Final strange chapter: Fake cancer scam ends in jail time

December 1, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The strangest story I’ve ever covered is over.

A Shelby County Circuit Court judge on Thursday sentenced Jennifer Flynn Cataldo to serve two years for each of two counts of first-degree theft by deception after Cataldo admitted to soliciting tens of thousands of dollars from friends and family in a fake cancer scheme. The two-year terms will run concurrently.  

“Those who prey upon the charitable intentions of good Samaritans not only do a tremendous disservice to those truly in need but also betray the trust of the community,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall in a press release. “This sentence should send a strong signal to others who may harbor similar intentions of deceiving the public’s generosity that there will be a price to pay for breaking the law.”

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Indians Oppose Bill to Help Alabama’s Children

August 17, 2016

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Yesterday, in a Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee’s public hearing on the lottery, Robbie McGee spoke in support of one bill, while being in strict opposition of another.

McGee, vice chairman for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI), first spoke against Senator Jim McClendon’s (R-Springville) lottery bill, and then in support of Senator Greg Albritton’s (R-Bay Minette) proposal for a compact between the State and the Tribe.
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Sessions Responds to Chattanooga Terror Attack

July 22, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, July 17, US Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) issued a written statement following the terrorist attack on American military personnel in Chattanooga. 

Senator Sessions wrote, “Four heroes, who nobly served this country and her people, lost their lives in a terrorist attack. We honor their service, mourn their loss, and pray for their families. They are the very finest Americans this nation has to offer, and the heart of our whole nation grieves for their loss.”

Sen. Sessions continued, “There will be much discussion in the coming days about actions which should be taken to better protect the lives of our military personnel, and all Americans, in this age of terrorism. Many different agencies, committees, and experts will be involved. On the Immigration Subcommittee, our mandate is to look at the issues experts have been raising since 9/11 about how our immigration system is vulnerable to terrorism and those seeking to foster radicalization.”

Sen. Sessions said that the assassin, Mohammod Abdulazeez, appears to be an Islamist radical who immigrated to the United States from Kuwait.  Abdulazeez later applied for and received US citizenship.

The President of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Council Kenneth Palinkas said, “It is essential to warn the public about the threat that ISIS will exploit our loose and lax visa policies to gain entry to the United States… There is no doubt that there are already many individuals in the United States, on visas—expired or active—who are being targeted for radicalization or who already subscribe to radicalized views… Many millions come legally to the US through our wide open immigration policy every year—whether as temporary visitors, lifetime immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, foreign students, or recipients of our ‘visa waiver program’… Our government cannot effectively track these foreign visitors and immigrants… Applications for entry are rubber-stamped… We’ve become the visa clearinghouse for the world.”

In addition to Abdulazeez, Sen. Sessions listed over a dozen legal immigrants who later decided to target Americans.  These include: the 9/11 hijackers; the Boston Bombers; a Moroccan national who came to the US on a student visa was arrested for plotting to blow up a university and a Federal court house; 7 Somali-Americans in Minnesota who have recently been charged with trying to join ISIS; an Uzbek refugee living in Idaho who was arrested and charged with providing support to a terrorist organization, in the form of teaching terror recruits how to build bombs; an American citizen whose family is from Syria sentenced for plotting to support ISIS and rob a gun store to kill members of the American military; an immigrant from Syria, who US citizenship before being accused by Federal prosecutors of planning to “go to a military base in Texas and kill three or four American soldiers execution style”; a college student from Somalia who attempted to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon; an immigrant from Afghanistan and a legal permanent resident from the Philippines who were convicted for their plan to “join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill Americans”; an Iraqi immigrant who was arrested for lying to federal agents about pledging allegiance to ISIS and his travels to Syria; two immigrants from Pakistan, who later applied for and received US citizenship, were sentenced to decades-long prison sentences for plotting to detonate a bomb in New York City; and an immigrant from Yemen who was arrested for trying to join ISIS and charged with attempting to illegally buy firearms to try to shoot American military personnel.

Sen. Sessions wrote that, “A 2005 Center for Immigration Studies highlighted 21 terrorists who immigrated to the United States and later applied for citizenship—20 of those citizenship applications were approved. Since just 2013, news reports have revealed a number of such individuals who were invited into the United States as part of our annual admission of one million new permanent residents, half a million foreign students, 70,000 asylees and refugees, 700,000 foreign workers, and 200,000 relatives of foreign workers.”

Sen. Sessions wrote that, “The events described above do not occur in isolation, but are often part of broader networks, groups, and pockets of radicalization made possible by unwise immigration policy. It is time to affirm some fundamental but forgotten principles that will enhance not only our security but also our social and economic well-being:”  “We are under no obligation to admit anyone to the United States.  The selection of new immigrants to the United States should be based on what’s in the best interests of the people already living inside the United States.  Immigrants selected for admission should be expected to be financially self-sufficient and chosen because they are likely to succeed, thrive, and flourish in the United States.  Assimilation is the best policy to ensure both the success of our country and the success of those who arrive in our country. We do both the country and those seeking to enter our country a disservice by failing to promote our language, our laws, and our political customs.”

Sen. Session continued, “We should not admit people in larger numbers than we can reasonably expect to vet, assimilate, and absorb into our schools, communities, and labor markets. It is not compassionate but uncaring to bring in so many people that there are not enough jobs for them or the people already here. As Coolidge said: “We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here.””

Sen. Sessions concluded, “Over the last four decades, immigration levels have quadrupled. The Census Bureau projects that we will add another 14 million immigrants over the next decade. It is not mainstream, but extreme, to continue surging immigration beyond all historical precedent. It is time for moderation to prevail, and for us to focus on improving the jobs, wages, and security of the 300 million people already living inside our borders.”

The Americans killed are: Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, 40; Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, 35; Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist; Lance Cpl. Squire D. “Skip” Wells, 21, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, 26.  Wells is in the Navy, the other four were U.S. Marines. 

According to original reporting by Christian Today’s Czarina Ong Protestant evangelist Franklin Graham is now calling for an end to Muslim immigration to the US. Graham said, “We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad,” he said. “Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalised and they do their killing to honour their religion and Muhammad…Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we’ve got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this Nation in uniform, that God would protect them.”

Senator Jeff Sessions is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.


Officials Respond to Slayings of Unarmed Soldiers in Chattanooga

July 20, 2015

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, July 16, four US Marines and a Sailor are dead in two attacks: one, in a military recruitment office, the other at a Naval training center seven miles apart in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Another two people were reportedly injured in the two attacks.

Early reports are that the shooter, Muhammed Youssef Abdulazeez, 24 was born in Kuwait, and has an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.  Abdulazeez worked briefly as an intern for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).  Dr. Azhar Sheikh, a founding member of the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, told the New York Times that Abdulazeez had begun attending regular Friday prayers over the past two to three months.

Abdulazeez managed to get off over 40 rounds before finally being killed by police officers.  The soldiers, who are not allowed to be armed on base due to a questionable 1992 rule, could only attempt to find cover under office furniture during the attack.  The incident is being investigated as a possible terrorist attack.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that she has instructed the FBI to take the lead agency position in the investigation.  Fox News is reporting that over 100 FBI agents are on the ground investigating this attack. 

Some news sources are reporting that it appears that ISIS, who have been calling for attacks on US military personnel, where they live, may have taken responsibility for the attack ten minutes before that attack, though they didn’t mention Chattanooga or Abdulazeez by name.

Government officials are telling reporters that they were not tracking Abdulazeez, and there is no evidence, at this time, that he was working for ISIS, or any other known terrorist group.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R) said, “Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country, and I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this senseless act.” 

President Obama said, “It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion.” 

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “The devastating news out of Chattanooga should hit at the heart of every American. Our nation’s Marines put their life on the line everyday while serving our Nation oversees, and they shouldn’t also be under attack here at home. Please join me in saying a prayer for all those involved and ask for healing for the community of Chattanooga and our nation’s military.”

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) said, “The facility where Muslim Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed the four US Marines was marked by signs as a gun-free zone. This just proves that criminals and terrorists pay no attention to these useless signs. Praying for the families and friends. Praying for our Nation.”

State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said, “Praying for Chattanooga. Things like this used to only happen in other parts of the world. It was noted in the article that the Islamic State group had been encouraging extremists to carry out attacks in the US, but it’s too early to know if this shooter was affiliated. Please pray for the horrific situation and all the families involved.” 

Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a statement following the attack on the US Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee:  “Today’s cowardly attack is a reminder that our men and women in uniform are under constant threat, no matter where they serve.  I’m deeply saddened by this loss of life, and on behalf of the whole House, offer condolences to the families who lost loved ones today.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the people of Tennessee, and all of our troops.”


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Ted Bridis and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington; Travis Loller and Kristin M. Hall in Nashville; and Rebecca Reynolds Yonker and Claire Galofaro in Louisville, Kentucky as well as ABC 33/40, Fox News, the New York Times and the Blaze contributed to this report.

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