State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Clinton County District Attorney Andrew J. Wylie announced the arrest of Mary L. Bell, Clerk of the Town of Saranac. Bell, 54, was arrested Thursday for allegedly falsifying records to hide her failure to deposit more than $800 in cash payments to the town that she collected as Clerk. Her actions allegedly took place from April 2017 to August 2017.
“Ms. Bell, as an elected official, swore to act with honesty and integrity. Instead, she took advantage of her position to manipulate the town's records to cover for missing cash she was supposed to deposit,” said State Comptroller DiNapoli. “Thanks to our partnership with Clinton County District Andrew Wylie and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Bell’s actions were exposed and she is now being held accountable.”
Bell’s actions were brought to light by the State Comptroller’s Office during the course of a routine examination. Bell, of Redford, allegedly collected $1,203 in cash for various clerk fees including dog licenses, marriage licenses, building permits and a death certificate, but deposited only $392 of that cash into the public coffers. To hide the more than $800 in missing cash, Bell substituted funds leftover in a dormant town clerk bank account.
Bell was charged with five counts of falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony), one count of corrupting the government in the fourth degree (class E felony) and official misconduct (class A misdemeanor). Bell was arraigned Thursday in Clinton County Court and was released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court on May 27.
The arrest was a result of a joint investigation between the State Comptroller’s Office, the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.
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.