SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (CN) – The state wants a judge to roll back a woman’s transfer of a condo to her son because she hasn’t repaid the $103,000 she allegedly stole as a licensed lottery agent.
The State of New York sued Donna J. Walsh, dba Olde Christy’s Inn, and her son, John DiGesualdo, in Schenectady County Supreme Court. It claims the two jointly owned a condominium in nearby Rotterdam that was transferred to DiGesualdo last year “with the intent and purpose to hinder, delay and defraud Walsh’s creditors, and in particular plaintiff herein.”
The state says the conveyance should be rescinded and the defendants barred from “conveying, disposing of or devaluing” the property.
Walsh, who is described in the complaint as sole proprietor of Olde Christy’s, a tavern and sports bar in Schenectady, became a lottery sales agent in 2003. Under her licensing agreement with the state, she set up a bank account that the Lottery Division would access weekly, after telling her how much she owed based on the number of lottery tickets sold at her bar. Walsh was to make money available for electronic transfer to the state by noon every Tuesday, according to the complaint.
But during an investigation in June 2011, the Lottery Division discovered that for about six weeks in May and June, Walsh “played her own lottery inventory and appropriated the winnings,” the complaint states. New York claims that more than $103,100 owed for sales in those weeks was not turned over to the state.
Walsh’s license to sell lottery tickets was suspended, and in mid-July she was sent a final notice to pay, the complaint states. When she did not pay up, her license was revoked.
She was arrested by State Police a month later, according to the complaint, and this year was indicted by a Schenectady County grand jury on one count of felony grand larceny.
The Albany Times Union newspaper reported that Walsh was accused of scanning scratch-off lottery tickets to see if any were winners – an action that voided their sale to the public. The alleged misappropriation was uncovered when Walsh failed to put money into the account that paid the Lottery Division every Tuesday.
The newspaper described DiGesualdo as a 20-year veteran of the Schenectady Police Department, who retired in January. In April, he submitted a proposal to the city to take over Olde Christy’s and rename it Johnny Goo’s Clam Shack.
The state’s complaint says that after the alleged larceny was discovered, and just before the final notice to pay up was issued, Walsh and DiGesualdo filed a deed transferring their joint ownership of the condo unit at Bigsbee Village to DiGesualdo “without fair consideration or without any consideration.”
As a result, “Walsh was rendered insolvent by reason of the conveyance of the Bigsbee condominium to DiGesualdo and has so remained,” the complaint states. The defendants’ interests in the property “were and now are of a greater value than the amount due and owing to plaintiff,” according to the complaint.
Public records indicate that Walsh and DiGesualdo paid $116,500 for the condo in 2008. Last month, four Bigsbee Village properties were listed on an Albany real estate website for sale at prices ranging from $114,900 to $129,900. Each of the units contained two bedrooms and one bath.
“The Bigsbee condominium, or the proceeds of any sale thereof, is/was an asset that would have been attached by plaintiff to satisfy a judgment obtained by plaintiff against Walsh,” the complaint states.
In addition to transferring the condo to avoid repayment, the state accuses Walsh of breach of her lottery sales agreement, holding on to money to which she wasn’t entitled, and unjust enrichment. The state says it’s entitled to collection fees of up to 22 percent of the money owed, plus attorneys’ fees.