Woman pleads guilty to scam
A 70-year-old Baltimore woman pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to filing a false tax return in connection with her role in a $17 million investment fraud scheme.
Marie Bellamy and her co-defendant, Joseph Poteat, 61, of Danville, Va., each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Poteat also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering.
According to the plea agreements, Poteat controlled a "private membership organization" known as the CEP Group, and JLR Development Ltd., both of which operated out of Danville. Authorities said the pair personally profited from the scheme, which was billed as a chance to make lucrative offshore investments; but those investments were never made. Investors lost more than $7 million, according to prosecutors.
Court papers show that Bellamy, as a "mentor" to investors, expected to receive a percentage of the earnings of investors she brought into JLR's program.
Poteat faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison while Bellamy could receive up to three years behind bars. Both sentencing hearings have been scheduled for March 27.
: Fire chief
Seven candidates interviewing for job
Baltimore officials are interviewing seven candidates to lead the city's Fire Department, a City Hall spokesman said yesterday. Mayor Sheila Dixon's administration is hiring a new chief after the resignation of William J. Goodwin Jr. last year. The spokesman, Sterling Clifford, said three candidates are black, three are white and one is Hispanic; he would not reveal their identities.
National Aquarium seeks volunteers
The National Aquarium in Baltimore is seeking volunteers to work as exhibit guides and give information to visitors. Training classes are to begin Feb. 23. Volunteers are expected to work one 3 1/2 -hour shift a week and must be at least 18. Senior citizens are encouraged to apply. Information: 410-576-3886.
Poetry contest open to students
A poetry contest in observance of Black History Month is open to Baltimore public school students in sixth through eighth grades, Mayor Sheila Dixon's office says. Contestants will write a poem about what the African proverb "It Takes a Village ... " means to them. The authors of the top three poems will each receive a laptop computer and a U.S. savings bond. The poems will be published in the Afro American newspaper, and the students will be asked to deliver their poems at the mayor's Black History Month celebration Feb. 16. Information: 410-545-3406. The deadline is Feb. 4.