while driving.

The 10-minute piece will be distributed nationwide to schools, safety organizations, government agencies and more as part of AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign. Each of the eight individuals included in the full-length reel volunteered their stories to help AT&T educate wireless customers – particularly youth – on the risks of tapping away on their cell phones in the car. The documentary can be viewed online at no charge on AT&T's "It Can Wait" website and on AT&T's YouTube page.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic, particularly among teens who are confident in their ability to text or talk while driving," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Of the 5,500 people killed last year due to distracted driving, the largest proportion of fatalities occurred among young people under the age of 20. I hope teens will take this powerful video to heart and realize that when you're behind the wheel, no text message or phone call is worth the risk."

"This documentary is a raw look at the reality and hazards of texting while driving, and we hope it will make wireless customers think twice before pulling out their cell phones in the driver's seat," said Cathy Coughlin, senior executive vice president and global marketing officer for AT&T. "As a global telecommunications company, it is our responsibility to bring these risks to light, especially now during the holiday season and as we approach New Year's Eve."

The documentary is supported by CTIA – The Wireless Association, The National Safety Council (NSC), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

AT&T is working to distribute the video to numerous government agencies and safety organizations around the country, as well as to educators, students and policymakers to put real faces to the growing problem and spread the message. It will also appear on the websites and communication channels such as newsletters and social media pages of NOYS (, along with tens of thousands of schools affiliated with the organization.

In addition, AT&T will share the documentary with its wireless customers, employees and families through:

* AT&T's Teen Advisory Council – 10 teens of AT&T employees from across the country – and their schools;
* AT&T U-verse® Mobile, AT&T U-verse Online and AT&T U-verse TV On Demand (airing continuously beginning this week on a dedicated channel at no cost to subscribers);
* The AT&T employee "Defensive Driving" courses required for all company employees who drive as part of their job;
* AT&T's Smart Controls(SM) page (, an all-in-one destination with information and tools for parents and children on how to stay safe with technology, and tips to manage content, spending, time and location;
* AT&T's "It Can Wait" resource center ( and multimedia download center; and
* AT&T's Friends & Family page (

AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign launched in March 2010, and to date, more than 21,600 consumers have taken the pledge not to text and drive on AT&;T's Facebook page, in addition to more than 16,700 AT&T employees through its internal social media channel. More than 10,000 pledges have also been made on the AT&T Friends & Family page – an employee-led initiative encouraging others to commit to the cause.

AT&T continues to raise awareness about the issue of texting and driving through a multifaceted initiative. The campaign spans print, radio, TV and online advertising, in-store signage, collateral and online billing. In addition, parents, high school educators and, most importantly, youth, can visit AT&T's online resource center. The site includes downloadable information about texting while driving such as a parent-teen pledge, a teen-teen pledge, a poster, a brochure, safety tips and more.

Since 2009, the company has revised its wireless and motor vehicle policies to more clearly and explicitly prohibit texting and driving, impacting its more than 265,000 employees; incorporated a don't-text-and-drive message on the plastic clings that protect handset screens on the majority of new devices sold in AT&T's more than company-owned 2,200 stores; and has integrated campaign messaging in AT&T catalogs, in-store signage and collateral, bills, e-mails, newsletters and more.

As one of the nation's leading employers and with one of the largest commercial fleets, AT&T has also incorporated a section on the hazards of texting and driving in its defensive driving classes, which all employees who drive as part of their job are required to take.

For additional information on AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign, please visit

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Douglasville Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Child Pornography Offense

RICHARD W. RODGERS, 42, of Douglasville, Georgia, was sentenced December 20 by United States District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., to federal prison on a charge of receiving child pornography.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Thanks to the work of an undercover FBI agent, this offender has been prosecuted for receiving more than 1,000 images and many videos of child pornography and making hundreds of those images available for others via the Internet. Today's sentence is a reminder to all those who consider this illegal conduct: child pornography offenders face serious consequences for their crimes."

RODGERS was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. He pled guilty to the charge on August 13, 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates and information presented in court: A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working in an undercover capacity in Richmond, Virginia, logged onto an Internet file sharing network on April 4, 2008, and searched for offenders who had images of child pornography available for sharing with other Internet users. The agent's search quickly returned a list of more than 300 child pornography images that were available for sharing from a computer which was traced to RODGERS. When FBI agents executed a federal search warrant at RODGERS' residence in Douglasville, Georgia, they found more than 1,300 still images and 49 videos of child pornography on his home laptop computer. During interviews with federal agents, RODGERS admitted that he had searched for and received the child pornography from Internet sources.

This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its Innocent Images Task Force.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Gift Card Tips

Giving gift cards for the holidays can be the perfect answer to finding a present for that hard-to-shop-for relative or friend. However, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection wants consumers to be well informed so that the gift cards they give and receive are worth what the buyer intended.

First, beware of gift card scams. Con artists have been known to record gift card numbers and obtain PIN codes by removing the protective coating. Then they keep checking online to see if the card has funds on it. Once the card is purchased by the consumer, the card is activated and the scammer will be able to make an online purchase using the gift card funds. When the legitimate owner of the gift card subsequently tries to use the card, he will discover that there are little or no funds left on the card.

Another common scam is when someone resells a gift card – usually via an online auction or website – claiming it has a higher value than it actually does. Consumers should therefore avoid buying gift cards from online auctions or resellers because they could end up with a stolen card or one whose funds have been used up. Your safest bet is to buy the gift card from the store it’s from. Even then, you should check to make sure that the PIN number has not been tampered with; if it has, ask for another card and explain why. You should also ask the salesperson to scan your gift card to make sure that the funds have been correctly loaded onto the card.

Save your receipt because if the card is ever lost or stolen some stores may be able to give you a replacement card.

Also, you should consider the reputation of the company whose gift card you are buying. If it is lesser known or on shaky financial ground, there is a possibility that the company could go out of business. If that happens, your gift card could end up being worthless.

That’s an important consideration for gift card recipients as well. The best protection recipients have against a company going out of business is to use the card sooner rather than later. You may want to do that anyway since many people who don’t use a gift card right away end up forgetting about it, which can lead to the card expiring or incurring inactivity fees.

Gift card recipients should also take note of the following new rules which offer greater protections for consumers:

  • Money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the date the card was purchased, or from the last date any additional money was loaded onto the card. If the expiration date listed on the card is earlier than these dates, the money can be transferred to a replacement card at no cost.
  • Inactivity fees can be charged only after a card hasn’t been used for at least one year, and then only once per month. But fees may be charged to buy the card or to replace a lost or stolen card.
  • The card must clearly disclose its expiration date, and the card or packaging must clearly disclose any fees. There is one exception: Some cards produced before April 1, 2010, that list a short expiration time or inactivity fees in the first year may be sold through January 31, 2011. However, no matter what a card says, consumers still are protected by the new rules.
For more information, contact Bill Cloud, Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, at 404-656-3790.
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Former Atlanta Police Officer Sentenced to 12 Years for Corruption and Drug Trafficking

LUCIUS T. SOLOMON, III, 32, of Atlanta, formerly an officer with the Atlanta Police Department, was sentenced to prison December 16 by United States District Judge Richard W. Story on corruption and drug charges.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This police officer took an oath to protect the public from criminals. Instead, he protected the criminals from law enforcement. Now he is headed to federal prison.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Office, said, “Public corruption investigations are a high priority at the FBI given that the potential for damage and discredit to law enforcement is very high. While these corruption cases are a serious breach of the public trust, it should be noted that the vast majority of those working within law enforcement fully understand their oaths and reflect often on their commitment to public service.”

Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said, “The public simply must have confidence in its police officers. While I believe this incident is not indicative of the vast majority of hardworking, honest and dedicated officers out there on the streets of Atlanta day in and day out, today’s sentence sends a strong message to those who would stray from their mission to uphold and enforce the law.”

SOLOMON was sentenced to 12 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. SOLOMON was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. He pled guilty to the charges on September 2, 2010.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On three occasions in 2009 and 2010, SOLOMON provided protection for what he believed to be multi-kilogram cocaine deals. For each deal, SOLOMON agreed to protect the people he thought were drug dealers in exchange for $2,000. On two of those occasions, SOLOMON was on duty, in uniform, and in his marked police vehicle when he provided the protection. SOLOMON’s participation in each of these three drug transactions forms the basis for both the corruption and the drug charges.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Theft of Trade Secrets Sentencing

Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney, announced that Kevin Crow, age 57, was sentenced on December 13, 2010 to 36 months in federal prison without parole, three years' supervised release, a $10,000.00 fine, and a mandatory assessment of $100.00.

Crow was charged in a one-count information with theft of trade secrets, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1832. He entered a plea agreement on June 11, 2010.

The defendant was an engineer employed by Turbine Engines Components Technologies Corporation (TECT) in Thomasville, Georgia, from approximately August 1979 until June of 2007, when the defendant was laid off by the company. TECT manufactures a diverse range of products related to or including trade secrets. These products range from premium forged hand tools and medical instruments to aircraft hardware and turbine engine components, all of which are related to interstate and or foreign commerce. As an employee of TECT, Crow continually provided policy statements with explicit direction on identifying trade secrets within the company and how to protect those trade secrets. During Crow's exit interview he signed a document stating that he had returned all documents containing any trade secret information to TECT, when in fact, he had taken approximately 100 computer discs containing multiple pieces of information considered trade secrets from TECT.

Crow was later employed by Precision Components International (PCI) in Columbus, Georgia, a competitor of TECT. Both companies are in the business of manufacturing and selling engine blades for military aircraft engines. After being employed with PCI, Crow made numerous contacts with employees of TECT requesting forging price sheets containing vendor and customer information. He also requested copies of TECT's 2007 and 2008 contract reviews that contained trade secret information. Crow admitted in a conversation with a TECT employee that he took computer discs, blueprints, and cost and pricing information belonging to TECT, and admitted that providing the information could be considered industrial espionage.

The United States and the Defendant, through counsel, stipulated that Turbine Engines Components Technologies Corporation (TECT) suffered losses not exceeding $14 million.

United States Attorney Michael Moore said, "This type of industrial espionage is a serious matter, especially when it involves the production of parts for our military aircraft.

The damages alone to TECT and its employees might be calculated in dollars, but the potential harm to our military equipment readiness is still unknown."

The case was investigated by Special Agent Andy Crabtree of the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The prosecution was conducted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Kolman.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Former Archbold CEO Ken B. Beverly Convicted of All Six Counts Related to Medicaid Fraud

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Michael J. Moore, announced that on December 8, 2010, Ken B. Beverly was convicted after a seven-day jury trial of six felony offenses related to Medicaid fraud and obstruction of justice.

Moore said, “Mr. Beverly’s conduct is an example of extraordinary greed. He was willing to try and fraudulently obtain money from a public program specifically designed to guarantee that those who need medical care but can’t afford it have a way to receive treatment. With the crisis in our health care system, this type of fraud and abuse is simply reprehensible.”

The trial took place in the United States District Court in Valdosta, Georgia, the Honorable W. Louis Sands presiding. Defendant Beverly was formerly the CEO and president of Archbold Medical Center and Archbold Memorial Hospital, Thomasville, Georgia, and served in those positions for over 20 years. Beverly was convicted of all six counts of the indictment:

Count One: Conspiracy to Falsify Records - 18 U.S.C. § 1519 /i/c/w § 371
Counts Two and Three: Falsification of Records -18 U.S.C. § 1519
Counts Four and Five: Obstruction of Justice - Witness Tampering - 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1)
Count Six: Misleading Statements - 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3)

Counts One, Two and Three of the indictment charged Ken Beverly with participating in, and committing acts in furtherance of, a conspiracy to falsely portray Archbold Memorial Hospital as a public hospital, controlled and owned by a governmental authority, in order to qualify for additional Medicaid funds. In fact, Archbold Memorial Hospital is, and always has been, a private, not-for-profit hospital. Defendant Beverly conspired with former CFO William Sellers to create fictitious documents showing the City of Thomasville Hospital Authority owned and controlled Archbold Memorial Hospital. Beverly directed Sellers to send these fraudulent documents to the Georgia Department of Community Health in order for Archbold Memorial to receive funds as a public, rather than a private hospital. Federal Medicaid officials had requested proof of Archbold’s public status.

Counts Four and Five of the indictment charged Beverly with witness tampering by attempting to induce Sellers to remain silent about Beverly’s role in the conspiracy in exchange for Beverly’s efforts to protect Seller’s retirement benefits.

Count Six charged Beverly with making misleading statements in a civil deposition when questioned about the fraudulent documents.

Count One carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum fine of $250,000.00, and three years supervised released. Counts Two through Six each carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, together with supervised release of three years, and a maximum fine of $250,000.00, per count.

Defendant Beverly remains released on bond pending sentencing, which is expected to take place in about sixty days at a time set by the court.

This case was prosecuted by the Assistant United States Attorney Jim Crane, together with Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Steve McDermond.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Robbery of Wells Fargo Bank Branch in Atlanta

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Brian D. Lamkin, FBI Atlanta, requests the assistance of the public in identifying and locating the individual responsible for the December 7 armed robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 2280 Cascade Road, Atlanta, Georgia.

On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at approximately 9:40 a.m., a lone black male entered the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 2280 Cascade Road, Atlanta, Georgia, and, after initially being waited on by a customer service representative, discreetly announced a robbery. The robber, wearing an Ace-type medical bandage around his face and a sling on his left arm, displayed a weapon that he pulled from the arm sling, stating "you know what time it is." The robber then forced the bank employee to multiple teller stations where she was made to place money in a blue bag that he provided. During this process, the robber then openly displayed the weapon, a silver semi-automatic handgun, for the rest of the bank occupants to see.

After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the robber departed the bank without further incident. No vehicle associated with the robber was observed.

The robber is described as being a black male, 25-35 years in age, 5-‘6” to 5’8” in height, small build, weighing 140-145 lbs. He was wearing a dark blue with light blue striped rugby style long sleeved shirt, and an Ace bandage around his face with an additional bandage over his nose.

Wells Fargo Bank has announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of this individual.

Anyone with information regarding this matter should contact the Atlanta office FBI at tel. (404) 679-9000.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) Scam Alerts

This report, which is based upon information from law enforcement and complaints
submitted to the IC3, details recent cyber crime trends and new twists to previously-existing
cyber scams.

New Twist on Extortion/Hit Man Scam

The IC3 has received several complaints referencing a new twist on the
extortion/hit man scam, which is now targeting nannies and day care providers.
The fraudster contacts the potential victims via email claiming their team was hired
by a friend of the victim to "terminate" them. The fraudster demands amounts ranging
from $150,000 to $250,000 to call off the hit and claims he will hand over a tape
containing evidence as to who hired him once the amount is paid. The recipient is
threatened with murder and the kidnapping of the children in their care if they
fail to comply.

The majority of the victims had some affiliation with a nanny position and speculated
that the fraudster must have obtained their contact information through an online
classified ad offering their services as nannies. Others stated they had advertised
online that they were seeking a nanny, while one victim was reportedly a day care

Payment Processor Possibly Conducting a Ponzi Scheme

Since January 2010, the IC3 has received hundreds of complaints regarding a website
that victims reportedly used to transfer money for the sales of firearms; however,
the website has not allowed them to withdraw the funds after their merchandise was

The website claims to be a payment processor to be used as an alternative to other
familiar online payment transfer services and was created to allow for the purchase
of items that others of its kind do not allow (e.g., firearms). The website encourages
consumers to use their services by advertising that they send money to consumers
or anyone with an email address, an individual can easily pay for anything using
the web, and sign-up is free, quick, and easy.

The website appears to have been set up as a legitimate business but shortly after
operations began, customers started experiencing funding delays. Ultimately, customers
who received funds only received partial payments, and those payments were delayed
by months.

Additional research indicates that the money submitted for transfer may have been
fraudulently misappropriated. This scam appears to have become a Ponzi scheme with
previous customers being paid by funds from new customers.

Fraudsters Preying on Individuals Who are Wanting to Adopt

The IC3 received information from law enforcement and complaints filed with the
IC3 concerning an adoption scam. The scam is an attempt to collect personal information
and funds from individuals seeking to adopt a child. Victims reported responding
to on-line advertisements for adoptions, such as "Baby Needs A Home." The operators
of the site are fraudsters who claimed to have an overseas orphaned child in need
of adoption. Preying on victims' emotions, the fraudsters explained how they promised
to care for the child after the mother's death.

The fraudsters said they were not affiliated with an adoption agency because no
such agencies exist in their area. Nevertheless, they asked the victims to send
pictures of their family and to complete forms that required personal information
such as Social Security Number and their mother's maiden name. Fraudsters sent the
victims a birth certificate and pictures of a child. One victim reported that the
birth certificate appeared altered. Fraudsters told victims to send hundreds of
dollars via money order, credit card, or wire transfer to a bank account for legal
fees. The fraudsters claimed they would "ship" the child upon receipt of the funds.
Instead, the fraudsters pocketed the money gained from the scam and provided no
children for adoption.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Telephone Collection Scam Related to Delinquent Payday Loans

The IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) receives a high volume of complaints from victims of payday loan telephone collection scams. In these scams, a caller claims that the victim is delinquent
in a payday loan and must repay the loan to avoid legal consequences. The callers purport to be representatives of the FBI, Federal Legislative Department, various law firms, or other legitimate-sounding agencies. They claim to be collecting debts for companies such as United Cash Advance,
U.S. Cash Advance, U.S. Cash Net, and other internet check cashing services.

One of the most insidious aspects of this scam is that the callers have accurate information about the victims, including social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends. The method by which the fraudsters obtained the personal information is unclear, but victims often relay that they had completed online applications for other loans or credit cards before the calls began.

The fraudsters relentlessly call the victim's home, cell phone, and place of employment. They refuse to provide to the victims any details of the alleged payday loans and become abusive when questioned. The callers threaten victims with legal actions, arrests, and in some cases physical violence if they refuse to pay. In many cases, the callers even resort to harassment of the victim's relatives, friends, and employers.

Some fraudsters instruct victims to fax a statement agreeing to pay a certain dollar amount, on a specific date, via prepaid visa card. The statement further declares that the victim would never dispute the debt.

These telephone calls are an attempt to obtain payment by instilling fear in the victims. Do not follow the instuctions of the caller.

If you receive telephone calls such as these, you should:

* Contact your banking institutions;
* Contact the three major credit bureaus and request an alert be put on your file;
* Contact your local law enforcement agencies if you feel you are in immediate danger;
* File a complaint at

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