May 27, 2021

Former town clerk to serve six months in county jail after pleading guilty to stealing public funds

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli reported that a former town clerk [Clerk] was sentenced to six months in County jail for stealing nearly $27,000 in public funds for her personal use after she pled guilty to a number of criminal charges including "grand larceny in the third degree/public servant (a class C Felony); two counts of tampering with public records in the first degree (a class D felony); scheme to defraud in the first degree (a class E felony) and official misconduct (a class A misdemeanor)."

Clerk's thefts, which were discovered during a joint investigation by the State Comptroller's office, Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella’s office and Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike’s office, consisted of cash payments made to the town for property taxes and fees for marriage licenses, dog licenses, hunting permits and building permits. The Comptroller said the funds stolen were used by Clerk "to support her personal lifestyle, including trips to casinos and gambling websites."

Comptroller DiNapoli opined that “[w]hen a public servant steals taxpayer funds, it damages the public’s trust in government.” "A public office is a public trust and regrettably this town clerk acted contrary to their oath,” said Yates County Sheriff Spike. “I thank all involved in this criminal investigation, prosecution, and conviction, especially the New York State Comptroller’s office for their forensic work.”

Such misconduct by a public officer is referred to as "Jobbery" -- using one's public office or position of trust for ones' personal gain or advantage. Having taken advantage of the trust placed in her, Clerk will pay $26,729 in restitution as part of her plea agreement, of which she has already paid $20,000. 


Click HEREto access the full text of the Comptroller's statement.

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Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at, investigations@osc.ny.gov, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.

 

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