Fitz File: Friday, March 21

Fitz File: Friday, March 21

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Today is Friday, March 21, the 80th day of 2014. There are 285 days left in the year.

IRS PHONE SCAM - The largest phone scam the Internal Revenue Service has ever seen has targeted more than 20,000 taxpayers, the agency's inspector general said Thursday. Thousands of victims have lost a total of more than $1 million.As part of the scam, fake IRS agents call taxpayers, claim they owe taxes, and demand payment using a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. Those who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license, The inspector general's office started receiving complaints about the scam in August. Immigrants were the primary target early on, the IG's office said. But the scam has since become more widespread.

DRUG TRAFFICKING BUDGET CUTS - Budget cuts at the Coast Guard are coming at an unfortunate time. As the service, like other branches of the military, makes do with less, drug smugglers are increasingly turning to the high seas -- and challenging the Coast Guard's already strained resources. The Coast Guard patrols 95,000 miles of coastline, covering 4.5 million square miles of water. Federal spending cuts have forced the Coast Guard to reduce its operating costs by 25 percent. While helping the government reach deficit reduction targets, this is also threatening efforts to reach President Obama's goal of intercepting 40 percent of illicit drug shipments by 2015.

MILITARY SEX ASSAULTS A Pentagon report estimates as many as 26,000 military members may be sexually assaulted in a year and that thousands of victims don't come forward out of fear their careers might be derailed. The Service Women's Action Network are calling for legislation stripping commanders of the power to prosecute cases and refer them military lawyers. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., failed earlier this month to get the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate. She is expected to bring the legislation back. Sen. Lindsey Graham said order and structure is critical to the military and taking commanders out of the decision will destroy cohesion.

MALAYSIA 370 SEARCH - Is the big tip, a red herring? 2 days after Australia announced the spotting on satellite of what looked like wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, searchers still haven't found the debris. Bad weather Thursday plagued efforts to spot the debris, the largest piece of which would be as large as a shipping container. The weather and visibility is better today. The debris was spotted on satellite images some 1,400 miles from the west coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean. The Boeing 777-200 disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, the capital Malaysia, to Beijing, China, with 239 people on aboard.

Today's Weather:

@fox5weather: Warm start to the weekend-Cooler by Sunday. Still watching out for possible coastal storm next Tuesday! http://t.co/gGhTM98yew

Today in History:

In 1685, composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany.

In 1963, the Alcatraz federal prison island in San Francisco Bay was emptied of its last inmates and closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1965, civil rights demonstrators led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began their third, successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

Today's Quote:

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant" Robert Louis Stevenson

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