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Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Batavia's three convicted bookies still eligible to receive partial retirement benefits

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Two former city firefighters and a state employee who entered guilty pleas earlier this week on an illegal gambling charge and agreed to resign their government jobs will still receive partial state pensions when they reach retirement age.

City Manager Jason Molino confirmed today that Brian Bordinaro and Gregory Phillips, who worked for the city 18 and 17 years respectively, are still covered by the New York State Retirement System.

He said that's state law and there's nothing the city can do about it.

"In New York you get credit for time served and they can't take that away from you," Molino said.

According to the state's retirement system site, tier 4 employees who stop working for a state or local entity before reaching the 20th year of service are eligible for 1/60th of their final annual salary for each year he or she worked.

Using the calculations from the site, 43-year-old Bordinaro, based on his 2012 salary of $62,000, if he waited until age 62 to retire, could receive in the neighborhood of $18,000 a year, or $1,500 per month.

The 39-year-old Phillips, with a 2012 salary of $57,000, could receive approximately $16,000 annually or $1,300 per month.

The salary data comes from See Through New York. The state's retirement system uses a specific formula to calculate the final annual salary, and there are other factors that go into the calculation, so readers should use the figures merely as a gauge meant to provide an idea of the retirement eligibility that is possible.

The third man who participated in the gambling activity, Lance Engel, 41, worked for the state as a cook at the veterans home in Batavia. He is also part of the retirement system, and with 17 yeas of service and a 2012 salary of $45,000 could receive approximately $12,000 annually starting at age 62.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

Law and Order: Driver in Pembroke accused of DWI

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, pembroke

Debra Jean Bastiano, 55, of South Main Street Road, Elba, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, speeding (55 in 40 mph zone) and possession or consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Bastiano was stopped at 9:31 p.m. Wednesday on Route 5, Pembroke, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Thomas Riley Munger, 18, of Glidden Circle, of Hamlin, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Munger was arrested following a report to College Village security of individuals smoking marijuana in a vehicle on College Village grounds.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

Two Corfu residents accused of growing marijuana

post by Howard B. Owens in corfu, crime

Marijuana, both growing and harvested, was allegedly found in the home of two Corfu men Wednesday after members of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at the residence.

Two men were charged with criminal possession of marijuana, a Class D felony.

Jailed on $10,000 bail was Matthew T. Milleville, 26, of Main Road, Corfu, and bail was set at $2,500 for Andrew J. Marlinski, 26, of Main Road, Corfu.

Both men were also charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful growing of cannabis and Milleville was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

Investigators report that they found LSD in the residence.

Allegedly found in the residence were more than 30 growing marijuana plants along with harvested marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Jacquetta Simmons posts $50,000 bail

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman just announced that a $50,000 bail bond was posted today with the Genesee County Court on behalf of Jacquetta Simmons.

The 27-year-old Batavia resident was found guilty earlier this year of assaulting 70-year-old Wal Mart employee Grace Suozzi in the store last Christmas Eve.

On Nov. 30, New York Appellate Division Justice Rose Sconiers ordered that Simmons' sentence be stayed pending a hearing on her attorneys' appeal, which argues her sentence of five years in prison is overly harsh considering that Simmons is a first-time offender. This is what made it possible for Simmons' release this afternoon.

Judge Robert C. Noonan signed a release order and she'll be released from custody once it's received by Bedford Hills Correctional Facility where she is incarcerated.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Law and Order: Alleged drunk driver found passed out in cornfield with motor running

post by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Joshua William Cresswell, 20, of Janes Road, Rochester, was found passed out behind the wheel of his gray sedan around 7:30 this morning with the motor still running. He was in a cornfield, south of Little Falls Road, Pembroke. Cresswell was arrested and will appear in Pembroke Town Court on Jan. 10 on charges of driving while intoxicated and driving with a BAC of .08 or more. (Nothing about his being underage was noted in the report.)

Rozella Ann Smith, 76, of Colonial Boulevard, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. She was arrested for allegedly striking another person on the wrist and arraigned in Town of Batavia Court. The incident allegedly occurred on Nov. 29 at 10:43 p.m.

Gregory Stephen Hallifax, 46, of Diane Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd, and arraigned in Stafford Town Court. Hallifax was arrested on suspicion of criminal contempt and failure to obey an order of protection on Nov. 29 at 11:32 p.m. at a location on East Main Street Road, Stafford. He was released and will appear in Stafford Town Court next month.

(Note: Temporary difficulties in receiving FAX transmissions delayed the publication of information on Smith and Hallifax.)


Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

Suspect in break-ins in Le Roy Village now charged with multiple felonies

post by Billie Owens in crime, Le Roy

Tyler F. Longhini, 21, was arrested by the Le Roy Police Department on Tuesday and charged with multiple felonies in connection with crimes reported on Lake, Bacon and Pleasant streets in the Village of Le Roy.

His arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation that started in mid-July. The crimes he is suspected of committing include: entering unlocked vehicles; damaging the interior of a vehicle; attempted forced entry burglary to a shed; and an actual burglary of a residential apartment while the tenant was sleeping.

The charges are: one count of burglary, 2nd, a Class C felony; one count of attempted burglary, 3rd, a Class E felony; one count of grand larceny, 4th, a Class E felony; and two counts of criminal mischief, 3rd, a Class E felony.

Longhini, who lives at 82 Gilbert St. in Le Roy, was arraigned in the Le Roy Town Court and released under the supervision of Genesee Justice.

CLARIFICATION 4:34 p.m.: Longhini was originally arrested on July 15 after being caught in the act of rifling through vehicles. But he was only charged with misdemeanors at that time, pending continuing investigation of the break-ins and forensic lab results. Then on Tuesday, Le Roy police were able to bring mulitple felony charges against Longhini, according to Det. John Condidorio.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

BREAKING: Firefighters accused of bookmaking plead guilty to greatly reduced charge

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

The three Batavia men arrested in February for running an illegal gambling operation, including two city firefighters, have entered guilty pleas in city court today to a Class A misdemeanor charge of promoting gambling, 2nd.

The pleas are a dramatically reduced from the Class B felony of enterprise corruption, which the case was elevated to in April.

Gregory Phillips and Brian Bordinaro, both veteran city firefighters, along with Lance Engel, a cook with the state's veterans home in Batavia, were originally arrested on a felony charge of criminal possession of gambling records in the first degree, a Class E felony. Philips was also accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

The Class B felony carried a maximum penalty of 8 to 25 years in state prison.

City Court Judge Robert Balbick's sentencing options include everything from an unconditional discharge to a year in county jail, including a combination of a shorter jail term and a term of probation.

As part of the plea deal, all three men agreed to resign their government jobs.

Attorney Larry Andolina, representing Phillips, said the charge his clients pled guilty to was exactly what they should have been charged with in the first place.

"I just don’t think gambling is that serious of a crime considering all of the gambling that goes on by the state, various lottery tickets, horsing racing, casinos … times need to be changed," Andolina said.

When the case first became public, investigators said gambling records indicated the trio was running a wide-ranging bookmaking operation that covered a variety sports, had numerous clients and turned over about $1 million in wagers. The trio was alleged by investigators to have taken in $80,000 in profits.

Andolina said none of that was true.

"It's all nonsense," Andolina said. "This was little people, betting, gambling on football games. It was blown so out of proportion, which is why it ended up being a misdemeanor."

At the first court appearance that Andolina and his fellow attorneys made on behalf of their clients, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman turned over thousands of pages of "discovery" -- the evidence the government has supposedly gathered against the defendants.

Andolina said the discovery failed to substantiate the original charges.

Friedman was not in court today, was out of the office and has not responded to a request for comment.

Sheriff Gary Maha said his investigators felt they had a solid case that could substantiate the felony charges or they wouldn't have made the arrests.

"We have many cases in which we make an arrest and then the case is pled down," Maha said. "It's our job to make the arrest. It's the DA's job to decide what to do with the case."

The Class A misdemeanor of promoting gambling is the lowest level crime under Article 225, New York's gambling penal code.

Joseph LaTona, attorney for Engel, said there was nothing unusual at all about the plea bargain. He characterized it as a "garden variety" plea.

"I’ve practiced criminal defense law for almost 40 years in Western New York and for individuals without a prior criminal history, for a first-time gambling offense, this is par for the course," LaTona said. "I’ve had many dispositions identical to this throughout many counties in Western New York.  It’s not unusual. It’s typical."

Sentencing on all three defendants is set for March 5.

One decision Balbick will be asked to make in the case of Phillips is to declare what Andolina called a "release from liabilities." He said Phillips has an opportunity for another job and a release from liabilities allows a person convicted of a crime to still be licensed in New York for some types of jobs. Andolina said the job prospect for Phillips is in the private sector.

Phillips and Bordinaro had 17 and 18 years on the job and would have been eligible for a New York State pension if they had completed 20 years of employment.

Both, they said in court, have already resigned from their city jobs.

Photos: Top, Bordinaro, center, with Andolina, right and Greg Ireland, president of IAFF Local 896. Inset, Phillips.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

Law and Order: Rochester man accused of concealing drugs while being booked into jail

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke, Stafford

Benjamin Authur Tribunella, 18, of Spencerport Road, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21 and promoting prison contraband, 1st. Tribunella's vehicle was stopped at 4:28 p.m. Monday on Route 33, Stafford, for an alleged equipment violation by Deputy Joseph Corona. During the traffic stop, Tribunella was found to allegedly possess a controlled substance and alcohol. While being processed into the Genesee County Jail, Tribunella was reportedly found in possession of an additional controlled substance that he allegedly tried to conceal.

Randy Kevin Wilmet, 35, of Franklin St., Batavia, is charged with falsely reporting an incident. Wilmet is accused of providing false information regarding a vehicle accident at 5:18 a.m., Oct. 21, in the Town of Bergen. Wilmet reportedly was a passenger in the vehicle. Also charged was Matthew James Reed, 28, of State Street, Batavia.

Joshua David Kritz, 24, of Lyndale Court, West Seneca, turned himself in on a bench warrant out of the Village of Corfu Court for allegedly violating a conditional discharge on a DWI arrest. Kritz was jailed on $500 bail.

Gregory Stephen Halifax, 46, of Diane Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Halifax is accused of violating an order of protection.

Rochel J. Johnson, 31, of Pembroke, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Johnson was arrested by State Police in connection with an alleged incident reported at 6:20 p.m., Oct. 26. No further details were released.

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

Alexander man accused of doing donuts in Johnny Bear's parking lot, damaging building

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime, Darien

Tips from readers of The Batavian have helped lead to the arrest a man suspected of driving his truck into the building of a restaurant in Darien Center on the night of Dec. 1.

Johny Bear's, on Broadway Road, reportedly suffered significant damage from a truck that spun out in the parking lot while the asphalt was covered with a dusting of snow.

N. L. Beglinger, 21, of Peaviner Road, Alexander, is being charged with reckless driving and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

According to Deputy Brian Thompson's report, Beglinger drove into the parking lot at 12:35 a.m., with a 2006 Chevy pickup registered to Harlan L. George, of Peaviner Road. He drove in a northwesterly direction, spun counterclockwise and struck the building. He then allegedly headed southwesterly, and peeled out in the grass in front of a fire hydrant. Tire marks then showed the truck heading northwest and doing a donut in the parking lot.

Thompson said in his report that the investigation revealed that Beglinger intended to report to an insurance company that the truck struck a tree on Sprague Road.

The initial report in The Batavian suggested the truck involved in the accident also did donuts at the Triple C Shop Mart, Darien, and a video surveillance system captured some images of that truck.

It turned out the two incidents were unrelated -- different trucks -- though similar-looking -- and different drivers.

There were three passengers in Beglinger's truck, Shelby L. Fryer, 17, Douglas J. Knauss, 22, and Christopher King, 21.

Beglinger is scheduled to appear on the matter in Darien Town Court at 5 p.m., Dec. 18.

Deputy Kevin McCarthy assisted in the investigation.

Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

Law and Order: Witnesses help nab driver allegedly driving under influence of drugs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy

Justin M. Wotherspoon, 26, of Gibson Street, Oakfield, is charged with felony DWAI, aggravated unlicensed operation and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Witnesses reportedly observed a vehicle allegedly driven by Wotherspoon operating in an erratic manner on Lewiston Road, heading from Batavia to Oakfield. The vehicle reportedly traveled over fog lines before going off the roadway on the opposite side of the road, then traveled a short distance in the ditch before reentering the roadway. Witnesses followed the vehicle to a residence in the Village of Oakfield and waited for police to arrive. Wotherspoon was allegedly found in possession of several prescription medications that were not his.

Stacey N. Cino, 24, of 22 Old Meadow Lane, Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Cino is accused of sending harassing and annoying text messages to another person. Batavia PD reportedly previously advised Cino not to have further contact with that person.

Sharon Y. Sharman, 41, of 8487 Seven Springs Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Sharman is accused of violating an order of protection. Sharman allegedly contacted, repeatedly, the person covered by the order of protection.

Nathan A. Dowty, 23, of Arpin, Wis., is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Dowty was allegedly observed by a Le Roy police officer in the Fire Star Bank parking lot on West Main Street, Le Roy, driving the wrong way in the drive-thru lane and striking the curb. Dowty was jailed on $500 bail.

Thomas C. Zimmer, 36, of 3 1/2 Thomas Ave. Batavia, was arrested for allegedly failing to abide by a release under supervision contract. Zimmer was located at the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office and turned over to Batavia PD on a bench warrant. Zimmer was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Andrei P. Sliker, 21, of 318 W. Main St., Batavia, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to appear. Sliker was located in Le Roy by Le Roy PD and turned over to Batavia PD. Sliker was jailed on $300 bail.

Thomas M. Moe, 37, and Todd J. Corron Jr., both of Pleasant View Avenue, Syracuse, are charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Moe is also charged with operating on a suspended registration. During a traffic stop on Route 5, Pembroke, Moe was allegedly found with a bag of marijuana in his pocket and remnants of marijuana cigarettes in his vehicle. Corron allegedly possessed a bag of marijuana in his pocket. The traffic stop was conducted by Deputy Lonnie Nati with assistance from Deputy Brian Thompson and K-9 "Pharoah."

Steven Michael Witkop, 46, of State Street, Medina, is charged with felony driving while impaired by druges with a child less than 16 in the vehicle, driving impaired by drugs and endangering the welfare of a child. Witkop was stopped by Deputy Joseph Corona on Bank Street, Batavia, following a complaint of a vehicle being driven erratically.

Sam Michael Cassidy, 21, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with trespass. Cassidy is accused of being on College Village property after previously being barred from the property.

Brandon Nicholas Benz, 17, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Benz allegedly left a threatening message about the victim on his Facebook wall after being served an order of protection. Benz was jailed on $750 bail.

Anthony Paul Dibble, 23, Bethany Center Road, Bethany, is charged with burglary, 2nd, criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. Dibble allegedly kicked in the door of another person's apartment, entered without permission and while in the apartment destroyed a bathroom door and struck two other people during an altercation. Dibble was arraigned on $2,500 bail.

Jeffrey Michael Johnson, 24, of Farnsworth Avenue, Oakfield, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Johnson was allegedly found in possession of heroin, hypodermic needles and unidentified pills lacking proper documentation or containers. Johnson was allegedly supervising a child at the time. Also charged was Lauren Marie Peters, 22, of Martin Road, Akron.

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