Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds

Resource : https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2022-02-08/merck-and-ridgeback-announce-that-3-1-million-courses-of-molnupiravir-an-investigational-oral-antiviral-covid-19-medicine-have

Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds

Ailan Evans / @AilanHEvans / February 09, 2022

Twitter, Google, Google+, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are among the platforms arrayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone. Many of them have used their largely unregulated power to censor information they don’t approve of as “misinformation.” (Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)

Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of more than 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 “misinformation,” according to a new study from the Media Research Center.

The study focused on acts of censorship on major social media platforms and online services, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Ads, and TikTok.

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Instances of censorship included Facebook’s decision to flag the British Medical Journal with a “fact check” and “missing context” label, reducing the visibility of a post, for a study delving into data-integrity issues with a Pfizer vaccine clinical trial.

Facebook also deleted the page of the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter led by dozens of medical professionals, including Dr. Jay Battacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advocated for less restrictive measures to address the dangers of COVID-19.

“Big Tech set up a system where you can’t disagree with ‘the science’ even though that’s the foundation of the scientific method,” Dan Gainor, MRC vice president of Free Speech America, told the Daily Caller National Foundation. “If doctors and academic journals can’t debate publicly, then it’s not science at all. It’s ‘religion.’”

Big Tech also scrubbed podcast host Joe Rogan’s interviews with scientists Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, the latter of whom was instrumental in pioneering mRNA technology. Twitter banned Malone from its platform permanently in late December over the virologist’s tweets questioning the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We tallied 32 different doctors who were censored, including mRNA vaccine innovator Dr. Robert Malone,” Gainor said. “Censoring views of credentialed experts doesn’t ensure confidence in vaccines. It undermines faith in government COVID-19 strategies.“

In addition to medical doctors, the study examined instances in which members of Congress were censored by tech platforms.

These included an incident last August in which YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for posting a video arguing that “cloth masks” are not effective against the coronavirus, a view later echoed by many prominent medical commentators. Twitter also flagged a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., in which he wrote “studies show those with natural immunity from a prior infection are much less likely to contract and spread COVID than those who only have vaccine-induced immunity.”

The study also examined Big Tech censorship of prominent media personalities, such as Rogan, Tucker Carlson, and Dan Bongino.

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11 Romance Scammers Charged With Money Laundering, Wire Fraud Conspiracies | USAO-NDTX | Department of Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 24, 2021
11 Romance Scammers Charged With Money Laundering, Wire Fraud Conspiracies

A federal grand jury has indicted 11 defendants in the Northern District of Texas for defrauding elderly victims in romance schemes, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.

The 11 defendants, all arrested during a large-scale operation Wednesday morning, are charged with a variety of financial crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.  The majority of the defendants charged in this investigation have ties to a transnational organized crime syndicate originating in Nigeria, law enforcement revealed Friday.

According to court documents, these defendants allegedly preyed on elderly victims, many of whom were widowed or divorced. They assumed fake names and trolled dating sites like Match.com, ChistianMingle, JSwipe, and PlentyofFish, searching for targets.

Once they had ingratiated themselves with their victims, they allegedly concocted sob-stories about why they needed money – i.e., taxes to release an inheritance, essential overseas travel, crippling debt, etc. – and then siphoned money from victim’s accounts, tens of thousands of dollars at a time.

“Crimes like these are especially despicable because they rely not only on victims’ lack of internet savvy, but also, their isolation, their loneliness, and sometimes their grief. As the victims open their hearts, the perpetrators open their wallets,” Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said at a press conference announcing the charges. “The only mistake these victims make is being generous to the wrong people.”

“The crimes allegedly committed by these defendants hit close to home. Your neighbors, parents, friends and family would be targets of this organization. The fraudsters intimidated and berated their victims, ruined their lives, really, and then disappeared,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “We’re confident this investigation will have a significant impact on this region and beyond.”

The indictments unsealed today in the Northern District of Texas complement a related indictment unsealed in the Eastern District of Texas, which charges 23 defendants (including one also charged in the Northern District of Texas) with a variety of financial crimes.

Those charged in the Northern District of Texas include:

David Animashaun, 38 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Oluwalobamise Michael Moses, 40 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Irabor Fatarr Musa, 51 – arrested in the Eastern District of Texas, charged by the Northern District of Texas wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Ijeoma Okoro, 31 – arrested in DFW, wire fraud conspiracy fraud, money laundering conspiracy
Chukwemeka Orji, 36 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Emanuel Stanley Orji, 35 – arrested in DFW, charged with wire fraud conspiracy
Frederick Orji, 37 – arrested in Dallas, charged with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Uwadiale Esezobor, 36 – arrested in Lubbock, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Victor Idowu, 36 – arrested in Los Angeles, charged with mail & wire fraud conspiracy
Afeez Abiola Alao, 37 – wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy
Ambrose Sunday Ohide, 47 – wire fraud conspiracy
 
Indictments are merely allegations of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

If convicted, the defendants face up 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud conspiracy counts and up to 10 years in federal prison on the money laundering conspiracy counts.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and IRS – Criminal Investigation led the investigation with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers,  the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary Walters, George Leal, and Erica Hilliard are prosecuting the cases for the Northern District of Texas, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Eastern District of Texas.

The FBI estimates that more than 20,000 people lost more than $600 million in romance scams in 2020 alone. For tips on how to protect yourselves and your loved ones, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s romance scam webpage. To report a suspected romance fraud, file a report via the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov.

 

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
USAO – Texas, Eastern
USAO – Texas, Northern
Contact: 
Erin Dooley NDTX Press Officer 214-659-8707 erin.dooley@usdoj.gov
Updated September 27, 2021
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/pr/11-romance-scammers-charged-money-laundering-wire-fraud-conspiracies

EDTX Indicts Two Dozen Defendants in International Multi-Scheme Fraud Conspiracy | USAO-EDTX | Department of Justice

U.S. Attorneys » Eastern District of Texas » News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 24, 2021
EDTX Indicts Two Dozen Defendants in International Multi-Scheme Fraud Conspiracy

Conspirators are Alleged to Have Used a Multitude of Fraud Schemes, Including Romance Scams, Investment Fraud, and Business Email Compromise, to Steal at Least $17 Million

SHERMAN, Texas – A federal grand jury in Sherman has returned a two-count indictment charging 23 individuals in a fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today. 

The indictment, returned on Sep. 8, 2021, charges multiple individuals with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The indictment remained sealed until this week, when the defendants were arrested and arraigned.

“The criminal conduct alleged in this case is sophisticated in its means, expansive in its scope, and callous in its aims,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “The indictment alleges a scheme where all manner of fraud—including romance and investment scams—was unleashed on an unsuspecting American public, including the elderly and most vulnerable, with the ill-gotten gains syphoned off and funneled overseas.  The amount of loss, both financial and emotional, alleged in this case is nothing short of staggering.”

According to the indictment, beginning around January 2017, the defendants used a multitude of fraudulent schemes to obtain money from their victims, including online romance scams, business email compromise and investor fraud, and unemployment insurance fraud.  The indictment further alleges that the defendants not only coordinated how to extract money from their victims, but how to disguise, disburse, and launder that money once they successfully defrauded their victims.  Allegedly, the defendants obtained at least $17 million from at least 100 individual victims, companies, and government entities from across the world.  The defendants are alleged to have specifically targeted elderly persons and used various schemes such as online dating sites to lure their victims.  The indictment charges that once they fraudulently obtained funds from their victims, the defendants laundered the money through a network of various bank accounts and sent money to bank accounts, co-conspirators and businesses located in Africa and Asia.

Indicted individuals that have been arrested include:

Kingsley Ita, aka “Baron” “Sifk,” 42, of Dallas;
Irabor Fatarr Musa, aka “Fatai” “Head JJ,” 51, of Richardson;
Solomon Esekheigbe, 48, of Katy;
Sandra Iribhogbe Popnen, aka “General,” 46, of Allen;
Edgal Iribhogbe, aka “Oseme,” 50, of Allen;
Damilola Kumapayi, aka “Luke Morris,” 33, of Dallas;
Ehiedu Onyeagwu, aka “Young,” 58, of Rosedale, Maryland;
Mathew Okpu, 57, of Temple Hille, Maryland;
Benedicta Atakare, 46, of Temple Hills, Maryland;
Segun Adeoye, 47, of Pearland;
Chidindu Okeke, aka “Steve,” 28, of Richmond;
Ngozi Okeke, 47, of Katy;
Nosoregbe Asemota, aka “Patrick Asemota,” 46, of Melissa;
Chigozi Ekwenugo, 53, of Grand Prairie;
Bukola Obaseki, 48, of Allen;
Stella Hadome, 43, of Allen;
Jequita Batchelor, 37, of Farmers Branch;
Osaretin Eghaghe, aka “Biggie,” 37, of Plano;
Ejiro Ohwovoriole, 29, of McKinney;
Isaac Asare, aka “Asarko,” 48, of Houston;
Gold Ude, 44, of Wylie;
Henrietha Oziegbe, 23, of Lexington, Kentucky; and
Kingsly Oziegbe, 25, of Edinburg.
The indictment unsealed today in the Eastern District of Texas complements indictments unsealed in the Northern District of Texas, which charged 11 defendants (including one also charged in the Eastern District of Texas) with a variety of financial crimes.

If convicted, defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.

If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311).  This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.  Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis.  Reporting is the first step.  Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses.  The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available.   

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office; Homeland Security Investigations; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS); U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service; Allen Police Department; Denton Police Department; Dallas County Sheriff’s Office; and Texas Department of Public Safety.  This case is being prosecuted by the Plano Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas with assistance from Northern District of Texas Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

###

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Component(s): 
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
USAO – Texas, Eastern
USAO – Texas, Northern
Updated September 25, 2021
— Read on www.justice.gov/usao-edtx/pr/edtx-indicts-two-dozen-defendants-international-multi-scheme-fraud-conspiracy