A Florida couple has been arrested by Wilton Police for stealing debit cards from mailboxes. Wilton Police say 26-year old Evens Rosemond and 31-year old Valencia Gamble of Miami, Florida were found stealing debit cards and then using them to withdraw funds.
The cards were delivered after a person called the bank impersonating customers and requesting new cards.
Rosemond and Gamble were charged with larceny and identity theft. They were released after each posted $5,000 bond. The pair is due in court on June 2nd. United States Postal Inspectors assisted with the investigation.
A Newtown psychiatrist has agreed to a $422,641 joint federal-state settlement to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims for payments to Connecticut's Medicaid program and to Medicare.
Dr. Naimentulla Syed will also enter into a compliance program.
State Attorney General George Jepsen said that while enrolled as a behavioral health and psychiatric services provider in the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program Syed knowingly submitted "upcoded" claims to the state Department of Social Services.
The practice of "upcoding" occurs when a provider knowingly uses a higher-paying code on the claim form to reflect the use of a more expensive service, procedure or device than was actually used or was medically necessary.
The state alleged that, from July 2009 through December 2013, Syed submitted upcoded claims indicating that he provided Medicaid and Medicare patients with 45 minutes or more of face-to-face psychotherapy and a medical evaluation and management service when, in fact, he had provided 30 minutes or less of therapy and no evaluation and management service.
Syed did not admit liability, but has agreed to a cash payment of $401,865 to the state and federal governments and will forfeit an additional $20,775 in funds the state withheld paying during the pendency of its investigation.
The action is part of a larger effort by the State of Connecticut's Interagency Fraud Task Force, which was created in July 2013 to wage a coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute healthcare fraud directed at state healthcare and human service programs. The Task Force includes a number of Connecticut agencies and works with federal counterparts in the U. S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations. For more information about the Task Force, please visit www.fightfraud.ct.gov.
Anyone with knowledge of suspected fraud or abuse in the public healthcare system is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Antitrust and Government Program Fraud Department at 860-808-5040 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney at 860-258-5986 or by email at email@example.com; or the Department of Social Services fraud reporting hotline at 1-800-842-2155, online at www.ct.gov/dss/reportingfraud or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An identity theft case in the Town of Southeast is under investigation.
New York State Police say the unidentified suspect or suspects used fake identification to obtain a new debit card from Chase Bank in April. The suspect then made over $9,000 in fraudulent purchases at Rite Aid. State Police are seeking the public's help in identifying the suspects who are wanted for questioning.
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the subjects is asked to contact Inv. Marrero at (845) 279-8656 or at (845) 677-7300. Refer to BCI Case No 16-89.
The newest member of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office is being credited with finding a lost hiker. 18-month old K9 Chase and his handler went out on their first successful track Tuesday. The Bloodhound recently completed training and was immediately putt o use.
Chase, along with New York State Police Troopers responded to a wooded conservation area in Patterson. The 59-year old hiker called 911 shortly before 9pm after realizing she was lost.
Chase, with his handler, located the hiker's vehicle and picked up her scent. A little more than a mile track through the woods, hampered by the rain, darkness and an errant black bear, led to the woman. Chase ultimately returned the woman unharmed to her car.
There is a special town meeting in Brookfield tonight. Residents are being called on to attend and vote on appropriating $1 million to fund the streetscape improvements in the Four Corners area. First Selectman Steve Dunn says the town wants to apply for a $500,000 grant, but matching municipal funds are needed, bringing the request to $1 million.
The project includes building sidewalks, installing streetlights, and creating turn lanes at the intersection of Federal and Station roads. Town officials are looking into the cost of burying utility lines. Eversource Energy has not yet provided an estimate to Brookfield on what the cost would be to not have above-ground wires.
The Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant requires $250,000 in local dollars. A second STEAP grant of $500,000 was also awarded to Brookfield. Nearly $800,000 from the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program could be bolstered by $95,000 in additional LOCIP funding.
Residents can also discuss a $2.8 million dollar bond request for town and school improvements detailed in the town's Capital Improvement Program. Dunn says they are looking to send that resolution to a referendum vote on July 19th.
Tonight's special town meeting is at 5pm at Brookfield Town Hall.
A couple of construction projects are planned by the state Department of Transportation.
Route 53 in Redding will be closed for a bridge replacement project starting in mid-June. Route 53 will be closed at Umpawaug Road from June 13th through the end of August.
The DOT is also developing plans for lighting replacement along Route 7 in Danbury and Brookfield as well as Interstate-84 in Danbury and Bethel. The project involves replacement of existing light poles, foundations, and underground circuitry. The project is aimed at improving the operation and reduce the maintenance requirements of the roadway lighting systems. Final design plans are expected to be completed by October.
Federal funding will pay for 80-percent of the project.
Work is moving quickly in Bethel on the Plumtrees Road bridge replacement, now that it’s underway. The $2.4 million project is being paid for mainly with federal funding. The busy and narrow intersection is being turned into an “x” shape where it meets Walnut Hill Road and Whittlesey Drive. First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker says dedicated right and left turn arrows to help move traffic along.
Brush and tree cutting started in March and ground was broken last month. The current bridge will remain open during construction because a bypass is being built. The north bridge abutment and culvert system is currently under construction, part of a temporary bypass so that later in the summer the old bridge can be demolished and replaced. There have been no weather delays so Knickerbocker says the work is a little ahead of schedule. But he says it’s early in the process and they can’t count on it staying that way.
Plans call for adding sidewalks to Plumtrees Road for students who walk to the Educational Park.
A number of state and federal agencies had to weigh in on the design plans because of ecological concerns in the area, which added significant time to the planned redesign. The box turtle, which has delayed several other road projects in the region, meant that Bethel had to change the slope of the design.
When the bridge replacement is finished, Knickerbocker says the realigned intersection will be less congested, safer for pedestrian crossings and wide enough for trucks and school buses to make turns without taking up both lanes.
The project is slated for completion in October 2017.
The Secretary of the State came under fire last week from a local lawmaker over an agreement with the Department of Motor Vehicles to streamline the state’s motor-voter registration system, even though a similar bill was not voted on by the legislature this session. State Senators are now proposing an alternate plan. But Secretary of the State Denise Merrill says the functions set out in the Memorandum Of Understanding are administrative.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires the DMV to give people the opportunity to register to vote simultaneously when they carry out a transaction with the agency. The state is also required to send the voter registration to the appropriate official at the local level. The federal government monitors compliance and Connecticut’s DMV has ranked near the bottom.
To comply with federal motor voter laws, Senate Republicans proposed an alternate plan to 'automatic motor-voter' registration, which they say will not add burdens on the DMV. They are instead suggesting that the DMV and Secretary of the State work together to enforce the current motor voter registration system with new protocols.
Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan says the DMV is required to offer a voter registration form to everyone and send these forms to town registrars, but this does not always happen. He says often times the applications get filled out and sit in a bin at the DMV instead of getting mailed to the town registrar.
They are calling for the DMV to mail all completed voter registration applications to the Secretary of the State’s office directly. The Secretary’s office could then input the information into the Secretary’s online system, which will remove the burden from the DMV. They say this puts the onus on the Secretary of the State’s Office, which is the more appropriate agency to manage compliance with national motor voter laws.
Merrill argued that the paper option would increase wait times at the DMV and cost the public more money for printing, postage and labor.
Merrill said in a written statement that it is important that everyone understand the facts before reacting prematurely to a proposal that will modernize voter registration but is still two years away from being operational. She also issued a FAQ sheet about motor-voter registration.
Merrill says the U.S. Department of Justice recently threatened a lawsuit to improve performance.
Wilton Senator Toni Boucher says the DMV cannot even handle its own job currently. At a time when their computer system is unfinished and the state’s budget is already strapped, Boucher said more technical burdens is not a smart move. Boucher says there are ways to comply with the law and encourage voter registration utilizing available resources and not spending millions of dollars and years working on a new system that is likely to cause more problems.
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- Fire officials say a large blaze that gutted a vacant mansion in Newtown built more than a century ago appears to have been intentionally set.
A resident that lives near the Castle Hill Road home, which dates to 1908 and was appraised at $1.56 million, reported a possible brush fire around 1:50 a.m. Wednesday.
Firefighters dispatched to the blaze found the 12,000-square-foot mansion fully engulfed with flames burning through the roof. Assistant Fire Chief Jason Rivera says there was no way for crews to make entry because flames were coming from every window.
An excavator was brought in to help knock down walls to fight the fire. Four of Newtown's five fire companies responded.
The house had no electricity and was unoccupied. An investigation is ongoing.
The fire was mostly under control within two hours, though firefighters remained on scene to put out hot spots. Portions of the road remained closed through the early morning rush hour.
Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department provided mutual assistance.
(Photo: Stony Hill Fire)
A new Police Chief has been appointed in Danbury. Mayor Mark Boughton has selected Stratford Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour to take over for the retiring Danbury Chief Al Baker. Ridenhour is a 28-year law enforcement veteran. He started with the Waterbury Police Department before being hired as Deputy Chief in Stratford, where he was eventually promoted to Chief in 2012.
Boughton says Chief Ridenhour has worked successfully to improve labor relations, increase staffing, rotate assignments, increase leadership training for supervisors, expand the department’s use of technology, and most importantly, increase police outreach to the community.
Boughton says Ridenhour shined throughout the rigorous hiring process. He continued the announcement by saying it's his firm belief that as Chief Ridenhour takes the helm of one of the best departments in the country, Danbury will benefit from out-of-the-box thinking and continued great service from Danbury's finest.
The Mayor’s appointment is subject to City Council approval.
Chief Ridenhour holds a Certificate in Criminal Justice Education from the University of Virginia, a Bachelor’s Degree from Charter Oak State College, and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Springfield College. A graduate of both the FBI National Academy and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS) in Quantico, VA, he currently serves as the CPCA representative to the State of Connecticut’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System (REDCJS), and is also an Executive Board member of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen as the next Chief of the Danbury Police Department. I would like to thank Mayor Boughton for this tremendous opportunity to serve such a growing and diverse community. I look forward to working with the mayor, the men and women of this great department, and the entire Danbury community,” said Ridenhour.
New Milford voters will have to cast ballots a second time for a budget for the coming fiscal year. There was low voter turnout yesterday, and the Board of Education portion of the spending plan was rejected by 18 votes. Even though the municipal budget was approved, both have to be voted on again. The Town Council will have to meet to discuss revisions.
The proposal voted on yesterday included $62.2 million for the Board of Education, a $1 million increase over the current year.
Mayor David Gronbach proposed a municipal budget with no spending increase, but the Board of Finance added $448,000, bringing the proposal to 36-point-6 million. The state budget ended up sending about $500,000 less to New Milford than projected.
The municipal budget, and $1.6 million for capital projects, gained approval by an approximate 200 vote margin.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Environmental officials in Connecticut have determined that a black bear found dead last week in Roxbury had been shot.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Tuesday its investigation revealed that the bear's carcass was likely dumped on the Roxbury Land Trust property. A necropsy confirmed the male adult bear was shot.
The bear was found adjacent to Upper County Road at about 8 a.m. Wednesday.
The DEEP says it is still trying to determine where the bear was shot and by whom.
In Connecticut, black bears are protected species, and bear hunting is illegal. Officials say a bear can only be killed if it's acting in a threatening manner or poses harm to a person.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who spent 48 years on the lam after escaping from prison has been hospitalized.
An attorney said Tuesday that 71-year-old Robert Stackowitz is in a hospital for kidney failure.
Stackowitz was arrested May 9 at his home in rural Sherman after his Social Security application turned up a fugitive warrant. He escaped in 1968 from a prison work camp in Carrolton, Georgia.
Attorney Norman Pattis said at the time of Stackowitz's arrest he suffers from heart failure, bladder cancer and other ailments and sending him back to Georgia to serve the remainder of his sentence would amount to a death sentence.
Pattis has asked Georgia officials to commute Stackowitz's 17-year robbery sentence.
An extradition hearing was scheduled last week for June 6.
The Ridgefield Board of Selectmen is getting an update tonight from the Schlumberger Citizens Committee about what they proposed for the remaining 30 acres of land purchased by the town several years ago. 15 of the acres were sold to two developers for housing developments. The group has been working for months to come up with viable ideas.
More than 1,400 people responded to the online survey. A majority of respondents said they want to keep the property as open space or to increase cultural offerings. The recommendation is that the site be turned into a cultural center with an outdoor amphitheater, leasing out the former Schlumberger theater and converting the Philip Johnson building into a museum. The former Skydome Building could be used as a warehouse for private collectors.
Concerns for the site included traffic. Many of the comments suggested the housing is not a desirable use for the rest of the site.
The survey then came up with specific uses within general topics. When asked about Active Open Space, athletic fields was tops. Walking trails garnered the highest response for Passive Open Space while an outdoor stage was the preferred Civic and Cultural use. If there were to be commercial development, nearly half said it should be niche retail. Single family housing earned the highest support if the property would be developed for housing.
A committee of the Danbury City Council has reviewed a tentative lease agreement between the Richter Park Authority and Bay Communication to place a cell tower on their 180-acre property. The Richter Park Authority wants to improve service in case of emergency, and to generate revenue to fund items in the Master Plan.
The Richter Park Authority is submitting three locations to the Connecticut Siting Council, with a preference of the lot located by the maintenance area. The City Planning Director had some questions, but didn't see anything in the agreement that looks to be standing in the way of approval on the City's end.
The proposed lease is for 30 years--a 10 year license with options to renew.
The proposal for the monopole structure has an estimated height of 150 feet. It would not be disguised as a tree, and would look like a pole. Typically lighting is not needed, unless the pole is over 199 feet.
If the entire City Council advances the agreement, there will need to be a public hearing and approval by the Connecticut Siting Council. The Connecticut Siting Council also needs to approve the lease.
The Master Plan calls for improving hiking trails and tennis facilities and to reconfigure the golf course to make room for a driving range. Richter House also needs a new roof and other maintenance work. The City has helped with weather-tightening on the house, but more work is needed.
In making the case for approval, Mayor Mark Boughton previously noted that the Richter Park Authority has done the responsible thing and tried several ways to generate revenue for upkeep instead of asking city taxpayers for funding. He noted that they no longer give unlimited passes to seniors for golf and offer afternoon specials to bring in out of town revenue. But he says there are less golfers, fewer people have five hours during the day to take off from work to golf.
Members of the Authority say Danbury hasn't given money to Richter Park since 1986, with the exception of a loan. Richter had a loan with an interest rate from a bank of over 5%, and is now instead paying the City 2% interest. The other exception was capital improvement money to fix the roof.
The granddaughter of the woman who donated the land to the City in 1968 has granted a partial waiver on the deed restrictions imposed on the City to allow for construction of a cell tower. The deed restricted use of the property to recreational purposes only.
A Bethel Democrat will be running for state Representative in the 107th District, following a failed bid at his party's nomination in the 2nd District. 26-year old Thomas Burke lost the nomination to 24-year old Raghib Allie-Brennan.
Burke's parents have a house in the 2nd District, which covers part of Bethel, Redding, Danbury and Newtown. The 107th District includes Brookfield and the Stony Hill section of Bethel. Burke says he plans to move to the district this summer, and that his family has a home on Wooster Street. He is currently studying at Yale University and living on campus.
The Marine veteran says instead of dividing the party by forcing a Democratic primary in the 2nd state house District, he was offered the chance to run for the 107th. He will challenge 1st term Republican Stephen Harding, a 28-year old attorney.
Even though Burke received enough support during the nominating caucus to automatically qualify for a primary, there was a question on if he was eligible to be a candidate. Burke recently switched his party affiliation and there is state statute dictating time frames for eligibility.
Allie-Brennan will be running against Republican Will Duff for the open seat being vacated by Dan Carter, who is challenging U-S Senator Richard Blumenthal.
New photos show progress on the construction of the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown.
Site walls and sidewalks are being installed, wood siding has been put up and a glass installation is in place. Finishes were being installed in the gym, kitchen and various other locations in the building.
More exterior work is also coming together. The building will have one long so-called main street corridor. There will be three wings off of it for different grade level classrooms.
The facility is slated to open in time for the start of the new school year in the fall. Consigli Construction broke ground in October for the new 87,000 square-foot Sandy Hook School.
An Easton man has pleaded guilty to avoiding paying income tax.
64-year old Paul Carpenter entered the plea on Friday and waived his right to indictment. Carpenter operated a chiropractic practice in Bridgeport. According to court documents, he intentionally mischaracterized personal expenses as deductible business expenses, including college tuition and numerous personal retail purchases.
For two tax years, Carpenter took false deductions resulting in a tax loss of $187,594.
Sentencing has been set for September 7th. Carpenter faces a maximum term of imprisonment three years. He has paid all back taxes, plus interest and penalties.
A so-called Border to Border Buckle Up detail has been conducted along Route 35. The Ridgefield and Lewisboro Police Departments patrolled the area yesterday, the first day of a Buckle Up campaign.
As a result of the enforcement efforts, 47 Uniform Traffic Tickets were issued, including 12 for not wearing a seat belt, 9 operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone, and 26 other Vehicle and Traffic Law violations.
Two Unlawful Possession of Marijuana arrests were made during the detail as well.
The Clean Start Program has begun in Danbury. It's an initiative that was proposed by Mayor Mark Boughton in December as a way to put homeless people to work for the City. The program provides homeless people with gift cards for supervised litter collection.
Danbury has teamed up with Jericho Partnership for the effort.
Boughton says the participants in the program are working to make themselves better and be on track to re-enter the workforce. He notes that if someone excels in the program, and received the right kinds of services, they could be moved into a paying job like a part-time recreation maintenance worker. Boughton hopes by cleaning up the city, participants will also clean up their lives.
Homeless people who volunteer in the program are given mentoring and paid with a $35 gift card after each half-day shift. As long as they want to show up in the morning, Boughton says the City will find a way to keep them employed so they can pull themselves out of despair and give them dignity again.
In the latest Point in Time Count, chronic homelessness in Danbury had dropped 30-percent from the year before. Chronic homelessness among veterans in Danbury has been completely eliminated.