A Mahoning County Area Court Judge who was expected to plead guilty to federal charges for allegedly stealing from a dead client scraps the deal at the last minute.

Judge Diane Vettori-Caraballo walked into a federal courtroom and said hello and then told 21 News "I did not do this."

Vettori-Caraballo is charged in a federal criminal information and accused of stealing cash from two shoeboxes from a dead client's home.

The FBI says the crime happened in early 2016 and Vettori-Caraballo allegedly stole between $96,200 and $328,000.

It's money the deceased woman intended for the charities Angels for Animals and Animal Charity.

Vettori-Caraballo who has reigned over the Sebring Court since 2002 was arraigned on the criminal charges today in Cleveland, and when Federal Judge Dan Aaron Polster asked her, "How does she plead?" There was a long pause.  Then after consulting with her attorneys in a surprise move Vettori-Caraballo said not guilty.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan McDonough told the judge, "The government had anticipated a guilty plea today.  So they'll be filing a superceding indictment with additional charges."

More charges Vettori-Caraballo will have to defend herself against at trial, now scheduled for March 26th.

The judge has told Vettori-Caraballo she has until March 5th if she decides she wants to change he plea.

She will be held on a $20,000 unsecured bond.

The Ohio Supreme Court has suspended her from hearing cases on the bench.  

But the Judge has not resigned.

Vettori-Caraballo's attorneys J. Gerald Ingram and John Juhasz did not wish to comment on a pending case.