New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, and the New York State Police announced that Barbara Henry, the Village of Chatham’s former clerk-treasurer, has pleaded guilty to attempted official misconduct for unlawfully waiving her own health insurance premiums at the town’s expense.
“Ms. Henry took advantage of her public position to have the taxpayers fully fund her insurance costs,” said DiNapoli. “This kind of corruption drives up costs and erodes the public trust. Those who abuse the system will be caught and brought to justice. I thank District Attorney Paul Czajka and the New York State Police for their partnership in safeguarding public funds.”
“On behalf of the citizens and taxpayers of Chatham and Columbia County, I thank Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Chief Joseph Fiore and their team of investigators and auditors, as well as Sr. Inv. Eric Barnes and his State Police investigators,” DA Czajka said. “In particular, I commend Comptroller’s Investigator Candace Burnham, State Police Investigator Mathew Reilly and Deputy Chief ADA Ryan Carty for their hard work and dedication in this complex investigation. I strongly believe that, if there is one arm of state government that pays for itself by discovering financial misdeeds and deterring thefts, it is this investigative unit of the Comptroller’s office. I also note that Mayor John Howe, although not in office while the crimes were committed, took the lead in ensuring that all village employees cooperated fully.”
Henry, 59, of Chatham paid $3,586 in restitution for scamming the village health insurance premiums and stealing from her other employer Cadmus Lifesharing Association, a nonprofit organization based out of Massachusetts.
The joint investigation found that from April 2017 to August 2018, Henry used her position to unlawfully waive her own health insurance premiums, causing the village to pay Henry’s portion of health insurance. Henry was responsible for paying 50% of her health insurance while the village was responsible for the other 50%. Henry used her position to waive the cost to herself. She was employed by the village from late 2012 until she resigned in August of 2018.
Henry pleaded guilty before Judge J. Borgia-Forster in Chatham Town Court who also imposed a $250 fine in addition to the full restitution.
This is the second criminal conviction of a village official stemming from the joint investigation. In the first, and separate case, former Police Chief Peter Volkmann was sentenced on July 19, 2021 to pay nearly $93,000 in restitution after his felony guilty plea to grand larceny in the fourth degree.
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.