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Identity and credit card thefts on the rise in Iowa, but convictions aren’t keeping up

News

June 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

An investigation by the Des Moines Register reveals that while complaints about identity and credit card theft is in the rise in Iowa, the number of convictions for the crime are few and far between, especially outside the metropolitan areas. Identity theft ranks as the number one consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, but it often ranks low as a law enforcement priority according to the paper, because it’s difficult to catch those responsible, and many of the losses are absorbed by banks and credit card companies. 

The Register’s analysis of data from Iowa’s Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning shows of the 558 crimes related to identity theft resulted in felony or misdemeanor convictions during a three-year period covering 2009 to 2011. Sixteen Iowa counties had no convictions for identity theft or unauthorized credit card use, from 2009 to 2011. 46 counties had anywhere from one-to five-convictions, 37 had six or more convictions. In the KJAN listening area, there were two convictions reported in Cass and Mills Counties, according to the data; Pottawattamie County reported 78 convictions…the most for any southwest Iowa county; Guthrie County reported three convictions for ID theft, Shelby, Harrison and Union Counties each had one conviction over the three-year period. 

One of the ways thieves can get your information and steal your money, is through the use of a skimmer device, which attaches to the card slot of an ATM, allowing thieves to copy debit and credit card numbers. A vehicle pulled over on Interstate 80 in Cass County last year by Trooper Jaerod Clyde, contained a skimmer, wrapped in a garment bag, Inside the trunk of the vehicle, the Trooper also found a Micro SD card, a card reader and USB cord, along with other items used to copy and transfer financial data to fake credit cards. The driver of the vehicle is set to stand trial September 10th. He faces up to 15-years in jail if convicted on the felony charge of “Unauthorized access devices.”

A computer crime expert and professor in information systems at ISU in Ames predicts identity crimes will become a greater problem in Iowa and the rest of the country, as criminals stay ahead of law enforcement in their understanding of technology. For tips on keeping your identity safe, visit the Iowa Attorney General’s website. http://www.iowaattorneygeneral.org/consumer/brochures/avoid_identitytheft.html

Restaurant burglary reported in Villisca

News

June 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Montgomery County are investigating a break-in and theft which occured Saturday night or early this (Sunday) morning in Villisca. Authorities report the investigation began just before 4-a.m. at T-J’s Cafe, located at 307 East 4th Street, in Villisca.

Officials say someone forced entry into the business by shattering a window. An undisclosed amount of merchandise and money were taken from the restaurant. Damage to the restaurant’s window was estimated at $225. Anyone with information about the crime should contact the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office or Montgomery County Crimestoppers.

Nebraska man sentenced for federal wire fraud

News

June 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A Fremont, NE, man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for a wire fraud conviction that cost banks and insurance companies in Nebraska and Iowa millions of dollars.  Thomas Herink was sentenced Thursday in Omaha’s U.S. District Court. In addition to prison, Herink was given three years of supervised probation following his release and ordered to repay more than $5 million to his victims.
 
U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg says Herink falsified financial statements for his golf course construction company to defraud lenders and insurers.  Gilg says Herink carried out the scheme in order to participate in large construction contracts throughout the country. Prosecutors say when Herink defaulted on some of the projects, the banks and insurance companies lost more than $8 million.

Two Iowa Nursing Home Groups sanctioned by Feds

News

June 24th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A nursing home management corporation which runs 11 facilities in Iowa, including the Colonial Manor in Anita, and the Denison Care Center, has been sanctioned by the federal government for allegedly employing workers who had been barred from working in a federally funded health care facility. The Des Moines Register reports in its Sunday edition, that HCM Management has agreed to pay more than $200,800 for the violation. In a separate settlement agreement, Bethany Lutheran Home in Council Bluffs, which allegedly overbilled the government for Medicaid and Medicare claims, agreed to pay $675,000. A total of $875,000 in penalties was levied against the two nursing home groups. 

The Register reports, that in the HCM case, the Inspector General at the U-S Department of Health and Human Services alleged the company employed two persons it knew or should have known where excluded from participating in federally funded health care programs. HCM officials issued a written statement to the Register saying all persons applying for work at HCM managed properties “Undergo a rigorous background check.” 

In addition to the financial settlement with the Feds, Bethany Lutheran Home in Council Bluffs agreed to enter into a “Corporate integrity” agreement, which requires the facility to provide additional staff training in what services can be billed to Medicaid and Medicare. The 121-bed care facility is also required to create annual reports detailing efforts to ensure compliance, and submit those reports to the I-G’s office.

Weirich Rides World’s Largest Bicycle in Lewis

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Jim Field

On Saturday, June 23, 2012, Duane Weirich rode his World’s Largest Bicycle along the street in downtown Lewis.  The bike stands 18 feet high and 32 feet long.  It was originally built for a RAGBRAI visit through Lewis, but Weirich added a chain system and other modifications to make it a working bicycle.  It looked like a lot of pedaling to get it up the street!  Duane was never in danger of getting a speeding ticket!!!  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.

 

Alleged Hamburg bank robber arrested in MO.

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A man who allegedly robbed the Great Western Bank in Hamburg June 11th was taken into custody on unrelated charges in Missouri.

Nathan W. Smith (Bank robbery suspect)

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday (today), Police in Higginsville, MO., arrested 47-year old Nathan Wayne Smith of Lexington, Missouri, on Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Possession of a Controlled Substance (PCS) charges.  Smith was also being held in the Lafayette County, MO., jail on a warrant out of Fremont County, for 2nd degree robbery.

8-AM Local/State News (Podcast)

News, Podcasts

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

With KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

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7:06-a.m. News (Podcast) – June 23rd, 2012

News, Podcasts

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The latest area News from KJAN News Director Ric Hanson….

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Wanted: small town attorneys

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Many rural Iowa communities are losing a valuable resource: attorneys. The state bar association reports it’s a growing crisis as small town lawyers are retiring and few are willing to take their place. Some small town residents are struggling to get basic legal services they need to sell a house or draft a contract. Phil Garland, chair of the bar’s Rural Practices Committee, says they’re teaming up with the University of Iowa to place law students in rural areas this summer. “We’re also expanding it to really try to encourage a lot of us in small town Iowa to hire a clerk during the summer, to take a spin and really see what life is like in a small town,” Garland says.

Some Iowa towns currently have no resident attorneys, according to Garland. He says Adams County now has just two attorneys and several other rural counties have only three or four. The program is placing eight law students in small towns this summer with plans to add more students next year. Garland was a guest on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program.

(Radio Iowa)

Warrant issued for Hamburg bank robbery suspect

News

June 23rd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Authorities in Fremont County have issued an arrest warrant for a Missouri man, in connection with a bank robbery earlier this month, in Hamburg.

Nathan W. Smith (Bank robbery suspect)

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says the warrant was issued for47-year-old Nathan Wayne Smith, of Lexington, MO.  An investigation by Aistrope’s office and the FBI determined Smith was the man behind the June 11th robbery of the Great Western Bank, in Hamburg.

Smith, a black male, was described as being in his early 20s, approximately 5-6, to 5-8, inches tall, and 175 pounds. Anyone with information as to the location of Nathan Wayne Smith, should call the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-432-9210, or the Omaha FBI office, at 1-402-493-8688.  The man is to be considered dangerous, and should not be approached by the public.