GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING FRAUD
Ex-Ala. government contractor sentenced in fraud
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a former government contractor has been sentenced to nine years in prison in a $14 million fraud scheme.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that 41-year-old Joseph Shane Terry of Meridianville was sentenced on charges of wire fraud, making false statements to the Small Business Administration, making false statements on loan applications and money laundering.
Prosecutors say Terry, owner of Government Technical Services, applied for disadvantaged or minority-owned business status from the SBA in 2003 by submitting fraudulent tax returns. Authorities say he filed false returns between 2004 and 2008 to maintain the special status, which helped his company win government contract work. Prosecutors say Terry's company wrongfully secured more than $14 million in contracts.
Terry was also ordered to forfeit more than $1 million as proceeds of illegal activity.
Ala teen rescued after falling 50 feet in cave
ONEONTA, Ala. (AP) - A teenager who spent more than three hours trapped in a north Alabama cave is recovering following surgery for a broken leg.
WBRC-TV reports the young man was exploring a Blount County cave with friends when he fell about 50 feet into a ravine Monday night.
His friends called 911. Rescuers had to walk a half-mile to get to the teen, and then they had to rappel inside the cave to reach him.
The teen suffered a broken leg, but he was conscious and his vital signs were OK when rescuers reached him.
Crews emerged with the teen about 11:30 p.m., and a medical helicopter flew him to UAB hospital. He underwent surgery on the leg Tuesday.
Motion filed to dismiss Ala. penis amputation suit
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for physicians accused of amputating a man's penis during a circumcision has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit and says the claims are false.
Mike Florie says his clients, Dr. Michael Bivins and Dr. Alan Aikens, never performed a procedure on Johnny Lee Banks Jr. that involved the removal of any tissue or the amputation of the man's penis.
Banks' attorney, John Graves, filed a malpractice suit last week accusing the doctors and their medical groups of malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing. It seeks an unspecified amount of money.
Florie says he's also planning on seeking sanctions and disciplinary actions against Graves.
Graves told Al.com he stands by his client's allegations and will respond to the motion for sanctions before a hearing set for Aug. 7.
GIRLFRIEND SET ON FIRE
Alabama woman lit on fire by ex-boyfriend dies
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Officials say an Alabama woman who was doused in gasoline and lit on fire by her ex-boyfriend has died.
Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Randy Christian says in a statement that 49-year-old Deborah Diane Prater died early Tuesday. She had been hospitalized since the Sunday morning attack.
According to county jail records, Prater's 48-year-old ex-boyfriend Michael Kennedy is charged with murder and is being held on $250,000 bond. Kennedy was initially charged with attempted murder and domestic violence.
Christian has said that Prater and Kennedy dated for about three years and that Prater recently ended their relationship. Officials have said Kennedy returned to Prater's Birmingham home Sunday and lit her on fire after an argument. Authorities say Kennedy then fled in Prater's SUV.
Court officials are unsure whether Kennedy has an attorney.
LGBT rights group hires ex-pastor in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A national group that pushes equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people has hired a former clergyman to lead its efforts in Mississippi.
Rob Hill grew up in Mississippi, and spent 12 years as a United Methodist pastor. He said Tuesday that he started work July 14 for Human Rights Campaign and its "Project One America."
HRC announced in April that it will spend $8.5 million for the project in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, which currently have no laws to prohibit people from being fired from jobs or evicted from housing based on sexual orientation. Hill says he wants to seek such legal protections for Mississippi residents.
The 39-year-old Hill is gay. He worked nine years as pastor of Jackson's Broadmeadow United Methodist Church, leaving in June.
HOUSTON COUNTY SHERIFF
Gov. Bentley picks replacement Houston Co. sheriff
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - Houston County Chief Deputy Sheriff Donald Valenza has been chosen to replace the outgoing Sheriff Andy Hughes.
Valenza, who was appointed to the post by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, is expected to begin his term Aug. 18.
Sheriff Hughes announced in mid-July that he's planning to step down from his post to begin working as the state's assistant director of homeland security.
Valenza tells WSFA-TV he's served in the department under the leadership of four sheriffs, and he wants to make sure the department continues moving in the right direction.
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