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Former commissioner plans to plead guilty in development scheme

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published March 7, 2007


WEST PALM BEACH

A former city commissioner was charged Tuesday with filing a false tax return in an alleged scheme to help a developer push through a project, according to authorities. James Exline, 42, is accused of failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service $50,000 he received from a real estate developer in 2004 in exchange for pushing the city staff to approve a development, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In a deal with prosecutors, Exline planned to plead guilty today, his attorney, Robert Gershman said Tuesday. He faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Gershman said his client was cooperating with authorities, who continue to look into other potential crimes.

FORT MYERS

50 years for porn conviction

A federal judge sentenced a 34-year-old Glades County man to 50 years in prison for videotaping sex acts with his adopted son and sending the images via the Internet. U.S. District John Steele exceeded the recommended guidelines in sentencing the man Monday. Steele said it was the worst child pornography case he has seen. The charges involved the man's adopted son, now 17, and two other boys in Glades and Brevard counties. The crimes occurred from at least 1998 to April 2006, the indictment said. At least 350 pictures and 18 videos were produced and sent.

IMMOKALEE

Fatal arson was second try An arsonist tried to set fire to a trailer a week and a half before an intentional blaze at the home killed five people and injured five others, authorities said Tuesday. The Collier County Sheriff's Office investigated an arson attempt at the Cleve's Trailer Park unit Feb. 21, sheriff spokeswoman Kristin Adams said. Residents put out the fire about 3:30 a.m. but did not call the Sheriff's Office for 12 hours. Investigators determined the fire was arson, Adams said. The fatal fire was set Sunday at 2:30 a.m. Detectives have spent almost three days trying to identify those caught in the fire. The injured include a 16-year-old boy who has not been positively identified by his family because of the severity of his injuries, Adams said.