Woman admits Lottery scam
Ex-bar owner ordered tickets, failed to pay
SCHENECTADY The former city bar owner accused of scamming the state Lottery out of an estimated $100,000 in lottery tickets admitted to the thefts Monday morning.
Donna Walsh, 64, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny, a felony.
In exchange for the deal, negotiated directly with acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino, Walsh could receive as little as probation or as much as 21⁄3 to 7 years in state prison, attorneys said.
Walsh agreed to pay an estimated $98,000 in restitution. How much of that amount she pays by her sentencing date could affect her sentence, officials said.
Walsh is accused of scanning an estimated $100,000 worth of Lottery tickets over 45 days in the summer of 2011 and not paying for them.
Walsh allegedly ordered thousands of tickets electronically, then ran them through a scanner, essentially scratching them electronically, prosecutors have said.
Walsh was described as the proprietor of the former Olde Christy’s Inn on Lower Broadway in Schenectady.
As a Lottery vendor, she essentially had a line of credit with the state Lottery, prosecutor Katie McCutcheon has said. The Lottery started investigating after her account came due. Charges were filed against her in late summer of 2011 and she was indicted in March.
Walsh’s attorney, Steve Kouray, declined to comment on the specifics of the case Monday, other than confirming the basics of the plea.
McCutcheon, the prosecutor, was not involved in the plea deal. She said though that she is satisfied with the outcome.
“I think it’s a reasonable outcome, given the circumstances.”
Sentencing is set for December but could be delayed beyond that, officials said.
In addition to her criminal troubles, Walsh also has faced a lawsuit from the state Lottery over the issue, seeking a judgment for what it said it is owed and a declaration voiding the transfer of property to her son.
According to the lawsuit filed earlier this year, the transfer of a condominium “was made in an effort to hinder and delay [the state’s] efforts to collect” the money owed.
Walsh’s son John DiGesualdo, a retired city police detective, is also named related to the condominium transfer. He is not accused of any wrongdoing.
It was unclear how Monday’s plea and restitution figure would affect the lawsuit.