Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Shantelle P. Kitchen, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and George Beach, Superintendent, New York State Police, announced that ALBERT MELIN, the former treasurer of the Patterson Fire Department in Patterson, New York (“PFD”), pled guilty today to wire fraud and false subscription to tax returns before Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy in connection with his embezzlement of more than $1.1 million from the PFD.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As he admitted today, Albert Melin betrayed the trust placed in him by the Patterson Fire Department, embezzling over a million dollars of fire department funds. Melin took money that was supposed to be used for fighting fires and other department needs, and instead used it to keep his own private businesses afloat and pay his personal bills. Thanks to our law enforcement partners at IRS-CI, FBI, the State Comptroller’s Office and the State Police, Melin’s betrayal was uncovered and his million-dollar embezzlement scheme put to an end.”
Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen said: “The public expects that individuals who hold positions of fiscal responsibility in publicly funded organizations will be held accountable when they take what they are supposed to protect. Melin took advantage of his position as treasurer of the Patterson Fire Department, committing tax fraud in conjunction with his embezzlement. While the people of Patterson were impacted by the theft of resources from their fire department, perhaps they will find some consolation in that his scheme was uncovered, investigated, and prosecuted.”
Assistant-Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney said: “Melin’s scheme, and other related frauds, have a devastating impact on public entities directly and the citizens they serve indirectly. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure this type of behavior ceases to exist.”
Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said: “Former treasurer Albert Melin was so brash that he wrote $1.1 million in fire department checks to his chiropractic and another business to support his opulent lifestyle. Luckily, our $5.7 million investigation of nearby Mahopac Fire Department prompted the Patterson fire commissioners to examine their books and expose these thefts. I thank U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara, the New York State Police, the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their diligent work on this case.”
State Police Superintendent George Beach said: “This arrest should serve as a reminder that those who choose to abuse their position will be held accountable for their actions. This former treasurer took money from the fire department where he was a trusted leader, then used it for personal gain. I want to thank our partners for working to put this defendant behind bars, making sure he will no longer be able to take advantage of those who put their trust in him.”
According to the allegations contained in the Information filed against MELIN and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:
MELIN was first elected treasurer of the PFD in 2013. From December 2013 to October 2015, MELIN embezzled PFD funds under his control by writing checks to the two businesses he owned, 211 Medical, P.C. (“211 Medical”) and N.A.S. Management Co., Inc. (“N.A.S.”). MELIN then deposited the checks to bank accounts held by 211 Medical or N.A.S. MELIN also charged expenses of 211 Medical and N.A.S. to the PFD’s debit card.
MELIN embezzled more than $1.1 million by writing more than 130 fraudulent checks. He used the money to support 211 Medical and N.A.S., to make payments on his home mortgage loan, and to pay personal expenses, including the costs of family vacations. MELIN failed to report this income on his personal tax return for 2014 and falsely reported some of the embezzled funds as revenue on the corporate tax return for 211 Medical in an effort to disguise its source.
MELIN, 46, of Patterson, New York, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of subscribing to false tax returns, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence will be determined by the court.
In pleading guilty, MELIN agreed to forfeit to the United States a sum of money no less than $1,151,000.
MELIN is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nelson S. Roman on February 3. 2017.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the IRS, the FBI, the New York State Comptroller, and the New York State Police. He thanked the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.