National Roundup

New Jersey
Alleged gang leader spared death penalty gets 45 years

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — An alleged New Jersey gang leader earlier spared a possible federal death penalty has been sentenced to 45 years after acknowledging involvement in what prosecutors called a “reign of terror” that included five murders.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas imposed the sentence Tuesday on 33-year-old Farad Roland, who pleaded guilty to seven of the 27 charges against him.

Authorities accused Roland of involvement in killings, carjackings and kidnappings allegedly committed by a Bloods-affiliated drug-trafficking gang in Newark’s South Ward that investigators said controlled the drug trade for much of the 2000s.

The judge in January barred prosecutors from seeking capital punishment, citing an intellectual disability of the defendant. Although New Jersey abolished the death penalty at the state level in 2007, capital punishment is still possible under federal criminal law.

New York
Businessman gets 10 years in prison for payday loan scam

NEW YORK (AP) — A businessman who ran a $220 million predatory payday lending operation that cheated over a half million people nationwide while he lived lavishly was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a judge who said he couldn’t understand how a once honorable man could go so crooked.

“You were a man of great conviction and honor to age 60,” U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos told Richard Moseley Sr. on Tuesday as he explained why he imposed the prison term. “How do you, after 60 years, become the person who runs this business?”

Moseley also must forfeit $49 million to make amends for running loan companies that exploited 620,000 of the most financially vulnerable people in the country. His companies had been charging interest rates as high as 700 percent or more using deceptive practices, including charging some people for loans they never requested, while he lived the high life, including a vacation home in Mexico, luxury cars and country club memberships.

Moseley, 73, of Kansas City, Missouri, was convicted last November of racketeering, fraud and identity theft for crimes committed while he ran the company between 2004 and 2014.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Imperatore called Moseley “a very rich man who stole from poor people.”

“He was enormously greedy. He was arrogant,” Imperatore said, explaining why prosecutors sought a sentence in excess of 15 years in prison.

Moseley told Ramos that he felt shame “for the harm my actions have caused people.”

“Looking back, I am humiliated by my indifference to our customers,” he said. “I should have tried harder. I should have loved my neighbor.”

He said he had suffered physical and emotional pain, along with financial despair, in his life.

“Knowing I caused others that same pain leaves me very regretful,” he said.

Prosecutors said Moseley made it appear that he was operating from the Caribbean or New Zealand as complaining customers and numerous state regulators and consumer protection groups closed in on his scandalous practices.

“You were playing whack-a-mole with the regulators,” Ramos said.

The judge read aloud excerpts from the business plan that served as a blueprint for Moseley’s businesses, saying there were numerous red flags that Moseley ignored.

“If this is a business plan, then it’s a business plan for a criminal enterprise,” he said.

Missouri
Judge allows medical abortion rules to stand

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a Planned Parenthood request to block new Missouri regulations on abortion that have so far prevented the organization from offering medication-induced abortions at two of its clinics.

U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips wrote in a ruling Monday that the regulations “have virtually no benefit” but do not impose enough of a burden on women to be considered unconstitutional, The Columbia Tribune reported .

The regulations require providers to obtain written contracts with two doctors who have local hospital admitting privileges who will agree to be on call at all times to treat complications from medication abortion. Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri have argued the regulations have kept it from getting approval from the state health department to provide medication abortions in Columbia and Springfield.
The ruling doesn’t end the case but showed Phillips doubts Planned Parenthood will succeed if it goes to trial.

Currently, medication abortions are available in Missouri only in Kansas City and St. Louis.  Phillips wrote that evidence in the case showed the “vast majority” of women who cannot travel to Kansas City or St. Louis will obtain a surgical abortion.

Planned Parenthood has argued that most women prefer medication abortions.

“The court does not doubt this fact; however, for purposes of the constitution, women are not necessarily entitled access to the procedure that they prefer,” Phillips wrote.

Planned Parenthood sued the state Department of Health and Senior Services after lawmakers enacted new restrictions on abortion in a 2017 special session.

“We are pleased that the district court denied Planned Parenthood’s motion for preliminary injunction.” Attorney General Josh Hawley’s spokeswoman, Mary Compton, wrote in an email. “The Attorney General’s Office will continue to vigorously defend commonsense regulations that protect the health of Missouri women.”

Brandon Hill, president and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood, and Mary M. Kogut, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region said in a joint statement Tuesday that it was troubling the judge declined to stop “this senseless regulation” would allow it to continue even after saying they had virtually no benefit and finding that complications from medication abortions are rare.

“We will continue to fight for justice and the right for all Missourians to access the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care they choose,” they said.

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