January 24, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)


Cutler man pleads guilty for claiming VA benefits

A man from Washington County faces sentencing after pleading guilty to receiving Veterans Affairs disability benefits to which he wasn't entitled.

Richard Ramsdell Jr., 38, of Cutler entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Prosecutors say Ramsdell obtained more than $200,000 in VA benefits by falsely claiming to be unemployed and unable to work because of his back and mental condition.

Court records show that Ramsdell in fact was working for a wreath manufacturer and as a fisherman and painter.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and full restitution.


Belgrade man charged for passing counterfeit bills

Police have tracked down a Belgrade man who they say spent thousands of dollars of counterfeit cash in the Waterville area in the past few weeks.

Jeremy McCaslin was charged this week with aggravated forgery for allegedly printing and spending phony bills.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey says his department started getting calls Jan. 17 from businesses that had received fake bills. Investigators caught up with the 37-year-old McCaslin on Monday when a cab driver told police that someone had paid a fare with counterfeit money. They later pulled over McCaslin's car, and found two printers and some sheets of fake money that had not been cut.

Massey said McCaslin told police he was a drug addict who used the fake money to pay his dealers.


False report of distress flare costs ex-Guardsman $5,000

A federal judge has ordered a former U.S. Coast Guardsman to pay nearly $5,000 in restitution for calling in a hoax report of a distress flare being sighted off the Maine coast.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland said Shane Coxon, 24, was sentenced last Friday in federal court in Washington state to the 31/2 months he had already served while also ordering him to pay for the costs of a Coast Guard search following the false report.

Court records show that Coxon was stationed at the Coast Guard base in South Portland in July 2010 when he called the guard's command center, provided a false name and reported a flare sighting off of Old Orchard Beach. A flare is a universally recognized marine distress signal.


Land trust gets boost from charitable trust

Downeast Lakes Land Trust has received a three-year, $285,000 grant from the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust to expand its education programs.

Downeast owns and manages a 33,708-acre community forest and is raising funds to acquire an adjacent 21,870-acre parcel, said executive director Mark Berry.

"We're thrilled that the Maine Timberlands Charitable Trust is supporting this important work," he said. The grant will allow the trust to add a professional staff person in communications and media relations to help expand the groups programs.

The land trust's education programs include a summer youth-focused "Explorations and Adventures" program on Tuesday mornings and a year-round "History and Heritage" series workshops and classes.


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