Kennel owner already charged with animal abuse is now accused of scamming customers

By WKTV News

WORCESTER, N.Y. (WKTV) - A kennel owner in Otsego County charged with animal abuse faces additional charges after a six week investigation. Police say Frank Michael Popolizio scammed customers across the country out of more than $26,000.

Popolizio, 66, is the owner of "South Side Stables" and "South Side Farms" in Worcester. The Otsego County Sheriff's Department says over the past five years Popolizio has been taking money as down payment for livestock-- and never following through with the purchases.

The department's investigation started back in September 2011, when a customer complained that she sent Popolizio $2,100 as a down payment for miniature livestock but never received any animals or her money back. Further investigation revealed Popolizio allegedly stole $26,435 from several customers over the past five years. Officials say he engaged in an ongoing fraudulent scam. Deputies say there are victims in at least five states including Virginia, Maryland, California, Pennsylvania and New York.

The Otsego County Sheriff's Department says there could be more victims out there. If you think you were a victim give them a call at (607) 547-4363.

Popolizio is charged with scheme to defraud, petit larceny and grand larceny. He was arrested Monday afternoon when he showed up to court on previous animal abuse charges. Back in January dozens of neglected dogs were removed from his stables. He was charged with 49 counts of animal cruelty.

If convicted on the new charges, Popolizio faces 26 years in prison.

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