fb-pixelRhode Island crime news: February 2022 - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
RI CRIME

Rhode Island crime news: February 2022

Providence Police investigate a shooting on Carolina Avenue, late Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Providence, R.I.Stew Milne/Associated Press

Feb. 24, 2022

Warwick man sentenced to serve 8 years in state prison for child molestation

Edwin Aleman, 42, of Warwick, was sentenced in Kent County Superior Court to serve eight years at the Adult Correctional Institutions after pleading to sexually assaulting a female victim under the age of 14 at a home in Warwick last year. Aleman waived indictment and entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of first-degree child molestation, according to the Rhode Island Attorney general’s office on Thursday.

Aleman was sentenced to 20 years, with the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. The court also issued a no-contact order between the defendant and his victim. He will be required to register as a sec offender for the remainder of his life, GPS monitoring, will be subject to community supervision requirements under state law, and will be required to attend sex offender counseling.

“Day after day, month after month, Rhode Islanders are confronted with a grim reality: too many of our children are subject to sexual abuse, most often by someone they know,” said Attorney General Peter Neronha. “While the case numbers are staggering – over 400 over the past five years alone – it is important to remember that every one of those cases involves a single child and a single family, who will long bear the harms inflicted by the abuser.” — ALEXA GAGOSZ

Johnston man sentenced to serve 9 years in state prison for child molestation

Anthony Cerbo, 43, of Johnston, was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve nine years at the Adult Correctional Institutions after pleading to sexually assaulting a male victim under the age of 14 in 2018. Cerbo entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of first-degree child molestation and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree child molestation, according to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office.

Superior Court Justice Maureen B. Keough sentenced Cerbo to 30 years, with nine years to serve and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. The court also issued a no-contact order between Cerbo and his victim. He will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, attend counseling, and will be subject to community supervision requirements under state law.

Prior to the assault, Cerbo connected with the victim using online dating app Grindr. They exchanged messages where the victim told Cerbo that he was 14 years old.

Cerbo had co-defendant, Matthew Heuser, pick up the minor victim and drive him to the Cerbo’s home in Johnston. Then Cerbo sexually assaulted the victim. It is alleged that Heuser also sexually assaulted the victim, according to the attorney general’s office.

Heuser is facing multiple felony charges, including including second-degree child molestation and conspiracy to commit first-degree child molestation.

“Here, the defendant, with the help of a co-defendant, came up with a scheme to use social digital media to identify a vulnerable child, and once identified, execute that scheme and prey on that child,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha. “While nothing can reverse the damage he has caused, it is my hope that the defendant’s conviction and the long sentence imposed by the Court will bring a measure of justice for the victim and his family. I am grateful to the victim for coming forward and demonstrating strength and resiliency throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case.”

Cerbo had been held without bail since his bail hearing in November 2018. — ALEXA GAGOSZ

Feb. 22, 2022

Police ID driver who died when car crashed into ocean

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — The man who died when his car crashed into the ocean on Cape Cod over the weekend has been identified as a 21-year-old college student.

James Koshivos, 21, of Grafton, was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the crash Sunday morning in Falmouth, local police said Monday.

Koshivos was a student of Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, the school’s president, Ross Gittell, said in a statement. Koshivos was a finance major and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, he said.

“Our hearts go out to his family and friends, including the brothers of Sigma Chi, during this difficult time,” Gittell said.

Falmouth police first responded to the scene at Menauhant Beach at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, but said the vehicle, found on its roof in shallow water near the beach, may have been there for hours before it was spotted.

Police suspect speed may have been a factor and think the driver failed to stop at a stop sign. The crash remains under investigation.

Feb. 18, 2022

Local Hells Angels leader begins serving 5 years in state prison for possessing illegal gun and assault

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, announced Friday that the leader of the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels has begun serving five years at the Adult Correctional Institution after pleading to multiple felony charges stemming incidents in 2019 and 2020.

On Jan. 21, Joseph Lancia, 30, of Smithfield, entered a plea of nolo contendere to assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a pistol without a license, and assault for the purpose of causing unconsciousness. The Court stayed execution of the defendant’s sentence until Friday.

The Hells Angels motorcycle club is designated as an outlaw motorcycle gang by the U.S. Department of Justice.

At a hearing before Superior Court Justice Kristin E. Rodgers, the Court sentenced the defendant to 15 years, with five years to serve at the ACI and the balance of the sentence suspended with probation. The Court also issued a no contact order between the defendant and his victims. Additionally, the Court ordered that the defendant pay restitution in the amount of $3,650.

On June 12, 2019, the defendant fired an illegal handgun at the driver of a truck traveling by a Hells Angels clubhouse in Providence.

That morning, as the victim drove a Mack semi-truck by the clubhouse on Wendell Street, the defendant, while standing on the sidewalk, drew a .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun and fired one shot at the truck. Following the shooting, the victim continued to drive away, turning his truck onto Messer Street, while the defendant walked inside the clubhouse.

Shortly thereafter, another known member of the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels arrived at the clubhouse and removed a digital video recorder that had captured footage of the shooting incident. This individual was also arrested and charged with misprision of a felony (concealing a crime).

On Feb. 29, 2020, the defendant punched an individual during a fight involving members of the Hells Angels at a Providence strip club, causing him to lose consciousness. Members of the Providence Police Department who were on scene at the time of the assault immediately arrested the defendant.

Feb. 18, 2022

Juvenile charged in death of man in Warren last summer

WARREN, R.I. (AP) — A juvenile is now facing a murder charge in the death of a 54-year-old man who died last year about two weeks after apparently being struck on the head by an aluminum baseball bat, police said.

The juvenile, whose name is not public, was taken into custody last week, Warren police said Thursday.

Officers responding to reports of a disturbance involving two men and a juvenile on Aug. 28, 2021, found the victim, identified as Richard Raymond, on the ground suffering from severe injuries that appeared to have been caused by a bat, police said. Police also found a knife at the scene.

Raymond died at Rhode Island Hospital two weeks later, police said.

Police previously said the adults knew each other and one of them knew the juvenile, but their exact relationship and what may have led to the violence was not disclosed.

Feb. 16, 2022

Report: Train going 40 mph at time of conductor’s fatal fall

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — The preliminary investigation into the death of an Amtrak conductor who fell from a train in Rhode Island last month found that the train was traveling about 40 mphat the time, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

Based on surveillance video from a local business, investigators found that two of the train’s exterior doors were open with the stairs in the down position as the train arrived at the station in Westerly at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 15.

As the train was preparing to depart on its route to Washington, D.C., the assistant conductor radioed the conductor but did not receive a response, the report said.

The assistant conductor began searching the interior of the train and found an open door in a passenger car. The assistant conductor and the engineer then got out of the train and searched along the tracks. They found the conductor unresponsive about 1,200 feet (366 meters) east of the station platform, the report said.

The report did not include the conductor’s name. Local police previously said the conductor was a 26-year-old Massachusetts woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

NTSB investigators will now will focus on operating rules of the railroad, the mechanical condition of the train, and internal and external oversight of the Amtrak system, the report said.

Feb. 15, 2022

Police: Providence man who died in standoff took own life

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A man who barricaded himself inside his home and fired hundreds of rounds at police during an hours-long standoff in Providence last week died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

City police announced the cause of Scott Maclean’s death as determined by the medical examiner in a brief statement on Monday. No additional information was released because the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Officers went to the home at about 2:30 a.m. last Thursday after getting a call from Maclean’s son and daughter saying he had assaulted them. They told police that there were about 15 guns in the home.

Police surrounded the home and brought in negotiators, but at about 6 a.m. the man opened fire. Police returned fire.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Maclean fired “hundreds of rounds.”

He also set a fire in the home. Maclean had no criminal record but had a history of mental health issues, Pare said.

No officers or civilians were hurt.

Feb. 15, 2022

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Two people have been arrested in connection with a double shooting at a Newport social club this week that left one man dead, and authorities are seeking a third suspect, police said Tuesday.

Shamik Steele, 30, and Xavier Perry, 28, were arraigned Tuesday on multiple charges including murder and held without bail. They did not enter pleas and were both referred to the public defender’s office, according to court records.

The shooting occurred just after 1 a.m. Monday at the Friendly Sons of Newport club, city police said in a statement.

Both victims were taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence where Yordi Arevalo, 25, was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Aroldo M. Noel Paniaqua, 30, was treated for minor injuries caused by gunshot wounds and released, police said.

Both victims are city residents.

Police are still looking for a third suspect, identified as Duane Logan, 47.

The shooting stemmed from an argument, police said.

Feb. 15 2022

1 dead, 1 hurt in shooting at Rhode Island social club

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — One person was killed and another was injured in an early morning shooting at a Rhode Island social club, police said Monday.

The shooting occurred just after 1 a.m. at the Friendly Sons of Newport club, city police said in a statement on Monday

Both victims were taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence were one died of multiple gunshot injuries and the other was treated and released, police said.

On Tuesday, police announced that two people have been arrested, and authorities are seeking a third suspect, police said Tuesday.

Shamik Steele, 30, and Xavier Perry, 28, were arraigned Tuesday on multiple charges including murder and held without bail. They did not enter pleas and were both referred to the public defender’s office, according to court records. Police called the shooting “an isolated incident with no threat to the Newport community,” or the neighborhood.

Feb. 13, 2022

North Kingstown, R.I. man charged with DUI after head-on collision leaving two juveniles injured

A North Kingstown, R.I. man was arrested Saturday night on charges including driving under the influence after a head-on collision in Exeter, R.I. that left two juveniles injured, one critically, according to Rhode Island State Police.

The collision occurred on Ten Road at Arcadia Road in Exeter and both the juvenile driver and passenger were transported to the hospital.

Alexander Krajewski, 30, who was not injured, faces charges of two counts of driving to endanger resulting in personal injury and two counts of driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury.

The two vehicles involved in the crash sustained major damage and were towed from the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

No further details were released. -- Ramsey Khalifeh

Feb. 13, 2022

Son of man slain in shootout charged with attacking reporter

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The son of a man who died following a shootout with Providence police has been charged with assaulting a journalist who was covering the story.

The Providence Journal reports that Joshua Maclean faces a charge of simple assault for allegedly pushing WJAR-TV reporter Joanna Bouras into a concrete wall on Thursday.

Bouras, who was not injured, had been covering the aftermath of the hours-long standoff between police and Maclean’s father, Scott Maclean, 61. The elder Maclean was found dead Thursday after police say he fired “hundreds” of rounds, prompting officers to return fire, authorities said.

Police had responded to Scott Maclean’s Providence home at 2:30 a.m. Thursday after his son and daughter reported that he had assaulted them. They told police there were about 15 guns in the home.

Everyone got out safely, and Scott Maclean barricaded himself inside, police said. Police brought in negotiators, but at about 6 a.m. the man began shooting, leading police to fire back. Authorities say Maclean also set a fire inside the home that had to be extinguished by firefighters.

The man’s cause of death remains under investigation. No police officers or civilians were hurt.

Attempts to reach Joshua Maclean or a legal representative on Sunday were not successful.

Feb. 11, 2022

Pawtucket Police arrest three in fentanyl overdose death of toddler

After two months of investigation the Pawtucket Police Department on Friday announced they had arrested three people in connection with the death of a 2-year-old boy. The child’s death was caused by acute fentanyl intoxication, and was ruled a homicide.

In a separate press release, The Department of Youth and Family Services stated that they had previous involvement with the family but not at the time of the incident.”

Feb. 9. 2022

Warwick man sentenced in fraud PPP scheme involving fake employees

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Warwick man convicted of executing a scheme to defraud the Paycheck Protection Program of hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced on Wednesday in federal court to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

David Andrew Butziger, 53, admitted that he and co-conspirator David Adler Staveley, 54, of Andover, Mass., sought $543,959 in forgivable PPP loans by claiming to have dozens of employees earning wages at four business. In fact, the US Attorney’s Office says, they had no employees working at any of them.

Butziger pleaded guilty in October 2020 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, admitting to the court that he sought a bank loan for $105,381.50 to pay seven employees at an unincorporated entity he called Dock Wireless -- which actually had no employees, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Butziger also admitted that he conspired with Staveley to submit three fraudulent bank loan applications for SBA loans under the PPP totaling $438,577.

The loans were to be used to pay employees at three restaurants Staveley claimed to own, Top of the Bay and Remington House in Warwick and On The Trax in Berlin, Massachusetts. Staveley had no ownership interest in any of the business; none of them were open at the time; and there we no employees at time the loan applications were filed.

Stavely had tried to evade prosecution shortly after he was brought into court in May 2020. Three weeks after being released to home detention with electronic monitoring, Stavely removed his monitoring device, staged his suicide, and went on the run with fake IDs and stolen license plates -- until US Marshals caught him in Alpharetta, Georgia, two months later.

Staveley was sentenced last October to 56 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

The cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.

Ex-sales rep at firm linked to meningitis outbreak sentenced

BOSTON (AP) — The former national sales director for a now-defunct Massachusetts pharmaceutical facility responsible for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Boston in connection with conspiring to defraud the Food and Drug Administration.

Prosecutors said the New England Compounding Center fraudulently presented itself as a pharmacy dispensing drugs made to physician-created prescriptions, when it actually operated as a manufacturer distributing drugs in bulk. Compounding centers mix customized medications for patients at their required strengths and dosages.

Robert Ronzio, 48, of North Providence, Rhode Island, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns to time served. In 2016, Ronzio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the FDA. Ronzio cooperated with the government and testified at three trials of other defendants from the company.

Mold-tainted steroid injections produced at the center caused the 2012 outbreak, which killed more than 100 people and sickened hundreds. Meningitis is a rare but serious disease that causes swelling of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain. The NECC’s contaminated medical steroid injections were given mostly to people with back pain.

The company created what investigators called “work around” methods to make it appear to federal and state regulators that it was dispensing drugs that followed valid patient-specific prescriptions, when it really wasn’t, prosecutors said.

Ronzio admitted the reason for the work-around methods was to maintain the compounding center’s status as a pharmacy and avoid heightened regulatory oversight by the FDA, prosecutors said.

In December 2014, following a two-year investigation, Ronzio and 13 other owners, employees, and associates of the company were charged in a 131-count indictment.

The indictment did not charge Ronzio with having any role in the drug manufacturing operations.

Feb. 8, 2022

Investigation of suspicious mail packages leads to Providence man’s guilty plea of possessing cocaine, fentanyl, and magazines of ammunition

A Providence man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to possessing more than 500 grams of cocaine and approximately 100 fentanyl pills that he intended to deliver, and illegal possession of ammunition.

Henry Arnaut, 26, who’d previously been convicted of a felony, attracted the attention of postal investigators in November 2020 after they noticed he was getting packages from fake addresses in California, according the US Attorney’s Office.

The US Postal Inspection Service, with help from the FBI’s Rhode Island Safe Streets Gang Task Force, discovered during the investigation that the packages going to Arnaut’s house had similar markings and handwriting, consistent with shipments of drugs by traffickers through the mail, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

In February 2021, postal agents intercepted a package addressed to Arnaut and in a court-authorized search, found it contained cocaine. Arnaut was arrested when he showed up at the post office to pick it up on Feb. 8, 2021.

Authorities searched his home and seized 100 fentanyl pills, cocaine, high-capacity rifle and pistol magazines, and $1,180, the US Attorney’s Office said.

Arnaut is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr. on May 5, 2022.

Feb. 4, 2022

Fall River teen charged in Providence homicide outside ‘sip joint,’ police arrest two other Massachusetts men and seek two others as accessories

A 17-year-old boy from Fall River is accused of killing one man and seriously wounding another in a snap argument outside a “sip joint” in Providence last month. Providence police have also arrested two other men who allegedly were with the boy during the slaying and are asking the public’s help in finding two other suspects.

The boy, who is not identified because he is a juvenile, was with a group heading to the illegal after-hours bar in a basement at 384 Elmwood Ave. early on Jan. 16 when they encountered other men on their way out, said Providence Police Captain Timothy O’Hara.

There was a quick argument, and the boy drew a gun and fired multiple times at the other men, O’Hara said. Biniam Tsegai, 35, of Portland, Maine, died, and Merhawi Berhe, 28, of Cambridge, Mass., was badly injured — and all the witnesses had scattered, he said.

At first, the police had to figure out who the victims were — one didn’t have an ID, and the other was using someone else’s ID — O’Hara said.

Both victims had spent time in federal prison. Tsegai, nicknamed “Icy,” had been released in June 2020 and was out on supervised release for his role in a violent crack cocaine trafficking ring that moved the drug from Boston to Maine, according to court records. Berhe had served time for possessing a firearm that was later used by one of the Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to murder MIT police Officer Sean Collier.

Then, the detectives traced back where the men had been during the night, and obtained video from two nightclubs, O’Hara said. Investigators from Boston, Attleboro, and Fall River helped them track down the alleged shooter, the 17-year-old boy, along with two other men who were allegedly with him, said Major David Lapatin.

There was no sign that the different groups even knew each other. The homicide, the first in the city this year, appeared to be “random,” Lapatin said.

The boy, who has since turned 18, is charged with murder, firearms offenses, and conspiracy. Brendon Bindig, 25, of Fall River, and Jeffrey Sek, 23, of Attleboro, are charged as aiding or abetting a crime. Sek was arraigned in Providence District Court Friday and released on $5,000 surety bond.

The police are looking for Elvis Julian, 33, of Boston, and a man who has not been identified, to be charged with murder and conspiracy. The police ask anyone with information to contact Providence Police Detective Sergeant Charles Vieira at (401) 497-0098 or Detective Raymond Majeau at (401) 340-5612. -- Amanda Milkovits

Feb. 3, 2022

Smithfield priest on leave after allegation of child sexual abuse

Rev. Francis C. Santilli, the pastor of St. Philip Parish and St. Philip School, has resigned after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred about 40 years ago.

The Diocese of Providence announced Thursday that Santilli was placed on administrative leave and will not exercise public ministry or reside on church property pending the outcome of an investigation. The Diocese said it was cooperating with law enforcement and the attorney general’s office.

A person had recently contacted the attorney general’s office about the alleged abuse, which prompted an investigation involving the state police, said Blake Collins, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office. The Diocese also forwarded a complaint at the same time, Collins said.

The attorney general’s office determined that they could not prosecute criminally, because the statute of limitations has expired.

“Nevertheless, given the seriousness of the allegations, and the accused priest’s current duty assignment, we yesterday forwarded the information we had obtained to the Diocese, and asked the Diocese to advise this Office of the steps it intended to take in response,” Collins said in an email Thursday.

That led to the Diocese’s announcement that it was putting Santilli on leave.

The state police spokesperson, Major Laurie Ludovici, did not respond to a request for comment.

Santilli was ordained in 1980 and was assigned to the Saint Philip Parish in Greenville in July 2010. His previous assignments included serving as pastor of Saint Cecilia Church in Pawtucket and Saint Paul Church in Cranston. He also worked as an assistant pastor, hospital chaplain, associate director of vocations for the Diocese of Providence, spiritual director at Our Lady of Providence Seminary, and Catholic high school chaplain. He has also done missionary and retreat ministry in Vietnam.

The Rev. Philip J. Dufour, the assistant pastor, has been appointed as administrator pro tem of the parish.

“Allegations of sexual abuse by clergy, even if they occurred decades ago, always must be taken seriously,” Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a statement. “I will be praying for all who are involved and affected by this difficult news.” — Amanda Milkovits

Rhode Island man pleads guilty to COVID unemployment fraud

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently filing applications in five states for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, and collecting tens of thousands of dollars he was not eligible for, federal prosecutors said.

Keishon Brown, 33, of Providence, beginning in May 2020, submitted fraudulent online applications with unemployment agencies in Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, and California for pandemic-related unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary Cunha said in a statement.

Brown claimed in his applications that he was unemployed, but that he had previously worked in each of those states, when he had not, according to court documents. He collected a total of more than $62,000 in benefits he was not entitled to receive, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for April 26.

Feb. 2, 2022

Suspect in Pawtucket’s 3rd homicide of the year arraigned

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — The suspect in a fatal stabbing outside a Pawtucket liquor store on Tuesday was held without bail at his arraignment Wednesday on a first-degree murder charge.

Michael Alvarado, 22, of Pawtucket, is charged in the death of Ferdinand Reyes outside Star Wine Liquors at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the city’s third homicide in nine days.

Alvarado did not enter a plea, as is customary in district court. No defense attorney was listed in court records and he was referred to the public defender’s office.

Pawtucket City Councilwoman Melissa DeRosa said the stabbing stemmed from a fight.

Victor Oliveira, the store’s owner, told broadcast outlets that he was taking care of a customer when he heard a bang against the door. He went outside and saw two men standing over the victim, who was asking him to call the police. He went back inside to call 911.

The victim was taken to Kent Hospital where he died.

A man was killed in a shooting outside a cigar lounge in the city on Jan. 24, and a Cumberland man was fatally shot in the city on Sunday.

Feb. 1, 2022

Property manager charged with defrauding condo association

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The property manager of a Rhode Island condominium complex has been charged by federal prosecutors with improperly using the condo association’s debit card to withdraw nearly $50,000 from ATMs at a Massachusetts casino.

Cheryl Sullivan, 67, who is the chair of the Board of Tax Assessors for the town of Dedham, Massachusetts, was arrested Monday and arraigned in U.S. District Court in Providence on five counts of wire fraud.

She pleaded not guilty and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, according to court documents.

Her federal public defender declined comment in an email.

Sullivan, acting in her capacity as a property manager for the River Island Condominium Association in Woonsocket, used a debit card attached to the association’s checking account to withdraw cash for her own use from ATMs located at the Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts, according to a statement from the office of Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha.

Authorities allege that Sullivan, who is also a real estate broker and tax preparer, defrauded the association of approximately $46,500.

RIPTA data breach reveals big gap in R.I. cybersecurity policy, senator says

By Edward Fitzpatrick

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority data breach has revealed a massive hole in the state’s cybersecurity policies, the Senate oversight committee chairman said Tuesday.

While Rhode Island has policies aimed at using encryption and access restrictions to protect computerized data, those policies don’t apply to a wide range of quasi-public agencies, such as RIPTA, the Narragansett Bay Commission, and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, Senator Louis P. DiPalma said.

And those policies don’t apply to large, significant organizations such as the University of Rhode Island, the General Assembly, the secretary of state’s office, or the attorney general’s office, he said.

“It is a statewide tech enterprise policy, but it’s not statewide,” DiPalma said. “It’s a miss.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former accounts payable clerk at a small Rhode Island gift manufacturing company has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme to defraud the business of more than $300,000, federal prosecutors said.

Grant Devillez, 38, of Dayville, Connecticut, misappropriated the money from Providence-based Decor Craft Inc. from February 2016 through July 2018 by transferring company funds into his own bank accounts, to his creditors to pay personal bills, and to the bank account of another person, according to a statement Monday from the office of U.S. attorney for Rhode Island, Zachary Cunha.

Devillez was given access to a company bank account to make authorized payments to vendors, prosecutors said. Instead of making those payments, he would either make a partial payment to the vendors, or no payment at all, and would transfer the remaining funds for his own use, authorities said.

He then altered company records to reflect that full payment had been made to vendors, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for April 29.

Jan. 31, 2022

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — A Cumberland man has died after being shot in Pawtucket over the weekend, police said Monday.

Jovani L. Velez, 28, was shot near the intersection of Carnation Street and Broadway at about 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Detective Sgt. Christopher LeFort said.

He was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, LeFort said.

No other information was released and no arrests were announced.

Anyone with information about Sunday’s shooting is asked to contact Pawtucket police.

It was the second homicide in the city this year. Two men were shot a week ago outside of a cigar lounge after some sort of disgreement inside, police. One of them died. An arrest has been made in that shooting.

By Amanda Milkovits

State Fire Marshal Timothy McLaughlin told The Boston Globe that the preliminary investigation appeared to show the fire was accidentally caused by a resident on oxygen who was smoking in his bedroom. The resident went to escape the fire, and the smoke from his apartment set off the smoke detectors in the hallway, he said.

Although the older public housing building has designed the apartments to be self-containing, so residents can shelter in place, people panicked when they heard the alarms and tried to flee, McLaughlin said. The smoke filled the hallways and open doors allowed the fire to spread, creating more chaos.



Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her @AmandaMilkovits.