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‘Loose Change Gang’ looking at a plea deal: City employees accused of stealing parking meter quarters to appear in court this week

Buffalonews.com is reporting that two city employees, accused of stealing quarters out of parking meters, is talking with federal prosecutors about a plea deal.

The “loose change gang,” James Bagarozzo and Lawrence Charles, are expected to plead guilty this week according to reports.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is about government employees stealing money the government itself has stolen, and since it’s about theft, it is a crime with a victim, namely those who put money into the parking meters.)

Bagarozzo and Charles, both longtime city employees, were arrested in December and accused of stealing money out of parking meters while working as parking meter mechanics for the city. Both men are charged with theft of government property and are suspended without pay from their City Hall jobs.

Bagarozzo, who once served as head of the city animal shelter, is accused of stealing $210,000 over an eight-year period. Charles is accused of stealing about $3,300 over the course of a month.

Both men are scheduled to appear this week before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara for what O’Donnell described as “plea proceedings.”

If convicted, Bagarozzo and Charles could face up to 10 years in prison, though a more lenient sentence is likely, under federal sentencing guidelines.

 

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