The Latest: Cosby’s lawyers put on notice over false claim

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a pretrial hearing in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case (all times local):11:20 a.m.A judge says he's putting Bill Cosby's lawyers on notice after they falsely accused prosecutors of hiding or destroying evidence in his sexual assault case.Judge Steven O'Neill rejected the prosecution's request Monday to throw Cosby's new lawyers off the case. Prosecutors argue the lawyers acted recklessly by making the false claim. The judge calls the allegation serious but says he's reluctant to break up Cosby's legal team with his retrial looming.The 80-year-old comedian is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby says the encounter was consensual. A jury deadlocked on the case last year, setting the stage for a retrial.The defense is seeking to have the charges dismissed, saying they are barred by the statute of limitations.———9:15 a.m.Bill Cosby has arrived in court for the start of a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case.The 80-year-old comedian entered a suburban Philadelphia courtroom Monday on the arm of his spokesman.Cosby's lawyers are trying to prevent dozens of accusers from testifying at his April 2 sexual assault retrial. Prosecutors want to call as many as 19 women to the witness stand in an attempt to show Cosby engaged in a five-decade pattern of drugging and harming women.Cosby is charged with assaulting a former Temple University women's basketball administrator at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His first trial ended in a hung jury.Monday's hearing comes less than two weeks after the death of his 44-year-old daughter from kidney disease.———10:40 p.m.Bill Cosby is going to court to stop some of his dozens of accusers from testifying at his April 2 sexual assault retrial.Cosby's retooled defense team is due to clash with prosecutors over the potential witnesses at a pretrial hearing on Monday.Prosecutors want to call as Continue Reading

British company to pay over $900K in false claims settlement

Updated 11:51 am, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Federal prosecutors say an English company and its chief executive officer have agreed on a civil settlement to resolve a false claims charge concerning customs duties. U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says Pure Collection Ltd. and CEO Samantha Harrison of Harrogate, England, agreed to pay more than $900,000 to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act. Frank says the settlements resolve allegations Pure and Harrison improperly avoided U.S. customs duties on merchandise shipped from the United Kingdom to American customers. Pure is a luxury knitwear retailer. Most Popular 1 Texas teacher, wife of athletic director accused of improper... 2 58 years ago this week Houston got four inches of snow just... 3 After Harvey, slight majority still opposes more taxes for... Houston and Texas Player Now Playing: Now Playing Texan tires to stand on ice, takes a spill Houston Chronicle Intense argument captured on video at Montrose CVS Spacewall/Reddit Charred Shishito Peppers with Garlic Herb Oil Food & Wine Spoil bae on a budget Fox 26 Houston Bayou City Buzz - Black Panther preview Fox 26 Houston Thanking Harvey heroes Fox 26 Houston One-on-one with D.A. Kim Ogg Fox 26 Houston Dad fights for son's return Fox 26 Houston The fight against opioids Fox 26 Houston Indicted Montgomery County judge locked in battle for his job Fox 26 Houston Serial killer wills his body, property to known peddler of murderabilia Fox 26 Houston North Texas midterm primaries leave 3 notable seats up for grabs Fox4 Walmart gives out free tickets to Black Panther advanced screening Fox 26 Houston Conjoined identical twins successfully separated at Texas Children's Hospital Fox 26 Houston University of Houston student carjacked Fox 26 Houston Houston FOXRAD Forecast Monday 2/12/18 Fox 26 Houston Prosecutors say Pure and Harrison evaded Continue Reading

2 Salinas Doctors Agree To Pay $1.085 Million To Settle False Claims Allegation

Bay City News Service Published 1:04 am, Wednesday, January 24, 2018 SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Two Salinas urologists have agreed to pay $1,085,000 to resolve allegations they submitted false claims to Medicare for radiation therapy, Acting U.S. Attorney Alex Tse announced in San Francisco Tuesday. Tse said Drs. Aytac Apaydin and Stephen Worsham own and operate Salinas Valley Urology Associates and formerly owned the Salinas-based Advanced Radiation Oncology Center, which dissolved in 2016. The agreement settles investigative allegations and there has been no finding of liability on the part of the two doctors, Tse said. The doctors were alleged to have violated two federal laws in connection with referrals made to the former Advanced Radiation Oncology Center, or AROC, for image-guided radiation therapy, which is used to treat prostate cancer. The first was the Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits the exchange of anything of value to induce referrals for services covered by federal health care programs, including Medicare. LATEST SFGATE VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing Bay Area Faults Martin do Nascimento Rainfall forecast for Bay Area NWS Bay Area Gongfu Tea Gabrielle Lurie A walkthrough of the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show Urmila Ramakrishnan Tracking Tsunamis NOAA Tsunami Awareness NOAA Could you live in a remodeled school bus? Alix Martichoux / SFGATE Kevin Durant on Capela’s “We’re Better” claim San Francisco Chronicle SFPD releases video of choke attack San Francisco Police Department 161 Gilbert St., San Francisco Blue Sky Films The second was the Stark Law, which prohibits doctors from referring Medicare patients to a health-service entity which with a doctor has a financial relationship. Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Chad Readler said the laws are aimed at "preventing physicians from improperly injecting profit motives into their decisions about patient care." Continue Reading

J.K. Rowling apologizes for falsely claiming Trump snubbed a boy in wheelchair

J.K. Rowling has apologized for a series of tweets falsely claiming that President Donald Trump snubbed a young boy in a wheelchair during a White House visit. Rowling initially shared a video she later learned was edited that featured Trump appearing to ignore 3-year-old Monty Weer as the child waited to hear the President give a speech on health care reform. But the "Harry Potter" author was quickly called out by Piers Morgan, PolitiFact and even the boy's mother, Marjorie Weer, for sharing a video that didn't tell the whole story. Morgan accused Rowling of being a liar on Twitter, while Weer wrote on Facebook, "Trump didn't snub my son & Monty wasn't even trying to shake his hand." PolitiFact, meanwhile, labeled Rowling a "Pants on Fire" liar. In her apology, Rowling admitted that she had shared doctored footage that was "not a full or accurate representation" of the interaction. "I very clearly projected my own sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress to that boy or his family, I apologize unreservedly," she wrote. In the original series of since-deleted tweets, Rowling wrote that Trump "pretends not to see a child in a wheelchair, as though frightened he might catch his condition… How stunning, and how horrible, that Trump cannot bring himself to shake the hand of a small boy who only wanted to touch the President." The Brit also explained that she was used to watching people act uncomfortably around wheelchairs, as her mother had used one. Continue Reading

There’s no evidence linking the Las Vegas shooting to ISIS. Why did terrorists make false claim?

Within hours of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 and wounded 500, ISIS claimed responsibility for the actions of shooter Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nev.News outlets picked up the story and later had to backtrack as terrorism experts began to point out that this incident lacks the usual hallmarks of ISIS-inspired terrorism: a young male perpetrator, a history of petty crime and signs of allegiance to ISIS on social media.On Monday, Amaq, the propaganda news agency for ISIS, called Paddock a “soldier of the caliphate” and later published a more formal claim. But terrorism experts say this is likely ISIS's first false claim for an attack in the West. If it’s not, Paddock represents a wild outlier among those who have committed violence in the name of ISIS.Rukmini Callimachi, who covers Islamic extremism for the New York Times, said she began to have doubts about the claim soon after it was posted.“I Googled what was known about the shooter,” Callimachi said. “And as soon as I found out that he was a white male who was 64 years old, I started to question their claim.”Studies have shown that ISIS recruits are typically young and male, with a criminal history.“If this man turns out to be ISIS, he will not just be an outlier, he will be the oldest ISIS recruit in the US by nearly a decade,” Callimachi said.Callimachi said there are several things that could be destabilizing the group, and leading it to make such a false claim. ISIS has lost significant ground in Iraq and Syria in the past year and Amaq, its news agency, has been the target of airstrikes.“One working theory is that as they lose personnel, they’re getting sloppier,” Callimachi said.In June, Rayan Meshaal, the founder of Amaq, was reportedly killed in an US-led airstrike. In July, a bus used as a mobile headquarters was targeted, killing Continue Reading

Gov. Matt Bevin falsely claims Courier-Journal flew drone over his Anchorage house

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday falsely claimed in a tweet that the Courier-Journal flew a drone over his home in Anchorage to film his children among other accusations.  "The Courier-Journal does not own or operate drones," said Executive Editor Joel Christopher. "It is a false association to include the Courier-Journal in that tweet."Bevin later tweeted that WDRB was responsible for the drone. WDRB News Director Barry Fulmer said in a tweet that the station "was flying a drone in accordance to the FAA rules to cover news happening at your home. There is NO video of children." The governor's home was being inspected Tuesday to determine its value after questions were raised about whether Bevin received a sweetheart deal when he purchased the mansion from political donor Neil Ramsey.  The latest: Reporters denied access to inspection of Bevin's Anchorage home Background: Did Bevin get a deal on his Anchorage home? Tuesday morning, Bevin fired off two tweets claiming the Courier-Journal and WAVE 3 were responsible for "drones again flying directly over and around my home filming my children." WAVE 3 News Director Bill Shory responded on Twitter by saying the TV station has never flown drones over the home and calling for a correction from Bevin. The governor then tweeted asking "at what point does the perverse fascination by @wave3news, @courierjournal & #PeepingTom Loftus with my home & family become stalking?" referring to CJ politics reporter Tom LoftusIn a later tweet, he claimed Loftus came to his home "again with three attorneys demanding to be let in."Loftus and others from Kentucky media outlets went to Bevin's home Tuesday for a property tax board's inspection of the home, where reporters were denied access. The Courier-Journal believes the inspection was a public meeting under the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.Loftus went to the home with one Continue Reading

Lance Armstrong can claim victory in battle waged by federal prosecutors, but cyclist still in fight for his legacy

Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong is smart enough to know that winning a big battle this week doesn't end the war that a diverse and determined group of people is waging against his legacy. That's probably why not a chirp of satisfaction emerged from Armstrong's robust Twitter account on Friday evening, when federal prosecutors signaled they would not charge him with federal crimes after a deep investigation into alleged doping conspiracies on his Tour de France teams. "Tomorrow is #WorldCancerDay," the 40-year-old Armstrong wrote, as many people involved in the investigation struggled to absorb the stunning news of its abrupt closure. "I'm running 15 around Town Lake in honor of the #28 million dealing with this disease." Armstrong did issue a bland statement through his attorney, Mark Fabiani, that said he was glad that Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, had taken the unusual step of announcing the investigation had been shut down without charges being filed. But there was none of the swagger that Armstrong has displayed as he dispatched foes both on and off the race course during his storied career. Refusing to acknowledge his sudden good fortune may have been Armstrong's way of telling his supporters that he always had bigger priorities than the sordid accusations leveled by former associates. But no one with a view of the pricey legal team Armstrong assembled in 2010, when grand jury subpoenas started flying, would believe that. And Armstrong will likely need to maintain his stance of legal readiness. From a federal whistleblower suit to a continued probe by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, he still has a lot of active skeptics to outpedal. The two-year federal probe has generated an arsenal of testimony and documentation that wasn't in existence in 2009, when Armstrong last retired. "Our investigation into the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during Continue Reading

Is Astorino’s Chappaqua housing claim true?

In the year-end crush to meet benchmarks in its federal fair-housing settlement, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has claimed that a controversial affordable housing proposal in the hometown of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo had earned a building permit for its 28 units.But Tax Watch has found that no such building permit exists for the Chappaqua Station project, which is involved in a U.S. Justice Department contempt-of-court complaint pending in U.S. District Court.At stake is Westchester's Dec. 31, 2015, deadline to have building permits in place for the Chappaqua project under housing monitor James Johnson's proposed sanctions. If the county missed it, the violation could lead to sanctions of $30,000 for taxpayers to absorb. New Castle Town Attorney Edward Phillips said Conifer Realty, of Rochester, has several more hurdles to clear before it could obtain a building permit to construct the apartments.“There are a number of additional permits and approvals that Conifer must still provide before a building permit for construction could be issued,” he said.Westchester maintains that a permit issued Dec. 28 to allow site remediation and grading at 54 Hunt's Lane qualifies as a "building permit" for the apartment complex, which Astorino trumpeted in a Dec. 30 news release .But Craig Gurian, executive director of the Anti-Discrimination Center, which brought the fair-housing case in 2006, said a permit for grading a site was not what negotiators intended during talks for the consent decree.A building permit actually allows you to build something.“This is silly,” he said. “It doesn’t pass the laugh test.”Standing in the way of a permit to build the affordable housing complex is the New Castle Town Board, which ordered a new round of reviews on Dec. 8. A public hearing on the reviews is set for Tuesday.Phillips Continue Reading

Kentucky hospital to pay $16.5 million for unnecessary heart procedure claims

Potentially adding to KentuckyOne Health’s financial woes, its St. Joseph hospital in London has agreed to pay $16.5 million to the federal government to resolve civil allegations that it submitted fraudulent claims to the Medicare and Kentucky’s Medicaid programs for unnecessary heart procedures.The settlement was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey of Lexington and the hospital.Still pending are lawsuits filed by nearly 400 former patients who allege cardiologists conspired with the hospital to perform unnecessary, risky and often painful heart procedures to unjustly enrich themselves.Those suits — the first of which is to be tried in October in Laurel Circuit Court — allege that two patients died and that the others will be required to take dangerous blood-thinning medications for life and are at risk of other potentially fatal complications.The government claimed that from 2008 to 2011, several doctors working at the hospital performed numerous invasive cardiac procedures, including stents and catheritzations on Medicare and Medicaid patients who did not need them. Hospitals generally receive $10,000 to $15,000 for each procedure.“We all rely on health-care providers to make treatment decisions based on clinical, not financial, considerations,” U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey of Lexington said in a news release. “The conduct alleged in this case violates that fundamental trust and squanders scarce public resources set aside for legitimate health care needs.”St. Joseph London said in a separate release that it settled the case without admitting that it violated the law to avoid the expense and “uncertainty of prolonged litigation, and to allow the hospital to move forward.” It said the allegations arose in “past relationship with some cardiologists who no longer practice at the hospital.”St. Joseph President Greg Gerard said, “We are committed to providing the communities we Continue Reading

AIDS foundation scammed Medicare for $20M, claims lawsuit by former managers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — One of the nation's largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court. Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit last week alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs. Employees were paid $100 bonuses for referring patients with positive test results to its clinics and pharmacies. The lawsuit alleges kickbacks started in 2010 at the company's California headquarters and spread to programs in Florida and several other locations. The Los Angeles-based company cares for more than 400,000 patients in 36 countries and is leading a mass testing initiative to identify and treat an estimated 25 million people who don't know they are infected, according to its website. The referrals were key to the company's business model and touted by AHF President Michael Weinstein at a 2013 leadership summit, where the complaint alleges he specifically directed staff to immediately raise the patient financial incentive to $50 and to implement the incentive program nationally throughout the organization. Weinstein said small incentives for linking people to services and keeping them there are "mainstays of public health interventions." "Not only has AIDS Healthcare Foundation done nothing wrong, our pro-active approach to finding and linking HIV-positive individuals to lifesaving care and treatment is critical to stopping HIV in this country," Weinstein said in a statement. He noted that the federal government and state of Florida formally declined to intervene in the legal action, which he says "speaks volumes about the merits of the case." The lawsuit was originally filed last year, but an amended complaint was brought last week. Former managers Jack Carrel of Louisiana, Continue Reading