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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

September 26, 2014, Contact: Attorney General’s Press Office (212) 416-8060   Comptroller's Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli & A.G. Schneiderman Announce Indictment Of Former Highway Superintendent In Public Corruption Case

Joint Investigation Reveals Over $50K Stolen From Town Of Erin Through At Least 178 Bogus Expenses, As Alleged In Court Papers

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of Roger Burlew, former Highway Superintendent for the Town of Erin, in a public corruption case involving the alleged theft of more than $50,000 in goods and services from the town. The indictment charges that Burlew stole the money by submitting fraudulent vouchers for payment to the Town of Erin.

“This indictment shows that nobody is above the law – a principle that has guided my office in aggressively prosecuting over 50 individuals in corruption cases since 2011, including a sitting state senator, a current member of the New York City Council, and elected officials from both parties across New York State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Corruption undermines faith in government and wastes taxpayer dollars, and that is why I will continue to pursue those who betray the public trust.”

"Cases such as these remind us why constant scrutiny of public spending is needed," said State Comptroller DiNapoli. "New Yorkers can rest assured that auditors and investigators from my office will continue to partner with Attorney General Schneiderman and law enforcement to detect fraud and hold those who would rip off taxpayers accountable. The message is clear – unethical behavior will be investigated and prosecuted, and stolen public money will be recouped."

According to papers filed in the Town of Erin Court, Burlew, who was appointed Highway Superintendent in 1998, submitted numerous fraudulent vouchers to the Town of Erin since 2007. Burlew allegedly submitted vouchers for parts for equipment the Town does not own. One such voucher referenced the purchase of forklift tires when the Highway Department does not have a forklift. Further, according to court papers, Burlew submitted a voucher requesting payment for a 2-cylinder gas engine for the Highway Department’s 4-cylinder diesel Cat Loader. It is believed the parts and services expensed were instead purchased for Burlew’s personal use.

Burlew is charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, and Defrauding the Government, a Class E felony. He faces a maximum of 5 to 15 years in state prison if convicted of the highest charge filed against him.

The Joint Task Force on Public Integrity is a cooperative effort between Attorney General Schneiderman's and Comptroller DiNapoli's offices to root out public corruption and maximize the resources of each office. Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the staff at Comptroller DiNapoli’s Office for their invaluable cooperation and assistance in this investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Colleen Glavin of the Public Integrity Bureau is prosecuting the case, with support from Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Bureau Chief Daniel Cort, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The prosecutors were assisted by Investigations Bureau Investigator Joel Cordone, with support from Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle, Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam, and Bureau Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The charges are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

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