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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

February 3, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Former Treasurer Sentenced in Oakfield Fire Department Theft

Must Repay $16,280 Stolen for Household Expenses

Former Oakfield Fire Department treasurer Samantha Hilchey was ordered to pay $16,281 in restitution at her sentencing Monday in Oakfield Town Court. Hilchey created direct withdrawals from the department's account to pay her National Grid, Verizon Wireless and other personal bills before her thefts were revealed by an audit and investigation by the office of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"Ms. Hilchey decided the public should subsidize not only her utility bills but also her K-Mart shopping," DiNapoli said. "Also disturbing is the unknown whereabouts of $4,340 in cash from a Mother's Day raffle. I thank Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and the New York State Police for partnering with us to hold this individual accountable. I urge other fire departments to double-check their books and increase their oversight to prevent similar abuses."

Hilchey, 31, of Batavia, was also sentenced to three years probation pursuant to her larceny conviction.

"The Genesee County District Attorney's Office thanks the Office of the Comptroller for its assistance and accounting expertise in the investigation and prosecution of this matter," Asst. District Attorney William Zickl said. "Investigations Director Stephanie Kelly and State Police Investigator Ron Wilson were instrumental in uncovering Ms. Hilchey's crime and making her accountable to the Oakfield Fire Department and the community."

The Comptroller's audit and investigation found that Hilchey stole $16,281 for personal use through a variety of bank or cash transactions in 2012 and 2013. The probe also found that $4,340 in cash from a Mother's Day raffle was unaccounted for.

The audit concluded that Hilchey was able to carry out the scheme because the Fire Department board failed to establish proper internal controls such as requiring that transactions be properly recorded and that an annual audit of the treasurer's books be completed.

The Comptroller recommended that the Oakfield Fire Department:

  • Audit and approve claims prior to payment and ensure that all disbursements are supported by vouchers;
  • Review bank statements and cancelled checks monthly;
  • Ensure that officials keep records of ticket sales and use of raffle funds; and
  • Have the treasurer maintain accurate, complete and up-to-date accounting records that document all cash receipt and disbursement transactions.

In response to the audit, the Oakfield Fire Department Board of Directors thanked the Comptroller's office, agreed with the findings and promised to take corrective action along with additional safeguards. The Fire Department's response is included in the audit.

To read the audit, visit: http://osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/firedists/2015/oakfield.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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