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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A suburban St. Louis man is facing a combined 11 charges in two counties for allegedly soliciting donations for a charity to aid wounded veterans, but keeping the money for himself.
 
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster was in St. Louis on Wednesday to announce charges in both St. Louis and St. Charles counties against 34-year-old William Harshbarger of St. Charles. He is charged with seven counts in St. Charles County and four in St. Louis County.
 
Harshbarger is accused of soliciting unauthorized donations for the Wounded Warrior Project, often standing outside stores to ask for money.
 
Koster says Harshbarger collected at least $6,200 and none of it went to charity.
 
Harshbarger is jailed in St. Charles on $35,000 bond and does not yet have an attorney.
 
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Prosecutors have described Kevin Trudeau as an "uncontrollable huckster" in urging a federal judge to imprison the TV pitchman for at least 10 years for bilking consumers through widely aired infomercials.
 
In a court filing in Chicago this week, they blast Trudeau as "an unrepentant, untiring and uncontrollable huckster." They add the 50-year-old is even likely to cheat fellow inmates. Sentencing is March 17.
 
Jurors convicted Trudeau of criminal contempt in November for violating a judge's order barring him from making false claims about his book, "The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About."
 
Prosecutors say Trudeau has not only refused to pay a $37 million judgment in a related civil case but bragged about his defiance.
 
Trudeau attorney Kimball Anderson didn't return a message seeking comment.
Published in National News
ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A St. Charles County doctor has pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing Medicare for office visits when he was actually traveling outside the country.
 
Federal prosecutors say Dr. Khaled Hassan told Medicare he treated patients face-to-face on three occasions between March 2009 and December 2011 when he was actually overseas.  The office visits involved prescription drug refills, with Hassan's nurses instead seeing the patients and providing previously signed prescription forms.
 
That led to a federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigation. Hassan faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 for each of the three felony counts. Sentencing is scheduled for April.
Published in Local News
   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two Turkish citizens face federal smuggling charges for allegedly shipping tainted cancer treatment prescription drugs from Turkey and other foreign countries into Missouri.
   Federal prosecutors say OzKan Semizoglu and Sabahaddin Akman smuggled three shipments from Turkey to Chesterfield.
   A grand jury indictment filed Thursday in federal court says the pair falsely identified the shipments as gifts and documents with little or no monetary value. They are also charged with sending drugs requiring constant cold temperatures in packages without insulation, which could taint the medicine. They were arrested Thursday in Puerto Rico.
   Each faces one felony count of conspiracy to smuggle merchandise into the United States and three counts of smuggling.  Online court records did not list an attorney for either defendant.
 
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A nonprofit federal data tracker says the U.S. government filed a record number of health-care fraud cases during the latest federal fiscal year.
 
Southern Illinois federal prosecutors helped lead the way in pursuing charges against such white-collar scammers.
 
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University says in a new report that 377 new prosecutions were opened during the fiscal year ending last October. That's up 3 percent from the previous year and 7.7 percent from five years ago.
 
The clearinghouse says prosecutions that the U.S. Attorney's Office in southern Illinois opened led the nation per-capita. That's more than eight times the U.S. average.
 
Those behind the report say the latest numbers may reflect that federal authorities are devoting more resources toward attacking health-care fraud.
 
Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - A suburban St. Louis man is accused in an alleged real estate scheme that bilked investors out of more than $2.5 million.
 
Federal prosecutors say 53-year-old Ronald L. Roberts of Town and Country was charged Dec. 11 with three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. The indictment was unsealed and announced Tuesday.
 
The charges relate to what prosecutors call a bogus land deal with Wal-Mart near Poplar Bluff, Mo. Roberts alleged told lenders they would make huge returns on the money. But, prosecutors say, no deal with Wal-Mart ever existed, and Roberts allegedly gambled at a casino with the money given to him.
 
Roberts does not yet have a listed attorney.
 
Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis-area woman has pleaded guilty to a scheme that cheated victims out of more than $80,000.

Sentencing is Jan. 9 for 46-year-old Theresa Moore, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to four felony fraud charges in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

Federal prosecutors say Moore used aliases and claimed she worked in law enforcement or the legal profession as part of her scam. One victim was an elderly widower whom Moore convinced was the victim of identity theft. The man paid her more than $60,000 after Moore convinced him he would receive money as part of a legal settlement.

Authorities say an associate of Moore posed as a police detective to aid Moore in another scheme that cost the victim $20,000.

 

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A former suburban St. Louis mayor previously convicted of wire fraud has pleaded guilty to submitting false employment records while trying to get out of the halfway house where he was staying.

Keith Conway was sentenced in November 2011 to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, theft from a federal program and witness tampering. He was also ordered to repay more than $62,000 to the city.

Conway was transferred May 1 from federal prison in Marion, Illinois to a St. Louis halfway house and was supposed to be working, but instead lied and submitted fake pay stubs.

The 49-year-old pleaded guilty Monday to four felony counts of filing false documents and will be sentenced in December.

Published in Local News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two former top St. Louis parks officials face December federal sentencing now that they've admitted stealing nearly half a million dollars from the city since 2005.

Thomas "Dan" Stritzel, the city's 43-year-old chief park ranger, and the deputy parks commissioner, 55-year-old Joseph Vacca, each pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud involving the theft of roughly $465,000.

A May indictment alleged that from January 2005 through the end of last year, Stritzel and Vacca used false or inflated invoices to funnel the pilfered city funds through sham companies. Prosecutors say they spent the money on vehicles, paying off credit card debt, and other expenses.

They each face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count.

Court records show Vacca filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

 

Published in Local News

The final member of a massive prearranged funeral scam has been convicted for his role in the fraud.

David Wulf was found guilty of 18 counts of various types of fraud. Prosecutors say Wulf and other executives at National Prearranged Services hatched a $600 million dollar scheme to defraud customers.

The remaining five defendants, including heads of the company Doug and Brent Cassity, all pleaded guilty. All six convicts will be sentenced in November.

Published in Local News
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