IDENTITY THEFT-WOMAN SENTENCED
North Carolina woman sentenced to identity theft, mail fraud
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal prosecutor’s office says a North Carolina woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for impersonating two people by illegally accessing a state agency’s computers. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina says 34-year-old Melanie Alecia Ruona of Winston-Salem pleaded guilty to two counts of a six-count indictment charging her with aggravated identity theft and mail fraud. Prosecutors say Ruona and others worked a scheme to illegally access N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles computers and steal identities. She used one identity to open an account at a store where she spent $4,000.
ELECTION 2022-NORTH CAROLINA
NC’s top court halts March primary due to remapping suits
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s highest court has delayed the state’s planned March 8 primary until May so state courts can review lawsuits claiming illegal gerrymandering. Wednesday’s decision by the state Supreme Court comes after a state Court of Appeals panel initially blocked filing for legislative and congressional candidates on Monday, only to have the decision reversed by the full intermediate-level appeals court. The order by the justices means candidate filing is now suspended until the litigation is resolved. The primary is now pushed back to May 17 for all offices, including legislative seats and seats in the U.S. House and Senate.
Burn ban lifted in most of NC, continues in 33 counties
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Forest Service has lifted a ban on open burning in most of the state, but the ban remains in effect in 33 central and western counties. A statewide ban went into effect Nov. 29 due to hazardous forest fire conditions and officials said Wednesday that a ban has been lifted in 67 counties. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says conditions are improving with rainfall across much of the state. Troxler says residents of counties where the ban is no longer in effect should have valid permits, burn responsibly and check for local restrictions. Officials say any permits granted before the ban have been canceled and residents must obtain a valid permit.
Kroger e-commerce warehouse, nearly 700 jobs coming to NC
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — The Kroger Co. plans to build a high-tech warehouse in central North Carolina designed to carry out delivery orders for its customers in the growing e-commerce market. Gov. Roy Cooper said in making the announcement on Wednesday that the customer fulfillment center in Concord will create nearly 700 jobs over five years. North Carolina-based Harris Teeter is a Kroger chain. A state incentives committee voted to give cash rebates of up to $2.3 million over 12 years to the company should it meet job-creation and investment thresholds. Kroger says it already operates fulfillment centers in Florida and Ohio and is planning several more.
Ex-Rep. Renee Ellmers mounts bid for congressional return
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former North Carolina U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers will seek the GOP nomination for the state’s 4th Congressional District. She announced Wednesday that she would soon file her paperwork. But the state Supreme Court said later in the day the primary elections would be pushed back to May 17. Ellmers was the first congresswoman to support then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and now works as a registered nurse. State Rep. John Szoka and former Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson will compete against Ellmers. Staunch Trump ally Bo Hines may also enter the race. Candidate filing is now delayed as North Carolina courts consider legal challenges from groups accusing Republicans of drawing maps that are partisan and racial gerrymanders.
FAKE MARRIAGE-FORT BRAGG
Soldier sentenced for visa fraud, false statements
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina says a soldier who was involved in a sham marriage with a U.S. citizen was sentenced on Tuesday to time served in prison. A news release says 35-year-old Maryam Movsum Hasanova pleaded guilty in October to one count of visa fraud. After her status as an exchange visitor expired in March 2014, Hasanova was introduced to a U.S. citizen, who was paid approximately $15,000 to marry Hasanova in exchange for her “green card..” The two were married in October 2015, then attested that they were married in good faith.
BRIBES-FORT BRAGG WORKER
Ex-Fort Bragg worker pleads guilty to federal bribery charge
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to taking bribes while working at Fort Bragg. A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of North Carolina says court documents show Edward Wade Crisco of Sanford was a flooring technician assigned to the public works unit at Fort Bragg. According to the news release, from 2011 into 2019, Crisco received bribes ranging from $20 to $100 per work order to request contracts be assigned to specific vendors and sign off favorably on their work. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in March. Crisco also agreed to forfeit the $150,000 he netted from the scheme.
DISTRIBUTION CENTER-WORKER KILLED
Worker at distribution center dies after forklift hits him
DUNN, N.C. (AP) — Officials say a worker at a grocery store distribution center in North Carolina has died after a forklift hit him. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said 22-year-old Dereck Rafael Carrero was working for Food Lion at a distribution center in Dunn on Saturday. While he was in an aisle to pick out a product to fill an order, deputies say Carrero was struck by what they described as a high reach motorized forklift driven by another worker. Capt. Joseph Webb says Carrero had a serious head injury and was hospitalized. Webb says Carrero died Monday.
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