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BREAKING NEWS

Mortgage fraud the allegation at trial for absent defendant

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The trial of a 33 year old man facing mortgage fraud, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and grand larceny charges began today in Riverhead with the defendant being tried in absentia, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

“The defendant, RAMON E. RIOS, of East Meadow, is a fugitive who faces substantial time, as many as 15 years behind bars, if and when he’s convicted of defrauding the Bank of America and National City Mortgage,” District Attorney Spota said. The district attorney said a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Rios.

“We have sufficient evidence to prove Rios manufactured phony paperwork that inflated the borrower’s assets and income and deceived the lenders by showing substantial down payments were forthcoming,” said DA Spota.

“Like most of the cases our Mortgage Fraud unit investigates and prosecutes, the Rios scheme is based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications made to the lender.”

The indictment alleges Rios falsified the business records of Bank of America and National City Mortgage to purchase single family homes in Lindenhurst, Westbury, Roosevelt and Uniondale.

State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen presides at the trial in Riverhead.

SCDA COMMUNICATIONS, SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Building 77 ·North County Complex ·Hauppauge, NY 11787

Defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Center Moriches Teacher Arrested for DWAI Following Hit-and-Run Crash

Suffolk County Police today arrested a teacher from the Center Moriches School District for driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol following a hit-and-run crash.

 

Tracey Forman was driving a 2013 Hyundai when her vehicle struck an unoccupied Plymouth Voyager that was parked off the roadway at 210 Brookfield Ave. in Center Moriches at approximately 8:30 a.m. Forman fled the scene.

 

Seventh Precinct Police Officer Robert Tedesco responded to the scene, obtained a description of the vehicle and then canvassed the area. Officer Tedesco located the vehicle, and Forman, a short time later in the rear parking lot of Center Moriches High School, located at 311 Frowein Road.

 

Forman, 47, of 99 Waverly Ave. Apt 12J, Patchogue, was charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combination of Drugs and Alcohol.

 

Forman will be held overnight at the Fourth Precinct for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip.

 

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Queen Elizabeth Turns 88, Palace Unveils New Portrait

(LONDON) — What does Britain’s Queen get when she hits 88?

How about a Happy Birthday traditional gun salute…or maybe two. The first of the salutes happened in Green Park, near Buckingham Palace, and the second at the Tower of London. 

As for the aging monarch, her day is being spent out of the limelight at Windsor Castle. 

For the record, she actually has two birthdays — her actual one Monday, and her official one in June.

In honor of her birthday, a new portrait of the queen, taken by British photographer David Bailey was unveiled. The photo, taken in March at Buckingham Palace, appears to be inspired by Instagram with its black border and black-and-white filter.  

General Mills Changes Fine Print to Allow Lawsuits Again

(NEW YORK) — If something goes wrong with your Cheerios, you once again have the right to sue the company that made them.

General Mills over the weekend decided to undo a change in its legal fine print that would’ve meant giving up your right to sue if you “liked” certain Facebook pages or downloaded coupons.

The company said its new legal policy mentioning forced “arbitration” as a way to settle disputes was misunderstood. But General Mills never imagined such a strong reaction and said, “We’re sorry we even started down this path.”

Chris Brown’s Bodyguard Found Guilty of Assault

(WASHINGTON) — Chris Brown’s bodyguard was found guilty Monday morning of assaulting a man outside of a Washington, D.C., hotel last year.

Judge Patricia W. Wynn’s conviction of Christopher Hollosy follows two days of testimony last week.

Both Hollosy and Brown face charges of misdemeanor assault in the attack, during which they’re accused of punching a man outside of the W hotel. Hollosy claimed the man was trying to board Brown’s tour bus, but the victim said he was trying to insert himself into a photo Brown was taking with two women.

Hollosy will be sentenced on June 25.

The bodyguard’s conviction may not bode well for Brown, who himself goes on trial Wednesday for the same crime. He’s denied hitting his accuser.

If Brown is convicted of assault, he not only faces a possible six months in jail and a $1,000 fine in Washington, D.C., but also could face problems in California, where he’s on probation stemming from his 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna. If he’s found to have violated his probation in that case, he could face four years in a California prison.

 

Advisory: Wanted for Burglary

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Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the person or people who stole golf carts and other items from a shed at a baseball field in Centereach.

An unknown person or people broke the lock to a shed at Levitt Ballfield Park, located at Hawkins Road and Wireless Road, sometime before April 17, 2014, and stole two golf carts, a portable defibrillator unit and other items. Detectives recovered one golf cart on April 18 after police were notified that the vehicle was parked on a dead end street off of Lucille Drive in Centereach.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Security Breach May Have Affected 2.6M Michaels Customers

payphoto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(IRVING, Texas) — Three months after learning of a possible security breach, Michaels announced on Thursday that it has discovered evidence confirming it was indeed attacked.

The arts and crafts chain said in a statement “that systems of Michaels stores in the United States and its subsidiary, Aaron Brothers, were attacked by criminals using highly sophisticated malware that had not been encountered previously by either of the security firms” running the investigation.

Approximately 2.6 million cards used in Michaels stores between May 8, 2013 and Jan. 27, 2014, and 400,000 cards used between June 26, 2013 and Feb. 27, 2014 at 54 Aaron Brothers stores may have been affected.

“The affected systems contained certain payment card information, such as payment card number and expiration date, about both Michaels and Aaron Brothers customers. There is no evidence that other customer personal information, such as name, address or PIN, was at risk in connection with this issue,” Michaels said in the statement.

So far, the retailer has received “limited” reports of fraudulent card use.

Michaels says the incident is now fully contained and the malware no longer presents a threat to shoppers at either store.

Rise in Women Using Surrogates for Social Reasons

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For most women, carrying their own baby is the ultimate joy. More and more women, however, are turning to surrogates to carry their babies, not because they cannot conceive, but because they do not want to.

It’s a trend many are calling “social surrogacy” and one that was recently highlighted in an article in the May issue of Elle magazine.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for women to have more choices,” said Dr. Saira Jhutty, CEO of Conceptual Options LLC, a California-based surrogacy agency.

Jhutty’s agency matches surrogates with women who have nonmedical reasons for not wanting to carry their own babies. The woman who come to her agency have a variety of reasons for wanting a surrogate, from not wanting a pregnancy to interfere with their careers to being afraid of what pregnancy will do to their bodies, Jhutty said.

“We have people who are afraid of being pregnant,” Jhutty said.  “Some people work in an industry where image is very important so they don’t want to have to go through the changes that happen to a woman’s body when they get pregnant.”

But the choice is still a touchy subject, despite the rising interest in “social surrogacy.”

“Women are really guarded about issues involving their bodies and surrogacy because they are afraid of being judged,” said Leslie Steiner, author of The Baby Chase: How Surrogacy Is Transforming the American Family.

The cost is another issue that might give women pause. With surrogacy running $100,000 or more per child, it’s not for everyone.

“You have to ask yourself why you are doing this,” said Dr. Vicken Sahakian, medical director of the Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles.  “Is there real benefit for bypassing the beautiful experience of carrying a child?”

‘Pee Parties’ Latest Baby-Making Trend

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Conception has gone social.

Pee parties — also known as POAS, or Pee on a Stick Parties — are the latest way women are taking what was once a very private moment very public.

The trend was first spotted by BabyCenter.com. “They will discuss what day they are going to test,” said Rebecca Michals, director of global community and customer service, “and then come back to post the results.”

Is this the ultimate in oversharing? Maybe not. The intention behind the parties and posts might be just the opposite.

“They [the women] may not want to tell people they are trying to conceive in real life, so they come to the message boards to talk,” Michals said. “It gives them support during the two-week-wait.”

The two-week wait, also called the TWW, is the time between sex that intended to result in pregnancy and the time when an over-the-counter pregnancy test can give accurate results.

The boards have certainly served as a support system for Christine Straut-Kinnan of Albuquerque, N.M. She was pregnant in December but had a miscarriage. She’s now anxious to conceive again and has participated in several pee parties.

“The ladies,” she said, referring to the other women on the message boards, “have been a Godsend. We share in the excitement of the girls who get positives and in the sorrows of those who are still negative. It helps pass the time between the fertile weeks and when you eventually pee on a stick.”

Straut-Kinnan said her next POAS party will be in about three weeks from now. How fast will she post the results?

“Within an hour.”

Bryan Singer’s Accuser Addresses Sex Abuse Claims

(LOS ANGELES) — The man who has sued Bryan Singer, claiming he was sexually abused as a teen by the X-Men director, addressed his allegations Thursday at a Los Angeles press conference.

Michael Egan stated that he was abused over the course of a few years by Singer, beginning at the age of 15.

Egan, who’s now 31, claimed the abuse began when he was lured to parties at an Encino, Calif., mansion. He said he was treated “like a piece of meat.”

Egan, who was an aspiring actor at the time of the alleged incidents, further stated that he was threatened by men at the parties who told him, “If you don’t keep the members of this group happy, we control Hollywood, we can eliminate you.”

Egan said he and his mother later informed authorities about his allegations, but it “basically fell on deaf ears.”

Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, claimed at the press conference that such abuse is a widespread problem and is a poorly-kept secret in Hollywood. He said he plans to file similar complaints against other Hollywood figures — he didn’t name names — who allegedly abused teens.

Egan’s lawsuit was filed in Hawaii, where he claims he was also abused by Singer and provided drugs and alcohol by the director. He seeks more than $75,000.

Following the press conference, Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer, who is not related to the filmmaker, released a statement saying the claims are “completely fabricated.” He added, “We look forward to our bringing a claim for malicious prosecution against Mr. Egan and his attorney after we prevail.”

Marty Singer claimed that Egan was simply seeking “his 15 minutes of fame.”

20th Century Fox, the studio behind Bryan Singer’s next film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, says in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, “These are serious allegations, and they will be resolved in the appropriate forum. This is a personal matter, which Bryan Singer and his representatives are addressing separately.”

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens on May 23.