Former Town of Potter Clerk Julie Brown pleaded guilty yesterday after pocketing public funds for her personal use and must pay back $46,646 in restitution. Her thefts were brought to light during a joint investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office, Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella’s office and Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike’s office.
Brown, 49, admitted before Judge Cook in Yates County Court that she stole cash payments made to the town for property taxes and fees for marriage licenses, dog licenses, hunting permits and building permits. The thefts took place between January 1, 2018, and May 21, 2019, when Brown resigned. She pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the 3rd degree as a public corruption crime, Corrupting the Government in the 2nd degree, Scheme to Defraud in the 1st degree, two counts of Tampering with Public Records in the 1st degree and Official Misconduct. Brown agreed to pay $46,646 in restitution as part of her plea agreement, of which she paid $20,000 during yesterday’s plea.
“Ms. Brown violated the public trust by stealing community funds to cover her personal expenses and now has been held accountable for her crimes,” DiNapoli said. “I thank Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella and Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike for helping us to bring this former clerk to justice.”
“Finding justice where a public official acts contrary to their oath of office shows accountability for people’s confidence in our system,” said Sheriff Ron Spike. “I thank all involved in this criminal investigation and prosecution, especially the New York State Comptroller’s office for their professional support.”
Brown was initially arrested on November 20, 2020, and released on her own recognizance. Brown is due back in court for sentencing on May 25.
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.