Lewiston couple sentenced over housing subsidy fraud

A Lewiston couple convicted of defrauding the federal government out of more $46,000 in housing subsidies by not disclosing substantial income and real estate holdings have been sentenced.

Roda Abdi was sentenced Tuesday to serve 10 months of a four-year sentence. Her husband, Ali-Nassir Ahmed, was sentenced to serve nine months of a four-year sentence. Both received three years of probation.

They were convicted last year.

Prosecutors say the couple accepted U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidies for which they weren’t eligible. The couple lived in a federally subsidized apartment while they owned and operated a profitable market and bought multiple properties with cash.

Prosecutors say the couple has shown little remorse.

The Sun Journal reported that defense attorneys argued for lighter sentences, saying their clients had no criminal records.


BIW wins 2 Navy contracts worth more than $57 million

Bath Iron Works has won two Navy contracts totaling more than $57 million for fleet maintenance and engineering projects.

Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree said Tuesday that half the money is for design and engineering work on the Littoral Combat Ship. The ship is designed for coastal operations, such as transporting equipment onshore for amphibious missions and mine-sweeping.

The other half of the money is going to fleet maintenance.

Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which determines funding for Navy programs.


Landscaping truck mishap cuts power to half of town

A power outage in Scarborough just after noon Wednesday, which left half the town without power, was the result of a mishap with a landscaping truck in South Portland.

The outage shut down electricity to a large swath of the town including traffic lights and the Route 1 and Payne Road corridors from 12:04 to 12:30 p.m.

The outage hit when power substations near the Maine Turnpike and on Route 1 near Pine Point Road each lost two circuits, said Gail Rice, spokeswoman for Central Maine Power. Workers in the energy control center were able to restart the circuits remotely and the power returned within a half-hour, she said.

The outage was traced to a landscaping boom truck hitting a transmission structure on Running Hill Road in South Portland, she said. There was no significant damage but the impact caused the power to shut down on certain lines, and it did not automatically reset, she said.

According to CMP, 4,490 of the town’s 9,800 customers were without power.


Lawsuit against ER doctor will continue in lower court

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court refused to clear an emergency room physician of a Richmond woman’s claim that he violated her civil rights.

Linda Clifford sued Dr. Scott Kemmerer and MaineGeneral Medical Center about her treatment at the Augusta hospital’s emergency department on Sept. 25 and 26, 2007. She said she was forced to sign herself into the hospital for 24 hours or be involuntarily committed for 72 hours.

Clifford suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and was taken to the hospital by state troopers after she allegedly sent threatening emails to then-Gov. John Baldacci about budget cuts affecting mental health services.

Tuesday’s decision allows the case to continue in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Man accused of snatching store clerk’s money bag

Portland police charged a man with theft after he allegedly grabbed a store clerk’s money bag Wednesday morning.

An employee of Shipwreck & Cargo was in front of the store at 207 Commercial St. with a deposit bag about 9:25 a.m. when a man grabbed the bag and ran, said Lt. James Sweatt.

The case was originally reported as a robbery but police determined that the thief did not use force or threaten the worker and so was charged with theft.

However, when a suspect was found at 1 Portland Square, police arrested him at gunpoint because of the robbery allegation, Sweatt said.

The man’s name was not released, he said, because the case is still being investigated and police were considering using a lineup to identify him.


Seven wastewater facilities will receive federal money

Seven Maine wastewater facilities are receiving $29.7 million in grants and loans for upgrades.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants were announced Tuesday in Hartland in an event celebrating Earth Day. Nationally, a total $387 million is going to 116 similar projects in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

In Maine, the funds are being used for upgrades to wastewater systems that the USDA says will help prevent contamination of the state’s waterways.

USDA Rural Development says it invested $462.5 million in rural Maine communities last fiscal year. Those funds went to projects that improve the economic stability of rural communities.

The Maine grant recipients are: Stonington Water Co., Wiscasset Water District and the communities of Hartland, Gardiner, Oxford, Van Buren and Danforth.