Judge orders former Sebring judge to pay back $209,000 in fraud case

Local News

At one time, she was a respected local court judge and lawyer.

Now, Diane Vettori has been ordered to pay back more than $209,000 in her fraud case.

Retired Probate Judge Thomas Swift ruled this week that Vettori is guilty of taking money from the estates of two siblings — Delores Falgiani and Robert Sampson — whose wills she handled.

In his ruling, the judge cited testimony from an FBI agent indicating that Vettori made false statements about the estates, where as much as $328,000 could not be accounted for. 

At one point, the judge writes that Vettori lied about having more than $250,000 in U.S. savings bonds belonging to Falgiani.

During the hearing in December, Agent Dean Hassman testified that over a 32-day period in 2016, Vettori made two dozen structured deposits — totaling more than $100,000 — in nine different accounts at 15 bank branches in the area.  

The agent said Vettori used the money to make payments on nearly three dozen credit cards, adding that at that time, she owed $132,000 on more than 50 accounts.

Vettori already faces sentencing in June after pleading guilty in federal court to fraud.

She has 30 days to begin making arrangements for the payment. 

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