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July 23, 2015

Town’s misplaced trust in its Town Clerk enabled her to steal Town's funds, and again steal its monies following the initial discovery of her theft by the State Comptroller


Town’s misplaced trust in its Town Clerk enabled her to steal Town's funds, and again steal its monies following the initial discovery of her theft by the State Comptroller

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the guilty plea of former Town of Bennington Town Clerk Tina Metz in a string of thefts from the Town that intensified even after DiNapoli’s office uncovered her criminal behavior.

On July 22, 2015 Metz pleaded guilty in Wyoming County Court to charges grand larceny in the third degree, a class D felony; offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree; and official misconduct. She was ordered to pay restitution of $33,189 for the money she stole from  fees and tax payments paid to the Town. If Metz fails to make restitution, she faces a prison sentence of 3 2/3 to 11 years.
 
Department of Audit and Control auditors and investigators initially, discovered a $14,000 shortage for 2013 and notified the Town, while continuing to work with the Wyoming County District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department. Metz repaid the town $12,000 in cash, claiming she found it at her home and in a filing cabinet at work. Subsequent investigation revealed that Metz continued to steal even after the Comptroller alerted the Town.

“The town’s misplaced trust in this clerk enabled her to steal and steal again,” DiNapoli said.  “Blind trust in a colleague doesn’t pass for proper oversight in public finance. The Comptroller thanked Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department for partnering with the Department of Audit and Control to hold Ms. Metz accountable for her crimes.”

Town officials agreed to DiNapoli’s audit recommendations, including the timely deposit of all fees collected and monthly bank reconciliations.

Allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money may be reported by calling the Comptroller's toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.

Read the Town of Bennington [NY] audit report here:

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