Thursday, January 31, 2013

3 hurt in hotel explosion near SeaWorld

SAN DIEGO CA Jan 31 2013 (AP) — A powerful explosion on Wednesday ripped through a hotel near SeaWorld San Diego from a room where authorities say a couple was extracting hash oil, sending guests fleeing for safety.
A 22-year-old man in the room suffered life-threatening injuries. Also hurt were a woman in the room and a young man staying next door, authorities said. All three were hospitalized.
Julie Jordan of San Diego was sleeping with a friend's baby in a nearby room at the three-story Heritage Inn Sea World Hotel when she felt the building shake violently, then heard a loud explosion. She ran outside and saw a shattered window and a badly injured man sitting at the bottom of some stairs moaning.
"People were screaming and running, and a man was burned from head to toe," said Jordan, 30. "His skin was falling off."
Investigators found several boxes containing canisters of butane inside the room where the blast occurred, police Lt. Joseph Ramos said.
The butane apparently was ignited by a cigarette, Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. The second-floor room looked like a "war zone," he said.
"It was a very intense and devastating explosion," Luque said.
Hash oil is made by packing finely ground stems and leaves of marijuana plants in a pipe and pouring butane through it, said Amy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which is leading the investigation. The liquid typically is then cooked on a stove to separate the butane.
Hash oil averages about 15 percent THC, the chief intoxicant in marijuana, according to the DEA. A drop or two is about as potent as a marijuana cigarette.
The DEA did not confirm that a cigarette ignited the butane or know the size of the drug operation.
"It just looks like a bomb that blew up there," Roderick said. "It's hard for us to tell what was going on there."
The DEA will review the evidence before deciding whether to send the case to the San Diego County district attorney's office for criminal charges.
Authorities said the couple in the room where the explosion occurred suffered burns, and the man in the neighboring room had bruises, cuts and possible burns.
The badly burned man was in "very, very serious" condition, Luque said. His female companion and the man in the next room — both believed to be around 20 years old — were in moderate condition. Their names were not released.
Joseph Tydingco, 52, rushed out of his room after what felt like a major earthquake and saw black smoke billowing from rooms. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and, with another guest, removed mattresses as they heard people screaming outside.
Tydingco, a SeaWorld maintenance worker, estimated that walls collapsed in six rooms. Police said at least four rooms were destroyed or badly damaged.
The blaze was mostly under control within minutes of the blast, which happened at about 11:15 a.m.
Tydingco said the hotel largely caters to vacationing families on tight budgets and local residents who lack enough cash to sign a rental lease.

New Smartphone App Developed to fight Organized Retail Crime

Atlanta GA Jan 31 2013

More than 96 percent of retail stores report being a victim of organized retail crime. This kind of crime costs retailers $15 billion to $37 billion a year, most of which has to be absorbed by the consumer. It's not just simple shoplifting. There is an increase in volume and aggressiveness of the criminal acts. It causes price hikes of 2 percent to 8 percent. Patterns can be discovered if awareness is increased.
Retailers are not the only ones who are affected by organized retail crime. Innocent shoppers can be unknowingly caught in the middle when they purchase stolen items from these criminal enterprises through vendors like shops and flea markets. With a high resale value and prime economic conditions, criminals are making millions on selling stolen health, food and beauty items such as energy drinks, baby formula, razors and cold medicines to consumers who are simply looking for a good deal. Deal seeking shoppers are unknowingly putting themselves and their families at serious risk of ingesting and using spoiled, expired and ruined merchandise.
The National Retail Federation ranks the top 10 cities for organized retail crime, or ORC. Here are the top 10 cities in 2012:
  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore-Washington, D.C.
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles-Orange County
  • New York-Northern NJ
  • Miami
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco-Oakland

Strickland Security & Safety Solutions has created a smartphone application and Web reporting system to help combat these crimes. “The best method to combat the multi billion-dollar Organized Retail Crime problem is to take a collaborative approach that factors in people and technology,” said Rob Strickland, President of Strickland Security & Safety Solutions and former regional vice-president of loss prevention at Macy’s department stores. The Retail Net-Alert App provides its users with a wealth of information at their fingertips, including a description of the incident, the subjects involved, details on the merchandise targeted, vehicles used and any related photos. The system was designed to assist retail loss prevention executives and merchants with providing ORC incident notifications to their peers and neighboring locations. The App, available for both Android and Apple products -- and soon to be released for Blackberry -- alerts all stores to deter further theft. It's the solution to increasing retail theft awareness. Demonstrations are available when you visit the website
Raymond Glaze
Strickland Security & Safety Solutions, LLC
About Strickland Security & Safety Solutions:
Based in Atlanta, GA, Strickland Security & Safety Solutions is a full service security and safety company that provides consultation, resources and services to businesses and communities in a professional and cost-effective manner.

Stamford CT schools replace security officers with panic buttons

STAMFORD CT Jan 31 2013 -- Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton amended her budget request Tuesday night, trimming $400,000, while adding seven kindergarten teachers, two bilingual teachers and doing away with the request for security guards in the city's elementary schools.
Two weeks ago, Hamilton unveiled a $245.4 million operating budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which represented a 3.66 percent increase over the current year. Her changes, announced during a fiscal committee meeting, bring the request down to $245 million, which is slightly less than a 3.5 percent increase.
The kindergarten teachers will be added to most of the city's 12 elementary schools, which would bring the average class size for kindergartens below the 20-student mark -- a request that several board members have tossed at the superintendent over the past couple weeks.
"I want to thank Dr. Hamilton for being responsive to several of our requests about the kindergarten," Board member Jackie Heftman said.
The new positions, which combined with an additional request for another two bilingual kindergarten teachers will cost $612,000, will be partially offset by trimming two science teachers at both Stamford and Westhill high schools, as well as opening up one teacher vacancy at each of the schools.
"My intent was to not hopefully have to lose staff," Hamilton said Tuesday night. She noted that all but one of the teachers who will be affected are certified in other areas, so shifting throughout the staff will likely allow the district to absorb most or all of the positions instead of resorting to laying off staff.
Much of the savings comes from a shift in thinking in terms of school security. Originally, Hamilton included a $600,000 request to hire a security guard at each of the city's 12 elementary schools. But her new request instead includes a $260,000 item to equip every staff member at each building with a panic button.
"This system ¦ would basically be able to accommodate every staff member in the building with a device that would automatically in pushing a button, would call three numbers, including fire and police," Hamilton explained.
"If a teacher was in the cafeteria and saw somebody in the yard with what looked like a weapon, they wouldn't have to go back to their classroom, or find a security guard. They could push a button and the police would respond right away," she said.
The new thinking is partially shaped by the public reaction to the security guard setup, according to the superintendent.
"As much as they've been terrific, people are asking, do they have a gun? How much does one person help?" Hamilton said, ticking off a list of questions she has been fielding from parents around the district since she installed temporary security guards at the elementary schools shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Board member Rich Lyons questioned the idea, asking for information about false alarm rates and defects before the board made a decision.
"I think you might want to hedge some money in that account. They're good in certain situations, but I'd love to see what the false activation rate is, and what the response time is," Lyons said. "Post Sandy Hook, you're talking false activation with 60,000 police, fire and 911 responding."
Other board members questioned adding kindergarten classes without equipping each new section with a paraprofessional. In previous budgets, the city has always provided one paraeducator per kindergarten section. Hamilton said the district is not contractually obligated to provide a one-to-one ratio of paraeducators per kindergarten classroom and that Stamford has a higher ratio than most surrounding districts. Board members Lorraine Olson and Polly Rauh both asked to tack more paraprofessionals onto the request.
"I'm really, really impressed, and I congratulate you for being this creative," Olson said. "But I was wondering if we could stay at 3.6 and put a para in for kindergarten for everybody."
Heftman asked that the $393,000 saved in Hamilton's trimming be added to a "security reserve," noting that "it's hard to cut, but it's impossible to add" to a budget. In the end, the board decided to go forward proclaiming both the 3.49 percent increase and 3.66 percent increase options to the public during the public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. at Westover Magnet Elementary School, at which members of the public will have their chance to voice concerns about the budget.

Iraqi men sentenced in Bowling Green terrorism case

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. Jan 31 2013 (AP) - An Iraqi man who pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in Bowling Green has been sentenced to life in prison.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell sentenced 25-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi on Tuesday, hours after 30-year-old co-defendant Waad Ramadan Alwan received a lesser sentence for his cooperation with prosecutors after his arrest in May 2011. Alwan could have received up to life in prison.
Hammadi's sentencing grew contentious at times as prosecutors accused him of changing his story in an effort to secure less prison time. Hammadi testified during the hearing, speaking of growing up poor in Iraq and saying life was no longer normal after the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Hammadi and Alwan pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to send weapons, cash and explosives to al-Qaida in Iraq

Paramedics attacked at Centralia gas station aided by Good Samaritan

CENTRALIA, Wash. Jan 31 2013 -- Two AMR paramedics getting gas for their ambulance Saturday found themselves fighting a stranger.

Around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said another customer at the gas station yelled at the paramedics and tried to pull one out of the medic unit.

The man was eventually arrested, but he did injure the paramedics. One suffered cuts to his eye and the man apparently bit the other medic in the arm.

Police said the injuries might have been more serious if it weren't for Vicki Disney. The social worker from Vancouver, Washington, was also getting gas. When she saw the man go after the paramedics, she thought someone might get killed.

When the men tackled their attacker, Disney jumped on top of the man to help restrain him until police arrived.

"I think in this world we all need to help each other," said Disney.

The paramedics are back on the job.

A Centralia Police spokesperson said Disney may get a special commendation from the chief for helping out the paramedics.

Shoplifters assault Bayfield Mall security officers

Barrie Canada Jan 31 2013 A store security guard was assaulted after trying to arrest a shoplifter outside a north-Barrie mall Thursday night.
City police received a call about a man fighting with security outside the Bayfield Mall at about 8:45 p.m.
When officers arrived, they were told a man was spotted removing items from a store in the mall and left without paying. He was confronted outside the mall and ran away after the lone security guard was assaulted.
The man got into a black pickup truck and left, police said.
Officers began searching area side streets and spotted the truck eastbound on Rose Street. It was stopped and the driver was arrested without incident.
A 44-year-old man was taken to the police station and charged with theft, assault with intent to resist arrest and breaching his probation on another charge.
All stolen property was recovered and the man was later released with a future court date.

Suspect kills self after stealing Nevada Highway Patrol cruiser, gun

MUSTANG, Nev.Jan 31 2013 (AP) — Two Nevada state troopers have been put on paid administrative leave while sheriff's deputies investigate the carjacking of a patrolman's cruiser that ended with an apparent suicide east of Reno.
Washoe County deputies were trying to determine Tuesday how a man was able to steal the patrol car before carjacking another vehicle on Interstate 80, then allegedly shooting himself dead with a trooper's shotgun.
The ordeal began just before 4 p.m. Monday when two troopers in separate cars pulled over a 2013 Ford Explorer near the Mustang exit just east of Sparks. During the stop, one of the four people inside got out of the SUV and jumped in the cruiser.
"It was a very bold act," NHP trooper Chuck Allen said Tuesday.
Other law enforcement officials started chasing the stolen vehicle, and eventually shot out its tires, NHP officials said.
But when the suspect left the patrol vehicle, he took the trooper's shotgun and carjacked a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, troopers said.
The driver of the Pontiac, Marie Coates of Fernley, wasn't harmed. She told KOLO-TV in Reno she was headed eastbound on I-80 just east of Mustang when the stolen trooper's car merged onto the highway and nearly hit her, racing ahead. Before long, she came upon the disabled cruiser blocking the highway and a man got out and talked to a woman in another car who drove off before he approached Coates.
"That's when I noticed the gun," Coates said, looking out her rearview mirror. She said he walked right up to her and fired shots above her car. "He started screaming at me, 'Get out of the car, I'm not kidding.'"
The suspect then took off in the Pontiac, attempted to pass a semitrailer and crashed the vehicle, according to NHP.
Authorities said the man got out of the wrecked vehicle and started shooting the trooper's gun in the air before shooting himself several times in the roadway, NHP said.
The suspect died at the scene.
The sheriff's office, which is leading the investigation, confirmed late Tuesday that two troopers are on leave and that deputies are investigating. The sheriff's statement declined to explain the troopers' specific role in the incident or say whether either fired a weapon. Neither was hurt.
"The rest of the information is part of an on-going active investigation and will not be released until its conclusion," Deputy Armando Avina said in an email Tuesday night to The Associated Press
Authorities also have not yet identified the man, or a female passenger in the Explorer. They identified two other people in the SUV as Manuel Alejandro Rodriguez, 29, and Christian M. Magllano Alzpurua, 23, both of Jacksonville, Fla.
Both men have been booked in the Washoe County Detention Center on suspicion of selling a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance for sale and conspiracy to violate a uniform controlled substance act. Bail has been set at $150,000 for each man.
Allen said the investigation has been handed over to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office. He referred questions to the sheriff's office.
"We are trained for a lot of things. A lot of scenarios come our way," Allen told KRNV-TV.
"But you don't expect a person to either open a car door and run to your vehicle and get in, or to distract you" so someone else can do that," he said.
Details remained sketchy on what exactly transpired that allowed the victim to move from the SUV to the patrol cruiser.
"There is nothing that I can tell you at this time regarding the incident," Trooper Barb Stapleton, NHP's public affairs coordinator, said in an email to AP late Tuesday.

Ga. police officer halts prison smuggling attempt

ATLANTA GA Jan 31 2013 AP
Atlanta police say an officer stopped a group of men from smuggling cellphones, alcohol, guns and ammunition into a federal penitentiary in southeast Atlanta.
Police spokesman Carlos Campos says an officer was patrolling the area near the facility when he saw four men who appeared to be smuggling items through the fence. Campos says the officer shined a spotlight on a car parked near the prison and three of the men climbed the fence back onto prison property and one fled the scene in the car, abandoned it and fled on foot.
Police recovered 24 cellphones, four 30-packs of beer, three cases of whiskey, bags of protein powder and two loaded guns.
No arrests were made and police say the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Prisons are investigating.

Ga. Man shot dead after pulling into wrong driveway

Lilburn GA Jan 31 2013  Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man.

Police said they were called out to a man's home on Hillcrest Drive on Saturday night.

A group of friends said they were going to pick up a girl who lived in the area to go ice skating around 10 p.m. when their GPS system sent them to the wrong home.

The friends said they pulled into the driveway and saw a man peer out the window. They said they waited in the car for a bit and then the man, Phillip Sailors, 69, came out of the home with a handgun, firing a round into the air.

“The guy came out. He went in again and he came out with a gun in his hand and he shot into the air,” 15-year-old passenger Yeson Jimenez said.

The friends said that's when they tried leaving the house, and said Sailors pointed the gun at the car and shot Rodrigo Diaz, 22, who was driving the car. An arrest warrant said Sailors had a .22-caliber pistol.
The passengers said Sailors never asked what they were doing there.

“’Shut up.’ That’s the only thing that came out of his mouth,” passenger Gandy Cardenas said.

The friends said Sailors held the rest of the people in the car at gunpoint until police arrived at the home. All three passengers in the car are Parkview High School students.

Sailors is being held on no bond on charges of malice murder. He has no known criminal history.

The warrant said the Diaz was struck on the left side of the head.

Friends told Channel 2's Tony Thomas that Diaz had just arrived here from Colombia three months ago.

Thomas has also learned Sailors is a war veteran and a former church missionary. Sailors' attorney told Thomas that the man believed he and his wife were being attacked.

“He is very distraught over the loss of life from the defense of his home. This incident happened late in the evening hours when he was home with his wife and he assumed it was a home invasion and he maintains his innocence,” the attorney said.


Former Chicago Police Officer Charged with Attempted Extortion of Tow Truck Driver and Selling Guns to Felon

U.S. Attorney’s Office

CHICAGO IL Jan 31 2013—A former Chicago Police officer was charged today with attempting to extort a cash bribe to steer business to a tow truck owner and also with selling three firearms to the same towing operator, who is also a convicted felon. The defendant, Ali Haleem, was charged as part of Operation Tow Scam, a federal investigation of past bribery and extortion involving police officers and towing operators in several Chicago Police districts.

Haleem is the 11th Chicago Police officer to be charged in the corruption probe since 2008. So far, seven officers and three civilians, including two tow truck drivers, have been convicted. Charges are pending against three other officers who were charged last fall.

Haleem, 45, of Chicago, a police officer from 1994 to 2012, was assigned to the 8th District, also known as Chicago Lawn. He was assigned to desk duty after being confronted by law enforcement authorities in 2008 until he resigned last September. He was charged with one count of attempted extortion and two counts of selling firearms to a convicted felon in a criminal information that was filed today. No date has been set yet for his arraignment in U.S. District Court.

The charges were announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Garry McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.

According to the charges, between March 13 and 20, 2008, Haleem attempted to extort Individual A, who owned a towing business, and who unbeknownst to Haleem was cooperating with law enforcement at the time.

On December 11, 2007, Haleem allegedly sold a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol and a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol to Individual A, knowing that Individual A was a convicted felon. On March 13, 2008, Haleem allegedly sold a 9mm semi-automatic pistol to Individual A, knowing that Individual A was a convicted felon. The indictment seeks forfeiture of the three firearms.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Donovan.

Attempted extortion carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, while each count of delivering a firearm to a convicted felon carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, and all three counts carry a $250,000 maximum fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that the charges are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Former president of Vanguard Public Foundation sentenced to prison

U.S. Attorney’s Office

SAN FRANCISCO CA Jan 31 2013—Hari J. Dillon, the former president and executive director of the Vanguard Public Foundation, was sentenced today to 40 months in prison for diverting funds directed for the benefit of the Vanguard Public Foundation to his own purposes, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

Dillon pleaded guilty in July 2010 to wire fraud and money laundering. According to the plea agreement and trial testimony in United States v. Samuel “Mouli” Cohen (CR 10-0547 CRB), Dillon met Mouli Cohen (aka Samuel Cohen) in approximately August 2002. Cohen presented Dillon with an investment opportunity through which Dillon and others associated with the Vanguard Public Foundation—a non-profit charitable organization—could purchase Cohen’s founder’s shares in his company, Ecast, which Cohen falsely claimed was soon to be acquired by Microsoft. According to Cohen, this would allow Dillon, Vanguard donors, and Vanguard to reap substantial profits after the acquisition of Ecast.
From late 2002 through mid-2003, individuals associated with Vanguard, including Dillon, paid more than $6 million to Cohen to purchase some of Cohen’s founder’s shares in Ecast. During the ensuing years, Cohen claimed the acquisition was suffering various delays by United States and European regulators and that the investors had to pay additional bonds and fees to maintain their stake in the deal. From approximately late 2004 through 2007, individuals associated with Vanguard contributed more than an additional $25 million purportedly to cover these fees. In fact, there never was any such acquisition.

Dillon admitted that while soliciting and collecting these fees, he defrauded various victims by intentionally failing to tell them that he intended to and did use some of their contributions for his own personal expenses. For example, according to his plea agreement, Dillon used approximately $60,000 to pay his American Express bills. In addition, the government noted in connection with sentencing that Dillon used victim money toward luxury hotel expenses, fine dining, limousine travel, and other personal expenses. In all, Dillon admitted that of the tens of millions he solicited and collected for this investment, most of which he passed on to Cohen, Dillon skimmed not less than $2.5 million, defrauding his victims out of that amount.

Dillon, 64, formerly of San Francisco, was charged by information in June 2010. He was charged with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. He pleaded guilty to all four counts.
In November 2011, after a one-month trial, a federal jury convicted Samuel “Mouli” Cohen of 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, and three counts of tax evasion. Dillon testified at that trial. In April 2012, Cohen was sentenced to 264 months in prison. He is currently in custody, and he has appealed his convictions and sentence.

The sentence was handed down by United States District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer. Judge Breyer also sentenced Dillon to a three-year period of supervised release following his prison term. The parties are scheduled to appear before Judge Breyer on February 19 to discuss a date for Dillon to surrender to serve his prison sentence.
Hallie Hoffman and Doug Sprague are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rayneisha Booth and Beth Margen. The prosecution is the result of a one-year investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Former Treasurer of St. Joseph Conference of St. Vincent de Paul Society Sentenced for Embezzlement


ST. LOUIS, MO Jan 31 2013—Nancy O’Donnell was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for her embezzlement of donor funds. She was also ordered to pay $209,000 restitution, $192,000 of which has already been paid.

According to court documents, St. Joseph Catholic Church of Cottleville, Missouri, was a Catholic Church in operation for over 100 years. The St. Vincent de Paul Society was a non-profit organization providing personal assistance with furniture, food, clothing, rent, utilities, and other necessities to people facing economic and other crises. The St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is comprised of lay Catholic volunteers collecting and distributing donations to those in need within the St. Joseph parish. Monetary donations are made to the St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society through cash and by check primarily from St. Joseph parishioners.

Nancy O’Donnell served as the treasurer for the St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society since October 2005. As treasurer, she was in charge of financial record keeping for the society, including receiving donations and payments by cash and check, documenting payments received, depositing funds to the society’s bank account, and documenting the use of donated funds. The St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society had an authorized bank account for the receipt and disbursement of donations under the society’s actual address. On April 27, 2006, O’Donnell opened a sham checking account in the name of the St. Joseph Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society using her own personal residence address as the business address for this sham account. The Board of Directors of the society had no knowledge that she had opened this sham account and did not authorize the opening of the account. In opening the sham account, she completed and executed an unauthorized corporate resolution on behalf of the society and completed and executed paperwork so that she was the only authorized signer on the sham account. She also maintained a personal checking account in her own name.

As treasurer of the society, O’Donnell received donations from individuals by cash or check made out to the society and, instead of depositing those cash or check donations into the society’s authorized account, she deposited those cash and check donations either into the unauthorized sham account or into her personal account. O’Donnell then wrote checks on both the sham account and the personal account either to herself or to “cash,” thereby embezzling, misappropriating, and stealing those donated funds, which she used for her own personal purposes, unrelated to the business of the society. O’Donnell also wrote checks on the society’s authorized account and deposited those checks into both the sham account and into her personal account, using the funds for personal expenses.

In order to conceal her scheme, all treasurer’s reports prepared by O’Donnell and provided by her to the society included only information from the authorized account and no information from the unauthorized sham account. Further, in order to conceal her scheme, all account statements and correspondence relative to the sham account were mailed to her at her personal residence address, rather than to the society’s true business address.

Nancy O’Donnell, St. Peters, Missouri, pled guilty in October to one felony count of mail fraud. She appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge John A. Ross.

This case was investigated by the Cottleville Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Former Guarda Armored car guard sues over unpaid wages

Detroit Mi Jan 31 2013 A former armored car guard claims in a federal lawsuit the company he worked for shortchanged him thousands of dollars in overtime pay.
Sampson Talbert, a Clinton Township resident, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit this month. He charged Garda CL Great Lakes with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Garda provides armored-car service around the country. Talbert worked at a facility the company operates in Livonia.
In the lawsuit, Talbert claims he was denied overtime pay by Garda despite working 50- and even 60-hour weeks during his 13 months of employment.
“(Garda) had a policy and practice of paying the time-and-a-half overtime ‘premium’ to Mr. Talbert only for hours worked in excess of 50 hours per week, and ‘straight’ pay for all weekly hours below that amount,” the lawsuit contends.

“(Garda) failed to pay an overtime premium to Mr. Talbert for his first 10 hours of overtime worked in a week.”
Ari Kresch, the Southfield lawyer representing Talbert, said his client was shorted about $5,000, but the “willful” nature of the company’s action could qualify for punitive damages well in excess of that amount.
“If you just got back from the defendant what they would have to pay, there is no incentive to stop the behavior,” Kresch said.
Source-The MaComb Daily

Culpeper Middle School wrestling coach charged with firearm and drug charges

Police barred from Vermont gun range over proposed semi-automatic rifle ban

Burlington VT Jan 31 2013 The battle over the right to bear arms is flaring in Vermont, where a local gun range has moved to prohibit the Burlington Police Department from training at its facilities after the City Council voted to advance a measure banning semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines.
The leadership of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club explained that it's "difficult" for the club to support the city -- even its officers -- given the actions of the council.
"We have members in Burlington as well as members of our club that are going to be passing through Burlington and this would directly affect them and we felt that a prejudicial vote like that was going to be non-supportive of our club and being non-supportive of our club makes it very difficult to support Burlington City," said Bob Boivin, chairman of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club.
"It is a constitutional issue. I mean, it's not just a Second Amendment constitutional issue; but it's also a constitutional issue for Vermont. We have laws that have the state governing our gun controls in this area and they're looking to supersede those," he said.
The group's ban will affect how and when officers train in the state, where such facilities are limited.
In response, the Burlington Police Department released a statement saying: "It is unfortunate that this important and much-needed community dialogue regarding gun control currently under way in the City of Burlington and across the nation has resulted in this action."
The city government is defending the measure.
"In the absence of federal legislation or state law we feel it has come upon us as a city to take the measures we feel are necessary to protect our citizens," Burlington City Councilman Norman Blais said.
"Ultimately, I don't think that the best way to assert control over guns is at the local level," conceded Joan Shannon, president of the Burlington City Council. "But here in Burlington, I think we felt the need to act because we didn't see action coming from either the state level or the federal level."
Boivin argues city-by-city gun rules would create a multitude of challenges.
"If you're going to a shoot, say in one end of Vermont to the other, you have to check the laws for every town in between, and you will pass through a half a dozen different towns, and that makes it almost impossible for someone to stay as a legal gun owner, and that's what we're concerned about," he said.
Shannon said the council's action are only a first step toward better protecting the people of the city, "but this at least gets the discussion started and often times we have found in Burlington that we lead the way and others will follow, and I think that that's the intention here."
The Burlington City Council's proposal to ban certain assault weapons is far from being implemented. City voters would get a say in 2014. Then the measure would require approval by the Vermont legislature. Finally, if it does become law, it's likely to face a constitutional challenge from gun-rights advocates.

Cops handcuff and interrogate boy, 7, for hours over missing $5

New York City NY Jan 31 2013 This kid was no killer — but some callous Bronx cops sure treated him like one.
Instead of earning himself a simple trip to the principal’s office, a terrified 7-year-old boy was hauled out of class, handcuffed like a hardened criminal and “interrogated” by police for a grueling 10 hours — all over a playground dispute involving $5, his family is charging.
“My son was crying, ‘Mommy, it wasn’t me! Mommy, it wasn’t me!’ I never imagined the cops could do that to a child. We’re traumatized,” Wilson Reyes’ distraught mom, Frances Mendez told The Post last night.

“Imagine how I felt seeing my son in handcuffs!’’ she said. “It was horrible. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
The bizarre overreaction by cops came after the child had been accused of swiping $5 from another student after school.
The money, which was supposed to be used for a school trip that never happened, had fallen on the ground in front of Wilson and two other boys, and one of them scooped it up.
Wilson was falsely accused of taking it, and he scuffled with one of the kids.
Officers showed up at PS X114 on Dec. 4 at about 10:20 a.m., and handcuffed and held Wilson in a room there for four hours. They then hauled him off to the 44th Precinct station house for another six hours of interrogation and verbal abuse, according to a $250 million claim against the city and the NYPD.
The boy protested his innocence, to no avail.
“Reyes was handcuffed and verbally, physically and emotionally abused, intimidated, humiliated, embarrassed and defamed,” the documents say. He was then charged with robbery.
Mendez said that she and her sister first went to the station house, they were told they couldn’t see her son.
When cops finally allowed the pair to see the boy, they found the panicked kid seated in a shabby chair with his left wrist cuffed to the wall, Mendez said.

She quickly snapped a damning photo of the scene.
“My sister and I started crying when we saw him,” Mendez said.
The city’s Law Department wound up dropping the robbery charge against Wilson on Dec. 26. Inspector Kim Royster said yesterday the story was "grossly untrue in many respects, including fabrication as to how long the child was held in the precinct which was less than half of the time mentioned."
The legal papers say another classmate later admitted the theft.
Family lawyer Jack Yankowitz — who filed the claim with the city Comptroller’s Office Monday — blasted cops over the incident.
“It’s unfathomable, what the police did. The whole thing sounds so stupid. They were interrogating him like he was a hardened criminal,” Yankowitz said.
“If you have a child, a nephew, can you even imagine this happening to them?”
But law-enforcement sources insisted that Wilson was treated like any other young suspect.
“We responded to a 911 call of a robbery and assault . . . Eventually, [Wilson] was taken back to the precinct and placed in the juvenile room,” a source said.
“He was charged with robbery. The allegation was that he punched the kid and took his money. He took the money forcibly.
“The kid came into the precinct a little bit after 3 p.m., and he was out by 7:45 p.m. . . . That’s standard for a juvenile arrest.”
School officials said the incident took place off school grounds and referred questions to the NYPD.

Source-NY Post

Little Rock middle school security guard arrested for sexual assault

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. jan 31 2013- A middle school security guard is arrested for allegedly inappropriately touching a student.
Little Rock police says they got a call about the incident at Horace Mann Magnet Junior High School on Nov. 28, 2012.
A 14-year-old student says security guard Robert Myles, 39, inappropriately touched him.
The victim's mother also told police that Myles had talked to her son through text message before.
Myles was arrested Jan. 29 and charged with two counts of second degree sexual assault. He will make his first court appearance Feb. 5.

Source: KTHV

Two Wilkinson teachers charged with child molestation

Wilkerson County GA Jan 31 2013 Two Wilkinson County High School teachers have been arrested on child molestation charges over the past two days, according to a news release. Both arrests are related, the news release stated.
Cornelius Dante Jones, a math teacher at the high school, was charged Monday.On Tuesday evening, deputies arrested Sgt. Rodney Hunter, a teacher in the school’s Junior ROTC program, on the same charge.
Sheriff’s officials questioned Jones earlier Monday after he allegedly had inappropriate contact with a student, according to an earlier news release.
The sheriff’s office hasn’t said how the incidents are related.Jones submitted a letter of resignation, which has not been formally approved by the Wilkinson County Board of Education, according to the school district.
Administrators at Wilkinson County High helped with the investigation, but school officials have referred further questions to the Wilkinson County Sheriff Richard Chatman, who could not be reached Tuesday.“Any allegation of harm against a student is taken seriously and we are working with the proper authorities as they investigate,” Superintendent Aaron Geter said in the release. Source-thetelegraph

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Grand Prairie TX teacher arrested for fatal hit-run accident that killed 6-year-old boy

Grand Prairie TX Jan 31 2013 Police arrested a longtime middle school teacher in the hit-and-run accident that killed a 6-year-old boy last week, after she came forward and confessed Tuesday, police say.
Police say Tammy Lowe of Grand Prairie came into the police station Tuesday “distraught” and looking like she hadn’t slept in days. She confessed to being the driver in the hit-and-run that killed 6-year-old John Raidy as he crossed the street with his mother and sister on Thursday, police say.

For five days, police had searched for the driver of the car that hit John, which stopped long enough for him to fall to the road and then sped off.

Lowe was a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Adams Middle School in Grand Prairie and had been with the district since the 1996-97 school year. She resigned Tuesday before turning herself in to police, authorities say.

Police arrested Lowe, 53, on a charge of failing to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony charge of manslaughter was pending. She was being held late Tuesday in the Grand Prairie Jail on $100,000 bail.

John’s grandmother Anita Eads said the family was relieved that an arrest had been made and said it was the first step toward closure.

“It’s not going to bring John back, but at least we can say goodbye to him and not be thinking about that,” she said. “Now, we can concentrate on precious John.”

A first-grader at Stephen F. Austin Elementary, John was a blond-haired boy with blue eyes and dimples whose favorite subject in school was science. He cherished a stuffed cow named “Cowie,” which had been a gift from his mother, and slept with it every night. Now, the stuffed animal will be included in a floral arrangement in his memory. His funeral is Wednesday.

On Thursday night, John went with his mother and 2-year-old sister to buy candy at a store across from their apartment complex. On the way home, he was walking a few paces ahead of his mother, Lauren Raidy-Brooks, who was pushing the toddler in a stroller.

Authorities say the family had the right of way at the intersection of North Carrier Parkway and Holiday Hills Drive, near Crosswinds High School. The traffic light had been red for 14 seconds when Lowe drove her 2008 Toyota Yaris two-door hatchback through the intersection and struck John, tossing him onto the hood of the car, police say.

Lowe didn’t brake until the car hit the boy, as if she didn’t see him before the collision, police say. The car, traveling 30-35 mph, carried him on its hood for about half a block. Lowe stopped long enough for him to fall to the road before she sped off.

It’s still unclear why she didn’t stop to help or why she ran the red light in the first place.

After John died, police released video footage and sought the public’s help in finding the driver. Meanwhile, Lowe continued to report to work after the accident but had been acting abnormally, a Grand Prairie independent school district spokesman said.

Then, on Tuesday, Lowe left a handwritten resignation letter at Adams Middle School. After school officials reported her resignation and their concern about her to police, an officer went to her home to check on her welfare. Soon after, she came to the Grand Prairie police station with her husband. She looked distraught and confessed to the hit-and-run, authorities say.

During interviews with police, Lowe was nervous and tearful, said Sgt. Eric Hansen, a Grand Prairie police traffic investigator. “She did indicate that she was remorseful,” he said.

Hansen said Lowe’s car was found to have minor damage consistent with striking a small pedestrian.

No one answered the door at Lowe’s home in Grand Prairie on Tuesday. A neighbor, Tresa Mitchell , said that she didn’t know Lowe but that she believed she has an adult daughter, whom she saw often come to the home with young children. “They kept to themselves,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the Yaris was typically parked in the driveway but had been in the garage in recent days.

The confession and arrest came as a relief to both police and John’s family.

“I’m glad that she turned herself in. It’s better,” said Eads, John’s grandmother. “It doesn’t make it all better, but to me, it’s better. … It was the right thing to do.”

Galion Teacher Arrested for Sexual Conduct

GALION OH Jan 31 2013 -- Galion Police detectives are investigating possible improper conduct by a teacher at Galion High School with a student.

Ryan Tanner, age 36 of Galion, was arrested on a warrant for Sexual Battery, a Felony of the 3rd degree.

Tanner, a teacher at Galion High School, is being charged with engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with a student.

The investigation uncovered the involvement between the teacher and student occurred at the end of 2011 through 2012.

Tanner is currently being held at the Crawford County Jail awaiting his arraignment before a judge on the charges.

NYPD officer kills self because boss forced him to have sex

Queens NY Jan 31 2013 A Queens cop killed himself last year because his female boss made him trade sex for a favorable work schedule, his wife claims in a bombshell lawsuit.
Gina Schindler claims her late husband, Officer Matthew Schindler, was forced to have sex with his supervisor, Sgt. Christine Hertzel, to determine his workload and schedule.
Schindler, 39, "was made to understand that he would suffer tangible detriment in his job, job assignments, work conditions and future prospects if he did not submit to the sexual advances and demands of Hertzel," according to the lawsuit filed in Queens Supreme Court.
The widow claims in the lawsuit that her husband and Hertzel had "sexual relations" during his time at the 115th precinct in Jackson Heights — from March 2011 until his death on Feb 13, 2012.
Schindler "realized and/or believed he could not escape the continuing sexual advances and demands of Hertzel," the lawsuit said.
On Feb. 13, the 15-year veteran told Hertzel he would kill himself over the "guilt" and asked for the affair to stop, the suit says.
She allegedly refused.
Hertzel told her captain about their relationship and Schindler's suicide threat, the suit says.
The captain allegedly tried to call Schindler to "rectify his hostile work environment and persuade him against suicide," the lawsuit said.
But the father of three killed himself with his NYPD service pistol that same day.
Schindler's wife is suing the city, the NYPD and Hertzel for violating her husband's civil rights.
A spokeswoman for the City Law Department declined to comment. Schindler's attorney didn't immediately comment.

Source-NY Post

Security guard charged with credit card fraud

Spring Hill Fla Jan 31 2013 A nighttime security guard at a Spring Hill assisted living facility was arrested Friday and charged with organized fraud after he stole an 83-year-old resident's credit card and ran up charges, the Hernando Sheriff's Office said.
Robert McKinney, 28, stole the man's card while working at Atria Evergreen Woods in December, according to a news release. McKinney, of Brooksville, used the card at several local businesses for a total of 16 fraudulent transactions over four days, the Sheriff's Office said.
Family members noticed the suspicious transactions and contacted authorities. Surveillance video showed McKinney using the card, according to the Sheriff's Office.
McKinney was arrested last month on similar charges that stemmed from the theft of another Evergreen Woods resident's credit card, the Sheriff's Office said. He remained in the Hernando County Detention Center on Tuesday in lieu of $2,000 bail.

Source-Tampa Bay Times

Disney security guard arrested for child porn

DAVENPORT, Fla.Jan 31 2013 - The son of a Disney World security guard arrested for having child porn says his dad is a "stand-up" guy and he never suspected anything.

On Tuesday, deputies stormed Thomas Wheeler's home and they say they found a compilation video of child porn along with other images. The kids, ranging in age from nine to 11, were engaged in various sex acts.

"I personally believe that he knows that it is wrong and he's very sorry for it," said Chris Wheeler, Thomas' 23-year-old son.

Outside the Wheeler's Davenport home sits a Mickey and Minnie bird fountain. There's also a security jacket hanging over the front seat of the car in the driveway.

Chris says his dad worked at Disney for about three or four months.

A company spokesman said Wheeler is on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the case.

"I mean, he's my dad. I want to stand up for him and I want what's best for him, but at the same time I know that it's wrong and I know that he should get some kind of punishment but I hope it's not too severe because he's always been a really stand-up guy," he said.

Chris told us his dad is a gamer, just like him, so it's not unusual for him to spend a lot of time on his computer.

Investigators say Wheeler told them he viewed the child porn because of the "innocence" of the kids involved.

"It makes me want to cry," said Diana Barr, who lives right across the street from Wheeler.

Her kids play on the backyard swing set that's in plain sight of his house.

"The only thing it makes me think is that I need to put a privacy fence up around my yard," she said.

Investigators say there's no evidence to suggest that the child porn involved any local children.

But it's still unsettling for people who live nearby.

"I'm disgusted, and if he's guilty, I hope they nail him to the wall," said Carol Thompson, one of Wheeler's neighbors.

Late Wednesday, a judge set Thomas Wheeler's bond at $64,000 -- $8,000 per charge.

"He seemed remorseful…" Chris said. "If it's any consolation, I have never seen him be anything but respectful to children that he's seen."

1 Dead-several wounded in Phoenix office complex shooting

PHOENIX AZ Jan 31 2013 AP— A gunman opened fire at a Phoenix office complex on Wednesday, killing one person, wounding two others and setting off a manhunt. Police warned the public that he was "armed and dangerous."
Authorities identified the suspect as 70-year-old Arthur Douglas Harmon, who they said opened fire at the end of a mediation session. They identified a man who died hours after the late morning shooting as 48-year-old Steve Singer.
Police said a 43-year-old man was listed in critical condition and a 32-year-old woman suffered non-life threatening injuries.
"We believe the two men were the targets. It was not a random shooting," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman.
Thompson said authorities believe Harmon acted alone and fled the scene in a car after the 10:30 a.m. shooting.
Harmon allegedly shot at someone who tried to follow him after the shooting in an attempt to get his license plate number, according to authorities.
Police didn't immediately release the names of the wounded. But a Phoenix law firm, Osborn Maledon, said one of its lawyers, Mark Hummels, was among the wounded. The firm said he "was representing a client in a mediation" when he was shot.
According to court documents, Harmon was scheduled to go to a law office in the same building where the shooting took place for a settlement conference in a lawsuit he filed last April against Scottsdale-based Fusion Contact Centers LLC, where Singer was the CEO.
The company had hired him to refurbish office cubicles at two call centers in California, but a contract dispute arose.
Fusion said Harmon was paid nearly $30,000 under the $47,000 contract. But the company asked him to repay much of the money when it discovered that the cubicles could not be refurbished, according to the documents.
Harmon argued Fusion hung him out to dry by telling him to remove and store 206 "worthless" work stations after the mix-up was discovered. Harmon said Fusion then told him that the company decided to use a competitor.
Harmon's lawsuit had sought payment for the remainder of the contract, $20,000 in damages and reimbursement for storage fees and legal costs.
Pro tempore Judge Ira Schwartz, who scheduled the meeting, did not immediately return an email seeking comment. A message left Wednesday at the home of Singer also wasn't immediately returned.
Hummels was representing Fusion in the lawsuit.
As police searched for the shooter, SWAT teams and two armored vehicles surrounded a home about 7 miles from the shooting scene. Police served a search warrant to enter the house, which county property records show was sold by Harmon to his son last year for $26,000.
For a time, officers used a megaphone to ask Harmon to surrender, believing he might be inside the home.
The gunfire at the office complex prompted terrified workers to lock the doors to their offices and hide far from the windows. SWAT officers searched the building.
"Everyone was just scared, honestly, just scared," said Navika Sood, assistant director of nursing at First at Home Health Services who along with her co-workers locked the entrances to their office.
Sood said police evacuated the office about 30 minutes after she first heard the popping noises.
The shooting took place on the same day that hearings on legislation to address gun violence were convened in Washington, with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords testifying for stricter gun controls.
A gunman shot Giffords in the head during a shooting rampage in Tucson in January 2011.
Around 10:30 a.m., the gunman arrived at the office building and got into a dispute with someone, a conflict that escalated to the point where he drew a gun and shot three people, Thompson said.
Vanessa Brogan, who works in sales support at an insurance business in the three-story complex, said she heard a loud bang that she thought at first was from somebody working in or near the building.
She said others at the business thought they heard multiple loud noises. She said people locked themselves in offices until authorities evacuated the complex that houses insurance, medical and law offices.
Becky Neher, who works for a title company in the building, said the two gunshots she heard sounded like two pieces of metal banging against each other.
Watching from her second-story office, she saw people leaving the building.
"Someone yelled, `We have a shooter,'" she said. She saw two victims lying on the ground outside the back side of the building. She said health care workers who have offices in the complex came out to help.
Don Jaksa, a software consultant who works in the building, said he was listening to the radio when he suddenly heard "two pops." He said he didn't think they were gunshots.
"My co-worker goes to the range all the time," he said. "He identified it as gunfire."
His co-worker then locked the door. After five minutes, they left and ran into police and someone carrying a stretcher. The police escorted them back to their office and told them to lock the door again.
They were eventually evacuated, and as he sat on a rock outside the complex, his wife called to make sure he was OK after seeing the shooting on the news.
Workers were later allowed to leave the building. Two hugged each other when they got outside.
"You don't expect this when you come to work," worker Lindsa Rincon said.



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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

South Alabama school bus driver shot to death-6 yr old kidnapped

Midland City AL Jan 30 2013
Authorities in southeastern Alabama say a man boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver, then removed a 6-year-old passenger and ran.
The Dale County Sheriff told WBMA-TV that the suspect shot the driver in Midland City several times after he refused to let the child off the bus Tuesday afternoon. The driver later died of his wounds.
It is unclear how many other students were aboard the bus at the time, though reports that several children on the bus witnessed the man shoot the driver take the young boy away.
The man took the child to an area behind a nearby church, and police were negotiating with him Tuesday night. Details on the relationship between the man and child were not immediately available.
Police said the suspect was not in custody as of Tuesday evening. The bus driver's identity has not been released.
Michael Senn, a local minister, tells that numerous children ran to a church near the scene of the incident after the suspect reportedly ordered them off the bus.
"All the kids are at a safe place," Senn said, adding that all of the children appeared to be in shock.
The Dale County Sheriff said in a statement late Saturday that residents in the immediate area of the incident were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
Police in Midland City were not immediately available to comment, and a call to the Dale City Sheriff's office was not answered.
Schools in Dale County will be closed Wednesday because of the shooting, Dale County Board of Education secretary Lisa Harden said.
Midland City is about 10 miles northwest of Dothan.

Former Dockworker Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Extortion Conspiracy Involving Christmastime Tribute Payments


U.S. Attorney’s Office January 29, 2013

NEWARK NJ JAN 30 2013 —A former International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) member was sentenced to 30 months in prison today for conspiring to extort ILA Local 1235 longshoremen on the New Jersey piers for Christmastime tribute payments, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.
Edward Aulisi, 53,of Flemington, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark federal court to conspiring to extort Christmastime tributes from the ILA Local 1235 members—count three of the second superseding indictment against him.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Edward Aulisi conspired with his father, Vincent Aulisi—the former president of ILA Local 1235 who succeeded another co-defendant, Albert Cernadas—and Michael Coppola, a Genovese organized crime family captain, in the scheme. Coppola was convicted in July 2009 following a trial in the Eastern District of New York of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, based in part on acts relating to extortion and wire fraud concerning ILA Local 1235.
Edward Aulisi admitted he participated in telephone calls in furtherance of the extortion conspiracy in March 2007 with Coppola—who was then a fugitive from a New Jersey state murder after having been served with a summons to provide DNA in 1996. Edward Aulisi agreed that he passed information to Coppola on the calls—specifically that Cernadas had told Vincent Aulisi the Christmastime extortion scheme would cease once Cernadas left the presidency, and Vincent Aulisi stated it would continue. Edward Aulisi also admitted Vincent Aulisi had asked him to tell Coppola the Christmastime extortion collections had almost doubled.
Edward Aulisi admitted it had been his intention to deliver Christmastime tribute money extorted from ILA Local 1235 members to Coppola had Coppola not been arrested shortly after the phone calls.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cavanaugh sentenced Edward Aulisi to two years of supervised release and fined him $10,000.
Coppola is serving a 16-year prison term on his conviction.
U.S. Attorneys Fishman and Lynch credited the FBI in New Jersey and New York and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacquelyn M. Kasulis and Jack Dennehy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mahajan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

Wesleyan Public Safety officer arrested in string of thefts

MIDDLETOWN CT JAN 30 2013 A 34-year-old former Wesleyan Public Safety officer was arrested Monday morning in connection with a recent string of thefts from campus buildings during winter break.

Through a series of internal investigations beginning in late December, Public Safety discovered an employee had been stealing items from campus buildings and dormitories. The employee has since been fired, university officials said.

Rogelio Figueroa, 34, of 32 Botsworth Hill Road, Newtown, turned himself in to Middletown Police after learning of an active warrant for his arrest on third-degree larceny charges, according to Middletown police. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 11. Surety bond was set at $5,000.

In an all-campus email, the school administration announced Monday that the individual had acted alone and was now in police custody. The email did not identify the person who had been arrested or elaborate on the nature of the thefts. However, school officials confirmed that Figueroa has worked at the university and was recently terminated.
“Any abuse of trust at Wesleyan is troubling for our community,” read the email, “but this matter is now appropriately in the hands of Connecticut’s judicial system.”

Lauren Rubenstein, a university spokesperson, declined to identity of the former employee and comment beyond the official email.

Since returning to campus in early January, during and after while students were off campus for winter break, students have reported items stolen from campus buildings and dormitories, only the most recent in a rash of robberies at the university. Administrators and Middletown police could not confirm what reported thefts had been perpetrated by Figueroa.

Jacob Eichengreen, a Wesleyan senior and a manager of student-run café Espwesso, had two touch-screen computers valued at over $1,000 stolen from the coffee shop, located in the Albritton Center, over the course of last summer. Though Eichengreen does not know who took the computers, he said one had been locked in a storage space only accessible to Public Safety and campus maintenance organization Physical Plant, while the other latched to a counter.

“When you lock things in a space that is theoretically only accessible to P-safe and Physical Plant,” he said, “it calls into question the ability of students to pursue activities without having to worry about losing their property to the people who are supposed to be protecting them.”

Third-degree larceny is a Class D felony for thefts of property between $1,000 and $5,000.

source-middletown press

PA Attorney Pleads Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s Office 

PITTSBURGH PA Jan 30 2013—An attorney pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of wire fraud, filing false income tax returns, and failing to file income tax returns, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
On January 25, 2013, Lisa Gerideau-Williams, 46, of 140 Cherrywood Drive, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to 16 counts before Chief United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Gerideau-Williams was an attorney who operated a mortgage broker business called Genesis Home Solutions and two companies specializing in closing real estate transactions called Millennium Settlement Services and Professional Settlement Solutions. Through these companies, Gerideau-Williams operated a complex and multi-faceted fraud scheme.
One aspect of the scheme involved the submission of loan applications to lenders. The loan applications were fraudulent because Gerideau-Williams submitted them without the authority of the borrowers, and they contained false information related to the borrowers’ financial condition. For example, Gerideau-Williams submitted loan applications on behalf of her brother and her elderly aunt that were not authorized by either. In addition, Gerideau-Williams represented to lenders that her elderly aunt owned and operated a lucrative cleaning business when, in fact, her aunt was a retired state worker. Gerideau-Williams also furthered the fraud by submitted fake documents supporting the misrepresentations in the loan applications and by forging the signature of her brother and her aunt.
Gerideau-Williams’ fraud also related to her operation of businesses that closed real estate transactions. Gerideau-Williams received money from lenders into her trust account that was required to be disbursed to pay liabilities associated with the collateral. In that way, the lender would stand in the first lien position related to the collateral. Gerideau-Williams, rather than paying those liabilities, would simply take the money and use it to support her lavish lifestyle.
Gerideau-Williams also defrauded borrowers. Borrowers paid for title insurance and for other services such as recording deeds and mortgages. Rather than providing these services, however, Gerideau-Williams simply took the fees for those services but failed to actually provide those services.
Title insurance companies were also victimized by Gerideau-Williams’ fraud. At closings, Gerideau-Williams collected fees from borrowers for title insurance. Gerideau-Williams, however, failed to remit those payments to the title insurance companies. In addition, some of the title insurance companies terminated Gerideau-Williams’ authority to issue title insurance under their names. Despite the termination, however, Gerideau-Williams continued to issue title insurance on fraudulent transactions as if she was authorized to do so.
Gerideau-Williams’ fraud was particularly egregious related to the property located at 120 Cypress Hill Drive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to 2005, Gerideau-Williams rented that property, and it was her residence. On September 6, 2005, through her fraudulent businesses, she sold the property from the rightful owner of the property to her elderly aunt without the knowledge of either the owner or her aunt. A lender financed the purchase, and Gerideau-Williams simply took all of the proceeds from the transaction for her personal benefit. Gerideau-Williams, however, did not record the deed or the mortgage related to the property and therefore the property still appeared on the public record to be owned by the rightful owner of the property free of any mortgages.
On March 13, 2006, Gerideau-Williams arranged to purchase the property in her own name financed through a fraudulently obtained loan. While she recorded the deed transferring ownership of the property to her own name, she did not record the mortgage, and therefore, according to the public record, it appeared that she owned the property free of any liens.
On August 7, 2006, Gerideau-Williams sold the property to her brother, and her brother financed the purchase through a fraudulently obtained loan secured by Gerideau-Williams. Gerideau-Williams received the proceeds from the sale, but she did not record the deed or the mortgage, and therefore, the public record still showed that she owned the property free of any liens.
On January 19, 2007, Gerideau-Williams sold the property to her brother again, and her brother again financed the purchase through a fraudulently obtained loan secured by Gerideau-Williams. Gerideau-Williams again received the proceeds from the sale, but she again did not record the deed or the mortgage and therefore the public record still showed that she owned the property free of any liens.
Finally, on February 20, 2007, Gerideau-Williams sold the property to her brother again, and her brother again financed the purchase through a fraudulently obtained loan secured by Gerideau-Williams. Gerideau-Williams again received the proceeds from the sale, but she again did not record the deed or the mortgage, and therefore, the public record still showed that she owned the property free of any liens.
Equally egregious are the various loans Gerideau-Williams secured in the name of her elderly aunt. As mentioned above, Gerideau-Williams arranged for her aunt to purchase 120 Cypress Hills Drive from the rightful owner of the property. That purchase was financed through a loan fraudulently obtained by Gerideau-Williams.
Gerideau-Williams’ aunt owned a home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On November 2, 2005, Gerideau-Williams arranged for a fraudulent refinance loan collateralized by her aunt’s Harrisburg property.
On January 30, 2007, Gerideau-Williams arranged for a second fraudulent refinance transaction collateralized by that same property.
On March 12, 2007 and March 21, 2007, Gerideau-Williams, without the authority of her elderly aunt, secured to other refinance transactions collateralized by that same property. For each transaction, Gerideau-Williams took the proceeds from the loans and used those proceeds to support her lavish lifestyle. In neither of those transactions, however, did she record the mortgages. In connection with those transactions she issued title insurance without the authority of the title insurance companies, forged her aunt’s signature on various documents, and failed to pay the liabilities associated with the collateral as required by the lenders.
For the 2004 tax year, Gerideau-Williams, who took taxation classes at Georgetown University School of Law toward an advanced degree in tax law, filed tax returns that drastically understated her income because she failed to include the more than millions dollars earned in the course of her fraud schemes. For the 2005 and 2006 tax years, she did not file her income tax returns.
Judge Lancaster scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2013. The law provides for a total sentence of 235 years in prison, a fine of $3,700,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T. Conway is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Mortgage Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Gerideau-Williams. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force is comprised of investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and others involved in the mortgage industry. Federal law enforcement agencies participating in the Mortgage Task Force include the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the United States Secret Service. Other Mortgage Fraud Task Force members include the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection; the Pennsylvania Department of Banking; the Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation; and the United States Trustee’s Office.

East St Louis police chief says security should have done more at food stamp office brawl

East St Louis IL Jan 30 2013 Last week, a brawl that broke out in an Illinois food stamp office got a lot of attention -- in part, because the chaotic fight was caught in a blurry cell phone video that shows several women hitting each other and security guards struggling to keep the situation under control.

Daily RFT spoke with Michael Floore, the East St. Louis chief of police, who says the investigation into the matter would be further along if people involved in the incident would come forward and talk to the police.
But in the meantime, he says, it is time for better security measures -- and next time, officials on site should make arrests.
"They do not have...a metal detector in place, and they need one of those," Floore tells us. "And guards should have arrested the parties."
He explains that a private security firm operates at this Department of Human Services office in East St. Louis and says the guards on site were reluctant to make any arrests and hold those responsible for the brawl.
"That's their purpose," Floore says. "They need to be able to detain and arrest people."
But they didn't in this case, and the women involved left the scene, he says.
"We're gonna be talking with the security firm," Floore adds.
Floore says the department is trying to get everyone involved to come to the police and tell their versions of what happened. But since he told reporters that those who participated in the fight could face arrest, they have not been in contact with his office, he says.
If he were a victim in this fight, Floore adds, "I'd be busting the police door down trying to tell my side of the story."

Source-Riverfront Times

St Louis corrections officer arrested on sex charges

ST. LOUIS MO Jan 30 2013- A City of St. Louis corrections officer is charged with attempted statutory sodomy and child molestation after inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old girl.
Tommie L. Hooks, 31, is charged with one count of second-degree attempted statutory sodomy and one count of second-degree child molestation.
Court documents indicate Hooks placed his hand in the teenager's waistband in an attempt to engage in sexual activity.
He continued to touch the victim and she asked him to stop.
Bond information has not been released.

Boca brothers charged with assault of security guard

Boca Raton Fla Jan 30 2013 It started with a tow truck. But police say it ended with a gravel-battered golf cart covered in a mango smoothie.
And now the Cipollitti brothers, Diego and David, stand charged with battering a security officer, according to a Boca Raton Police report.
The officers showed up at a Lynn University parking lot around 2 p.m. in the 3600 block of North Military Trail. There, police found a security officer. He said he had found a white Audi parked illegally, so he called a towing company.
As a truck pulled the Audi out of the lot, 20-year-old David Cipollitti ran in front of the officer's golf cart, trying to chase the tow truck. But he slipped on loose gravel.
He then grabbed a fistful of that gravel, the report says, and threw it at the security officer. That's when Diego Cipollitti showed up to help his brother and doused the officer with his yellow smoothie.

Source-Sun Sentinel

Former Culpeper Va police officer guilty of manslaughter

CULPEPER COUNTY, Va.Jan 30 2013- A former Culpeper police officer was found guilty voluntary manslaughter in a Culpeper County courthouse on Tuesday.
The jury found Daniel Harmon-Wright, accused of killing an unarmed Patricia Ann Cook, 54, not guilty of first and second degree murder.
Harmon-Wright was charged with murder in connection with the Feb. 9, 2012, shooting death of Cook.
He also is found guilty with malicious shooting into an occupied vehicle and several other charges.
Harmon-Wright faces up to 25 years in prison for the three convictions. Sentencing is expected later this week.

Source-  WUSA