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EX-CHAIRMAN OF BENEFICIAL CORP. IS FOUND DEAD

TAMPA

Finn M.W. Caspersen, the former chairman and CEO of Beneficial Corp. and onetime owner of 177-acre Harbour Island in Tampa, was found dead Monday in Rhode Island from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 67. News reports say the police found Caspersen behind an office building in the Shelter Harbor community of Westerly, R.I., where he owned a home. Caspersen, who had lived part time in Tampa, also owned Tampa property now occupied by the St. Pete Times Forum, and once served as chairman of the U.S. Olympic equestrian team. He vastly expanded his family fortune by selling subprime loans through Beneficial, a Delaware-based Fortune 500 firm Caspersen expanded to Tampa in the late 1990s. He sold the company in 1998 to Household International for $8 billion. The company was later absorbed by HSBC.

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ST. PETE BEACH

2 men arrested in robbery of cleaners

Police have arrested two men they say held a woman in a restroom as they robbed Gulf Beach Cleaners on Wednesday. Larry Wade Ellison, 49, and Norman Davis Jr., 35, both of St. Petersburg, each face single counts of kidnapping, strong-armed robbery and simple battery. Both are being held in lieu of $70,500 bail at the Pinellas County Jail. Sheldon Lloyd Jackson, 33, of St. Petersburg was also arrested and is accused of being a principal to first-degree robbery. His bail was set at $10,000. Police say the robbers entered the cleaners, 200 75th Ave., through a side door and threw shopkeeper Ilona Feher into a restroom - and then again after she tried to flee - and stole $1,051.27.

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TAMPA

Woman accused of adoption scam

Crossing the T's and dotting the I's twice landed a 21-year-old Riverview woman in jail, with the State Attorney's Office accusing her of taking money from two different agencies for the adoption of her unborn baby. Deputies arrested Tiffany Renee Palinsky of 10031 Cowley Cove on Tuesday after a July investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The Law Center reported Palinsky to the Sheriff's Office on July 20. She has been charged with organized fraud, two counts of grand theft third degree, petty theft and sale of a minor child. Palinsky was being held at Orient Road without bail. The Sheriff's Office said it will not release information about the fate of the child.

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TAMPA

Cocaine trafficker enters guilty plea

A Colombian drug kingpin reputed to be one of the largest cocaine traffickers in the world has pleaded guilty to trafficking charges in three federal cases. The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Tampa says Fabio Enrique Ochoa-Vasco entered the plea Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Ochoa-Vasco will forfeit more than $15 million in cash, property and assets purchased with drug proceeds or used to facilitate the conspiracy. Ochoa-Vasco faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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