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DiNapoli and Saratoga DA Murphy: Former Fire District Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Taxpayer Funds

The former treasurer of the Charlton Fire District has admitted to embezzling $500,000 in public funds as the result of an audit and investigation by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and further investigation by Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III and the New York State Police.

Virginia DeCapria, 52, of Charlton, pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, a class C Felony. She will be sentenced on May 6 to 3-9 years in state prison and be forced to pay restitution in the amount of $499,413. DeCapria also pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree, a class E felony, for failing to pay taxes on the stolen money.

"This case demonstrates that the abuse of taxpayer dollars will not go unpunished," said DiNapoli. "My auditors and investigators did a tremendous job uncovering this theft, but I also want to express my gratitude to District Attorney Murphy and the State Police for their diligence in bringing this individual to justice and ensuring public funds were protected."

"The wrongdoing uncovered in Comptroller DiNapoli's audit was the cornerstone of this case," said Murphy. "Working together with the Comptroller's staff and the State Police, we were able to prove that Mrs. DeCapria stole half a million dollars in taxpayer funds to pay for plastic surgery, buy iPods, laptops and frozen food delivery for herself and her family. Thankfully, she will pay for her crimes and help send a message that the theft of public money will not be tolerated."

According to DiNapoli's 2011 audit, the former treasurer improperly paid herself $316,670 and used fire district credit cards to buy dozens of personal items.

The thefts began in 2005 and escalated through 2010. In 2010 alone, auditors found DeCapria improperly paid herself $158,187, more than 50 percent of that year's fire district's tax levy. DeCapria was fired in January during the Comptroller's audit.

DiNapoli's audit revealed that the Charlton Fire District exercised virtually no oversight role over DeCapria as she "paid" herself an extra $316,670 from 2005 to 2010. Her abuse of district credit cards also went unchecked as she bought 256 backyard patio stones, 14 printers, seven laptops, a washer-dryer, refrigerator and freezer, along with eight digital cameras, four media players, photo scanners, global positioning systems, leather chairs and other home furnishings that are not in the district's possession and have not been accounted for.

For a copy of the comptroller's audit of the Charlton Fire District visit:
http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/firedists/2011/charltonfd/charlton.pdf

New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse of taxpayer money by:

  • Calling the toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555;
  • Filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us; or
  • Mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.

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