Today in Maryland

Maryland: Man accused of ramming car into City Hall arrested

TANEYTOWN (AP) — Police in a Maryland city arrested a "disgruntled resident" accused of intentionally ramming his car into City Hall and damaging the building, the city's mayor said Sunday.

The driver didn't injure the lone Taneytown city employee who was in the building on Friday evening when the car plowed into City Hall, Mayor Bradley Wantz said.

The Taneytown Police Department said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that the driver was arrested on charges including second-degree assault, second-degree burglary, reckless driving and malicious destruction of property. The police statement doesn't name the suspect.

Police said witnesses saw the car repeatedly strike the building. Wantz said during a telephone interview that the man was angry because his water service had been shut off for failing to pay his bill.

"This was his response to that," the mayor added.

The mayor says City Hall will remain closed through Tuesday.

Wantz denounced what happened.

"It is appalling that someone would be willing to endanger the lives of innocent people out of frustration with the city government," he said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.

4 people shot in 3 different Baltimore shootings within days

BALTIMORE (AP) — It's proving to be a violent holiday weekend in Baltimore, with four people being shot in three episodes reaching back to last week.

Media organizations report the latest was late Saturday in West Baltimore. Four men and boys between the ages of 15 and 23 were rushed to area hospitals. Three were shot in the legs and one in the chest.

WJZ reports a woman was killed inside a home in Northeast Baltimore on Friday, one of four more people shot at the scene.

Sixteen-year-old Milton Carrington died when four people were shot on Thursday.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the violence continued into Sunday, when police found a 41-year-old man and a 34-year-old man suffering gunshot wounds.

Man gets 30 months in prison for role in $20M Ponzi scheme

GREENBELT (AP) — A Maryland man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for his role in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of more than $20 million.

U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis on Wednesday sentenced 53-year-old Bradley Mascho, of Frederick, to 30 months in federal prison. U.S. Attorney Robert Hur's office said in a news release that the judge also ordered Mascho to pay nearly $5 million in restitution.

In July, Xinis sentenced 56-year-old investment adviser Dawn Bennett to 20 years in prison for participating in the same fraud scheme.

Jurors heard testimony that Bennett used investors' money to buy astrological gems and cosmetic medical procedures and to pay more than $800,000 for prayers by Hindu priests in India to ward off federal investigators while her business was collapsing.

An FBI agent's affidavit said investigators found evidence in Bennett's home that she tried to silence U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators by casting "hoodoo" spells.

A two-week trial last year resulted in Bennett's conviction on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. Justice Department prosecutor Erin Pulice said Bennett defrauded 46 investors out of more than $20 million in less than three years.

Mascho pleaded guilty in June 2018 to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making a false statement.

Dennis Boyle, Bennett's defense attorney at trial, tried to depict Bennett as a fraud victim herself. Boyle said Bennett invested more than $8 million of her own money in her online business and relied on false financial numbers and records prepared by Mascho, her company's chief financial officer.

The FBI's investigation of Bennett began in December 2015 after the SEC formally accused her of defrauding investors by inflating the amount of assets she managed and exaggerating the returns on her customers' investments.

Prosecutors said Bennett didn't tell investors in her luxury sportswear company that she was using their money to pay off other investors or to cover personal expenses, including more than $141,000 on astrological gems, more than $100,000 on cosmetic medical procedures and a $500,000 annual lease for a luxury suite at the Dallas Cowboys' home stadium.

4 injured in downtown Frederick shooting

FREDERICK (AP) — Police are investigating a shooting that wounded four people in a Maryland city.

The Frederick News-Post reports that police found a woman with a gunshot wound in downtown Frederick early Saturday. Police said in a news release that three other gunshot victims — two men and another woman — arrived at a hospital "by private transportation or other means" after the shooting.

The newspaper reports that all four people appeared to be in stable condition. None of their names were immediately released.

Police believe the shooting stemmed from a dispute.

Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

Man, woman plead guilty in auto loan fraud scheme

BALTIMORE (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a man and a woman have pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud individuals and financial institutions of more than $1 million through fake auto loan applications.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release on Friday that 48-year-old John O'Day and 32-year-old Denise White pleaded guilty to federal charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to their plea agreements, between April 2016 and January 2018, O'Day and his co-conspirators, including White, submitted at least 30 fraudulent applications for auto loans, and at least 27 of the applications were successful. The scheme netted approximately $1,167,192, which O'Day deposited in his personal bank accounts in Maryland and provided to co-conspirators, including White.

White and O'Day are scheduled to be sentenced in November,

Home of famed journalist H.L. Mencken getting $1.5M facelift

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore home where renowned journalist H.L. Mencken lived for decades before his death is getting a $1.5 million facelift.

The Sun reports that contractors expect to complete renovation work on the office portion of the residence this fall. After that, restoration work is due to begin on the Hollins Street home's public rooms.

A retired Navy commander who lived in Hawaii and died in 2005 donated the money for the renovation work.

Mencken's father bought the home in 1883, three years after his son's birth. After Mencken died there in 1956, his brother gave the property to the University of Maryland before the city took it over.

A year ago, the nonprofit Baltimore National Heritage Area signed a lease with the city to assume "stewardship" of the home.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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