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Man charged with phony Relay fundraising

Southbridge man plans not guilty plea

October 12, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — A Southbridge man has been charged with using the American Cancer Society Relay For Life's reputation to steal money.

Police arrested Jeffrey Trifone, 37, of 22 Village Drive on Friday, Oct. 8, on two counts of larceny by false pretenses under $250, after claiming he was soliciting money for the "Relay For Life Cancer Softball Tournament," according to a Friday, Oct. 9 press release from police. The release does not specifically state whether Trifone was raising money for the Southbridge Area Relay For Life, or another local Relay event.

Southbridge Relay for Life Co-Chair Ron Ravenelle said his event is not connected to Trifone and that he had not been told of the incident. Ravenelle acknowledged, however, that a relay team could be holding a fundraiser softball tournament that he was unaware of. He downplayed that possibility.

"A lot of our teams don't start fundraising until after the first of the year, because our relay is not until June," Ravenelle said. "This is the first time I heard of something like this."

In a brief interview Monday afternoon, Trifone denied the charges.

"The sad part of [this] is the word 'relay' was never mentioned," he said.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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