Post Premium: Top stories for Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2020 – The Denver Post

When the story was first reported in early September that scammers had sought to defraud Colorado of up to $1.25 billion from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the number seemed like it was a typo. More than a billion dollars and about 73,000 fraudulent claims, just in Colorado?

The numbers were accurate and indicative of just how widespread the attempted fraud was. Although the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment was successful in fending off most of the theft, the question remained: Who was behind such vast graft?

Reporter Aldo Svaldi talked to security experts and a picture began to emerge of coordinated attacks on the system by sophisticated cybercrime rings, often using stolen identities claimed off of the dark web that ended up there via previous data breaches. If that isn’t jarring enough, some scammers increasingly don’t need to steal an identity — they can make one up.

Svaldi’s report shines a light on the difficulty agencies can have getting financial assistance into the hands of the folks who need it. But it also illuminates that where there are large caches of money, there will be aspiring criminals in front of computer terminals around the world intent on stealing what they can.

— Donovan Henderson, The Denver Post 

Stolen identities set stage for unemployment scams in Colorado and elsewhere

A plot of land given to Denver Urban Gardens for $1 to house a community garden will be sold to developers for $1.2 million

Alan Olds is more accustomed to nurturing things than fighting them. As a former garden leader and member at El Oasis Community Garden for the last five years, he has helped dozens of Lower Highland residents find and cultivate plots at the roughly 22,000-square-foot green space at 1847 W. 35th Ave.

That changed when he got a surprise call from Violeta Garcia, then-executive director of Denver Urban Gardens, the first week of September. Read More…

As ex-judge faces possible prison time, those who appeared in his Greeley courtroom wonder why his judgements stand

For most of her life, Amanda Harmon believed the courts were fair and just.

Save for a few traffic-related instances, Harmon had rarely dealt with legal issues. A courtroom didn’t give her anxiety. It didn’t give her fear.

But her whole perception of justice changed after her time in Judge Ryan Kamada’s Greeley courtroom.

“I knew right away he was crooked,” Harmon said. “There was something corrupt and vile about him.” Read More…

Colorado governor to mass-pardon 2,700-plus marijuana convictions

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis plans to mass-pardon 2,732 convictions of low-level marijuana possession through an executive order Thursday after signing a bill earlier this year that gave him that authority. Read More…

Colorado sued over limits on size of religious gatherings during pandemic

A legal organization representing Andrew Wommack Ministries sued Gov. Jared Polis on Monday in an effort to halt Colorado’s COVID-19 public health orders that limit the size of religious and other gatherings ahead of a conference the Woodland Park ministry is holding next week.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, asks for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against multiple public health orders issued by state officials during the coronavirus pandemic. Read More…

President Trump said to be improving but next 48 hours “critical”

President Donald Trump went through a “very concerning” period Friday and faces a “critical” next two days in his fight against COVID-19 at a military hospital, his chief of staff said Saturday — in contrast to a rosier assessment moments earlier by Trump doctors, who took pains not to reveal the president had received supplemental oxygen at the White House before his hospital admission.

Trump offered his own assessment Saturday evening in a video from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, saying he was beginning to feel better and hoped to “be back soon.” Read More…

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