Principal And School District Official Plead Guilty To Defrauding Lewisboro-katonah School District

New York State Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Westchester County middle school principal and a former secretary to the superintendent have each pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from false representations they made to illegally receive reimbursement from a benefit fund that the district maintained.

Defendant Doug Both, principal of John Jay Middle School, and defendant Maureen Brown, former secretary to the superintendent of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District, pleaded guilty in Bedford Town Court to Attempting to Defraud the Government, a class A misdemeanor. Both and Brown have agreed to make restitution to the district. The court sentenced both defendants to conditional discharges, a non-custodial sentence. In addition, the court imposed a $750 fine to be paid by the defendants.

According to the felony complaint filed in court, the defendants repeatedly submitted claims to the district for illegal reimbursement from its benefits fund for health and wellness expenses that they did not incur. In support of their claims, the defendants submitted falsified documents that allegedly represented payments for certain expenses. Based on these submissions, the district reimbursed Both and Brown from the benefits fund for sums in excess of $3,000 and $6,000, respectively.

The Attorney General also announced a settlement against Andrew Dowling, former principal of the Increase Miller Elementary School. Dowling also was reimbursed by the district from its benefits fund for an expense he did not incur. The settlement funds will be returned to the district.

"It is a sad day, indeed, to see a principal defraud the school system when there are so many other hardworking public employees who follow the rules," Spitzer said.

These prosecutions conclude a joint investigation conducted by the Attorney General's office and the State Comptroller's Division of Investigations. The State Comptroller released an investigative report on the Katonah-Lewisboro School District on February 2, 2006 and referred the matter to the Attorney General's office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Monica Stamm and Ronda Lustman under the supervision of Carrie H. Cohen, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Public Integrity Unit and Felice Sontupe, Acting Deputy Chief, Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. They were assisted by Investigator Lawrence McDonald.