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French railroad sued for carrying Nazi victims to death camps

Three descendants of Holocaust victims are suing the French national railroad in federal court in Illinois over claims it was paid to confiscate property and transport Jews and others to Nazi concentration camps. Relatives of the three were on their way to Auschwitz and Buchenwald when their property, including gold, money and other personal belongings, were taken by Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer, or SNCF, according to the complaint filed Thursday in federal court in Chicago.

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Perry Hall man sentenced in scheme to defraud City of Baltimore

A 33-year-old Perry Hall man was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft related to a scheme to defraud the City of Baltimore through the reissuance of fraudulent checks for pay and benefits, prosecutors said. They said man, Robert Johnson, worked in the Consumer Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and conspired with Denita Hill, of Baltimore, an accountant in the city’s finance department. Hill was convicted last month of wire fraud conspiracy and two counts of aggravated identity theft and is scheduled to be sentenced May 19.

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Law firm sued for copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets

A Maryland computer programming company is suing Joseph, Greenwald & Laake P.A. and one of the law firm’s attorneys for $350 million, alleging they stole a copyrighted program for an elite travel management system used by the federal government, and then illegally copied and distributed it. The program, called Zegato Travel Solutions, is used to process travel information for agents of the U.S. Marshall Service and other federal agencies on a classified basis, according to the lawsuit. Since the program was stolen and distributed, the plaintiffs — Aldmyr Systems Inc. and its related company Zegato Solutions Inc. — will no longer be able to ensure clients like the federal government of the system’s security, causing “irreparable harm” to the company, the complaint states.

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Prosecutors: Fraud by diagnostic services’ CEO led to patients’ deaths

The owner of Alpha Diagnostics, already facing charges for running a scheme to defraud Medicare, now faces life in prison after four patients died because their X-rays were not reviewed by a qualified radiologist, federal prosecutors announced Friday. A superseding indictment against Rafael Chikvashvili, 67, of Baltimore, alleges the X-rays were instead reviewed by employees of the mobile diagnostic services company who failed to detect "congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and a large pelvic mass revealed in the images."

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Rockville man pleads guilty in massive trafficking case

A 24-year-old Rockville man pleaded guilty Thursday to trafficking more than 400 kilograms of marijuana and laundering more than $2.5 million in drug proceeds, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland announced. According to his plea agreement, the man, Issa Haddad, received shipments of marijuana from California from March 2010 to April 2014 and repackaged them for distribution. The proceeds went into a number of bank accounts, the agreement says. Haddad admitted that his role in the conspiracy involved laundering between $2.5 million and $7 million of drug proceeds, and agreed to forfeit at least $2.5 million. To date, seven defendants have pleaded guilty to taking part in the drug or money laundering conspiracies.

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Report: Maryland’s U.S. District Court saw increase in filings last year

Maryland’s federal court saw a significant increase in both civil and criminal filings last year, particularly compared to the national trend, according to the annual Judicial Business of the United States Courts report compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Civil case filings in U.S. District Court in Maryland increased 9.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, compared to just a 3.8 percent bump in federal courts nationwide. Meanwhile, criminal case filings in the state rose 7.7 percent but fell 9 percent across the country.

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Clear Channel: City ‘billboard tax’ passed only to prevent arts budget cuts

A Baltimore law imposing an annual regulatory fee on outdoor ads was passed by the City Council in order to prevent funding cuts for arts and culture programs, according to the company alleging it is being specifically targeted by the law. Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. has paid the city $1.5 million annually since the law went into effect in July 2013. City budgets for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 included $1 million in billboard revenue that allowed the city to "avoid cutting an equal amount from its arts and culture program budget," according to Clear Channel.

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