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Former South St. Paul basketball coach dies by suicide, two days before sentencing on federal fraud case

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Undated courtesy photo, circa January 2022, of Matthew McCollister, head boys basketball coach at South St. Paul High School. (Courtesy of South St. Paul Public Schools)

Former South St. Paul boys basketball coach Matthew McCollister died by suicide on Monday, two days before he was to be sentenced for fraud in federal court.

McCollister, 40, leaves behind his wife and three young children.

He pleaded guilty in January for his role in a scheme to defraud car insurance companies with false medical claims while working as a personal injury attorney.

Matthew McCollister (Courtesy of South St. Paul Public Schools)

Mendota Heights Police Chief Kelly McCarthy said officers were called around 3 p.m. Monday for a possible suicide in the 3600 block of Wesley Court and found McCollister dead in his home.

McCollister was charged in December in U.S. District Court with felony conspiracy to commit health care fraud from 2016 to 2017. He was charged by felony information, a process by which a defendant agrees to waive a grand jury indictment and instead plead guilty.

McCollister resigned from the team and his student support assistant job at South St. Paul High School on Jan. 12, the day the Pioneer Press first reported the accusations and just hours before he was scheduled to plead guilty at the federal courthouse in St. Paul. That hearing was postponed after his attorney fell ill.

McCollister entered his plea on Jan. 19. Sentencing guidelines called for 10 to 16 months in prison. McCollister remained free on his own recognizance pending his sentencing, which was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright.

“We ask that you give his family time and space to grieve,” his attorney, Ryan Pacyga, said in a statement Tuesday. “There will not be a sentencing hearing tomorrow. I have no further comments.”

McCollister had been South St. Paul High School’s head basketball coach since November 2019, and was credited with leading a turnaround of a once-struggling program. Prior to joining South St. Paul, McCollister had been a head coach at Breck, St. Croix Preparatory Academy and Brooklyn Center.

FRAUD SCHEME

McCollister was admitted to practice law in Minnesota in 2009. Starting around 2015, McCollister began his own law practice that focused primarily on pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of people who had been in car accidents.

About a year later, a chiropractor introduced McCollister to a confidential informant who was working with the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and posing as a “runner,” according to federal prosecutors. A runner is someone who gets paid to recruit people who supposedly were injured in car crashes and then receive chiropractic treatment paid for by auto insurance companies.

McCollister met with the runner at the Red Cow restaurant in St. Paul on March 1, 2016, and asked the individual to find people who supposedly were injured, prosecutors said. McCollister’s idea was to then have them go to chiropractors for care and that he would represent them in bringing claims against auto insurance companies for the purported injuries, according to the plea agreement. McCollister offered to pay the runner $300 or more for each person recruited.

Prosecutors allege McCollister then directed one of the two undercover patients to be “treated” by chiropractor Huy Nguyen, who is currently serving a prison sentence for his role in the conspiracy.

In December 2015, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Nguyen’s chiropractic clinic, Healthcare Chiropractic, in Brooklyn Park, where McCollister maintained an informal office and spent considerable time, according to U.S. Attorney David MacLaughlin.

“Huy Nguyen’s notoriousness could not have escaped Mr. McCollister’s attention,” MacLaughlin wrote in an April 26 memorandum that argued for a 16-month sentence for McCollister.

McCollister’s “brazen use of a known crooked chiropractor” continued throughout 2016 and into 2017, the memo read. On March 16, 2016, the undercover runner had lunch with McCollister, Nguyen and another now-convicted conspirator/MRI specialist named Quincy Chettupally at Fogo de Chao in downtown Minneapolis. The lunch was video recorded without McCollister’s knowledge and the conspirators openly discussed the scheme, according to prosecutors.

A grand jury in December 2016 indicted Nguyen in the conspiracy to which McCollister would later plead guilty. In August 2017, the grand jury added Chettupally to the conspiracy count.

Despite the indictments, McCollister sent two letters to Liberty Mutual Insurance, demanding a $25,000 bodily injury settlement for two separate bogus claims, prosecutors say.

DISBARRED

McCollister was the second Minnesota attorney charged and convicted through what was dubbed “Operation Back Cracker,” an effort by the state Commerce Fraud Bureau, the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office to combat personal injury protection fraud cases.

In November 2020, Minnetonka attorney William Sutor was sentenced to 16 months in prison after being convicted of the same offense as McCollister.

Pacyga, McCollister’s attorney, planned to argue for a five-month prison sentence followed by home confinement or community supervision.

McCollister “promptly accepted responsibility” by forgoing an indictment, Pacyga noted in his April 25 sentencing memorandum. “McCollister has lost not one, but two careers,” he added.

McCollister in February was disbarred by the Minnesota Supreme Court for professional misconduct unrelated to the federal charge. He had admitted to intentionally misappropriating more than $16,300 in client funds from his trust account between July 2020 and December 2020.

“Besides the father and husband that he has been and continues to be, he continues to work on himself with therapy and stays sober, even in the face of a federal criminal sentencing and the loss of both his law and coaching careers,” Pacyga wrote in his memo.

When McCollister left the team, South St. Paul was 14-0 and among the top-ranked teams in Class 3A. Assistant coach Darren Edwards took over as head coach and the team went on to win 14 straight games before falling to DeLaSalle 69-67 in the Section 3 final. It was South St. Paul’s second straight loss in the section final.

Prior to resigning, McCollister was a full-time student support assistant at the high school. In that role, he worked with student-support specialists who focus on student behavior.

To get help for thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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10 Underrated Bollywood Movies Of All Time You Need To Watch

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Underrated Bollywood Movie

Bollywood movies get plenty of attention, but some don’t receive as much praise as they deserve. These underrated Bollywood movies are under the radar because they aren’t precisely award winners, or they just didn’t get the widespread attention that their success and entertainment value warranted. Here are 8 underrated Bollywood movies you should watch right now!

1. The Lunch Box

Credit: IMDb

When it comes to movies, everyone has a list of personal favorites. However, there are a lot of great films that never get appreciated by audiences for one reason or another. The Lunch Box is one of those underrated gems from our perspective. A “flaw” in delivering the lunch box leads to a peculiar bond between Saajan (Irrfan Khan) and Ila (Nimrat Kaur).

2. Vicky Donor

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

If you’re looking for an underrated Bollywood movie, it doesn’t get much better than Vicky Donor. This rags-to-riches comedy is a thought-provoking look at sperm donation and how it can affect a person’s life in ways they never expected. No matter what age you are, I promise that Vicky Donor will make you laugh your ass off.

3. Udaan

Underrated Bollywood Movie List
Credit: IMDb

This 2010 film, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and starring Rajat Barmecha and Ronit Roy, is about a young boy who runs away from home to follow his dreams. Filmed in beautiful locations in Rajasthan, it has an art-house feel that’s quite similar to Italian neorealism. Udaan was chosen as India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. One of the best-underrated Bollywood movies out there for sure.

4. Swades

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

If you were to tell me before I saw Swades that it would be a top underrated Bollywood movie, I’d look at you like you had three heads. But here we are.

5. Tumbbad

Underrated Bollywood Movie List
Credit: IMDb

A terrifying example of why folklore is never meant to be shown on screen, Tumbbad is a movie that introduces us to an ordinary family living in one of India’s poorest regions. An epic mythological tale mixed with horrific human emotions, Tumbbad takes our breath away as we watch its main character grow older while his quest for power worsens. With no shortage of fear-inducing moments or spectacular and colorful set pieces, Tumbbad is a perfectly underrated Bollywood movie that you must absolutely watch.

6. Aligarh

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Deeply emotional and intensely powerful, Aligarh tells a love story in which no one is a victim, no one is a martyr and all decisions are rational ones. Aligarh takes you on an intense journey of human emotions and what it means to be different in a world that refuses to accept difference. The top underrated Bollywood movies list would be incomplete without mentioning Aligarh.

7. Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

This satirical comedy highlights why employees aren’t putting in their best efforts. Set against a backdrop of disinterested management, Rocket Singh is a fictitious film that draws parallels to Indian bureaucracy and posits how to change things for the better. While fictional, it’s not far from reality. The movie is still funny, even if your office isn’t exactly like it. If you watch just one underrated Bollywood movie on our list, make it Rocket Singh – Salesman of The Year.

8. Har Kisse Ke Hisse Kaamyaab

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Kaamyaab is an underrated Bollywood movie that you need to watch. It’s a great movie dauntlessly directed by Hardik Mehta. Underrated Bollywood movie like Kaamyaab deserves appreciation from the audience. Brilliantly acted by Sanjay Mishra. But what sets it apart from other movies is its brilliant script and complex themes.

9. Newton

Underrated Bollywood Movie
Credit: IMDb

Newton is an underrated Bollywood movie you need to watch if you’re a fan of thought-provoking and intelligent movies. Movies which you can’t afford to miss watching while in India. The movie stars a few of our favorite Bollywood actors like Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Raghubir Yadav, Anjali Patil, etc. If you ask us why we suggest Newton for underrated Bollywood movies then it’s because despite being a fairly recent one (Released on January 9th, 2017), Newton is one of those films that has failed to leave an impact among viewers.

10. Masaan

Underrated Bollywood Movie - Masaan
Credit: IMDb

Director Neeraj Ghaywan’s 2015 romantic drama tells a gut-wrenching story of a young couple struggling with the social stigma. This award-winning film was inspired by real-life incidents that took place in North India and highlight issues of caste and class. Featuring some amazing cinematography and an incredible performance by newcomer Vicky Kaushal, Masaan is often considered to be one of the most underrated Bollywood movies of all time. It even made it to TIME magazine’s list of top 10 must-watch Bollywood films. If you haven’t seen it yet, do check it out!

Hindi cinema is one of the biggest in the world, and India produces movies at an astonishing rate. It’s hard to keep up with all of them, especially if you aren’t living in the country itself or familiar with the culture. With this list of underrated Bollywood movies of all time, we offered you the chance to find some great titles that will entertain you and let you learn more about Hindi cinema at the same time.

The post 10 Underrated Bollywood Movies Of All Time You Need To Watch appeared first on MEWS.

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Vintage Kyle Hendricks leads the Chicago Cubs to a shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals: ‘Everything was working’

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Vintage Kyle Hendricks leads the Chicago Cubs to a shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals: ‘Everything was working’

There’s no question Kyle Hendricks has suffered through some difficult starts in 2022, his second straight subpar season with the Chicago Cubs.

Hendricks came into Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals having allowed six runs or more in four of his 13 starts, leading to a bloated earned-run average of 5.43. It’s not the Hendricks the Cubs have come to expect, though it’s also not the same kind of contending team he has enjoyed playing for during the bulk of his career.

But Cubs fans got a glimpse of vintage Hendricks on Friday night at Busch Stadium, and it was every bit as good as they remembered.

“That was as good as I’ve seen him this year,” manager David Ross said. “Everything was working.”

Hendricks tossed 7 ⅓ shutout innings in a 3-0 victory before 46,524, the largest crowd of the season at Busch.

The Cubs won for only the fifth time in 19 games, silencing the first-place Cardinals in the opener of their first series of the season in St. Louis.

“It was really Yan (Gomes) tonight,” Hendricks said of the game plan. “It was what he was able to do. I recognized it from the start. I trusted him the whole game. There was a couple shakes where I was committed to something and a couple shakes where I shouldn’t have.”

Hendricks allowed five hits while striking out six and walking one in a 91-pitch outing, improving to 3-6. Chris Martin and David Robertson finished if off, with Robertson collecting his ninth save in 12 opportunities.

Hendricks allowed only two base runners in the first five innings. Juan Yepez singled with two outs in the second but was thrown out at second to end the inning. Paul Goldschmidt walked with two outs in the fifth before Hendricks retired Brendan Donovan on a fly to center.

After Dylan Carlson singled to open the eighth and Harrison Bader doubled, Hendricks struck out pinch hitter Lars Nootbar before Martin replaced him. The Cubs reliever induced a comebacker to the mound and a soft liner to short to strand the runners.

“When you come in a game, whether you’re up five or down five, you try to get your mind right for the whole situation,” Martin said. “But definitely whenever you go out and pick up a teammate, you’re more amped up after that. It makes baseball fun in those situations. It’s where the bullpen wants to be and a big confidence boost.”

The Cubs scored their runs on Nico Hoerner’s two-run homer in the second off rookie Andre Pallante and Ian Happ’s RBI double in the fifth. Happ came into the night with a .367 average in his previous 22 games, quietly emerging as the co-leader of the offense along with Willson Contreras.

Ross before the game said Happ has proved he’s an “All-Star caliber” player.

“Ian has been our All-Star, he and Willson,” Ross said. “Those guys have really stood out above the rest for us. It’s nice to see the veteran guys play that consistently.”

But Hendricks was the man in the spotlight Friday.

“Vintage Kyle,” Ross said. “He locks it in when the stage is big.”

Whether it looked like the Hendricks of old, he said he doesn’t think of a performance like Friday as a reminder of something in the past.

“Somewhat, but it feels so long ago,” he said. “I’m really trying to focus on where I’m at and just seeing the game for what it is, taking it and knowing where to go and making my pitches. Yan really helped me today feel the game better. I just haven’t had that great feel for what they’re trying to do against me. He was huge getting me in that mindset.”

Hendricks is such a low-key individual he appears the same every day no matter how he’s performing. After the struggles he has gone through in the last two seasons, has he ever gotten so upset that he breaks something?

“No, not breaking stuff, man,” he said with a laugh. “I just get frustrated and just got to get to work. There’s nothing I can do to change it. Now it’s just get to work and make the next one better. Obviously it’s not where I want to be. There’s not anger or anything like that. Just got to make better pitches — that’s where my focus is.”

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Chicago White Sox manage only 1 hit in a heated 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles — their 3rd straight defeat

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Chicago White Sox manage only 1 hit in a heated 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles — their 3rd straight defeat

Austin Voth and four relievers combined on a one-hitter, Jorge Mateo had a heated exchange with Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech after getting nailed by a pitch and the Baltimore Orioles won 4-1 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Voth, normally a reliever, went three innings in his second start. He gave up an RBI double to Jake Burger in the second for the White Sox’s only hit.

Joey Krehbiel (3-3) worked 2 ⅓ perfect innings before Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez each got four outs. Jorge López pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances, helping the Orioles win their third straight and fourth in five games.

After outscoring the Washington Nationals and the White Sox by a combined 11-0 over the previous two games, the Orioles cruised in this one too.

The only real drama occurred in the second inning after Kopech (2-4) retired the first two batters. He nailed Mateo near the left shoulder and upper back with a similar pitch to the one that hit Sox second baseman Josh Harrison on Thursday.

Mateo had some words for Kopech. The benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde argued with crew chief Marvin Hudson, and both teams were issued warnings.

Mateo stole second and came around on a single by Richie Martin to make it 2-0.

Cedric Mullins led off the game with a bunt single and scored on a wild pitch.

Rookie Adley Rutschman doubled in the fourth and scored on a balk. Austin Hays added an RBI double in the eighth to extend the lead to 4-1.

The White Sox dropped their third in a row, and Kopech lost his second straight start. The right-hander went six-plus innings, allowing three runs and three hits.

  • White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada (right hamstring strain) might be ready to return from the 10-day injured list when he is eligible Tuesday, manager Tony La Russa said. … Center fielder Luis Robert was back in the lineup after being held out Thursday because of an unspecified injury.

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