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What you need to know for 07/27/2017

Ex-Albany County jail guard punished in gambling case

Ex-Albany County jail guard punished in gambling case

The case against one of two Albany County corrections officers accused of participating in a gamblin

The case against one of two Albany County corrections officers accused of participating in a gambling ring concluded Tuesday with his formal sentencing, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office said.

Meanwhile, the case against the second corrections officer is still pending, and he remains suspended without pay.

The now-former jail guard sentenced Tuesday was James Cerniglia, 47, of Clifton Park. He pleaded guilty in June to one misdemeanor count of second-degree promoting gambling, admitting to knowingly advancing or profiting from unlawful gambling activity, prosecutors said.

As part of his plea, Cerniglia agreed to formally resign from his position at the Albany County Jail. He also agreed to forfeit $5,000 in illegal earnings.

No jail time was included in the deal, but Cerniglia must continue his cooperation in the case. If he doesn’t, he could still face jail time, officials said.

Cerniglia and the other county corrections officer, Timothy Robillard, also of Clifton Park, were initially charged in April with felony enterprise corruption. Robillard’s case remains pending. Both were suspended without pay upon their arrest.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said Tuesday he doesn’t see a scenario where Robillard would return to the payroll.

Two others were also sentenced Tuesday in connection with the gambling ring: Christopher Socola, 42, of Clifton Park, and Joseph Carucci, 68, of Albany. Neither will spend any time in jail or face other punishment if they stay out of trouble, but Carucci forfeited $15,000 in illegal earnings.

Socola pleaded guilty in June to one count of first-degree promoting gambling, and Carucci pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting gambling. Socola admitted to engaging in a bookmaking-for-profit scheme, including a July 2011 incident in Albany County.

Another defendant faces sentencing next month. Craig Hayner, 42, of Clifton Park, pleaded guilty in July to one count of first-degree promoting gambling.

Hayner admitted to engaging in a bookmaking-for-profit scheme. He is to receive a conditional discharge, meaning no jail time. But he also must forfeit $250,000 in illegal earnings, officials said.

At the time of the arrests, officials said the Albany County operation was related to a larger gambling ring run by Phillip Gurian, a Florida man with alleged ties to organized crime.

He is accused in federal court of using multiple websites and computer software for gambling. He also allegedly had more than five people working for the enterprise, which spanned cities in California, New York, Russia and Panama, officials said then.

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