About 3,000 use Safe Surrender in A.C.

About 3,000 nonviolent offenders wanted on outstanding warrants turned themselves in during a four-day Fugitive Safe Surrender program in Atlantic City, state officials said Thursday. The program offers a quick resolution to cases, often without jail time.

Held at Grace Assembly of God, it was the fourth and final Safe Surrender in New Jersey; the first was in 2008 in Camden. More than 13,000 people have surrendered in New Jersey through the program, ranking the state first in the national program since it began in 2005 in Cleveland.

Cases this week were adjudicated in temporary courtrooms near the church. Most participants had at least one warrant from municipal courts, which included disorderly persons offenses and traffic violations. About 15 percent had at least one Superior Court warrant and about 12 percent had no warrant, officials said.

More than $60,000 in traffic payments, child support and probation fines was collected, authorities said. The Safe Surrender program is a collaboration among law enforcement agencies in several South Jersey counties and the state Attorney General's office and state Parole Board, among others. — Darran Simon

Burlco woman gets prison for student loan fraud

La'Vada Cruse, 25, of Browns Mills, was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in prison for fraudulently submitting more than 90 student loan applications seeking more than $1.7 million. She was granted 17 of the loans and collected more than $192,000, prosecutors said.

Cruse applied for the loans between 2003 and 2007 using her name and the identities and Social Security numbers of unwitting family members, she previously admitted in federal court in Camden. She claimed to be a full-time college student and included fake enrollment letters and biographies, employment letters, and financial information. When the applications were approved, banks cut her checks for as much as $22,000.

Cruse pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, two counts of tax evasion, and one of aggravated identity theft. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle sentenced Cruse to five years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $136,403. — Sam Wood

A. C. mayor would get raise under ordinance

ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic City Council has unanimously adopted an ordinance that would give Mayor Lorenzo Langford a raise of nearly $16,000, effective in January.

The measure, passed Wednesday, would set the mayoral salary at 1 percent more than the city's highest paid civilian employee. Municipal Judge Bruce Ward earns $117,697, so Langford's pay would go up 15 percent to $118,874.

Langford said he would take the financial condition of the city into consideration when deciding whether to accept the raise when it goes into effect. Republicans are trying to put the salary formula up for a citywide vote in November. — AP