July 13, 2007

Scientist is indicted on false-claim counts

ACCOKEEK -- A federal grand jury has indicted a Prince George's County scientist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on charges of claiming work-related expenses while vacationing at the Trump Casino in Atlantic City, among other allegations, officials said yesterday.

Myron Price, 45, of Accokeek is charged with eight counts of making a false claim. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison. Between 1998 and 2004, according to the U.S. attorney's office, he inflated mileage on travel vouchers and claimed several reimbursements for "official travel" while on vacation.

During those years, Price's salary ranged from about $53,000 to just under $73,000 - but he received $300,690 in travel expenses and $168,285 in overtime pay, officials said.

Gadi Dechter


Man in standoff surrenders

A six-hour standoff with police ended safely yesterday afternoon when an armed man who had barricaded himself and his 3-year-old daughter inside his Largo home surrendered to a SWAT team, Prince George's County police said.

The 45-year-old man was in police custody last night, Prince George's County police spokesman Cpl. Clinton Copeland said. Charges had not been filed.

About 7 a.m., neighbors called police after they heard gunshots and saw the man chase his girlfriend, the girl's mother, out of the townhouse, Copeland said.

The man returned inside. Police negotiators persuaded him to emerge six hours later, unarmed, holding his unharmed daughter. Copeland said police found a handgun and rifle inside the house.

Authorities believe the incident was sparked by a domestic dispute.

Gadi Dechter


Students to retake AP exams

Forty-six students whose Advanced Placement tests were accidentally destroyed by their high school will get a chance to take their exams again.

The College Board has agreed to let the students at Wicomico High School retake the 63 lost tests or receive refunds, ranging from $26 to $332, depending on the number of exams taken.

The tests in nine subjects were given in May, and the high school believed the exams had been sent in for scoring. However, after the testing company said it didn't get them, the school discovered that the exams might have been mistakenly sent for recycling along with old algebra exams.

AP tests can help students receive college credit for courses in high school. Wicomico County public schools officials said students who want to retake their exams will be able to meet with their teachers for free tutoring.

Associated Press


Man denies abuse accusations

A former Ku Klux Klan leader denied yesterday that he sexually assaulted his 15-year-old adopted sister, telling a jury "there was no problems in the home."

Earlier in the day, the girl, now 16, testified in Washington County Circuit Court that Gordon C. Young coerced her into sexual acts in October as punishment for sloppy housekeeping and rowdy behavior.

Young, 41, of Sharpsburg, denied that he ever had sexual contact with the girl. He, his mother and stepfather portrayed her as a deceitful child who became angry in the weeks before making the allegations because her parents, concerned about her slipping grades, made her quit her job and limited her time with a pet horse.

Still, Young said, he and his sister had a "very good" relationship.

Until late last year, Young headed the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Young disbanded the group in late November, three weeks after the girl contacted police.

Judge John H. McDowell warned witnesses before the trial that any references they made to the Ku Klux Klan could result in a mistrial or a reversal of any verdict.

Associated Press

Upper Marlboro

Homeowners file fraud suit

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against several Prince George's County businesses on behalf of hundreds of homeowners who say they lost millions of dollars in equity through an elaborate scheme.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said as many as 400 people in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia were defrauded. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed in Prince George's Circuit Court.

The attorneys said the main defendant, Metropolitan Money Store Corp. of Lanham, would arrange to sell the homes of people in financial trouble to an investor who would borrow as much as possible against its value and then pocket the money.

Metropolitan told the plaintiffs they could stay in their homes for a year then buy them back, according to the lawsuit. But the defendants increased the mortgages so much after the transaction that the plaintiffs were unable to buy back their properties.

"The sole motive seemed to be to enrich their lavish lifestyles as opposed to saving the homes of the vulnerable homeowners from foreclosure," said Phillip Robinson, a lawyer and executive director of Civil Justice Inc., a Baltimore nonprofit group that helped prepare the lawsuit.

Metropolitan Money Store officials could not be reached.

Associated Press

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