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WednesdayJanuary 25, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Univision Telenovelas to Come with English Captions

Univision Telenovelas to Come with English Captions

Photo: Univision telenovelas

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Univision Communications Inc., a leading media company serving Hispanic America, today announced plans to offer all of Univision Network’s primetime novelas with English-language closed captioning.  This will apply to the Network’s complete weeknight shows, coinciding with the premiere of the newest novela from Univision Studios and Venevision, “El Talismán,” on January 30 at 8 p.m.(EST).

“The continued success of the telenovela genre speaks to its broad appeal that crosses culture and language, which is why, as part of our commitment to connect audiences to our culture, we are delivering our novela block with close captioning in English,” said Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, in a speaking engagement at the NATPE 2012 Market & Conference in Miami this afternoon.

Monday through Friday, English-language closed captioning will be made available on Televisa’s hit novela “Una Familia Con Suerte” (A Fortunate Family) at 7 p.m. (EST), “El Talismán” and on Televisa’s highly-popular “La Que No Podia Amar” (The One That Couldn’t Love) airing at 9 p.m. (EST).

Read more by HS News Staff →

Foreign Investment to Latin America Increases by 35% in 2011

Foreign Investment to Latin America Increases by 35% in 2011

Photo: Foreign Investment in Latin America Increases

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In spite of the economic turmoil that shook countries last year, global foreign direct investment (FDI) rose by 17 per cent, according to a United Nations report released, which predicts it will continue to increase this year but warns of the risks posed by the frail economic climate.

The report, authored by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), highlights the increase in FDI in both developed and developing countries as well as transition economies.

The 2011 increase in FDI flows was no longer driven by South, East and South-East Asia (which saw an increase of 11 per cent), but rather by Latin America and the Caribbean (increase of 35 per cent) and by transition economies (31 per cent).  Africa, the region with the most least developed countries (LDCs), continued its decline in FDI inflows.

After three years of consecutive decline, inflows to developed countries rose last year, reaching an estimate $753 billion, up 18 per cent from 2010, largely due to cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

However, FDI declined in Africa, the region with the highest number of least developed countries. The report shows that the share of inflows to Africa dropped by 0.6 per cent, to a total of 3.6 per cent of global FDI flows.

UNCTAD estimates that FDI flows will continue to climb moderately in 2012 to around $1.6 trillion, but will remain short of the all-time peak of $2 trillion reached in 2007. It also warned that economic uncertainty could negatively affect FDI growth.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Merengue Singer Miriam Cruz Releases First Solo Album “Es necesario”

Merengue Singer Miriam Cruz Releases First Solo Album “Es necesario”

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Dominican merengue singer Miriam Cruz, known as one of the voices of Las Chicas del Can, is returning to the stage with her first solo album “Es necesario.”

It is a return that the singer described as a rebirth in a “very different” environment from that she experienced with the group that was a sensation during the 1980s.

“It’s different. Imagine, before there were fewer opportunities to work and (it was) much more difficult. As a woman, before they said that it wasn’t possible for a woman to do the work of a man,” the singer told Efe.

She recalled that Las Chicas del Can broke that barrier because the group was made up of women who sang and played instruments like the conga, the drum and others.

In her new project, and with only her name to identify the entire group, the artist returned last year to the recording studio to produce the album that she will release in mid-April and which, she said, “doesn’t sound like the merengue of before.”

“The merengue of today is more aggressive and more direct. That is, I’m identifying myself with the feeling of many women and this has been one of the key points for Miriam’s rebirth,” the singer said.

After performing in Miami, where she will appear at a private club on Thursday, Miriam will travel to Boston, Philadelphia and New York.

Then, she will return to her country and on Feb. 22 she will begin a three-week European tour.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexico No. 2 Producer of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

Mexico No. 2 Producer of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

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Mexico is the world’s No. 2 producer of child pornography and is classified as a source, transit and destination country for people traffickers involved in sexual exploitation, lawmakers said.

Child pornography is the No. 2 illegal business, trailing only drug trafficking, and generates $42 billion annually, Special Committee to Fight People Trafficking chairwoman Rosi Orozco said.

Indians account for about 45 percent of the victims, Orozco, a member of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, said at the start of a forum in Mexico City on people trafficking.

Just 19 jurisdictions in Mexico have laws against child pornography, and only courts in Mexico City, Chiapas state and Puebla state have handed down convictions, the congresswoman said.

About 50 percent of the victims are boys, girls and teenagers, Congressman Arturo Santana Alfaro, who chairs the Committee on Citizens’ Participation in Government, said.

“We are hoping for action soon” on the bill that Orozco introduced in August 2011 to ban and punish people trafficking, Santana, a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said.

Mexico must bolster its judicial and public safety institutions to fight people trafficking and child pornography, first lady Margarita Zavala said.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Yankees’ Catcher Jorge Posada Retires After 17 Years in Major League Baseball

Yankees’ Catcher Jorge Posada Retires After 17 Years in Major League Baseball

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Tuesday, Yankees’ catcher Jorge Posada (born Jorge Rafael Posada Villeta) officially announced his retirement at Yankee Stadium, his teammates, coaches, and friends had the following to say about the Puerto Rican father of two.

“Jorge played the game the right way. He gave the Yankees and the fans his very best every day. He was a fan favorite, and for good reason. He will go down as one of the greatest Yankees catchers ever, and certainly deserves strong consideration for entry into the Hall of Fame.”

- Ken Singleton (YES Network broadcaster 2002-present)


“I’d like to congratulate Jorge on a fantastic career. As two catchers playing in New York at the same time, I was able to get to know him over the years and appreciate everything he brought to the table. He was a general behind the plate and delivered in the clutch when it mattered most. I wish him well on his retirement.”

- Mike Piazza (Major League Baseball player from 1992-2007; New York Mets catcher from 1998-2005)


“Jorge Posada is a great Yankee and a great New Yorker. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I congratulate him on his outstanding career and thank him for the invaluable contributions he’s made to our city.”

- Michael R. Bloomberg (New York City Mayor)


“Jorge has bled the pinstripes for a long, long time, and he played with a passion that certainly rubbed off on his teammates. To play the number of games that he did, at the level he did, year in and year out, at the toughest position on the field, is a credit to his commitment to his craft. He left everything out on the field, and that’s what made him special.

- Alex Rodriguez (Yankees teammate from 2004-2011)


“Jorge Posada is far beyond your true, loyal Yankee. Jorge lives this team, organization and city. A family man unmatched, his love for family and team is shown every single day, and I’ve been there every step of the way to witness and testify to it.

“Georgie’s sense of humor with his teammates and especially with me, in spite of countless painful days, has always been refreshing and energizing. He always helped us to excel, succeed and enjoy the game the way it’s supposed to be. His career blessed us.

“On Opening Day 2010, it was Jorge Posada who singlehandedly took his team and the entire Yankee Stadium crowd to a place that was humbling beyond expression, when he lovingly honored me. Every day for the remainder of my life, I will remember and reflect on his love, as he brought it out from our team and our fans. There is no real way to adequately express the emotion of that moment and what it meant to me.”

- Gene Monahan (Yankees Head Athletic Trainer 1973-2011)


“Jorge is a good kid and he had a wonderful career. He has always been one of the toughest and most passionate guys on the club — the Yankees don’t win those championships without him.”

- Yogi Berra (Hall of Famer, former Yankees player [1946-63] and manager [1964, 1984-85], and current Special Advisor)

Posada retires having helped the Yankees win five World Series, and after serving the Yankees his entire career says he “will forever be a Yankee.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

Newt Gingrich “I have plan to Legalize Undocumented People”

Newt Gingrich “I have plan to Legalize Undocumented People”

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Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Wednesday called for creating an immigration reform plan so that undocumented foreigners who have links with this country can remain here legally and he expressed his interest in closer ties with Latin America.

“We have to make a plan to legalize undocumented people,” said the politician in Miami at an event organized by Univision, the Hispanic television channel with the largest viewership in the United States, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Less than a week before the Republican primary in Florida, which is the first state with a heavy Hispanic presence on the 2012 election calendar, Gingrich expressed concern about the situation of people who are living in the United States illegally.

Gingrich will face off in Florida against three other Republican presidential hopefuls: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.

The former House speaker told journalist Jorge Ramos, one of the best-known faces in the country on Hispanic television, that if he becomes president he will “legalize” the people who have been living in the United States “for the past 20 or 25 years” and are caring for a family.

However, he also said that if there are people “without connections” living illegally in this country they will have to return home.

Regarding the situation of undocumented students living in the United States, Gingrich said that, if he becomes president, although their parents illegally entered the country, the students will be able to become citizens if they join the military.

The 68-year-old former Georgia congressman added, however, that all cases would have to be reviewed individually.

When asked about Latin America, Gingrich said that it is a “neighboring” region and added that he has “great interest” in Mexico and in all of Latin America.

He also emphasized that his aim is for “Latin Americans to have a better life.” He used the example of Haiti, where “they have a very bad life” and asked the audience “Why not help them to have a better life?”

Gingrich also mentioned the violence occurring in “Mexico, Colombia and part of Central America” and expressed his commitment to provide “tremendous support” to those countries.

The former speaker criticized President Barack Obama regarding his administration’s relations with Latin America and noted that Ronald “Reagan did much more in the eighties,” saying that the late president valued the Latino community, created more jobs and had more effective policies vis-a-vis Latin America and also in his relations with Cuba.

Gingrich said that his aim is to create jobs in South Florida, thanks to the strategic role the area plays in the relationship between the United States and Latin America.

The Republican candidate also discussed his plan to facilitate the entry of tourists into the United States, which he said has a very positive effect on the economy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Too Big For Clothes at the Big House: Former Inmate Sues for $1 Mil, Claiming Clothing Didn’t Fit

Too Big For Clothes at the Big House: Former Inmate Sues for $1 Mil, Claiming Clothing Didn’t Fit

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A oversized former prisoner is suing the Correction Department of New York for failing to provide him with suitable clothing while he was incarcerated.

In May 2011, Elias Diaz was arrested after police found he was illegally carrying two firearms.

The 5’11, 400-lb mechanic says he was then humiliated when he was forced to wear clothes that were too small, because administrators at the Vernon C. Bain Center did not see fit to stock prisoner clothing above the size 6X.

At a 7X, Diaz claims he will now need extensive and costly therapy because of the distress the ill-fitting garb caused him.

While incarcerated, Diaz said he had just one green jumpsuit to wear, and it quickly became worn out and smelly, as he had wash it everyday, but could only do so in the shower.

Diaz said his friends tried to send him additional clothing, but he never received it because the packages were rejected.

He claims that as a result of never feeling clean while in detention, he now never feels clean in the outside world, something he says will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars of therapy to fix.

In total, Diaz is seeking $1 million, $500,00 of which he says he’ll use for therapy.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican-Born Attorney Was First Lady’s Guest at President’s State of the Union Address

Mexican-Born Attorney Was First Lady’s Guest at President’s State of the Union Address

Photo: Mexican-born attorney, Juan Jose Redin (top left) was First Lady's guest at State of the Union Address

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Southern California resident Juan Jose Redin joined First Lady Michelle Obama as husband Barack gave his State of the Union Address, Tuesday.

Redin, the North Hollywood attorney, was invited after showing his relentless support for the California version of the DREAM Act, which he says allowed him to attend college, which financially, would have been out of reach otherwise. At the age of 10, Redin was brought to the U.S. from Mexico and he says California’s Assembly Bill 540 allowed him to attend UCLA, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.

A White House spokesman released a statement saying, “The guests of the First Lady each have uniquely American stories to tell, and in many cases their stories highlight not only the challenges we’ve overcome, but some of the ways in which we can move forward together as a nation and create an America built to last.”

Watch President Obama’s SoTU Address here.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Initiatives to Increase Latinos’ Attendance at National Parks Underway

Initiatives to Increase Latinos’ Attendance at National Parks Underway

Photo: National Parks Trying to Lure Latinos

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The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, announced that its American Latino Heritage Fund will pursue a comprehensive set of initiatives critical to raising the profile of American Latino heritage and increasing Latinos’ attendance at national parks and participation in preserving historic places nationwide.

Formed in 2011, the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF) is dedicated to strategically integrating and celebrating the cultural, economic, and civic contributions of Latinos in the American story as told throughout the national park system and in historic places across the country.

“American Latinos have played a pivotal role in shaping this country,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We are proud to lead the charge in creating a movement to protect and preserve this rich culture and reaffirm our commitment to fully represent the nation’s diverse cultural groups and their role in our national park system.”

The new initiatives include:

*  Designation of American Latino landmarks and historic sites. 
*  Nationwide Youth Summits
*  American Latino theme study.

The National Park Foundation is the owner of 84 million acres, 400 national parks and the official charity of America’s national parks. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

LATINO BLOTTER: Bank Robber Uses Skateboard From Bank to Bank

LATINO BLOTTER: Bank Robber Uses Skateboard From Bank to Bank

Photo: Bank Robber Uses Skateboard to Escape

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Police in Mexico say a man has been arrested after attempting to rob two banks, using his skateboard as the getaway “car”.

Sergio Ledesma was taken in to custody after police say he tried to rob two Mexico City banks, though failing at both attempts.

Over the weekend, police say Ledesma skated over to bank, and whispered his intent to a teller who ultimately ignored him. After is brilliant method failed, he moved on to a second bank and tried again. This time the teller acknowledged him, but also managed to trip the silent alarm.

While still waiting for the money, Ledesma was greeting by officers.

Not too long after, Ledesma was arrested and was added to the growing list of skateboarding bank thieves.

Skateboard thieves have sprung up in Florida, Pennsylvania, and California in recent years, known having been entirely successful. Some manage to actually get away with money, unlike Ledesma, but all get caught eventually.

Read more by HS News Staff →

PEW:  Issue of Immigration Drops in Importance to Voters

PEW:  Issue of Immigration Drops in Importance to Voters

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Unlike five years ago, the issue of illegal immigration has dropped in importance as a national political issue according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Back in 2007 a majority of American (55%) viewed illegal immigration as an important issue now only 39% of polled Americans thinks its important.

The issue that is consuming the attention of Americans and growing in importance is the economy.  86% of American see this as the most important political issue versus 68% back in 2007.
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Illegal immigration is viewed as more important than strengthening the military, global trade and transportation issues.  However, immigration scores far below jobs, terrorism, budget deficit and education.

Read more by HS News Staff →

1 Year After Being Shot Gabrielle Giffords Resigns, But Not Before Introducing Border Legislation

1 Year After Being Shot Gabrielle Giffords Resigns, But Not Before Introducing Border Legislation

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As her last act as a U.S. Representative, Arizona’s Gabrielle Giffords introduced legislation, known as the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 that would impose tough new penalties on smugglers who use small, low-flying aircraft to illegally bring drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Wednesday’s vote on the bill comes more than two and a half years after Giffords first addressed the issue. In May 2010 Giffords introduced the Ultralight Smuggling Prevention Act of 2010. The bill would have amended the Tariff Act of 1930 to include “ultralight vehicle” under the aviation smuggling provisions. The bill passed the House by a 412-to-3 vote, but was not taken up by the Senate.

Recent news reports have shown that Mexican organized crime groups are increasingly using ultralights to drop marijuana bundles in agricultural fields and deserts in the United States. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that there were 228 incursions by ultralights in the last federal fiscal year, almost double from the previous year. In August, an ultralight crashed in New Mexico carrying 134 pounds of marijuana.

The legislation would:
·      Give law enforcement agencies additional tools to combat this type of drug trafficking by closing a loophole in current law that allows smugglers who use ultralights to receive a lesser penalty than those who use airplanes or cars
·      Establish the same penalties for trafficking, whether by plane, automobile or ultralight: up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
·      Add an attempt-and-conspiracy provision to the aviation smuggling law to allow prosecutors to charge people other than the pilot who are involved in aviation smuggling
·      Direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to collaborate in identifying equipment and technology used by the Defense Department that could be used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detect ultralights

Wednesday morning, Giffords presented her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner after everyone on the House floor applauded her courage and perseverance in the face of tragedy.

In January 2011, Giffords was shot in the head during a public event . She was one of 19 people shot, and one of only 13 to survive.

She stepped down Wednesday, saying that she one day hopes to service in public office again, but for now, needs to concentrate on her recovery.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Obama at State of the Union - NO More Excuses Time to Pass DREAM Act

Obama at State of the Union - NO More Excuses Time to Pass DREAM Act

Photo: Obama Urges Passage of Dream Act, State of the Union Speech

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President Barack Obama called on Congress in his State of the Union address to approve the so-called DREAM Act, which would open a path to legalizing the status of young undocumented immigrants.

Obama feels that comprehensive immigration reform that allows the current system to be adjusted and improved is indispensable, and this would fulfill one of his 2008 campaign promises, although his calls for action on this matter have gone nowhere in Congress due to Republican opposition.

“I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office,” the president said.

That, he added, leaves no excuses for those who oppose such reform.

“We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now,” said Obama in addressing a joint session of Congress.

But, he added, if “election-year politics” prevents Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, “let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.”

The DREAM Act was approved by the House in December 2010 but it did not get the 60 votes needed in the Senate to avoid a Republican move to block it.

The measure would permit the legalization of undocumented students who, among other requirements, entered the country before they were 16, complete at least two years of college or enlist in the Armed Forces.

The front-running candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, recently announced that if the DREAM Act comes to his desk for signing while he is president he would veto it.

Read more by HS News Staff →

WATCH: Newt Gingrich with Jorge Ramos Talking Immigration and Amnesty (VIDEO)

WATCH: Newt Gingrich with Jorge Ramos Talking Immigration and Amnesty (VIDEO)

Photo: Gingrich on Immigration with Jorge Ramos

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Check out the Univision interview featuring Jorge Ramos and Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.  In the interview Gingrich talks about Romney’s concept of ‘self-deportation’ and his plan for immigration reform.


Related Videos

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Survey of U.S. and Florida Hispanics Reveals Support for Romney, Though Obama Still in Lead

Survey of U.S. and Florida Hispanics Reveals Support for Romney, Though Obama Still in Lead

Photo: Survey of U.S. and Florida Hispanics Reveals Support for Romney, Though Obama Still in Lead

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Univision/ABC News/Latino Decisions have released a new survey of U.S. & Florida Hispanics

Survey shows Gov. Romney leading rivals among Florida Republican Hispanic voters; President Obama continues to hold strong lead over all potential GOP opponents, but enthusiasm challenge persists

Univision, ABC News and Latino Decisions released a new survey today of 500 registered Hispanic voters nationwide, with an oversample of 500 registered Hispanic voters in the state of Florida.

Key findings from the survey include:

- Among Hispanic Floridians planning to vote in next Tuesday’s GOP primary, Mitt Romney holds a 15 point advantage over Newt Gingrich (35 - 20), with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum polling at 6% and 7% respectively and 21% undecided;

- In a head-to-head match-up, President Obama continues to hold a strong advantage over his most likely GOP rivals: 67 - 25 over Romney; 70 - 22 over Gingrich;

- However, President Obama’s Hispanic support is not completely firm. Of those saying they plan to vote for Obama, only 55% say they are certain of their support in the match-up with Romney and 57% are certain in a match-up with Gingrich - suggesting some potential fluidity among Hispanic voters;

- Furthermore, 53% of Hispanic voters nationally say they are less excited about President Obama now than they were in 2008, along with 58% of Hispanics in the key swing state of Florida.

- Obama’s job approval has ticked slightly downward from 66% approval in a November survey to 63% in this latest survey, although this falls within the poll’s margin of error and is still substantially higher than his approval among the electorate as a whole;

- Immigration continues to present a challenge to GOP candidates seeking Hispanic support. Jobs and the economy rank well ahead of immigration reform in terms of issues Hispanic voters say will determine their vote in 2012 (Jobs/Economy: 61%; Immigration Reform/DREAM Act: 24%). However, when presented with a statement from a potential candidate pledging to veto the DREAM Act, 54% of respondents say it would make them less likely to support that candidate.

This mixed picture of a Hispanic electorate not yet enthusiastically committed to President Obama and the Democrats, yet wary about supporting a Republican party that has taken such a tough stance on the issue of immigration was evident throughout the survey’s findings.

When asked about each party’s outreach to the Hispanic community, among Hispanics nationwide, 39% say that Democrats are doing a good job, while 37% say that the Democratic Party does not care too much about Hispanics. That contrasts to just 17% who say Republicans are doing a good job reaching out to Hispanics, 45% who say that the GOP does not care about Hispanics fully and 27% who claim the GOP is outright hostile toward Hispanics.

The survey, which was conducted by Latino Decisions includes a national poll of Latino registered voters across all 50 states. The survey was in the field Jan 16-23 with 500 completed interviews and a margin of error plus/minus 4.4%. In Florida, 500 Latino registered voters were surveyed with a margin of error plus/minus 4.4%.


Read full survey report via Latino Decisions here and here.


Additional details of the poll can be found on UnivisionNoticias.com and at Univisions’ tumblr. For additional coverage, please visit UnivisionNews.Tumblr.com and Univision Notitas online and on mobile.

Read more at Latino Decisions →

FTC ‘Immigration Center’ Banned from Providing Immigration Services

The ‘Immigration Center’ immigration services business will be permanently off limits to an operation that allegedly posed as the federal government and tricked people into paying up to $2,500 for immigration forms, under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission.

The two settlements resolve charges the FTC filed in January 2011 against Immigration Center and its principals alleging that they claimed they were authorized to provide immigration and naturalization services, that they were affiliated with the U.S. government, and that fees paid by consumers would cover all the costs associated with submitting immigration documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The court subsequently shut down the operation, froze the defendants’ assets, and appointed a receiver to control the business until the case was resolved.

The order against Immigration Center, Doucette, and Stilson also imposes a judgment of more than $3.1 million against Immigration Center, and a judgment exceeding $3.7 million against Doucette and Stilson. The judgments will be suspended upon the surrender of certain assets, including a car and a mobile home.

The order against Boyce also imposes a judgment of more than $2.7 million, which will be suspended if the terms of the settlement order are met.

Read more by HS News Staff →

EXTREME TRAFFICKING:  Over 200 Pounds of Pot Hidden in Religious Statues Seized

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Hidalgo port of entry on Saturday seized marijuana valued at more than $233,000 during a routine vehicle inspection.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Hidalgo International Bridge, a CBP officer referred a 2006 white Pontiac Vibe driven by a 20-year-old United States citizen from McAllen, Texas for a secondary examination. During the examination, CBP officers noted discrepancies in two large religious statues found within the vehicle. CBP officers conducted an intensive examination and discovered 73 bundles hidden within the statues containing a total of 105.90 kilograms (233.469 pounds) of alleged marijuana. The alleged marijuana from this seizure has an estimated street value of $233,469.

CBP officers turned the driver over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Dominican’s Using Identification of Homeless Addicts to Get into U.S. Illegally

Dominican’s Using Identification of Homeless Addicts to Get into U.S. Illegally

Photo: Fake Immigration Documents

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Enforcement officers arrested this weekend two citizens of the Dominican Republic found using identity documents belonging to two allegedly homeless individuals, during two separate incidents.

Carlos Manuel Saturria-Frias was detained by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) while conducting a law enforcement operation at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.

Mr. Saturria-Frias claimed to be Puerto Rican and presented to the DEA agents a Social Security card, a Puerto Rico (PR) Birth Certificate, a PR driver’s license and a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ID card under the name of “Rafael Luis Diaz Cotto.”

DEA agents requested assistance from CBP Enforcement Officers at the airport who interviewed the subject and queried his fingerprints to verify his identity.

Rodolfo Gil was apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers while attempting to board a flight bound to the city of Orlando, FL.

Mr. Gil claimed to be Puerto Rican and presented to the CBP officers a Social Security card, a Puerto Rico birth certificate, a PR driver’s license and a Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ID card under the names of “Christian Yamil Marino–Diaz.”

Immigration databases revealed their true identities as Carlos Manuel Saturria-Frias and Rodolfo Gil, respectively.

Confronted with the facts the two defendants were arrested by CBP officers and admitted to purchasing the documents from two unidentified homeless drug addicts, to assume the document’s identity to proof their legal stay in the United States.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Spain’s “Fisca o Quimica” Debuts on U.S. Network

Spain’s “Fisca o Quimica” Debuts on U.S. Network

Photo: Spain's "Fisca o Quimica" Debuts on U.S. Network

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An adaptation of Spain’s hit show “Fisica o Quimica” (Physics or Chemistry) debuted on U.S. Spanish-language network Telemundo Tuesday night.

“We’re very expectant, because this is the first adaptation of a Spanish fiction product in the U.S.,” Maria Garcia Castrillon, in charge of sales for the Madrid production firm Boomerang TV, told Efe Tuesday at the Miami gathering of the National Association of Television Program Executives, or NATPE.

Garcia Castrillon said that the Telemundo adaptation, “Relaciones Peligrosas” (Dangerous Relations), is based on Boomerang TV’s scripts for Spain’s Antena 3 TV, although the U.S. production uses the soap opera format and “is something more local.”

It is the “same story, with the same characters” and an identical plot, according to the Spanish board of directors, which expressed special satisfaction with the result of the meetings held with potential buyers at the NATPE gathering.

“This is a (show) that entertains while dealing with subjects that are so important right now,” a star of the series, Mexican actor Gonzalo Garcia Vivanco, recently told Efe.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Several Latinos Involved in Miami-Area $25 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Several Latinos Involved in Miami-Area $25 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

Photo: Latino Involved in Medicare Fraud

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A Miami-area nurse pleaded guilty today for his participation in a $25 million home health Medicare fraud scheme, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today.

Jorge Pineiro, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard in Miami to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Pineiro was originally charged in a February 2011 indictment.

According to plea documents, Pineiro was a registered nurse two Miami home health care agencies that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Pineiro and his co-conspirators operated ABC and Florida Home Health for the purpose of billing Medicare for expensive services that were not medically necessary and/or were never provided. The medically unnecessary services were prescribed by doctors, including, but not limited to, Pineiro’s co-defendant, Dr. Jose Nunez.

According to court documents, beginning in approximately June 2008, and continuing until approximately March 2009, Pineiro and his co-defendant nurses falsified patient files for Medicare beneficiaries to make it appear that they qualified for home health care and therapy services. Pineiro knew that the beneficiaries did not actually qualify for and did not receive the services.

Pineiro admitted that he knew these files were falsified so that Medicare could be billed for medically unnecessary therapy and home health-related services.

Pineiro also recruited Medicare beneficiaries who allowed Florida Home Health to bill Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary and/or never provided. Pineiro solicited and received kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Florida Home Health in return for allowing the agency to bill Medicare on behalf of the patients he recruited.

Eighteen co-defendants, including Nunez, Licet Diaz and Lisandra Alonso have pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme.  Two remaining defendants, Dr. Francisco Gonzalez and Odalys Alvarez-Medina, are scheduled for trial on Feb. 14, 2012. An indictment is merely a charge, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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WednesdayJanuary 25, 2012