Ex-judge guilty of concealing stolen assets
By Justin Dennis
A former Sebring-area judge must pay almost $209,000 to the estate of the deceased client from whom she stole, a judge has ruled.
Visiting Probate Court Judge Thomas Swift ruled Monday that Diane Vettori-Caraballo “willfully concealed” from the Mahoning County Probate Court assets she embezzled from that client, Dolores Falgiani, and her brother Robert Sampson, after Falgiani’s death, according to court filings.
Vettori-Caraballo – who helped Falgiani prepare a will and provided estate-planning services for Sampson – was accused of stealing at least $100,200 that Falgiani had stored in shoeboxes at her Boardman home before her death in March 2016.
Vettori-Caraballo then structured 22 deposits of the stolen cash across five banks over the course of four weeks to skirt regulations requiring banks to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the IRS, said Deane Hassman, FBI special agent, who testified in the probate court when proceedings began in December.
He said Vettori-Caraballo used it to pay about $58,000 on 35 different credit cards.
Vettori-Caraballo asserted she hadn’t “received a nickel” from the Falgiani estate and instead claimed the money came from her husband’s retirement account.
Vettori-Caraballo has 30 days to make arrangements with the administrator of Falgiani’s estate to pay the judgment amount, only $100,200, which accounts for cash removed from Falgiani’s home. The majority of the damages include penalties, interest and court, attorney and investigation costs.
Co-defendant Cynthia Henry, whom Falgiani named executor of her will at Vettori-Caraballo’s recommendation, settled for a lump-sum $40,000 payment, according to court filings.
Theodore Stalnacker, another co-defendant with whom Vettori-Caraballo conspired to profit from sales of vehicles from the state, settled last week for $6,000, court records show.
Vettori-Caraballo and her husband, Ismael Caraballo, in February pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the theft, which prosecutors estimated at between $100,200 and $328,000.
They’re set for sentencing June 13 in Cleveland federal court.