Lincoln Journal Star

A Lincoln man accused of mispresenting himself as a financial adviser has been arrested after police say he bilked four people out of more than $1 million. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 65-year-old Douglas Cmelik turned himself in to police Tuesday and was arrested on suspicion of four counts of sale of securities by an unregistered investment adviser. Investigators say his scheme dates back to 2013, when a Lincoln man reportedly invested $500,000 with Cmelik. Police say three other Lincoln residents together invested another $768,000, and that Cmelik charged fees for his services.

Michigan State University

Lincoln police are investigating after an organization that supports survivors of sexual assault was defrauded out of more than $10,000. The organizers of the “kNOw More” campaign reported the fraud to police on Wednesday. The group raised $10,960 selling T-shirts after an alleged sexual assault at the Nebraska-Lincoln campus in August. Officer Erin Spilker said someone claiming to be a member of the advocacy group Voices of Hope emailed the shop where the T-shirts were printed. The money was then wired to an account mentioned in the email.

A former northeast Nebraska deputy sheriff has pleaded guilty in a nearly $11 million wire fraud scheme. Craig Harbaugh, former Dodge County deputy sheriff, admitted Monday that he defrauded six people and a bank. Prosecutors said he falsified purchase orders and contracts for his business, “Tactical Solutions Gear,” a federal firearms licensee formerly located in Fremont. He used the false purchase orders and contracts to persuade people to invest in his firearms business, and to get a loan from a bank. Prosecutors say Harbaugh did not have any purchase orders or contracts.


A township board member in Dodge County has agreed to repay $22,000 to his township plus a $2,000 fine to the state for violations of Nebraska accountability laws during the 2019 floods. The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission released the settlement agreement with Jeremy Moss, a member of the Elkhorn Township Board. The commission alleged that Moss’ company billed the township for nearly $139,000 in repairs to flood-damaged roads.

Omaha World Herald

The owner of a Nebraska dry-cleaning business has pleaded no contest to charges that accused him of causing the explosion that destroyed his business. The Omaha World-Herald reports that 54-year-old Michael McKernan of Valley entered the plea Thursday to second-degree arson and burning to defraud an insurer. McKernan owned Wardrobe Spa. He was there on Oct. 7, 2018, when the building exploded. Deputy Sarpy County Attorney Ben Perlman said McKernan had intentionally drilled holes into gas lines that connected to a dryer and a furnace.

The former chief of finance for the Nebraska State Fair has been charged with theft following an investigation into the fair's finances. Court records show Patrick Kopke has been charged in Hall County with three counts of theft of more than $5,000. Earlier this year, the Nebraska State Fair Board hired a forensic investigation firm to look into the fair's finances after staff discovered suspicious activity during an internal review. Eight fair employees lost their jobs in December as officials took steps to firm up finances after a 2019 loss. Kopke is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept.

The owner of the defunct Nebraska Auto Auction business has been charged with fraudulently financing more than $1 million worth of vehicles. Prosecutors charged 63-year-old Mark Cooley with theft by deception and he made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday. Lincoln Police said in court documents that Cooley improperly financed 80 vehicles worth $1,0430,220 between 2017 and 2019 with fraudulent information. Police said most of the vehicles had already been purchased by dealerships or financed by another company before Cooley borrowed money on them.

An eastern Nebraska fireworks company has been sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay a $35,000 fine for falsifying work safety records. U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Joe Kelly announced that Wild Willy’s Fireworks, of Springfield, was sentenced in Omaha’s federal court on Thursday. The company’s representative and owner, Dan Williams, pleaded guilty to the charge in August. Prosecutors say Williams had forklift training certificates for four employees who had not undergone such training falsified and sent to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector.

Health care fraud drives up costs for everyone in the health care system and many fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves and dishonest providers getting ahold of people’s Medicare card numbers and billing Medicare for benefits, services, and supplies that the Medicare person never received.

Julie Brookhart is the Public Affairs Specialist and works on the Regional External Affairs Team, in the Kansas City Regional Office of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and she joins Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss how to combat fraud.  

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a former Lincoln postal worker caught with stolen mail has pleaded guilty.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance is warning residents against doing business with a payday lender that is not licensed to do business in the state.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and others are warning about fraud and financial scams that can be heartbreaking for victims.