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Village official heading to prison for stealing more than $100,000

OSWEGO - the former clerk-treasurer of the now-dissolved village of Altmar in Oswego County, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison after pleading guilty to stealing $117,000 in public funds.

Margaret Bailey, was charged in March with grand larceny in the second degree (class C felony) and falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony). Her arrest was the result of an audit and investigation by DiNapoli’s office which uncovered a brazen pattern of embezzlement in which she pocketed taxpayer funds over a five-year period. As part of her plea agreement, Bailey must pay full restitution.

“Fleecing your community and your neighbors for five years is appalling,” said State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “Thankfully, this former official is heading to prison for her actions and will serve as an example of what happens when you engage in fraud and misuse public funds.”

Bailey used various village accounts to write $107,000 worth of checks to herself or to pay her personal expenses. This included $53,000 in voucher payments and $49,000 in payroll payments. In addition, DiNapoli's staff was able to determine 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. She also failed to pay the village $1,500 for her own personal property taxes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The misappropriation was discovered after town of Albion officials requested assistance with obtaining village of Altmar financial information during the village’s dissolution process in March 2013. The village, which had a population of 400 residents, was officially dissolved in June 2013.

For a copy of the report, visit: www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/villages/2014/altmar.pdf