Margaret Bailey, former Altmar village clerk and treasurer, pleaded guilty Monday in Oswego County Court to a felony count of grand larceny third degree.
The plea was conditional upon Bailey receiving a state prison sentence. She is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 4 and could receive 2 to 6 years in state prison.
She also has to pay $117,000 in restitution.
Bailey was charged with taking money from the village of Altmar for personal use. The thefts came to light after the village was dissolved and the town of Albion looked at the books.
An investigation was done by the state Comptroller’s office. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report in March stating “This individual brazenly ripped off more than $100,000 from her community and nearly got away with it.”
“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,” DiNapoli said in a press release.
“Our partners in law enforcement, Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes and the State Police, acted swiftly on our findings of wrongdoing and sought justice for taxpayers.”
According to DiNapoli’s investigation, the misappropriation was discovered after Albion officials requested assistance with obtaining village financial information during the dissolution process in March 2013. The village, which had a population of 400 residents, was officially dissolved in June 2013.
DiNapoli’s audit and investigation revealed that during a five-year-period, Bailey used various village accounts to write $106,000 in checks to herself or to pay her personal obligations.
This included $52,000 in voucher payments and $49,000 in payroll payments. DiNapoli’s staff also determined 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 to conceal her crimes.
She also failed to pay the village her own personal property taxes in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The Comptroller’s 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 to conceal inappropriate payments from the board;