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June 25, 2009

Contractor Sentenced For Defrauding State

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced a Wyoming County contractor was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to felony grand larceny following a joint state investigation that concluded he falsified invoices to receive improper payments from the state.

David Darling, 61, owner of Pro Care Contracting, Inc., was sentenced to five years probation in Albany County Court by Judge Thomas A. Breslin. The defendant also made restitution in the amount of $40,904.15 and agreed to a waiver of appeal, in full satisfaction of all criminal charges.

Darling illegally obtained funds from the state after he forged 22 lease agreements and five invoices to boost his bills on five emergency construction jobs at the Attica, Collins and Gowanda correctional facilities in western New York in 2006 and 2007. Darling also charged the state for Bobcat “rental equipment,” which Pro Care actually owned. Darling also altered costs or invoice dates for other equipment the company rented. Pro Care was awarded contracts to do emergency construction work on 10 projects totaling $1.5 million.

“Taxpayers can’t afford this kind of scam,” DiNapoli said. “Times are tough enough without someone ripping off the state with fake invoices. Every dime counts, especially when they’re taxpayer dimes. We’ll continue to work with the Inspector General and OGS to protect those taxpayer dimes.”

State Inspector General Joseph Fisch stated: “A contract with the state is not a license to steal. This case should send a clear signal that contractors who defraud the state will be caught, prosecuted and punished.”

“I wish to commend our auditors for their groundwork on this case,” said Office of General Services Commissioner John C. Egan. “At a time of fiscal austerity, our team will continue to scrutinize invoices with a careful eye. We will continue to report suspected cases of waste, fraud and abuse to the State Comptroller and Inspector General for review and appropriate action.”

The case originated when OGS auditors discovered the fraudulent invoices in a routine audit in 2007. The investigation was conducted jointly by the Office of the State Comptroller, the New York State Office of General Services and the New York State Inspector General’s Office. Darling was prosecuted by the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.



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