COUNTERFEIT-CHECK RING Ex-officer placed on 2 years' probation
Five others are awaiting trial or sentencing.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Judge Jack M. Durkin did not hide his displeasure when he sentenced a somber Dale E. Posterli for his involvement in a counterfeit-check ring.
Judge Durkin of common pleas court put the 31-year-old former Youngstown police officer, of Brookline Avenue, on two years' probation at a sentencing hearing Friday.
Judge Durkin could have sentenced Posterli to more than seven years in prison. Posterli pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and single counts of forgery, unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance, complicity to forgery, receiving stolen property and attempting to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Before giving out the probation, however, Judge Durkin admonished Posterli for his conduct.
"Members of law enforcement, the bar [association] and other officers of the court should be held to a higher standard," he told Posterli.
The judge said, however, there were some factors that weighed in favor of granting Posterli probation as opposed to prison time.
First, the criminal conduct did not occur while Posterli was on duty, the judge said. Posterli also accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized, forfeited his pension, resigned as a police officer and agreed to make full restitution.
Judge Durkin added it was unlikely Posterli would commit additional crimes, and the judge said he had given probation to others in the ring that appeared in his court.
In addition to the probation, Judge Durkin ordered Posterli to complete 200 hours of community service.
The judge said that if Posterli violates any part of his probation, he would be sent to prison.
Gina Buccino Arnaut, an assistant county prosecutor, said there was not a definitive amount of money involved in the counterfeit-check ring, but it was in the thousands of dollars.
Ten others also were involved with Posterli, and all were indicted on charges including theft, forgery, receiving stolen property and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
The crimes occurred in July and August 2004, the prosecutor said.
Buccino Arnaut said the defendants either stole checks and cashed them, or used computers and other high-tech equipment to create fake checks and cashed them at area banks.
Posterli's North Side house had been searched by detectives investigating the check scheme. Police also searched the home of Dwayne Arrington, also known as DeWayne Arrington, 40, of Thornton Avenue, who also was indicted.
Buccino Arnaut said five other people already were given probation from between one year to 18 months and ordered to make restitution. They are Mary Dean, 31, Fifth Street, Warren; Gregory Mitchell, 44, Broadway, Youngstown; Danetta Cleckley, no age available, McQuiston Street, Youngstown; Charmaine Williams, 30, East Boston Avenue, Youngstown; and Arrington.
These five people are either awaiting sentencing or going to trial: Natalie Mack, no age available, Trussit Avenue, Youngstown; Erika Scroggins, 27, Forestview Avenue, Youngstown; Charletta Allen, 30, West Auburndale Avenue, Youngstown; Vincent Atwood, no age available, Lora Avenue, Youngstown; and Roy Joe White, 47, Drummond Avenue, Hubbard.