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ACE DRIVING SCHOOL Woman guilty of altering records



Published: Tue, August 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Prosecutors dismissed eight similar counts.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The former office manager of Ace School of Driving has been found guilty of two counts of tampering with company records.

Ann Marie Snow of Gates Street, Cortland, pleaded no contest before Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. He found her guilty.

She remains free on a $5,000 bond and will be sentenced after a background check is completed.

In exchange for her plea, prosecutors dismissed eight similar charges.

She faces up to five years in prison or probation for each count.

The crime: According to the indictment, Snow was altering the driver's license training certification given to students who completed a course at the school at 2927 Youngstown Road S.E.

The indictment says the certificates were altered from April 1, 1999, until March 31, 2000, making it appear the school was licensed by the state.

The certificates were proof that new drivers had taken the hours of driving instruction required to get their licenses. Because the firm wasn't licensed, Snow altered copies of previously issued certificates and gave those to clients, officials said.

Student drivers who got their licenses with certificates issued in the cases covered by the indictments will probably have to go back to get the required instruction from a licensed agency, officials said.

Sgt. Gary Lewis, a spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Columbus, said the school was shut down in March because it wasn't licensed.

Lewis said all driving schools in Ohio must have their licenses renewed each year, something officials say Ace failed to do.

Even though the company didn't have its license renewed, it continued operating and issuing altered training certificates, officials said.

Michael Albanese, a full-time Warren police officer who owns Ace, said what Snow did was "wrong and hurt a lot of people."

Albanese said he was in the process of selling the business to Snow and had left her in charge. He said efforts have been made to reimburse former students who were affected.

Snow appeared in court with her attorney, George Kafantaris.

They stressed that Snow was not authorized as office manager to apply for renewal of the school's license, and that it was Albanese's responsibility.




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