In brief: Con man gets 71 months in federal prison
A Spokane con man has been sentenced to almost six years in federal prison after he earlier pleaded guilty to bilking about $2.5 million from investors and threatening to kill one of the whistle-blowers.
Robert B. Hiatt, 57, was sentenced Tuesday to 71 months after pleading guilty in April to eight counts of fraud and one count of intimidating a witness.
Hiatt presented himself to investors for a decade as a successful inventor and businessman and claimed to have inside tracks to contracts with major companies. He solicited investors using front companies that looked real.
Using the front companies, Hiatt was able to convince investors that he had patents and sales contracts with General Electric, the U.S. General Services Administration, Sears, Clorox, Rain Bird and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, according to court records.
As part of the plea agreement approved by U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen, Hiatt was ordered to pay back more than $2.5 million he gained from his victims.
Professor arrested on rape suspicion
MOSCOW, Idaho – A Washington State University professor has been arrested on suspicion of felony rape of a teenage girl.
Andrew Appleton, 51, was arrested by police in Moscow on Tuesday after the alleged victim came forward.
The 18-year-old woman told police that Appleton intimidated and coerced her into a sexual relationship, starting when she was 16 years old and continuing for two years.
The alleged rapes happened in Moscow and California.
Appleton is an associate professor of politics at Washington State University in Pullman, where he has been a faculty member since 1994. University spokesman Darin Watkins said Appleton has been removed from his duties and is no longer on campus.
Foster father sentenced for child rape
A foster father convicted in federal court of raping children he fostered and producing child pornography was sentenced to 20 years in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
James E. Guinn Jr., 71, a resident of Stevens County, was also sentenced to a life term of court supervision.
Guinn was charged by indictment in federal court and pleaded guilty Sept. 13.
The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office began investigating Guinn in March 2011 on allegations he raped children. Detectives seized his computer from his Marcus, Wash., home, and forensic examinations and interviews of victims by Stevens County detectives and the FBI showed he had raped and sexually molested several of the children he had fostered and produced pornographic images of his victims.
Richland man dies in motorcycle crash
An 81-year-old Richland man was killed in a motorcycle accident Wednesday morning east of Colfax.
Bernard Biddle was headed east on state Highway 272 about three miles east of Colfax at 10:51 a.m., the Washington State Patrol reported. On a right-hand curve, his 2001 Suzuki motorcycle crossed the centerline and went off the road.
Biddle was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:14 a.m.
Man suspected of vehicular assault
A man was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault after a Tuesday afternoon crash.
Police say Jeremy Dreher, 41, caused a head-on collision on Bigelow Gulch Road and Weile Road about 5:45 p.m.
Witnesses told police Dreher was westbound on Bigelow Gulch Road and was driving recklessly, crossing the eastbound lanes and onto the shoulder. One witness saw Dreher’s vehicle strike an eastbound vehicle head-on, a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office news release said.
Deputies found Dreher pinned behind the wheel in his vehicle, and a female victim suffered a broken ankle.
Dreher was placed under arrest at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition Wednesday night.
Authorities obtained a blood sample from Dreher, and charges are expected once the results are returned from the Washington State Crime Lab.