National Roundup

2nd twin sister gets jail for ­posing as ­psychologist 

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — The second of Massachusetts twin sisters who pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from government agencies by providing unlicensed psychological services has been sentenced to jail.

The state attorney general’s office says 52-year-old Nita Guzman was sentenced last week to 18 months in jail and five years’ probation, and ordered to pay $570,000 in restitution.

The Burlington woman pleaded guilty to Medicaid false claims, false claims to public agency, larceny, and unlicensed practice of psychology.

Prosecutors say Guzman and her sister, through their companies, billed Medicare, Medicaid, University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Lawrence Public Schools for mental-health services they were not authorized to provide.

Guzman’s twin, Nina Tischer, pleaded guilty in February to similar charges and was given a 2 ½-year suspended sentence.

New York
Judge allows blood-alcohol test in ex-cop’s fatal crash trial 

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has denied a defense request to suppress the blood-alcohol test results of a former New Jersey police officer charged in a fatal wrong-way crash on New York’s Staten Island last year.

Justice Stephen Rooney ruled Tuesday that a warrant used to obtain samples from 29-year-old Pedro Abad was supported by probable cause.

Prosecutors say Abad was drunk when he collided with a tractor trailer on the West Shore Expressway in the morning hours of March 20, 2015. Two passengers in Abad’s car were killed, including a fellow Linden, New Jersey officer. Abad has pleaded not guilty to charges in the case.

Abad’s attorney says he’s waiting on test results to determine whether his client’s blood contained traces of the date-rape drug GHB.

Prosecutor: No charges to be filed in fatal shooting of boy 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors say they plan no charges in the case of a 5-year-old Missouri boy who police say accidentally shot and killed his 3-year-old brother.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Tuesday that the decision to decline charges in Jermone Green’s death Oct. 27 came after extensive review found a lack of evidence suggesting anyone was criminally culpable.

Baker says prosecutors found insufficient evidence to establish anyone in the town house was criminally reckless or negligent by placing the handgun in an upper kitchen cabinet over the sink the night before the shooting.

Authorities say the gun was found by the 5-year-old brother the next morning, when he apparently used a footstool to climb onto the kitchen counter. Prosecutors say the boy then accidentally shot his brother.

Judge sends man to prison for life in road rage case

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who sought to have a murder charge against him dropped based on the state’s stand-your-ground law is heading to prison.

On Tuesday, a judge in Daytona Beach sentenced 64-year-old Robert Gelles to life in prison, saying he showed no remorse in the fatal shooting of 44-year-old Joseph Bailey III in September 2015.

A jury found Gelles guilty of second-degree murder on Oct. 20. He faced a minimum of 25 years in prison. But the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports Circuit Judge Terence Perkins handed down the life sentence. He said the shooting was neither justifiable or excusable.

Witnesses testified that Bailey and Gelles were driving as if they were involved in a road rage incident before the confrontation took place in Port Orange.

Prosecutors want to seize property linked to alleged ­kidnapping case

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prosecutors are trying to seize two properties where a man says he was held during a kidnapping involving a St. Louis-area executive.

Prosecutors say the victim was abducted Nov. 21 and taken to a home where he was beaten, assaulted and attacked with a stun gun, then transported in a shipping container to another home.

The U.S. attorney’s office says the man’s parents paid a $27,000 ransom for his release.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that prosecutors want to seize those properties, plus multiple firearms and vehicles.

Todd Beckman, Kerry Roades, Zachary Smith and brothers Blake and Caleb Laubinger all pleaded not guilty Tuesday to kidnapping conspiracy charges in the incident.

Beckman was president and CEO of BAM Brands, which according to its website owns tanning and age-management businesses.

Warden prevails in lawsuit that alleges ­discrimination

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal jury found Tuesday that a warden at a jail in Hawaii did not subject female inmates to sexual humiliation and discrimination, and did not retaliate against a jail social worker who brought the suit.

After a week of deliberations, the jury voted unanimously in favor of defendants Neal Wagatsuma and the state of Hawaii.

Former jail social worker Carolyn Ritchie’s lawsuit accused Wagatsuma of forcing women Kauai Community Correctional Center to watch films depicting rape, and to divulge details about their sexual pasts while being filmed.
Wagatsuma testified during the trial that the violent sexual films were part of a program he created that includes what he calls “shame therapy.”

He said there have long been rumors he shows inmates pornography, but “I would never do that.”

The warden showed films such as “Finding Mr. Goodbar,” a 1970s drama in which the female protagonist is raped and murdered, court records showed.

Wagatsuma said he yells and uses profanity during the sessions. Words such as “whore” and “batuna,” a Hawaii slang term for a woman who trades sex for crystal meth, were used in appropriate contexts, he said.

Ritchie’s lawsuit said that woman had come to her to complain about the sessions. It also alleged the warden denied women the same work release opportunities as men.


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