SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

October 20, 2012

Member of 'Bling Ring' pleads no contest

LOS ANGELES — A 22-year-old woman pleaded no contest yesterday to a burglary charge for stealing from the home of Lindsay Lohan as part of a group known as the “Bling Ring.”

Diana Tamayo was sentenced to three years of probation by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler and also must perform 60 days of road work. She could have faced six years in prison if convicted at a trial.

Authorities said Tamayo was one of six people charged in thefts in which more than $3 million in clothes, jewelry and art was taken from the homes of stars such as Lohan, Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Megan Fox.

Tamayo’s attorneys previously argued that she acknowledged involvement in breaking into Lohan’s home because police officers threatened her family with immigration consequences.

Two other suspects — Courtney Leigh Ames and Roy Lopez Jr. — are scheduled to return to court Nov. 8. Both are charged in the theft at Hilton’s home.

Authorities arrested most of the group in October 2009.

One defendant, Alexis Neiers, quickly ended her case and starred in the short-lived E! Entertainment Television reality show “Pretty Wild,” which prominently featured her court case. Lifetime created a television movie inspired by the case, and Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola has filmed her own movie based on the burglaries and the fallout.

Nicholas Frank Prugo, 21, who is suspected of being a ringleader of the group, pleaded no contest in March to burglarizing the homes of Lohan and reality star Audrina Patridge, and is supposed to be sentenced next month to two years in prison in exchange for testifying.

Another suspected ringleader, Rachel Lee, pleaded no contest to burglarizing Patridge’s home and is serving a four-year prison sentence.

A Louis Vuitton bag full of jewelry was returned to Paris Hilton after several members of the group were arrested, but much of the stolen property hasn’t been recovered.

None of the celebrities testified in open court, but several including Bloom, Lohan and Hilton testified before a grand jury that indicted the six young adults on charges that included felony burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

Many spoke of the unsettling feelings they experienced to return to homes that had been burglarized.

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