Associated Press

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Four members of a Texas family are facing federal charges in what prosecutors say was a scheme that used stolen identities to get tickets to the Masters golf tournament, then resell those tickets at a healthy profit.

Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Augusta charged Stephen Michael Freeman of Katy, Texas, with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft. Freeman’s parents and a sister were also charged with conspiracy.

Court records say that since 2013 the family has used names chosen from a bulk mailing list to enter the lottery Augusta National Golf Club uses to sell Masters tickets. The names were submitted with email addresses the family controlled.

Court records did not list attorneys for Freeman or his charged relatives.

Source: Fox News National

Four runner-ups to become the next Spanish prime minister are exchanging attacks while slipping in campaign pledges during the first of two televised live debates ahead of Sunday’s general election.

Monday night’s debate on Spanish public television and the second on Tuesday on a private broadcaster are seen as key in mobilizing nearly one-third of voters who polls say remain undecided.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez is leading voting predictions in his bid to stay in office, though short of a majority to form a government alone. He was the target of most of the criticism from opposition candidates in the debate.

A surging far-right party was left out of the debate after Spain’s electoral board disallowed a five-way debate, ruling that other smaller parties would also need to be invited.

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An earthquake has caused tall buildings to sway in the Mexican capital, prompting some office workers to evacuate.

There is no immediate word of any damage or injuries related to the Monday afternoon quake.

Mexico City is built on a former lakebed, meaning earthquakes even far away are felt strongly there.

Source: Fox News World

A judge has ordered a man who authorities say killed two police officers in an ambush from his upscale South Carolina home to have a mental examination.

Prosecutor Ed Clements asked for the examination Monday after 74-year-old Frederick Hopkins wrote to the Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston and blamed post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in Vietnam for the Oct. 3 shooting.

Authorities say Hopkins shot at police officers he knew were coming to his Florence home to question his son and serve a search warrant, continuing to shoot as others tried to save the wounded. Seven officers were struck.

News outlets report Judge Thomas Russo agreed with Clements’ request for a gag order after an extensive Post and Courier article on the case.

Hopkins is charged with murder.

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The Latest on weapons charges filed against a member of an armed civilian group that detained migrants on the US-Mexico border (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

A member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border was charged Monday with being a felon in possession of firearms.

The federal charges stem from a search of his New Mexico home in 2017.

Larry Hopkins made his initial court appearance Monday in Las Cruces. The 69-year-old man was arrested over the weekend near Sunland Park, where he and others members of his group have been patrolling the border.

The group gained attention last week for stopping hundreds of migrants, drawing criticism from immigrant advocates and Democratic leaders in New Mexico.

A criminal complaint states Hopkins, who has three prior felony convictions, had nine firearms and ammunition in his northern New Mexico home.

Federal officials declined to say why they waited over a year to file the charges.

Hopkins’ lawyer said he plans to enter a plea of not guilty at a bond hearing in Albuquerque next week.


11:00 a.m.

A member of an armed civilian group that has detained migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border is set to make his first court appearance following his weekend arrest on firearms charges.

Larry Hopkins was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms. He reportedly faced similar charges 13 years ago in Oregon.

The 69-year-old is scheduled for an appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Armed civilian groups have been a fixture on the border for years, especially when large numbers of migrants come through. The latest influx includes many families and children.

An FBI spokesman said additional information about Hopkins would be released after his court appearance.

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New York prosecutors have rested their case against the woman accused of passing herself off as a German heiress and swindling friends, banks and hotels.

Anna Sorokin told a judge Monday she will not testify in her grand larceny and theft of services trial in state court in Manhattan.

Her decision came after several weeks of testimony in a case that has drawn international attention.

Closing arguments are expected Tuesday, and jurors will begin deliberating the same day.

Prosecutors say Sorokin bilked people and businesses out of $275,000 while living a jet-setting lifestyle she couldn’t afford.

They say she also peddled bogus bank statements in a quest for a $22 million loan.

Sorokin’s lawyer says she never intended to commit a crime and planned to pay back the money.

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Police say they have rescued a 17-month-old boy three hours after he fell into a three-meter (nearly 10-foot) shaft in western Germany.

Rescue workers were called on Monday afternoon after the boy lifted a cover from the empty conduit while playing with his brother and fell inside the shaft.

German and U.S. military police helped oversee the operation in the village of Erzenhausen, which is near the United States’ Ramstein Air Base.

Fire personnel used a small excavator to uncover the conduit as far as possible and then opened it up to free the toddler. The child was taken to a local hospital for observation and reported to be uninjured.

Source: Fox News World

A man serving 70 years for a 1978 slaying near Houston who was also under investigation in the unsolved killings of several missing girls has collapsed and died in a Texas prison.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel says 79-year-old inmate Edward Harold Bell died Saturday at the Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota.

Desel added that there was no foul play suspected. He declined to discuss Bell’s medical history due to privacy laws.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Bell’s death leaves unanswered questions about the unsolved murders of 11 girls he claimed to have killed.

Bell was already serving time for killing an ex-Marine from Pasadena when he admitted in 2011 to kidnapping and killing several girls in the 1970s.


Information from: Houston Chronicle,

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Mali’s president has chosen an economist to replace the prime minister following growing violence by ethnic militias in the country’s center.

Boubou Cisse, the 45-year-old finance minister, is seen as a close ally of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Cisse’s appointment was the sixth made by the president since he took power in 2013.

Mali’s former prime minister, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, resigned under pressure amid the insecurity in central Mali.

The conflict drew an international outcry after an attack last month left 154 people dead.

Members of ethnic groups on both sides of the rival militias say the army has failed to protect them, complicating government efforts to disarm the fighters.

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A major faith-based foster care and adoption contractor for the state of Michigan said Monday it will place children in LGBT homes, reversing course following a recent legal settlement.

Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services is responsible for about 8% of Michigan’s more than 13,000 foster care and adoption cases involving children from troubled households.

“We are disappointed with how this settlement agreement has been implemented by the state government. Nonetheless, Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements,” the nonprofit said in a statement, confirming a policy change that was first reported by WGVU-FM.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, announced the settlement last month with same-sex couples who had sued in 2017. It prevents faith-based agencies from refusing to place children in LGBT households for religious reasons if it has accepted them for referral from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Lansing-based St. Vincent Catholic Charities challenged the deal in federal court last week, alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Of the faith-based agencies known to not serve LGBT couples or individuals in Michigan, Bethany does the most work for the state. The nonprofit was handling 1,159 cases as of February. Catholic Charities had 404 cases, or 3%, while St. Vincent had 80, or less than 1%.

State human services department spokesman Bob Wheaton said the agency was pleased it will “be able to continue its long-standing partnership with Bethany in providing services to children and families.”

Nessel tweeted over the weekend that having more adoption agencies not discriminate results in “more children adopted into loving, nurturing ‘forever’ homes. Thank you to Bethany Christian Services.”

As a private attorney, Nessel — who is a lesbian — successfully fought to overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage.

On April 11, Bethany’s national board of directors voted to change the policy. It applies only in Michigan, not to its operations in other states. The policy change also does not impact private adoptions, according to Bethany.

A 2015 Republican-enacted law says child-placement agencies are not required to provide any services that conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs. But Nessel’s settlement says the law does not apply if agencies are under contract with the state.

In its lawsuit , St. Vincent said it fears the state will not renew its contract in October because of the local nonprofit’s religious beliefs and practices.

“If St. Vincent is unable to receive referrals from or contract with the State, it will be forced to close its foster care and adoption programs, ending a decades-old religious ministry and reducing the number of agencies available to serve families and children in need,” the agency said in the complaint.


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