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OSHA Safety Officer, Brother Charged with Conspiracy to Extort Contractor – Insider NJ

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OSHA Safety Officer, Brother Charged with Conspiracy to Extort Contractor - Insider NJ

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Two Essex County, New Jersey, men a compliance safety and health officer (CSHO) with the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and his brother are scheduled to appear today on charges that they conspired to extort $6,000 in cash from a general contractor, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Alvaro Idrovo, 44, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, and Paul Idrovo, a/k/a Jose Diaz, 46, of Nutley, New Jersey, are charged by complaint with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, specifically to commit an act of extortion under color of Alvaro Idrovos office or employment with OSHA. The defendants are scheduled to appear later today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.

According to the complaint:

Alvaro Idrovo was assigned to investigate an anonymous complaint concerning the misuse of an extension ladder at a North Bergen work site of Company 1. He told Individual 1, the owner of Company 1, that Individual 1 was in violation of OSHA regulations for not having the necessary safety training certificates for Company 1s workers to be on ladders at the work site. Alvaro Idrovo falsely advised Individual 1 that he needed to obtain training certificates with a specific vendor named Jose Diaz or Individual 1 would be subject to exorbitant fines and possible arrest for the violation.

Individual 1 contacted the phone number supplied by Alvaro Idrovo, which actually belonged to Paul Idrovo, posing as Jose Diaz, who told Individual 1 that the required OSHA training certificates would cost $13,000 in cash and repeated Alvaro Idrovos false assertions that if Individual 1 did not get the training certificates that Individual 1 would be in big trouble with OSHA, including big fines and possible jail. In follow-up telephone conversations with Paul Idrovo, Individual 1 was able to negotiate the fee down to $6,000 in cash.

When OSHA officials learned of Idrovos attempt to extort Individual 1 while questioning Individual 1 on an unrelated matter, the OSHA officials referred the matter to federal law enforcement officials, who arranged for Individual 1 to make consensual recordings with both Alvaro and Paul Idrovo. During an April meeting surveilled by law enforcement, Individual 1 paid Paul Idrovo $6,000 in cash in exchange for ladder and safety awareness training certificates and a safety and health plan. Alvaro Idrovo thereafter attached copies of the training certificates and the plan to his OSHA reports regarding Company 1s violation despite knowing that the training certificates falsely claimed that training had been provided to the noted individuals in March 2020, Jose Diaz had provided training, and the alleged training was OSHA certified.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka in New York, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz, of the United States Attorneys Offices Special Prosecutions Division.

The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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