Key player in Ponzi scheme had long ties to owner
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dawn Wright Olivares was the high-profile face of a North Carolina online company that promised big returns on a small investment.
The company's former chief operating officer would tout ZeekRewards at public events, and promote the business in interviews, calling it a great way to make money.
Now the 45-year-old is pleading guilty to securities fraud conspiracy and tax evasion stemming from an $850 million Ponzi scheme.
She will appear in federal court Wednesday, along with her stepson, 31-year-old Daniel Olivares, who's pleading guilty to securities fraud conspiracy.
U.S. District Court spokeswoman Lia Bantavani says prosecutors couldn't discuss details of the case because it's an ongoing investigation.
But Dawn Olivares and her stepson are the first to plead guilty to criminal charges in the massive scam.
NC Zoo to reopen after four-day weather shutdown
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Zoo is ready to reopen after a four-day closing due to this week's winter storm.
One of North Carolina's most visited attractions resumes its regular schedule Saturday morning. The zoo had been closed for four days due to frigid temperatures and icy roads leading to the Asheboro park as well as ice-covered walkways inside the park.
The zoo's regular winter operating hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Most state parks and recreation areas reopened Friday, but a number of parks have trails and facilities that are still closed due to icy conditions.
The state's three coastal aquariums at Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island reopened Friday. The state Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh is also open.
HIT BY TRAIN-CHARGES
Gastonia man hit by train faces charges
(Information in the following story is from: The Gaston Gazette, http://www.gastongazette.com)
SHELBY, N.C. (AP) — Officials say a man who survived being hit by a train now faces charges, including trespassing.
The Gaston Gazette reported that a train hit 50-year-old Anthony Gerome Sanders of Gastonia on Thursday evening. He was treated at a hospital for injuries and was released Friday.
Police say Sanders and a woman were walking on the tracks, which Norfolk Southern owns. They say they woman got out of the way, while the train clipped Sanders.
He's charged with trespassing on a railroad right of way and impeding the operation of a railroad. It wasn't clear Saturday if he has an attorney.
Norfolk Southern Railroad police and Gastonia police are investigating.
CONSTRUCTION WORKER KILLED
Construction worker killed on job in Shelby
SHELBY, N.C. (AP) — State officials say a construction worker from a Charlotte-based company was killed while working at a manufacturing plant in Shelby.
Neal O'Briant of the Occupational health and Safety Administration says the worker was killed Friday at the site of the new KSM Castings manufacturing plant. The worker was employed by United Mechanical Corp.
O'Briant says a 10-inch pipe fell, hitting the worker on the head.
OSHA is investigating. The worker's identity hasn't been released because his family hadn't been notified.
KSM Castings is a German auto parts supplier that makes cast light metal products. Officials said in February 2013 that it would build its first U.S. plant in Shelby, bringing nearly 200 jobs. It's expected to open this year.
NC STATE-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina beats NC State 84-70
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — James Michael McAdoo had 16 points and 13 rebounds to help North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 84-70 on Saturday.
Leslie McDonald scored a season-high 20 points for the Tar Heels (14-7, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight game. North Carolina scored the game's first six points, led by double figures 7 minutes in and by 17 at halftime to continue its recent dominance against the Wolfpack (14-8, 4-5) under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.
The Tar Heels have won 21 of 23 meetings since Williams returned to his alma mater in 2003, including all 11 meetings in Chapel Hill. N.C. State hasn't been closer than nine points in the past 10 meetings at the Smith Center.
T.J. Warren scored 21 to lead the Wolfpack, who had won three straight — the past two by a combined six points — to build some momentum.