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Texas Has Spent $1.8M On Data Breach & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The state comptroller's office says it has spent $1.8 million dealing with fallout from the public exposure of personal information, including Social Security numbers, of millions of Texans.

R.J. DeSilva, spokesman for Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, says the office spent $1.2 million mailing letters to the 3.5 million people affected by the security breach.

DeSilva tells the Austin American-Statesman another $393,000 was spent to set up a call center offering assistance. The state hired computer consultants to examine information security at a cost of $290,000.

State and federal authorities are investigating after personal information, including some driver license numbers and birthdates, was left on a comptroller server that was accessible to the public.

The problem was discovered March 31 after some data had been posted for more than a year.

Last Dallas corruption defendants sentenced

The last two defendants convicted in the Dallas City Hall corruption case have been sentenced.

A U.S. district judge Friday sentenced Denton developer Ronald Slovacek to seven years in prison. Andrea Spencer, who owned a contracting firm, was sentenced to two years probation.

Slovacek was convicted last year of conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Spencer pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to commit bribery.

The U.S. attorney's office says Slovacek conspired with former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill and others including Spencer to use Spencer's minority business certificate to solicit overpriced construction contracts.

The Dallas Morning News reports that in all, 14 defendants were convicted. Seven pleaded guilty, seven were convicted by juries. Hill is serving 18 years in prison.

Fire crews battle West Texas blaze out of canyon

West Texas firefighters are trying new tactics to stop a 202,000-acre wildfire since it raced out of a canyon.

Fire crews in Jeff Davis County will start a controlled burn near some roads to destroy parched grass and shrubs in a 70,000-acre area.

Then there won't be anything left to burn - and the wildfire should be under control when it reaches the roads in a few days. C.J. Norvell, a spokeswoman for a team of federal firefighters and officials helping in West Texas, says the fire is not headed toward any towns.

The blaze started nearly two weeks ago and destroyed about 40 homes in the Fort Davis area before moving north.

Wildfires have scorched more than 1 million acres in Texas the past two weeks.

Arrest warrant issued in death of Frisco woman

Police have issued a capital murder arrest warrant for a man who had been the boyfriend of a woman whose body was discovered this week one day after she was reported missing.

Plano Police said Friday that they issued the warrant for 48-year-old Terrance Deering Black of Frisco in the death of 40-year-old Susan Loper of Frisco.

Police say the suspect has not yet been located.

Loper was reported missing Tuesday morning from the Plano country club where she worked as a fitness instructor. Her body was found Wednesday morning near the Dallas North Tollway in the neighboring suburb of Frisco.

Her car was missing from the country club lot but was found later.

Bank robber sentenced to 65 years in prison

A man who was convicted of holding up two Dallas banks after defending himself in court has been sentenced to 65 years in federal prison.

U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks says that 48-year-old Benjamin A. Potts was sentenced Friday.

Potts defended himself during a three-day trial in January. He was convicted of two counts of bank robbery and one count of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm during a crime.

The jury found Potts guilty of robbing two Dallas banks in January 2010.