Three Men Charged for Stealing Church Collection Money

February 5, 2014 Updated: February 5, 2014

NEW YORK—Three men have been charged with stealing over $10,000 from an upper Westside Manhattan church. They took the generous donations made to a special collection for the family of Ariel Russo—a 4-year-old girl fatally hit by an unlicensed driver last June.

According to court documents, two of the men, Flavio Ramirez and Frederic Ello, were employed at the Roman Catholic Holy Name of Jesus Church. ATM deposits were made into Ebiowei Oroso’s bank account.

Ramirez, Ello, and Oroso were charged with grand larceny Wednesday.

Their arraignments came on the same day that Franklin Reyes, the teenager who fatally hit Ariel Russo appeared in court at 100 Centre Street.

Reyes was driving without a license and fleeing from police when he fatally hit Ariel and injured her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez, 58, on June 4, according to officials.

Reyes is charged with manslaughter and unlawfully fleeing from a police officer. There was a discussion between Judge Carro and the lawyers Wednesday; the judge announced the court would reconvene on Feb. 26.

Sanford Rubenstein, the lawyer representing Ariel’s parents said that there is a possibility for a guilty plea, in which case the judge will decide the sentence for Reyes.

Ariel’s mother, Sofia Russo said that the renaming of West 97th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway to Ariel Russo Way is set for March 10, the date that Ariel would have turned 5 years old.

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