McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 20, 2012

Violinist Michael Ginsburg held in Pennsylvania prison

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Michael Josh Ginsburg, 36, recently charged with one felony count in Pittsburg County, has been arrested and is being held the Pennsylvania State Prison; but this isn’t his first brush with the law. 

Ginsburg was recently charged in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of obtaining property by trick/deception after he allegedly told Kreb’s resident Steve DeFrange he had a buyer for his violins and then allegedly sold the violins to a pawn shop owner and kept the money. 

On March 6 Ginsburg was arrested in Indiana and extradited to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, according the Pennsylvania D.O.C website. But in 2007 Ginsburg appeared in a Pennsylvania court in connection with the death of a 17-year old girl.

According the Daily Item, Ginsburg appeared in Pa. courtroom  in Nov. 2007 and admitted he supplied heroin and cocaine to Lauren Pacenta, 17, who later died and another teen on Nov. 22, 2005. Pacenta died at her home after taking a combination of drugs she allegedly purchased from Ginsburg.

Earlier that same year, Ginsburg was found guilty on unrelated drug charges in Northumberland County and was sentenced to time served, 219 days, in a drug rehabilitation center. In the end as part of a plea agreement Ginsburg was sentenced serve 2 1/2 years to five years in state prison. 

On Oct. 25 2010, less than 2 years later, Ginsburg was back in McAlester playing the violin in several events including “Take McAlester Back” a campaign “designed to get drugs out and arts back into the local community.” The campaign was sponsored by Narconon, The McAlester Chamber of Commerce, Pride In McAlester, McAlester Main Street, according to TakeMcAlesterBack.com.

As a public relations spokesman for Narconon, Ginsburg’s story was used its own website.

“Ginsburg is one of many successful graduates of Narconon who now spends his time helping others struggling with addiction and also works to create drug prevention programs for the community,” according to Narconon’s website drugfree.narconon.org.

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Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.