Calaveras County Man Raymond Cawthorne Sentenced


Calaveras County Man Raymond Cawthorne Sentenced for Embezzling Housing Assistance Program Funds

(STL.News) – Raymond Cawthorne, 57, of Valley Springs, was sentenced today to five years’ probation for embezzlement of public funds, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

Cawthorne previously paid $14,000 in restitution and forfeited another $14,000 as part of his sentence.

“Raymond Cawthorne was sentenced today for embezzling funds from a federal rescue program that is still in use today to help homeowners stay in their homes,” said Special Inspector General Christy Goldsmith Romero of SIGTARP.  “ He is one of 384 defendants convicted of crimes that SIGTARP investigated.  We commend the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California for prosecuting rescue fraud crime investigated by SIGTARP.”

According to court documents, between May 2015 and October 2016, Cawthorne embezzled over $14,000 belonging to the Keep Your Home California (KYHC) Program.  The federally funded program was launched in response to the 2008 financial crisis and provided homeowners, who became unemployed, with temporary mortgage assistance so that they could avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.  Participating homeowners became ineligible after they found new employment.  The program was part of a broader effort by the federal government to stabilize the nation’s housing market where states with the most distressed markets received federal monies to develop locally tailored foreclosure prevention solutions.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), a federal law enforcement agency that targets crime at financial institutions and federally funded housing programs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton prosecuted the case.

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Jury convicts man Jack Preston Coversup of sexually abusing minor girls in Lodge Grass


(STL.News) – A federal jury on Monday convicted a Moiese man accused of sexually abusing minor girls in Lodge Grass on the Crow Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

After a two-day trial, the jury found Jack Preston Coversup, 57, guilty of sexual abuse of a minor and abusive sexual contact.

Coversup faces a maximum 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to life of supervised release for sexual abuse of a minor, and a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years to life of supervised release for abusive sexual contact.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided and set sentencing for Dec. 10. Coversup was detained pending further proceedings.

“A jury held Mr. Coversup accountable for molesting minor victims over a period of months.  Children must be protected from sexual predators, and we will prosecute offenders to the full extent of the law.  I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Godfrey and Lori Suek and the FBI for their hard work in investigating and prosecuting this case,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.

During trial, the prosecution presented evidence that Coversup had sexually molested three minor girls in a Lodge Grass residence from about December 2015 to February 2016.  The victims were under the age of 16.  Coversup sexually molested the victims by touching their bodies over and under their clothing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Godfrey and Lori Suek prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.

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Gary Man Kristopher Meacham Sentenced To 120 Months In Prison


(STL.News) – Kristopher Meacham, 29, of Gary, Indiana, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Theresa L. Springmann following his plea of guilty to transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.

Meacham was sentenced to 120 months in prison followed by 15 years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the victim of his offense.

According to documents in the case, Mr. Meacham met a 14 year-old girl from Chicago in January 2018 in Gary, Indiana.  The two communicated over social media, and during the communications Meacham told the girl he was 19 years old and arranged to meet her.  In March of 2018, he drove to Chicago, picked up the 14 year-old and drove her to his home in Gary where he engaged in sexual acts with the child until she escaped the following day and was recovered by police.

This case is the result of the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation GRIT Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Northern District of Indiana Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill R. Koster.

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Randolph County, Ronnie Bescher Wins Cash 5 Jackpot 2nd Time, Scores $110,000


Raleigh,  NC (STL.News) On Thursday, Ronnie Bescher of Randleman found himself the lucky winner of a Cash 5 jackpot for the second time, scoring a $110,000 prize.

“I’m just happy I won again,” said Bescher.

Bescher, who has worked as a mechanic for 36 years, bought his lucky ticket from the Food Lion on Pointe South Drive in Randleman.

He still plays using the same numbers that won him a $73,865 Cash 5 jackpot back in 2009.  “I just mark them down and kept them for a long time,” he said.  “I don’t change them.”

Bescher watched the live drawing that night.  When he realized he won, he said, “’Woo!”

The next day, he called his son and said, “Take me to Raleigh.”

Bescher claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh.  After required federal and state tax with holdings, he took home $77,825.

“The win comes at a good time,” he said.

Cash 5 is a statewide draw game that gives players the chance to win a jackpot every single night.  Tickets cost $1 and players can buy tickets at most lottery retailers, through Online Play on the lottery’s website, or on the NC Lottery Official Mobile app.

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Oakland County, Megan Sidge Wins $10,000 In Michigan Lottery


Oakland County Teacher Wins 2020 Educator of the Year Award and $10,000 Prize from the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education Program

Michigan (STL.News) An Oakland County teacher has won the 2020 Educator of the Year award and a $10,000 prize from the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education program, the Lottery announced today.

The award winner, Megan Sidge, teaches students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Hickory Woods Elementary, which is part of the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.

Sidge is a second-generation special education teacher who fell in love with the profession through volunteering in her mother’s classroom at a young age.  Her compassionate and structured approach helps her students grow inside and outside of the classroom.

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Pinellas County, Mary Bowen Claims 6th Top Prize From The 100x Scratch-off Game


TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) The Florida Lottery announces that Mary Bowen, of Largo, claimed the sixth $2 million top prize from the 100X Scratch-Off game using a secured drop box located at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee.  She chose to receive her winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $1,605,000.00.

Bowen purchased her winning ticket from 7-Eleven, located at 11505 Walsingham Road in Largo.  The retailer will receive a $4,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.

The $10 game launched in January 2020 and features eight top prizes of $2 million! The game’s overall odds of winning are one-in-3.46.

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Coral Springs, Jessica Flagiello Won $1 Million in Florida Lottery


CORAL SPRINGS WOMAN TURNS $30 INTO $1 MILLION PLAYING
THE FASTEST ROAD TO $1,000,000 SCRATCH-OFF GAME

TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News)  The Florida Lottery announces that Jessica Flagiello, 38, of Coral Springs, claimed a $1 million top prize from THE FASTEST ROAD TO $1,000,000 Scratch-Off game using a secured drop box located at the Miami District Office.  She chose to receive her winnings as a one-time, lump-sum payment of $790,000.00.

Flagiello purchased her winning ticket from Publix, located at 2201 North University Drive in Coral Springs.  The retailer will receive a $2,000 bonus commission for selling the winning Scratch-Off ticket.

The $30 game, THE FASTEST ROAD TO $1,000,000, launched in February and features 155 top prizes of $1,000,000 and over $948 million in cash prizes! The game’s overall odds of winning are one-in-2.79.

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Sex Traffickers Sentenced to Combined 81 Years in Prison


(STL.News) – Six defendants have been sentenced to a combined 81 years in prison for their respective roles in the sex trafficking of a minor victim and an adult victim at multiple locations in Northern Virginia and Maryland in 2018 and 2019.

“Sex traffickers often prey upon the most vulnerable victims in our society and intentionally exploit those vulnerabilities,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “The damage inflicted upon children through this form of sexual exploitation is immeasurable.  The victim—survivors are subject to multiple forms of mental, physical, and emotional trauma, the scars of which never fully fade.  The minor victim in this case was particularly vulnerable, and her traffickers used fear, coercion, and control to abuse and exploit her entire being for profit.  We will remain dogged in our pursuit of all those who perpetrate this modern day slavery.”

From April 2018 through Jan. 14, 2019, five of the defendants sex trafficked a minor victim throughout Virginia and Maryland.  The minor was housed at multiple hotels in Alexandria and Fairfax for the purposes of commercial sex, and the defendants advertised the minor victim through various means, including prostitution advertisements online on Bedpage.com, CityXGuide.com, and Backpage.com (shortly before it was seized by the federal government).  They also advertised the minor victim through the communications platform WhatsApp by sending her picture out to a list-serve of known customers.  As a form of grooming, the male defendants engaged in sexual intercourse with the minor.  As a form of enticement, the defendants permitted the minor to keep about 50 percent of the commercial sex proceeds while the defendants collected the remaining 50 percent.

“These sentencings underscore the FBI’s commitment to holding accountable those who prey upon innocent victims for their own greed,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division.  “In full collaboration with our task force partners throughout the area, the FBI will continue to work tirelessly to stop criminals such as these, and prevent them from abusing children and vulnerable individuals while profiting from illicit acts.  The FBI will remain focused on recovering victims and arresting the sex traffickers who exploit them, and we will not stop working to remove these offenders from the streets of our communities.”

“Human traffickers treat human life like property, exploiting and extorting for profit,” said Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. “This case shows the callous greed traffickers exhibit, ensnaring children and forcing them into sexual exploitation.  HSI is committed to investigating and seeking prosecution of human traffickers alongside our federal and local partners.”

“The actions of these defendants are quite frankly reprehensible as they’ve purposely preyed upon our most vulnerable and impressionable victims for far too long,” said Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of Fairfax County Police.  “From the onset of this investigation, federal prosecutors and agents teamed up with Fairfax County officers and detectives to methodically pursue justice for these young victims and worked to ensure no other families could be torn apart by the unspeakable conduct of our defendants.”

“The successful conclusion of this case was due, in part, to the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors, in addition to, the courageousness of the victims,” said Jarad L. Phelps, Acting Chief of Police for Prince William County.  “Sex trafficking targets our most vulnerable community members and it’s upon us all to report and investigate these matters efficiently to ensure the victims receive justice and begin the healing process.  With each prosecution, a message is sent to sex traffickers that this type of exploitation will not be tolerated.  We encourage any victim of trafficking to please come forward and take the brave step to stop this abuse.”

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Brattleboro Police Charged Daniel Harmon for Possession of Heroin


Brattleboro, VT (STL.News)   On 7/16/2020 at approximately 1430 hours the Brattleboro Police Department were at a local hotel on Putney Rd. investigating a separate incident.  Daniel Harmon was suspected of committing a separate crime, and when questioned about if he had committed the crime Harmon agreed to a search of his person.

Upon searching Harmon it was found that he was in possession of 3 heroin bags.  Harmon was issued a citation and is to appear at the Windham County Superior Court: Criminal Division on 9/15/2020 at 0800 to face the charge.

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Brattleboro Police Arrested David M. Graham In Domestic Assault


Brattleboro, VT (STL.News)  On 7/23/2020 Officers of the Brattleboro Police Department responded to a motel on South Street for a report of a citizen dispute.  Officers interviewed several individuals who were at the Motel.  Further investigation revealed that the victim had been assaulted by David M. Graham.  No life threatening injuries were sustained.

​Officers placed Graham under arrest and transported him back to the Brattleboro Police Department where he was processed.  Graham was issued conditions of release but was held in lieu of bail.  He was issued a flash citation to appear at the Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division on 7/24/20 at 1230 hours.

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