State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, and the New York State Police today announced the guilty plea of former Village of Chatham Chief of Police Peter Volkmann following a joint investigation. As a result of his conviction, Volkmann is required to leave public office.
“Instead of upholding the law, Volkmann, the chief law enforcement officer of the village, defrauded the state retirement system and his community,” said DiNapoli. “Taxpayers have the right to expect their public officials, including law enforcement officials, will act with honesty and integrity. I thank District Attorney Paul Czajka and the New York State Police for their partnership in rooting out public corruption.”
“All New York State taxpayers should be grateful for the hard work and diligence of the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations, which, together with (New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation) NYSP BCI Livingston, has been responsible for conducting this extremely complex investigation under difficult circumstances,” said Czajka. “Having worked with this unit innumerable times over many years, it is my humble recommendation to the Legislature that it increase its funding. These highly dedicated public servants, by obtaining restitution and providing deterrence, pay for themselves many times over.”
“This case serves as a reminder that those who abuse their public position for their own personal benefit, while violating the trust of those they serve, will be brought to justice,” said State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “Public corruption will not be tolerated in any form, and we thank the Comptroller’s Office and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office for their continued partnership.”
Volkmann pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree for circumventing New York state’s post-retirement income restrictions and cheating the New York State and Local Retirement System out of $74,222. Volkmann hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates. He also plead to official misconduct, a misdemeanor, for stealing $18,607 from the Village of Chatham by falsifying mileage vouchers and other reimbursements to increase his income. Volkmann will pay a total amount of restitution prior to sentencing in the amount of $92,829 as part of his plea and as a result of his conviction has been removed from office.
Volkmann, 57, of Stuyvesant, served as a Chief of Police for the town of Stockport until 2016. He was also the Chief of Police for the Village of Chatham since the fall of 2013 and he served as unpaid Commissioner of the Hudson Police Department from January 2020, until this investigation became public. He is due back in court on July 19, 2021.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption 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, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.