Detroit couple allegedly stole $2.5M in state funds, judge overturns gun ban, train derailed in Dearborn

A Detroit couple is accused of stealing $2.5 million in unemployment funds from the state of Michigan, spending it on lavish goods and flaunting it on social media.

The wire fraud was allegedly committed with the help of someone who has access to unemployment money in the state government.

Johnny Richardson and Micahia Taylor are believed to have spent the money on cars, jewelry, and handbags, an affidavit reads.

“We are looking at some of the biggest fraud in decades or even in a generation. all across the country,” said US Attorney Matthew Schneider.

Cases of fraud are being pursued around the country after millions of dollars in unemployment funds destined for people struggling to keep a job during the pandemic instead found its way into the bank accounts of those who didn't need it.

That's made it difficult to track cases of fraud since the scope and frequency can vary. However, police had some help in the case of Richardson and Taylor is an extreme one.

It appears the suspect's vanity of showing off the stolen money is what landed them in jail.

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The couple is believed to have filed a claim, where an insider would override the fraud alert and then cut the check. Schneider says the override is what triggered people to pay attention.

"It is like shooting fish in a barrel," Schneider said. "It’s all tracked. all the money is traced. people think they are getting away with it. They are wrong.

Judge rules against secretary of state in open carry ban at polling places

A Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled against Secretary Jocelyn Benson after she issued a ban on all open carry of firearms at polling places on election day.

Three guns rights groups had sued the Secretary of State after she announced an administrative directive that banned firearms within 100 feet of polling places. 

Chief Judge Christopher Murray ruled Tuesday the secretary didn't go through the proper channels to deploy the ban. Instead, it's the kind of directive where public input is needed.

 "The other thing that is concerning, in respect to the other preliminary injunction matter, is there is already a state law that prohibits voter intimidation," he said. "If anyone feels intimidated by someone carrying an open weapon, then there is already statutory authority to take care of that problem."

An attorney representing the state department said the concern had been raised only recently due to the foiled plot to kidnap the governor. As election day violence has increasingly become a threat to state officials, people have attempted to mitigate potential issues. 

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield celebrated the ruling. 

"Time after time the courts have struck down this administration when it overreaches. Firearms. Line 5. Redistricting. Vaping. Emergency powers," he wrote on Twitter. "Nobody is above the law. It can’t be sidestepped. We have a democratic process. It needs to be followed

The Michigan Attorney General plans to appeal the ruling.

I-94 exit lanes closed at Michigan Avenue after train derailment in Dearborn

Michigan State Police are responding to a train derailment near I-94 in the area of Michigan and Wyoming Avenue in Dearborn.

A train car reportedly came off the racks over I-94 near Wyoming Avenue. 

In a tweet from state police, law enforcement observed a flat car hanging over the exit lanes onto the streets, and part of the bridge had been destroyed.

A railroad car has gone off the tracks in Dearborn by I-94, blocking exit lanes onto Wyoming and Michigan Avenue.

While no accidents were reported, both exit lanes to Michigan and Wyoming have been closed while the train company CSX readied equipment to rectify the problem.

The train car appears to have become dislodged from the rail and gone onto the road where a railroad barrier had come down.

The derailment happened around 5:45 Wednesday morning and will take between three and five hours to repair. Troopers from both Dearborn and Michigan State Police have responded. 

I-94 was initially closed before CSX determined the highway was safe to drive on. 

The key role Black women could play this election

In 2016, about 200,000 Black women did not vote in the general election. If that voting bloc turns out in higher numbers on Nov. 3, it could provide some significant sway over the 2020 electorate.

Both campaigns are seizing on the heightened enthusiasm to vote this year, with the Trump and Biden campaigns making pitches to the demographic.

"The message is this, this president has done quite a bit for the Black community when you look, he provided access to capital in the form of opportunity zones," said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. "School choice was a priority of his and every child regardless of skin color or background, income, deserves a chance at a good education, deserves that same opportunity to have the American dream."

"Black women have always been the backbone of the Democratic Party," said Karine Jean-Pierre, advisor to Joe Biden. "They come out, and not only do they come out, they bring their whole community with them.

While polls show the president is struggling to maintain support among women, it was Black voters who didn't show up in droves like in previous elections. In Michigan specifically, Trump won the state by a little more than 10,000 votes. In Detroit alone, 40,000 fewer residents voted in 2016 compared to 2012. If the those voters turnout this year, it could decide how Michigan votes. 

Drug and gun seizures up at Michigan-Canada border

It was a busy year for border control and customs enforcement manning the five ports of entry into Michigan.

The CBP held a press conference Tuesday showcasing more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana, 211 pounds of cocaine, more than 1.5 pounds of meth, and 15 pounds of fentanyl. Additionally, 203 guns and more than 5,300 rounds of ammunition were confiscated.

If you did the math from last year's seizures, they're up 1,700% for drugs and 200% for guns.

"We've gone after murderers, pedophiles. all the while seizing one million pounds of drugs nationwide in 2020," said Christopher Perry, US Customs Border Protection director of operations Detroit field office. I just think the smuggling organizations with the closures of the border are getting more desperate to get illicit commodities into the US."

Most of the illegal goods are being brought into the U.S., rather than being smuggled out. 

Mike Pence returns to Michigan

Underscoring just how important Michigan is to the candidates' paths to victory, Vice President Mike Pence is back in Michigan Wednesday, only a day after the president traveled to Lansing.

Pence will deliver remarks at a Make America Great Again! rally in Flint at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

He'll discuss the campaign's Great American Comeback effort that includes pro-growth policies like tax cuts, deregulation, and America First trade deals. 

It'll be the second stop for Pence today. His first rally will be in Mosinee, Wisconsin, another battleground state.

Henry Ford sponsor pop-up flu shots

One of Metro Detroit's major hospital systems is offering free flu vaccinations to help curb the growing transmission of the virus.

The Pop-up flu shots begin at the Village Center Apartments today at 11 a.m. and go until 4 p.m.

Henry Ford Health will offer vaccines on six different days at several locations around Detroit.

  • 10/28/2020: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Village Center Apartments - 901 Pallister Street, Detroit, 48202
  • 10/30/2020: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. at the Greater Grace Temple - 23500 W. Seven Mile Road, Detroit, MI 48219 11/1/2020: 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Bethel Temple - 5024 28th Street, Detroit, MI 48210 11/6/2020: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the King David Baptist - 18001 Sunset St, Detroit, MI 48234 11/7/2020: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Liberty Temple Baptist Church - 17188 Greenfield Road, Detroit, MI 48235  11/9/2020: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the North Rosedale Park Community House - 18445 Scarsdale Street, Detroit, MI 

Other Stories

1. Detroit Will Breathe activists protest arrests saying Shelby Twp police targeted them
2. Residents victimized by inflated home tax assessments to finally get help, city says
3. Due to pandemic, more women are delaying crucial breast cancer screenings
4. J Dilla Music Tech Grant awarded to Detroit Central HS in memory of late, homegrown music star
5. 9-year-old girl shot accidentally inside Detroit home

Daily Forecast

Wet conditions will disappear for several days today, revealing sunny weather forecasted for Wednesday. Expect a high of 52 degrees.

Facebook, Twitter, Google CEOs face grilling by Senate amid anti-conservative bias claims

The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are facing a grilling by Republican senators making unfounded allegations that the tech giants show anti-conservative bias.

The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas.

With the presidential election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views.

The chorus of protest rose this month after Facebook and Twitter acted to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, an unprecedented action against a major media outlet. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.