State Education Department Employee Charged With Grand Larceny

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the arrest of a State Education Department employee who allegedly used a state-issued credit card to charge nearly $50,000 in personal expenses.

The defendant, James Alvin, 44, of Schenectady, was charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class "D" felony. A class "D" felony is punishable by two and one-third to seven years in state prison.

According to the felony complaint, beginning in April 2001, Alvin charged $48,907 to an American Express corporate credit card issued by the department, but only $1,866 of the charges represented expenses related to state business. The vast majority of the unauthorized charges stem from a series of travel expenses including airline tickets from Albany to Chicago and Washington, D.C., and hotel expenses in Albany, New York City, and the Washington D.C. area. Alvin is a 17-year employee of the State Education Department. At the time of the alleged incidents, he was assigned to the State Museum as a Visitor Service Assistant.

Alvin entered a plea of not-guilty before Judge John C. Egan in Albany City Court on September 19, 2002. He was remanded to Albany County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

The case was referred to the Attorney General's Office by the State Education Department following an audit of Alvin's corporate credit card statements and an internal investigation.

The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Richard Ernst of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Harry Mulhall of the Investigations Bureau with the assistance of Kevin McKenna of the State Education Department.

The charges against the defendant are merely allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.