News Briefs

May 12, 2014 

2 teens charged in school break-in

Police have charged two teens with breaking into Clayton High School.

Brandon Tyler, 19, of 312 W. Barnes St., Clayton, faces charges of breaking and entering and first-degree trespassing.

Demetreus Antonio Nance, 19, of 709 W. Stallings St., Clayton, faces those charges, plus one count of simple possession of marijuana.

An officer checking the school’s concessions stand heard the main building’s alarm sound and saw two people leaving the building.

Police seek bank robber

Benson police are seeking the public’s help in finding a woman who gave a teller a friendly smile as she robbed the First Federal Savings and Loan branch on April 28.

The woman, who is about 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 145 to 155 pounds and has brown eyes and dark brown hair, handed a teller a note at about 2:30 p.m., police said.

The note demanded a specific amount of money, which the teller turned over. Police did not disclose the amount demanded or whether the note claimed the robber was armed.

The robber was wearing white knee-length shorts and a dark-gray, hooded sweatshirt. She carried a dark-colored purse with white trim and a white strap.

After getting the money, the woman drove away in a white or silver late-model, four-door car that was last seen at Johnson and Main streets.

Police ask anyone who thinks they have information that could help detectives to call police at 919-894-2091 or email crimeline@bensonpd.org. Police said there is a reward for information that leads to the robber’s arrest and conviction. From staff reports

Four Oaks Bank to pay penalty

A federal judge in Raleigh has approved a settlement that calls for the corporate parent of Four Oaks Bank & Trust to pay a $1.2 million civil penalty.

Judge Terrech Boyle approved the settlement between Four Oaks Fincorp and the U.S. Justice Department on April 25.

Four Oaks agreed to the settlement in January, a day after federal prosecutors filed a civil suit accusing the bank of facilitating fraud by routing more than $2.4 billion in transactions for “fraudulent Internet payday lenders” through the national money transfer system. The bank received more than $850,000 in fees for this service.

The bank, which has more than a dozen branches, didn’t admit to any wrongdoing. However, the bank’s board of directors “felt that this settlement was in the bank’s best interest in order to avoid a lengthy and protracted legal fight and so that the bank could continue to focus on its primary business, which is serving its local communities.”

The lawsuit accused Four Oaks of deliberately ignoring warning signs that the fraudulent payday lenders were “deceiving consumers about the terms of payday loans, making loans that are unlawful and unenforceable under state and federal laws.”

Reinvestment Partners, a Durham consumer-advocacy group, praised the civil penalty when it was announced in January.

“Four Oaks has put its profits ahead of the interest of consumers,” Adam Rust, research director with Reinvestment Partners, said in a prepared statement. “Hopefully this will make all banks think twice about being passive accomplices to illegal lending.”

Staff writer David Ranii

Grant to aid East Smithfield

The Raleigh Area Development Authority has received a $50,000 Wells Fargo grant to support homeownership preservation and community revitalization in East Smithfield.

RADA will use the Wells Fargo donation to partner with five Smithfield-area nonprofits to identify substandard housing in East Smithfield and bring homes up to code where possible. The Smithfield project will include volunteer support from Wells Fargo employees, who will work alongside East Smithfield homeowners and other volunteers to help repair substandard housing.

Also, the effort will educate homeowners and renters about their rights and obligations under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

“The incredible support of Wells Fargo helps us to offer real solutions that promote successful homeownership,” said Wallace Green, president of RADA. “Their commitment to our approach to neighborhood revitalization is key to our efforts to impact and economically transform the communities that we serve.”

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