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Another Treasurer Goes Dipping, Gets Dunked

Retirement Plans Have Been Altered

AN ULSTER COUNTY, NEW YORK, MAN has been charged with stealing over $221,000 from the Woodstock Fire Company No. 3 where he served as treasurer for nearly five years.  The New York State Comptroller says that Dale D. Hughes, Jr., 64, (who is a lawyer himself) endorsed 83 checks totaling $200,385 that were made payable to cash. Auditors estimate the former treasurer pocketed an additional $21,000 in cash proceeds from various pancake breakfast fundraisers.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a press release Friday that says, in part:

Investigators traced much of the stolen money to Hughes's personal bank accounts. When documents were requested by DiNapoli's staff, Hughes altered bank and vendor records in an effort to conceal his theft. Hughes cashed $12,975 worth of checks in 2006; $61,565 in 2007; $32,130 in 2008; $66,500 in 2009; $16,565 in 2010; and $10.650 in 2011, according to the audit.

The fire company's executive committee – which consists of the company president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, chief officers, and three directors – was unaware of the fraud until May 2011 when a payment of $10,000 for a new fire truck bay was returned for insufficient funds.

After Hughes was questioned by fire company officials about the bounced check, they contacted the Comptroller's office about the situation. The former treasurer then attempted to cover his tracks with a series of undocumented deposits into the fire company's account. These include: 

  • A wire transfer made on May 24, 2011 into the fire company's checking account in the amount of $50,000 from the account of Hughes' sister.
  • Deposits made to the company's checking account from Hughes' personal checking account totaling $68,600 on three separate dates: June 3, 2011 ($60,000), June 20, 2011 ($5,000) and August 31, 2011 ($3,600).
  • A check for $51,159, dated August 1, 2011, from the Hughes' checking account used to open a certificate of deposit in the fire company's name.

It is estimated that Hughes, a resident of the Town of Lake Hill, replaced as much as $170,000 of the missing funds as of July 2012.

Woodstock Fire Co. No. 3  (Google Street View)

Read the entire press release that also lists the shortcomings of the FD officers that allowed this to happen HERE.

Hat tip to:  Elwin McNamara

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