UPDATE | Mahoning County judge charged with stealing
Judge Diane Vettori will not be
able to hear cases at the Mahoning County Area Court in Sebring while
criminal charges against her are pending.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio
Supreme Court cited a rule which states that judges are disqualified
from acting as a judge while there is an indictment or information
charging them with a crime punishable as a felony.
An information filed Tuesday in
U.S. District Court charges Vettori, 49, of Canfield with stealing at
least $92,000 from a former client’s home after the client died.
Vettori-Caraballo, 49, of
Youngstown, was charged via criminal information with one count of
fraud, one count of structuring cash deposits and one count of making
false statements to law enforcement.
She was charged in federal court
with stealing at least $96,200 from a former client, said U.S. Attorney
Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.
Vettori-Caraballo stole between
$96,200 and $328,000 in cash that was in the home of a client when that
client died in March 2016, according to the information.
Vettori-Caraballo was elected to
position of judge in Mahoning County Court #3 – Sebring Court in 2002,
with jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic charges and
other matters in Sebring and Beloit Villages and Berlin, Green, Goshen,,
Ellsworth, Smith and Washingtonville Townships. She was reelected in
2006 and 2012, according to the information.
She also provided estate
planning services to Robert Sampson, including drafting his will. On
Nov. 20, 2015, Vettori-Caraballo filed an application in Mahoning County
Probate Court to administer Sampson’s estate. The application stated
Sampson died without a will. The probate court, unaware of Sampson’s
will, appointed his closest living relative his sister, Dolores Falgiani
,as the administrator three days later, according to the information.
Sampson died in 2015.
Falgiani’s will on Nov. 3, 2015. The will made 16 specific bequests to
relatives and friends and bequeathed the rest of the estate to Animal
Charity Human Society of Boardman and the Angels for Animal Charity in
Canfield, according to the information.
Sometime in October or November
2015, Falgiani stated she was in possession of several shoeboxes of
cash stored at her residence. Falgiani was found dead in her home on
March 10, 2016, according to the information.
Vettori-Caraballo filed an
application in Mahoning County Probate Court to probate Falgiani’s
estate on March 24, 2016. On May 2, she reported having found cash in
the residence and depositing the $20,000 into the estate, according to
On several subsequent occasions
in 2016 and this year, Vettori-Caraballo filed a notice of newly
discovered assets with the court. Each time, she failed to disclose the
cash she had stolen, according to the information.
The information also charged
Vettori-Caraballo with structuring 22 deposits of the cash she stole
into five different banks within four weeks to avoid regulations that
require banks to report cash transactions over $10,000 to the IRS. In
addition, the information charges that Vettori-Caraballo lied to the FBI
when she was confronted about the theft and the structuring of cash
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian McDonough and Ann C. Rowland.
If convicted, the sentence in
this case will be determined by the Court after consideration of the
Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which depend upon a number of factors
unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if
any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the unique characteristics
of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the
statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
An information is a charge and
not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which
it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable