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February 2013 Archives

Man wrongfully convicted of murder seeks formal dismissal

A Latrobe man who served 25 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a pair of homicides was freed on appeal in September 2011 after a federal court overturn the conviction. Now seeking to ensure that he does not have to face trial on the homicides again, the man and his attorney are asking a western Pennsylvania court to formally dismiss the charges against him.

Gambling addiction often fuels embezzlement, other crimes

For many Pittsburgh-area residents, an addiction to gambling is every bit as insidious and life-consuming as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Gambling at local casinos and racetracks can cost addicts their jobs, homes or families as finding money to feed their sickness becomes their primary obsession. Many cases of embezzlement or other white collar crimes are due to a gambling addiction, as a recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes.

Federal charges against ex-Blackwater employees dropped

Federal prosecutors have dismissed felony charges against several former employees of the private security company once known as Blackwater over weapons given to the king of Jordan in 2005. Instead, two of the former company executives will plead guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges. The felony charges apparently became difficult to prosecute after the defendants presented evidence that they were acting on behalf of the CIA.

Pittsburgh man denied gun for nonviolent offense

Readers in Pittsburgh may be aware that a felony conviction is enough for authorities in Pennsylvania to deny someone a license to own a firearm. We may think of this federal law as intended to prevent those convicted of a violent crime like murder or armed robbery from having a gun. But in a recent ruling, Commonwealth Court held that the blanket gun ban applies to those with certain nonviolent offenses on their records as well.

Manager accused of embezzling from store

Authorities are accusing the former manager of an Allegheny County sporting goods store of committing embezzlement against the store. Prosecutors claim that the man stole more than $100,000 over a five-year period. The defendant pleaded not guilty on Jan. 30 to the charges, which include several theft and embezzlement charges.

Rare federal charges of causing heroin death leveled against 2

An unusual and rarely used federal statute has been revived against two men who live about 45 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Federal prosecutors say the men caused a man to fatally overdose on heroin by selling him the drug. If convicted under the federal statute, the defendants could be sentenced to life in prison.

Tweets gone bad

One of the problems with today's culture and our ability to constantly stay "plugged in" via our mobile phones, tablets, and other fancy tech devices is that it is often difficult to hide. It is also difficult to communicate the same message that an in person message may convey. That is why it is so important to be careful what you tweet, Facebook, or send in an email.

Man sentenced on weapons charge says he's turned his life around

A Pittsburgh man who authorities once described as one of the top drug traffickers in Western Pennsylvania says he is a changed man since his release from prison after six-plus years. Federal prosecutors appear to agree. Despite recently charging the man with a weapons crime, the U.S. attorney prosecuting the case worked out a plea agreement in which the man was sentenced to four months in prison, with most of that being credited as time served.

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