National Roundup

Judge pleads guilty to charges including fraud

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a judge accused of stealing at least $100,000 from a former client has pleaded guilty in Ohio to related federal charges including mail fraud and making false statements to law enforcement.

A U.S. attorney's office news release said Mahoning County Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo, of Youngstown, also pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of structuring cash deposits. Court documents show a charge of making and subscribing a false tax return was dropped.

The indictment accused Vettori-Caraballo of stealing cash that was in a client's home when that client died in March 016.

Vettori-Caraballo was suspended as a judge in Mahoning County Court in 2018 after the charges were filed. She is scheduled to be sentenced June 13.

A message seeking comment was left for Vettori-Caraballo's attorney.

Man gets over15 years in prison for terror case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old Northern California man to more than 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to trying to support an Islamic terrorist group.

Amer Alhaggagi pleaded guilty in July to creating Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts for people he believed to be ISIS supporters he met in online chat rooms. He was also secretly recorded plotting for two years with undercover agents to blow up courthouses, landmarks and tourists attractions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alhaggagi and his attorneys argued for a much lighter sentence and tried to portray the Berkeley High School graduate as an out-of-work, pot-smoking internet "troll" seeking only to provoke and annoy with violent, anti-American claims. His attorney Mary McNamara called the oldest son of Yemeni-born parents a "class clown." Federal probation officials recommended a four-year prison sentence.

Some 150 residents of Oakland's tight-knit Yemeni community signed a letter given to Breyer on Monday urging leniency. The letter said the community was creating and educational program to teach children about online behavior and speech and how to properly respond to online strangers advocating terrorism.

Before he was sentenced, Alhaggagi apologized after a day-long hearing where recordings of his violent anti-American boasts were played and displays of text messages threatening to kill his Oakland neighbors.

"I find it hard to look and listen to all the horrible things I said to the undercover agent," he said. "I made myself look like a crazy person."

But U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer rejected the portrayal of Alhaggagi as a naive blowhard who never intended to follow through with his threats.

"Words matter," the judge said. "The most disturbing thing in Alhaggagi is the lack of empathy for others. That is chilling."

Man sentenced to prison for child pornography

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A 50-year-old Iowa man has been sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for having and producing child pornography.

Federal prosecutors for Iowa said in a news release Tuesday that Joel Thomas Augard was sentenced Monday in Des Moines' federal courthouse. Augard had pleaded guilty in October to two counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Des Moines police say a victim reported in April having been sexually assaulted by Augard on multiple occasions about 10 years earlier, when the victim was a child. Police say the victim also reported that Augard videoed some of the abuse. Police say a search of Augard's Cherokee, Iowa, home turned up child pornography, including the videos he had taken of the victim who reported the abuse.

Minnesota man sentenced for Alaska trip to exploit child

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A 43-year-old Minnesota man who traveled to Alaska to have sex with a 9-year-old child has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison.

Adam Scott Pike, formerly of Rochester, pleaded guilty in October to attempted travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and distribution of child pornography.

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on Friday sentenced Pike to 22.5 years in prison and ordered him to pay $45,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Pike in 2017 communicated with an Alaska man, received sexually explicit images of a minor and discussed traveling to have sex with the minor.

The FBI arrested the Alaska man but continued communicating with Pike, who sent pornographic videos and sexual images of himself.

Pike traveled to Alaska in April 2017, and was arrested.

Songwriters group sues bars over unlicensed music

BALTIMORE (AP) - Songwriters and music publishers are suing bars around the country, saying they infringed on musical copyrights.

The Baltimore Sun reports the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers sued Baltimore sports bar Carlos O' Charlies on Monday in federal court. ASCAP represents more than 690,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and licenses establishments to play the 11.5 million songs in its repertoire.

ASCAP also is suing a dozen establishments in Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. Spokesman Jackson Wagener says they spent up to five years reaching out, and is suing the businesses that refused to obtain licenses.

Owner Carlos Cruz says Carlos O' Charlies licenses music through a Pandora business account. Such accounts don't cover live and DJ performances.

Man accused of dipping testicles into salsa

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee man was jailed on felony charges after appearing to dip his testicles into a container of salsa that a customer had ordered online.

The delivery driver allegedly recorded it and posted a video online, saying "This is what you get when you give an 89 cents tip for an almost 30-minute drive."

News outlets report that the passenger, 31-year-old Howard Matthew Webb, was arrested last week and charged with adulteration of food.

Dinner Delivered said the food service has fired the driver and forwarded information about her to authorities as well.

Webb remains behind bars pending a March 12 hearing.

His arrest warrant says they picked up the food for delivery from a local Mexican restaurant. The company issued a refund for the tainted food.

Published: Thu, Feb 28, 2019