The North Carolina Department of Justice has issued a warning to state residents about a new online scam which uses a tobacco settlement in an attempt to bilk citizens out of their money.
Almost 20 years ago, the major tobacco companies agreed to a “Master Settlement” with state and local governments. The agreement, which has pumped billions of dollars into anti-smoking campaigns and other efforts to improve health, has also helped recover the cost of treating tobacco-related diseases. Now, crooks are trying to lure potential victims by claiming that they can receive some of that settlement money.
In this online scam, the flim-flam artists say that consumers can receive ongoing tax-free monthly payments of $2,300. The money is allegedly generated by tobacco revenue bonds. The fine print reveals that in order to learn how to get the money, a subscription to a newsletter must be purchased. The cost for this subscription can be anywhere from $5 to $129 for the first month, and the online form includes a place to enter a credit card number. But once they’ve signed up, consumers may find it difficult to cancel their subscription or get a refund.
Under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, funding goes to 46 States, 5 territories and the District of Columbia. The agreement contains no provisions for money to go to individuals. If you encounter this or any other scam, you can report it to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s Consumer Protection Division online or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
During their meeting last night (Tuesday, June 20), Hickory City Council approved a policy that would allow permitted mobile food vendors to operate in certain City of Hickory parks and some downtown parking lots. According to a news release from the city, in an effort to craft a broad food truck policy, City Staff reviewed the policies of other cities, held four stakeholder meetings to receive feedback, and also created an online survey, which yielded 764 responses. While there were some concerns, the public feedback was overwhelmingly in favor of food trucks on public property with the least amount of restrictions possible.
Both pushcarts and motorized vehicle food units will be allowed in designated parking lots in the downtown vicinity, which is the only area where public parking lots exist in the city limits. A map will be posted on the City’s website, which details the parking lot locations, as well as the maximum number of vendors allowed in each lot.
Both pushcarts and motorized vehicle food units will also be allowed to operate at Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park, Henry Fork River Regional Park, Kiwanis Park, Neill W. Clark, Jr. Park, Stanford Park, and Taft Broome Park, with a limit of two vendors per park. Allocation of both the parking lots and park locations for vendors is on a first come basis.
Vendors are required to complete an annual permit application to the City’s Planning and Development Services Department for review, as well as submit a $25 fee, proof of insurance, and complete a background check. The vendors will also be expected to comply with all applicable laws, including public health regulations. The City does not regulate food trucks on private property and arrangements may be made between property owners and food truck vendors.
Interested mobile food vendors who wish to operate on public property can contact the city’s permit center at (828) 323-7410 for policy details and to receive an application.
46-year-old Jeffery Vance Fleenor of Autumn Leaves Drive in Morganton was arrested Monday (June 19) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
On Monday, detectives with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division received a call from the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia, requesting assistance in locating a Harley Davidson motorcycle that was reported stolen from their county. Wythe County detectives had reason to believe the motorcycle may be in Burke County.
Detectives responded to the Pax Hill Road area, and with the assistance of Burke County Probation and Parole, located Jeffery Vance Fleenor who was found to be in possession of the stolen motorcycle. Fleenor was taken into custody and placed in the Burke Catawba District Confinement Facility under $30,000 secured bond. His first court appearance was scheduled for Tuesday (June 20). His next District Court date is set for July 11 in Morganton.
The investigation is ongoing with additional charges are pending from Wythe County Sheriff’s Office.
41-year-old Bradley Dwayne Davis of Statesville made his first appearance in Catawba County District Court today (June 20). Davis is charged with murder in connection to a shooting death in Hickory on Saturday (June 17).
Davis appeared before Judge David W. Aycock where he was assigned an attorney and given a probable cause hearing date of July 11. He continues to be held in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility without bond.
Davis is accused of killing 37-year-old Shamar Rashad Wilson of Hickory near Alessio’s Lounge on North Center Street at about 2 a.m. Saturday. He turned himself in at the Hickory Police Department yesterday.
Hickory Police continue to investigate.
Today (June 20), the U.S. Senate voted 95-4 to confirm North Carolina native William B. “Brock” Long to be Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Long, 42, is a graduate of Appalachian State University and currently lives with his family in Hickory. He grew up in Newton where he graduated from Newton-Conover High School.
N.C. Senator Thom Tillis said, “Brock Long is a North Carolina native who has an impressive track record, and he will bring an intimate understanding of the unique needs of our state when it comes to flood management and disaster recovery.”
A press release issued by the Statesville Police Department states that the deceased black female found in Statesville on June 14 has not yet been identified. The deceased was found at about 12:30 p.m. on the 14th in a creek behind a residence near the intersection of Rolling Lane at Diamond Street.
The press release states that due to existing conditions at the scene that day, making a positive identification has become a difficult challenge. The release goes on to say that authorities are working diligently and as quickly as possible to make an identification, utilizing any and all methods available to accomplish the task.
46-year-old Keith Allen Tester, who is listed as a homeless person from Hickory, was arrested by Hickory Police at about 5 p.m. yesterday on one count of misdemeanor larceny. He was also charged with a felony out-of-county probation violation. The larceny warrant was issued in March 2017 and the warrant for the probation violation was issued in February 2017. The complainant in the larceny case is listed as MetroPCS, a wireless service provider on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory.
Tester was taken into custody without incident on the 300 block of Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard S.E. in Hickory. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $10,750, secured. An appearance in District Court on the larceny charge was scheduled for July 11 with a Superior Court date for the probation violation coming up on July 27.
41-year-old Chrissy Lynne Pressley of Blue Field Lane in Taylorsville was arrested by Hickory Police at about 6:30 Sunday evening (June 18). She was served true bills of indictment on one felony count of financial transaction card fraud and one count of obtaining property by false pretense.
Pressley was charged in connection to a case in September of 2016 when Officers responded to a fraud case at the Belk store in Hickory’s Valley Hills Mall. An H.P.D. investigation led to Pressley’s arrest Sunday.
Pressley was taken into custody without incident at the Hickory Police Department. She was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday (June 19) with a Superior Court date set for June 26, both in Newton.
Shortly before two o’clock Sunday afternoon, Hickory Firefighters were dispatched to a fire at 1941 20th Avenue Drive N.E. Firefighters responded with two engines, one ladder, one rescue truck and two command units.
Upon arrival, Firefighters reported fire and heavy smoke coming from the front and rear of the two-story condo. After ensuring the residents had evacuated, Firefighters worked to contain the fire, which had also extended to the roof of the structure.
Due to the size of the fire, additional Firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was reported under control just before 5 p.m.
One cat died in the fire. No other injuries were reported. Two condos were damaged. Damages were considered heavy to one condo and moderate to an adjoining unit. The Red Cross responded to assist the occupants.
Fire Investigators determined the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction
Catawba County Emergency Medical Services has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely
treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.
Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don't receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.
Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies perform 12-lead ECGs which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These correct tools, training, and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol reports a man was killed after being struck by a vehicle on U.S. Highway 70 in Morganton late Monday night (June 19). 27-year-old Martin Garcia was killed after being struck, according to Highway Patrol. His address was not available. Troopers responded to a single-car collision with a pedestrian on U.S. 70 near East Winds Avenue at approximately 10 p.m. There is no indication that the driver was at fault, no charges are likely. Garcia was reportedly wearing dark clothing. Only one vehicle was involved, there are no reports of any injuries to the driver.
37-year-old Virginia Melissa Rode was arrested Monday (June 19) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture schedule I controlled substance. Rode was placed in jail in Morganton under $25,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.
One suspect on the Burke County Sheriff's Office Most Wanted List was recently arrested, and there's another new name among the alleged offenders being sought.
39-year-old Ryan Patrick Deming of Miller Drive in Newton was arrested on June 9 after spending a week on the Most Wanted List. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. He was not listed as an inmate in Burke County as of earlier today (June 20), a District Court date is scheduled for July 3.
39-year-old Sandy Kale Champion was recently added to the Burke Sheriff's Office Most Wanted List. She's wanted on a probation violation for felony burglary charges. Champion's last known address was 4517 Theron Drive in Morganton. She was added to the list on June 9.
You can see the entire list of suspects wanted by authorities in Burke County at www.burkesheriff.org. If you have any information on any of the suspects on the list, call the Sheriff's Office at 828-438-5500. You can also e-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like to submit an anonymous tip you can do so through Morganton-Burke Crime Stoppers, their number is 828-437-3333.
27-year-old Brittney Nichole Barfield was arrested this morning (June 20) by authorities in Burke County. She's charged with possession with intent to manufacture schedule II controlled substance. Barfield was placed in jail in Morganton under $75,000 bond. A court appearance was scheduled for today.
A Burke County man is one of four suspects arrested in a drug investigation originating in McDowell County. 34-year-old Diamond Sharell Lipscomb of Newland Street in Morganton was arrested last week and charged with two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
Investigators from various agencies continued the investigation into a three-county drug conspiracy last Thursday (June 15) as they began rounding up 10 suspects believed to be mid-level drug dealers. The investigation into this drug conspiracy began last summer with a probe of activity at the 100 Stacy Farm Road residence of 36-year-old Jamie Leonard Tate. It was determined that Tate and 35-year-old Dwayne Bullock, of Newton, conspired with numerous people to traffic and distribute hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as lesser amounts of cocaine and heroin.
On April 18, authorities began rounding up the main suspects in the conspiracy, raiding areas simultaneously in McDowell, Burke and Catawba counties, locations believed to be used for storing and distributing narcotics. Seven suspects were apprehended that day, and another was captured in Maryland last month. Two of the major players in the conspiracy remain at large. Four suspects described as mid-level dealers were arrested last Thursday, including Lipscomb, two Marion residents and one Nebo resident. Six more suspects are considered wanted and on the lam. Authorities said all ten individuals conspired with Tate and Bullock to distribute methamphetamine in McDowell and Burke counties.
Among the suspects still being sought were 37-year-old Kelsey L. England of Julia Court in Claremont, and 40-year-old Evan Saunders Lipford of Rocky Ford Street in Morganton. Two suspects from the April roundup remain at large. 35-year-old Dwayne Bullock, of 17th Street West in Newton and 66-year-old William Jackie Pearson of Stephens Drive in Morganton. All of the suspects are charged with drug and criminal enterprise offenses.
Lipscomb is being held in the McDowell County jail under a $500,000 bond. His next District Court appearance is scheduled for July 5 in Marion.
The drug conspiracy investigation was a joint, multi-jurisdictional effort of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office; the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation; Marion Police Department; the McDowell County District Attorney’s Office; the Burke County Sheriff’s Office; Morganton Department of Public Safety; Newton Police Department; the N.C. Highway Patrol; the U.S. Postal Service; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Also providing aid at the scenes Tuesday were members of McDowell County Emergency Management, McDowell County EMS, Nebo Fire Department, N.C. Department of Revenue and N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement. Additional arrests and charges are pending. Anyone with information about the suspects being sought is asked to call the McDowell County Sheriff's Office at 828-652-2235 or Crime Stoppers at 828-652-7463.
27-year-old Benjamin Lee Crews of Old Tavern Lane in Maiden was arrested Monday (June 19) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on grand jury indictments with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. Crews was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (June 26).
50-year-old Jeraine Ray Wilson of Plateau Road in Vale was arrested by Hickory Police at about 11 p.m. Saturday (June 17) on one felony count of failure to appear. She was also charged as an habitual felon.
She was arrested in connection to a case from October of 2016 when Officers responded to a shoplifting incident at Walmart on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. Jeraine Wilson was identified as the suspect.
She was taken into custody without incident at an address on 27th Street Drive S.E. in Hickory. Wilson was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under an $18,500 secured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was scheduled for June 26 in Newton.
27-year-old Terrall Lee Mitchell of 2nd Street S.E. and 24-year-old Tevan Montez Ikard of Village Circle, both from Hickory, were arrested by Hickory Police early yesterday (June 18). They were both charged with felony possession of a firearm by a felon. Mitchell also faces charges for felony possession of a stolen firearm and misdemeanor counts of discharging a firearm in the city limits and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.
While conducting a property check at Shooters on Highway 127 South in Mountain View, Officers heard gunshots and responded to the area. The shooter was identified as Terrall Mitchell, Jr. He was arrested on the scene. No injuries were reported. According to H.P.D.’s arrest reports, both subjects were armed with handguns when they were arrested at about 2:30 Sunday morning.
Mitchell was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $38,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court on June 26 in Newton. No bond information or court date was listed for Ikard. He was not in custody as of this afternoon (June 19).
20-year-old Joshua Ernest Robinson of South Center Street in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (June 19) on one felony count of robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. He was also charged with resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer.
He was arrested after Officers responded last night to a reported robbery outside the Sears store in Hickory’s Valley Hills Mall. The victim said two black males stole his vehicle from the parking lot. One suspect, Joshua Robinson, was later identified and arrested. The other suspect remains at large.
Robinson was taken into custody without incident just after 2 a.m. today on the 900 block of 1st Street S.W. in Hickory. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $150,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for June 26 in Newton.
42-year-old Murphy Scott Mcleod of Lakeview Acres Drive in Valdese was arrested Sunday (June 18) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of controlled substance on prison or jail premises and possession of methamphetamine. Mcleod was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $30,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (June 19).