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Sweetheart complains about jail

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KENOSHA (AP) - A Kentucky man known to police nationwide as the Sweetheart Swindler is stepping up his letter-writing campaign against "concentration camp" conditions in a Texas jail while awaiting sentencing for wooing two women out of about $40,000.

Alfred Barakett, 52, also known as Robert Koch, was arrested in Kenosha last year on allegations that he bilked a Wisconsin woman and an Iowa woman out of thousands of dollars in a romance scheme. After the arrest, he was linked to similar fraud cases in 28 states.

Barakett, of Louisville, Ky., was convicted May 1 in Dallas of bank fraud and faces sentencing July 17. He was accused of stealing $40,000 from two Dallas County women he courted in 1985 and 1990.

Since his incarceration in Mansfield, Texas, Barakett has written letters to judges, state authorities and newspapers about unbearable living conditions. He also predicts his conviction will be overturned.

His case in Wisconsin awaits a ruling by the State Supreme Court. In one of his latest handwritten letters from jail, Barakett says cold air gives him sore throats and earaches. The lack of a pillow causes neck pains, he said.

"No one knows the way I have suffer(ed) here but me," he wrote, asking for transfer to another institution where he could be warmer. "Your honor, was that too much to ask? For me not to freeze no more?"

"Mr. Koch complains a lot," Jim Owen, administrator at Mansfield Law Enforcement Center, said.


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