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Judge warns man to give details on stolen fuel

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CANTON — An Ogdensburg man was warned Monday in St. Lawrence County Court that he needed to share more details about his theft of approximately $25,000 worth of fuel from Econo Fuels, Massena, when he was employed there as a driver, or plan for a stay in state prison.

Ernest W. Brothers, 39, of 524 Covington St., had pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony.

The plea bargain agreement called for Mr. Brothers to be sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $15,742.69 in restitution if he complied with the terms of one year of interim probation. If not, he faces up to seven years in prison.

Mr. Brothers, a former driver for Econo Fuels Inc., admitted during a July court appearance that he never delivered $12,000 worth of fuel. He was indicted in November.

He was scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker pointed to a discrepancy between Mr. Brothers’s admissions when he made his guilty plea and the statement he made when he was being interviewed by a probation officer during his presentence investigation.

He said Mr. Brothers told the Probation Department he stole $25,000 worth of fuel, not the $12,000 he told the court when he was pleading guilty to the grand larceny charge. Mr. Becker also suggested that under the terms of the plea bargain agreement, Mr. Brothers needed to share with prosecutors the names of the people who had purchased the stolen fuel from him.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards warned Mr. Brothers that he needed to cooperate with prosecutors and provide them with the names of the recipients of the stolen fuel. He also said the Probation Department had received anonymous reports that Mr. Brothers had been violating the conditions of his release by consuming alcohol at home and entering establishments where alcohol is sold for on-premises consumption.

Judge Richards adjourned sentencing to Oct. 22 and continued Mr. Brothers’s release under the supervision of the Probation Department.

State police said that in March 2011, Mr. Brothers falsified business records on several occasions by signing Econo Fuels delivery tickets for fuel that had not been delivered to customers.

The grand larceny charges stem from thefts that occurred Aug. 10 to Oct. 15, 2011, when Mr. Brothers reported delivering fuel to Alcoa East but instead offloaded it at an unknown location. On Sept. 10, he also reportedly claimed he had offloaded fuel at Econo Fuels in the village of Massena, but instead delivered it to an unknown location.

In other County Court action Monday:

Troy A. Barkley, 34, formerly of Waddington, had his probationary sentence vacated and was resentenced to serve one to three years in state prison for a felony driving while intoxicated conviction. He also was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge following his release from probation, despite the opposition of St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen D. Button.

Mr. Barkley admitted he had three convictions outside New York state, entering guilty pleas to third-degree criminal restraint and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact in January 2010 and contempt of court in December 2009.

Nolan P. Mitchell, 23, of 6 Maple St., Norfolk, was sent back to county jail without bail following his initial appearance on a charge of violating his probation.

Probation officials said Mr. Mitchell violated the terms of his release on a pending charge of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance by being charged Sept. 16 with aggravated driving while intoxicated in the village of Massena. He reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent.

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