by NBC 10 NEWS
Five individuals, including a Johnston probate judge, are facing charges for their roles in allegedly stealing valuable sports cards and firearms collections from the estate of a dead Cranston man.
The attorney general and the state police said a grand jury returned sealed indictments charging Sylvia Santilli, 71; Luke Baughman, 37; Jillian Chatelle, 32; James Connors, 69; and Priscilla Facha DiMaio, 65, with several crimes related to the theft of property from the estate of the late James Barbieri.
DiMaio is a probate judge for the town of Johnston.
The estate included collections of sports cards with an estimated value of more than $1 million and firearms worth more than $100,000.
Barbieri passed away on Apr. 26, 2021, at Rhode Island Hospital without a will.
Two days before he passed, Santilli allegedly began to remove items from his home.
According to documents, Santilli, her daughter Jillian, and Chatelle's boyfriend Baughman, conducted internet searches about the market rates for sports cards in Barbieri's collection.
The co-defendants allegedly removed the sports cards and other items including firearms, and sold them.
Connors allegedly submitted false receipts for firearms he sold and their estimated value.
was charged with one count of attempting to obtain money under false
pretenses over $1,500, and one count of providing a false document to a
She's accused of filing documents in Cranston Probate Court seeking approval of fees for work she did for the estate.
"These claims are alleged to be substantially false," a release from the attorney general and the state police said.
Johnston Mayor Polisena, Jr., released a statement about DeMaio's indictment.
"Town Council President Robert Russo and I are in agreement that Priscilla DiMaio will be immediately placed on leave and a final determination of employment will be made upon the adjudication of the pending case. Just like everyone else, she is afforded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty."
The five are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday and Wednesday.
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Johnston probate judge charged in alleged scheme to steal sports cards from man's estate