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HomeNewsLocal newsFacing Racketeering Charge, a Defendant Asks the Court's Permission to Leave USVI

Facing Racketeering Charge, a Defendant Asks the Court’s Permission to Leave USVI

The Justice Department requested and was granted permission by the court to keep the records related to the case under seal. (Shutterstock image)

Questions surround the recent arrest of a woman on St. Thomas, charged with racketeering, grand larceny, computer tampering and defrauding the government. Court records say the suspect was detained on Tuesday when police executed an arrest warrant issued Feb. 2 after the Office of Management and Budget filed a complaint alleging Kristy Bochecchio had helped bilk $500,000 from the government’s economic stimulus account.

Bochecchio made an initial appearance in Superior Court Magistrate’s Division on Wednesday morning. She then quickly paid a $10,000 bond and asked the court’s permission to leave the territory by Friday. She is one of four charged with the crime, according to VIPD.

A spokesperson for the Virgin Islands Police Department credits the work of the department’s Economic Crimes Unit for effecting the arrest.

“On June 9, 2023, the Economic Crime Unit, St. Thomas District, initiated an investigation into Fraudulent Claims upon the Government, a complaint filed by the Office of Management and Budget. Investigation revealed that over $500,000.00 were illegally taken from the 2020 Government of the Virgin Islands Economic Stimulus Account which occurred over a period,” according to a statement issued Thursday.

Bochecchio is charged with six criminal counts: a violation of the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, participating in fraud on credit cards, obtaining money by false pretense, grand larceny, and making fraudulent claims upon the government. Details as to why police believed they had a basis by law to arrest the defendant is filed with the court as a public record, but was not available at press time.

St. Thomas attorney Carl Williams appeared with Bochecchio on Thursday before Superior Court Magistrate Paula Norkadis, who upheld the charges and set bail at $100,000. Norkadis also granted the defendant pretrial release upon posting a 10 percent bond, which was done later in the day.

Williams filed a motion asking permission for his client to travel on Friday, June 21; he also asked the court to allow the defendant to make future appearances virtually instead of in person.

No ruling has been issued at this time. Norakdis set July 5 for an arraignment hearing where Bochecchio will plead guilty or not guilty to the charges lodged against her.

The V.I. Justice Department also filed a request, which was granted by the court, to keep the record in this case under seal.

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