Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Many U.S. employers to drop health benefits, McKinsey finds - chicagotribune.com


At least 30 percent of employers are likely to stop offering health insurance once provisions of the U.S. health care reform law kick in in 2014, according to a study by consultant McKinsey.

Among employers with a high awareness of the health reform law, the number likely to drop health coverage for workers rises to more than 50 percent, the report predicted.
The numbers compare to a Congressional Budget Office estimate that only about 7 percent of employees currently covered by employer-sponsored plans will have to switch to subsidized-exchange policies in 2014, McKinsey said.
An Obama administration official said the McKinsey study contradicts other research, including studies by the Urban Institute and Rand Corp, that suggests the percentage of employees offered insurance by their employers will not change substantially under the Affordable Care Act.

Many U.S. employers to drop health benefits, McKinsey finds - chicagotribune.com

Attorney: Priest expected to admit church funds theft - chicagotribune.com

Roman Catholic priest accused of stealing more than $300,000 from the collection plates of his Roselle parish to support his gambling addiction is expected to plead guilty Thursday to theft.

The Rev. John F. Regan, 47, the former pastor of St. Walter Parish, is expected to enter a blind plea to a single count of theft, his attorney, John Donahue, told DuPage Judge John Kinsella today.

Click on the following for more details:  Attorney: Priest expected to admit church funds theft - chicagotribune.com

What’s popular? Sycamore Attorney Faces Prostitution Charges—417 hits and counting—story made Leno’s Tonight Show on Tuesday 6-7-2011


Go to the posting by clicking on the following:  http://boonecountywatchdog.blogspot.com/2011/05/sycamore-attorney-faces-prostitution.html

The Rockford Register Star picked up the story and it is posted at:  http://boonecountywatchdog.blogspot.com/2011/06/attorney-faces-prostitution-charges.html

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sycamore attorney faces prostitution charges | Daily Chronicle


Crime Stoppers Repairs Charitable Trust Status

Part I
By James Middleton

Many organizations hold status as a charitable trust.
This designation is granted after documents are filed with
the State of Illinois. To sustain this designation, groups
must file periodic reports attesting to their financial status.
The reporting requirement is one element of compliance
that the group must provide to sustain the benefits of a
charitable trust designation. However, at times, errors occur
regarding compliance as was the case with Boone County
Crime Stoppers who found their charitable trust designation
in jeopardy.

These annual reports must go to state government to
show financial activity during a calendar year. One reason
an entity chooses a charitable trust designation is so that
donors may make contributions and obtain a tax deduction.
Boone County Crime Stoppers enjoyed a charitable trust
designation until February 15 when that title was called into
question because of non-compliance by Attorney General
Lisa Madigan. A letter from Ms. Madigan identified its
purpose as, “RE: Notice of Cancellation of

Boone County Crime Stopper as a registrant under the
Charitable Trust and/or Solicitation for Charity Act for the
Fiscal Year ending December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”

The letter focused on the group’s failure to report their
annual financial status to retain their charitable designation.
The letter continued, “Our records, as of February 15,
2011, [show] that Boone County Crime Stoppers has NOT
(emphasis from the letter) filed a complete annual report
(Form AG990-IL and all required attachments and fees)
as required by the Charitable Trust and the Solicitation for
Charity Acts for the fiscal years ending December 31, 2007,
2008 and 2009.”

The letter further set a deadline for delivery of the
reports from the delinquent years to arrive by March 15,
2011. “Therefore,” the letter continued, “notice is hereby
given that registration of Boone County Crime Stoppers
under the Charitable Trust and/or Solicitation for Charity
Acts is deemed delinquent and not in good standing. Please
note, unless all fees are paid and the reports for the years
ending December 31, 2007, 2008 and 2009 are filed on or
before February 15, 2011 with this office, registration of
Boone County Crime Stopper shall be canceled on March
15, 2011.”

Even though the Attorney General gave Boone County
Crime Stoppers until March 15 to comply, the actual date that
the Attorney General’s office recognized their receipt of the
missing documents occurred on April 27. This information
was confirmed by the Attorney General’s office. Predicated
upon this disclosure it would appear that Boone County
Crime Stoppers did lose their charitable status with the state
of Illinois; however, the matter has been put to rest.

Many efforts have been made to reach officials at Boone
County Crime Stoppers to respond to questions about
this matter. Those efforts have failed to bear results. The
director and others have been called but no one of authority
has been available to respond for more than a month.

Crime Stoppers is a national organization and most
local groups are non-profit agencies comprised of residents
working with police to obtain intelligence to prevent crime.
Boone County Crime Stoppers and similar groups offer cash
rewards of up to $1,000 for tips that lead police to apprehend
perpetrators of crimes.

Local Crime Stopper groups operate with secure
telephone lines to receive tips from sources and there is a
policy to make reward payments while providing anonymity
for informants.

The parent Crime Stoppers organization was created in
1976 through the efforts of a detective in the Albuquerque
Police Department. The first group was created to help
police obtain information regarding those that perpetrated a
series of unsolved crimes.

A community effort followed with help from the local
media to obtain tips that led to arrests. Cash rewards were
offered for information and soon three were arrested for the
homicide of a young student.

Today there are Crime Stopper groups in America,
Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The organization
promotes a successful conviction rates reaching over 95
percent in crimes that have led to arrests resulting from tips
to the police.

Law enforcement officials nationwide promote the
benefit provided by Crime Stoppers. Belvidere Police
Chief Jan Nobel said, “In most police investigations of
felonies we usually find that there is someone that has vital
information of that crime.” He added, “Crime Stoppers has
been a big step we have had to solve many crimes.”

The Chief also said, “Using money paid by those that
committed a crime, to catch others that have also committed
crimes is a very good use of that money.”

Chief Nobel was referring to how funding to Crime
Stoppers occurs. Though the organization is a charitable
trust, most funding arises from the 17th Circuit Court as
court ordered payments from those convicted of felony
crimes and some misdemeanors.

Boone County State’s Attorney Michelle Courier
explained that money coming from the Court is the result of
a court order. Judges in every jurisdiction have discretion
in the extent and the application of fines to be paid and
sentences to be served within legal guidelines.

Ms. Courier added that the size and the amount ordered
can depend, in part, upon the individual’s ability to pay.
The state’s attorney added that it does no one any good
if the court orders a payment that is impossible for the
convicted party to pay.

Ms. Courier said that most convicted of felonies and
some convicted of misdemeanors will be ordered to make
payment to Crime Stoppers. Ms. Courier said that often
those convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are
ordered to pay Crime Stoppers.

Funding that flows to the organization can be significant.
This was not always the case, but since the Circuit Court
began to impose court-ordered payments the revenue
stream increased.

The organization reported receipts in February 2011
over $6,600. In March, 2011, that amount escalated to
over $10,000. Sources indicated that the level of funding
depends upon the volume of criminal cases resolved and
the amount of the court-ordered payment. These amounts
can vary from month to month during a calendar year.

Expenditures over the same period to pay for anonymous
tips in February amounted to $200. In March 2011, $300
was paid for three anonymous tips. The amount and number
of awards paid to informants can also vary during a year.

Total holdings of Boone County Crime Stoppers in
February 2011 amounted to over $231,000 after expenses
were paid. In March, that total escalated to over $240,000,
after paying expenses of $1,560.

Sources suggest that debate has arisen regarding just
how this money could best be used. The major expenses
reported over the two previous months cited amounted to
advertising expenses to The Boone County Journal, The
Boone County Shopper, The Belvidere Daily Republican
and Rockford Register Star.

The group has distributed some scholarships. However,
this method has been used on only a few occasions. Previous
scholarships have been granted for about $1,000 each.

Possible use of Crime Stoppers funding has been
considered for Belvidere School District #100 and North
Boone School District #200. Some ideas focused on funding
surveillance cameras at the schools. An expenditure noted
in February 2011 had a firm as recipient of $10,640; Audio
Engineering. In parenthesis, the word “school” is listed
without reference to which school or district contracted
for that service or what product was provided in the handwritten
report from February 2011.

A second piece will follow looking at procedures
employed by Boone County Crime Stoppers to engage
and award anonymous sources
. This second piece plans to
examine how those procedures are exercised and how they
have benefited local law enforcement.

Further, we will look into third-party financial oversight
and if the group employs financial audits as a means to
validate the use of and the extent of their funding.

The initial question from the Attorney General’s office
regarding the missing charitable trust annual reports was
resolved on April 27, 2011. Boone County Crime Stoppers
is now, according to the Illinois Attorney General, in good
standing. There are, however, other questions regarding
how policy functions for Crime Stoppers, and we will seek
to focus on those questions with other sources in a followup

The above article is from page 7 of the June 3, 2011, Boone County Journal which is available this week at merchants across the county and on line at:  http://boonecountyjournal.com/news/2011/Boone-County-News-06-03-11.pdf#page=3