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Ohio Lawyer Charged With Running Drug Ring

August 29, 2003

CLEVELAND (AP)_ The director of a nonprofit welfare-to-work program was arrested Friday and accused of operating a drug ring from his office that sold narcotics to program participants.

David Roth, an attorney and executive director of Cleveland Works Inc., was indicted on 29 felony counts, including drug trafficking, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said.

He faces up to 81 years in prison if convicted, Mason said.

Roth and Cleveland Works employees Michael Periandri and his son, Michael Periandri Jr., allegedly used program money to buy drugs such as morphine, cocaine and heroin, selling them to program participants _ including drug offenders sent there as part of their probation.

``The very sad irony of it is, you’ve got courts all over the region who are referring people who come off of probation to Cleveland Works,″ Mason said. ``They get here and waiting at Cleveland Works is a viper who seizes on their frailties.″

Roth, who started the Cleveland Free Clinic in 1970, and the Periandris, who also were charged, will be arraigned Tuesday.

Calls placed to the Cleveland Works office went unanswered and messages could not be left for Roth. There were no home telephone listings for Roth or the Periandris.

Cleveland Works has a staff of 30 and a $2.4 million annual budget.

___

On the Net:

http://www.clevelandworks.org/welcome.html

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