August 12, 2010

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Woman charged with hoarding dogs in Ulster arrested on unrelated charges in NYC

QUEENS – The founder and executive director of the Queens International Film Festival has been arraigned on charges that she bilked four vendors out of nearly $14,000 in goods and services during the 2007 and 2008 festivals.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown Wednesday said Marie Castaldo, 52, was accused of duping advertising and film industry vendors into providing their services for free to her film festival by “in most cases” making a small upfront payment and then refusing to make any further payments.

Castaldo, who founded the festival in 2002, was charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and second-degree harassment.

Ulster County SPCA Executive Director Brian Shapiro said Castaldo is the same woman charged with failure to provide proper sustenance to animals after enforcement officers seized over 40 dogs confined to cages in filthy conditions.

The dogs were discovered last month in an empty storefront in Phoenicia. At the time the dogs were seized and Castaldo was arrested, Shapiro said she was allegedly selling dogs in the parking lot of a West Hurley supermarket. At least one of the dogs was euthanized after biting two people.

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