Mortgage broker admits to dealing drugs in Saratoga Springs
BALLSTON SPA Robert Allen was a mortgage broker with his own business, but authorities said that during the recession he turned to another line of work — dealing drugs.
Allen, whom authorities describe as a drug kingpin who dealt in and around downtown Saratoga Springs, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony criminal sale of cocaine and conspiracy charges. He is expected to be ordered to spend six years in prison and three years of post-release supervision at his sentencing Dec. 20.
City police started investigating Allen, 44, of County Route 75, Mechanicville, last year and said he was dealing cocaine and marijuana in the bar and restaurant district on Caroline and Phila streets and Maple Avenue.
Allen sold drugs “at first somewhat secretively and then, after a while, less so,” said Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III.
Saratoga Springs police officers had their eye on Allen for “many months” and videotaped his buys before arresting him and several people who allegedly contacted him about buying drugs, usually powder cocaine, Murphy said.
Allen was not a cocaine user himself, just a dealer, Murphy said, adding that prosecutors wanted to see Allen go to prison but also wanted to see the customers get drug treatment.
“He was really preying upon lots of people who were addicts and users,” Murphy said. “The message we want to send is, Saratoga County is no place for dealing, and if you do, prison is the ultimate destination for you.”
One of those charged in the sting was Milton town Highway Superintendent David C. Forbes, 43, of Lee Street, Ballston Spa, who has since pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to participate in drug transactions.
Others were charged with the same offense and most received a fine and were required to get drug evaluation and treatment:
• Edward Fitzgerald, 59, of Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs
• Heather Chittenden, 38, of Cook Circle, Gansevoort
• Thomas W. Williams, 40, of Madison Avenue, Saratoga Springs
• April L. Allen, 34, of County Route 75, Mechanicville
• Deborah Risso, 50, of Northern Pines Road, Gansevoort
• Paul Fasulo, 68, of Sunrise Drive, Saratoga Springs
• Thomas Bowe, 44, of Russell Road, Schuylerville
• Jose Cruz, 39, of Lincoln Avenue, Saratoga Springs, who was sentenced to three years in prison on a felony charge;
• Thomas Kopach, 53, of 132 Kaydeross Drive, Ballston Spa, who is expected to get a jail sentence in January.
Murphy credited Lt. John Catone and investigators Chris Kuznia, Charlie Fischer and Rich Arpei of the Saratoga Springs Police Department for their investigation.