November 7, 2011
DiNapoli: DEC Employee Falsified Time Sheets
Biologist Claimed to be Working While Drinking at Albany Bar
A biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) routinely went drinking at a local bar and restaurant during the workday instead of performing his official duties, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, according to findings of an investigation by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Christopher Keim, who surrendered himself to State Police today, admitted to OSC investigators he went to the bar two to three times a week, often for hours at a time, for as long as two years.
“At a time when state employees were concerned about keeping their jobs, this individual took advantage of his position, and the trust of his supervisors, to rip off state taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and deserves criminal prosecution.”
Keim, 43, was arraigned in Albany City Court and charged with grand larceny, defrauding the government and offering a false instrument for filing. Keim, who was released on his own recognizance, faces up to seven years in prison.
Investigators obtained copies of Keim’s timesheets for the period covering December 25, 2008 through August 3, 2011. An analysis showed that Keim submitted timesheets which were false, claiming he worked his entire shifts when he in fact took several hours off and failed to charge any accruals for the time he spent at the bar. Investigators also obtained Keim’s bar tabs, confirming the times, dates and nature of his purchases. Keim admitted to the findings of DiNapoli’s investigators and acknowledged he had regularly left work to go drinking for the past 18 to 24 months. Keim, of Albany, took advantage of his supervisor because the nature of his duties allowed him to be away from his desk frequently.
His missed work time cost the state as much as $35,823 in salary and fringe benefits. As a full-time DEC employee, Keim is required by New York State law to work 37.5 hours a week.
DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight against fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse of taxpayer money by: calling the Comptroller's toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555; filing a complaint online at firstname.lastname@example.org; or mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.