JOHNSTOWN - The former executive director of Adirondack Mentoring Partners, who was charged in April with stealing more than $43,000 from the non-profit agency, now is accused of stealing an additional $37,857 in unemployment benefits.
State police in Fonda charged Margaret Shaver, 40, of 913 County Highway 122 in the town of Johnstown, at 4:22 p.m. Wednesday with felony counts of first-degree falsifying business records and third-degree grand larceny.
Shaver was arraigned in Johnstown Town Court, posted $2,500 cash bail and was freed pending a future court appearance. She is being represented by Gloversville attorney Robert Abdella.
Margaret Shaver (Leader-Herald file photo)
Shaver was the former executive director of Adirondack Mentoring Partners - formerly Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fulton County. She was charged April 18 by Gloversville police, accused of stealing more than $43,000 over two years from the nonprofit she ran.
District Attorney Louise Sira said today that case will go to a county grand jury in the fall.
Meanwhile, she said state police have been working on their own probe of Shaver involving unemployment insurance she collected while she worked at Adirondack Mentoring Partners.
"This is basically a companion investigation," Sira said.
She said state police investigators in Fonda have been working with the state Labor Department and the state Banking and Finance Department. The district attorney said that investigation determined that while Shaver was allegedly embezzling $43,000 from her agency, she was also collecting unemployment benefits.
Sira said the investigation revealed Shave allegedly collected $37,857 in illegal unemployment benefits.
Trooper Mark Cepiel, state police spokesman, couldn't be reached this morning to comment on the case.
Abdella said today the public needs to reserve judgment on his client.
"Margaret Shaver is a wonderful woman, and I cannot stress enough to anybody reading this article or who has formed an opinion from the previous publication or TV coverage to keep an open mind," Abdella said.
The defense attorney said he is working with Sira and the authorities, and there is "much more" to this case. Details will come out in trial, he said.
Abdella said Shaver was not having personal money problems during the time period of her alleged criminality.
Shaver had been charged in April by Gloversville police with felony third-degree grand larceny and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree falsifying business records. Gloversville detectives at the time said they began investigating the case in June 2011, after three board members of Adirondack Mentoring Partners came to them with suspicions that money was missing from the nonprofit's accounts.
After the initial investigation, the board completed its own independent audit of its financial files and brought that to Gloversville police in October.
Detectives followed up on the case and called in the state Department of Financial Services investigators to complete their own audit.
In April 2009, police said, Shaver was approached by her board and told the organization could no longer afford to support a paid employee. She was given the option to remain involved on a volunteer basis or seek other employment. But police said Shaver chose to stay on as an unpaid employee and continued to sporadically pay herself wages and benefits she was no longer entitled to.
Detectives say she was taking funds from April 2009 through June 2011.
In addition, Shaver was charged in April with falsely filing quarterly reports with the United Way of Fulton County for a 2009-10 after-school mentoring program that the organization wasn't offering, despite receiving funding for it.
The after-school mentoring program, funded through an estimated $10,000 United Way grant, was supposed to provide a program where high school athletes would be mentors for elementary students.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.