NY officials vow attack on predatory debt-fixing

Federal authorities announced a crackdown Tuesday on predatory businesses that cheat “desperate and vulnerable” people harmed by the 2008 financial crisis with phony promises to consolidate their debt. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told a news conference that charges were brought against the owner and three employees of a New York company that cheated over 1,200 customers nationwide after opening its doors in 2009. They were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, along with separate mail and wire fraud charges. He said Mission Settlement Agency promised to help people harmed by the economic collapse for a $49 monthly fee but instead often made them worse as it made $2.2 million in fees from customers it did not help while taking in more than $6.6 million in fees in all. “The true mission of Mission turned out to be fraud and deceit,” he said. Continue Reading

Homeowner where 3 women were found was no stranger

In the tight-knit neighborhood near downtown where many conversations are spoken in Spanish, it seems most everyone knew Ariel Castro. He played bass guitar in salsa and merengue bands. He parked his school bus on the street. He gave neighborhood children rides on his motorcycle. And when they gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember two girls who vanished years ago, Castro was there too, comforting the mother of one of the missing, a neighbor said. Continue Reading

Bullet blitz: Demand from public, government leaves ammo shelves empty

Steve Warholic spends nearly his entire workday at a Nevada ammunition store scouring the Internet, and the owner puts in even more time online. Both think they need to spend more time on the web. They’re trying to find bullets for their customers at Stockpile Defense and the store’s sister school, where 50,000 people are trained every year in firearms handling. Shelves that once held the most popular calibers, like .22 and .45, are bare. There are waiting lists as long as two months and students are requested to bring their own ammunition. Continue Reading

South Carolina teacher who stomped US flag gets $85G payment

A South Carolina high school teacher removed from the classroom when he stomped on an American flag while discussing freedom is being paid $85,000 to avoid a legal challenge. The State newspaper obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act that show Chapin High School teacher Scott Compton is being paid the settlement by Lexington-Richland District 5, in addition to his salary through June 7. Compton resigned as part of the settlement after criticism about his actions last December. The documents also show that the school district will pay attorney fees of nearly $32,000 for Compton. The payments were not disclosed when Compton’s resignation was announced March 27. Continue Reading

Ohio Catholic school fires teacher after name of her same-sex partner reportedly appears in obituary

A female teacher at a Catholic high school in Ohio who was fired after the name of her same-sex partner appeared in her mother’s obituary is reportedly fighting to get her job back. The Plain Dealer reports that Carla Hale, 57, a longtime physical education teacher at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, was informed by the school principal that she was terminated for being in a homosexual relationship — and not for being gay. “Your written spousal relationship violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Watterson High School Principal Marian Hutson wrote to Hale in a March 28 letter. The obituary, which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, listed survivors, including “daughter, Carla (Julie) Hale.” The Catholic Diocese of Columbus was alerted to the obituary by an anonymous letter, the newspaper reports. Continue Reading

Vegan students at Calif. high school accused of bullying agriculture students online

Agriculture students at a Northern California high school say they are being bullied online by fellow students who identify as vegans. Fox 40 reports the vegan students allegedly have been posting angry words against Elk Grove High School’s agriculture program on social media sites such as Instagram. “[One student] keeps posting about goats and sheep and pigs and dead pictures and them being slaughtered,” agriculture student Katie Velon told the station. Outside vegan groups have also reportedly become involved in the bullying, and some vegan students are passing out fliers on campus. In one instance, meat eaters were called “carcass crunchers.” Continue Reading

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3 Women Missing for 10 Years Released from Hospital

CLEVELAND (AP) — The three women who disappeared a decade ago in Cleveland and were found alive are out of the hospital.  

Metro Health Medical Center says all three were released Tuesday morning. A frantic 911 call led police to a house near downtown Cleveland, where the three women were found Monday. Police Chief Michael McGrath says Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were tied up at the house and held there since they were in their teens or early 20s. Three brothers were arrested. Continue Reading

3 Ohio women missing for decade found alive, as cops arrest 52-year-old man

An unnamed 52-year-old man is in custody and three women who disappeared about a decade ago were found alive Monday in a residential area just south of downtown, within a few miles of where they disappeared. Police described the suspect only as a Hispanic male but said they planned to provide more information at a news conference Tuesday. Cheering crowds gathered Monday night on the street near the home where police said Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and a third woman were found earlier in the day. The identity of the third woman hadn’t been confirmed, but Fox 8 and other local media identified her as Michele Knight. Police didn’t immediately provide any details of how the women were found but said they appeared to be in good health and had been taken to a hospital for evaluation. Continue Reading