A.G. Schneiderman And I.G. Leahy Scott Announce Jail Time, $167K Restitution for DEC Employee Who Illegally Diverted Money from Contractor

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2016

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A.G. Schneiderman And I.G. Leahy Scott Announce Jail Time, $167K Restitution for DEC Employee Who Illegally Diverted Money from Contractor 

Defendant Will Serve 2-6 Years In State Prison For Stealing More Than $60K Through Two Schemes Involving Work At New York State DEC; Will Pay $167K In Restitution

Schneiderman: Sentence Reinforces Office’s Commitment To Rooting Out Governmental Corruption

ALBANY—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott today announced that David Comenale, a DEC employee, will serve a total of two to six years in state prison for diverting money from companies doing business with the state. At the time of the crimes, Comenale was employed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as a project manager, primarily responsible for asbestos abatement projects.

Comenale, 50, of New York Mills, New York, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny 3rd, received a state prison sentence with a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. Comenale received an additional one to three years for his conviction of Forgery 2nd for a charge brought by the Oneida County District Attorney, to run consecutive to the OAG sentence, for a total sentence of two to six years in state prison. He has been ordered to pay $167,000 in restitution for the combined charges.

“Government employees who abuse their power for financial gain take more than just money – they chip away at the public’s faith in government,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This sentence reinforces our commitment to rooting out governmental corruption and ensuring that those responsible pay the price.”

“This former State worker used his position to conceive and finance complex criminal contracting and loan schemes enabling the thefts of tens of thousands of dollars,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “I will continue to use my office and my partnerships in law enforcement to pursue anyone who uses their public position for criminal self-entitlement.”

"This case is a perfect example of how the Attorney General, Inspector General and the Oneida County District Attorney's Office work together to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of fraud and financial crimes in Oneida County and the State of New York," said District Attorney McNamara, who thanked Attorney General Schneiderman, Inspector General Leahy Scott and their offices for the hard work and collaboration with his own economic crime unit on this investigation.  

Comenale admitted to stealing over $35,000.00 in 2013 from Midlantic Environmental Inc., a New Hartford asbestos contractor doing business with DEC. According to the Attorney General’s Office indictment, Comenale convinced Midlantic to advance $62,500 to a company controlled by Comenale for a DEC project. He then stole $35,000, in part by diverting money to companies he controlled.

Comenale was also charged with stealing approximately $26,000 in a 2014 fraudulent loan scheme involving Adirondack Bank and a company with DEC contracts.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Christopher Baynes of the Public Integrity Bureau. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz.

The investigation was conducted by the Office of the New York State Inspector General with the assistance of Investigator David Buske and Deputy Chief Investigator Antoine J. Karam and Legal Analyst Sara Pogorzelski. Forensic auditing analysis was provided by Associate Forensic Auditor Jason W. Blair from the Forensic Audit Section, led by Chief Auditor Edward J. Keegan, Jr.  The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.