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October 06, 2010

 

DiNapoli: Health Department Employee Stole Thousands From State


A New York State Department of Health (DOH) employee was charged today with felony grand larceny after an investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office revealed she used state-issued credit cards to shop at department stores and visit Turning Stone Casino.

“State-issued credit cards are supposed to help agencies manage finances better, not pay for employees to go off on taxpayer-funded gambling junkets and shopping sprees,” DiNapoli said. “This kind of abuse is intolerable. I will ask the Albany County District Attorney’s Office to seek the maximum punishment allowed under the law.”

Investigators and auditors from DiNapoli's office, along with the New York State Police, found that 40-year-old Kristina Stuto of Albany, a secretary in DOH’s Bureau of Administrative Services, made more than $7,900 in illegal and improper personal charges to her state-issued credit cards in between 2009 and 2010.

The fraud was initially suspected when auditors found suspicious charges to Stuto’s state-issued credit cards. An investigation confirmed that Stuto used her travel card to make personal purchases and allowed her family members to make additional personal purchases as well.

Stuto was arraigned today in Albany City Court and charged with grand larceny in the third degree. The case is being prosecuted by Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ Office. She was released on $1,000 bail.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that Stuto’s actions could have been easily prevented if DOH had exercised better oversight of the state-issued credit cards given to its employees.

DiNapoli is encouraging 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 toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555; filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.




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