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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis area man who posed as a Marine veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq in soliciting donations for a bogus raffle will spend a year in federal prison.
Forty-one-year-old Matthew Buckingham of St. Louis County was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. He pleaded guilty in August to a felony count of impersonating a federal agent.
Authorities say Buckingham falsely claimed he was affiliated with a veterans' charity and solicited donations for a raffle to benefit wounded or homeless soldiers, veterans or other military personnel.
Prosecutors say he also claimed to be employed by various government agencies or departments. But Buckingham never held the raffle and was not a veteran or an employee of any of the governmental agencies he claimed.
The National Weather Service has updated its numbers regarding the violent storms that ripped through the Midwest earlier this month.
The agency says two dozen tornadoes struck Illinois and another 28 hit Indiana. The latest figures underscore what officials have been saying since the tornadoes roared through on November 17th: There's never been a November day like that one on record.
The tornado that cut a half-mile swath through the central Illinois community of Washington is the strongest in November in Illinois since modern records began being kept in 1950. Six people died during the storms in Illinois and 147 people were injured.
Keeping citizens safe and their property secure are the top priorities for the St. Louis County Police, so the department has announced that it's annual Holiday Enforcement/Crime Prevention Program in underway.
The County Police Department will have both uniformed and undercover officers working in and around shopping centers.
The Metro Air Support Unit will also continue patrolling commercial parking lots and shopping centers. Officers of the St. Louis County Police Department’s Highway Safety Unit will be working additional patrols throughout the holidays, emphasizing DWI enforcement.
Chief Tim Fitch stated, "We want everyone to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. In addition to each precinct implementing specific strategies for their area, officers from our Division of Special Operations, such as the Highway Safety Unit, will also be highly visible. Remember, keep your eyes and ears open and immediately call the police if you see suspicious activity. Prevention is the key, and if we all pitch in and work together, I know we can be successful."