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Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM

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Israel's friend denies guilt in NY jail-cash case

The girlfriend accused of trying to mail $300 in cash to imprisoned swindler Samuel Israel III has pleaded not guilty.

VALHALLA, N.Y. —

The girlfriend accused of trying to mail $300 in cash to imprisoned swindler Samuel Israel III has pleaded not guilty.

Richard Strassberg, attorney for 45-year-old Debra Ryan, says Ryan was arraigned Thursday in Mount Pleasant Town Court.

Ryan is charged with introducing contraband into a prison. She allegedly mailed three $100 bills, hidden in the pages of a magazine, to Israel in December, while he was in the Westchester County jail. He is now in a federal medical prison.

Ryan pleaded not guilty last month to the principal charge against her, that she helped Israel go on the lam last year rather than serve his 20-year sentence for stealing millions from hedge fund clients. Both sides say plea-bargain talks are under way in that case.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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