Friday, August 15, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Two women sentenced in tax return scheme

Two Cincinnati women were each sentenced Thursday to six months home incarceration for taking part in a scheme to collect thousands of dollars in refunds from false tax returns.

Lachelle Lowe and Tecole Rasheed also were ordered to repay a total of $52,000 to banks and the IRS.

The women pleaded guilty in May to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the government. They were sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel.

Prosecutors say the two women helped a former Hamilton County jail inmate, Tommie Lee Brown, recruit people who would allow their names and Social Security numbers to be used on the false returns.

IRS investigators have said Brown, who has not been charged with a crime, fabricated W-2 forms and filed returns that were due large refunds. They said 19 people participated in the scheme, which netted more than $121,000.

Court disbars lawyer for neglecting cases

The Ohio Supreme Court disbarred a 10-year Cincinnati lawyer Wednesday for neglecting clients' cases.

E. Ferran Forg, a downtown family law attorney, had already been serving a suspension for neglecting a client's divorce case and intermingling her client's money with her own.

In a unanimous decision Wednesday, the court indefinitely suspended Forg's license after finding she neglected another client who paid her $150 to draft a will.

Forg, 37, of Madeira, did not return a call to her law office seeking comment.

Man charged in wreck that killed passenger

WHITEWATER TWP. - A Sayler Park man has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with a one-car accident on Interstate 74 Wednesday that killed his passenger.

Robert C. Ott Jr., 42, was intoxicated and driving with a suspended license, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

The 28-year-old woman was thrown from the car when it flipped, said the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

The car was traveling west on I-74 Wednesday morning when Ott lost control, deputies said. It went off the side of the interstate , struck a guardrail and became airborne. The woman was dead when emergency workers arrived. Her identity has not been released.

Ott was treated at University Hospital and released.

Neither Ott nor the victim was wearing a seatbelt.

Free classes offered in speaking English

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College will offer free beginning classes in English as a second language during its early fall term.

Classes will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, beginning Sept. 2. In addition to the free beginning class, Cincinnati State offers four other classes - intermediate reading and writing, advanced reading and writing, conversation, and advanced writing.

For more information, call the college at 569-4848.

Loveland takes action on flooding problems

LOVELAND - Residents on Sunrise Drive in the Loveland Heights subdivision could be getting a little relief from flooding during heavy rains.

City council agreed Tuesday to buy a vacant lot at 1201 Sunrise Drive for $18,500 to prevent development on the property that could exacerbate storm water problems there.

City Manager Fred Enderle said officials also are planning improvements on the lot, such as construction of a drainage swale, to ease flooding on adjacent properties.

Driver killed by train after bypassing gate

CAMDEN, Ohio - A train hit a van that a witness said went around a railroad gate, killing the driver Thursday morning, authorities said.

The 35-year-old man was pronounced dead at the railroad crossing in Preble County near the Butler County line, said Chief Deputy Mike Simpson of the Preble County sheriff's office. The victim's name was not immediately released.

The accident occurred about 8 a.m. along Ohio near Camden, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati.

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