The former Altmar Village Clerk-Treasurer is accused of writing herself checks and pocketing the cash.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says an audit and investigation by his office found Margaret Bailey stole more than $117,000 in taxpayer money. State Police have charged her with grand larceny and falsifying records. "This individual brazenly ripped off more than $100,000 from her community and nearly got away with it," DiNapoli said. "She had keys to the cash register and went on a spending spree, even going as far as doubling her own salary without detection. This employee took full advantage of a system lacking proper financial controls."
The Village of Altmar in Oswego County no longer exists. Taxpayers voted to dissolve it last spring. The misappropriation of funds was detected after Town of Albion officials requested help with obtaining village financial information during the dissolution process.
The investigation found Bailey allegedly used various village accounts to wire $106,000 worth of checks to herself or pay her personal obligations over five years. This included $52,000 in voucher payments and $49,000 in payroll payments.
Investigators also say Bailey pocketed more than $9,000 in cash from property tax payments, permit fees and the sale of a village vehicle and falsified village records in an effort to conceal her crimes. They say she also failed to pay the village her own personal property taxes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The audit and investigation also revealed:
· Bailey misappropriated the equivalent of 67 percent of the village's real property tax levy during the 2011-12 fiscal year and the equivalent of 66 percent of the levy in 2012-13;
· Bailey altered village records in order to conceal inappropriate payments from the board;
· Bailey established an office supply credit account that was used for personal purchases; and
· The village board allowed Bailey to receive funds, make bank deposits, sign village checks, maintain the village accounting records and process payroll with little oversight.
DiNapoli recommended the Albion town board work with law enforcement to recoup the misappropriated funds and consult with the former village's insurance agent to determine if the town can submit a claim to recoup any of the losses.