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POLICE & COURTS

Body recovered from river is Brantford, Ont., woman

NIAGARA FALLS -- The body recovered from the lower Niagara River June 13 was that of an 18-year-old Canadian woman, Rebekah Verschoor, of Brantford, Ont., Niagara County Coroner Cindy-Lou Joyce reported Monday.

A tourist on the Canadian side of the river reported seeing the floating body about half a mile from the whirlpool. The U.S. Border Patrol used a helicopter to remove the body from the gorge after it was recovered by that agency and by parks police from both sides of the border.

No foul play is suspected.

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Welland man gets caught in strong undertow, drowns

A late-night swim in Lake Erie turned tragic after a Welland man was swept away by strong waves and drowned early Monday morning.

Niagara Regional Police said Andrew Mooney, 21, was found dead on the shores of Augustine Beach at about 5:30 a.m. Mooney was swimming with five friends before all six were swept into deep water by rough waves caused by strong winds, and a strong undertow. Mooney was unable to swim back to shore, police said.

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Condition of motorcyclist who hit deer is upgraded

A Gasport motorcyclist who struck a deer early Sunday morning and was thrown from his vehicle was upgraded to serious condition Monday in Erie County Medical Center.

James F. Boyer Jr., 51, was thrown from his motorcycle about 1:21 a.m. while traveling south on Quaker Road in Hartland. Niagara County sheriff's deputies said Boyer apparently struck a deer near Becker Farms.

Boyer was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC where he was initially listed in critical condition.

Meanwhile, another motorcyclist, Daniel Gallaway, 43, of Eden, was listed in fair condition late Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Gallaway collided with a pickup truck about 4:40 a.m. Saturday on Boston State Road in North Collins, Erie County sheriff's deputies said.

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Two men from Georgia arrested in violent assault

Two Georgia men wanted in North Carolina on a violent assault case were arrested at the Canadian border Saturday, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations.

Anthony Bell, 22, and Elias Martin, 23, told Canadian border officials they were trying to see Niagara Falls and made a wrong turn into Canada, Canadian border officials said.

They were accompanied by two female juveniles. Record checks by officials revealed that the men had active arrest warrants against them and the females were listed as missing persons.

The group is believed to have participated in a violent assault in Mooresville, N.C. Martin and Bell had felony warrants issued against them on June 25, according to Chief Kevin Corsaro. The warrants charge both men with assault, breaking and/or entering, robbery, larceny and property damage.

The men are also wanted for sexual assault in Georgia, officials said.

U.S. customs officials arrested the men and turned them and the females over to state police.

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Victim in fatal shooting identified as Buffalo man

A 23-year-old Buffalo man has been identified as the victim in a fatal weekend shooting.

Darryl Berry died after he was shot at about 1:10 a.m. Saturday in the area of Auburn Avenue and Barton Street. Police responded to the scene after receiving a call of a person struck by gunfire.

Berry, who was on foot, was rushed by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center where he later died.

Homicide detectives continue to investigate the murder and ask that anyone with information contact the police department's Confidential TIPCALL Line at 847-2255 or "Text a Tip" at 847-2255.

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Aide to Ponzi scam artist pleads guilty to felony

A longtime secretary to Richard S. Piccoli, the scam artist who ran a Ponzi scheme and cheated investors out of millions of dollars, took a guilty plea in federal court Monday.

Kathleen "Kitty" Fuoco, 60, of Roosevelt Avenue in West Seneca, pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony and failing to file tax returns.

She worked for Piccoli, an Amherst businessman who is serving a 20-year prison term for cheating investors out of an estimated $25 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

"In her plea, Fuoco admitted that she came to realize that the business was a scam, but still kept working there and failed to notify authorities about the criminal nature of the business," prosecutor Gretchen L. Wylegala said. "She also admitted failing to file tax returns when she worked for Piccoli."

She faces an Oct. 22 sentencing date before District Judge William M. Skretny.

Piccoli, now 83, was arrested in January 2008, following an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation division.

He went out of business after the arrest, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax fraud, and was sentenced last October.

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