March 23, 2012
DiNapoli: Audit Prompts Felony Charges Against Bombay Fire Company President
Comptroller's Office Uncovered More Than $67,000 in Missing Funds
Former Bombay Fire Company president Bridget Martin was charged with forgery and offering a false instrument for filing by the New York State Police in Franklin County Thursday in connection with an investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's office which found that more than $67,000 in department funds were missing.
"Fiscal oversight should never be based on blind trust," DiNapoli said. "This was a clear case of a failure to properly protect fire company funds. My investigators and New York State Police worked diligently to hold this public official accountable."
Martin, 39, of Moira, was suspended in 2010. DiNapoli's audit concluded that she may have misappropriated more than $67,000 over the previous six years by writing 98 checks for cash totaling $44,561, opening covert bank accounts as well as secretly securing a $10,000 line of credit and a $7,000 promissory note.
Both the fire company's eight-member executive committee and two treasurers failed to monitor Martin's behavior, auditors concluded. Martin was arrested after she was interviewed by DiNapoli's investigators and state police. One of the fire company treasurers stated, "Bridget handled everything and when I would ask her if I could have the books, she would seem as though I offended her or something … I just trusted (that) she knew what she was doing."
Martin was arraigned in Malone Town Court on charges of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and second-degree forgery, both felonies, and third-degree forgery, a misdemeanor. She was released under probation supervision pending a March 27 court appearance in Bombay Town Court.
Bombay Fire Company officials told the Comptroller's office that they are taking steps to tighten oversight and will attempt to recover the lost funds.
DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud or abuse of taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Investigations Unit, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.