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In the news again…Fox 26 News has learned Grammy nominated gospel singer James Fortune has been arrested.

According to staffers at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s office Fortune was released on a $20,000 bond around 3 pm Friday.

He was charged with assault / domestic violence involving a family member.

The Factor has not been able to reach Fortune’s reps as of yet but we’re working on it.

But the confirmation of the arrest comes from staffers at the Sheriff’s office.

You may remember in 2012 when James Fortune was accused in a civil lawsuit of abusing his then 4 year old stepson (incident allegedly occurred in 2001) by putting the child in scolding hot water. 

That son is now 17 years old.

Update: Sources now tell the Factor the alleged victim in this case is Cheryl Fortune. The wife of the gospel singer.

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The last thing you think about is Ebola and hair extensions…

But that was the latest scare that turned out to be false.

Internet rumors indicated some types of imported hair weave could contain Ebola.

While many laughed it off – it actually hurt some area Houston hair stylists financially.

Meka, the owner of Laced Up by Meka, says she saw a small decline in her business.

Meka says some of her customers actually believed they could get Ebola from certain types of hair extensions. 

Let me just say that claim is completely false.

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You can likely expect some push back from vendors at the farmer’s market in downtown Houston. 

It was about a month ago when Mayor Annise Parker amended the city’s ordinance that regulates food trucks. 

The change allowed the mobile vendors to set up shop in downtown Houston and in the Medical Center area. 

But what I noticed Wednesday at the farmer’s market was most of the food trucks were taking all of the business from those who actually had booths on the ground at the weekly event. 

There were long lines of people buying their lunch from the mobile cooks. 

I believe there will be some friction down the road. 

An Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has settled his dispute with a Harris County real estate leasing agency that refused to allow him to move into one of their properties with a service dog.

 

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Not actual dogs from hcdg.org

The lawsuit was filed by Sgt. Derek Kolb, who served as an Army infantryman in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and 2006. The leasing agency rejected two dogs he had been partnered with for treatment of his PTSD after an employee said they looked “aggressive.” Both dogs had been trained by Train a Dog, Save a Warrior (TADSAW), which works with shelter dogs.

 

Sgt. Kolb was represented pro bono by Winston & Strawn LLP Houston partner Tyler VanHoutan and associate Luke Culpepper, and attorneys Christopher P. McGreal and Brian East of Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy group for Texans with disabilities.

 

“What happened to Sgt. Kolb should never have happened to anyone, but the fact that it happened to a veteran made it particularly egregious,” said Mr. VanHoutan. “We are grateful that the settlement included training that should prevent the next person in his position from experiencing what he went through.”

 

According to the lawsuit, a leasing agent rejected Sgt. Kolb’s first service dog, a husky mix named Balto, after she saw a photo of the dog and said he looked like an “aggressive breed.” The leasing agency similarly rejected a second dog, a greyhound mix named Hank, because that dog “also looked aggressive,” according to Sgt. Kolb’s December 2013 complaint filed in court.

 

The settlement between Sgt. Kolb and the leasing agency requires agency employees to undergo training on the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Chapter 121 of the Texas Human Resource Code, with a particular emphasis on service animals. The leasing agency also agreed to receive training on the needs of U.S. veterans.

 

“Living with PTSD is a daily challenge, and Hank has helped bring me back from the brink many times,” said Sgt. Kolb. “Businesses need to understand that service dogs like Hank and Balto aren’t pets. And even though the injuries I and others with PTSD suffer from aren’t visible to the naked eye, it doesn’t make them any less real.”

 

Sgt. Kolb, 30, suffered traumatic brain and leg injuries from a roadside bomb in September 2005. Medically retired from the U.S. Army, he received 10 awards for his service, including the Bronze Star.

 

His pervasive PTSD, however, made his life almost unbearable. Sgt. Kolb isolated himself from his friends and family, suffered anxiety and frequently had intrusive thoughts, according to the lawsuit. He was briefly homeless before moving into Camp Hope, a transitional living facility for homeless vets with PTSD, where he learned about the possibility of having a service dog and living independently.

 

When the leasing agency rejected his service dogs, Sgt. Kolb eventually found another leasing agency that was able to find him a place to live. However, the rent he paid was $100 a month more than he would have paid for the properties the original agency found for him, according to the lawsuit.

 

Mr. McGreal said the lawsuit should also help raise awareness of veterans and others suffering from PTSD.

 

“This issue has become more pressing as a growing number of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan,” added Mr. McGreal. “Ensuring they have access to service dogs – and homes to live in – is one of the many things we should be doing to honor their sacrifice.”

 

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The Factor has learned there could soon be a Destiny’s Child Lane in Houston. 

This comes after Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh says he will meet with Mathew Knowles (Beyonce’s father) this week to discuss renaming Hadley Street in downtown Houston to Destiny’s Child Lane. 

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Michael Kubosh

It’s where Music World Entertainment, the former home of Destiny’s Child, has been located for more than 20 years. 

Obviously, there will be public hearings and input before the big change takes place. The Factor will cover this meeting along with FOX 26 News.

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On Saturday October 25, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Congressman Al Green will be joined by other elected officials, community leaders and Houston voters of all ages for an early vote rally. It will be held in the San Jacinto Room of the Crowne Plaza located at 8686 Kirby Drive at Loop 610. 

After the rally, Congressman Green will invite those in attendance to join a protest march to the early voting site located inside the Fiesta Grocery store at 8130 Kirby Dr., Houston, Texas 77054. 

“Houston voters are casting their ballots under the most restrictive Voter ID Law in the country, which has been declared unconstitutional,” said Congressman Al Green. “We will march in the names of those who fought and died to secure this right.

We want the State of Texas to know we will not be turned around. We’ve struggled too long, sacrificed too much and come too far to be turned away. Our voices will be heard and our votes will be counted.”

WHO:  Congressmen Al Green (TX-09), Other Elected Officials, Houstonians

WHAT:  Early Vote Rally WHEN:  11 a.m. – 1 p.m. CST, Saturday, October 25, 2014   (March will begin at 12:30 p.m.) 

WHERE:  Crowne Plaza Hotel – San Jacinto Room   8686 Kirby Drive at Loop 610 South    (near the Fiesta Early Voting Location)     Houston, TX 77054

Major Lane Closures Oct 24 to Oct 27 and Oct 31 to Nov 3

The following Major Lane Closures on IH 45 near SH 242 are scheduled:

All southbound main lanes of IH 45 will be closed starting Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10 p.m. through Monday, October 27, 2014 at 5 a.m.  

All southbound traffic will be diverted on the frontage road just south of Windsor Lakes Blvd. through the SH 242 intersection. All traffic will be allowed to re-enter IH 45 main lanes at Wellman Road.  Law enforcement will be on site. 

All northbound main lanes of IH 45 will be closed starting Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9 p.m. through Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5 a.m.

All northbound traffic will be diverted off of the main lanes to the northbound frontage road at Exit 79 (College Park/Needham Road). The northbound entrance ramp south of Research Forest/Tamina will also be closed. Traffic will remain on northbound frontage road.  Law enforcement will be on site.

For additional and updated information on IH 45 and SH 242 closures for this construction project from The Montgomery County Transportation Program, please visitwww.sh242dc.com and click on Lane Closures.

Also, as a courtesy, The Woodlands Township includes many major Road/Lane Closures on its website atwww.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.

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Still waiting on the evidence to process is the line you will get from Galveston County investigators in a 7 month old murder investigation that left two young women dead.

It was back in March when 46 year old James Larry Crosby was arrested in connection with his daughter and her girlfriend’s murder.

Crosby was charged with tampering with evidence but not murder even though investigators made it clear he’s responsible. 

Britney Crosby and her partner Crystal Jackson was found shot and beaten near a convenience store in Port Bolivar.

Captain Bob Cook with the Galveston County Sheriff’s office says they have sent a third batch of evidence, including a gun, to the FBI for NA results. 

However, Cook says the federal agency only allows a certain amount of evidence to be submitted at a time and that’s why it’s taking so long to saddle Crosby with an actual murder charge. 

Currently the convicted sex offender remains in the Galveston County jail on a $500,000 bond. 

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A federal jury in Houston today convicted the president of Riverside General Hospital (Riverside), his son, and two others for their participation in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme involving false claims for mental health treatment. Ten defendants have now been convicted in connection with the Riverside fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Lucy R. Cruz of the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Houston Field Office and the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas presided over the trial.
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“The former president of Riverside hospital, his son, and their co-conspirators systematically defrauded Medicare, treating mentally ill and disabled Americans like chits to be traded and cashed out to pad their own pockets,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “For over six years, the Gibsons and their co-conspirators stuck taxpayers with millions in hospital bills, purportedly for intensive psychiatric treatment. But the ‘treatment’ was a sham—some patients just watched television all day, others had dementia and couldn’t understand the therapy they supposedly received, and other patients never even went to the hospital at all. Today’s verdict sends another powerful message that the department will hold accountable anyone who seeks personal profits at the expense of America’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Earnest Gibson III, 70, the former president of Riverside, Earnest Gibson IV, 37, the operator of one of Riverside’s satellite locations, and Regina Askew, 49, a group home owner, were each convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay kickbacks, as well as related counts of paying and receiving illegal kickbacks. Robert Crane, 58, a patient recruiter, was convicted of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. Gibson III and Gibson IV were also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Gibson III was acquitted of two substantive counts of paying and receiving illegal kickbacks.

According to evidence presented at trial, Gibson III, Gibson IV, and Askew operated a scheme to defraud Medicare beginning in 2005 and continuing until June 2012. The defendants caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services to Medicare through the hospital. A PHP is a form of intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.

Specifically, evidence at trial demonstrated that the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Riverside and its satellite locations billed Medicare for PHP services did not qualify for or need PHP services. Moreover, the Medicare beneficiaries rarely saw a psychiatrist and did not receive intensive psychiatric treatment. In fact, some of the Medicare beneficiaries were suffering from Alzheimer’s and could not actively participate in any treatment even if they actually qualified to receive PHP services. Nevertheless, Gibson III, Gibson IV and Askew submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare claiming that PHP services were provided to the Medicare beneficiaries.

Evidence presented at trial also showed that Earnest Gibson III paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and to owners and operators of group care homes, including Askew, in exchange for those individuals delivering ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital’s PHPs. Gibson IV also paid patient recruiters, including Crane and others, in exchange for those individuals delivering ineligible Medicare beneficiaries to the specific PHP operated by Gibson IV.

Approximately $158 million in claims to Medicare were submitted for PHP services purportedly provided by the hospital to the recruited beneficiaries, when in fact, the PHP services were medically unnecessary or never provided. The proceeds from the health care fraud were used to promote the fraud scheme by paying kickbacks to patient recruiters and group home owners in exchange for their sending Medicare beneficiaries to the hospital’s PHPs.

Gibson III, Gibson IV, Askew and Crane are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17, 2015.

Others involved in the fraudulent scheme have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Mohammad Khan, an assistant administrator at the hospital, who managed many of the hospital’s PHPs, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay illegal kickbacks, and five counts of paying illegal kickbacks. William Bullock, an operator of a Riverside satellite location, as well as Leslie Clark, Robert Ferguson, Waddie McDuffie, and Sharonda Holmes, who were all involved in paying or receiving kickbacks, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.

The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS-CI, and Texas MFCU, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office, the Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Inspector General’s Chicago Field Office and the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Inspector General, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chiefs Laura M.K. Cordova and Jennifer L. Saulino and Trial Attorney Ashlee C. McFarlane of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

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The Texas Lottery® joined lotteries across the country today for the official launch of MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB, the first multistate game to combine traditional lottery with the fun and entertainment of a national television game show.  The show will feature players selected from among ticket holders who have registered their tickets online.

 

Video of today’s MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB launch event in New York’s Times Square

 

The MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB game went on sale in Texas on Oct. 19. The game will spread the wealth among players by offering multiple $1 million prizes in conjunction with a top prize of up to $25 million. The unique design of the $5 game is expected to generate more millionaires than any other game in lottery history.

 

Three ways to win MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB

Players can win the Top Prize of up to $25 million inMONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES CLUB weekly drawings.Become one of the many, randomly-selected $1 million winners when another player wins the Top Prize in a weekly drawing.Register a ticket online where they will build MONOPOLY brand themed property sets to earn entries in a drawing for a chance to appear on the nationally televised game show, which will have more than $2.5 million in available prize money on each episode.

 

MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB Television Game Show

In early 2015, the “MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB” television series will welcome players from participating states to its studio audience in Las Vegas. Comedian and actor Billy Gardell (“Mike & Molly,” “You, Me and Dupree”) will host the show.  

 

Each MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB ticket will have a unique code that players can use to register online to collect monopolies for a chance to appear on the television game show. Thousands of players will win a five-day, four-night trip for two to Las Vegas to join the show’s studio audience. 

Contestants on the show will be selected at random to play a series of games with a MONOPOLY theme, each of which will offer cash and other prizes valued up to $100,000. A final round will offer one player on each episode a shot at $1 million. 

 

Drawings for the MONOPOLY MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB will occur every Friday evening at 10:15 p.m. Central