National Roundup

Ohio

Cleveland group: Rename serial killer's old street

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Some neighbors of a now-demolished home where the remains of 11 murdered women were found want the street renamed to escape the stigma of the crimes.

A task force representing residents, business owners, ministers and relatives of victims are proposing the renaming of Imperial Avenue, the street where Anthony Sowell lived in the impoverished Mount Pleasant neighborhood east of downtown.

The Rev. Jimmy Gates told The Plain Dealer that the idea is to turn the street's story "from tragedy to triumph."

But some relatives say the victims' families should memorialize the women as they choose and that the city should leave the property empty and not add the names of victims to any memorial.

"My mother is resting now, and I don't want her name on anything over there," said Donnita Carmichael, whose mother Tonia Carmichael was killed by Sowell.

The house was fenced off and kept intact for Sowell's trial last year, when the jury toured the site. It was demolished in December.

City Councilman Ken Johnson said the task force was a council-driven effort, and the group is expected to make a recommendation to council members in the next couple months.

"It is a bad memory for the people on the street, and the landlords can't rent their property," Johnson said. "Nobody wants to live there because of what happened."

Sowell, 52, is appealing his conviction and death sentence to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The murdered women began vanishing in 2007. Police discovered 10 bodies and a skull at Sowell's house in late 2009 after officers went there on a woman's report that she had been raped at the home.

Neighbors blamed a stench from the rotting bodies on an adjacent sausage factory, which spent $20,000 on new plumbing fixtures and sewer lines to try to make the smell go away.

Pennsylvania

Islamic groups offers reward in Muslim garb crimes

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia-area Muslims are offering a cash reward in a series of crimes committed by men using women's Islamic garb to conceal their identities.

An organization representing dozens of Muslim congregations is offering $20,000 in rewards following a rash of bank holdups and a homicide authorities say were perpetrated by men wearing the long robes and face scarves worn by some Muslim women.

Perpetrators wore Muslim garb in five Philadelphia bank robberies since December. A man charged with an April 18 killing in an Upper Darby barber shop allegedly wore a woman's robe as part of a robbery ruse.

Islamic leaders say they're concerned the crimes could make Muslim women the targets of mistrust or even violence.

District Attorney Seth Williams appealed for the public's help, calling the criminals "cowards."

California

2 men sentenced for running $16M Ponzi scheme

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Two California men are heading to prison after being convicted of running a $16 million Ponzi scheme and defrauding about 400 investors.

Federal officials say 52-year-old Duane Eddings of San Francisco was sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison. Co-defendant Robert Brown Jr. of Vallejo received a prison sentence of 15 years and eight months.

In November, a jury found Eddings guilty of wire fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud and tax evasion.

In April 2010, Brown pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for his participation in the investment scheme.

Prosecutors say Brown and Eddings posed as stock market experts and lured investors with guaranteed high rates of return. But in reality they transferred money from new investors to earlier investors and spent millions on themselves.

New York

FBI arrests NY, Fla. associates of Ponzi schemer

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) -- The FBI says it has arrested four associates of a New York man convicted in a $400 million Ponzi scheme.

FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald says three men and one woman were arrested without incident early Wednesday. Three of them were arrested on Long Island and a fourth was taken into custody in Florida.

The three New York suspects are due in U.S. District Court in Central Islip later Wednesday.

The four are associates of New York businessman Nicholas Cosmo. He was nicknamed "mini-Madoff" because he was arrested weeks after the notorious billion-dollar swindler was arrested in 2009.

Cosmo pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud and is serving 25 years.

Bernard Madoff looted billions from victims that included charities, celebrities and institutions. Cosmo targeted mainly blue-collar workers.

Kansas

Feds investigate Kansas disabled programs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Complaints about possible civil rights violations arising from waiting lists for physically disabled Kansans seeking state services have been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Lawrence Journal World reports that the federal Office of Civil Rights unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a voluntary settlement with Gov. Sam Brownback's administration.

At issue is whether Kansas is doing enough to provide services to disabled residents who in some cases have been on waiting lists for three years. A U.S. Supreme Court decision requires states to provide services to people with disabilities.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office for Kansas are meeting with the Department of Justice to consider further action.

California

Ship owner sues pharmacists in 2007 SF Bay spill

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The owners and operators of the Cosco Busan container ship that leaked thousands of gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay in 2007 are suing pharmacists who they say dispensed drugs to the ship's pilot.

Regal Stone Ltd., owner of the Cosco Busan, and Fleet Management Ltd., the ship's operator, say the pills dispensed "recklessly and negligently" by pharmacists at a Longs Drug Store in Petaluma clouded pilot John Cota's judgment and led the ship to slam into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, spilling more than 50,000 gallons of oil. Their lawsuit -- filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday -- claims many of the drugs should not have been taken together.

It seeks monetary damages.

Published: Thu, Apr 26, 2012

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