Judge Vettori to resign Mahoning court, statement says


The caseload of Mahoning County Court No. 3 will be taken up by Judges Joseph Houser, Scott Hunter and David D'Apolito.

A voicemail left for Judge Hunter, the county's presiding judge, "did indicate that [Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo]. anticipated resigning as a judge of Mahoning County Area Courts," a statement issued this morning by Colleen Ingram, court administrator, said.

Judge Vettori of Mahoning County Area Court in Sebring is off the bench on which she has served since 2002 until a charge of stealing at least $96,200 from a former client is resolved.

The Ohio Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday sidelining the judge for the duration of the case.

Vettori, 49, of Canfield, who is charged as Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo, faces one count of mail fraud, one count of structuring cash deposits and one count of making false statements to law enforcement.

The Supreme Court’s order cited a rule that disqualifies judges who face charges punishable as felonies under state or federal law from continuing to act as judges until the case is concluded.

She’s accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio of stealing between $96,200 and $328,000 in cash that was in the home of Dolores Falgiani, one of her clients, who died in March 2016, according to the information.

An information lays out charges against a defendant. A defendant can waive his or her right to an indictment and plead guilty to that information, or require prosecutors to present the charges to a grand jury to obtain an indictment.

According to the information, she deposited $96,200 of the cash through 22 deposits with five different banks over four weeks to avoid regulations that require banks to report deposits of more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, the information says.

It also accuses Judge Vettori of lying to agents from the FBI who confronted her about the matter.

The FBI began investigating the case in December 2016 and met with the judge in March 2017.

The information claims FBI agents met with her in March when she told them she hadn’t “received a nickel” from the Falgiani estate. Agents also allege she claimed the bank deposits came from her father’s estate who died shortly before that interview. He died more than a year earlier, the information says.

She also told agents the money came from her husband’s retirement account. Her husband, Ismael Caraballo, is a retired Youngstown police officer.

Judge Dan A. Polster of U.S. District Court in Cleveland has been assigned to the case.

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