Ohio News Briefs

Company faces $63M fine for misusing money to buy yacht, jet

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Federal regulators are proposing a $63 million fine against an Ohio company that they say bought a yacht and jet with money meant to help low-income people get phone and internet service.

The Federal Communication Commission says Toledo-based American Broadband and Telecommunications Co. created fake accounts using the identities of dead people to get government reimbursements.

The commission says the company’s owner used the money to buy a Ferrari convertible, a Florida condominium and an $8 million Cessna jet.

The company says in a statement to The Blade newspaper that it told the FCC two years ago about significant compliance and reporting issues and repaid nearly all of the money.

The FCC has said in recent years that the Lifeline phone program needs reformed because of waste and fraud.

Village has 10 years to pay drivers in traffic camera case

NEW MIAMI, Ohio (AP) — A judge will allow an Ohio village 10 years to refund an estimated $3.2 million collected from drivers for speeding citations from automated camera.

New Miami’s automatic camera enforcement was ruled unconstitutional in 2014. Butler County Judge Michael Oster later ruled the village must pay back about 33,000 drivers who paid fines under that system.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports Oster recently ruled to allow New Miami to pay the judgment plus interest over a 10-year period.

Police now use hand-held cameras under state law requiring an officer be present during camera enforcement.

Josh Engel, an attorney for one of the drivers, said he may consider appealing the 10-year ruling.

New Miami’s outside counsel argued that refunding the drivers at one time would have a devastating impact on the village.

Boy, 14, missing from tour in upstate NY found in Ohio

WEST UNITY, Ohio (AP) — State troopers in Ohio say they’ve found a 14-year-old boy from India who went missing from his tour group while they were in western New York last week.

A State Highway Patrol spokesman says Gursewak Singh was found Wednesday at a rest stop along the Ohio Turnpike near the Indiana state line in Williams County.

Lt. Vern Fisher says the boy was traveling with a truck driver who apparently is an acquaintance of the boy’s family.

Police in western New York say the boy was last seen near Buffalo a week ago.

Fisher says they think the boy ran away from the tour group. He says they’re making arrangements to return the boy to his family and there won’t be any charges against the truck driver.

Ex-head of agriculture believes he was fired over algae plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state’s former agriculture director says he believes he was dismissed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich because he had reservations about the governor’s approach to tackling toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Former Agriculture Director David Daniels tells The Columbus Dispatch he received no explanation for his firing Friday by Kasich, a fellow Republican. Daniels says his dismissal came after he had expressed concerns about Kasich’s July 11 executive order calling for a more aggressive approach to limit fertilizer runoff that contributes to Lake Erie’s toxic algae blooms.

Kasich’s spokesman Jon Keeling has declined to comment.

Daniels says he wants clean water but that there aren’t enough resources to execute the plan. He says there are concerns the plan is “unworkable.”

A task force will evaluate the plan.

Authorities seize cloned police radios during raids

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Federal and local officials say they seized a number of cloned police radios from several Ohio homes during raids.

Stark County Sheriff’s deputies and Canton police, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, raided seven homes Monday in Canton — seizing weapons, dozens of radios and other evidence. The Canton Repository reports the raids were the result of an investigation that found someone hacked into the public safety radio system, and then cloned the information onto black market police radios.

Stark County Sheriff George Maier said Tuesday that police have identified eight to 10 “persons of interest” in their investigation.

Maier says investigators don’t know how long the cloned radios have been in use. He says investigators also believe the issue is contained locally.