Mary Ann Bell, the Stony Brook woman who was , pleaded not guilty in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead in February to charges of Trademark Counterfeiting, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Bell was arrested by Suffolk County police on Dec. 1 at as she was selling her goods that she claimed were raising money to stock a Port Jefferson food pantry. She was found with $3,000 in cash on her and an additional $4,000 in checks. Tiffany estimated that the cache of merchandise police seized from her home and her car would have been worth about $600,000 if authentic.
The money was supposed to be used to fill the shelves in the Greater Port Jefferson Food Pantry, a charity she took over more than a decade ago and apparently ran legitimately until about three years ago, when she allegedly concocted the scheme.
Police say that when they opened the pantry it had only old food and rusty canned goods stored inside.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Bell admitted to keeping most of the $150,000 per year she made on the scam for herself to pay for personal expenses like her mortgage and trips to Disney.
According to court documents, at her arraignment on Feb. 16, Bell pled not guilty and was released on recognizance. She was charged with one count of Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree, a class E felony.
A representative from the District Attorney’s office said both sides are preparing for the trial and pre-trial hearings are taking place. Bell is scheduled to be back in court on April 30.