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In The Courts News

William D. Stroemel, of Maple Shade, Pleads Guilty to Shooting Neighbor’s Dog

On April 29, 2020, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 64-year-old Maple Shade man pled guilty in Superior Court to shooting a neighbor’s dog with an air rifle last year.

Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, William D. Stroemel, of Fifth Avenue, pled guilty to Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree) and Animal Cruelty (Third Degree) in exchange for a five-year term in New Jersey state prison.

The conditions of the plea forbid Stroemel from having contact with Toby’s owners, and he must make restitution for the cost of Toby’s veterinary care and necropsy. The Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C. scheduled sentencing for July 29, 2020.

The investigation began on September 18, 2019 after police were contacted by Toby’s owners, the Cook family, who live in the 800 block of Greenwood Avenue. They told police that the poodle had been discovered howling in pain by a neighbor the previous day. An examination by a veterinarian revealed that he had been shot in the head. Toby was euthanized a day after being shot.

The investigation, which was conducted by detectives from the Maple Shade Police Department, revealed that Stroemel shot Toby with the air rifle while the dog was passing his home in the street, and then gave the gun to an acquaintance and asked him to hold it for him.

“There are few criminal acts as callous as shooting an innocent dog that is the beloved pet of one of your neighbors,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “But Toby was not just a family pet, he was also a therapy dog and helped relieve the post-traumatic stress disorder experienced by a Vietnam War veteran. Such flagrant disregard for life and the impact of one’s actions demands serious punishment, and we believe this plea agreement reflects that.”

Stroemel, a heavy equipment operator who is also known as Wild Willie, was initially charged with weapons offenses following the discovery of a .22 caliber pistol during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. Additional charges were added after a necropsy was performed and the pellet removed from Toby’s head was connected to an air rifle in Stroemel’s possession at the time of the shooting.

Stroemel is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Melissa O’Mara, with assistance in the investigation by Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Handy.

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In The Courts Recent News

South Jersey Tax Preparer Admits Filing False Income Tax Returns

A South Jersey woman who owns a tax preparation business admitted on April 28, 2020 to helping her clients file falsified tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Gloria Valentin, 48, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by teleconference before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an information charging her with one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Valentin owned, operated and approved all of the income tax returns filed by GNG Business Solutions in Cinnaminson. She admitted that she prepared approximately 60 income tax returns for 27 tax clients during tax years 2013 through 2016. Those tax returns contained similar patterns of false and fictitious Schedule A itemized deductions and unreimbursed employee business expenses. Valentin and her employees fabricated Schedule A, unreimbursed employee business expenses when none were incurred. Those false expenses resulted in substantially reduced income tax liabilities and resulted in larger refunds for her clients and caused a tax loss of $201,896 to the government.

The charges to which Valentin pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Laura J. Perry, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

To view the Complaint, click here.

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Bright Side In The Courts News Recent News

Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage Employees Organize Face Mask Drive for Co-workers

In a show of support for their colleagues on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees in the New Jersey Judiciary’s Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage sewed more than 250 face masks within a matter of days before distributing them on Monday, April 20.

Karen Michael, an administrative specialist in the court user resource center, had been sewing masks for frontline workers at a local hospital when she proposed the idea of a vicinage-wide face mask drive for Judiciary employees who continue to interact directly with members of the public.

Judges, staff, and their friends and family volunteered materials and their sewing skills to produce washable cloth masks for probation officers supervising clients in the community and employees reporting to the courthouses to facilitate case processing.

Probation Officer Andrew Harrigan and his son Logan volunteered to make face masks for the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage employees working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image credit: New Jersey Judiciary)

“The creative, altruistic idea of one person has resulted in good will and safety for many,” said Trial Court Administrator Howard Berchtold Jr. “This mask-making drive, inspired by a desire to assist the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage family, yielded more than 250 cloth masks to enable employees to continue to leave their homes to serve the public.”

The initiative began with a material donation drop-off at the three courthouses in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Michael put the call out for cloth, elastic, thread, large rubber bands, blue shop paper towels and zip-up plastic bags.

Image credit: New Jersey Judiciary

Within four days, she received enough material to cut out the 250 masks by hand and assembled the kits that were distributed to the 15 sewing volunteers. The kits also contained “Made by” cards, which contained personal messages from the sewing volunteers, to build a connection between the maker and the recipient.

Sharnett Clark, vicinage chief probation officer. said the masks will help the officers maintain contact with their clients while staying safe.

“As essential employees in probation, we are forever grateful for such acts of kindness,” Clark said.

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In The Courts

Home Nurse Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Severely Impaired Patient

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan announced that a 33-year-old man working as a caregiver in a Southampton home has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a severely developmentally impaired girl under his care.

Edmondo DiPaolo, of Daniels Avenue in Pemberton Township, was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault (First Degree), Attempted Aggravated Assault (Second Degree) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Second Degree).

He was taken into custody on March 21 and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court. The case will then be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The victim, 16, has a degenerative brain disorder and is wheelchair bound. She is unable to move or speak, and is fed and medicated through tubes. DiPaolo had been caring for her two days a week for the last seven months.

The investigation began after the victim’s family members discovered an injury to her leg. The investigation revealed that her femur bone had been broken while DiPaolo was adjusting her position prior to sexually assaulting her.

DiPaolo will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Eife, supervisor of the BCPO Major Crimes Unit – Special Victims Section. The case was investigated by the New Jersey State Police.

DiPaolo was employed as a private duty nurse by Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, Inc.

Anyone who suspects DiPaolo may have mistreated another patient is urged to call NJSP Detective P. Ryba at the Red Lion Barracks at 609-859-2282.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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In The Courts

Christopher Teeter, of Wilmington, N.C., Found Guilty of Attempted Murder in Bordentown Truck Stop Stabbing

Photo provided

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced today that a truck driver from North Carolina has been convicted in Superior Court of attempted murder for stabbing a co-worker at a Bordentown Township truck stop late last year.

After deliberating for two and a half hours yesterday, a jury found Christopher Teeter, 42, of Wilmington, North Carolina, guilty of Attempted Murder (First Degree), Aggravated Assault (Second Degree), Aggravated Assault (Third Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Third Degree), and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Fourth Degree).

The Hon. Terrence R. Cook, J.S.C., scheduled sentencing for September 27.

The investigation revealed that Teeter and another driver who were traveling together were at the Petro Truck Stop on Rising Sun Road on the morning of October 12, 2018 when an argument ensued over the lack of cleanliness of their truck’s cabin.

Teeter pulled a knife and stabbed his co-worker, a 42-year-old Georgia resident. Officers arriving at the scene found the victim on the ground with stab wounds to his abdomen. Teeter was located at the truck stop and arrested without incident.

The victim survived after undergoing emergency surgery at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Teeter has been detained in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly since his arrest.

Teeter was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutors Jamie Hutchinson and Matthew Jaxheimer. The investigation was conducted by detectives from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bordentown Township Police Department. The lead investigators were BCPO Detective Michael Reagan and Bordentown Township Detective Josh Pavlov.