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Ex-attorney charged in connection to theft ring

Was jailed in murder-for-hire plot in 2005

WARREN — A former Warren attorney who spent eight years in prison for trying to hire a hit man to kill her estranged husband pleaded not guilty Monday in Chardon Municipal Court to charges linking her to a multi-county theft ring, according to police and court records.

Maridee Costanzo, 59, 155 Genesee Ave. NE, Warren, was released Monday from the Geauga County Jail after posting $25,000 bond, according to court records. Costanzo pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of receiving stolen property, said Geauga County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Hiscox.

Chardon Municipal Court records do not list an attorney for Costanzo and her listed phone number is not connected.

An investigation into a burglary about a month ago led to a search of Costanzo’s home and charges against her and three others — Patrick Cameron of Kent and Paul LaRose and Mariann Harris, both of Rome, Hiscox said.

The investigation began after antiques and historic artifacts worth $100,000 were stolen from a home in Geauga County, Hiscox said. Before Costanzo’s house was searched, investigators recovered much of the stolen property by making undercover purchases at several locations, spanning three counties, Hiscox said. Police also interviewed numerous people, and conducted surveillance operations and narcotics buys, according to Hiscox.

The sheriff’s office records department is not releasing the incident report, which would contain the address of the burglary, because the investigation is ongoing.

Costanzo, who once ran for Congress, served eight years behind bars after her 2005 conviction in federal court for plotting to have her former husband, attorney Roger Bauer, killed. Costanzo admitted responsibility for the crime when she was sentenced and said drug addiction and bipolar disorder contributed to her decision to plot the murder.

Police learned of Costanzo’s plan after William Cindea, a middleman Costanzo gave money and photos of Bauer to, was stopped for a traffic violation and Costanzo was in the car. Police found guns and other weapons.

Costanzo admitted to paying $1,100 of a $2,000 down payment toward a $5,000 bounty to Cindea to arrange to have Bauer killed. Cindea later turned on Costanzo, telling federal authorities of her plans. He was sentenced in 2005 to 10 months of home confinement and five years of probation.

Cameron, LaRose and Harris are charged with felony receiving stolen property, and their cases on Monday were bound over to Geauga County Common Pleas Court, according to court records. Bond for LaRose and Cameron was set at $50,000 and Harris’ bond was set at $25,000, according to municipal court records.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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