(YALE) -- A judge says there's no turning back for a Thumb man who pleaded guilty to fraud in a $2.6 million scam against prison inmates and their families. 57-year old John Wilson of Yale wants to withdraw his guilty plea after learning he could face a minimum of 30 years in prison, under proposed sentencing guidelines. But Detroit federal Judge Robert Cleland says Wilson didn't plead guilty with an "unsure heart" or "confused mind." Cleland isn't bound by the guidelines, but judges typically use them as the starting point for a sentence. Wilson admits he duped 2,100 prisoners or their family members across the country by offering to get them released through a successful appeal. U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says Wilson preyed on prisoners and their families seeking legal assistance, taking their money and denying them justice. She says Wilson's three businesses sent direct mailings to inmates offering to provide legal and appellate court work. He isn't a lawyer and has no college degree. Wilson returns to federal court on June 20.
(ATTICA TOWNSHIP) -- Officials say a 1-year-old Attica Township girl died after being struck by a falling television over the weekend. According to Lapeer County Sheriff's Sgt. Jason Parks, another child apparently was opening up a dresser the TV was on when the dresser and TV fell over Saturday. Parks says the girl was standing in front of the 32-inch, 69-pound television and was hit in the head when it fell. He says the mother was in another room and the children were out of her sight for a short period. The medical examiner's office ruled the death as an accident. Sgt. Parks calls it "an unfortunate, tragic event."
(HURON COUNTY) -- The Huron County Sheriff's Department investigated an Internet scam involving the attempted sale of an automobile on eBay. The victim, a Pigeon area resident, was conned into sending nearly $2,000 via Western Union to an alleged transportation service for the vehicles' transportation expenses. That amount was going to be reimbursed at time of payment. The scam artist was going to pay for the vehicle through a PayPal account that was later found to be bogus. Once the money was sent through Western Union, the victim lost all contact with the suspect buyer and there was no way to trace the money. Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson warns residents to always be leery of entering into a sale transaction where you have to send or pay money to complete it. Fortunately, the victim in this case was not scammed out of the vehicle that is valued over $35,000.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- Sanilac County residents are invited to attend a public forum Wednesday, May 15 to learn more about "Large Quantity Water Withdrawals" in the county. The forum, hosted by the Sanilac County Health Department and District 2 County Commissioner Justin Faber, will be held at the Moore Township Hall in Snover from 6:30-8 p.m. Experts from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will be in attendance to discuss topics including what constitutes a large quantity water withdrawal, high capacity well driller responsibilities, recent changes to legislation, well abandonment, and dispute resolution. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- The Sanilac County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday afternoon and approved the appointment of Deputy Sue Bower to the retirement board of the Sanilac County Sheriff's Department. In other business, the board authorized Information Technology to purchase a new Firewall at a cost not to exceed $9,500. Board members also approved the posting of a job opening for the vacant Chief Deputy Treasurer position effective June 1. The position has a starting salary of $36,225, with benefits.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- Sara Ylen will appear before the judge in Sanilac County District Court again in June. The 38-year old Lexington woman has been charged with six felony charges stemming from a lengthy fraud investigation. It was noted during a hearing Tuesday, that a significant amount of material will need to be reviewed by the defense prior to the preliminary exam. Ylen's pre-preliminary exam conference has been rescheduled for June 11 and her preliminary exam will be held July 2. She was arraigned earlier this month on charges of false pretenses, using a computer to commit a crime, and health care fraud. Investigators say Ylen claimed to have been diagnosed with cancer, which was found to be false. The charges stem from money raised during fundraiser benefits and thousands of dollars of hospice care from 2009-2011. Ylen remains free on bond and is scheduled to appear in St. Clair County District Court May 22 for arraignment on charges of filing a false felony and tampering with evidence. That case stems from an alleged false report Ylen made in September 2012 of being raped. In November 2012, a man convicted of raping Ylen was released from prison after nearly 10-years when new evidence emerged and authorities learned of other claims of rape made by Ylen in Michigan, California and Colorado, which were unfounded.
(BAD AXE) -- The Huron Intermediate School District and Huron Area Technical Center have partnered with Mid-Michigan Community College, bringing new post-secondary programs to the Thumb. Residents in Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola County will have the opportunity to obtain an associate's degree in nursing by taking classes closer to home. An informational session is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at the Huron Area Technical Center in Bad Axe for those interested in becoming a Registered Nurse and current LPN's wishing to enter the program. The informational session will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 2 p.m. The afternoon session will start at 5 p.m. Each session will provide an overview of the program, financial aid options, and review unofficial transcripts for those able to bring them. For more information contact Assistant Principal Doug Hassler at 989-269-9284.
(AREA) -- Law enforcement agencies statewide are holding events to mark National Police Week. Ceremonies planned for Wednesday include the Port Huron Department of Public Safety, which will honor its police officers, firefighters and other personnel with an awards ceremony. The Cass County Sheriff's Office also is hosting a memorial service for officers including Deputy Shane Britton, who died in 2000 when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. The Upper Peninsula Peace Officer Memorial will recognize fallen officers from the peninsula as well as Wisconsin and Canada with a memorial in the Dickinson County community of Norway. An event was held Tuesday in Saginaw County. State officers killed in the line of duty are among those honored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund on Monday Washington, D.C.
(AREA) -- Legislation recently introduced in the Michigan House would save school districts costs incurred if they are required to change their mascot after a state department complaint against Native American imagery. House Bill 4735, sponsored by 81st District State Representative Dan Lauwers, helps create a $3 million fund to cover schools expenses for changing mascots, should the federal complaint be successful. The money would come from the budget of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which filed the complaint independently, without prompting from any Native American group or individual. Lauwers stated that if a state-funded department is going to arbitrarily issue a complaint that could hurt public schools, then it's only fair they pick up the tab for any potential costs. A total of 35 Michigan schools were listed in the complaint, including the Capac Chiefs, Kinde-North Huron Warriors, Port Huron Big Reds and Sandusky Redskins. The state Department of Civil Rights in February filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education, requesting the removal of all native American mascots and imagery, including logos and slogans, from Michigan public schools.
(SANILAC COUNTY) -- The trial of the Peck woman accused in the armed robbery of the Depot Party Store in Watertown was set to being this week. Instead, 30-year old Cassandra Kelly will be sentenced in June after a no contest plea to a felony charge of accessory after the fact. She was originally charged with armed robbery. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such at sentencing, which has been set for June 24 at 8:30 a.m. Kelly's boyfriend at the time of heist last October, 31-year old Howard Deon Wiggins, was sentenced last month to 28-50-years in prison after being found guilty of armed robbery and felony firearms during his jury trial.