Connect with us

U.S.

Derek Chauvin and Wife Charged With Tax Evasion for Hiding $465,000 From State Tax Authorities

Published

on

  • Minnesota officials have accused Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in the murder of George Floyd, and his estranged wife Kellie Chauvin of tax evasion.
  • The couple failed to report about $465,000 in income between 2014 and 2019, according to authorities.
  • It appeared that the couple tried to claim they weren’t Minnesota residents because they own a house in Florida, despite having lived in Minnesota most of the year.
  • They were charged with nine felonies that each carry a maximum sentence of five years and $10,000 in penalties.

Five Years of Fraudulent Tax Reporting

Minnesota tax authorities announced nine felony tax fraud charges on Tuesday against Derek and Kellie Chauvin.

Derek Chauvin is a former Minneapolis police officer charged in the murder of George Floyd. According to County Attorney Pete Orput, the investigation into the tax matter and subsequent charges had nothing to do with Floyd’s case.

According to the criminal complaint, Chauvin and his soon-to-be ex-wife had issues reporting income to Minnesota, despite multiple correspondences with tax authorities about the issue in 2019. Although after talking with investigators last year, they did report some income.

Prosecutors allege it didn’t add up, and Orput finally decided to jointly charge the couple with failing to pay Minnesota taxes between 2016 to 2018, and under-reporting their income on their 2014, 2015, and 2019 returns. Neither of the Chauvins’ attorneys have commented about the case. However, Kellie did speak with investigators and said she knew she was supposed to file taxes every year, but “it got away from her.”

It seems like the couple was trying to dodge the taxes by claiming to be Florida residents, where they’ve owned a home since October 2011. According to the complaint, in 2018, they bought and registered a BMW from a Minnesota dealership where they listed their Florida house as their residence while also giving Florida driver’s licenses. According to Kellie, this was done because registering a car and sales tax on it would be cheaper in Florida. 

Dodging Their Tax Burden

Looking at the issue from a big-picture perspective, being a Florida resident also comes with the perk that the state has no personal income tax. However, that would only work if the couple were actually Florida residents, and didn’t meet the requirements to be Minnesota ones. Notably, the couple rarely actually lived in Florida, and spent the majority of each year living in Minnesota.

In Minnesota, one is considered a resident if they live there at least 183 days of the year, and owned or rented a “suitable abode.” Additionally, there are income requirements to be a resident and be liable for taxes. However, the complaint states, “Investigators determined that the Chauvins’ income was significantly over the threshold requirements and that they were Minnesota residents as they lived, worked and had significant connections to the state of Minnesota.” 

How far over the minimum-resident threshold were they? The amount varied during this time period, but it was always roughly $22,000 per year for a married couple. The Chauvins are accused of under-reporting their income by $464,443 during this time period.

Derek is accused of under-reporting income as an officer and hid more than $95,000 earned from his off-duty security work. Kellie is accused of failing to report $66,000 she made across 2014 and 2015, as well as under-reporting other income. The complaint also alleges the couple failed to properly calculate capital gains after they sold one of their Minnesota properties. 

If they had properly paid their Minnesota taxes they would’ve owed about $22,000, but after interest and fees they currently owe $37,686.

Orput was critical of the couple, saying in a statement, “When you fail to fulfill the basic obligation to file and pay taxes, you are taking money from the pockets of citizens of Minnesota.” and adding, “Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are [a] doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law.”

Each of the nine charges carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Although prosecutors told local news that they were unsure if they would seek prison time for the Chauvins. They also emphasized that these charges only relate to Minnesota.

It’s unknown whether or not they under-reported income or property values to either the IRS or Florida tax officials.

See What Others Are Saying: (NPR) (Fox News) (Star Tribune)

U.S.

FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J COVID Vaccine Boosters, Approves Mix-and-Match Doses

Published

on

The approval will allow at-risk Americans who received Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to get any booster six months after their initial series and all Johnson & Johnson recipients 18 and older to do the same two months after their single-shot dose.


New FDA Authorization

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized boosters shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and approved a mix-and-match strategy that will allow people who got one company’s shot to get a booster from a different maker.

The decision paves the way for millions of more at-risk Americans to get extra protection, and not just certain Pfizer recipients as previously approved by the FDA.

Under the authorization, people who received Moderna or Pfizer can get any one of the three booster shots six months after completing their initial series if they are 65 and older, at high risk of severe COVID, or face increased exposure because of their work.

Meanwhile, all J&J recipients 18 and older can get any of the approved vaccines two months after they received the one-shot jab.

Hazy Recommendations, For Now

Notably, the FDA did not recommend a certain combination of vaccines, nor did the agency say whether or not it would be more effective for people to stick with their original vaccine maker for their booster.

The new authorizations draw on a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which found that there are no safety concerns with mixing boosters and that vaccine combinations were at least as effective in stimulating antibodies as matched vaccines.

In the case of J&J recipients, the NIH found that people actually had a higher boost from mixing either Moderna or Pfizer boosters.

However, some of the scientists who worked on the study said it should not be used to recommend one combination over another because the research was limited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which determines vaccine recommendations, could issue more guidance on when and whether people should switch vaccine makers for their booster shots.

An advisory panel for the agency is meeting Thursday to discuss the new FDA authorizations and recommendations.

Once the panel makes its decision, the CDC director has the final say on the guidelines. If the agency agrees with the FDA’s decisions, the booster shots could be rolled out as soon as this weekend.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Paris Hilton Urges Lawmakers To Crack Down on Abusive Teen Treatment Facilities

Published

on

The heiress alleges that she was a victim of abuse in these types of centers for two years and wants to ensure that no child suffers through the same experience.


Paris Hilton Details Abuse Within “Troubled Teen Industry”

Socialite and entrepreneur Paris Hilton spoke outside of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to support the Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which is set to be introduced in the near future.

Hilton joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to advocate for the legislation, which aims to create a “bill of rights” for children in treatment and behavioral centers.

The heiress has alleged that she spent two of her teenage years in these types of facilities and was subject to rampant abuse. She is far from alone. 

During a press conference, Hilton said that one night when she was 16, she woke up to two large men in her bedroom forcing her out of her house. She said she screamed for help because she thought she was being kidnapped, but her parents watched as she was taken away to a “troubled teen” program. 

“Like countless other parents of teens, my parents had searched for solutions to my rebellious behavior,” she explained in an op-ed for The Washington Post this week. “Unfortunately, they fell for the misleading marketing of the ‘troubled teen industry’ — therapeutic boarding schools, military-style boot camps, juvenile justice facilities, behavior modification programs and other facilities that generate roughly $50 billion annually in part by pitching ‘tough love’ as the answer to problematic behavior.”

Hilton said she was sent to four different facilities where she was “physically and psychologically abused.” 

“I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis, not given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood and so much more,” she explained during the press conference. 

“At Provo Canyon School in Utah, I was given clothes with a number on the tag. I was no longer me, I was only number 127,” she continued. “I was forced to stay indoors for 11 months straight, no sunlight, no fresh air. These were considered privileges.”

Goals of the  Accountability for Congregate Care Act

Hilton claims that a lack of transparency and accountability has allowed this structure of abuse to thrive for decades. In some cases, she said it has taken children’s lives. Now, she wants Congress and President Joe Biden to act. 

“This bill creates an urgently needed bill of rights to ensure that every child placed into congregate care facilities is provided a safe and humane environment,” Hilton said of the Accountability for Congregate Care Act.

“This bill of rights provides protections that I wasn’t afforded, like access to education, to the outdoors, freedom from abusive treatment, and even the basic right to move and speak freely. If I had these rights and could have exercised them, I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD.” 

Foster children, children being treated for mental disorders, and other children in youth programs would be impacted by the bill.

Hilton was one of several survivors and advocates who fought for the legislation on Wednesday. Rep. Khanna thanked them for using their stories to fight for change. 

“No child should be subjected to solitary confinement, forced labor, or any form of institutional abuse,” he wrote. “Thanks to Paris Hilton, my colleagues & the survivors & advocates who joined us today to discuss how we can hold the congregate care industry accountable.”

While only Democratic legislators are currently sponsoring the bill, Hilton called for a bipartisan effort to fight for the rights of children. 

Ensuring that children are safe from institutional abuse isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Hilton said. “It’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate attention.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Hill) (NBC News)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Surgeons Successfully Test Pig Kidney Transplant on a Human

Published

on

The procedure has been hailed as a major scientific breakthrough that could eventually open the door to a renewable source of desperately needed organs.


Groundbreaking Procedure

Surgeons at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute revealed Tuesday that they temporarily attached a kidney from a genetically modified pig to a human patient and found that it worked normally.

The operation was the first of its kind and could one day lead to a vast supply of organs for those who are in severe need. According to the Associated Press, more than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for a kidney transplant. Each day, an average of 12 die while waiting.

With the family’s consent, the groundbreaking procedure was performed on a brain-dead patient who was kept alive on a ventilator.

According to the surgeons, the pig used was genetically engineered to grow an organ that wouldn’t produce a sugar that the human immune system attacks, which would then trigger the body to reject the kidney. 

The organ was connected to blood vessels on the patient’s upper leg, outside the abdomen, and it was observed for over 54 hours, with doctors finding no signs of rejection.

Concerns and Hurdles Ahead

While the procedure was successful, this doesn’t mean it’ll be available to patients anytime soon. Several questions about long-term functionality remain, and it will still have to go through significant medical and regulatory hurdles. 

Details of the procedure haven’t even been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal yet, though there are plans for this. 

Experts are also considering the ethical implications of this type of animal-to-human transplant. For some, raising pigs to harvest their organs raises concerns about animal welfare and exploitation. Such medical procedures have already earned criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

“Pigs aren’t spare parts and should never be used as such just because humans are too self-centered to donate their bodies to patients desperate for organ transplants,” PETA said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

On the other side of the debate are people like Dr. Robert Montgomery, the director of the N.Y.U. Langone Transplant Institute who performed the breakthrough procedure in September.

“I certainly understand the concern and what I would say is that currently about 40% of patients who are waiting for a transplant die before they receive one,” he told BBC.

“We use pigs as a source of food, we use pigs for medicinal uses – for valves, for medication. I think it’s not that different.”

See what others are saying: (CNN)(BBC) (The New York Times)

Continue Reading