- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Tennessee man pleads guilty to plotting attack on Muslims

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man who ran for Congress last year in East Tennessee has pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on a small Muslim enclave in New York.

Federal agents began investigating Robert Doggart of Signal Mountain following a Facebook posting in which he claimed a community outside of Hancock, New York, was planning a terrorist attack and “must be utterly destroyed,” according to the plea agreement entered last month.

This area in Delaware County is known as “Islamberg,” a self-named community consisting primarily of Muslims.

Via cellphone, Doggart also told unnamed people cooperating with the FBI that his plan involved killing residents and burning at least three buildings. He met with at least one source in Nashville.

“Those guys (have) to be killed,” Doggart said during one call. “Their buildings need to be burnt down.”

During the same call, Doggart told the person on the phone that pistols couldn’t be carried from Tennessee to New York because the city doesn’t have carry permit reciprocity, but that “AR-15s, M-4s or M-16s” could be brought.

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FTC: Family raised $187M for cancer, spent it on themselves

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Tennessee man and his family used much of the $187 million it collected for cancer patients to buy themselves cars, gym memberships and take luxury cruise vacations, pay for college tuition and employ family members with six-figure salaries, federal officials alleged Tuesday in one of the largest charity fraud cases ever, involving all 50 states.

The joint action by the Federal Trade Commission and the states says James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife and son raised the money through their various charities: The Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee, and its affiliated Cancer Support Services; The Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona; and the Children’s Cancer Fund of America in Powell, Tennessee.

The charities hired telemarketers to collect $20 donations from people across the country, telling consumers that they provided financial aid and other support to cancer patients, including pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy visits and hospice care.

But little money made it to cancer patients, as the groups “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation” with none of the controls used by bona fide charities, the FTC said Tuesday.

Anyone who donated money to these groups shouldn’t expect a refund anytime soon. While litigation against Reynolds Sr. and the Cancer Fund of America is ongoing, the settlement agreements with Reynolds’ son, ex-wife and a long-time associate of the family - Kyle Effler - notes that much of the money has already been spent. The agreement bans the three from fundraising and shuttered their organizations.

“The money is mostly gone,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. Rich declined to say whether a separate criminal investigation might be underway, noting only that the regulatory agency doesn’t have that authority.

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Tennessee mother, boyfriend charged after toddler’s death

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Middle Tennessee woman and her boyfriend have been indicted following the death of her 23-month-old child.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday that a DeKalb County grand jury charged 23-year-old Cody Key with felony murder and aggravated child abuse and 19-year-old Jessica May with aggravated child neglect. Key and May were arrested at their home in Smithville.

They are charged in the May 17 death of Colten Alexander May. Police said Cody Key reported to officers that he found the child unresponsive while baby-sitting him.

Key was being held on $1 million bond and May on $300,000 bond.

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Judge approves $200M settlement in 2012 meningitis outbreak

BOSTON (AP) - Victims of a 2012 meningitis outbreak caused by a now-closed Massachusetts compounding pharmacy will have access to a $200 million compensation fund, following approval Tuesday by a federal bankruptcy judge.

The new fund will be available to compensate creditors and victims who became ill or died as the result of receiving tainted steroid injections from the New England Compounding Center. It is part of a plan to liquidate the assets of the Framingham-based center approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Henry Boroff.

“This is really the end process of the bankruptcy case, barring any appeals,” said David Molton, a New York lawyer representing creditors. “It starts a new phase in which the architecture and the structures we built in order to get money to victims will start their machinery.”

The 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak killed 64 people and sickened over 750. People in 20 states were affected; Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee were the hardest hit. About half developed a rare fungal form of meningitis. The rest suffered joint or spinal infections.

Molton said the judge is expected to finalize the plan in the coming days and victims should begin receiving payments before the end of the year.

Roughly 3,300 victims are qualified to seek compensation from the fund, he said. Those most seriously impacted - such as the families of those killed by the tainted drugs - will “no doubt” receive the largest payments, he said, declining to elaborate.

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