Monthly Archives: March 2013



It was earlier this year when Sears finally closed its doors in the Woodlands mall location.

This came after corporate indicated in 2011 Sears would be closing 100 stores around the country to streamline operations.

Following Sears’ announcement management at the Woodlands mall revealed Nordstrom would be moving into the vacant space.

I drove by the mall Saturday and found construction underway for the anticipated new tenant.


The old Sears store has been gutted by work crews as they prepare for the new high end look for Nordstrom.

Officials with the Woodlands mall say they expect the completion of the new store by 2014!



A 58-year-old Pasadena, Texas man has been found guilty of investment fraud charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.A federal jury needed just six minutes to convict Gary Lynn McDuff of conspiring to defraud investors of over $11 million in connection with an investment fraud scheme and laundering the proceeds.

The verdict was handed down on March 27, 2013, following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell. McDuff’s co-conspirators, Gary Lancaster, 61, of Oregon, and Robert Reese, deceased, of Carmel, California, previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in the scheme.

According to information presented in court, McDuff and Lancaster agreed to create the Lancorp Investment Fund, to draft a prospectus for the fund, and to solicit investments from individuals across the United States. While McDuff controlled the operation, Lancaster agreed to serve as the “front” since McDuff could not possess a securities license or sell securities because of a past felony conviction.

McDuff recruited Reese to also sell the investment, despite the fact that Reese had been barred by the State of California from selling securities based on past fraudulent conduct. McDuff, Lancaster, and Reese made numerous false representations to their investors in order to induce payments, including representations that the fund would only invest in A+ or A1 rated bonds, that the principal of each investment would be insured and never at risk, and that Lancaster had experience operating this type of investment. McDuff, Lancaster, and Reese never disclosed McDuff’s felony conviction or Reese’s securities ban. McDuff then laundered the criminal proceeds in order to promote the operation of the fraudulent scheme.

McDuff faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each count of conviction. A sentencing date has not been set.This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.

The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and with state and local partners to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shamoil T. Shipchandler and Camelia Lopez.


On Thursday, March 28, HCSO Deputy S. Shaddox and his K-9
partner Mack tracked down a man who had escaped from the Montgomery County Jail on March 17.

Intelligence led investigators with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitives Task Force and the Texas Rangers to believe the suspect was hiding in a wooded area in north Harris County.

Shortly after midnight, fugitive Britt Privatte was sniffed out of hiding by Mack from a heavily wooded area off I-45 North and Cypresswood Dr. in north Harris County.

Privatte was detected by Dep. Shaddox laying next to a tree. He was ordered several times to show his hands but Privatte refused to comply. Mack was deployed and was able to pull the suspect from the tree. After a brief struggle, Privatte was placed into custody and turned over to the Texas Rangers.



THE X FACTOR open-call auditions are coming to The Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA.

The first round of open-call auditions will take place on Sunday, April 14th.

Wristbands will be distributed to auditioners from approximately 8:00 AM on Friday, April 12th until approximately 11:00 AM on Sunday, April 14th.

Auditioners will not be permitted to camp out.

Once auditioners obtain their wristbands, they will be asked to return to The Lakefront Arena by 7:00 AM on Sunday, April 14th for their audition.


Houston police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect wanted in a robbery at 10900 Richmond about 1 p.m. on March 15. The suspect is described only as a black male, about 5 feet 11 inches tall and about 180 pounds. He was wearing blue jeans and a blue t-shirt. He was possibly last seen in an older model tan or gold Mazda MVP or Honda Odyssey van. On March 15, the victim went to the Bank of America at 11288 Westheimer to conduct business and noticed a gold or tan minivan parked in the bank parking lot. When the victim returned to her vehicle, she noticed the same minivan driving around the parking lot. The victim drove to her place of employment, the Indonesia Consulate at 10900 Richmond Avenue, and entered the controlled access gate to the parking lot. As she exited her vehicle, the suspect ran up to her and grabbed an envelope containing her bank withdrawal and her purse from her hands. The suspect then fled on foot through the parking lot, out of the gate and to a tan/gold minivan parked on Walnut Bend near Richmond. According to the victim, the minivan was the same vehicle she recalled seeing driving through the bank parking lot. Anyone with information in this case or on the identity of the wanted suspect is urged to contact the HPD Robbery Division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.



Employees at the Houston Airport System got the surprise of the day Tuesday afternoon when the Houston police department showed up. They came with a warrant and handcuffs for an employee…41 year old Kertecia Mond.  She serves as the chief internal auditor for the city’s airport system. Mond, who has been with the airport system for about a year, came here from Jacksonville, Florida. It’s where she served in a similar capacity. Florida is where the warrant came from that prompted her arrest in Houston.  The charges are forgery and filing false insurance claims. According an arrest warrant Mond is among five employees who allegedly defrauded AFLAC insurance company for short term disability benefits in 2011. That’s while Mond still worked for the Jacksonville International Airport.  Investigators say she enriched herself by more than $14,000 in claims she didn’t deserve. Detectives in Florida also say Mond is accused of falsifying documentation and changing two physicians’ statements to get the disability benefits. Officials from the Houston Airport System confirm the arrest was carried out by HPD for the Florida Department of Financial Services Fraud division… Spokesperson Darian Ward released this statement to FOX 26 News: We understand Ms. Mond has been ROR- Released on her own recognizance. She did not have to post bail, she will not be extradited and this issue may be resolved soon.  The City’s legal department will handle the internal investigation and confirm any information with her attorney and the States Attorney’s Office. Certified public accountant Bob Martin says while the details are still being sorted out in Mond’s case – her professional career may be damaged beyond repair. He says it could potentially affect the financial books over at the Houston Airport System. Martin says, “in light of this will her audits have to be redone?  I would say no but at a minimum any decisions that she made in connection with the audit it needs to be reviewed.” Ward says Mond remains an employee of the Houston Airport System and could return to work as soon as next week… That’s if this legal issue is cleared. Update: Florida attorney Marcus Barnett represents Mond.  He says he’s certain the charges against his client will be dropped. Barnett says Mond was a victim in the insurance fraud scheme.  He says a former supervisor forged Mond’s name on the documents in question. He also says, “we’re resolving the case through cooperation with the state.”-



The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshalls Office, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office following-up on investigative leads tonight arrested escaped inmate Britt Privatte in Harris County near IH-45 and Cypresswood Drive.   Privatte was seen walking from a local hotel just after midnight tonight and as investigators converged Privatte ran into a wooded area to elude capture.    Harris County Sheriff’s Office K-9’s tracked the suspect and as law enforcement closed in the suspect jumped from a tree and ran from deputies and investigators.  The K-9 subdued Privatte as officers approached.    Privatte was taken to a local hospital and treated for a dog bite and then taken to the Montgomery County Jail.   During the investigation and search for the inmate 11 inmates of the Montgomery County Jail have been charged with hindering apprehension, one person from the Cleveland, Montgomery County area with tampering with evidence and investigators anticipate facilitating escape and other charges could be forthcoming on others as the investigation continues.   Sheriff Tommy Gage would like to extend his personal thanks to the many law enforcement agencies, officers and deputies who have provided aid, manpower, and assistance to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in the search and capture of the escapee



Chase Bank did a radio commercial for their new prepaid debit card. 

The financial institution bragged about how they don’t have all the fees as other prepaid debit card companies.

They emphasized only one monthly fee.

Then the announcer said in the disclaimer at the end of the commercial ‘additional fees may aply’  what?



Press Release: “So many children are now being born with some type of disability and parents are struggling to deal with the pain and emotions that go along with the everyday challenges of raising yraising a disabled child,” explains Tascha L. Stith, author and mother of a special-needs child. To help give strength to other parents of children with disabilities, Stith has penned the new book, How We Did It: A Story of How a Single Mother Raised a Special-Needs Child (published by Balboa Press).

In How We Did It, Stith offers empowering words based on her own personal belief that raising a child with special needs is possible. She wants readers to realize that they were chosen by God to be their child’s parent, and that it is not a mistake, but happened by design.

An excerpt from the chapter entitled “How We Did It”:

“You just have to decide, not if it’s going to affect you, but how you’re going to keep it from affecting you, because it will. You’ll feel alone, you’ll get angry, you may even lash out; but I’m here to tell you, think about that baby! Be the best you for your child and for yourself (I wish someone had told me this, but if they had I probably would never have written this book). At the end of the day, everyone needs to be able to lay their head on their pillow and sleep. You can’t control what people do, be it friends, family, or whoever. You can only control what you do for you and your baby.”

It is Stith’s hope and conviction that her story will help those who are lost or confused about why their lives are this way. “We want everyone to know that no matter what … you can do this. You are not alone. Trust and believe that God is guiding your life and that you were chosen to be this child’s parent.”

About the Author
Tascha L. Stith is an author, entrepreneur, mother, military veteran and life coach. She loves life and embraces the gifts God has given her with a deep appreciation and understanding to live life by being “100 percent authentic.” She and her daughter reside in Houston.

More about the book:


An openly gay student at University of Houston Downtown becomes victim of smear campaign. Kristopher Sharp says flyers were distributed on campus to keep him from considering a run for the student government association.


Sharp says the parties involved posted his medical status and warned students not to support homosexuals on campus. Hear from the student today at 5 pm on Fox 26 in the Isiah Factor!

NOTICE: Thursday’s awareness event will be from 2:00 to 3:00 on the One Main BLDG, in special events room A300. This event is being held to reinforce UHD’s culture of civility, tolerance, and diversity and to provide a venue for campus wide discussion and education.