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Albion attorney sentenced and avoids jail for scheme to defraud

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 November 2018 at 2:08 pm

Kevin Allen

ALBION – An Albion attorney avoided incarceration today, but will spend five years on probation, pay nearly $50,000 in restitution and also do 200 hours of community service.

Kevin R. Allen, 32, was sentenced this morning in Orleans County Court by Judge Charles Zambito.

Allen, the judge noted, did not take any funds for drugs, gambling or some extravagant purchase.

However, his scheme of using some clients’ funds to pay money owed to other clients created hardships for many of the clients, costing them money and shaking their confidence in a person they expected to be their advocate.

“People put their trust in you,” Zambito told Allen. “That’s what lawyers are there for.”

Allen has been an “overachiever” most of his life, from becoming an Eagle Scout to going to law school to opening his own law office in his hometown, his attorney Michael Dwan told the court.

However, Allen suffered from depression and was no longer able to function as a lawyer, to file the proper paperwork and keep cases moving along for clients, Dwan said.

Allen sank into a deeper depression after his wife’s miscarriage and his mother’s cancer diagnosis. He also struggled with the pressures of running a law office, from keeping the business going to wanting to be the best advocate for his clients, who were often in crisis, Dwan said.

Dwan asked for probation and community service for Allen, with no jail time.

The special prosecutor in the case, Ryan Parisi, said nine people are owed restitution totaling $49,851. Allen has paid back other people as well who went to the police.

He will cash out his $15,000 retirement plan to reduce the $49,851, and then he will pay back $750 a month.

Three of the victims spoke in court today. Bonnie Pescara is owed $33,261. She said she sent Allen money for her car payment for two years and he diverted those funds, to the point where her vehicle was repossessed and her credit ruined.

He didn’t complete important paperwork in other matters, leading to stress and aggravation that she said has taken a toll on her health.

She asked the judge to give him the maximum sentence, 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

Another victim, Gregory Poole, is owed $11,590. He said Allen’s failure to follow through with legal paperwork, “has stood my life upside down.”

Anthony Palermo, another victim, said Allen’s delinquency cost Palermo “a lot of money.”

“I hired him to do a job for me and he never did it,” Palermo said. “It was dragged out a long time and I lost everything. I was lied to a long time.”

Allen apologized to his clients today in court, and also to his family. He said he would be turning over all files from his office to the Orleans County Bar Association.

“I’ve disappointed multiple people and it is with great sadness that I say that,” Allen said during sentencing. “I should have asked for help and I didn’t. I wasn’t in the right mental health state.”

Allen said he wishes he had referred people to other lawyers, and stepped back while he was struggling with what he said were multiple mental health issues.

“I never intended to hurt anyone or cause them financial difficulties,” he said.

Zambito said he didn’t think jail or prison was necessary for Allen, who has surrendered his law license and will be on probation while making restitution.

The judge said Allen fully cooperated with the prosecution.

“I hope you’re able to strengthen up your life,” Zambito said. “You’re obviously an intelligent man who worked hard to be a lawyer.”

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Rochester man admits selling fentanyl, faces up to 6 years in prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 October 2018 at 2:47 pm

ALBION – A Rochester man admitted in Orleans County Court today to selling fentanyl.

Giovanni M. Serrano, 19, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. As part of a plea agreement, he will face a maximum of six years in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 29.

The charge could have resulted in a maximum of 25 years in prison. Serrano was allegedly part of a four-person drug ring that was arrested in May. The four allegedly sold an extremely lethal fentanyl that resulted many overdoses in Orleans County.

An informant with the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force bought the fentanyl from Serrano on Feb. 28, District Attorney Joe Cardone said. It was one of several drug transactions involving Serrano, the district attorney told Judge Sanford Church.

In other cases in County Court today:

Jordan Herring of Holley pleaded guilty to attempting to making a terrorist threat. While he was in the county jail due a parole violation on May 31, he was speaking on the phone and told the person he was speaking with that he intended to “shoot, cut and choke” police and parole officers, Cardone said.

Herring said he was upset because he was in the jail and not receiving needed medical attention.

As part of the plea today, he will face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Jan. 10.

• A Medina woman pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and agreed to pay $91,973 in restitution.

Crystal Woodward, 32, of Medina could be sentenced to up to six months in jail on Jan. 17.

She allegedly took $91,973 from Medina Transportation Company and needs to repay that money, at least $400 a month until it is paid back.

• Two inmates at the Albion Correctional Facility were each sentenced to an additional 1 ½ to 3 years in prison for promoting prison contraband.

Gabriella Allen-Reiter and Danielle Rowe asked people to bring Suboxone into the prison. Suboxone is a prescription narcotic that is used for pain and can be used to help with opiate withdrawal.

The two inmates each also have to pay a $300 court surcharge, $50 DNA database fee, and $25 crime victims’ fee.

• A Waterport resident was arraigned on two counts of third-degree burglary, one county of third-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.

Justin Chaplin, 34, allegedly broke into garages in Carlton and took tools and equipment. The judge set bail at $10,000.

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2 sentenced after armed robbery at Medina village park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 October 2018 at 11:51 am

ALBION – Two Lockport men were sentenced today to incarceration after pleading guilty to a robbery at State Street Park in Medina on March 8.

Deandre Reed, 20, received the longest sentence – 5 years in state prison. He allegedly displayed a weapon in taking money and a cell phone from two strangers at the park. The weapon turned out to be a toy gun.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said the confrontation in a village park “was extremely concerning and alarming.” The DA urged Judge Sanford Church to send Reed to state prison.

Reed pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in the first degree and faced up to five years in state prison as part of a plea deal.

“I apologize for what I did,” Reed told the judge during sentencing this morning. “I need help.”

Judge Church gave Reed the maximum. The judge said Reed has had many opportunities for help, but continues to break the law.

The plea deal could have been rescinded and Reed given more time in prison because he was recently charged with felony assault and felony criminal mischief for an altercation in the Orleans County Jail.

Dominic Saraceno, Reed’s attorney, said Reed was defending himself in the jail. That case is now in town court and will be handled separately from the incident at the Medina park.

A codefendant in the Medina case, Robert Holmes, was sentenced to a year in the county jail today. Holmes, 19, pleaded guilty to petit larceny and faced up to a year in jail.

When Holmes was sentenced, Cardone asked for the maximum.

“It’s very alarming,” he said. “The two victims were in a village park when the co-defendant pulled a gun on them. It’s not the kind of crime we’re used to in Orleans County.”

Judge Church gave Holmes the maximum as part of the plea. The two victims in the crime were given orders of protection from both men sentenced today. The order for Reed lasts for 13 years.

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2 sentenced to year in jail for stabbing in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 October 2018 at 11:51 am

ALBION – Two Medina men were each sentenced to a year in Orleans County Jail after a fight last year with another man, who was stabbed three times.

Shane Harmer, 26, and Bobbie Lindsey Jr., 35, were sentenced today by Judge Charles Zambito.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Lindsey “instigated the violence with his aggressive behavior toward the victim.”

It was Harmer, however, who allegedly stabbed the victim three times late in the night of Sept. 30 in the 500 block of West Avenue.

The trio had been in a bar and the altercation moved outside. Judge Zambito said the incident could have resulted in a fatality. The victim has recovered from his injuries.

Attorneys for Harmer and Lindsey asked for probation and no jail time, but Zambito gave them a year in jail.

“I look at this case and it amazes me how things can end up like this because of a perceived insult,” Zambito said.

The judge said Lindsey started the altercation with an aggressive confrontation in the bathroom of a bar.

“You didn’t do the stabbing but you are the reason this all happened,” Zambito told Lindsey. “This could have been much more serious.”

The judge also issued an order of protection, saying the two defendants shall have no contact or communication with the victim for the next year.

In other cases:

• A Rochester woman who admitted to a drug charge but was free in a diversion program was sentenced to five years of probation after failing in diversion.

Jessica L. Hart, 28,  was living in Brockport when she was arrested last October for selling drugs in Orleans County.

She didn’t succeed in the diversion program in Orleans County. If she had been successful, felony charges would have been dismissed.

“I want to apologize for everything I have caused in this county,” she told Judge Zambito. “I want you to know it will never happen again.”

• An inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility pleaded guilty to promoting prison contraband in the second degree. Amy Hulsander, 35, admitted she worked with others to try to bring a prescription narcotic into the prison.

The judge sentenced her to six months of incarceration with the time to be served as part of her state prison sentence.

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Woman admits to having illegal gun and could face 1 ½ to 3 years in prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 October 2018 at 3:27 pm

ALBION – A North Carolina woman pleaded guilty today to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, after a loaded gun was found in her rental car on Aug. 26 when she was visiting the Albion Correctional Facility.

Ashley Mongeon of Charlotte, NC, could face up to 11/2 to 3 years in state prison when she is sentenced on Jan. 24.

She told Orleans County Court Judge Sanford Church she didn’t know the Smith & Wesson handgun was stolen. She bought it on the street in South Carolina. She told the judge she knew that it was illegal to acquire a gun that way.

In other cases in County Court today:

• A Medina resident was resentenced today after an error from his sentencing on July 23. Dino Callara, 50, in July was sentenced to 3 years in state prison for criminal possession of a weapon. The court sentenced him for committing a violent felony.

After the reviewing the case, the crime was determined to not be a violent felony. Callara was resentenced to a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 4 years in state prison.

He was arrested in February after he allegedly possessed and sold a firearm in November 2017.

• A Waterford, Saratoga County man admitted to mailing suboxone to an inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility.

Joshua J. Johnson, 38, pleaded guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband and faces a maximum sentence of probation as part of a plea arrangement that includes no jail time. Johnson said he was asked by an inmate to mail suboxone, and he did it knowing it was wrong. Suboxone is an opioid medication.

He will be sentenced on Jan. 4.

Sarah MacDonald, an inmate at the prison, is a codefendant in the case. She also pleaded guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree. She said she asked to have to suboxone sent to her to help her fight withdrawals from her drug addiction. The suboxone was intercepted by corrections staff. She didn’t receive it.

As a second felony offender, she could face a minimum of 1 ½ years and a maximum of 3 years in prison when she is sentenced on Jan. 10.

• Two other people were also arraigned for promoting prison contraband in the first degree for attempting to have suboxone be brought into the Albion Correctional Facility.

Edwin King, 58, of the Bronx allegedly mailed suboxone on two occasions, March 12 and April 13. He is charged with two counts each of promoting prison contraband and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.

Judge Church set bail at $25,000 for King, who has two prior felonies, several misdemeanors and three instances of failure to appear at court.

Maijia Scott, an inmate at the women’s prison, is the codefendant in the case. She was arraigned on two counts each of promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of controlled substance in the fourth degree.

She is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder from 2000. Because of that prior record, the judge set bail at $250,000, although Scott is expected to be in custody for several more years.

• A Lyndonville man was arraigned for aggravated driving while intoxicated, a felony. Kenneth Lonnen, 44, was arrested on Aug. 2 in Yates for allegedly driving with a BAC of 0.24percent, which is three times the legal limit.

• The judge set a Dec. 3 as the start of a trial against Collen Poole of Medina. He previously rejected a plea offer to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, with a cap of five years in state prison.

He was charged on March 1 after police found cocaine, marijuana and pills identified as Hydrocodone and Ecstasy.

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2 men are arraigned in County Court for sex abuse against juveniles

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2018 at 3:57 pm

ALBION – Two men from Orleans County were arraigned in County Court today in separate cases of sex abuse against juveniles.

Christopher Pressley, 35, of Albion allegedly had sex with a 12-year-old girl. He was arraigned this morning on three counts of first-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully dealing with a child.

Pressley, represented by attorney Michael O’Keefe, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Susan Howard, the assistant district attorney, asked for an order of protection for the alleged victim.

Judge Sanford Church approved the order and set bail for $20,000 cash or bond.

A Lyndonville man, who allegedly had sexual contact with a victim under the age of 11, also was arraigned.

Jason A. Dusett, 43, is charged with four counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, three counts of first-degree sex abuse and one count of second-degree sex abuse.

Judge Church set bail at $20,000 and issued an order of protection for the alleged victim.

In other cases in County Court today:

Jordan Herring of Holley, who is in the County Jail due to a parole violation, was arraigned for two counts of making a terrorist threat. He allegedly told a person over the telephone that he intended to stab and harm a probation officer and other law enforcement.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said the phone conversation was recorded from the jail.

Herring will remain in the county jail with no bail.

• An Albion man pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and circumvention of an interlock ignition device.

Jason Perry, 36, was charged on July 26 in the Village of Albion with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.19 percent. He has two prior DWIs within the past decade.

He could be sentenced to a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison on Dec. 6. He remains in jail on $2,500 bail. His attorney, public defender Joanne Best, asked the bail be reduced so he could continue working. She said the bail is too high.

Judge Church said the bail is reasonable and declined to release Perry on his own recognizance.

Roy Shonerd, 37, of Albion pleaded guilty to attempted welfare fraud and agreed to pay $9,265 in restitution. Shonerd allegedly accepted welfare benefits he wasn’t entitled to from January 2012 to December 2017. He needs to pay the restitution to the Orleans County Department of Social Services.

As part of a plea deal today, he could face a maximum of nine months in jail. He will be sentenced on Dec. 20.

• An inmate at the Albion Correctional Facility pleaded guilty to attempted prison contraband in the first degree. Shannon Wilson said she had her husband bring a controlled substance to the prison on May 5.

She could be sentenced to a maximum of 1 ½ to 3 years in prison on Dec. 6.

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Albion man will be in prison for about a decade after assault

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 9:46 pm

ALBION – An Albion man will be in prison for about a decade after an assault that nearly killed a man on June 9, 2017.

Wesley Askew

Wesley Askew, 50, on May 15 pleaded guilty to attempted assault in the second degree. That charge carries a maximum of 2 to 4 years in prison.

However, because Askew was on parole, he goes back to prison until 2025 or for the seven years remaining on his post-release supervision. Then he will serve 2 to 4 more years in prison.

He was on post-release supervision after getting out from prison in late 2015. He was convicted in May 2009 of second-degree rape. He is a level 3 sex offender, the highest possible risk for re-offending.

He was sentenced today for the assault charge in Orleans County Court by Judge Sara Sheldon.

Askew seriously injured another Albion man on June 9, 2017 during a late-night fight at 175 North Main St., an apartment building north of the Erie Canal. Askew allegedly got into an altercation at 1:45 a.m. and allegedly punched another man several times, causing serious head injuries.

Joseph Julyan, 55, tried to intervene when Askew got in an argument with his girlfriend. Askew testified at a trial he was upset that Julyan didn’t mind his own business, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

Askew allegedly punched Julyan five to seven times in the head. Julyan got to his feet, but fell and hit his head on concrete. Julyan suffered a stroke and has some paralysis on his right side.

“Virtually every time I have talked with him he has expressed remorse,” Askew’s attorney Larry Koss told Judge Sheldon. “He understands the tragedy that took place here.”

Askew had been drinking alcohol that night, which helps explain his actions but doesn’t excuse them, Koss said.

Cardone said Askew’s “overreaction” has caused “a devastating effect” for Julyan and his family, requiring care for the rest of his life.

Sheldon said Askew’s actions resulted in “a life sentenced for the victim.”

“I don’t believe you intended to leave this man basically as a vegetable,” Sheldon said at sentencing. “Basically you’ve destroyed his life.”

Askew was given “a gift” with the plea deal, the judge said.

It proved difficult for a doctor to pinpoint if Julyan’s injuries were caused by the punches from Askew or when Julyan fell and hit his head, Cardone said after Askew pleaded guilty in May.

The sentence today sends Askew to prison for 9 to 11 years.

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3 are sentenced to incarceration for crimes in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 5:35 pm

ALBION – Three people were sentenced to incarceration in Orleans County Court this afternoon.

Morris Taylor, 28, of Albion was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison for violating his probation. He was recently charged with driving while intoxicated.

He was on probation for five years after admitting in court in July 2014 that he sold cocaine in Albion. As part of that sentence, he served six months in jail and was on probation.

Judge Sara Sheldon wanted to give Taylor weekends in jail for violating probation, but said she couldn’t because he had already served time in jail as part of the sentence that included probation.

“I’m afraid I don’t have  a lot of options of this,” Sheldon said.

In other cases:

Corey Goebel, 27, of Rochester was sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years of probation for third-degree burglary. He admitted in a previous court appearance to entering a garage on June 21, 2017, and intending to a commit a crime in Clarendon on Monroe-Orleans Countyline Road.

Goebel faces a similar charge in Monroe County and the sentencings will run at the same time.

As part of the sentencing in Orleans County, Goebel needs to pay $1,000 restitution to the victim, which is the deductible paid to the insurance company.

• A former Middleport resident was sentenced to a drug treatment program through the state prison system.

Nichole Hart, 27, allegedly broke into a house Dec. 28, 2014 on East Lee Road in Barre. She pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary with a maximum of 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison.

However, she was accepted into a diversion program. If she had been successful in the program, the felony would have been dismissed and she would have been sentenced to a misdemeanor.

Sheldon said Hart had some success in the program. The judge believes Hart is still a good candidate to succeed in drug treatment. If she doesn’t do well in the Willard program in the state prison system, she will have to do 1 ½ to 3 years of regular prison time.

As part of the sentence today, Hart was ordered to pay $9,174 in restitution.

• An Albion man appeared in court for a bail hearing. Clarence Dunbar, 48, of Chamberlain Street was arrested on Sept. 12 and is accused of selling cocaine.

He has been charged with 3 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and 5 counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

He has been in jail since Sept.12 with no bail set by a town justice. Joanne Best, the public defender, asked for a “manageable” bail for Dunbar, about $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond.

She noted Dunbar has a criminal history, but his previous most recent arrest was in 2008.

Judge Sanford Church presided over the case. He said Dunbar was involved in at least three drug sales on different dates with the latest arrest. Church set bail at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

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Medina man sentenced to 20 years in prison for rapes, criminal sex acts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2018 at 3:57 pm

MEDINA – A Medina man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison today after being found guilty of multiple counts of rape and criminal sexual act.

Gerardo Quiros

Gerardo Quiros, 31, was found guilty on June 25 during a trial. Judge Sara Sheldon this afternoon sentenced him to 10 years in prison for four counts of first-degree rape, and also 10 years for two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree. The 10 years will be served separately for each, meaning a 20-year sentence.

Quiros also will have at least 10 years of post-release supervision.

He also was sentenced for misdemeanors today. Those sentences, all a year or less in the county jail, will be served concurrently or the same time with the state prison sentence.

The misdemeanors include two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, one count of third-degree assault, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.

Quiros intends to appeal the jury’s decision, his attorney Scott Riordan told Judge Sheldon today. Because of the impending appeal, Riordan advised Quiros not to speak during sentencing today.

Quiros in July was found guilty after he allegedly held a woman against her will for several weeks, while physically and sexually assaulting her.

On Aug. 7 he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors after he allegedly barged into a home on Root Road in Barre and tried to drag his girlfriend out of the house by her feet. He was stopped by her brother, who made Quiros leave at gunpoint.

The judge issued several orders of protection today.

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Albion man admits to selling cocaine, could get 4 years in prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2018 at 11:43 am

ALBION – An Albion man admitted in Orleans County Court on Thursday to selling cocaine in the county in January.

Jason Abron, 44, of Lydun Drive pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. As part of a plea agreement, he could be sentenced to a maximum of 4 years in state prison on Dec. 20.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Abron was arrested on March 9 after a series of controlled buys through the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

In other cases in County Court on Thursday:

Jason P. Muck, 40, of Lyndonville pleaded guilty to felony driving while intoxicated and could face up to a year in jail when he is sentenced on Nov. 29.

He was charged after being stopped on March 30 by State Police on Route 63 in the Town of Yates. He registered a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.17 percent, about twice the legal limit.

• A Wyoming County man admitted to accepting about $8,000 for two construction jobs in Orleans County without doing the work.

Dean Smith Jr. pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree and will be sentenced on Dec. 20. He could face jail time and probation as part of a plea agreement.

Jenna Zagara of Lockport admitted to using someone else’s credit card without approval to pay bills. She allegedly racked up $1,905 in unauthorized spending. She has already paid restitution.

She pleaded guilty to petit larceny. As part of a plea deal, she won’t face time in jail when she is sentenced on Dec. 20.

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