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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

November 7, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Fomer Rosendale Court Clerk Pocketed Cash

The former clerk of the town of Rosendale justice court was able to make off with nearly $6,000 in cash from bail collections without detection, according to an audit by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The clerk, Trudy Harper, was arrested in June and charged by Ulster County District Attorney D. Holley Carnright with third degree grand larceny, a class D felony. Harper is due back in Saugerties Town Court on Dec. 10.

“This individual broke her promise to safeguard town funds and tried to cover up her crime. By partnering with District Attorney Carnright, we will make sure the town recoups this stolen money,” DiNapoli said. “I thank District Attorney Carnright and the New York State Police for working diligently with my staff to ensure this former official is brought to justice.”

DiNapoli’s auditors found that Harper controlled all phases of the court’s cash collection process with little oversight by the two town justices. As a result, she was able to cover up the theft of approximately $5,620. She later attempted to conceal the crime by transferring bail money from one justice’s account to another. Harper later admitted to DiNapoli’s investigators that she took money from the court without permission.

The theft was due in part to the court’s lack of written procedures requiring prompt and accurate reporting and depositing of receipts, segregation of cash receipt duties and periodic reviews by the justices.

DiNapoli recommended the town and court justices address a number of issues, including:

  • Monitoring court activities, including the segregation of the clerks’ duties;
  • Ensuring that bank reconciliations and accountability analyses are properly prepared;
  • Maintaining current and complete lists of all bail held and disbursed; and
  • Recording and depositing all partial payments allowed and received by the court.

For a copy of the Comptroller’s audit of the town of Rosendale, visit:
http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/towns/2014/rosendalejc.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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