Former Executive Of Social Services Agency
Attorney General Spitzer announced today that a Colonie man was arraigned in Albany County Court on charges that he rigged the bidding procedures of a social services agency and stole thousands of dollars in personal funds from that agency's clients.
Joseph Anselment, 43, is the former Assistant Executive Director of Community Living Partnerships, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Albany that was dedicated to providing housing and other needed services to developmentally disabled adults. The agency received a substantial part of its funding from the state's Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Community Living Partnerships ("CLP") frequently contracted with private companies for construction, maintenance and repair work at residential properties that CLP owned. It maintained those properties as residences for its developmentally disabled clients, some of whom suffered from traumatic brain injury or other serious medical conditions. New York State procedures require that when such an agency awards contracts, it follow specified bidding procedures, such as seeking three appropriate bids for each project.
The indictment alleges that Anselment circumvented the state contracting requirements by fabricating bids and forging estimates from companies that did not actually make them, and thereby stole thousands of dollars in project reimbursement from CLP. Some of the contracts were allegedly awarded to bidders connected to Anselment. According to the allegations, other contracts were purportedly awarded to a company that had not even bid, and in those cases, Anselment himself obtained and misappropriated the payments for the work required by the contracts, which was never actually performed.
"The clients of this agency were vulnerable individuals; it was hard for them to ensure they were getting their proper funds," said Spitzer. "And it was hard for the state to ensure proper bidding procedures when documents were forged and agency records were falsified. Through this investigation my office was able to protect the interests of the taxpayers and also those of this agency's developmentally disabled clients."
In another set of accusations, the indictment alleges that Anselment engaged in a scheme to defraud various persons and agencies by obtaining and using funds that were supposed to go to developmentally disabled CLP clients. In one case, for example, CLP meant to transfer over three thousand dollars of a client's personal funds to that client's mother. In fact, the mother had recently died. It is alleged that Anselment obtained the check and deposited it into his personal bank account. This particular theft is the subject of charges filed when Anselment was first arrested last December.
Finally, the indictment also alleges that Anselment stole thousands of dollars from the Waterford Rural Cemetery Association, which he was serving as its volunteer Treasurer.
Anselment appeared in Albany County Court and pleaded not guilty to twenty-two charges including Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree; a violation of the state antitrust law, known as the Donnelly Act, for bid-rigging; Grand Larceny in the Third and Fourth Degrees; Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree; Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree; and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.
Anselment was employed by CLP until his termination on in December 2004. Community Living Partnerships cooperated in the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Steve Krantz, the Albany Regional Director of that Unit, under the supervision of Assistant Deputy Attorney General George Quinlan. It was investigated by Senior Special Investigator Antoine Karam of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Attorney General Spitzer thanked the state Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, and especially its Quality Care Program Cost Analysts John Rybaltowski and James Newell, for their extensive and valuable assistance.
The charges against Anselment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.