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Bay Area briefs
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GROUP FIGHTING RICHMOND SODA TAX FILES LAWSUIT: RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — A group funded by the beverage industry has sued to avoid campaign-disclosure laws as it fights a proposed soda tax in Richmond.

The suit was filed in San Francisco on Aug. 30. It seeks an order barring the city of Richmond from imposing its campaign law on the Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes.

The federal lawsuit claims a city law requiring campaign mailers to include the identities of major contributors violates free-speech rights.

The coalition is funded mostly by the American Beverage Association.

The coalition opposes a penny-per-ounce soda tax on Richmond's November ballot. If the measure's approved, Richmond would become the first city in the nation to tax soda and other sugary beverages to help fight childhood obesity.

SF POLICE BATTLING SCAM TARGETING ASIAN WOMEN: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police say thieves have made off with almost $2 million in an ongoing scam targeting elderly women in the Chinese community.

The most recent cases were over the holiday weekend, when two women in their 60s were targeted. Police Capt. Garret Tom says the victims were told they and their valuables needed to be purified because they had stepped in blood and were being overtaken by evil spirits.

Each victim lost as much as $35,000.

In May, prosecutors announced the arrests of three women they say stole more than $100,000 worth of cash and jewelry from elderly women they approached on the streets with a similar scam.

UNION CITY OFFICER RESIGNS OVER LEWD CONDUCT: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California policeman who exposed himself to two women has resigned after pleading no contest to lewd conduct.

The San Francisco Chronicle says Sean Mace resigned on Friday from the Union City Police Department, where he'd worked since 2006.

Prosecutors say the 37-year-old officer had an additional job as a fitness consultant and flashed two women in Fremont during a fitness consultation.

Last month, he was sentenced to a day in jail after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor count of engaging in lewd conduct in a public place.

INMATE COMMITS SUICIDE AT NORTHERN CAL JAIL: DUBLIN (AP) — Authorities say an inmate has committed suicide at a Northern California jail.

The Contra Costa Times says 54-year-old Dennis Jimenez used a bed sheet to hang himself. He was found alone in his cell on Saturday at the Santa Rita Jail and pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office says Jimenez had been in custody since March 11, when he was arrested in Oakland on suspicion of driving under the influence, theft and a drug crime.

He was due to have been released this week.

STEVE JOBS' WIDOW JOINS STANFORD GOVERNING BOARD: PALO ALTO . (AP) — The widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs is joining Stanford University's governing board.

The university announced Wednesday that Laurene Powell Jobs will begin a five-year term on the school's board of trustees Oct. 1.

Powell Jobs earned a graduate degree in business from Stanford in 1991. She and Steve Jobs met on campus when she was a student and he had given a talk there.

Now one of the world's richest women, Powell Jobs is the co-founder of an after-school program that prepares disadvantaged high school students for college. She's also the founder of an organization that invests in progressive education and environmental projects.

MEN SENTENCED IN $20 MILLION FRAUD CASE: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal prosecutors say two northern California men have received prison sentences for their roles in a $20 million bank fraud scheme.

The Marin Independent Journal reports that 50-year-old David Papera of San Rafael received a 70-month sentence in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Papera's co-defendant, 44-year-old Michael Ohayon of San Francisco, also received a five-year prison sentence.

Both men reached plea deals after being indicted by a federal grand jury in 2010. They also have been ordered to pay about $10.6 million in restitution.

Prosecutors say the men filed loan applications using people with good credit to obtain nearly $20 million in loans from Washington Mutual Bank their Napa County parcel company.

Authorities say six people have also pleaded guilty to tax felonies for failing to report the $50,000 they were paid in the scheme.