Attorney General Cuomo Prosecuting Nys Parole Board Chairman For Stealing State-owned Laptop

BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 23, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has brought felony charges against New York State Division of Parole Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George B. Alexander after an investigation found that he allegedly stole a government computer in 2007.

Alexander was arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Jeffrey F. Voelkl on charges of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (class E felony) and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth and Fifth Degrees (class E felony and misdemeanor, respectively). Alexander was released on his own recognizance pending a January 20, 2009 court appearance.

Alexander resigned from his position as Chairman and CEO of the New York State Department of Parole on December 19.

“The equation is simple: in order to serve the public, officials must obey the law,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Any act of theft by a public official is an insult to all New Yorkers. My office is committed to vigorously pursuing cases involving allegations of abuse of the public’s trust.”

According to the felony complaint, Alexander, of Parkside Avenue in Buffalo, served as the Director of the Erie County Probation Department (ECPD) from February 2000 to February 2007. He then became Chairman and CEO of the New York State Division of Parole. Before he left ECPD, he allegedly took a new Gateway M285-E laptop computer to his home. The laptop, valued at $1,700, was purchased with state grant funds and intended to be used in connection to a youth violence reduction program grant by ECPD.

An investigation by multiple agencies, including the New York State Inspector General and the Erie County Comptroller’s Office discovered via theft-protection software installed on the laptop that the computer was located at Alexander’s home. The investigation also determined that the computer was used for home or personal use. The laptop was recovered April 4, 2008 and the case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office in June 2008.

Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz said, “As the taxpayers’ watchdog in Erie County I am proud that an investigation started in my office has led to an appropriate conclusion.  I applaud Attorney General Cuomo for rooting out corruption in government and defending taxpayers against dishonest public employees. I look forward to continuing to partner with the Attorney General on this effort as both our offices work to help restore the public's trust in our government.”
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jessica E. Silver under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Stamm of the Public Integrity Bureau and Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity Ellen Biben. Assisting on the case is Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Buffalo Regional Office Russell T. Ippolito and Senior Investigator Paul Scherf.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.