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Merrimack Valley

February 16, 2013

Arraignment in 'Aunt Betty' case delayed again

LAWRENCE — An arraignment for retired city police officer William Hale yesterday was postponed a second time for medical reasons.

Hale, 77, is charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly woman shortly after her death in 2007. The arraignment on uttering, forgery and larceny over $250 was postponed until April 11. Elizabeth Lacey, 89, known as “Aunt Betty” to her friends, died on May 1, 2007, and State Police believe that Hale forged checks to drain more than $60,000 from her checking account.

Police believe Hale signed his name to two checks totaling $9,000 from Lacey’s Sovereign Bank account, which held $66,000, deposited them into his own account and immediately withdrew the cash.

From May 1, 2007 to Nov. 20, 2007, Hale forged Lacey’s name to at least 15 other checks payable to himself totaling $55,000, police said.

Seven months after her death, in December 2007, her balance was just under $53, according to court documents.

Between May 3, 2007, and Sept. 5, 2007, police also believe Hale forged Lacey’s name to cash six pension checks in the amount of $2,850.

He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted of uttering and forgery and as much as five years in jail if found guilty of the larceny charge.

A pretrial hearing for Jose Davila, 25, also was postponed until March 13 to deal with violation of probation issues.

Davila was arrested last month and charged with intimidating a witness after police came to believe he and two other men threatened witnesses who testified against a murder suspect in early January.

Ronney Moreno, 30, and Rafael Rodriguez, 22 also were arrested and charged with witness intimidation.

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