Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrests Of State Employees For Abusing Official Positions To Access Or Alter Confidential Tax Information On Behalf Of Friends

Albany, NY (May 21, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced criminal charges against one former and one current employee of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for using their positions to gain access to confidential tax information in order to benefit their friends.

According to the complaint, Susan Mackey, 50, of Curtis Drive in Castleton, repeatedly accessed confidential tax records of a friend’s ex-husband, so that her friend could use that information against her ex-husband in family court proceedings. Mackey was a thirty-year Tax Department employee before her resignation in October 2008.

In a separate complaint it is alleged that, Diane Buehler, 48, of Stanek Road in Schenectady, instructed an employee to delete more than $3,500 in penalties owed by a colleague’s boyfriend to the State of New York. To cover her tracks, Buehler drafted a bogus complaint letter from her colleague’s boyfriend, and had her colleague send the letter back to her through inter-office mail. Buehler has been employed by the Tax Department since 1977, and supervised a staff of seven employees at the time when she allegedly committed her crimes.

“Employees of New York state are entrusted by the taxpayers to do their jobs thoroughly and honestly," said Attorney General Cuomo. "State workers who abuse their positions and wrongfully access confidential information are breaking an inherent promise with the public and committing a crime that will not go unchecked.”

Mackey was charged today in Albany City Court with one count of Computer Trespass, a class E felony, and one count of Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor. If convicted of the top count, Mackey faces up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Buehler was charged with one count of Computer Tampering, a class D felony, along with eight counts of Computer Trespass, a class E felony, and ten counts of Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor. If convicted of the top count, Buehler faces up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $7,000.

Both matters were referred to the Attorney General’s office by NYSDTF. Attorney General Cuomo thanks the Department of Taxation and Finance Office of the Deputy Inspector General, and Investigators Megan Allard and Scott Gullie, and the State Inspector General’s Office for their assistance with this investigation.

The cases are being handled by Assistant Attorney General Noah Falk, with the assistance of Senior Investigator Michael Battisti and Investigator Michael Ward, under the supervision of Ellen Biben, Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilt