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Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District will be closed to students until April 3 after an early student release today, Friday March 13, according to a press release sent to the school community late Thursday from Superintendent Alex Cherniss. 

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A 29-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 41 months behind bars for his role in a fraud scheme that duped elderly residents of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties into believing their grandchildren were in danger in foreign countries and immediately required cash.

Clifford Kirstein, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to a wire fraud charge, admitting his role as a phone scammer who made calls to victims while impersonating a grandchild in desperate need of cash.

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney described the offense as a “very cruel, heartless scheme causing great distress to elderly victims.”

The judge ordered that Kirstein was liable, along with his co-defendants, for $56,258 in restitution to be shared between seven victims.

Kirstein and four other Canadians were charged seven years ago and extradited to Los Angeles in January 2019.

Prosecutors said the defendants induced victims to send thousands of dollars via wire transfers through Western Union or MoneyGram, sometimes soliciting money from the same victim multiple times.

The purported grandchildren were said to be stranded in Canada, Mexico, Bolivia or the Dominican Republic.

Carney said that in one instance Kirstein made threats of violence toward one couple.

In August, Carney sentenced co-defendant Kelen Buchan to four years and three months behind bars for his leading role in the scheme. He was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $520,000 to victims of the scam, which operated eight years ago for about three months from Montreal.

“This was money taken from senior citizens — their life savings and retirement,” Carney said during Buchan’s sentencing hearing in downtown Los Angeles last year. “This was targeting people who have great love for their grandchildren.”

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President Donald Trump swooped through Los Angeles for a rare visit to the heavily Democratic region on Tuesday, Feb. 18, his agenda topped by formally signing off on the 2028 LA Olympics and fund-raising at a posh Beverly Hills hotel.

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After nearly a decade away, Stephanie Williams was happy not only to be back, but to proudly show off the Harbor Station jail to locals who gathered at the Los Angeles Police Department facility on Monday for a press conference officially announcing the reopening of the station house’s jail.