Neighbor gets prison sentence in fraud case
A federal judge sentenced a New Port Richey woman to six years in prison Wednesday for defrauding her elderly, disabled neighbor out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rebecca E. Moody, 61, was found guilty Sept. 22 of wire fraud and transportation of stolen or converted property, according to court records. In addition to stealing cash, she took out a $242,507 mortgage on her neighbor's house in 2006 and wired the money to an account in West Virginia. Prosecutors argued she had gained her neighbor's trust and fraudulently assumed a power of attorney. The court ordered Moody to pay $593,053 in restitution to her victim. She'll also serve five years of supervised release, during which she must get approval from a probation officer for major purchases and new credit, and not take any job that requires handling the money of others.
Ex-official may run for elections job
The race for Hillsborough County supervisor of elections may get another candidate. Former Tampa City Council member and county Commissioner Tom Scott confirmed Wednesday he may run for the office. Scott, a church pastor and a Democrat out of office for a year, said he's talking to potential campaign backers. He said he also has been considering a run for Hillsborough clerk of the circuit court, where Democrat Pat Frank is still deciding whether she will seek another term. Scott said he is leaning more toward the elections post and said he will probably make a decision in a matter of weeks. Elections supervisor Earl Lennard is retiring. His deputy, Craig Latimer, a Democrat, is running to replace him, as is state Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City.
Man pleads not guilty in bomb plot
A Pinellas County man accused by the FBI of plotting to bomb targets in Tampa pleaded not guilty to federal charges Wednesday. Sami Osmakac, 25, is charged with attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered machine gun. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison. A trial date has not been set. Osmakac is accused of trying to buy guns and explosives to destroy a shifting list of targets in Tampa, including a Hillsborough Sheriff's Office operations center and an Irish pub. His plans were thwarted when an acquaintance reported him to the FBI. Osmakac said he wanted to instill terror in his victims' hearts, calling it "payback" for wrongs done to Muslims, an arrest affidavit said. Osmakac of Pinellas Park also waived his right to appear at an arraignment in U.S. District Court.
Car hits post office, forces evacuation
A post office was evacuated Wednesday morning after a car careened into the building. Deputies said there was major structural damage to the building at State Road 674 and Sheffield Street after a car jumped the curb and ran into a wall. The car shattered the window in front of the customer counter. The driver, identified only as an elderly man, was not harmed, and no one inside was injured, deputies said. The driver told deputies he accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, said Enola Rice, spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Tampa. The location will reopen at 9 a.m. today .