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Former clerk pleads guilty to grand larceny

Misappropriated more than $27K in property taxes

Hart

MAYFIELD –Former Town Clerk of Mayfield, Dorothy Hart, who was arrested in June 2018 for pocketing more than $35,000 in public funds, pleaded guilty to grand larceny on Tuesday.

According to a press release from state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office, Hart pleaded guilty on Tuesday to fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Hart, who resides in Mayfield, was charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny, class D felonies.

According to the release, during Hart’s time as town clerk, she misappropriated more than $27,000 in property taxes by misusing penalty fees which should have gone to the town, and pocketed more than $8,000 in dog licensing fees and other fees. She submitted monthly reports from January 2011 to February 2015 to the town supervisor, falsely claiming that she turned over portions of the dog licensing money to the county treasurer. However, an investigation conducted by state police and the state comptroller’s office found that Hart kept the money for her personal use.

Hart’s arrest in June 2018 came after an ongoing criminal investigation into the town of Mayfield regarding financial discrepancies in March 2017. Hart resigned from her position as town clerk in February 2017.

In June 2018, Tania Lopez of the state Comptroller’s Office told The Leader-Herald that Hart had been town clerk since 2002. She had used the money to pay off her mortgage and car loan. Lopez said the theft occurred between January 2011 and February 2015 and was discovered through an audit by the state Comptroller’s Office.

“Ms. Hart tried to game the system and used her position of trust to steal tens of thousands in public funds,” said DiNapoli in a prepared statement. “I thank Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown and New York state police for their diligent work in helping us hold Ms. Hart accountable.”

The investigation was handled by the state comptroller’s office Division of Investigations working with the Division of Local Government and School Accountability in partnership with Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown and the state police.

Mayfield Town Supervisor Richard Argotsinger and Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown could not be reached for comment before press time.

Briana O’Hara covers the rural municipalities in  Fulton County, Montgomery County and Hamilton County. She can be reached at bohara@leaderherald.com.

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