Alleged corruption, obstruction
A two-year probe into shocking allegations of corruption and obstruction of justice has so far landed five people in legal hot water, including a 28-year veteran of the OPP and the latest casualty, high-profile Toronto businessman Frank D'Angelo.
As investigators continue to widen their net, casting a shadow over Ontario's legal system, they're not ready to rule out the possibility of more arrests.
"We'll go where the evidence takes us," Det.-Insp. Phil George, of the OPP's criminal investigations branch, said yesterday outside a Brampton court after one of his fellow officers appeared for a bail hearing.
Sgt. Mike Rutigliano, 49, first appeared on radar during another investigation. But since then police have accumulated a lengthy list of his alleged wrongdoings.
"I'm astounded," George said of the allegations and the fact an officer of the law is at the centre of it all.
Ontario's attorney general has taken the unusual step of bringing in a special prosecutor from outside the province and asking former integrity commissioner Coulter Osborne to monitor the proceedings.
Rutigliano was first accused of paying off two pals at Bombardier in order to secure about $15 million in contracts for Aero-One Technical Solutions, an aircraft repair company in Mississauga that he operates on the side.
Rutigliano, his business associate Lynda Viola, 46, and two former Bombardier workers, Maurice Clark, 46, and Barry Pierson, 56, were taken into custody earlier this week on charges of conspiracy, fraud, laundering the proceeds of crime, and corruptly giving and receiving "secret commissions."
After the arrests, it was learned Rutigliano also faces charges of breach of trust and obstructing justice for allegedly using his position in the OPP's court case management section to assist two people facing criminal charges.
In court documents filed by the OPP, Rutigliano is accused of helping fraudster Peter Mavroudis and D'Angelo, a former beer magnate, "avoid prosecution."
Crown attorney Domenic Basile is also named in the papers as an "unindicted co-conspirator," a designation that means he hasn't been charged but allegedly has some involvement.
Mavroudis, 50, sold bogus Leafs and Raptors tickets throughout the GTA and was on the run from the law for a year, but he pleaded guilty to fraud charges in January and is now serving four years in prison.
D'Angelo, 50, who once owned Steelback Brewery, was accused of sexual assault after a friend's 22-year-old daughter said he forced himself on her in a Yorkdale Holiday Inn hotel room in 2007. He said the sex was consensual.
D'Angelo was found not guilty just last month by Justice John Hamilton, who admitted both the accused and the alleged victim were believable.
However, the flamboyant businessman was arrested yesterday and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as obstructing justice.
D'Angelo, Viola, Clark and Pierson have all now been released from custody pending trial. But Rutigliano will remain behind bars for a least another week.
The hearing resumes Friday.CHRIS.DOUCETTE@SUNMEDIA.CAhttp://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2009/ ... 6-sun.html