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February 2012 Archives

Federal law lowers prosecutors' burden in laser-in-cockpit cases

A new rule signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 14 makes it a federal crime to shine a laser pointer into aircraft. Those convicted of pointing a laser into an airplane or helicopter cockpit can face up to five years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Federal prosecutors are threatening to aggressively enforce the new statute.

Pittsburgh-area man pleads guilty to helping man accused of fraud

While authorities are searching for a Pittsburgh-area man they say defrauded investors in his real estate company, the man's former business partner has pleaded guilty to giving him money in violation of federal banking laws. The man said he transferred a total of $108,000 to his accused partner, who left the Pittsburgh area in 2008 and has not been seen since. A 2010 indictment accuses the man of fraud related to how he and his partners represented his company to investors.

Police: suspect spit out drugs after being shot with stun gun

Pittsburgh-area police officers who arrested an area man on suspicion of drug possession claim that the man initiated the physical confrontation that led them to electrocute the man with a stun gun. While being shocked multiple times with the stun gun, the man spat out several small packages that contained crack cocaine, a police report said.

Pittsburgh-area man charged with online solicitation of teen girls

A resident of the Pittsburgh metro area is accused of creating false Facebook profiles in order to receive explicit photos from teenage girls. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly also claimed that the man arranged meetings with three girls. The man faces more than 80 felony counts, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and possession of child pornography.

Former Penn State professor accused of misusing federal funding

Federal authorities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, have charged a former professor at Penn State University with laundering money from the federal government and lying on grant application forms. Prosecutors claim the man took more than $3.1 million in grant money between 2006 and 2011 and used it for himself instead of scientific research. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 35 years in prison and fined up to $750,000.

Bench warrant leads to more drug charges against Pittsburgh woman

A Pittsburgh woman who missed her sentencing hearing in January after pleading guilty to drug charges is facing further charges of drug possession with intent to distribute following her arrest on Feb. 1. The arrest was based on a bench warrant issued by the court following the hearing. This case is an important lesson about the consequences of not showing up for every court appearance.

Incident on I-81 leads to weapons charges against Pennsylvania man

Police in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, are accusing a local man of a range of charges, including possession of a stolen gun, after the man was arrested on Feb. 1. Authorities claim the man used the gun to threaten a group of people travelling in a car on Interstate 81 the morning of the arrest.

Guilty plea to heroin possession leads to 5-year sentence

Five and a half years, approximately, is what a Pittsburgh-area man will spend in prison after pleading guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges. The 20-year-old man was arrested in 2009, along with four others, by Pennsylvania State Police and later charged with conspiracy to distribute 100 to 400 grams of heroin. All five individuals have now entered guilty pleas to the federal drug charges but the man is the only one who has yet been sentenced.

2 Pittsburgh-area men arrested, charged for heroin possession

Under Pennsylvania law, for a police officer pull over a car, he or she must have a reasonable and articulable ground to suspect that the car's occupants have committed or are committing a crime. This standard is found in the state code and is based on the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.

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