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Former Rotterdam VFW official indicted in $15K theft from post

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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— A former VFW official accused of taking an estimated $15,000 from his post has now been indicted by a grand jury.

The indictment against Paul J. Rizzo, 32, of Woodbridge Avenue, Rotterdam, was handed up Wednesday morning, charging him with third-degree grand larceny.

Also handed up Wednesday were indictments in unrelated cases, including a home invasion-style attempted murder indictment against Nasjuan Jones and a burglary indictment against Scott Clapper, an accused burglar arrested after being spotted with a gym bag filled with cash.

In the VFW case, Rizzo is accused of taking money from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1895, at 609 Draper Ave., between December 2011 and July 2012. He was arrested in September.

He is being prosecuted by Laurie Cummings, who has said that Rizzo served as the post’s quartermaster, essentially its treasurer.

Rizzo is accused of taking money from several accounts, as well as using a post debit card for personal use. Cummings said Wednesday it is unclear what he was allegedly spending the money on, but debit card transactions attributed to Rizzo were not for post business.

Members of the post first realized there was a problem when a member tried to make a purchase, but was unable to, Cummings has said. After looking into it, they turned the case over to the Rotterdam Police Department.

Rizzo is being represented by attorney Sven Paul, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Also indicted Wednesday:

* Nasjuan S. Jones, 19, of Craig Street. He faces charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault, as well as first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.

Jones is accused in connection with a Feb. 8 shooting at a Madison Street address that left one person critically wounded.

Prosecutor Peter Willis on Wednesday described the incident as something that didn’t start as a home invasion, but turned into one.

The victim suffered life-threatening injuries. He is out of the hospital, but still has many challenges ahead of him, Willis said.

Jones was arrested in March in Queens.

* Scott Clapper, the man accused of breaking into two Duanesburg businesses in December, was indicted on burglary charges.

Clapper, 28, was indicted on two counts of third-degree burglary, accused of breaking into the Quaker Inn and Jonathan’s Restaurant in December.

At the Quaker Inn, Clapper is accused of taking cash out of an ATM, as well as breaking into a jukebox. He is not believed to have taken anything from Jonathan’s, Cummings said.

He was arrested the next day after state troopers stopped him on a traffic matter in Cobleskill. Clapper was found to be driving on a suspended license, leading to his car being towed. It was then, during a required inventory, that troopers found the gym bag, filled with crisp $20 bills and several hundred $1 bills.

 
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