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Ex-pub owner sentenced in Irish smuggling case

A former pub owner who admitted she made money by helping to arrange the smuggling of illegal aliens from Ireland will spend six months in federal prison.

Bridget Campbell, 37, of Depew, was sentenced by District Judge John T. Elfvin on Friday. She pleaded guilty to a felony charge of alien smuggling for financial gain.

An investigation by the Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement showed that Campbell began her involvement in a smuggling operation in late 2003. She was required to forfeit $36,000 she made in the enterprise, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala said.

Campbell is the former operator of Campbell's Pub on Niagara Street.


Seizure of crack is largest made in Salamanca

SALAMANCA -- A raid in the Hillview Homes neighborhood of Salamanca early Thursday afternoon resulted in the largest seizure of crack cocaine in the city, Salamanca police reported.

Police and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task force raided 316 Hillview Homes at about 1:45 p.m. and found five ounces of crack cocaine, another half ounce packaged for sale, a quantity of unidentified pills, drug paraphernalia, a digital scale and about $800 in cash, according to Salamanca Police Chief Scott A. Cicirello.

Arrested were Raheim Howell, 33, of North Oak Street, Buffalo; Jennifer L. Demarte, 35, of the Hillview Homes address; Mark L. Burdick, 37, of Salamanca; and Donald J. Pfaffenbach, 25, of Collins Center. All face felony drug charges. Howell and Demarte face "A-1 felony" drug charges that can carry up to life in prison.


Ex-Amherst man gets prison for Medicaid fraud

A former East Amherst man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to make restitution of $794,971 for fraudulent Medicare claims here and fraudulent student aid claims in California.

Mikhail Solovey, 41, also known as Robert Stein, now living in Marin County, Calif., pleaded guilty to mail fraud in both states and was sentenced here by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer.

Solovey co-owned All Care Management of Western New York, with medical clinics in Amherst and Kenmore. From September 2002 to September 2004, he defrauded the federal Medicare program of $451,138 by charging for services never rendered or for unnecessary services that were performed by unqualified individuals, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Rogowski and Charles B. Wydysh.

In California, prosecutors said, Solovey collected from the California Department of Education $343,833 in student aid grants for students who never attended his school for medical technology.


Golf-park 'entrepreneur' must repay investors

A North Tonawanda businessman who defrauded investors in a series of golf parks was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison Friday by a judge who chastised him for blaming others for his illegal activities.

Steven D. Blumhagen, 56, also was ordered by District Judge William M. Skretny to repay more than $10.7 million to investors in his failed business, Tee to Green Golf Parks. Blumhagen pleaded guilty to felony charges of mail fraud and conspiracy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross said Blumhagen admitted that he marketed promissory notes to 250 investors -- many of them senior citizens -- and falsely claimed the notes were insured and bonded. Buffalo FBI agents investigated the case.

Blumhagen was a successful owner of trotting race horses before he began the golf venture.


12-year-old girl injured in playground assault

A 12-year-old girl suffered a broken arm and other injuries Wednesday evening at a South Buffalo playground when she was attacked by a 12-year-old boy.

South District officers said the incident happened at about 7:30 p.m. at a playground on Mineral Springs Road.

The boy grabbed her around the neck and threw her on the ground, breaking her left arm and dislocating her shoulder, authorities said.

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