National Roundup

Massachusetts

Framingham man gets 8 1/2 years in Ponzi scheme

BOSTON (AP) -- A Framingham man has been sentenced to 8 ? years in federal prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that prosecutors say cheated more than 200 investors out of $17 million.

Richard Elkinson was also sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to three years of probation and ordered pay $17 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in April to 18 counts of mail fraud.

Prosecutors say the 78-year-old Elkinson persuaded investors by telling them he was using their money to finance the manufacture of uniforms for purchase by government agencies. He paid back the initial investors with money obtained from subsequent investors, using some money for personal purposes.

Elkinson had no uniform business and no government contracts.

Authorities say he handed out millions in promissory notes.

Elkinson apologized in court.

Washington

Elderly man returns cash stolen from Sears in '40s

SEATTLE (AP) -- The manager of the Sears store in downtown Seattle says an elderly man has repaid -- with interest -- cash the man says he stole in the late 1940s.

KING-TV reports that the man hand-delivered an envelope Monday addressed to "Sears manager." Inside were a note and a $100 bill.

The note said the man stole $20 to $30 from a cash register decades ago and wanted to pay back $100.

Manager Gary Lorentson says he thinks the man's conscience "has been bothering him for the past 60 years."

Store security cameras recorded the man, but Sears officials said they don't know who he is and they won't release the video.

The store plans to put the money toward helping needy families in the holiday season.

Connecticut

Boxer gets 5 years in prison for baseball bat beating

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A professional boxer from Connecticut has been sentenced to five years in prison for fracturing a man's skull with a baseball bat last year in what police say was a fight over a woman.

Twenty-five-year-old Matt Remillard appeared in state court Tuesday. He had pleaded no contest to first-degree assault in September.

Remillard held the NABF and NABO featherweight titles until losing in March to Mikey Garcia in Atlantic City, N.J. His record is 23-1.

State police say Jordan Evans suffered a fractured skull, eye socket and hand in the July 2010 attack in Marlborough. Doctors had to insert 100 stitches, more than two dozen screws and a plate into Evans' head.

New Jersey

Plea bargain ends case against man in 'Idol' death

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey prosecutors have dropped the most serious charges against a man who had been accused of killing a former "American Idol" contestant with his car, agreeing with his lawyer that even though he had confessed, there is no evidence he struck the woman.

Daniel Bark pleaded guilty under a plea agreement Monday to eluding police and drunken driving. Prosecutors dismissed aggravated manslaughter and other charges in the 2009 accident that killed Alexis Cohen of Allentown, Pa. Her profanity-laden rants when she was rejected by the show on two successive seasons were shown repeatedly.

The 25-year-old's body was found on a road in Seaside Heights.

Bark faces probation and nearly a year in jail when he's sentenced. His attorney Michael Nolan told the Asbury Park Press there's never been any physical evidence connecting Bark to Cohen's death.

"As we've said all along, there has never been any proof that he did do it," he said. "The sad part is, this girl was killed, and whoever killed that girl is still driving around out there."

Nolan said his client was pressured into confessing to something he didn't do. In court Monday, Bark said he had drunk about six beers at a nightclub before getting into his car and driving early on July 25, 2009. He acknowledged ignoring orders from two bicycle police officers to stop, instead driving away from them. He said he was afraid because of the beers he had consumed, and because he had a marijuana pipe in his car.

Bark acknowledged swerving and nearly striking the police officers before fleeing from them, and driving through several stop signs. He also conceded he was impaired by the beer, though he wouldn't submit to a test to determine his blood-alcohol level when he was pulled over by other police officers.

The suspect denied having anything to do with Cohen's death for the first 40 minutes of his interview with police, but then said he may have hit a woman, and at one point said he did hit her. The investigators continued questioning him for a while before reading him his rights.

A judge threw out that confession because police failed to advise him of his rights, including the right to have an attorney present during questioning.

Pennsylvania

Family sues over casket 'jammed' into grave

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The family of a deceased 91-year-old woman claims in a lawsuit that workers at a Roman Catholic cemetery near Pittsburgh jumped up and down on top of the woman's casket and otherwise jammed it into a snug grave by poking it with poles.

Theodore Zimmick, his daughter and granddaughter sued the Pittsburgh diocese and its Catholic Cemeteries Association over the burial of his mother, Agnes Zimmick, on Dec. 1, 2009 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery in Shaler Township.

After the funeral service, the family says they went to visit the graves of other family members, and then saw workers stomping and walking on the casket and otherwise jamming it into the grave.

Ohio

Trial set in alleged attempt to steal dead lion

ZANESVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- Four Ohio men will face trial early next year on charges they tried to steal the carcass of a lion that was one of many exotic animals set free by a suicidal owner.

The lion was among 48 loose wild animals killed by sheriff's deputies in eastern Ohio's Muskingum County last month after their owner opened the cages and then killed himself.

Multiple media outlets report a Jan. 6 trial has been scheduled for the four men. Each is charged with a misdemeanor count of theft and faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

A 17-year-old boy taken into custody with them has been charged in juvenile court.

Prosecutors haven't said what they believed the group planned to do with the dead lion.

Annabelle McGannon, executive director of the cemeteries association, says the family's claims have been investigated and are "unfounded."

Published: Wed, Nov 30, 2011