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Man convicted of fraudulently seeking $13M in COVID-19 loans
Law Firm News | 2022/02/28 18:26
A Massachusetts businessman has been convicted of fraudulently seeking more than $13 million in federal coronavirus pandemic relief loans, federal prosecutors said.

Elijah Majak Buoi, 40, of Winchester, was convicted Thursday of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to a financial institution following a three-day trial in Boston federal court, according to U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins’ office.

Prosecutors said Buoi submitted six loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program but misrepresented the number of employees and payroll expenses for his startup company, Sosuda Tech. He also submitted fraudulent IRS tax forms to support his applications, they said.

The loan program was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act that allowed qualifying small businesses and other organizations to receive forgivable loans to cover payroll, mortgages, rent and utilities.

Buoi was able to obtain a $2 million loan before he was arrested in June 2020. Rollins’ office said the government has recovered nearly all of the money.


Gangs control who eats at Mississippi jail, monitor says
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/23 23:03
Gangs inside a Mississippi jail often determine whether other inmates receive meals, a court-appointed monitor testified in a federal court hearing.

Elizabeth Simpson testified Tuesday that staffing shortages are so severe at Hinds County’s Raymond Detention Center that gangs and “inmate committees” control certain aspects of life, including whether some inmates get to eat, WLBT-TV reported.

A former administrator of the jail, Maj. Kathryn Bryan, learned staff would put food on carts to take to the jail’s housing units and would let the inmates distribute it, Simpson said. In two cases this January, detainees in a mental health unit were suffering severe weight loss as a result, Simpson said.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a civil contempt order Feb. 4, saying officials in Mississippi’s largest county have failed to fix problems at the jail. He started holding hearings last week to determine whether to order a receivership in which the federal government would take over operation of the jail, with Hinds County paying the tab.

Simpson testified Tuesday that inmate committees determined whether certain detainees could remain in housing units known as pods.


Maryland governor appoints 2 to state’s highest court
Court Feed News | 2022/02/18 21:13
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the appointments of two judges to the state’s highest court on Thursday.

Harford County Circuit Court Judge Angela Eaves has been appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals. Eaves, who is the first Hispanic judge appointed to the court, has been nominated to succeed Judge Robert McDonald upon his mandatory retirement later this month.

Hogan also announced the appointment of Judge Matthew Fader, of Howard County, to the Court of Appeals. Fader is currently the chief judge of the Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate-appellate court. He has been appointed to succeed Judge Joseph Getty upon his mandatory retirement in April.

The Republican governor also announced that Court of Special Appeals Judge E. Gregory Wells will serve as the new chief judge of that court.

In addition, Hogan appointed Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Anne Albright to fill the seat that will open on the Court of Special Appeals with Fader’s departure.


Democrats sue to overturn new Kansas congressional districts
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/14 14:04
Democrats sued Kansas officials on Monday over a Republican redistricting law that costs the state’s only Democrat in Congress some of the territory in her Kansas City-area district that she carries by wide margins in elections.

A team of attorneys led by Democratic attorney Marc Elias’ firm filed the lawsuit in Wyandotte County District Court in the Kansas City area. Elias has been involved in lawsuits in multiple states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio, and he promised that the new Kansas map would be challenged when the GOP-controlled Legislature on Wednesday overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of it.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five voters and a Kansas voting-rights group, Loud Light. The defendants are the elections commissioner for Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the state’s top elections official.

Kansas is part of a broader national battle over redrawing congressional districts. Republicans hope to recapture a U.S. House majority in this year’s elections, and both parties are watching states’ redistricting efforts because they could help either pick up or defend individual seats.

The Kansas redistricting law removes the northern part of Kansas City, Kansas, from the 3rd District that U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids represents and puts it in the neighboring 2nd District, which includes the state capital of Topeka but also rural communities across eastern Kansas. Kansas City is among Republican-leaning Kansas’ few Democratic strongholds.

Elias has said the GOP map for Kansas is “blatantly unconstitutional.” Democrats argued that it amounts to partisan gerrymandering aimed at costing Davids’ her seat, while diluting the clout of Black and Hispanic voters by cutting their numbers in her district. They also have argued that the map is unacceptable because it fails to keep the core of the state’s side of the Kansas City area in a single district.


Temple prof seeks reinstatement of damage claims against FBI
Lawyer Blog News | 2022/02/10 10:32
A Temple University physics professor who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Monday to reinstate his clams for damages against the U.S. government.

Lawyers for Xiaoxing Xi and his wife say in a brief filed Monday with a Philadelphia-based appeals court that a judge erred last year when he dismissed most of the claims in their federal lawsuit. They assert that the FBI agent who led the investigation “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” made false statements and misrepresented evidence so that prosecutors could get an indictment.

“When law enforcement agents abuse the legal process by obtaining indictments and search warrants based on misrepresentations or by fabricating evidence, it undermines the legitimacy of the courts,” Xi’s legal team, which includes lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in the brief.


Moats named to temporary seat on West Virginia Supreme Court
U.S. Legal News | 2022/02/07 18:51
A circuit judge has been appointed to a temporary seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court after the resignation of Justice Evan Jenkins.

Chief Justice John Hutchison on Monday appointed Alan D. Moats to the high court. Moats has served in the judicial circuit covering Barbour and Taylor counties since 1997.

Moats will serve on the Supreme Court until Gov. Jim Justice appoints someone to the seat. That person then would serve until a election can be held for the remainder of Jenkins’ term through 2024.

Jenkins announced Friday that he is resigning to return to private law practice.

Jenkins was appointed and then elected to the seat of retired Justice Robin Davis following the Supreme Court’s 2018 impeachment scandal.


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