Police: Shandaken woman embezzled more than $50,000 from Kingston law firm

Hope Peters. Photo: New York State Police. 

A Shandaken woman will face felony grand larceny charges for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her former employer, according to New York State Police. 

Hope Peters was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 3 and charged with second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony. Police say she stole more than $50,000 over a period of four years.

At the time of her arrest, Peters was working at Ulster Savings Bank, said Trooper Steven Nevel, a public information officer for the New York State Police. But Nevel said the funds were stolen from her former employer, a Kingston law firm that employed Peters as a bookkeeper.   Read more

Shandaken employee charged with embezzling flood funds

An employee of the Shandaken highway department has been charged with embezzling over $20,000 from the town, some of it allegedly from FEMA funds meant for Irene flood relief.

On Wednesday, state police arrested 46-year-old Florence Sullivan of Chichester and charged her with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, and first-degree scheme to defraud, all felonies.

According to a state police statement, Sullivan manipulated town payroll and financial records associated with both herself and other employees, including federal flood relief payment records. As a result, police said, Sullivan received over $20,000 in overpayments and benefits, while other town employees had money wrongfully withheld.   Read more

Accord convenience store targeted in food stamp fraud probe

Three people have been arrested on fraud-related charges after a probe of alleged misuse of food stamp cards at Star Grocery, a convenience store on Mettacahonts Road in Accord.

Star Grocery has been under ongoing investigation into the use of electronic food stamp cards to buy non-food items for nearly two years, since March of 2011. The Ulster County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the business on Wednesday, February 6, and seized property and business records.

Arrested were 35-year-old Qadeer H. Shah, 39-year-old Lori A. Shah, and 34-year-old Alsa P. Quent, all Accord residents. All three were charged with the felonies of misuse of food stamps in excess of $3000.00, falsifying business records in the first degree and grand larceny in the third degree. The three were arraigned in Rochester Town Court and released to reappear at a later time.

The Times Herald-Record reports that the three were all managers at the store.  Read more

Macabre sign sparks outcry in Rosendale

Above: A striking depiction of the Grim Reaper graces the front of an empty trailer on state Route 32 in Rosendale. Photo by Andrew Wyrich.

The future of a unique roadside sign in Rosendale could be getting a bit grimmer.

Rosendale Town Supervisor Jeanne Walsh told the Daily Freeman that the town will be reviewing concerns that a trailer that has sat on state Route 32 for six years violates town sign laws. The trailer boasts a painted image of the Grim Reaper, and the message “Fraud kills: Don’t be the next victim, Chicago Title Insurance Co.”

Local resident Michael Caponero told the Rosendale town board that the trailer and its distinct signage has hurt his efforts to sell his property on the opposite side of the street, the Freeman reports:  Read more

Saugerties residents convicted of mortgage fraud

Two Saugerties residents were convicted by a jury in federal court today on charges stemming from a mortgage fraud scheme, according to a press release from the FBI.

Thomas Komasa, 47 and Heidi Komasa, 39, were both convicted by a jury in United States District Court in Burlington, according to the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont. Thomas Komasa was convicted on ten counts of bank, mail and wire fraud. Heidi Komasa was convicted of eight counts of the bank, mail and wire fraud, but was acquitted on one count of mail fraud.

According to the indictment from a federal grand jury in May 2010, the Komasas made false statements and used falsified documentation to obtain mortgage loans to buy and refinance five properties in Vermont between 2004 and 2006.  Read more

Ulster County's own Bernie Madoff?

A Hurley man, 48-year-old John C. Benkert, has been arrested on charges of grand larceny and forgery after a five-month investigation into his business dealings.

State police say he stole over $360,000 from victims by convincing them to loan him money for nonexistent business dealings. A state police investigator is searching for victims that may have been caught up in the scheme.

New York State troopers announced the arrest on April 3:  Read more

So much for sovereignty: Ulster County "paper terrorist" heads for federal prison

Richard Ulloa, a 52-year-old Stone Ridge man, was arrested last year with two other local members of the "sovereign citizen" movement, after filing trillions of dollars' worth of fake liens against local bankers and government officials.

This week, Ulloa was sentenced to five years in federal prison for mail fraud. The Times Herald-Record reports that Ulloa's mental-illness defense didn't hold water with the judge:

Despite being cleared by a mental-health evaluator, Ulloa's lawyer argued Monday that his client had become mentally ill sometime over the past six years.

U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy didn't buy the argument. "Somewhere along the way, you decided to follow the voice of the sovereign citizens," McAvoy told Ulloa. "You did that with reckless disregard and evil intention."

Ulloa must pay $63,401 in restitution to Ulster County and MHVFCU.  Read more

Used car dealer in Saugerties charged with fraud

The State Police in Middletown report that Derek Winnie, proprietor of Winnie's Auto Sales in Saugerties, has been arrested and charged with various crimes related to the furnishing of fraudulent documents in the sale of a vehicle.

Here's the press release:

On April 12, 2011 The New York State Police at Kingston in conjunction with the Town of Saugerties Police Dept and The New York State Dept of Motor Vehicles Division of Field Investigations arrested Derek S. Winnie, age 43 of Saugerties,  N.Y. Winnie is the owner and operator of Winnie’s Auto Sales on Rt 9W in Saugerties.

The arrest is the result of a lengthy investigation which indicated that Winnie had forged documents required by the New York State Dept of Motor Vehicles with regard to the sale of a motor vehicle at his place of business. It is alleged that Winnie provided false information about a vehicle that he sold and also filed an MV-50, retail certificate of sale, containing false information.   Read more

Hurley woman charged with running loan fraud scheme

jeri Lynn RossJeri Lynn RossAccording to a press release from the State Police, a Hurley woman is accused of stealing $279,000 from a series of people who lent her money. Jeri Lynn Ross, a 62-year-old who lives on Cedar St., reportedly obtained multiple fraudulent personal loans over several years.

Here's the press release in full:

Ulster, NY - April 6, 2011 -  Today, New York State Police in Kingston arrested Jeri Lynn Ross, 62, of 314 Cedar Street in Hurley N.Y.
Ross was arrested after an investigation conducted by The New York State Police and The Ulster County District Attorney’s Office revealed that she had stolen in excess $279,000 from numerous individuals by fraudulently obtaining personal loans over several years.
Ross was charged with Scheme to Defraud 1st, Grand Larceny 2nd and twelve counts of Grand Larceny 3rd. She was arraigned before the Town of Ulster Court and released on her own recognizance to appear at a later date.
Any persons with possible related information are asked to contact State Police at 845-338-1702.

Kingston food stamp plot sickens

Another arrest has been made in the Case of the Food Stamp Millionaires: 71-year old Anup Virk, the father of the man who owns the convenience store at the center of an alleged million-dollar scheme to buy food stamps from their customers at half price, then pocket the difference in reimbursements from the federal government. The Daily Freeman reports:

The father of one of the suspects in a million-dollar food stamp scam was charged Wednesday with illegally obtaining a benefit card and using it in the Midtown Kingston store run by his son...

...Matthews said the house Virk and his sons share is a mansion worth about $1 million.  Read more

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