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POLICE & COURTS

>Man convicted of fraud in auto insurance claim

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara County Court jury deliberated for three hours Thursday before convicting a Buffalo man of making a fraudulent auto insurance claim.

Yusuf Hassem, also known as Louis Reed, 65, of Northampton Street, faces up to seven years in prison when Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza sentences him Jan. 27. He was convicted of insurance fraud, attempted grand larceny and falsely reporting an incident, all in the third degree.

Hassem told his insurance company that his Mercedes had been vandalized and a compact disc player stolen in the parking lot of Prime Outlets on Military Road, Town of Niagara, Feb. 5. Progressive Insurance refused the $4,500 claim because the alleged circumstances were too similar to a claim Hassem had filed in Connecticut in 2003. Assistant District Attorney Charles F. Pitarresi asserted that Hassem "keyed" his own car.

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>Woman, 24, accused in stabbing of sister

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls woman accused of the near-fatal stabbing of her sister pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court on Friday to first-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Police said Shawnee M. Lester, 24, of 27th Street, is accused of stabbing her sister, Stacy Lester, 17, five times with a pocket knife outside a 24th Street home early Aug. 6. One of the stab wounds was in Stacy's jugular vein and she lost a great deal of blood before being stabilized, authorities said.

Police said the women were involved in a drunken argument over a key to their 27th Street apartment. They had been at a party at a home in the 500 block of 24th Street.

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