Former Town of Potter Clerk Julie Brown was sentenced to six months in Yates County jail today for stealing nearly $27,000 in public funds for her personal use. Her thefts were discovered 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, of Penn Yan, stole cash payments made to the town for property taxes and fees for marriage licenses, dog licenses, hunting permits and building permits. She used the money to support her personal lifestyle, including trips to casinos and gambling websites. The thefts took place between January 1, 2018, and May 21, 2019, when Brown resigned. She agreed to pay $26,729 in restitution as part of her plea agreement in March, of which she has already paid $20,000.
“When a public servant steals taxpayer funds, it damages the public’s trust in government,” DiNapoli said. “Ms. Brown took advantage of the trust placed in her and now has been held responsible for her crimes. My thanks to Yates County District Attorney Casella and Sheriff Spike for partnering to bring Brown to justice.”
"A public office is a public trust and regrettably this town clerk acted contrary to their oath,” said Yates County Sheriff Spike. “I thank all involved in this criminal investigation, prosecution, and conviction, especially the New York State Comptroller’s office for their forensic work.”
Brown pled guilty in March to corrupting the government in the second degree (class C felony); grand larceny in the third degree/ public servant (class C Felony); two counts of tampering with public records in the first degree (class D felony); scheme to defraud in the first degree (class E felony) and official misconduct (class A misdemeanor). Brown was initially arrested in November 2020 and released on her own recognizance.
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.