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Ex-postal worker admits scamming $1.2M in federal benefits

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A former U.S. Postal Service worker in western New York has pleaded guilty to scamming the federal government out of more than $1.2 million in benefits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 59-year-old Richard Klaffka, of Holland, pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud. Prosecutors say his 62-year-old wife, Cathleen, admitted to playing a role in the scheme.

Authorities say Richard Klaffka told Veterans Affairs in 2006 that he was disabled and needed to use a wheelchair because of an injury connected to his military service. He claimed he couldn’t walk or dress himself, but officials say he hiked, biked and played horseshoes.

He also claimed to have limited mobility because of an injury suffered while working for the post office.

He and his wife were ordered to pay back the more than $1.2 million they received in VA and workers compensation benefits.

Cardinal William Keeler dies at age 86

CATONSVILLE, Md. (AP) — Cardinal William Keeler, who helped ease tensions between Catholics and Jews and headed the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. for 18 years, has died. He was 86.

Archbishop William Lori announced in a statement that Keeler died early Thursday at St. Martin’s Home for the Aged in Catonsville, Maryland. No cause of death was released.

Keeler retired in 2007 as the head of the archdiocese of Baltimore.

He devoted much of his clerical life to improving ties with other denominations, especially Jews. From 1992 to 1995, he was president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also served as moderator for Catholic/Jewish Relations and was a member of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Keeler urged religious leaders to tackle the world’s problems together.