RHINELANDER - People looking for more information on the Affordable Care Act need to watch out for scammers.
In Wisconsin, people will be able to search for a healthcare plan on the state exchange website October first. But a lot of people still don't know what they need to do, or how the new law affects them.
Scammers are taking advantage of that confusion. They're posing as "navigators". That's someone who helps you negotiate, and buy your new insurance plan. Consumer protection groups have seen this before.
"Any time there's a large government program that is rolling out you tend to see scam artists who want to take advantage of consumer confusion over these large programs and what they mean for them. So we saw similar scams, for example, when Medicare Part D went into effect. After that when the Affordable Care Act was first passed, we saw these types of scams popping up, and again when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act," says John Breyault, from the National Consumers League.
The scammers will ask for information like a credit card or bank account number so you can pay for the insurance they find for you.
But protection groups want you to remember one thing:
"Navigators are not going to call them out of the blue and ask them for this kind of personal information. So if they receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with Obamacare, or being a navigator and they start asking for that sort of information, or worse yet, asking you to send them money so you can buy this insurance, be suspicious. Hang up and report the scam," says Breyault.
You can report the scam with the National Consumers League at fraud.org. If you want more information on the Affordable Care Act you can visit healthcare.gov.
STEVENS POINT - A former Portage County doctor could go to prison for sexually assaulting his patients. Wilton Calderon pled guilty to three felonies Friday.
Calderon was a caregiver at the Plover Family Practice until leaving it in 2015. He then moved to Connecticut.
At least seven women accused Calderon of sexually assaulted them during appointments. Some patients said Calderon placed his genitals in their hands and performed unwanted gynecological exams by penetrating them with his fingers.
SUGAR CAMP - Update Feb. 17, 2017 10:20 p.m. -- The woman who runs an Oneida County animal rescue could face animal mistreatment charges.
Oneida County Deputies booked Stephanie Schneider on Thursday. She is due in court on Feb. 27.
Last week, deputies removed 39 dogs from Schneider's "It Matters to One" in Sugar Camp and put them at the Oneida County Humane Society.
Police are recommending charges to the district attorney, which include failing to provide food and water, mistreating animals, and obstructing officers.
People who know Schneider say they can't believe this is happening.
"I'm just heartsick about this, and I'm sick at heart for her," said LynnAnn Thomas, a Sugar Camp resident who says she's friends with Stephanie Schneider.
"Those are her children. She would never, ever , ever mistreat them," Thomas said.
But that's exactly what police believe Schneider did. Last week they removed the dogs from the facility after a weeks-long investigation that was prompted by complaints and concerns from several people.
"People that had worked or volunteered there were concerned about the conditions that the dogs were in and the fact that they were not receiving food or water," said Oneida County Sheriff's Capt. Terri Hook.
Those accusations baffle Thomas.
"I been over there several times, it's always been meticulously clean, happy dogs," Thomas said.
Thomas believes whatever condition the dogs were in, they came to Schneider that way.
"She does get some really, really, really desperate cases, and I imagine that they take a long time to heal," Thomas said.
Thomas added she got her own dog from It Matters To One a few years ago.
"I got my little Hankey, he came in in really bad shape, and she wouldn't let me have him until he was nursed back to health," Thomas said.
Since the dogs were removed, It Matters to One posted certificates of veterinary inspections on its Facebook page for most of the 39 dogs. The Sheriff's Office has seen those and is including them in its investigation, which is ongoing and may not end soon.
"Just to ensure that all the dogs are healed and make sure they've received all the care they need," Hook said.
Newswatch 12 has reached out to It Matters to One and has been communicating with the rescue via email.
The state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection is helping the sheriff's office with its investigation and will decide if the rescue can keep its license.
Newswatch 12 also reached out to the veterinarian who conducted the inspections for the rescue, but has not yet heard back.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Once landfills run out of space, the county must decide where the garbage will go. At a meeting on Monday, it was announced that the Vilas County landfill has about 10 years left before it will have to find a new location to dispose of trash. Oneida County had a similar decision to make years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the Oneida County landfill was capped.
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