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Delhi The Buzz

ED arrests 2 Chinese nationals in money-laundering case


New Delhi, January 17

The ED has arrested two Chinese nationals in connection with its money laundering probe linked to an alleged hawala racket worth an estimated Rs 1,000 crore that involved shell or dubious firms, official sources said on Sunday.

The central probe agency arrested Charlie Peng alias Luo Sang (42) and Carter Lee under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on January 15. They were produced before a local court here on Saturday that sent them to 14 days custody, they said.

The ED case against Peng stems from an Income Tax Department investigation of last year and an FIR filed by the Delhi Police special cell against him in 2018.

Peng’s name had cropped up last year in connection with the detention of two persons in Himachal Pradesh who were allegedly tracking Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s movement on his direction.

The Chinese national and some of his alleged associates, including bankers, were raided by the Income Tax Department in August.

Peng, sources had alleged, had a fake Indian passport. Tax officials had claimed that he created a “web of sham companies to launder hawala funds to and from China” in the past two-three years.

The sources had said his front or showcase business was import and export of medical and electronic goods and some other items.

Peng, the sources said, was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in September 2018 on charges of fraud and forgery and was allegedly running an illegal money changer.

Both ED and I-T department, sources had said, are also probing allegations if Peng was “bribing” some Tibetans living in Delhi.

In a statement in August last year, the CBDT had, without identifying the entities involved, stated that its searches were based on “credible inputs that a few Chinese individuals and their Indian associates were involved in money laundering and hawala transactions through a series of shell entities.”

It had said the “subsidiary of Chinese company and its related concerns have taken over Rs 100 crore bogus advances from shell entities for opening businesses of retail showrooms in India”.

“Search action revealed that at the behest of Chinese individuals, more than 40 bank accounts were created in various dummy entities, entering into credits of more than Rs 1,000 crore over the period,” the CBDT had said.

“Incriminating documents of hawala transactions and money laundering with the active involvement of bank employees and Chartered Accountants have been found as a result of the search action,” it said.

Evidence of foreign hawala transactions involving Hong Kong and US dollars have also been unearthed, the CBDT had said.

Similar charges are being probed against Lee by the ED, they said. PTI





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Headline USA

Facebook and Twitter users complain to the IRS for delays in sending second stimulus check | The State

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) leads the distribution process for stimulus checks.

Photo:
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

He Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this Friday was supposed to complete the shipment of most of the second round stimulus checks.

The Coronavirus Supplemental Appropriations in Response and Relief Act of 2021, approved last December, establishes that by January 15, the IRS and the Treasury Department should have advanced with the disbursement of all payments from taxpayers for which they have information in their files.

However, since the day before yesterday, users of Facebook and Twitter They crammed the IRS pages on these social networks to claim that the money has not arrived.

“It’s my money and I want it now”, “pay me” and “I need that money” are just some of the messages that circulate in the comments to the publications of the tax collection agency on Facebook about the so-called “Economic impact payment” .

History repeats itself on Twitter, even with hashtags like #stimuluscheckNOW to demand that the federal government move forward with disbursements.

The truth is that, compared to the first round, the agencies have tried to advance more this time in distribution.

More than 100 million payments processed

The IRS has not specified how many “Economic Impact Payments” it has processed in conjunction with the Treasury Department in total. But a week ago, national media reported more than 100 million payments processed, including direct deposits, paper checks and prepaid debit cards.

In the first round of payments under the CARES Act, the IRS distributed about 159 million checks over a three-month period.

However, the authorities have not broken down the number of payments sent under each of the channels, except for the figure of 8 million EIP Cards. Most of the funds were deposited in taxpayers’ bank accounts.

The process of distributing the second stimulus check began on December 29 with the first direct deposits to millions of beneficiaries. However, many of the recipients were unable to use the funds until January 4, the official payment date.

Next, the IRS began sending paper checks as well as plastic money.

If you are eligible for an economic stimulus payment and do not receive it, you have two options: request the payment as a credit on the tax return you file this year or request a “Payment Trace” in case the “Get My Payment ”on the IRS website tells you that your payment has been processed.

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Headline USA

They go to the bank with a corpse to ask for their money and to pay for his funeral | The State

A somewhat surreal scene took place a few days ago inside a bank in Bihar, India, where a group of people showed up at the branch, nothing more and nothing less than a corpse.

According to local media, the deceased’s name was Mahesh Yadav, he was 55 years old and lost his life after a long agony. The man had no family or relatives who could take care of him and the paperwork that led to his death.

One of his neighbors would have entered his house to look for some papers to prepare his funeral and that is how he found a notebook where Mahesh had in detail that he had a small savings in the bank of approximately $ 1,500 dollars.

The neighbor reportedly went to the bank to ask for the money but the bank employee refused to give it to him because he did not have proof of the death of the account holder.

Due to the situation, other people living in the Yadav neighborhood helped this neighbor carry the body to the bank branch to release the money.

Despite the grim scene, the bank manager only gave them about $ 136, considering it was enough to pay for funeral expenses.

Neighbors said they were satisfied with the money, pointing out that the only thing they were looking for was a place for the deceased man.

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Headline USA

What should you do if you received the $ 600 from the second stimulus check, but not the additional money for dependents | The State

The new stimulus law passed in Congress provides for payments of $ 600 for each minor dependent in the household.

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Alexander Mils / Pexels

If in the remainder of January, you do not receive the additional money for dependents of the second stimulus check distributed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) you must claim the payment due as a credit on the tax return of this year.

The IRS reported that as in the cases of beneficiaries who did not receive the payment in full, those who did not receive the extra funds for dependents must claim them as a “Recovery Refund Credit.”

The same applies to Americans who did not receive the first check or money for dependents under the CARES law.

Most of the people who must apply for the credit are the group of those who are not required to file taxes, so the IRS does not have the personal information to process the “Economic Impact Payment.”

As part of the first round, the agency enabled the online tool “Non-filers” for eligible persons to submit their personal data to the entity. But this option is no longer available since last November 21.

From now on, any individual to whom the IRS owes stimulus payments, including those corresponding to minors in their custody, must claim the disbursement on their tax return.

The Supplemental Appropriations in Response and Relief to Coronavirus Act of 2021 establishes payments of $ 600 minimum to individuals with adjusted gross income in 2019 of up to $ 75,000 and $ 150,000 in the case of married couples filing jointly. The statute also stipulates the payment of $ 600 for each child under 17 in the family.

The law also establishes January 15, that is, this Friday, as the deadline for the IRS and the Treasury Department to complete the shipment of most of the second round payments.

Due to the above, tomorrow is considered a key day in the process of distribution of funds due to coronavirus.

If you do not receive the stimulus check in the next few days, you will most likely have to complete the process through your tax return to request the payment or payments due.

The distribution process began at the end of December with millions of direct deposits to Americans.

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Georgia Headline USA Politics

How much money could you make with the arrival of the third stimulus check? | The State

In the last bill, Democrats and some Republicans supported the idea of ​​a $ 2,000 stimulus check.

Photo:
PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP / Getty Images

The victories of the two Democrats in the second round of the Georgia Senate elections could mean that a third stimulus check it could come for Americans in the coming months.

That would provide crucial financial support for households receiving payments of $ 600, an effort that has been criticized by both Democrats and some Republicans for doing little to help families battling the coronavirus pandemic.

If Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have defeated current Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the result will generate a 50-50 split between Democratic and Republican senators, making the vice president-elect Kamala harris must grant the tiebreaker vote. This would facilitate the approval of another stimulus relief bill, which President-elect Joe Biden supports, according to political and financial analysts.

A new economic impact payment would come after the bill of $ 900,000 million that President Donald Trump delayed and criticized the $ 600 payments as “ridiculously low.” Democrats and some Republicans had supported a stimulus check from $ 2,000 dollars per person, but the effort failed due to opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Related: What are the states that started paying the extra $ 300 a week in unemployment benefits?

One question is whether lawmakers could push for $ 2,000 or $ 1,400 in cash. On January 10, President-elect Biden wrote on his Twitter account that $ 600 dollars “It’s just not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.” Biden assured that the population needs support from $ 2,000 dollars.

If a new economic stimulus law is approved, the aid package should be broader and could range from $ 1,000 and $ 1.5 billion Heights Securities analyst Hunter Hammond told CBS News.

Under that scenario, Democrats are likely to push for a new round of checks worth $ $ 2,000 dollars.

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Categories
Delhi The Buzz

ED arrests former TMC MP KD Singh in Alchemist Group money-laundering case


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said it had arrested former TMC Rajya Sabha MP KD Singh under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in a case relating to certain unexplained financial transactions.

Singh, who was elected to Rajya Sabha in April 2014 on a TMC ticket, was placed under arrest by the ED after he “failed to explain certain transactions pertaining to the money-laundering case” in which he is allegedly involved, official sources in the agency said.

In September 2019, the ED had carried out searches on the premises linked to Singh in New Delhi and Chandigarh in connection with the 14 companies of Alchemist Group related to and controlled by his son Karan Deep Singh.

During searches, according to ED, a number of documents reflecting the circular nature of transactions, digital evidence and property documents were seized. Search at the official residence of KD Singh in Delhi resulted in the recovery of Rs 32 lakh in cash along with foreign exchange worth $10,000.

Investigation under the PMLA by the ED was initiated in 2018 on the basis of FIRs registered by Kolkata Police under sections relevant to cheating and criminal conspiracy against Singh, his son, Alchemist Township India Limited, Alchemist Holdings Limited and various other companies and directors linked with the group for allegedly cheating thousands of customers.

According to the ED, the former TMC MP used his companies, including Alchemist Township India Limited and Alchemist Holdings Limited, to raise huge amounts of money collected from customers in the garb of investments by promising them high returns. The money was also raised against the sale and booking of plots and flats, the agency had said.

Officials in the ED said the funds raised were allegedly not used for the intended purpose and were allegedly diverted and siphoned off to various group companies. “Money so collected from the innocent public was transferred in a circular manner in order to conceal and layer in a fraudulent way. Further, various entities involved in this process have dummy directors,” said an ED official.





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The Buzz

Indian-American pleads guilty to money-laundering charges


Washington, January 12

An Indian-American from Chicago has pleaded guilty to the charges of laundering money from a telemarketing scheme that defrauded elderly victims, the Department of Justice has said.

Hirenkumar P Chaudhari, 27, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 1.

Chaudhari admitted in a plea agreement that he used a phony Indian passport, false name, and false address to open multiple bank accounts in the US to receive money from victims of the telemarketing scheme, the Department of Justice said on Monday.

The scheme involved phone calls from people falsely claiming to be associated with, among other agencies, the Social Security Administration and US Department of Justice, stating that a victim’s identity had been stolen and that it was necessary to transfer money to various bank accounts, including the accounts opened by Chaudhari.

One of the victims was an elderly woman from Massachusetts who transferred a total of more than USD 900,000 from her bank and retirement accounts to accounts controlled by Chaudhari or others.

On April 19, 2018 – one day after Chaudhari opened an account and received a USD 7,000 transfer from the Massachusetts victim – Chaudhari entered a bank branch in Chicago and withdrew USD 6,500, the plea agreement states.

Chaudhari admitted in the plea agreement that he engaged in this financial transaction knowing that the money represented proceeds of unlawful activity. PTI





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Health

Feds Authorize $3 Billion to Boost Vaccine Rollout


Jan. 11, 2021 – The CDC will send $3 billion to the states to boost a lagging national COVID-19 vaccination program.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the new funding as only 30% of the more than 22 million doses of vaccine distributed in the U.S. has been injected into Americans’ arms.

Along with the $3 billion, HHS said another $19 billion is headed to states and jurisdictions to boost COVID testing programs. The amount each state will receive will be determined by population.

The news comes days after President-elect Joe Biden said he planned to release all available doses of vaccine after he takes office on Jan. 20. The Trump administration has been holding back millions of doses to ensure supply of vaccine to provide the necessary second dose for those who received the first shot.



“This funding is another timely investment that will strengthen our nation’s efforts to stop the COVID-19 pandemic in America,” CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said in a statement. “Particularly now, it is crucial that states and communities have the resources they need to conduct testing, and to distribute and administer safe, high-quality COVID-19 vaccines safely and equitably.”

Federal officials and public health experts, however, expressed concerns this weekend about Biden’s plan.

Outgoing Trump administration officials and others said they worry that doing so will leave providers without enough second doses for people getting the two-shot vaccines.

If Biden releases all available doses and the vaccine-making process has an issue, they said, that could pose a supply risk.

“We have product that is going through QC right now — quality control — for sterility, identity check that we have tens and tens of millions of product. We always will. But batches fail. Sterility fails … and then you don’t have a product for that second dose,” Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, told the American Hospital Association on Friday, according to CNN.

“And frankly, talking about that or encouraging that can really undermine a critical public health need, which is that people come back for their second vaccine,” he said.


One of the main roadblocks in the vaccine rollout has been administering the doses that have already been distributed. The U.S. has shipped 22.1 million doses, and 6.6 million first shots have been given, according to the latest CDC data updated Friday. Azar and other federal health officials have encouraged states to use their current supply and expand vaccine access to more priority groups.

“We would be delighted to learn that jurisdictions have actually administered many more doses than they are presently reporting,” a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told CNN. “We are encouraging jurisdictions to expand their priority groups as needed to ensure no vaccine is sitting on the shelf after having been delivered to the jurisdiction-directed locations.”

Releasing more vaccines for first doses could create ethical concerns as well, since people getting vaccines expect to get a second dose in the proper amount of time, according to The Week. Biden’s transition team said Friday that he won’t delay the second dose but, instead, plans to ramp up production to stay on track.

To do this well, the federal government should create a coordinated vaccine strategy that sets expectations for an around-the-clock operation and help state and local vaccination programs meet their goals, Leana Wen, MD, a professor at George Washington University, wrote in an editorial for The Washington Post.

“The Biden team’s urgency around vaccinations is commendable,” she added in a Twitter post Monday morning. “I’d like to see a guarantee that every 1st dose given will be followed with a timely 2nd dose. Otherwise, there are ethical concerns that could add to vaccine hesitancy.”

Biden has pledged that 100 million doses will be administered in his first 100 days in office. He has grown frustrated as concerns grow that his administration could fall short of the promise, according to Politico. His coronavirus response team has noted several challenges, including what they say is a lack of long-term planning by the Trump administration and an initial refusal to share key information.


“We’re uncovering new information each day, and we’re unearthing — of course — more work to be done,” Vivek Murthy, MD, Biden’s nominee for surgeon general, told Politico.

The team has uncovered staffing shortages, technology problems, and issues with health care insurance coverage. The incoming Biden team has developed several initiatives, such as mobile vaccination units and new federal sites to give shots. It could take weeks to get the vaccine rollout on track, the news outlet reported.

“Will this be challenging? Absolutely,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Biden’s incoming chief medical adviser on the coronavirus, told Politico. “This is an unprecedented effort to vaccinate the entire country over a period of time that’s fighting against people dying at record numbers. To say it’s not a challenge would be unrealistic. Do I think it can be done? Yes.”



WebMD Health News


Sources

CNN: “Exclusive: Biden will release nearly all available vaccine doses in break from Trump administration policy of holding back stock for second dose.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”


The Week: “Experts express concern about Biden’s plan to release nearly all available vaccine doses.”


The Washington Post: “Releasing more vaccines for first doses could create more problems than it solves.”

Twitter: @DrLeanaWen, Jan. 11, 2021.

Politico: “Biden dresses down his Covid team over plans to speed vaccinations.”

Department of Health and Human Services: “HHS Announces $22 Billion in Funding to Support Expanded Testing, Vaccination Distribution.”



© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.





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Headline USA

Attention: The cards sent by the IRS with the money from the second stimulus check have an expiration date | The State

It is very important that you note that debit cards have validity dates printed on them.

Photo:
Anna Shvets / Pexels

Debit cards that have the money from the second stimulus check deposited on them, better known as EIP cards, will be delivered in white envelopes that prominently display the seal of the United States Department of the Treasury.

As with the first round of stimulus checks, some payments from the second stimulus check will be sent with these Visa debit cards., which will also have the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank N.A., on the back of the plastic. Instructions on how to activate it will be mailed with each card.

These cards must be activated as with any other debit or credit card, calling customer service and establishing your own pin. You can also hear your total balance when your card is activated.

The EIP card can be used anywhere debit cards are accepted, whether it’s to shop in person, online, or over the phone. That means people they can use the card to buy or pay rent, utilities and other bills.

It is very important that you notice that the debit cards have the validity dates printed on themAlthough this does not apply to money, as it will not be unavailable, as reported on CNBC.

In other words, if you still have money on your card when it expires, you should call customer service to request that they send you the money you have in your account in the form of a check.

–You may also be interested: Treasury Department sends 8 million stimulus checks using prepaid cards

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UAE

It’s much easier to win money on Dream Island

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Image Credit: Supplied

Less than a week after it began, Dream Island players are loving the novelty of its concept. Going beyond other online lottery games in the region, Dream Island offers an entire platform of easy-to-play, easy-to-win activities. Crucially, users are also impressed by the ease of recharging play credits, purchasing and withdrawing their winnings.

Following its launch on New Year’s Day, Dream Island’s biggest winner – so far – is full of praise for the platform. “I’ve tried other lottery games before, but I think it’s much easier to win with Dream Island,” explains a Dubai-based Indian expat going by the username Narendra.

He first learned of the platform – which allows players to win cash prizes through a series of highly accessible number-matching games – through its Facebook page.

“At first I was hesitant, but I decided to give it a try – particularly after seeing the article introducing the Dream Island platform on Gulfnews.com, which made me more certain of my decision.”

Dream Island Extra
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Image Credit: Supplied

Winner!

After logging on to Dream Island, Narendra opted to spend Dh10 playing Dream5. This simple pick-and-match game sees the player choose five numbers out of a batch of 11 – if they match the drawn numbers, they can win up to Dh4,000 per ticket, depending on how many they match.

On his first try, Narendra got lucky, winning Dh2,100. Calling his overall experience on the platform “excellent”, Narendra adds, “I’m so happy – and willing to play again and win more.” When asked about the basis upon which he picked his fortuitous numbers, he says, “I combined my family’s birthdates.”

The Dream Island team called to inform Narendra of his win, which happened on Monday.

Promos and the future

For a limited period, Dream5 will see a 90 per cent reduction in play cost – Dh10 slashed to Dh1. Spending just a dirham could see players take home winnings of up to Dh4,000 per ticket.

Meanwhile, in a bid to grow its user base, Dream Island has launched a referral scheme to draw in new players. If you share the campaign with friends and family and get five registered joiners, Dh5 is credited to each of their accounts – and yours.

“After this exceptional launch, which exceeded our expectations, we are ready to deliver more exciting games – all of which will provide easy ways to win money,” Nour, Head of Dream Island’s Marketing team, tells Gulf News REACH.

Want to know how Dream Island works? The video above tells you everything you need to know.