Owner of dog mistakenly flown to Japan 'likely' to take legal action against United Airlines

ABC News(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The owner of a dog mistakenly flown to Japan will “most likely” pursue legal action against United Airlines, she said Friday on ABC News’ “Good Morning America”

“Most likely, yes, we will,” Kansas resident Kara Swindle said when asked whether she will bring a case against United, which misrouted her dog, Irgo, on a 16-hour ordeal to Japan.

“I don’t want this to ever happen again,” she said. “I want to make sure that they actually do something to stop all of this and make sure that no one has to go through this.”

Swindle and her family were reunited Thursday with Irgo, a 10-year-old German shepherd.

"He seems to be doing OK," Swindle said. "He’s a little restless but, hopefully, once we get him back home he can finally start to relax a little."

Swindle and her family moved recently to Kansas. They were supposed to collect Irgo at a cargo facility in Kansas City, Missouri, Tuesday afternoon.

United said in a statement Wednesday that “two pets” were sent to “wrong destinations.”

"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations," the statement read. "We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened."

United had originally planned to fly Irgo home from Japan on a commercial flight with an attendant but, instead, flew him home on the airline's corporate jet, Swindle said.

"He's never going to want to fly regular again," she joked.

The mix-up involving Irgo came just days after an incident in which a puppy died on a United flight when a flight attendant ordered the owner to place a bag containing the dog in the overhead bin.

Swindle said she plans to get Irgo settled in the family's new home before taking any action against United.

"So far we haven’t talked about what is going to happen after. We’ve just wanted to get him home," she said. "Now that he’s home and, hopefully, in the next week or so, we can finally talk to [United] about what’s going to be done to fix this."

United did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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Trump business associate: I’m only 'guilty of trying to build the world’s tallest building'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Felix Sater, a Soviet-born American businessman who has raised funds for real estate developments on behalf of the Trump Organization, said there was nothing nefarious about the proposal to build "Trump Tower Moscow" during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sater discussed the proposal, which would have brought the tallest building in the world to Moscow, in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos airing Friday morning on ABC News’ Good Morning America, just as The New York Times reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed the Trump Organization for any Russia-related documents as part of his ongoing probe of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

“Eventually, it will become known that I’m guilty of trying to build the world’s tallest building, and that’s about it,” Sater said.

"Felix Sater was very enthusiastic and very tenacious” in trying to put the deal together, Sater said, but any perceived alignment of Trump’s business and political interests was purely coincidental.

“I was trying to do a real estate transaction,” Sater told ABC News. “I clearly was not involved in the campaign, nor was I involved in any of the political end, and the hope that a large transaction like that would be built. If that was helpful to his run, that would be great.”

Sater has decided to speak out in order to counter what he calls a false narrative spread in media reports that focus on his felony assault conviction stemming from a drunken bar fight in which he slashed a man’s face. Instead, Sater said, he should be viewed as a patriot because of his covert work as an intelligence asset for the FBI and CIA on highly sensitive matters of organized crime and national security.

As detailed this week in a report by BuzzFeed, Sater has assisted U.S. law enforcement in operations targeting everything from mafia members to terror threats.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders referred questions about Mueller’s subpoena to the Trump Organization. Alan S. Futerfas, an attorney for the Trump Organization, said they have been cooperating with Mueller’s office.

“Since July 2017, we have advised the public that the Trump Organization is fully cooperative with all investigations, including the special counsel, and is responding to their requests," he said in a statement. "This is old news, and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”

Sater pushed the project in his one-time role as a “senior adviser” to Trump, who signed a nonbinding letter of intent, which promised a $4 million initial payment to the Trump Organization, to pursue a Trump Tower-style building development in Moscow in 2015. The existence of the project seemed to contradict statements Trump made during the campaign that he had “no relationship to Russia whatsoever.”

The Washington Post and The New York Times published emails between Sater and his childhood friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, discussing "Trump Tower Moscow," in which Sater appears to celebrate the apparent nexus between Trump’s business and political fortunes.

“I know how to play it, and we will get this done. Buddy, our boy can become president of the USA, and we can engineer it," he wrote, adding, "I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.”

Sater told ABC News that those emails reveal only that he was “beyond giddy” about the dual prospects of a billion-dollar deal and Trump’s candidacy. If the deal had progressed further, he said, he would have “gotten to people who know Putin to try to get his blessing” for the project.

“I do not know Putin,” Sater said. “If this transaction was moving forward, I certainly would have made the effort to get to him.”

According to a statement released by Cohen in August, Cohen told Trump about the project three times and did, in fact, reach out to the Kremlin at Sater’s behest before the project was ultimately abandoned -- before, Cohen said, any money changed hands.

“In mid-January 2016, Mr. Sater suggested that I send an email to Mr. Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for the president of Russia, since the proposal would require approvals within the Russian government that had not been issued,” Cohen’s statement read. “Those permissions were never provided. I decided to abandon the proposal less than two weeks later for business reasons and do not recall any response to my email nor any other contacts by me with Mr. Peskov or other Russian government officials about the proposal.”

Asked if then-candidate Trump could have softened his stance on Russia because he was simultaneously pursuing a business deal there, Sater demurred.

“I can’t speak for the president,” he said.

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Criminal charges considered in New York, Texas after death of dog on United flight

United Airlines(NEW YORK) -- Prosecutors in two states are reviewing the death of a dog on a United Airlines flight to see whether animal cruelty charges are warranted.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, where the flight originated, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York, where it landed, are examining the incident and whether they have jurisdiction.

“We are currently reviewing the facts to determine if there is a prosecutable case,” a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

In Texas, the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce is investigating, according to Carvana Cloud of the district attorney’s office.

“We’ll review the evidence and apply the law,” Cloud said.

The district attorneys offices are weighing charges after a dog named Kokito died in an overhead bin on a Monday flight. Kokito was placed in the overhead bin after a flight attendant told the dog's family they had to remove it from the aisle to clear the path.

United, however, said the flight attendant did not hear the passenger's warning that there was an animal in the container.

"We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier. However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin," United said in the statement. "As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident."

United said it was investigating the incident. It also said it would implement a new policy in April in which it will issue brightly colored tags to customers traveling with animals.

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Snuggie customers can cozy up to $7.2M in refunds thanks to FTC settlement

YouTube(NEW  YORK) -- The Snuggie has raked in millions, but now the company behind famous "as seen on TV" fleece blanket is being forced to pay its customers $7.2 million back in refunds.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged that Allstar Marketing Group, the New York-based company behind the infomercial product, misrepresented and deceived customers with its ads.

The settlement cites unauthorized charges and failure to adequately disclose material terms of the offer, under the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

According to court documents, the FTC said Allstar's "buy-one-get-one-free" promotion failed to disclose additional charges to customers for processing and handling.

The product is said to be available for "just $19.95" and promises consumers the offer will be doubled for "less than $10 each." Those ads never disclosed that a $7.95 handling fee would be applied to each product in the order, which nearly doubled the total price to $35.85.

"The televised commercials for all of its products adhere to a nearly identical script," the FTC said, referring to the deal the company used for multiple products, including the Snuggie and the Magic Mesh screen door.

Refunds will be mailed this week to more than 218,000 customers for an average amount of $33.14 each. The refund checks become void after 60 days.

Allstar did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Consumers who have questions should call 1-877-982-1294.

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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes settles with SEC in alleged 'elaborate, years-long fraud' VALLEY, Calif.) -- Elizabeth Holmes -- the Stanford University dropout once hailed as the youngest self-made female billionaire who promised to revolutionize the health care industry -- has reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after the regulatory agency had charged her with "massive fraud.”

“Theranos Inc. announced today that the company and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, have resolved a previously disclosed investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the offer and sale of Theranos securities from 2013 to 2015,” her company said in a statement Wednesday.

Holmes, the founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley startup, and former president and chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who, according to the SEC, spent years claiming their company could diagnose hundreds of diseases with just a few pricks of blood, are accused of an “elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance” and “deceiving investors by making it appear as if Theranos had successfully developed a commercially-ready portable blood analyzer that could perform a full range of laboratory tests from a small sample of blood.”

As part of the settlement, Holmes, 34, will pay a $500,000 fine. She has also agreed not to serve as a director or officer at any publicly traded company for the next 10 years and must return her $18.9 million shares of stock. Neither she nor Theranos has admitted any wrongdoing.

“The Theranos story is an important lesson for Silicon Valley,” Jina Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, said in a statement. “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.”

The SEC said in a statement, "The settlements with Theranos and Holmes are subject to court approval. Theranos and Holmes neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the SEC’s complaint.”

Theranos’ independent directors said in a statement Wednesday, “The company is pleased to be bringing this matter to a close and looks forward to advancing its technology.”

Meanwhile, the regulatory agency has filed a separate lawsuit against Balwani, 52, who left the company in 2016, saying in its statement, the “SEC will litigate its claims against Balwani in federal district court in the Northern District of California.”

It’s unclear whether the SEC will reach a settlement with Balwani but his attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith issued a statement pushing back against the allegations, saying his client “accurately represented Theranos to investors to the best of his ability. He believed in the potential and mission of the company and its technology to promote transparency and benefit people by empowering them with access to their own health care information at a low cost.”

As for Holmes, Phyllis Gardner, a Stanford professor of medicine who spoke to ABC News last summer, recalled her coming in as a 19-year-old student in search of a mentor. Gardner said she remembers Holmes as someone who "loves attention" and who "really plays up to power."

ABC News visited the Theranos headquarters in Silicon Valley last summer. The building appeared mostly empty and ABC News was asked to leave the property by a security guard.

Back then, former Theranos employee Erika Cheung recalled an environment of unprecedented secrecy.

“I have not experienced anything, anything like working at Theranos," Cheung said. “And the level of secrecy and the amount of hiding that goes on.”

Cheung worked as a Theranos lab associate for seven months before leaving the company in 2015. She was so concerned about the efficacy of the tests being performed inside Theranos that she wrote a complaint, obtained by ABC News, to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

She prefaced her letter by stating, "I’ve been nervous to send or even write this letter. Theranos takes confidentially and secrecy to an extreme level that has always made me scared to say anything."

Cheung's complaint was referenced in her deposition from a separate lawsuit investors brought against Theranos last year, which was settled for an undisclosed amount, despite the company’s being “confident that we would have prevailed at trial,” according to a May 2017 statement.

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How do you make a cruise ship longer? Cut it in half -- Why would anyone take a perfectly good cruise ship and cut it in half?

To make it even better, that's why.

Silversea Cruises shared with "Good Morning America" video of the dry-docked Silver Spirit being taken apart at the midsection to add a prebuilt 49-foot segment to the ship. When work is completed in early May, the ship will be 691.3 feet long.

The company called the lengthening of cruise ships a "trend" in small ship luxury cruising. The multi-million dollar project to refresh the Silver Spirit is less expensive than building an entirely new ship.

On May 6, the refurbished Silver Spirit will recommence service with a 7-day cruise between Civitavecchia, Italy, and Barcelona.

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Uber's most commonly forgotten items and most forgetful cities list

iStock / Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Maybe you’ve gotten out of the car and realized you forgot your phone or wallet - but have you ever forgotten your tax returns?

Uber, the popular ride sharing service, released its lost and found data for 2017 and the crazy items people have left behind might surprise you.

At the top of the list of most unique items forgotten in Ubers are items such as a Burger King visor, divorce papers, a "Star Wars"

encyclopedia and gold grills with diamonds. Also on the list are some stranger items like a jetpack, a box full of hair extensions and a flat screen television.

Which leaves many questioning, why and how?

Most unique items forgotten in Ubers:

   - Burger King visor
   - Divorce papers
   - "Star Wars" Encyclopedia
   - Gold grills with diamonds
   - Originally signed Jessie James Decker CD
   - Letter from my boyfriend who is in jail
   - A 1.3 carat round diamond
   - 2 packets of Dead Sea mud
   - Bag with a Kevin Durant Jersey + a Mario doll
   - Rhinestone mask
   - Detox tea
   - Tax returns
   - Long board with rasta colors
   - Slice of pizza
   - Marriage certificate

The 10 most frequently forgotten items is the standard lost and found fare including phones, wallets, keys, clothing, glasses, bags, backpacks, e-cigarettes, headphones and of course, driver’s licenses.

Most frequently forgotten items in Ubers:

   - Phone
   - Wallet
   - Keys
   - Clothing
   - Glasses
   - Bag
   - Backpack
   - Vape/Ecig
   - Headphones
   - ID/Drivers License

Uber also calculated the cities with the most forgetful riders, including DuBois, Pennsylvania; Athens, Georgia; and Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Cities with the most lost items per capita:

   - DuBois, Pennsylvania
   - Athens, Georgia
   - Stillwater, Oklahoma
   - Shreveport, Louisiana
   - Boone, North Carolina
   - Texarkana, Texas
   - Nacogdoches, Texas
   - Jackson, Mississippi
   - Hattiesburg, Mississippi
   - Monroe, Louisiana

Uber found that Sunday is the most common day for passengers to lose a phone and Monday is the most common day for passengers to lose their glasses.

The company even looked at the time of day items are reported missing. The most popular time of day to lose an item is not surprisingly a tie between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., just about the time someone would be headed home from a night out.

As far as getting the items back to their original owner, Uber does their best to connect the passengers with their belongings. However, for those items that get left unclaimed there is a lost and found closet full of interesting items they hold onto.

Greg Brown, Program Leader, NorthAm Critical Support says, "Every year, we see millions of riders from all walks of life ride with Uber, and the items that get left behind in Ubers across the world reflect that. There are no surprises when it comes to the most commonly forgotten items - phones, wallets, and keys are to be expected. But it's the more unique items - like a Ukulele, or a Star Wars Encyclopedia - that remind us of how truly diverse and delightful our riders are."

The next time you leave an Uber, make sure you left nothing behind!

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United announces new in-cabin animal policy after puppy dies in overhead bin

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Beginning next month, United Airlines said it will issue brightly colored tags to customers traveling with animals so flight attendants can easily recognize the pets, following the death of a puppy in an overhead bin this week.

The company made the announcement as part of a statement Wednesday in which it also accepted "full responsibility" for the dog's death, for which it's "deeply sorry."

"We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier. However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin," according to the statement. "To prevent this from happening again, by April we will issue bright colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets."

The mother and daughter whose 10-month-old puppy, Kokito, died in the overhead compartment of their Houston-to-New York flight disputed the employee's claims, alleging that she knowingly placed the dog in the bin.

"The flight attendant came, and she was like, 'You have to put him up there because it's going to block the path,'" 11-year-old Sophia Ceballos told ABC News, speaking on behalf of her mother, Catalina Robledo, who isn't fluent in English.

"In the end," Sophia continued, "she says she didn't know it was a dog, but she actually touched the bag and felt him there. She's basically lying to us now."

The family’s story prompted responses from multiple animal rights groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which said the United flight attendant should be fired and charged with animal cruelty.

The dog's death also garnered a response from Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who said he sent a letter to United's president, Scott Kirby, "demanding an immediate explanation for the number of animals who have died recently in United Airlines' care."

"This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable," the letter read. "For many people, pets are members of the family. They should not be treated like insignificant cargo. Frankly, they shouldn't be placed in the cargo hold much less an overhead bin.”

Kennedy said he plans to file a bill on Thursday that would prohibit airlines from placing animals in overhead bins.

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Trump visits Boeing facility after 'informal' deal on new Air Force One planes

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday visited workers at a Boeing facility in St. Louis, just weeks after reaching an "informal" $3.9 billion agreement with the company for two new planes to serve as Air Force One.

The president is set to tour Boeing's testing and finishing facility, and afterward participate in a roundtable with local business owners and several Boeing mechanics.

The trip comes two weeks after the White House announced the president had reached an "informal deal with Boeing on a fixed-price contract for the new Air Force One Program." The White House claimed the president saved "more than $1.4 billion" in his negotiations with Boeing executives -- from what it said was Boeing's $5 billion price tag -- although the president had previously said the estimate for the two planes was "more than $4 billion."

A month after his election, the president threatened to cancel the order due to what he said was the excessive price tag.

The president's visit also comes following his announcement last week imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which has set off fears among U.S. trading partners of a potential trade war. Some economists have pointed out that Boeing could be one of many U.S. companies particularly vulnerable in the event of a trade war, because it sells 80 percent of its commercial planes abroad.

The company is also one of many that announced hundreds of millions in bonuses for workers following passage of the GOP tax plan.

After his stop at the Boeing facility, the president will attend a joint fundraiser nearby, after spending Tuesday evening at a fundraiser in Los Angeles estimated to have raised $5 million.

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United Airlines mistakenly flies Missouri-bound dog to Japan

United Airlines(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- United Airlines has started an investigation after workers accidentally flew a Kansas City-bound dog to Japan, the airline confirmed.

Kara Swindel was supposed to pick up her German Shepard, Irgo, at a cargo facility in Kansas City, Missouri, Tuesday afternoon, she told ABC News.

When she arrived, an employee told her a "beautiful Great Dane" was waiting.

She said that's when she started to worry about her dog.

Apparently, the airline's crew had mixed up Swindel's German Shepard with a Great Dane bound for Japan, and sent both dogs to the wrong location.

"An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations," United said in a statement. "We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened."

The airline said it's flying Irgo back to the U.S. in first class, according to Swindel.

This mix-up comes after a puppy died on a United flight Monday after a flight attendant ordered the owner to place the dog in the overhead bin.

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