National Roundup

Lancaster County jail kept inmate 17 months too long

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Officials at a county jail in Pennsylvania say they mistakenly kept an inmate locked up 17 months too long.

The Lancaster County commissioners tell LNP the inmate doesn't want to be identified. But they say the inmate was supposed to be released in November 2014, but wasn't released until last month.

The commissioners didn't immediately make clear when or how the error was discovered, but officials say they know how it happened.

Officials say new charges against another inmate with the same name were mistakenly duplicated and put in both inmates' files.

Warden Cheryl Steberger issued a statement saying officials wanted to publicly acknowledge the mistake and apologize.

The jail is making changes including reviewing the records of all inmates with the same last name.

Citibank paying $425M in fines to settle U.S. charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Citibank will pay $425 million in fines to settle federal civil charges of attempting to manipulate key benchmarks used to set interest rates for investments in derivatives and U.S. Treasury bonds as well as a range of consumer loans.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced two settlements Wednesday with Citibank, part of the big Wall Street bank Citigroup Inc.

In some instances, the regulators said, Citibank and its Japanese affiliates tried to manipulate benchmark rates even while they knew the agency was investigating the bank's practices in that area.

It was the latest action by regulators to penalize major European and U.S. banks for alleged rigging of global interest and currency-exchange rates. Banks together have paid several billion dollars in settlements.

New York
Retrial set for man accused of killing Etan Patz

NEW YORK (AP) — A retrial for a New Jersey man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 will begin in New York City after Labor Day.

The New York Times reports jury selection is expected to start Sept. 6 or 7 in the trial of Maple Shade resident Pedro Hernandez.

Etan vanished on his way to school in New York City. He became one of the first missing children pictured on milk cartons. Etan was declared dead in 2001.

The defense says Hernandez has low intelligence and falsely confessed because of a personality disorder. His May 2015 trial ended in a hung jury.

Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley set the new trial schedule Tuesday. He's expected to rule on evidence in the case by July 11.

New Jersey
Case reopened for ‘Real Housewives’ cast member

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge has reopened a bankruptcy case for "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast member Teresa Giudice (JOO'-dys), who pleaded guilty in 2014 to bankruptcy fraud.

Giudice finished her 15-month sentence in December after she and her husband, Joe, admitted they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. reports Teresa Giudice's attorneys on Tuesday told a federal bankruptcy court judge she has agreements to pay off all but two of her 29 creditors. Giudice had been trying to block the reopening of the case.

The newspaper says Judge Stacey Meisel's decision to reopen the case could mean unsatisfied creditors might be able to collect potential proceeds from a lawsuit she filed against her bankruptcy attorney.

Feds: 5 arrested, accused of posing as IRS agents

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department has arrested five people in Miami accused of posing as IRS agents in telephone calls and demanding immediate payment of overdue taxes, a scheme that netted them an estimated $2 million, a top official said Tuesday.

J. Russell George, who heads the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration office, said Tuesday that the five defrauded about 1,500 people.

The IRS has called similar impersonators the largest such scam in agency history. George said overall, 1.2 million Americans have reported receiving such calls, and around 6,400 of them have reported being cheated out of $36.5 million.

The callers pose as IRS or Treasury agents and demand immediate payment of back taxes or other fees, threatening arrest if they don't. George said some scammers demand that people pay using iTunes or other prepaid debit cards.

The five arrested had their victims quickly wire them money — something George said the IRS does not do.

Sahil Patel of Tatamy, Pennsylvania, was sentenced last July to more than 14 years in prison for leading a similar scheme that prosecutors said victimized people in nearly every state.

The five arrested Monday were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, George said.

He identified them as Jennifer Valerino Nunez, Dennis Delgado Caballero, Arnoldo Perez Mirabal, Yaritza Espinosa Diaz, and Roberto Fontanella Caballero.

A senior official with the office said they began investigating those arrested Monday after one victim complained to the Senate Aging Committee.

That official said the five all live in Miami and are Cuban nationals. He spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details he wasn't authorized to discuss publicly.

Ex-police officer sentenced to life for child porn

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida police officer has been sentenced to life in federal prison after pleading guilty to several child exploitation and child pornography charges.

A federal judge in Fort Pierce on Tuesday sentenced 28-year-old Michael Edwin Harding, a former Port St. Lucie police officer.

Federal prosecutors said Harding admitted to distributing videos and photos to internet chat rooms showing young children engaged in sex acts. Authorities say many of the images were discovered on Harding's cellphone, which authorities say he used to create his own child sex videos. They say more images were found on thumb drives and other devices.

The case is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide effort to combat child sexual exploitation, led by the Homeland Security Investigations arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.