July 26, 2021

Former police chief sentenced for "pension double-dipping"

In a press release issued on July 19, 2021, New York  State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that a former police chief was sentenced for "pension double-dipping." The former Village of Chatham Chief of Police Peter Volkmann is required to pay $92,829 in restitution and perform 200 hours of community service today for defrauding the New York State pension system by concealing his unlawful post-retirement public income and for stealing from the village through sham requests for reimbursement. 

The former police chief's fraud was discovered during a joint investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, and the New York State Police.

“No one is above law, including Volkmann who, as the chief law enforcement officer of the village, not only defrauded the state retirement system but also stole from his community,” said DiNapoli. “I thank District Attorney Paul Czajka and the New York State Police for their partnership in helping us bring justice to this case.”

"Mr. Volkmann stole funds from the citizens he was sworn to protect and serve as police chief of the Village of Chatham," District Attorney Paul Czajka said. "In doing so, he undermined much of the good he did in helping and providing assistance to so many suffering from addiction. With his conviction before Judge Koweek, those funds were returned in full to the Village of Chatham and the New York State Retirement System. I thank and commend the New York State Police, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and their highly trained and proficient investigators for bringing this complex case to a successful resolution. With the assistance of the Comptroller and the State Police, we continue to investigate the Village’s finances, as well as that of another institution."

“Our investigation determined that the suspect in this case violated the public trust by circumventing retirement laws and stealing from village funds,” said State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “We will continue to aggressively investigate any case that involves public corruption, and I want to commend our members and the Comptroller’s Office and Columbia County District Attorney’s Office for their partnership to ensure that justice was served.”

Columbia Court Judge Richard Koweek also sentenced Volkmann to two years of conditional discharge and ordered that 100 hours of the 200 in community service he was sentenced to be done by July 2022. As part of his plea deal, Volkmann paid a total amount of $92,829 in restitution before his sentencing.

Volkmann pleaded guilty in February to grand larceny in the fourth degree for circumventing New York state’s post-retirement income restrictions and cheating the New York State and Local Retirement System out of $74,222. Volkmann hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates. He also pled to official misconduct, a misdemeanor, for stealing $18,607 from the Village of Chatham by falsifying mileage vouchers and other reimbursements to increase his income. 

The practice of using a public office or position of trust for one's own gain or advantage is referred to as Jobbery [see https://educalingo.com/en/dic-en/jobbery].

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