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December 13th, 2012
10:25 PM ET

VA under scrutiny after Legionnaires' cases in Pittsburgh

Twenty-nine patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in Pittsburgh have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease since January 2011, raising questions about the institution's safety practices.

Five of the cases "are known to have acquired the disease from the hospital," the VA said. Another eight were infected elsewhere, and the source of the infection in 16 cases cannot been determined.

The spate of illnesses has led relatives of two veterans who died after contracting the disease, a type of pneumonia, to blame the hospital.

CNN has learned that hospital officials knew they had a problem with the water system as far back as last December, but chose not to reveal that until a month ago.

That's when the hospital began turning off the water in parts of the hospital, staff and patients told CNN.

Read more...

 

November 30th, 2012
10:32 PM ET

Murder, money and politics in Chicago

CNN's Drew Griffin investigates an anti-violence program in Chicago that cost millions without reducing crime.

November 29th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Company accused of giant Medicare fraud

It started with a chance conversation between a doctor and a nurse several years ago. But that brief encounter may end up exposing what could be one of the largest Medicare frauds in U.S. history.

Dr. Alon Vainer, a medical director at dialysis clinics in Georgia, was discussing clinic procedures with one of the nurses, Daniel Barbir. The two men say they saw something they believed was very wrong: expensive medicine, and lots of it, was being tossed in the trash. And the clinic workers were being told to do it, the two men say.

"When we sat down and started talking about it and getting into details, we actually realized exactly what was going on," Vainer said.

The alleged waste was being carried out on a massive scale and, the nurse and the doctor said, they knew why almost immediately. They claim it was a way for their company, DaVita Inc., to defraud the government, overbill Medicare and Medicaid and make a fortune.

Read more...

November 10th, 2012
09:58 AM ET

Charity scams claim to aid Sandy victims

Editor's note: For a list of legitimate charities and other ways to help Sandy victims from CNN's Impact Your World team, check outCNN.com/Impact

As the Northeast digs out from a second major storm in little more than a week, experts say Internet scam artists are preying on generous Americans who want to donate to the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

According to a Maryland-based Internet watchdog company, more than 1,000 Internet domain sites with the words "Sandy" or "relief" were registered either as the storm was approaching the Caribbean last week or, in some cases, even before the hurricane hit.

"We have no idea who these people are," Johannes Ulrich, president of SANS Security told CNN from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. "And what we notice is that they do register hundreds of these domains, in part, trying to trick people who go to these domains and then donate the money.

Read more...

September 28th, 2012
10:30 PM ET

'Solar Star' shunned by White House, credits AC360 viewers for saving small business

Editor's note: Watch the video of Drew Griffin's original report, then read his update to the story.

St. John, Indiana (CNN) – Amidst hundreds of emails I get each day, Bill Keith’s stood out for its subject line: CNN viewers are the best.

I couldn’t agree more. Because when we told you about his plight, how bureaucrats in Washington were close to shutting down his homegrown solar attic fan business, you responded. And today Bill is out of his jam.

You may recall the story. Bill Keith is an Indiana roofer who came up with the idea of creating a solar powered attic fan. The fan cools off your attic during hot summer days, lowers your electric bill and requires absolutely no power source other than the sun to do it.

SunRise Solar was a perfect U.S. born “green” company. So perfect that during the 2008 election the Obama campaign took notice. And shortly after the election, Bill Keith and his company became the poster child for the president’s green jobs, green manufacturing initiatives.

FULL POST

September 26th, 2012
12:41 AM ET

Fundraising company under investigation

Thoreau, New Mexico (CNN) - Almost hidden in the spectacular red rock country of northwestern New Mexico is a tiny charity that educates and houses almost 200 Native American children and their families.

The St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, mostly survives on donations, which it promises to use wisely. The need is apparent once you step onto the grounds.

And that's why mission executives agreed to work with one of the world's largest direct mail companies, which solicits donations for hundreds of nonprofit and charity clients in the United States. They wanted to raise as much money as they could.

They signed a contract with Quadriga Art in 2008 and, according to internal financial statements, saw more than $9 million in donations flow in over a four-year period.

But almost none of the money went to the mission.

Read more...

September 25th, 2012
08:35 PM ET

Charities in debt to fundraising company

THOREAU, New Mexico—A struggling charity in this tiny town amidst the spectacular red rock country of northwestern New Mexico has found itself owing one of the biggest direct mail companies in the world more than $5 million as a result of a failed fund-raising campaign.

The company is Quadriga Art, which just today received an official letter from the Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C., seeking detailed financial information about its finances, especially as they relate to another charity that we’ve investigated, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

Quadriga Art ultimately forgave a debt of $5.3 million but only after CNN began its investigation. Quadriga says it tried its best but the campaign was a failure.

And we’ve also examined another Quadriga client called Help the Children, based in Los Angeles. Its mission, it says, is to feed 130,000 families a month. But its CEO, Roger Presgrove, told CNN it too was upside-down to Quadriga Art for about $285,000 at one point.

FULL POST

September 24th, 2012
08:45 PM ET

Fundraising company faces new questions

WASHINGTON—The veterans charity that CNN has been examining for months now is also under investigation by the State of Florida.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs turned over all of its records to us after we filed a public records request earlier in September. Those documents show that the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, already the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, essentially paid off another charity years ago after claims that it pirated logo design, wording for fund-raising direct mail letters and a host of other items before launching its own direct mail campaign.

FULL POST

Tonight on AC360: Obama policy could put solar 'poster boy' out of business
August 22nd, 2012
05:49 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Obama policy could put solar 'poster boy' out of business

Four years ago, Bill Keith's booming solar business created much-needed jobs in the United States and attracted the attention of the Obama administration. Now, a federal policy to prevent China from flooding the U.S. market with cheaper solar panels could kill his business.
Watch here

August 14th, 2012
11:10 PM ET

Dole, 'CSI' actress back away from controversial veterans' charity

A leading television actress and a former Republican presidential candidate say they are backing away from further involvement with a controversial California-based veteran's charity.

Marg Helgenberger, who for years starred in the CBS mega-hit "CSI," had appeared in Internet videos supporting a charity called Help Hospitalized Veterans. In one YouTube video, she says, "There are so many ways that you can say 'thank you' to a hospitalized veteran through service and sacrifice, whether it's by volunteering at your local VA hospital or helping HHV to continue to provide their many wonderful programs."

Late last week, the California attorney general's office filed a civil suit against HHV, alleging "excessive" salary payments to many of its officers and directors and also alleging a history of misleading the Internal Revenue Service on its tax filings. The lawsuit seeks to remove every member of the charity's board of directors.

Read more...

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