Charged in immigration raid, restaurateur pleads not guilty

The co-owner of several Mexican restaurants in central and southern Maine has pleaded not guilty to charges that he hired illegal immigrants.

Hector Fuentes pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for profit, aiding and abetting document fraud and three counts of harboring undocumented aliens for profit.

The charges stem from immigration raids at three restaurants in September. Agents allege they found at least eight illegal immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala living in the basement of the Fajita Grill in Westbrook. Agents also said they found evidence of illegal activity at the Cancun Mexican Restaurant in Waterville and at the Cancun Mexican Restaurant Two in Biddeford.

Fuentes is free on $10,000 cash bail. His brother also faces charges.


Parties await judge’s ruling in Scarcelli family dispute

The parties in the legal battle involving former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rosa Scarcelli and her family members are awaiting a federal judge’s decision on part of the complex dispute.

Scarcelli has sued her stepfather, Karl Norberg, alleging that he allowed her mother, Pamela Gleichman, to mismanage several family-run housing projects in danger of being taken over by the federal agency that provided the financing.

Norberg and Gleichman have counter-sued, and Scarcelli sought to have their counterclaim dismissed.

The motions on the dismissal of the counterclaim had been filed as of Thursday, so the judge will be able to rule on them.

In another area of the dispute, U.S. District Judge George Singal ruled that Gleichman is barred from transferring any proceeds from any sale of a Norwalk, Conn., property to anyone besides a trust that is a limited partner in the project.

Scarcelli’s lawyers are now working on a motion in support of making that injunction permanent.


Attorney general says assault violated victim’s civil rights

The Maine Attorney General’s office is seeking an injunction against a man accused of threatening another man and ramming his car.

Attorney General William Schneider says it was a bias-motivated assault that interfered with the man’s civil rights.

The state’s complaint says the 60-year-old man was parked at a boat launch in Auburn in March. It alleges that Ronald Champagne, 50, drove up to him, called him a homophobic epithet and threatened to ram his car into a lake. A pursuit took place in which Champaign allegedly rammed the man’s car.

Under the Maine Civil Rights Act, the Attorney General’s Office may obtain injunctions against individuals who use physical force or violence or threats motivated by bias against race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin and physical or mental disability.

Maine’s high court makes lawyer’s suspension indefinite

A Boston-based lawyer convicted of tax evasion has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law in Maine.

Christopher M. Uhl was temporarily suspended from practicing in Maine in August, after Massachusetts imposed similar discipline.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided this week to make the suspension indefinite.

Uhl will not be allowed to apply for reinstatement in Maine until May 2015.

Uhl was convicted in 2010 of tax evasion for failing to pay more than $233,000 in employment taxes.

He was sentenced to 33 months in prison and two years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and $615,796 in restitution.


Man indicted on charges of sexually assaulting boy, 11

A Carroll Plantation man accused of binding an 11-year-old boy with duct tape and sexually assaulting the child has been indicted by a grand jury.

Gerald Wakeling was indicted Wednesday on charges of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and terrorizing.

An arraignment date has not been scheduled.

Prosecutors say Wakeling, 59, invited the boy to his home on July 1, 2010, to play video games, then assaulted him. Wakeling also threatened to kill the boy and his family if he told anyone.

If convicted, Wakeling will face as much as 30 years in prison and a fine of $50,000 on the most serious charge, gross sexual assault.

Prentiss Township man indicted in series of arsons

A 53-year-old Maine man facing an arson charge for allegedly torching a state fire marshal investigator’s car now faces additional charges of setting three fires in Penobscot County.

John Weckerly of Prentiss Township was indicted Wednesday on three counts of arson and other charges involving fires that .damaged or destroyed a garage, a seasonal camp and other structures near Weckerly’s land in northern Penobscot County.

Weckerly was charged last August with arson for allegedly dousing a car with a flammable liquid and setting it on fire. At the time, the car was being used by a fire marshal investigator who was investigating the other fires.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Weckerly has denied setting the fires for which he was indicted Wednesday.


Police say cellphone users were ‘phished’ for data 

Police and officials with the Maine State Credit Union are warning customers of a scam in which someone tries to pry personal information from them so they can raid the customer’s account.

In the so-called “phishing” scam, cellphone users from Portland to Waterville reported receiving an automated message Tuesday telling them their credit union-issued debit card had been frozen and they should call back and enter their 16-digit personal identification number to solve the problem.

The credit union’s president tells the Kennebec Journal about a half-dozen of the 25,000 Maine State Credit Union members fell for the scam, but they didn’t lose any money.

Their accounts were immediately closed and they were issued new cards.

Police say the lesson is never give out personal information over the phone.


N.H. investor, town officials discuss industrial park plans

The New Hampshire-based investor who bought two Katahdin region paper mills has announced plans to turn the Millinocket site into an industrial park and launch a national marketing campaign to draw industry to the region.

Officials with Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth, N.H., met in executive session with the Town Council for about an hour Wednesday and unveiled artists’ renderings of the first $35 million wood manufacturing machine they plan to build at their industrial park, the site of the Katahdin Avenue paper mill.

They also announced what they called “an aggressive, national marketing campaign to manufacturers in an attempt to bring new jobs and economic vitality to the area.”

The Bangor Daily News reports that councilors and Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said they wanted time to consider the proposal.


Police warn of email scam using cable company name

Saco police are warning residents of a phishing scam involving someone attempting to pose as a representative of Time Warner Cable.

Deputy Chief Jeffrey C. Holland said a local resident contacted police on Thursday after receiving an email message asking for confidential credit information for billing purposes.

The email, which looked authentic, said it came from the person’s cable company, Time Warner. But Holland said the email is fraudulent.

“Don’t be fooled. Time Warner does not make requests of this type requesting confidential personal information,” Holland said.


Police analyze items found near river for link to toddler

Maine State Police are analyzing items found in the Kennebec River, but they are not saying whether they are related to missing toddler Ayla Reynolds.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland told the Morning Sentinel that the items were found in the river near the Hathaway Mill on Wednesday.

He said police do not know if the items are connected to the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Ayla, who was reported missing from her father’s Waterville home on Dec. 17. Police believe foul play was involved.