Local News: October 24, 2023

Bloomington man sentenced in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Steal Over $669,000 from businesses and COVID-19 programs
Robert K. Hall, 73, of Bloomington, Indiana, has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, from September 2019 to December 2020, Hall conspired with others to defraud multiple businesses through business email compromise schemes, and to defraud multiple states and the Small Business Administration by taking advantage of COVID-19 loan and unemployment programs. Hall also worked with his co-conspirators to launder the stolen money through his bank accounts.

In September 2019, an employee of Victim Business 1 received a fraudulent email purporting to be a recognized vendor that the business previously worked with. The purported vendor explained that due to an audit involving its’ primary bank account, future payments should be made to a different account. The account that was named belonged to Hall under the guise of an electric company. This fraudulent email caused Business 1 to unknowingly transfer $113,550 into Hall’s personal account.

In July 2020, following the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a fraudulent application was submitted to the Small Business Administration for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan without the knowledge or consent of the purported beneficiaries. Instead, the proceeds of the loans were deposited into an account controlled by Hall. Hall conducted a similar scheme when his co-conspirators fraudulently applied for three Economic Injury Disaster Loans using the names of an individual and two businesses, directing benefits to again be deposited into Hall’s personal accounts.

Additionally, between May 2020 and December 2020, applications for unemployment benefits were submitted to the states of Washington, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, and Arizona on behalf of more than a dozen individuals whose identities had been stolen. The unemployment benefits were deposited into accounts controlled by Hall and then disbursed to his co-conspirators.

After receiving the fraudulent deposits in his accounts, Hall retained roughly 20% of the funds as compensation for his role in the schemes. He transferred the remaining money to his co-conspirators via checks and Bitcoin purchases. In total, Hall attempted to steal $668,746.14. Some of the fraudulent transactions were blocked or reversed, and Hall only successfully received $399,868.36 in proceeds of the fraud schemes.

Purdue Women’s Basketball to wear 25th anniversary patches
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of its 1999 NCAA National Championship, the Purdue women’s basketball team will wear a commemorative patch on its jerseys during the 2023-24 season. The Boilermakers will feature the patch on their white, black and gold uniforms this year. Click here to see a gallery of the designed patch.

Purdue will welcome the national championship team back to Mackey Arena for a 25-year anniversary celebration on Nov. 12 against Southern.

Under head coach Carolyn Peck, the 1998-99 Boilermakers claimed the Big Ten Tournament and regular season titles in addition to the national championship. Purdue finished the year with a 34-1 record overall and a perfect 16-0 mark in Big Ten play. The Boilermakers dominated opposition, scoring 76.5 points per game and averaging a winning margin of 16.8 points.

Purdue finished a perfect 10-0 against AP-ranked opponents, starting with a memorable season-opening win over No. 1 and three-time defending national champion Tennessee to end the Lady Vols’ 46-game winning streak. After picking up the Big Ten double, the Boilermakers entered the NCAA Tournament as a 1-seed.

Purdue downed Louisiana Tech 77-63 in the Final Four to set up a championship matchup with Duke in San Jose. Behind 18 points from the 1999 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Ukari Figgs, the Boilermakers climbed atop the college basketball world with a 62-45 victory in the national championship game.

The 25-year anniversary patch was designed utilizing aspects of the 1999 San Jose Final Four logo.

Bloomington Recognizes Students Who Act Generously, Grow, and Earn Respect with annual S.W.A.G.G.E.R Awards
On Friday, October 6th, in a ceremony at City Hall, four young nominees won S.W.A.G.G.E.R (Students Who Act Generously, Grow, and Earn Respect) Awards. They were selected from among 14 impressive young people, all of whom were recognized for their meaningful and generous acts.

Youth nominees fall into four school-age grade groups: K-2, 3-6, 7-8 and 9-12. Nominations come from educators, neighbors, friends, relatives, and clergy of students who live or attend school within the Monroe County Community School Corporation area.

This year’s winners included D’Meccio Jones-Opara (K-2), through hard work in school and other areas of his life, displays growth and kindness that promotes reciprocity among his peers through sharing, trying things when they are scary, and withstanding trials and tribulations with the lightest of hearts; Jesslyn Robinson (3-6), who continually earns the respect of her peers and the adults around her, through her interactions, her conscientiousness, and her kind hearted spirit; J’Leonna Gardner (7-8), who has shown growth and earned respect through her leadership skills by being a problem solver, and standing up for children who are being bullied; and Quentin Farmer (9-12), who has acted generously towards adults and his peers by leading the Unified Track Team with a kind spirit, making sure everyone feels included and supported, as well as being a helping hand to his classmates, teachers, and staff at the Boys and Girls Club.

After a welcome from the Chair of the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Children and Youth (CSCY), Katie Hopkins, and remarks from Deputy Mayor Larry Allen, each winner received a personalized proclamation from the City of Bloomington and prizes donated by organizations. 

This Week in Hoosier History

1836 – Cambridge City was platted in Wayne County. The community was named after the city of Cambridge, in England. The Cambridge City post office has been in operation since 1835. Cambridge City experienced growth when the Whitewater Canal was extended to that point in 1846. Situated along the historic National Road (U.S. Route 40), Cambridge City is currently a prominent destination for antique seekers. The Cambridge City Historic District, Conklin-Montgomery House, and Lackey-Overbeck House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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