Attorney General Cuomo Announces Former State Worker Sentenced To Up To Six Years In Prison For Stealing Historic Documents And Artifacts From Nys Archives And Selling Them On Ebay

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 2, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a former New York State Department of Education employee was sentenced to 2-to-6 years in prison for stealing historic documents and artifacts from the New York State Library and Archives and selling them on eBay.

As a result of the Attorney General’s investigation, more than 1,600 items that were stolen from New York state have been recovered so far.

In serving as a guardian of New York’s historical treasures, Mr. Lorello abused his position to steal priceless artifacts instead of protecting them for future generations,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “All of us in government must be held to the highest possible standards. Ensuring the integrity of our public employees remains one of my offices highest priorities.”  

Daniel D. Lorello, 54, of Van Leuven Dr. in Rensselaer, was sentenced today before Albany County Court Judge Thomas Breslin to 2-to-6 years in prison. He must also pay a total of $125,500 in restitution that will be split between people who unknowingly bought stolen property from him and later returned it to the state and the New York State Education Department. Lorello must also forfeit his personal collection of historic artifacts and documents valued at approximately $80,000 to the New York State Library and Archives. Lorello pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny on August 8 for stealing more than 1,600 artifacts from New York state between January 1, 1997 and January 24, 2008.        

Until his arrest in January 2008, Lorello had been an Archives and Records Management Specialist 3 with the Office of Cultural Education in the Department of Education. He used his position to steal historic documents and artifacts belonging to the State Library – selling some for personal profit on eBay and trading others at collectors’ shows.

Lorello has since resigned from his position at the Department of Education.

The New York State Library, which is part of the Office of Cultural Education, contains more than 20 million books, documents, maps, newspapers and other resources explaining the history and culture of the state. Treasures in the Library’s collection include: a complete set of autographs of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, manuscripts from the original draft of George Washington’s farewell address, an original first draft of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and a wide collection of books and memorabilia regarding Theodore Roosevelt. 

A Good Samaritan from Virginia, Joseph Romito, alerted state authorities to a pending sale of an item Lorello posted on eBay, and which he believed belonged to the State Library.  The item was a 4-page letter to a New York General by John C. Calhoun from 1823.  Calhoun was the seventh Vice President of the United States under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, and was an avid secessionist.

Lorello also posted other documents for sale on eBay including a “Currier & Ives lithograph that depicts ‘View From Fort Putnam, West Point Hudson River, N.Y.’” Other historic documents that were stolen by Lorello included Davy Crocket Almanacs and a Winfield Scott Hancock Calling Card.

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, “Access to the historical collections of the nation is a fundamental right in our democracy.  When someone steals from those collections, we are all harmed. Fortunately, most of the items stolen by Mr. Lorello have now been recovered. I am grateful to the Attorney General for his swift action in bringing him to justice.”