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Consumer agency cuts back services



Published: Fri, September 21, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Consumer agencycuts back services

SHARON, Pa. -- Area residents seeking help with a consumer complaint no longer have local assistance to resolve any dispute.

The Mercer County Community Action Agency is no longer mediating consumer complaints, said Ronald J. Errett, chief executive officer. All complaints will now be referred to the proper state or national organization for handling, he said Thursday.

Funding cutbacks and program reorganization are responsible for the elimination of the agency's service, he said. The agency will still advise anyone with a complaint and explain their options but it won't attempt to resolve the matter, he said.

The agency will continue with its consumer education efforts with its monthly radio show on WPIC, its speaking engagements and its monthly newspaper articles, Errett said.

Man indicted

PITTSBURGH -- A federal grand jury handed up an indictment against John J. Lockovich of Greenville on charges of using a false Social Security number with the intent to deceive and submitting false loan applications to federally insured financial institutions.

The 10-count indictment, handed up Thursday, named Lockovich, 53, of Lancaster Street, as the sole defendant in the case.

The indictment says Lockovich submitted five fraudulent loan applications in which he used a false Social Security number and contended that he had never filed for bankruptcy when he had.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which is prosecuting the case, didn't reveal which institutions were involved, how much money Lockovich was trying to get or when the applications were filed.

If convicted, Lockovich could face a sentence of up to 175 years in prison and a fine of up to $6.25 million.

The case was investigated by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes the Secret Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service and local law enforcement representatives.

Doctor accused

LISBON -- An East Liverpool doctor is free on bond after pleading innocent to an accusation that he fondled a patient.

Dr. Anil Bajaj, 38, of Lakeview Circle, East Liverpool, was arraigned Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court on a sexual battery charge. A 21-year-old patient told authorities that she went to Bajaj, her family doctor, on July 27 for a foot ailment. She alleged that during the examination, he kissed and fondled her.

Humane Society

SALEM -- The Salem Humane Society Inc., one of two similarly named humane societies now operating in the area, will have its annual meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 4 at Salem Memorial Building, 785 E. State St. Prospective new members and volunteers are welcome to attend the gathering.

Student arrested

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 19-year-old student involved in a fight with another female student at Chaney High School was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with assault on a teacher. Police and school administrators responded to the 1:55 p.m. episode in which the female teacher was shoved against a wall and punched twice in the face while trying to break up the fight. The other student involved in the fracas "will be taken care of by school rules," the police report said.

Arena plan manager

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown Civic Center Development Corp. board is reviewing proposals from seven applicants seeking to be project manager.

The manager would oversee planning and construction of the downtown arena, and would be an independent contractor working in the board's offices on the second floor of the city-owned Wick Building. The application deadline was Saturday. At Thursday's board meeting, Atty. Len Schiavone, board chairman, said the board intends to hire a project manager before the end of the year.

The applicants are: Bob Crosby of Warren; Nathan L. Queener of Millennium Data Systems of Youngstown; Bentley Lenhoff of Liberty Township; Joseph Romano of Compass Facility Management Inc. of Ames, Iowa; Michael Craig Enoch of Henderson, Nev.; Andrew Matthey of Cincinnati; and The Gateway Group of Cleveland.

Niles house fire

NILES -- Damage has been set at $15,000 in a Fenton Street house fire. Firefighters said unattended cooking caused the blaze about 10:30 p.m. Thursday. The home is owned by Debra Stilson.




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