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Post date: May 5 2014

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Sentencing Of Former State Employee For Defrauding The Government And Accepting Bribe

Former OGS Engineer Obtained Over $50,000 Worth Of Personal Home Improvement And Construction Items For Signing Off On Fraudulent Billing Submitted To The State

Schneiderman: Betraying The Public’s Trust And Stealing Money From Taxpayers Will Not Be Tolerated

WATERLOO – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the sentencing of John Hall, a former engineer-in-charge for the New York State Office of General Services (OGS). Hall obtained more than $50,000 worth of construction equipment and home improvement materials from a contractor who worked on emergency repair projects for OGS in Seneca County in exchange for approving the contractor’s fraudulent billing submitted to the state. Today’s sentencing was the culmination of a joint investigation with the New York State Inspector General’s Office (OIG), the New York State Comptroller’s Office (OSC), and OGS.

“Corrupt public servants who abuse their offices undermine the public's confidence in government,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office is committed to working with our investigative partners to root out corruption within government agencies and on construction projects at state facilities. Betraying the public’s trust and stealing money from taxpayers will not be tolerated.”

State Comptroller DiNapoli said, “This case puts corrupt state employees on notice:  bribery and bribe receiving have no place in state government. We will continue to fight public wrongdoing with Attorney General Schneiderman. In this case, our joint efforts will return more than $50,000 in restitution to state coffers."

New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said, “State officials who abuse their authority for personal gain will be thoroughly investigated and held accountable for any fraud or crime they perpetrate.  Hall, as the engineer-in-charge, admitted to receiving bribes and enriching himself. His actions are outrageous, warranting that he be held fully accountable for his criminal conduct. As a result of this investigation and prosecution, the people of the State of New York will receive the return of money stolen from the state.”

From approximately July 2006 to approximately February 2009, Hall engaged in a scheme to defraud OGS and obtain bribes. In his official capacity as an engineer-in-charge for OGS, Hall was responsible for reviewing and approving contractors’ expense reports submitted to OGS for labor and equipment costs incurred on OGS emergency service projects. Hall solicited and obtained construction and home improvement-related equipment and items for his personal use, including radiant heating materials for his home, from a contractor working on OGS projects that Hall oversaw. In exchange for these benefits, Hall signed off on the contractor’s fraudulent expense reports, which contained inflated costs for purported labor and equipment on emergency service projects. 

On February 21, 2014, Hall, an Owego resident, pleaded guilty to Defrauding the Government and Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree. Today, Hall was sentenced by the Honorable Dennis Bender in Seneca County Court to 6 months in jail, restitution of $52,285, which the OAG recovered in full prior to sentencing, and five years of probation.   

The Attorney General thanks OGS, OSC, and OIG for their assistance in this investigation and prosecution. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jihee G. Suh, Associate Auditor Jason Blair, Analyst Kerry Ann Rodriguez, Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Bureau Chief Daniel Cort, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.

The case was investigated by Investigator David Buske, Investigator Joel Cordone, Investigative Analyst Brian Selfon, Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle, Deputy Chief Anthony Karam, and Chief Dominick Zarrella of the Attorney General’s Investigations Bureau.

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