Town investigating swastika vandalism
A swastika was found on a storage container in town, and officials are condemning it as “an act of cowardice and ignorance.” “Covering over the graffiti will be an easy task, erasing the pain and hurt caused by the use of that symbol is much harder,” town officials and the Billerica Interfaith Association wrote in a statement on social media Tuesday. “For our Jewish Community this symbol is an act of violence and a threat to their sense of security and well-being in our town,” they wrote. A Billerica woman discovered the swastika on Saturday and called police, Billerica Town Manager John Curran said. The symbol was immediately removed from the container , Curran said. Curran said the swastika had been on the container since Dec. 23. Officials do not know who put it there, he said.
IRS employee charged with fraud
A 44-year-old Lawrence woman who works at the IRS Service Center in Andover was charged Tuesday with filing more than 500 false tax returns for herself and others, according to federal prosecutors. Jennifer Beth True was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, and she was expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Tuesday, according to the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts. If convicted, she could face more than 20 years in prison and a six-figure fine, authorities said. Prosecutors alleged that she electronically filed more than 590 tax returns for herself and other taxpayers during a five-year period ending in 2017, which violated IRS rules that prohibits employees from “Engaging in the preparation of tax returns for compensation, gift, or favor.” Officials said she received between $40 and $100 per return that she prepared, and prepared the vast majority of the tax returns for on her personal computer using TaxAct software.
Town border dispute heading to court
The Board of Selectmen voted Monday to direct the town’s manager and attorney to take “any and all actions necessary’’ to contest the border with Kittery in York County Superior Court. The disputed area includes nearly 330 feet along US Route 1. The border shown on current maps, including tax maps, shows a line that weaves back and forth slightly from Eliot to Brave Boat Harbor. But York’s selectmen contend a straight-line boundary drawn in 1653 is the legally established border between the two towns, according to a letter from York Board of Selectman Chair Todd Frederick to Kittery officials last August. In November, the Kittery Town Council Chairperson Judith Spiller wrote in response that the current border is reflected in “all relevant contemporary and historical documents.” Spiller said Kittery will “vigorously protect and defend her borders.” (AP)
Parent faces new charge in admissions scandal
John Wilson, a father charged in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, was indicted on a new charge Tuesday for allegedly filing a false tax return, the US attorney’s office said. Wilson, 59, allegedly paid $220,000 to get his son admitted to the University of Southern California as a water polo recruit. He then allegedly deducted the money from his 2014 tax returns as charitable donations and business expenses, prosecutors said in a statement. An attorney for Wilson declined to comment. An arraignment date has not been set. Wilson, a real estate investor, was previously charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and two counts of substantive federal programs bribery. He allegedly worked with William Singer, the private college counselor behind the scandal, and spent more than $1.7 million to get his three children admitted into USC, Stanford University, and Harvard University.