- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009



NASA scientist pleads guilty

Federal prosecutors said a NASA scientist has pleaded guilty to a felony conflict of interest charge for taking part in NASA contracts given to his wife’s company.

Mark Schoeberl, 60, of Silver Spring, entered the plea Tuesday. He will be sentenced Dec. 1.

According to the plea agreement, Schoeberl took part in matters in which he knew his wife had a financial interest. His wife owned Animated Earth, which manufactured software and kiosk displays.

Prosecutors said Schoeberl asked a colleague to approve a $20,000 appropriation directly to Animated Earth and directed financial personnel to initiate a $60,000 procurement of software to be bought from Animated Earth.


Soldier indicted in sex trafficking

Four men have been indicted for allegedly running a sex trafficking business out of a Millersville, Md., apartment, federal prosecutors said.

Craig Corey, 23, who lives at Fort Meade and is an Army soldier, was arrested Tuesday. Prosecutors said he and Robert Harris, 21, Richard Johnson, 22, and Jacob Tyler, 22, all of Chillicothe, Ohio, conspired to use Mr. Corey’s former apartment in Millersville as a headquarters for a sex-trafficking organization.

Those three were also arrested Tuesday; the indictment was returned Sept. 24.

Prosecutors said the four used online classified ads and social networking sites to recruit females for prostitution and to advertise sexual services. The men allegedly arranged for the travel of females, including a 16-year-old girl, from Ohio to Maryland to engage in prostitution.


Professor named poet laureate

An award-winning University of Maryland professor who founded the school’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing has been named the state’s poet laureate.

Stanley Plumly said he looks forward to being part of the best of Maryland’s culture. Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the honor Tuesday, saying Mr. Plumly is one of the nation’s most critically acclaimed poets.

Mr. Plumly, who has been recognized by the university as a distinguished professor since 1998, has written nine books of poetry including a finalist for a National Book Award in 2007.



Man sentenced in Ponzi scheme

An Arlington businessman on Tuesday was sentenced to three years in prison for operating a $40 million Ponzi scheme that ensnared nearly 200 victims in the United States and Canada.

Preston D. Pinkett II, 70, of Arlington, pleaded guilty in December to a mail fraud conspiracy related to the Ponzi scheme.

Pinkett was chief executive of Arlington-based International Fiduciary Corp., which promised investors returns of 4 to 6 percent a month by investing in “1st-tier medium bank notes.” Investors were required to contribute at least $100,000.

In reality, initial investors were paid off from funds contributed by later investors.

In the end, Pinkett’s scheme raked in $40 million from 180 investors, most of whom were from British Columbia. About half of the $40 million was completely lost; Pinkett was ordered to pay roughly $18 million in restitution, but in reality has no money to pay restitution.

Pinkett personally profited by more than $5 million, though he used some of that money to pay salaries and keep his company afloat.


Dentist pleads guilty to narcotics charge

A dentist has pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone, federal prosecutors said.

William J. King, 61, of Culpeper, Va., also agreed Tuesday to forfeit $150,000. He will be sentenced Dec. 18.

According to court documents, King in 2006 and 2007 wrote prescriptions for OxyContin and other narcotic pain-killers for a woman without a legitimate medical basis. Prosecutors said King also wrote a prescription in the name of a friend of the woman so the drugs would be paid for by the friend’s insurance.


Sawmill operator charged in suit

A federal lawsuit says that a sawmill operator allowed its male president and owner to sexually harass female employees and fired one woman who complained.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Tuesday contending that George C. Shumate Inc. of Lexington violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The complaint says Monique Ingram and other female employees were harassed from about November 2005 to at least January 2007. It says harassment included the owner attempting to kiss employees, rubbing his elbow against Miss Ingram’s breast, and offering an employee $100 to show him her breasts.

EEOC attorney Lynette Barnes said Miss Ingram complained to a female supervisor, but the harassment did not stop. The agency said the company fired Miss Ingram in February 2007.

The company could not be reached for comment.


Two administrators to return to work

Two Radford University administrators who were abruptly terminated two weeks ago without the president’s knowledge will return to work.

The director of New Student Programs and Services, Michael Dunn, and associate director Marc Jacobsen said Tuesday they will accept President Penelope Kyle’s offer of reinstatement.

The statement issued by the school doesn’t say when the men will return.

Vice President for Student Affairs Norleen Pomerantz dissolved their office on Sept. 14 to help offset a $6.4 million cut in state funding.

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