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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A martial arts instructor from southwestern Illinois has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for sexually abusing three young students.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports 20-year-old Christopher Horton of Highland, Illinois was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge David Herndon.

Horton pleaded guilty in October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

Federal prosecutors say Horton recorded video of himself committing sex acts on students ages 6, 8 and 10. Horton taught martial arts to the victims at a Belleville studio.

Police questioned Horton after someone discovered one of the videos and contacted law enforcement. Prosecutors say they recovered 57 video files from Horton's cell phone.

He also was ordered to pay $3,250 restitution.

Published in Local News

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois village's former trustee faces up to a decade in federal prison now that he's pleaded guilty to committing health care fraud.

Thirty-nine-year-old Darron Suggs pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

Suggs admitted he filed fraudulent Medicaid bills on behalf of two people receiving federal aid for home health care. He falsely claimed he acted as their personal health care assistant for seven years beginning in 2006.

The federal government says the fraud netted Suggs nearly $65,000.

Suggs was a Washington Park trustee who also served as a St. Clair County probation officer but left that job in July.

Suggs also faces up to $250,000 in fines when sentenced March 14.

Published in Local News

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A travel-marketing firm based in southwestern Illinois says it will emerge from bankruptcy now that a judge has signed off on the sale of assets for $3.5 million.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an East St. Louis federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of YTB International of Wood River, Illinois to Jamraval Incorporated.

YTB is a seller of Internet-based travel services and products. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.

The company's new owner, Sam Hathi, will oversee YTB's day-to-day operations.

YTB's president and CEO, Andy Cauthen, will remain at the 12-year-old company in an unspecified 

Published in Local News
Saturday, 10 August 2013 08:02

Sentencing delaying in corruption trial

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has again delayed the sentencing of a former Madison County treasurer to allow him to continue cooperating with a federal corruption investigation.

U.S. District Judge David Herndon on Friday delayed Fred Bathon's sentencing from August 30th until December 6th. Earlier this year the judge delayed Bathon's sentencing from May until August.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Bathon's attorney filed a motion requesting the delay. Prosecutors didn't object.

Bathon pleaded guilty in February to rigging 2005-2008 tax lien auctions so that his political donors profited from inflated penalties paid by property owners.

Bathon could receive a prison sentence of between 31 and 40 months, though his sentence could be reduced because of his cooperation with investigators.

Published in Local News

Customers in the Metro East are overpaying by $300 million dollars a year for their smartphone plans. The study was released by the Citizens Utility Board in cooperation with wireless research firm Vaildas.

Rajiv Ravulapati with Citizens Utility Board tell KTRS News that consumers may not want to switch from their current carrier, but that change could save a lot of money, "Consider prepaid plans, because they are getting more sophisticated these days. To the point where Boost Mobile, for example, offers a no-contract plan which offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $50 a month."

There are more tips on how to cut your cell phone and smartphone bill at CUBCellphonesaver.com.

 

Published in Local News

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A St. Louis man is accused of intentionally causing a pre-dawn wreck during a two-vehicle southwestern Illinois chase that ended with a teenager dead.

Prosecutors in St. Clair County charged 27-year-old Donald Friese with first-degree murder in the April 29 death of 18-year-old Mercedes Ferrarie-Troisi of Caseyville.

Illinois State Police have said Friese was driving one of two vehicles involved in a chase with each other. Police say both cars went out of control at a curve in Fairmont City and flipped. Ferrarie-Troisi was ejected and died at the scene. Police said Friese fled the scene.

As of Wednesday afternoon Friese was in custody in Jennings, Mo., on unrelated federal charges.

Bail on the murder count is set at $1 million.

It's not immediately clear if Friese has an attorney.

 
Published in Local News

   O'Fallon, Illinois Police aren't saying what prompted them to ask for help from the St. Louis Major Case Squad Sunday afternoon, only that a person was dead.  

   Police had been called to the victim's home in the 1300 block of Engle Court around 11:00 a.m. Saturday.  O'Fallon police are now calling the victim's death "suspicious."

   Major case investigators refused to comment on Sunday, but O'Fallon police say they expect to release more details on Monday.  

Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has issued an emergency declaration following the flooding and severe weather affecting areas across Illinois.

   Quinn issued the declaration yesterday. The action will allow the state to access federal resources including generators, pump systems sandbags and additional funds. The declaration is a step below a disaster emergency declaration.

   Quinn says the American Red Cross has opened two shelters in north central Illinois. One is in Oglesby and another in Roanoke.

   Earlier yesterday, Quinn initiated the State Incident Response Center to monitor flooding and severe weather in portions of Illinois and help coordinate assistance local authorities may need.

   The governor is encouraging people affected by the weather to go online for real time updates on the storms.

 
Published in Local News

   ST. LIBORY, Ill. (AP) - The small, metro-east village of St. Libory is returning a quarter of the property taxes collected from new homeowners.

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the village is giving back the tax money in an effort to draw young families into its school district. The refund is good for homes built in a certain tax increment finance district and is good for up to eight years. Homeowners apply to receive the refund.

   The village has hired an Edwardsville firm called Moran Economic Development to help it boost growth. About 615 people live in St. Libory, which is about 35 miles southeast of St. Louis.

   Thomas Henderson is with the Illinois Tax Increment Association in Springfield. He says the village's incentives aren't common.

 
Published in Local News

   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville in southern Illinois is pairing its parishes so they can be served by one priest.

   According to a plan released Thursday, the move will mean no parish in the diocese will be closed anytime soon.

   Diocese spokesman Monsignor John Myler says the plan encourages the parishes to prepare for a time when only 50 priests will be available to pastor. He says parishes have been instructed to begin working jointly immediately.

   Myler says the parishes are to implement the pastoral plan in a dynamic, flexible, gradual manner. He says if two or more parishes decide it is better to close a church building, it would be a decision of those parishes.

   The diocese covers the 28 southernmost Illinois counties and includes 121 parishes.

 
Published in Local News
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