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Public Servant Pleads Guilty To Stealing Over $240k From Non-Profits And Small Business

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A Georgia woman, who was a teacher and worked as a public servant in Columbus, pleaded guilty to stealing over $240k from two non-profits and a small business on Monday.

Trenna Denise Trice, 59, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Trice was a public servant responsible for organizing a mayor’s ball, a fundraising activity for the Columbus branch of the non-profit United Negro College Fund (UNCF). According the DOJ, Trice’s duties included “collecting cash, credit card contributions, and check payments for donations and ticket sales.”

“Trenna Trice abused the trust of two non-profits, a small business and many individual citizens when she choose to steal money intended for others to fund her gambling addiction,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I commend the FDIC-OIG investigators who unraveled her web of lies through their extensive investigation. Our office, along with our law enforcement partners, will do everything in our power to bring fraudsters to justice.”

The DOJ found that “[during] the course of the investigation, agents determined that while the larger contribution checks from bigger sponsorship companies had made their way to UNCF, Trice diverted numerous smaller contributions for her own personal use.” UNCF ended their relationship with Trice in 2017 after questioning financial irregularities.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) started the investigation into Trice in May 2019. Investigators found that Trice’s income came from teaching for the Muscogee County School District. Before teaching, Trice had been fired from a dental office for allegations of embezzlement. At one point, she had also been collecting donations for a non-profit organization SaMarc, run by two NBA basketball players, that helped underprivileged children.

Agents found 109 checks and 265 credit card transactions that had been deposited into Trice’s accounts without authorization. She allegedly tried to hide her fraud by using outside ATMs and changing the settings in her Square app to “disguise that she was the actual recipient of a donation intended for others.” According to the IG press release, “Trice told investigators she had a crippling gambling addiction for the last decade and the money was stolen to fuel her gambling addiction and compensate for her gambling losses.”

Trice is now known to have stolen $162,044 from non-profit UNCF, $70,231 from a dental office, $7,784 from non-profit SaMarc, and $200 from the Georgia Dental Society, totaling $240,259.

She will be sentenced on March 29, 2022.

“The criminal conduct in this case is even more egregious because Ms. Trice is a public servant, occupied a position of trust in charitable organizations, and stole from those organizations – all while pocketing the funds for her personal use,” said FDIC-OIG Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles. “The FDIC Office of Inspector General is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to investigate matters of fraud which impact both the banking system and the community as a whole.”

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Solar storms may cause up to 5500 heart-related deaths in a given year

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In an approximate 11-year cycle, the sun blasts out charged particles and magnetised plasma that can distort Earth’s magnetic field, which may disrupt our body clock and ultimately affect our heart



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17 June 2022

A solar storm

Jurik Peter/Shutterstock

Solar storms that disrupt Earth’s magnetic field may cause up to 5500 heart-related deaths in the US in a given year.

The sun goes through cycles of high and low activity that repeat approximately every 11 years. During periods of high activity, it blasts out charged particles and magnetised plasma that can distort Earth’s magnetic field.

These so-called solar storms can cause glitches in our power grids and bring down Earth-orbiting satellites. A handful of studies have also hinted that they increase the risk of …

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UK Covid infection rate rising, with more than a million cases in England | Coronavirus

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Coronavirus infections are rising in the UK, figures have revealed, with experts noting the increase is probably down to the more transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, reveal that in the week ending 11 June an estimated one in 50 people in the community in England are thought to have had Covid – around 1.13 million people.

The figure is even higher, at one in 45, in both Wales and Northern Ireland, while it was highest in Scotland where, in the week ending 10 June, one in 30 people are thought to have been infected.

While the figures remain below the peak levels of infection seen earlier this year, when around one in 13 people in England had Covid, the findings are a rise on the previous week where one in 70 people in England were thought to be infected. Furthermore, the data reveals increases in all regions of England, except the north-east, and across all age groups.

Experts say that a key factor in the increase is probably the rise of the Covid variants of concern BA.4 and BA.5.

“Infections have increased across all four UK nations, driven by rising numbers of people infected with the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants,” said Kara Steel, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey.

While Steel said it remained too early to say if this was the start of another wave, others have warned it may already have begun, with increased mixing and travelling among other factors fuelling a rise in cases.

Among concerns scientists have raised are that BA.4, BA.5 and another variant on the rise, BA.2.12.1, replicate more efficiently in human lung cells than BA.2.

Prof Azra Ghani, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said the latest figures were not surprising, and might rise further.

“This increase in infection prevalence is likely due to the growth of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, which as we have seen elsewhere in Europe, appear to be able to escape immunity generated from previous Omicron subvariants,” she said.

“It is therefore possible that we will continue to see some growth in infection prevalence in the coming weeks and consequently an increase in hospitalisations, although these subvariants do not currently appear to result in any significantly changed severity profile. This does however serve as a reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over.”

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NHS to offer women in England drug that cuts recurrence of breast cancer | Breast cancer

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Thousands of women in England with breast cancer are to benefit from a new pill on the NHS which reduces the risk of the disease coming back.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has given the green light to abemaciclib, which cuts the chance of breast cancer returning after a patient has had surgery to remove a tumour.

Trials showed that patients who had the drug with hormone therapy had a more than 30% improved chance of their cancer not coming back after surgery, compared with hormone therapy alone.

“It’s fantastic thousands of women with this type of primary breast cancer will now have an additional treatment option available on the NHS to help further reduce the risk of the disease coming back,” said Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now.

“The fear of breast cancer returning or spreading to other parts of their body and becoming incurable can cause considerable anxiety for so many women and their loved ones.

“New effective treatments such as abemaciclib, which can offer more women the chance to further reduce the risk of the disease recurring, are therefore extremely welcome and this is an important step change in the drug options available for this group of patients.”

The twice-a-day pill is suitable for women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence who have had surgery. About 4,000 women will benefit initially, Nice said.

Helen Knight, the interim director of medicines evaluation at Nice, said the draft recommendation came less than a month after abemaciclib received its licence.

“The fact that we have been able to produce draft recommendations so quickly is testament to the success of our ambition to support patient access to clinically and cost effective treatments as early as possible,” said Knight. “Until now there have been no targeted treatments for people with this type of breast cancer.

“Abemaciclib with hormone therapy represents a significant improvement in how it is treated because being able to have a targeted treatment earlier after surgery will increase the chance of curing the disease and reduce the likelihood of developing incurable advanced disease.”

Abemaciclib works by targeting and inhibiting proteins in cancer cells which allow the cancer to divide and grow. It normally costs £2,950 for a packet of 56 150mg-tablets, but the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, has agreed an undisclosed discounted price for NHS England.

“Thanks in part to this latest deal struck by NHS England, NHS patients will be able to access another new targeted drug for a common and aggressive form of breast cancer,” said Prof Peter Johnson, the cancer director of NHS England.

“Abemaciclib, when used alongside a hormone therapy, offers a new, doubly targeted, treatment option, helping to increase the chances of beating the cancer for good, as well as meeting the NHS’s commitment to delivering improved cancer care under our long-term plan.”

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