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Ex-Celtics among former NBA players charged in $4M fraud scheme

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Ex-Celtics among former NBA players charged in $4M fraud scheme

NEW YORK — Eighteen former NBA players including a number of ex-Celtics were charged Thursday with pocketing about $2.5 million illegally by defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan in a scam authorities said involved claiming fictitious medical and dental expenses.

“The defendants’ playbook involved fraud and deception,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss told a news conference after FBI agents across the country arrested 15 ex-players and one of their wives in a three-year conspiracy that authorities say started in 2017.

Among the Celtics charged was Tony Allen, a six-time All-Defensive team selection and a member of the 2008 champion Boston Celtics. His wife was also indicted.

Glen ‘Big Baby” Davis, was also charged, as was Sebastian Telfair, and Terrence Williams, who authorities allege was the scheme’s mastermind.

According to an indictment returned in Manhattan federal court, the ex-players teamed up to defraud the NBA’s supplemental coverage plan by submitting fraudulent claims to get reimbursed for medical and dental procedures that never happened.

Strauss said prosecutors have travel records, email and GPS data that proves the ex-players were sometimes far from the medical and dental offices at the times when they were supposedly getting treated.

In one instance, she said, an ex-player was playing basketball in Taiwan when he was supposedly getting $48,000 worth of root canals and crowns on eight teeth at a Beverly Hills, California, dental office in December 2018.

The indictment said the scheme was carried out from at least 2017 to 2020, when the plan — funded primarily by NBA teams — received false claims totaling about $3.9 million. Of that, the defendants received about $2.5 million in fraudulent proceeds.

Strauss said each defendant made false claims for reimbursements that ranged from $65,000 to $420,000.

A request for comment to the league wasn’t immediately returned.

Strauss said the conspiracy was led by Williams, who began his career as a first-round NBA draft pick in 2009. The indictment said he submitted $19,000 in fraudulent claims to the plan in November 2017 for chiropractic care.  The claims led to a $7,672 payout for Williams.

The indictment said he then recruited other former NBA players to defraud the plan and offered to provide fraudulent invoices from a chiropractor and dentist in Southern California and a wellness office in Washington state.

At least 10 of the ex-players paid kickbacks totaling about $230,000 to Williams, according to the court papers. A lawyer who has represented Williams in the past declined to comment.

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Missouri adds 5,380 COVID cases after holiday break

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Missouri records 1,987 new COVID cases; fifth straight day below 2,000

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After taking the last few days off for the Thanksgiving break, Missouri health officials announced more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), the state has recorded 738,823 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2—an increase of 5,380 positive cases (PCR testing only)—and 12,529 total deaths as of Monday, Nov. 29, an increase of 9 over yesterday. That’s a case fatality rate of 1.70%.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours. The state health department did not report new data from Nov. 25 through Nov. 28.

State health officials report 57.8% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Approximately 69.3% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process.

The first doses were administered in Missouri on Dec. 13, 2020.

The state has administered 106,282 doses—including booster shots—of the vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

Joplin, St. Louis City, and Kansas City, as well as St. Louis, St. Charles, Boone, and Atchison counties are the only jurisdictions in the state with at least 50% of its populations fully vaccinated. Thirty-five other jurisdictions in the state are at least 40% fully vaccinated: Cole, Jackson, Franklin, Greene, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson, Nodaway, Cass, Ste. Genevieve, Carroll, Andrew, Callaway, Gasconade, Christian, Benton, Adair, Clinton, Dade, Livingston, Ray, Lafayette, Montgomery, Shelby, Osage, Henry, Clay, Camden, Warren, Howard, Cooper, Phelps, Stone, St. Francois, and Chariton counties, as well as the city of Independence.

Vaccination is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity for COVID-19 requires 80% to 90% of the population to have immunity, either by vaccination or recovery from the virus.

(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

The Bureau of Vital Records at DHSS performs a weekly linkage between deaths to the state and death certificates to improve quality and ensure all decedents that died of COVID-19 are reflected in the systems. As a result, the state’s death toll will see a sharp increase from time to time. Again, that does not mean a large number of deaths happened in one day; instead, it is a single-day reported increase.

At the state level, DHSS is not tracking probable or pending COVID deaths. Those numbers are not added to the state’s death count until confirmed in the disease surveillance system either by the county or through analysis of death certificates.

The 7-day rolling average for cases in Missouri sits at 1,197; yesterday, it was 528. Exactly one month ago, the state rolling average was 709. 

The 10 days with the most reported cases occurred between Oct. 10, 2020, and Nov. 18, 2021.

Approximately 49.9% of all reported cases are for individuals 39 years of age and younger. The state has further broken down the age groups into smaller units. The 18 to 24 age group has 89,422 recorded cases, while 25 to 29-year-olds have 62,444 cases.

People 80 years of age and older account for approximately 41.9% of all recorded deaths in the state.

Trending: Missouri senator pushing to eliminate personal property taxes 

Month / Year Missouri COVID cases*
(reported that month)
March 2020 1,327
April 2020 6,235
May 2020 5,585
June 2020 8,404
July 2020 28,772
August 2020 34,374
September 2020 41,416
October 2020 57,073
November 2020 116,576
December 2020 92,808
January 2021 66,249
February 2021 19,405
March 2021 11,150
April 2021 12,165
May 2021 9,913
June 2021 12,680
July 2021 42,780
August 2021 60,275
September 2021 45,707
October 2021 33,855
November 2021 35,903
(Source: Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services)

Missouri has administered 7,842,004 PCR tests for COVID-19 over the entirety of the pandemic and as of Nov. 28, 16.9% of those tests have come back positive. People who have received multiple PCR tests are not counted twice, according to the state health department.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 Dashboard, “A PCR test looks for the viral RNA in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if there is an active infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A positive PCR test means that the person has an active COVID-19 infection.”

The Missouri COVID Dashboard no longer includes the deduplicated method of testing when compiling the 7-day moving average of positive tests. The state is now only using the non-deduplicated method, which is the CDC’s preferred method. That number is calculated using the number of tests taken over the period since many people take multiple tests. Under this way of tabulating things, Missouri has a 10.6% positivity rate as of Nov. 26. Health officials exclude the most recent three days to ensure data accuracy when calculating the moving average.

The 7-day positivity rate was 4.5% on June 1, 10.2% on July 1, and 15.0% on Aug. 1.

As of Nov. 26, Missouri is reporting 779 COVID hospitalizations and a rolling 7-day average of 1,063. The remaining inpatient hospital bed capacity sits at 24% statewide. The state’s public health care metrics lag behind by three days due to reporting delays, especially on weekends. Keep in mind that the state counts all beds available and not just beds that are staffed by medical personnel.

On July 6, the 7-day rolling average for hospitalizations eclipsed the 1,000-person milestone for the first time in four months, with 1,013 patients. The 7-day average for hospitalizations had previously been over 1,000 from Sept. 16, 2020, to March 5, 2021.

On Aug. 5, the average eclipsed 2,000 patients for the first time in more than seven months. It was previously over 2,000 from Nov. 9, 2020, to Jan. 27, 2021.

The 2021 low point on the hospitalization average in Missouri was 655 on May 29.

Across Missouri, 179 COVID patients are in ICU beds, leaving the state’s remaining intensive care capacity at 24%.

If you have additional questions about the coronavirus, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is available at 877-435-8411.

As of Nov. 28, the CDC identified 48,106,615 cases of COVID-19 and 776,070 deaths across all 50 states and 9 U.S.-affiliated districts, jurisdictions, and affiliated territories, for a national case-fatality rate of 1.61%.

How do COVID deaths compare to other illnesses, like the flu or even the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009? It’s a common question.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preliminary data on the 2018-2019 influenza season in the United States shows an estimated 35,520,883 cases and 34,157 deaths; that would mean a case-fatality rate of 0.09 percent. Case-fatality rates on previous seasons are as follows: 0.136 percent (2017-2018), 0.131 percent (2016-2017), 0.096 percent (2015-2016), and 0.17 percent (2014-2015).

The 1918 H1N1 epidemic, commonly referred to as the “Spanish Flu,” is estimated to have infected 29.4 million Americans and claimed 675,000 lives as a result; a case-fatality rate of 2.3 percent. The Spanish Flu claimed greater numbers of young people than typically expected from other influenzas.

Beginning in January 2009, another H1N1 virus—known as the “swine flu”—spread around the globe and was first detected in the US in April of that year. The CDC identified an estimated 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths; a 0.021 percent case-fatality rate.

For more information and updates regarding COVID mandates, data, and the vaccine, click here.

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Winning $800,000 Illinois lotto ticket sold in Pontoon Beach

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College visit road trip results in $50,000 Powerball win for St. Charles family

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – Someone hit the jackpot at Casey’s General Store in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. The Illinois Lottery reports that a player matched all five numbers Sunday night. The winning “Lucky Day Lotto” ticket is worth $800,000.

Jackpots in the Lucky Day Lotto game start at $100,00 and increase in size until someone matches all five numbers. The game costs one dollar to play and the chances of hitting the jackpot are around one in 1,221,759. This makes it one of the best odds of any Illinois Lottery draw game.

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Mother tosses 3-year-old from second-story window during apartment fire

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Mother tosses 3-year-old from second-story window during apartment fire

ST. LOUIS – Five people were treated following a fire at an apartment building on the 5800 block of Selber Court in north St. Louis.

Our partners at the Post-Dispatch report a mother tossed her 3-year-old daughter from a second-story window to a neighbor on the ground at the Hillvale apartments.

The fire department says one of those patients includes a child. Three people were taken to the hospital.

The paper also says the fire started in a vacant, boarded-up unit. The Bomb and Arson squad was called to the scene as well.

Firefighters can be seen on the roof trying to knock out the flames. There is also smoke pouring out of the roof.

Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX is over the scene. Authorities appeared to be walking with at least one resident who made it out of the burning building.

The Red Cross is helping 3 residents.

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