Binghamton Man Sentenced & Fined For

A Binghamton logger was sentenced today to five years probation and ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution for swindling four Tioga County landowners of money he owed them after cutting trees on their property.

John Finch, 53, of Powderhouse Road, Binghamton, was sentenced on a charge of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree by Tioga County Court Judge Vincent Sgueglia in accordance with a plea bargain negotiated with the Attorney General’s office.

Finch was prosecuted for stealing timber from four separate landowners in the Town of Richmond in 1995 and 1996. He contracted to cut some $65,000-worth of trees from their land but never paid them their share of the proceeds after he sold the wood to local sawmills. Finch’s victims included three absentee landowners and an elderly woman.

In June 1998 a Tioga County grand jury indicted Finch on four counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First degree. He faced up to seven years in prison if convicted.

On Feb. 1, 1999, Finch pled guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and agreed to pay $40,000 in restitution to the landowners in satisfaction of all the charges pending against him. To date, Finch has paid $20,000 in restitution with the balance of payment due over the five-year term of his probation.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General David Prior of the Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecution Bureau and Senior Investigator Jon Wescott of the Attorney General’s Binghamton Regional office.