Friday, September 9, 2011

Complete DHS Daily Report for September 9, 2011

Daily Report

Top Stories

• In a nationwide crackdown, authorities charged 91 people, including doctors and other medical professionals, with participating in Medicare fraud schemes involving $295 million in false billing. – Associated Press (See item 32)

32. September 8, Associated Press – (National) 91 charged in $295M Medicare fraud crackdown. A nationwide law enforcement crackdown has charged 91 people, including doctors and other medical professionals, with participating in Medicare fraud schemes involving $295 million in false billing. Charges were filed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Brooklyn, New York; Chicago; Dallas and Houston; Detroit; Los Angeles; and Miami. Eleven of the people charged were doctors, three were nurses, and 10 were licensed health professionals. Forty-six defendants and $160 million of the total claims came from South Florida. In Miami, a U.S. attorney said investigators noticed people who were already receiving Medicare disability checks were recruited with promises they could live in a halfway house in South Florida as long as they agreed to receive mental health services they did not need. Many were addicted to drugs or alcohol, and some were homeless, and they would be threatened with eviction if they did not participate in the fraud scheme. That particular scheme and other frauds, operated out of an entity called Biscayne Milieu, accounted for $50 million of the fraudulent Medicare claims, prosecutors said. It provided no legitimate services. In Houston, two people were charged with fraud schemes involving $62 million in false claims for home health care and medical equipment. One defendant allegedly sold beneficiary information to 100 Houston-area home health care agencies. The home agencies used the information to bill Medicare for services that were unnecessary or never provided. In Baton Rouge, a doctor, nurse, and five other co-conspirators were charged with billing Medicare more than $19 million for skilled nursing and other home health services that were not necessary or never provided. Source:

• The rising Susquehanna River forced the evacuation September 8 of about 100,000 people from New York to Maryland as flooding from heavy rains closed major highways and destroyed bridges and homes. – Associated Press and NBC News (See item 53)

53. September 8, Associated Press and NBC News – (National) Nearly 100,000 told to flee Northeast flooding. Nearly 100,000 people from New York to Maryland were ordered to flee the rising Susquehanna River September 8 as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped more rain across the Northeast, closing major highways, and socking areas still recovering from Hurricane Irene. At Binghamton, New York, the wide river broke a flood record and flowed over retaining walls as more than 8 inches of rain fell in some areas. Road closures effectively sealed the city off to outside traffic as emergency responders scrambled to evacuate holdouts who didn't heed warnings to leave. Most of the people ordered to evacuate were about 80 miles downstream in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where the river was projected to crest later Thursday at 41 feet — the same height as the levee system, officials said. Residents were ordered to leave by 4 p.m. In Port Deposit, Maryland, rising water levels at the Conowingo Dam forced officials to open the floodgates and order the evacuation of most of the town's 1,000 residents. There was also flooding upstream from Binghamton in Oneonta, New York. Roads and highways closed around the region, including sections of New York's Interstate 88, which follows the Susquehanna's path. In Philadelphia, flooding and a rock slide closed the eastbound lanes of the Schuylkill Expressway, a major artery into the city, and it could take hours for the road to reopen. The high waters were being blamed for the partial collapse of the Slabtown Bridge in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. A bridge spanning the Delaware River between New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Lambertville, New Jersey, closed September 8 as flood waters carried debris downriver. New York's Thruway Authority expected to close a 105-mile stretch of its busiest east-west highway, Interstate 90, because the Mohawk River had overflowed its banks in some areas. Wet weather followed by Hurricane Irene and its remnants have saturated the soil across the Northeast, leaving water no place to go but into already swollen creeks and rivers. The National Weather Service predicted 4 to 10 inches of rain across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast through September 8. At least nine deaths have been blamed on Lee and its aftermath. Source:


Banking and Finance Sector

11. September 7, Seattle Times – (National) 3 charged in credit-card-skimming operations. Three Seattle-area men were charged September 7 by federal prosecutors in connection with a pair of credit-card "skimming" operations that resulted in losses of nearly $500,000 from unsuspecting ATM users in at least 6 states. Two of the men appeared in U.S. district court in Seattle September 7. The third man is being held in Franklin County on state charges. The men were charged in two separate complaints fin connection with conspiracies to place tiny electronic "skimming" devices on ATMs to steal credit-card information. According to the complaints, one of the men is believed to have compromised as many as 1,900 bank accounts and stolen as much as $390,000. He was arrested at a Chase bank in Seattle when security determined he had attempted to access a compromised account, the complaint said. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of 22 gift cards agents said had been converted to counterfeit ATM debit cards. He's suspected of running skimming operations in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, and fines of $250,000. The other two men, according to the U.S. attorney's office, have been known to law enforcement since 2009 and are suspected in skimming operations in Idaho, Washington, and Arizona. They are suspected of thefts exceeding $160,000 and face conspiracy charges that carry prison penalties of up to 30 years. Source:

12. September 7, Federal Bureau of Investigation – (Minnesota) Man charged in $20 million mortgage fraud scheme. A 52-year-old man was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud September 7 in federal court in Minnesota for his role in a $20 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved 57 properties. Allegedly, between 2004 and 2007, the man conspired with others to obtain mortgage loan proceeds based on fraudulent documentation. His unnamed co-conspirators identified residential properties available for purchase and recruited buyers. Two of the co-conspirators allegedly told buyers they would receive payments after the transactions closed, and that they could put the payments toward the mortgages or use them to improve the properties. The scheme involved submitting false mortgage loan applications, which misrepresented the buyers’ true financial situation. Based on those fraudulent documents, however, loans were approved, and loan proceeds were disbursed by wire transfer into the accounts of various title companies. The man and his co-conspirators then allegedly caused those title companies to disburse part of the proceeds from each transaction into bank accounts not associated with the property buyers, the purpose being to conceal the undisclosed kickbacks. The man received about $580,000 in concealed payments from the loan proceeds for the six residential properties he purchased. If convicted, he faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Source:

13. September 7, Federal Bureau of Investigation – (National) FBI releases bank crime statistics for second quarter of 2011. During the second quarter of 2011, there were 1,023 reported violations of the Federal Bank Robbery and Incidental Crimes Statue, a decrease from the 1,146 reported violations in the same quarter of 2010. According to statistics released September 7 by the FBI, there were 1,007 robberies, 15 burglaries, one larceny, and two extortions of financial institutions reported between April 1 and June 30. Source:

14. September 6, CBS 2 New York – (New York) Coalition of groups plan to 'occupy Wall Street' on September 17, looking for an American Tahrir Square-moment. A coalition of groups who said they’ve been inspired by the Arab Spring protests against despots abroad is calling for a large, Tahrir Square-like protest in New York City September 17. But what their demand will be is not yet clear. An online group dubbed “Occupy Wall Street” is calling for 20,000 people to ”flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” according to the Web site The site says “We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.” The original call to occupy Wall Street was put out by a group called Adbusters, which describes itself as a ”global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the ways corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.” The hacker/protest group Anonymous has also reportedly thrown its support behind the September 17 protest. Source:

For more stories, see items 36 and 38 below in the Information Technology Sector

Information Technology Sector

36. September 8, The Register – (International) Cybercrooks aiming to cash in on 9/11 anniversary. Cybercrooks are preparing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks with a range of malware traps and hacking attempts on social networks and the wider Internet, net security firm BitDefender warned. The first wave of these attacks comes in the form of the newly established Web sites offering supposed content such as "Bin Laden alive," "in depth details about the terrorist attack," "police investigation results," and "towers going down" to attract the curious. The sites are filed with links to scareware and phishing sites. Others have created fraudulent charity donation sites. In addition, fraudsters are running fake auctions and sales of items supposedly linked to the attacks such as shards of metal from the twin tower or even "commemorative coins" supposedly minted from silver collected at the attack site. Source:

37. September 7, Computerworld – (International) Hackers flip characters to disguise malware. Hackers are using a new trick to cloak malicious files by disguising their Windows file extensions to make them appear safe to download, Avast Software warned September 7. The exploit, dubbed "Unitrix" Avast, abuses Unicode for right-to-left languages — such as Arabic or Hebrew — to mask Windows executable files (.exe) as innocuous graphic images (.jpg) or Word documents (.doc). Unicode is the computer industry standard for representing text with alpha-numeric codes. The Unitrix exploit uses a hidden code that overrides right-to-left characters to display an executable file as something entirely different. Using that ploy, hackers can disguise a malicious file that ends with gpj.exe as a supposedly safer photo_D18727_Collexe.jpg. Avast said malware using the Unitrix tactic — primarily a trojan downloader that acts as a door-opener and a rootkit that hides the malicious code — increased in volume in August, hitting a peak of 25,000 detections daily. The pattern of detections shows the attackers are targeting business users, according to the head of Avast's lab. Source:

38. September 7, The Register – (Washington) Ex-Microsoft accountant jailed for $1.1m Redmond theft. A former Microsoft accountant was sentenced September 7 to 2 years in prison and ordered to repay over $1 million after pleading guilty to theft and money laundering. The former accountant stole the money from Microsoft after working in the company’s accounting department for nearly a decade. He said the thefts were initially carried out to highlight a flaw in the company’s accounting systems, but his bosses ignored the problem when he informed them, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. However, after the man was laid off in 2004, he took the money, and it was only in 2009 that the authorities caught up with him. In addition to 2 years in prison, he will have to pay back around $1.1 million. Source:

Communications Sector

39. September 7, Anniston Star – (Alabama) Phones down at Calhoun County offices for second day. Telephones at the Calhoun County Administration Building in Anniston, Alabama, and the county courthouse were down for a second day September 7, and county officials said Tropical Storm Lee is to blame. The county technology manager said the outage happened because Tropical Storm Lee saturated the ground and shorted out the underground telephone cables that connect the county to the rest of the world. “When it’s dry, like it has been this summer, the cables can crack,” he was told by representatives of EarthLink, the county’s phone service provider. He said EarthLink representatives told him a technician was in the area at 7 a.m. September 7, working on the problem. Officials have no estimate of when the problem will be fixed. County offices were still open September 7. Source:

40. September 7, – (Florida) Florida LPFM accused of causing aircraft interference has a bigger problem. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agents waiting for Power Ministries’ WRLE-LP, Dunellon, Florida (94.9) to comply with their request to power down also found the station was using a transmitter that wasn't FCC-certified, reported September 7. During a June 11, 2010 inspection that was triggered by a complaint from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), both the operator on duty and the owner failed to immediately turn off the power. The owner wouldn't do the signoff until the station's engineer showed up. When the station finally did shut down, the FCC said “the spurious emissions and interference to the FAA ceased.” The complaint had come from the FAA facility in Jacksonville. WRLE-LP said it now has a legal transmitter, and had come into compliance within a month of the visit. The usual FCC fine for using an uncertified transmitter is $5,000, but the FCC increased this case's to $12,000. Source:

41. September 7, Joplin Globe – (Kansas) Two radio stations knocked off air by theft. Two Pittsburg, Kansas, radio stations were knocked off the air September 7 by the theft of copper wiring from a radio tower near Weir. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department arrested a suspect, who was being held at gunpoint by a homeowner north of Columbus who reported a possible theft in progress at his house. Copper wiring suspected of being from the radio tower was found in the suspect’s vehicle. KRPS 89.9 FM was broadcasting at partial power, and KKOW 96.3 FM was off the air late in the afternoon of September 7, according to management at the stations. KRPS owns the tower. The sheriff said he was seeking felony theft, and felony property damage charges. Source:

For another story, see item 36 above in the Information Technology Sector