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Shelby Women sentenced in SNAP fraud

Cruz Gonzalez, and her daughter, Fabiola Garcia, of Shelby, Michigan, are convicted of food stamp fraud according to U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles.  Gonzalez was sentenced to 33 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist. Her daughter, Garcia, was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Both were ordered to pay restitution to the Department of Agriculture in the amount of $722,149, the total amount of the fraud between February 2008 and January 2014. The two conspired to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, by illegally exchanging SNAP benefits for cash, cell phones, and other ineligible items at La Fortuna Carniceria in Shelby. U.S. Attorney Miles stated, “The federal government cannot tolerate the theft of federal program benefits meant to aid low income individuals meet daily nutritional needs. Such theft undermines the public’s confidence in the SNAP program and diminishes the government’s ability to provide food assistance to those citizens most in need.”

Gonzalez and Garcia were two of three conspirators charged and convicted in the conspiracy. The third, Gisela Mendoza, also a daughter of Gonzalez, was sentenced in November to six months in prison, two months of home detention, and restitution of an equal amount.

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Keeping computer data safe

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How do we keep our data safe in the modern age? Andy Mazur, technical manager for Shelby based marketing firm Envigor, explains some of the most common mistakes people make when attempt to keep their computer data safe.

“One of the biggest ones is simple passwords. Using something that can be easily guessed by a program. A lot of hackers use a method called brute forcing.That's just a program that has a huge list of random names, letters, characters, and they just run through each of those trying to break into your account. Having a strong password, a strong password being something with uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers, a combination of that, will help prevent that.”

 

Andy Mazur also recommend people use caution when using the internet on an open wifi network such as freely through a business. “When you’re browsing on an open network, something not secure, where you don’t have to enter a password,  there are various ways to ensure to prevent your information from being stolen. For example, just making sure the website you’re browsing is encrypted. I’m sure you’ve seen the little green lock or the https in the web URL; that's always a good thing.”

 

A VPN Is also recommended for open networks. It allows users to connect to a private network and encrypts all the traffic between the networks, preventing from any nearby hackers from accessing your data through the open network.

He also recommends two factor authentication. “Instead of just typing in your password for your account, you type in your password and a secondary code. That code is usually sent via text or applications on your phone that can generate these numbers, Basically you're entering a password and a unique number that only your phone has access to.”


Andy Mazur recommends reaching out to your trusted technical support if you have questions about the best software for your computer.

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Vanderwall reflects on first day in office

Curt VanderWall spent his first day in office yesterday.  He outlined his priorities for this session of the state House of Representatives.

“Top priorities are of course going to be education, the trades, brings skilled trade back into our school systems. Giving some of our young people an opportunity to have  career and family sustaining job without going to a 5 year college.”


Vanderwall also stressed the importance of remaining connected to his District. “One thing we started immediately after the election, of making sure were were continuing the same trend of being in each county. And we will continue that trend right on through. I love the 101st and everybody that’s there. I’m just so thankful to be able to represent what I think is the prettiest district in the state.”

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