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A former Olin Corp. employee who was accused of defrauding co-workers of $3,682 that he falsely said would be used to pay medical bills for his sick granddaughter was placed on three years' probation Wednesday by Chief City Judge Anthony J. Certo.

Vernon Rule, 65, of 8971 St. John's Parkway, was ordered to make restitution through the Niagara County Social Services Department.

Rule, who was arrested in January, collapsed in court during the sentencing Wednesday.

He was assisted from court by Officers Timothy Earp and Paul Dombrowski and taken by ambulance to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for examination.

Rule originally had been charged with scheming to defraud and grand larceny after some of his co-workers at Olin said they solicited money around the plant and at a fund-raising party to defray medical costs for an operation for Rule's 6-year-old granddaughter.

They were led to believe that the girl, who lives out of state, underwent costly surgery last November, but an investigation showed she had not had surgery and there were no medical bills.

On May 25, Rule pleaded guilty to the petit larceny complaint and the two more serious charges were dropped since he agreed to make restitution.

His attorney, Mark Grossman, said it would be impossible to repay individual donors, so the plant employees who planned the party were allowed to designate a charity.

Court officials said Kids Escaping Drugs will benefit.

Rule was fired from his production job at Olin after an investigation into the fund-raising effort. He had 43 years with the company, but a company official said his retirement benefits were not affected.

Police said a woman apparently talked Rule out of a considerable amount of his own money in addition to the funds raised fraudulently at the plant.

Police are continuing their investigation of her role.

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