Friday, August 17, 2007

AUGUST 17, 2007

The much-anticipated High School Musical 2 makes it to the tube today (Friday) via a much-ballyhooed premiere on The Disney Channel. Ashley Tisdale, one of the stars returning from the original flick, says she's been floored by the way High School Musical has become a phenomenon. Ashley says, "It wasn't like a blockbuster movie coming out that's supposed to be this major hit. The fact that it became a huge phenomenon was really exciting, and we're really grateful for it." On Monday, tell your kids to call in and give us their review of the movie!

Last year, the Pentagon paid $999,798 to ship two 19-CENT washers to a military base in Texas. And normally, this is where we'd start ranting about them spending our taxes like that and how inefficient the military is. But this time, it's not TOTALLY their fault.

That money was billed to them by one of their contractors, C&D Distributors of Lexington, South Carolina. The company has been ripping off the military since 2000, stealing huge amounts of money by exploiting a loophole in the Pentagon's billing system.

Why does the Pentagon still get partial blame??? It took them more than SIX YEARS... and $20.5 MILLION in fraudulent shipping costs... before SOMEONE realized that C&D was corrupt.

C&D billed the Pentagon $455,009 to ship THREE MACHINE SCREWS, costing $1.31 each, to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq. They billed $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to an Air Force base in Florida.

All told, the military had C&D ship $68,000 worth of stuff... and paid 30,147% more than that in shipping.

The loophole that C&D used: If something is shipped to a combat area or a U.S. base and it's labeled "priority", its bill is paid AUTOMATICALLY... without any human ever looking it over. So C&D could get away with outrageous shipping charges.

And they might've gotten away with it... but, like all con artists, they got GREEDY. Once they started billing in the $900,000 range, they didn't realize it... but their bills got flagged and reviewed. That's when the Pentagon caught on.

C&D was owned by twin sisters... one of whom died last year. The one who's still alive, 46-year-old Carlene Corley, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money. She's facing a max sentence of 40 years.

The Pentagon is hoping to recoup most of the $20.5 MILLION by auctioning off the stuff the Corley sisters bought with it: Jewelry, homes, beach property and high-end cars.

If anything good came from this, it's that the Pentagon ran a full audit of all its contractors to see if anyone else was pulling this. No one else was doing it QUITE as much as C&D... the next closest, quote, "rouge contractor" billed "only" $2 MILLION in questionable transport costs.

No winner in Tuesday night's drawing for the Mega Millions Lottery. That means tonight's drawing is valued at $148 million (cash value $85.2 million). Mega Millions is played in 12 states: CA, GA, IL, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, TX, VA, WA. Chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175.7 million.