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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A southwestern Illinois doctor will be sentenced in April after he admitted defrauding the state's Medicaid program and illegally dispensing prescription medications.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 68-year-old Viwathna Bhuthimethee of Alton pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis to one count of health care fraud and 14 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance.

Authorities say Bhuthimethee ran an Alton walk-in clinic with his wife. He was indicted in 2012.

Investigators accused him of operating a "pill mill" in which he prescribed more than 2,000 painkiller or anti-anxiety pills to four women from 2008 through 2010 outside the course of his professional practice.

He's set to be sentenced April 3.

Saturday, 15 February 2014 09:33
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwestern Illinois woman who served as an executive of a business that provides visiting nurses and hospice services for Missouri and Illinois patients is accused of embezzling about $600,000 for personal use.
A federal grand jury in St. Louis has charged 49-year-old Susan Winebarger of Highland, Ill., with two counts of wire fraud.
Authorities say Winebarger was a chief financial officer and later chief executive of VNA-TIP of Bridgeton, Mo.
Investigators allege that from January 2008 and last December, she issued checks to herself from company accounts and hid the embezzlement by altering bank statements and internal financial reports.
She's also accused of withholding money that should have gone to employees' retirement accounts.
 
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:45
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Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:46
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TROY, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois prosecutor is lobbying for a girl whose home-based cupcake business was shut down because she didn't have a commercial kitchen.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons says he wants to amend a state law on sixth-grader Chloe Stirling's behalf. The two-year-old law allows people to make certain food items in a home kitchen to sell to the public if the food was to be sold at a farmers' market.
The girl had been selling her cupcakes to raise money to buy a car someday. But the county's health department shut down her operation last month after concluding her kitchen wasn't a commercial one requiring a permit and inspection.
The county's public health administrator insists existing laws are "excellent."
 
 
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:32
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Missouri lawmakers are considering a measure that would tie jobless benefits to the state's unemployment rate.  

Senate Bill 673 would allow unemployed Missourians to collect the current 20-weeks of benefits only if the unemployment rate is at nine-percent or higher.  

If the rate dips below 6.5-percent, jobless claims would be limited to just 13 weeks or about three months. That's half of the 26-weeks of benefits that the state allowed before 2011.  

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce reports that prior to recession, the average number of benefit weeks was 15  --  two more than the current 5.9-percent rate would allow under the proposal.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:19
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While there may be debate surrounding the use of red-light cameras in the area, for the Wentzville police department, a picture is worth a thousand words.
In a Fox2 News report, Wentzville Police Lieutenant Emmanuel Borroum says he is pleased with the results they have had using the 36 portable body camera units the department purchased in late 2012.  Police say the best part is the cameras record in high definition.
So far, Wentzville Police have 26,000 secured videos saved compared to the 200 monthly they had stored with cruiser dash cams.
Chief Borroum says when they used the in-car cameras, they didn`t get as much video when officers left their vehicles.
Wentzville is one of 20 departments across the country using the cameras and the only one using them in the region.
 
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:13
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A Missouri House committee approved measures yesterday to create one of the strictest voter photo identification requirements in the country.

The change would require unexpired Missouri-issued or federal photographic identification.

According to the Post Dispatch, bill sponsor Rep. Tony Dugger says the opportunity for voter fraud needed to be stopped to maintain the integrity of elections in the state.

There are only nine states that require photo identification to vote.

The limited number of documents accepted under the Missouri proposal would make it stricter than all but two states, Indiana and Texas. Expired drivers licenses and school-issued photo IDs would not be accepted.  

Only nonexpired Missouri or federal photo ID would be accepted under the proposal.  Secretary of State Jason Kander opposes the measure.  Currently, about 220,000 registered voters would not have the required ID cards. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:07
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Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:36
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   A popular High Ridge doctor is facing child sex assault and pornography charges.  
   Police initially investigated Dr. Craig Pope after child pornography was traced to his computers.  St. Louis County Police Detective Adam Kavanaugh is the investigator on the case.  He spoke with Fox 2 news about the investigation.  "We knew that child pornography was being distributed from Dr. Pope's medical practice, and from his home as well," he said.   
   During questioning, police say they discovered child sexual abuse against four female family members that dates back to 1986.  The victims ranged in age from 2-16. Police say there had been an investigation in 2006, but no charges because family members were reluctant to testify.  
   St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough says Dr. Pope is facing 16 charges so far, but that could change if more victims come forward.  "Considering the allegations in this case and the evidence in this case, I'd be shocked if there weren't additional victims out there," McCullough said.
   Dr. Pope treated many children and teens at the Dillon Plaza Family Medicine Group in High Ridge.  Anyone who may be a victim is urged to call St. Louis County Police at (314) 889-2341.  
   Pope is currently jailed on a one-million dollar bond.
 
 
 
 
 
Thursday, 13 February 2014 04:24
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