Indictment Alleges Theft Of $250,000 From Elderly Monroe Co. Woman

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Monroe County attorney and a Livingston County home improvement contractor have been indicted for stealing $250,000 in trust funds and assets from an elderly Rochester woman.

"The elderly are often targets of crime and exploitation," said Spitzer. "The goal of such cases is to reduce cases of physical, psychological and financial abuse."

The indictment was unsealed on Thursday, in State Supreme Court, Monroe County, and arraignments of the named defendants was completed today before the Hon. Kenneth R. Fisher. It charges Michael Rudin, 59, an attorney from Mendon, with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree a class "C" felony; and Louis Avino, 48, a home contractor from Avon, with three counts: two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, both class "C" felonies; and one count of Fraud in the Transfer of Stocks, a class "E" felony.

"These men took advantage of a vulnerable person -- an elderly woman living by herself -- and raided her savings" said Spitzer. "My office will aggressively fight to see that justice will prevail and that these men pay for their crimes."

The charges were the result of an investigation of misappropriated funds from a victim who at the time was more than 90 years of age. The larcenies, which occurred between 1998 and 1999, included overcharging for home improvement work, liquidating the victim's annuity policies, and fraudulently transferring her stocks. The losses were discovered by the victim's step-daughter in late 1999.

Two other individuals also implicated in the theft, a home improvement contractor who worked with Avino, and a former attorney who worked with Rudin, have already pleaded guilty. The contractor, Frederick Glynn pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and is awaiting sentencing. Dennis Pizzo, the attorney, pleaded guilty to Perjury in the First Degree and was sentenced to five years probation.

Avino is currently under indictment by the Monroe County District Attorney's Office for Assault in the First Degree, arising out of the shooting Frederick Glynn in June of 2001. That case is also pending before Justice Fisher.

All charges in the case are to be considered accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Diane M. LaVallee, with the assistance of Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez of the Rochester Regional Office, and Investigators Chris Holland and Harold Frank.