New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the guilty plea of former Bennington Town Clerk Tina Metz in a string of thefts that intensified even after DiNapoli’s office uncovered her criminal behavior.
Metz, 55, pleaded guilty today in Wyoming County Court to grand larceny in the third degree, a class D felony, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and official misconduct. She was ordered to pay restitution of $33,189 for the money she stole from town fees and tax payments. If Metz fails to make restitution, she faces a prison sentence of 3 2/3 to 11 years.
Initially, auditors and investigators discovered a $14,000 shortage for 2013 and notified the town, while continuing to work with the Wyoming County District Attorney and Sheriff’s Department. Metz repaid the town $12,000 in cash, claiming she found it at her home and in a filing cabinet at work. Later investigation revealed that Metz continued to steal even after the Comptroller alerted the town.
“The town’s misplaced trust in this clerk enabled her to steal and steal again,” DiNapoli said. “Blind trust in a colleague doesn’t pass for proper oversight in public finance. I thank Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen and the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department for partnering with us to hold Ms. Metz accountable for her crimes.”
Town officials agreed to DiNapoli’s audit recommendations, including the timely deposit of all fees collected and monthly bank reconciliations.
Read the audit report here:
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and fraud and 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.