Alleged cruise thieves return to court

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Diane Caponigro and Kathleen Leblanc stand by Leblanc's lawyer, Matt Jackson, in Edgartown District Court on Jan. 10. — Rich Saltzberg

Oak Bluffs residents Diane Caponigro and Kathleen Leblanc came before Judge Benjamin Barnes in Edgartown District Court Friday in a continuation of a case about the alleged theft of a Caribbean cruise

Caponigro and Leblanc are former caregivers of Barbara Roberts, formerly of Chilmark. Chilmark Police allege the two acquired and took a Caribbean cruise from Roberts by illegal means. Caponigro and Leblanc deny there was a crime, and say they were gifted the cruise. 

Chilmark Police originally charged Caponigro and Leblanc with one count each of larceny over $250 from a disabled senior. Additionally, Caponigro was charged with one count of forgery and one count of false uttering for allegedly fabricating a note from a Martha’s Vineyard Hospital doctor. Those charges were later thrown out. 

Both women were arraigned in Edgartown District Court on Nov. 15, and both pleaded not guilty. 

At their appearance Friday, attorney Daniel Larkosh represented Caponigro and attorney Matt Jackson represented Leblanc. The proceeding revolved around a motion by Larkosh for prosecutors to furnish a bill of particulars, a document that breaks down charges in detail. Based on the information contained in the bill of particulars, Larkosh requested a date for a hearing on a motion to dismiss the case. Judge Barnes set a hearing for Feb. 18. 

“It’s clear they’re just casting about,” Larkosh later told The Times. He said the information in the bill of particulars doesn’t jibe with the accounts given by Chilmark Police. 

Jackson didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

Attorney Eric Peters, who represents Roberts, was present in the courtroom Friday, but did not engage in the proceeding. He sent a brief statement on the case Friday afternoon. 

“Given the rapidly increasing aging population on Martha’s Vineyard, the problems of financial and physical abuse of the elderly [are] a matter for concern,” he wrote. “The family hopes that the commonwealth will give this case the serious attention it deserves, and thanks the Chilmark Police Department for its investigations.”