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Greene woman charged in Columbia, too, for stealing comatose friends's identity, thousands

Jan 21, 2011 6:23 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Tammy Lacitignola of Cairo is charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes in both Greene and Columbia counties for allegedly bilking her comatose friend of thousands of dollars."][/caption]What had at first seemed like a simple identity theft case out of the Greene County community of Cairo has deepened into a host of felonies involving one woman's bilking her friend in a coma leaped the river and jumped onto the Register-Star's front page today, where reporter Andrew Amelinckx is reporting that Tammy Lacitignola, 34, has now been additionally arrested by the Greenport Police Department Wednesday and charged with seven felonies for allegedly bilking a comatose woman of thousands of dollars Lacitignola is also facing 14 felonies and three misdemeanors in Greene County.

“She was an acquaintance of the victim,” said Greenport Police Chief Kevin Marchetto, who described how Lacitignola altered a power of attorney form, which she then brought to a credit union in Greenport.

She was writing checks, including one for $2,500 for “home improvements” and keeping the money, said the chief. The charges in Columbia County are related to $9,000 she allegedly withdrew in Greenport. According to Greene County Sheriff’s Inv. Adam Brainard, Lacitignola was asked to watch over her friend’s home while she was in the hospital. During that time — between September and December 2010 — Lacitignola had access to the woman’s check books and confidential information, said authorities. Besides taking money from the 63-year-old Catskill woman’s checking account, Lacitignola opened up cell phone accounts and credit cards in the woman’s name, said police. An employee at the credit union heard that the victim was in a coma and got suspicious, Marchetto said.

Greenport PD Sgt. Jerald Rowell investigated the alleged crimes in Greenport and was also able to assist the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office in those agencies’ case.

“Sgt. Rowell did a great job on the case,” said Marchetto, adding that the credit union did a good job as well. “It could have gone on for even longer than it did,” he commented.

Lacitignola was charged by Greenport Police with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, class D felonies, and four counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, class E felonies.

She was picked up by the Greenport Police at the Greene County Jail and brought across the Hudson River to be arraigned Wednesday before Judge Francis Abitabile in Greenport Town Court. She was held on $5,000 cash or $10,000 bond. She will reappear in Greenport Town Court at a later date.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office charged her earlier this week with seven counts of second-degree forgery, seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft, all class D felonies, and three counts of criminal impersonation, a misdemeanor.

The grand total she allegedly took exceeds $10,000, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

She was being held in Greene County on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

The victim is now out of her coma, according to Marchetto.