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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

March 23, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli & A.G. Schneiderman Announce Guilty Plea of Former Highway Superintendent in Public Corruption Case

Guilty Plea Follows Joint Investigation That Revealed Over $65K Stolen From Town of Erin

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Roger Burlew, former Highway Superintendent for the Town of Erin, in a public corruption case involving the theft of more than $65,000 in goods and services from the town. Burlew today entered a guilty plea before The Honorable James Hayden in Chemung County Court to the charge of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony. As part of a plea agreement, Burlew will be sentenced to six months of incarceration and a period of five years of probation. Burlew will also pay $65,000 in restitution to cover the cost of what was stolen.

 “Mr. Burlew plundered the public’s town garage for more than $65,000 in equipment for his private mechanic’s business,” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “This prosecution is a warning to those who blur the line between public and private property. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman and his staff for their diligent work on this case. Together, our Operation Integrity partnership has led to more than 60 arrests and more than $7 million in restitution.  We will continue to expose public corruption, prosecute those responsible and seek restitution for New York taxpayers.”

“Today’s guilty plea is the latest in my office’s joint partnership with Comptroller DiNapoli to root out public corruption whenever and wherever we find it in the Empire State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Corruption undermines the public’s faith in government and that is why we have taken on more than sixty public corruption cases against state and local officials and their cronies, including securing the conviction of a sitting State Senator and indictments against members of the State Assembly and the New York City Council.” 

Today’s guilty plea follows charges brought against Burlew, who was appointed Highway Superintendent in 1998, detailing a systematic course of conduct wherein he stole property valued at over $65,000 from the Town of Erin. The thefts of products and equipment were for Burlew’s personal use or the use of a third person. According to his signed plea agreement, Burlew admitted making personal purchases and then fraudulently filling out and submitting Town vouchers for the Town Board’s approval and payment. In the vouchers, he falsely indicated that the purchases were for legitimate Town Highway Department purposes, when they were actually for personal use.

Burlew’s sentencing is set for May 15, 2015.

The Joint Task Force on Public Integrity is a cooperative effort between Attorney General Schneiderman's and Comptroller DiNapoli's offices to root out public corruption and maximize the resources of each office.  Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the staff at Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office for their invaluable cooperation and assistance in this investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Gorman of the Public Integrity Bureau is prosecuting the case, with support from Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Bureau Chief Daniel Cort, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The prosecutors were assisted by Investigations Bureau Investigator Joel Cordone and Investigator David Buske, with support from Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle, Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam, and Bureau Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The joint investigation was conducted with the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and the Division of Local Government and School Accountability.

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