Georgia News Roundup
August 05, 2013 02:50 PM | 574 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ex-Georgia Attorney General's spokeswoman sentenced in racketeering

ATLANTA (AP) — A former state employee has been sentenced to probation in a racketeering scheme.

Spokeswoman for the Georgia Attorney General's office, Lauren Kane, says Valaree Dubberly of Baxley pleaded guilty to racketeering on Thursday. Dubberly is the former director of the Division of Family and Children Services offices in Telfair and Wheeler counties.

Kane says Dubberly opened business card accounts with Wal-Mart in the name of the offices she oversaw and charged thousands of dollars on the cards for personal purchases.

Kane says Dubberly also used the cards to buy and reload gift cards, and stole nearly $11,000 from the state in the scheme.

Dubberly was sentenced to five years of probation, 250 hours of community service and is ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. The stolen money has been recovered.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Plea deal reached in Paula Deen extortion case

By Russ Bynum, Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.

Records filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah say 62-year-old Thomas George Paculis signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last week, but details were not released. He is scheduled to appear before a judge Friday for a change-of-plea hearing.

Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., pleaded not guilty last month. Authorities say he contacted Deen's attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements made by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after Deen's admission that she had used the N-word in the past became public.

Paculis' lawyer, Richard Darden, and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver both declined to comment Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Elderly Komodo dragon euthanized at Zoo Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) — Zoo Atlanta officials say an elderly Komodo dragon has been euthanized after staff noticed significant declines in his mobility and behavior.

In a statement Monday, zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines said the 20-year-old Komodo dragon — named Slasher — was exhibiting behavior that suggested age-related complications were impacting his quality of life.

Hines says Slasher hatched at the Smithsonian National Zoo in October of 1992 and was sent to Zoo Atlanta in July of 1993. Slasher helped the zoo launch its Komodo Dragon Wild Encounter program, which allowed visitors to feed the giant reptile.

Zoo officials say Komodo dragons, which are native to Indonesia, are the world's largest lizard species and can hunt prey as large as deer. Hines says the oldest Komodo dragon documented in captivity lived to be 26.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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