Navient reaches settlement over student loan practices
Navient, one of the nation's largest student loan companies, has settled allegations of predatory lending practices, agreeing to cancel $1.7 billion in debt for more than 60,000 borrowers. It will also pay out $95 million in restitution to 350,000 borrowers.news.yahoo.com
US dismisses Russian deployment threats as 'bluster'
Russia raises the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine and NATO's expansion when a top diplomat refuses to rule out a military deployment to Latin America. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that comment was "bluster." (Jan. 13)news.yahoo.com
Mother pleads guilty in 2-year-old Houston girl’s death
The mother of a 2-year-old girl whose body was found in a Houston bayou in 2020 has pleaded guilty for her role in the child's death, according to court records. Sahara Ervin, 22, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, a human corpse, during a court hearing Wednesday as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. According to her family, Maliyah Bass had been playing in the playground of her apartment complex Aug. 22, 2020, when she went missing.news.yahoo.com
Texas governor doesn't pardon George Floyd after parole board withdraws recommendation
George Floyd will not be posthumously pardoned for a 2004 Houston drug charge because the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles withdrew its recommendation, the Dallas Morning News first reported Thursday. Driving the news: The board had recommended a full pardon for Floyd for the charge, for which he served 10 months in prison. A spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told the Morning News that recommendation "contained procedural errors" and said there had been a "lack of compliance with Boanews.yahoo.com
Texas board withdraws pardon recommendation for George Floyd
A Texas board that unanimously supported a posthumous pardon for George Floyd over a 2004 drug arrest in Houston has withdrawn that recommendation over “procedural errors" after sending it to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's desk, his office said Thursday. The unusual reversal announced by Abbott's office two days before Christmas — around the time he typically doles out pardons — drew outrage from a public defender who had submitted the pardon application for Floyd, who spent much of his life in Houston before his death in 2020 in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer. Floyd's name was withdrawn along with two dozen other clemency recommendations that had been submitted by the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles.news.yahoo.com
President Biden extends forbearance on federal student loan repayments until May 2022
On Wednesday, President Biden extended the pause on federal student loa repayments another 90 days, until May 1, 2022. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and CBS News' Elise Preston discuss the extension and the pressure the president is facing to address student loan debt on a larger scale.news.yahoo.com
Operators of Three Texas Pharmacies and Two Pain Clinics Arrested for Illegally Dispensing Nearly Four Million Opioid Pills
Three Houston-area pharmacists, a doctor, and a pharmacy technician have been arrested for allegedly running three pharmacies and two clinics as “pill mills;” distributing hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other controlled drugs without a legitimate medical purpose. According to court documents, since January 2018, Chrisco Pharmacy (Chrisco), Keystone Pharmacy (Keystone), and Peoples Pharmacy (Peoples) illegally dispensed nearly four million pills of the Schedule II opioids hydrocodone and oxycodone. According to the filed criminal complaint leading to Obute’s arrest on Dec. 2, Obute operated Keystone as a pill mill, illegally distributing hydrocodone and oxycodone. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Houston Division; Texas Attorney General Office’s Medicare Fraud Control Unit (MFCU); and Houston Police Department (HPD) made the announcement.justice.gov
Texas governor's decision: Whether to pardon George Floyd
Doling out pardons is a holiday tradition for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who around every Christmas grants them to a handful of ordinary citizens, typically for minor offenses committed years or decades ago. Abbott has not said whether he will posthumously pardon Floyd this year for a 2004 drug arrest in Houston by a former officer whose police work is no longer trusted by prosecutors. Texas' parole board — stacked with Abbott appointees — unanimously recommended a pardon for Floyd in October.news.yahoo.com
One person died and around 13 others were injured after shots were fired during a vigil in a Houston suburb where 50 people were gathered
Growing the Voices of Our FutureThe Westside Gazette Newspaper is honored to feature these editorial contributions made by local students. Submitted by Layla DavidsonOne person died and around 13 others were injured after shots were fired during a vigil in a Houston suburb where 50 people were gathered, police said. As the individuals were releasing balloons, a vehicle approached, and someone began to shoot in the crowd. A fight broke out at a nearby hospital once the victims were transported. Officers are still trying to gather more information on the victims and find possible suspects.thewestsidegazette.com
Four Charged in $35 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme
In total, the defendants sought over $35 million in PPP loan funds and obtained approximately $18 million in PPP loan proceeds. Malik pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering on Oct. 8. Farahshah, Perez, and Rajabi each pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Nov. 30. The defendants in the superseding indictment are all charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. Aqeel is also charged with aggravated identity theft and is alleged to have submitted PPP loan applications by stealing the identities of uninvolved parties.justice.gov
Witnesses: Fraud defendant triggers Texas courtroom brawl
A defendant in a criminal fraud case punched and attacked a bailiff, prosecutor and judge after he was denied bond Tuesday at a court hearing in Houston, witnesses said. Joseph Catarineau, 58, was making a routine appearance before state District Judge Danny Lacayo when the judge asked if the defendant needed an attorney, witnesses told the Houston Chronicle. When Catarineau addressed him disrespectfully, Lacayo denied him bond and directed a bailiff to take him into custody, said Daniel Glasscock, who was waiting to appear in another case. When the bailiff tried to take him into custody, Catarineau grabbed the bailiff’s hair, took her to the ground and began punching her, according to prosecutor Jacob Salinas.news.yahoo.com
Trader Indicted for Commodities Insider Trading Scheme
A federal grand jury in Houston returned an indictment on Dec. 7 charging a natural gas trader for an insider trading scheme involving natural gas futures. James pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and wire fraud. Tippett pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and honest services wire fraud. Miller is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit commodities fraud and four counts of commodities fraud. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S.justice.gov
No. 3 Cincinnati claims AAC crown, possible playoff spot
Jerome Ford rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns and Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes as No. 3 Cincinnati broke open a close game in the third quarter and rolled past No. 16 Houston 35-20 in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
Plumber discovers money in wall of Joel Osteen’s church, years after $600K burglary, report says
Back in 2014, a big headline in Texas involved hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from a safe at Joel Osteen’s megachurch, Lakewood Church, in Houston. Now, seven years later, another bombshell has dropped.
A plumber was working on a toilet at Joel Osteen’s church. Then a trove of cash and checks fell out of the wall.
It had been more than seven years since Lakewood Church, led by Joel and Victoria Osteen, lost more than $600,000 in a burglary reported by the church. Now, a plumber has found what's believed to be hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away while working on a toilet.washingtonpost.com
Not worth 1,000 words: Player images scrubbed from MLB site
Shortly after the sport's first work stoppage in 26 years began Thursday at 12:01 a.m., MLB removed all current player photos and highlights off MLB.com. Major League Baseball said in an email to The Associated Press that “every action we are taking is at the advice of legal counsel per the National Labor Relations Act.”news.yahoo.com
Houston highway project sparks debate over racial equity
A $9 billion highway widening project being proposed in the Houston area could become an important test of the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing what it has said is a history of racial inequity with infrastructure projects in the U.S. The project’s critics, including community groups and some residents, say it won’t improve the area’s traffic woes and would subject mostly Black and Latino residents to increased pollution, displacement and flooding while not improving public transportation options. Its supporters counter the proposed 10-year construction project that would remake 24 miles along Interstate 45 and several other roadways would enhance driver safety, help reduce traffic congestion and address flood mitigation and disaster evacuation needs.news.yahoo.com
Crowd surge wasn't mentioned in Astroworld operational plan
A 56-page event operations plan for the Astroworld music festival includes protocols for dangerous scenarios including an active shooter, bomb or terrorist threats and severe weather, but it didn't include information on what to do in the event of a crowd surge.
Mourning starts as Houston officials probe concert deaths
Mourners began building a memorial to those lost at a Texas concert as authorities said they would watch video, interview witnesses and review concert protocols to determine how eight people died when fans suddenly surged toward the stage to watch rapper Travis Scott.
Manfred remains optimistic on labor; pitch clock encouraging
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred exchanged a handshake with players’ union head Tony Clark on the field before the World Series opener and expressed optimism about reaching an agreement before the current deal expires Dec. 1 but did not detail any progress in talks that appear headed to a lockout.