CAUTION – Dozens of people stood outside Courtroom 14 of the Court Complex on Tuesday for their moment in front of the judge overseeing court fees, fines and refunds.
Superior Court Judge Maureen B. Keough asked about her substance abuse treatment, jobs, and life, and asked a middle-aged man to pay so he could leave his monthly court visits behind.
One visitor stood out not only because of the sheer compensation he owed – nearly $ 12 million – but also because of the scale of his offenses: one in three Rhode Islanders was injured by theft at the time of their crimes.
Once a year, banker Joseph Mollicone Jr., once a refugee, reports to the court to review the refund – a request that was waived in 2020, during the height of the COVID pandemic, because, according to Craig. N. Berke, spokesman for the judiciary, makes his monthly payments so reliable.
“It’s my responsibility,” Mollicone said on Tuesday before appearing in court. “I accept that. I keep up with my payments. ”
Keough noted that Mollicone pays consistently but wondered why the amount dropped from $ 270 per month to $ 250 in April 2020.
Mollicone said he believes his monthly payment should be 10% of his income, or $ 250. It is difficult to pay $ 270 a month, he said.
Keough increased the required payment amount to $ 270 and asked Mollicone to return for review on June 28.
“I’ll do my best,” said Mollicone.
As of Nov. 23, Mollicone had paid $ 15,100 for its refund, monthly payments that go to the state tax department and then to the General Fund, state officials said. He owes an additional $ 506,000 in fines, fees and charges, debts that will not be touched until he pays his refund.
Today Mollicone works as a real estate manager for a Connecticut company and another historic renovation company, according to the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
Cranstonâs Mollicone will remain on probation through 2023 and then serve two years probation.
Mollicone’s theft from Heritage Loan & Investment Co., the bank he inherited from his father, helped plunge Rhode Island into the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.
He began raiding Heritage Loan in the mid-1980s as President of the Heritage Loan, skipping an estimated $ 15.2 million despite only being charged with a loss of $ 12 million.
Prosecutor Kevin Bristow told the court in Molliconâs trial that the banker, who had a penchant for fast cars and daring deals, âbledâ Heritage day in and day out, week in week out, month in month out, year in year out. âHe stole from friends, strangers, family.
He was also known for dodging questions about missing bank records, and once suggested to a bank auditor, “Let’s have a muffin.”
He fled to Salt Lake City in November 1990 when his betrayal was on the verge of discovery. He lived under the false name of John Fazioli, a childhood friend who had died shortly before Molliconâs flight. He lived as a jewelry maker in Boston who had ventured into Utah to ski and relax.
Heritage Loan failed when Mollicone hit the slopes and destroyed the entire system of the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corporation, the private insurer of most of the state’s credit unions. Deposits ran out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The state eventually borrowed up to $ 350 million to repay it.
Mollicone surrendered in April 1992. A year later, a jury sentenced him to five times embezzlement, 19 wrong entries and two conspiracies. He was fined $ 12 million, a sum that has grown with interest.
When asked Tuesday if he had anything to say to the Rhode Islanders, Mollicone said he would “one day”.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I do my best.”