Ohio News Briefs


Man accused of pretending to be Marine to get VA benefits

CINCINNATI (AP) — Authorities say a man improperly received $130,000 in medical and housing benefits through Veterans Affairs by claiming he had served in the Marine Corps during years when he actually had been imprisoned in Arizona.

Forty-three-year-old Shawn Oliger is charged with theft of government money in federal court in Cincinnati.

Court records indicate he was arrested last month. A message seeking comment was left Wednesday for his public defender.

In court documents, investigators say Oliger’s purported military service was wrongly logged into a database because of a disability compensation claim he had filed.

They say Oliger later admitted making up his claim about being a veteran. They allege he knew that was wrong but did it because he needed medical care that he received through the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.

Ohio woman pleads guilty over dad’s fatal heroin injection

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A central Ohio woman accused of injecting her father with a lethal dose of heroin has pleaded guilty involuntary manslaughter and been sentenced to three years in prison.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Lindsay Newkirk, of Columbus, injected heroin into the arm of her 55-year-old father in February after injecting herself. When she woke up, her father was unresponsive.

She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday under a deal with prosecutors, and a charge of corrupting someone with drugs was dropped.

The Columbus Dispatch reports defense attorney Thomas Lininger said that Newkirk and her father were both drug users and that it was clear she didn’t intend to kill him.

The judge indicated she was glad Newkirk is interested in taking advantage of programs to address her addiction while in prison.

Police charge 13 in Florida-to-central Ohio drug conspiracy

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Thirteen people have been charged in an alleged drug trafficking operation involving painkillers acquired through a Florida doctor and sold in central Ohio.

Prosecutors say the suspects traveled together to Florida to obtain the drugs, which were mostly Oxycodone, for resale in Franklin County.

The drug ring reportedly sold more than 12,000 pain pills worth approximately $165,000 in a 15-month span. Prosecutors say the conspiracy began as a singular operation but then branched out into two separate trafficking organizations.

Two Columbus residents, a 28-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, have been accused of masterminding the operation as well as selling the drugs. They each are facing a minimum sentence of 11 years in prison.

The other suspects face up to three years behind bars if they are convicted.

Backers withdraw proposal to raise Cleveland’s minimum wage

CLEVELAND (AP) — Backers who proposed phasing in a $15 minimum wage in Cleveland have withdrawn their petition to get the issue on the ballot after the governor signed a bill blocking municipalities from raising the local minimum wage beyond Ohio’s rate.

Supporters of the Cleveland proposal had gathered enough signatures to put it before voters this May, but they withdrew the petition this week.

Activists with the group that pushed the proposal say the recent legislation impedes cities’ home-rule authority and left them no choice but to withdraw the issue.

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley says that he’d support an effort to increase the rate statewide above the current $8.15 per hour. But he says raising the minimum in only one location puts cities at odds in keeping or attracting employers.

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