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DeKalb, Fulton receive grants to fight sexual abuse

DeKalb, Fulton receive grants to fight sexual abuse

ATLANTA -- DeKalb and Fulton counties have been awarded grants for use by law enforcement agencies to combat child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The grants awarded Tuesday are administrated by the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Federal officials say DeKalb County will receive $496,793 and the Fulton County District Attorney's Office will receive $352,803. They say Atlanta continues to have a reputation as a center of child prostitution.

Twenty grants totaling $9.2 million are being awarded to agencies across the country.

Man pleads guilty to giving false testimony

Man pleads guilty to giving false testimony

ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- An Alpharetta man has pleaded guilty in federal district court to obstruction of justice in a 2007 civil case.

James Pefanis, owner and CEO of the Alpharetta-based AME Financial Corporation, was accused of sexual harassment in October 2007 by a former employee known as Jane Doe, according to information presented in court. Another employee, John Doe, allegedly witnessed the incident, which took place on Aug. 16, 2007.

Jane Doe's attorney sent a letter to Pefanis, stating that the victim intended to file a lawsuit against him. As a result, Pefanis asked John Doe to sign a false statement, typed by Pefanis, denying that he remembered what happened on Aug. 16.

When Jane Doe filed her civil lawsuit, Pefanis submitted the false statement in his defense. He also falsely testified under oath, according to U.S.

Suspects accused of stealing gift cards for tornado victims arrested again

Suspects accused of stealing gift cards for tornado victims arrested again

DALTON, Ga. -- Investigators are looking to see if two North Georgians accused of stealing gift cards for Alabama tornado victims stole anything else.

The gift cards were stolen from an Alpharetta UPS store, which is co-owned by Edward Michael Copenhaver. He and one of his employees, Margaret Katherine Carlisle, have been charged with felony theft by taking in that case.

Investigators believe the two may also be tied to several cases of missing money from another UPS store Copenhaver co-owns in Dalton.

Roswell man sentenced for receiving child porn

Roswell man sentenced for receiving child porn

ROSWELL, Ga. -- A 29-year-old Roswell man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for receiving child pornography.

Dale Hodges pleaded guilty to the charges against him in February.

According to information presented in court, Hodges was a member of an international pedophile organization known as the Boy Lovers Network (BLN). Members of BLN traded images and videos of child pornography, including pictures of young boys being sexually abused.

Investigators also uncovered pictures of naked boys taken inside Hodges' home with his own camera.

At the time of his arrest in November 2009, Hodges was working as a tutor at the Huntington Learning Center in Alpharetta.

Hodges will spend 10 years on supervised release after getting out of prison. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Feds crack down on prescription drug trafficking

Feds crack down on prescription drug trafficking

ATLANTA -- A federal grand jury in Atlanta has charged a total of 13 defendants from two states with illegally trafficking in oxycodone and other prescription drugs.

The two cases arise out of intensified efforts to address Georgia's growing problem with prescription drug abuse.

"Prescription drug abuse is our nation's fastest-growing segment of illegal drug use, causing significantly more overdose deaths than cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin combined," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

In the first incident, 11 Georgia residents were charged with conspiring to forge oxycodone prescriptions and sell the illegally obtained tablets.

Man pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens

Man pleads guilty to harboring illegal aliens

ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- An Alpharetta immigration attorney has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to harbor illegal aliens.

Parmesh Dixit, 40, was indicted in May of last year on 28 counts of visa fraud, 43 counts of alien harboring for the purpose of private financial gain, one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and one count of conspiracy to harbor aliens in violation of the law -- the charge to which he pled guilty.

"As a specialized immigration attorney, this defendant used his knowledge of immigration laws and regulations to defraud the government and secure employment visas for aliens who did not qualify for them," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

According to the investigation, Dixit submitted fraudulent applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of his clients.

Alpharetta man arrested for attempted child molestation

Alpharetta man arrested for attempted child molestation

ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- The Northwest Georgia Crimes Against Children Task Force has arrested an Alpharetta man for attempting to meet a minor for sex.

Kenneth Acebal, 46, was arrested without incident on Monday, Apr. 11 in Ringgold, Georgia.

Undercover agents and officers held a series of Internet chat sessions with Acebal. During these exchanges, the suspect made it clear that he wanted to have sex with a minor child.

Acebal is currently being held in the Catoosa County Detention Center.