The East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System unveiled

today two new emergency transport helicopters, valued at over $9 million,

to provide patients in East Texas with critical, fast access to the

region’s only level 1 trauma center at ETMC Tyler.

The Eurocopter, EC135 P2+ helicopters will be stationed at ETMC

Tyler and Titus Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant. The EC135

that currently is stationed in Tyler is being upgraded and will be positioned

at ETMC Athens. This allows ETMC to provide high quality care

and rapid transport to residents within a 150-mile radius around each

helicopter base, covering 38 counties in East Texas.

“Since 1985, ETMC Air 1 has been flying the skies of East Texas and

saving thousands of lives,” said Art Chance, vice president of operations

for ETMC.

Syam profited through this scheme by having the Internal

Revenue Service (IRS) deposit about half of this sum

into its own bank account, while the remaining, partial

amount went to the victim.

There is actually no such thing as a federal stimulus

benefit payment program for low-income Social Security

recipients. This means that the IRS would hold the victim

(not Syam) accountable for repaying the whole amount,

penalties and interest. This is when the victims first became

aware of having been cheated because Syam never

informed them that it was either filing a tax return for

them or retaining part of the resultant refund. This means

that the low-income families scammed by Syam cannot repay

the amount for which the IRS now holds them responsible.

Because Syam now possesses its victims’ personal

information there is the threat of additional identity theft.

Investigators suspect Syam filed literally hundreds of

bogus tax returns, and may use the stolen information for

years in order to file more claims. The attorney general’s

office successfully sought a temporary injunction and

asset freeze in hopes of ceasing Syam’s dishonest activities.

The firm is being charged with multiple violations of

the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and of the Texas

Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.

Abbott has already charged Syam and two of its officers,

Shannon Mays and Marshrief Shead, with fraudulently acquiring

sensitive personal information and with filing falsified

federal income tax returns on their victims’ behalf.

Judge Michael Gomez of the 129th District Court in Harris

County has frozen Syam’s assets and issued a temporary

restraining order against all the named defendants.

“Targeting senior centers and churches, Syam Tax Services

launched an apparently well-orchestrated scheme

to defraud the elderly, and even worse, those who rely on

federal benefits for their well-being,” said Abbott. “My office

is working to put a stop to this despicable fraud, and

thanks to the court order we obtained, Syam is prohibited

from continuing to violate the law. We first informed Texans

of this scam in December, and are now moving swiftly

to shut down Syam’s deceptive operation and prevent

other seniors from becoming victims of this scam.”