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A former University at Buffalo soccer star from North Tonawanda pleaded guilty this week in federal court in New Jersey to submitting phony insurance claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions, defrauding benefit programs to the tune of $45 million. Steven M. Butcher, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud and violating an anti-kickback law, th…

Crime

Adrian R. Taylor of Rochester, charged with multiple thefts from Walmarts in Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties, entered his third guilty plea Friday. Taylor, 40, asked for drug treatment as he admitted to a March 12 theft of more than $3,000 worth of goods from the Lockport Walmart. State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. made no promises. Taylor, who has serv…

Buffalo

The public is invited at 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 to listen to 11 grant proposals being considered by the Buffalo & Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee. The presentations will be made at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, 726 Exchange St., Ste. 25. Awards will be announced March 23. The committee receives $2 million annually from the New York Powe…

Crime

Four people on probation suspected Niagara County Probation Officer Matthew V. Fender was stealing their medications when he counted their prescription pills in their homes or at a probation office. But they were reluctant to report Fender to authorities. "I did not report the issue of Probation Officer Fender taking my pills, as I did not believe that anyone would b…

Local News

The Lockport Police Department has decided to allow its state accreditation to lapse when the five-year designation expires next month. A spokeswoman for the state Division of Criminal Justice Services said this week that Lockport withdrew in the wake of a January inspection. She said Lockport was not maintaining its program files in accordance with the 110 standards th…

Buffalo

A 38-year-old North Tonawanda man suffered a 3- to 4-inch gash on his arm after he was slashed with a butcher knife Thursday afternoon in a home in Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood, according to a police report. The victim told Buffalo police he was hanging out with his girlfriend and another woman at about 12:15 p.m. on Newfield Street, near Esser Avenue, when his girl…

Crime

Christopher M. Wright, the Pendleton child molester whose 2016 flight from police led to a lockdown at Starpoint Central School, will serve 15 years in prison for sexual abuse of two boys and a girl, ages 12 to 14. "You left a toll of human wreckage that's going to reverberate for decades," Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III told Wright Thursday. "I scarr…

Crime

Darnell Humphrey of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty Thursday to three crimes involving his ex-girlfriend and the couple's 5-year-old daughter. Humphrey, 33, of 22nd Street, admitted entering the woman's home on Cleveland Avenue in the Falls on Aug. 29 and Sept. 14 and striking her. On the first occasion, the daughter was present. On the second occasion, the woman had obtai…

Crime

Attorneys defending former state Sen. George D. Maziarz on felony election law charges have withdrawn requests for subpoenas directed to Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation, but succeeded in issuing a similar request for information from Niagara County. E. Stewart Jones of Troy, part of the Newfane Republican’s defense team, said late Thursday that he will no…

Local News

Amy L. Lewis, who took over as executive director of the SPCA of Niagara at the beginning of 2012, when the organization was in the throes of an animal handling crisis, said Thursday she plans to resign, effective Aug. 31. Lewis said in an interview that she intends to resume her education with hopes of becoming a veterinarian. In the meantime, the SPCA board has organi…

Buffalo

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center will celebrate a grand opening May 4 to 6 in the former 1863 U.S. Custom House, attached to the new Niagara Falls Amtrak Station. The center at 825 Depot Ave. W. will tell stories of emancipation through the permanent exhibition, "One More River to Cross." There will be re-creations of the Cataract House, an interna…

Business

A Colorado company has acquired Trek Inc., a high-tech electronics company in Lockport with more than 100 employees. The Colorado company also has sued three of Trek's former top executives. In the lawsuit, Advanced Energy Industries of Fort Collins, Colo., accused the executives of planning to form their own company to compete with Trek, and breaching their contract…

Local News

The City of Niagara Falls hopes to open its own outdoor skating rink next winter, after talks with Merani Hotel Group failed to produce a rink this season. Seth Piccirillo, city community development director, said the city has applied for $200,000 in Niagara River Greenway funds in hopes the rink can be built in a parking lot at Rainbow Boulevard and First Street by De…

Crime

A man who tried buying Xanax pills from two people Wednesday afternoon outside a tobacco shop in Niagara Falls was beaten and robbed, according to a city police report. An officer driving on Pine Avenue spotted the attack at about 5:40 p.m. outside Mario's, 2304 Pine Ave., according to the report. When the officer pulled up, the two suspects ran from the scene. They had…

Local News

Lockport police charged two people after a double stabbing Tuesday night on Pine Street. The two victims who were cut and stabbed were treated and released from area hospitals, Lockport police said. The attack happened at about 11:40 p.m. on Pine between High Street and La Grange Avenue. Police charged Christiann M. Yadullah, no age available, with second-degree assa…