Vincenzo “Vince” Cardone, owner of Selkirk’s Ace Hardware and a director of the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce, has been arrested on felony charges involving employee health insurance payments.
Village police charged Cardone, 41, of Richmondville, with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud, both class E felonies.
According to a statement from village police Sgt. Rich Bialkowski, the arrest stemmed from a complaint received by the state Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau alleging that Cardone accepted payments from an employee for health insurance coverage for a family member but failed to apply the payments for coverage.
A statement from police said a joint investigation with the state Insurance Department also determined that other employees who were promised health insurance as part of their compensation experienced uncovered medical expenses or financial losses ranging from $350 to more than $11,000.
Cardone denied any wrongdoing Wednesday.
“I did nothing with any malintent,” Cardone said. “I did nothing with the intent to commit a crime.”
Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce President Eric Stein said he was “absolutely shocked” when told about the charges. “The board would certainly need to be notified,” Stein said.
Stein said he had heard nothing about Cardone’s arrest, “so obviously I can’t comment on it … but it is only an allegation at this point.”
Cardone said the situation happened when “we had a lapse in insurance … while I was shopping for the best carrier” over a several-month period this spring.
Cardone said he pays 100 percent of the cost of health insurance for his eight employees, but if family members want coverage, they must pay the difference in cost.
He said employee benefits cost him about $3,700 a month.
“I pay for the employee only; anything beyond the employee, they pay back to me,” he said.
“During the period of noncoverage … I said I would pay for all [medical] coverage.
“The money wasn’t being funneled to the insurance carrier for four months,” he said.
“I repaid everything back for prescriptions, co-pays, doctors, whatever they paid,” Cardone said.
He insisted that no employee or family member sustained any financial or medical care losses during the period between coverage by Capital District Physicians Health Plan and his present carrier, Group Health Incorporated (GHI).
After one employee’s spouse had surgical expenses, Cardone said, “a statement came to me in early May for $11,101.”
Cardone said he is planning to pay that bill to Bassett Healthcare in three installments.
Cardone was ticketed but not held by police when he was arrested Tuesday afternoon.
“There’s no reason to believe he won’t appear in court,” village Police Chief Michael O’Brien said.
Cardone said he expects to plead innocent at a July 8 village court appearance.
Cardone, a well-known local businessman who has led seminars about small businesses competing with large chain stores, bought the Cobleskill hardware store on Main Street about two years ago from the John Selkirk family.
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Categories: Schenectady County