Thursday, May 16, 2024

NYC Homeless Services Fraud Investigator Accused of COVID Fraud; Contractor that Mishandled Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Contact Tracing Data to Pay $2.7 Million in Whistleblower Case, and other C-Virus related stories

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NYC Homeless Services fraud investigator accused of COVID fraud:
NYC instated termination charges against Olabanji Otufale should he attempt to return to work
A New York City Department of Homeless Services fraud investigator has been charged with fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Social Services (DSS) confirmed.
Olabanji Otufale, 41, of Brooklyn, is accused of "exploiting the information of vulnerable New Yorkers during a national emergency for personal gain" a statement from a DSS spokesperson said.
Otufale is accused of accessing at least 10 homeless people's names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and photos. He then allegedly sold the information to identity theft scammer Mark Lazarre of New Jersey, federal authorities allege.
Lazarre is accused of using the victims' identifies to file COVID unemployment claims with the state Department of Labor, abusing the federal CARES Act economic stimulus package that provided more than $2 million in emergency COVID relief.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams' administration says this all occurred in 2020, prior to Adams taking office. The accusations came to light after an indictment unsealed Wednesday was obtained by the New York Daily News. --->READ MORE HERE
Contractor that mishandled Pennsylvania's COVID-19 contact tracing data to pay $2.7 million in whistleblower case:
A large staffing firm that performed COVID-19 contact tracing for Pennsylvania and exposed the private medical information of about 72,000 residents will pay $2.7 million in a settlement with the Justice Department and a company whistleblower, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health paid Atlanta-based Insight Global tens of millions of dollars to administer the state's contact tracing program during the height of the pandemic. The company was responsible for identifying and contacting people who had been exposed to the coronavirus so they could quarantine.
Employees used unauthorized Google accounts — readily viewable online — to store names, phone numbers, email addresses, COVID-19 exposure status, sexual orientations and other information about residents who had been reached for contact tracing, even though the company's contract with the state required it to safeguard such data.
State health officials fired Insight Global in 2021 after the data breach came to light. A subsequent federal whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Insight Global secured its lucrative contract with Pennsylvania knowing that it lacked secure computer systems and adequate cybersecurity. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Moderna’s sales from its only product, the COVID-19 vaccine, fell 91% from last year

The COVID-19 pandemic changed our patterns and behaviors, which in turn affected wildlife

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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