Laconia man guility of Social Security fraud

CONCORD — Walter Morton, 50, of Laconia, who pleaded guilty to three counts of Social Security Fraud on June 29, was sentenced on Monday to 15 months in prison and one year of supervised release, and he was ordered to make full restitution to the Social Security Administration, announced Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith.

From June 2009 through July 2013, Morton received over $55,000 in Child's Insurance Benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of two minor children, his biological daughter and his former stepson, serving as their representative payee. Morton was responsible for using the benefits he received on behalf of the children for their current needs, such as food, clothing, housing, and medical care. Although Morton informed SSA on three separate occasions between August 2010 and December 2012 that the children resided with him and that he used the benefit payments he received as their representative payee for the children's care and support, the children had not lived with Morton since 2003 and he had not used their benefits for their current needs. Instead, Morton had diverted all but $2,500 of the benefit payments to his own use.

"Individuals who use their children to commit fraud against the benefits programs provided by Social Security merit special investigative and prosecutorial attention," said Feith. "These individuals have accepted the role of a fiduciary and have a special obligation to ensure that benefits paid by SSA are used for the care and well-being of these minors. Parents who abuse that position can expect to be prosecuted for their thefts."

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Karen Burzycki.

Belmont voters may be asked if they want to repeal youth curfew

BELMONT — Selectmen will consider putting the town's curfew law for minors before voters at next year's Town Meeting to either amend or repeal it.
Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin told selectmen when they met yesterday that the town has received a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union pointing out that parts of the law are, in its opinion, unconstitutional.
She said that the ordinance is not enforced to the letter of the law by police and the department has no objection to having the ordinance repealed.
Selectman Ronald Cormier pointed out that when the ordinance was adopted it was aimed at parents, not juveniles, because many parents were allowing juveniles to stay out late at night.

In previous interactions with municipal governments, the ACLU has argued that youth curfews are a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In particular, they believe curfew criminalize perfectly innocent conduct and infringe upon parents' fundamental right to decide how to raise their children. And, they believe such curfews subject young people in general to forced interactions with police because it is not possible to pinpoint a person's exact age simply by looking at them.

Selectmen spent the better part of Monday afternoon reviewing departmental budget requests for 2016 as Beaudin noted that the proposed operating budget is up by only 2.2 percent. But the capital budget is a different matter as requests are up by $600,000 over last year, with the biggest increases coming from a $175,000 Hoadley Road culvert project and $150,000 from the recreational trail project along Lake Winnisquam.
Selectmen approved an employment contract with Beaudin which provides a 2 percent pay increase, which would bring her salary to $91,214.66 next year and tabled until their next meeting a proposed contract with Fire Chef David Parenti which provides a 3 percent increase and would see his pay rise to $89,462.33 next year,
They also approved a proposal to put a stop sign at the intersection of Plummer Hill Road and Leavitt Road as well as remove brush which hinders the view of drivers at the intersection.
Selectmen had no objection to a state proposal to remove streetlights along a section of sidewalk on Rte. 3 extending from near the entryway to the town beach to the Belknap Mall. The state Department of Transportation is looking at shutting down a number of streetlights across the state as a cost-saving measure.
Selectmen are also looking at a proposal from Beaudin to hold an auction of lots taken by tax deed by the town. Many of the lots are small and are mainly of interest to abutters. Cormier said that the town might be able to handle the sales on its own but Beaudin pointed out that the auction firm would advertise and potentially attract more bidders.
Beaudin noted that the board had received a letter from the Shaker Regional School District informing them the school district would be placing a fence up on Nov. 1 at a driveway on School Street which is located on school district property.
Ruth Mooney, chairman of the selectmen, said that a lot of taxpayers think selectmen are in charge of what is done with school property but that is not the case.
''We really have nothing to say about it. It's not our decision,'' said Mooney.

Young Romanian man charged with rape at Weirs Beach residence

LACONIA — A Romanian man charged with raping an 18-year-old woman at his residence at 12 Maple Street in the Weirs section of the city was arraigned in Fourth Laconia Circuit Laconia Division District Court Monday and continues to be held on $6,500 cash only bail.
Miklos Szekely, 23, was arrested Sunday by Laconia Police and charged with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault of a female acquaintance during the evening hours of September 28 at his residence.
A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Laconia Police Department or the Laconia Crime Line, 524-1717.