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6 Arrested in Connection with Fatal Evergreen Fire in Spring Valley

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Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh announced the arrests of 4 Rockland County men as a result of the multi-agency 3-month long investigation into the fatal fire in the Evergreen Assisted Living Home on March 23, 2021, claiming the life of Volunteer Firefighter Jared Lloyd and a resident of the facility.

The identities of the individuals, as well as their charges, are attached to this press release. The investigation into the tragic fire is still ongoing and limits the amount of information that can be shared at this time.

Aaron Sommer and Nathaniel Sommer are both charged with the same crimes for their actions that have been determined to cause the fire. They were both arraigned in Spring Valley Justice Court before the Honorable David Fried. Bail was set and they were transported to the Rockland County Jail. Wayne Ballard and Raymond Canario are charged with falsely filing reports to New York State regarding fire inspections. Both men were processed and released on appearance tickets. They will appear in Spring Valley Justice Court in July. Two arrest warrants were issued for Denise Kerr and Manuel Lema. Their charges are for their actions from within the facility prior to the start of the fire.

Watch full press conference below

FULL LIST OF CHARGES:

Nathaniel Sommer

Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)
Assault in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)
Arson in the 4th Degree
Assault in the 3rd Degree (7 Counts)
Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)

Aaron Sommer

Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)
Assault in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)
Arson in the 4th Degree
Assault in the 3rd Degree (7 Counts)
Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (2 Counts)

Wayne Ballard

Offering False Instrument 1st Degree
Falsifying Bus. Records 2nd Degree

Raymond Canario

Offering False Instrument 1st Degree (3 Counts)
Falsifying Bus. Records 2nd Degree (3 Counts)

Denise Kerr

Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree

Manuel Lema

Criminal Impersonation in the 2nd Degree
Obstructing Governmental Administration

The investigation involves the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Spring Valley Police Department, Rockland County Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New York State Police, and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic and Senior Assistant District Attorney Ryan Sweeney.

Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh said, “Today is a culmination of an intensive multi- agency investigation that left no stone unturned. I informed the Lloyd family of the arrests made today.

While we can’t bring Jared back, today is a step in the right direction. Although we have made arrests in this case, the investigation is far from over.”

Photo via Rockland County DA/Instagram.

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Crime

Former Sloatsburg EMS President Pleads Guilty to Multiple Charges

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SLOASTBURG, NY – Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh announced the plea of guilty on a grand larceny charge of the former president of the Sloatsburg Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The plea brings to a close a months-long, multi- agency investigation into the stealing of funds from the ambulance corps.

Matthew Gannon, 54, of Sloatsburg, NY, appeared before Hon. Larry J Schwartz today, pleaded guilty to grand larceny 2nd (felony). In doing so, Gannon admitted to stealing in excess of $70,000 from the Sloatsburg Volunteer Ambulance Corps. during his tenure as President. Specifically, Gannon admitted to transferring moneys to two of his personal checking accounts in excess of $24,000, and admitted making payments directly from the Sloatsburg Volunteer Ambulance Corps. bank accounts for unauthorized personal expenditures to the following: All-State Insurance in excess of $18,000, Optimum in excess of $13,000, Salve Regina University / First Mark Loan in excess of $10,000, New York Jets in excess of $9,000, State Farm Insurance in excess of $5,000, Lucking Field Hockey in excess of $2,250, ACE Hardware in excess of $1,000, and the University of Albany in excess of $1,000. In exchange for Gannon’s plea of guilty, Judge Schwartz promised to sentence Gannon based on one of the following three scenarios: (1) If Gannon fails to pay back restitution by his sentence date, he will be sentenced to 1-3 years in state prison, (2) if Gannon pays back at least half the restitution by his sentence date, he will be sentenced to one year intermittent in the Rockland County Jail, or (3) if Gannon pays back the entire restitution amount before his sentence date, he will be sentenced to a split sentence of six months intermittent in the Rockland County Jail and five-years probation which will include an undetermined amount of community service. The restitution amount may be up to $79,092.28, and will be paid back to the Town of Ramapo.

At Gannon’s plea, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office recommended that Judge Schwartz sentence Gannon to an indeterminate term of two to six years in state prison with full restitution. The District Attorney’s Office’s position is based on defendant’s prior conviction for falsifying business records for the Suffern school district, and the fact that the Sloatsburg Volunteer Ambulance Corps. has been shut down due to Gannon’s theft. Judge Schwartz will sentence Gannon on 10/26/2021.

District Attorney Tom Walsh said, “Today’s guilty plea is a direct result of a well-coordinated investigation, by a multitude of law enforcement agencies, from local, county and state levels. We cannot allow persons who oversee the funds of such a vital community program, such as a volunteer ambulance corps, to feel they can steal without consequence.”

The investigation was conducted by Town of Ramapo Police Department, Rockland County District Attorney’s Special Investigation Unit and the NYS attorney General’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Garcia

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Crime

Driver Charged with DWI after Rollover Crash in Hillcrest

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HILLCREST, NY – Ramapo Police announced that driver of the vehicle in a rollover accident on New Hempstead Road on Tuesday (July 22, 2021) has been charged with DWI.

Hillcrest FD, Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps and Rockland Paramedic Services were on the scene.

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