Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Roger Burlew, the former Highway Superintendent for the town of Erin who stole $65,000 from the Town, has been sentenced to serve six months in jail and five years of probation. As part of Burlew's sentence, he must also pay full restitution to the town of Erin. In the event that Burlew fails to pay restitution, he faces up to fifteen years in state prison.
"Mr. Burlew began to steal public equipment for his private business in 2007," Comptroller DiNapoli said. "Today, he's headed to jail. His sentencing marks another warning: those who steal from New York taxpayers will be held accountable by our joint task force with Attorney General Schneiderman. I thank our auditors, investigators and the Attorney General's office for their work on this case."
"Today's sentencing sends a clear message that those who steal from taxpayers risk jail time and paying full restitution for money they have stolen," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "My office has busted more than 60 public officials and their cronies and recovered more than $7 million in restitution since 2011, and I will continue to work with Comptroller DiNapoli to clean up public corruption in our state."
Burlew pleaded guilty on March 23, 2015 to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, and was sentenced today before the Honorable James Hayden in Chemung County Court.
Today's sentencing 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.
The Joint Task Force on Public Integrity is a cooperative effort between Comptroller DiNapoli's and Attorney General Schneiderman'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.
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: [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.