A shocking revelation has come to light regarding a fraudulent scheme orchestrated by senior officials Jeffrey Menge and Eric Drabert at the Patterson Joint Unified School District. The duo exploited the district's resources for personal gain, including running an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently disclosed this fraudulent activity.
Guilty Pleas and Charges
Jeffrey Menge, aged 43, from Copperopolis, and Eric Drabert, aged 44, from Modesto, have both pleaded guilty to charges of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Menge held the position of Assistant Superintendent and Chief Business Officer, while Drabert was hired as the IT Director in 2020. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert made the announcement regarding their guilty pleas.
The Elaborate Scheme
Menge and Drabert engaged in fraudulent activities from 2018 to 2022, siphoning off funds from the school district. Their scheme involved utilizing Cencal Tech LLC, a company under Menge's control, to carry out over $1.2 million worth of deceitful transactions. To bypass transaction restrictions with the school, they created a fictitious executive named "Frank Barnes," enabling them to engage in double billing and charge for undelivered items.
Illegal Crypto Mining Operation
In addition to financial misconduct, Menge and Drabert also established a cryptocurrency mining farm within the district's facilities. They utilized high-end graphics cards and other district-owned resources to mine cryptocurrencies, directing the profits into their personal wallets. The full extent of the operation across the district's 10 schools is still unclear. However, the increased electricity consumption resulting from the mining operation has raised concerns among U.S. energy regulators, who are cracking down on energy-intensive crypto mining.
Exploitation of District Resources
Menge further exploited the district's resources by using district vehicles for personal gain. This included selling a Chevy truck that was acquired at a discounted price and utilizing a Ford Transit van for personal use. The embezzled funds amounted to approximately $1 million to $1.5 million for Menge and $250,000 to $300,000 for Drabert. These ill-gotten gains were lavishly spent on home renovations, luxury cars, and personal expenses.
It is alarming to discover such fraudulent activities being carried out by senior officials within a school district. This case raises concerns about the potential existence of other illicit mining operations. Share your thoughts and opinions on this matter in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Precious Metals Can You Invest in for Retirement?
These precious metals are among the most attractive investments. Both can be easily bought and sold, and have been around since forever. They are a great way to diversify your portfolio.
Gold: Gold is one of man's oldest forms of currency. It's stable and safe. It is a good way for wealth preservation during uncertain times.
Silver: Silver has been a favorite among investors for years. It's a good choice for those who want to avoid volatility. Silver tends to move up, not down, unlike gold.
Platinium: Another form of precious metal is platinum, which is becoming more popular. It's resistant to corrosion and durable, similar to gold and silver. It is, however, more expensive than its competitors.
Rhodium: Rhodium can be used in catalytic convertors. It is also used as a jewelry material. It is relatively affordable when compared to other types.
Palladium: Palladium is similar to platinum, but it's less rare. It's also more accessible. For these reasons, it's become a favorite among investors looking to add precious metals to their portfolios.
How much do gold IRA fees cost?
An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) fee is $6 per month. This includes account maintenance and any investment costs.
To diversify your portfolio you might need to pay additional charges. These fees will vary depending upon the type of IRA chosen. Some companies offer free checking accounts, but charge monthly fees to open IRA accounts.
Most providers also charge annual management costs. These fees range between 0% and 1 percent. The average rate is.25% per year. However, these rates are typically waived if you use a broker like TD Ameritrade.
What are the benefits of a Gold IRA?
An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is the best way to put money towards retirement. It will be tax-deferred up until the time you withdraw it. You have total control over how much each year you take out. There are many types available. Some are better suited for people who want to save for college expenses. Others are designed for investors looking for higher returns. For example, Roth IRAs allow individuals to contribute after age 59 1/2 and pay taxes on any earnings at retirement. However, once they begin withdrawing funds, these earnings are not taxed again. This account is a good option if you plan to retire early.
The gold IRA allows you to invest in different asset classes, which is similar to other IRAs. Unlike a regular IRA which requires taxes to be paid on gains as you wait to withdraw them, a IRA with gold allows you to invest in multiple asset classes. People who want to invest their money rather than spend it make gold IRA accounts a great option.
Another benefit to owning IRA gold is the ability to withdraw automatically. This eliminates the need to constantly make deposits. To avoid missing a payment, direct debits can be set up.
Finally, gold is one of the safest investment choices available today. Because it isn’t tied to any specific country, gold’s value tends to stay stable. Even in times of economic turmoil, gold prices tend not to fluctuate. It is therefore a great choice for protecting your savings against inflation.
How is gold taxed within an IRA?
The tax on the sale of gold is based on its fair market value when sold. Gold is not subject to tax when it's purchased. It is not considered income. If you decide to sell it later, there will be a taxable gain if its price rises.
You can use gold as collateral to secure loans. When you borrow against your assets, lenders try to find the highest return possible. This usually involves selling your gold. However, there is no guarantee that the lender would do this. They may keep it. They may decide to resell it. The bottom line is that you could lose potential profit in any case.
To avoid losing money, only lend against gold if you intend to use it for collateral. If you don't plan to use it as collateral, it is better to let it be.
Is it a good retirement strategy to buy gold?
While buying gold as an investment may seem unattractive at first glance it becomes worth the effort when you consider how much gold is consumed worldwide each year.
Physical bullion bar is the best way to invest in precious metals. But there are many other options for investing in gold. The best thing to do is research all options thoroughly and then make an informed decision based on what you want from your investments.
For example, purchasing shares of companies that extract gold or mining equipment might be a better option if you aren't looking for a safe place to store your wealth. If you need cash flow from an investment, purchasing gold stocks is a good choice.
You can also invest your money in exchange-traded fund (ETFs), which give you exposure to the gold price by holding securities related to gold. These ETFs may include stocks that are owned by gold miners or precious metals refining companies as well as commodity trading firms.
- The price of gold jumped 131 percent from late 2007 to September 2011, when it hit a high of $1,921 an ounce, according to the World Gold Council. (aarp.org)
- If you take distributions before hitting 59.5, you'll owe a 10% penalty on the amount withdrawn. (lendedu.com)
- If you accidentally make an improper transaction, the IRS will disallow it and count it as a withdrawal, so you would owe income tax on the item's value and, if you are younger than 59 ½, an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty. (forbes.com)
- Contribution limits$6,000 (49 and under) $7,000 (50 and up)$6,000 (49 and under) $7,000 (50 and up)$58,000 or 25% of your annual compensation (whichever is smaller) (lendedu.com)
- You can only purchase gold bars at least 99.5% purity. (forbes.com)
- 7 U.S. Code SS7 – Designation board of trade as contract marketplaces
- 26 U.S. Code SS 408 – Individual retirement plans
- Saddam Hussein's InvasionHelped Uncage a Bear In 1991 – WSJ
- Want to Keep Gold in Your IRA at Home? It's Not Exactly Legal – WSJ
The History of Gold as an Asset
From the ancient days to the early 20th Century, gold was a common currency. It was universally accepted and loved for its beauty, durability, purity and divisibility. In addition, because of its value, it was traded internationally. There was no international standard for measuring gold at that time, so different weights and measures were used around the world. For example, one pound sterling in England equals 24 carats; one livre tournois equals 25 carats; one mark equals 28 carats; and so on.
The United States started issuing American coins in the 1860s made of 90% copper and 10% zinc. This led to a decrease of demand for foreign currencies which in turn caused their prices to rise. In this period, large amounts of gold coin were minted by the United States, which caused the gold price to drop. Due to the excessive amount of money flowing into the United States, they had to find a way for them to repay some of their debt. To do so, they decided to sell some of the excess gold back to Europe.
Since most European countries were not confident in the U.S. dollar they began accepting gold as payment. Many European countries began to use paper money and stopped accepting gold as payment after World War I. The price of gold rose significantly over the years. Although the price of gold fluctuates today, it remains one of your most safe investments.
By: David Sencil
Title: Senior School Officials Guilty of Illegal Crypto Mining Operation Using District Resources
Sourced From: news.bitcoin.com/california-school-officials-plead-guilty-to-running-crypto-mining-scheme-with-school-resources/
Published Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2024 05:30:38 +0000