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Member of Winans gospel singing family charged with operating $8M Ponzi scheme
Sep-15-2012 1149 0


A member of the Winans gospel music family has been charged with fraud after authorities uncovered a scam involving more than $8 million and bogus oil bonds.

Michael Winans Jr. plans to plead guilty, defense attorney William Hatchett said Thursday.

Winans knew the Saudi Arabian oil bonds weren't real, but he continued to accept money from more than 1,000 investors in 2007 and 2008, according to a filing this week in Detroit federal court.

He recycled the money among investors, a trait of Ponzi schemes, and also used cash for his personal use, the government said.

Michigan regulators in 2010 said Winans Jr. used connections in Detroit churches to lure investors.

"My client has told me it is his full intention to repay or somehow put these people back to where they were before they became involved," Hatchett said.

Winans is a third-generation member of one of gospel music's first families. He's the grandson of Delores "Mom" Winans and David "Pop" Winans Sr., and son of Michael Winans Sr., a member of The Winans, a quartet of brothers. His uncle, Marvin Winans, gave the eulogy at Whitney Houston's funeral.

"There are no other members of this great family implicated or involved in any fashion," Hatchett said. "This is a very difficult time for this bright and gifted young man. His family stands beside him and they intend to see him through this."

He said Winans likely would make a court appearance within 10 days.

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Oct-20-2014 90 0
According to TV Newser, CNN has withdrawn its support for NABJ’s 2015 Convention & Career Fair. The organization was told last week by NABJ president Bob Butler. It’s being reported Butler has publicly expressed his concern regarding CNN’s hiring and employee retention practices of black journalists.

“I understand the company has a right to make personnel decisions,” Butler says. “There were not that many African American managers at CNN in the first place. These layoffs have hurt our members tremendously. I am severely disappointed that CNN has ended our partnership.”

Darius Walker, who was CNN’s New York Bureau Chief/VP, is an NABJ member and was among one of the managers cut by the network.

The National Association of Black Journalists will hold its 40th Annual Convention & Career Fair from August 5-9, 2015 in Minneapolis.

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Oct-20-2014 78 0
After years of alleged police brutality, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed plans Monday to investigate the Baltimore Police Department..

At the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore, the Department of Justice announced initial details about collaborative-reform initiative to curb police brutality in the city. Officials at the announcement included U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and Ronald L. Davis, director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice.

Davis said he has known Batts for years and is confident he will be a full partner in the coming review.

"We will be able to make the Baltimore Police Department even better and stronger than it is today," Davis said in a statement. "The collaborative reform initiative we embark on today is just that — a collaboration — and everything this partnership entails will be done in an open and transparent fashion."

While Batts and Rawlings-Blake said they started talking weeks ago about the federal program, they unveiled the request on Oct. 4 — five days after The Baltimore Sun published results of an investigation showing that residents have suffered broken bones and battered faces during arrests.

The Sun found that the city has paid $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements in 102 civil suits since 2011, and nearly all of the people involved in incidents leading to those lawsuits were cleared of criminal charges. Some officers were involved in multiple lawsuits.

"When law enforcement misconduct is uncovered, the U.S. Department of Justice has a variety of tools available to respond," Davis said. "Responses to misconduct in law enforcement organizations fall along a continuum of intervention."

The federal review will examine training standards, the way police interact with residents and how the department tracks complaints against officers. Investigators look for troubling patterns. Within weeks, a team of policing experts could be in Baltimore, talking to residents, community leaders and officers.

Some city leaders, like Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, prefer a wider probe of the Baltimore Police Department.

The Department of Justice says it developed the collaborative reform in 2011 as an independent and objective way to transform a law enforcement agency through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today.

The coming review in Baltimore is similar to ongoing probes in Philadelphia and Spokane, Wash., that are focusing on police shootings and other issues.

The goal is to help change the ways that law enforcement agencies build community partnerships and enhance transparency; transform agencies through decision making and policies; and institutionalize reforms with integrated accountability measures, officials say.

The reform was first utilized in Las Vegas in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings. Prosecutors cleared officers of wrongdoing in most cases.

The Department of Justice finished its review in November 2012 and a 155-page report in May 2014 that focused on the use of deadly force, including an analysis of policies, training, tactics and documentation. Investigators interviewed more than 100 people, including residents, officers, prosecutors and police union officials.

Among its 75 findings, the federal government listed 16 shortcomings in use-of-force policies and procedures, and recommended reforms.

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AP Oct-20-2014 80 0
The brutal militant group Boko Haram has reportedly agreed to release the more than 200 Nigerians schoolgirls it abducted six months ago.

The mass kidnapping in April shocked the world and led to a social media campaign built around the slogan #BringBackOurGirls.

An international manhunt failed to track down the missing girls, and they had largely fallen out of the spotlight in recent months.

But the Nigerian military announced Friday that as part of a ceasefire deal, Boko Haram has agreed to free the girls.

"They've assured us they have the girls and they will release them," Nigeria's chief of defense staff, Alex Badeh, was quoted as saying. "I am cautiously optimistic."

"We are monitoring the news with huge expectations,” the Bring Back Our Girls campaign tweeted.

The deal was first reported by BBC News.

The girls were snatched April 15 in a carefully-orchestrated overnight assault on the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School.

Members of the Al Qaeda-trained terror group claimed to be soldiers on a rescue mission.

But the Islamic militants, after herding the frightened girls outside, forced them into the backs of pickup trucks and tore off into the darkness.

Some 275 girls were believed to be taken — some as young as 9.

The brazen abduction gained heightened attention when Boko Haram leader released a video days later promising to sell of the girls as slaves.

“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will sell them off and marry them off," Abubakar Shekau threatened.

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AP Oct-20-2014 117 0
The bodies of three more women were found at two locations in Gary, Ind., Sunday night, authorities said early Monday morning.

The Lake County coroner's office determined that all three women were murdered: one from strangulation, the others from unspecified injuries.

This brings the total number of dead bodies found in northwestern Indiana this weekend to seven, the office said.

“It is possible that the investigation will lead to more victims,” Doughty said at a press conference midday Monday.

Doughty said Vann had been soliciting prostitutes through Backpage.com, a classified ads website, so he could murder them.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the suspect had been convicted of sex crimes in Texas and moved to Gary from Austin in 2004.

Authorities say he cooperated with investigators and helped lead police to the other women after he was arrested in the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19.

Her body was found at a Motel 6 in nearby Hammond about 9:30 p.m. Friday.

"A friend of the deceased called us and she was concerned when she didn't respond to her calling," Hammond police Lt. Rich Hoyda told The Associated Press. "We were sent there and found that person dead."

Police took Vann into custody after executing a warrant for a home and vehicle in Gary Saturday afternoon.

During questioning, he told investigators the locations of three bodies that were found late Saturday and early Sunday, according to police.

Family members identified the second victim as Anith Jones, 35, the office said.

The shocking news has horrified the city of Gary and surrounding communities.

A man confessed to killing at least one of the women who was found dead this weekend, police said.

The police departments of Hammond and Gary are seeking murder charges.

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Terence Cullen Oct-19-2014 242 0
A brutal Brooklyn baby-sitter savagely beat a helpless 3-year-old girl to death Saturday after she accidentally went to the bathroom in her pants, police sources said.

Cops found the dying girl after a 911 caller reported bloodcurdling screams echoing from the apartment in a city homeless shelter at 38 Cooper St. shortly before 4 p.m., cops said.

Defenseless little Jeida Torres, 3, died at Wyckoff Hospital after her mother’s enraged boyfriend “punched and choked” the tiny child — who suffered injuries to her head and body, sources said.

“She either pooped her pants or peed on herself, and he got agitated,” a source said.

Suspect Kelsey Smith, who fled the scene and left the mortally injured child behind with her battered big brother, has a rap sheet with with 14 prior arrests dating to 2008, cop sources said.

Jeida’s 5-year-old brother, Andrew, was also beaten black and blue by Smith, 20, although a police source said the boy’s injuries were possibly inflicted before Saturday.

Neighbor Marilyn Cruz said the afternoon killing capped two solid weeks of fighting and violence inside the apartment.

The dead girl’s mother, Kimberly Torres, and grandfather wept inconsolably outside the building after hearing the heartbreaking news about the beloved child.

Smith was busted just across the Queens border after the NYPD received a tip on the fugitive’s whereabouts. Cop sources said he tried to slash himself in a failed suicide try.

Smith, who also went by the first name “Shawn,” had multiple collars for robbery and grand larceny, along with a gang assault charge and a bust this year for criminal mischief.

No charges had been filed early Sunday in the fatal beating of the innocent toddler in the second-floor Bushwick apartment.

Torres — who arrived at the location 30 minutes after the 911 call — told police she left Smith alone with her two kids when she went to work Saturday.

The dead girl’s grandfather broke down completely after he learned of little Jeida’s fate, and his daughter sobbed relentlessly before police brought her to the hospital.

“He was crying,” said neighbor Keith Best, 43, who lives across the street. “He just lost his mind.”

Battered Andrew Torres, who was placed in a police car for the trip to Wyckoff, was in stable condition with visible bruises to his face and upper body.

“Papa! Papa!” the terrified boy shouted at his grandfather, who had just come downstairs from the apartment where his granddaughter’s body was found.
The little girl was already motionless when EMTs rushed her outside in a desperate if vain effort to save her life.

“I saw the paramedics run out with little girl wrapped in a blanket,” said Best. “Her hands were just hanging out ... just limp.”

Neighbor Cruz claimed she called the police about the continuing ruckus in the home — only to get no response.

The NYPD, the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Homeless Services were all investigating.

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Oct-18-2014 217 0
The cop who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown — setting off a wave of protests in Ferguson, Mo.— told investigators he feared for his life when he pulled the trigger, it was reported Friday.

Officer Darren Wilson told federal officials that Brown, who was 18, had shoved him into his SUV and grabbed for his gun, according to The New York Times.

The weapon went off twice in Wilson’s SUV as the men grappled Aug. 9, FBI forensics show.

Wilson, 28, has told investigators Brown punched and scratched him, The Times said, citing unnamed government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation.

The teen’s blood was found on the gun, Wilson’s uniform and in the SUV.

Wilson testified for four hours before a St. Louis County grand jury last month.

He has yet to explain why he shot Brown six times outside the SUV.

Wilson’s version also contradicted what several eyewitnesses said about the incident.

Several people who saw the altercation weren’t clear if Brown was trying to get away from Wilson or fighting to push him back in the SUV.

But the young man with Brown, Dorian Johnson, has said Wilson instigated the violence.

Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest, witnesses say.

Johnson hid behind a parked car as Brown lay dying in the street.

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Meg Wagner Oct-18-2014 205 0
Six Philadelphia men forged, cheated and lied their way into collecting a dead woman's house and car, police said.

The woman's neighbor, his lawyer, two funeral directors, a real estate agent and a car salesman invented an elaborate scheme to take the heirless woman's personal property. They were slammed with a slew of theft and conspiracy charges Thursday after a tipster caught on to their cruel plot and alerted police.

All six men are either in police custody or expected to surrender, District Attorney Seth Williams told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The plot started in 2010 when 79-year-old Dorothy Kennedy died.

The woman's husband died two year earlier, and the couple left no heirs. By law, the state would collect their well-manicured rowhouse and 2005 Buick LeSabre.

But her neighbor Romanoff Quarles had another plan.

The 43-year-old asked his lawyer, 56-yearold Andrew Kaufman, how he could get his hands on the house.

Together, they crafted a plan to make Quarles the administrator of the estate.

They needed to prove that Quarles cared for Kennedy before she died — so they marked up old calendars with false appointments to make it look like Quarles ran errands for the woman long before her death.

But Kaufman wasn't sure if the falsified date books would be enough.

To make Quarles seem invested in the woman's care, he needed to oversee Kennedy's burial, too, Kaufman said.

So the two enlisted the help of two funeral directors, Marvin Kimble and Antoine Turay.

They first approached 57-year-old Kimble, but he no longer owner his funeral home, so he couldn't forge the documents.

Instead, Kimble sent them to Turay Memorial Chapel's owner.

Turay and Quarles collected Kennedy's body from the morgue and buried her in a pauper's grave. Turay drafted a $7,000 bill for the funeral — even though it only cost $1,400.

Quarles used the bill and his calendars in court to take over Kennedy's estate.

With his goal in sight, Quarles brought in a real estate agent and a car salesman to finalize his plot.

Broker Vincent Marciano organized a fake sale of the house, and let Quarles take over in 2012. Damion Rivers used his family's car business to give Quarles the title to the LeSabre.

It's not clear who tipped off police, but cops finally busted the four-year plot Thursday.

All six men face conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, forgery and perjury charges.

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Sasha Goldstein Oct-17-2014 292 0
Kasey Nesbitt, 35, sits behind bars, held on $250,000 on a slew of charges stemming from the disturbing assault.

The alleged gang member burst through the elderly woman’s backdoor sometime last Sept. 29 or early Sept. 30 and sexually assaulted her, police said. The woman, described by police as very strong and brave, eventually was able to flee her own home around 7 a.m. on the 30th and get help from a neighbor, who called cops.

"All rapes are a deplorable crime but when you look at the age of the victim, it becomes a little bit more concerning, a little bit more disturbing," Wichita Police Captain Troy Livingston told KAKE-TV. "It's a vile crime, and the fact that somebody victimized a 100-year-old female is a little bit harder for the detectives to really grasp."

The disturbing crime shocked the small neighborhood. Nesbitt, who has been in and out of jail since 2000 on burglary and theft charges and was last released in January 2012, is next due in court Oct. 29.

The woman, who helped lead officers to the suspect, is reportedly doing better and being cared for by her family.

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Corinne Lestch Oct-17-2014 250 0
William Bailey of Grand Rapids, has been charged with forcing his cousin into a dog cage and throwing hot wax on him in the victim’s apartment last month, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Bailey, 27, punched his 47-year-old relative, threw him into a dog cage and poured hot wax on him while he stayed in the cousin’s Des Plaines, Ill., apartment Sept. 30, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

Bailey didn’t stop there — he also burned his cousin with a cigarette lighter.

The victim, who has not been identified, managed to flee to the home of a neighbor, who called police, the sheriff’s office said. He was transported to a hospital.

Bailey also escaped — in his cousin’s 1992 Toyota Camry but was caught Sunday in Berrien County, Mich., and arrested on a $500,000 warrant for aggravated domestic battery.

He is currently in custody at the Berrien County Jail pending extradition to Illinois, according to the sheriff’s office.

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