TAUNTON, Mass. — A large sum of money found hidden in a Raynham home years ago was the subject of a probable cause hearing Monday at Taunton District Court.
Martha Bruning, a previous owner of 441 Locust Street in Raynham tells Investigative Reporter Ted Daniel she mistakenly left the cash when she and her husband relocated to California 5 years ago.
The amount of money is disputed. According to Bruning, several figures were thrown around at the closed-door hearing: From $3,000 to 34,000 dollars. A request made by Boston 25 to attend the hearing was denied by Taunton Clerk-Magistrate Claudia M. Abreau.
“I’ve always been a saver and I’ve always hidden money,” Bruning told Daniel.
Bruning claims she began stocking away cash in 1999 because she was concerned bank computers would fail at the millennium. At the time, people worried over the so-called Y2K scare.
“I had around $34,000,” Bruning said. “$7000 of that in traveler’s checks.”
The money was discovered by a couple who bought Brunings home in 2017.
In an affidavit, the couple stated: their “house cleaners found some combination of cash and either cashier’s checks or travelers’ checks within a couch” shortly after they moved in.
Bruning said she left behind that couch and other furniture when she moved out.
The new homeowners said they gave all the money to Raynham real estate agent Nichole Sliney to then give to Bruning. Sliney represented them as the buyers and Bruning as the seller.
Bruning filed a complaint with Raynham Police where she accused Sliney of keeping all the money.
Bruning said she was unaware the money even existed until last year after Nichole Sliney got into a legal battle with a business partner.
According to court documents from the civil case, the former business partner claims Sliney told her she pocketed a portion of the couch money and used it to buy “a new ‘lift kit’ for her husband Justin’s truck.”
Attorney Joseph Krowski, who represents Nichole Sliney, said only $3,014 was found in the couch and Sliney deposited all of it in Bruning’s checking account days after the money was turned over to her.
Krowski provided a certified copy of the deposit record to Boston 25. He said that’s all that was found in the couch.
“Anyone can accuse anyone of anything,” Krowski said. “And it’s really unfortunate.”
“The foundation of these allegations, again, are completely false,” he added. “And, you know, it’s unfortunate because it can do damage to a terrific, respected business person in this community.”
Sliney has not been charged with a crime.
Monday’s hearing looked at whether there is probable cause for a charge of larceny to be issued.
A magistrate heard from both sides and a ruling could come anytime.
Krowski said he’s “100% sure that my client is going to be vindicated.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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