Archives For Haiti
WALDRON, Ind. — A team of FBI agents, archaeologists and other experts are confiscating Native American and other artifacts and relics from a collection described as having immeasurable cultural significance from a home in rural central Indiana, authorities said.
An FBI investigation determined that the homeowner, Donald C. Miller, may have knowingly and unknowingly collected objects in violation of several treaties and federal and state statutes, Special Agent in Charge Robert Jones said Wednesday.
“We know that some of the items were acquired improperly,” Jones said.
The items, stored in several buildings on the property about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis, areto be collected, identified and repatriated, he said. Those that properly belong to Millerare being safeguarded, he said. A number of statutes and law may not have been in effect when Miller collected some of the items, he said.”The exact number of artifacts in the collection is unknown at this time but it’s believed to be in the thousands,” Jones said. “The monetary value of the entire collection and of its individual pieces is yet to be determined however the cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable.”
Jones said that the extensive collection, which Miller amassed over eight decades, includes Native American artifacts and relics as well as items from the United States, China, Haiti, Australia, Russia, New Guinea, Italy, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Greece, Peru and possibly several other countries.
He said he could not comment on the nature of the items but said that Miller had traveled extensively. He said the team was trying to determine the exact time and method of each acquisition.
Larry Zimmerman, a professor of anthropology and museum studies, said he was overwhelmed when he saw the collection.
“I have never seen a collection like this in my entire life except in some of the largest museums,” he said.
Miller, 91, told CBS News that he was a lifetime collector who had a museum of hundreds of artifacts in his basement.
He said he “absolutely” has rightful ownership of the artifacts and that he was cooperating with the FBI’s search.
“I have been in 200 countries collecting artifacts,” he said.
Miller has not been charged with any crime.
Television helicopter video showed a mobile FBI command vehicle, a moving van and several tents alongside a two-story home near the town of Waldron.
Some 200 people are involved in the process, which could take years.
Brockton couple accused of stealing from Sharon man, disabled daughter
BROCKTON, Mass. — A Brockton couple was indicted Monday in connection with scamming an elderly man and his disabled daughter out of thousands of dollars.
Prisca Halaby, 35, and her husband Dominique Halaby, 45, were arrested Friday. They were accused of stealing money from the Sharon victims during a five-year span, according to District Attorney Michael Morrissey.
“Some of the conduct alleged in the indictments dates back to 2009,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said.
The victims, a 92-year-old man and his 62-year-old daughter, were scammed out of more than $130,000, prosecutors said.
Authorities allege Prisca Halaby opened a Bank of America account in the disabled woman’s name, forging her signature. Officials say she then funneled thousands of dollars into that account from a Fidelity investment account established for the father and daughter.
Prosecutors said the Halabys took trips to their native Haiti, and on one occasion, prosecutors contend they allegedly forged a check for $2,000 for a wheelchair that was never purchased.
Credit cards were allegedly opened and numerous checks allegedly forged.
Prisca Halaby was charged with five counts of larceny of property valued at over $250 by single scheme, from a person over the age of 60 or disabled; two counts of credit card fraud and three counts of identity fraud.
Seventeen migrants died early Wednesday when their overloaded boat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands as it was being towed to port by the authorities.
A spokesman for the British territory‘s government said that 33 others were pulled from the water after the boat overturned.
All aboard were believed to have been migrants from Haiti.
The sailboat had been detained early Wednesday by the marine division of the Turks and Caicos Royal Police Force and was being towed to the island of Providenciales when it overturned near shore.
Those rescued from the water are now in custody on suspicion of attempting to illegally enter the territory, authorities said.
“I can confirm that 33 people were detained as suspected illegal Haitian immigrants,” said Colin Farquhar, of the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Force. “This group consisted of 21 males, including one child, and 12 females. These people will be repatriated to Haiti at the earliest opportunity.”
He said that the search for casualties had concluded for Wednesday, although a “scaled down search” would begin again on Thursday.
The U.S. Coast Guard deployed two helicopters to the scene after local authorities requested help, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Sabrina Laberbesque said. Two fast-response vessels from Florida Coast Guard bases were also dispatched.
Dozens of Haitians have died in similar accidents in recent years, as many seek to escape an island still reeling from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
In November, at least 30 Haitian migrants drowned when their overloaded boat capsized off the southern Bahamas. Eleven Haitian migrants died in June 2012 when a boat carrying 28 people from the Bahamas to Florida sank.
Turks and Caicos are about 120 miles north of Haiti in the northern Caribbean Sea.
Reuters contributed to this report