FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 2, 2017 • THE COURIER SUN 3 REMEMBERING EDDIE Jamaica ceremony honors life of murdered police officer Former Jamaica nonprofit boss jailed for stealing $100K BY ANTHONY GIUDICE email@example.com @A_GiudiceReport The former executive director of a Jamaica nonprofit organization who admitted to embezzling approximately $100,000 in federal and state funds to finance a lavish lifestyle of hiring maids and nannies, and posh upgrades to her home has been sentenced to jail time, prosecutors announced. New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced on Wednesday, Feb. 22, that Yolanda Vitulli, 53, formerly of Merrick, and now a resident of Mohnton, Pennsylvania, will have to serve three months in jail for stealing the funds. Additionally, Vitulli will have to pay $88,659 restitution and serve up to as much as 300 hours of community service over three years of supervised release. “This defendant preyed on our most vulnerable people to enrich herself and subsidize a life of luxury,” Scott said. “I will relentlessly pursue anyone who exploits the developmentally disabled and steals taxpayer funds.” Vitulli ran the Tender Care Human Services — which provides services to autistic individuals and people with developmental disabilities — for 15 years. Through an investigation by Scott and her partners, it An NYPD color guard at the Feb. 26 ceremony honoring the life of Police Officer Edward Byrne. was discovered that Vitulli stole the $100,000 from the organization between 2009 and May 2014 to pay for housekeepers who would clean her home, do her laundry and provide childcare services. Additionally, between January 2012 and November 2013, Vitulli used taxpayer money to purchase and install a Bahama Spas hot tub, as well as the installation of a new dishwasher, a security camera system, fencing at her property and bedroom furniture. BY ROBERT POZARYCKI firstname.lastname@example.org @robbpoz Nearly 30 years after Police Officer Edward Byrne was assassinated on a South Jamaica street, the NYPD remains determined to keeping his memory alive. Police Commissioner James O’Neill joined members of the 103rd Precinct and fellow officers, Byrne’s family and community activists at the corner of 107th Avenue and Inwood Street early on the morning of Feb. 26 for a memorial ceremony honoring the rookie officer slain there 29 years ago that day. Byrne was sitting in his patrol car outside the home of a resident who complained about drug activity at the location on the morning of Feb. 26, 1988. Just before 3:30 a.m., according to The New York Times, a gunman walked up to the car and shot Byrne multiple times in the head. The murder stunned the entire city and country; then-President Ronald Reagan called Byrne’s family to express his condolences, and then-Vice President George H.W. Bush carried Byrne’s badge with him during his successful presidential campaign that year. Four suspects were arrested within a week of Byrne’s death, and later convicted of carrying out the murder. Deputy Commissioner Larry Byrne, Edward’s brother, recalled that the execution “was meant by a violent imprisoned drug dealer to be an act of intimidation against the police and the criminal justice system.” Instead, the NYPD “responded swiftly and powerfully not just in solving the crime,” but also by making the city safer in the three decades that followed. Commissioner Byrne spoke on behalf of his family and the NYPD in thanking all who continue to keep alive his brother’s memory, and remember the ultimate sacrifice he made. “It was Eddie’s lifelong dream to be a police officer, to follow in the footsteps of our dad, who is a retired lieutenant,” he said. “When you come together each year, you not only help to honor his sacrifice, but also to keep his dream alive.” O’Neill noted that the “New York City of 1988 was not a great place”; approximately 1,896 people, including Officer Byrne and six other cops, were murdered that year. The steep drop in crime since then, O’Neill noted, was the result of the NYPD’s hard work and its cooperation with other law enforcement partners. In 2016, major crimes fell to an alltime low, as it was reported; just 335 homicides were reported, and there were fewer than 1,000 shootings for the first time since the city began keeping crime statistics. “None of this happens by Photos via Twitter/@NYPD103Pct and @NYPDNews accident, the fact that homicides and overall shootings are down,” O’Neill said. “Anything that happens in this city, anything that makes this city better, is because of the men and women standing in front of me now. … The state of crime in New York of 2017 is because of you.” Correction The Feb. 23 issue of the Courier Sun included a story with the headline “Cops kill Jamaica man in standoff.” While the story was correct, the headline was grossly inaccurate due to a mixup in the layout process. It should have read “Cops shoot at man in standoff.” The headline has been corrected in the digital version of The Courier Sun, http:// digital-editions.qns.com/ SAC02232017/#/4/. We apologize for, and regret any confusion which may have resulted. Photo via Shutterstock/Inset via Twitter Yolanda Vitulli (inset) will serve three months in jail for stealing $100,000 from the nonprofit she ran.
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