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State and Federal Regulators Initiate Nationwide Fraudulent Charity Sweep

Richard Newman



Last week, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced that, in conjunction with the federal and state enforcement initiative “Operation Donate with Honor,” a settlement had been reached with Operation Troop Aid Inc., a Tennessee-based military charity. According to the NY OAG, OTA engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign and failed to properly oversee donations made from a commercial co-venture with a nationwide retailer.

“Charities have a fundamental responsibility when it comes to partnerships that use their charitable name and status,” said Attorney General Underwood. “Too often, co-ventures are little more than thinly-veiled marketing operations. Charities must not sell out their status for questionable gains.”

According to the OAG, OTA’s stated mission is to send care packages to deployed servicemembers – participated in an unlawful commercial co-venture with nationwide retailer, Harris Originals of NY, Inc. and its related stores. OTA allegedly allowed Harris Jewelry to use the charity’s name in Harris Jewelry’s so-called “Operation Teddy Bear,” in which Harris Jewelry advertised that it would donate a specific amount of money to OTA when consumers purchased its teddy bears dressed in military uniforms, based on a bear’s size.

The investigation found that OTA failed to ensure that Harris Jewelry was donating the full amount it advertised to the public. The investigation further found that Harris Jewelry sent OTA checks without documentation outlining how the donated amount was calculated, and at times provided different information to consumers as to the amount of money donated. Harris Jewelry allegedly used OTA’s logo and its relationship with the charity prominently in advertising and promotional materials, and OTA displayed Harris Jewelry’s logo on care packages sent overseas to deployed servicemembers.

OTA has acknowledged that it did not have a written agreement with Harris Jewelry, that it failed to oversee the co-venture with Harris Jewelry and that there was insufficient oversight of its operations and records. OTA further acknowledged that it failed to ensure that donated money was used for its stated charitable purpose, and that it made other purportedly charitable expenditures directly to individuals at the sole discretion of its chief executive, with no application or assessment process or action by its Board.

OTA, as part of the settlement, will cease operating and wind down its operation. OTA’s chief executive is also barred from serving as a fiduciary or soliciting for any nonprofit. The settlement assesses civil penalties and requires OTA to continue providing investigational cooperation and assistance.

Concurrently, the FTC has announced that the agency and its state partners have taken action against other schemes as part of “Operation Donate with Honor,” a nationwide law enforcement and education initiative to stop veterans-related charity fraud. FTC investigations (CIDs) and defense law firm Hinch Newman reports that regulators nationwide have joined this initiative, which has been in the works for months. Hinch Newman also reports that state attorneys general had recently been issuing civil investigative demands for weeks, leading up to the FTC’s announcement.

Contact Hinch Newman at 212-756-8777 if you have any questions the recent charity-based regulatory sweep, or if you or your company have been served with process or received a civil investigative demand. Following the author on LinkedIn.

Hinch Newman is a regulatory litigation, investigations and compliance law firm.   

Informational purposes only. Not legal advice. Always seek the advice of an attorney. Previous case results do not guarantee similar future result. Hinch Newman LLP | 40 Wall St., 35th Floor, New York, NY 10005 | (212) 756-8777.

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EXPOSED: The Russian Spy Who Worked for Trump

Polipace Staff



Elena A. Baronoff was listed as the VP of Customer Relations at Trump Grande, and was considered the “International Ambassador for Sunny Isles Beach,” an exclusive strip of land that was reserved for the richest of the rich.  Everyone knew her in the enclave, and a profile of her even called her the “face of Sunny Isles Beach and the real estate industry.” She was close to millionaires, billionaires, designers and moguls — and even was quite wealthy herself.

The problem is that, despite being a well-known socialite, she was also a former Spy.  She had originally come to America as a “Cultural Attaché in Public Diplomacy for the Russian Government,” a title almost exclusively used by spies of the Russian government trying to infiltrate business circles in the 1980’s. She was one of perhaps hundreds of women that Russia used over 40 years including the famous and beautiful Anna Chapman to influence business on behalf of Russia and its business interests.

Elena wasn’t just the VP of Customer Relations for Trump Grand, she was one of the biggest sellers of real-estate for Trump in the area, and the exclusive realtor for the Trump Grand, focusing on selling his properties specifically to Russians – specifically Mobsters and politically connected individuals.

According a story written about the sales, in the Nation Magazine, Ken Silverstien wrote:

“She took me to see a unit on the thirty-eighth floor of Trump Palace, which looked out on the turquoise waters of the Atlantic and was on the market for $2.3 million. ‘Living in a Trump property is like living in a hotel,’ she told me, as we stood on a balcony. The unit was attractively priced, she said cheerfully, and all the more so as the owner, a Russian looking to buy a bigger condo elsewhere in the area, had spent at least $350,000 on improvements.

Elena and Ivanka in 2014

Later that day, I obtained the property records for the condo. The legal owner is a company registered in Belize, an offshore haven where, according to a government website, there ‘is no requirement to file annual returns or public disclosure of directors, shareholders, charges, loans or agreements.’”

Reuters Reported that many people involved in Putin’s government, bought real estate in Sunny Isles, but didn’t report them on disclosure forms required by the Russian government itself to prevent money laundering.

Three owners of  were accused in federal indictments of belonging to a Russian-American organized crime group and working for a major international crime boss based in Russia. One of them was arrested for even running a gambling and money laundering ring in the Trump tower in Manhattan.

According to my source who worked with her, basically her entire job was to introduce Russians from all over the world to the Trump organization — allegedly to launder their money by buying real estate. She would travel with the Trump organization to “sister cities” using her “sunny isles ambassadorship” in new potential cities that Trump wanted to develop, often bringing rich Russian men with her that would express interest in buying into those new developments.

Remember Donald Trump Jr. bragged that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia?” We found these photos of Ivanka, Jr and Eric, with Elena A. Baronoff in Russia — meeting with Russian money “investors” of their condos. If you notice the huge body guards behind them in the first photo, you know these guys are more than just normal “businessmen.”

These four previously unpublished photos show the Trump family in Russia (all three of them) with Russian partners. These photos have never been published in the media before, and shows that not only were they there, but they were there with the person responsible for selling properties to meet with potential buyers/investors IN Russia.

We haven’t had time to identify all the people in the photos yet, but it would be interesting to know.
You can see real estate developer Michael Dezer who worked on Trump projects in some of the photos.

We couldn’t reach her because she died in 2015 of Leukemia, after it suddenly was found spread all over her body. She had described being in immense pain suddenly while traveling, and was surprised to learn she had cancer and died within a year.

Her real estate business is still run by her son George, who changed his last name to Baronov. In an interview, he pointed out how important Russians are to Trump.

What does this mean? Not only has Trump tried to hide his obvious connections to Russia, but that it was so important that his main sales person of his Condo’s in Florida was intimately connected TO Russia. Her background working for the embassy as a “Cultural Attaché” meant she had connections that allowed Trump to access the highest levels of Russian society — and was important enough for his entire family to visit Russia with her to meet potential Russian buyers.

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No One Hurt When Angry Customer Goes Nuts Because She Couldn’t Get a Beef Patty

Polipace Staff



A woman who couldn’t get a beef patty at a favorite New York eatery used a baseball bat in protest.

On Saturday, police released surveillance video of the woman in action in the Bronx — smashing a restaurant’s windows after learning the eatery had run out of her favorite food.

Police say the woman at the Back Home restaurant in the Morrisania neighborhood came in on the afternoon of Jan. 15 and ordered a patty. She was told they’d run out, and she got upset.

Authorities say she left and came back to the Jamaican restaurant with the bat. The video shows a woman bashing in two windows.

She fled and police were still searching for her on Saturday.

The video shows a woman dressed in a black and white jacket and matching sneakers, swinging a multi-colored aluminum bat as bystanders tried to stop her before she walked away.Drivers Around Nevada are Furious About This New RuleDrivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Are In For A Big SurpriseAd By See More

No one was injured during the incident.

The Back Home restaurant in the Morrisania neighborhood is a simple, affordable spot that offers Jamaican specialties like curry goat and oxtail, drawing people from around the city.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Drops Charges Against Mother Who Had Child Ripped Away by Police

Polipace Staff



A video showing NYPD officers violently removing a woman’s one-year-old child from her arms has sparked national outrage — even after NYPD and the Brooklyn DA informed us that they would be not pursuing charges. Additionally, NYPD Commissioner O’Neill has informed the public he is personally looking into the case..

Nyesha Ferguos posted the video to her Facebook page on Friday. It shows 23-year-old Jazmine Headly clinging to her son, Damone, and telling officers they are hurting him as they attempt to yank the child away from her. One officer waves a yellow stun gun at the outraged crowd, which includes children, several of whom are filming on their cell phones.

Headley had reportedly been waiting four hours at a Brooklyn Human Resources Administration (HRA) office to receive daycare reimbursement.
As the office was crowded and there were no seats available, she sat with Damone on the floor.

When she refused to stand, security called the police. The situation quickly escalated. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told CBS2 News that “a Taser was used” and that HRA peace officers tried to remove Headley because of what they described as “disorderly conduct towards others and for obstructing the hallway.”

Witnesses disputed this account, saying that there was not enough seating and that security was unnecessarily antagonistic. Ferguson, who posted the video, told the New York Times about her experiences at HRA offices, saying “They’re always rude. They think that people that are poor don’t have nothing, so you can treat them any kind of way.”
Headley was charged with resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, obstructing governmental administration and trespassing and taken to Rikers Island. On Tuesday morning Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez dropped those charges and released a statement saying, in part, “It is clear to me that this incident should have been handled differently. An HRA officer escalated the situation as Ms. Headley was about to leave the premises, creating an awful scenario of a baby being torn from his mother,”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by the Brooklyn Defenders Service  to offset the costs of childcare.
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