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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

August 4, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Village Official Heading to Prison for Stealing More Than $100,000

Former Altmar Clerk-Treasurer Sentenced in Oswego County Court

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes announced today that Margaret Bailey, the former clerk-treasurer of the now-dissolved village of Altmar in Oswego County, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison after pleading guilty to stealing $117,000 in public funds.

Bailey was charged in March with grand larceny in the second degree (class C felony) and falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony). Her arrest was the result of an audit and investigation by DiNapoli’s office which uncovered a brazen pattern of embezzlement in which she pocketed taxpayer funds over a five-year period. As part of her plea agreement, Bailey must pay full restitution.

“Fleecing your community and your neighbors for five years is appalling,” said DiNapoli. “Thankfully, this former official is heading to prison for her actions and will serve as an example of what happens when you engage in fraud and misuse public funds. When my office finds fraud, we are working with law enforcement to act swiftly to punish those who abuse the public’s trust. I want to thank our partners in law enforcement, District Attorney Oakes and the State Police, for their diligence and Albion town officials for acting appropriately when the fraud was discovered. Their efforts were instrumental in bringing this individual to justice.”

DiNapoli’s audits and investigations have led to more than 50 arrests and $7 million in restitution in 2013 and 2014 alone.

"I appreciate the professionalism that Comptroller DiNapoli's office and the State Police brought to expose Ms. Bailey's corruption,” said District Attorney Oakes. “Like the rest of our community, I'm offended by the blatant dishonesty and excessive greed that she displayed. Rather than respect her position of trust, she practiced deception at every turn, stealing from the public in a variety of ways and at every opportunity. Although she has no prior criminal history, the excess of her crime calls for state prison, which is what she received today.”

Bailey used various village accounts to write $107,000 worth of checks to herself or to pay her personal expenses. This included $53,000 in voucher payments and $49,000 in payroll payments. In addition, DiNapoli's staff was able to determine Bailey pocketed more than $9,000 in cash from property tax payments, permit fees and the sale of a village vehicle and falsified village records in an effort to conceal her crimes. She also failed to pay the village $1,500 for her own personal property taxes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The misappropriation was discovered after town of Albion officials requested assistance with obtaining village of Altmar financial information during the village’s dissolution process in March 2013. The village, which had a population of 400 residents, was officially dissolved in June 2013.

The Comptroller’s audit and investigation also revealed that Bailey:

  • Misappropriated the equivalent of 67 percent of the village’s real property tax levy during the 2011-12 fiscal year and 66 percent of the levy in 2012-13;
  • Altered village records in order to conceal inappropriate payments from the board;
  • Established an office supply credit account that was used for personal purchases; and
  • Was allowed by the village board to receive funds, make bank deposits, sign village checks, maintain the village accounting records and process payroll with little oversight.

For a copy of the report, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/villages/2014/altmar.pdf

DiNapoli 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.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.

 

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