March 01. 2014 7:52PM

Pelham man confesses to machete attack on sister

Dennis Lozeau 

PELHAM - Police say a 57-year-old man walked into the police station on Friday afternoon and confessed to attacking his sister with a machete eight days earlier.

Dennis Lozeau entered the lobby of the police department just before 4:30 p.m. and said he wanted to turn himself in for attempted murder, according to a press release.

Police investigated his story and learned that Lozeau had attempted to hurt his 65-year-old sister with a machete on Feb. 20, the release stated. The man's 29-year-old niece defended her mother and was slightly injured on her left arm, police said, but was able to get the weapon away from Lozeau and "de-escalate" the situation, police said.

The injured woman did not seek medical attention and no one reported the incident to authorities, police said.

Lozeau was arrested at the police department Friday and charged with two counts of first-degree assault. He declined the services of a bail commissioner and will be arraigned Monday at 10th Circuit Court, Salem Division.

Police said the fight allegedly occurred because "Lozeau overheard his sister talking about his employment status." Alcohol also appears to have been a factor in the incident, they said.

More than $1.1b gambled in casinos

In its first full year, customers gambled $677 million at Maine's Oxford Casino slot machines, walked away with $619 million in wins and left close to $30 million behind for the house, after taxes.

The figures were released Friday in the Maine Gambling Control Board's 2013 annual report.

Bangor's Hollywood Casino, meanwhile, saw customers gamble $469 million at its slot machines, $100 million less than the year before. It paid out $422 million.

"We get daily numbers, so we had been watching the trend," said Patrick Fleming, the board's executive director. "When Hollywood was the only facility in the state, everyone went there."

There was a "honeymoon period" last year with players checking out the newer Oxford Casino, he said. "We're kind of expecting that Bangor will now plateau. Oxford went through two expansions in that first year, so we're kind of getting them to, I think, the size they're going to remain for a while."

As of January, Oxford had 858 slot machines and 26 table games; Hollywood had 888 slot machines and 16 table games.

The Gambling Control Board has an inspector on site at both Oxford and Hollywood whenever they're open. Fleming said he's been generally pleased with both operations.

Thermal-imaging finds 'forgotten' cat

RAYMOND - Police and fire officials used a thermal-imaging camera to find a pet cat that was accidentally left behind when the owner's home was foreclosed on.

The rescue effort started after the former property owner notified police that she had been unable to locate two of her cats when the foreclosure was done.

Volunteers and police officers searched the house but had not found the cats. But on Saturday, police said they found one of the missing cats hiding behind a bookcase. The animal "appeared fine" and will be returned to its owner, police said.

The second cat remained elusive.

Police reminded the public that the property is private and that police were doing "everything legally possible" to locate the animal. "Have a heart" traps have been set up inside and outdoors and there is food available inside the house, police said.

Maine couple guilty in fraud trial

AUBURN, Maine - A Lewiston couple was found guilty Friday of bilking the federal government out of tens of thousands of dollars in housing money at the same time they were buying downtown properties with cash.

Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford signed an 11½-page verdict Friday in Androscoggin County Superior Court, convicting Roda Abdi, 45, and her husband, Ali-Nassir Ahmed, 53, of felony theft by deception.

They were charged with taking roughly $20,000 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidies.

from 2006 to 2008, according to Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, who prosecuted the case.

The convictions are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

On a second misdemeanor charge of theft by deception against Abdi, Clifford found her not guilty, writing that some of her actions were "questionable" but were not proven illegal beyond a reasonable doubt.

All of the charges stem from a 2010 raid by federal agents on the couple's business, the A&R Halal Market at 199 Bartlett St. in Lewiston.

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement converged on the store with a warrant on a tip about possible violations of the Maine Women, Infants and Children nutrition program benefits.

Instead, investigators found that Abdi and Ahmed misrepresented their income and assets in an effort to get federal housing money to help pay their rent, the prosecution said during the December 2013 trial.

A sentencing in the case will follow.