Politics

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Mahoning County Judge Indicted for Stealing from Former Client

November 15, 2018
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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — On Thursday, a federal court indicted suspended Mahoning County Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo for allegedly stealing at least $100,000 from a deceased client.

Vettori-Caraballo is charged with one count of mail fraud, one count of structuring cash deposits and one count of making false statements to law enforcement. She and her husband, Ismael Carabello, are also charged with one count of filing a false tax return.

According to the indictment, Vettori-Caraballo stole between $100,200 and $328,000 in cash stored in shoeboxes from the home of Dolores Falgiani, who died in March 2016. Vettori-Caraballo helped Falgiani prepare her will in November 2015, which made 16 specific bequests to relatives and friends and the rest of her estate going to Animal Charity Humane Society of Boardman and Angels for Animals in Canfield.

Vettori-Caraballo also provided estate planning services to Falgiani’s brother, Robert Sampson, who died in 2015. Though she helped draft Sampson’s will, on Nov. 20, 2015, she filed an application with Mahoning County Probate Court to administer Sampson’s estate, stating that he died without a will. According to the indictment, the court was unaware of Sampson’s will and appointed Falgiani as administrator of his estate.

In March 2016, Vettori-Caraballo filed an application with Mahoning County Probate Court to probate Falgiani’s estate, and in May she reported finding $20,000 in cash in the residence and deposited it into the estate, according to the indictment. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Vettori-Caraballo filed notices of newly discovered assets with the court, but did not disclose the cash.

The indictment charges her with structuring 22 deposits of the cash into five banks within four weeks to avoid federal reporting requirements. Banks are required to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the IRS. Vettori-Caraballo is charged with lying to the FBI about the theft and the structuring of cash deposits.

In 2002, Vettori-Caraballo was elected to judge in Mahoning County Court No. 3 – Sebring Court with jurisdiction over Sebring and Beloit Villages and Berlin, Green, Goshen, Ellsworth, Smith and Washingtonville Townships. She was reelected in 2006 and 2012.

Vettori-Caraballo was suspended in January and Molly Johnson was elected to fill the vacancy during the midterm elections last week.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.