Investigations

  The Investigators: Unemployed Mid-Southerners report their benefits are going elsewhere after accounts hacked

Some unemployed Tennesseans are contacting the WMC Action News 5 Investigators saying other people are getting their unemployment money because their account information was changed without their knowledge.

THE INVESTIGATORS

Jessica Jaglois

Jessica Jaglois

Investigative reporter

Jessica Jaglois is an investigative reporter at WMC Action News 5. She has a particular interest in investigating stories about government corruption and waste, criminal justice and issues facing children.

As the city of New Orleans's most honored investigative reporter, Lee Zurik has been uncovering and reporting impactful stories on WVUE since 2009. Following up his tenacious inquiries with detailed analysis and powerful storytelling, Lee delivers unprecedented accountability of government officials, private citizens and corporations.

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa

Investigative reporter

Rachel DePompa is NBC12's On Your Side Investigator. Before joining WWBT in March of 2008 Rachel worked in Roanoke, Bristol and Harrisonburg.

  The Investigators: Available hospital beds plummet across Mid-South after post-Thanksgiving surge

  The Investigators: TSA is finding more guns at airports with far fewer passengers

  The Investigators: How the COVID-19 vaccine is being tracked from the maker to the patient

  The Investigators: Why hasn’t Tennessee administered the COVID-19 vaccine yet?

  You can soon track how many people have been vaccinated for COVID-19

  The Investigators: Fans stuck with hundreds of dollars in tickets after pandemic brings concert cancellations

Continued Coverage

  The Investigators: Mid-South porch pirate thefts have increased along with online shopping purchases

  The Investigators: Children’s Service’s commissioner says kids were not left in unsafe environments in response to state report

  The Investigators: Mid-Southerners losing thousands buying products on fake websites, purchasing puppies that never arrive

  The Investigators: MPD excessive force complaints rarely get more than an internal review

  The Investigators: What to do if someone threatens that your Social Security number, benefits are being suspended

  Shot to the System: Memphis children’s hospital overwhelmed by young shooting victims

  Tonight at 10: The Investigators dig into Memphis' gun violence and its young victims

Tonight at 10, we’re tracking what the health department calls an epidemic impacting our communities and hospitals -- gun violence and the young victims caught in the crossfire.

  The Investigators: Tennessee woman scammed by lover found on internet; romance and sextortion scams on the rise

Dating-site traffic is up and so are the number of scammers on those sites who say they want your love, but really want your money.

  Tonight at 10: Romance scams in the age of COVID-19

Traffic on dating sites is up and the Investigators warn so are they numbers of scammers on those sites.

  The Investigators: Where you live could determine whether you’ll survive COVID-19

Where you live plays a major role in whether you’ll survive COVID-19 if you contract the disease.

  Tonight at 10: The Investigators reveal where you live may affect whether you survive COVID-19

  Nurse practitioner field grapples with question of whether to standardize curriculum nationwide

  The Investigators: Employment scams rampant in Mid-South; woman is threatened after accepting fake job

  Is that new work-from-home job on the up and up? The Investigators dig into online job postings tonight at 10

  The Investigators: After he was murdered, his wife got his killer’s properties and thousands of dollars in back taxes

  Tonight at 10: Nearly 20 years after her husband’s murder, widow gets stuck with his killer’s tax bill

  Penalties at Play: Millions of dollars flow to nursing homes from fines they have paid for poor care

Every year millions of dollars flow to nursing homes from a fund that is padded with fines collected from long-term care facilities that inspections show have put the health and safety of residents in jeopardy.

  The Investigators: Quitman County will finally get its first grocery store in 3 years

For years now, the people of Quitman County, Mississippi have been without easy access to fresh food.

  The Investigators: Hundreds of Mid-Southerners have reported scams this year. This tool may help you avoid becoming a victim

“Scammers play on that desperation,” said Daniel Irwin, who does research and investigations for the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. “They play on the need for money, they play on the need for assistance.”

  The Investigators: Outdated FEMA maps mean Mid-Southerners at risk of flooding are unaware

Thousands of homes are at risk of flooding in the Mid-South, yet few homeowners have the insurance they need to protect their greatest asset.

  The Investigators: Voting equipment became more expensive after elections administrator’s modifications

Shelby County voters will choose their preferred candidates next month using machines that have been in operation for over a decade.

  The Investigators: Ticket companies are refusing refunds for canceled and postponed events. Here’s what you can expect.

Concerts and sporting events have been canceled or postponed because of the pandemic. Now, fans are accusing ticket companies of holding their money hostage instead of issuing refunds.

  Military equipment flows to Mid-South law enforcement agencies

Over the last three decades, more than $7 billion worth of surplus military equipment has found its way into the hands of law enforcement agencies across our country -- including here in the Mid-South.

  The Investigators: How local universities are sharing COVID-19 data and handling cases

The WMC Action News Five Investigators also looked at what happens after a student living on campus tests positive.

  The Investigators: Work resumes at utility site amid race discrimination investigation

A multi-million dollar MLGW project is the focus of a federal fair housing investigation centered on race.

  The Investigators: Father of pepper spray victim says he feared for his son’s safety

The father of the man pepper sprayed four times while handcuffed in the back of a Memphis Police cruiser sat down exclusively with WMC Action News Five Thursday.

  The Investigators: COVID-19 is in schools; is your school doing enough to keep students safe?

Public tracking tools are now available in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee that show the number of COVID-19 cases by school or school district. But what do the numbers mean for your child’s safety?

  The Investigators: Excessive force complaint leads to body cam review, officer resignation

Disturbing police body camera video shows an encounter between a former Memphis Police officer and a man he was arresting.

  The Investigators: Declining enrollment numbers could mean millions of dollars lost in state education funding

Concerns over declining student enrollment and attendance have educators and state leaders searching for solutions.

  The Investigators: Does your internet plan have enough data to handle virtual learning?

Parents logging online for work as their children virtually learn may find they don’t have enough data to handle it all.

  The Investigators: Working parents choose between child care or leaving children unattended as students learn virtually

With more than 95,000 Shelby County students attending classes at home this school year, parents are forced to answer who will watch their children kids while they work, and is that child care affordable?

  The Investigators: How virtual schooling could impact parents’ mental health

More parents reaching out for support as they deal with stress from the pandemic and the de facto home-schooling that comes with virtual classes.

  The Investigators: Teachers are leaving the profession because of COVID-19

School districts across the Mid-South need more teachers now. A teacher shortage existed before the pandemic, but fears over COVID-19 may be making the problem worse.

Tunica County man shot to death in Coahoma County

On Wednesday August 19, 2020 a Tunica county resident was fatally shot multiple times in Coahoma, Mississippi.

  The Investigators: The field trip has gone virtual. Will the places that rely on the revenue survive?

In this time of social distancing and virtual learning, the field trip now looks different. The hands-on experience a field trip usually offers has been brought to an online platform.

  The Investigators: What will increased screen time mean for your child’s physical, mental health?

Medical experts say too much screen time can be harmful to anyone, but what about developing minds in particular?

  The Investigators: Private school applications spike as public schools go virtual

Public schools have reduced the number of days children are in an actual classroom or canceled in-person classes completely. Meanwhile, many area private schools plan to bring students on campus five days a week, and many of those schools have seen a higher number of applications this semester.

  The Investigators: Parents of special education students anxious about Shelby County’s virtual plan

The Shelby County School District’s decision to hold all classes online this semester is forcing families to make big adjustments, especially for the thousands of children who are in special education classes.

  The Investigators: Breaking down the cost of bridging Shelby County’s digital divide

The WMC Investigators looked into the cost associated with these devices. Providing 95,000 digital devices and accessories to Shelby County students doesn’t come cheap.

  The Investigators: Should parents in certain communities be more concerned for their children’s risk of contracting COVID-19?

The number of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the Mid-South but in some places, the number is increasing at a more rapid pace.

  The Investigators: As some schools offer in-person lessons, Mid-South doctors discuss short-term, long-term effects of COVID-19 on children

Some Mid-South parents are still trying to decide if they should send their children back to school next month or instead, opt for in-home, virtual learning.

  Mid-South churches, private and charter schools reap millions in taxpayer-funded loans

Millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded loans that were meant to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic have been distributed to dozens of churches, private schools, and charter schools across the Mid-South.

  The Investigators: Dozens of female inmates have been granted parole but remain behind bars

Their releases are delayed because access to classes the inmates must take before gaining freedom has been postponed due to the pandemic.

  The Investigators: COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise. Here’s what that means.

Data charts from the Departments of Health for Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi all show the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rising dramatically.

  The Investigators: What Mid-Southerners need to know when federal unemployment assistance ends

Mid-Southerners who rely on unemployment money will soon lose a large amount of their benefits near the end of the month.

  The Investigators: Number of infected inmates drop dramatically at Forrest City prison; inmates, loved ones concerned by the decrease

There has been a dramatic drop in the number of inmates infected with COVID-19 at an Arkansas prison.

  The Investigators: Waiting on the state, hundreds of Tennesseans who are eligible for unemployment have not received their benefits

Hundreds of Tennesseans haven’t received their unemployment benefits because they owe the money to the state.

  The Investigators: Could COVID-19 cause Memphis’ next housing crisis?

While thousands of Shelby County residents are facing eviction right now, more renters could be forced from their homes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers say the influx could push Memphis into its next housing crisis.

  The Investigators: What would defunding the Memphis Police Department look like?

While calls to defund and demilitarize police departments across the country are growing louder, so is the confusion and outrage surrounding those statements.

  The Investigators: Fewer homes, higher prices in the Memphis market

Memphis is a seller’s market right now.

  Memphis Police Director: ‘Room to revise’ officer training, ‘nothing more important’ than firearms training

Activists and community members continue to call for changes to policing across the country, including more de-escalation training for officers. Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings told the WMC Action News 5 Investigators that there is room for improvement.

  The Investigators: Memphis police director makes first change to policy since George Floyd’s death, protests

Changes have been made to the Memphis police policy in response to George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.

  The Investigators: All Tennessee voters can request absentee ballots during the pandemic. What’s next and how do you get one?

All Tennessee voters can now request an absentee ballot following a judge’s ruling that allows mail-in ballots for anyone who doesn’t feel safe going to the polls because of COVID-19.

  The Investigators: Will more absentee ballots in Tennessee mean more voter fraud?

Prior to Thursday night’s ruling, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered that Shelby County voters were already requesting absentee ballots in record numbers.

  The Investigators: Unemployment benefits, workplace safety among reasons Tennesseans aren’t returning to work

More than 1,200 Tennesseans are accused of choosing not to go back to work, even though their workplaces have reopened.

  The Investigators: Child abuse reports dropped to a 5-year low in Arkansas, officials won’t link it to the COVID-19 pandemic

Child abuse reports in Arkansas dropped to a five-year low in Arkansas in April, which also happened to be Child Abuse and Prevention Month.

  The Investigators: TN Department of Labor says federal guidance for unemployment could have been more ‘clear’, ‘timely’

Months after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses across the state, thousands of out-of-work Tennesseans still have not received their unemployment money.

  The Investigators: Labor commissioner says worker shortage to blame for Tenn. unemployment delays

The Investigators sat down with the Tennessee Department of Labor commissioner to ask what’s being done to process the backlog and bring relief to desperate, unemployed workers.

  New COVID-19 map released by Health Department shows several neighborhoods in Shelby County are no longer hotspots

Two Shelby County neighborhoods identified as COVID-19 hotspots have seen their case rates drop.

  The Investigators: Tennessee lawmakers hear desperate cries from the unemployed during virtual town hall

Dozens of Tennesseans who still haven’t received their unemployment benefits voiced their concerns to law makers Friday.

  The Investigators: Shelby County Health Department changes how it measures COVID-19 infection rates

Health officials have changed the way they are tracking COVID-19 hot spots in Shelby County.

  The Investigators: Small communities near Shelby County have higher incidence of COVID-19

The COVID-19 case rate is higher in several small communities outside of Shelby County. While those counties have fewer COVID-19 cases, the disease is more prevalent.

  Wrong video conference help line routes to scammers

Incorrect tech support numbers posted on the internet lead to scammers trying to trick consumers into giving up their credit card information.

  The Investigators: You may lose money if you cancel your vacation rental during the COVID-19 pandemic

Beaches and vacation rentals are now open in Georgia, Alabama and eight counties in Florida, just in time for Memorial Day. However, one local family says they wished they knew the cancellation policies for the vacation rental they booked for Memorial Day weekend.

  The Investigators: Why fewer people are being tested in Arkansas than in Mississippi and Tennessee

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has set a goal of testing 60,000 people for COVID-19 by the end of May. The reason is because Arkansas’s test rate is far below other states in the Mid-South.

  Dozens of nursing homes cited for infection-related deficiencies early this year now have COVID-19 cases

An analysis of state nursing home inspections and records of COVID-19 infections associated with nursing homes by the Washington Post reveals dozens of facilities had infection-related violations in the months before coronavirus infections.

  The Investigators: Shelby County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate declines even as businesses reopen

As more people test for COVID-19, the number of cases will continue to rise but health officials are watching the testing positivity rate.

  The Investigators: What happens when state unemployment funds dry up in a matter weeks?

Tennessee state officials are closely watching the amount of money in the state’s unemployment fund because it could run out in a matter of weeks.

  Watching Your Wallet: Scammers found infiltrating legitimate job posting sites

Scammers are looking to take advantage of unemployed and furloughed workers looking for job online. They're even using common job search websites to target people.

  The Investigators: How those who file for unemployment in the Mid-South are falling through the cracks

As businesses partially reopen in the Mid-South, tens of thousands of people who have been or remain out of work still have not received their unemployment benefits.

  The Investigators: City employees reassigned to patrol parks

Courtesy crews will be patrolling parks for the foreseeable future to make sure people follow the rules that remain in place under Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s amended safer-at-home order.

  The Investigators: The number health officials are watching as businesses reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

Shelby County officials said Wednesday that there is a flattening the curve even as the number of COVID-19 cases grows. However, health officials are watching another number to help determine if or when we’ll enter Phase 2 of Shelby County’s Back-to-Business Plan.

  Drug Dependence: COVID-19 weakens already fragile U.S. drug supply

Unlike many other countries, the FDA doesn't require a "made in" label on drugs, even though the federal agency estimates 80% of the ingredients and 40% of the finished drugs are manufactured overseas.

  The Investigators: Memphis International Airport sees $11M loss as COVID-19 pandemic persists

As Memphis International Airport prepares for an influx of federal money, concerns remain over whether the airline will be able to pay their rent.