State Roundup

Saleswoman’s door-to-door tactics curtailed

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — A door-to-door saleswoman whose tactics have been criticized by residents is no longer allowed to sell books in Ludington.

Claire Whitcomb, who refers to herself as “Bookgirl,” works for Nashville-based Southwestern Advantage, a company that recruits college students to sell products door-to-door across the country. The Ludington Daily News reports that the permit allowing Whitcomb to sell books in Ludington was revoked after some residents complained to police and officials at City Hall.

Whitcomb has since apologized to anyone in the community who felt she was “pushy” or “rude” while trying to make a sale.

A representative from Southwestern Advantage tells WPBN-TV that Whitcomb has had positive interactions with 90 percent of the 2,000 families she has visited so far this summer.

2 men convicted in $33M home health fraud scheme

DETROIT (AP) — Federal authorities say two Ypsilanti residents have been convicted for their roles in a $33 million Medicare fraud scheme involving home health care.

The U.S. Department of Justice says 49-year-old Zafar Mehmood and 48-year-old Badar Ahmadani were convicted Monday on federal charges including conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks.

Prosecutors accused Mehmood and Ahmadani of getting patients by paying cash kickbacks to recruiters, who then gave cash to patients to persuade them to sign up with Mehmood’s companies. Authorities say the two also gave kickbacks to physicians to refer patients to their companies for unnecessary home health services.

The Justice Department says evidence also showed the two defendants and co-conspirators falsified records to show patients qualified for and received services, billing Medicare more than $33 million.

Farmer helps airport cut costs — and its grass

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a farmer is helping a suburban Detroit airport cut costs — and grass.

The Oakland Press of Pontiac reports that for the past three years the local farmer has gone to Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township to bale field grass for his horses.

Dave VanderVeen, director of Oakland County’s central services, says the county doesn’t have to mow the property so it’s “a win-win for us and him.” VanderVeen says the mowing of roughly 40 acres, along with wear-and-tear on equipment, would cost about $6,000.

VanderVeen says the farmer ends up with about 110 large bales of field grass and weeds.


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