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Feds to pay woman for using her identity

WATERTOWN – The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to pay a Watertown woman $134,000 to settle a federal lawsuit over the unauthorized use of her identity and images on a Facebook page created as part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation.

Sondra Arquiett sued the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in 2013 claiming that her civil rights were violated when a DEA agent created the social media profile using provocative personal photos of Arquiett, along with images of her young child and a niece, that were obtained from a cellphone seized from her during a separate drug investigation.

Arquiett’s lawsuit claimed she was arrested on cocaine possession charges in July 2010 during an investigation by the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security, at which time several pieces of property were taken from her, including the cellphone. About a month later, she alleges, agent Timothy Sinnigen created the account without her knowledge, using it to initiate contact with potential drug trafficking suspects.

– Watertown Daily Times


State gets an A in smoke-free laws

ALBANY – New York State received a top grade for its smoke-free air laws in the American Lung Association’s latest report card on tobacco-control efforts, but scored low - an F - in funding programs to help people quit. The report card was released Wednesday. The organization grades all 50 states annually, highlighting the triumphs and setbacks in its decades-long war on smoking. No state received straight A’s and most had problems in the area of state-funded programs to help smokers break the habit.

– Newsday