Month: September 2020

EHC Mayor lists PD improvements and swears in new police officers | Galloway Township

EGG HARBOR CITY — Egg Harbor City Mayor Lisa Jiampetti outlined improvements that have taken place in the city’s police department due to an order from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office in 2013 and then proceeded to swear in four police officers during the Thursday, September 24 city council meeting.

“We have worked cooperatively to complete all 26 of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office mandates to improve police operations and policy,” Jiampetti said.

The mayor listed the improvements that have taken place. Included are an updated police rules and regulations manual, yearly performance evaluations, established an employee recognition program, increased staffing and rank, purchased body cameras with grant funding and increased accountability and communication between the police department and council.

“Staffing has been increased to include 15 full-time officers, two part-time special officers and two class-three officers to serve as school resource officers,” Jiampetti said. “We also promoted four sergeants, one lieutenant and one detective who is also training to serve on the Atlantic County S.W.A.T. team.

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Public health officials concerned about potential COVID exposure among evacuated residents of 2 nursing homes

Residents at two east Santa Rosa nursing homes that for months have successfully kept their patients free of COVID-19 were forced to evacuate their residents, sending them to evacuation centers, family homes and other facilities during the Glass fire earlier this week.

The emergency evacuations of those most vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic is raising concerns among health officials of potential exposure to the virus in the community.

Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive and Summerfield Healthcare Center on Summerfield Road were both evacuated the night of the fire, their residents sent to several locations, including other nursing facilities, family homes and evacuation centers.

“It is very worrisome that people who had no contact to COVID had to potentially go to situations where they could be exposed to COVID, especially that vulnerable population that we’re trying to really keep safe,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County’s health officer.

Mase said the public health division has strict guidance for screening inside emergency shelters and evacuation centers. Evacuees are asked if they’ve come into contact with anyone who is COVID-positive, and temperatures are taken. Anyone who fails a temperature check or exhibits symptoms is tested for the virus.

“If anyone answers yes to these questions, they get a rapid test before they are allowed to to be in the shelter,” Mase said, adding that local public health staff members are working closely with the two skilled nursing homes to ensure that people are not sent somewhere where they might contract the virus.

That includes other skilled nursing homes that have had cases among their residents.

All 51 residents of Spring Lake Village on Montgomery Drive, near the north side of Annadel State Park, were taken to evacution centers at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building and the Petaluma Community Center the night

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Ex-Zillow leaders including Spencer Rascoff launch startup to change how people buy second homes

Former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff (left) and dotloop founder Austin Allison are teaming up on Pacaso, a new startup that helps people buy second homes. (Pacaso Photos)

Former longtime Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff and dotloop founder Austin Allison are teaming up to “democratize” second home ownership.

Rascoff and Allison, who sold his real estate startup to Zillow in 2015, are behind a new startup called Pacaso that aims to make it easier for more people to own a vacation home.

“This is an entirely new category of second home ownership,” Allison said in an interview with GeekWire on Wednesday.

The company came out of stealth mode today, announcing a $17 million seed round led by Maveron, with participation from Crosscut, Global Founders Capital, and individual investors such as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, real estate coach Tom Ferry, former Zillow executive Greg Schwartz, and Amazon CEO of Consumer Worldwide Jeff Wilke. Pacaso also raised $250 million in debt financing to purchase homes.

People have owned second homes for decades. But it can be expensive to purchase and maintain a property that often goes mostly unused throughout the year. There are 30 million second homes across the U.S. and Europe, but they are only occupied 4-to-6 weeks per year on average, Allison said.

Some decide to split up ownership between multiple parties, but the process can be arduous and complicated, especially when an owner decides to sell his or her stake.

“Pacaso is taking all of those hassles associated with the traditional do-it-yourself process, and all of those risks, and eliminating them,” Allison said.

Pacaso wants to increase utilization of these properties — and build its own business in the process.

The startup partners with real estate agents to find homes for customers and helps set up an LLC designed

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Hawaii defense contractor accused of $12.8M in fraud coronavirus PPP loans

A Hawaii defense contractor has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities alleged Wednesday.

Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, a criminal complaint said.

Kao also submitted at least two fraudulent loan applications, authorities said.

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“According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said in a statement.

Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, in March to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering economic effects of the pandemic through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses.

Investigators talked to an executive and a former employee who said the company wasn’t affected by the pandemic, according to the criminal complaint.

The executive learned details about Kao’s loan application in July when he read a news article about Navatek being one of the largest PPP recipients in Hawaii. The company hired employees and opened branch offices during the pandemic, the executive told investigators.

Authorities describe Navatek as a “research, engineering, design, and innovations company that specializes in novel systems for the Department of Defense and other partners in academia and other scientific fields.”

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Kao’s first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

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Hawaii defense contractor charged with defrauding government out of $12.8m in coronavirus relief aid

A high-profile Hawaii-based defense contractor has been arrested on charges of swindling $12.8 million in funds intended to prop up small businesses during COVID-19.

Martin Kao, 47, a generous political donor, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with bank fraud and money laundering, accused of siphoning off $2 million of the fraudulent loan into his own personal bank account.

The Department of Justice accused Kao of falsifying loan applications so that he could receive more money than he was entitled to under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created by Congress as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act meant to stave off financial ruin for individuals and small businesses during the pandemic.   

Kao submitted at least two fraudulent PPP loan applications, prosecutors allege.

They claim he falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application, and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan.  

He was charged with two counts of bank fraud and five counts of money laundering. 

Kao will make his initial appearance in court in Honolulu on Thursday, before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield. 

Martin Kao, CEO of Navatek - now Martin Defense Group - was arrested on Wednesday

Martin Kao, CEO of Navatek – now Martin Defense Group – was arrested on Wednesday

Kao (right) is the CEO of Navatek, which specializes in contracts for the Department of Defense and Nasa, among others

Kao (right) is the CEO of Navatek, which specializes in contracts for the Department of Defense and Nasa, among others

Kao in 2017 was appointed CEO of Navatek, a defense company with contracts for the Defense Department and Nasa.

Five days before his arrest Kao announced that the company was being renamed Martin Defense Group, after him.

‘While I respect and value Navatek’s history, our re-branding as Martin Defense Group allows us to turn toward the future, and the opportunities we see to make a positive difference,’ said Kao in the September 25

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