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Ex-pharmaceutical CEO Ferrone convicted of fraud

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A U.S. federal jury found former Immunosyn Corp Chief Executive Stephen Ferrone guilty on Friday of fraudulently misleading investors, U.S. securities regulators said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011 had charged California-based Immunosyn with misleading investors about the regulatory status of the company’s sole product, a drug derived from goat blood called SF-1019, that was intended to treat a variety of ailments.

The SEC said the jury on Friday found that Ferrone’s “statements in multiple annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports, press releases, speeches, and interviews fraudulently misled investors.”

“We are pleased with the jury’s finding that Stephen Ferrone defrauded Immunosyn’s investors with misleading statements in the company’s filings and press releases and his own speeches and interviews,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’S Division of Enforcement said in a statement.

The SEC’S complaint had alleged that Immunosyn misleadingly stated in various public filings from 2006 to 2010 that its controlling shareholder, Argyll Biotechnologies LLC, either planned to seek or had sought U.S. regulatory approval for human clinical trials for SF-1019.

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(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)


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Fatal drug overdoses drop in US for first time in decades

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Fatal drug overdoses in the US declined by 5.1 percent in 2018, according to preliminary official data released Wednesday, the first drop in two decades.

The trend was driven by a steep decline in deaths linked to prescription painkillers.

"The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America's united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, though he cautioned the epidemic would not be cured overnight.

The total number of estimated deaths dropped to 68,557 in 2018 against 72,224 the year before, according to the figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Judge blocks effort to conceal details in Trump campaign crimes case as Bill Barr’s DOJ mysteriously closes the probe

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A federal judge confirmed on Wednesday that the Justice Department has ended its investigation into campaign finance crimes committed by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, indicating that no one else will face charges in the case. But Judge William Pauley also announced that, over the government’s objections, he will be making many of the underlying documents in the case public without requested redactions.

The case stemmed from Cohen’s efforts during the 2016 campaign to secure hush money payments for two women who said they had affairs with Donald Trump. Since investigators determined these payments were done in order to help secure Trump’s victory, the spending counted as campaign contributions that were never recorded and were, in fact, illegally concealed. The Trump Organization, Cohen has said, helped repay him for the costs of the hush money while disguising the payment falsely as a legal retainer.

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Rand Paul just blocked the 9/11 victim fund because it isn’t paid for — but didn’t care when it was a $1.5 trillion tax cut

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked a call for unanimous consent on Wednesday to push forward with a funding extension for the victims of 9/11, claiming that the new spending should be paid for.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for the bill to be passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, but even a single lawmaker’s objection can block the move and slow down the process. The measure is still widely expected to pass, but Paul wants to use the opportunity to complain about the national debt.

“We need to address our massive debt in this country,” he said “We have a $22 trillion debt. We’re adding debt at about a trillion dollars a year. And therefore any new spending that we are approaching, any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70-80 years, should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at least have this debate.”

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