Hogwash Volume 38



Hogwash! Issue No. 38




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June 2015
Welcome to Hogwash!

 

Rosi and Gardner

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Issue: 38
In This Issue

Is Big (Corporate) Brother Watching?



The re-authorization, modification, or expiration of “the Patriot Act,” has been the subject of much discussion recently.   Those discussions have focused attention on many questions about what data and information should be collected, analyzed and maintained, in our digital, and real, world.  But what if it is your employer, not the government, doing the surveillance?

 

One woman, Myrna Aria, decided that it was not acceptable; she had had enough.  She disabled the “tracer” app (Xora) from her phone, and was promptly fired from her job at Intermex, a money transfer service.  Her lawsuit, filed in California, claims that not only was the smartphone app monitoring her travels during work hours, but a supervisor was monitoring her activity (including how fast she was driving, etc.) and location on weekends as well, when she was not working.  

 

According to Ms. Aria’s lawsuit, her supervisor told her that she was required to leave her phone powered on, 24/7, to be available for client calls.  As such, with the Xora app installed as the company asked, the company could determine her whereabouts, and track her travels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless whether she was on “work time” or “personal time.”

 

In its response the company will probably counter that it operates a sensitive business (international money transfer) which might be affected by its employees’ “after hours” activities. Perhaps most importantly, installation and maintenance of the app on the employees’ phones appears to have been made a term of her employment.  

 

May a company do that?  The Kern County Superior Court might tell us.  The plaintiff is seeking over $500,000 in damages.  Stay tuned . . .

Special Needs Trusts

 

Families that include a family member with a disability should consider, as part of their estate planning the establishment of a Special Needs Trust.   A Special Needs Trust can both (a) provide funds for the long term care of the person with a disability and (b) avoid the possible loss of governmental benefits as may now exist or be established in the future.

Quite regularly we learn about the expanding scope of disabilities that may affect our loved ones. Although these individuals may have the ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veteran s (VA) and Medicaid benefits, family members may want to supplement those benefits.  

 

Unfortunately, without careful advance planning such generosity may jeopardize some or all of those benefits. Setting up a Special Needs Trust is one option. The trust may be established inter vivos (during one’s lifetime) or testamentary (in the benefactor’s will). Under provisions established by the congress in 1993, the Social Security Operations Manual authorizes the use of Supplemental Needs Trusts for individuals under the age of 65 to hold assets not otherwise countable when determining applicable benefits to which the disable person may be entitled.

 

By placing assets in a Special Needs Trust where a trustee with complete discretion regarding the management and use of the assets and income – not the disabled person – has control over the trust assets we expect that SSI and Medicaid will not take into account the trust assets in determining benefits. The trustee’s powers are limited to the extent that he or she may not give money directly to the disabled person (the Ward of the Trust). However, the trustee is free to purchase a wide variety of goods and services for the individual including living accommodations, personal care attendants, out-of-pocket medical, dental and rehabilitation expenses, education, motor vehicles and recreation including vacations.

 

Special Needs Trusts are not only for the well to do.  There are many non-profit entities that have established pooled special needs trusts. These entities pool the resources of many contributors to provide benefits to several beneficiaries. Pooled trusts have some benefits not available to individual trusts that merit consideration when deciding on at trust.

 

The preparation of a Special Needs Trust requires the professional evaluation of the family resources and the applicable federal and state laws to minimize the potential adverse impact of those laws. To learn more please give us a call at 231-941-5878.

The FIFA Corruption Case: How the U.S. Justice System Can Reach Across the Atlantic


Twelve months ago, billions around the world were tuned into the 2014 World Cup, soccer’s greatest, quadrennial event organized by FIFA, the sport’s international governing body. Fast forward one year, and FIFA is again in the spotlight-but for all the wrong reasons.

 

Last May 27, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted more than a dozen FIFA officials on charges including wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The indicted officials were arrested in Switzerland and face extradition to the U.S.

 

Allegations involve the receipt of bribes totaling more than $100 million. More indictments will likely follow, and the Swiss authorities have opened a separate criminal investigation pertaining the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, currently scheduled to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively. Human rights groups had already decried that thousands of migrant construction workers are expected to die during the building of lavish, state-of-the-art soccer stadiums in Qatar-a nation that has never qualified for the World Cup and where summer temperatures average 120-plus degrees, making it a strange host for a soccer event traditionally held in the summer.

 

Amidst it all, on May 29 (two days after the initial arrests) FIFA President Sepp Blatter somehow managed to win re-election for the fourth time since taking over in 1998… only to kinda-sorta-maybe* resign from his position four days later.

 

But let’s backtrack a little bit: how does the U.S. justice system have authority to bust a criminal conspiracy involving a foreign nonprofit (cue: laughter) organization based in Zurich, Switzerland?

 

The answer lies in U.S. statutes that contain “long arm” provisions, which can reach foreign citizens if they violate certain laws so long as a sufficient connection exists between the foreign citizen and the United States. The recent FIFA charges include wire fraud allegations where the bribe money was being “wired” through banking institutions that keep their electronic servers in New York City-the required “jurisdictional nexus” to allow the prosecutions to go on.

 

Although the U.S. justice system can prosecute foreign citizens, it doesn’t necessarily follow that foreign governments must cooperate. In this case, the swiftness of the arrests in Switzerland indicates that U.S. and Swiss authorities had probably been working together on the charges. But even so, there is no guarantee that the arrested officials will be extradited to the United States.

 

It is possible that, by the time this story goes to press, there will have been new twists and turns. Yet one thing is certain: FIFA’s aura of invincibility (or invisibility?) is gone, largely thanks to the far reach of U.S. laws.

 

* Due to a convenient technicality, Blatter will remain FIFA President until a new election takes place, which will take at least four months per FIFA’s bylaws. 

Hogwash! Humor   
     

What do an accordion and a lawsuit have in common?


Everyone is relieved when the case is closed!

 

 

~Taken with permission from Briant Sikorski

June Special Offer

  

Special Needs Trust 

 

Are you or is someone you know interested in learning more about a Special Needs Trust?  Call us and mentions “Hogwash!” for a free consultation. 

 

 

(231) 941-5878

Offer Expires 07/15/2015

Karen’s Home Cooking 

 

 

Welcome to summer and all the beautiful things coming out of the earth. I love strawberries and am so happy the season is finally here. Here are a few of my favorite strawberry recipes, including a facial mask.

 

Strawberry Sorbet

1 quart ripe strawberries, stemmed and frozen

5 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup water

 

Freeze strawberries for two hours or until hard. Place strawberries and sugar into a food processor and pulse machine on and off until fruit is broken up. Add water and continue processing until you have a smooth puree.

 

Transfer to a container and freeze for two hours, or until firm enough to scoop. I stir the mixture every 30 minutes or so.

 

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie with Almond Crisp topping

1 egg

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1 pint fresh strawberries, halved

1 unbaked pie shell (9 inches)

1 tsp lemon zest

 

TOPPING:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

½ vanilla bean (optional)

6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/4-inch pieces

½ cup slices almonds (or you can grind them, it’s a textural choice)

 

In a large bowl, beat egg. Beat in the sugar, flour and vanilla until well blended. Gently stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Pour into pastry shell.

 

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and oats; cut in butter until crumbly, mix in almonds. Sprinkle over fruit.

 

Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°; bake for 35 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

 

 

 

Strawberry Daiquiri

1 cup light rum or golden tequila

3/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ cups frozen whole strawberries

 

Pour rum and lime juice into blender container. Add sugar and whirl to dissolve. Drop frozen berries into blender container, a few at a time, blending until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses.

 

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy seed Dressing

Dressing:                                                       

1/3 cup olive oil                                              

1/4 cup sugar                                                  

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar                                  

2 tbsp sesame seed

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 chopped onion

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

 

Shake and refrigerate at least one hour then serve on spinach greens and fresh strawberries. Top with toasted pecans and crispy bacon for extra pizzazz!

 

 

Homemade Strawberry Mask

8 – 9 Fresh strawberries

2 tbsp of honey

1 tbsp of oil – Extra virgin olive, jojoba, grapeseed or sweet almond oil

Few drops of fresh lemon juice – about eight drops if you have dry skin and up to one tablespoon for oily skin.

 

In a bowl, mash the strawberries with a fork until smooth. Stir in the honey, oil, and lemon juice until all the ingredients are well-incorporated. Using clean hands or a sanitized brush, gently apply the mixture all over your face, avoiding the eye area. Lie down and leave the mask on for five minutes. Wash it away with warm water, pat your face dry and follow up with your favorite toner and moisturizer. 

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Rosi & Gardner, P.C.
735  S. Garfield Avenue
Suite 202
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
231-941-5878
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Philip R. Rosi

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Gary Allen Gardner

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