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Sirens & Gavels

Archive for July 2014

Man accused of billing Medicaid for services in Vietnam

A Spokane man pleaded not guilty this week to charges he stole more than $14,000 in pay and benefits from government programs.

Landon Armani is charged with theft and completing false applications for government assistance after local, state and federal authorities found holes in his story that he’d been caring for his aging Vietnamese mother since August 2012. Investigators say Armani’s mother was not in the United States when the son billed the government for more than $12,000 in services rendered as a Medicaid provider.

Armani told investigators he’d billed for services then sent the money overseas to a health care provider in Vietnam, according to court documents. That practice is outlawed by federal rules, however.

Trial pushed in ‘Kettle Falls 5’ case

The controversial federal trial of a marijuana growing co-operative calling themselves the “Kettle Falls 5” has been delayed so that defense attorneys can review new evidence obtained by prosecutors.

U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle granted a continuance of the trial last week. The case, brought by federal prosecutors against five Stevens County residents who say they were legally growing marijuana on property in rural Stevens County to treat medical conditions, could have far-reaching implications for the state’s budding pot industry.

The defendants face several criminal counts that carry mandatory sentences of 10 years in prison. A new trial date has not been set as attorneys review electronic materials they say prosecutors made available to them earlier this month. The trial had originally been scheduled to begin Monday.

Wanted man flips plain-clothes cop the bird

A wanted man was jailed earlier this month after he swore at and gave the finger to a plain-clothes sheriff's detective, then struck the detective and ran, according to court documents.

David E. Lee, 22, is in custody at the Geiger Corrections Facility. He faces charges of assaulting a police officer, obstruction and resisting arrest after a series of events around 8 p.m. on July 9 near Mount Spokane High School.

Lee was a passenger in a Chevy sedan that came upon two trucks, one pulled off to the side of North Lowe Road so the driver could take a photo of the sunset, she told investigators. The driver of the sedan sped past the two trucks, at which time Lee yelled profanity and “flipping the finger,” witnesses said. The driver of the second truck, Spokane County Sheriff's detective Shannon McCrillis, pulled the sedan over for a traffic stop.

A woman inside the car told police Lee asked whether McCrillis was a “real cop” because he had warrants out for his arrest. McCrillis said Lee was not compliant with his commands to keep his hands where he could see them during the stop, and when he tried to take Lee into custody on his warrants, the 22-year-old struck the detective with his elbow and ran to the woods nearby.

Police dog Laslo was eventually called in to take Lee into custody. Drug paraphernalia was found in a bag belonging to Lee inside the car, according to police reports.

Suspected van burner leaves trail of hard lemonade for police

A 60-year-old Spokane man was arrested on suspicions of arson after investigators found empty cans of Mike's Hard Lemonade at the scene of a scorching van and in the man's vehicle.

Steven Klemz was booked into Spokane County Jail early Thursday morning facing charges of arson and malicious mischief. Police were initially called to a home in the 6900 block of North G Street on Wednesday night around 10 p.m., according to court documents, after a home owner and Stemz got into an argument about yard work. An officer asked Stemz to leave, and he complied.

About two hours later, the home owner called police to say a van outside her home had been set ablaze and the tires of her nearby Chevy sedan slashed. The hoses in the yard had also been cut to prevent her from dousing the flames and the area was soaked in gasoline, she told investigators.

A neighbor reported hearing a bang shortly before midnight, shortly before the fire was reported. The neighbor also reported seeing Klemz in the yard. Found in a van nearby, Klemz denied involvement in the fire, but police found an empty Mike's Hard Lemonade can matching those found near the scene of the cut hoses and an empty gas can near the site of the fires.

Klemz's criminal history in Spokane County includes a burglary conviction in the 1970s, according to court records.

Police want ‘chronic offender’ to stay in jail

A Spokane police officer who monitors “chronic offenders” asked a judge this week to help keep a man considered one of the city’s most prolific burglars in jail by setting bail high.

Zachory J. Davis, 22, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of possession of a controlled substance after he was pulled over for driving erratically. Davis was already facing six charges of residential burglary in addition to charges of trafficking in stolen property, possession of stolen property and fourth-degree assault, all from last year.

Officer Kyle Yrigollen said he and his partner in the police department’s Chronic Offender Unit met with Davis eight times to offer him services to help him get out of his life of crime. He got a job, but then failed to show up for an appointment with Yrigollen, and Davis’ employer said he had stopped showing up for work.

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