New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the arrest of Jennifer Colucci, 41, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., for allegedly stealing more than $88,000 in tax funds collected for the use of the town of Beekman and its schools. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office, Dutchess County D.A. William Grady and the New York State Police.
“While people across the state struggled to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, Jennifer Colucci allegedly used taxpayer dollars to fund her own personal online shopping,” Comptroller DiNapoli said. “Taxpayers expect their tax money to benefit their community, not to pay for an individual’s personal lifestyle. I thank Dutchess County D.A. William Grady and the State Police for partnering with us against public corruption.”
“This arrest should serve as a reminder that those who choose to abuse their public position will be brought to justice,” said State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “This former tax collector took money from taxpayers for her own personal gain and benefit. We will not tolerate this illegal behavior or abuse of power. I commend the work of the State Police members assigned to this case, State Comptroller’s Office, and Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work in exposing this fraud.”
The defendant has been charged with grand larceny in the second degree and corrupting the government in the second degree and was arraigned today in Beekman Town Court before Judge Robert Ferris. Colucci is due back in court on March 21st.
Colucci allegedly used public money to shop online at Amazon, Stitch Fix, and Chewy.com, and order deliveries from Gobble Meals. She also used taxpayers’ funds to make car loan payments. She served as Beekman tax collector for two years, ending in August 2020.
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.