A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Former St. Lawrence County Elected Official For Embezzling Public Money

Former Pitcairn Town Supervisor-Bank Manager Caught Forging Bank Document To Hide $35K Theft From State Comptroller

Schneiderman: My Office Will Prosecute Corrupt Elected Officials At Every Level of Government

 

CANTON - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest and arraignment of former Town Supervisor Susan M. Smith, 39, for embezzling over $35,000 from Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County and a failed cover-up attempt. An indictment unsealed today charges Smith with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing, four counts of Tampering with Physical Evidence and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. The top count carries a maximum state prison sentence of two-and-one-third to seven years.

"Corruption wastes taxpayer money and, perhaps even worse, erodes the public’s trust in its government. This individual will be brought to justice for cheating hard-working taxpayers to line her own pockets and then attempting to cover up the crime,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will not tolerate elected officials at any level of government exploiting their public office for their own personal gain.”

The Attorney General’s indictment accuses Susan Smith, a town supervisor in Pitcairn from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009, of preparing and executing approximately $35,000 in unauthorized payments to herself and others from Town of Pitcairn accounts at Community Bank, N.A. Between December 2008 and December 2009, Smith, who was also a CBNA branch manager, issued checks associated with these unauthorized payments and cashed them for her personal benefit at the CBNA branch where she worked. According to the indictment, when the Office of the New York State Comptroller questioned some of these payments during a risk assessment, Smith prepared and submitted false documentation, including a forged bank memo, which falsely indicated that she had credited funds back to the town.

“Pitcairn’s town officials failed in their responsibility to oversee financial operations,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.  “We urge our localities, large and small, to use basic checks and balances to deter criminal activity.”

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Bridget Holohan Scally, under the supervision of Public Integrity Bureau Deputy Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Chief William E. Schaeffer and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The case was referred by the New York State Comptroller’s Office following an audit that uncovered the alleged fraudulent conduct.

Investigator Peter T. Kraengel of the New York State Police assisted with the investigation of the case.

The charges against Smith are allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with additional information on this matter or any other public corruption is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 996-4630.

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