Middle Tennessee Man Charged in Million-Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme

Middle Tennessee Man Charged in Million-Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme

A Middle Tennessee man was charged in a million dollar investment scheme aimed to defraud unsuspecting investors, the Department of Justice said in a recent press release.

The Hendersonville man who also lived in Gallatin – known as Gregory Michael Vogel and Gregory Michael Schneider – was charged on eight counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in relation to an investment scheme. 

According to the statement, Vogel was arrested Wednesday morning by federal agents after a join investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. 

read more
Two-Year Drug Investigation Results in 39 Indictments Across Multiple States

Two-Year Drug Investigation Results in 39 Indictments Across Multiple States

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced 39 indictments were made in an ongoing drug investigation. The statement said undercover officers had followed a violent drug trafficking organization with ties to at least three states. 

“This operation is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when agencies work together,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “These dangerous drugs and the violence fueled by those dealing them is having a devastating impact on Knoxville and other areas in East Tennessee. That’s why we have a lot more work to do and will continue to target drug traffickers in our state.”

read more
Two-Year Drug Investigation Results in 39 Indictments Across Multiple States

Two-Year Drug Investigation Results in 39 Indictments Across Multiple States

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced 39 indictments were made in an ongoing drug investigation. The statement said undercover officers had followed a violent drug trafficking organization with ties to at least three states. 

“This operation is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when agencies work together,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “These dangerous drugs and the violence fueled by those dealing them is having a devastating impact on Knoxville and other areas in East Tennessee. That’s why we have a lot more work to do and will continue to target drug traffickers in our state.”

read more
Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Warns Tennesseans of Identity Theft

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Warns Tennesseans of Identity Theft

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) warned Tennesseans of identity theft during their Identity Theft Awareness Week. The week (Jan. 31 – Feb. 4, 2022) will include events to help spread awareness on the various forms of online theft, and how to protect personal information. 

According to the statement, the Federal Trade Commission’s Sentinel Network identified over 15,000 instances of identity theft across Tennessee in 2021.

read more
Electrolux Springfield Campus Hosts Job Fair to Fill More than 200 Positions

Electrolux Springfield Campus Hosts Job Fair to Fill More than 200 Positions

The Electrolux company is hosting a job fair in Springfield, Tennessee on January 29, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. In a release shared with The Tennessee Star, it listed multiple incentives for joining the company, including starting pay up to $21 an hour, up to a $2,000 sign-on bonus, full benefits on day one and room to advance within the company. The fair will be held at 866 Bill Jones Industrial Drive, Springfield TN.

The statement included the company would be “modernizing our 48-year-old plant by investing more than $250 million to expand production and manufacture amazing new cooking products.”

read more
Two Felons Guilty of Possession of Firearms

Two Felons Guilty of Possession of Firearms

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced two men previously convicted of felonies entered guilty pleas for crimes involving the illegal possession of firearms they were not allowed to have due to their previous convictions. John Davidson Long of Jackson was sentenced to ten years in federal prison. Demitrious Davis of Memphis, meanwhile, pled guilty but not has yet received sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Jackson law enforcement officers observed multiple members of the Vice Lord gang gather in the Parkway East Apartment Complex at Carver Cove in Jackson, Tennessee. “While monitoring the cameras, Long was observed standing outside of a car with a black handgun protruding from his waistband.” Since Long is a convicted felon, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm.

read more
Tennessee Department of Education Announces $3.5 Billion Federal Taxpayer-Funded Relief Approved for All Counties Through 2024

Tennessee Department of Education Announces $3.5 Billion Federal Taxpayer-Funded Relief Approved for All Counties Through 2024

The Tennessee Department of Education announced the approval of all 147 school districts on their required ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) plans. Through ESSER, the schools have more than $3.5 billion through federal COVID-19 relief funding to benefit K-12 public school students in their districts. Following the U.S. Department of Education guidelines, all districts were “required to develop plans that outlined their local spending strategies for their portion of the historic amount of federal funding.”

read more
Tennessee Department of Transportation Announces Construction on SR 155/Briley Parkway

Tennessee Department of Transportation Announces Construction on SR 155/Briley Parkway

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced construction would begin Wednesday, January 26 to repair a section of SR 155/Briley Parkway at mile marker 14 near Gallatin Pike. Alternating lane closures will be conducted while the work takes place from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day, depending on the weather. 

The project is expected to last five days; the Rogers Group will begin milling in the fast lane and work their way across all five lanes. Motorists are advised to plan for extra travel time and slow down while in a work zone.

read more
Memphis Carjacker Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison

Memphis Carjacker Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison

A man from Memphis, Tennessee was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Tennessee announced on Tuesday. Kristopher Harris was sentenced to a total of 8 years plus one month to be served in a federal facility, followed by three years of supervised release.

According to information provided during court, in July of 2019, the victim of the carjacking was sitting in his car at Memphis-area gas station when Harris and his co-defendant, Kalonji Warren drove Warren’s Jeep alongside the victim’s vehicle. Harris then pointed a handgun at the victim and fired a single shot into the front passenger side window.

read more
Tennessee Law Enforcement Veteran Chip Kain Will Serve in Dual Role as Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy Exec. Dir. and Exec. Sec. of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission

Tennessee Law Enforcement Veteran Chip Kain Will Serve in Dual Role as Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy Exec. Dir. and Exec. Sec. of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) announced this week the appointment of law enforcement veteran leader William “Chip” Kain to serve in a dual role as the new executive director of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (TLETA) and as the new executive secretary of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST).

“For over 50 years, TLETA has provided training that has been critical to the success of thousands of Tennessee law enforcement officers and the millions of Tennesseans they serve and protect,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Through an extensive nationwide search, Chip distinguished himself from the many qualified candidates with his experience, expertise, and customer-focused vision. I am confident that he will help lead TLETA into another 50 successful years because of his passion for training law enforcement officers and his proven commitment to serving Tennessee.”

read more
Tennessee Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Child Sexual Exploitation Crimes

Tennessee Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Child Sexual Exploitation Crimes

The Tennessee Department of Justice announced this week a Minor Hill, Tennessee man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for “crimes related to the production of child pornography.” Joshua Marc Hendon and his wife Lori Hendon were indicted on “charges of conspiracy to produce child pornography, nine counts of production of child pornography, and possession of child pornography” in October 2017.

“Protecting innocent children from sexual predators remains one of our highest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney Wildasin. “I commend our law enforcement partners and prosecutors who work diligently to identify these predators and bring them to justice so that they no longer have the opportunity to exploit any child again.”

read more
Vanderbilt Recruits Children to Study Allergic Reaction to COVID Vaccine

Vanderbilt Recruits Children to Study Allergic Reaction to COVID Vaccine

Vanderbilt University Medical Center are actively recruiting children from 5-17 years old in order to study possible allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (Pfizer-BioNTech) and Moderna.

“It’s important to study children, too,” said Elizabeth Phillips, MD, the principal investigator of the study, who is a professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and the John A. Oates Chair in Clinical Research at VUMC.

read more
Tennessee Department of Human Services Announces $122 Million Investment in ‘Family First Community Grants’

Tennessee Department of Human Services Announces $122 Million Investment in ‘Family First Community Grants’

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) announced Monday that $122 million in taxpayer money will be used to fund “Family First Community Grants.” The grants are available to “public and private organizations dedicated to helping families overcome economic, social and developmental vulnerabilities.”

“We’re here to ensure that all state residents have an opportunity to reach their full potential as contributing members of our community,” said TDHS Commissioner Clarence H. Carter. “For far too long government programs have focused on outputs, rather than the outcomes of the lives of those served. We aim to change the way vulnerable Tennesseans are served by partnering with public and private organizations who recognize public support should be a mile marker in a life’s journey, not a destination unto itself.”

read more
Judge Orders Nashville Metro Public Schools to Pay Student Sex Assault Victim $75,000

Judge Orders Nashville Metro Public Schools to Pay Student Sex Assault Victim $75,000

Metro Nashville Schools must pay a former student $75,000, Judge Aleta A. Trauger ordered recently. The court’s decision stems from a 2017 lawsuit filed by the mother of a then-15 year old girl, referred to as “S.C.,” who was allegedly raped at Hunters Lane High School by a fellow student. The assault was video recorded and then disseminated.

Judged Trauger wrote that “the video – which was, by any reasonable definition, child pornography – spread quickly, both between S.C.’s peers and on third-party websites.”

S.C. did not return to campus after the assault, court documents note, and while she was considered a ‘homebound’ student, “she had been harassed by students seeking to discourage her participation in MNPS’s investigation into the events.” She and her family received multiple threats.

read more
Former Tennessee Clinic Owner Sentenced for Opioid Distribution

Former Tennessee Clinic Owner Sentenced for Opioid Distribution

The Department of Justice announced last week a former Tennessee clinic owner was sentenced for opioid distribution. Mark Daniel Allen, who now lives in Venice, Florida, was sentenced to 168 months in prison and $700 in special assessments, “followed by three years of supervised released.”

According to court documents, Allen was found guilty on six counts of “unlawfully distributing controlled substances” and one count of “maintaining a drug-involved premises after a three-day trial” which started September 1, 2021. Evidence at the trial showed Allen unlawfully prescribed 15,000 opioid pills to three women “with whom he had sexual relationships,” and to a male patient who later passed away.

read more

More Headlines…

Smyrna, Tennessee Man Allegedly Used Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Gains to Buy a Maserati Sports Car, Semi-Trailer Truck, and More

The Department of Justice announced this week a man from Smyrna, Tennessee was charged for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud. Shawn Palmer, who is the sole owner of Palmers Transportation, Inc. was charged with a criminal information which alleges he applied for and received a PPP loan of $514,370.

According to the charging document, in June of 2020 Palmer sent documents to an individual who assisted him to apply for a PPP loan. The documents were then sent to Kabbage, Inc. which was “a lender approved by the Small Business Administration to provide funds under the program which was designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

read more

Tennessee State Rep Files Resolution That Says an AP Article That Accuses the U.S. Military of a ‘Culture of Racism’ Is False

A new resolution was introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly this week to claim an Associated Press (AP) article on racism in the U.S. Military as untrue. Representative Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport) sponsored the resolution, which was explained as “Expresses sense of General Assembly that May 2021 Associated Press article alleging “deep-seated racism” and “culture of discrimination” in U.S. military is untrue.”

The resolution claimed the authors of the article did not use proper statistics in their study, and instead “of evidencing a culture of racism, this data, provided by the military, actually makes the opposite case that racism in the U.S. military is uncommon and not a largescale problem.”

read more

3M Set to Expand Manufacturing Operations in East Tennessee, Invest $470 Million

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), and 3M Company announced this week the investment of approximately $470 million to expand manufacturing operations in East Tennessee. 3M’s expansion is expected to add around 600 new jobs by 2025.

Governor Lee said, “3M’s decision to expand in Tennessee is a testament to our state’s pro-business climate and skilled workforce. The creation of nearly 600 new jobs in Anderson County will positively impact this community for years to come, and we thank 3M for their investment in our state.”

read more

Tennessee Allocated Over $300 Million over Five Years for Bridge Repairs and Improvements

Tennessee is set to receive over $300 million for bridge improvements and repairs, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Friday. The allocation of taxpayer funding is a part of a $27 billion initiative dubbed the Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program (Bridge Formula Program) – which, in turn, is part of the $2 trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in mid-November 2021.

DOT said Tennessee has 881 bridges and over 270 miles of highway in poor condition. According to the DOT, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Tennessee said “the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Tennessee a C on its infrastructure report card.” In all, the Volunteer State will receive $302,092,740 over the five years.

read more

Sparta Woman Pleads Guilty to Concealing Material for a Terrorist Organization

A woman from Sparta, Tennessee pled guilty to “Concealment of Material Support and Resources Intended to be Provided to a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee announced in a Tuesday statement.  Georgianna A.M. Giampietro was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2019 after she was charged with “attempting to provide material support to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

read more

Senator Bill Hagerty Tours Lipman Brothers Warehouse and Discusses Supply Chain Shortages

NASHVILLE, Tennessee— Senator Bill Hagerty toured the Lipman warehouse Tuesday morning. Haggerty and his team walked with CEO Robert Lipman and COO Lowell Goldman through a small tour, where Lipman and Hagerty discussed the problems the Lipman company had been facing with supply chain shortages. 

“This is another great example of wonderful Tennessee entrepreneurs that have thrived in an environment that’s very challenging,” Hagerty said. “But Robert Lipman, the proprietor here, told me how hard it is to get the workforce that he needs, the difficulties that he’s had with the supply chain; the fact that glass from China is a major bottleneck now, for what he’s trying to do right here.

read more

State Launches $1 Million Grant Program for Tennessee Volunteer Fire Departments for the Purchase of Equipment

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) announced Tuesday that a total of $1 million in grants will be made available to the over 500 volunteer fire departments across the state for the purchase of firefighting equipment. The TDCI and Tennessee State Fire Marshall’s Office (SFMO) partnered to make the grants available through the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Bill Lee and the General Assembly who increased the amount of funding to $1 million in order to help provide more support to Tennessee volunteer departments and their communities,” said Tennessee State Fire Marshal and TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “This program supports Governor Lee’s vision of strengthening Tennessee’s rural communities by providing more resources for our volunteer fire departments so that can help save lives and protect property.”

read more

Twelve Tennessee Counties Qualify for Federal Recovery Assistance from December Tornadoes

Governor Bill Lee’s office announced Friday that the Biden administration has qualified twelve counties to receive Major Disaster Declaration relief after a tornado-producing storm front tore through the state in early December. 

“I appreciate the hard recovery work we’ve already accomplished with our local, state, and federal partners,” Governor Lee said. “We will continue working to make sure Tennesseans have every resource necessary for a full, swift recovery.”

read more

Knoxville Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding COVID-19 Economic Relief Programs

The Department of Justice announced this week a Knoxville, Tennessee man was arrested for defrauding COVID-19 economic relief programs. James Waylon Howell pled guilty to “engaging in more than $150,000 in fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and to committing money laundering.” He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

“This prosecution highlights the Department of Justice’s commitment to aggressively prosecute those who have defrauded these important programs enacted to provide economic relief to those who have suffered financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.  “Fortunately, the quick and capable work of our federal partners permitted the recovery of a substantial amount of stolen funds.”

read more

Law Filed to Make the Assault of a Sports Official a Class E Felony

A new bill was filed this week that would make assaulting a sports official while they’re officiating a Class E Felony. Sponsored by Representative Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin), the bill would also make the assault a Class A Misdemeanor, depending on the nature of the assault. 

The bill stated:

A person commits assault against a sports official who: (1) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a sports official while the official is officiating a sporting event; (2) Intentionally or knowingly causes a sports official, while the official is officiating a sporting event, to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or (3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with a sports official while the official is officiating a sporting event and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

read more

New REI Distribution Center to Bring Nearly 300 Jobs to Lebanon

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, the Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), and REI Co-op officials announced this week that REI will establish a new distribution center in Lebanon, Tennessee. The new location will create over 280 jobs and will serve as REI’s fourth distribution center in the country.

Governor Lee said,

REI is a respected brand that has been trusted by outdoor enthusiasts for over 80 years, and I’m proud the company has chosen Tennessee for its newest distribution center. Our state’s central location and unmatched quality of life make it the ideal destination for a company so committed to outdoor recreation, and I thank REI for its commitment and job creation in Lebanon.

read more

New Bill Introduced Classifies Weaponizing Finances as Domestic Violence

A new bill proposed this week would classify weaponizing finances as domestic assault. It would be an amendment of the current Tennessee Code Annotated Title 36, Chapter 3, Part 6, relative to domestic abuse. Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) sponsored the bill. 

The bill, if approved, would add to the current definition of domestic violence.

“Abuse” means inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on an adult or minor by other than accidental means; placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm; physical restraint; malicious damage to the personal property of the abused party, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an adult or minor; placing an adult or minor in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the adult or minor; or controlling, regulating, monitoring, or depleting the finances, economic resources, credit, or ability to work or pursue education or job training of an adult.

read more

CDC Awards Vanderbilt University $10.7 Million Grant to Study COVID Vaccine

Vanderbilt University announced last week that the CDC awarded the school $10.7 million in grants towards studying the effects of the COVID vaccine. The money will boost the IVY Research Network, which was originally created in 2019 to study the flu vaccination.

The statement from the school said this was the third renewal with IVY (The Influenza and Other Viruses in the Acutely Ill) Research Network, which consists of 21 large adult hospitals in 21 U.S. cities, funded by the CDC and led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

read more

Nashville Mayor John Cooper Emphasizes Residents Get COVID Booster in Live Press Conference

Nashville Mayor John Cooper held a live-streamed press conference on Monday to outline Metro’s latest COVID response. Cooper, Dr. Alex Jahangir, chair of Metro’s COVID taskforce;  Dr. Gill Wright, who directs Nashville’s public health department; and Director and Chief William Swann, of Emergency Management and Nashville Fire Department, all spoke during the conference.

“Cases here are rising quickly, and we know the Omnicron variant spreads easily. Even more easily than previous variants,” the mayor said.

read more