EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois village's former trustee faces up to a decade in federal prison now that he's pleaded guilty to committing health care fraud.
Thirty-nine-year-old Darron Suggs pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.
Suggs admitted he filed fraudulent Medicaid bills on behalf of two people receiving federal aid for home health care. He falsely claimed he acted as their personal health care assistant for seven years beginning in 2006.
The federal government says the fraud netted Suggs nearly $65,000.
Suggs was a Washington Park trustee who also served as a St. Clair County probation officer but left that job in July.
Suggs also faces up to $250,000 in fines when sentenced March 14.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court is imposing a new fee on attorneys to help provide legal aid to low-income residents in civil court cases.
The court said Friday that it had approved an additional $30 annual fee to be paid by lawyers starting in 2014. The fee is expected to generate at least $750,000.
Missouri's legal services fund helps pay for attorneys to aid people in civil cases such as child-custody disputes, protective orders, home foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.
The Supreme Court says the fee increase will help offset a recent cut in federal funding for low-income legal services.
Missouri's four regional legal aid programs also receive funding from a state fee charged on the filing of civil and criminal court cases.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A coalition backing a Missouri income tax cut has put forward a potential ballot initiative limiting state tax credits.
Grow Missouri says it filed two initiatives Friday with the secretary of state's office that would amend the Missouri Constitution to curb tax credits.
One plan would impose a $200 million annual cap on tax credits; the other would ban all new tax credits upon voter approval of the amendment on the November 2014 ballot. If the state nonetheless exceeds the tax credit caps, the proposals would trigger an automatic reduction in the state's income tax rate.
The treasurer for Grow Missouri says the group plans to file additional ballot initiatives in the coming weeks that would reduce Missouri's income tax rates for businesses and individuals.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson, postponed in the debate over Missouri's choice of execution drug, has been rescheduled for December 11th.
The Missouri Supreme Court set the new date on Friday.
Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs, Missouri businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.
Nicklasson was first set to be executed Oct. 23, when Missouri planned to use the anesthetic propofol for the first time. The plan drew concerns because most propofol is made in Europe, and the European Union threatened to limit export if it was used in an execution.
Governor Jay Nixon stopped the execution.
Former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook, whose colleague died of a cocaine overdose in March, pleaded guilty today in court. The Post-Dispatch reports that Cook was sentenced to 18 months in prison for misdemeanor heroin possession and a felony charge of being a drug user in possession of a firearm. On Wednesday, 46-year-old James Fogarty, a former county probation officer, admitted selling drugs to Cook and Judge Joseph Christ and using drugs with both men. Two men convicted separately of murder in Cook's court have won retrials after raising concerns about the judge's drug connections, and some other criminal defendants have been allowed to withdraw guilty pleas.
For those fans of Star Wars out there, maybe in a land far far away, this weekend could your chance to land a lead role in the next Star Wars movie. A Disney casting director will be holding open auditions in St. Louis on Sunday. They're looking for a 17-18 year old girl and a 19-23 year old young man to play street smart, independent, athletic characters in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode Seven. Those auditions are on Sunday from noon to five at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has selected former Chicago schools CEO and 2002 gubernatorial candidate Paul Vallas as his running mate in 2014.
The Chicago Democrat announced Vallas as his pick in an email Friday.
Quinn says he's known Vallas for 30 years and "he's never been shy about fighting for education, reform and opportunities for working people."
Vallas is currently the school superintendent in Bridgeport, Conn., where he's been fighting to keep his job in a court battle waged by his critics.
Vallas ran Chicago Public Schools from 1995 until 2001.
He lost the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002 to Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY'-uh-vitch). Vallas then was superintendent of schools in Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Quinn's current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, is running for comptroller next year.
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - A new crime laboratory is now open in St. Louis County, several weeks later than anticipated and costing about $2 million more than projected.
Police officials told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1cIioXh ) that the lab that opened this week will help cut backlogs.
The lab has been at the center of problems. The delay came after Gregory Sansone, a partner in a subcontracting company called SM Mechanical, temporarily lost a heating and cooling license after his business partner quit. That halted work for several weeks.
Sansone was county police board chairman, and there was concern about whether his firm should have received the contract in the first place. It was paid $3.7 million for the work. Sansone resigned, as did two of the four other members.
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is weighing in on the felony charges leveled this week against state Representative Steve Webb.
Jones issued a statement Friday saying, “As elected officials, our actions must be held to the highest standards and the strictest letter of the law. The allegations against Rep. Webb are egregious.
Although as a nation of laws we believe that every individual is innocent until proven guilty, the allegations alone besmirch not only Rep. Webb's name and reputation, but also unfairly tarnish the large majority of outstanding public servants who always obey the laws they are elected to craft.
Rep. Webb must now search his conscience and take whatever action is necessary to preserve the integrity of his caucus, his colleagues and the institution of the Missouri House.
I also trust the good people of Missouri will realize this is an isolated incident and not at all reflective of what I know to be the ethical and lawful behavior of the many, many men and women who serve honorably in the Missouri House of Representatives.”
The City of St. Louis Red Light Camera Safety Program remains open and fully operational. That is the message from city counselor Patty Hageman.
Hageman says this week's court decision regarding the Ellisville program does not affect the City of St. Louis.
She advises that If you receive a red light camera ticket in the City of St. Louis, you need to pay it or contest it in court.
Unlike Ellisville, the City’s program allows vehicle owners to refute that they were driving at the time of the violation.
Hageman expects the state Supreme Court to eventually clarify procedures that cities must use for issuing citations.
Since the inception of red light safety cameras in the City of St. Louis, officials say violations at camera intersections have decreased by nearly two-thirds.