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Post date: June 28 2010

Attorney General Cuomo Announces Former State Employee Admits To Using Taxpayer Money To Finance His Ebay Business

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 28, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty plea of a former state worker who used the Department of Health’s postage meter to send items he had auctioned on eBay, and other personal mail, costing taxpayers in excess of $16,000.

Robert Pagini, 57, of Rensselaer, worked for the New York State Department of Health, from 1997 until January of this year as a Senior Mail & Supply Clerk. For most of that time, he was the Supervisor-in-Charge of the mailroom located in the Hedley Building in Troy. To process outgoing mail, the Department of Health maintains a mailing system machine which weighs, seals and affixes metered postage strips to the mail that the mailroom receives.

From March 2004 through January 2010, Pagini was selling items over eBay, predominantly coins and currency. He would then use the Department of Health's postage machine to pay the postage for the items that he was sending to his eBay customers. Furthermore, he would use the Department of Health's postage machine to pay for the postage on personal mail. All together the postage amounted to a theft from taxpayers of more than $16,000.

“This individual repeatedly fleeced taxpayers to subsidize both his eBay business and years worth of personal mail,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “He abused the public trust and this case once again reinforces the need to do everything we can to bring honesty and integrity back to government.”

Pagini pleaded guilty before Rensselaer County Court Judge Andrew G. Ceresia to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony. As part of the plea agreement, Pagini must pay full restitution and never again seek nor obtain employment with a government agency. Pagini was released without bail pending sentencing on August 27th.

As part of the investigation, the New York State Inspector General's Office purchased two coins; an 1882-O $1 Morgan Silver Dollar, and a 1988 $1 Canada Silver Saint-Maurice Ironworks Proof from Pagini through eBay. When the coins arrived, the envelopes bore postage meter strips which belonged to the Department of Health's account.

The Attorney General thanked State Inspector General Joseph Fisch for his office's assistance in the investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Richard S. Ernst under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity Ellen Biben. This case was investigated by Office of the Attorney General Investigator Leslie M. Arp under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator David Adams in conjunction with Office of the Inspector General Investigative Counsel Jonathan Masters and Deputy Chief Investigator Sherry Amarel.