UPDATED BELOW – June 6 2014, 6:38 pm
LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Nine Livingston County Jail Deputies have resigned as a result of a time card investigation that took over 500 days.
Multiple sources have confirmed that starting Thursday and throughout Friday multiple Deputies have submitted their resignations and are being charged with misdemeanor filing of a false instrument, with a maximum punishment of up to a year in jail.
The case, which was first reported by the GeneseeSun.com on December 14, 2012, nearly a year and a half ago, involved a complicated scheme with the participation of both part-time and full-time deputies in the Livingston County Jail. As the GeneseeSun reported at the time, under the alleged scheme, instead of coming in to work a scheduled shift, full-time deputies would have part-time deputies work their shifts. The time-card paperwork, however, was completed under the name and at the pay rate of the full-time deputies, who signed the paperwork later. The result is that full-time deputies were paid at the full-time rate for time they did not work. They, in turn, paid the part-time deputies in cash, apparently at the lower pay rate.
The 540 day long investigation was conducted by the New York State Police. At this point, no senior administrators have been charged, only lower ranking jail deputies.
“This is a staffing issue, and not an issue of my clients trying to steal from the taxpayers,” said Kevin Van Allen, who is representing multiple deputies. “I feel that these deputies are paying the price for being part of a system that was created in the name of saving money by intentionally under staffing the jail. These hard working men were part of a culture that required them to find their own answers on getting an occasional day off to be with their families. If anything the County saved resources by the actions of these men.”
The fraud investigation played a major role in this past year’s race for Sheriff, in which then Undersheriff Jim Szczesniak, who narrowly lost to current Sheriff Thomas Dougherty, publicly discussed the fraud and the need for an appropriate resolution in the matter.
Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey declined to comment on the case at this time.
At that time period of the alleged fraud, the jail did not have a time clock or a work log-in system. Time sheets were submitted by the employee and then approved by higher ranking officers.
“I have no comment at this time,” stated Sheriff Dougherty, who did confirm that he had one Deputy resign this past Saturday.
Sheriff Dougherty issued a brief statment at 5:20 p.m. Friday via email:
“I can’t comment on the State Police investigation or the District Attorneys findings into the jail investigation. I can confirm that seven employees have resigned in the last seven days; two others resigned previously. Since they have resigned their positions they will not face any internal actions due to the fact that they are no longer employed by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office.
“I can assure the people that I have served since January 1st that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that this can never happen again. We’ve accomplished this through proper policy and procedure.”
Dougherty added that he will be making himself available for questioning on Monday, June 9, at the scheduled State Police press conference in Geneseo.
-ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CONRAD BAKER, JOE RUTIGLIANO AND JOSH WILLIAMS