Kansas City Missouri

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Salvation Army volunteers will help pack 5,500 food boxes for needy families on Saturday.

About 175 volunteers will assemble at the Salvation Army at 1110 E. Truman Road in Kansas City, Mo., and fill 5,500 food boxes to distribute to families who have applied for Christmas assistance from the Salvation Army in the Kansas City metro area, a spokesman said.

Working in assembly line fashion, the volunteers will build and then fill 5,500 boxes with all the fixings for a holiday meal, including ham, potatoes, stuffing and green beans, plus everyday staples such as flour, sugar, macaroni and cheese, and peanut butter.

A number of businesses, schools and churches have donated food to the project, including Russell Stover Candy, Zerega Pasta, Cosentino’s Food Stores, the Haun Potato Co. and affiliated potato growers and Pratt Industries, which donated the boxes.

In addition to the food boxes, The Salvation Army provides toys for 16,000 children in Kansas City each Christmas. The food boxes and toys are distributed a few days before Christmas from The Salvation Army’s eight community centers in the Kansas City metropolitan area. To donate or to learn more about The Salvation Army, go to www.salarmymokan.org or call 816-756-1455.

Today marks the third annual Giving Tuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving at the start of the holiday season. This year, the Salvation Army has announced that online gifts to it in Kansas City will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

Several anonymous donors have provided the matching gifts, according to a spokesman.

“Giving Tuesday makes it easy for those who would like to give back to help The Salvation Army serve families and individuals in need in our community,” said Major Evie Diaz, divisional commander for The Salvation Army in Kansas City. “This year, the holiday season is five days shorter which means donations are critical. We encourage everyone to take part tomorrow and double their gift by going to www.salarmymokan.org and click on the Giving Tuesday link.

The Salvation Army’s 2014 Christmas Campaign goal is $11 million. All donations to the organization during the Christmas season support a variety of programs and services year-round, including homeless assistance, feeding programs, veterans services, emergency assistance, disaster services, senior and youth programming and more.

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A federal judge has found former Kansas City area builder F. Jeffrey Miller violated the terms of his release from federal prison after hearing evidence Miller was involved in a new real estate scam, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Monday.

In a 16-page order dated Nov. 26, U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson cited evidence that Miller lied to his probation officer about his involvement in a company called Tri-States Holding, LLC. She cited “substantial evidence about the fraudulent practices and transactions” by the company.

Miller, 53, will remain in custody awaiting sentencing. Miller was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, money laundering and criminal contempt. In August 2012, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He began supervised release Jan. 10, 2014.

During sentencing hearings, prosecutors submitted evidence that Miller began planning the new business while he was in prison. The business claimed to buy, refurbish and sell houses. In fact, Judge Robinson said in her order, the business was engaged in a “contract for deed scam.”

The company purchased more than 40 houses at Jackson County, Mo., tax sales and then advertised the houses for sale to low-income people in the urban core of Kansas City, Mo. The company advertised home ownership for just $500 down, sweat equity of no more than $2,000 in the form of cosmetic repairs including painting and clean up, and then monthly payments of $399. The buyers signed contracts for purchase prices in the $35,000 range.

Prosecutors presented evidence the company failed to complete promised repairs, performing shoddy repairs or virtually no repairs at all and then harassed and threatened buyers who ceased to make payments.

Judge Robinson ruled Miller violated four conditions of his supervised release by:
• Controlling the new company even though he was prohibited from working in any capacity involving authority in financial matters.
• Telling his probation officer that that he was a mere laborer at the new company when in fact he controlled the company.
• Making false monthly reports to the probation office that he was not committing any federal crimes.
• Making threats of bodily harm to a woman who purchased a house from the new company.

Miller is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 15 in U.S. District Court in Topeka.

In an earlier case, Miller, whose address then was listed as Stanley, Kan., was tried and convicted in a case involving a mortgage fraud scheme. At that time, he was operating a company named Star Land Development.