Convicted Ponzi schemer Doug Vaughan, who swindled $75 million from upwards of 600 victims, has begun serving his 12-year sentence at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix.
Sentenced on Sept. 5 in U.S. District Court in Santa Fe, the 65-year-old former real estate executive had spent just over two months in Santa Fe County Jail before being transferred to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City in November.
Vaughan’s 12-year sentence was the result of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that avoided what could have been a lengthy trial costing upwards of $1 million.
As a rule of thumb, criminals sentenced in federal court serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, which in Vaughan’s case means more than 10 years in prison.
Old Town Readies For Annual Stroll
The annual Old Town Holiday Stroll returns today from noon-9 p.m.
There will be a full schedule of live entertainment, special offers from Old Town’s unique shops and galleries, dining in Old Town’s restaurants, and more.
Old Town’s streets will close at 2 p.m. to accommodate the crowds.
Evening festivities begin with the flag ceremony and the national anthem at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lighting of the giant Christmas tree at Plaza Don Luis.
Santa Claus will make his appearance. Thousands of luminarias will help guide visitors.
Visit a special booth to purchase this year’s collectable lapel pin and receive discounts, free gifts or special offers from participating merchants. Proceeds from the lapel pin sales go directly to the American Heart Association.
For more information, call 311 or visit www. OldTownABQ.org.
Insurance Firm’s Customers Warned
State officials are warning New Mexico customers of Nationwide Insurance that their personal information may have been compromised by a computer hacking incident.
Insurance officials say the accounts of more than 8,000 New Mexico customers were compromised in the breach.
In a letter to Superintendent of Insurance John G. Franchini, Nationwide says the company’s initial investigation has turned up stolen Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and dates of birth, although there is no evidence of any misuse so far.
The company is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft services through Equifax as a precaution. Concerned customers should contact Nationwide for details.
Truck Stop Moves Closer to Approval
MORIARTY – The Moriarty City Council has approved a conditional-use permit that puts a more than $7 million Pilot Flying J truck stop one step closer to being built on an empty lot just north of Interstate 40 and west of N.M. 41.
The council held OK’d the permit at a special meeting Tuesday. Councilor Dennis Shanfeldt made the motion to approve it with several additional conditions.
Mortgage Rates Edge Up This Week
WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages ticked up this week just slightly above their record lows, keeping homebuying and refinancing attractive to consumers.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan ticked up to 3.34 percent, above last week’s rate of 3.32 percent. Two weeks ago, the rate dipped to 3.31 percent, the lowest on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose to 2.67 percent from 2.64 percent last week. The rate declined to 2.63 percent two weeks ago, also a record low.
Mortgage rates have been near record lows all year.
Starbucks Plans 1,500 More Cafes
NEW YORK – Another Starbucks may soon pop up around the corner, with the world’s biggest coffee company planning to add at least 1,500 cafes in the U.S. over the next five years.
The plan, which would boost the number of Starbucks cafes in the country by about 13 percent.
In addition, the Seattle-based company says it will eventually serve a new brand of tea in its cafes. Rather than its Tazo tea, Starbucks is turning its attention to Teavana, which it announced it would acquire last month.
Worldwide, the company says it will have more than 20,000 cafes by 2014, up from its current count of about 18,000. Much of that growth will come from China, which the company says will surpass Canada as its second-biggest market.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal