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Ogdensburg man has sentencing for stealing fuel from Massena company adjourned


CANTON - A former Econo Fuels driver has had his sentencing for a grand larceny conviction adjourned until Nov. 16 after he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors by sharing the names of people to whom he sold stolen fuel at discounted rates.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards sent Ernest W. Brothers, 39, of 524 Covington St., Ogdensburg, back to St. Lawrence County jail without bail until sentencing. The county court judge had sent Mr. Brothers to the jail without bail on Oct. 9 after he allegedly violated the conditions of his release under probation by possessing alcohol.

Judge Richards had warned Mr. Brothers on Sept. 24 he needed to share more details about his theft of approximately $25,000 of fuel from Econo Fuels when he was employed there as a driver to earn the negotiated sentencing commitment of a year on interim probation for his third-degree grand larceny conviction.

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

Mr. Brothers admitted during a July court appearance he had never delivered $12,000 worth of fuel. He was indicted in November 2011.

He had initially been scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 24, but St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker that day 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 pre-sentence investigation.

He said Mr. Brothers told the probation department he stole $25,000 worth of fuel, not the $12,000 he admitted to when pleading guilty.

Mr. Becker also said Mr. Brothers needed to share with prosecutors the names of the people who had purchased the stolen fuel oil from him under the terms of the plea bargain agreement.

Judge Richards this week told Mr. Brothers’s attorney, Public Defender Stephen D. Button that the court would reinstate the original sentencing commitment if his client cooperates with state police.

In other recent court action before Judge Richards:

Justin C. Scovil, 27, of Ogdensburg, was sent back to the county jail without bail on an alleged violation of his probationary sentence.

He had been sentenced to five years’ probation in February in county court for a third-degree grand larceny conviction. He reportedly violated his probation by failing to report as directed to his probation officer on multiple occasions between February and Sept. 14, failing to successfully complete treatment and not making any payments on his restitution of approximately $400.

Mr. Scovil was also arrested for second-degree burglary and petit larceny earlier this month after he allegedly stole jewelry from a friend’s residence at 74 Law Lane.

Mr. Button entered a denial of the alleged violation of probation on Scovil’s behalf. Judge Richards ordered Scovil to comply with drug testing at the county jail.

Arnold Bryant, 46, of 820 Thieriot Ave., Bronx, at the time of his arrest and now living in Jefferson County, was sentenced to probation for five years for a third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance conviction. His probationary supervision was transferred to Jefferson County.

Mr. Bryant was also ordered to pay $350 in court fees and surcharges and had his operating privileges suspended for six months.

Mr. Becker had urged the court to sentence Bryant to prison, suggesting the former New York City man wasn’t a candidate for treatment. “He’s been involved in trafficking drugs and tobacco for close to a decade,” the prosecutor said.

Judge Richards suggested Mr. Becker must not have read the pre-sentence report, which noted Mr. Bryant had successfully completed a treatment program following his arrest on the drug charges in the city of Ogdenburg. St. Lawrence County Conflict Public Defender Amy L. Dona said this was the first time her client had been offered treatment.

Mr. Bryant said he had benefitted from the treatment program.

“I’ve never actually been given a chance to rehabilitate myself. I have always just been incarcerated. I got the tools I need to maintain sobriety. That’s a blessing in itself,” he told the court.

He had been charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, he possessed heroin and cocaine Oct. 27, 2011, in Ogdensburg.

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