Rhode Island crime information: Might 2022

Paul Diogenes, described in court documents as an “unrepentant and compulsive fraudster” with a propensity to engage in violent behavior toward law enforcement, used stolen banking information from several businesses and created a fictitious catering company to purchase lobster, sea bass, shrimp, scallops, ribeye steak, and wild boar, from November 2020 until July 2021, according to federal prosecutors in Rhode Island.

Diogenes, 50, of Providence, then sold most of the illegally-obtained seafood and meat to area businesses, in some instances to the same businesses whose stolen banking information he used to gain credit from food distributors, prosecutors said.

Last August, as FBI agents and state police troopers tried to arrest him, Diogenes rammed his car into two FBI vehicles, one with two law enforcement officers inside, prosecutors said. He then drove his vehicle toward an FBI agent who had to jump out of the way to avoid injury, and rammed a delivery van before speeding away, prosecutors said.

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He was captured nine days later at a Middleborough, Massachusetts hotel with a briefcase filled with more than $116,000 in cash, authorities said.

Diogenes, who according to authorities has 34 convictions on his record, pleaded guilty in December to wire fraud and assault of a federal officer. In addition to his prison sentence, he was ordered to serve three years of probation upon release and pay restitution of more than $830,000.

May 6, 2022

Attorney General files lead enforcement lawsuits against Pawtucket, Woonsocket landlords

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that the Office has filed lawsuits against landlords for noncompliance with state lead poisoning prevention laws at rental properties on Garden Street in Pawtucket and Ward Street in Woonsocket where significant lead hazards were found in a lead-poisoned child’s home. The lawsuits are the latest in a series of lead enforcement actions filed by the Attorney General.

As alleged in the complaints filed in Providence County Superior Court, Chrystal Rivera, Gabriel Alicea, and Sherry Alicea, have – to date – failed to remediate lead violations identified by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) at their respective properties, even after repeated notices and directives from RIDOH and the Attorney General’s Office.

In the lawsuits, the Attorney General is seeking a court order to halt further harmful conduct, to require the defendants to remediate lead hazards and provide adequate alternative housing during remediation, and to appoint a receiver if the defendants are unwilling to correct the lead violations. The Attorney General is also seeking significant monetary penalties of up to $5,000 for every day violations have existed and continue.

Under state law, following a property inspection by the RIDOH, landlords are given multiple opportunities to correct lead hazard violations before the Attorney General may file an enforcement action.

April 28, 2022

Businessman spent pocketed employee withholding taxes on dating website, luxury home

A Rhode Island businessman was convicted of misusing more than a half-million dollars in employment taxes that he collected from his employees to finance his own personal expenditures.

Steven M. Allard, 60, of North Scituate, owner and operator of BR Steel Corporation in Burrillville and Greystone Iron Corporation in Smithfield, admitted to the court that from at least 2017 though 2018, he failed to turn over more than $570,000 in federal employment taxes and FICA payments withheld from his employees to the IRS.

Instead, Allard used the money to purchase of more than $216,000 in “credits” to online dating website RussianBrides.com, and approximately $93,000 in rent payments for a Scituate luxury home, according to US Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Allard pleaded guilty in September 2020, but was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years in federal, supervised release. The matter was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the IRS’ Criminal Investigation.

He was also ordered to pay $625,186.29 in restitution to the IRS.

This was Allard’s third federal conviction and sentencing in US District Court in Rhode Island. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Prior to that, he was found guilty by a jury at trial of accepting kickbacks from public employees and was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. — ALEXA GAGOSZ

April 15, 2022

Man pleads guilty in torching of Providence police cruiser

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man who according to authorities helped burn a Providence police cruiser during a night of vandalism in the summer of 2020 has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit arson.

In exchange for his guilty plea on Thursday, Nicholas Scaglione, 32, of Cranston, faces from 30 months to 46 months in prison at sentencing scheduled for July 14.

The cruiser was destroyed in the early morning hours of June 2, 2020 in what former Gov. Gina Raimondo called an “organized attack on the community” outside the Providence Place mall.

Authorities have said Scaglione was part of a “mob” bent on destruction that coincided with, but was separate from the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Scaglione sprayed a flammable liquid into the cruiser, causing a small fire to intensify just moments after he and others unsuccessfully tried to flip the vehicle onto its side, the U.S. attorney’s office in Providence has said.

He originally pleaded guilty in March 2021 to a charge of malicious attempt to damage or destroy a vehicle, but was recharged after a disagreement over his sentence.

A second man charged in the case been found incompetent.

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